Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Reads

Get It Today Tuesday: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain @StMartinsPress

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain was a highly anticipated read for The Traveling Sisters and we loved it!! I recommend running to your nearest bookstore or device and getting it today!! It’s one not to be missed!!

Brenda’s review

Well, that is some mighty fine, creative writing here by one of my favourite authors. I loved this one!!

Big Lies is a Small Town did start off a little slow for me and I was feeling a bit worried that I wasn’t quite getting where the story was going here by almost halfway. I was intrigued but at first, felt like I was being strung along a bit. Then I reminded myself that I have nothing to worry about because this is Diane Chamberlain. Well, well my patience was rewarded and around the middle of the book, the pace took off me and things started falling into place. I started piecing together this well-layered story and flew through the second half.

After reading so many books, things can get a little boring at times and I seem to lose my groove a lot and it is getting harder to find that one that is creative and a bit different from the rest. Diane Chamberlain creates a very unique and compelling story here. She brilliantly weaves the two timelines here with our main character Morgan and Anna. I was so pleased with the way everything wrapped up in the end so perfectly for me. After reading this one, I was marching around the house cheering with excitement for finding another one that kept me in my groove. I highly recommend it.

Lindsay’s review

A suspenseful and captivating mystery set in a small town.

Told in the dual narratives of 1940 and 2018, the two main characters, Anna and Morgan are young artists looking to find their way. Before finishing a mural project for the small town of Edenton, Anna goes missing in 1940. Almost 80 years later, Morgan is asked to restore the unfinished mural project so it can be hung in a local art exhibit. Little does Morgan know the hidden secrets she will find while researching and restoring the mysterious mural.

I adore small town settings and this one was no exception. The atmosphere engrossed and intrigued me from start to finish. I felt as though I was right there in Edenton with the characters. I loved the dual narrative, although I felt a deeper connection to and investment in Anna’s life in 1940. The plot unfolded smoothly while moving back and forth between the timelines, leaving a large sense of mystery at the end of each chapter which made me want to keep reading. Please be warned that there are some heavy topics covered within these pages: racism, physical abuse, rape, harassment.

One issue I had was that Morgan’s romance felt cliche and unnecessary, however, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. There were parts of the ending that I found predictable, yet I still felt connected to and invested in the storyline and it left me with a good sense of closure and contentment.

If you are a fan of Diane Chamberlain, like I am, you will not be disappointed. This book showcases her usual captivating writing, unique storyline and unforgettable characters which has left me hungry for what she comes out with next.

Thank you to St Martin’s Press for our copies!

Posted in Reviews

Moody Not To Be Missed Monday: A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

Not sure what mood you are in for! A Noise Downstairs has a few elements to it making this one a great one if you are not sure what you are in the mood for.

Brenda’s review

Linwood Barclay is one of my favorite authors and his books, and I have some history together. I loved listening to his books and his stories kept me entertained on some long runs. Lately, I have been missing out on some of his newer books and I am happy to say I am glad I didn’t miss out on this one.

A Noise Downstairs is a fun, entertaining, twisty and easy read with a unique creepy tormentor here with the Underwood typewriter that sets quite the eerie atmosphere to the story. I was hooked right from the start, and I was a little afraid of the noise downstairs, and I might not be just talking about the book. I pulled the covers over my head and turned the pages as fast as I could as the tension started to rise with every reveal. Things began to feel a little predictable but weren’t. I thought I had a few things figured out, but those red herring are layered well here in this story.

This is one is all about the entertainment value here and not entirely that plausible. It’s a great one to get lost in the eerie atmosphere here by a noise downstairs.

I received a copy on EW

Posted in Reviews

The One and Only (The ELI Chronicles #1) by Julia Ash #BookReview @Author_JuliaAsh

4.5 Stars!

Action-packed, vividly descriptive & breathtakingly beautiful!

I can hardly believe that I am describing a post-apocalyptic and zombie book as breathtaking. But the imagery and the words written were absolutely beautiful. I felt like I was right there snap dab in the middle of everything that was happening in this book. The heroine is absolutely fabulous!

THE ONE AND ONLY (The ELI Chronicles #1) by JULIA ASH is an engrossing, exciting, twisty, adventurous, interesting, fast-paced, and refreshing story that I was immediately drawn into. I was totally immersed in this tale and completely devoured all aspects of this storyline. I do not think that this is your typical zombie apocalypse book by no means. There is so much more to this story than initially meets the eye.

JULIA ASH delivers quite the clever, atmospheric, captivating, engaging, suspenseful and well-written story here with exceptionally well-developed and portrayed characters. I absolutely loved our dynamic duel here, Ruby and her husband Clay. It was so refreshing to have a married couple that loved, worked, and fought together for the greater good of mankind. The love that these two shared was absolutely beautiful and palpable. I was totally touched by more than one beautiful passages. There were many!

I’d like to send out a huge thank you to Julia Ash for sending me out a copy of this amazing book to read (she was also kind enough to send me The Tether book #2 as well, which I am going to be diving into very soon)!

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Powerful, suspenseful, intriguing, harrowing, bleak, and a perfectly fitting representation to storyline.
Title: A simply perfect, appropriate, chilling, beautiful, impactful and fabulous representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, fluid, suspenseful, eloquent, and engaging. I totally loved and connected with the writing style.
Plot: Engrossing, clever, refreshing, scary, adventurous, action-packed, exciting, emotional, captivating, haunting, interesting, riveting, fast-paced, and entertaining. Violence and Gore: Mild
Ending: Whoa! A twist ending that was both shocking and thrilling. I absolutely loved it! It definitely set the stage for the next book in this series.
Overall: This was an all around fabulous book for me and I can definitely see this being made into a movie and I would definitely pre-order myself a ticket if it did. I’m a huge fan and I highly recommend this one!!!

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About the Book from @Goodreads

When bioterrorism threatens to obscure humanity, one woman has the power to restore hope.

Ruby Spencer plans to resign from the U.S. Special Warfare Council. With an escalating Extinction Level Infection (ELI), the SWC needs the best minds acutely focused on the fight ahead. Yet motherhood has shifted her priorities. She’s preoccupied with her newborn’s health and safety. So resigning is the right choice.

For her last assignment, the SWC sends Ruby and husband Clay on a low-risk mission to Taiwan where they’ll consult with scientists analyzing the infection. Too bad Lt. Col. Quinton Oxford—the American Consulate’s embittered military attaché, is waiting in the shadows. Because Ox’s plans for the couple are everything but low-risk.

When the Spencers are separated and kidnapped from Taiwan to Moscow, Ruby is thrust into a perverse war game between superpowers, where she’s the prize. Only she doesn’t know why. Or even how her abduction relates to the ELI crisis.

But her connection with Zoonosis Mutated Bacteria is emerging. And the fate of her family, of the world, awaits her next move.

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Reads

Thoroughly Worthwhile Thursday: Long Bright River by Liz Moore @LizMooreBooks @riverheadbooks

Lindsay and I decided to download and read Long Bright River at the last minute, and we are so glad we did not miss this one. It is a thoroughly worthwhile reading experience that will stay with us for a while.

Brenda’s review

Long Bright River is a love story between two very different sisters who are bonded together by their toxic childhood. The story centers around the opioid crisis in a Philadelphia neighbourhood. Their childhood shapes them differently, with Kacey now lost in the streets and Mickey, a police officer on the streets searching for Kacey.

Long Bright River is profoundly moving and an affecting quietly written story with no drama that captures the raw reality of addiction not only on a loved one but a neighbourhood devastated by an epidemic with real, honest, strong characters. Liz Moore skillfully weaves a murder mystery here while exploring the bond between Mickey and Kacey through now and then chapters. I loved Mickey, and she is not without flaws making her a very relatable character. While we follow Mickey’s journey to find Kacey and the mystery unfolds, Liz Moore creates a profound picture of how their lives parallel what is happening in the neighbourhood. She creates tension and suspense her with the mystery element to the story with some great twists that tie so well into the story. I highly recommend not missing this reading experience.

Lindsay’s review

An extremely well-written, gut-wrenching, powerful story about addiction and the bond of sisters.

Raised by their less than interested grandmother, Mickey and Kacey grew up looking after one another. They were as close as sisters could be. As a teenager, Kacey mixes with the wrong crowd and becomes a drug addict leading to a life on the streets. The sisters become strangers to one another. Mickey joins the local police force but can’t ignore the constant tension of worry that one day she will find Kacey in a bad state on one of her work calls. Will Kacey ever get the help and support she needs? Will the sisters ever be as close as they once were?

I was invested in this story from page one. The story is told through Mickey’s perspective and it is intense. Mickey is a strong yet vulnerable character who I loved. What she endured while keeping her loyalty to her sister was heart wrenching. The bond of sisterhood is a strong one. The pace and flow of the book was excellent – it kept me fully engaged from start to finish. The writing was smooth and engrossing. I had a constant sense of tension and dread in my stomach in wonder of what Kacey’s outcome would be. I truly felt for Mickey and all that she had to endured

We received our copies from Edelweiss .

Posted in Reviews

The Moonshiner's Daughter by Donna Everhart #bookreview @KensingtonBooks @wordstogobuy

Provocative, emotional, & compelling!

THE MOONSHINER’S DAUGHTER by DONNA EVERHART is an engaging, fascinating, gritty, heart-wrenching, and soul-stirring southern historical fiction novel that was such a fabulous, compassionate, and heartfelt story. I was immediately sucked into the storyline and it gripped me right until the very end.

I absolutely love these types of gritty southern fiction tales and absolutely loved that this story was centered around moonshining. I’ve always had this fascination for the history of the making and running of moonshine and this definitely fulfilled my curiosity. Along with the moonshining there is some tough themes discussed here within this novel. Very early on we are privy to our main character here, Jessie having an eating disorder. We are given a firsthand look into how she struggles with her appearance and how that ultimately affects her self-esteem. DONNA EVERHART explores and delivers this subject-matter with tender loving care. Jessie and her journey totally consumed my thoughts and my heart, her story definitely resonated with me deeply on a personal level.

DONNA EVERHART delivers a steadily-paced, well-researched, and a beautifully written story here that remarkably captures the essence, time, and place perfectly. I felt like I was experiencing everything in this novel right along with these believable and exceptionally well-drawn characters. This novel deeply affected and touched my heart. It is one that I soon won’t forget.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Eye-catching, lovely, vintage, and an extremely fitting representation to storyline. I absolutely love this cover and it definitely enticed me in reading this book.
Title: An intriguing, relevant, effective, and fitting representation to storyline. I absolutely love this title!
Writing/Prose: Easy to read, eloquent, entertaining, vivid, palpable, engaging and captivating.
Plot: Gritty, stirring, heart-felt, memorable, atmospheric, plausible, interesting, steadily-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: A bittersweet, heart-felt, moving, and satisfying ending.
Overall: 4.5 Stars! I have such a deep affection for this story and highly recommend it!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Donna Everhart and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.

About the book from Goodreads

Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, The Moonshiner’s Daughter evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past . . .

Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that belongs to Jessie Sasser’s daddy, but Jessie wants no part of it. As far as she’s concerned, moonshine caused her mother’s death a dozen years ago.

Her father refuses to speak about her mama, or about the day she died. But Jessie has a gnawing hunger for the truth—one that compels her to seek comfort in food. Yet all her self-destructive behavior seems to do is feed what her school’s gruff but compassionate nurse describes as the “monster” inside Jessie.

Resenting her father’s insistence that moonshining runs in her veins, Jessie makes a plan to destroy the stills, using their neighbors as scapegoats. Instead, her scheme escalates an old rivalry and reveals long-held grudges. As she endeavors to right wrongs old and new, Jessie’s loyalties will bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths—and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.

Posted in Reviews

Get it today Tuesday: You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley @OakleyColleen @BerkleyPub

Get it today!!! You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley is out today!!

Brenda’s review

You Were There Too explores love, committed, connections, chances, fate and what-ifs. It’s a beautiful love story, and the more I think about it in more ways than one.

Our main characters here married couple Mia and Harrison experience challenges due to the heartache they experience as a couple. Each of them also has their conflicts within themselves. Mia has a secret and she literally meets the man of her dreams who is not Harrison. The man from her dreams has been dreaming of her too. The story takes an interesting and unique turn as they take on a journey to research their dream connection.

This is a story that I felt different about after I finished it then as I was reading it. It’s heart-wrenching and shocking sad and at first, it was not the way I wanted it to go, but the more I think about it, I see how well it all together in the end. I highly recommend for anyone who loves a love story!

About the book from Goodreads

Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.

Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

Evocative, distressing, & absolutely heart-wrenching!

YOU WERE THERE TOO by COLLEEN OAKLEY is a moving, intense, emotional, and an original love story that was quite the emotive and beautiful book to read. I was immediately intrigued and sucked into the narrative and absolutely loved the mysterious dream aspect to the storyline which had a slight supernatural vibe to it.

The tale is original and fresh! Something that I have definitely never read before. I was totally invested and all in the first half of the story and then the spark fizzled out for me a little bit and never really caught again. There was this niggling that I had with one aspect of the storyline that never really sat well with me, ultimately affecting me and my thoughts towards this one.

The story takes quite the unexpected and shocking turn that I never seen coming and threw me for a loop. After thinking about it I think this definitely worked and was quite clever but unfortunately my mind was already made up. I don’t think I have ever been as stubborn or unforgiving as I was with this one.

COLLEEN OAKLEY delivers quite the intriguing, raw, compelling, evocative, and well-written read here that definitely touched me in a deeply profound way. I think if a book can produce so many different emotions from we whether that be from deep affection to ruffling my feathers a little bit then the author has definitely produced one heck of a story whether I fully enjoyed it or not.

I read this one with my lovely friend and fellow Traveling Sister, Lindsay! Thanks so much for reading and discussing this one with me.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Intriguing, calming, tender, warmth, love, and a fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Clever, relevant, intriguing, and an effective and fitting representation to storyline. Love this title!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, easy to follow, evocative, entertaining, engaging and readable.
Plot: Unforgettable, heartfelt, intriguing, distressing, maddening, compelling, immersive, shocking, thought-provoking, steadily-paced, unpredictable, and entertaining.
Ending: I’m speechless, somewhat shaken, and a little bit perturbed about that ending!
Overall: This book was an unusual and intense read for me and even though I go into all my books blind the direction that this book took was nothing at all like what I expected. Would recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for kindly sending us a copy of this book!