Review: The Family Next Door – The Heartbreaking Imprisonment of the Thirteen Turpin Siblings and Their Extraordinary Rescue by John Glatt

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★★½

St. Martin’s Press | 2019

Opening Imprisonment: Bologna and chains.

Main Crazy Parent: Probably the dude with the bowl cut.

Cult Theology: Be the Duggars…but crazier.


I heard about the Turpins when they first made international breaking news headlines back in 2018 (which honestly feels like 100 years ago, at this point,) but I obviously didn’t pay enough attention to the whole story because the level of insanity is just jaw-dropping once all the details are laid out, as John Glatt does for you in this true-crime novel.

I mean honestly, this is some fucked up shit.

I must have brushed it off as just another set of weird religious parents doing weird shit to their kids in the name of their self-tailored beliefs – that is one way to chalk it up – but when we get into the real details, this is a banana-sandwich story turned up to eleven. Spinal Tap, amen.

If you’re looking for a story on how Louise and David Turpin went from falling in love to popping out 13 kids who they would regularly beat and chain up to their beds, only freeing them to brush their teeth or use the bathroom, then this is a book for you.

Continue reading “Review: The Family Next Door – The Heartbreaking Imprisonment of the Thirteen Turpin Siblings and Their Extraordinary Rescue by John Glatt”

Review: Bunny by Mona Awad

“We never joke about bunnies, Bunny.”

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★★★★

Viking | 2019

Opening Hook: A writing exercise.

Main Character: Every nerdy introvert who wants to experience being a Mean Girl.

Plot Twisty-ness: Purely demented.


This book hopped onto my TBR (hopped, get it? …I’ll show myself out,) after Tav of @readswithdogs (#bookstagram) gave it a 5-star review over the summer. She called it Clueless meets Heathers and quite frankly, what millennial isn’t going to want to read that, like STAT? ASAP? OTHER ACRONYMS?

For the first quarter of the book, I was like, what is this actually???? It’s really weird and hard to classify its genre; where is it going and what is it doing, and I’m not sure what’s happening? SOMEONE HELP ME!?

I was growing concerned that Tav had betrayed our book friendship in such a deep way that we would never come back from that darkness, but I stuck with it and slowly, as you get into the heart of the story, it starts to make more sense (but also does not, purposefully.) And it turns out Tav didn’t lead me astray. So, we’re cool.

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Review: I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan

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★★½

William Morrow | 2018

Opening Hook: Putting a cold case in the microwave.

Main Character: When bad men do evil in sweater vests.

Plot Twisty-ness: The reader gets Punk’d.


It’s such a bummer to read a book by an author you hear nothing but praise for, only to walk away from that reading experience thinking your time has been thoroughly wasted. All I have in my head is like why? And like don’t? And like why again?

When I’m reading a new-to-me author, I seem to have a habit of choosing the one book that makes all the fans go, “That one’s not their best…THESE OTHER ONES THOUGH!!”

Sure. Okay.

I’m not done with Macmillan just yet because I’m not a completely horrible person & also I think I spent real human dollars on another of her books and it’s currently sitting on my bookshelves… but this book is getting a big UGH from me.

Cody Swift has one of the hottest true crime podcasts around, Time to Tell. It focuses on his search for what really happened to his two childhood best friends twenty-years earlier when they were killed and the intellectually-disabled target of their bullying, Sidney Noyce, is convicted of their murders.

In the present day, Sidney Noyce (think Brendan Dassey, but slower,) has taken his own life in prison and then a new body is discovered at the same site the two boys’ were found decades before. Cody uses the renewed spotlight on the case to sell his podcast with the goal of finding the real killer.

I love the idea, but the execution is severely lacking for me as a reader.

Schitts Creek Comedy GIF by CBC
Continue reading “Review: I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan”

Review: Evil – The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side by Julia Shaw

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★★

Abrams Press | 2019

Opening Thesis: Evil is just a misunderstanding.

Main Evil: Apparently pedophiles aren’t that bad?

Thesis Conclusion: Shockingly shallow.


I really wanted to like and I’m having a hard time with the rating, because I didn’t like this, and frankly parts of it are so off-putting I want to toss it out a window.

But it’s not a bad book either in terms of writing quality.

My biggest problem really comes down to the fact that this book is not about the science behind humanity’s dark side, as the cover suggests.

I wanted to learn about the brain, human chemistry, nature vs nurture; I wanted case studies and scientific journals and theories and experiments. What I got was the author explaining why evil is subjective and nothing is really bad because all humans fuck up. The overall theme boils down to “rethinking evil.”

While that may be a provocative topic to tackle, I wouldn’t have necessarily started the book with the argument that we should reconsider labelling Hitler as evil.

There is actually very little science-back study and explanation in this book. She invokes the Milgram Experiment to discuss the banality of evil, and then uses the Stanford Prison Experiment to explore group-think, but never mentions that many issues with that study that led to it being discredited. Shaw doesn’t do a very good job at tying the referenced studies to the points she’s trying to make; they are loosely thrown together and barely make a correlation.

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Book Tag: Game of Thrones Edition

Ooo boy, I haven’t done one of these in a while!

This seems like a perfect one for me because, technically, I think I’m still in mourning over the end of the show. There might even be a little bit of trauma I’ve not yet found closure for because of how this fucking ridiculous show ended. Like, excuse me, but HOW DARE YOU Game of Thrones?

Count me among the disappointed fans.

Not because I would have hated any ending or some Freudian shit like that, but because the last three seasons were rushed AF and not nearly as dedicated to telling a full story as the first 5(ish) seasons were.

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There are so many story threads that needed closure! So many other ways that character plots could have been wrapped up? You kill Cersei by dropping a few bricks on the bitch?! What is this, Wizard of OZ?

AND UMMM HELLO AZOR AHAI?????? WHERE ARE YOU?

*deep breaths*

Anyway, I can’t get into all of this without my blood pressure going up, so let’s just do the damn tag.

Thanks to the lovely Grey over at Use Your Words for tagging me!

Continue reading “Book Tag: Game of Thrones Edition”

True Crime Tuesday: The Nine Million Dollar Murder

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It’s been a while!

Sorry for the break! But not really. I hope you stumbled across many other funny and wonderful book bloggers and true crime writers to fill the Krystin-shaped hole in your heart. I know there are so many writers to read, and it means a lot to me that you still stick around my blog even when I disappear every now and again.

I’ve been super fucking busy at home trying to finish my bedroom renovation. I know, I know. I’ve been promising forever to post my basement reno and I’ve already moved on to my bedroom. What can I say? I don’t possess a lot of virtues, and patience definitely isn’t one of the few.

I finished painting on Sunday and I’m so happy to say there are no more rooms in my house that require a full wall of paint… three years later. I fucked up my shoulder once again and my back is twisted, but all the heavy, big projects are officially done and now I can just focus on the smaller details like hanging a mirror or putting up curtains.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to just sit on my fucking ass and do nothing once again. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it looks a lot like me in bed with a book and a snuggly puppy. And of course, writing more posts around here. I fucking swear it!

Truly, my Fitbit has never seen me achieve so many steps before. It thinks someone new is wearing it.

Anyway, I’m feeling a little bit less stressed, my brain fog is clearing and my creative juices are totally pumping… forgive me for saying “creative juices.” That phrase could not be any more disgusting. But I digress… a new true crime story is just breaking within the last couple of days, and it is completely fucked up and sensational and has me rolling my eyes in all kinds of directions because goddamn teenagers are just so fucking stupid, cruel sometimes.

We’re talking terrible teenagers. We’re talking murder. We’re talking child pornography. We’re talking fake millionaires. We’re talking being gullible as fuck.

This is the murder of Cynthia Hoffman.

Continue reading “True Crime Tuesday: The Nine Million Dollar Murder”

Review: The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper

“When mom called to tell me the news, I was surprised at first that Raymond Quinlan was capable of something so human as dying.”

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★★★★

Simon & Schuster | 2019

Opening Hook: Daddy had secrets.

Main Character: A normal guy wearing a good guy suit.

Plot Twisty-ness: Lost in the woods without a sense of direction.


I’m a huge fan of Blake Crouch. And this book by Andrew Pyper is giving me some serious Crouch vibes and I’m not mad about it. This is the first book I’ve read by Pyper but it probably won’t be my last. The Homecoming was pretty much the shit if you’re into dark thrillers with a horror-sci-fi undertone.

The Quinlan family has lost their patriarch, the mysterious and absent Raymond Quinlan. He was a workaholic who left his children – Aaron, Franny and the youngest, Bridge – with some daddy issues. But all his work and bad parenting also left behind a few million in assets, so how bad can an absent father really be in that case?

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Belfountain is a huge estate in the PNW that includes cabins, a lodge and an old Christian summer camp on the grounds. It’s worth a cool thirty million in the right market conditions and it technically now belongs to the remaining Quinlans, But, in order for them to get their hands on their cut of their father’s will, they have to agree to spend 30 days on the estate, with no contact to the outside world.

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Review: The Missing Ones (Detective Lottie Parker, #1) by Patricia Gibney

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★★★½

Opening Hook: Church will kill you.

Main Character: Drunky McHypocrite

Plot Twisty-ness: You never know what Priests are up to.


My endless struggle to catch up on NetGalley arcs continues with this book I received in January of 2017.

Seriously I’m just the fucking worst. Please don’t leave me!

The Missing Ones wasn’t the worst. But it wasn’t great either…

First of all, it’s way too long considering the substance of the story which is pretty typical and occasionally flat, albeit mixed with moments that were kind of disturbing. Consider this your warning for baby murder.

Detective Lottie Parker is heading up a team looking for a killer who has killed a woman in a church and tried to make another man’s death look like a suicide. The deaths are all connected in some way to a former Catholic children’s home, St. Angela’s, that is disturbing as fuck as one would expect a religious children’s home to be. There’s a land developer involved, some business partners and a few shady priests.

I mean, in a nutshell, you could say the theme of this book is: Catholics really know how to fuck people up.

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A “Here’s The Fucking Twist” Giveaway!

Attention booknerds! If you’re not following me over on my #bookstagram account – @thefuckingtwist – then, first of all, how dare you?

Second of all, I don’t mean that. You do you do, booboo. I get that you don’t need me in your life on every social media platform. I mean, not even my husband does.

But, if you’re not following me on Insta, I don’t want you to miss out on the new giveaway I’ve set up to celebrate spring and my complete indifference to follower-count milestones!

If it makes you feel any better about following me, I don’t post all the fucking time like some of these other more organized and better managed accounts. So follow me for unpredictable posting, cursing and my signature mix of feminine meets goddamn murder and mayhem.

Okay, onto the giveaway!


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Save Me From Dangerous Men (Nikki Griffin, #1) by S.A. Lelchuk

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★★★½

Flatiron Books | 2019

Opening Hook: Pool cues and brass knuckles

Main Character: Guilt-plaguing with tight jeans and a purpose

Plot Twisty-ness: A little off the Silicon Valley rails, and I don’t mean cocaine.


I was committed and ready, and completely open, to falling head over heels in love with Nikki Griffin, bookseller and badass P.I. with some serious anger issues.

But, unfortunately, this didn’t totally live up to everything I wanted it to be. Call it a victim of my high expectations if you want, but I found this to be a just okay, middle-of-the-road thriller.

The star highlight for me is the main character of Nikki Griffin. I think she was complicated but real. She came with a dark backstory and a closed-off, tough-as-nails personality that didn’t slip away the moment she met a guy. For being a novel written by a man, I was pleased to find she didn’t talk about how her nipples felt or looked at any moment, since that seems to be a thing male writers are typically preoccupied with when writing female leads. Any comments that she makes about her body seemed to me to be in relation to men looking at her and their sexual thoughts, and were less about sexually describing herself.

The way Nikki is introduced is pretty canon the whole way through the novel. She likes privacy, but she’s not dead inside. She keeps things close to the chest, but isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with the people she trusts. She’s strong, smart and professionally violent. All things I probably am, but just way less cool about it. Like, I daydream about breaking a man’s arm for hitting a woman, but really I just eat cookies about it.

Continue reading “Save Me From Dangerous Men (Nikki Griffin, #1) by S.A. Lelchuk”