Review: The Fact of a Body – A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

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★★

Flatiron Books | 2017


I really wanted to like this. I didn’t want to write a negative review for a book that is, in part, detailing the author’s personal experience with molestation.

The heavy subject matter makes a negative review seem tacky, to a degree. And I didn’t want to be that asshole. But, that’s not where this review is coming from. At all.

I applaud the author’s use of writing to work through her trauma and to find an understanding of how trauma shaped her. If this book was a tool for personal peace (which I suspect it was,) then really, any negative review means nothing in the grand scheme of that healing.

But, I am a reader and book reviewer and so I’ll be honest about my reading experience, as I always am, beyond the personal aspects Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich bravely shares.

The Fact of a Body weaves two true life events. One: the re-trial of Ricky Langley, a confessed pedophile who was sentenced to death in 1992 for the murder of his 6-year-old neighbour, Jeremy Guillory. In 2003, he was awarded a new trial. The intention of his attorney, Clive Stafford Smith, was to reduce Langley’s death sentence down to life in prison. Clive the Lawyer runs a law firm which specializes in Death Row cases and he is staunchly anti-capital punishment, taking on many cases where the intention is only ever to reduce the sentence, not to prove innocence.

The author begins an internship at Smith’s law firm at the same time the re-trial is starting. During her orientation, Alexandria is shown Langley’s ’92 confession where he talks about his sexual attraction to children and what he did to Jeremy Guillory.

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Review: My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Three, and they label you a serial killer.

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★★½

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.

“You’re a big sister now, Korede. And big sisters look after little sisters.”

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Review: The Last Night Out by Catherine O’Connell

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★★½

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.

i said what i said real housewives of atlanta GIF by Bravo TV
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Review: How To Date Dead Guys (The Witch’s Handbook, #1) by Ann M. Noser

How to Date Dead Guys (The Witch's Handbook, #1)

★★

Curiosity Quills Press | 2014

Opening Hook: Complaining about being insecure.

Main Character: A 12-year-old stuck in a grown woman’s body

Plot Ghosty-ness: Sparkly ghosts are just as interesting to me as sparkly vampires


In my quest to keep my New Year’s resolution of catching up on old ARCs from NetGalley, I went back to the very oldest books on my shelf. I apparently requested this one back in 2016 and, honestly, I have no fucking idea why.

YA and I are not the best of friends. I try. I really do. But, I have a hard time finding YA thrillers that aren’t super lame or cheesy, or that can exist in the real world without requiring the main character to be rich and parentless, and falling in love within a day, in order to move the story along.

And though I occasionally read supernatural thrillers, supernatural romance is definitely not my thing. It never has been. To each other their own, but I find the genre dumb AF.

homer simpson GIF

So, why the hell do I have this book? Was I high? What could I have possibly been thinking when I requested it? Whatever the reason, here were are. I read the whole thing. I didn’t like it, but I read it.

This didn’t work for me for a number of reasons. For one, the title is misleading. It’s cute, but not accurate. No one is dating dead guys in this book. There’s just a university student who acts like she’s 12, and keeps blushing at the male ghosts that she accidentally brought back from whatever purgatory they were stuck in.

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Review: Marked for Life (Jana Berzelius, #1) by Emelie Schepp

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★★

MIRA | 2016

Opening Hook: A child’s jam-hand marks on a murder scene.

Main Character: A Swedish robot with advanced A.I.

Plot Twisty-Ness:  A by-the-book snoozer procedural 


I’ll be honest, the only reason I read this was because of the cover. It’s pretty sexy. 

Unfortunately, outside of that shallow element, this book didn’t work for me at all. And go figure, basing a decision on literally nothing of depth didn’t leave me fulfilled. Shocking.

I’ll chalk up my low-rating of this Scandinavian thriller to an all-encompassing “lost in translation” excuse. But in the nature of full disclosure, the other reviews I’ve read have said even the original language version is a sleeper. Proceed to TBR at your own risk. 

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Review: The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

I expected marriage to be a door that we went through. Like a new house, you step into it, expecting it to be an unchanging space to inhabit. But, of course, I was wrong. Marriage is a living, changing thing that you must tend to both alone and together. It grows in all sorts of ways, both ordinary and unexpected.

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★★

Bantam | 2017

Opening Hook: The worst marriage present of all time

Main Characters: Met on Married At First Sight, apparently.

Plot Twisty-ness: Tom Cruise jumping on a couch-like levels.


Leah Remini is a personal hero of mine. 

I am endlessly fascinated with cults. And for someone to so publicly be trying to take one down despite the danger, gets all the applause from me. I love her. I think she’s amazing. 

With that in mind, I wanted to read this book because it had this Scientology-cult vibe in the synopsis. A newlywed couple, Jake and Alice, receive, as a wedding gift, an invitation to join The Pact – a group whose sole focus is to help marriages last forever. Soon Jake and Alice find getting out of that contract is not as easy as you would think it would be for adults who just don’t want to do a thing anymore. 

That has L. Ron Hubbard inspiration written all over it – minus the alien nonsense.

But I guess, in order to make a cult thriller thrilling without going all David Koresh on your ass, things have to be fucking ridiculous and leave reason and logic completely behind.

So, for that alone this didn’t really work for me.

First of all, from my experience being a newlywed once upon a time, if someone had come to me and my husband and said “here’s this thing to help you be good at marriage” I would have said, BITCH WE ARE THE BEST AT MARRIAGE WE HAVE SEX FIVE TIMES A WEEK WE SHOULD BE TEACHING CLASSES ON HOW TO BE AMAZING AT MARRIED LIFE.

Because when you’re a newlywed, you’re cocky AF. 

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Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

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★★

St. Martin’s Press | 2017

Opening Hook: Can’t a person just sit in their car anymore without being murdered?

Main Character: She is the Toby to my Michael Scott

Plot Twisty-ness: A predictable anxiety-fest


I’m pretty sure me and B.A. Paris need to break up.

I read and kind of enjoyed Behind Closed Doors, but I was not over the moon about it like most other reviewers were. Even now, when I think back on that reading experience the only things I remember are that 1) the main character was super annoying, and 2) *spoiler alert* it’s totally ridiculous to believe that a high-powered attorney who works 60+ hour weeks on huge cases, would also have enough time to be that on the fucking nose when it came to keeping his wife hostage.

You don’t want the things a reader remembers about your book to be just the illogical, annoying bits.

And I’m afraid The Breakdown is going to be another exercise in this for me.

B.A. Paris seems to have a habit of writing the most annoying female main characters – dumb, slow-on-the-upswing and insecure – who are married to the most obviously untrustworthy men. I can’t be the only one who is seeing the perfect, loving and thoughtful husband routine as completely shady? Maybe it’s because I’m married and 100% woke to the fact that even the most romantic of men are not going to be perfect. If they are, they are trying to bamboozle you, bitch!

So, basically what we’ve got here is Cass driving home one evening on a dark, twisty shortcut that is secluded, because of course it is. On her way, she sees a car parked with a woman inside. She considers checking if the woman needs help, but decides it’s too scary and dark and will call the police from home about the woman simply chillin’ in her car. As you would.

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Review: The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

“A smart girl is nobody’s pushover and nobody’s foe. A smart girl is both sword and smile.” 

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★★

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.

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Review: Fellside by M.R. Carey

“Rough edges were what you needed because they were what you sharpened yourself against. Nobody ever got sharp from lying in a feather bed.”

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★★½

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.

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Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

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★★½

Harlequin MIRA | 2014

Opening Hook: Let my attention wander to playing mindlessly on my phone

Main Character: Three times the boring

Plot Twisty-ness: Existing, but tamed


After all of the glowing reviews I’ve seen for Mary Kubica, this was actually a bit of a disappointment.

Whomp, whomp

Someone has paid to have Mia kidnapped. Colin, her kidnapper, is hired to do the dirty work. But instead of taking her to his boss, he whisks Mia away to a remote cabin and keeps her for himself.

As one would if they were kidnapping another human being.

My god, doesn’t it just seem like SO MUCH WORK? Who would want to kidnap someone?

Like, I get home from work and all I want to do is take off my bra and lay face down on my mattress while I make ughhhhh ohhhsd nooooo noises and eventually my husband asks me what’s wrong and I can trick him into rubbing my back.

The LAST thing I want to do, is come home from work and have to take care of a person chained in my basement, stinking up the place. Getting their dirty, unwashed ass on stuff. Then you have to empty their piss pots and make them food.

No, thank you. You have to be a special kind of psychopath to want to abduct someone for the “joy” of getting to take care of an adult-sized baby.

I am far too lazy for that.

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