Posted in Reviews, Sunshine Rays in the Coulee, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

Summit Lake Review & Don’t Believe It Wrap-up by @CharlieDonlea #travelingsistersread #BookReview @KensingtonBooks


Traveling Friends Review by Norma and Brenda

It’s no secret that Brenda and I really enjoy Donlea’s novels and have highly recommended his books in the past on our blog and to our Traveling Sisters and Friends, especially the novel DON’T BELIEVE IT.  After we finished up our monthly group read on our Traveling Friends group for DON’T BELIEVE IT we were all left with wanting more Donlea so we quickly dove into reading Donlea’s debut novel, SUMMIT LAKE. He is such a natural and talented author – he definitely knows how to write a darn good suspenseful thriller!

SUMMIT LAKE by CHARLIE DONLEA is a gripping, edgy, dark, and suspenseful murder mystery novel that opens up with quite the shocking scene, ends with a surprising and shocking twist but left us with some unanswered questions.    

As mentioned above, the opening scene was a bit shocking and a little darker than some of us were expecting, but after we absorbed that shock we were drawn into this story right away and couldn’t put it down until we were dealt with another shock which left some of us wanting to run and hide from this story.  But, we all soon gathered together to discuss that surprising twist, which we didn’t see coming as we shared some theories amongst ourselves.

CHARLIE DONLEA delivers a well-written, fast-paced and captivating read here that is told in a past and present timeline in alternating points of view between Becca (her story before her death) and Kelsey Castle’s (an investigative reporter looking into her death). For most of us we found both of these perspectives equally interesting and captivating.

We all absolutely loved the setting here with the small lake town which really added an extra layer to the story for us and that left us with a bit to discuss.  We also loved the characters from the town but left us questioning some of their actions. We have to mention that name too, Kelsey Castle – what an awesome main character’s name!

Charlie Donlea had us guessing and sharing a few theories and some of us pieced a few different things together. We have some very clever friends and some of us picked up on some of those clues that Donlea left for us.  However, he has this way of leading us down a path to where we second guess ourselves. Even if we thought we knew where the ending was headed and had our suspicions we were all still left shocked thinking WOW I can’t believe it that he’s done it again.  We really like that feeling which has us second guessing ourselves because we are not sure what we are supposed to pick up on and what we are not supposed to. Donlea does that so well and in the end with that second shocker just shows us how well Donlea can pull everything together.  

We do recommend this one with caution as there is some scenes we were not prepared for and found that they could be triggers for some readers.  So please check out some more reviews on Goodreads if you feel you might need a heads up or just drop us a message in our contact section of our blog or message on Goodreads and we will be more than happy to help with any concerns that you might have.


Lindsay’s Review

4.5 stars!   Charlie Donlea is three for three!

I’ve now read all three of Charlie Donlea’s books and LOVED each and every one of them!  This novel was Donlea’s debut and I’m thrilled to say he found his groove from the start!

This story revolves around the murder of first-year law student, Becca Eckersley, who comes from a prominent and powerful family.  Investigative reporter, Kelsey Castle, is sent to the little town where Becca was murdered to explore, examine and report the details surrounding the brutal and devastating crime.

The plot unfolds brilliantly through a Now and Then timeline through multiple, yet equally captivating perspectives.  The story is gripping, the suspense is addictive, the pace is perfect.

I connected with the characters right away – I loved them!   My suspicions had me guessing and scratching my head throughout the novel.   I felt a few things were left unexplained at the conclusion, however, I was able to accept them and still feel fully satisfied.

This was another wonderful and fun Traveling Friends read.   We had some interesting theories and discussions along the way.  

Summit Lake is available now!   Get your hands on a copy!!


Don’t Believe It Traveling Friends Group Read Wrap-up

Brenda and I read Don’t Believe It with our Traveling Sisters and we all loved it so much that it became a monthly recommendation by us for reading groups.  Soon after we started our second group on Goodreads the Traveling Friends and it became our first monthly pic. Many of our Traveling Friends had read it already but there were a few that haven’t so they jumped in right away to read this one.  

It was a well liked monthly pic and we all really enjoyed discussing it amongst ourselves. Again, Don’t Believe It made for a great discussion and we enjoyed seeing our friends toss around their suspicions and theories.  Overall, everyone loved that ending and it left our friends thinking just how much they love Charlie Donlea’s writing. Charlie Donlea now has a few fans among the Traveling Friends.  We all look forward to seeing what’s next for him.

Our Reviews

Posted in Last Week / This Week in a Coulee

Last Week / This Week In a Coulee #travelingsistersread

What We Finished

An Unwanted GuestAn Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Norma and I read An Unwanted Guest with seven of our Traveling Sisters and this was a fun and entertaining read which brought out a great discussion for us all.


Even though our Goodreads rating varied it was one we all really enjoyed reading and discussing.  It caught our attention right from the start, right until the last page. One twist really stood out for us and we all loved it.  It left us all with something to say and we were so satisfied after that twist.


We recommend An Unwanted Guest for anyone looking for a fun, light, chilling and entertaining story. A great one for in between some of those darker thrillers you might be reading or for readers who don’t like anything too dark.  We also highly recommend to reading groups as there is plenty to talk about with suspects and theories.

Our New Overall Review Rating Scale (broken down with a rating for each category)

5 out of 5 for a fun and entertaining read

5 out of 5 for a safe, easy, quick, and light read with a little bit of darkness

3 out of 5 for depth and complexity

4 out of 5 for character development

Our Reviews

For our blogging Traveling Sisters’ reviews:

Mackenzie’s Review, Marialyce’s Review, Carol’s review, Melisa’s Review, Debra’s review


Bring Me BackBring Me Back by B.A. Paris

Lindsay and I read Bring Me Back with our Traveling Friends and this was such a fun and great discussion.  Eight of our friends joined in on the discussion for this one.


Overall we all mostly had the same thoughts on this one and we all enjoyed reading and discussing it.  We all found this to be a fun and entertaining story, however, the story is far-fetched and a bit on the ridiculous side.   Norma described it best by saying it is ridiculously fun and entertaining. This for some was what made this one a gem for us.  For a couple Friends, it just didn’t work for them.


We recommend Bring Me Back to anyone looking for a fun and entertaining read that might just test what you consider ridiculous.  We highly recommend this one to reading groups as it is so fun to see everyone’s different views on this one.  It seems like one of those you either really like it or not at all.


4 out of 5 for a fun and entertaining read

5 out of 5 for a far-fetched and entertaining read

2 out of 5 for depth and complexity

3 out of 5 for character development

Brenda’s & Lindsay’s Reviews

Norma’s Review


Her Mother's Grave (Detective Josie Quinn, #3)Her Mother’s Grave by Lisa Regan

I read Her Mother’s Grave with three of my Traveling Sisters and we all really enjoyed this one and had similar thoughts on this one.  Her Mother’s Grave is the third book in the Detective Josie Quinn Series.


This story was a favorite to the series for me and a couple other TS and one of my favorite series.


Norma hasn’t read the second and first book to this series and we are hoping to schedule a Traveling Friends Group read for those two.

4 out of 5 for depth and complexity

4 out of 5 for character development

3 out of 5 for darkest.  There is a little dark to this one but we still found it to be a safer and easy read. 

Brenda’s review

For our blogging Traveling Sisters’ reviews:

Debra’s review, Berit’s review

On Goodreads

Mary Beth’s review

Vanishing Girls (Detective Josie Quinn, #1)Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan




Our Reviews

The Girl With No Name (Detective Josie Quinn, #2)The Girl With No Name by Lisa Regan


Our reviews



Believe MeBelieve Me by J.P. Delaney

I read Believe Me with five of my Traveling Sisters and we had some different views on this one.


I and one other TS sister struggled with suspending disbelief while reading this one and we were left a little grumpy reading this one.  The rest of our sisters really enjoyed this one and had some fun reading it.  There were some really great elements to this story that really made this a unique read.  Please check out my review and my Traveling Sisters to see our different thoughts on this one.


I recommend this one to readers who are looking for a fast-paced, interesting and unique story that you will need to suspend one’s disbelief to really enjoy this story.

4 out of 5 for a fun and entertaining read 

3 out of 5 for depth and complexity

4 out of 5 for character development

2 out of 5 for believability 

Brenda’s Reviews

For our blogging Traveling Sisters’ reviews:

Mackenzie’s review, Berit’s review, Melisa’s review

On Goodreads

Christina’s review


What we have starting this week:


Our HouseOur House by Louise Candlish




Our Homesick SongsOur Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper




With You AlwaysWith You Always by Rena Olsen




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




Something in the WaterSomething in the Water by Catherine Steadman




I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State KillerI’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara



What do you think of our new rating system?  Is it helpful, confusing or should we just stop doing it?  lol Drop a comment and let us know.

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