“No one walks around holding their ugliest sin in the palm of their hand, staring at it.”
William Morrow | 2019
Opening Hook: *DRINKS*
Main Character: Is 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.
Okay, maybe you don’t get that specific with your statement, but you get the idea.
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 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, Grump 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…
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!
Andddddddddd….I’m back! New decade, new blog post, new goals!
Tell me booknerds, how were your holidays?? Mine was busy and went by way too fast. I don’t feel like I relaxed at all or was gifted anything to make me feel better about the amount of money I spent. I did, however, get drunk on Christmas Day for the first time in a decade. I stopped drinking-to-excess in college because I just do not like the feeling of being drunk and out of control…but somehow Christmas went off the rails for me.
You know how it goes: you’re making dinner so you pour a glass of wine. Cooking and wine go so well together that you’re not paying attention to how much alcohol you’re actually consuming. You’re getting wine-drunk so slowly that by the time you realize you officially passed the line of what’s acceptable in front of family two glasses ago, it’s too late. So you eat a bunch of crackers and cheese in a vain attempt to break down your blood-alcohol level, but you’ve had a bottle and a half just to yourself! It’s over! You’re drunk! And now your mother-in-law starts saying things like, “I’m still on my first glass!” in this passively judgmental way, and your youngest stepkid is saying: “You’re fun when you’re drunk,” to the entire dinner table and you’re trying not slur when you respond, “I’m not drunk, I’m just a little buzzed. Issssaa not a big deal,”
You’re definitely drunk, and later, you try to vomit very quietly so no one hears how bad it actually was.
I want to wish everyone who has stopped by HTFT, read my shit all year long, commented and interacted and made blogging such a fun experience for me in 2019, and stuck around even when I’m not posting as much, a Happy Whatever and Merry Everything!
I hope your winter holidays are filled with good times, good books and good food. You can tell Santa, if he isn’t good to you too, I’ll cut a bitch 🎅
I’ll be on a blogging hiatus until after the new year, but I plan to come back for the start of a new decade refreshed and ready to hit my reading goals for once in my damn life, exploring more twisted true crime and sharing it all with you fucking amazing people.
I will still be posting stories on Instagram while I’m off, so if you’re not following me, correct that fucking behaviour immediately. You can find me on #bookstagram under @thefuckingtwist, obviously.
I love you all and can’t wait to see what books you got under the tree! 🎄
“Where else was I fundamentally wrong about life and the universe and how everything worked? Is life a cycle of us realizing how stupid we are over and over again until we die?”
November 2019 | Turner
Opening Hook: Eric Andre screaming “let me in!”
Main Character: 100% that skeptic.
Plot Twisty-ness: A total three-way.
While I love horror as a genre in any form, I admit I don’t read as much of it as I would like. And when I do read it, I find I’m disappointed that things just weren’t as scary or twisted as I wanted them to be. Maybe my expectations are just too high. I’m 100% that bitch reader. But I am making an concerted effort to read more horror until I find my lane in the genre.
That said, for me, Twelve Nights at Rotter House is on the slow-burner end of the horror spectrum. For much of the middle of the book, I wondered if anything really scary was ever going to happen and I could feel my typical disappointment start to brew. There are some disembodied screams, unexplained noises, figures that disappear, and of course the quintessential dumbwaiter that never reveals anything good, but none of it was really getting my heart rate up.
The main character of Felix was a little overwrought in how skeptical he was of everything, and his extreme rationalizing aided in creating a slower atmosphere for me. Scary moments were consistently downplayed, sucking the spooky guts out of the story and lending itself to my question of if anything truly scary was going to happen because any time I thought something creepy was afoot, Felix came in and just Debbie Downer’ed all over the place.
Oh, shit, I’m so tired, you guys. This is going to be a chill post with lots of book recs, but just let me fucking complain for a hot minute.
I feel completely wiped out and I’m not sure why. I have no motivation when it comes to books lately. I think it’s because I’m so far behind in my reading. The more I look at the pile, the less I want to read, and the less I read the less I want.
The last quarter of the year has been a total wash for me in a lot of ways. I don’t know where the time went, or what I did or how I got to two weeks before Christmas and I’m not even done shopping yet.
I know a lot of people look at me like I’m crazy when I say that, in a “I haven’t even started yet!” kind of way, but I’m usually done shopping, with everything wrapped, by the first weekend of the month. I make it a point to push myself to get ‘er done because I’d much rather be home in the evenings watching movies, reading and enjoying the general holiday vibe, then stressing out with a sore back in a packed mall.
But honestly, I’m so off my game right now. I’m not sure I’ll even hit my reading goal (which I’ve already lowered once.)
In a bit of good news, I recently started fostering rescue dogs! I have my first foster right now. We’ve named him Jovi because he’s got 80’s hair band kind of fur. Check out my Instagram page (@thefuckingtwist) to see pictures of him in my highlights and stories.
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.
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.
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!!”
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.
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.