Review: The Whisper Man by Alex North

If your lonely, sad, and blue, the whisper man will come for you.

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★★★★★

Caledon Books | 2019

Opening Hook: Your kid’s dead imaginary friend

Main Character: Grief-stricken and raw

Plot Twisty-ness: We need Ghost Hunters to figure this out


I’m usually super hesitant to read a book that is making the rounds on the Hype Train Express. I tend to be disappointed; closing the book only to be like, “well, I definitely read this wrong? What is everyone talking about?” (But let’s be real, I’m not actually reading the books wrong.)

Either way, none of that applies this time. To quote Bailey Sarian: Nay, nay I say! The Whisper Man by Alex North gets an overly enthusiastic 5-stars from me. Like so enthusiastic, it’s almost sexual.

Toot-fucking-toot, bitches!

This book legit unnerved me and I can’t say that happens very often. Because I’m dead inside? Likely. Because I read so much dark fiction? Most probable. But with this one, I was turning on the lights and setting my home alarm. This was dark and twisty and creepy AF.

A few choice moments started to weave a seemingly supernatural theme into the plotline, but it was never blatant so I didn’t know what I was reading until it all came together. North kept me on the edge of my seat, tips of my toes and the end of my last nerve for the entire novel. I fucking loved it. I don’t feel like I have enough words to fully explain to you just how much I loved this, so, have this gif instead:

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This is the level I’m at.

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Review: The Return by Rachel Harrison

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★★★½

Berkley | 2020

Opening Hook: Not Reese Witherspoon in Wild

Main Character: Hopeful, despite the rotted teeth

Plot Twisty-ness: Unexpected body horror


This was definitely interesting. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but this time that isn’t a bad thing. It’s a novel I won’t soon forget and the catalyst for my decision to not read horror novels involving teeth for the rest of my fucking life. Thank you very much.

This is hard to review because it’s essentially a spoiler minefield from beginning to end, but I’ll do my best to explain why you should read this book if you’re looking for, what I’m calling, Girls’ Weekend Horror.

Honestly, I didn’t hate this. I might have actually really liked it. I think my expectations were tempered by the abundance of disappointed reviews I came across before I ever cracked this one open – and by cracked open, I mean swiped open because #netgalley. I get some of the criticisms, but for me, I had a good time. And I wasn’t even high!

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Review: The Chill by Scott Carson

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★★

Atria | 2020

Opening Hook: Drowning an entire village

Main Character: Can’t stop, won’t stop talking about dams

Plot Twisty-ness: Drowned along with the village


I’ll be honest, I read this book in July 2020 and it was so fucking boring that to write a review now is going to be difficult. All I know for sure is that it was a fucking snoozer when it was supposed to be a pee-in-your-pants supernatural horror/thriller.

So, we’re off to a great start.

Basically, the small village of Galesburg in upstate-New York was flooded a century ago to create the Chilewaukee reservoir – nicknamed The Chill – to provide water to millions of southern New Yorkers. Of course, Galesburg residents weren’t super psyched to have their hometown put underwater, which is totally understandable, but there wasn’t much they could do about it. It was a political decision that was moving ahead whether they liked it or not – their town was being confiscated.

That didn’t mean, however, that the townsfolk would go down without a fight. They banded together, starting a fierce rebellion that promised to kick ass and get revenge, no matter how many lives were lost along the way.

But, you know, government versus village rebellion means the government won.

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Review: Cut to the Bone (Agent Sayer Altair, #3) by Ellison Cooper

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★★★★

Minotaur Books | 2020

Opening Hook: STEM stands for Soon They’ll End up Murdered

Main Character: Still waiting for that inanimate object to come to life

Plot Twisty-ness: Goes over the conspiracy top


Not that it matters in the long run, but I wish this had a single-word title. The first novel is Caged, the second is Buried. And the third one, Cut to the Bone, is fucking up the title flow for me. But whatever, I’m mildly neurotic so shit like this bothers me. I’ll talk to my therapist about it.

Then again, sticking too closely to a title gimmick can become fucking stupid. Just look at literally any series by James Patterson. At this point, most of his titles don’t even make sense to the plot. But enough about my arch-nemesis…

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What really matters here is that Ellison Cooper is getting better and better at producing quality thriller stories with each new novel. Cut to the Bone is non-stop action from the very first chapter, and while some moments got a little too extra for me – things I won’t mention because of spoilers – overall this was an intelligent and intricately plotted novel that should be on every thriller fan’s TBR. I would, however, definitely suggest reading the whole series from the beginning because I feel Cooper’s strongest attribute as a writer are character arcs which evolve with each new novel. She really knows how to keep a long-game plot rolling.

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Review: Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman

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★★

Ballantine Books | 2020

Opening Hook: Amnesiac beach bum

Main Character: Needs a hobby

Plot Twisty-ness: A flatliner


This is such a bummer for me. I really loved Steadman’s debut novel, Something in the Water (though I’m chalking up about 33% of that to the audiobook narration, which was fucking stellar,) so I was eager to get my hands on her follow-up, Mr. Nobody.

But… *fart noises*

This isn’t the first time I’ve been disappointed by a sophomore novel and it won’t be the last, but it’s still a bummer.

Mr. Nobody is the most vanilla – and slightly annoying – thriller I’ve read this year.

I know I can get a bit spicy like a Jalapeno when I write negative reviews, but then there are times like these where I’m just bummed out that I didn’t like something.

I’m Eeyore writing this fucking review right now.

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That might change the further I get into writing this. Sometimes I can work up a bad attitude from nothing. It’s like magic.

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Review: You All Grow Up and Leave Me by Piper Weiss

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William Morrow | 2018

Opening Crime: Bondage Cabin in the Woods

Main Psychopath: Toss-up between the pervert and the author

Plot Truthy-ness: Dear Diary…


This is the weirdest “true crime” novel I’ve ever read.

First, because it’s mostly a memoir about someone who was not involved in any crime at all. And second, because the crime is an attempted crime. Spoiler alert, I guess? While I’m sure it was traumatizing for the women involved, in the context of a true-crime novel, nothing happened that could fill up an entire book. And what’s weirder, the author uses the attempted crime against someone else to question-plague herself for twenty+ years about why no one ever tried to kidnap and rape her.

Like, I just…

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DNF Review: The Deep by Alma Katsu

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★½

G.P. Putnam’s Sons | 2020

DNF’d @ 67%


I really gave this the old college try, you guys. Honestly. I kept reading, pushing forward like… an… iceberg? No. That’s a terrible analogy. Whatever. I was waiting for this novel to get scary or interesting, but at a certain point – 67% to be precise – I just couldn’t waste my precious reading time anymore.

Side note: Where does “old college try” even come from? I guess I could google it. Hold, please.

…okay, it either came from college sports or from the idea of taking a few tries before you pass a college course.

Do you even care? I legit spent some time googling that and it was kind of anti-climatic. I guess that works for a review about a boring AF book, though.

I was looking forward to reading this supernatural account about the 1912 sinking of the Titanic and the fate of its sister-ship, the Britannic, which also fucking sank in 1916.

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It really felt like nothing was happening that I gave a shit about, so eventually, I just couldn’t find a point in continuing to read this. It is packaged as a historical reimagined supernatural horror, but it actually reads more like historical romance wrapped up in a little bit of supernatural-ness.

Not my thing. Maybe it’s yours.

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Review: The Dark Corners of Night (UNSUB, #3) by Meg Gardiner

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★★★★★

Blackstone Publishing | 2018

Opening Hook: Scared a little pee out of me

Main Character: Badass and damaged

Plot Twisty-ness: A fucking salty, twisted pretzel


Alright listen, I know this rating is not coming as a shock to many of you. If you have been paying any attention to my reviews and posts, then you know this one novel truth (pun intended) about me: I FUCKING LOVE MEG GARDINER. I cannot control my bias when it comes to her books, apparently. I love all of them. I think they’re all the best things I’ve ever read until I read the next one. She’s a fucking BRILLIANT writer and I want to be her when I grow up. That’s just the way it is. I’m not sorry.

But I understand why you might want to take my reviews of her work with a grain of salt. Honestly, I can’t even tell at this point how much my opinion has been influenced by total infatuation. My critical style seems to completely malfunction when I read her books. Or, there’s just nothing to be critical of. Who can say? It’s all so subjective.

But there it is. I’m putting it all out there for you before I start writing the actual review. Always keeping it honest.

I’m a total Gardiner fan girl and so far she can do no wrong in my eyes.

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Review: Behind the Door (Kathy Ryan, #2) by Mary Sangiovanni

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★★★

Lyrical Underground | 2018

Opening Hook: Don’t Dead, Open Inside

Main Character: Basically M.I.A

Plot Twisty-ness: Lost in the forest


Eh, so this was a bit weird. Not terrible, but not great either. Because I’m so behind in reviews, I read this months ago and honestly, I’m still not really sure how I feel about it outside of one thing: editor needed.

This is the second novel in the Kathy Ryan series, but it can be read as a standalone because she’s barely in it. And when she is, there’s no information presented about Kathy that has too much bearing on the novel as part of a series. Really, without this being strictly marketed as in a series starring Kathy Ryan, I would never have known.

Seriously, why is she not in this book at all until like the 50% point? The chapter plotting is just so fucking weird. I’m sorry. Whoever saw this book plotted out and thought, “yes, good job,” was on drugs. And not the good kind.

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Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

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★★★★

Wednesday Books | 2019

Opening Hook: You know when you get shipped to the woods so you don’t steal someone’s husband?

Main Character: Raging Feminist Buzzkill

Plot Twisty-ness: Doing magic mushrooms


First of all, every time I look at that cover, for a split second I see a vagina. It looks like the cover of the Vagina Monologues or something to me. Remember that shit? Anyway, I’m not sure if that’s on purpose because of what this novel is about or if my brain is officially fried, but here we are.

My vagina is a YA novel cover.

This book was a trip. It’s not perfectly executed, but it’s right on the cusp of being something perfect so I’m focussing on that.

The plot is literally so 👏 fucking 👏 good. If you’re like me – a raging feminist – you’re going to want to read this.

Basically, we’re in some M. Night Shyamalan The Village shit where girls are banished to live together at an isolated camp in the wilderness during the year of their 16th birthday. This is their Grace Year. The reason being, once a girl turns 16 she comes into the “magic” powers that all women hold over men that will end lives, destroy marriages and steal husbands away.

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