Review: Death in the Family (Shana Merchant, #1) by Tessa Wegert

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★★★★

Berkley | 2020

Filed Under: “Everything all right?” / “Yep, two corpses, everything’s fine.”


If you are looking for a modern Agatha Christie/Clue style locked-room mystery, may I suggest this fucking book to you?

Because I’m gonna.

This novel is such a throwback and I ended up liking it a lot… once I got past my assumptions of what the novel was going to be.

Apparently, it’s very easy for me to get used to the vibe of those fast-paced thrillers that are constantly trying to outdo the previous new release with twists and shocks. Read enough of them and I guess I can forget about the beauty in a subtle, classic mystery. Death in the Family was a needed reminder for me.

When I first started this, the tone and pace weren’t working for me. But that’s because I’m a stupid bitch. And almost immediately I realized I was looking for that other kind of thriller in the writing, which is actually really shit of me. Obviously, I need to switch up my current genre choices because it’s clouding how open I am when I start a new book.

I mean, not to get too fucking deep about it, but yeah…

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Review: One Got Away (Nikki Griffin, #2) by S.A. Lelchuk

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★★★½

Flatiron Books | 2021

Filed Under: Charlie’s not a very social person


I’m not really sure if I love this series, because there are aspects to it that are not my thing. But they might be yours! That is the joy of a review that involves negative points. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes. So while I might be like meh, this could be exactly what you’re looking for.

With that in mind – the first novel in the Nikki Griffin series started well for me, but ended up becoming a bit ridiculous near the end. My suspension of disbelief was hanging on by a thread. With this second installment, I’ve figured out that’s just the way this series is going to be – kind of ridiculous and hard to believe. Are you into that? Then you’ll like this.

One Got Away has a Charlie’s Angels kind of vibe to it. Not so much the original show, but the Drew Barrymore version where there’s a lot of action, but it’s also silly.

I’m not sure if this series is totally pulling off that very specific kind of action style, but I also didn’t hate reading it so there’s that.

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Mini-Review Dump💩: Bad Blood, Eight Perfect Murders and The 19th Christmas

Funny story (not really) – I was going through my Goodreads READ shelf and found a handful of books I never reviewed in 2020 because of course. Really, I barely kept it together in 2020 at all. It’s really a miracle I got out as many posts as I did.

So, um, yeahhhhh… enjoy (?) these reviews of books I read a year ago because this is not going to be my finest work.

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Reviews in this post:

  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  • Eight Perfect Murders (Malcolm Kershaw, #1) by Peter Swanson
  • The 19th Christmas (Women’s Murder Club, #19) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Continue reading “Mini-Review Dump💩: Bad Blood, Eight Perfect Murders and The 19th Christmas”

Review: When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

“What is all the suffering for if not so we can see how alike we are, and not alone? Where will the mercy come from, if not from us?”

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★★★★

Ballantine Books | 2021

Filed Under: Hello darkness, my old friend


Well, I tell you what, if you’re in an emotional funk or mentally teetering on the edge of another bout of panny depression, do not read this book for the love of Thor and Loki’s butts in those toit-like-a-tiger outfits. Because this novel is sad, bitch.

I needed a nap and some serotonin by the time I was finished with it.

Detective Anna Hart is going through a hard time. She’s lost a child, lost herself and is about to lose her marriage. Hart decides the only way she might be able to find some perspective and some healing is if she leaves her current situation behind. She needs space to get herself together if there is any chance of moving past her grief and keeping her family.

She leaves San Fran for the small, country town of Mendocino, California where she grew up. Her dark present is about to compete with the tortured ghosts of her past in Mendocino. I mean, honestly, someone take this woman to an amusement park for the day. Just give her a reprieve from trauma. Everywhere you look with her it’s like dead parents, abandonment issues, dead foster parents, dead child, broken marriage, dead high school friends…

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a novel where one character was getting all of the dark shit, all of the time.

Drunk Season 1 GIF by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
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Review: The Jigsaw Man (Inspector Anjelica Henley, #1) by Nadine Matheson

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★★★★½

Hanover Square Press | 2021

Filed Under: Hello, Clarice…


I haven’t read a police procedural this pure and detailed since Meg Gardiner’s last release. And y’all know how much I love Meg Gardiner. And if you didn’t, now you do because I just said it again.

If you are a fan of serial killers… wait, I don’t mean like a fan fan. That’s just weird. Get better idols, as Bailey Sarian would say. No, I mean if you are a fan of serial killer fiction – of the mystery and the pursuit and the suspense and the twisted games – then you want to read this novel.

It is a fucking fabulous police procedural. And I don’t say shit like that very often.

You want gritty? You got it. You want fucked up? It’s coming in hot. You need detailed and immersive? Buckle your seatbelt and keep your hands in the ride at all times.

But listen to what I’m saying, this is a procedural. If you do not like being in the narrative passenger seat of a police investigation, this probably isn’t going to be for you. And that’s totally legit. Why? Because all of this shit is subjective, Donna! It’s okay that we don’t all like the same things! That’s life.

Jimmy Fallon Oops GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Let’s get that through our collective skulls, shall we? But I digress…

This is not a thriller. This is an investigation. And in my opinion, novels that pull off a really good procedural plot with this much perfection are few and far between. And it’s a debut novel? Fucking insanity.

Continue reading “Review: The Jigsaw Man (Inspector Anjelica Henley, #1) by Nadine Matheson”

Review: Blood Parish by E.J. Findorff

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★★★

Neutral Ground Publishing | 2021

Filed Under: Benny might think I’m a rat.


To be fair, I’m not really into mob shit. I’m not sure why – that’s a lie. I am sure why, but I would never dare to go off on the mob online where my identity is easily determined lest I end up in cement shoes, swimming with the fishes or whatever it is the mob does to you. Shoot you in the head and stuff you in a trunk and leave the car down by the docks? What docks? Any docks really.

But, for sure, organized crime stories are just not my thing.

Did you ever see that episode of Family Guy where everyone finds out Peter doesn’t like The Godfather and they are all flabbergasted? Their house is flooding but they can only talk about Peter not liking The Godfather.

Peter says, “It insists upon itself.”

And that’s basically it. I am Peter in this. Like, Oh, tough guys doing tough guy shit outside the law, killing people and controlling all the unions and all dressing the same. Where’s my gold chain?

But also please don’t kill me, mob people reading this.

That said, this novel is fine. So, let’s keep some perspective here between you knowing I’m a terrible person and that it takes a lot for me to give four and five stars. It is what it is. Meatballs.

Angel Blondeaux is an FBI agent who just so happens to come from a mob family. They’ve disowned her, because duh. You can’t have an FBI agent in a mob family. The Blondeaux et al clan run a Louisiana parish. They own the cops, the lawyers, fucking everyone is on the payroll, so good luck doing anything legit or fair or legal. But also, is that so bad? Are we really doing law and order well? LOL NO. Unless you’re Dick Wolf, then yes. But we don’t have time to get into all that…

Continue reading “Review: Blood Parish by E.J. Findorff”

Mystery/Thriller Releases for Q3 2021

It’s 7:46 EST on July 31st. Which means… it’s still July so this still counts! Judges?!

As always, yours truly is a little bit behind on capturing the new releases, but what can I do? Oh, just create these posts in a timely manner? No, thank you. What do I look like to you, a blogger? Not even close.

We’re halfway through the year now – are you hanging in there? Seeing the light at the end of the vaccinated tunnel? Don’t even mention the Delta variant to me. I can’t take it right now *exhaustedlaughter*

I got my second shot on Friday. I spent last weekend away at an AirBnB and actually got to eat inside a restaurant for the first time in a year. And, if you’ll remember from my last new release post, I was going to get a hammock and read in it all summer.

Well, I did get myself a hammock. I love it. I haven’t been reading in it much because it’s been either been hotter than fucking hell outside or raining. You win some, you lose some. But there is nothing I hate more than sitting outside in the heat and feeling my thighs stick together while sweat pools in my bra.

Fuck that.

Maybe if I had a pool… OMG should I get a pool?!

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For now, I’m reading inside with the A/C blasting so that it feels like winter. Well, “reading” often ends up being more like mindlessly scrolling on my phone while some random shit is on TV in the background. It’s the thought that counts.

I would like to read hard and get truly caught up on my NetGalley arcs, but also being stoned in bed without having to use my brain for anything at all can be where it’s at, too. Don’t judge.

My love of books doesn’t cease, but my love of buying books and not reading them has grown exponentially during this pandemic. So let’s take a look at what else is releasing in the next three months so we can plan our budgets, grow our TBRs and get some shit on hold at the library!

This is not a comprehensive list of new releases because I do not have the time for that. I barely have the time to write this at all, obviously. But this will get us to September before spooky season. And to note, as always, the I’m Buzzed Score is mostly arbitrary so don’t ask me questions about it because I don’t have any answers.

Get in losers! We’re going book shopping… inside a book store!

Continue reading “Mystery/Thriller Releases for Q3 2021”

True Crime Tuesday: The Unsolved Murder of Maggie Long

Please read the “TCT Disclaimer” under the True Crime tab at the top of the page before reading any true crime posts.

We are living in a really fucked up, upside down, alternate timeline kind of space, don’t you think? I’m not being facetious. I really feel like something got twisted around in the simulation. Some people think it happened in 2012 – that our world didn’t end, just our previous reality. Or did some cosmic happening send us into another multiverse timeline? Maybe thinking of our world in these terms isn’t fair – we should just accept what we’ve done, what we’ve created, what we’ve allowed and that’s the only way to progress.

But you have to admit, shit is fucking weird. And it has been, at least from my perspective, since 2015.

Today’s humans haven’t quite reached the level of evil that was peak during World War II, but you can see it going that way given the right triggers.

Take, for instance, hate crimes.

Hate crimes have been increasing steadily since the Orange Dumpster Fire was elected in the good ol’ U.S. of A. The earth cracked open between factions the world over, and from that schism in the earth rose some bad fucking shit that we’d clearly been trying to bury and forget. But it’s made it’s way to the surface with a vengeance, kids!

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In 2020, hate crimes rose to the highest level they’ve been at in more than a decade. Hate-motivated murders have also doubled over each previous year.

The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report shows 7,314 hate crimes last year, up from 7,120 the year before – this is the highest number since 2008 when 7,783 were recorded.

And to get relevantly specific, Asian-American hate crimes in major U.S. cities rose 150% in 2020 over the previous year.

Today’s case deals with this, so trigger warning if you need it.

In 2017, 17-year-old Maggie Long was burned to death inside her home. In May of this year, the FBI took over the investigation and reclassified it as a possible hate crime.

This is her case…

Continue reading “True Crime Tuesday: The Unsolved Murder of Maggie Long”

Mini-Review Dump💩: Six Little Secrets, The Holdout, The Real Lolita & Truth and Lies

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Reviews in this post:

  • Six Little Secrets by Katlyn Duncan
  • The Holdout by Graham Moore
  • The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman
  • Truth and Lies (DI Amy Winter, #1) by Caroline Mitchell
Continue reading “Mini-Review Dump💩: Six Little Secrets, The Holdout, The Real Lolita & Truth and Lies”

Review: The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

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★★★½

Minotaur Books | 2021

Filed Under: Patrick Swayze’s subway ghost friend


If you wouldn’t spend a weekend camping in a probably haunted abandoned town with a nefarious past then we can’t be friends.

I’m not saying it’s at the top of my travel bucket list, but it’s definitely on there. Chernobyl? Yes, please! You wouldn’t want to go there? Minus all the radioactive nuclear issues and other terrible shit that happened, it’s got to be interesting and creepy. Perfect vacation destination! Or like just a stop on the itinerary. Please don’t make me sleep there.

Going into abandoned homes, snooping through all the stuff left behind like a time capsule – that’s a dream! A dream I’ll probably never get to do in real life, so a novel might be as close as I can get.

The Lost Village is all of these things, so fucking duh I was going to read it.

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