Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

Traveling Sisters Read Review:  It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

It Happens All the TimeIt Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Traveling Sisters Read Review by NORMA, BRENDA and LINDSAY

Date read:  May 26 – 27, 2017

4.5 stars rounded up to 5

IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME by AMY HATVANY is a formidable, compelling, thought-provoking, and a bold novel that explores the emotional side of a friendship torn apart after a tragic night spent drinking, leaving lives forever changed. Exploring the fallout and betrayal of trust between friends.

AMY HATVANY delivers a brutally honest portrayal here of a subject matter that is hard to talk about. The story unfolds in alternating points of view of our two main characters, Amber and Tyler, which added credibility to the story and forces us to see both sides of their stories. It switches time periods from before and after and gives us a backstory of their friendship which was somewhat confusing for us at the beginning until we understood the shifting time periods.

Amber and Tyler are complex and well-developed characters both with mental illnesses. AMY HATVANY does a really good job with exploring, addressing, and following through with their mental health which was a very satisfying aspect of the story for us.

There was one part of the story that we all found to be a little over the top and felt it was done to add a dramatic effect to the storyline but in our opinion it was unnecessary and boundering a little on hypocritical territory. There was definitely lots of conversing and questions raised over this aspect of the novel.

Overall, we all thoroughly enjoyed this novel and really enjoyed the conversation that developed over this extremely thought-provoking and emotional journey that this novel took us on. Highly recommended!

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Review by Norma:  He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

He Said/She SaidHe Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read:  May 27 – 30, 2017

It was definitely a rewarding experience for me to have gone into this book totally blind!

HE SAID/SHE SAID by ERIN KELLY is a slow-building, dark, and twisted psychological thriller that is cleverly formatted into parts that conforms to the five stages of a total eclipse of the sun. With each phase of the eclipse more details are revealed to us.

This book started off a little bit slow and tedious for me as the information and details that were given regarding eclipses didn’t really hold my interest and I was also a little confused of why the characters were behaving the way that they were. Then when I got around to 100 – 150 pages in everything started to fall into place and then I couldn’t put this novel down.

ERIN KELLY delivers an extremely fun, atmospheric, and enjoyable read here with some surprising twists and turns and a few unexpected reveals! I did not actually figure out one of the reveals until the dynamics of the novel changed from the viewpoint of one of our characters. The story is told from alternating points of views of our two main characters, Kit and Laura with two different timelines from 15 years ago and present day.

This was not an action-packed read but there were definitely some jaw-dropping moments as the tension gradually builds to reach that ever so exciting climax and then it doesn’t end there as there is a final twist in the last paragraph. I would definitely recommend!

Trigger Alert: There is a rape scene early on in the novel and is discussed throughout.

Publication date: June 6, 2017

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Erin Kelly, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

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Review by Norma:  The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson 

The Kind Worth KillingThe Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whoa! I gotta say that some of the twists and turns in this book definitely took me by surprise!!!

I must admit near the beginning of THE KIND WORTH KILLING by PETER SWANSON had me feeling a little bit uncomfortable and questioning the motives of our devious, scheming, and manipulative main character, Lily. I just didn’t know if I could get passed the planning stages and the idea that it was okay to murder someone and Lily’s dispassionate comment that Miranda, seems like “the kind worth killing”, hence the title of the novel. Then I reminded myself that hey this is a psychological thriller that is actually very cleverly written!

The characters are so well-drawn, captivating, and malicious but yet so intriguing that you can’t help to get caught up in their cat and mouse game. The story is told through four different perspectives but Lily’s voice is heard the most throughout the story. Even though I found myself questioning her motives, the way she justifies her actions and the interactions she had with the other characters had me rooting for her throughout this twisted and chilling tale. That’s good writing!

I listened to this on Audible & also followed along with the print copy, just in case I missed something! I really enjoyed the performance by all four narrators.

To sum it all up, this is a gripping, suspenseful, enjoyable, and an extremely fascinating novel that left me feeling totally satisfied. Would recommend!

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Thoughts by Brenda:  Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton

Lilli de JongLilli de Jong by Janet Benton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars

Shortly after we meet Lilli De Jong she is left unwed and pregnant. Through Lilli’s journal entries we learn of her fight to survive in a time when society banishes, judges and shames unwed mothers and their children. She takes us from her life at home to a home for unwed mothers, to a home to care and nurse for a baby from a wealthy family and then left frighteningly alone with her baby in the streets fighting to survive. Determined to keep her daughter and fight to survive poverty she chooses between her morals and the morals and judgment of a harsh society.

Lilli de Jong is a distressing yet and uplifting important story that really had me thinking and questioning the morals, self righteous judgement of yesterday and today.
Through Janet Benton’s research and beautifully told story she reminded me what we learn from the past can be a link to the future and left me thinking how far we have come but how far we could still go. I highly recommend.

 

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Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

Traveling Sisters Review: The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle

The Blessings of the AnimalsThe Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Date read:  May 22 to 24th, 2017

Traveling Sister Read Review by NORMA, BRENDA and LINDSAY!!

THE BLESSINGS OF THE ANIMALS by KATRINA KITTLE was not what we expected at all going into this one.  We went into it thinking it was going to be more about the connection/relationship between humans and animals and their power to heal but found it to be more of a complicated chaotic mix of human relationships — with so many different topics that we found them too complicated to connect with and the importance of the topics were lost in the struggle to engage in them.

KATRINA KITTLE delivers a complicated read here which is told mostly from our main characters point of view, Cami who is a veterinarian and her husband blindsides her one morning by leaving while she is out on a humane society rescue.

Things that we enjoyed about this novel:

** Loved the animal aspect of the book and how the characters related to them and how they found comfort in being around the animals.  (Muriel, the goat was one of Lindsay’s favourite characters!)

** Liked the main character, Cami – she was a strong, independent woman who faced an inner struggle of working toward finding her true happiness.  We enjoyed watching her character progress, overcome challenges and grow throughout the story.

** We enjoyed the farm, stable, and veterinary clinic settings. (This was very relatable and an enjoyable aspect of the novel for Norma.)

Norma’s thoughts:  For me living on a ranch and raising horses, I did really enjoy Cami’s connection she had with her animals especially the horse, Moonshine.  I see first-hand everyday the bond that my daughter shares with her horses and how amazing horses are in their ability to get right into your heart and soul.

Things that we didn’t enjoy so much about this novel:

** We felt that several of the topics covered could have been omitted from the story and it would have made for a much stronger read.  We would have liked a little more character development instead of adding more topics.

**  We all found keeping track of the characters was a little confusing for us at times as there were too many secondary characters introduced to us without taking the time to develop them to understand how they fit into the story.

**  We felt that the book tackled too many topics — while many of the topics covered were very interesting to read about, the fact that so many were included in one book took away from truly connecting with the storyline and characters — which did take away some of the enjoyment for us.

Overall, we all enjoyed Katrina Kittle’s writing style and found comfort in reading this moving story.

 

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Review by Norma:  The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

The Choices We MakeThe Choices We Make by Karma Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read:  April 23 – May 25, 2017

Update: I was finally able to finish this absolutely heartbreaking novel!

THE CHOICES WE MAKE by KARMA BROWN was recommended to me by a few of my close Goodreads friends after finishing IN THIS MOMENT and I was warned to have a box of Kleenex handy as it was going to be a sad and emotional read.  Well I needed that box of Kleenex!

I can usually hold back my emotions fairly well while reading a book but I wasn’t able to control my tears with this one. I was just hoping hubby wouldn’t wake up and ask me why I was crying. This was such a good book!

THE CHOICES WE MAKE by KARMA BROWN is an unforgettable and powerful story about love, friendship, loss, motherhood, and how grief can ultimately affect the choices we make.

KARMA BROWN delivers a touching and heart-wrenching story here that is told through Hannah and Kate’s perspective who have been best friends since fifth grade and have been there for each other ever since. Hannah is unable to get pregnant and when she and her husband have lost all hope, Kate offers them an alternative option.

I really liked all the characters and their relationships and I really felt like I was feeling their pain, hopelessness, grief, and their excitement, happiness, and gratefulness. I also found it to be an honest and believable portrayal of how one might react or behave if put in a similar situation, that of Hannah’s and/or Kate’s.

To sum it all up it was an emotional, steady-paced, and a quick read with a satisfying ending. Would recommend!!

Earlier comments:
DNF…….because I got bumped on Overdrive before I could!
I am so bummed! I did not finish this book before I was locked out of reading it late last night on Overdrive! I guess I shouldn’t have waited for the last day to read this! Now I have to wait until the book comes available to me again!