Review: Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage

★★★★

Mariner Books | 2021

Filed Under: Break glass in case of an emergency that requires gothic pulpy graphic writing


I said I wanted more gay thrillers and my book friends said fucking read Yes, Daddy, you bitch and now here we are.

So, I’ll say it to you too – read this book, you bitch.

It’s fucked up in the most perfect and twisted ways, to the point that it’s very powerful not just wild. I promise you will not be able to put it down and you’ll be all like, “wtf is happening I’m so uncomfortable but I love it.”

This was like a gay Jeffrey Epstein meets Harvey Weinstein meets #MeToo meets the Republican party meets that church Justin Beiber goes to meets that scene in 8MM where Nicholas Cage goes to an underground porn market for all the really demented shit and the guy is dressed in leather, pinching his own nipples.

You get the vibe.

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Review: The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

★★½

Pamela Dorman Books | 2021

Filed Under: Officer Doofy, Reporting for Duty


The hype. That cover. The synopsis. Damnnnn was I excited to read this one, but it just didn’t live up to the high spooky gothic bar that was definitely set by… me, I guess? I mean seriously, that cover!

High in the Swiss Alps, the world’s most interesting and cringe luxury hotel has been created from the remains of an abandoned, rumour-plagued sanatorium that once housed those battling long-term illnesses and TB, with dark experiments and violent treatments tested on many of the patients. The new hotel – Le Sommet – has included many artifacts from that time, like gas masks and medical equipment, as historical art pieces around the expensive and expansive renovated building. And I guess that’s fine and normal.

But if it wasn’t fine and normal, it would be super tacky and maybe borderline disrespectful. I don’t know why anyone would make a hotel like this. But would I stay there given the chance? 100% yes. Let’s be honest, staying in an old sanatorium sounds fun as hell. It’s distasteful sure, but hello, I’m definitely hoping to run into a ghost or two. I would be walking around this hotel at 2am doing EVPs like I’m on a Discovery+ show with Jack Osbourne. And if some Beetlejuice-style dance choreo to doesn’t happen, my Google review is going to be strongly worded. I promise you that, Mister tally man.

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Review: Bloodline by Jess Lourey

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★★★½

Thomas & Mercer | 2021

Filed Under: Good for her


The vibe had so much potential, but for me, it was a bit of a letdown. I wanted it to be more sinister than it was. But I still liked it. Does that make sense? Well, I wish it would, but I have no intention of working on my clarity.

Bloodline is about Joan, recently knocked up and engaged and mugged, she moves from the city to her fiance’s small hometown where everything is Stepford Wives meets Rosemary’s Baby, but mostly without any of the things that make those stories fun and spooky.

This novel even gets a little meta, with Joan stating how much she loved Rosemary’s Baby and wishes she could cut her hair as short as Mia Farrow, but oh nooo what would people think? I’m happy to report she ultimately does cut her hair when she realizes the people whose opinions she was worried about fucking suck. And isn’t that always the way of it – spending our energy on people who don’t deserve it.

So, honestly, I spent a good chunk of this novel being like “good for her.” Fuck with them. Sneak into their houses and steal their shit. I’m cheering you on, Joan!

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Review: Possession by Katie Lowe

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★★★

St. Martin’s Press | 2021

Filed Under: Whispers of your dead husband


This is another podcast-meets-unreliable narrator thriller. It’s not my favourite I’ve read in that very specific new subgenre, but it was okay enough.

What this novel did do well was capture living in an abusive relationship and the trauma that it leaves behind. For me, that was the best part of the plot and I could have done without the podcast shit almost entirely. But that would make this an entirely different book, so ignore me.

Hannah’s husband was murdered while she was sleeping right beside him. She doesn’t remember what happened, but lots of people start to believe she’s guilty of his murder when, ten years later, a popular podcast starts looking at the case and questioning whether the right man has been convicted, Serial style.

It upends Hannah’s life because Oooo boy, the court of public opinion these days is filled with loud, entitled fucking idiots.

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Review: Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

Look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

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★★★★½

Mira | 2019

Filed Under: That’s why her hair is so big, it’s full of secrets.


I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure how much I was really going to connect with a novel about rich Mean Girls attending an all-girls prep school and doing outdated secret society rituals, but you know me, I have to read everything J.T. Ellison writes.

I’m pleased a punchy-punch to say this book was actually a twisty AF little thriller with a vibrant, creepy atmosphere and a steady pace that held my picky attention. I never felt like I had to skim a paragraph or skip ahead to some real action. Everything about the plotting was masterfully deliberate.

By the blurb, it could possibly be mistaken for YA – which just isn’t for me – but this novel is totally adult, full of mystery, interesting characters with shady side hustles and a little bit of death. These Mean Girls girls are worth the read.

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Review: Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker

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★★½

Gallery Books | 2019

Filed Under: Stroke your ego more than three times, you’re just playing with yourself.


I didn’t really love this. It’s kind of boring??? There were moments of intrigue and it’s unlike anything I’ve read recently, but it didn’t live up to the hype I saw online for it.

Now, before you decide to add some salty comment to let me know I’m a bitch, just remember that 1. I already know that, and 2. My reviews aren’t personal indictments against other readers. I’m just saying that, for me, Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker was just alright. It was meh. I liked it a reasonable amount for a thing that was just okay.

Certainly, my opinion is going to fall way below all of the THIS IS THE MOST MAGNIFICENT BOOK TO EVER BOOK reviews that are posted. I’m going to land somewhere in the “most okay-est thing to ever mediocre” category.

My expectation was that this was going to be more of a sinister thriller with a cunning anti-hero at the helm of the POV, but it just ended up being a character study about an unlikable, mostly boring narcissist, his untrustworthy family and shallow relationships. But that’s very on-trend for the last couple of years, isn’t it?

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Review: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

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★★★

William Morrow | 2019

Filed Under: No one cares about your sports trophies in real life.


The first book I ever read by Peter Swanson was The Kind Worth Killing and it totally impressed me enough to grab a four-star rating from my crabby, judgmental ass. Despite the characters being dull as hell, the plot was completely engrossing and the twists, duelling narrations and dark Strangers on a Train-like premise kicked me right in the crotch.

Since then, I’ve picked up Swanson’s work a few more times with optimistic expectations and have struggled with each reading. Fuck me for being positive, I guess. Before She Knew Him is no exception to that struggle. It’s better than All the Beautiful Lies (which was a goddamn snoozer,) but it’s still not touching me the way my first time with Swanson did (that’s what she said.)

This, like a lot of Swanson’s work, seems to borrow heavy inspiration from Hitchcock, but just isn’t doing it as well as the original or adding anything new to the template. Before She Knew Him has serious Rear Window vibes when Hen and her douchebag husband, Lloyd, move to a small town outside of Boston so that Hen can find some peace and quiet while attempting to get the symptoms of her bipolar disorder under control. She’s an artist who works from home, and wouldn’t you just know it, she eventually suspects her neighbour, Matt, is a serial killer. BUT NO ONE BELIEVES HER dun dun dunnnnn…

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Also, a serial killer named Matt? Bruh.

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Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.

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★★★½

St. Martin’s Press | 2018

Filed Under: A baby deer learning how to walk, but after being gaslit by a psychopath.


This book is the direction that The Last Mrs. Parrish should have gone instead of being the misogynistic piece of garbage it turned out to be. I don’t know why everyone likes that book so much, or why it’s being made into a movie, but I’m very disappointed in each and every one of you who back it as a good book. And I’m telling your fucking parents. Don’t @ me.

The Wife Between Us doesn’t fully realize it’s potential as a domestic thriller in a way that was satisfying to me. While the quite and calculating approach the authors seem to prefer worked really well in their other novel An Anonymous Girl, here it made the narrative less thrilling and more soap opera-ish than I would have wanted.

Where The Last Mrs. Parrish tried to convince the reader that domestic abuse is okay as long as the “replacement wife” fucking sucks enough to “deserve” it, The Wife Between Us pumped the breaks before completely going in that direction. Instead, there is a moment of, “Oopsie! I guess it wasn’t very nice of me to make that woman take my place in my abusive relationship.”

You think?!

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Review: The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

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★★★½

Viking | 2018

Filed Under: A young stepmother who my stepkids should be nicer to!


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 doing things that make anyone’s life better, and more being so 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

Filed Under: Make-up artist seeks quick cash by being a liar


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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