4 Star Books · Book Reviews · Domestic Fiction · fiction · mental health · Uncategorized

Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely

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Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely

Published: September 2, 2016

Publisher: Upperhand Press, LLC

Pages: 425

Genres: fiction, domestic fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: Lifetime Movies, over the top parents, Law & Order SVU, books about family dynamics

Foodie Vibes: carrot juice and French fries ~ oh, the contradictions of being a teenager

 

Synopsis: 

A story about the timeless struggle between mothers and their teen daughters with a razor-sharp 21st century twist. This heart-wrenching, harrowing debut novel for fans of Big Little Lies (Liane Moriarty) and Reconstructing Amelia (Kimberly McCreight) will make you question what’s needed to keep your children from harm.

Phoebe’s mother, Isabel, is precariously balancing her career and her family. Hard-working and caring, worried but supportive, all Isabel wants, in a world of bullies and temptations, is to keep her daughter Phoebe safe. With her busy schedule, though, she fails to recognize another mother’s mounting fury and the danger Phoebe faces by flirting with a mysterious boy on Facebook. A cyber-bullying episode aimed at Phoebe pushes her to the edge with horrific consequences. In her search for justice, Isabel, a DC lawyer, sets out to find the culprit behind this cruel incident.

Saving Phoebe Murrow, set amidst the complicated web of adolescent relationships, tells a story of miscommunication and malice, drugs and Facebook, prejudice and revenge.

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an ebook copy for review. As always, an honest review from me.

Trigger warning: many fairly graphic mentions of self harm and suicide. Please do not read this book if you’re not in a mentally healthy place, especially if you’re sensitive to these topics in particular.

That being said I enjoyed the whirlwind of drama and incredibly serious topics. It reminds me of a mix between a Lifetime movie and episode of Law and Order SVU. Kind of a perfect combo. We get an in depth look at the challenges and drama of teenage girls lives from the perspective of them and their parents. 

I really liked reading about Phoebe and her mother. I wish the story focused more on them. I disliked the amount of focus put on Phoebe’s dad and Sandy, the mother of Phoebe’s classmate/friend. The difference between the parenting styles was both horrifying and interesting. 

I so disliked the character of Sandy. She was so psychologically unbalanced and awful. She meant well, for her daughter, so at least she has that going for her. The focus was on her too much, when I felt it should have been more on Phoebe. Also the trope of parents providing teens with alcohol and getting in legal trouble has been done a lot before. But it’s still something that people could be reminded of. 

All in all, Saving Phoebe Murrow is highly entertaining, drama filled, and a warning for parents and teens alike.

 

If you could turn a TV show into a book, which show would you choose? 

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · psychological thriller · suspense

ARC Book Review | The Secret by KL Slater

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Scroll down to the bottom of the review for a fun bonus question. I would love to hear your answers!

 

The Secret by KL Slater

Published: July 27, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: — doesn’t list (Kindle)

Genres: psychological thriller, suspense, mystery

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: psychological thrillers, characters with a chronic illness or disability, family drama

Read with food: tea and popcorn ~ tea to relax and popcorn because its like a movie that you can’t stop watching

 

Synopsis:

You turn your back for a minute. And now your son is in terrible danger …

Louise is struggling to cope.  As a busy working mum, she often has to leave her eight-year-old son Archie at her sister Alice’s flat.

Alice and Louise used to be close.  But there’s a lot they don’t know about each other now – like the bottle of vodka Louise hides in her handbag, Alice’s handsome new friend and the odd behaviour of her next-door neighbour.

Archie is a curious little boy. He likes to play on his own at his auntie’s flat until one day when he sees something he shouldn’t. Now he has a secret of his own.  One he can’t tell his mum. One that could put him and his family in terrible danger.

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and KL Slater for an ARC copy of the book. As always, an honest review.

Captivating! Terrifying, in a good way! Can’t stop reading!

The Secret is a book that many people will be talking about for awhile. While taking notes for my book review, I must have written down “can’t stop reading” at least 5 times. There’s not just one good aspect, but various sort of random bits that I loved. So here we go:

– Alice! (the main character) She’s sweet, caring, concerned, the kind of honest person you’d want in your life.
– Chronic pain is represented well in the book. #ChronicIllnessWarrior #ChronicPain
– Sister relationships as adults ~ very authentic
– the suspense – I can’t say too much more without giving it away . . . but read the book!
– Alice’s relationship with her young nephew gives you hope.

There were very few parts of the book that I didn’t like. However the ending felt rushed to me. There was maybe 10% of the book left, and so many storylines to wrap up. I wish it was a bit longer to do justice for all the storylines.

And of course there are a lot of love to hate characters that make the book absolutely work. Sometimes I wanted to scream at them. But that’s more the mark of a great book.

So overall, I really enjoyed The Secret by KL Slater. Pick it up for a can’t put down read!

 

Random Question of the Review:

What book genre can you not get enough of?

Bookish Posts · Uncategorized

Seriously Underrated Books ~ less than 1,000 Ratings

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Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

While writing these posts, I am continually surprised at how few ratings that some of these books have on Goodreads. 

I hope you will give some of these books a read, as I’ve immensely enjoyed them. 

Be sure to check out my other lists of Seriously Underrated Books less than 100 ratings and less than 500 ratings

Now onto really great books with less than 1,000 ratings on Goodreads.

The Unforgotten by Laura Powell

An eerie mystery with a slow build up of drama, complex relationships and characters, and two settings 50 years apart. The secrets and twists kept me captivated throughout as I read about the murders horrifying the small town. 

Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life by Amy E. Herman

An interesting book to help anyone learn to perceive situations better. With the author’s guidance we can learn to observe almost anything better. I really enjoyed the numerous examples to practice my newly acquired observational skills in everyday life and using the artwork provided in the book. I found myself highly engaged throughout. Very helpful for business, healthcare workers, students, etc. 

Promise by Minrose Gwin

A wonderful historical fiction novel that tells the story of a town of people dealing with the aftermath of a terrible tornado. Set in the 1930s, we experience two perspectives of the same event, separated mainly by skin color. I loved the great character development and insight and also the lovely unique writing style. 

Snow Falling by Jane Gloriana Villaneuva

A sweet historical romance! If you’re a fan of the TV show Jane the Virgin, I highly recommend this book. If not, still give it a read for the fun, sweet, romantic story of Snow Falling.

Proof by Jordyn Redwood

An engaging thriller made even better by the medical setting. The author is a nurse, so this lends a wonderful authenticity to the novel that absolutely makes it work. I was absolutely intrigued throughout, and the science nerd in me loved it!

Scared Scriptless by Alison Sweeney

A sweet, fun contemporary romance set in the world of Hollywood. One of the first romance novels I read and thoroughly enjoyed. Alison Sweeney, the author, works in Hollywood, which lends a wonderful authenticity to her book.

Arthur: The Dog who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home by Mikael Lindnord

A magnificent story about a magnificent dog. Arthur was a stray dog that Mikael encountered while adventure racing in Ecuador. He was special. The book tells the heartfelt story of the hard journey to bring Arthur home and make him a part of the family. A must read for animal lovers!

Do Your Om Thing: Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life by Rebecca Pacheco

A yoga book that I truly related to. I found myself marking so many passages with post its. There are so many teachings about yoga from the ancient teachings to practical integrated practices for our busy modern day lives. The content was informative, detailed, and all encompassing, but never boring. 

Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik

One of my favorite books that I’ve read all year! Song of a Captive Bird tells the tory of a famous and controversial Iranian poet. She’s a spirited young woman in a world that expects girls to always be quiet and respectful. The writing is captivating, as are the descriptions of the Iranian countryside. The translations of her poetry make this novel even better.

Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America by Samhita Mukhopadhyay

If you haven’t heard about Nasty Women, you are missing out! I was skeptical at first, thinking the title was a gimmick to sell books. But I was so thrilled to find quality information from so many women with so many different perspectives. I learned a lot and have recommended the book to so many people. 

 

Some of these books have made best seller lists, but still have less than 1,000 ratings on Goodreads. That’s ratings, not even reviews. Why do you think that is? Legitimately, let me know, I’m curious as to some of your theories. 

Also, please share with which of these books you’re adding to your TBR lists!

 

5 Star Books · Audiobooks · Book Reviews · mystery · non fiction · True Crime · Uncategorized

Book Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

Published by Harper on February 27, 2018

Pages: 328

Genres: true crime, non fiction, mystery

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: true crime

Read with food: strawberries and homemade whipped cream ~ this food choice really has nothing to do with the content of the book, but I was listening to the audiobook while washing and processing the strawberries from my garden, so those foods and this book will forever be linked for me 

 

Synopsis:

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark —the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

Review:

I’m obsessed with this book!

Everyone I’ve talked to about it, loves it as well. As I was listening to the audiobook version, my mom was asking me about it too.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a methodical, obsessive, and intriguing search for the Golden State Killer. She takes us through his crimes, the police investigations, and her painstaking research. I don’t think there are enough words to accurately convey how much I enjoyed this book.

As a true crime book, it discusses the crimes without going into unnecessary graphic detail. She does justice for the victims and their families, first through her blog and then through her book. Michelle helped so many people even after her death.

At the time of publication the killer had not been identified or taken into police custody. A few months ago both happened, and it’s so satisfying. Almost immediately after finishing reading I searched for news articles and videos about his capture.

I so, so recommend giving this book a read!

 

Question for you all:

If Michelle McNamara were still alive today, what would you tell her about her book and the real life capture of the Golden State killer?

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Gothic · mystery · psychological thriller · suspense

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

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The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Published by Berkley on March 20, 2018

Pages: 336

Genres: mystery, thriller, gothic, suspense, historical fiction

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: Criminal Minds, Cold Case, creepy satisfying books

Read with food: popcorn ~ the suspense is that good; it’s like watching a movie you can’t take your eyes off 

 

Synopsis: 

A suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare…

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

Review:

Murders, deaths that may or may not be accidental, haunted boarding schools, disturbed teenage girls. What more could a reader possibly want in a creepy, can’t put down book?

The Broken Girls alternates between 1950 and 2014. In 1950, 4 girls live in a haunted boarding school, Idlewild, for disturbed/delinquent teenage girls. One of them goes missing. Secrets are uncovered, and nothing is as simple as it seems on the surface. Then in 2014 a body is discovered on the grounds of the now derelict Idlewild.

In between, a young woman is murdered on the grounds. Fiona, the sister of the murdered woman, is now a journalist. Writing an article about the renovations on the grounds of Idlewild. She digs up more than a few secrets that the small town wishes to keep buried.

The Broken Girls is a perfect mix of an unsettling episode of Criminal Minds directed by Matthew Gray Gubler and a satisfying episode of Cold Case.

I definitely recommend you give this haunting book a read!

 

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Cozy Mystery · mystery

Book Review: Crime and Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett

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Crime and Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on May 29, 2018

Pages: 304

Genres: mystery, cozy mystery

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: cozy mysteries, cats, the English language

Read with food: pancakes and maple syrup, watching the gorgeous autumn colors out a picturesque window 

 

Synopsis:

After splurging to buy her childhood home in the Catskills, recently widowed Mikki Lincoln emerges from retirement as a freelance editor. With her ability to spot details that others fail to see, it’s not long before Mikki earns clients–and realizes that the village of Lenape Hollow isn’t the thriving tourist destination it was decades ago. Not with a murderer on the loose . . .

When perky novice writer Tiffany Scott knocks at her door holding a towering manuscript, Mikki expects another debut novel plagued by typos and sloppy prose. Instead, she finds a murder mystery ripped from the headlines of Lenape Hollow’s not-too-distant past. The opening scene is a graphic page-turner, but it sends a real chill down Mikki’s spine after the young author turns up dead just like the victim in her story . . .

Mikki refuses to believe that Tiffany’s death was accidental, and suspicions of foul play solidify as she uncovers a strange inconsistency in the manuscript and a possible motive in the notes. Then there’s Tiffany’s grandmother and husband, who aren’t exactly on friendly terms over the local area’s planned rejuvenation efforts . . .

Unable to convince police that they are focused on the wrong suspect, Mikki must rely on her keen eyes to catch the truth hidden in Lenape Hollow. As she gets closer to cracking the case, only one person takes Mikki’s investigation seriously–the cunning killer who will do anything to make this chapter of her life come to a very abrupt ending . . .

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.

The definition of a well done cozy mystery!

The story drew me in within the first chapter and entertained me the entire book. I especially enjoyed the main character, Mikki. The writing flows nicely, is easy to read, and draws the audience into the story. It’s obvious that the author is passionate about writing. I especially loved the education in grammar, the English language, and the writing process through Mikki’s job as a freelance editor. Such a wonderful addition to round out the book. Also, I appreciated that many of the characters were ages 50 plus. It’s a welcome addition to novels, as it’s not often done. 

The mystery that Mikki is working to solve is good, but not great. It drives the story along, but I enjoyed reading about her passion for writing more. 

In general, Crime and Punctuation is a wonderful cozy mystery that I would recommend to fans of the genre or those wanting to give it a go. From the “Feel the Bern” reference, which was awesome!, to the autumnal setting in a small town, Katilyn Dunnett had me thoroughly entertained throughout. 

Bonus points for a great cover! From far away it really does look like books lined up on a bookshelf. 

5 Star Books · Book Reviews

Book Review: Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme disease by Yolanda Hadid

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Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme disease by Yolanda Hadid

Published by: St. Martin’s Press on September 12, 2017

Pages: 288

Genres: memoir, autobiography, health

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to: people living with chronic illness, caregivers, really almost anyone 

Read with food: watermelon, aloe and honey slush to nourish your body with a tasty treat 

 

Synopsis:

From the star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills comes an emotional and eye opening behind-the-scenes look at her descent into uncovering the mystery of chronic Lyme disease.

In early 2011, just before her wedding to David Foster, Yolanda fell ill. From an outspoken, multi-tasking social butterfly she became trapped in a paralyzing mental cocoon. She suffered from severe debilitating fatigue, migraines, joint pain, anxiety, insomnia, Bell’s palsy, tremors, muscle weakness, severe brain fog, word retrieval difficulty, memory loss and intermittent loss of eyesight. As a diehard health fanatic, Yolanda always knew she had an infection in her brain, but due to the lack of proper diagnostic testing she landed in a dark maze of medical establishments that were quick to treat her symptoms but without clear answers to the cause. She fought tirelessly and traveled the world to find an answer; her determination left no stone unturned. Her perfect marriage became strained and let to divorce; but the strong bond with her children Gigi, Bella and Anwar was her motivation to fight through the darkest days of her life.

After a year of searching, discharged by Cedars Sinai with a chronic fatigue label, Yolanda Hadid was finally diagnosed with chronic neurological Lyme disease. She was honest, unapologetic, and raw in how she shared her battle with Lyme disease on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and her social media outlets. She received thousands of e-mails and letters, and met families who were suffering, lost, and scared, throughout her journey. She calls, gives advice, and lends support whenever she can to share her words of wisdom and hope.

In her book, Yolanda shares details of the western and holistic treatments she has done over the past five years, lab results, intimate details of her personal diary; her spiritual growth; the trials and tribulations regarding the stigma around chronic Lyme disease, how her relationships on camera and off have been affected by her illness; and how she uncovered the mystery of her own chronic disease through research, hard work and in a matter of fact and systematic fashion.

Review:

Let me start by saying this: I always have a blank sheet of paper as my bookmark to jot down notes as I read, to refer back to later while writing my book reviews. I didn’t write down any notes for this book. Not one! That wasn’t on purpose. I was completely engrossed in Believe Me, and forgot to do anything but read.

I’ve never watched the Real Housewives franchise, so I wasn’t coming into this book as a fan of the show. But I left this reading experience as a fan of Yolanda Hadid. Her strength, courage, tenacity, and kindness in the face of a very difficult chronic illness is inspiring. I learned so much about her journey and battle for health. She embraces conventional and unconventional medical treatments, doing her research to find out what may help her. I learned so much from this book, and I can’t recommend it enough. 

The only slight downfall that I should mention is that Yolanda had a lot of unconventional, untested by the FDA treatments, that cost a lot of money. I hope that people don’t randomly think to try all the treatments without extensive research and guidance by a health care provider. She does warm about this multiple times throughout. 

Believe Me is a book I will be thinking about for a long time. 

4 Star Books · Book Reviews

Book Review: The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

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The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Published by: Gallery Books on December 5, 2017

Pages: 288

Genres: memoir, humor

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: comedy, real talk, memoirs, books with good life advice

Read with food: corn on the cob … if you’ve read the book you will definitely get this 

 

Synopsis:

From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.

None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.

Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others.

By turns hilarious, filthy, and brutally honest, The Last Black Unicorn shows the world who Tiffany Haddish really is—humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell. And now, she’s ready to inspire others through the power of laughter.

Review:

The Last Black Unicorn is hilarious, real and vulnerable. Tiffany shares the story of her life, from childhood to present day, in the laugh out loud funny way that only she can. First of all, I highly recommend listening to this as an audiobook. It’s read the author herself and makes the memoir that much better! Beware, some parts are NSWF, not safe for work, so wear those headphones people! 

I appreciated her genuine life story and advice along the way. As hilarious as the entire book is, there are also a lot of life lessons to be learned from her story.

Follow your dreams, keep working hard, don’t take sh*t from anyone, mange your money well, and believe that you are worth it.

I went into this book not knowing much about it. I kept hearing people recommend it online for it’s hilarity, so I decided to give it a try. So glad I did!

Just a warning for you all: they talk about sex a lot. She says the word penis, and all the other euphemisms for it, a lot. If that bothers you or if you have little kids listening, maybe not the book for you. But otherwise, do like I did and give the hilarious The Last Black Unicorn a listen … or a read. 

Book Reviews

Book Review: Trade Me by Courtney Milan

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Trade Me by Courtney Milan 

Published by: Courtney Milan

Pages: 279

Genres: romance, contemporary romance, new adult

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: contemporary romance, strong but flawed characters, tech companies

Read with food: bottled water and rice dish

Bottled water: Blake- could be economical but is made expensive

Rice: Tina- practical, substancial, and adaptable

 

Synopsis:

Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.

To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.

But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart…but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life. 

Review:

Blake and Tina couldn’t be from more different life circumstances, and yet they find themselves in the same college course. They say that opposites attract, and in Trade Me that is absolutely true. The characters of Tina and Blake are perfect compliments to each other. More importantly they respect each other first as humans beings, then friends, and then something more. Also the romantic bits of the story help to fuel it along, but don’t make up the entirety, which is my kind of romance.

I do wish that the relationship with Blake and his father was a bit more transparent. As a reader, I felt confused and unsure about Blake’s father’s intentions. It detracted from my enjoyment of the story at times.

Lately I’ve been reading more romance novels. The main reason? … I’ve been doing my research and found books that are really high quality and speak to me within the romance genre. Trade Me has inspired me to keep reading within this genre. 

Book Reviews

Pitch Dark by A.M. Wilson and Alex Grayson

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Pitch Dark by A.M. Wilson and Alex Grayson

Published by: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on September 15, 2017

Pages: 430 

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, crime fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: intense twisted books with satisfying endings, passionate characters, trauma intensive stories

Read with food: Alcohol and nachos 

A shot of whatever alcohol you have lying around to get through the tough traumatic sections (Some cold water if you’re under 21 or don’t drink alcohol) Be safe people!

Football game nachos: quick, cheap, and not that nutritious but it gets some food in your system; much in the keeping of the character of Niko

 

Synopsis:

One girl disappeared. After fifteen years, her cold lifeless body was found on the damp forest floor. Not an inch of her was unmarked by the horrors she endured. Alone, malnourished, abused in horrific ways; this was how she died.

One girl was found walking the streets, covered in dirt and scars. She had no memory of who she was, where she came from, or what happened to her. Even though the marks on her body attested to years of heinous abuse, her strength shone through at every turn.

Revenge and justice were sworn.

Years of searching brought up nothing but dead ends. Detective Niko James was too late to save his childhood friend, but he vows not to let down another.

The clock is ticking and the trail is pitch dark.

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.

First and foremost, a big trigger warning for torture and sexual assault in graphic detail. It’s definitely intense, and I almost stopped reading the book because of it. That being said, about 10% of the book or maybe less is torture and assault. Also, the authors put a trigger warning at the beginning which I much appreciated.

Niko has spent his entire life caring for people, especially those close to him and in need. As a child, Niko’s friend and neighbor Aislin has a very difficult upbringing. He does his best to be a great friend and protector, even though he’s only 14 years old. Aislin is kidnapped. Niko is devastated and angry. He grows up to be a cop, but never stops searching for Aislin, his North Star.

I had a lot of mixed feelings about Pitch Dark. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed the storylines. The drama, the suspense, and how everything turns out. Works well in the book. It’s the details where I have some issues. Of course there’s the graphic descriptions of the assault. It makes the book what it is, but I didn’t feel it was necessary. At least not to that intensity. Also, the character of Niko is very over the top at times. Obviously he had gone through terrible things, but he acts as if he’s the only one who can solve the case, protect the victims, etc. I appreciate the sentiment and passion, but it gets to be a bit much at times. Also, some of the descriptions are a bit odd and left me asking “do people really talk like this?”

The story overall works well and I’m glad that I read Pitch Dark. I liked the revelations towards the end. The character of Aislin was a welcome breath of fresh air and encouraging strength. I ended up enjoying Pitch Dark, despite my mixed feelings throughout.