Posted in Reviews

Park Avenue Summer by Reneé Rosen @BerkleyPub @ReneeRosen1

Park Avenue Summer by Reneé Rosen is available today!

Norma’s Review

Vibrant, inspiring, & empowering!

This was my very first RENEÉ ROSEN book and just let me tell you it just had me asking myself, “Uhm, how come I haven’t read any of this author’s books before?” I am definitely going to be checking out her other books, past and future ones that is for sure.

PARK AVENUE SUMMER by RENEÉ ROSEN is a highly entertaining, delightful, captivating, and fascinating historical fiction novel that immediately drew me in and held my interest right to the very end. Lately, with my books, I have been finding myself easily distracted and my thoughts wavering while reading but I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case here. I was fully immersed in this story and found the setting, characters, and storyline to be extremely engrossing and totally enraptured me.

RENEÉ ROSEN delivers an intriguing, well-plotted and well-written read here that captures place and time fabulously placing me right into the heart of this story. There was this perfect balance of fact and fiction that I absolutely loved and found so appealing. I was never too much of a Cosmopolitan reader and still not but there is this attraction, fascination and glamorous appeal to the magazine that I have always found intriguing. So I just knew that I had to read this story and find out how the new editor, Helen Gurley Brown’s vision for her “girls” reshaped the look and feel of women’s publications everywhere. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Helen’s story through the perspective of her fictional secretary, Alice. I thought it was very telling and an effective way to hear about Helen and her story as editor of Cosmopolitan magazine. This was definitely an engaging page-turner and one that had me rooting for the success of the July issue when it went to print and hoping for all of Alice’s dreams to come true. I am especially fond of Epilogues and I have to say that I absolutely loved how this one wrapped up. Perfection! 

Brenda’s Review

Ok pussycats! I was definitely a Cosmo girl back in the day and I couldn’t wait for every new edition of the magazine and never missed one. I had stacks of magazines that I kept for years.

I read it from cover to cover and loved those very brazen articles which weren’t so back in my day like they were here in this story.    So when I got the chance at a complimentary copy I jumped at it. I didn’t keep all those magazines and I wished that I had now. It would be fun to go back and look at those titles and articles and see how they changed.

We meet the brazen, determined and ambitious editor of Cosmopolitan magazine Helen Gurley Brown through our main character Alice who becomes her “secretary” which was the title used back in the day. I am feeling kind of old here. Lol I enjoyed the dynamics here between the characters and loved just how ambitious both the women were. I was fascinated by Helen and enjoyed learning a bit about what the real Helen might have been like. I wished the story was focused a bit more on her and the magazine. I enjoyed Alice’s character but felt there was a little bit of unnecessary drama and a bit of a romance there which slowed down the story for me and left me rolling my eyes a bit. And this is where Norma and I differ as readers because she loves that stuff.

I enjoyed my trip down memory lane with this one and glad I read it.  I highly recommend.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Glamorous, nostalgic, beautiful and a fitting representation to storyline. I absolutely love the simplicity, classic and vintage feel of this cover. 
Title: Intriguing, fun and absolutely loved how the title played so fittingly and wonderfully into storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, beautiful, witty, fluid, engaging and readable. Thoroughly enjoyed the narrative, totally entertaining. There were even a few laugh out loud moments and some touching ones too. 
Plot: Glitzy, fascinating, atmospheric, sexy (without details), entertaining, and highly enjoyable. 
Ending: A goose bump ending that enveloped me with warmth leaving me with that ever coveted afterglow feeling of satisfaction that I just read a fabulous book. 
Overall: Wowza! This book gave me all the feels and it’s a huggable one that will stay with me long after closing the cover. Just fabulous and another one added to my Favourite Reads Shelf for 2019. Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for our complimentary copies. It was an absolute pleasure spending time with this book!!

#travelingsistersread #BookBloggers #BookReview #askusaboutourbook #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads

Have you read this one? Want to read it? Do you love epilogues too? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews

Remember Us by Lindsay Blake / Layne James @blakeandbeckner

Brenda’s Review

An estranged mother, a rusty VW Van and a family on a journey to forgiveness and finding what was lost.

Remember Us is a fun, quirky yet a heartbreaking story that explores time, bond, forgiveness, and identity.  The family is brought together by an illness and they take a journey together that at times was hilarious and heartbreaking.  

A bit slow in places but worth it as I really liked how the ending came together and the way it made me think about some of the themes I picked up on.  We all enjoyed discussing this one and I recommend for group discussions.

Norma’s Review

Sweet, amusing & raw!

A light, quick & easy read that has the most adorable cover ever. REMEMBER US by LINDSAY BLAKE / LAYNE JAMES did take me a little bit of time to warm up to but once I did, I thought it was quite the entertaining and delightful read. I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamics between these characters and especially enjoyed Bernice’s character. She has this vibrant personality that is so full of life that I found to be so amusing and entertaining. This book had me smiling and chuckling a few times until the end where my feelings changed a little bit because I didn’t necessarily enjoy the direction that this book took. I did find it was a good, entertaining, and fun read though with a few endearing & heartbreaking moments. 

Lindsay’s Review

When Ben and Reese Hamilton find out their father has cancer, they take a break from their busy lives to spend time with their dad and help him through this devastating time.   While back in their childhood home, one day they open the door to find their estranged mother ready to move back in and help after being gone from their lives for the last thirteen years.   This sudden reintroduction of their mother into their lives causes much confusion and chaos.

This broken family works through many emotions, questions and adventures while spending this quality time together.

This was a quick, light and easy read that I found cute and entertaining.  The characters and situations brought smiles to my face throughout with their quirks and personalities.  It was interesting to follow this family on their journey through difficult times while reflecting on their memories of happier times.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Simple, attractive, and nostalgic with an adorable vintage feel to it that is an extremely fitting and meaningful representation to storyline. #coverlove
Title: An intriguing, interesting and fitting representation to storyline. I enjoyed the journey whilst learning how this title played so fittingly into storyline. The complex dynamics between these characters was entertaining while the characters took us on a trip down memory lane. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging and readable. Thoroughly enjoyed the quirky, humorous and amusing narrative! 
Plot: Slow-building, steadily paced, amusing, heartfelt, thought-provoking and complex. 
Ending: Okay this is where things went a little sideways for me as I wasn’t a fan of the ending and it left me feeling somewhat disappointed and unsatisfied. 
Overall: It was a fun, light, sweet, sad and hopeful book that was an enjoyable quick and easy read!

Thank you so much to the authors Lindsay Blake and Layne James for gifting all three of us a physical copy to read! We thoroughly enjoyed reading and discussing this one.

#travelingsistersread #BookBloggers #BookReview #askusaboutourbook #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads

Have you read this one? Want to read it? Do unsatisfactory endings play a factor into how well you enjoyed a book? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!


Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott @elliott_lexie @BerkleyPub @about_thethrill

It’s pub day for The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott and I am excited to bring our reviews for it.

Brenda’s review

A missing father, an inherited old Scottish manor with rumors of it being haunted, the daughter trying to escape from the feeling of it watching her. 

The Missings Years is an easy atmospheric read here with the setting of an old Scottish manor called the Manse that I thought should have felt more creepier and eerier with the secrets it keeps. I had some mixed feelings here and I began to wonder if maybe I have become a predictable reader expecting stories to feel a certain way. Here in this story, the lack of creepiness was made up by the house coming alive for me. It became a strong entertaining character with an attitude and I enjoyed the dynamics here with the house and our main character Ailsa. 

The characters here within the small town were also entertaining and I enjoyed hearing the rumors and the vibe it created here in the story. I found the characters to be interesting and the dynamics well down between them. 

The Missing Years is a slower paced read that read fast for me and read it quick quickly. It was a different pace from my usual dark and twisted and I thought the mystery came together a bit uneventful however I did love the way things wrapped up with the house. I highly recommend taking some time to get to know this house. 

Thank you to Elisha and Berkley Publishing for my complimentary copy.

From Kim’s review

Lock the doors and check them twice with this one! There is a slow burning creepy story line that builds with intensity as the story goes on. Mysterious things begin to happen that make you question if The Manse is in fact haunted as legend has it.

As Ailsa struggles to figure out if her father is still alive and what is going on at The Manse, she uncovers details of the past she may not want to hear. A quite interesting character named Fiona McCue is introduced that has a very interesting history that ties in with The Manse. Bravo to Ms. Elliott on her creative plot line that managed to carry a creepy undertone the entire story! It kept me guessing all the way to the end! For Kim’s full review

#travelingsistersread #BookBloggers #BookReview #askusaboutourbook #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads

Have you read this one? Want to read this one? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth @SallyHepworth @StMartinsPress @about_thethrill

Sally Hepworth nailed it here for us with this better than expected and not what we expected must read which is out for sale tomorrow April 23, 2019.

Norma’s review

Clever, impactful & irresistible!

This book was nothing like I imagined it to be…..it was so much more than your typical “evil” mother-in-law tale!! Loved it!! 

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW by SALLY HEPWORTH is a gripping, captivating, thought-provoking, and fabulous mystery/thriller that I was immediately drawn into and devoured quickly. The story was so darn entertaining and absolutely un-put-down-able!!!! 

SALLY HEPWORTH delivers quite the unexpected, clever, engaging, complex and well-written story here told in alternating chapters between the past and the present in both Diana (mother-in-law) and Lucy’s perspectives. The storyline was brilliantly plotted, flowed seamlessly and the characterizations were absolutely spot-on. The dynamics between these characters totally fascinated and entertained me. And it was so interesting to hear from both sides as each of them had their own interpretations of what they actually meant or how they felt or thought about certain scenarios. 

The mystery itself here was done so well and not rushed at all. It was another one of those books where the fantastic storytelling guides and entertains you without any shocking unrealistic scenes. The storyline is full of twists and turns and so subtlety interspersed that totally snuck up on me in the end. I love it when an author is so talented to shock you with her writing style alone which just makes that pivotal moment much more shocking in its own right. Brilliant!!

Brenda’s review

Fractured relationships, complicated Mother- in-law, a suicide or murder and family secrets.

The Mother-In-Law is a compelling, multilayered, clever, and suspenseful domestic mystery that felt more like contemporary fiction that explores more the dynamics within the character than the mystery involving a suspicious death. There is a lot to explore and think about here with the depth to these characters.

The story is told in the POV of the mother-in-law Diana and her daughter-in-law Lucy.  We see more of their deeper thoughts through their POV and as we come to understand them and their relationship.  Diana is one of the most interesting characters I have read about with a lot to her then what you see on the surface.  She made for a great character to explore and talk about.

I devoured this one as fast as I could and was completely drawn into the lives of these characters.  I turned those pages as fast as I could and then slowly took in all the depth and layers to the characters.

The Mother-In-Law is a great choice for group reads as it really is a great thought-provoking story that brought out some different views of the characters and their dynamics. For me that is what makes a story so well layered is the many things it leaves you to think, explore and discuss and the Mother-in-Law sure did that for us. With each comment it gave me something else to think about. I highly recommend!

Lindsay’s review

 A twisty, addictive, suspense-filled family drama!

Lucy yearns to connect with her mother-in-law Diana. Having lost her own mother, she craves a maternal connection. However, Diana has always kept Lucy an arm’s length away – always being kind and available, but never quite embracing her with warmth and welcome into the family. 

The police knock on Lucy’s door one evening to inform her and her husband, Ollie, that Diana was found dead in her home, a suicide note tucked into her desk drawer. Left in devastating shock, Lucy and Ollie, along with Ollie’s sister and husband are left to pick up the pieces of their mother’s life. Diana was a wealthy and well-respected community figure who lived alone, having lost her loving husband years prior. As the days progress, several details come to light surrounding Diana’s death. The police come back to question Lucy and Ollie. Everything Lucy thought she knew about her husband and his family is challenged. Was Diana’s death truly a suicide? Did someone want Diana dead? 

I loved the pace and flow of this novel. It is narrated by several characters, all of which held an intricate perspective to the story. It was an engrossing, truly addictive journey that I hungrily devoured, my mind flip flopping between possibilities of scenarios of what actually happened. This book kept me on my toes, my suspicions thrown all over the place, flipping those pages as fast as possible. I am a big fan of the author, Sally Hepworth’s, writing. I’ve read and enjoyed several of her books and look forward to what she has in the future. 

From Kim’s review

Wow, I loved it! Please add me to the huge list of fans for Sally Hepworth.

The age old mother- in- law vs  daughter- in- law dilemma. Except this time the mother in law Diana ends up dead! Certainly even though Lucy and Diana have had their differences in the past, it surely would not have come to this?! As we search for the answer to this question we are privy to both Lucy and Diana’s point of view. Which allowed us to see how each really felt about the other as we got a look into each of their thoughts.

This book started out with a bang and did not let up. I literally flew through this book in less than 24 hours because I could not put it down! I loved the writers style which kept me gripped to the pages until the very end. I know that many will think Diana is unlikable, but dare I say I loved her. Yes I did! For Kim’s full review

Traveling Sisters Read

Have you read this one? Want to read this one? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

#travelingsistersread #BookBloggers #BookReview #askusaboutourbook #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads

Posted in Reviews

Lindsay’s Grimsby Author Series Night with Shelley Wood @ShelleyWood2 @HarperCollinsCa @GrimsbyLibrary #grimsbyauthorseries

Earlier this week, I had the exciting pleasure of attending an author reading and talk with Shelley Wood.   Shelley Wood wrote the recently released historical fiction title “The Quintland Sisters”, which just so happens to be my favourite read of 2019 so far.   Upon finishing this novel earlier this month, I was eager to attend the event to hear about Shelley Wood’s writing process and how this stunning novel was created.  

Prior to reading this book, I had not heard of the Dionne quintuplets who were born in 1934 in a rural town in Northern Ontario, Canada.  I found it fascinating to learn about this time in our history.   I learned that the inspiration behind writing this story was a photograph that the author found while flipping through a book that outlined Canada’s most influential photographs.  This photograph introduced her to the Dionne “Quints” and sparked the idea to write this novel.  Shelley did much research, reading every article and book about the quintuplets that she could get her hands on.  She included real newspaper articles within her narrative which I thought was a brilliant addition to the novel.  The newspaper clippings helped weave fact and fiction together, truly blending the reality of what happened with the unforgettable fictional characters she created.

One of my favourite parts of the novel was the endearing protagonist, Emma.   It is through Emma’s eyes that we experience the birth and toddler years of the quintuplets.   Shelley explained that she wanted to create a character who truly loved the quintuplets for the unique five girls that they were and not the “quintuplet unit” that the world saw them as.   For me, Shelley attained this goal, as I felt a deep connection to Emma and could feel her love for the Dionne girls flowing off every single page of the novel.  

Shelley Wood was an excellent speaker and had the audience hanging on her every word while she read a passage from her book.    She inspired me to look deeper into the fame and government decisions surrounding the birth and development of the quintuplets.  

It was very exciting to meet Shelley Wood – a definite highlight of my 2019 reading year!   I look forward to her next book!

Lindsay’s review

Heartwarming and heartbreaking emotion. Brilliant and beautiful narration. Shocking and unforgettable detail.

This story is a stunning look into the lives of the world’s first quintuplets born in Callander, Ontario, Canada in 1934. Yvonne, Annette, Cecile, Marie and Emilie Dionne shock their parents and the attending doctor and midwives on the day of their birth – five babies instead of one!?!? So tiny and frail, they are not expected to survive the night of their birth.

Emma Trimpany is seventeen-years-old when she accepts the request to accompany and assist the local midwife in attending a birth at the rundown Dionne farmhouse. This single decision changes her life forever, leaving her heart with a permanent longing and attachment to these five babies.

Days after their birth, in the confines of the rickety old farmhouse, the Dionnes’ learn that the government has decided to remove the quintuplets from their poverty-stricken parents, making them wards of the British king. Guardians are appointed and the babies are moved to a custom-built, sterile hospital to keep them safe and properly cared for by full time doctors and nurses. The quintuplets attain instant worldwide fame becoming a destination for six-thousand visitors per day in their custom-made playground observatory at the hospital. Through many ups and downs, Emma spends the next several years of her life dedicated to these five little girls who each uniquely own a piece of her heart. 

This novel is skillfully narrated through journal entries, letter correspondence and newspaper articles. Readers get to experience the childhood of the “Quints” through the eyes of Emma, an endearing, vulnerable and truly unforgettable character who I absolutely loved and was hopeful for. I was completely drawn into this story from the first few pages and my astonishment didn’t falter even after I finished the last sentence. The author, Shelley Wood, does an outstanding job weaving fact and fiction, keeping the reader dedicated and emotionally connected to the characters and the outcome. 

The Epilogue was exquisite, although not at all what I had expected. It left some things unanswered which was brilliant as it enticed me to do some research of my own. I am eager to investigate further into the story of the Dionne quintuplets and how the government stepped in to control their precious lives. This reading experience has left me baffled and curious in the best of ways – this is a true testament to phenomenal writing and storytelling. A truly remarkable novel!

I loved every single chapter, page, paragraph, sentence and word of this endearing story. This easily takes top spot of my 2019 Favourites List! Needless to say, I HIGHLY recommend!

Thank you to HarperCollins for gifting me a physical copy to read and review!

Have you read this one? Want to read this one? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf @HarperCollinsCa @hgudenkauf

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf is now available and she is at her best and at the top of her game here!

Brenda’s review

Three Girls, an urban legend, a dark obsession and a chilling crime .

Before She Was Found is a chilling, unsettlingly realistic, thought-provoking story that explores some teenage drama here with bullying, popularity, fitting in and approval. It goes a little deeper than just mean girls. It also explores friendship, betrayal and the power of social media and the impact it all can have on family dynamics.

Before She Was Found starts off with an unsettling, disturbing and grisly scene and I was turning those pages as fast as I go to unravel what happened.  We learn of an urban legend and I was intrigued by it and enjoyed how that played into the story. The suspense and tension in the story increases with each page until that unsettling realistic ending that left me quite upset.  I have not had a reaction to a story like I did to this one before. I really dislike the ending and how it all came together but I loved this one and the themes and messages the Heather Gudenkauf explored in this story.

I read this one in the Traveling Sister group and it left us with different feeling with that ending. The ending worked for some of us but not for all of us. It really made for an interesting discussion. I highly recommend for book clubs as there is plenty to talk about and explore here.

Norma’s Review

Gripping, chilling, & mind-blowing stuff here!

I definitely have to start my review off with a little message to you HEATHER GUDENKAUF, you are by far one of my must-read and absolute favourite thriller writers ever and this book was freakin’ fantastic!!!!

BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND by HEATHER GUDENKAUF is an unsettling, dark, realistic, captivating, thought-provoking and fabulous thriller that pretty much had every aspect that I absolutely love in my thrillers. A haunting and chilling crime, a mysterious urban legend, fantastic storytelling that is absolutely dazzling, and interesting and complex characters to make this an all out absorbing and devouring read. 

HEATHER GUDENKAUF delivers quite the clever, intriguing, suspenseful, engaging, and well-written story here that starts off with quite the bang and never lets up to make this quite the tense and edge-of-your-seat read. I absolutely loved the way that this story unfolded in multiple character perspectives and formats including journal entries in Cora’s perspective. I find that this technique is always quite effective, appealing and very suspenseful with slow-burning reads. 

There is lots going on behind the scenes in this story that is quite thought-provoking and an important message for us to ponder. In the end I was totally taken by surprise and would have never of guessed the outcome. 

Lindsay’s review

A haunting crime in a small town community. 

Twelve-year-old classmates, Cora, Violet and Jordyn sneak out one night to visit the abandoned train yard at the edge of town. A night of sneaky mischief ends with Cora hospitalized with several stab wounds and Violent and Jordyn in shock and confusion as to what happened. Small town secrets are uncovered as the police question everyone connected to the three girls. Were all three girls victims of this brutal attack? Could one of the girls be behind the violent assault?

I was pulled into this chilling story right away. There were some gruesome scenes at the start that were hard to stomach, but the writing kept me intrigued and curious to find out what happened. It was an addictive, quick read that had me making excused to find time for ‘just one more chapter’.

The novel unfolds through multiple characters perspectives. I did find myself slightly confused near the beginning trying to keep track of who was who, but as the story progressed, it became much clearer and easier to follow. I found Cora’s journal entries distracting which took away from my enjoyment. The “mean girl” scenes were a bit much. I think I would have enjoyed the novel more had those scenes been toned down.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Although I totally find this cover to be quite appealing and an effective representation to storyline it isn’t the sole reason for wanting or picking up this book. HEATHER GUDENKAUF is a must-read author for me regardless if I find the cover to be attractive or not. Whatever she writes, I will read!
Title: Clever, intriguing, fitting, impactful and a fabulous representation to storyline where the meaning is revealed to us as the story progresses. Love these meaningful titles!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, fluid, mesmerizing, beautiful and engaging.
Plot: Engrossing, clever, suspenseful, thought-provoking, believable, interesting, heartfelt, fast-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: An ending that left me speechless and totally took me by surprise! Loved that I didn’t figure out the outcome until it was revealed to us. 
Overall: The story was so darn thrilling, entertaining and absolutely un-put-down-able!!!! Would highly recommend!

Have you read this one? Want to read it? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you.

#travelingsistersread #BookBloggers #BookReview #askusaboutourbook #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads