Review: Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker

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★★½

Gallery Books | 2019

Opening Hook: Stroke your ego more than three times, you’re just playing with yourself.

Main Character: Douchebag of the Year

Plot Twisty-ness: Straight fall from the roof.


I didn’t really love this. It’s kind of boring??? There were moments of intrigue and it’s unlike anything I’ve read recently, but it really didn’t live up to the hype I saw online for it.

Now before you decide to add some salty comment to let me know I’m a bitch, just remember that 1. I already know that, and 2. My reviews aren’t personal indictments against other readers. I’m just saying that, for me, Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker was just alright. It was meh. I liked it a reasonable amount for a thing that was just okay.

Certainly, my opinion is going to fall way below all of the THIS IS THE MOST MAGNIFICENT BOOK TO EVER BOOK reviews that are posted. I’m going to land somewhere in the “most okay-est thing to ever mediocre” category.

My expectation was that this was going to be more of a sinister thriller with a cunning anti-hero at the helm of the POV, but it just ended up being a character study about an unlikable, mostly boring narcissist, his untrustworthy family and shallow relationships. But that’s very on-trend for the last couple of years, isn’t it?

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Review: Oak Avenue by Brandi Reeds

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★★★½

Amazon Originals | 2018

Opening Hook: HGTV meets Shutter.

Main Character: No one wants to raise a baby with ghosts.

Plot Twisty-ness: Creepy but on uppers.


I did it! Here it is! My last review of the Dark Corners collection! It also happens to technically be my first read of 2020, so that means I’m caught up on all of my 2019 reviews. It’s New Year’s miracle!

Alright, for real I never thought I’d say this, but I’m kind of disappointed that this isn’t a full-length novel…because it was too fast. *gasp, horror, shock* I KNOW. Am I taking crazy pills? Seriously, I never thought “the plot moved too quickly” would be a complaint I would ever have in my life. My feelings about this story have totally caught me off guard.

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I liked this and I liked Brandi Reeds writing style, but my rating reflects what didn’t work for me. Though the creepy atmosphere is set immediately, the plot was too rushed and stilted to fit the short-story criteria.

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True Crime Tuesday: A Valentine's Day Cold Case

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It’s that time of year again, creepy lovers! The hopeless romantics are losing their ever-loving minds planning a full day of romance, the cynics are complaining about commercialization, the consciously uncoupled are waiting for chocolate to go on sale, and I’m writing up some true-crime about being murdered on Valentine’s Day.

February 14th literally has something for everyone!

I have stuff & things planned with my husband for Saturday because there’s nothing I want to do less than go out on a Friday night after being awake since 6 a.m. and working all day.

We have yoga in the morning, followed by a float session. Then we’re doing dinner and a movie. I’m hoping I can drag Husband to see the new Blumhouse movie, Fantasy Island, because nothing says Valentine’s Day like blood and guts and horror and murder.

So in that spirit, this week’s True Crime Tuesday is a 1971 double homicide that took place while some crazy kids were just trying to celebrate Valentine’s Day and young love.

Two lovers. Lovers Lane. Torture. And a killer who has never been caught.

This story is giving me Zodiac/Son of Sam/The Town That Dreaded Sundown vibes and I am very fucking into.

Important sidebar: I’m not celebrating or glorifying the murder of real human beings, but I do take an unapologetic interest in the psychology of these kinds of crimes, the mystery and those creepy AF vibes. Don’t get it twisted, every story is tragic, but I believe it’s important to confront the worst in humanity, especially on a day when we’re celebrating all the mushy love we can experience too.

This is the story of Jesse McBane and Patricia Mann.

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Review: Hannah-Best by Jennifer McMahon

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★★★★★

Amazon Original Stories | 2018

Opening Hook: A bad costume choice.

Main Character: Should have used a smaller knife.

Plot Twisty-ness: Mean Girls meets Urban Legend


Of all the books in the Dark Corners collection, this was my absolute favourite. The whole structure of it is just so perfect, I can’t say enough. I’ve read Jennifer McMahon before and didn’t really care for her writing from that experience, but this short story is a fucking firecracker and I adored it.

It would be the perfect creepy Halloween read, so put it on your TBR for October!

Told between past and present, this is a story about mean girls, the actions that haunt you and how urban legends are created.

The vibe of it is perfect – an otherwise rational adult succumbing to fears of what is in the dark as her mind runs wild with memories of the past.

Continue reading “Review: Hannah-Best by Jennifer McMahon”

Review: The Remedy by Adam Haslett

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★½

Amazon Original Stories | 2018

Opening Hook: Apparently lobotomized before I could read it.

Main Character: Needs help, but not this kind.

Plot Twisty-ness: Twisted, and not in a good way.


My backlog of reviews is so long that it’s starting to give me just a smidgen of anxiety. But then I remind myself this is all just my humble opinions on books and saying ‘fuck’ a lot, so I’m not going to take it too seriously. Anyway, I’m back on my bullshit and here’s a review to prove it…

I have to say, the Dark Corners collection from Amazon was definitely disappointing overall. I read this compilation of seven “scary” short stories for Halloween and there were three included works that I ended up liking.

The Remedy was not one of them.

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It's #BellLetsTalk Day!

Let’s stop talking about books for a second, and just focus on having a real conversation about mental health. I’ll share my own story deeper into the post. If you require a trigger warning for talk of sexual assault, rape or PTSD, consider this it.

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I may, or may not, work for Bell Canada. If you’re not Canadian, maybe that means nothing to you.

Bell is the biggest Telecomm company North Of The Wall. Internet, TV, Cellular.

If I worked for Bell, I would like working for Bell. I don’t talk about my job because a) don’t fucking stalk me, and b) I don’t want my views or opinions to be associated in any way with the company I work for. They have nothing to do with what I do outside of work – I’m not representing them and no I can’t get you a discount.

I want to preface this by saying, nothing in this post has been in any way orchestrated by Bell Canada – all views are my own! What I say here is mine. I say it because I want to.

My job is how I pay my mortgage, for my car, my kid’s braces, my dog’s wardrobe (which is expensive as hell,) etc. If I work for Bell, it’s a good company to work for. They take care of their employees (being unionized certainly doesn’t hurt either – Unifor shoutout!) and I feel very lucky to have landed this job right out of college (if I did.)

Days like today I would be especially proud to be on the Bell team.

It’s #BellLetsTalk Day across the country!

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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

Opening Hook: Blow jobs weren’t on the curriculum.

Main Character: Good at flowcharts.

Plot Twisty-ness: Needs some spit on it.


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 Yale would call it entrepreneurship.

Continue reading “Review: The Swallows by Lisa Lutz”

True Crime Tuesday: The Ice Box Murders

It’s the 74th day of January and it feels like it’s getting colder every day. Or maybe my tolerance for winter is just constantly dwindling?

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Last weekend we had a crazy amount of snow dumped on us, although it was nothing compared to what the people of Newfoundland dealt with. (Seriously, look up Newfoundland snowfall. The pictures are ridiculous. Trudeau had to send in the fucking army to dig people out.)

They’re calling for more snow this weekend in my neck of the woods and I’m over it. But at the same time, it’s not so bad. What better reason to stay inside and read all day than “I’m fucking snowed in!” Joy.

Today’s #TCT post feels totally on theme.

This is the story of Fred and Edwina Rogers, who were quite literally, put on ice.

Continue reading “True Crime Tuesday: The Ice Box Murders”

Fave Five: My Top Reads of 2019!

As we saw in my post yesterday, 2019 was kind of a giant turd for me in terms of my reading choices. Going through my list, I only rated three books as five-star reads out of the 50 books I read, and one of those was a short-story, so…

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I just wasn’t feeling it last year, but 2020 is already looking up *knock on wood*… except for that fucking book I just read that was published by James Patterson’s imprint, goddamnit! I didn’t realize it had Patterson’s fingers in it until it was too late. I’ll be more careful in the future, but as far as I’m concerned, the book was Patterson adjacent and doesn’t break my New Years resolution! Get away from me with that negativity!

Soooooo my review for Campfire by Shawn Sarles will be posted soon.

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I’m looking back at my “Top Five of 2018” post and laughing about how hopeful I was that 2019 would be better than the previous year, in terms of both reading and humanity. If anything, shit only got worse. We even started 2020 with The Great Orange Mussolini almost starting World War III…

It’s just…

I can’t…

It’s…

Like, why?

And how?

But why?

I just…

So yeahhhhh…listen, I can’t take another year of shit books AND shit humanity.

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It’s just not going to work for me. And my hopes are low that humanity is going to get its shit together, so that leaves me nothing but books. I’ve got to make some changes to find peace. I was in a reading slump for most of 2019, stuck with books I didn’t like and wasn’t motivated to pick back up. Because I wasn’t reading I was watching TV and somehow that always ends up with me watching the news (#AriMelber4Eva) and becoming stressed out, depressed.

The bad vibes are suffocating!

So, this is my year to DNF all the books that are stifling my good vibes and boring me into a slump. I need some positivity and escapism if we’re all going to die because of Trump, or the alt-right idiots or climate change. It doesn’t look like Greta Thurnberg is going to save us, but I appreciate that she’s trying.

Good Books Only 2020!

But let’s get back to 2019 and the few exceptions to the crap I read.

Not all of the books on my Top Five list were published in 2019, I just happened to read them that year. You know how it goes.


🔪Five. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Filed Under: 1-800-Kill-Kill-Kill

Back of the Book: Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…

My Fucking Thoughts: There was a lot of hype surrounding this book’s release, and for the most part, it was deserved. For a debut novel, it’s pretty impressive and I had a fun time reading it, so one eggplant up for Mr. Michaelides.

The plot is layered and gripping and the twist is quite clever. It was a hell of a first effort. Michaelides can really only get better from here. So, if you feel like giving a debut author a chance, this is recommended! Full review here.

🔪Four. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Filed Under: Just One More Chapter

Back of the Book: My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

My Fucking Thoughts: This story is written like the most diabolical onion you’ve ever encountered in your life. Every time you think you’ve peeled away a layer that will get you closer to the truth, it turns out that layer was a goddamn LIAR and you’re still fucking confused. And now you’re crying. Fucking onions! Full review here.

🔪Three. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Filed Under: Would Bang

Back of the Book: Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

My Fucking Thoughts: The plot was always moving which created a “thriller” like quality, but it was also quiet. It was deliberate and calm in its choices and I really appreciated the quiet precision with which this book operated.

In my humble-ish opinion, in order to love this book, you need to go into it not expecting to be “thrilled” but to have your mind and perceptions played with. Letting the elements of paranoia wash over you without ever expecting the jump scare that isn’t coming.

There are a lot of subtle moments of suspense – feelings of being watched, stalked, characters that are scared (without the dramatics.) It’s a cracker of a psychological thriller, with a heavy leaning on the psychological side, which I found so fascinating and engrossing that I finished this in just a couple of sittings over the weekend. Full review here.

🔪 Two. City of Windows (Lucas Page, #1) by Robert Pobi

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½ 

Filed Under: Setting Dopeness

Back of the Book: During the worst blizzard in memory, an FBI agent in a moving SUV in New York City is killed by a nearly impossible sniper shot. Unable to pinpoint where the shot came from, as the storm rapidly wipes out evidence, the agent-in-charge Brett Kehoe turns to the one man who might be able to help them–former FBI agent Lucas Page.

Page, a university professor and bestselling author, left the FBI years ago after a tragic event robbed him of a leg, an arm, an eye, and the willingness to continue. But he has an amazing ability to read a crime scene, figure out angles and trajectories in his head, and he might be the only one to be able to find the sniper’s nest. With a new wife and family, Lucas Page has no interest in helping the FBI–except for the fact that the victim was his former partner.

Agreeing to help for his partner’s sake, Page finds himself hunting a killer with an unknown agenda and amazing sniper skills in the worst of conditions. And his partner’s murder is only the first in a series of meticulously planned murders carried out with all-but-impossible sniper shots. The only thing connecting the deaths is that the victims are all with law enforcement–that is until Page’s own family becomes a target.

To identify and hunt down this ruthless, seemingly unstoppable killer, Page must discover what hidden past connects the victims before he himself loses all that is dear to him.

My Fucking Thoughts: Booknerds, you have to hear the words coming out of my metaphorical mouth right now: Robert Pobi is a firecracker writer! I’m beating myself up that I’ve not read him sooner. His prose are clever, colourful and unique, touched with subtle humour and personal opinions that elevate the novel to that often sought place in crime fiction – a place where the story feels human, not just dark and serious and unreal.

Honestly, everything about this was just extra as hell. Pobi’s writing is full of flare and snark and sparkle, but it does dance on the border of occasionally trying too hard to be edgy. His characters feel new and strange and so wonderfully crafted that they are basically real people.

I enjoyed the fuck out of this. Full review here.

🔪 One. No Exit by Taylor Adams

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Back of the Book: On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside, are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.

Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.

Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?

There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.

But who can she trust?

My Thoughts: Hands down, this is my favourite book of the year! Reading No Exit was an exercise in cinematic writing. I would honestly give this five stars just based on the writing skill alone, it was that seamless and riveting. This was so fun and so gripping, and deceptively linear. There is a clever, extra level to the plotting that made me literally GIDDY and that’s what bumps this up from a 4-star thriller, to a dope AF 5-star thriller. *air guitar solo* Wah-wahwwww-wahhw. Full review here.

You may have noticed that I only put one of my five-star reads on the list and that’s because the other two didn’t feel like they fit with that list, but they get an honourable mention in their own categories.

My Other ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐’s for 2019:

Short-Story: Hannah-Beast by Jennifer McMahon

Non-Fiction: Working Stiff – Two Years, 262 Bodies and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell


And that’s it! The choices have been made. I’m locked in.

Did you read any of these in 2019? Did you like them? Or do you think I’ve completely got my head up my ass?

Trick question! The answer is: A little bit of both.

Until next time, Booknerds…

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

Opening Hook: *DRINKS*

Main Character: Too old to have not dealt with high school horrors yet.

Plot Twisty-ness: Like 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 step-daughter 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.

Continue reading “Review: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson”