Review: No Exit by Taylor Adams

“The difference between a hero and a victim? Timing.” 

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★★★★★

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 socks off. Who’s fault is that really? Mine? Because of my choices? Get out of here! I don’t want to here it!

Lalalala…

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.

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Review: The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

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★★★½

Viking | 2018

Opening Hook: Full “once upon a time” style.

Main Character: A young stepmother who my step kids should be nicer to!

Plot Twisty-ness: As slow as watching kids warm up to dad’s new wife.


Just like other reviews aplenty will tell you, this novel is inspired by another classic novel and blah blah blah. I don’t know the book. I might know the author’s name? I’ve never read it and I didn’t know any of this “inspiration” shit going into the book so it really makes zero difference to me whatsoever.

Look, I never claimed to be a refined reader.

I read this novel purely for the gothic feel of the synopsis and because I’m a stepmother married to an older(ish) man and those themes resonate with me. I haven’t found many stories centring on stepmothers/second wives, which are actually mystery/thrillers that don’t paint people like me as some ridiculous evil creature to be feared and ousted.

I wagered, because this book was told from the stepmother’s point of view, there was a good chance she wasn’t the villain per se. And thankfully, I was right! The stepmother isn’t the villain for once! She’s more of a saviour, which is totally how I see myself, just with less like doing things that make anyone’s life better and more being peeved that I never get to play my PlayStation anymore that I bought a second one out of passive aggressive spite. It’s how I roll.

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Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

“You can’t judge someone’s internal state by their external attributes.” 

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★★★★

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.

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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.

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Review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson, #9) by Darynda Jones

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★★★★

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.

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Happy Fucking Valentine’s Day!

It’s officially the day of love, my sweet nerdy bookworms!

I hope you have someone to spend the day with, whether that’s a partner or a friend or the pet that you love more than anything. This day doesn’t need to be only for romance, people! Celebrate whatever love you have in your life.

I’m a firm believer that if everyone had a love in their lives that made them truly happy, they wouldn’t be so concerned with what other people do in their private lives.

It’s only the miserable, loveless, secretly-in-the-closet assholes who want to put limits on other people’s lives.

Stop being assholes, and feel the love!!

Tonight, I have dinner reservations with my hubby. Then we’ll be seeing the new Taylor Schilling movie, The Prodigy. And then who knows…

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(We’ll probably get into bed and snuggle the dog.)

To be honest, I’m the most excited about all of the food I’m going to eat. This will be my first time cheating on my diet in six weeks! You can’t even imagine the number of calories I’m about to consume.

What are your plans? Do you care about this holiday at all? If you don’t, do you practice the art of not being an asshole about it? Namaste.

With that said, I want to spread the love to all you beautiful people in my own way even if you don’t care. So here’s a few Valentine’s from me, to you.

Spread the love, nerdos!

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Opinion: Withdrawing My Support of ‘Woman in the Window’ & AJ Finn Is Creepy AF

This might be the most exciting bit of news to hit the book world in I don’t even know how long. I mean, typically, I don’t think of the publishing world as very exciting with a lot of breaking news. It’s not like watching Trump trying to be President or anything.

But talk about a twisted bookish controversy that dropped this week!

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If you’re not yet aware, wunderkind author AJ Finn – aka Dan Mallory – is, allegedly, a total fucking sociopath and pathological liar.

Read the original article by Ian Parker for The New Yorker here and get ready to have your mind blown.

It’s a bit of a lengthy read, but totally worth it to get the full effect of the mindfuck that is Dan Mallory/AJ Finn.

I’ve been joking that I feel personally victimized by this epic bullshit because I so wholeheartedly pushed The Woman in the Window on anyone that I could. I dug that book hard. But I can’t, in good faith, let that be the case any longer. Does anyone care, probably not, but I just have to let it be known.

And to be honest, the real-life story of Dan Mallory is 100% more interesting than his book, at this point.

If you don’t have time to read the full article, I’m going to post some of my favourite bits from the expose here on my blog.

It should be noted, even though I’m not going to be writing at length about it, that the original article makes a really amazing point of how easy it is for white men to fail up, and how our institutions are constructed to let this happen, even when they are known pieces of shit.

Sorry, alleged pieces of shit.

Truly, it’s worth 30 minutes of your time.


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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.

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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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True Crime Tuesday: The San Francisco Witch Killers

It’s the Month of Love! Is everyone excited? Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and you certainly don’t need to be partnered up to celebrate. Give yourself some love, go out with a friend and celebrate your friendship. Buy your furbaby a special treat and watch a movie snuggled up. Love is love, baby! It doesn’t need to be romantic to count.

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My husband and I have dinner reservations and then we’ll be going to see a movie if something that doesn’t suck is out. It’s nothing fancy. And honestly, we don’t really do anything at all for Valentine’s Day under normal circumstances, but after you’ve been together seven years, you tend to make a more concerted effort towards date nights and getting out of the house. It’s so easy to fall into a very contented, eventless life that doesn’t see much romance, like at all.

What better excuse than a day that is solely reserved for love? Nothing says love like a conservatively priced meal and movie gift cards!

There are couples who go all out for Valentine’s Day. A guy I work with is taking his long-time girlfriend to Cuba and will be proposing to her. That’s one for the books!

Other couples prefer to keep the romance alive all year long and don’t need a special day as an excuse to get out of the house. Maybe they’re consistently doing little things for each other, trying to make the rest of us look bad. Maybe they have a standing date night every Friday where they pull popsicle sticks out of a jar and do whatever idea is written on the stick, like some Pinterest-level experts.

Or maybe they start practicing the occult and murdering witches!

In the spirit of the Month of Love, I’ll be writing up the stories of Killer Couples for the next couple of weeks.

First up, Michael and Suzan Carson, The San Francisco Witch Killers.


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Review: Her Last Move by John Marrs

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★★★½

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.

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