A Place We Knew Well — Susan Carol McCarthy.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Bantam Dell, via NetGalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

4.5

I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t live through the Cuban Missile Crisis — obviously — but it’s also not a period of history that is really talked much about. That’s one of the reasons I really enjoyed A Place We Knew Well — because the family crises in this book combined with the actual Missile Crisis was very realistic and very sad, in some ways.

I feel that McCarthy brought the era back to life, in some ways, yet made the characters relatable to people who were born long after that era. For example — Wes Avery, the father, is a WWII vet. But the issues he faces as a vet and the issues that vets face now aren’t terribly different. And Charlotte (aka Kitty), his daughter, is 16 years old and is dealing with all of the “typical” 16-year-old stuff (prom, homecoming, etc.), that 16- and 17-year-olds still deal with today. The only person I didn’t really relate to in the family was Wes’ wife, Sarah, but although I couldn’t really relate, her situation was also something that occurs now.

I definitely want to read more books by McCarthy, and I’d recommend this book to anyone who either has an avid interest in the period of time in which the Missile Crisis occurred, or who wants to learn more about it

Sanctuary Bay — Laura Burns & Melinda Metz.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, via NetGalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

4.5/5

So I was invited to read Sanctuary Bay based on the review I’d posted of The Lost Girl by R.L. Stine. For those of you who don’t remember, I DNF’d it because it was too gory for my liking, although I did state that I liked the plot. Anyway, because of the connection between this book and The Lost Girl, I was worried that Sanctuary Bay would be way too gory for me to finish.

But nope! I zipped through it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found the protagonist, Sarah, to be fairly likable, and while I suspected a few things in the book, I had absolutely no idea what was actually going on at Sanctuary Bay. Clearly it was something creepy, but what it turned out to be was something that I didn’t foresee at all.

**Spoiler alert!**

So 4.5/5 stars because:
* There were a few things mentioned in the book that had no bearing on the actual plot and just seemed to be thrown in for added horror (like the room with people missing limbs, eyes, ears, etc.).
* Apparently this is the start of a series(?) because there was a pretty crucial part of the storyline that was proved false at the end — that Sarah is not, in fact, an orphan, and that her dad may or may not be in on the bad stuff happening in the book.
* There are other storylines that need to be concluded and they totally weren’t. Such as — what is Sarah going to do to the man with the silver bird ring? and why were her parents’ deaths faked? or did her mom actually die and her dad survive?

Definitely loved the writing style though. I will most certainly be keeping these authors on my radar, and I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense and conspiracy type theories. And also, keep in mind that squeamish ol’ me would not put this in a horror category, so that’s a plus for people who don’t like gore and lots of blood and guts. 🙂

State of Grace — Hilary Badger.

Many thanks to Capstone Publishing, via NetGalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

3.5/5

This was a unique book. Not in a bad way, but I’m still not entirely sure what to think of it. I will say that I got thoroughly irritated about halfway through it at the constant repetition of phrases that include the word “Dot.” (This, if it were to be compared to phrases in English, would be stuff like “Praise be to God” or “God’s blessing upon you,” etc. Which I’m okay with, as long as it’s not every other phrase that people utter… and that’s how it was with the “Dot phrases.”)

I didn’t really like Wren as a character. She seemed way too… okay with her idyllic existence and taken in with the whole “well I don’t remember my life prior to living in Dot’s paradise but that’s okay because I guess I didn’t have a life before here.” There was very little curiosity exhibited until about 45% through the book.

I would recommend this, but if you’re like me, you have to be in a particular mood to be able to read this novel and not get too irritated with it.

However, I enjoyed it enough that I would be willing to read other books by Hilary Badger, for sure. I loved the unique take on “Utopia” and the twists that occurred later on in the story.