Review: Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

35068781★★★★★ (times infinity)

Opening Hook: Lorena Bobbitt-esque

Main Character: Exceptionally unique voices

Plot Twisty-ness: Stunning in its simplicity, ravenous in its message.


This book is unlike anything I have ever read, and I am utterly emotionally ruined by it.

Seriously. This book has fucked me up.

I started reading this in the morning and I didn’t put it down until I read the last page that evening. I was completely obsessed, completely enthralled and emotionally enamoured.

I’ve taken a couple of days to think about this review because I want it to be coherent and not preachy, but I’m definitely about to go on a rant of epic proportions filled with long quotes, so buckle up buttercups.

This is the story of five men, all of whom have been the victim of a serial rapist known as Maude. It is the story of how the media handles rape, how society handles rape. How we speak about it, how we shame, how we lay blame. It’s about the questions we ask, how we ask them and the assumptions we make. How we try to make ourselves feel more comfortable in the presence of someone else’s trauma. How the survivors grapple with their new reality, and their upended perception of themselves, their relationships and the world around them.

It’s about gender equality and gender roles and gender assumptions. It’s about the groups we align ourselves with, the lines in the sand we draw as tribes. The hate we have. The resentment we have. How women feel about our social history and how it doesn’t matter until it happens to a man. It’s about how blind we are to our shared wants and needs. And how if we just worked together we could change things.

It’s also creepy with elements of suspense.

Continue reading “Review: Any Man by Amber Tamblyn”

Booknerd Wenesday: The NetGalley Monthly For August 2018!

Throw me a mother effin’ party because I’ve been SO GOOD about not requesting ARCs for the last couple of months.

…Annndddddd hold the applause.

The party will have to end a little early because I started jonesing for a NetGalley fix a couple of nights ago after I had learned I’d been given auto-approval by a publisher that puts out things like Mark Edwards and Caroline Mitchell, and now everything is off the fucking rails again and I am seeing spots.

It’s starts with one hit – aka one push of the “request” button – and next thing you know, you’ve done a dozen more hits and emails start pouring in with approvals (and rejections) and you’re running down the street half-naked, screaming that you’re the new Lizard Queen and all your free books are your babies.

…No? That’s just me? Okay…

I guess what I’m trying to say it that it’s time for another round-up of the new books that have been added to my TBR mountain thanks to NetGalley. My greatest love and my worst enemy.

Honestly, it’s a good thing these TBRs come in ebook form or you wouldn’t be able to see the floor in my house anymore.  Continue reading “Booknerd Wenesday: The NetGalley Monthly For August 2018!”

Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

36750068★★★★★

Opening Hook: This is definitely not Wet Hot American Summer

Main Character: Turning tragedy and schizophrenia into art

Plot Twisty-ness: Will light a campfire under your ass


I honestly didn’t think it was possible for me to love a Riley Sager novel more than I loved Final Girls, but then I read The Last Time I Lied and well, spit on my neck and kick me in the crotch, because this has usurped Final Girls as my favourite Sager read, if not one of my favourite reads ever. Period.

It’s true! I am crazy about this book! It makes me want to go to summer camp and investigate mysteries, but you know, it might look a little bit weird to be 32 at a sleep-away camp.

Dear Husband, I am homesick. But today I went in a canoe for the first time. The tweens here are looking at me funny.

30 Rock Hello GIF

Sager is a world-class writer. I do not say that lightly or without conviction, because if you know me or read my reviews, you know I’m a huge judgmental bitch. It’s okay, you can agree.

So, when I say Sager is the SHIT. I mean it. He breezes through the art of storytelling like it is the most effortless, natural thing in the world to him. An automatic bodily function.

Breathe. Beat heart. Write.

Continue reading “Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager”

Booknerd Wednesday: My TBR’d YA Mystery-Thrillers! #YAWeek

I’ll be honest, I enjoy YA fiction, even though, I am no longer included in the targeted demographic and haven’t been for almost two decades a while. You know what…let’s not get into specifics about ages and dates. Those are all technicalities.

Sometimes I can feel a little bit weird when I have some interest in a YA books. A feeling of “I know I’m 32, but please don’t judge me for reading this” can wash over me from time to time.

30 rock hello GIF

I try to let myself like what I like, but there is a sense that YA is my “guilty pleasure” because it’s really not intended for me. And sometimes it’s painfully obvious that I am not intended for it.

I can also feel a little bit weird in reviewing YA books, because usually if the book didn’t work for me it’s because the 16-year-old main character says/thinks something along the lines of, “I’m not child!” And I immediately think, “oh, yes you are young lady!

Or the 18-year-old who works at a grocery store part time is decorating her warehouse style loft apartment and it’s total bullshit because I didn’t buy my first piece of new furniture until I was 30 years old. That sense of utter and complete bullshit about how teenager on their own would truly live annoys me because no one ever plays within the boundaries of real life, at least not of what I’ve read so far.

the simpsons adult GIF

Nevertheless, I remain dedicated to my search for an amazing YA mystery-thriller that I actually like, that feels honest and genuine and manages to pull some punches on someone who is hard to please. (Me. That’s me who’s hard to please.)

In honour of #YAWeek, I’m going to be taking a look at what’s floating around my YA TBR pile; what books I’ve come across and thought, “yes, you could be THE ONE.”

Continue reading “Booknerd Wednesday: My TBR’d YA Mystery-Thrillers! #YAWeek”

Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

34845523★★½

Opening Hook: Let my attention wonder to playing mindlessly on my phone

Main Character: Three times the boring

Plot Twisty-ness: Existing, but tamed


After all of the glowing reviews I’ve seen for Mary Kubica, this was actually a bit of a disappointment.

Whomp, whomp

Someone has paid to have Mia kidnapped. Colin, her kidnapper, is hired to do the dirty work. But instead of taking her to his boss, he whisks Mia away to a remote cabin and keeps her for himself.

As one would if they were kidnapping another human being.

My god, doesn’t it just seem like SO MUCH WORK? Who would want to kidnap someone?

Like, I get home from work and all I want to do is take off my bra and lay facedown on my mattress while I make ughhhhh ohhhsd nooooo noises and eventually my husband asks me what’s wrong and I can trick him into rubbing my back.

The LAST thing I want to do, is come home from work and have to take care of a person chained in my basement, stinking up the place. Getting their dirty, unwashed butt on stuff. Then you have to empty their piss pots and make them food.

No, thank you. You have to be a special kind of psychopath to want to abduct someone for the “joy” of getting to take care of an adult sized baby.

I am far too lazy for that.

Continue reading “Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica”

Review: The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1) by Jane Harper

28220971★★★

Opening Hook: I didn’t want to be involved as much as the lead didn’t

Main Character: Reluctant hero, personality missing

Plot Twisty-ness: You know who did it


Ok, I’ll do it! I’ll go against the majority on this one! HERE I COME MARTYRDOM.

But really, I have to say I found The Dry, to be, well, rather dry.

Yeah, the writing is technically good. The characters are fleshed out enough. The setting was different from the usual for me. There was a crime with a mystery to it. Past and present storylines were interwoven, and that can be tricky to do.

So, on the surface, it checked all the boxes.

But, I just found it kind of boring. Again, I gotta say dry.

I think perhaps I’m not a huge fan of cold case style mystery – where the predominant crime is old or closed. There’s no real crime scene to immerse yourself in. There’s no immediacy to the investigation.

And both crimes in this book fit this category, but the attention each was given felt lopsided. The murders of Luke Hadler and his family was the most recent, it is what pulled Falk back to his shitty hometown. This is what he’s supposed to be investigating, it’s where the red herrings and misdirection come into play, but the characters seemed too emotionally focused on the death of Falk’s friend Ellie from 20 years ago, while no one cared too much about Luke except for his parents.

Continue reading “Review: The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1) by Jane Harper”

Review: The Walls by Hollie Overton

“Love blinds us all…”

34867003★★★

I’m on the fence about this one.

I feels like it doesn’t really know what it wants to be – A domestic thriller? Or a contemporary drama?

It touches on a lot of heavy subjects – domestic abuse, the justice system, the morality of the death penalty, wrongful convictions, motherhood and family and guilt and self-preservation. But it lacks the depth and analysis to be an emotional drama. And it’s missing the suspense and sinister atmosphere to be a thriller. Ultimately, it leaves a lot of these themes exposed, but not examined. And that felt unfinished to me.

For a story about a single mother who has to plan a murder to save her family from her abusive new husband, this was exceptionally slow and, and at times, straight up boring.

The first 40% is all build up, focusing on the story of Kristy and Lance – how they met, following the progression of their relationship from dating to marriage. I was not expecting this much emphasis on the romantic element. I experienced a cloud of confusion lingering around my reading experience. I kept thinking do I keep reading this? I didn’t want to read a romance? Is anything going to fucking happen?!

Continue reading “Review: The Walls by Hollie Overton”

Review: LoveMurder (Valerie Hart, #2) by Saul Black

31138734★★★★

Can I get a hallelujer, Lort?!

I’m not the religious type, but give me a book like this and I suddenly start worshiping the Gods of Literature. You know – Stephen King, Agatha Christie and J.K. Rowling.

Six years ago Katherine Glass abducted, heinously tortured and killed young women all over San Francisco…until Det. Valerie Hart caught her and put her away for life. *cue the sound of prison gates slamming shut*

…But Katherine didn’t commit her crimes alone, and her partner – The Masked Man – who is probably even more deranged than Katherine, was never caught.

Now, the murders have started again, and left with each body is an envelope, addressed to Valerie, containing complicated clues and ciphers that will point the police to the next victim. Figure out the puzzle fast enough, save a life. But only Katherine Glass has the personal insight to decode the Masked Man’s clues, forcing Valerie to work with a killer.

Katherine promises she only wants to help – she’s never forgiven the Masked Man for leaving her high and dry. She just wants time out of her cell, maybe some mental stimulation. But can Katherine really be trusted? (I mean, obviously the answer is “probably not”, but let’s just go with it.)

LoveMurder has a very Hannibal Lecter/Clarice Starling feel to it, which is probably every serial-killer-thriller fan’s favourite thing ever…Amiright?!

Continue reading “Review: LoveMurder (Valerie Hart, #2) by Saul Black”

Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

“People hate to see other people happy. Remember that.”

35407871★★½

Opening Hook: It must have fallen off a cliff.

Main Character: Wears polo shirts for the fashion, and eats oatmeal because he thinks it tastes good.

Plot Twisty-ness: Laced with Xanax.


For someone who has never read Peter Swanson before and casually likes to pick up a psychological thriller every now and again, this book will probably seem like a win.

But for someone (this girl!) who has read Peter Swanson before and been blown away but how he weaves a story, and also spends a lot of her time reading this particular genre, All The Beautiful Lies was a big ol’ *fart noises* letdown.

I’m coming away from the reading experience wondering “what was the point of this?” To be thrilling? To be thought-provoking? To be emotionally stirring? To be commentary on inappropriate relationships? It seemed to have aspirations to be all of those things, but the execution was sub-par, leaving the ideas undeveloped and abandoned on the page.

You read a thriller for the crazy plot twists, the adrenaline rush and the excitement of being immersed in a situation that is not likely to happen in real life. This novel is billed as a thriller but it was pretty ho-hum, straight forward. No twists to be found or rush to be felt. Although it was crazier than typical real life, it relied too heavily on the “passing down” of pedophilic tendencies (as each child victim became an adult,) for me to connect emotionally with the characters or even want to allow myself to get too close to this story. It was too uncomfortable, an odd and passive “normality” given to the concept through the prose.

disgusted raising hope GIF

Despite this, I kept reading, waiting for something to exciting to happen. There was an anticipation I was building for myself because something had to happen, right? It was a Peter Swanson novel after all. It wouldn’t just be dull, would it? Apparently, yes.

Continue reading “Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson”

Booknerd Wednesday: Female Sleuths You Need To Know (Other Than Nancy Drew)

Most of us ladies who are obsessed with crime fiction likely got our start reading Nancy Drew when we were young girls in pigtails; young girls who didn’t really want to play the games our friends were playing. We liked puzzles and being observant and maybe kids thought we were weird or awkward. We watched Goonies and Ghost Writer and read The Babysitters Club. We wanted to go on a mystery adventure and solve a crime! So we played at being Nancy Drew with our Sailor Moon “casebooks”, watching from our windows and writing down the neighbours’ activities as if we were going to catch them doing something sinister, like rolling a body into a carpet.

calm down bruce campbell GIF by Ash vs Evil Dead

And as we got older, we moved on to more adult crime fiction mysteries, but always gravitated towards Nancy like characters – Veronica Mars, Olivia Benson, Clarice Starling. Because Nancy had taught us it was okay to be into what we were into. We’ve never forgotten Nancy even though we have grown up. She’s frequently cited as an inspiration by writers and readers alike. Her name is mentioned in my “about” page for this blog, and I have been working on a collection of her books for a few years, picking them up from antique markets and used books store. (Only the old yellow paper covers, none of that plastic reprint crap.)

But let’s be real for a moment – in hindsight, Nancy was kind of boring, tame. A true basic bitch. She was rich and white and polite, doing her sleuthing in sweet collared dresses and Mary-Jane pumps with a perfectly coiffed flipped bob. Of course, the series started in the 1930s, so what do you expect? There wasn’t really any room for Nancy to change societal norms drastically, nor was there a market for it. Really, if you go back to those original books, you’ll find them to be shockingly racist and anti-feminist in a lot of their elements. Again, what do you expect from the time?

Continue reading “Booknerd Wednesday: Female Sleuths You Need To Know (Other Than Nancy Drew)”