What I’m Reading: Dark Places

From the book jacket:
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.

My review:
Well then, this book was a little intense compared to the silly, light, & refreshing book I reread right before diving into this one!

I decided to pick up Dark Places as I really enjoyed Gone Girl. (Which I apparently read way back in 2013!) I was in the “mood” for something a little darker, and this definitely filled that request.

Dark Places takes you back and forth between the past and present, going between Patty and Ben before the murders happened, and Libby during the present day as she tries to figure out what actually happened. There ends up being a lot of finger pointing as to who may have killed the Days, and I thought I had figured out what had happened a couple of different times but alas, I was WAY wrong.

The characters were all well developed, but I would’ve liked to know more about Debbie and Michelle, and perhaps even Runner.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book, and I’ll give it ★★★★½ / 5. Maybe read it in the summer in the sunshine though, as it’s pretty heavy for a dreary winter read.

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2019: Looking Ahead

We’re a whole week into 2019 and already I feel like it’s going by too fast! Now that we’re back to our regular schedule, I’ve finally been able to sit down and look at the year ahead of me. I generally don’t make resolutions, or goals for that matter, but I do have a few plans in store already for 2019, so I thought I set them in stone before life gets carried away on me.

Finish School

I’m on track to *hopefully* be done my Administrative Assistant program by the end of April, after which I have to complete a 3 week internship. (Ugh) I’m looking forward to the end but at the same time nervous about going back to work! I just hope I can find a job somewhere that will make all this hard work worth it – and childcare. I’ll cross that bridge if/when I get there so I don’t stress out too much about it.

Travel

Whenever I hear someone say that they want to travel more, I immediately think of grand vacations that involve ferry rides or airplanes. I don’t necessarily want to travel more in that regard, I hope to take more mini trips with my family, whether it’s just to visit relatives or to the lake for a day. I do have one “big” trip planned already for the summer when my mom and I head to Vancouver to visit my brother/see the Backstreet Boys in concert, so I suppose that’s a start!

Run

Last year was a pretty great starting year when it came to running for me. I could definitely improve on my pace, but I’m looking forward to another fun year of races regardless! I haven’t signed up for anything yet, and I’m more than certain that my goal of running a 1/2 marathon by the end of the year is a BIG one, but I’ll just see where my training takes me and go from there.

I’m also hoping to tackle my goal/dream of running along the Sea Wall this summer when my mom and I head to Vancouver, so fingers crossed that the weather cooperates.

New Dog

Umm, what?!

I knew after some time had passed since I said goodbye to Daphne that I’d want to bring another four-legged friend into the household, it was just a matter of time of when I felt ready.

Well, back in October I mentioned to Kyle that we should get a puppy, so we started pondering over what breed we’d like to have. It wasn’t a super hard decision – we knew we wanted a dog that was trainable but still great with other dogs and kids (obviously). We ultimately decided on a German Shepherd Dog, and after talking back and forth with a breeder, we’ll be bringing home a puppy at the end of February!

It’s going to be chaotic, I’m sure, as we haven’t had a “newborn” in the house since I first got Daphne over 14(!) years ago, but I’m so looking forward to it! Now if only we could decide on a name …

I think that’s about all see coming at us for the time being – I know it’s still going to be a busy year just with all the “regular” stuff we have going on right now. (Swimming lessons, dance, ninja school, regular school, etc.) Either way, I’m looking forward to what this year will bring for our household.

What plans do you have for 2019?

2018: A Q&A

Another year has come and gone, and as always, what a year it was!

This year I decided I’d do something a little different as I’ve seen a Question & Answer-style recap floating around the blog world. I actually started writing a “normal” review post but couldn’t gather all my thoughts efficiently, so I figured this would be the a good way to recap 2018.

For those who’d like to perhaps play along, here are the questions as compiled by @definitelyra on Instagram:

1. What did you do on your birthday?

My actual birthday fell on a workday, so Kyle took me out a couple days early to celebrate. We made reservations at a nice restaurant, and while we had intended on going to a movie, we ended up skipping that and went for a really nice walk because the weather was so good. While it was a pretty simple evening, it was perfect just to spend some time alone with him!

2. What are you strongest memories from this year, and why?

Having to make the decision to send Daphne over the Rainbow Bridge will always be a reminder of 2018 for me. After being a part of my life for nearly 14 years, letting her go was the toughest decision I had to make all year.

3. What did you do this year that you’d never done before?

Trail races! While it started out with the Foam Fest back in June, I ran two “true” trail races in September and loved them both! Road racing is great, but trails bring an extra element to running that’s a bit more exciting. Maybe it’s because you have to concentrate on not beefing it while you’re trying to keep pace?

4. What did you want and get?

This summer Kyle and I both wanted to be able to do more when he was on days off, and I think we managed to accomplish that fairly well. Between going to the lake, taking the girls to the waterslides and everything in between, we spent a lot of quality time together as a family and I’m happy about that.

5. What did you want and not get?

This is honestly a tough one to answer with a heartfelt response. I think I really “got” the most out of what I could this year, and I’m pretty content with the positive things that happened this year.

6. What would you like to have next year that you didn’t have this year?

I don’t think I can ever say “No” to more time together with Kyle and the girls, so we’ll go with that.

7. Did you make new year’s resolutions, and did you keep them? Will you make more for next year?

I sure did! I made a half-ass attempt as resolving to run three 5km races in 2018, and not only did I meet that goal, but I ended up running nine! I finished one 3km race, one 8km race, and seven 5km races. #humblebrag ;)

In 2019 I’m hoping to step up my game and complete longer distances, with my main goal being to finish a half-marathon distance by the end of the year. We’ll see how it goes!

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

I think my biggest achievement can be seen when I look at my kids. Isla is excelling at school and Norah is such a feisty little force to be reckoned with … Knowing that I’m raising those two kids to be amazing human beings is something I’m pretty proud to achieve.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don’t know if I had any true failures, per-say, but I think I’ve learned some lessons this year, like remembering to take time for myself and to not feel guilty about it, or being more present with Kyle and the kids – which means putting the my phone down and being more in the moment. I know it’s something that I can still work on, but it’s something I need to remind myself to do.

10. What did you rely on when you were overwhelmed?

In the final quarter of 2017 I was suffering from some serious jaw pain that was likely stress-induced. While I was prescribed a night guard in an attempt to stop my clenching, it was uncomfortable and didn’t really work. At the beginning of this year I started running 3x a week on the treadmill, and I noticed that not long afterwards my pain went away. So, running has definitely been a new-found way for me to decompress when life is getting to be too much.

11. What are your top recommendations for entertainment from this year? (books, television, movies, music, etc.)

That’s such a tough one because everyone’s tastes are different, but I’d highly recommend everyone watch Ali Wong’s Netflix special, Hard Knock Wife. (Watch Baby Cobra first, if you can!) I laughed so hard! I didn’t watch a lot of movies, but definitely read Crazy Rich Asians before watching the movie. (It’s way better, IMHO.) As far as music goes, I’m like a dinosaur so I’m not down with the hip beats, haha!

12. What song will remind you of this year?

Would you hate me if I said “Baby Shark”? (You’re welcome!)

13. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. (Not necessarily from the song that reminds you of the year)

Oh gosh, I really have no idea what song sums up this past year.

14. What was your most enjoyable purchase?

This is an odd question, but I would have to say the Joe Rogan comedy show tickets I bought for Kyle and I. It was a total spur of the moment decision in which I attacked Kyle with the question of going while he was still sleeping, but we bought the tickets and went and saw his show in August down in Abbotsford. (The show is now also on Netflix, just search Joe Rogan: Stranger Times, if you like crude but politically relevant jokes!) We managed to fit in a visit with our friends during that weekend as well, and it turned out to be an amazing time!

15. Did you travel? If so, where?

We didn’t do any serious travelling as Kyle and I went to Las Vegas late in 2017, but we did burn a few tanks of gas doing here and there in BC. There were a few trips to the lake, a visit to my dad’s, our Joe Rogan show in August … Like I said, nothing crazy!

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I got out and ran outdoors more in the mornings. I didn’t “discover” the route outside my front door until late in the summer, and I wish I had sooner!

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Overindulging! I feel I used my new-found interest in running as an excuse to perhaps shove a lot of treats into my face … Oops.

18. Compared to this time last year, how are you different?

I think I’m more anxious that I was last year, after a few things happened that has created a bit of a heightened sense of awareness. I’m working on resolving it, but it’s taking time. Thankfully Kyle and I both have an amazing support system who have been wonderful in just listening, and even that helps.

19. Compared to this time last year, how are you the same?

Well, I’m still working to get my Administrative Assistant. I’m still doing my best ding-dang job to raise Isla and Norah to be respectable human beings. I’m still crazy about my husband.

20. What’s a life lesson you learned this year?

Take help when it’s offered to you. Don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind and express your feelings. Communicate. You are loved.

Here’s to another year!

Feel free to answer 2 or 3 of these questions in the comments below, I’d love to hear your answers!