Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

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

35407871★★½

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.

You read a thriller for the crazy plot twists, the adrenaline rush and the excitement of being immersed in a situation that is not likely to happen in real life. This novel is billed as a thriller but it was pretty ho-hum, straight forward. No twists to be found or rush to be felt. Although it was crazier than typical real life, it relied too heavily on the “passing down” of pedophilic tendencies (as each child victim became an adult,) for me to connect emotionally with the characters or even want to allow myself to get too close to this story. It was too uncomfortable, an odd and passive “normality” given to the concept through the prose.

disgusted raising hope GIF

Despite this, I kept reading, waiting for something to exciting to happen. There was an anticipation I was building for myself because something had to happen, right? It was a Peter Swanson novel after all. It wouldn’t just be dull, would it? Apparently, yes.

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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.”

30345407★★★

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 just…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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#Throwback Thursday: 07.12.18

Yes, yes, y’all! It’s TBT time! Clueless and knee-highs, discmans and guys with hoop earrings…and the Foo Fighters singing this week’s throwback jam!

Yes, make me feel eleven again!

I have loved the Foo Fighters since the first moment I saw this video on Much Music in 1996. And today I get to fulfill a bucket list item of seeing them live in concert. Me and the husband have a date tonight in Toronto to see the Foo Fighters at the Rogers Stadium. I can’t even fully explain what it means to me to be doing this, so I won’t even try.

Just know that Dave Grohl is my one and only god. I literally have a picture of him framed on my wall in my living room. Not a poster. No. This is art. Framed art of Dave Grohl.

I love him. And I also love books (talk about a segue.) Here’s a look at books I’ve read and still love, and at books that have been on my TBR for a while but still get me hyped.

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

32811580★★★★★

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 bookworm 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’s true crimes, it 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

37889327★★★

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.

It’s a minor mistake in the grand scheme of things, but it means something is off the whole time you’re eating.

…I don’t know why I’m doing a food metaphor, honestly. I hate food metaphors. And I had such a big lunch that I don’t even want to think about eating ever again. Ugh.

gordon ramsey idiot GIF

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Booknerd Wednesday: WWW Edition

I’m coming down off of the Canada Day long weekend. For those among us that don’t know what Canada Day is, it’s our goddamn birthday! July 1st! HOW DARE YOU NOT SEND US A CARD!

prime minister shrug GIF

It currently feels like there is nothing worse than going back to work after a long weekend. I’m exhausted even though I did literally the bare minimum for three days straight. To top it off, it’s been hotter than Satan’s taint outside. A heat warning has been in effect for a literal week. My dog is getting cabin fever because he can’t play outside longer than ten minutes without risking heat stroke. Same applies to my husband, honestly.

Climate change is going to kill us all, but first it’s making me sweat and I don’t like it.

I behaved like a vampire all weekend. Blinds drawn to create total darkness, keeping the homicidal sun away from my fair skin. The AC blasting, keeping me cool and fresh like a corpse in a morgue. And when my husband tried to touch me with his hotter-than-normal body, I burst into a hundred bats and flew away.

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Review: The Lies They Tell by Gillian French

35887572★★½

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 sweaty, atmospheric summer thriller. But I only got 1 out of 2 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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Review: A French Quarter Violet by E.J. Findorff

34340697★★½

Opening Hook: Vague and underwhelming

Main Character: Way too focussed on the tingles in her hoo-ha

Plot Twisty-ness: A disconnected jumping of the shark


This book was super frustrating for me because it has the bones of something that could have been really, really good. But the execution was off; the focus was not on the right things so choices in the plot felt clunky, and out of place.

Set in New Orleans, I was desperately seeking to be overwhelmed with that atmosphere. To feel the weather, to hear the culture, to have the architectural city streets  at the forefront of the scene creation. But it never came. The author brought in some Voodoo elements, but it didn’t fit with the rest of the book. Either go full New Orleans – dark and magical and historic – a Skeleton Key tone. Or follow the erotic, police procedural lane that 75% of the book was in – a Double Jeopardy tone. The two didn’t mesh well.

Honestly, I would have totally preferred a dark and magical New Orleans thriller, with voodoo and a sexually deviant serial killer. Like I said, the bones were there and it should have hit the gas in that lane instead of coasting in and out of the lines.

It just never came together the way it should. It didn’t feel like it knew what it wanted to be, hence the “clunky”.

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Booknerd Wednesday: 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. Aw, summer.

The stepkid – hereby referred to as “15” for the purposes of my blog – had her 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 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 Girl I Use to Be by April Henry

25944786★★

I’ve yet to read a YA mystery-thriller that really works for me. I’m looking for logic. And if there can’t be logic, I’m looking for it to not take itself so seriously.

I picked up this book because April Henry is one of my youngest stepkid’s favourite authors. I have been asked, for what seems like years, to read her books. Which is super sweet that the kid wants to share that with me, but at the same time, I’m really bad at pretending to care about something.

But I’m going to have to act like I liked this as not to disappoint and emotionally scar this young person in my full-time care. I don’t want to be dismissive.

So at home I LOVED THIS AND I CAN TOTALLY SEE WHY YOU LOVE THIS AUTHOR AND WANTED TO SHARE IT WITH ME.

But, here, which is technically my private space (that is also accessible to anyone with an internet connection), I did not like this.

Not because it’s bad. But because I’m the wrong audience for it. My brain is way too rational. I require a book to make honest-to-life-sense, unless it’s purposefully setting itself up to be campy.

The Girl I Used to Be takes itself too seriously.

And I hate to say this, but I think my age stops me from being able to buy whatever shit an author wants to throw at me. Don’t worry about this illogical inconsistency, just enjoy. I CAN’T.

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