Review: Faithless – Karin Slaughter


Grant County #5

SYNOPSIS: The victim was buried alive in the Georgia woods–then killed in a horrifying fashion. When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver stumble upon the body, both become consumed with finding out who killed the pretty young woman. For them, a harrowing journey begins, one that will test their own turbulent relationship and draw dozens of life into the case.

For as Jeffrey and Sara move further down a trail of shocking surprises and hidden passions, neither is prepared for the most stunning discovery of all: the identity of a killer who is more evil and dangerous than anyone could have guessed. – via Goodreads

Karin Slaughter does not cease to amaze me at the rate she is able to tell a story, and the thought, research and character development that goes into it. Faithless might not (for me) have been as amazing as the others, but it is by no means less of a book, to be sure. The read barrels along and presents an interesting story, and gives the characters we have grown to love more to fight through, deal with, and develop more.

Jeffrey and Sara never seem to catch a break. These two fit, but I still feel that Sara is selfish and entitled when it comes to Jeffrey, and he constantly allows her that. I know he screwed up in their past, but it takes two for a marriage to get to that place. Anyway. Also, her superiority when snapping at Hare was so uncalled for, because she, too, would have done exactly the same thing. It’s almost as though she expects different treatment because it is her. Selfish.

Let’s not even forget to mention Lena when it comes to selfish. That woman has wrecked herself completely. Like for reals. I know she went through crap, but instead of coming out stronger, she has collapsed, and Ethan still plays a large part in all going on with her. I also wish she was better to Hank. They are more similar than she realises, and she really treats him like crap.

Once again, Karin Slaughter shows that she is not scared to deal with real issues, things that affect people more than credit is given. The story is fast paced and detailed, I would expect no less. More character flaws and details are released in this story, as well as epiphanies that are reached, and the simplicity of honesty and friendship is highlighted. All in all, a very solid novel that is definitely worthy of joining the ranks of its predecessors.


Review: The Confession – Jo Spain

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

SYNOPSIS: Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal? – via Goodreads

So the write up for this looked interesting when I skimmed it. I requested it, read some other books, then picked it on my reading list without remembering what it was about exactly, and man oh man, that was just so worth it. I was so hooked on this book and just wanted to know what was going on every step of the way. I wanted answers!

Spain sets up the story really well. We get this brutal crime, and from there we get three people reconstructing the story for us, from their own perspective. We read about JP from when he was a child and how his upbringing was, and it is quite something to read. Then there is Julie telling us about her marriage to her husband, the man so brutally and senselessly attacked by JP, and finally there is Alice, relentlessly pursuing the truth, desperately clawing at the crime to see how it all fits.

So the story is told in those three fragmented parts, each contributing to the story every step of the way. It is easy to pick up where you left off, as well as to see which character’s section you are reading, which is dead helpful. I appreciated how you never really get a sense of who has done what, and who is innocent, and who is wrong. Each character has their own reasons, their own flaws, their own idiosyncrasies, and the book blends them and blurs them all so well that you are on the fence the whole time, commiserating with a character one moment and condemning them the next.

Something that did irritate me endlessly, however, was the constant referencing of Julie’s tits. Not breasts, not ample chest, but tits, and this point was hammered in, as though this character was definitely purely by her tits. I don’t know, it got old and annoying really quickly, and just felt out of place in this the whole time.

The Confession is written well and flows, you just breeze through it, and just want to know what is going on because the pacing, too, is spot on. Not too much information too quickly, not too little too slowly, so you get just the right amount of satisfaction to keep you going back for more and more. I could highly recommend this read, and have no regrets for checking it out. I had an absolute blast with it, and found it super entertaining.

JB & The Chop Do: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

Peeps! It’s us! Again! So, following last week’s exploration of the movie that really gave rise to the crap that is found footage horror, we are going to explore the inevitable sequel this week. Well, how bad can it really be, right? Right? Hello? Anyone? Shit.

SYNOPSIS: A group of tourists arrive in Burkittsville, Maryland after seeing The Blair Witch Project (1999) to explore the mythology and phenomenon, only to come face to face with their own neuroses and possibly the witch herself. – via IMDB

Okay, so, hot on the heels of the unexpected (I am sure) success of The Blair Witch Project comes a *gasp* sequel. Seeing as the first one was not brilliant, but cost very little to make and gained crazy popularity, I suppose a sequel was not surprising. Also, it being shitty could also not have come as a shock. Okay, okay, that is a bit harsh. It is shitty, no doubt, but it could have been so much more offensive than it really was at the end of the day.

Upfront and honest in these reviews, right? Well, the best thing about this movie, without a doubt, was Marilyn Manson’s Disposable Teens and later on Rob Zombie’s Dragula. For reals, at least there was something good to listen to. The soundtrack overall is probably not too bad and the least offensive thing about this movie.

On to the actual movie. The performances! Dear lord, the performances! They were a particlar brand of wtf, not to mention the character logic. It astounded me immensely, and was beyond questionable, even for a horror movie. For example, if I miscarried, the last thing I would do would be to go stay at a stranger’s house. I would want my husband and home, comforts and all that. Not some random dumpy place in the bush and strangers. This is just one of the things that I was like erm… okay.

Our main peanut that we watch, good old Jeffery, is mad as a hatter. Like seriously, this guy has some issues, and we never get to see more about his cuckoo past, which is a disappointment. Actually, scratch that, is probably isn’t a disappointment, because I am sure they would have cocked that up to. Let’s not forget the sheriff. That character writing was hilarious. His phone call to Jeffrey and waving on TV? That was actual comedy gold, because… why?!

We have Wiccans and goths and “writers” out here, but it is all just… nope. It’s like every character in here was written purely from stereotypical conventions. Look, I get it was a budget movie and it was just a money grab and all of that, but have some self respect! Now, I must say, while it is bad, it certainly isn’t the worst movie I have watched. Let’s not forget that Eric and I continue to slog through the Amityville movies (I swear, there is no end in sight). If you don’t overthink this, it is just a sad, generic movie, but nowhere near as offensive as some. It is typical shitty sequel pulp. It could have been more, and Berlinger tried to make his own movie, using the concept of the Blair Witch and doing his own thing. Seriously, the opening for this movie made me think there was going to be more to it. I really liked it,  but it didn’t quite stick to that.

Oh, oh! Oh! How could I forget?! There was one true gem in this movie, which was the skit about how many Heather’s you would need to change a light bulb. Like I laughed, because it was so cheesy yet so totally fitting hahaha. Well played. I did like how the movie skipped between found footage and actual movie, so that it wasn’t all this disjointed shaky cam crap, but that does not save this or make it better. It was a concept that could have worked but instead it was just another scoop of awful to this… movie.

I think it is bad to watch this because yes, I am bitching about it being bad, and it is, but it is so offensive because it actually could have been something more. I see that there was a lot of studio meddling (surprise surprise) and I actually really liked the vision that Berlinger had and wanted to bring forward, because that would have actually made for a solid psychological thriller, and instead we got a shitty movie. There are moments where you can see what he wanted to do, and it is good. Like cut out all the random flash forward and back crap, and you can see the skeleton of what could have been. Oh well.

Okay, but forgetting the corny joke and the Manson and Zombie, Book of Shawdows is a typically messy, cheap cash grab, a practise which is yet to die out. Not the worst of the worst, but by no means a movie that you need to seek out. I think it might get a little more hate than necessary, too. It is not worth the eternal scorn I keep reading about. Seriously, guys, I know The Blair Witch was a big step for horror history, but it is not an amazing movie, either, so whoosa!

The year is 2000; we have all survived the media invented Y2K scare,  JB is like…. 8, we have AOL browsers, we have pay-porn on the computer, we’re all dying for something like MySpace or our own webpage, I’m still trying to rock a head full of long hair (think = fail) and they unleash this thing to a series of vile and cruel reviews by the newspaper and TV critics. IMDB has just started! Memories of whatsherface with snot coming out of her nose linger. I skip this because I don’t care and go on to other things. Life happens and I buy a house. My friend gets shot in the chest but survives and moves home and we smoke a lot of grass, drink tequila and we watch horror movies. Eventually this shows up on some cable channel, we watch it – fully sober (kidding) – and I say – “Well that wasn’t too bad….”

The year is 2017; even though my web presence is basically dormant, JB still keeps in touch. Now facing the nature of snow and ice after she moved, we discuss cold weather. We decide to report on three more movie franchises – say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!! This one is agreed upon first and the first movie sucks complete balls. See last week’s entry. I start watching this on HBO one day and it sucks so bad I can’t concentrate. Jeffrey Donovan is absolutely miserable (Note: I loved him in Fargo Season 2), I thought I liked Kim Director but she sucks here, the non-HD shaky cam is gross, there are enormous problems with the story and the sometimes-useful use of time trickery in film just doesn’t work.  This is not Memento.

I understand cash-grabs. I understand milking things for all that they’re worth. But, like my good friend once said, “if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a fucking pig.” This movie is the epitome of a pig with lipstick on. Here’s my spoiler summary: SUCK. This thing is both of those pictures of Donovan above…. red eyed and tired and then foaming at the mouth shitty.

I do agree with JB that there is a good story in there – but everything about this was bullshit. The acting, the dialogue, the script, the “Oh-shit-I’m-covered-in-scratches!-Me-too!” stupidness, that who-the-fuck-cast-that-guy-with-the-ponytail sheriff, the pitiful non HD footage (who can watch that on a 70 inch tv??), Donovan’s butt… nothing really worked for me here….

Because we do what we do and we do what we must and we do what we like and we like what we do, I have to be honest. I didn’t finish this fucker the second time around. By the time we got around to scheduling and writing about these things, this was no longer out on HBO and I was going to be damned if I rented this. I remember how it ended and I didn’t need a second go. So – am I being fair? I just typed the word ‘fart’… coincidence??  That sounds about right – this movie is a big fart, and not the good kind where you accidentally poot and sit down in it and it’s…. OK… this is a dog-fart-room-clearer…

I don’t really have anything else clever to say about this, not that I’m clever. I didn’t like much about it. I guess it wasn’t vile and wretched but I couldn’t get into it enough to finish it off a second time. To close out – here’s a butt for you. Enjoy! #butts

Review: The Notebook (2004)

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.”
– Noah

SYNOPSIS: A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences. – via IMDB

So I recently decided to give this movie another squizz, haven’t seen it since it came out pretty much, and I liked it well enough then. So I popped in the soppy romance and got watching, and for the most part, this is a pretty good romance (but seriously, OTT soppy, just putting it out there).

Like, I would love to just come here and be like “Ryan. Gosling.” and leave it at that, but I suppose I can say a few more things about it.

I much preferred watching the scenes between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams than the older couple – they had great chemistry and are just too beautiful to look at. The scenes between an old Allie and Noah are supposed to pack a bigger punch, but for me their scenes just felt a little off, and I am not sure why. They just didn’t flow as well as the scenes from earlier, though the message is still crystal clear.

The romance between Allie and Noah is not at all unheard of, but it is really nice to sit and watch them together. They have so little in common in a lot of ways, yet they work. They bring out the best and the worst in each other, but they love each other passionately, that cannot be denied. Watching Allie’s parents and their treatment of both their daughter and especially Noah makes me mad. So what if he is not rich? I am not saying this as a romantic or anything like that, but happiness really is about more than money (though let’s not even pretend that money can’t help you on the road to some happiness). Classism was definitely an issue in their relationship, but only on the outside. I burned with embarrassment to watch Noah have lunch at Allie’s family and be treated the way that he was, because that lacks class, and yet Allie is accepted with open arms in the “poor” house and not judged. Okay getting off this boat now.

I believe that Ryan Gosling was cast in this because he was relatively unknown (will give them that) and “not handsome”. Seriously, someone should have gotten their freaking eyes checked before they went that route. Dafuq? Most women see eye to eye with me on this one. I also had a good laugh watching this and thinking “pre Photoshop”. Man, Gosling really is gorgeous. But this is not a post all gushing about Gosling. But for the record, we love Gosling.

I am not really a fan of James Marsden (Cyclops, really), but man oh man, he is so good here, and I really liked him and found him to to be super sweet. Allie really did know how to pick them.

Ryan. Gosling. Really, that is all.

For what it is, The Notebook is a decent movie. Soppy as hell, but it’s a pretty decent watch. I definitely feel that my views on the movie have changed a lot more since I watched it when it first came out, when I was a young rugrat starting high school with no real concept of a relationship. The story has stuck with me since then, the main part of it, at any rate. I think this is definitely more in the chick flick category though!

Review: A Dark Mind – T.R. Ragan

Lizzy Gardner #3

SYNOPSIS: A serial killer is terrorizing Sacramento, preying on happily married couples and unleashing unspeakable cruelties upon his victims. The ordeal rekindles disturbing memories for private investigator Lizzy Gardner, who barely escaped a serial killer clutches only years ago. But while most Sacramento residents are hiding in the shadows, paralyzed by fear, Lizzy is compelled to go after the Lovebird Killer. So it no surprise that, when a routine workers- compensation case suddenly leads her and her two young assistants onto the killer trail, she welcomes the chase, determined to bring him to justice before he can claim another victim. She never imagines he could be two steps ahead, watching her every move and plotting his bloodiest, most triumphant conquest of all. – via Goodreads

You know what? This is the Lizzy Gardner book I have liked the most. Yes, it still had some hectic issues, but it was so much better than the previous two. For reals. The first two books were pretty bland, nothing special, though still not the worst things I had ever read, but enough to keep me wondering. Okay, I lie, the biggest reason I read this was because I thoroughly enjoyed the start of her new Jessie Cole series, what with Her Last Day. I was like why can’t the Gardner books be better? Well, it seems that they have started to go that way.

The Lizzy Gardner books still require you to suspend a lot of belief, but if you are okay with that, then it is okay. A Dark Mind introduces us to what I feel is the first compelling villain of this series – and he is truly not okay. He is obsessive and creepy and totally delusional, which makes him even harder to nail down. I enjoyed reading chunks of the book from his perspective, to get a look at what made him tick and how it was all put together.

Lizzie and Jared are still kicking it together, and while I like them together, I sometimes feel that the relationship doesn’t feel natural, sort of like it is there because it is expected to be there. Hayley is back in action after chopping off Brian Rosie’s nether regions, and her obsession with breaking rules and just hating the world is also really getting old. I liked her quite a bit in Abducted, I thought she had potential to be more, and instead, Ragan has even managed to alienate me as a reader, so nope, not winning. I enjoyed reading a bit about Tommy, though his character is starting to become (imagine this) a little bit unbelievable (like most parts of it all). Kitally is a new character that Ragan has introduced, and I am interested to see where this goes.

Anyway, A Dark Mind is the most solid read in the Lizzy Gardner series, and has convinced me to keep going with these books. It’s almost as though they get better as time progresses, which is not a bad thing at all. This book is flawed, certainly, but entertaining. The Lovebird Killer is also a character that pushes further than any of the weak (I know how bad that sounds) we have had so far. Alright, that’s all I have to say about that.

JB & The Chop Do: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Hello! Hola! Greetings! Salutations! That’s about all I know being from where I live and I am not a linguist. What’s the English one? Jolly good old cock? Or – “I am the Queen, let the Olympiad games begin.” ? In any case, Hi. Remember this movie? Remember the 2nd? Did you know there was a third and now a 4th (not released yet)? Did the first one scare the shit out of you? Did the 2nd suck as much ass as the population of Earth described? Did the third – by the guys that did “You’re Next” and “The Guest” – turn out all right?? When we get to the 4th will we want to harm ourselves???? Tune in over the next few weeks and find out!

Or else……..

SYNOPSIS: Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind. – via IMDB

I remember I saw this in the theater. I remember the theater had an attendant come in before the thing and tell us its been make people sick all day and to be warned. I remember seemingly liking it. I know that I’ve never watched it again because of the whole non-ending. Now I’m set to give it another go almost 20 years later. Let’s see what happens.

This has got to be one of the more irritating movies I’ve seen in some time. I’m about 45 minutes  in and nothing at all has happened except for a lot of nonsense screaming about nothing, bad improvised dialogue and  just some weird sounds offscreen that offer no value. I would think that any sensible human being, when hearing a noise in the bushes, would hunker down and prepare to fight and not run blindly screaming into the dark, cold woods where the sound is coming from. Plus, if I were any member of that trio, I would have told the other two to FUCK OFF and left long ago. And it’s not even in fucking HD.


AT 59 minutes in, Heather is screaming the word ‘Josh’ so loudly and so close to the camera’s microphone that it made me want to puke. I’m really starting to wonder why I’m doing this to myself.

Who hasn’t seen this movie? Do you want to? It’s not scary one bit. The shaky cam footage really is nauseating.  All three leads (the only three) are all cut-your-own-fucking-ears-off-and-eat-them shriek-y and scream-y. There’s no payoff at the end and everything that is supposed to frighten happens off screen.

I remember watching Blair Witch 2 at some point on video tape back in my old apartment. I remember being the only person in the United States that liked it. I remember looking at it a few years later here at home when I was drunk and stoned turnt wasn’t on anything and have vague memories of liking it again but i guess we’ll see soon!

Okay, well, here we are! I figured it was worth giving this a shot – you all know how much I absolutely adore fund pottage (and for those of you who don’t, please don’t miss my sarcasm), but I also know that this was something I watched quite a few times when I was younger. Back when it came out it was fresh and new and it’s popularity skyrocketed found footage into the limelight… unfortunately.

Found footage is not the easiest thing to watch – usually a really shitty camera, or a decent one, but there is so much movement going on your head spins and you don’t have all the time in the world to follow everything, and a lot of things get lost in the hurry and confusion. Me? I like things to come together deliberately. Now all of that aside, The Blair Witch Project still holds up pretty well. I mean it guys! It is still one of the better films in the genre!

Heather is an absolute bitch. She is headstrong and rude and egotistical to boot, and she is right all the time and can never be wrong and is so… no. She got on my damn nerves, and I got why Mike and Josh got so annoyed with her. They were in a super shitty predicament and not once would she acknowledge that, nor would she ‘fess up and take even one iota of responsibility for the shit storm.

Low budget and all of that, The Blair Witch Project definitely comes together in terms of the authenticity of the actors going to pieces out in the woods. Usually found footage can feel so… forced, and this did not feel more so than say, her having the camera out and irritating people. In fact, the movie did a pretty damn good job at not having the camera rolling all the time, major complaints when it was running more than was strictly necessary, and later a begrudging acknowledgement went out as to how it took some fear and panic out of the hopeless situation.

Now, it must be said that the movie is far longer than it absolutely needs to be. Like, way too long. It could have been half this length and probably told exactly the same story, which would have worked out far better, I reckon. Well, just some editing. Take this down to an hour. That’s a big thing with FF – it just drags on way longer than it should.

The Blair Witch Project is too long and way too screechy at times, but it is one of the better ones of the genre, flaws and all. I didn’t want to yank my teeth out, at any rate.

Review: Her Last Secret – Barbara Copperthwaite

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

SYNOPSIS: There are some secrets you can never tell.

The last thing to go through Dominique Thomas’s head was the image of her teenage daughter’s face and her heart lifted. Then the shot rang out.

They were the perfect family. Successful businessman Ben Thomas and his wife Dominique live an enviable life, along with their beautiful children; teenager Ruby and quirky younger daughter, Mouse.

But on Christmas Day the police are called to their London home, only to discover a horrific scene; the entire family lying lifeless, victims of an unknown assailant.

But when Ruby’s diary is discovered, revealing her rage at the world around her, police are forced to look closer to home for the key to this tragedy.

Each family member harboured their own dark truths – but has keeping their secrets pushed Ruby to the edge of sanity? Or are there darker forces at work? – via Goodreads

Okay, so this one was something that I went back and forth on. I was interested, but I was also frustrated with the pacing of it, as well as the slew of characters and the rate the reveals were put forth. Not because it was agony to wait for the next reveal, but because there was a bit of drag between things. That being said, Her Last Secret is not a bad read.

There are an array of characters, and you are introduced to each one and their struggles, and get a clear look at how communication could have made such a difference here. Ruby suffers extreme bullying at the hands of her school peers and only has her boyfriend Harry to prop her up, and resents her parents for not seeing there is something wrong. Dom is dealing with Ben cheating on her, and is so fixated on that and wrapped up in it and keeping her family going she is missing everything. Ben is a cheating dweeb who is so wrapped up in stroking his ego by having a mistress and proving to the world he is so important. The only person who might not know exactly what is going on but is more aware of the distance and issues between people is Amber, the youngest.

All the characters have their own secrets, and all of these come together to paint a bigger picture at the end of the day, and it is an interesting one. The book flips between the lead up to Christmas day and the events of Christmas day. This works, but sometimes you totally forget that there is a flip back to Christmas day, so when it happens it is rather jarring.

Her Last Breath is a decent read and has a pretty good story to it. You can see the innocence of youth, the desperation and powerless of it, too, as well as the issues that come up when you are an adult. I like that it deals with a lot of themes, and it handles them well. While the writing sometimes frustrated me in terms of laying things out, I was certainly engaged. The final third of the book definitely barrels along and finally ties everything together and it does smoothly. I thought this was worth the read.