“You can’t judge someone’s internal state by their external attributes.”
January 2019 | St. Martin’s Press
Opening Hook: Make-up artist seeks quick cash by being a liar
Main Character: Let’s her assumptions make her seem crazy
Plot Twisty-ness: Subtle and ominous
I’m a total sucker for anything that is psychologically leaning. And I don’t mean the trend of “psychological thrillers.” I mean real psychology, human nature, predicting behaviour and analyzing it. I’m a straight-up glutton when it comes to that kind of stuff and not for any sinister reason. It’s like not I’m trying to figure out the best way to appear human or some shit. If I was smarter, I probably would have been a psychologist. In another part of the multi-verse perhaps I am.
But in the here and now that we find ourselves trapped in (there’s been some kind of tear in the fabric of our universe and we ended up in a strange hell where Trump and Putin are going to destroy all life on Earth, I’m sure of it,) I’m just a girl with a deep fascination for dark psychology and no way to really express that except to watch endless true crime documentaries and read books like An Anonymous Girl, and have people think I’m weird.
Continue reading “Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen”
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.
Continue reading “Review: The Last Night Out by Catherine O’Connell”
St. Martin’s Press | 2016
Opening Hook: Amnesia is a bitch
Main Character: Classic Charley, but Jane Doe
Plot Twisty-ness: Signature Charley adventures
I took a break from this series in order to catch up on some books that I owed reviews on, but since I was given the final book in the series through Netgalley, I’m back on the Charley Davidson bike, as it were. And I’m going to ride this son-of-a-bitch right to the finish line.
The ending of #8 was a little bit of a cliffhanger, but more than that it was just a bummer. Actually, the whole book was a bit of a bummer for me. I didn’t like how different it felt to everything else the series had been up to that point. It was a little heavier, a little too lovesick-romantic – just a little much all around, with not enough levity. It was like the series lost its way a little bit.
I’m happy to report, however, that #9 is a clear swing back around to Classic Charley. Only this time she has no idea who she is. She’s living a “just the essentials” kind of life as a waitress named Janey. She’s trying to figure out who she is, where her people are – she must have people, she has a wedding ring on after all! But she’s also just living her life without too much pressure.
Continue reading “Review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson, #9) by Darynda Jones”
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.
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.
Continue reading “Review: How To Date Dead Guys (The Witch’s Handbook, #1) by Ann M. Noser”
Thomas & Mercer | 2018
Opening Hook: A subway nightmare, and I’m not talking about Jared.
Main Character: Trying to do it all, failing.
Plot Twisty-ness: Twisty, but in a depressing way
I don’t know why I thought this was going to be a serial killer “thriller”… I mean, in some ways it is. There is a serial killer. And cops. And stuff is happening.
But, holy shit, this might be the most depressing crime fiction novel I’ve ever read. This just hit me right in all my sad feels like a British episode of This Is Us or some shit.
I don’t want to give up any spoilers, but I will say this: one of the main reasons I love crime fiction so much – besides the psychologically fascinating elements – is that the good guys win and the bad guys lose.
The world is shitty enough and bad guys seem to win a lot, especially lately. So, it’s nice to be able to immerse yourself in a world where the bad guy is going to get his just desserts. That’s why these stories work for so many people. We want to know, despite the evidence around us, that good will triumph over evil.
And for that to not necessarily happen in a way that feels satisfying like it usually does with novels of this kind, it’s a little bit of a punch in the gut.
Kudos to John Marrs for bringing everyone down, I guess.
Continue reading “Review: Her Last Move by John Marrs”
“Little girls are different from little boys: they’re made of sugar and spice and scar for life.”
Flatiron Books | 2017
Opening Hook: It’s probably a lie.
Main Character: Unreliable narrator meets Weekend at Bernie’s.
Plot Twisty-ness: Everything but the kitchen sink.
Truthfully, I only read this because I found out Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ellen are turning it into a mini-series. And I am not the kind of Buffy fangirl to ignore a Sarah Michelle project. So here were are.
I’m so sorry to my more discerning thriller friends who really didn’t like this and were hoping I’d be busting in here with a signature snotty review about how crap this book is; how it took every element of a thriller novel it could possibly fucking think of and used all of them on one character in a short 260-page sitting.
But I’m not.
Because this entertained the fuck out of me.
Maybe I’m still feeling the holiday glow that’s keeping my heart three times its normal size, like the Grinch, but this book hit me in all the right psychological thriller sweet spots. I was so enamoured that I read it over one Saturday afternoon.
Continue reading “Review: Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney”
“I’m fighting crime with my twat.”
Bold Stroke Books | 2016
Opening Hook: Bullets and blood and zero follow-up
Main Character: SUCH A DICKHOLE
Plot Twisty-ness: I mean, the butt plug was unexpected so…
Soooooo, honestly what the fuck is this? It’s been a while since I read something this cringe-worthy.
Part of my bookish New Years resolutions is to tackle my backlog of Netgalley arcs that I’ve been putting off reading. This is one of those books. And it’s going to be my first DNF @ 48%.
First of all, let’s talk about how this is presented to the reader – as a detective crime fiction novel. But, as far as I read, this book fits that category in only the most liberal sense of the genre.
The main character, Jill Roberts, is a detective. Check.
She visits a couple of crime scenes. Check.
Continue reading “DNF Review: Murder on the Rocks by Clara Nipper”
Wise Ink Creative Publishing | 2018
Opening Argument: Your Honour, this case comes down to one fact – this fucking bitch is cray.
The Clients: One bad mommy, one fucked over father.
Plot Truthy-ness: Told factually with care, but emotionally leaning to one side.
I was offered this book by the authors and their book publicist in exchange for a review. At first, I was like, Woo! True crime! But then I read the description and was like, No one dies? This is going to be boring.
But, shit was I wrong! Who knew family court drama could be so fucking crazy? I mean, I suppose I should have because I’ve been through a little bit of this myself (my husband has custody of his kids for a reason,) but nothing I’ve witnessed my husband deal with really comes close to the levels of nuttiness presented in this true tale.
Continue reading “Review: The Girls Are Gone by Michael Brodkorb & Allison Mann”
Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
This review was originally written and posted in August 2015. But considering the Netflix movie has just been released, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to migrate this over from Goodreads!
Echo | 2014
Opening Hook: Russia is once again fucking things up for the rest of the world.
Main Character: Last longer than I would.
Plot Twisty-ness: One of the more unique books I’ve ever read.
Yeah, okay, so I really liked this book.
While I was reading, I was reminded of an episode of Supernatural where Castiel reveals his true angel visage to a woman and her eyes burn out of her skull. Humans are simply not equipped to handle the overwhelming righteousness of these holy warriors’ true form. But this woman couldn’t help but look. She needed to see, couldn’t live in that moment without knowing. And so bad shit happened to her, even though she’d been warned.
I feel like if I had been in this world, I’d be dead. For realsies. I give myself 3 minutes.
Continue reading “Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman”
It seems like everyone who settles down is miserable. They’re either broke or stressed or plagued with a sense of duty to someone who doesn’t appreciate them.
Bloodhound Books | 2018
Opening Hook: Kill your family for freedom!
Main Characters: Whiny bitches, but like, I totally get it.
Plot Twisty-ness: Twisty, but almost doesn’t make sense.
This book is going to cut with different women in different ways because the content is so heavily focussed on the various “caregiver” roles that women play. Wife, mother, friend, sister, lover.
It focuses on those roles with a decidedly negative lens. Like, suuuuuuuper negative. Like, if you were thinking about getting married, this will give you pause. If you were are on the fence about having kids, this will confirm your worst fears.
The story is told by four women – Jo, Shayla, Ellie and June – who all live on Oleander Way. Some know each other, some don’t, but they are connected by their neighbourhood.
We open on a murder. A husband and two children have been gutted in their home in the middle of the day. But who’s husband and children? And why did it happen? As the story unfolds, this mystery seemingly becomes less important than all the other crazy shit that happens to these four women.
Continue reading “Review: Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane”