Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox @HesterBFox #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers @HarlequinBooks

The Traveling Sisters agree don’t look any further!  This is the perfect read for this time of year!!!  We are all cheering with excitement over this one!!!

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Web_L461-2_purple_brown-eyesNorma’s review

Spooky, suspenseful & a little bit witchy!

This book reminded me so much of the gothic romantic suspense novels that I used to love reading growing up. They were my absolute favourite stories and this tale just made me feel all nostalgic and reminded me of my fondness for these types of stories.

THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL by HESTER FOX is a dark, haunting, romantic and an excellent debut novel that had me totally absorbed, entertained, and interested throughout this entire book.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that this story was all that gripping or suspenseful for me though but it definitely had an ominous feel to it that I found quite appealing.

HESTER FOX delivers an atmospheric, intriguing and beautifully written gothic romantic tale of suspense and mystery here with wonderful character development, a captivating setting and an extremely spellbinding storyline. I really enjoyed the creepy dark vibe and the supernatural aspect to this novel even if it was a little subtle the real magic here was in Lydia’s character.

It was one of those books that definitely cast its spell on me and I wanted to savour every single page.

 

Web_L463-2_purple_green-eyesBrenda’s review

Norma, Lindsay and I read The Witch Of Willow Hall with six of our Traveling Sisters and we all agreed that this was the perfect book for this time of year.  

The Witch of Willow Hall is just what we were craving.  It has all the elements for a great spooky, atmospheric, entertaining and chilling read with just a little bit of creep to add a little shock to the story.  There is just the right amount of tragedy and romance with a sprinkle of witchcraft and a dash of the supernatural, making this the perfect gothic historical fiction for us. 

We loved the gothic feel here with Willow Hall and were intrigued by the mystery it holds from the past and now the mystery of a scandal that a family is fleeing from.  The suspense to the story grabbed us right from the start and increased as tragedy hits and secrets are slowly revealed.

The sisters here in this story are compelling, complicated and one very messy one that we grew to love to hate.  They are very different from each with some mystery to their characters making each very intriguing. We loved the dynamics between them.

We highly recommend this fun and entertaining gothic historical fiction to anyone who loves an easy paced story.

Web_L463-1_purple_green-eyesLindsay’s review

Gothic. Mysterious. Haunting. Secretive.

This was a spine-tingling, highly atmospheric story.   Willow Hall, the countryside mansion that this novel revolves around, has such an alluring and dominating presence.  The house itself, the grounds the house lays on, the woods and the hidden pond. They all held a vital piece of this story and added an extra layer of suspense and intrigue.   I loved that!

The characters were so very well done!  The author, Hester Fox, does an outstanding job developing each and every character whether they were central to the story or held background roles.   There is a supernatural element to this novel which is handled very gently and subtly. I tend to shy away from novels involving strong supernatural aspects.  My hesitation is always that the story will feel unrealistic, however, that definitely wasn’t the case with this novel. I truly felt interested and invested in this story throughout.

For me, the intrigue and suspense in the first half of this novel outweighed the second half.   While I was still interested and engrossed in the main storyline, I felt that some parts of the second half dragged.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read that was perfect for the month of October!

Thank you from us all to NetGalley, HARLEQUIN – Graydon House Books and Hester Fox for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!

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Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Beautiful, alluring, eye-catching, intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline. My interest is always piqued when the word witch is in a title and I’m usually all over it!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, captivating, and fluid.
Plot: Foreboding, menacing, engrossing, leisurely-paced, enjoyable and extremely entertaining. I adored this storyline!
Ending: A lovely ending that I was extremely satisfied with and left me feeling hopeful.
Overall: A fascinating read that had me totally engrossed within this gothic romance tale from start to finish! I absolutely loved the creepy and menacing feel that subtly emanated throughout this wonderful atmospheric tale! Would highly recommend!

Have you read this one?  Agree with the sisters or disagree?  Want to add this one to your list to read?  Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in First Line Fridays

First Line Fridays: The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle #travelingfriendsread #BookBloggers @RebeccaASerle @FlatironBooks #thedinnerlist

First Line Friday is hosted by Hoarding Books. Where we share the first line or lines of a book we are currently reading or going to start soon.

Our First Line Friday is for an upcoming Traveling Friends Group Read that we are very much looking forward to reading, especially me!  I love to fantasize and do a little bit of daydreaming so I think I will be able to fully enjoy and embrace this book.  Also, the advance praise for The Dinner List really piqued my interest especially this sentence from the back of the book:  “Imagine that you could gather the people you’ve loved–dead or alive–at one table, for one night, with a chance to heal yourself once and for all.”

Who would you invite to your dinner party?

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“We’ve been waiting for an hour.”  That’s what Audrey says.  She states it with a little bit of an edge, her words are bordering on cursive.  That’s the thing I think first.  Not Audrey Hepburn is at my birthday dinner but Audrey Hepburn is annoyed.

Goodreads Summary

We’ve been waiting for an hour. That’s what Audrey says. She states it with a little bit of an edge, her words just bordering on cursive. That’s the thing I think first. Not: Audrey Hepburn is at my birthday dinner, but Audrey Hepburn is annoyed.

At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Rebecca Serle contends within her utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as One Day,and the life-changing romance of Me Before You.

When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together.

Delicious but never indulgent, sweet with just the right amount of bitter, The Dinner List is a romance for our times. Bon appetit.

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Have you read this one? Want to read it? Please add your first line to a book you have started or going to start. We would love to hear from you!!!

Posted in Book Musings

Random Book Musings: Do you belong to any book subscription boxes and which one is your favourite?#travelingsistersread #BookBloggers

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I always have these random bookish questions that I’m curious about so I ask our Traveling Sisters a weekly (sometimes more) book related question. We thought it would be fun and interesting to take some of those questions to our blog and see what you all think or do. I hope that you will also join in on the discussion with us.

Norma’s random book question:

Do you belong to any book subscription boxes and which one is your favourite? Also, do you belong to any other subscription boxes? If so, what product or item makes you the most excited when you open that box?

If you don’t belong to any subscription boxes I have another question for you to answer.

Where is your absolute favourite place to buy or look for books? And who is your favourite author and/or publisher? 

L329-4Norma’s Answer

So I have been a member of FABFITFUN for quite a few years now and always look forward to when my box arrives. I would say the items that I get most excited about is when I receive journals or planners in them. I also like any fitness related items as well even though I might not use them they make me a little excited to see them. Oh, also I like water bottles, mugs, candles.

So I am a recent member of BoTM thanks to Kris who has kindly offered to ship my boxes to me here in Canada since they don’t ship outside of the United States. Let me tell you when I received my first box I was a little giddy and thought how fortunate I was to have the best book buddy ever! Thank you so much, Kris! You are the best!

I don’t really have a favourite place to look at or buy books from. Amazon is the most convenient though and I do love perusing NetGalley & Edelweiss.

I have a couple of favourite authors; Jodi Picoult & Lisa Gardner. But, I think that might have changed some since Goodreads though as I have added quite a few more authors to my list of favourites. I don’t really have a favourite publisher or offhand I can’t think of who it would be. I’ll come back and comment if I remember.

L329-5 Brenda’s Answer

I don’t belong to any book subscription boxes.  This may sound weird and let me know if it does. lol . I get a little anxious waiting for mail.  The whole wondering when it will show up and waiting really stresses me out.  So I don’t often buy from Amazon.  I do like Book Outlet because of the amazing prices and have been known to order a bit too much from there according to my husband.  So I will try to work through the anxiety of waiting for that.  Also when I want a book I want it right now and don’t want to wait for it so my favorite place to shop for books is Indigo/Chapters.  I do love the library too but there is that waiting for books again.  lol

I do kind of wish the whole waiting for approval on NG would bother me a bit more than it does so I won’t exercise my finger so much by requesting so many titles.

Web_L463-6Lindsay’s Answer

I would love to be a member of a monthly book mail subscription box, however, I really try to control my spending on books. I usually use my amazing local library along with NG/EW to get my books.

If I am purchasing a book, I usually buy online from The Book Outlet. I can have it delivered to the store which is super close to me for free which saves me paying shipping costs. Plus, their books are an AMAZING deal so it works out great!

Favourite author would be so hard to narrow down. I agree with you Norma – Jodi Picoult is a top favourite. Kate Morton. Kristin Hannah. Lisa Genova.

CL104-1Christina’s Answer

I also don’t belong to any subscription plans. I’ve thought about doing book of the month because it look so fun but I’m also super cheap LOL!

I really love my local library, but my favorite place to just browse books is Half Price Books. I also enjoy NetGalley / EW but I have a hard time browsing online versus in the store!

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Now to the best part. Your answers. Please join in our discussion and let us know your answer. We would love to hear from you!

graphics by Lovelytocu

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Line That Held Us by David Joy #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers

The Line That Held Us by David Joy

Web_L117-1_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review

Lindsay and I read The Line That Held Us with six of our Traveling Sisters and this was one that left us all breathless after reading it. It made for a great discussion.

David Joy holds nothing back here and pulls no stops with this stunning and violent story that explores sacrifice and suffering. We were immediately drawn into a world where our characters live by a code and where family roots run deep and the lines that hold them are clear. The story is fiercely intense with descriptive violence that at times forced me to put up some filters to not absorb some of the violence. David Joy does have a way with his writing and it beautifully flows easily without any shock value.

David Joy does such a great job here creating a haunting fascinating yet terrifying character here with Dwayne who is driven by rage and savage revenge. He is like no other character I have met before. He is compelling, unpredictable and unforgetting. I sat on the edge of my seat as the tension grew and I became scared about what he would do next. His character is so well done I could vividly see how his mind started to deteriorate, at times allowing me to feel empathy for his situation. That alone is brilliant writing to me.

The Line That Held Us is one I recommend with caution due to the violence and isn’t one for everyone. It needs some filtering or looking past the violence and into the words that are written around the violence.
Web_L109-3_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s review

I can’t shake the spine-tingling, stomach-churning, revenge-seeking, heart-pounding tension that filled every page of this intense, gritty, gun-slinging backroads tale.   

This dark, unflinching and violent story follows Darl Moody and Calvin Hooper, two men who have been friends since childhood.   Darl and Calvin find themselves caught in the deceit of covering up an accidental murder.  They are faced with unexpected and unending repercussions and revenge.   

This is not an easy read by any means.  It is dark, brutally violent and descriptively disturbing.   This would be hard on those readers with a weak stomach.  It had me queasy and cringing several times.   I found myself holding my breath and squinting my eyes while reading at several points in tension-filled anticipation of what brutal scene lay ahead on the next page.   With that being said, the writing is so strong and compelling that I couldn’t look away – I just had to keep reading.    This story gripped me from start to finish, my heart pounding in anticipation of where this haunting story would lead.

Thank you to Edelweiss, G. P. Putnam’s Sons and David Joy from both of us for an ARC to read and review.

FC-5-VerityFrom Debra’s review

An accidental shooting in the woods and the deadly aftermath could be a very sad yet simple tale – but not in the hands of David Joy. In the pages of “The Line that held us”, Joy has created a beautifully written gritty novel set in Appalachia. This book is violent, heart breaking and gut wrenching. The characters in this book are struggling – struggling with the consequences of their actions, struggling with poverty, struggling with loss, struggling with grief, struggling with keeping secrets, struggling with doing the right thing and struggling to survive. Love, loyalty, friendship, rage, loss, despair, and revenge are all combined and laid bare.

Web_L323-1_brunette_green eyesFrom Jan’s review

The characters are complex and for such a gritty book it’s very philosophical, which saves it from being just a simple tale of vengeance.  These are not characters I will soon forget. Be aware it’s not for the faint of heart. There were parts where I cringed, parts where I teared up, and the ending is so tense I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough.

The setting is Appalachia where people do what they do in order to survive. It’s a harsh life and the people are tough. Family and friendship ties are very strong. What happens when something happens to a loved one that forces us to make a choice? What are the consequences?

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Have you read this one? Want to read this one? Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Can't Wait Wednesday, Traveling Friends Reads

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton @about_thethrill #travelingfriendsread #BookBloggers

Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about and that we have yet to read.  It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Today we are sistering up with Kim @It’s All About the Thrill to share in our excitement for another upcoming group read for a book by Sharon J. Bolton that we can’t wait to read.  Our group read for The Craftsman is underway and it’s a hit with all of us so far.  Now we are so excited to get started on Daisy in Chains.  Daisy in Chains has been on our radar to read for Norma and I since we read and loved Dead Woman Walking.  We both bought the book and it’s been spending some time on our much-loved shelve of books waiting for the perfect time to read it.  Soon that perfect time is coming and I feel there will be some cheering going on in the coulee when we start reading this one.

Daisy in Chains by Sharon J. Bolton

From Goodreads

Famous killers have fan clubs.

Hamish Wolfe is no different. Locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women, he gets countless adoring letters every day. He’s handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced he’s innocent, and that he’s the man of their dreams.

Who would join such a club?

Maggie Rose is different. Reclusive and enigmatic; a successful lawyer and bestselling true-crime writer, she only takes on cases that she can win.

Hamish wants her as his lawyer, he wants her to change his fate. She thinks she’s immune to the charms of a man like this. But maybe not this time . . .

Would you?

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Have you read this one?  Want to read this one?  Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor @HarperCollinsCA @HazelGaynor #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers


The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
by Hazel Gaynor

Web_L339-4_brunette_brown eyesNorma’s Review

Captivating, affecting & heart-wrenching!

This was my very first HAZEL GAYNOR book, and I must say that I absolutely loved her writing style.  I was immediately drawn into this extraordinary story by her beautiful storytelling right from the very first page and had me totally immersed, entertained, and interested throughout this entire book.

THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER by HAZEL GAYNOR is an absolutely stunning, sad, moving, heartwarming, and an excellent historical fiction novel that was inspired by the true story of Grace Darling, a lighthouse keeper’s daughter.  A fascinating story!

Some parts of this book was extremely sad and heartbreaking for me to read as it takes you on quite the emotional journey and I couldn’t help but feel right along with all the characters heartache, loss, and tragedy.  Even though there was so much sadness the book also had so much warmth and love emanating throughout that was so inspiring and empowering to read. Just how strong, resilient, and brave these women were was absolutely remarkable and it was an absolute pleasure reading and learning Grace Darling’s story.

HAZEL GAYNOR delivers a vividly descriptive, intriguing and beautifully written story here where she interweaves skillfully two different timelines, spanning over decades and centuries.  Grace’s story in 1838 and Matilda Emmerson’s in 1938. Both of these women’s stories captured my heart and I found them both as equally compelling and not once did I feel like one was more interesting than the other.    

I have a fascination for books with settings of lighthouses and it was one of those books for me where the author’s beautiful prose, moving storyline, and endearing characters made this an all-around fabulous read for me.  I love it when an author can bring out so many emotions from me while I am reading and for me, that is one incredibly satisfying reading experience!

Web_L365-3_brunette_blue-eyesBrenda’s review

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter was an unexpected gem I stumbled upon thanks to HarperCollins Canada. I quickly added it as a group read for the Traveling Sisters and along with Norma, Lindsay and I, two other sisters joined in on the discussion with us.

It’s an emotional gem of a story that is so perfectly paced and took us on the best possible emotional journey I could imagine. The characters crept into our hearts and haven’t let go.  This story and the characters are unforgettable and compelling with their bravery and strength.

The strength of the story lies in the emotions that drive the story forward.  From the moment we opened this book till the final pages we took a heartbreaking and heart-wrenching journey that explores bravery, duty, love, sacrifice, and loss. The characters here are not only brave with their actions but with their hearts.

Inspired by true events Hazel Gaynor develops compelling characters and completely emerges us in their timelines. They inspired us, brought us to tears and found a spot in our hearts.

This story makes for such a great discussion for group reads to share your emotional journey with.   I highly recommend this emotional and unforgettable story.

Web_L355-6_blonde_blue eyesLindsay’s review

Excuse me, while I dust off my Favourites shelf to make room for this beautiful, spellbinding, unforgettable novel that has secured a forever spot in my heart.   Not only does this mesmerizing book belong on my Favourites shelf, it easily takes top spot as my favourite read of 2018! I simply cannot imagine anything surpassing the love I have for this story.

I have such a soft spot for books involving lighthouses.   There is something about them that I am drawn to – they have such a secretive, magical, historic feel that intrigues me.  This breathtaking novel, which strongly focuses on life as a lighthouse keeper, follows two interwoven timelines one hundred years apart – 1838 in Northumberland, England and 1938 in Newport, Rhode Island.  Each timeline was equally intriguing for me – I was completely engrossed by every single word of this beautifully written multigenerational story. My mind and heart were fully captivated from the very first sentence.     

The start of this tale introduces us to twenty-two year old, Grace Darling, whose entire life has been lived simply on Farne Islands as a lighthouse keeper’s daughter.  One day, during a horrific storm, Grace and her father bravely battle the sea in a row boat to rescue the survivors of a nearby shipwreck. Grace’s courage and bravery during the storm is unexpectedly publicly celebrated and honored, making Grace a famous hero.   The unanticipated praise and attention are hard for Grace to accept and handle.

The lighthouses in this story are characters of their own.   The author, Hazel Gaynor, creates an atmosphere so vivid and gripping that I truly felt like a part of this compelling and unforgettable scenery and the cast of characters.   The isolated islands, the damp and windy weather, the sparse beaches where washed-up treasures were found and cherished, simple and quaint Cherry cottage. As I was reading, I could hear the echoes of the footsteps on the winding staircase as Grace climbed the lighthouse steps to proudly handle her daily duties.  

Upon finishing this amazing novel, I googled the name Grace Darling to find out this book is based on a true story.  Wow – I had no idea! This knowledge enhanced my love for this novel as I absolutely love historical fiction for that reason – I love learning about a time in our history that I knew little or nothing about.  

This book is written so beautifully that there will be no choice other than to make its way into your heart.  I warn you to have plenty of Kleenex ready, as this is an emotional journey that had me sobbing uncontrollably a few times.  I just love a good book cry! As my lovely GR Traveling Sister Norma brilliantly stated, as sad as this story is, it is filled with so much warmth and love.  Heart-wrenching and heartwarming!

To see Stephanie’s Novel Fiction wonderful review 

Web_L149-4Norma’s Stats:

  • Cover: Formidable, somber, breathtaking, wondrous, intriguing and an extremely fitting representation to storyline.
  • Title: Appealing, intriguing, interested and a simple but yet such a powerful representation to storyline.
  • Writing/Prose: Well-written, vivid, exquisite, engaging, captivating, and fluent.
  • Plot: Thought-provoking, powerful, passionate, emotional, engrossing, steady-paced, enjoyable and extremely entertaining.  
  • Ending: A sorrowful ending that I was extremely satisfied with as it ended historically correct.
  • Overall: An enthralling and memorable read that had me totally engrossed, emotional, and interested from start to finish!  Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada and Hazel Gaynor for providing us with an Advanced Reader’s E-Proof in exchange for a review!

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Have you read this one? Want to read this one? Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!