Review: Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

“Never talk to strangers. If someone ever tries to take you, fight with everything you have. Scream as loud as you can. (He’d never told her what to do if the man was too strong and there was no one to hear her screaming.)”

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★★★

Touchstone | 2016

Opening Hook: Tediously attention-grabbing.

Main Character: I see dead people-ing it.

Plot Twisty-ness: How twisty can it be when everyone is a goddamn psychic?


I don’t know why I keep trying books with psychic characters, because I never like them.

Also, apparently this could technically be considered part of series called The Hollows, but I have zero experience with Lisa Unger or that series, so perhaps that’s why I’m not as jazzed about this book as other people have been.

This does read like a standalone for all intents and purposes, though.

Basically what you have here is a twenty-something who is a developing psychic, so she goes to live with her grandmother, who is an experienced psychic, to get her psychic abilities up to snuff. While she’s doing her psychic-training she starts to hear a persistent noise – squeak, clink – and her psychic grandmother is all, “that’s your psychic gift telling you to start doing psychic shit,” so she gets onto the case of a missing child, who has some psychic connections in her own life.

Basically, everyone is a goddamn psychic.

surprised mind reading GIF

I’m not sure how a town full of psychics hasn’t been able to find the answer to “where’d that kid go?” but they haven’t and everyone is distressed; marriages are falling apart and life is just generally terrible.

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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.

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Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

“People hate to see other people happy. Remember that.”

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★★½

William Morrow | 2017

Opening Hook: It must have fallen off a cliff.

Main Character: Wears polo shirts for the fashion, and eats oatmeal because he thinks it tastes good.

Plot Twisty-ness: Laced with Xanax.


For someone who has never read Peter Swanson before and casually likes to pick up a psychological thriller every now and again, this book will probably seem like a win.

But for someone (this girl!) who has read Peter Swanson before and been blown away but how he weaves a story, and also spends a lot of her time reading this particular genre, All The Beautiful Lies was a big ol’ *fart noises* letdown.

I’m coming away from the reading experience wondering “what was the point of this?” To be thrilling? To be thought-provoking? To be emotionally stirring? To be commentary on inappropriate relationships? It seemed to have aspirations to be all of those things, but the execution was sub-par, leaving the ideas undeveloped and abandoned on the page.

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Review: In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

“It was growing dark, and somehow the shadows made it feel as if all the trees had taken a collective step towards the house, edging in to shut out the sky.”

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★★★

Gallery/Scout Press | 2016

This is an atmospherical oddball psychological mystery suspense novel that I liked, and at the same time, I fucking hated? Like I’m so torn. Save me.

Here’s the problem. The main protagonist, Nora, is a fucking loser. I’m just going to put it out there. She’s a loser.

She’s 26 years old and still pining away for the boyfriend she had when she was 16. Come on! Ok, sure, it was a messy breakup, he broke your heart into a million tiny teenager girl shaped pieces and you never got closure. But how does someone never move on, like at all? Has she ever had sex with someone else? Gone on a date? Apparently not. So seriously, come on!

How many grown ass women are out there decidedly becoming Bridget Jones re-virginanized spinsters because their high school sweetheart peaced-out during a difficult time in your life? SHOW OF HANDS PLEASE I won’t judge, despite what this review might suggest. I just need a headcount and to tell you to get over it! Find a man (not a boy) that knows how to work a G-spot and you’ll be over that high school flake in no time. Gotdamnit, NORA!

“I have not spoken to him for ten years, but I thought of him every single day.”

BARF.

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Review: UNSUB (UNSUB, #1) by Meg Gardiner

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★★★★★

Dutton | 2017

I love Meg Gardiner. She is a favourite author of mine. Anything she writes I want to read. Anything she has to say about writing, I want to hear. She is a smart, detail-oriented author with a talent for writing action-packed mysteries with perfectly placed twists.

UNSUB is, by far, my new favourite novel by her.

Hands down.

It takes elements from famous serial killers, both real and fictional, and boils it down into one epic, smart and intricate serial killer crime thriller.

Lort, have mercy on my mystery booknerd soul!

A quick synopsis: Caitlin is a cop. Her dad use to be a cop, but he’s gone coocoo for Cocopuffs after hunting a madman, The Prophet, 20 years ago and never catching him. Present day, The Prophet is back, killing again in bloody crazy fashion, and it’s Caitlin’s turn to stop him.

Obviously inspired by the Zodiac killer, this also take elements from things like Se7enRed DragonSilence of the LambsUntraceable…and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head, though I am sure there are more.

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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.

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Review: The Lies They Tell by Gillian French

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★★½

HarperTeen | 2018

Opening Hook: Rich people get lit (on fire.)

Main Character: A copy of a copy of a copy…

Plot Twisty-ness: Kiddie-rollercoaster levels.


I was really hoping this was going to be a sweaty, atmospheric summer thriller. But I only got one out of two from that list.

Depending on what’s important to you – the atmosphere or the thrills – you’re either going to love this or not.

Immediately upon starting this, I got a Revenge meets Gossip Girl meets Riverdale vibe. It’s got that “spoiled teens with no adult supervision in the Hamptons” thing going on.

It’s very rich versus poor. The pool owners and the pool cleaners. The Haves and the Have-nots.

The novel opens with a bang, so to speak, when the Haves suffer a tragedy the year prior – the Garrison estate goes up in flames, killing four members of the family. The only survivor is their teenage son, Tristan. The town is straight shooketh, casting blame and suspicion on the members of the Have Nots, because of course, the poor people want to kill the “elites.” Right, ‘Murica?

the kingsmen laughing GIF by Collider
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Mystery & Thriller Releases for Summer 2018!

Summer officially started last week! Do you feel it – the unbearable heat? Do you hear it – the sound of mosquitos eating me alive. Awww, summer.

The stepkid – hereby referred to as “15” for the purposes of my blog – had his last exam and is leaving on Saturday for an extended visitation with Crazy Pants, the bio-mom.

…and to me that means FREEDOM!

mel gibson braveheart GIF

*slowly starts to paint face blue*

I’m kidding.

I whine sometimes, but being a stepmom is really not that bad compared to some of the horror stories I’ve heard in my support group. (It’s still a hard thing to do, hence the support group.) But, the kid is pretty clean and polite and doesn’t think I’m an evil twat, so I think I’m doing okay.

I will say, I’m glad the older one moved out because cis-teenage 👏 boys 👏 are 👏 fucking 👏 gross👏. My clean/organized neurosis couldn’t take it anymore.

It’s all progress and winning in my life right now…you know, except for the stuff that isn’t. But, I have a good feeling about this summer *knocks on wood.*

Some people can’t wait for summer because it means the beach and amusement parks and camping and whatever the hell else extroverted, outdoorsy people do. I can’t wait for summer because it means quiet and a warm breeze coming through my bedroom window while I sit around in no pants (apparently you have to wear pants around stepchildren) reading the summer’s hottest books.

And what might those books be you ask? Well, I’m happy to tell you.

Here is my list of the new mystery & thriller books coming your way this summer. Get your TBR ready!

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Review: The Drowned Girls (Angie Pallorino, #1) by Loreth Anne White

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★★★★½

Montlake Romance | 2017

Opening Hook: Protect your lady-bits

Main Character: Sex-addict realness

Plot Twisty-ness: Procedural B+


I’m telling you right now, this book is the motherfucking shit.

Not even an exaggeration, honey.

And it’s the shit for one reason. Yes, it’s got murder. Yes, it’s got sex. Yes, it’s got a psycho serial killer. Yes, it’s hitting that fine line in the level of detail. Yes, it reads like real life honesty. Yes, it’s got gore. Yes, it takes place in C to the A to the N to the A to the D to the A…

Hold on, did I spell that right? *goes back to check* Yep.

CANADA!

But listen to me readers and lovers, without Detective Angie Pallorino as a lead character we would be sitting at a three-star rating. That’s just the truth.

Was there anything astonishing about the storyline? Not really. It’s interesting, but at the end of the day, it’s a police procedural. Extra points for taking place in Canada and getting my patriotic-self a little hyped about that, because I’m always reading books that take place in the UK or the US – and quite honestly I’ve had just about enough of the United States at this CRAZY Trump Juncture.

I’m pretty sure serial killers obsessed with religious bullshit has been done to death.

But do you know what’s not done to death?

Serial killers obsessed with religious bullshit who are being hunted by Angie Pallorino.

Alison Brie Kiss GIF by GLOW Netflix
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TCT Update: A Graphic Novel Murder – Let’s Discuss Motive!

Please read the “TCT Disclaimer” under the True Crime tab at the top of the page before reading any true crime posts.

Now, I know it’s not Tuesday, but if you read my post from last week about Blake Leibel, the trust fund douche-canoe who murdered his girlfriend just weeks after she gave birth to their daughter, then you have been waiting with bated breath for an update on the trial.

Or you’ve been waiting with normal breath, no irregular breathing pattern at all. That seems more likely.

Breaking News: about 12 hours ago, the jury came back with its decision.

GUILTY.

Like, duh.

obviously GIF

So, it’s officially time for True Crime Tuesday – Thursday Update… or something like that. It would be better if I had some kind of flashing graphics for this.

Continue reading “TCT Update: A Graphic Novel Murder – Let’s Discuss Motive!”