Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing @smariedowning @BerkleyPub @about_thethrill #BookBloggers #travelingsisterreads #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads #askusaboutourbook

It’s here and ready for sale! One of the most highly anticipated must reads of 2019 and you don’t want to miss it! This was a top pick for us Traveling Sisters!!

We read My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downingwith two of our reading groups and this one left us all cheering with excitement after finishing this one. We hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did. If you haven’t read it its one we highly recommend not to miss out on as it is just that fantastic.

Brenda’s Review

It entertained us, disturbed us, made us uncomfortable and had us questioning our own dark and twisted loving minds!

Married with children serial killer, a game of cat and mouse, rich in twists and an ending that will leave you wanting to talk about it.

My Lovely Wife grabbed my attention right from the start and I raced through it as fast as I could. I wasn’t alone here! It was a fast page turner for us that kept a few of us up reading late into the night with the best book hangovers ever. It was one of the fastest group reads with one of the longest discussions we have had!

Now that ending left us speechless but not for long. We had a lot to talk about with that ending. We all highly recommend!

Norma’s review

Thrilling, mind-blowing & highly compulsive!

Oh my goodness this book definitely deserves my favourite wowza saying and I am absolutely thrilled to say that this is probably one of the best thrillers that I have recently read.

MY LOVELY WIFE by SAMANTHA DOWNING is an engrossing, suspenseful, dark, twisted, and disturbing psychological thriller that was such an irresistible, fun and thrilling book to read. I was immediately sucked in and devoured every single page of this wickedly entertaining book. It was absolutely impossible to put down. Once I started reading this book I was hooked and so absorbed in this storyline that it wasn’t an easy task to pull me away. 

SAMANTHA DOWNING delivers quite the impressive debut here that was such a clever, intriguing, tension-filled and well-written read. This was a highly anticipated read for me and one that I absolutely loved!! I am so excited to say that this book quickly went it into my favourite reads shelf.

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing and Samantha Downing for our copies to read and review!

Lindsay’s review

Thrilling, edgy and addictive!

I am still in shock that this was a debut novel!   Wow – Samatha Downing – I am very impressed!

This is a truly unforgettable story that will stay with me long after I have written this review.  This book lived up to and, for me, surpassed the hype surrounding it. I won’t give any plot details as I think it’s best to go in blind.  The narration was skillfully executed. The flow and pace were smooth, precise and consistent – kept me on my toes from start to finish. The characters were distinct and exceptional.   The plot was brilliantly unique and scandalous. What more can I say? Get your hands on a copy of this book.

From Kim’s review

OMG OMG OMG!!! Yes I am speechless as I finished up my most anticipated book of the year! It not only lived up to my expectations, it far exceeded them! I mean really I am floored that this is Samantha Downing’s first book. New thriller queen in the house! It is great when you know from the very first chapter that you are going to love it. The writing style had a raw, edgy humor to it and that is my favorite! I can’t quite explain why I got suckered into liking this couple. It is awful to say that no matter what they did, I just couldn’t quite hate them. I really didn’t want this book to end. I was so wrapped up in their story. For Kim’s full review

From Heidi’s review

Wow – what a hell of a ride this book was! It was also so much fun to read. Which makes me a little bit concerned about my own sanity, seeing how there were some pretty dark themes at play here: murder, torture, sexual predators, lies and infidelity. But, oh so very entertaining! By far one of the more original books I have read in a long time, and one that I can highly recommend to all lovers of the genre! A great binge read – lock your doors, make sure you are stocked up on food and bevies and just enjoy the ride.

From Mary Beth’s review

Before you open up this book make sure you have no plans for the day. Don’t answer the telephone, and don’t answer the door, because all you will want to do is to read this book. I am serious. At least that is how I thought. I did not want it to end. I raced through this book and read it in a day in a half. 

I loved the ending. Right when I thought I had figured this one out, a big twist comes along that wasn’t expected at all and it left me speechless. It was a big surprise. This one kept me on the edge of my seat. It is not a predictable read and I thought it was mind blowing and AMAZING!

From Dana’s review

Hooked from the first chapter! My Lovely Wife pulled me in right away and kept me wanting more. Samantha Downing knows how to write a thriller!! This book was gripping and intense. It kept me guessing from one chapter to the next, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough! My advice to anyone that picks up this book, make sure you’ve got a few free hours because you’re not going to want to put this down!! 

Traveling Sister read and Traveling Friend IG read

Have you read this one? Did you love it? Are you adding it to your TBR list or running out to get it today? Drop us comment! We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Reviews by Lindsay

Lindsay’s Author Series Event with Iain Reid & Anna Porter @SimonSchusterCA @reid_iain @GrimsbyLibrary @annaporter_anna #grimsbyauthorseries

Post written by Lindsay

I had the pleasure of attending another Author Series Event in Grimsby, Ontario last week.   Enjoying a glass of wine with fellow book loving friends while authors read to me – does it get any better than that?  This March event featured Iain Reid and Anna Porter as the guest authors.

I read and loved Iain Reid’s latest novel “Foe” and was looking forward to hearing about his creative process while writing this eerie, tension-filled story.  He was an excellent speaker – his voice had the audience in a complete trance while he read. I found it surprising to learn that Iain doesn’t know the exact direction his story is heading while writing – he lets the characters take him where they want to go.  Iain refrained from giving his opinion on what certain elements of the story mean to him when asked. He created this unique, spine-tingling story with many “open to interpretation” elements. He explained that he wants to leave it open to the readers’ interpretation without clouding their reading experience.  I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of his previous novel, I’m Thinking Of Ending Things.

While I didn’t get the opportunity to read Anna Porter’s novel “In Other Words” prior to the event, I found her presentation and discussion both very interesting and inspiring.   She has quite an impressive background in the Canadian publishing world and has met and developed close relationships with many famous people in the industry. I look forward to checking out her novel in the near future.   

I’m excited for the April Author Series Event where Shelley Wood and Andrew Pyper will be speaking.  Stay tuned…..

Lindsay’s review

Wow! Foe by Iain Reid was an exciting step outside of my usual reading genre! 😱🤯

This novel is a combination of thriller, sci-fi and mystery/suspense. I usually steer very clear of anything remotely sci-fi-ish, however, I will be attending an Author Series event next week where this author, Iain Reid, will be speaking so I thought I’d give it a try. Boy, am I happy I did! This novel had me glued to the words from page one. There was an intense feeling of foreboding and unease that crept through my entire body every time I picked this book up. The suspense was thick and addictive. And that ending left my mind whirling! 

This is one of those books that you just have to read to know what feeling I’m getting at. It sucks you in and keeps you hungry for more until you reach the mind-blowing ending. It’s a unique and unforgettable story told through a brilliant narrative. I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy!

Have you read Foe or any other books by Iain Reid? Have you read In Other Words: How I Fell in Love with Canada One Book at a Time by Anna Porter? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

Falling Behind Friday: You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart @NicoleLynnBaart @AtriaBooks #BookBloggers #travelingsisterreads #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads #askusaboutourbook

A while back I started Falling Behind Friday and then I started falling behind on that. So I decided to give it another try but try to catch up on some of those reviews I have been fallen behind on writing. Today I am bringing you our reviews for You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart . We read this one with a few members of the Traveling Sisters aways back.

Brenda’s review

A father’s tragic accident, A mother’s world shattered and her quest to find answers and put her world back together.

I have to start off by saying that I love this title. It’s such a powerful title for a story like this one and says so much for it. Every time I look at the title it sends such heartfelt shivers up my spine. You Were Always Mine is an emotional, compelling heartwarming story that explores adoption and the bonds of motherhood glued together by love.

This one is a little slow paced as it has a lot of emotional depth to it. Nicole Baart does such a great job capturing the strength, determination and love of a mother here with Jess Chamberlain. We see how secrets, grief and loss effects the family here including the children. It was refreshing to see the children being included in the storyline as well. There is a mystery here as well that ties into the story and we see Jess’s determination to find answers. The story is well-layered along with the clues and the reveal comes together well.

This one is a good choice for group reads as there is a lot to discuss here with this story. We shared some insight from personal experience in the discussion that really added to the story. There is also a good set of thought-provoking discussion question that really had me thinking more about the story. I highly recommend.

Norma’s review

Compelling, haunting & thought-provoking!

YOU WERE ALWAYS MINE by NICOLE BAART is an excellent, riveting, moving, and passionate story centered around adoption that I was immediately drawn into and had me interested right to the very end. 

Even though the intensity level of this tale slowly builds as the story progresses there is this brilliant obscure element to the storyline that immediately grabbed my attention and had me totally intrigued in what I was reading and what it all meant. This definitely brought in an extra layer of suspense to the story for me. It was quite puzzling and fit perfectly into the dynamics of this story. 

NICOLE BAART delivers an intriguing, engaging, complex and well-written multi-layered story here with absolutely wonderful character development, a suspenseful mystery, and a thoughtful and emotional storyline. 

I absolutely loved our main character here, Jessica and thought that she was an extremely well-written, realistic, believable and compassionate character. I was seeking the truth and wanting answers right along beside her.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Eye-catching, beautiful, appealing, meaningful and a significant representation to storyline that I absolutely love.
Title: The title is definitely intriguing and is a fitting, clever and excellent representation to storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, eloquent, expressive, beautiful and engaging.
Plot: Engrossing, perplexing, thought-provoking, insightful, fascinating, heartfelt, perfectly-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: Surprising, satisfying, and extremely pleasing. 
Overall: This was such a touching suspenseful family drama story about adoption, a mother’s love, family secrets, betrayal, and grief. And with the mystery to solve and Jessica’s perseverance to search for the truth turns this Women’s Fiction novel into quite the thrilling domestic thriller. All these themes made this extremely hard to put down! Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Atria Books, Nicole Baart for our copies to read and review.

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 Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths #BookBloggers #travelingsisterreads #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads #askusaboutourbook

Brenda’s review

Elly Griffiths is well known for her Ruth Galloway series. The Stranger Diaries  is a stand alone and my first book by Elly Griffiths. I read it in our Traveling Sisters reading group.

A gothic murder mystery with a modern twist, a whodunnit, and a ghost story.

The Stranger Diaries has a unique and interesting format to the story that we all loved. The story is told from different overlapping POVs, and timelines, passages from a book, a story within the story method and diary entries from one of the main characters.

We all were intrigued right from the start with this entertaining and fun story that takes place on the grounds of a school where a famous author R.M. Holland once lived. We loved the gothic tone and setting to the story and were drawn in the murder mystery and ghost story right from the start. There were some things here in this story that just didn’t work for me and a few of us just didn’t buy into. This lead to some discussion within the group and it was interesting to see how everyone reacted to these things.

The ending also left us with a few things to discuss.  Some of us were shocked by whodunnit and of course even though I was questioning a few things I didn’t figure out who it was.  You would think after so many thrillers my detective skills would be better. But no! The ending wrapped up quite quickly and a bit neat and we were questioning a few things about that. Leaving a few of us not buying into it and the rest not really bothered by it because of the well down gothic elements to the story. I highly recommend this one for group reads. There is plenty to talk about!

Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for my copy to read and review.

From DeAnn’s review

This tale gets all the points for originality and atmosphere. It has a very gothic air and feels very British to this American reader. Set in modern times, but ample references to the past with Oxford, literature, diaries, and mysterious writers. Throw in an abandoned factory, a haunted school, magic, and several murders and you’ve got a classic mystery.

All throughout the book we are teased with snippets from a classic ghost story written by R.M. Holland. Clare just happens to be an expert on this writer and is writing a book about him. When life starts to mimic the story, things take a deadly turn and Kaur frantically tries to solve the case before another murder happens.

From Mary Beth’s review

I was so surprised who the killer was and I never suspected the killer. I didn’t think the killer has a strong motive. It just wasn’t good enough. I thought the plot was great and loved everything else about this book.

I just loved the characters. I loved Clare and her teenage daughter and I loved the dog Herbert and thought he was adorable. My favorite character was Byrony Hughes. I thought her character was done so well.

From Marilyn’s review

There is an eerie feel to the book, as more and more things happen that allude to Holland and his writings, which is fun in a modern day novel. I enjoyed reading from the POV of all three characters, the snobbish, beautiful Clare, the too mature for her age, Georgia, and the hard nosed, sarcastic and witty DS Kaur. Reading the events of the story from three different perspectives often changed the who and how of the story for me and even though I briefly picked the right person for the murderer, I was led astray by new events and seeing the events from a different view point. . And then there was the short story within this novel that added to the mysterious and gothic feel of the book. 

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

Posted in Reviews

House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler #bookreview #BookBloggers @BonMot101 @SimonSchusterCA #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads

House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler is available now!

Engaging, intense & thought-provoking!

First off I am not exactly sure that I would say that this book is in the same caliber as Jodi Picoult but I thought that it was an interesting and well-crafted debut though.

HOUSE ON FIRE by BONNIE KISTLER is an emotionally-charged, entertaining and fascinating tale that immediately drew me in and held my interest right to the very end.  I found the drama within this story to be quite captivating and totally immersive. Even the subplots were quite interesting to read about and I thought that we really got to see into our main character’s psyche with the inclusion of those storylines.  They definitely brought something into the main plotlines for me.

BONNIE KISTLER delivers a slow-burning, suspenseful, intriguing and well-written read here that delves deep into the psychological side of a family’s tragedy through the exploration of their grief and loss.  I found it very interesting to see how all of these characters dealt with their grief and drama.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Fiery, eye-opening, bold, appealing, intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline. Coverlove! 
Title: Intriguing and absolutely loved how the title played so fittingly and meaningfully into storyline. I have a fascination with learning the meanings behind the titles and when I learned the meaning behind this one it was a very satisfying and rewarding feeling. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging and readable. Thoroughly enjoyed the narrative! 
Plot: Slow-building, steadily paced, intense, emotional, suspenseful, thought-provoking and complex. 
Ending: A surprising, intense and action-packed ending that left me totally satisfied. 
Overall: I enjoy a bit of drama in my stories so this one was right up my alley and adding in a little bit of mystery to it well then I am one happy and contented reader. Would recommend!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for my complimentary copy.

Something fun about me:  I go into the majority of my books blind and without any preconceived expectations.  I do really think this enhances my reading experience and it totally works for me! If I am confused at all I will read the synopsis a few chapters in if I am not getting the feel for the book…..which luckily doesn’t happen very often.

Have you read this one? Want to read it? Let us know your thoughts on it! We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald @Christinamac79 @about_thethrill #BookBloggers #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads #askusaboutourbook

We had the absolute pleasure of Christina McDonald joining in on our Traveling Friends Goodreads discussion as well as our Instagram discussion for her outstanding, emotional, thought-provoking domestic suspense novel The Night Olivia Fell. Christina so gracious with her time, spend two hours chatting with us and answering our questions.  She shared some insight into the story and her writing. It was the most incredible reading experience we have had in our groups. After our discussion with Christina there might of been some dancing around the house!

The Night Olivia Fell:Suspenseful and twisty that kept us guessing, so heart-wrenching it left us in tears, a mother’s love and the lengths she will go to protect her child shone through and left us reflecting on our own need to protect our children. Family secrets and the search for the truth left us discussing what we prefer truth or happiness.  A mother’s grieve left us hugging our own children.

Norma’s Review

Affecting, highly irresistible & intensely entertaining!

THE NIGHT OLIVIA FELL by CHRISTINA MCDONALD was an absolutely fabulous novel that I completely devoured and was totally invested in. It was such a moving, suspenseful, enjoyable, and heartfelt tale that immediately evoked emotion and totally grabbed my attention. It opens up with a nightmarish scene that definitely pulled at my heartstrings and had me sitting on the edge of my seat in anguish and despair for Abi and her love for Olivia as we are pretty much privy to Olivia’s fate right from the very beginning.

CHRISTINA MCDONALD delivers an impressive debut that was character-driven, gripping, fast-paced, intriguing and well-written that was told in two timelines between Abi’s perspective after Olivia’s fall and Olivia’s before the accident.

I absolutely love it when a book produces so much emotion from me and has me pondering and guessing the outcome with all the different possible scenarios. This book for me had it all! An emotionally charged & fascinating storyline, realistic & believable character dynamics, and a well-crafted & intense mystery.

Lindsay’s review

One of my worst nightmares. Being woken in the night by a phone call that my child has been in an accident and is in the hospital. This is what happens to Abi Knight. After mysteriously falling off a bridge, her teenage daughter, Olivia, is on life-support with brain damage and no chance of recovery. Upon absorbing the shock of this devastating news, Abi discovers that Olivia is pregnant and must stay on life-support to keep the baby alive.

This story pulled me in right away. I had countless urgent questions from the first few pages. What happened to Olivia? Who is the baby’s father? What was she doing out at night on that bridge? The author, Christina McDonald, does a fantastic job keeping the suspense thick and strong throughout the novel. The characters were extremely well developed, leaving a lasting and impactful impression. The dual timelines and transition between narrators were smooth and powerful, leaving me yearning for just “one more chapter”. The last few chapters had me sobbing and emotionally drained. The Epilogue was so very powerful and perfect.

A look into our Traveling Friends Goodreads discussion

I have to say wow! I love how everything all came together. At one point I suspected everyone throughout reading it.  I love how they were so many red herring and believable read flags throughout the story. I loved both perspectives and really thought Christina captured both of them so well. I was really blown away by Olivia’s voice. So realistic and not annoying.  Lol I am not sure what I expected going into this one. I think I was thinking it was going to be more like a twisty fast-paced thriller but this was an emotionally fast-paced story that explored a family’s love and secrets.  It surprised me how much insight and emotion depth there was to it. Brenda

Well I am adding another “Wowza” comment! This was an amazing book for me and I was a babbling mess in the end. I just loved this book and thought it was pretty much perfect in every way.  Norma

I thought the characters were very well developed, the suspense had me intrigued all the way through, the switching perspectives between Olivia and Abi were great. My suspicions were all over the place. Lindsay

Wow! Read this one in two sittings And, it did bring a tear to my eye in the end.  I found it to be suspenseful from start to finish, Jayme

Wow – that was an emotional read for me!  I shed a few tears. Such a good story! Heidi

I am right there with all of the “WOW” comments! 🙂 This one had it all–suspense, great plot, well-developed characters, and an emotional and satisfying ending. I was not expecting to get all teary at the end, wow.. that was heartbreaking Nikki

I really enjoyed the book too. I think the way it was written starting with Olivia on life support and then delving back into the past to find out how she got there was what made it so suspenseful. Carolyn

I enjoyed how Christina wrote it in both POV. I thought it was easy to follow but also kept you on the end of your seat trying to figure out what really happened. Of course, I kept thinking I figured it out and in the end ALL of my theories were wrong! The writing was captivating, thought-provoking, suspenseful and emotionally charged. I think she did a fantastic job and I cannot wait to read more from her! Chessi

I enjoyed this book right from the first page I liked the chapters being split between the two main characters as you got a little more insight of the storylines about each of them and how different they were from what they each believed. Jess

From our Friends’ review

Nikki
The Night Olivia Fell immediately drew me in and never let me go. Christina McDonald delivers a novel that blends a little bit of mystery, a little bit of suspense, and a whole lot of emotion into a heart wrenching and thrilling tale

Alternating between past and present, the story unfolds as we hear from Abi and Olivia. The alternating perspectives and timelines truly enhance the story, giving life to these characters and building the momentum of the novel. McDonald does an excellent job capturing both the mom and daughter side, with her teenage-voice for Olivia being especially well executed.

While there are mysteries to be solved and secrets to uncover, there are no super, major shocks or blindsiding twists… and that’s ok! Because the family dynamic, the level of heartbreak, the exploration of hard choices, and the overall emotional feel of the story is what makes this book. The mystery part is just extra icing on the cake.

Kim

Towards the ending this story morphed into an emotional roller coaster for me. There is a part where the fine details that the author includes literally had me feeling like I was in the room with them. I often come away from a book feeling euphoric when I really love the book. This book touched on something that I can’t even put into the words. I felt emotionally overwhelmed for several hours after finishing. I felt a sense of personal loss, which I never feel like this when reading a book. I had to keep reminding myself that it is a BOOK and it is a work of fiction. I think this speaks volumes as to the immense talent this author has that she managed to get me so emotionally worked up. I obviously can’t express how much I loved this book and I highly recommend it to everyone. This book is going to stay in my thoughts for a long time to come. For Kim’s full review

Debra
This book is told through both Abi and Olivia’s point of view. Abi after being told about her daughter’s fall and Olivia’s told from months leading up to and the day of the fall. The reader gets to learn more about each of these women, their thoughts and emotions. Family dynamics, mother-daughter relationships, dating, falling in love, friendship, truth, the search for one’s identity, etc. it’s all here in this book.

I found this book to be absorbing and felt for both Abi and Olivia. This book will pull on your heartstrings and had me reaching for my tissues. Watching Abi grieve and fight to learn what happened to her daughter, I couldn’t help but wonder what if? Unimaginable. The reactions and emotions in this book felt believable and raw.

Jess

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald has the most heartbreaking and heartfelt ending I’ve read in along time.
It’s a book where you need time to sit and finish in one day, the chapters are short and easy whilst spilt between the two main characters.One telling the story from the present and the other telling the story on the run up to devastating conclusion.
It’s fast, it’s easy, it also keeps you guessing and plotting what you think is going to happen to then twist and make you realise you never really knew at all and it just breaks your heart (and yes I cried that doesn’t happen very often when reading a book only on rare occasions😢) I really highly recommend this book,
The ending to this story is going to stay with me for a long time.

Thank you so much to Christina McDonald for joining in our discussion and for sending me a finished copy of your book. I will be hugging it for awhile!

Have you read this one? Are you running to the store or your computer to buy this one? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!