Review: Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

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★★★★

Minotaur Books | 2020

Opening Hook: A split-second that changes everything

Main Character: Losing it all and not handling it well

Plot Twisty-ness: Totally lives up to the title


I’m a fan of Jennifer Hillier even though I’ve previously only read one other book by her – Creep. It made such an impression on me that I’ve picked up her work a few more times, but being that my TBR pile is so fucking huge this is only the second book of hers I’ve gotten around to actually reading and not just looking at on my shelves. I will say, Little Secrets has done nothing but convince me even more that Hillier is one of the best psychological thriller authors out there.

This book is basically about two of my greatest fears – a cheating husband and a kidnapped child. And no I don’t have any biological children of my own, but I do have a dog and that’s basically the same thing… *waits for mothers to scream at me about how it’s not the same thing at all…*

Obviously, I know having a pet and having a child is not the same same, but I love my dog more than anything. He’s my baby proxy. And if someone kidnapped him I would LOSE MY FUCKING MIND. I would tear the space-time continuum to shreds until I got him back.

Now, if my husband cheated on me I would lose my mind as well, but in a much different way. It’s just in his best interest if he stays loyal.

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Review: Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1) by Maureen Johnson

A girl from Pittsburgh came to Ellingham Academy and she wanted to see a dead body. She got her wish.

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★★

HarperCollins | 2018

Opening Hook: Youtube is a talent now, I guess

Main Character: Not a unicorn

Plot Twisty-ness: Like Hanson, it’s in the Middle of Nowhere


As you may have picked up by now because of all the not-at-all subtle clues I keep dropping that goes something like: “I hate YA thrillers!” and “I’ve never read a good YA thriller!” or “Please stop recommending me YA thrillers because I don’t like them!” – I am not a big fan of YA mystery/thrillers.

I’m not sure why I keep reading them other than the plot summaries and beautiful covers continue to reel me. I’m so goddamn naïve. “This one will be a good one!” I think to myself about a book I will end up not liking at all 🤡

Is that the case with Truly, Devious?

Umm…

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I’ve had my eye on this novel for a while mostly because of the goddamn plot summary. A private school famous for a decades-old unsolved kidnapping/maybe-murder suddenly sees a new murder and the possibility that the original Big Bad, know as Truly, Devious, is back to wreak havoc on the students and faculty of Ellingham Academy once more.

As concise as I wrote that, it’s actually a lot more interesting than what the plot turned out to be for my tastes. I typically hate private school shit. That setting is just an excuse to allow children to not have any real parental supervision like they would/should so they can do shit most teenagers would never fucking do. And I think I’m too old for that shit.

But, whatever. You all know I’m a grumpy reader.

Continue reading “Review: Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1) by Maureen Johnson”

Review: The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman

“Bitter, cold, barren. These are words thrown at women without children. Like we’re a Montana winter. Either we’re to be pitied or we’re to be blamed, depending on how much choice we had in the matter.”

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★★★½

Crooked Lane Books | 2020

Opening Hook: The horror of a baby shower invitation

Main Character: Flirty, Thirty and Thriving

Plot Twisty-ness: This is why I hate baby showers


If you’re looking for an easy read that will still satisfy your need for murder and mayhem, then I’m going to recommend this book. Honestly, it’s nothing special. It isn’t deep or complex, the plot elements are basic and it’s on the lower side for page count, but I actually mean none of that in a bad way for once in my life. Sometimes you just want to read a book in your preferred genre that isn’t going to require a lot of brainpower or emotional investment. And that’s this book.

It’s fun, it’s light, it’s a little bit sinister and it’ll keep your attention firmly on its fictional world instead of on our real, sucky one.

In the middle of a stressful pandemic, that’s exactly what I was looking for. And it’s what I got. I mean, I’m not going to give it 5-stars just for that, but on a fantasy five-star scale that exists only for soapy-mystery novels, it would get a full fist. Wait… no. Forget I said that. Ew.

Anyway, the cherry-on-top is that Gehrman infused this female-centric, locked-room mystery with all the feminist sparkle and questions about expectations of women that I love and relate to.

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Mystery/Thriller New Releases for Q1 of 2021

Oh heyyyyyyy! How’s 2021 treating you so far? Like a sledgehammer to the head? Good, me too. Glad we’re on the same page.

I definitely slacked on my “new releases” posts last year and I’m fully aware of that. And by slacked, I very generously mean that I didn’t post a single fucking one.

But, as I’ve said on repeat, 2020 can eat a bag of dicks. Among its less egregious crimes is that it messed so hard with my motivation to do literally anything I usually like to do. All I had the attention span for was reality tv and changing out of one pair of leggings into an identical, cleaner pair of leggings. Stress levels increase = concentration levels decrease. It’s science.

And even though 2021 hasn’t been much better so far, and in fact seems to be impacting my mental health much harder the closer we get to the one-year anniversary of this shit, (shout out to crying jags over small inconveniences!) I’m going to muscle through like Christina Aguilera. She’s a fighter.

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If you’ve been luckier than me and have managed to actually read in this pandemic, number one – I’m jealous. And number two – I’m here to restock that TBR, because despite my jealously, I want you to be happy. Look no further than this list of new releases to find your next read.

If you’re having a hard time reading like yours truly, this list is still for you, booboo! As everyone should know by now – reading books and acquiring books are two totally separate hobbies. And if you’re even more like me then compulsive online shopping is one of the only things getting you through this shit lately. So, let’s buy some motherfucking books!

This is obviously not a comprehensive list of new releases, because I do not have the fucking time for that, but it’s a place to start. And I know I should have posted this a month ago, but hellloooooo did you hear what I just said about my mental health?

The Rookie Hello GIF by ABC Network

Also, before you get confused, my “buzzed score” is really simple – the more emojis, the more into it I am. But moreover, it’s just a reason for me to put together different emojis to mean I’m smoking weed and getting high. Okay, let’s goooooooo!

Continue reading “Mystery/Thriller New Releases for Q1 of 2021”

Review: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

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★★★★

St. Martin’s Press | 2020

Opening Hook: Sarah Keonig’s soothing tones

Main Character: Not Joey Potter

Plot Twisty-ness: Like turning upside down in dark water


Remember when I was on the blog tour for this last August and said I’d have a review posted “soon?” Man, I’ve got some hilarious jokes.

Listen, I’m blaming everything on 2020. I’m double-digits deep on back reviews and triple digits up in unread ARCs because I just… couldn’t. And I didn’t know how to even explain what was wrong/is with me. But it’s literally all the Pandemic’s fault. I have the science to back it up! Research shows that the high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) that we have been producing extra of for a prolonged period because of the pandemic, can inhibit perceptual learning and memory formation. This interferes with our ability to assimilate facts and focus on work. So, if you’ve been having trouble working, reading and or just general concentration has been difficult for you, then this is why. STRESS, bitch! That you got from a Panny!

Check out @silverpebble on Twitter for more information. I just learned this after a whole fucking year of screaming at my husband, “why can’t I do any of the things I like to do?”

Now I know.

I had big plans for last year. I was going to get my reading life organized, tons of reviews posted and make a serious dent in my ARCs, but basically, none of that happened. Now, we’re days away from the one-year anniversary of this goddamn pandemic. How can it be March 2021 when I’m still processing March 2020!?

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Anyway, it’s officially six months since I was supposed to review this book, so let’s get this shit posted.

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Review: Nothing to Lose (Ziba MacKenzie, #2) by Victoria Selman

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★★★★

Thomas & Mercer | 2019

Opening Hook: Déjà vu

Main Character: Not yet living up to her description

Plot Twisty-ness: Almost came from 4chan


Listen, I like this series!! Maybe it won’t sound like it for the bulk of this review, but I do. I like the character of Ziba. I think she’s interesting, layered and a tough female character in this genre. But this sequel to Blood for Blood persists in my biggest problem from the first book – Ziba, and the rest of the cops, are starting to seem really fucking dumb. Ziba is described as a highly skilled criminal profiler and ex-special forces badass, but she consistently whiffs on seeing the very obvious answer to a mystery. She takes FOR👏EV👏ER to pick up a clue the reader will catch immediately. That’s a problem.

This is mostly an author issue. The being, Selman thinks she’s writing something very twisty and hard to figure out, but she’s not, so the highly-skilled main character doesn’t live up to the big description she’s been given. The reader will be screaming “HELLOOO!!! How are you not getting this?!” at Ziba about halfway through.

I wish it wasn’t so. I truly do. Because this UK-based crime series is heads above other UK-crime series in a lot of ways – no recycled tropes or character types, and no fucking book covers of a woman in a red coat walking through some kind of goddamn field.

Where are you going, lady?! The crimes happened in central London! There’s nothing in that field!

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Review: The Whisper Man by Alex North

If your lonely, sad, and blue, the whisper man will come for you.

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★★★★★

Caledon Books | 2019

Opening Hook: Your kid’s dead imaginary friend

Main Character: Grief-stricken and raw

Plot Twisty-ness: We need Ghost Hunters to figure this out


I’m usually super hesitant to read a book that is making the rounds on the Hype Train Express. I tend to be disappointed; closing the book only to be like, “well, I definitely read this wrong? What is everyone talking about?” (But let’s be real, I’m not actually reading the books wrong.)

Either way, none of that applies this time. To quote Bailey Sarian: Nay, nay I say! The Whisper Man by Alex North gets an overly enthusiastic 5-stars from me. Like so enthusiastic, it’s almost sexual.

Toot-fucking-toot, bitches!

This book legit unnerved me and I can’t say that happens very often. Because I’m dead inside? Likely. Because I read so much dark fiction? Most probable. But with this one, I was turning on the lights and setting my home alarm. This was dark and twisty and creepy AF.

A few choice moments started to weave a seemingly supernatural theme into the plotline, but it was never blatant so I didn’t know what I was reading until it all came together. North kept me on the edge of my seat, tips of my toes and the end of my last nerve for the entire novel. I fucking loved it. I don’t feel like I have enough words to fully explain to you just how much I loved this, so, have this gif instead:

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This is the level I’m at.

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All The Books I Hated In 2020!

It’s that time of year again!

For my first post of 2020, I’m going to stick with the tradition I’ve fallen into at Here’s the Fucking Twist over the last three years, and use my inaugural post of the new year to complain about all the books I read last year that were disappointing, rage-inducing or just straight-up garbage.

Speaking of inaugural though, let’s take a moment to collectively unclench our assholes because TRUMP IS OFFICIALLY FUCKING GONE TODAY.

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I’m having a moment of existential crisis, because what am I going to do without that spray-tanned dumpster fire to entertain/scare/enrage me every day while I binge watch American news?! I’m hoping whatever mental energy I devoted to (read: had stolen by) Cheeto Mussolini and these last horrific four years, will now be freed up to focus on reading and running this blog. But hey, maybe it’s a smoother transition to just become fully obsessed with not dying in a global pandemic, instead of just 50% focused on that? We’ll see. So many choices for my life!

Honestly, 2020 was a hard reading year for me. I’m sure some of you can relate. So many outside forces were stressing me THE FUCK OUT and I couldn’t concentrate on anything that required significant brain power. March to September basically saw me unable to get out of my pajamas, watching reality TV and doom-scrolling on Twitter. But, after today, I have a good feeling about 2021!

Though the pandemic is seemingly worse then ever, and I am stuck in an endless time-loop of being in my house doing the same thing every fucking day, I do think we’re heading towards better times.

So, while I head into 2021 with optimism and hope, let’s take a look back on all the books I read last year that did nothing to distract me from the hellscape of real life and only added to the negativity.

I read this shit so you don’t have to, friends! Let’s gooooooooo!!

Continue reading “All The Books I Hated In 2020!”

Merry Everything & Happy Whatever!

This is just a short post to say I wish you all a very Merry Everything and a Happy Whatever!

Whatever you celebrate, whoever you are – unless you’re a fucking asshole – I wish nothing but the best for you this holiday season and in the new year. If you’re down with Santa, I hope he is good to you… but I’m so sure he has an ass-load of coal to give out, too. Seems like an array of dickbags revealed themselves in 2020.

Speaking of dicks, we’re almost done with 2020!!!

And what a wild-ass trip it has been.

Between political dumpster fires, uprisings in social movements, environmental catastrophes and a global pandemic the likes of which we haven’t seen in a century – I’m fucking exhausted. Aren’t you?

Jason Bateman Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

I don’t think any of us could have predicted the kind of emotional and mental toll 2020 was going to take. The changes we would make, the lives we would lose… it has been almost unprecedented… 1918 shoutout!

Continue reading “Merry Everything & Happy Whatever!”

Review: The Return by Rachel Harrison

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★★★½

Berkley | 2020

Opening Hook: Not Reese Witherspoon in Wild

Main Character: Hopeful, despite the rotted teeth

Plot Twisty-ness: Unexpected body horror


This was definitely interesting. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but this time that isn’t a bad thing. It’s a novel I won’t soon forget and the catalyst for my decision to not read horror novels involving teeth for the rest of my fucking life. Thank you very much.

This is hard to review because it’s essentially a spoiler minefield from beginning to end, but I’ll do my best to explain why you should read this book if you’re looking for, what I’m calling, Girls’ Weekend Horror.

Honestly, I didn’t hate this. I might have actually really liked it. I think my expectations were tempered by the abundance of disappointed reviews I came across before I ever cracked this one open – and by cracked open, I mean swiped open because #netgalley. I get some of the criticisms, but for me, I had a good time. And I wasn’t even high!

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