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Book Review: Dark Places

Dark Places Book Cover

Rating: 2 stars

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

I know a lot of people won’t be too pleased about my thoughts and feelings with this book. But I didn’t enjoy reading this book as much as other people did so I’m sticking by that.

However, before I get into all of my criticisms with Dark Places, let me start by saying that there are some aspects of this book I did enjoy. For one, I think the storyline was fascinating to read. A story about a woman whose whole family was murdered in their home and the surviving family member points to her brother being the murderer is a story that interested me. Especially as she begins feeling doubtful about her original statement to the police and investigates to find the truth. I usually enjoy stories like this where the protagonist goes undercover to find out what really happened. But there are several factors with this story that lead to me not enjoying it, which I’ll talk about shortly.

I also enjoyed the writing in this story. In particular, the different points of view in the story where the author shifts from present day Libby to Ben’s perspective before the murders happened. I found that it helps supply the reader with more information about what actually happened as well as introduces the reader to key characters who play a crucial role in the events leading up to the murders. You learn what life was like for Libby before these events happen and how this moment changed her life completely.

However, I still didn’t enjoy reading Dark Places despite the interesting storyline and alternative points of view. While I admit I did enjoy the storyline, I did also find it lacking in depth as well. What I didn’t enjoy about it was the mystery surrounding the murders and how the truth was revealed. I was hoping that the story would provide a twist that as a reader would make everything I read in the story click together and everything I didn’t like about this book would make sense. Instead, once the truth was revealed, I was left feeling disappointed in the story I was reading.

What didn’t help was that I found myself disliking all of the characters in the story. Especially the character whose supposed to be the protagonist in this book Libby. But she’s actually an unreliable narrator who admits that she lies, and as a reader you witness her stealing from people as she’s investigating the death of her family members. I also found her unlikeable because she came across as being a very selfish person throughout the story. When she met the various members of the Kill Club, all she cared about was knowing if a lot of the members were really interested in what happened to her and her family instead of asking whether they actually had any good theories on who killed her family. There’s also the fact that she’s upset when people pay attention to other cases instead of hers and she doesn’t want to do any sort of work to help herself get money until she’s asked by the Kill Club to uncover the truth of her family’s murder. But she only does it in the first place because they offer to pay her for talking to certain people.

I was hoping Dark Places would redeem her character by making her be the murderer because that would’ve at least made this book more enjoyable for me to read. Instead, we have other characters who play a role in her family’s death and the reasoning behind it all is completely senseless. I was also hoping to have at least one character in the story that I actually liked, but wasn’t too surprised when that didn’t happen either. While I found Libby being an unreliable narrator an interesting choice for the story, I felt like it didn’t really go anywhere to make this book a worthwhile read. I also felt the same way about the mystery surrounding her family member’s deaths because nothing worthwhile happened in this story that resulted in them dying.

As a result, I wasn’t particularly fond of Dark Places. There was just too much disappointment with everything for me with regards to this book for me to even give this book a higher rating. In fact, I would’ve given this book a one star rating if I hadn’t finished reading it. Nonetheless, I finished this book and am disappointed by what I read because I was expecting more from the story than was given.



Book Review: Look For Me

Look For Me Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s latest twisty thrill ride, Detective D. D. Warren and “Find Her“‘s Flora Dane return in a race against the clock to either save a young girl’s life . . . or bring her to justice. 

The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, look for me.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit more than I thought I would. But at the same time, I wish I’d read this book later after realizing it’s the ninth book in a series. It made this read a little difficult because some of the characters in the story more than likely played an important role in earlier books.

However, I still enjoyed reading this book for a number of reasons. Part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much was due to the characters and the story. I found the detectives involved in the case to be enjoyable because I loved seeing them really put their best effort into finding out the truth of what happened. I also enjoyed Flora Dane as a character. I know part of that is due to my own experiences in life (in particular being a domestic violence survivor) and I felt like I learned a whole lot from her. In essence, I felt like I could really relate to her character and the rest of her little band of misfits. I also loved what she brought to the story with regards to finding out information and trying her best to help others who’re dealing with their own personal traumas, like Sarah. I really enjoyed watching her help detective D. D. Warren but also trying her best to make sure Roxy was safe. I also loved her relationship with D. D. Warren despite their characters being portrayed as different from each other. Their interactions with each other made me chuckle , made me interested in seeing what trouble Flora was going to get herself into next.

What I also enjoyed when reading Look For Me is the case as a whole. A sixteen year-old girl goes missing during the murder of the rest of her family while she’s taking their two dogs on a walk. You as the reader begin to learn more about Roxanna Baez’s past, which involves a lot of emotional twists and turns. You learn how terrible the foster care system can truly be, how it can affect the children involved as well as how cruel the world can really be. You start to feel for Roxanna like I did as D. D. Warren and Flora continue uncovering the truth of why her family was murdered. The reason I enjoyed this case so much is because it’s emotional. D. D. Warren goes back in forth on her belief that Roxy is someone involved in the shooting of her family and Flora does whatever it takes to uncover the truth of it all. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with an unexpected twist that hurts your heart even more, making it a read I really enjoyed.

What also made this book an emotional read for me were the chapters that involved Roxy writing about the perfect family. These chapters were actually mostly about Roxy talking about her own family, including the problems they were dealing with, such as their mother being an alcoholic and having to go into foster care. I really enjoyed reading these chapters because I felt like we as the reader were introduced to Roxy even though you don’t meet her in the story until close to the end. It made me even more sympathetic to her character and everything she was going through. These chapters also made me believe like Flora that Roxy had nothing to do with the death of her family.

However, there are some problems I have with Look For Me. In this book, the twist of discovering who actually killed Roxy’s family and why wasn’t at all what I was expecting. The killer also wasn’t someone I wanted to be heavily involved in the case either. I was already emotionally invested in this book because Roxy lost her whole family and had no idea who killed them. But I feel like making this person the killer made me feel terrible for Roxy. I felt terrible for her because she’s pretty much lost every person who’s ever cared about her. While I do understand the killer’s motivation, I really hated how this was done and wished it was someone else entirely. While it made for a neat twist in the story, I just truly wish someone else was involved because I didn’t want Roxy to lose anyone else in her life.

I also feel like while we learned a lot about Flora Dane and her past, we didn’t particularly learn a lot of information about D. D. Warren. Maybe that’s because this is the ninth book in the series and all of the information you learn about her as a detective has already been uncovered, but she just seems like someone I want to know more about. I feel like there might be some similarities between her and Flora that would allow them to become friends, but the author just hasn’t disclosed them yet. Again though, I haven’t read the rest of the books in this series so this criticism mostly stems from what I’ve read from this book.

But overall, I really enjoyed reading Look For Me. I thought the characters were really interesting and sympathetic, and the case as a whole was a huge emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end. I loved hearing from Roxy via the chapters that centered around her writing about what it means to have a perfect family. The only criticisms I had for this book were the twist of uncovering who the killer is and not learning as much about D. D. Warren as I’d like. But overall, reading this book just made me want to read the rest of the series so I can see what all I’ve missed. Because I believe with all my heart that this series is probably a really good one that I need to one day invest in reading.





Book Review: The Girl On the Train

Rating: 2 stars

The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.


Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.


And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

This book is overrated. I read this story because I was itching to read a thriller story, but was severely disappointed. 

The Girl On the Train is a good thriller story, but has so many plot holes that it makes it hard for the reader to enjoy the story. What made this story so thrilling to me was when Rachel couldn’t remember what happened the night Megan went missing. This made me excited because I wanted to find out what happened, wanted to figure out how the pieces would fall together. But then once I did find out, I was disappointed because I expected something more from this book. There were so many directions Paula Hawkins could’ve taken the story to reveal the killer to the reader. This was exciting to me too because it opened up the possibility that the killer could be any one of these people and for different reasons. But once Hawkins revealed who the killer was, I wasn’t happy with the decision. I was unsatisfied because there were no clues that this person was responsible until the last twenty pages. And even then, I felt like the character in question went through a complete change without any real explanation. I felt cheated because I expected someone we hadn’t been introduced to was involved. 

The reason I find the plot lacking in this book is because things just sort of happen without any real explanation. For example, we are introduced to the character Andy, a guy Rachel bumps into the night Megan goes missing. But we don’t really get much from him other than Rachel spotting him near her when she’s on the train. And whenever Rachel does finally talk to him, it’s for a really brief time and that’s it. Throughout the story, you think he’s going to play a major role later on. But then once you find out his role, you are left feeling disappointed because he ends up being a minor character this whole time. Another example that comes to mind is Rachel’s relationship to Scott throughout The Girl On the Train. It’s pretty up and down throughout the book because she lies to him in order to get involved in his life. When she first reaches out to him, he’s interested in talking to her and finding out what she knows. Then from there, things get a little weird. He confides in her, believing her to be a good friend of Megans’. It’s almost as if he depends on her because of the little piece of information she has about Megan. Then when he does find out Rachel didn’t know his wife, Scott overreacts, making it easy for the reader to believe he’s responsible for her disappearance. 

My least favorite aspect of reading The Girl On the Train was the characters. While I enjoy reading a story where the characters involved have serious flaws, I just couldn’t enjoy any of the characters here, because they were one dimensional too. For example Rachel is an alcoholic. Throughout the book, she drinks even after saying she’s going to quit or lay off the booze for a little while. But then she goes back to it again and again, resulting in her making terrible choices throughout the story. In many ways, it makes her unreliable because the reader doesn’t know if she’s telling the truth. But she continues doing it anyway. I also just didn’t like any of them either because they were completely unsympathetic. 

The only thing I enjoyed about this book is that it kept me reading until the end. Despite not liking the characters or the story, I was still curious to see how everything unfolded and was glad when it was finally over. 

Book Review: The Girl in the Spider’s Web


Rating: 4 stars

This fall, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist return in the highly anticipated follow-up to Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

In this adrenaline-charged thriller, genius-hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist face a dangerous new threat and must again join forces.

Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from a trusted source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female super hacker—a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering.

Blomkvist, in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, turns to Lisbeth for help. She, as usual, has her own agenda. In The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the duo who thrilled 80 million readers in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest meet again in an extraordinary and uniquely of-the-moment thriller.

When I first saw that there was going to be another book in the Millennium Series, I jumped for joy. Having read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, I was very excited to see what was going to happen next for Lisbeth and Blomkvist.  However, I was also very surprised. I didn’t expect there to be another book in the series because the author of the original three books Stieg Larsson died in 2004. So when I found out about The Girl in the Spider’s Web, I was very excited to see how David Lagercrantz would continue Larsson’s story.

And what a story it was. Lagercrantz did an excellent job in writing this book with the same style and feel as the rest of the series.

What I love about the series the most is Lisbeth and Blomkvist’s relationship throughout the series and The Girl in the Spider’s Web doesn’t disappoint in continuing to grow that relationship. What I love about their relationship is how both characters come from different walks of life. But yet, they are able to form a connection with each other out of the oddest of circumstances and still able to live their own separate lives.

I also love Lisbeth as a character. I love her character because she just doesn’t give a shit. She has her own personal views and she sticks by them until the end. Lisbeth has a way of handling things and disregards what others tell her to do and I love that about her character.

Another aspect of The Girl in the Spider’s Web I enjoyed was all of the action that took place in the story. Like the rest of the series, this book has a lot of action that keeps the reader on their toes and makes them want to continue reading to find out what happens next. It is a thrilling read that any crime loving book nerd would be interested in checking out.

I also love how The Girl in the Spider’s Web switches perspective. Not only do we get Lisbeth and Blomkvist’s perspective but we also get to see the story from the villain’s point of view as well. I love reading books like this where you have those changing perspectives because it gives the reader access to what the main antagonist is thinking. Having these different perspectives allows the reader to get a better understanding of the antagonist’s actions and see them as more human capable of making bad decisions.

The one thing with The Girl in the Spider’s Web that I didn’t enjoy was the ending. I didn’t like the ending because I want to know what’s going to happen next. Yes, they caught most of the bad guys, but I still have questions about what’s going to happen. I also didn’t like it because it sounded final as if this book is going to be the last book in the series. While there is the possibility of there being another book after this one, Lagercrantz leaves us hanging with no details or hint of there being another book after The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

However, I overall enjoyed reading this book just as much as the rest of the books in the series. Seeing Blomkvist and Lisbeth’s characters once again was really nice and I really enjoyed reading a book in this series again. David Lagercrantz did a wonderful job with this book and I can’t wait to see what else he’s written. I highly recommend reading The Girl in the Spider’s Web to anyone interested in reading a book with a set of diverse characters and an action packed story that will keep you wanting more.

Book Review: Hades

Hades Candice Fox Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

Twenty years ago, two children were kidnapped and left for dead.
Raised by a master criminal, they grew up to become cops. Very unusual cops . . .

Homicide detective Frank Bennett has an intriguing new partner. Dark, beautiful, coldly efficient, Eden Archer is one of the most enigmatic colleagues Frank has ever worked with—that includes her brother Eric, who’s also on the Sydney Metro police force. All of them are tested to the core when a local man discovers a graveyard of large steel toolboxes lying at the bottom of the harbor. Each box contains a grisly trove of human body parts.

For Frank, the madman’s clues are a tantalizing puzzle. For Eden and Eric, the case holds chilling links to a scarred childhood—and a murderous mentor named Hades. But the true evil goes beyond the bloody handiwork of a serial killer…

Hades was a page-turner of a read. I was immediately hooked into the story about Frank’s new mysterious partner Eden. As a fan of crime novels, this book really intrigued me. I really liked reading Hades for a number of reasons. For one, I enjoyed seeing the novel switch back and forth from Frank’s perspective to learning more about Eden and Eric’s upbringing. I loved finding out more about why Eden and Eric acted the way they did so as to better understand their characters.

While I felt as if Frank and Eden should’ve had more of a connection throughout the novel, I was able to easily understand why that wasn’t the case. Eden is a very elusive woman and doesn’t want anyone knowing what she and Eric have been through. However, I felt as if Frank should’ve at least been clued into what was going on so as to better understand her character and her actions throughout. Another reason this book was an okay read for me was because I felt as if all of the characters in this book were extremely flat. I felt no reason to connect with any of the characters and that bothered me. While Hades is a crime novel that focuses more on the crime and catching the bad guy, I felt as if there should’ve been some characters aspects mentioned. We get that Eden and Eric are both cold blooded people because this book drives that point home enough. But I felt as if the rest of the characters didn’t have any real character flaws mentioned and if they did, they weren’t really explained.

I also was bothered that the novel didn’t delve deeply into Frank’s own past. The reader knows that Frank’s past isn’t perfect, but the reader never finds out more about Frank other than a couple of details in his life. He’s never fully explained and the novel focuses more on Eden and Eric than on him, even though the whole story is told from his perspective. Throughout Hades, he takes the role of being the backseat driver in the story, yet is seen as a main character since the novel is from his perspective. That bothered me because his own life and the choices he made are never explained quite as in depth as Eden and Eric’s life growing up with Hades.

So while Hades was a page-turner read for me, I found some details in the novel lacking that would’ve made the story more enjoyable to me. What made Hades worth the read was learning more about Eden and Eric’s past and the crime that took place that connected with their lives. I can’t wait to see what Eden has in store for me.

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