Sunday, August 23, 2015

Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

First and foremost, thank you to the publisher and thank you to NetGalley. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Whew! Where do I start with this? I have mixed feelings about it. First a quick synopsis: When Tessa was a teenager, she was abducted and left for dead in a grave near black eyed susan flowers, along with a few other victims. The sole survivor, she endures a trial and sends her would be killer to jail. 

However, in Tessa's adult life, someone is planting black eyed susan flowers in locations where Tessa will find them. Why? Is the real killer out there still? 

So, that's it in a nutshell. The book flips back and forth between teenage Tessa, then called Tessie, and present day Tessa along with her daughter Charlie. The mystery needs to be solved because the man who went to jail for allegedly committing the horrific crimes is set to be executed. 

My two cents: I felt like I was thrown into the middle of a book where I was supposed to know the characters already. I felt like I was supposed to have invested in these people when I didn't know them yet. 

Then, nothing worse than the main character irking you....Things start coming out where Tessa might not be totally forthcoming. I can't give too much away without spoiling it, but that got on my nerves. And, to be totally honest, Tessa's best friend back when she was young, was also annoying. 

And as far as the ending, YES, I was surprised and there's nothing more I like than a good twist, so that part was good. 

Some people complain that they don't like the way books, such as this one, flip back and forth between two time frames. That does NOT bother me, but to each his/her own. 

I think this book will do very well, but for me, it was just okay. Let me know what YOU think!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Place We Knew Well by Susan McCarthy

First and foremost, thank you to NetGalley for an Advance Reader Copy of this book. 

This book centers around the Avery family, who lives in Florida: patriarch Wes, wife and mother, Sarah and daughter Charlotte. However, this isn't your usual family story. It takes place during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Being so close to Cuba, you can understand and feel the terror the Avery family and their friends are going through. 

Wes runs the local Texaco station and has prior military experience, namely in Hiroshima. He is particularly concerned with the situation and tries to maintain his usual positive demeanor both for his family and his customers. 

However, also in the story, (without giving a whole lot away) there are two personal problems that the Averys are experiencing as well. One involves a family member's health and the other involves a long buried family secret. 

Between the two issues in the family and the unknown future of the world, Wes feels his world spiraling out of control. He can't seem to get a grip on his family's problems and he feels extremely on edge as he thinks back on his time in the war he served in. 

So, now time for my two cents, I only thought this story was "okay." I found myself wondering, "Did the author want to write a book about the missile crisis, or the other issues in the book?" It seemed to jump too much between the two topics, like it couldn't be decided on. Maybe she wanted to write about both things, but it didn't seem to flow for me. It seemed like a lot of drama stirred up for drama's sake. 

I bet I am going to be the odd opinion out for this book. It wasn't a bad book, by any means. It kept my attention and I liked it enough to finish, and even though I know what the outcome of the missile crisis was, I wanted to see what happened to the Avery family. 

Don't let my opinion sway you by any means. I think a lot of people will like it. This book will be released in September 2015. Thanks again to NetGalley.