Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer @KelRimmerWrites #BookReview #travelingsistersread

Before I Let You GoBefore I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

Our rating : 4.5 out of 5

Norma’s Review

BEFORE I LET YOU GO by KELLY RIMMER is a touching, raw, heartbreaking and an absolutely wonderful novel that had me totally emotionally engaged and interested throughout the entire book. I was totally immersed in this deeply moving and beautifully written story here making it hard to put down.

KELLY RIMMER delivers a compassionate, thought-provoking and well-written story here that touches on so many emotional issues and the sensitive subject matter of addiction. The story was told in alternating perspectives from Lexie in present day and from Annie through letters and diary entries. The portrayal of these characters and the bond that these two sisters shared was executed so well and in a realistic and honest way that touched my heart.

To sum it all up it was an interesting, insightful, unforgettable, emotional, and an enjoyable read with a touching, heart-wrenching, and bittersweet ending. Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Harlequin – Graydon House Books and Kelly Rimmer for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a review!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brenda’s Review

Before I Let You Go grabbed my heart from the first page and didn’t let go of it. Kelly Rimmer skillfully writes with compassion and honesty as she explores the bond between two sisters from their traumatic childhood and to the crisis they now face.

Kelly Rimmers does an excellent job compassionately creating our main characters here with Annie and Lexie as they deal with Annie’s drug addiction and an unjust law and the trauma of their past. She realistically captures Annie’s addiction and Lexie’s feelings of guilt, desperation and anxiety for Annie without forcing any emotions on her readers but allowing us to feel our own. Kelly Rimmer brings insight and understanding to the reality of addiction for people who experience it and their families.

I found the ending well-done even though it wasn’t the direction I wanted it to go, it’s a story I won’t forget. A story that offers hope in understanding the reality of addiction and a look at a different side to it as well. I highly recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Harlequin – Graydon House Books and Kelly Rimmer for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a review!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lindsay’s Review

5 stars! This was a touching and emotional novel that affected me deeply. I have not stopped thinking about these characters since I finished reading.

This is a story about addiction. It involves family secrets that test the strength of the bond of sisters. This novel will challenge you to examine your thoughts and feelings toward addiction and the effects it has on the addict as well as their families. My mind was swimming with my thoughts and reactions as the story progressed. I questioned myself constantly throughout the pages of this story, asking how I would react and I really struggled to find my answers (some answers I still have not yet found).

There are many books about addiction. For me, the piece that truly pulled me into this story was that it was about drug addiction during pregnancy. This got right to my heart and kept me fully invested from first to the last sentence.

I will warn readers that there are upsetting scenes and discussions about the effects that substance abuse during pregnancy has on a newborn baby, but my suggestion is to push through these uncomfortable details (if you feel you can) because this story, as a whole, is deeply contemplative and insightful. It was a very eye-opening journey – one I will never forget experiencing. I would like to thank Kelly Rimmer for writing this deeply affecting story and opening up my mind to understand and show compassion to people who are often judged and ridiculed.

This was a Traveling Sister Read and it sparked very deep discussion and debate.

A big thank you to NetGalley, HARLEQUIN – Graydon House Books and Kelly Rimmer for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jennifer’s Review

5 big stars to Before I Let You Go, an honest, emotional, compassionate story of addiction

When Lexie’s estranged sister, Annie, calls her one day for help, it’s serious. Annie has been using drugs again, and she’s pregnant and showing signs of early labor. On top of that, she’s afraid she’ll lose her baby and possibly be arrested due to endangerment laws.
The reader quickly learns there’s more to Annie’s past and why she abuses drugs, a past that is quite painful and told through her own words in letters. What ensues is the push-pull dynamic of a sibling trying to help, support, advocate for, and love her sister in all the ways she knows how, as both a doctor and family member.

Because of the unique sibling interplay, as well as the underlying mental illness and tremendous pain, this book reminded me of Everything Here is Beautiful, another favorite book of mine this year. The characterization and writing styles are different, but the emotionality and authenticity are there in both books in spades.

At times raw, but always honest and compelling, Before I Let You Go is an important read. One that sheds light on addiction and its impact on families, but at a much deeper level, how society treats females with drug addiction differently, mothers especially, legally and with underlying stigma.

Thank you to Kelly Rimmer for writing this book with great care and compassion, as well as Graydon House/Harper Collins, and Edelweiss for the complimentary copy. Before I Let You Go will be published on April 3, 2018.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Susanne’s Review

4 Emotional Stars.

Lexie Vidler’s relationship with her sister Annie has always been complicated. Their childhood wasn’t like most families and Annie always relied on her sister as a mother

figure. When Lexie gets a call at 2 a.m. after not hearing from heard sister for years, she knows something is wrong. Something bad. But then something is always wrong with Annie. Annie is a drug addict. Has been for years. This time however, it’s not just drugs that Annie has a problem with. Annie is strung out and extremely pregnant and Annie needs medical attention.

Where they live in Alabama, it’s a felony to use drugs while pregnant, thus if Annie gives birth in the hospital, she will lose custody of her baby and go to prison. Yet Annie calls her sister, – her sister – the doctor (whose boyfriend is also an M.D.). Lexie wants to help and she only knows one way to do so. Soon Lexie and her boyfriend Sam’s life is turned upside down, caring for Annie’s daughter Daisy, while Annie is in court ordered rehab.

Lexie and Annie’s relationship is complicated. Always has been. Their childhood, was unlike any other. Annie’s past haunts her. It is heartbreaking. She is raw, pained and struggling. At times, it seemed like she simply just survived. Lexie has always been the mother figure. She has always been the defensive one, unable to let anyone in, ashamed of her sister. Ashamed of her own life. Addiction, you see, is a family disease. You can’t hide from it, even when you want to, and that was prevalent here, as Lexie tried to do so for years.

“Before I Let You Go” by Kelly Rimmer – expertly delved into the subject of drug addiction and how it affected two sisters and their families, as well. Heart wrenching doesn’t begin to cover it. As I said, addiction is a family disease. It is not a label and everyone has a story. Lexie and Annie’s is a powerful one. The characters make you feel, they tear at your heart, make you anxious, make you angry and make you cry. “Before I Let You Go” is a novel that captures a lot of emotions and is one that I highly recommend.

 

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova @LisaGenova @SimonSchusterCA #BookReview #travelingsistersread

Every Note PlayedEvery Note Played by Lisa Genova

Brenda’s Review & Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Norma and I were lost in the all my heart and emotional lush coulee with three of our regular visiting Traveling Sisters reading Every Note Played.

Lisa Genova writes skillfully with knowledge and compassion as she explores a family’s journey through ALS. She shows us insight into the reality of ALS for people with this disease and their family who cares for them.

Lisa Genova does an amazing job creating well-developed characters here with Richard and Karina and we loved the dynamics between them. Through both of their perspectives, we see each coming to terms with their failed marriage, their past decisions and find forgiveness and facing the truth. We see not only the physical decline of Richard’s health but also the emotional ramification of the disease has on him as well.

We found the ending so well done and love Lisa Genova’s ability to write so beautifully with understanding, hope and compassion with her characters and giving them strength in times of such heartache. Truly one of our favorite Traveling Sister Reads this year so far. We highly recommend!

Publication date March 20, 2018

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada, and Lisa Genova for the opportunity to read and review a copy of this book.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Norma’s Review

5 Stars!! Wow!  EVERY NOTE PLAYED was an absolutely phenomenal book and it was quickly placed into my 2018 favourite reads shelf!

EVERY NOTE PLAYED by LISA GENOVA is a deeply moving, sad, and an absolutely fantastic novel that had me totally emotionally engaged and interested throughout the entire book.  I was totally immersed in this story making it extremely hard for me to put down.

LISA GENOVA delivers an empowering and beautifully written story here with an extremely enthralling storyline that was easy to understand and follow. The story is told in two different perspectives from Richard’s point of view who is a world-renowned concert pianist living with ALS and his ex-wife’s, Karina his caretaker.  I was totally in awe with what I learned about ALS, the characters courage throughout this book and the familial dynamics between the characters.

To sum it all up it was an interesting, powerful, unforgettable, emotional, and an enjoyable read with a very touching, heart-wrenching, and bittersweet ending. Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada, and Lisa Genova for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.  It was an absolute pleasure!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Susanne’s Review

4 Brilliant Stars.

Lisa Genova does it again.   In “Every Note Played” – she tackles the toughest of medical diseases: “ALS” – also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” and she does it with dignity and finesse.

Richard is a successful classical concert pianist.  His life is his work. He gave up his family for it:  his marriage fell apart and his daughter Grace has become a stranger to him.  Yet his career has thrived. One day however, Richard loses all feeling in the fingers of his right hand and then his entire arm becomes paralyzed.  Unfortunately for him, this is only the beginning. Karina is Richard’s ex-wife. She too, is a pianist. If Richard is honest, she was a better classical pianist than he was.  After they got married, Karina had Grace and her life took on a different path, one which she has never truly been satisfied with.

Once Karina finds out about Richard’s disease, everything changes for both of them and she steps into a role she never imagined.  Being Richard’s caretaker is not easy on either of them. Karina and Richard each have to find a way to let go. Of the pain and the resentment they feel.  Richard towards the cards he is dealt and Karina towards her ex-husband.

At its core, “Every Note Played” is a novel that explores pain and suffering, love, loss and forgiveness and what it means to find peace within oneself and with one’s life.

Lisa Genova is an incredible storyteller.  In “Every Note Played” she expertly tells the story of a man who has ALS.  She provides information about his disease in a way that gives us background, without overloading the reader with medical jargon.  Ms. Genova makes it about Richard, Karina and Grace rather than just about the disease itself. Having read all of Ms. Genova’s prior novels, I can say that she always does her research and that was clearly the case here.  I say this speaking from experience having lost two relatives to this awful disease.

There are no winners here.  ALS is heartbreaking, completely unfair and just plain horrifying.   “Every Note Played” reminds us how important it is to hold your friends and relatives close and make sure we show and tell them each and every day how much we love them.   At times, this novel may tear your heart to shreds, make your heart flutter and make your eyes fill with tears which simply can’t help but runneth over.

Thank you for bringing such an important story to the hearts and minds of all of us Ms. Genova.  Well done.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lindsay’s Review

4.5 stars!

Powerful. Emotional. Heart wrenching. Captivating. Eye-opening. Informative.

Every Note Played is the story of Richard, a world famous pianist who, in the midst of his thriving career, develops ALS.  We witness this devastating disease take over and paralyze his body, stripping him of his career, relationships, pride, independence, freedom and more.

I admit I knew next to nothing about ALS prior to picking up this engrossing book.

Lisa Genova beautifully writes an engaging and deeply moving story that took me on a journey that I will never forget.  Genova compassionately reveals the private details – the symptoms, medications, side effects, equipment needed and family decisions that this devastating disease forces upon you.  It is not an easy read, but it is an important one. This book impacted me so deeply. Thank you Lisa Genova for writing this deeply touching and unforgettable book.

A big thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Lisa Genova for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review! It was an absolute honour and pleasure to read this fantastic book!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Italian Party by Christina Lynch #BookReview #travelingsistersread

The Italian PartyThe Italian Party by Christina Lynch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Italian Party is a fun, witty, and entertaining cinematic story that I really enjoyed reading. Jennifer who was reading this one with me pulled me into a coulee with her and I was really glad I decided to join her. What a nice pleasant change of pace this one was. Without her, I would have missed out on such a fun read done on the lighter side with some serious subjects to make this an interesting story.

Christina Lynch does a great job creating interesting characters here with young American newlyweds Scottie and Michael. They arrive in Siena both carrying their own secrets from each other that complicated their relationship. I loved seeing things from Scottie’s innocent way of looking at the world and it was very refreshing. They are well developed and I enjoyed following along with them as they grow and learn more about themselves and each other.

Christina Lynch does a fanatic job adding depth to the story by adding some interesting subplots and interesting Italian characters that felt like I was in a coulee in Italy. I enjoyed this one from start to finish I highly recommend.

Review by Brenda

Publication date March 20, 2018

Thank you, NetGalley, St Martin’s Press and Christina Lynch for a copy to read and review.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jennifer’s Review

4 adventurous spy stars with a side of Italy!

The Italian Party was a fun ride through the 1950s Italian countryside. It only turned serious in the last couple chapters. Scottie and Michael are recently married, and they move to Siena so that Michael can open a business. Scottie has much growing up to do, and each of them carry secrets into their marriage.

Italy is a hotbed of politics with speculation of communism and an impending election. The dynamics of this were fascinating from a historical perspective. What I found most entertaining and interesting were the food references, as well as the humor.

Overall, the stunning landscape combined with the compelling time in history made this a satisfying read.

Thank you to Christina Lynch, St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley for the copy to review.

 

 

 

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

Closer Than You Know by Brad Parks #BookReview #travelingsistersread

Closer Than You KnowCloser Than You Know by Brad Parks

I was lost in the twisty, windy, rocky and muddy murky coulee with three of my Traveling Sisters reading Closer Than You Know hiding in the shelter of the trees from the disasters lurking closer than we think there are.

Closer Than You Know is a fast-paced, fun, entertaining domestic suspense thriller that had us starting off hiding in the coulee rolling our eyes in disbelief a bit from some disasters that we thought might be closer than we think with the story. A little high on the drama at times and we questioned a bit of the believability of the story. At times stalling the story for me and I started to look for a way out of the coulee, however, Brad Parks pulled me into the suspense to the story and I was back lost in the coulee with my TS turning the pages as fast as I could right to the end.

Brad Parks does a good job creating strong, interesting and complex female characters here with Melanie and Amy and we really liked their characters. We dodged a few disasters in the coulee as Brad Parks throws in a few twisty tornados at us here with Melanie. He brilliantly had us feeling empathy for Melanie and her situation that did keep the story moving forward for us.

Brad Parks does a good job rewarding us with the clever twists to this one that shocked some of us and left the rest of us feeling quite clever and pleased with ourselves for figuring some things out. The ending well some mixed feelings there from us but nothing that affected our enjoyment of this story. I recommend for thriller readers who like a little well done drama to their thrillers.

Review by Brenda

Publication date March 6, 2018

Thank you, NetGalley, Penguin Group Dutton and Brad Parks for a copy to read and review.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Susanne’s Review

Have you ever heard that saying “Life, it can turn on a dime?”  Well for Melanie Barrick, it’s true. One minute, she is happily married, with a new baby and a secure job and the next Melanie goes to pick up baby Alex from daycare only to find out he’s been taken away.  Social Services picked him up earlier that day and grabbed him. No advanced warning, no nothing. Then, Melanie gets arrested for felony possession of hundreds of kilos of cocaine. Melanie professes innocence and appears blindsided by these turn of events and so does her husband.  Yet, due to her past, Melanie knows better than anyone that disaster is always “Closer Than You Know.” Amy Kaye is the State’s Attorney assigned to Melanie’s case. She is tenacious and smart and she goes after criminals with a fierceness all her own.

“Closer Than You Know” is a fast-paced domestic suspense that kept me fully engrossed.  This novel begs the question, what would you do if everything was taken away from you? Let’s just say that I hope I never find out!  Though I found parts of the storyline to be somewhat unrealistic, I really liked the characters and couldn’t help but root for Melanie throughout

Thank you Brad Parks, Penguin Publishing and First To Read for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Kaceey’s Review

Melanie is running late picking up her infant son from the babysitter. And in her mind she’s playing out the worst-case scenario…OK, the babysitter fires me as a client and I find myself with no daycare. Great. Melanie has no clue that this would be the smallest bump in her road.

She arrives at the sitter only to discover her son Alex is nowhere to be found. He’s been removed by Social Services! Now with the police squarely looking at Melanie, accusations start to fly and no one will listen.

“Disaster is always closer than you know “

Meanwhile, Amy the Assistant Commonwealth Attorney, is waist-deep in an investigation tracking down a serial rapist who’s been running free for years. Now her time will be divided, as she’s pulled into leading the prosecution against Melanie.

Brad Parks does a great job in weaving a tale between seemingly separate storylines to bring them together flawlessly. A fast paced (legal) thriller that will certainly hold your attention.

While I put some of the pieces together fairly early on, there were still enough twists still to come to keep me guessing and flipping the pages (tapping my kindle).

There are some issues of believability throughout but overall I really enjoyed the writing, storyline and characters! This is the second book I’ve read by Brad Park and looking forward to more!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

Hour Glass by Michelle Rene @MRene_Author #BookReview #travelingsistersread

Hour GlassHour Glass by Michelle Rene

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lost in the wild, raw, endearing and charming dry coulee amongst the tumbleweed and dead trees with six of my Traveling Sisters feeling quite fresh and alive reading Hour Glass.

Hour Glass is a tender, pleasant, entertaining and charming yet gritty and rough historical fiction with all the action and excitement of a western. Michelle Rene brings life to the rough and wild frontier town of Deadwood for us in our coulee with her vivid storytelling.

Michelle Rene does a fantastic job here creating likable and interesting characters in this story that we all loved. Quiet and closed off Hour stole our hearts and we loved all the connections that she had with the other characters. We could feel their love, loyalty and need to protect her. Michelle Rene does a great job bringing color and softness to legendary Calamity Jane. She writes here with compassion as she shows us a different side to the hard, rough and rowdy Jane with the Glass children, Hour and Jimmy making this such an endearing and charming story we all really enjoyed. We all ended up lost in the same coulee not wanting to leave. We highly recommend.

Published: February 20th, 2018 by Amberjack Publishing

Thank you so much to Edelweiss, Amberjack Publishing, and Michelle Rene for a copy to read and review.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Norma’s Review

5 Bright and Sparkly Coulee Stars to Hour Glass! 2018 Favourite Reads Book!

HOUR GLASS by MICHELLE RENE is an endearing, heartwarming, and charming tale about the legendary Calamity Jane that is told through the eyes of 12-year-old Jimmy Glass. There is so much heart to this story that it really pulled at my heartstrings.   

MICHELLE RENE delivers a beautifully written, interesting and a compelling story here with great dialogue and fantastic characters that you can’t help but to fall in love with.  Michelle Rene does such a great job with the portrayal of Jane’s character and the characters of Jimmy and Hour Glass. The relationship that develops between Jane, Jimmy, and Hour is so touching and sweet.    

Hour Glass was such a fun, entertaining, feel-good and warm story that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish!  It was such a pleasure reading this absolutely beautiful historical fiction novel. Highly recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Amberjack Publishing, and Michelle Rene for an advanced copy of this book to read and review!  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lindsay’s Review

4.5 stars! I truly enjoyed this gritty and gripping journey into the wild west, lawless, cowboy town of Deadwood, South Dakota.

This novel is narrated by twelve-year-old Jimmy Glass. He and his younger sister, Hour, travel to Deadwood to seek help for their dying father. The legend of Calamity Jane is wrapped up in this unique and intriguing story that had me close to tears several times. Never would I have imagined a ‘western’ story to pull at my heartstrings the way this one did. The characters in this novel really got to me.

The writing was exquisite. I was fully drawn into this tale from chapter one. The characters were real. Their relationships were intense, captivating and emotional. The atmosphere was vivid and mesmerizing. The old western slang dialogue was done perfectly.

There was a point where my attention fell slightly, but I was still completely invested in the characters and their journey. This is one of those books that the more I think about it, the more I love it.

A big thank you to NetGalley, Amberjack Publishing and Michelle Rene for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!

 

 

 

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters in a Coulee Reviews

Traveling Sisters in a Coulee Reading Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Sometimes I LieSometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read in a coulee with Brenda and Traveling Sisters Reading Group

Kaceey’s Review

Wow! Now that my friend, is a thriller!!
Amber wakes up in the hospital, able to hear everyone around her. Only she can’t move a muscle, can’t speak a single word. She is trapped in her own body and has no way to communicate. How did she get here? What happened?

What a finely-crafted whodunit!! It will have you questioning absolutely everything! What’s real, what isn’t! What’s the truth, and what’s a lie!
As the story unfolded and I tried wrapping my brain around the mind-blowing twists, my head actually started to throb! But that’s a good thing with a thriller…right?
Every guess made as to what was truly going on – every theory I conjured up how this would play out…all wrong! Love that.

Alice Feeney has delivered a diabolically twisted thriller that will leave you speechless. Did I mention this is a debut from this author! Seriously! I cannot wait for — follow up! I’m already standing in line.
Highly recommend!

Jennifer’s Review

5 clever blockbuster stars to Sometimes I Lie

Here’s all you really need to know:

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

The very start of the book says it best! From the beginning, you don’t know who to trust or even what is real! I was so excited to read this book with my Traveling Sisters that I couldn’t wait for its release in the US. I had to order it from the UK to get my fix! It was…worth it!

Amber is the most unreliable narrator I’ve ever encountered. This book will have you questioning everything you thought you knew all along the way. I found the premise completely original.

The only fault I found was that, while the diary chapters were necessary to propel the plot forward and connect the loose threads of the intricate web, they were a bit too lengthy.

If you like endings that are tied up neatly, or even endings with simple closure, this book may drive you mad! 🙃 There is quite a bit left to interpretation, and I liked that because it fit with the whole questioning tone of the book. That’s about all I can say. I don’t want to give even the tiniest bit away and spoil the fun for you. Curl up with this blockbuster early in the day, and you’ll be wondering where the time went! 😴

Published March 13, 2018