An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena #BookReview #travelingsistersread

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An Unwanted Guest
by Shari Lapena

Brenda’s Traveling Sisters Review

Norma and I were lost in a Coulee reading An Unwanted Guest with seven of our Traveling Sisters and overall we all had very similar thoughts on this one. A few twists here with this story and one especially that left us with something to talk about and left us completely satisfied in the end.

Right from the start, Shari Lapena pulled us into this story with a very chilling setting here with a hotel snowed in. We all loved the feeling we got from the storm and the spooky feeling of being trapped with people you don’t know, with nowhere to go and no one can come to help. The suspense and tension rises when bodies start to drop like flies and we started questioning just who was the unwanted guest.

An Unwanted Guest is an easy, fast-paced, fun and entertaining read and safe from any disturbing darkness. Not much complexity here but it is not needed. The story is cleverly plotted for a fun and entertaining read. As one sister said (Debra) in our discussion the strength is in the characters and their inner thoughts and their interactions with other characters. I highly recommend and can see this story appealing to a wide audience.

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Norma’s Review

4.5 Stars! A weekend getaway at a cozy mountain lodge I would say is my ideal getaway but if I’m snowed in with no power and a murderer amongst the midst with no way out……I’d be totally scared right out of my wits!

AN UNWANTED GUEST by SHARI LAPENA is a fast-paced, tension-filled, compelling, suspenseful, and a chilling read that immediately grabbed my attention and kept me pretty much guessing right to the very end. Although, there are a few clues that I did pick up on, it did not spoil the actual reveal for me at all. Oh, and that final twist in the end…..total shocker and I absolutely loved it!

SHARI LAPENA delivers an atmospheric, appealing and cleverly written read here that has an old-fashioned whodunit storyline, a huge cast of characters and an extremely eerie and haunting setting. Even though this book has several characters in it I was never confused in who was who or had any trouble in keeping them all straight.

The setting, characters, and vintage feel to this story is what I found the most entertaining and enjoyable. Would highly recommend!

* Traveling Sisters Group Read

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Lindsay’s Review

Eerie.   Suspenseful.   Haunting. Mysterious.  Captivating.

This was a gripping, addictive and highly atmospheric thriller that had me flying through the pages!  The setting is a remote, old-fashioned luxury hotel where guests arrive to spend a relaxing weekend in vintage lavishness.  They arrive just as a brutal winter storm hits, cutting off electricity to the hotel along with any possible contact with the outside world.   The plot unfolds as a whodunit murder mystery – is the killer among the guests or is there someone lurking in the shadows of the hotel?

The characters were great!   Though there are several characters and relationships to keep track of, Shari Lapena does such a wonderful job developing them that I could follow the storyline effortlessly.   I loved what each character brought to the mystery. My mind was spinning trying to piece together this intricate and twisty tale.

This was a Traveling Sister read.  As always, it was a pleasure discussing and theorizing the possible motivations and conclusions.

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Thank you so much from all of us to Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group and Shari Lapena for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris: Traveling Friends First Group Read Review #BookReview #travelingsistersread

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Bring Me Back
by B.A. Paris

Brenda’s Traveling Friends Review

Bring Me Back is one of our first Traveling Friends Group Reads and what a great read this was. Norma read this one a while back with our Traveling Sisters but Lindsay and I buried in a coulee with other reads didn’t find our way out to read this one with them. There were some different views from the Traveling Sisters. It worked out great because this one made for a fantastic group read and discussion with our friends. A few friends who already read this one including Norma joined us in a coulee at the end to discuss this one making this one a fun and entertaining discussion.

Bring Me Back caught our attention right away and we were drawn right away into a coulee together not wanting to leave till we finished this easy and fast-paced story. Soon we were tossing around our theories while questioning everything and everyone.

B.A. Paris does a great job here creating some unlikable and unreliable characters here giving us a lot to chat about when it comes to them. We questioned them, were intrigued by them and annoyed by them. A few of us including Lindsay were left very proud of themselves for figuring out some things here with the story. Of course, I was not one of them.

Overall, the Traveling Friends were left in the same coulee with only one friend in a one by herself and another not too far away. They weren’t alone for long as they joined us, as we lingered and discussed this far-fetched story that Norma described best as a ridiculously entertaining and fun read.

B.A. Paris does have some fans here among us and many of us loved her previous books or want to read the ones we haven’t. I highly recommend this one to all readers for a super fun easy fast read that might just leave you a bit surprised at just how Paris weaves her magic by pulling into a far-fetched story and making it work.

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Lindsay’s review

I have read every one of B.A. Paris’ books and have found each one compulsively readable.  There is something about her writing that sucks you in from the very first page and doesn’t let you go until you have read the last word (often leaving your jaw hitting the floor).   This book followed that magical formula of hers, leaving my hands feeling a desperate sense of empty when they weren’t holding this novel. Though I figured out a big plot twist at the end of Part 1, I still devoured this book, soaking up every word with curious anticipation of how things would work out in the end.

This novel follows forty one-year-old Finn, who lives with his girlfriend Ellen.  Over a decade prior, Finn’s then-girlfriend Layla (who happens to be Ellen’s sister) disappeared, never to be seen again.   The pain of losing Layla has haunted Finn every day since her disappearance. This is a quick and addictive read that I highly recommend!

Thank you from both of us to Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press and B.A. Paris for our copies to read and review.

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Norma’s Review

Her Mother’s Grave by Lisa Regan #BookReview #travelingsistersread

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Her Mother’s Grave by Lisa Regan

I read Her Mother’s Grave with three of my Traveling Sisters and this story left all of shocked with that final twist that we all enjoyed and never saw coming.

Her Mother’s Grave is the third book in the Detective Josie Quinn series and has come to be the favorite of the three for me and this series has also become a favorite of mine. Josie did not start out as a favorite character for me and I really thought she was cold and hard to connect with, in the first book Vanishing Girls. It took me a while to warm up to her and I really wanted to know what demons haunt her. Well, Lisa Regan takes us back to Josie’s childhood and we finally see who that demon is and see into to her dark past. A little darker than we thought it would be and Lisa Regan shocked us a bit here, as we didn’t see some of that darkest coming from her.

After human remains are discovered Detective Josie Quinn is on a new case and we start to see a connection between Josie’s past and present. From the very start, we all were hooked and didn’t want to leave a coulee into we read the very last page.

Lisa Regan does such a fantastic job here creating and developing Josie’s character over the three stories, allowing us to think and feel differently for her with each book. A real talent and gift from an author who can have us more invested in a character with each book. For me and a couple other TS this one is the best in the series and one not to be missed. I highly recommend this one and of course, I highly recommend this series. If you haven’t read it, I suggest putting this one and the whole series on the top of your list.

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Lisa Regan for a copy to read and review.

 

Links That Caught My Eye Through my Book Travels

Since so much of our blog is about sharing different views and reviews from The Traveling Sisters Reading Group experiences, I thought I would start a post sharing links I have enjoyed along my book travels through the many blogs that we follow.   The idea to share links came from  Kaila  The Traveling Inkwell who added a link to one of our reviews to her post Links I Loved Kaila was inspired by  Zuky @ BookBum and Novels and Nonfiction.

Since this is my first post I am a bit overwhelmed with where to start so I am just going to jump in with a couple links to get started and hope to get more organized with future posts.

The Links that recently caught my eye:

In a Coulee

Carol’s review for Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

Mackenzie’s review for Believe Me by J.P Delaney

On My Book Travels

Danielle, Books Vertigo and Tea’s  interesting post on Negative Reviews: Why I Appreciate them as a Reader

Another post from Danielle I found interesting Tagging Authors in Blog Post Titles

Beth, Bibliobeth’s review for Girls Night Out really has me wanting to move this title up my TBR list Girl’s Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.

Short and sweet this time around!!!  I hope to add more as I get the hang of this linking process.

Last Week / This Week In A Coulee #travelingsistersread

What We Finished

Three Days MissingThree Days Missing by Kimberly Belle
Norma and I read Three Days Missing with four of our Traveling Sisters and we all ended up in the same coulee with our thoughts on this one.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

We all enjoyed this lighter story, yet unsettling story of a missing child who goes missing while at a school camp.  We found it had just the right amount of tension and darkness to move the story forward but still keep it on the lighter side.

WHO WE RECOMMEND TO:

We recommend Three Days Missing to anyone looking for an easy fast-paced lighter thriller with just enough dark to leave you feeling a little chilled but not disturbed after finishing.

Brenda, Lindsay and Mary Beth’s review

 

Sold on a MondaySold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

Norma and I read Sold on Monday with six of our Traveling Sisters.  We all started off intrigued by what we thought was the premise of the story that was inspired by an actual newspaper photograph, however, it is not the story that was told here.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

We all ended a bit disappointed with this story as we really wanted the story to be more about the actual newspaper photograph.  The story became more about the characters and their search for answers.  Maybe if we had been aware of that we would not have been so disappointed.

WHO WE RECOMMEND TO:

We recommend to readers looking for a lighter story with some drama to take away from some of the dark to the story.

Norma, Lindsay and I will be posting our reviews closer to publication date August 28, 2018.

For now, you can find our Traveling Sister’s reviews here on Goodreads.

Angela,  Debra, Diane, Marialyce

The DisappearingThe Disappearing by Lori Roy

I read The Disappearing with six of my Traveling Sisters and ended up on different sides of the Coulee with this one.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

We really enjoyed the atmosphere with this one and it really made the story for us, however, there was a lot going on with this story that weighted down the story for us.

WHO WE RECOMMEND TO:

I recommend to readers who enjoy a gothic atmospheric read with a small town mystery.

Brenda’s review 

For reviews from my Traveling Sisters, you can find links to their blogs on the bottom of my review.

 

The Lost for Words BookshopThe Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

Norma read The Lost for Words Bookshop with Kris and both had similar thoughts on the story.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

We both really enjoyed this wonderfully charming, light, moving, and endearing tale that is set in the greatest place ever, a bookshop.

WHO WE RECOMMEND TO:

We recommend The Lost for Words Bookshop to all of you book lovers out there or to anyone who loves an endearing main character.

Norma and Kris’s review

What we have starting this week:

An Unwanted GuestAn Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

 

 

 

The Masterpiece

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

 

 

 

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes AfterThe Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya

 

 

Are there any you have read or would like to read?  Drop us a comment!

Traveling Sister in a Coulee Reading Little Big Love by Katy Regan

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Little Big Love by Katy Regan

Review by Jan

3.5 stars

Sweet and heartwarming! I enjoyed this book very much.
This was a Traveling Sister read, and, as always, it made the experience even more enjoyable.

The story is told from the POV of 10-year-old Zac, his mother Juliet, and his grandfather Mick. I enjoyed all three perspectives. Zac has never met his father, who “did a runner” before he was born. Zac decides he will undertake a super-secret ‘Find Dad Mission’, and he recruits his best friend Teagan to help him. The plan, of course, is not just to find his father, but to reunite his parents.

Zac…what a sweet boy with a big heart. Although Zac’s insights seemed particularly astute given his age, I fell in love with him and my heart broke over the bullying he endured over his weight. His hope and optimism were endearing. I loved how he collected facts, and they were quoted at the beginning of chapters. I really loved his best friend Teagan too….what a great friend she was.

Juliet is a single mom whose heart was broken when Zac’s dad abandoned them, but she is doing the best she can. I was a little frustrated with her at times but I also thought she was portrayed realistically. Her love for her son knew no bounds, something that as a mom I can relate to. Juliet’s own mother is still grieving the death of her son, Juliet’s brother, who died 10 years ago, and their relationship is somewhat strained.

Mick, the grandfather, is holding onto an explosive secret that he’d rather not reveal. Juliet and Mick both love Zac deeply but each of them has kept secrets from each other and from Zac. Secrets that, if revealed, have the potential to cause a lot of damage.

The overriding themes were love and forgiveness. But the sheer number of issues threaten to overwhelm the story. These include bullying, weight and body image, grief, family secrets, alcoholism/addiction, asthma, and unhealthy living conditions. This makes the book sound rather grim, but there is enough humor and sweetness to offset the seriousness. The story has some unexpected twists and ended on a hopeful note. This is the type of book that demands that type of ending and I was satisfied. I admit that at one point my eyes welled up.

Recommended for fans of heartwarming and sweet family stories. It was a perfect read for me in between some heavier reads.

*Many thanks to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own

The Disappearing by Lori Roy #BookReview #travelingsistersread

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The Disappearing
by Lori Roy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One Coulee, Two Sides

I was lost in a coulee reading The Disappearing with six of my Traveling Sisters and we ended up in the same coulee but on different sides with a couple of us really enjoying this one and the rest of us struggling a bit with this story.

We all started off in the atmospheric, gothic side of the coulee and really enjoyed the setting here with this small town tale. We were intrigued by the small town, and the truths behind the secrets it carries involving disappearing boys from the past and girls who now have disappeared. We really enjoyed some elements to this small town with their small town gossip and dark rumors that kept us on our toes.

There are a few storylines going on here and a few characters and some of us struggled with keeping them apart. I took so many paths down the coulee that I ended up getting lost in the end and my TS sisters had to show me the way back by filling in the blanks to some of the connections to the story I missed.

The Disappearing is a chilling and twisty story with some shocking twists that kept us interested even though at times we struggled with some of them ringing true for us. I recommend to readers who enjoy a gothic atmospheric read with a small town mystery.

Thank you to Edelweiss, Dutton and Lori Roy for a copy of this title to read and review.

For reviews by my Traveling Sisters, they can be found on their blogs

Mackenzie’s review

Berit’s review

Debra’s review

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

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland #travelingsistersread #BookReview

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The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

Norma’s review & rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well what is better than reading a book that speaks to you like a book and has so many references of books that is so easily relatable to? THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP!

THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP by STEPHANIE BUTLAND is a wonderfully charming, light, moving, and endearing tale that is set in the greatest place ever, a bookshop.

Any books that have any indication that it is going to be about a bookstore or books, I’m in, no questions asked. They are by far one of my favourite settings! Also, I have to mention that beautiful cover!

STEPHANIE BUTLAND delivers an absolutely lovely, appealing, and well-written read here that was more character-driven than plot-driven with wonderful, relatable and likeable characters. Our quirky and snarky main character is Loveday (adorable name right?) and she is known to love her books more than people. My husband has accused me of that many a times! LOL

This isn’t a fast-paced read by no means, it’s slow-moving and might have lost me a few times but as we follow along Loveday’s journey and learning the mystery behind her traumatic past, I found myself totally intrigued and couldn’t help but fall in love and identify with Loveday’s character.

This book made me smile and was an absolute comfort for me to read! I truly enjoyed the escape into Loveday’s life and found this to be an entertaining, quick and easy read. Would recommend!

*~* This was a Sister Read that I read along with my dear friend, Kris. Thank you so much, Kris for reading and discussing this one with me. You made it that much more fun!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Stephanie Butland for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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Kris’s review

*3.85 stars* <– (Don’t judge, book-nerd struggles are REAL)

A delicate rendering of heartache and forgiveness, and the healing power of a bookshop!

Give me a cozy bookshop setting, a quirky cast of sarcastic bibliophiles, and a shake of mystery to pepper my pages and I’ll be a happy reader every time.

LOST FOR WORDS was a lovely read, even if it wasn’t a particularly lively one. This author has a unique writing style that shines as though it’s been freshly polished—sophisticated, sharp, and witty without trying too hard.

Loveday, (cute name, right?) is quite a lovable, one-of-a kind protagonist. For reasons warranted she’s generally sad, but she has a quiet spunk that’ll make you smirk when you’re least expecting to.

Her defensive tone is almost perpetual and certainly predictable, and peeks through her internal chatter as though she suspects even the reader of judging her.

She’s fragile in a way that makes you want to hold her together, but straightforward and honest in a way that’ll make you wish you had a pinch of her gumption.

She tells her broken story directly to the reader, as though she considers you her confidant. She’s stronger than she feels, and her gradual character growth is both impressive and believable.

Loveday works at a bookshop—the owner, a kind older man who looks after Loveday, keeps her grounded and cared for. There’s a touching love story entwined that becomes a driving point, but doesn’t absorb all the focus. Heartache, forgiveness, and inner-strength remain at the core.

This plot moves slowly and sort of coasts in a soothing motion that felt akin to the gentle swaying of a boat—rocking over ripples with few waves in sight. There were moments I wanted more of a pulse and grew slightly tired, but the beautiful writing and heartwarming connections kept me afloat.

I appreciated and looked forward to the element of poetry, which was also a gentle but lovely addition. The fractured relationship between Loveday and her parents, along with its residual effects, was executed wonderfully and dominated the pages.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner @SimonSchusterCA @goodreads #travelingsistersread #goodreadsgiveaway #BookReview

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The Mars Room
by Rachel Kushner

Norma’s review & rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC from a Goodreads Giveaway of THE MARS ROOM by RACHEL KUSHNER. Thank you so much! I thought this was a very good read and I’m glad that I read it! I think it’s definitely worth the read!

Even though this book was a little structurally & mentally challenging for me to read there was something about it that had me glued to those pages. When I wasn’t reading this one, I was thinking about it. It got under my skin, I was interested in Romy and the details behind her incarceration in a women’s prison.

I thought that the author did a great job here at showing us the reality of Romy’s life in prison. Some parts were definitely cringeworthy, the harshness and vivid portrayal wasn’t sugarcoated.

The ending is where this book lost stars from me. I thought it was a little too dramatic and to be totally honest I wasn’t exactly sure why it ended the way it did. Maybe I just didn’t get it and missed the point?

I would love to discuss that ending if anyone so wishes to comment! 🙂

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