Review: Dark August by Katie Tallo

52167189. sx318 sy475

★★★½

HarperCollins | 2020

Filed Under: A Polite Canadian


I normally wouldn’t pick up a book like this because it’s thicc and sounds more like a contemporary with hints of suspense, but it’s set around my hometown in Niagara, Ontario so how and why would I pass up reading that? Obviously, I wouldn’t because here we are.

Do you know how many books are based in the Niagara area? Like, one. This one. Why? Because let’s get real, Niagara isn’t a thriving metropolis.

Maybe it used to be, but by the time I left most areas had nicknames like “the armpit of Niagara” or “the butthole of Niagara.”

Where did I live? The fucking taint. 

Like a taint, this novel is dark and gloomy; a family mystery wrapped around some community politics.

Augusta “Gus” Monet is basically a poor, aimless girl with little to her name and an abusive, shady AF boyfriend. When her grandmother dies, Gus comes into a little (seriously, very little) inheritance in the form of her grandmother’s house and whatever is inside of it, including an old dog named Levi. And the dog is honestly the best part of the whole novel, but I did spend a lot of time being paranoid something terrible was going to happen to him. If you’re the kind of person (like me) who needs to know if the dog dies going into a story, let me know and I’ll totally spoil it for you, no questions asked.

GIF by CallMeKatFOX
Continue reading “Review: Dark August by Katie Tallo”

Mystery/Thriller Releases for Q2 of 2021

Alright, listen. to write this post I’m pulling myself away from a very riveting conversation about a co-worker pretending to be engaged to a Bald Eagle.

I can’t get into details really, but she had a ring. Just know my entire body is buzzing with joy because the bird lady is just so pure and simple and strange. We need more of that in a world that is filled with 24/7 news about terrible shit.

Speaking of terrible shit, the last time I did a new release post it was the beginning of 2021 and we were quickly approaching the one-year anniversary of this pandemic. We were talking about mental health issues and reaching a breaking point, or that maybe you were feeling hopeful it was almost over as the vaccine rollout got underway.

Now here we are, half-way into April and I don’t know about you, but things have only gotten worse in Canada. Currently we’re in our third lockdown and second stay-at-home-order in Ontario. There are riots in Quebec over curfews that are now in discussion to hit Ontario . And getting a vaccine?! Fucking forget about it. The vaccine rollout in Canada is absolute trash. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE FUCKING DOING.

*deep breath*

It’s really starting to feel like Spring 2020: The Redux and I just…

Season 1 Episode 13 GIF by The Simpsons

Anyway, since we’re most definitely heading into another pandemic summer of doing nothing at home once again, now seems like the best time to add even more books to our ever-growing TBRs.

All last spring and summer I spent almost every weekend renovating my backyard and creating huge garden beds that I only regret a little bit. So this year, my intention is to sit in my hammock and read every chance I get. Like, I should probably enjoy the backyard I poured so much money and sweat into.

Note to self: Buy a hammock.

Anyway, this is obviously not a comprehensive list of new releases, because I do not have the fucking time for that, but it’ll start us off and get us through until July. And there are some books on here I am hella excited about.

Get in losers, we’re doing curbside pickup!

Continue reading “Mystery/Thriller Releases for Q2 of 2021”

Review: The Little Sleep (Mark Genevich, #1) by Paul Tremblay

4343664

★★½

Holt McDougal | 2009

Filed Under: A Narcoleptic Fever Dream


I’ve tried a couple of times, with different authors, to read this kind of hard-boiled, noir private detective story and… it’s just not for me.

That’s putting it nicely, which is unusual for me.

So, to put it not so nicely, I think this particular genre is supposed to come across as classic, intense and pulpy serious. The private dick is a man of the streets and a man of law. He’s balancing his day-to-day life against the seedy underbelly he’s wrapped up in as he seeks justice and upholds the law by sometimes playing outside of its lines. Ugh, so gritty and dark.

But to me, it’s fucking goofy as hell.

All I can think about it “Fast Talking High Trousers.”

comb.io - Petergeist

You can’t tell me I’m wrong! You can’t!

But supposing I was…

Continue reading “Review: The Little Sleep (Mark Genevich, #1) by Paul Tremblay”

It’s A Fucking “Murder Mystery Party” Giveaway!

*NOW CLOSED*

Hey Nerds! This is fun and different, so let’s get right into it.

I was contacted by Chris, the creator and owner of Murder Mystery Party, about teaming up to bring you all a giveaway! And of course, after verifying that no one involved was a white supremacist or some other terrible shit, I was down for it. The best part is, I don’t have to put any of my own money into this!!

…Okay, maybe that’s not the best part, but personally it’s excellent news for me IN A PANNY IN THIS ECONOMY.

*in my best commercial voice* Pandemic got you down? Has every day been Groundhog’s Day since March 2020? Have you watched everything TV show there is to watch and movies have lost their lustre? If not, you may be in one of the lucky countries, like the Australians or New Zealanders, who had a competent government response to this shit show (I’m looking at you, Chris.)

As Ontario goes into our third half-assed lockdown, which will do nothing but hurt small businesses, I’m left feeling like there is no light at the end of this godforsaken virus tunnel. But maybe, if we get a group of family and friends together, pretend to kill Ted Bundy and then try to solve the murder, it will add a fresh and exciting twist to at least one evening!

Im Ready To Party Kristen Wiig GIF

That’s where a Murder Mystery Party party comes in.

Continue reading “It’s A Fucking “Murder Mystery Party” Giveaway!”

Review: Bluebird, Bluebird (Highway 59, #1) by Attica Locke

40605488. sy475

★★★

Mulholland Books | 2017

Filed Under: Makes Racists Afraid Again


This is a tricky review to write because there are two different elements to this book that require attention. The first is the atmosphere and setting and all the social issues that go along with writing a novel set in a small one-horse Texas town with deep ties to America’s racist history.

The other is the mystery itself, because this is a mystery novel. Why were a black man and a white woman murdered together, and who did it?

The setting and the mystery work together and separately, propelling the plot forward while also giving the reader a glimpse into what small-town southern life is like when the local bar is full of Aryan Brotherhood members and up the road is a black-owned Jim Crow-era restaurant.

Honestly, is it just me or is the idea of travelling to the U.S. as an outsider just like, no thanks? I’m gonna quote Bowie here and say, I’m afraid of Americans. Obviously not all Americans, but as a whole? No, thanks again. I think if I was going to travel to the U.S., I’d pick places where my risk of running into bigoted, racist assholes and people carrying guns for no reason is significantly lowered. I don’t want to die just because I wanted to see the Grand Canyon, you know what I mean?

But, I digress…

American Usa GIF by CTV Comedy Channel
Continue reading “Review: Bluebird, Bluebird (Highway 59, #1) by Attica Locke”

Review: You’re Next by Kylie Schachte

46068791

★★½

Jimmy Patterson Books | 2020

Filed Under: The first rule of teenage fight club is…


Well, once again a YA thriller and I just do not get along. No one is fucking surprised.

I really don’t want to sit here and write a big negative review for this novel, so I’ll keep it short and sweet short.

For me, this book just didn’t work. I was relieved when it was over. And if I hadn’t been listening to it on audio, I would have DNF’d it. At most, I’ll call it a mixed bag of good and bad pieces. There’s lots of representation in this, but the writing was subpar (but that might be because of my old age,) over-dramatic and the plot was way too convoluted.

I think we can all agree this is just way too long. It’s nearly 500 pages and I have no idea why. There is literally no reason for that kind of nonsense. The base plot didn’t require that many pages and it literally destroyed the pacing.

Where was the editor on this? Does anyone know them? Were they on vacation during this? Oh, they were? Honestly, same.

Ferris Buellers Day Off Smile GIF
Continue reading “Review: You’re Next by Kylie Schachte”

Review: Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

45046683. sy475

★★★★

Minotaur Books | 2020

Opening Hook: The First Wives Club


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.

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.

ill kill you elisabeth shue GIF
Continue reading “Review: Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier”

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.

29589074. sx318

★★

HarperCollins | 2018

Filed Under: Youtube as a career path


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…

unsure nicki minaj GIF

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.

As concise as a summary can be, the blurb was 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.

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.”

52001120. sx318 sy475

★★★½

Crooked Lane Books | 2020

Filed Under: The horror of a baby shower invitation


If you’re looking for an easy read that will also 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 word 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? Sure.

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.

zooey deschanel feminism GIF
Continue reading “Review: The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman”

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 typically 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.

christina aguilera television GIF by The Voice

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”