The Wife Who Knew Too Much? Debatable

First off massive thank you to St Martins Press for the ARC copy in exchange for my honest review. The Wife Who Knew Too Much is now available to buy at all bookstores and online!

The Wife Who Knew Too Much should actually be pluralized because there seems to be general confusion surrounding handsome but possibly lethal Connor Ford. Connor is currently married to Nina who is a hotshot working at Levitt Global. Despite everything that Nina has she mysteriously takes her own life soon after Connor reignites his relationship with his high school sweetheart Tabitha. When Connor brings his old high school sweetheart Tabitha back into the mix as his new wife she’s absolutely ecstatic but Tabitha soon realizes as she gets closer to Connor everything might not be as wonderful as it seemed.

A really nicely paced thriller, The Wife Who Knew Too Much suffers from too much romance and too many naive characters. Rather than the Wife Who Knew Too Much it feels like The People Who Think Too Little. A beach read through and through Campbell’s latest work isn’t going to surprise you but like an action film it’s enjoyable to experience. My issues stemmed from Tabitha particularly blindly turning an eye to every issue that arose to simply progress the plot. Red flags aren’t just present they litter nearly every page but she continues forward with little regard for anything. However the issues don’t bog down the fact the plot did progress quickly enough that it took my mind off my worries for a few hours and kept me invested. If you’re not wanting to suspend too much disbelief though this won’t be the story for you. It’s something to snuggle up with and breeze through.

Giving it a 3 star because I enjoyed the pacing so much. Campbell’s style is enjoyable enough to read despite its flaws.If you enjoy stories ala Gillian Flynn and Ruth Ware you’ll enjoy this book

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Florence: Better film or game?


Florence Yeoh has a daily routine akin to most modern 20 somethings: get up, brush her teeth, like some tweets, go to work, and come back home.  This quotidian routine continues unhindered until one day she meets a cellist in a park named Krish. What starts out as a simple passing encounter soon turns into a life together and inevitably as life tends to do a new life apart from each other.

It’s a story that has been told many times before, but it’s a story that a lot of us have experienced. That initial spark of love that fizzles out into darkness leading to something unknown is displayed beautifully and while I enjoyed it, it feels more like a short animated film than a game.florence2

Developed by Australia’s team Mountains, created by Ken Wong who is famously known as the leader designer for Monument Valley, this was originally released as a mobile game. I played the Steam port on my stream. Florence is listed as an “interactive story” and it’s yet another example of how the definition of that genre is being redefined. A quick search determines several different variations of the phrase ranging from your choices changing a predetermined fate to simply interacting with a piece in any function. Yes, Florence is interactive in actions that the player can complete (brushing teeth or liking tweets) but your choices don’t really determine anything. The ending is set so regardless of how you play it will end the same and after a bit it feels like your choices just don’t really matter much.

For example there is a mechanic where you piece together conversational bubbles to progress the story but even this is more of a formality. You’re simply along for a movie. And maybe this is part of the experience. A symbol of the futility that one can feel in life being unable to really affect change and simply having to go with the flow sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed the experience and I think the story is wonderfully told but I honestly felt like a third party intruding. Lately games have been milking their interactivity but at what cost. What does having a player do to your game? And does it really enhance the experience? I honestly feel that watching Florence’s life and love unfold from an outside perspective rather than forcing myself into the experience would’ve been more poignant and powerful. Instead I’m thrust in to the scene myself to arrange things in the game that just makes the experience feel forced to me.

The functionality of mobile games can be limiting and so I have to take that into account when saying that the gameplay is lacking. I know that could be a hindrance, but I don’t know if that is the case why it was ported. 


The art style and the soundtrack are what drive this game. The artistic style of Florence is very original and very stunning. It’s that perfect blend of simplicity with a purpose that drives home feelings with its use of color and shapes. I was immersed and honestly loved watching it unfold. The soundtrack provides that perfect counterbalance to moments and with Krish being a cellist is incredibly important. No voice acting is in the game so it is told through dips and swells in the music.

This would’ve been a solid 10 for me as a short film, but it’s a near miss as a game. I have to give it a 7 because it just didn’t feel like there was much there to “play.” If you’re looking for a pure visual novel experience that involves love and its heartbreaks this is the game for you and at 6 bucks on Steam it’s a steal.

Check it out here


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Hippity Hoppity: Frog Detective Reviewed


I played both the Haunted Island, a Frog Detective game and Frog Detective 2 back to back. Yes, I was so enthusiastic to see where this series hopped to I couldn’t contain myself. Also they’re pretty short at about 2-3 hours a pop.

Both stories are children’s book-esque adventures that follow the details of an intrepid frog detective. You’re being chosen to solve these mysteries not because you’re the best detective out there…sadly you’re chosen because the all powerful Lobster Cop is unavailable. So you’re basically Steven Seagal when they wanted Jackie Chan. You’re competent at solving mysteries though and are determined to figure out whatever comes your way.

The stories are pretty comical, no CSI style crimes here. The first is simply the question of whether there is a paranormal presence on an island, hence the haunted island title. The second follows who trashed a town square and why. They are not going to break your brain, and in all honesty both games are visual novels with fairly formulaic outcomes. You’ll talk to a series of residents, find some hidden items, and carry on with your day.

Your trusty magnifying glass that allows you to zoom into objects and “investigate” them is more for appearance than anything. You’ll rarely need to do more than walk around with the WASD keys and some mouse clicks. These are very linear point n clicks with few deviations from the formula.


The simplicity of the formula for these games though does not detract from their fun. These are quirky farcical little gems that make you forget about your worries and just play. Something that is super admirable right now. They’re fully aware of what they are and often break through the fourth wall to let the player know that they can laugh at themselves.

The imagery and sounds of the game really make it pop. The characters have no voices, but the soundtrack composed by Dan Golding is a smooth jazz wonderland. It really makes it feel like it’s trying to evoke the spirit of Raymond Chandler style noir into this cell shaded comic. The art style is also incredibly cute and perfectly matches the ambiance of the game. It just pulls you in and the time flew by while I was playing.

Grace Buxner has really created a marvelously simple and cute universe. If you’re a fan of games like Animal Crossing but want a more linear storyline you’ll enjoy these.

You can buy both games here.

8/10 for both

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Kyle McCarthy’s Toxic Beautiful Masterpiece


Please bear with me while I gush, but “Everyone Knows How Much I Love You” is probably one of the best things I’ve read in a few years. This is a particularly astonishing achievement for a debut novel. It’s a gripping read that delves into obsession, greed, self-loathing, betrayal, and friendship. Once I had started reading I had trouble tearing myself away. A welcome addition to the character studies of unreliable narrators that feels like Single White Female meets Nabokov.

Rose and Lacie were friends in their youth until one fateful night in high school where Rose changes everything. It’s that moment in a friendship that tears you from the other person shining a blacklight over them to reveal all the seedy flaws in their character.

Rose is our troubled protagonist, a 30 year old hopeful writer trying to get her debut novel published. It just so happens that very novel details the betrayal she committed in her adolescence. When Portia a publisher says that she’s almost finished with her masterpiece Rose travels to New York and while there finds Lacie convincing her to rekindle their friendship.

After some forceful persuasion, Lacie allows Rose back into her life in a major way allowing her to move in to her house rent free while Rose tutors wealthy children as a side job. It’s a very altruistic olive branch but the friendship takes a dark turn into obsession quickly. As Rose sets her eyes on Lacie’s boyfriend and her life, what will she be willing to do to be close to Lacie. Does Rose simply want to be her only friend or does she want to be her?

McCarthy delves into that line between friendship, envy, and obsession as well as what kind of love you feel for someone. She deftly handles a plot that in lesser hands could’ve have fallen in a pile of trivial novels on betrayals and toxicity in female friendships. A hot topic these days.  Does Rose love her as a friend or something more? Is she simply a pawn in a dangerous game of power for her? While definitely 100% unhinged Rose has aspects of lucidity that allow her to convince herself of actions that we can easily see real humans doing.

The writing is utterly breathtaking. It flows almost as fluidly as the water frequently mentioned throughout. What struck me the most is the vivid imagery that McCarthy conjures for us with passages depicting things like silence passing between individuals as “honey from a spoon.” Symbolism and parallelism are frequently used as well to show us deeper insight into Rose’s individual character or lack thereof. Pay attention to small things throughout, even the fruit flies, as they play important roles in the storytelling. It’s as if McCarthy is weaving a puzzle that we have to piece together as we go.

Descriptions in the novel are not always metaphorically told though. Some are very graphic and fair warning some of the sexual encounters in this book are not only graphic but are BDSM so if you like modesty this may not be your cup of tea. Vanilla is not the flavor for this book. I usually do not enjoy any kind of sexual exploits in my novels, if I enjoy something from the romance genre it’ll be Jane Austen. Keep your corsets on is my go to however I believe the scenes in this book that are a bit over the top exist within the novel for a reason. They’re a glaring Michael Bay style flare to what is going on.

There were twists and turns I did not see coming although the majority of the book is more of a slow journey than anything. The cover and some of the more negative ARC reviews had me wondering about this novel but I am so thrilled I got a chance to read it. It’s definitely up my alley and I am highly recommending it with a perfect score.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine for the advanced copy.

Buy the book on June 23rd, 2020!!

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The Apartment by K.L. Slater: Reviewed


Freya Miller is approached by a mysterious stranger at her local Starbucks with an offer she can’t refuse. Put her terrible past behind her, and start fresh in a new apartment with her daughter Skye at 1/3 the price of its usual rent. Pretty quickly strange happenings begin occurring though: Skye thinks she sees people, Freya hears noises, and the neighbors aren’t exactly normal. Freya swiftly learns the apartment of her dreams might actually be the stuff of her nightmares.

A fast paced thriller that explores the depths of desperate optimism and fear I devoured this read. The characters of Freya and Skye are incredibly likable and you root for them throughout. Their deep and troubled background keeps you guessing with lots of twists and turns. Slater clearly spent a lot of time creating fully realized characters to place in the world.

However I did have a few issues with the book. There are several subplots that seem like they are just thrown into the pot for no reason. The ending also felt a bit rushed, but the main issue I had with the book were the character’s reaction to the situations occurring. You know the saying when life hands you lemons you make lemonade? Well when life hands you a rent controlled apartment you make excuses apparently, which is what Freya does. Throughout the book Freya must make decisions that simply do not make sense to advance the story which can be a bit maddening at times since the character’s backgrounds are so painstakingly crafted.

Overall if you’re a fan of thrillers with a psychological bent this is right up your alley. It’s also an extremely fun and breezy read that I would recommend for a late night thrill. Very similar to Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn style mysteries. Special thanks to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK, and K.L. Slater for my copy!

This was my first Advanced Readers Copy of a book and I’ve always wanted to do this so I was massively excited to receive a copy. I cannot express enough how amazing the experience was!!


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Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks): Reviewed

stacks1*I had the pleasure of receiving a review copy of this game. What follows is my unbiased opinion of it. *

Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks) is honestly one of the best games I’ve played in 2020. It’s that perfect blend of innovative, simple, and effective. The premise is that a series of blocks fall from the sky of varying shapes and sizes that you must stack to reach a specific height. The Tetris god must have gotten bored and branched out into 3D. It’s reverse Jenga but if you’re a Twitch streamer there is a twist.


The game features a neat Twitch integration that allows your viewers to interact with the game, and let’s be honest try to mess you up as much as possible. This internet f**kery takes place in the form of mini-games that are periodically voted on by your chat. The mini-game that has the most votes occurs and you flail accordingly.

Usually Twitch integrations can get old after awhile because of the spamming, but these never did. They also got the chat very hype about them which serves their purpose well. This can be difficult when you have a smaller chat because people have seen the mini-game and don’t want to see it over and over. So regardless the size of your stream this is a great feature. The game itself has an incredible sense of wonder to it as well as variety. There are several different areas to unlock and each area has a different type of stacking challenge within it. All the ones I played have a timer that counts down to your inevitable doom. Once you complete a stage you can knock over your creation Miley Cyrus style with a big ol’ wrecking ball which is a nice touch.


Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks) is something you don’t see too often these days. A fun and somewhat relaxing game that’s just sheer joy. With everything going on these days I highly recommend it to get your mind off things and just have a bit of fun.

There were a few bugs but nothing too terrible, and the dev said they are correcting those issues. I loved this game, and wholeheartedly think you will as well.


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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing and Doom came out at the same time, so the emo and the child inside me got to duke it out. Many congratulations bestowed upon the child for throwing such an emotional tantrum that the emo went to its room so we could fish and frolic all day without them.

I’ve tried to fill the gaping hole in my spirit with the likes of Happy Home Designer and Pocket Camp during the Animal Crossing 8 year long gap. It just wasn’t the same though, it’s like dating someone who just looks like the person you previously dated. They are not the same person and they never will be.


So what’s the verdict? Was it worth the wait? I’ve been on the fence so long that honestly it’s starting to hurt my butt. There are things I love about New Horizons (looking at you museum <3) and there are things that make me want to throw my Switch across the room.

If you’re unfamiliar with the plot of Animal Crossing you are forced to work for a raccoon named Tom Nook who takes all of his business practices from Jeff Bezos. You are given an opportunity to partake in Nook’s “Deserted Island Getaway Package”, but never fear you don’t have to get your own Wilson. You can use bells you cultivate from fishing and other menial labor across the island to build your house and the structures of your community. You also get to learn about a life in sales by traveling to far off islands to find mystery villagers that you convince to come live on your settlement. Preston Garvey would be proud.

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Now one thing to bear in mind is Animal Crossing takes place in real time so whatever your Switch is set to is the game time and if the game says something takes a day it will. Which means if you want to see all the games features you’ll have to either time travel your Switch via its calendar or be incredibly patient. So far I have just been letting everything play out but this can become tedious when you’re trying to move or build out large sections of your island.
I enjoy this game, a lot. Don’t get me wrong. So let’s go over some of the things I like before things get harsh. I adore the museum. If I die, bury me in the virtual butterfly garden. I adore the villagers they chose, there are 420 choices but everyone I’ve met I’ve felt nothing but good vibes towards. The graphics are phenomenal and the items are super great. I’m building a library and a comedy club in my house and I couldn’t be happier. So if I love all these what’s wrong? Well mostly gameplay mechanics and multiplayer as well as events.

Multiplayer is Nintendo multiplayer. They’ve been vaguely told what multiplayer games are but they don’t know how to pull it off. Every time someone comes to your town you’re treated to a rather cute minute or more long video of them arriving at your airport….every time. When you have more than 6 people arriving you will not be able to move or do anything, enjoy the weird out of context Lynch movie you’re about to sit through. Once there you’ll quickly discover there just isn’t much to do. Chase each other with nets, visit the locals, and then head home so it’s basically visiting someone who lives in Indiana.

Crafting is another big issue. The crafting itself is enjoyable and a nice incentive to gather various items other than to sell back to deal with your ever growing debt. The issue emerges from the fact you can’t craft more than one item at once and you have to go through every prompt for each item. This is a time sink that is soooooo long. Also when customization enters the field enjoy leaving the bench to re-approach for customization. These menu style choices plague the airline as well where it feels like you’re taking a standardized test to get to where you need to go.


Finally we have the biggest looming threat to the game’s enjoyability, events. Easter and a fishing tourney were fast upon us soon after the game’s release and the fishing tourney itself wasn’t terrible but it was exactly the same style as bunny day. Oh god, the horror of Bunny Day. We shall tell our children of the 12 days where the land, sea, and sky were filled with the eggs of a horrific entity known only as Zipper. I hated this event with a passionate fire in my soul and it made me play less frequently for sure. Why bother when half of the items I receive are going to end up being eggs forcing me to craft objects only to immediately sell them? I don’t look good in eggshell clown pastels.

Please oh lord Nintendo hear us and fix some of these issues with DLC enhancements. Otherwise I fear that this won’t have as much lasting power as Stardew Valley because the grind is far too real for too little payoff. There needs to be more balancing, more genuine engagement, and less menu speeding through.

After all these major complaints I’m still giving the game a 7. In difficult times it has provided an outlet for us all to come together and play, for that I will give it major kudos. And it has been a major outlet of positivity and kindness. I’ll be seeing you on the island and I’ll be seeing Zipper in hell.


-Cute and fun
-It’s Animal Crossing, a classic


-Real time

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Shapeshifting Ain’t Easy

Wales Interactive staff answered the question that has been on all our minds. What if you crossed Columbo with Mystique from X-men? What would happen? I know it has kept me up at night so I’m glad that I can finally rest peacefully.

The Shapeshifting Detective has kind’ve a giveaway in the title. In case you were wondering what you do in the game well….you’re a Shapeshifting Detective. It’s a mystery FMV with a twist that allows you to have the ability to see and hear conversations normally blocked to you.


Practicing social distancing 101

Dorota Shaw has been murdered. You’ve been tasked by the local detective to interrogate people that may have connections to the crime. The three prime suspects are a group of travelling tarot readers who predicted her death and they aren’t saying anything to outsiders. Thankfully you don’t have to be an outsider since you can become anyone you want. You swiftly discover that there could be more victims to come in the sleepy town of August and you’re their only hope of survival.

The acting is the biggest draw to Shapeshifting Detective. Wales is the foremost maker of FMV titles right now and they keep getting better as they go along. You may recognize some of the actors like Rupert Booth who are prominently featured in other FMV’s.

The sound design is the second biggest draw to the game. Wales has created a real ambience with the tonal quality of the soundtrack as well as the radio performances given. The interesting thing about these performances is that they feature content creators such as Laceya Finley and Jesse Cox as well as former FMV star Chris Jones who played Tex Murphy. This is just a sampling there are several others who can be heard as well.

The story and concept are engaging but ultimately feel a little repetitive as you progress through the game. Cycle through each person, interview everyone else, then rinse and repeat. It’s definitely an enjoyable experience though with plenty of twists that will leave you guessing. Its run time is decent for an indie FMV, I got two sittings at about 5 hours for one playthrough which makes it very stream worthy. Unlike a lot of FMV’s it continues in the Wales tradition of being very interactive.

If you’re interested in delving into FMV’s this is a good choice.

-Good acting
-Decent story
-Great ambience

-A bit repetitive







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November – December 2019 Reading Highlights

Completed my Goodreads book challenge goal in 2019 of reading 35 books! Actually read a total of 43, but some are best left forgotten. Below are my top picks for the last two months of that shockingly longgggg year:

The Library of the Unwritten
by A.J. Hackwith


Reason for Reading: Loved the concept of the book

“A lie. A dream. Good stories are both.”

I came across the Library of the Unwritten from a Goodreads recommendation and instantly fell in love with its description. The story follows Claire who is the Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing, a neutral space in Hell’s domain that houses all the works never finished by writers. When stories become restless from residing too long in the wing they can materialize and try to escape, which means Claire must go and find them as well as restore their books as escaping causes damage to the volumes.

When Claire goes after what seems like a usual “Hero” character simply trying to find its author, she gets more than she bargained for.

This is one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in recent years, particularly in the young adult genre. It’s witty, captivating, and tense. Usually I can see a lot of the turns coming in these types of books, but even when I did that here I didn’t care. I cannot wait to read the rest and hope that Hackwith can keep their momentum for however long the series lasts.

Its sequel the Archive of the Forgotten should be out in October 2020.

A Ladder to the Sky
by John Boyne


Reason for Reading:  November BOTM pick (previous release that I chose instead)

“Perhaps it would be a good idea if everyone just stopped writing for a couple of years and allowed readers to catch up.”

Ladder to the Sky follows the story of Maurice Swift, a man driven solely by ambition. All Swift cares about is becoming a world renowned author believing that fame will make him immortal. It will leave an indelible mark on history and make him important like all the writers he so loves. The thing is Maurice is already loved, he is the apple of everyone’s eye being beautiful and mysterious. He catches the eye of one writer Erich Ackermann who pours his life story into Maurice. Which Maurice then takes and makes into a novel called “Two Germans.” You find this out from a section told by Ackermann, and each section of the book is told by one of Swift’s “victims.” An individual who knew Swift and was somehow wronged by him.

Boyne really delves into a story about a man who is willing to stop at nothing to get what he wants, but can’t be truly satisfied by what he gets. Maurice has a way with words, but he has no creativity. No stories, no ideas, nothing flows from his mind. Everything that he writes has to be gotten from other sources, and that writers block forces him to make excuses for whatever behavior he exhibits. Yet Boyne makes no excuses for his behavior, he simply shows us it.

It’s a comic novel with lots of depth that drags you in and keeps you wanting more. I won’t sugar coat that there are several sections that I felt dragged or could’ve been cut. Of the three books highlighted it’s definitely the weakest, but even being the weakest it packs a punch.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin


Reason for Reading: Recommended to me

“We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.”

This easily became one of my favorite books of all time. A.J. Fikry’s wife passed away and he’s running a failing bookstore in a small town on Alice Island. One evening a precious copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Tamerlane” goes missing from his home, and soon after a young girl is left in his stacks in its place.

Originally A.J. thinks of giving her up, but soon decides that this is his chance for something more and the rest is left to be discovered. The book just breezes by. The dialogue is stellar, the prose just flows like water. Zevin has a way of showing a love of books and a love of those we care about in a way that I haven’t seen in a long time. I finished this book in a day and that rarely happens with me. It’s entertaining, but it’s content is so deep.

Check all these out! I think they’re definitely worth your time! Hoping to do some more in-depth book reviews soon and will catch you up on my January/February reads soon as well.


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Man of Medan Review

The Dark Pictures is Supermassive’s attempt at a B movie anthology series you can play. I know, I’m excited too and most importantly it did not disappoint. Man of Medan is the first installment in the series, but you may be struck by the similarities in style to their first game Until Dawn. Particularly the uncanny valley realism of the characters, as well as their choice system.


Man of Medan begins by introducing you to the Curator played by Pip Torrens. They request your assistance in making choices in order to finish the story of 5 intrepid individuals going on an underwater dive for a WWII plane wreck. His first mistake is coming to me to make choices, but that is neither here nor there. As long as nobody asks where we should eat I try to sit comfortably and maintain my cool.They simply need to be saved from the usual difficulties on the sea, ghosts and pirates. Push down your traumatic fear young hero as this will not end up like a group project where you do all the work, and accept your fate.

Unless you dig the group project vibe in which case I have great news for you. Dark Pictures allows online co-op where you and a friend can destroy people’s lives together. It’s called bonding and it worked for Regina George.


I will admit I was not a huge fan of Until Dawn, while I admired what it tried to do it just didn’t suck me in with its kitchen sink writing. Man of Medan was not the same, I adored it. It was fun, it had just the right amount of B movie charm, and I cannot wait for the next in the series. It feels like Supermassive really discovered their stride with this installment.

The only problem I had was while the game mechanics are fun, they can be glitch-tastic at times. There were several choices that were decided for me because I could not complete the QTE. My chat confirmed that this was a common problem. If that gets patched out, the game is a perfect time wasting gift to us.


If you like horror and particularly semi-cringey 80’s horror or just story-telling gameplay. Even better if you like both, this is the game for you. I absolutely loved it.

-Fun gameplay
-Decent story
-Good graphics

-Glitches cause issues with gameplay

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