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”
“The words I’ve heard in the past few days are ones I never expected – new, untried, untested. Casket. Body. Funeral. Viewing. Embalming. Autopsy. Severed. Seven-inch non-corrosive steel blade. Homicide.”
MIRA | 2018
Opening Hook: Broken bones, broken dreams
Main Character: Shouldn’t keep blood secrets when your sister works with DNA
Plot Twisty-ness: Are coincidences considered twists?
Okay, okay, OKAY. Y’all know I love me some J.T. Ellison.
It all started with her Taylor Jackson series a damn decade ago (ugh, that makes me feel old) and I’ve been a loyal reader ever since. I love tough women writing tough women, it’s a thing.
Ellison’s move from series writer to standalones started with Lie to Me, which most people loved, except for yours truly.
What can I say? I’m a picky fucking reader.
I had a few issues with the pacing of Lie to Me (the second half sucked the life out of it) and with the ending (“it was all for nothing, just a giant misunderstanding” doesn’t really work for me. that’s not a twist,) but I’m happy to say that I liked Tear Me Apart a lot. I didn’t love it. It’s not the best thing I’ve read this year, but it’s a good read. It’s not a waste of your time, at all.
And we all know how much I hate wasting my reading time.
Continue reading “Review: Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison”
“What about the house? The pentacle? The empty coffins? The symbols written in blood?!”
Double Day Books | 2017
Opening Jinky-Twist: Even the unmasked bad guys get parole, too.
Main Meddling Characters: We couldn’t have come up with anyone less annoying?
Plot Zoinx-y-ness: A dogshit-sized amount of non-stop action
Here’s a fun fact about me: one of my go-to stress relieving past times is getting high as a motherfucking kite and watching Scooby Doo.
I have always had an affinity for mystery-solving kids because I myself wanted to be a mystery-solving kid. But it turns out that I had really boring neighbours growing up, so I had to live vicariously through shows like Ghostwriter, The Secret World of Alex Mack and the Scooby Gang.
I suppose it says something about my love for Scooby Doo that I still watch it in my 30s (not taking into consideration that it’s readily available on Netflix.) It’s just that nowadays I’ve turned it into more of an adult activity.
So kick me in the crotch and spit on my neck if I wasn’t through-the-roof excited to find that someone had taken my Scooby Gang and turned it into an adult caper! Not only that, it’s mixed with a little Lovecraft flare?!
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE, my heart screamed.
Turns out, my heart jumped the gun and it is still firmly in the “cartoons and weed” category.
That’s not to say that this wasn’t a fun read. It totally was. It just didn’t live up to the hype or the nostalgia it so clearly was trying to honour.
Continue reading “Review: Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero”
CreateSpace Independent Publishing | 2017
Opening Hook: You know how you perform dark rituals sometimes?
Main Character: If a less zany Ace Ventura was a werewolf
Plot Supernatural-ness: A new world, but we’re keeping Merlin
Okay, first things first: I do not typically read werewolf fiction because I’m not a big fan of the werewolf mythos unless I’m playing Skyrim and become one to join the Companions, then it can come in handy.
Given the choice that we typically get, vampires or werewolves, pick one! I am much more into vampires.
Not the sparkly kind who fall in love and just want to do good even if their hearts are cold…awwwww. But like Gary Oldman’s Dracula, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or some 30 Days of Night absolute horror. That to me is so much more interesting and creepy. Vampires are the first horror monster to scare me as a child, making me pull the blanket up to my neck at night as if that would protect me.
People who turn into big, scary dogs is just kind of weird. But I get the appeal to horror fans.
That being said, this book is pretty decent even for a werewolf hater like myself.
Continue reading “Review: A Wolf Like Me (Thomas Spell, #1) by Andy Fitz”
“Rough edges were what you needed because they were what you sharpened yourself against. Nobody ever got sharp from lying in a feather bed.”
Orbit | 2016
Opening Hook: Who knew arson could be boring?
Main Character: Could not be anymore self-torturing
Plot Twisty-ness: Good for insomnia
I was really interested in reading this book, but once I cracked this baby open my interest quickly petered out, giving way to an overall feeling of not really giving a shit mixed with annoyance and yawning.
Jess has been given heavy prison time for deliberately starting a house fire that not only destroyed her face and injured her asshole heroin addict boyfriend, but also killed a 10-year-old boy named Alex. Jess essentially martyrs herself, accepting her punishment with a heaping side of self-flagellation, deciding her time in prison will be short once she goes on a hunger strike/suicide mission. The only problem is, Jess can’t remember any of the sins she’s been told she committed, so she just takes everyone’s word for it (like you would.) As she withers away in the prison infirmary, dead Alex comes to her with an afterlife request – find out who really killed him, because he’s sure it wasn’t Jess and he can’t find peace without knowing.
Continue reading “Review: Fellside by M.R. Carey”
“Doing a bad thing doesn’t make you a bad person. People do bad things for the right reasons all the time.”
Redhook | 2016
Opening Hook: Better classified as a “meltdown”
Main Character: Small town child murderer
Plot Twisty-ness: The definition of twisty
Audrey Hart left Edgeport years ago after being released from the local juvie, Stillwater, for killing her best friend, Maggie’s, father when they were teenagers. She doesn’t regret it for a second – Maggie’s father was a daughter-raping piece of shit, and killing him – and the consequences that followed – have made Audrey who she is today: a successful child psychologist and contributor to a true crime tv show, Kids Who Kill.
When Audrey gets a call to return home to Edgeport, she’s dreading it. The whispers, the glances – all eyes are always on her whenever she’s in town. That is certainly true when Audrey walks into the local watering hole to pick up her drunk-ass father and Maggie spots her. They speak for the first time in years and it’s not friendly. Audrey gets mean, Maggie gets nasty, gets pushed onto her ass and Audrey storms off. The next morning Maggie is dead on the beach and Audrey is a suspect.
So begins all the twisted, romantic, dramatic events that will lead to the disturbing and twisted discovery of just what exactly happened to Maggie. And when I say twisted, I mean twisted. There is so much history to unravel, so many secrets and lies to uncover, that while there aren’t necessarily many “thrilling” or “dangerous” moments, you are totally engaged the whole time.
There are just so many elements of this novel that I loved.
Continue reading “Review: It Takes One (Audrey Harte, #1) by Kate Kessler”
“‘Let it never be said that I have left my children for my foes to trample on.’…Medea killed her children to punish her husband.”
Text Publishing | 2015
Opening Hook: Probably a dick, they were everywhere
Main Character: Pet Parrot and Leather
Plot Twisty-ness: The Winona Ryder meme with math equations
This book wasn’t really what I expected it to be – it’s a mystery, but definitely not a thriller, and has a lot more erotic elements than I would reasonably expect from a story like this.
But Dr. Natalie King isn’t really what you expect a forensic psychiatrist to be either. She’s outspoken, emotionally dysfunctional and has no problem pushing a prosecutor down courthouse steps. She’s bi-polar and irresponsible with her meds. She rides a motorcycle, fronts an amateur band and has a pet parrot. She lives in a warehouse and has affairs with married men. But she’s a mothereffin’ queen in her field – dedicated to her patients and to finding the truth. And I basically fell in love with her as a lead character.
It’s a good thing that this is the first in a series, because there is so much more that can be done with a character this badass and damaged.
Continue reading “Review: Medea’s Curse (Natalie King, Forensic Psychiatrist, #1) by Anne Buist”
Thomas & Mercer | 2016
Opening Hook: The human equivalent of an animal caught in a trap
Main Character: Needs to get laid, but also doesn’t
Plot Twisty-ness: If a roller coaster was an onion
I have to say I really liked this. It’s dark. It’s interesting. There are so many layers to the story, to the mystery. It’s never what you think it is.
I’ve never read anything by Anne Frasier before, though I do have a few of her books on my TBR shelf. I will definitely be moving those books closer to the top of the list.
Det. Jude Fontaine makes a daring escape after 3 years in captivity. She’s not herself anymore. She’s been subjected to unknown tortures and horrors. She sees everything in the world with new eyes, including herself.
Clawing her way back to some semblance of mental health, Jude goes back to work as a Homicide detective, while trying to find new ways to just be alive. (Sleeping on the roof, for instance.) Everything about Jude is switched off after her return. She has no sense of humour, she is flat and unemotional. She doesn’t know how to exist anymore. And this starting point requires that the other plot elements, and secondary characters, have some A+ development.
Her trauma and recovery has got to be believable, yet on pace with the rest of the book so you don’t feel bogged down with “personal issues”. I think Frasier really pulled that off. (This needs to be a series.)
Continue reading “Review: The Body Reader (Detective Jude Fontaine, #1) by Anne Frasier”