Booknerd Wednesday: 19 Books From My Totally Inappropriate Quarantine Reading List!

These are crazy times we’re living in, booknerds! Forget 2019, 2018 and 2017. If you thought those years were bad, 2020 busted in like “hold my beer!” I swear to Thor, when Donald Trump was elected, we crossed over into some fucked up multi-verse timeline and it has been tripping me out for nearly four years. I’m so tired.

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Just in the first three months of 2020, World War 3 was nearly upon us, half of Australia burnt to the ground, Kobe Bryant died and now we’re in the middle of a pandemic, the likes of which I can’t remember ever happening before in my lifetime. And I am old enough to remember the SARS outbreak, but honestly, that sticks out in my memory mostly because of Peter Sarsgaard’s SARS Guards.

As of yesterday morning, Ontario is officially in a state of emergency. I still have to work, because you know mortgage payments and shit. But I’ve spent most of today running around updating systems to allow people to work from home. Shout-out to my company for being super flexible during this time!

Not to tempt the universe, but seriously, what the fuck is next? An Avengers-like alien invasion? Part of me thinks just let it happen because this episode of Black Mirror fucking sucks. Let’s just end it. Start over. Maybe next time, we won’t screw everything up so badly.

That said, does Coronavirus have you sufficiently terrified? Are you self-isolating, quarantining or social-distancing? Have you used so much hand sanitizer that you can now see all the bones in your hands since your skin peeled away? (Seriously, I am running out of moisturizer.) Are you hoarding toilet paper like a fucking idiot? I certainly hope you’re not sick or otherwise closely affected by this illness, like my dear, sweet, beautiful Idris Elba.

WHY GOD WHY! WHY HIM!? TAKE ME INSTEAD!

*clears throat* I digress…

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Review: Of Vengeance by J.D. Kurtness

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★★½

Dundurn | 2019

Opening Hook: Self-awareness via murder.

Main Character: An anti-hero minus the hero.

Plot Twisty-ness: A straight-forward diatribe.


*shakes fist* THIS COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOOD! I’m disappointed that I’m disappointed in this story.

Of Vengeance starts with an unnamed female narrator telling the reader she sees a cold-blooded killer every day when she looks in a mirror.

Oh really?! Do go on….

She recounts her life, starting at the age of 12 when she discovers that she really likes murdering terrible people after accidentally killing the worst bully at her school. It’s like a revenge fever dream that you might have popped into your head for the briefest of moments when you think back to that time Andrew put a basketball under his shirt in Grade 7 and said: “Look, I’m Krystin!” because you were a chubby 12-year-old.

But what do I know?

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Review: Campfire by Shawn Sarles

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★½

Jimmy Patterson | 2018

Opening Hook: Never invite mountain men to a family gathering

Main Character: Hormones and BEST FRIENDS FOREVER

Plot Twisty-ness: Let the bodies hit the floor…because you won’t care.


Okay, okay. I know what you’re going to say. But WAIT. I know this book is a James Patterson publication. And I know the forward is written by him. With that information in mind, you may be tempted to say that I’ve already broken my New Years’ resolution to not read any Patterson, but I disagree!

I’m calling this Patterson adjacent. It’s close, but it’s not on the target.

Also, I had no idea he had anything to do with this book until it was too late, soooo…

I’m leaving this up to the judges to decide.

JUDGES?

Judges’ ruling finds…it’s not a violation! It is NOT a violation! The crowd goes wild…

Oh, the judges are me? Go figure.

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Now that we’ve taken care of that, onto my review for this raging dumpster campfire.

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Review: The Killer Across the Table – Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI’s Original Mindhunter by John E. Douglas & Mark Olshaker

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★★★★½

Dey Street Books | 2019

Opening Killer: Mild-mannered, sunny disposition

Main Psycho: Hiding in plain sight

Plot Mindhunter-ness: Hunting all the minds!


Hands down, if you are a true crime nerd you want to read this book. It is a heavy fucking tome of information on the dark and depraved. It is written by the Godfather of criminal profiling and it focuses on cases that you’ve likely never heard of before unless you happen to be local to where the crimes happened.

We are not talking about circling the drain on Bundy and Manson. This is likely going to be brand new information that will have you cringing with every uncomfortable nerve exposed while teaching you how the minds of the four twisted subjects worked, how Douglas dissected them during one-on-one interviews, and how the killer’s traits represent the broader strokes of understanding criminal minds.

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Be forewarned however, if you have issues with crimes against children, a significant portion of this book really explores that, unflinchingly.

Continue reading “Review: The Killer Across the Table – Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators with the FBI’s Original Mindhunter by John E. Douglas & Mark Olshaker”

Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

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★★★★★

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.

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Review: Oak Avenue by Brandi Reeds

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★★★½

Amazon Originals | 2018

Opening Hook: HGTV meets Shutter.

Main Character: No one wants to raise a baby with ghosts.

Plot Twisty-ness: Creepy but on uppers.


I did it! Here it is! My last review of the Dark Corners collection! It also happens to technically be my first read of 2020, so that means I’m caught up on all of my 2019 reviews. It’s New Year’s miracle!

Alright, for real I never thought I’d say this, but I’m kind of disappointed that this isn’t a full-length novel…because it was too fast. *gasp, horror, shock* I KNOW. Am I taking crazy pills? Seriously, I never thought “the plot moved too quickly” would be a complaint I would ever have in my life. My feelings about this story have totally caught me off guard.

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I liked this and I liked Brandi Reeds writing style, but my rating reflects what didn’t work for me. Though the creepy atmosphere is set immediately, the plot was too rushed and stilted to fit the short-story criteria.

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It’s #BellLetsTalk Day!

Let’s stop talking about books for a second, and just focus on having a real conversation about mental health. I’ll share my own story deeper into the post. If you require a trigger warning for talk of sexual assault, rape or PTSD, consider this it.

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I may, or may not, work for Bell Canada. If you’re not Canadian, maybe that means nothing to you.

Bell is the biggest Telecomm company North Of The Wall. Internet, TV, Cellular.

If I worked for Bell, I would like working for Bell. I don’t talk about my job because a) don’t fucking stalk me, and b) I don’t want my views or opinions to be associated in any way with the company I work for. They have nothing to do with what I do outside of work – I’m not representing them and no I can’t get you a discount.

I want to preface this by saying, nothing in this post has been in any way orchestrated by Bell Canada – all views are my own! What I say here is mine. I say it because I want to.

My job is how I pay my mortgage, for my car, my kid’s braces, my dog’s wardrobe (which is expensive as hell,) etc. If I work for Bell, it’s a good company to work for. They take care of their employees (being unionized certainly doesn’t hurt either – Unifor shoutout!) and I feel very lucky to have landed this job right out of college (if I did.)

Days like today I would be especially proud to be on the Bell team.

It’s #BellLetsTalk Day across the country!

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Fave Five: My Top Reads of 2019!

As we saw in my post yesterday, 2019 was kind of a giant turd for me in terms of my reading choices. Going through my list, I only rated three books as five-star reads out of the 50 books I read, and one of those was a short-story, so…

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I just wasn’t feeling it last year, but 2020 is already looking up *knock on wood*… except for that fucking book I just read that was published by James Patterson’s imprint, goddamnit! I didn’t realize it had Patterson’s fingers in it until it was too late. I’ll be more careful in the future, but as far as I’m concerned, the book was Patterson adjacent and doesn’t break my New Years resolution! Get away from me with that negativity!

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Review: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

“No one walks around holding their ugliest sin in the palm of their hand, staring at it.”

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★★★★

William Morrow | 2019

Opening Hook: *DRINKS*

Main Character: Too old to have not dealt with high school horrors yet.

Plot Twisty-ness: Like getting tangled up in scuba gear.


First of all, Joshilyn Jackson can write some vibrant AF characters. Shit, those personalities were strong, and it created a very cinematic reading experience.

Amy has a beautiful life -a new baby, a sweet husband, a step-daughter who doesn’t hate her but might get finger-banged on the couch once in a while; a big house, a sweet career (hello, scuba instructor? who does that?) and good friends. One night at the regular book club get-together, a mysterious and presumptuous stranger – Roux – invites herself in like some fabulous Disney villain wearing boots probably made of puppies and ready to steal your man, and starts some trouble with a game of Never Have I Ever.

You know that game. Someone says, “never have I ever… had car sex during my stepkid’s soccer tournament,” and anyone who has done that needs to drink.

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Okay, maybe you don’t get that specific with your statement, but you get the idea.

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Throwback Thursday: All The Books I Hated in 2019!

It’s me! The Book Bitch™ returning for my annual wrap-up of all the books that were disappointing, rage-inducing and just straight-up trash.

While I’m welcoming 2020 with open arms and optimism, and a new commitment to DNF-ing books that just aren’t working for me, lest we forget all the 2019 hot garbage that brought out the very worst in me, both mentally and in my reviews.

2019 had everything! Church shootings, mosque bombings, Notre Dame burned to the fucking ground. There were plane crashes, Boris Johnson, Nigerian state sponsored massacres, MORE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS, Nipsey Hustle was murdered and Jussie Smollet made a mockery of hate crimes. There were avalanches, floods, tornadoes and wildfires out the fucking ass. There were more Trump-inspired hate crimes then ever before and Trump officially lost his fucking mind in more ways than I can count. There were impeachments and covers ups and Russian bullshit. Don Cherry outed himself as a racist, Grumpy Cat died AND EPSTEIN DIDN’T KILL HIMSELF.

Then there were the books we read to escape all of that horrendous real-world stuff. Unfortunately for me, I read more crap books than I did good novels which just brought me down even further into the cesspool we call Humanity. I could not escape the negativity.

But in a very selfless, beautiful way, I did it so you didn’t have to. That’s the kind of human being I really am. Yeah, let’s go with that angle spin…

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As is tradition at Here’s The Fucking Twist, my first #TBT of the new year is a look back at all the books I hated in 2019!

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