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 weird 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, 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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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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Nothing was happening in this 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 this review.

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

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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. 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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Review: I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

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★★★★

Margaret K. McElderry Books | 2020

Opening Hook: False confessions as a pastime

Main Character: Twinning with a missing local

Plot Twisty-ness: Definitely thought LSD was involved


Okay, first of all, can we all take a moment to appreciate how much fun it is to say the author’s name? KIT FRICK. It brings me so much joy. Or maybe pandemic lockdown is seriously getting to me. But, her name is like a little something extra to go with a really good book.

YEAH, I SAID.

It’s a YA mystery that was actually good! And no, I didn’t hit my head or get high while I read it. I’m as shocked as you are. (Lockdown is definitely getting to me???)

I mean, it’s not as if I never like YA novels, but it is a 1:10 ratio. There’s got to be something really different, honest or grounded about a YA mystery for me to get into it.

I Killed Zoe Spanos is all three of those things.

It’s set in the Hamptons but doesn’t rely on that Hamptons’ vibe to move the plot, which I appreciated. It’s not gimmicky or cartoonish in its depiction of that Hamptons lifestyle, and it easily could have been. Frick put her focus on the main character of Anna Cicconi – how she felt, what she was doing, where she came from and how she viewed the world around her – to bring the setting to life.

And the vibe ended up being dead on.

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Review: American Sherlock – Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson

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★★

G.P. Putnam’s Sons | 2020

Opening Case: How much did Fatty Arbuckle actually weigh?

Main CSI: Gil Grissom maintains “old man crush” status.

Plot Truthi-ness: Beefs and peas in a dessert trifle.


You might think that you’re getting a novel about “murder, forensics and the birth of American CSI,” when you pick up this novel. That’s exactly what I thought. And also exactly what they put in the fucking title. But why should titles ever tell you what you’re really going to be reading about, I guess?

What you’re actually getting here is a choppy, mishmash of relatively boring cases and life stories about Oscar Heinrich, the “American Sherlock.” If I had known this was going to be about one man’s life, and not a historical rundown of the evolution of forensic sciences centred around different murder cases, I probably wouldn’t have read it.

But since I did, it’s necessary to note that I have no issue with a true-life story about a remarkable human who deserves to be applauded. It’s the execution of the telling of that life where it falls apart on this one.

I think this book is best described as the trifle Rachel makes on Friends. It was almost good, but something got fudged up so no one really wanted to eat it.

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DNF Review: The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

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★½

Imprint | 2019

DNF’d @ 53%


You know me – I generally don’t quit on books. I’m almost physically incapable of putting down a book if it means I will never know how the story unfolds. Even if I don’t necessarily like the story. It’s a neurotic trait that probably has something to do with the part of my personality that likes to know fucking everything, even the shit that doesn’t involve me.

Like, I don’t want to be involved in drama, but do I want to know about it? You bet you’re fucking ass. Tell me word-for-word what was said.

But, it turns out if the story is boring as all fucking hell, I have no issue putting it away and leaving it behind forever.

That’s the case with The Tenth Girl.

I am sorry, but this was possibly the most boring book I’ve ever read??? I’m struggling to think of something that has made my eyelids this goddamn heavy. All I can come up with is a curriculum book in tenth grade English class. I had my friend explain the book to me and I bullshit that essay like I do these reviews.

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Review: Faceless (DI Rosalind Kray, #1) by Rob Ashman

“Being psycho doesn’t make you bad, being bad makes you bad. Being a psycho and bad makes you dangerous.”

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★★★★

Bloodhound Books | 2018

Opening Hook: Face/Off without Nic Cage.

Main Character: At least she’s not on pills.

Plot Twisty-ness: Not your average YouTube makeup tutorial.


If you’re the kind of person who just can’t resist a UK crime procedural with a damaged main character and a twisted killer who masturbates a lot (like a lot,) then this is the book for you, you fucking weirdo.

Lucky for me, I’m a weirdo too, so I was totally into this first instalment in the Rosalind Kray series.

Rosalind is everything you want to be – drunk and eating junk food.

Good times.

She’s also a single mother since her husband was murdered. Rosalind carries around survivor’s guilt by the butt-load, uses alcohol just to sleep, uses casual sex with her partner to numb the pain and investigates murder as a distraction.

So, you know, everything you don’t want to be.

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Review: White Out (Badlands Thriller, #1) by Danielle Girard

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★★★

Thomas & Mercer | 2020

Opening Hook: Get winter tires.

Main Character: I don’t remember.

Plot Twisty-ness: Small-town amnesia.


If you’re sick to death of this extreme heat, which I always am even before it starts, then this snowy thriller is the perfect read to cool off this summer. How’s that for a goddamn tagline, huh? I should do this shit professionally. Someone pay me. Oh, and today is the official pub day!

Alright, so I was offered this book by the author, Danielle Girard, in exchange for a review. These authors know what they’re getting into when they ask me to review their books, so I’m always honest even when it’s negative, and I don’t feel bad about it.

Fortunately for all of us, I don’t really have too much to say that’s negative about this first instalment in the Badlands series… except like two things… three things… four things… Okay, whatever, we’ll count them up at the end.

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Review: The Janes (Alice Vega, #2) by Louisa Luna

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★★★★

Doubleday | 2020

Opening Hook: Vega’s Bat-signal.

Main Character: Doing underwear yoga.

Plot Twisty-ness: Bringing that 2020 vibe.


I loved Louisa Luna’s first book, Two Girls Down, with a fiery passion that tingled my loins. Ew, don’t say loins.

But for real, I loved that book. It was one of my top five reads of 2018. So I was totally on board for a sequel because Alice Vega is one of the most bomb-ass female characters in crime fiction right now. That’s not an exaggeration.

I love her aloof, serous and damaged personality. I love that she does yoga in her underwear for breakfast and will do full body tackles of men twice her size without hesitation for lunch. She takes no shit, doesn’t play nice and has no tolerance for bullshit. Plus, she’s smart AF and every time she gets herself out of a tricky pickle I am mildly aroused. What I’m saying is, I want to be her when I grow up.

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Her relationship with quasi-partner, retired detective Max “Cap” Caplan, is sexually tense at the right levels, but also romantic and sweet in an honest way – nothing mushy or easy, or even overly-dramatic that would make me hope they both die alone.

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