Three, and they label you a serial killer.
Doubleday Books | 2018
Opening Hook: Rub-a-dub-dub, cleaning blood out of a tub
Main Character: Don’t miss The Amazing Doormat! Watch as she makes terrible decisions!
Plot Twisty-ness: It’s all given away in the title.
I don’t really know how to rate this book totally, so I’m giving half of five stars because that seems the most fair I mean, honestly, the cover deserves one of those stars just on its own. Talk about fucking gorgeous! I don’t even need words to read after that, honestly.
But when it comes to the words, this wasn’t really what I thought it would be, or what I wanted it to be. It wasn’t bad, it just seemed like the hammer missed the head of the nail. It felt outside of my usual book choices when it comes to fiction even though it really should have been right up my alley.
The gist is: Korede is a nurse who also has a passion for cleaning, or rather a talent for it. She’s also an older sister. She finds herself constantly cleaning up her younger sister Ayoola’s, messes, as older sisters tend to do. But these particular messes come in the form of men that Ayoola has had to kill in the name of self-defence. Each time Korede helps her little sister get rid of a body and finds herself cleaning up blood, her rational brain gets a little bit louder: maybe Ayoola just likes to kill. Maybe she’s a serial killer. Maybe she’s taking advantage of Korede.
When Ayoola starts dating a doctor with whom Korede is secretly in love with, she starts to worry he might be Ayoola’s next victim. A war inside Korede starts to brew between doing what is objectively right and doing what is right as a sister.
Continue reading “Review: My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite”
“You’re a big sister now, Korede. And big sisters look after little sisters.”
“The difference between a hero and a victim? Timing.”
William Morrow | January 2019
Opening Hook: Did we learn nothing about isolated rest stops from Halloween?!
Main Character: Lady McGuyver
Plot Twisty-ness: Hold-onto-your-bits thrills with a side of snow.
This is my first 5-star read of the year. And thank Thor, because I was starting to get a little cranky since nothing has really been knocking my socks off. Who’s fault is that really? Mine? Because of my choices? Get out of here! I don’t want to here it!
Reading No Exit was an exercise in cinematic writing. It would be easy to say it was written with a movie option in mind (and maybe it was,) but my gut tells me that what actually happened here is that the plotting and timing of the story are so good, that it comes across in vibrant cinematic scenes in the reader’s mind. And therefore, seems like it should be a movie. And it definitely should.
I would honestly give this five stars just based on the writing skill alone, it was that seamless and riveting. And my friends here know I don’t give out my stars easily. You have to earn this shit from me. You want easy stars? Go to the reviewers who aren’t dead inside with a stick up their ass.
It’s all ass sticks here, baby!
I do it because I love you and I want you to have an honest opinion that isn’t worried about feelings and blah blah blah.
Continue reading “Review: No Exit by Taylor Adams”
Viking | 2018
Opening Hook: Full “once upon a time” style.
Main Character: A young stepmother who my step kids should be nicer to!
Plot Twisty-ness: As slow as watching kids warm up to dad’s new wife.
Just like other reviews aplenty will tell you, this novel is inspired by another classic novel and blah blah blah. I don’t know the book. I might know the author’s name? I’ve never read it and I didn’t know any of this “inspiration” shit going into the book so it really makes zero difference to me whatsoever.
Look, I never claimed to be a refined reader.
I read this novel purely for the gothic feel of the synopsis and because I’m a stepmother married to an older(ish) man and those themes resonate with me. I haven’t found many stories centring on stepmothers/second wives, which are actually mystery/thrillers that don’t paint people like me as some ridiculous evil creature to be feared and ousted.
I wagered, because this book was told from the stepmother’s point of view, there was a good chance she wasn’t the villain per se. And thankfully, I was right! The stepmother isn’t the villain for once! She’s more of a saviour, which is totally how I see myself, just with less like doing things that make anyone’s life better and more being peeved that I never get to play my PlayStation anymore that I bought a second one out of passive aggressive spite. It’s how I roll.
Continue reading “Review: The Winters by Lisa Gabriele”
“You can’t judge someone’s internal state by their external attributes.”
January 2019 | St. Martin’s Press
Opening Hook: Make-up artist seeks quick cash by being a liar
Main Character: Let’s her assumptions make her seem crazy
Plot Twisty-ness: Subtle and ominous
I’m a total sucker for anything that is psychologically leaning. And I don’t mean the trend of “psychological thrillers.” I mean real psychology, human nature, predicting behaviour and analyzing it. I’m a straight-up glutton when it comes to that kind of stuff and not for any sinister reason. It’s like not I’m trying to figure out the best way to appear human or some shit. If I was smarter, I probably would have been a psychologist. In another part of the multi-verse perhaps I am.
But in the here and now that we find ourselves trapped in (there’s been some kind of tear in the fabric of our universe and we ended up in a strange hell where Trump and Putin are going to destroy all life on Earth, I’m sure of it,) I’m just a girl with a deep fascination for dark psychology and no way to really express that except to watch endless true crime documentaries and read books like An Anonymous Girl, and have people think I’m weird.
Continue reading “Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen”
Severn House Publishers | 2018
Opening Hook: The horror of a one night stand.
Main Character: Crying in the shallow end of the pool.
Plot Twisty-ness: Twists are wrapped in unnecessary information, inside of personal drama and cemented in my disappointment.
*deep, heavy sigh* Goddamnit, you guys. I really wanted to like this. I have been intrigued by this one for a while. I received a copy from NetGalley and then the author sent me a signed copy. Ms. O’Connell said she liked my honest, to the point reviews and then dared me that I wouldn’t be able to figure out the twist in this one. I said, “challenge accepted.”
So, I hate to write a negative review, but I’m going to anyway because Ms. O’Connell was probably at least half prepared for it. I will say this though, I didn’t figure out the twist until just before it started to unfold.
One point from Hufflepuff.
In my defence, the reason why I didn’t figure it out is because the narrative is such a jumbled up mess, and is taken in the wrong direction at every opportunity, that there was literally no way for most readers to find the clues and the red herrings… if there even were any.
Continue reading “Review: The Last Night Out by Catherine O’Connell”
St. Martin’s Press | 2016
Opening Hook: Amnesia is a bitch
Main Character: Classic Charley, but Jane Doe
Plot Twisty-ness: Signature Charley adventures
I took a break from this series in order to catch up on some books that I owed reviews on, but since I was given the final book in the series through Netgalley, I’m back on the Charley Davidson bike, as it were. And I’m going to ride this son-of-a-bitch right to the finish line.
The ending of #8 was a little bit of a cliffhanger, but more than that it was just a bummer. Actually, the whole book was a bit of a bummer for me. I didn’t like how different it felt to everything else the series had been up to that point. It was a little heavier, a little too lovesick-romantic – just a little much all around, with not enough levity. It was like the series lost its way a little bit.
I’m happy to report, however, that #9 is a clear swing back around to Classic Charley. Only this time she has no idea who she is. She’s living a “just the essentials” kind of life as a waitress named Janey. She’s trying to figure out who she is, where her people are – she must have people, she has a wedding ring on after all! But she’s also just living her life without too much pressure.
Continue reading “Review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson, #9) by Darynda Jones”
“Little girls are different from little boys: they’re made of sugar and spice and scar for life.”
Flatiron Books | 2017
Opening Hook: It’s probably a lie.
Main Character: Unreliable narrator meets Weekend at Bernie’s.
Plot Twisty-ness: Everything but the kitchen sink.
Truthfully, I only read this because I found out Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ellen are turning it into a mini-series. And I am not the kind of Buffy fangirl to ignore a Sarah Michelle project. So here were are.
I’m so sorry to my more discerning thriller friends who really didn’t like this and were hoping I’d be busting in here with a signature snotty review about how crap this book is; how it took every element of a thriller novel it could possibly fucking think of and used all of them on one character in a short 260-page sitting.
But I’m not.
Because this entertained the fuck out of me.
Maybe I’m still feeling the holiday glow that’s keeping my heart three times its normal size, like the Grinch, but this book hit me in all the right psychological thriller sweet spots. I was so enamoured that I read it over one Saturday afternoon.
Continue reading “Review: Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney”
Wise Ink Creative Publishing | 2018
Opening Argument: Your Honour, this case comes down to one fact – this fucking bitch is cray.
The Clients: One bad mommy, one fucked over father.
Plot Truthy-ness: Told factually with care, but emotionally leaning to one side.
I was offered this book by the authors and their book publicist in exchange for a review. At first, I was like, Woo! True crime! But then I read the description and was like, No one dies? This is going to be boring.
But, shit was I wrong! Who knew family court drama could be so fucking crazy? I mean, I suppose I should have because I’ve been through a little bit of this myself (my husband has custody of his kids for a reason,) but nothing I’ve witnessed my husband deal with really comes close to the levels of nuttiness presented in this true tale.
Continue reading “Review: The Girls Are Gone by Michael Brodkorb & Allison Mann”
It seems like everyone who settles down is miserable. They’re either broke or stressed or plagued with a sense of duty to someone who doesn’t appreciate them.
Bloodhound Books | 2018
Opening Hook: Kill your family for freedom!
Main Characters: Whiny bitches, but like, I totally get it.
Plot Twisty-ness: Twisty, but almost doesn’t make sense.
This book is going to cut with different women in different ways because the content is so heavily focussed on the various “caregiver” roles that women play. Wife, mother, friend, sister, lover.
It focuses on those roles with a decidedly negative lens. Like, suuuuuuuper negative. Like, if you were thinking about getting married, this will give you pause. If you were are on the fence about having kids, this will confirm your worst fears.
The story is told by four women – Jo, Shayla, Ellie and June – who all live on Oleander Way. Some know each other, some don’t, but they are connected by their neighbourhood.
We open on a murder. A husband and two children have been gutted in their home in the middle of the day. But who’s husband and children? And why did it happen? As the story unfolds, this mystery seemingly becomes less important than all the other crazy shit that happens to these four women.
Continue reading “Review: Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane”
“A smart girl is nobody’s pushover and nobody’s foe. A smart girl is both sword and smile.”
Doubleday | 2018
Opening Hook: I woke up like this (next to a dead body)
Main Character: Barely sober, mostly stupid
Plot Twisty-ness: Only twisty because she’s drunk and dizzy
Oh, boy this is super disappointing.
The Flight Attendant had been on my radar for a while. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the other reviews on the matter, but my ability to make a snap decision based on a good synopsis has been my downfall once again.
All I saw was “she wakes up next to a dead body,” and I was 100% on board with this. (That was a genuinely subtle plane pun.)
But Omigod, it was not at all what I was hoping it would be. The kick-off has so much promise to be suspenseful and thrilling, but it didn’t end up working for me.
Continue reading “Review: The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian”