“People hate to see other people happy. Remember that.”
William Morrow | 2017
Opening Hook: It must have fallen off a cliff.
Main Character: Wears polo shirts for the fashion, and eats oatmeal because he thinks it tastes good.
Plot Twisty-ness: Laced with Xanax.
For someone who has never read Peter Swanson before and casually likes to pick up a psychological thriller every now and again, this book will probably seem like a win.
But for someone (this girl!) who has read Peter Swanson before and been blown away but how he weaves a story, and also spends a lot of her time reading this particular genre, All The Beautiful Lies was a big ol’ *fart noises* letdown.
I’m coming away from the reading experience wondering “what was the point of this?” To be thrilling? To be thought-provoking? To be emotionally stirring? To be commentary on inappropriate relationships? It seemed to have aspirations to be all of those things, but the execution was sub-par, leaving the ideas undeveloped and abandoned on the page.
Continue reading “Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson”
HarperTeen | 2018
Opening Hook: Rich people get lit (on fire.)
Main Character: A copy of a copy of a copy…
Plot Twisty-ness: Kiddie-rollercoaster levels.
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?
Continue reading “Review: The Lies They Tell by Gillian French”
Self-Published | 2017
Opening Hook: Vague and underwhelming
Main Character: Way too focussed on the tingles in her hoo-ha
Plot Twisty-ness: A disconnected jumping of the shark
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”.
Continue reading “Review: A French Quarter Violet by E.J. Findorff”
Henry Holt & Co. | 2016
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.
Continue reading “Review: The Girl I Use to Be by April Henry”
Random House | 1966
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 has 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 keywords 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.
Continue reading “Review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote”
The Borough Press | 2016
If you’ve ever thought to yourself “what would Bridget Jones be like as a homicide detective?” …then I think you’ll want to read this book.
I myself have never wandered about Bridget Jones taking on different career paths, (really she does enough of that in her own stories,) but now that I have some idea of what a DS Jones would look like, I’ll tell you, it doesn’t work.
Missing, Presumed in the first book in the DS Manon Bradshow series – a UK police procedural revolving around the disappearance of the twenty-something daughter of a prominent doctor.
Overall I found this to be severely lacking on the police procedural part and overwrought on the personal “character-study” side, like to such annoying degree that I’m physically disappointed by this book. It’s certainly not what it was presented to be on the jacket or in the blurbs.
Continue reading “Review: Missing, Presumed (DS Manon, #1) by Susan Steiner”
St. Martin’s Press | 2015
It physically hurts to say this, like I have bad gas, but I must tell the truth: I did not like this book.
I really do love this series and the characters have a special place in my heart, but WHAT IN THE HOLY-HELL IS GOING ON?
This can be my problem with long-running series: at some point, the author wants to take things to a new, unexpected level, but because the story has been going on for so long the only place left to take readers is right off the fucking rails.
And this is the book in Charley Davidson’s adventures that dropped off the tracks and decided to go careening off a bridge.
First of all, this book read more like a romance erotica novel than a true Charley Davidson instalment.
Continue reading “Review: Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson, #8) by Darynda Jones”
Century | 2016
Literally two of my three book-related New Years Resolutions for 2018 were to stop reading James Patterson and I’ve already failed. It’s only March! What is wrong with me?!
Don’t answer that.
My only consolation is that this wasn’t totally fucking awful.
Candice Fox is an excellent writer on her own. She’s obviously the reason this book is at least relatively well written, if not still an emotional flatliner that is full of logic-holes.
It maintains the typical Patterson style of short chapters and colourful characters who lack depth, plus the typical “detective chasing a serial killer” plot that doesn’t attempt to bring anything new to the genre.
But what this book does have, which other Patterson novels don’t, is more realistic dialogue and a female lead that doesn’t irritate me because she calls everyone “butterfly” and has hugs her friends because she hasn’t seen them for a whole five minutes.
Continue reading “Review: Never Never (Detective Harriet Blue, #1) by James Patterson & Candice Fox”