Review: You’re Next by Kylie Schachte

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★★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.

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Review: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

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★★★★

St. Martin’s Press | 2020

Filed Under: Sarah Keonig’s soothing tones


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 wrong 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 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!

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, 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.

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Review: The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

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★★

Ballantine Books | 2019

Filed Under: Blow jobs weren’t on the curriculum.


This is a popular read with high ratings on Goodreads from other reviewers, but my overall opinion is basically WHAT THE FUCK THIS IS REALLY DUMB???

I don’t mind being one of only a few people going against the grain here, but honestly, I just can’t even with this book. I had to suspend disbelief in such an extreme way that I started to feel legit angry about it.

This was 400 pages about girls at a boarding school going all Sally Field-Norma Rae with shaved heads because they’ve somehow fallen into a secret game of giving blow jobs for points to all the popular boys at the school who have a yearly championship bracket.

All of the teaching staff knows kind of (the six of them running a school of hundreds of students,) but turn a blind eye because…I guess…rich parents? Or college admissions? Or reputation? Or whatever else rich people care about. Someone ask Lori Laughlin. I’m still a little fuzzy on why full-grown, educated adults dedicated to America’s youth would be all elbow patches and tweed, and please ignore our student sex ring.

I mean, there must have been a way to stop the abuse without putting “ran a blow job side-hustle his senior year” on school transcripts. Then again, maybe the Ivy Leagues would call it entrepreneurship.

Continue reading “Review: The Swallows by Lisa Lutz”

Review: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

“No one walks around holding their ugliest sin in the palm of their hand, staring at it.”

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★★★★

William Morrow | 2019

Filed Under: Getting tangled up in scuba gear.


First of all, Joshilyn Jackson can write some vibrant AF characters. Shit, those personalities were strong, and it created a very cinematic reading experience.

Amy has a beautiful life – a new baby, a sweet husband, a stepdaughter who doesn’t hate her but might get finger-banged on the couch once in a while; a big house, a sweet career (hello, scuba instructor? who does that?) and good friends.

One night at the regular book club get-together, a mysterious and presumptuous stranger – Roux – invites herself in like some fabulous Disney villain wearing boots probably made of puppies and ready to steal your man, and starts some trouble with a game of Never Have I Ever.

You know that game. Someone says, “never have I ever… had car sex during my stepkid’s soccer tournament,” and anyone who has done that needs to drink.

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Okay, maybe you don’t get that specific with your statement, but you get the idea.

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Review: My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Three, and they label you a serial killer.

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★★½

Doubleday Books | 2018

Filed Under: Rub-a-dub-dub, cleaning blood out of a tub.


I don’t really know how to rate this book really, so I’m giving half of five stars because that seems the fairest. I mean, honestly, the cover deserves one of those stars just on its own. Talk about fucking gorgeous! I don’t even need words to read after that, honestly.

But when it comes to the words, this wasn’t really what I thought it would be, or what I wanted it to be. It wasn’t bad, it just seemed like the hammer missed the head of the nail. It felt outside of my usual book choices when it comes to fiction even though it really should have been right up my alley.

The gist is: Korede is a nurse who also has a passion for cleaning, or rather a talent for it. She’s also an older sister. She finds herself constantly cleaning up her younger sister Ayoola’s, messes, as older sisters tend to do. But these particular messes come in the form of men that Ayoola has had to kill in the name of self-defence. Each time Korede helps her little sister get rid of a body and finds herself cleaning up blood, her rational brain gets a little bit louder: maybe Ayoola just likes to kill. Maybe she’s a serial killer. Maybe she’s taking advantage of Korede.

When Ayoola starts dating a doctor with whom Korede is secretly in love with, she starts to worry he might be Ayoola’s next victim. A war inside Korede starts to brew between doing what is objectively right and doing what is right as a sister.

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Review: Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

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★★★★★ (x infinity)

Harper Perennial | 2018

Filed Under: Stunning in its simplicity, ravenous in its message.


This book is unlike anything I have ever read, and I am utterly emotionally ruined by it.

Seriously. This book has fucked me up.

I started reading in the morning and I didn’t put it down until I read the last page that evening. I was completely obsessed, completely enthralled and emotionally enamoured.

I’ve taken a couple of days to think about this review because I want it to be coherent and not preachy, but I’m definitely about to go on a rant of epic proportions filled with long quotes, so buckle up buttercups.

This is the story of five men, all of whom have been the victim of a serial rapist known as Maude. It is the story of how the media handles rape, and how society handles rape. How we speak about it, how we shame, how we lay blame. It’s about the questions we ask, how we ask them, the assumptions we make and how we try to make ourselves feel more comfortable in the presence of someone else’s trauma. It’s about how survivors grapple with their new reality and their upended perception of themselves, their relationships, their bodies and the world around them.

It’s about gender equality and gender roles and gender assumptions. It’s about the groups we align ourselves with, the lines in the sand we draw as tribes. The hate we have. The resentment we have. How women feel about social history and how it doesn’t matter until it happens to a man. It’s about how blind we are to our shared wants and needs. And how if we just worked together we could change things.

It’s also creepy with elements of suspense.

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Review: The Walls by Hollie Overton

“Love blinds us all…”

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★★★

Century | 2017

Filed Under: Had a point but lost it halfway through


I’m on the fence about this one.

It feels like it doesn’t know what it wants to be – a domestic thriller? 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 of all of those things, so it feels shallow and gimmicky. And it’s missing the suspense and sinister atmosphere to be a thriller. Ultimately, it leaves a lot of things exposed, but unexamined.

For a story about a single mother who has to plan a murder in order to save her family from her abusive new husband, this was exceptionally slow 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?!

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Review: Tideline by Penny Hancock

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Plume | 2012

Alternate Title: Kept in the Dark


Ugh, what the fuck did I just read?

This missed the mark on being a psychological thriller in a big way – it’s basically borderline pedophilia fiction.

*shivers*

I just can’t even with this shit.

I was so uncomfortable the entire time reading this. I’m still uncomfortable thinking about it to write this review.

A quick synopsis: Middle-aged Sonia – unhappily married with a grown daughter – plies 15-year-old Jez with drugs and alcohol in order to make him compliant so she can hold him captive in her home, because he reminds her of her first real love, Seb, who died when they were teens and…

…also another thing that I won’t spoil, but really, it’s disgusting. I won’t say it, but you probably know somewhere deep down what I want to say. I won’t say it. But I’m saying it without saying it. Like telepathically. You get it.

So, you know…gross.

Sonia gave me the worst case of heeby-jeebies I’ve ever had. She 👏 is 👏 so 👏 fucked 👏 up.

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Review: The Lies They Tell by Gillian French

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★★½

HarperTeen | 2018

Filed Under: Rich people getting lit (on fire)


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 shaken, casting blame and suspicion on the members of the Have Nots, because of course the poor people want to kill the “elites.”

Right, ‘Murica?

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