Review: Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison

34564824★★★

“They built a life on lies.”

Okay, if you say so.

I was expecting a dark domestic noir thriller, and instead what I got was two assholes who married each other and could have avoided a lot of shit if they’d just, I don’t know, talked like people who got married for a reason. Failing that, try therapy.

Their marriage issues were all tales as old as time. Nothing really shocking – he has a wandering eye, she can be cold and distant. They don’t communicate well. Sometimes they love each other, sometimes they want to chuck plates at each other’s throats. Big deal, that’s marriage for a lot of people.

What’s not life for most of us, however, is the amount of money these two assholes have. Or the death of their child. Or the sinister events that engulf their lives very quickly.

Much of the more mundane “crumbling marriage” tropes take place in an over-sized, fantastical world of good looks, success, wealth and travel – extremes that are not realistic for the general population. So, somewhere between the banal (for the genre) issues of their marriage and the over-the-top baseline for their way of life, is where you will find me still deciding whether or not this book resonated with me.

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Review: UNSUB (UNSUB, #1) by Meg Gardiner

32811580★★★★★

I love Meg Gardiner. She is a favourite author of mine. Anything she writes I want to read. Anything she has to say about writing, I want to hear. She is a smart, detail-oriented author with a talent for writing action-packed mysteries with perfectly placed twists.

UNSUB is, by far, my new favourite novel by her.

Hands down.

It takes elements from famous serial killers, both real and fictional, and boils it down into one epic, smart and intricate serial killer crime thriller.

Lort, have mercy on my mystery bookworm soul!

A quick synopsis: Caitlin is a cop. Her dad use to be a cop, but he’s gone Coocoo for Cocopuffs after hunting a madman, The Prophet, 20 years ago and never catching him. Present day, The Prophet is back, killing again in bloody crazy fashion, and it’s Caitlin’s turn to stop him.

Obviously inspired by the Zodiac’s true crimes, it also take elements from things like Se7enRed DragonSilence of the LambsUntraceable…and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head, though I am sure there are more.

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Review: The Next Girl (DI Gina Harte, #1) by Carla Kovach

37889327★★★

This was pretty enjoyable, I have to say. For a debut in a series it hit mostly all the right notes. But at the same time, it was missing aspects that I look for to really make a procedural more than just the typical.

The story boils down to an abandoned baby, a woman who’s been missing for four years (who is the mother of that baby,) and one seasoned, but borderline PTSD, detective on the case.

You hear all of that and you think, yes gimme! It sounds like the perfect recipe. But I’m left feeling a little bit like Gordon Ramsey on Master Chef when someone brings up a beautiful looking dish and he tastes it, gets a funny look on his face and says: “It looks fantastic, but where’s the seasoning? Did you salt the fucking chicken?”

Carla Kovach forgot to salt the fucking chicken on this one.

It’s a minor mistake in the grand scheme of things, but it means something is off the whole time you’re eating.

…I don’t know why I’m doing a food metaphor, honestly. I hate food metaphors. And I had such a big lunch that I don’t even want to think about eating ever again. Ugh.

gordon ramsey idiot GIF

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Review: The Lies They Tell by Gillian French

35887572★★½

I was really hoping this was going to be sweaty, atmospheric summer thriller. But I only got 1 out of 2 from that list.

Depending on what’s important to you – the atmosphere or the thrills – you’re either going to love this or not.

Immediately upon starting this I got a Revenge meets Gossip Girl meets Riverdale vibe. It’s got that spoiled teens with no adult supervision in the Hamptons thing going on.

It’s very rich versus poor. The pool owners and the pool cleaners. The haves and the have-nots.

The novel opens with a bang, so to speak, when the Haves suffer a tragedy the year prior – the Garrison estate goes up in flames, killing four members of the family. The only survivor is their teenage son, Tristan. The town is straight shooketh, casting blame and suspicion on the members of the Have Nots, because of course the poor people want to kill the “elites.” Right, ‘Murica?

the kingsmen laughing GIF by Collider

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Review: A French Quarter Violet by E.J. Findorff

34340697★★½

This book was super frustrating for me because it has the bones of something that could have been really, really good. But the execution was off; the focus was not on the right things so choices in the plot felt clunky, and out of place.

Set in New Orleans, I was desperately seeking to be overwhelmed with that atmosphere. To feel the weather, to hear the culture, to have the architectural city streets  at the forefront of the scene creation. But it never came. The author brought in some Voodoo elements, but it didn’t fit with the rest of the book. Either go full New Orleans – dark and magical and historic – a Skeleton Key tone. Or follow the erotic, police procedural lane that 75% of the book was in – a Double Jeopardy tone. The two didn’t mesh well.

Honestly, I would have totally preferred a dark and magical New Orleans thriller, with voodoo and a sexually deviant serial killer. Like I said, the bones were there and it should have hit the gas in that lane instead of coasting in and out of the lines.

It just never came together the way it should. It didn’t feel like it knew what it wanted to be, hence the “clunky”.

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Review: The Girl I Use to Be by April Henry

25944786★★

I’ve yet to read a YA mystery-thriller that really works for me. I’m looking for logic. And if there can’t be logic, I’m looking for it to not take itself so seriously.

I picked up this book because April Henry is one of my youngest stepkid’s favourite authors. I have been asked, for what seems like years, to read her books. Which is super sweet that the kid wants to share that with me, but at the same time, I’m really bad at pretending to care about something.

But I’m going to have to act like I liked this as not to disappoint and emotionally scar this young person in my full-time care. I don’t want to be dismissive.

So at home I LOVED THIS AND I CAN TOTALLY SEE WHY YOU LOVE THIS AUTHOR AND WANTED TO SHARE IT WITH ME.

But, here, which is technically my private space (that is also accessible to anyone with an internet connection), I did not like this.

Not because it’s bad. But because I’m the wrong audience for it. My brain is way too rational. I require a book to make honest-to-life-sense, unless it’s purposefully setting itself up to be campy.

The Girl I Used to Be takes itself too seriously.

And I hate to say this, but I think my age stops me from being able to buy whatever shit an author wants to throw at me. Don’t worry about this illogical inconsistency, just enjoy. I CAN’T.

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Review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

168642★★½

I have an unhealthy obsession totally normal interest in true crime. I love mystery-crime fiction. And I’m not comfortable just resting on my laurels and staying in the now, I want to know the history of the things I love. I want to have a developed appreciation for those that came before me and helped contribute to making these genres as accessible as they are, and as artistic as they’ve become.

I also want to be that girl who reads classic novels and has a nighttime face routine and wakes up early to take her dog for a walk.

But if my reading experience with In Cold Blood as taught me anything it’s that I’m none of those things and classic novels are boring as shit. I got out of bed this morning fifteen minutes before I needed to leave. And I don’t give a fuck.

Okay…maybe that’s a bit dramatic. I give a tiny baby of a fuck. And not all classic novels suck. #NotAllClassicNovels.

Honestly, I’m super disappointed that I didn’t like this. I feel like I should have. It’s almost a rite of passage to read this book if you’re in the murderino scene. It’s so popular and has all those key words on the cover… “spell-binding”, “masterpiece.”

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? This book is giving me an extensional crisis.

In Cold Blood was written over a period of seven years and published in 1966. It was not the first true crime novel ever written, but it is the first to bring the true crime genre to mainstream culture. Capote created the blueprint. He’s a trailblazer.

And I didn’t like it?! I DIDN’T LIKE IT.

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Review: The Fifth To Die (A 4MK Thriller, #2) by J.D. Barker

35721148★★★★½

This is what you have to know going into the 4MK series:

This story is a marathon, not a sprint.

And I’m not just talking about this particular book, number two in the series.

J.D. Barker has crafted a rich, intricate world full of robust, personality-driven characters, and advanced story telling technique. And he is presenting it to us, the reader, one giant novel at a time.

You don’t get conclusions around here. There is no end until it ends.

It’s a train that never stops. It is always moving towards the next destination in this 4MK world where you’ll be given new threads and new clues and new revelations that puts one more puzzle piece into the jumbled picture that is Anson Bishop and Detective Porter.

This series is detailed, not so much in visual description, but in depth of narrative and connections. They are flying all over the place, from past to present, from case to case. It could be too much maybe for some readers, but for me, it filled me with joy at how vast this puzzle really is.

And I don’t want to oversell this, but HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS, IT’S THE GREATEST THING OUT THERE RIGHT NOW ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH.

…yeah, that feels like the right amount of cap locks.

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Review: Dark Game (DI Kelly Porter, #1) by Rachel Lynch

37067922★★★

Welcome to another edition of Krystin Struggles To Write A Review For A Book That Was Just Okay!

These are my least favourite reviews to write. I think I’m a person who creatively operates best under strong swings on the emotional spectrum. Writing a review for a book that didn’t get me fired up either way is kind of like being asked “how was your weekend?” by an expectant colleague and struggling to come up with an answer because all you did was lay around in your PJs mindlessly watching repeats of Live PD.

That Dan Abrams sure does like him some tightly fit sweaters. And I am not complaining.

I don’t know, guys… Do you want to talk about this book or do you want to talk about Dan Abrams’ wardrobe? I’m leaning more towards wardrobe. Blue is really his colour.

Alright, alright! I’ll stop.

yas checking out GIF by Vanessa Marie Carter

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Review: When The Serpent Bites (The Starks Trilogy, #1) by Nesly Clerge

This must be “Krystin reads nothing but misogynistic stories” month, because this is my second in a row, and let me tell you, I’m fucking over it.

I’ll give this review some context real fast. Frederick Starks – a very rich, successful businessman – is married with three kids. His wife, Kayla, is unfaithful to him. They separate. One night, while driving aimlessly, ruminating on the state of his failed marriage, he pulls up to the house of the man Kayla cheated with and beats the shit out of him in front of the man’s wife and children, putting the man into a coma. Police arrive, Starks is caught red-handed, quite literally, and is arrested. He goes to trial and is found guilty.

Because, duh.

But for some reason Starks just can’t believe the jury convicted him. Basically his whole position on his guilt is: “my wife cheated, and the guy was mean to me, so I can’t be held responsible for my actions.”

In fact, at his trial, the defence mounted by his attorney is nothing more than a character assassination of Kayla because “she’s a whore“, as if that’s a legit reason to nearly kill a man.

give me a break judging you GIF by Originals

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