“It was all sandcastles built on the shoreline by someone who’d forgotten that sand was just another kind of dirt.”
Del Rey Books | 2022
Filed Under: Good for her.
Well, this novel is a weird little gem.
I don’t know what I was expecting from a plot centring around a new virus – five years after covid – that turns people into mindless, murderous violent monsters and a mother who joins a new wrestling… group? Organization? Federation? What is the correct term for a wrestling thing? Whatever, the point is this is oddball, heartfelt and violent in equal measure and I totally dug it.
Chelsea is married to David. David is a controlling, gaslighting, abusive piece of absolute shit. When the virus – named the Violence – starts spreading with rapid and deadly results, Chelsea devises a way out, but between her two children and her emotionally abusive rich-bitch mother, things don’t go exactly as planned.
This novel has a wild and original plot that takes so many unpredictable turns with vibrant scenes and satisfying prose. I was bewildered by the kooky moments mixed in with the uncomfortably real ones, but was also on the edge of my seat the entire time.
It’s all “what the actual fuck” vibes but in a good way.
But be warned, a massive content warning is needed for domestic violence and animal death.
Continue reading “Review: The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson” →
St. Martin’s Press | 2022
Filed Under: Men as demon dogs
I don’t think this necessarily accomplished what it was trying to accomplish, but as a feminist witch, I appreciate the effort.
It just needed more cowbell.
…or maybe less cowbell.
It needed more cowbell and less cowbell, simultaneously.
For one, the horror in this was way too understated, and at times, put on the back burner. And the soapbox aspects read like the author wanted to beat me over the head with how shit men can be. And like, I totally get it and I agree.
But the themes of women being judged, belittled, condescended to and dismissed by men tended to drown out the actual narrative for me, which was supposed to be about a spooky evil killer known only as the Cur who was ripping obstinate young woman into meat threads.
The author clearly has strong opinions that they wanted to turn into social subtext to add meaningful depth to the plot, but it could sometimes be less subtext and more screaming street preacher, you know what I mean?
Like, balance is all I’m looking for, so give me more horror and murder alongside the man-hating.
Continue reading “Review: Such A Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester” →
“He fears me because he is small. I will not meet him there. I will not shrink myself down to his size, or anyone else’s, for their comfort. For their appeasement.”
Berkely Books | 2021
Filed Under: Feminist Witch Bitch Lit
Don’t let the synopsis and marketing for this book fool you. This is not horror. This is not a thriller. This is a cozy semi-mystery with Gilmore Girls meets Practical Magic vibes and a feminist tilt.
While I might have been expecting horror initially, I adjusted my expectations and ended up really liking this. It’s fucking cute and reads like Rachel Harrison has found her writing niche with this novel.
I really liked Harrison’s first novel, The Return. That was definitely horror but with a heavy female-friendship theme that propelled the plot. Cackle follows in those footsteps, but abandons horror for delightful supernatural elements, like the friendly, top-hat-wearing spider that sleeps under a little blanket at night.
Continue reading “Review: Cackle by Rachel Harrison” →
“He wasn’t afraid of me…That was his first mistake.”
Gallery/Scout Press | 2020
Filed Under: A stress ball shaped like balls.
You’ll have to excuse me – I’m coming off of a conversation today where I learned some very disturbing things about two friends of a friend who are both going through new separations from their husbands. When I tell you both of these ladies are being emotionally abused and mistreated by pieces of TRASH – ugh. So anyway, my feminist rage is absolutely chaotic at the moment and that might come out in this review.
Why? Because this novel is a dark, feminist revenge fantasy and it was amazing.
It’s Dexter meets Hard Candy meets Thelma and Louise.
I fucking loved it. Let’s drive over the cliff, baby! But let’s kill some fucking sexist bastards before we go!
If that sounds like your kind of thing, please read this novel. It’s deeply satisfying.
“Killing a man is so much more satisfying than fucking a man could ever be.”
Scarlett Clarke is an English professor at Gorman University by day, and by night she’s a serial killer. So fun. We all need hobbies. Much like Dexter, Scarlett only targets those that she believes deserve to be murdered – however much someone can deserve to be murdered is an abstract moral question that we just do not have time to get into around here. I have things to do.
Continue reading “Review: They Never Learn by Layne Fargo” →
Berkley | 2020
Filed Under: Hopeful, despite the rotted teeth
This was definitely interesting. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but that isn’t a bad thing this time. It’s a novel I won’t soon forget and the catalyst for my decision to not read horror novels involving teeth for the rest of my fucking life. Thank you very much.
This is hard to review because it’s essentially a spoiler minefield from beginning to end, but I’ll do my best to explain why you should read this book if you’re looking for, what I’m calling, Girls’ Weekend Horror.
Honestly, I didn’t hate this. I might have actually really liked it. I think my expectations were tempered by the abundance of disappointed reviews I came across before I ever cracked this one open – and by cracked open, I mean swiped open because #netgalley. I get some of the criticisms, but for me, I had a good time. And I wasn’t even high!
Continue reading “Review: The Return by Rachel Harrison” →
“Nothing says “fuck off” like eyeliner as dark and heavy as my soul.”
Razorbill | 2018
Filed Under: Wiccans do it better.
FINALLY! It’s been 84 years… Okay, no it’s only been like four or five, but it’s true! I have FINALLY found a YA novel that I genuinely LOVED.
Thank you, Lily Anderson. It’s been a fucking struggle to get here, just like the old woman from the Titanic.
This novel is part murder mystery, part witchy supernatural fun, and part teen drama but with none of the cheesy dialogue or after-school special bullshit that is usually the reason I’ve disliked every YA novel I’ve tried to read.
There’s none of that here. This is mature in the writing, appropriate for teens but not annoying to adults. It has relatable plot points for every reader, with a mystery element that takes the spotlight instead of things like “we held hands once, are we dating now?”
This is a passionate, fun, interesting and original YA story that everyone should be reading. Maybe everyone already has and I’m late to the party, but still, read it!
Continue reading “Review: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson” →
Ayoooo! It’s about to get a little political/feminist up in here, nerds! So, if you prefer your book bloggers to be 100% book-talk all the time and to never express opinions beyond that, or if you’d rather not ruin our relationship on the chance that we have differing opinions on sensitive subject matter, then consider this your five second warning…
5, 4, 3, 2…
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m opinionated. Unapologetically so. Does that mean I never change my position? Of course not.
I like facts and logic and statistics, and using judgement, to reach a position of opinion or principal. And if new information comes along that can tweak that position, then I duly take that into consideration. I don’t come to conclusions based on emotions, but rather on what’s the most rational..
That said, I don’t respond well to people who have no logical reasoning to back up their opinions, who instead choose to function from a place of emotion or, in some cases, religious belief.
“I don’t like LGBTQ people because the bible…!!”
SHUT. UP. You don’t like or condone, or give respect or just basic human decency, to a whole group of human beings because of… magic?
Continue reading “Opinion: Banning Abortion Doesn’t Stop Abortion” →
Flatiron Books | 2019
Filed Under: Pool cues and brass knuckles
I was committed and ready, and completely open, to falling head over heels in love with Nikki Griffin, bookseller and badass P.I. with some serious anger issues.
But, unfortunately, this didn’t totally live up to everything I wanted it to be. Call it a victim of my high expectations if you want, but I found this to be a just okay, middle-of-the-road thriller.
The star highlight for me is the main character of Nikki Griffin. I think she was complicated but real. She came with a dark backstory and a closed-off, tough-as-nails personality that didn’t slip away the moment she met a guy. For being a novel written by a man, I was pleased to find she didn’t talk about how her nipples felt or looked at any moment, since that seems to be a thing male writers are typically preoccupied with when writing female leads. Any comments that she made about her body seemed to me to be in relation to men looking at her and their sexual thoughts, and were less about sexually describing herself.
The way Nikki is introduced is pretty canon the whole way through the novel. She likes privacy, but she’s not dead inside. She keeps things close to the chest, but isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with the people she trusts. She’s strong, smart and professionally violent. All things I probably am, but just way less cool about it. Like, I daydream about breaking a man’s arm for hitting a woman, but really I just eat cookies about it.
Continue reading “Review: Save Me From Dangerous Men (Nikki Griffin, #1) by S.A. Lelchuk” →
“I’d heard it before, of course, usually from my mother. A nasty, cold-blooded, selfish, grasping, uppity, ungrateful goddamn little bitch. And I know that to be true. I could feel the coldness in my own veins.”
Lake Union Publishing | 2018
Filed Under: Your new best sociopathic friend #4eva.
I really really liked this.
On the surface, it’s the story of a woman hellbent on revenge for the suicide of her best friend, Meg. Her target: Meg’s abusive ex-boyfriend, Steven.
Jane leaves her expensive high-powered lawyer life in Kuala Lumpur behind and moves to Minneapolis, giving herself a month or so to infiltrate Steven’s life and make him wish he’d never been born.
LIKE OMG SO FUN.
That’s the basic idea of the novel. And already I know you’re thinking, “I’ve always wanted to change my identity and ruin someone’s life. Revenge is the best. Sign me up.”
But when you look past the surface, when you go a little bit deeper, you see that this is actually a novel of patriarchy-smashing awesomeness, as well as a giant middle finger to the hypocrisy of Evangelical Christians.
And that last part just feels so right it turned me on a little bit.
Continue reading “Review: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone” →