Review: Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane

It seems like everyone who settles down is miserable. They’re either broke or stressed or plagued with a sense of duty to someone who doesn’t appreciate them.

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★★★½

Bloodhound Books | 2018

Opening Hook: Kill your family for freedom!

Main Characters: Whiny bitches, but like, I totally get it.

Plot Twisty-ness: Twisty, but almost doesn’t make sense.

This book is going to cut with different women in different ways because the content is so heavily focussed on the various “caregiver” roles that women play. Wife, mother, friend, sister, lover.

It focuses on those roles with a decidedly negative lens. Like, suuuuuuuper negative. Like, if you were thinking about getting married, this will give you pause. If you were are on the fence about having kids, this will confirm your worst fears.

The story is told by four women – Jo, Shayla, Ellie and June – who all live on Oleander Way. Some know each other, some don’t, but they are connected by their neighbourhood.

We open on a murder. A husband and two children have been gutted in their home in the middle of the day. But who’s husband and children? And why did it happen? As the story unfolds, this mystery seemingly becomes less important than all the other crazy shit that happens to these four women.

Continue reading “Review: Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane”

Review: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

“I’d heard it before, of course, usually from my mother. A nasty, cold-blooded, selfish, grasping, uppity, ungrateful goddamn little bitch. And I know that to be true. I could feel the coldness in my own veins.”

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★★★★

Lake Union Publishing | 2018

Opening Hook: More like opening another button, amiright?!

Main Character: Your new best sociopathic friend #4eva

Plot Twisty-ness: Jane’s plot could have used a tab more plotting, but otherwise satisfying in a totally sexual way


I really really liked this.

On the surface it’s the story of a woman hellbent on revenge for the suicide of her best friend, Meg. Her target: Meg’s abusive ex-boyfriend, Steven.

Jane leaves her expensive high-powered lawyer life in Kuala Lumpur behind, and moved to Minneapolis, giving herself a month or so to infiltrate Steven’s life and make him wish he’d never been born.

LIKE OMG SO FUN.

So that’s the basic idea of the novel. And already I know you’re thinking, “I’ve always wanted to change my identity and ruin someone’s life. Revenge is the best. Sign me up.”

But when you look past the surface, when you go a little bit deeper, you see that this is actually a novel of patriarchy-smashing awesomeness, as well as a giant middle finger to the hypocrisy of Evangelical Christians.

And that last part just feels so right it turned me on a little bit.

Continue reading “Review: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone”

Review: The Confession by Jo Spain

“That was us at the beginning of our fairytale. But here’s the thing about fairytales. Sometimes they’re darker than you can ever imagine.”

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★★

Quercus | 2018

Opening Hook: As shocking as a golf club to the head

Main Character: I won’t be RSVPing to the pity party

Plot Twisty-ness: I guess anything can be called a thriller these days


I don’t think I’ve ever read a “thriller” this unimpressive before. And by that I mean, it’s like the author wasn’t even trying. For real, this was slowwwwwwwww. Boring, even.

I’m in the minority with my opinion, and that’s fine. But my opinion is the right one. HAHAHA just kidding (kind of.)

The Confession by Jo Spain is billed as a dark thriller, but it’s really more of a depressing autobiography of the main characters whose POVs we have to endure get to experience; how they got to that moment in 2012 when a banker is getting his head bashed in by a stranger with a golf club. These POVs take us all the way back to childhood in some cases, and quite honestly it was tedious as hell and in most cases, completely fucking irrelevant.

This approach to the storytelling drained all the energy out of the plot, making it feel sluggish, washing out anything that could be considered a shock or a twist.

Continue reading “Review: The Confession by Jo Spain”

Booknerd Wednesday: WWW Edition

Let’s talk about Jenna Jameson for a minute. Yes, the porn star.

I never thought I’d be at a point in my life where I was inspired by Jenna Jameson, but here we are. And I have no shame.

That bitch is doing work on her body and mental health right now and I’m completely in love with her for it. She’s using the keto diet and intermittent fasting to drop the weight she gained from pregnancy & addiction troubles. Seriously, go to her Instagram, check out her before & after photos and her honest messages, and tell me that shit doesn’t get you completely motivated.

My friend and her husband have been doing keto for 6 months themselves, and collectively, they’ve lost 100 pounds. So between these two examples I’ve been witness to, I’m all pumped to get into shape myself.

I know I’ve been saying that since January, but it’s all about motivation and mental health sometimes. And I just wasn’t in the right head space to take care of myself, unfortunately. But I feel so much better since a lot of the negativity in my life has disappeared with certain life changes.

Plus, I’m turning 33 in November and I don’t want to get another year older still stuck in the same rut. Since I got married in 2013, I’ve been SUPER lax about taking care of myself, which is the total opposite of how I was before I was married. Strange how that happens. I suppose it’s contentment. Then there was also some depression thrown in there for me.

It’s been a ride of a lot of complicated milestones, let’s just say.

So, anyway, like most women I’ve gained weight since getting married. My husband has too. And now I’m pulling a Jenna Jameson and using her as my keto spirit guide.

Continue reading “Booknerd Wednesday: WWW Edition”

Review: It Takes One (Audrey Harte, #1) by Kate Kessler

“Doing a bad thing doesn’t make you a bad person. People do bad things for the right reasons all the time.”

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★★★★½

Redhook | 2016

Opening Hook: Better classified as a “meltdown”

Main Character: Small town child murderer

Plot Twisty-ness: The definition of twisty


Audrey Hart left Edgeport years ago after being released from the local juvie, Stillwater, for killing her best friend, Maggie’s, father when they were teenagers. She doesn’t regret it for a second – Maggie’s father was a daughter-raping piece of shit, and killing him – and the consequences that followed – have made Audrey who she is today: a successful child psychologist and contributor to a true crime tv show, Kids Who Kill.

When Audrey gets a call to return home to Edgeport, she’s dreading it. The whispers, the glances – all eyes are always on her whenever she’s in town. That is certainly true when Audrey walks into the local watering hole to pick up her drunk-ass father and Maggie spots her. They speak for the first time in years and it’s not friendly. Audrey gets mean, Maggie gets nasty, gets pushed onto her ass and Audrey storms off. The next morning Maggie is dead on the beach and Audrey is a suspect. 

So begins all the twisted, romantic, dramatic events that will lead to the disturbing and twisted discovery of just what exactly happened to Maggie. And when I say twisted, I mean twisted. There is so much history to unravel, so many secrets and lies to uncover, that while there aren’t necessarily many “thrilling” or “dangerous” moments, you are totally engaged the whole time.

There are just so many elements of this novel that I loved.

Continue reading “Review: It Takes One (Audrey Harte, #1) by Kate Kessler”

Review: Medea’s Curse (Natalie King, Forensic Psychiatrist, #1) by Anne Buist

“‘Let it never be said that I have left my children for my foes to trample on.’…Medea killed her children to punish her husband.”

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★★★½

Text Publishing | 2015

Opening Hook: Probably a dick, they were everywhere

Main Character: Pet Parrot and Leather

Plot Twisty-ness: The Winona Ryder meme with math equations


This book wasn’t really what I expected it to be – it’s a mystery, but definitely not a thriller, and has a lot more erotic elements than I would reasonably expect from a story like this.

But Dr. Natalie King isn’t really what you expect a forensic psychiatrist to be either. She’s outspoken, emotionally dysfunctional and has no problem pushing a prosecutor down courthouse steps. She’s bi-polar and irresponsible with her meds. She rides a motorcycle, fronts an amateur band and has a pet parrot. She lives in a warehouse and has affairs with married men. But she’s a mothereffin’ queen in her field – dedicated to her patients and to finding the truth. And I basically fell in love with her as a lead character.

It’s a good thing that this is the first in a series, because there is so much more that can be done with a character this badass and damaged.

Continue reading “Review: Medea’s Curse (Natalie King, Forensic Psychiatrist, #1) by Anne Buist”

Review: The Body Reader (Detective Jude Fontaine, #1) by Anne Frasier

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★★★★

Thomas & Mercer | 2016

Opening Hook:  The human equivalent of an animal caught in a trap

Main Character: Needs to get laid, but also doesn’t

Plot Twisty-ness: If a roller coaster was an onion


I have to say I really liked this. It’s dark. It’s interesting. There are so many layers to the story, to the mystery. It’s never what you think it is.

I’ve never read anything by Anne Frasier before, though I do have a few of her books on my TBR shelf. I will definitely be moving those books closer to the top of the list.

Det. Jude Fontaine makes a daring escape after 3 years in captivity. She’s not herself anymore. She’s been subjected to unknown tortures and horrors. She sees everything in the world with new eyes, including herself.

Clawing her way back to some semblance of mental health, Jude goes back to work as a Homicide detective, while trying to find new ways to just be alive. (Sleeping on the roof, for instance.) Everything about Jude is switched off after her return. She has no sense of humour, she is flat and unemotional. She doesn’t know how to exist anymore. And this starting point requires that the other plot elements, and secondary characters, have some A+ development. 

Her trauma and recovery has got to be believable, yet on pace with the rest of the book so you don’t feel bogged down with “personal issues”. I think Frasier really pulled that off. (This needs to be a series.)

Continue reading “Review: The Body Reader (Detective Jude Fontaine, #1) by Anne Frasier”

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…

Continue reading “Booknerd Wenesday: The NetGalley Monthly For August 2018!”

Review: The Walls by Hollie Overton

“Love blinds us all…”

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★★★

Century | 2017

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: The Next Girl (DI Gina Harte, #1) by Carla Kovach

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★★★

Bookouture | 2018

Opening Hook: Dumpster baby.

Main Character: PTSD and inappropriate work places romance.

Plot Twisty-ness: Given away in the synopsis, because I guess why the hell not?


This was pretty enjoyable, I have to say. For a debut in a series, it hit mostly all the right notes. But at the same time, it was missing aspects that I look for to really make a procedural more than just the typical.

The story boils down to an abandoned baby, a woman who’s been missing for four years (who is the mother of that baby,) and one seasoned, but borderline PTSD, detective on the case.

You hear all of that and you think, yes gimme! It sounds like the perfect recipe. But I’m left feeling a little bit like Gordon Ramsey on Master Chef when someone brings up a beautiful looking dish and he tastes it, gets a funny look on his face and says: “It looks fantastic, but where’s the seasoning? Did you salt the fucking chicken?”

Carla Kovach forgot to salt the fucking chicken on this one.

Continue reading “Review: The Next Girl (DI Gina Harte, #1) by Carla Kovach”