Review: Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1) by Maureen Johnson

A girl from Pittsburgh came to Ellingham Academy and she wanted to see a dead body. She got her wish.

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HarperCollins | 2018

Filed Under: Youtube as a career path


As you may have picked up by now because of all the not-at-all subtle clues I keep dropping that goes something like: “I hate YA thrillers!” and “I’ve never read a good YA thriller!” or “Please stop recommending me YA thrillers because I don’t like them!” – I am not a big fan of YA mystery/thrillers.

I’m not sure why I keep reading them other than the plot summaries and beautiful covers continue to reel me.

I’m so goddamn naΓ―ve. “This one will be a good one!” I think to myself about a book I will end up not liking at all 🀑

Is that the case with Truly, Devious?

Umm…

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I’ve had my eye on this novel for a while mostly because of the goddamn plot summary. A private school famous for a decades-old unsolved kidnapping/maybe-murder suddenly sees a new murder and the possibility that the original Big Bad, know as Truly, Devious, is back to wreak havoc on the students and faculty of Ellingham Academy.

As concise as a summary can be, the blurb was actually a lot more interesting than what the plot turned out to be for my tastes. I typically hate private school shit. That setting is just an excuse to allow children to not have any real parental supervision like they would/should so they can do shit most teenagers would never fucking do. And I think I’m too old for that.

But, whatever. You all know I’m a grumpy reader.

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Review: Cut to the Bone (Agent Sayer Altair, #3) by Ellison Cooper

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Minotaur Books | 2020

Opening Hook: STEM stands for Soon They’ll End up Murdered

Main Character: Still waiting for that inanimate object to come to life

Plot Twisty-ness: Goes over the conspiracy top


Not that it matters in the long run, but I wish this had a single-word title. The first novel is Caged, the second is Buried. And the third one, Cut to the Bone, is fucking up the title flow for me. But whatever, I’m weird so shit like this bothers me. I’ll talk to my therapist about it.

Then again, sticking too closely to a title gimmick can become fucking stupid. Just look at literally any series by James Patterson. At this point, most of his titles don’t even make sense to the plot.

But enough about my arch-nemesis…

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What really matters here is that Ellison Cooper is getting better and better at producing quality thriller stories with each new novel. Cut to the Bone is non-stop action from the very first chapter, and while some moments got a little too extra for me – things I won’t mention because of spoilers – overall this was an intelligent and intricately plotted novel that should be on every thriller fan’s TBR. I would, however, suggest reading the whole series from the beginning because I feel Cooper’s strongest attribute as a writer are character arcs which evolve with each new novel. She really knows how to keep a long-game plot rolling.

Continue reading “Review: Cut to the Bone (Agent Sayer Altair, #3) by Ellison Cooper”

Review: The Dark Corners of Night (UNSUB, #3) by Meg Gardiner

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Blackstone Publishing | 2018

Opening Hook: Scared a little pee out of me

Main Character: Badass and damaged

Plot Twisty-ness: A fucking salty, twisted pretzel


Alright listen, I know this rating is not coming as a shock to many of you. If you have been paying any attention to my reviews and posts, then you know this one novel truth (pun intended) about me: I FUCKING LOVE MEG GARDINER. I cannot control my bias when it comes to her books, apparently. I love all of them. I think they’re all the best things I’ve ever read until I read the next one. She’s a fucking BRILLIANT writer and I want to be her when I grow up. That’s just the way it is. I’m not sorry.

But I understand why you might want to take my reviews of her work with a grain of salt. Honestly, I can’t even tell at this point how much my opinion has been influenced by total infatuation. My critical style seems to completely malfunction when I read her books. Or, there’s just nothing to be critical of. Who can say? It’s all so subjective.

But there it is. I’m putting it all out there for you before I start writing this review.

I’m a total Gardiner fan girl and so far she can do no wrong in my eyes.

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Continue reading “Review: The Dark Corners of Night (UNSUB, #3) by Meg Gardiner”

Review: Dark Game (DI Kelly Porter, #1) by Rachel Lynch

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Canelo | 2018

Welcome to another edition of Krystin Struggles To Write A Review For A Book That Was Just Okay!

These are my least favourite reviews to write. I think I’m a person who creatively operates best under strong swings on the emotional spectrum. Writing a review for a book that didn’t get me fired up either way is kind of like being asked “how was your weekend?” by an expectant colleague and struggling to come up with an answer because all you did was lay around in your PJs mindlessly watching repeats of Live PD.

That Dan Abrams sure does like him some tightly fit sweaters. And I am not complaining.

I don’t know, guys… Do you want to talk about this book or do you want to talk about Dan Abrams’ wardrobe? I’m leaning more towards the wardrobe. Blue is really his colour.

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Alright, alright! I’ll stop.

Continue reading “Review: Dark Game (DI Kelly Porter, #1) by Rachel Lynch”

My Five Favourite Book Series

I’m an unabashed book series lover. If a book is the first in a series, as opposed to a standalone, I’m 80% more likely to read it (I just pulled that percentage out of my ass, but it’s probably accurate.)

With that in mind, I have no idea how I’m going to whittle down my favourite series to just my top five, but at the very least an attempt will be made and I’m proud of myself for that.

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Without further ado, and in no particular order – actually in a very specific order – here are my choices.

Trust me when I say, this was agonizing in the most bookish way possible.

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Review: Into The Black Nowhere (UNSUB, #2) by Meg Gardiner

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Dutton | 2018

OKAY, FIRST OF-FUCKING-ALL: YES YES YES Queen!

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”

Review: Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson, #7) by Darynda Jones

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St. Martin’s Press | 2014

So, in this instalment we follow our hero (sans coffee, the horror!) as she balances running from the 12 hell hounds sent to kill her, trying to solve a Friday The 13th style mystery, testing her growing abilities, learning more about whether she’s going to save or destroy the world as per the big ole prophecy; dealing with being pregnant with Beep, and of course, delving deeper into her dysfunctional relationship with Reyes.

At this point, fans pretty much know what they’re going to get when they pick up a Charley book. There’s not a lot to say about this series that hasn’t already been said, or can’t be said exclusively with gifs and some swear words.

Also, I don’t like pregnant Charley.

Babies ruin everything. There I said it.

If the overall prophecy arc has been a favourite part of this series for you, then you’re in luck! We learn so much more about what the eff is really going on, including all that Charley is capable of and what her destiny is shaping up to be.

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Review: Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson, #6) by Darynda Jones

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St. Martin’s Press | 2014

I feel like this book is a watershed moment for the series. If you’ve been loving the ride so far, this book is going to test just how invested you really are in sticking it out with Charley.

If you’ve been iffy about Charley – whether-or-not you like her and her constant slapstick bullshit – then this book is going to be what tips you over the edge to one side or the other.

It is not your typical Charley Davidson novel. If you’re expecting to find a PI case that Charley takes from beginning to end….sorry, but no. There is a lot going on, a lot of defining moments, a lot of new plot threads that are introduced for the future of the series, and one hell of a cliffhanger.

(Seriously, the seventh book was available for download from my library and I borrowed that shit immediately after finishing this.)

Continue reading “Review: Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson, #6) by Darynda Jones”

Review: The Girls in the Water (Detectives King and Lane, #1) by Victoria Jenkins

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Bookouture | 2017

There’s just something about smart, in-charge females solving violent crimes against other females perpetrated by men with psycho fucking issues, that really gives me some lady wood.

I was super excited to read this new series by Victoria Jenkins for that very reason, and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint.

This is a really promising start for a new author and new series.

In Wales, a jogger finds the body of a woman floating in the river, as joggers are wont to do. DI Alex King and DC Chloe Lane are called to the scene. It seems almost as soon as the first body is found a second body turns up. Serial killers FTW.

Let’s talk characters: The thing about these two ladies is that they are in fact two ladies. Unique, and given equal time to develop – though they have much more room to grow in their definitions for follow up stories. Their histories, their emotions, their life circumstances – it is not surface or cliche or redundant. They feel like two purposeful characters, who practice support of each other. Women need to have each other’s backs, instead of infighting, and I loved that this book clearly demonstrates that sisterhood, even in difficult circumstances, even in the same job, even when they don’t understand each other’s motives or reactions.

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Review: Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson, #5) by Darynda Jones

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St. Martin’s Press | 2013

You guyssssssssssss, I love Charley! Sincerely, I have massive amounts of affection for her.

I wish she’d be my friend. We could get drinks together, gossip about people (both alive and dead), maybe get high together in our pyjamas and then pass out watching Rick & Morty.

She’s just honestly one of my favourite female characters.

And really, you don’t even need to read this series from the beginning to get into it, (but it does help.) You can jump in whenever and immediately know Charley. Because her voice and her personality are clear and genuine from the beginning. Darynda Jones has her figured out and never wavers from that cannon truth.

This time around Charley is dealing with a lot. And it starts from page one. A cheating husband, gunfire, being confronted by the police about how exactly she manages to solve cases the way that she does. Not to mention, her apartment is filled with dozens of dead blonde women who may, or may not, have been killed by a serial killer. They are the worst houseguests too – climbing her walls (literally), hanging from the ceiling (also, literally), straight up ignoring her requests to communicate but then also getting in the shower with her. Like you do.

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