Review: Dark August by Katie Tallo

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★★★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.

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Continue reading “Review: Dark August by Katie Tallo”

Review: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

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★★★★

G.P. Putnam’s Sons | 2020

Filed Under: The Honeymoon is Over


For the sake of clarity, this is in no way a thriller or horror or mystery or anything like I would usually read. It’s a fucking romantic comedy. Yeah, seriously. I know you’re wondering why I read it and why I’m reviewing it. The answer to both of those questions is: BECAUSE EVERYTHING SUCKS.

The world is a mess. People are sick and dying. Way too many people are stupid as hell. I mean, honestly, the amount of idiots that we have to co-exist with is just staggering. I haven’t seen friends or colleagues since March 2020 and, surprisingly, it actually makes me not like my job as much. Who knew the introvert would need to see people sometimes? Speaking of every day, it’s Groundhog’s Day Monday to Sunday, and back again, as I shuffle around my house doing the same little chores and tasks like an idiot. I celebrated my birthday alone and we snuck around to my parents’ places over the winter holidays like we were in a spy thriller, just in case the police gave us a ticket for being outside our house.

And yes, I readily admit we should have only celebrated the holidays with our immediate family – and many people stronger than I did this – but after a fucking year of pandemic bullshit, we decided to break some rules and have at least one good memory from 2020. We haven’t seen our families since, so back the fuck off.

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Anyway… everything is terrible and I needed something sweet and happy to stabilize my ever-floundering mental health, if only for a couple of days. You Deserve Each Other fit the bill. It was romance, but it came with a kick so it wasn’t so ew. I am not a serious romance kind of woman.

Continue reading “Review: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle”

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…

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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

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★★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.”

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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!

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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

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★★★

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 it 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 let’s not parse this out like certain turds insist on doing with #notallmen. I’m married to a New Yorker and I love him and he’s wonderful. But still, as a whole? No, thanks. I think if I was going to travel to the U.S., I’d pick all the blue states for my destinations. I feel 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…

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Continue reading “Review: Bluebird, Bluebird (Highway 59, #1) by Attica Locke”

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 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.

Continue reading “Review: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin”

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?

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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!”