Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon #travelingsistersread

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The Real Michael Swann
by Bryan Reardon

Norma’s review and rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

THE REAL MICHAEL SWANN by BRYAN REARDON was an extremely gripping, intense, and suspenseful story that had me totally engaged and interested right from the very first chapter. I was totally intrigued and emotionally invested in this story and thought the premise was unsettling but also so terrifyingly realistic. The scenes were intense and dramatic that had my heart-pounding and on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what was going to happen next. I was totally entertained and flew through those pages!

BRYAN REARDON delivers a fast-paced and well-written read here which is told from two perspectives with short chapters to make this an extremely quick and easy read. I enjoyed the characters and really felt the desperation that Julia Swann felt as she frantically searched for her husband Michael Swann. The emotions were real and heartfelt.

This was another compulsive read for me as I was emotionally invested and gripped right from the beginning which followed through to that shocking and stunning conclusion. Would recommend!

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Brenda’s Traveling Sisters review

One Group / Two Coulees

Norma and I read The Real Michael Swann with six of our traveling sisters and we had some different views on this one. This time in a coulee, I didn’t end up in the same coulee as Norma.

The Real Michael Swann is part family drama with a little love story there between our two main characters Michael Swann and his wife Julia along with an intriguing story of a disaster. We all agreed the plot to this story was interesting, and clever. There is a bit of drama here and some backstory into our characters lives that felt a bit like a love story. That’s where we started to split with how we felt about the story. For some of the drama drove the story forward and added tension to the story and for the rest of us it slowed the story down for us.

Bryan Reardon took us on a fast-paced game of cat and mouse while Julie races to find Micheal first, creating a bit of drama along the way. For some of us, this added some emotional depth to the story allowing them to connect more with the characters. For some of us, they got stuck in the weeds of all that drama and it weighted down the story.

In the end, Norma and Lindsay were left excited and feeling very satisfied with that clever ending. Some of our TS were left feeling drained and wanting to move on home, and another TS and I were standing in middle thinking what’s with all the drama sisters!

I recommend to readers who like some drama to their thrillers.

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Lindsay’s Review

4.5 stars! I couldn’t put this book down!

Wow! This was a fast-paced, edge of your seat, gripping and suspenseful story. It had me glued to the pages from start to finish. I LOVED how this was narrated – the two perspectives kept the story fresh and interesting. The short chapters made this novel a breeze to fly through.

The storyline is unique and highly intriguing. Julia Swann is on the phone with her husband Michael when the call goes dead. A bomb has gone off at Penn Station in New York City where Michael was waiting to board a train. Lost in the chaos of the tragedy yet trying to stay strong for her two sons, Julia tries to locate Michael hoping and praying that he survived.

The tragedy is intense and heartbreaking. The aftermath of chaos and confusion is palpable. The desperate search for answers is a heart-pounding and jaw-dropping.

Thank you so much from all of us to Edelweiss, Dutton, and Bryan Reardon for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.

For the different views on this story, please see our Traveling Sisters’ reviews on Goodreads.

Holly, Diane, Mary Beth, Marialcye, and Jan

Do you agree with The Sisters?  Drop us a comment

 

 

 

Posted in Review Index, Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager #travelingsistersread

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The Last Time I Lied
by Riley Sager

Our rating: 5 of 5 stars

Creepy good, Creepy spooky, Creepy wow!

Norma and I were lost in a coulee reading The Last time I Lied with eight of our Traveling Sisters. We all ended up in the same coulee wiping the sweat off our foreheads after that fast-paced story left us sprinting right to that shocking good ending. After a nice cool drink to cool us down we shared our thoughts on that ending and there was a lot to talk about.

The Last Time I Lied had all the elements to make this a spooky, creepy good read. We all loved the camp setting, eerie lake, game of truth and lies and the mystery of three girls that go missing in the night.

We loved the atmosphere of the camp setting and Riley Sager does a great job setting the feel with the descriptive writing making the camp setting come alive in our heads. At times it felt like a movie playing out in our minds.

Riley Sager does a good job layering those secrets and lies and creating those twists and turns at just the right time. He took us down a path a twisty path, leaving those clues along the way that some of us pick up on. In the end, the story skillfully comes together leaving us sharing our excitement over this one with each other. Every time someone finished the excitement started all over it again. Almost like a party in a coulee. We highly recommend.

Norma’s review

THE LAST TIME I LIED by RILEY SAGER was an absolutely fantastic, compulsive, thrilling, and tension-filled psychological thriller that had me totally engaged and racing through those pages as fast as I could to see how this story was going to end. I was totally blown away with that absolutely shocking and surprise ending! I did another whoop at books end.

RILEY SAGER delivers an extremely detailed, twisty, atmospheric and well-written story here. I absolutely love his writing style and the way that he set the mood was pretty much perfect for a creepy and thrilling reading experience for me. I had that uneasy and apprehensive feeling throughout most of this novel which I am always seeking from my thrillers. This one definitely delivered!

This novel was so gripping and intriguing and in my opinion, had the perfect setting. The creepy woods, cabin, and the eerie lake with the camp setting were so good. The camp setting had me reminiscing about my summer camp memories when I was younger. I couldn’t help thinking Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys while I was reading this one too. Also, another fun aspect of this novel was the game “two truths and a lie” that the girls played at Camp Nightingale in their cabin. I’m not going to lie – I absolutely loved this book! Would highly recommend!

Expected Publishing Date: July 3, 2018

Thank you so much from both of us to Edelweiss, Dutton Publishing, and Riley Sager for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.

You can find our Traveling Sisters reviews on Goodreads

Melisa, Debra, Mackenzie, Mary Beth, Holly, Carol, Berit, Marialyce, and Suzy.

 

 

Posted in Last Week / This Week in a Coulee

Last Week / This Week in a Coulee

What we finished reading:

The Last Time I LiedThe Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Norma and I read The Last Time I Lied with eight of our Traveling Sisters and this was a fast-paced entertaining read for us all.

What we thought:

The Last Time I Lied had all the elements like the camp setting, the eerie lake and girls who go missing in the night to make this a spooky, creepy good story that sent chills up our back.  

Who we recommend to:

We recommend this one to all readers but especially for readers looking for a tense, entertaining and fun creepy good story.  If you enjoy a little cinematic feel to your story that is so well done – it feels like a movie playing in your mind.  This is definitely one not to be missed.  We also recommend to reading groups for a fun and entertaining discussion as you share your suspicions and theories.

 

The Death of Mrs. WestawayThe Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Norma and I read The Death of Mrs Westaway with five of our Traveling Sisters.

What we thought:

This was a very interesting sister read for us.  We clearly were split into two different views on how we felt about this.  The twist and turns in this one kept some of us staying up late and feeling a little book hangover the next morning.   The rest of us were left with our heads spinning in confusion with those twists and turns.

Who we recommend to:

We recommend this one to all thriller lovers to see if it will leave you book hangover or your head spinning.  Please see on review and drop us a comment and let us know which side you were left on.

See our reviews here

 

The Keeper of Lost ThingsThe Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Norma and I read The Keeper of Lost Things with three of our Traveling Sisters.

What we thought:

We all thought the premise of The Keeper of Lost Things was an interesting and unique concept and we enjoyed the feel-good feeling after reading this one.

Who we recommend it to:

For readers looking for a cute, quirky, magical feel-good easy story.

 

Tin ManTin Man by Sarah Winman

I read Tin Man with my Traveling Sister Jan.  We ended up in two different coulees after reading this one.  We both enjoyed the story, however, I am not sure the timing was right for me with this story as I struggled to stay focused.

Who I recommend it to:

To readers looking for a quiet story that compacts a lot in it while exploring different types of grief, love and loss.

Jan’s review

What we are starting this week

A Constellation of Vital PhenomenaA Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

 

 

 

The DateThe Date by Louise Jensen

 

 

 

The Boy at the DoorThe Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl

 

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters in a Coulee Reviews

Traveling Sister in a Coulee Reading Tin Man by Sarah Winman

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Tin Man
by Sarah Winman

Read in a coulee with Brenda

Review by Jan

This is a slim volume but it packs a lot of heart in achingly beautiful, simple prose. The book opens with the pregnant Dora’s first act of defiance in choosing a copy of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” as her raffle prize over the whiskey her husband wanted. It transformed her drab existence….”this was the life she wanted: Freedom, Possibility. Beauty.’

Fast forward decades and this section of the book begins with Dora’s son, Ellis, who lost his wife and best friend 5 years ago. He is still in the depths of despair, and his grief and loneliness are heavy. We travel back and forth in time as Ellis gives us background into his childhood, his friendship with Michael, and his wife Annie.

Regarding the title: several references were made in the book about how Ellis needed to be better – better at showing emotion, making human connections. Is he the Tin Man? A reference not just to his job in an auto body shop, but to his heart?

The last half of the book is told in first person narrative by Ellis’s friend Michael, who fills in the large gaps in time and fits the pieces of the puzzle together for the reader.

This is in many ways a story of contrasts. Drab loneliness and color and beauty found in nature and art. It’s a story of bonding and friendship, but also love and loss, loneliness and simple human kindnesses. It’s about acceptance and finding our place in the world. And people are complicated…there are often stark contrasts within a person: Ellis wonders “how flowers and care can reside equally in a man of such rage”.

And love, it’s about love in all its forms: among friends, romantic love, the love between parent and child, and unrequited love. And the love and kindness showed to others. It’s about the beauty and hope that can be found in a simple piece of art. It’s the belief that “men and boys are capable of beautiful things.” Overshadowing it all is the tragic AIDS epidemic.

A few favorite quotes:
“I haven’t cried. But sometimes I feel as if my veins are leaking, as if my body is overwhelmed, as if I’m drowning from the inside.”

“But it was my humanness that led me to seek, that’s all. Led us all to seek. A simple need to belong somewhere.”

“I see how decisions are made, in moments like that, that change the trajectory of ones life.” How those decisions can change how one defines oneself.

“Autumn knocks on the window. I pull back the sliding doors and let it in. Lights from the meat market flicker and car light streak the gloom. Overhead the pulse of aeroplane wings replaces the stars. The flat is quiet. This is loneliness.”

“I wonder what the sound of a heartbreaking might be. And I think it might be quiet, unperceptively so, and not dramatic at all. Like the sound of an exhausted swallow falling gently to earth.”

As haunting and sad as this book was, it ends on a hopeful note. I really liked the message about belonging, acceptance and love and human kindness. This story and the characters are ones that will stay with me for a long time to come.

* I received my copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to EW, the publisher, and the author.

 

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware #BookReview #travelingsistersread

 

IMG-4358The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Brenda’s rating & review: 3 of 5 stars

One Group / Two different Coulees

Norma and I started off lost in a coulee with five of our Traveling Sisters. By the time we finished this story we ended up in different coulees with how we felt about this story. Norma and I were left in the our heads are spinning barren coulee with two sisters, while three sisters were left sleepy from staying up all night and dancing in the garden lush coulee.

Ruth Ware does a great job of creating an engaging and intriguing story, and this story had all the elements to make it an interesting story for us all. We loved the gothic feel, the old mysterious mansions with creepy rooms that hold secrets, a shady family with an inheritance and one of our favorite characters an angry and unfriendly housekeeper. Lots of creepy good to this story.

We all started off intrigued and really liked our interesting main character tarot card reader Hal. We all soon grew to like housekeeper Mrs Warren who really gave a mysterious creepy feeling to the story as well for us. We soon meet the shady family members and that’s when we started to go our separate ways in the coulee. For some of us, our heads started spinning in confusion with trying to piece together who is who and who is connected to who. We were engaged enough in the story to hold our attention till the end, however, we just gave up trying to put the pieces together. For the rest of the sisters, they found it exciting and intriguing putting those pieces together and couldn’t put the book down till they were done. Leaving them reading to the wee hours and feeling a little book hangover the next day.

In the end when we all came together for our final discussion as we tried to piece everything together and our heads kept on spinning till one sister rescued us with helping us figure it all out. The Death of Mrs. Westaway lead to a fun, entertaining and interesting discussion and for that reason I recommend for group discussion.

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Norma’s review

Ruth Ware, in my opinion, has the absolute best sinister, gothic, and enticing covers ever! They have always grabbed my attention and gave me that feeling that I just HAD to read the book. It is just too bad that my excitement didn’t follow through to the end of this story though.

THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY by RUTH WARE is a slow-building, dark, atmospheric, and gothic mystery that had me somewhat engaged, entertained, and interested enough throughout this book to keep me turning those pages but I was never truly invested in this story though.

When reading a thriller &/or suspense novel I like to be able to work out the why and how and be pleasantly surprised by the little pieces of puzzles that were left along the way that I either missed or didn’t think were important to the twists or reveals. I thought some pieces of that puzzle were left out here and in some instances didn’t match-up so therefore this novel just didn’t work for me.

I also had a little problem with keeping all the characters straight as they all just seemed to roll up into one and it was really hard to differentiate between who was who, which I found rather distracting.

I will say though that I absolutely loved the setting of creepy Trespassen House and the atmosphere of this novel though! I also thoroughly enjoyed Hal and her tarot card readings. I thought the explanations and the meanings behind the cards were quite thought-provoking and had me really interested. However, unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough to make this story really work for me. Even though I feel like I wasn’t quite the right reader for this one, I still recommend giving it a try!

Thank you so much from both of us to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Ruth Ware for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a review!

For our Traveling Sisters views please see their reviews on Goodreads 

Mackenzie, Nikki and Mary Beth who are still dancing in a coulee

Holly whose head is still spinning 

PS – That’s not coffee in my cup!

Do you agree with the Sisters?  Drop us a comment.

 

Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend

The Sisters Recommend & Book Giveaway: Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea @CharlieDonlea @KensingtonBooks #BookReview #travelingsistersread

Norma and I host a Goodreads reading group (The Traveling Sisters) and we thought it would be fun to start posting some weekly suggestions from some of our favourite reading experiences that we have had within our group.  Since these books were such a success within our reading group we thought we would share these novels with you and hopefully, you will consider these weekly suggestions with your book club or reading groups.

Our first reading group suggestion is Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea.  For our very first pick, we picked an unputdownable, fun and entertaining story with lots of twists and turns that kept us all guessing right up to the shocking and surprising ending.

Goodreads Summary

Don't Believe ItDon’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea

Category:  Crime Thriller

Why we chose this book

We read The Girl Who Was Taken with Lindsay and Kaceey and absolutely loved it and we thoroughly enjoy Charlie Donlea’s writing style.  We highly recommend this story as well.

Why we are recommending this book for book clubs or reading groups

We read Don’t Believe It with seven of our Traveling Sisters and we recommend this one because it is such an entertaining and enjoyable story that will lead to a very lively discussion as you share your suspicions and theories along with thoughts on those very clever twists and turns.  We think groups will love piecing this one together!

About Charlie Donlea from Goodreads

Charlie Donlea is the USA TODAY and International bestselling author of SUMMIT LAKE, THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN and DON’T BELIEVE IT. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two young children, where he is busy writing his next thriller.

Click here to see our reviews

Click here to enter Instagram Giveaway

Do you agree with The Sisters?  Drop us a comment!