Quirk Books | 2016
Opening Hook: Don’t take acid in the woods.
Main Character: The power of Christ compels her.
Plot Twisty-ness: E.T. attending an exorcism.
I 👏 FUCKING 👏 LOVED 👏 THIS.
I own Horrorstör by this author, but I haven’t read it yet. I only bought it for the cover, and format, without any idea of what the book was about or if I liked the author. And honestly, I wanted to read My Best Friend’s Exorcism for the same reason. This is 100% a “#bookstagram made me do it” read. The alternate cover is gorgeous VHS 80s goodness. And the yearbook format print that I had was goddamn adorable. I literally read every single message written on the front and back covers with unabashed nerdy glee.
Clearly, Grady Hendrix is killing the book format game and there’s nothing that turns me on more than someone who throws cliches out the window and walks a creative path less followed in writing. It’s like half the reason I married my husband, who wrote me bizarre poetry on the reg.
But, it turns out Hendrix is also killing the horror writing game because this is one of my most favourite books that I’ve read in a while. And I’m so bummed it wasn’t in my life so much sooner.
I STAN GRADY HENDRIX SO FUCKING HARD.
Continue reading “Review: My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix”
Amazon Original Stories | 2018
Opening Hook: A bad costume choice.
Main Character: Should have used a smaller knife.
Plot Twisty-ness: Mean Girls meets Urban Legend
Of all the books in the Dark Corners collection, this was my absolute favourite. The whole structure of it is just so perfect, I can’t say enough. I’ve read Jennifer McMahon before and didn’t really care for her writing from that experience, but this short story is a fucking firecracker and I adored it.
It would be the perfect creepy Halloween read, so put it on your TBR for October!
Told between past and present, this is a story about mean girls, the actions that haunt you and how urban legends are created.
The vibe of it is perfect – an otherwise rational adult succumbing to fears of what is in the dark as her mind runs wild with memories of the past.
Continue reading “Review: Hannah-Best by Jennifer McMahon”
Minotaur Books | 2019
Opening Hook: Stop for a pedestrian, get shot by a sniper. The moral is, stop being polite.
Main Character: Excuse me, sir, your glass eye is upside down.
Plot Twisty-ness: Once you get off the soapbox, it’s a complex, snow-covered road.
Okay, listen up! You want to read this book.
If I could tie you up, for completely non-sexual sexual reasons, and force you to read this, I wouldn’t because I am a strong supporter of consent. But you should still read this, regardless of if I am exerting my will over you or not.
I’m going to go full Stefan on you right now, and say this book’s got everything! Blood, guts, impressive sniper shots and lots of action. There’s a retired FBI agent with one eye, a prosthetic leg, five foster children, dead old rich lady flashbacks and Page’s dope ability to solve crimes using mathematical algorithms that he does in his head just by looking at things. Seriously, he mental-MacGyver’s the fuck out of some crime scenes.
It’s like borderline dumb but also really cool, so I’m not mad about it.
Continue reading “Review: City of Windows (Lucas Page, #1) by Robert Pobi”
“The difference between a hero and a victim? Timing.”
William Morrow | January 2019
Opening Hook: Did we learn nothing about isolated rest stops from Halloween?!
Main Character: Lady McGuyver
Plot Twisty-ness: Hold-onto-your-bits thrills with a side of snow.
This is my first 5-star read of the year. And thank Thor, because I was starting to get a little cranky since nothing has really been knocking my tits off. Whose fault is that really? Mine? Because of my choices? Get out of here! I don’t want to hear it!
Reading No Exit was an exercise in cinematic writing. It would be easy to say it was written with a movie option in mind (and maybe it was,) but my gut tells me that what actually happened here is that the plotting and timing of the story are so good, that it comes across in vibrant cinematic scenes in the reader’s mind. And therefore, seems like it should be a movie. And it definitely should.
I would honestly give this five stars just based on the writing skill alone, it was that seamless and riveting. And my friends here know I don’t give out my stars easily. You have to earn this shit from me. You want easy stars? Go to the reviewers who aren’t dead inside with a stick up their ass.
It’s all ass sticks here, baby!
I do it because I love you and I want you to have an honest opinion that isn’t worried about feelings and blah blah blah.
Continue reading “Review: No Exit by Taylor Adams”
★★★★★ (x infinity)
Harper Perennial | 2018
Opening Hook: Lorena Bobbitt-esque
Main Character: Exceptionally unique voices
Plot Twisty-ness: Stunning in its simplicity, ravenous in its message.
This book is unlike anything I have ever read, and I am utterly emotionally ruined by it.
Seriously. This book has fucked me up.
I started reading this in the morning and I didn’t put it down until I read the last page that evening. I was completely obsessed, completely enthralled and emotionally enamoured.
I’ve taken a couple of days to think about this review because I want it to be coherent and not preachy, but I’m definitely about to go on a rant of epic proportions filled with long quotes, so buckle up buttercups.
This is the story of five men, all of whom have been the victim of a serial rapist known as Maude. It is the story of how the media handles rape, how society handles rape. How we speak about it, how we shame, how we lay blame. It’s about the questions we ask, how we ask them and the assumptions we make. How we try to make ourselves feel more comfortable in the presence of someone else’s trauma. How the survivors grapple with their new reality, and their upended perception of themselves, their relationships and the world around them.
Continue reading “Review: Any Man by Amber Tamblyn”
Dutton | 2018
Opening Hook: This is definitely not Wet Hot American Summer
Main Character: Turning tragedy and schizophrenia into art
Plot Twisty-ness: Will light a campfire under your ass
I honestly didn’t think it was possible for me to love a Riley Sager novel more than I loved Final Girls, but then I read The Last Time I Lied and well, spit on my neck and kick me in the crotch, because this has usurped Final Girls as my favourite Sager read, if not one of my favourite reads ever. Period.
It’s true! I am crazy about this book! It makes me want to go to summer camp and investigate mysteries, but you know, it might look a little bit weird to be 32 at a sleep-away camp.
“Dear Husband, I am homesick. But today I went in a canoe for the first time. The tweens here are looking at me funny.“
Sager is a world-class writer. I do not say that lightly or without conviction, because if you know me or read my reviews, you know I’m a huge judgmental bitch. It’s okay, you can agree.
So, when I say Sager is the SHIT. I mean it. He breezes through the art of storytelling like it is the most effortless, natural thing in the world to him. An automatic bodily function.
Breathe. Beat heart. Write.
Continue reading “Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager”
William Morrow | 2017
Yep, right in the feels.
I was hoping to write a really thoughtful review about this book, which I loved, and want all of you to love too, but right now my brain is a mushy mess.
For one, I’m getting over a head cold which has rendered me capable of not much more than groaning and whining – noises that signal my husband to fetch me meds, water, food or a combination of the three (he just has to guess.)
Secondly, I think the sheer magnitude of this tome has burnt me out. It’s a smidgen over 500 pages. And 99% of the time, when I read a book that big I am screaming for editing to parse it down. But when it comes to the Quinn family saga, I wouldn’t know where to start. There is literally not a word wasted by Karin Slaughter – an epic feat when you consider just how much book there is to devour.
But by the end, I was emotionally drained by Sam, Charlie and Rusty Quinn, and I don’t have the vocabulary left to fully express myself (she says as she goes on to write a dissertation-sized review)…
Continue reading “Review: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter”
Dutton | 2017
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.
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 Se7en, Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, Untraceable…and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head, though I am sure there are more.
Continue reading “Review: UNSUB (UNSUB, #1) by Meg Gardiner”
“Something’s happening to me, through me, something dangerous and new. It’s taken root, a poison tree; it’s grown, fanning out, vines winding round my gut, my lungs, my heart.”
William Morrow | 2018
I went into this reading experience with full-blown anxiety triggered by a library return date breathing down my neck.
I assumed there was not enough time for me to get through this because my weekend included my in-laws staying over and a front hall closet renovation. I decided to try anyway, because I ain’t no quitter. I opened this Saturday night, so completely aware that I had a Monday morning deadline that I got a little high first to set my nerves.
And guess what bitches!? I blew through this baby so hard I gave myself TMJ.
(My TMJ is a true story, but it’s not the book I blew through that gave it to me.)
Look, the truth is that this is not a groundbreaking novel, or even particularly original in its overall concept. I see a lot of middle-of-the-road reviews from my friends who just didn’t get into it, who thought it was overhyped and underwhelming and I understand. I think those reviews had a “Lowered Expectations” effect on me, because I FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK.
Continue reading “Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn”
Dutton | 2018
OKAY, FIRST OF-FUCKING-ALL: YASSS Queen YAS!
And second: I’m so depressed this is over.
I’m not religious, but over this Easter weekend, I’ve decided I worship at the printing press of Meg Gardiner. And her books are my bible.
If you’re interested in my new religion, let me know. Maybe I’ll make some pamphlets.
I’m completely blown away by this instalment in the UNSUB series. I think I literally peed my pants over the first one, and it seemed a completely impossible task that an author would deliver an equally pee-pants worthy followup.
But, I’m peeing my pants right now. (Not really. I’m at work. No one would appreciate that.)
Still, this is a completely solid five-star rating, and my only little tiny, itty-bitty teeny issue is a completely personal one that comes from the fact that I know everything about Ted Bundy. He’s my favourite serial killer.
YES, I DO.
Continue reading “Review: Into The Black Nowhere (UNSUB, #2) by Meg Gardiner”