Save Me From Dangerous Men (Nikki Griffin, #1) by S.A. Lelchuk

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★★★½

Flatiron Books | 2019

Opening Hook: Pool cues and brass knuckles

Main Character: Guilt-plaguing with tight jeans and a purpose

Plot Twisty-ness: A little off the Silicon Valley rails, and I don’t mean cocaine.


I was committed and ready, and completely open, to falling head over heels in love with Nikki Griffin, bookseller and badass P.I. with some serious anger issues.

But, unfortunately, this didn’t totally live up to everything I wanted it to be. Call it a victim of my high expectations if you want, but I found this to be a just okay, middle-of-the-road thriller.

The star highlight for me is the main character of Nikki Griffin. I think she was complicated but real. She came with a dark backstory and a closed-off, tough-as-nails personality that didn’t slip away the moment she met a guy. For being a novel written by a man, I was pleased to find she didn’t talk about how her nipples felt or looked at any moment, since that seems to be a thing male writers are typically preoccupied with when writing female leads. Any comments that she makes about her body seemed to me to be in relation to men looking at her and their sexual thoughts, and were less about sexually describing herself.

The way Nikki is introduced is pretty canon the whole way through the novel. She likes privacy, but she’s not dead inside. She keeps things close to the chest, but isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with the people she trusts. She’s strong, smart and professionally violent. All things I probably am, but just way less cool about it. Like, I daydream about breaking a man’s arm for hitting a woman, but really I just eat cookies about it.

Continue reading “Save Me From Dangerous Men (Nikki Griffin, #1) by S.A. Lelchuk”

#Throwback Thursday

Happy Long Weekend, everybody who is getting a long weekend like meeeeeee!!!

You’ll have to excuse me if this post barely makes as much sense as I want it to. We had a potluck at work for two women who are retiring and I think I’m going to pass out. I ate so much.

So much.

My blood is, as we speak, congealing into a cheese-like substance and my nipples are meatballs.

Jesus. No, they’re not.

I’m sorry. That barely reached the bar of what I think is good enough to post on this blog, but I’m nearing food-coma levels so meatball nipples are what you get. Welcome to how I blog!!!

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Review: Helter Skelter – The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry

“You can convince anybody of anything if you just push it at them all of the time. They may not believe it 100 percent, but they will still draw opinions from it, especially if they have no other information to draw their opinions from.”

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★★★★

W.W. Norton & Company | 1974

Opening Brainwashing: The lowest of low hanging fruit.

Main Cult Leader: The folk singer with the swastika seems on the up-and-up

True Crimey-ness: Pop culture murder


Everyone and their mother knows the story of Charles Manson. Or at least the bullet points, because the bullet points are fucking insane. Crazy “hippie” cult leader who brainwashed otherwise normal young people into brutally murdering pregnant actress Sharon Tate and her house guests in the Hollywood Hills in 1969.

Everyone knows the blurb. Everyone knows the images of Manson and his craziest moments. Everyone has seen, at some point, that image of three happy girls singing on their way to their murder trial with swastikas on their foreheads. Everyone knows that Sharon Tate was pregnant because it’s those kinds of headline specifics that make your stomach turn or your jaw drop.

The famous imagines and soundbites are so robust and insane and sensational, and seared into pop culture by our own doing, that it led me to believe that I knew basically everything there was to know about this case. Or that I had enough of an understanding that reading this book was going to be just to say that I’d read it. It’s kind of a must for true crime fans, in my sometimes abrasive opinion.

But I was wrong.

There is so much information to be gleaned from this book by the prosecutor who convicted Manson, Vincent Bugliosi. Helter Skelter is a broad picture of Manson’s crimes, his early life and his followers that I found it utterly fascinating, even if the narrator of the audiobook sounded like he stepped right out of Fast Talking, High Trousers.

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Review: Stiff – The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

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★★★★

Penguin | 2004

Overall Grossness: You put that monkey head back where it came from, or so help me!

Best Cadaver: They were all beautiful, in their own dissected ways.

Plot Educational-ness: Thinking about your own expiration date has never been more fun!


I think if you’re into the macabre and that side of life, or death as it were, then this book is probably required reading.

And truth be told, I am not a science-brained kind of girl. Or history. Or geography. Or math. Really anything that requires a level of intelligence that is based on facts and an excessive amount of information and concentration.

These are just not my strong suits. And as much as high school teachers would want to make me feel bad about that with those shitty grades I kept getting, I’ve accepted myself now as an adult. I fully embrace that I will never be able to help my stepkid with science or math homework. He could ask me about English and art though. And I do appreciate logic and thoughtfulness.

I do have some intelligence, y’all!

Continue reading “Review: Stiff – The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach”

Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

“…we often mistake love for fireworks – for drama and dysfunction. But real love is very quiet, very still. It’s boring, if seen from the perspective of high drama. Love is deep and calm – and constant.”

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★★★★

Celadon Books | 2019

Opening Hook: You know how you want to kill your spouse sometimes?

Main Character: Creases his jeans, eats oatmeal, probably.

Plot Twisty-ness: A clever bitch


There was a lot of hype surrounding this book’s release, and for the most part, it was deserved. I mean, it didn’t totally blow my socks off and it wasn’t necessarily reinventing the wheel when it comes to thrillers with unreliable narrators. But, for a debut novel, it’s pretty impressive and I had a fun time reading it, so one eggplant up for Mr. Michaelides.

Alicia, an artist, killed her photographer husband. Shot him in the head repeatedly while he was tied to a chair, as a matter of fact. And she’s been silent every day since. Locked up in a psych hospital, she hasn’t uttered a word in nearly 7 years.

Theo Faber is a psychotherapist who believes he can crack Alicia’s silent nut. He takes a job in the hospital where she is locked up and starts his mostly one-sided conversations in the hopes of getting Alicia to finally explain why she did what she did to her husband, who by all accounts, she was madly in love with.

And I don’t know about all of you, but while I jokingly say I’d like to murder the shit out of my husband sometimes, I don’t really mean it. Well, mostly I don’t mean it. But I swear to jeebus, when he clips his toenails in bed I could really, truly smother him with a pillow.

Anyway!

Continue reading “Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides”

Booknerd Wednesday: Holiday-Themed Reads!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, booknerds!

And I mean that in the most inclusive way possible. There are 11 holidays celebrated this time of year by people of all different backgrounds. And that’s just what I know of. It is completely possible that there are more celebrations that I’m ignorant to. 

It doesn’t matter what you celebrate this time of year, I want your holidays to be everything that you want them to be. I want you to wish people whatever lovely greeting you choose to and I want you to be happy and loved.

For me and my little family, we are celebrating Yule/Saturnalia. And I need my Yule to include some goddamn murder! 

That’s right, I said it. With the stress of shopping and wrapping and getting the house in order for family and friends, I like to wind down at the end of the day with some dead bodies and a big mystery to unravel. 

Nothing says “Christmas” like blood in the snow. 

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So if you’re anything like me, maybe you’re looking to build your TBR in December around some winter holiday themed crime fiction. And because I love you all so much, I’ve put together a list of what I think are your best bets to add to your pile. 

Here’s my fucking list of the top holiday-theme books to quench your thirst for death this season! 


Continue reading “Booknerd Wednesday: Holiday-Themed Reads!”

Personal: Why I’ve been (kind of) MIA This Month

Don’t go assuming the worst. It’s nothing earth-shattering. I’m not dying or anything like that. 

But I do want to write this, just to say I feel so bummed that I haven’t been writing as much as I want to this month. And I’m not reading as much as I want to this month.

There are two things to blame for this. 

One. It was my birthday recently and my husband got me Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. Needless to say, I dove into it pretty hard with both feet and any moment I don’t have some responsibility to take care of, I’ve been playing that game instead of reading/writing.

On the bright side, I’ve been learning a lot about Greek history. And your girl is not usually the scholarly type when it comes to geography and history. Or math. Or science. Or really anything that requires too much of my left brain.

Take last night for instance. I said to my husband: “This quest says to go to Athens, but I don’t see Athens on the map. Is Athens a real place? Where is Athens? Is it a country? Or the whole continent?” And my husband nearly choked on his cookie. 

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I take full responsibility for this current game addiction. Okay, maybe not full. Like, if you guys want to blame my husband for like 20% of this I wouldn’t argue. He did buy me the game after all. 

Anyway, speaking of responsibilities, this is where issue Number Two comes in. It rained in my basement. 

Continue reading “Personal: Why I’ve been (kind of) MIA This Month”

Booknerd Wednesday: Haunted Libraries (#Blogoween)

Happy Hump Day, ghouls and ghosts!

Halloween is getting closer with each passing day and I’m so excited about it that I’ve literally been living off of pumpkin pie and bite-sized candy for the last week.

…I don’t feel good.

So, while I try to maintain a normal blood-sugar level, it’s time for another #Blogoween post!

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What is Blogoween, you ask? Well, I’ll damn-well tell you. It’s a month-long celebration of Halloween on your blog with daily prompts and different levels of post commitment. Find out how to sign up for the Blogoween event here. And a list of all the prompts is here.

Today’s prompt was local haunted hot spots. Turns out that my area isn’t exactly hopping with good ghost stories, from what I can google/gather, so I decided to take the prompt and turn into something a little bit more suited for Booknerd Wednesday.

Today we’re going to check out some of the most haunted libraries around the world!

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Whether you believe in ghosts or not is completely irrelevant. We’re not here to discuss the merits of life after death. Although I will say, once people start reporting ghosts whispering “it’s Britney, bitch,” and “what’s the wifi password?” I might give a little bit more credence to the idea.

Right now, it seems like every ghost is wearing civil war uniforms and women are in bonnets, bemoaning a lost husband. Where are all the modern ghosts in trucker hats and flared jeans haunting a Starbucks? Where are my feminist ghosts at?

Continue reading “Booknerd Wednesday: Haunted Libraries (#Blogoween)”

Review: Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison

“The words I’ve heard in the past few days are ones I never expected – new, untried, untested. Casket. Body. Funeral. Viewing. Embalming. Autopsy. Severed. Seven-inch non-corrosive steel blade. Homicide.”

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★★★★

MIRA | 2018

Opening Hook: Broken bones, broken dreams

Main Character: Shouldn’t keep blood secrets when your sister works with DNA

Plot Twisty-ness: Are coincidences considered twists?


Okay, okay, OKAY. Y’all know I love me some J.T. Ellison.

It all started with her Taylor Jackson series a damn decade ago (ugh, that makes me feel old) and I’ve been a loyal reader ever since. I love tough women writing tough women, it’s a thing.

Ellison’s move from series writer to standalones started with Lie to Me, which most people loved, except for yours truly.

What can I say? I’m a picky fucking reader.

I had a few issues with the pacing of Lie to Me (the second half sucked the life out of it) and with the ending (“it was all for nothing, just a giant misunderstanding” doesn’t really work for me. that’s not a twist,) but I’m happy to say that I liked Tear Me Apart a lot. I didn’t love it. It’s not the best thing I’ve read this year, but it’s a good read. It’s not a waste of your time, at all.

And we all know how much I hate wasting my reading time.

Continue reading “Review: Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison”

Fave Five: Creepy Crawlies (#Blogoween)

Happy Friday, Book Monsters! And to all my fellow Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving!!

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I wish this long weekend was going to be relaxing – full of reading, and eating candy I shouldn’t be putting into my body – but unfortunately, I’ll be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, which will also double as a birthday family party for my husband. Which means I need to go home and immediately clean my house and prepare. REAL TALK: I fucking hate being a hostess y’all!

No one ever tells you that if you’re the oldest child the role of hostess becomes your unofficial job like allllllll the time after you buy a house.

It is not fair. But I’ll do it.

My in-laws will be crossing the border from NY and spending the whole weekend with us as well, so that’s draining fun.

I figure, I better do a post today because I’m likely not going to be floating around the blogosphere very much for the next 3 or 4 days.

And I just want to say, being a deeply introverted person, the anticipation of a big family weekend always gives me a low-rumbling anxiety. Sometimes I sneak away from the gathering to reclaim my energy – I think of it like when you’re playing a game and you hide your character behind a wall in a corner from the fight until your health starts to regenerate.

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