Posted in Reviews

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda @SimonSchusterCa @MeganLMiranda #travelingsistersread

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda is available now!

Norma’s Review

Tumultuous, puzzling, & a twisty page-turner!

This book reads extremely fast but while I was reading it though I was never fully immersed in this tale. There was nothing that was grabbing me here until well the end and then it’s like I wish that I would have spent the time with this book before reaching the end. The book is just as puzzling as the author’s writing style and that is all I’m going to say.

Oh my goodness where do I even start with this book……So let’s just say I have to go back and read the whole book over again well because that ending is making me want to do it. LOL

So I was definitely 3 stars all the way until I reached the ending which has made me bump it up to 4 stars. Take the time with this one…..

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Stunning, striking, suspenseful, mesmerizing, impressive, impactful and fitting representation to storyline. #coverlove This book wins my vote for best cover design ever!!!
Title: Intriguing, relevant, suspenseful and a fitting representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Engaging, vivid, awkward, puzzling, readable, tense, and well-written. Okay, I know I’m all over the place with the author’s writing style but for the most part I found the writing style quite puzzling and thought it was packed full of riddles. Then the ending…..
Plot: Fast-paced, suspenseful, twisty, puzzling, entertaining, enjoyable, and somewhat underwhelming until closer to the end.
Ending: Oh my goodness what an absolutely fabulous resolution that totally flabbergasted me. I don’t know if I was just so uninterested in the whole storyline in the beginning that I just wasn’t retaining any of it but let me tell you that ending definitely brought the whole book home for me. So good!
Overall: Although I mostly had a problem with the execution throughout most of this book the ending definitely made up for it. This was a Traveling Friends Read and everyone else loved it and really didn’t have the same reading experience with this book as I did. So I would definitely recommend to give this one a try and how can you not with a cover like this one?

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada and Megan Miranda for gifting me a copy of this beautiful book! Did I already mention that I am rocking that cover? LOL

Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Reads

Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera @DebSpera @parkrowbooks @HarlequinBooks @HarperCollinsCa #travelingsistersread

Lindsay’s review

This book has earned top spot on my 2019 Favourites List – I loved every single thing about it!

Gertrude, Retta and Annie are three women from very different backgrounds. Their lives’ intertwine and connect throughout this mesmerizing story set on a plantation in South Carolina in 1924. Each woman has a background filled with family tradition, expectations and secrets. Told in alternating perspectives, the novel shifts seamlessly between each character adding layers of detail and intrigue. Racism, poverty, hunger, sexual assault are just a few of the heavy topics covered within this unforgettable tale. It packs a heavy punch and is executed with the force of exceptional, spellbinding writing.

The characters were so well developed and undeniably endearing that I actually miss them now that I have finished the novel. They stole my heart. They were charming, determined, vulnerable, strong and flawed females who each faced their own struggles and challenges. During a time when women were not respected as worthy or independent, these three face their challenges head on.

As I read this story, I continually felt a sense of astonishment that this is a debut novel. The writing is stunning and exquisite. The words flowed off the page effortlessly and landed snuggly inside my heart. The author, Deb Spera, has set the bar high for a spectacular debut novel.

I feel I should give warning that there are some highly disturbing topics covered throughout this book that deal with child abuse. Though these scenes are uncomfortable to read, they are handled in a very mature and respectful manner without getting into extreme detail which I appreciated.

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a physical ARC to read and review! 

Brenda’s Review

I almost missed reading Call Your Daughter Home in my book chaos and if it wasn’t for Lindsay I just might have. Set in 1924 South Carolina after infamous boll weevil infestation that devastated the land and the economy Debra Spera brings us an unforgettable story that is not to be missed by historical fiction lovers. I sure am glad I didn’t.

Call Your Daughter Home is an impressive, compelling and engaging story that explores the lives of three equally unforgettable, strong southern women who come together through place in desperate times.   The story is told through each of their distinctive voices and we see each of their own conflicts surrounding their relationships with their daughters and husbands.   

Deb Spera does such an amazing job here creating such well-developed characters that caught my heart and I was immediately drawn into their lives by the emotional depth to each.  I was captivated by the sense of place and could feel the danger lurking for each woman like I could feel the danger from the creatures of the swamp. I loved how Deb Spera weaved the lives of these women together and formed a bond between them allowing each woman to become stronger as they faced their own conflicts and in the end came together to stand up for justice.  I highly recommend!

I received a complimentary copy from Edelweiss.


Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Reads

Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle @HarperCollinsCa @KimberlySBelle @parkrowbooks @HarlequinBooks #travelingsistersread

Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle is available today! After reading this one there were a few excited and happy Traveling Sisters expressing just how much we loved it! We all highly recommend!

Norma’s Review ~ Favourite Thriller 2019

Holy Shooty Balls!!! Thrilling, highly compulsive, & mind-blowing stuff!

Oh my goodness what did I just read? An absolutely fabulous thriller that’s what! This book was incredible and I am so thrilled to say that this book is my new favourite!!! 

DEAR WIFE by KIMBERLY BELLE is a gripping, suspenseful, dark, brisk, and twisty thriller that was absolutely unputdownable. I was immediately sucked in and devoured every single page of this spellbinding entertaining book. Once I started reading it I was hooked and so absorbed in the storyline that I was flipping those pages as fast as I possibly could. 

KIMBERLY BELLE delivers quite the impressive, clever, intriguing, tension-filled and well-written read here that was extremely well-plotted and flowed effortlessly. I was feeling every emotion possible while I was reading this book. These characters were brilliantly written and those subtle clues were perfectly interspersed to make this such a satisfying and fulfilling read

Thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada / Park Row Books and Kimberly Belle for my complimentary copy. It was an absolute pleasure reading this novel!!


Brenda’s Review

Kimberly Belle nails it here with this intense thriller. Dear Wife is one exciting thriller that is not to be missed. The most exciting thing here is how Kimberly Belle takes a story that really isn’t a new story line and turns into an exciting, entertaining and compelling thriller. She introduces us to the characters through their different POV and kept us guessing on how they are connected by layering clues along the way, with those multiple plot twists. She reveals what we need to know right at the perfect time and skillfully keeps it feeling new without it ever feeling predictable making it entertaining yet plausible.

The link between our characters is the biggest surprise here with just how Kimberly Belle is able to create that high suspense and tension keeping that excitement going right up to that explosive ending that had me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend!

I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Love this simplistic and classy cover. It is such a fabulous and fitting representation to storyline. 
Title: Appealing, clever, suspenseful, intriguing and absolutely loved how the title played so brilliantly into storyline. I might have squealed a little bit when the meaning behind the title was revealed to us. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, enthralling, fluid, efficient and effortless. 
Plot: Clever, intriguing, dark, twisty, intense, suspenseful, riveting, fast-paced, absorbing, enjoyable and entertaining. An absolutely fabulous storyline!!!! 
Ending: An explosive ending that left me feeling totally fulfilled and satisfied! Fabulous!!
Overall: It was such an irresistible, enjoyable, fun and thrilling book to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience!!! Would definitely recommend


Posted in Goodreads Summer Challenge, Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple @goodreads #travelingfriendsread #goodreadssummerreadingchallange

Lindsay and I read Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple  for the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge that we are participating in our Traveling Friends Goodreads Group.  Lindsay used this one for the “The book is better: Read a book being adapted for TV or film this year.” and I used it for a “Good as gold:  Read a book that won a Goodreads Choice Award”.

Brenda’s review

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a unique, fun and entertaining story that explores the creative side to our quirky, eccentric and endearing main character Bernadette through different documents used in the story.  At first, it took me a bit to get into the flow of the format with the emails, letters, etc. so I decided to listen to parts of this one and I really enjoyed the narrator. I thought it really enhanced the story to hear the different formats used in the story and the narrator was very expressive as she read the story.  I am so curious about the movie and looking forward to watching it when it comes out.

There is a lot of depth here with the different documents and how they are relevant to the disappearance of Bernadette and through them, we can see just how people view Bernadette leaving us questioning Bernadette’s state of mind.  I was also questioning a few other characters as well. We also see the creative side to Bernadette’s husband computer engineer Eligie who creates for Microsoft.  I enjoyed the dynamics here with both of their creative sides and just how different they were from each other as well as how people reacted to them.  

Some things felt a bit over the top here with just how eccentric Bernadette and this story is and towards the end, Maria Semple does push that a bit into an unrealistic way however for me, it felt heartwarming as to how it all came together.

“People like you must create.  If you don’t you become a menace to society. ”

In the end, I was left with so much to think about and so much I wanted to talk about.  I delved into the creative side of people and began to understand the creative people in my life a bit more after reading this one.  I highly recommend for group reads.

Lindsay’s review

Quirky and unforgettable characters with a unique and captivating storyline. 

This novel was a refreshing change of pace from what I have been reading lately. A silly, unpredictable story with eccentric and entertaining characters that had me laughing out loud. I really liked the way the story unfolded through letters, emails, reports and the narrative of Bee, the daughter of the family. Some of the plot overlapped between these points of narration giving a layered look into what was happening which I thought was done very well. 

For me, the first half of the book was more intriguing and enjoyable than the second half. My interest was piqued from the start and my curiosity had me flipping the pages as quickly as possible. The second half of the book began to drag in parts and my connection to the storyline lessened. The plot took an unrealistic route (for me) and lost its spark and intrigue. While I still loved the characters and their quirkiness, I wasn’t invested in what was happening to them. 


Posted in Reviews

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry @C_Henry_Author @BerkleyPub #thegirlinred

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry is now available!

Brenda’s review

Well ok, that was something different from what I have been reading lately and I have been reading something different quite a bit.

The Girl in Red is an entertaining yet a little horrifying and creative, post-apocalyptic take on Little Red Riding Hood.  Christina Henry is known for her retelling of fairy tales and this is a first for me. I am now curious about some of her other retellings.

I do secretly like post-apocalyptic stories and I have read a couple of them in the past but nothing like this one.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one.

The Little Red Riding Hood here in this tale is far from helpless and the wolf is terrifying. Our main character Red is clever, brave, resilient with a strong personality and not afraid to show everyone just how strong she is. She is unique and entertaining with her sharp tongue and references to post-apocalyptic movies and books.  We see a few different sides to Red here in this tale making her an interesting character.

The tale is told is dual timelines with before and after timelines creating tension and suspense to the story that had me turning the pages to find out how all this was going to wrap up.  The ending came together well for me however stretched things a little over the top for me and I had to remind myself it’s a retelling of a fairy tale. Things don’t really wrap up here as a lot was left unanswered and I do think it all works here since fairy tales don’t really need answers.  I highly recommend!

Thank you to Elisha from Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to read something I won’t normally pick by providing me with a complimentary copy of this tale.

**************************************************  

Norma’s Review

Gripping, action-packed & frightening!

THE GIRL IN RED by CHRISTINA HENRY is a creative retelling with a kickass heroine and non-stop action that immediately captured my attention. I do believe that this is my very first retelling and what a way to start it all off with this book. I see more retellings in my future!

CHRISTINA HENRY delivers an interesting, terrifyingly dark, gruesome, and heart-pounding nightmarish tale here that was quite the entertaining, fast-paced, and well-written read. Red was such a refreshing and fabulous heroine! I loved everything about her character.

The tale is told from Red’s point of view in a before the apocalypse and after the apocalypse timelines which definitely created lots of tension and added to the suspense. 

* Traveling Friends Read * 

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Intriguing, eye-catching, suspenseful, foreboding, freaky, frightening and a fitting representation to storyline. 
Title: Intriguing, classic, and fitting representation to storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging and readable. 
Plot: Fairy tale retelling, fast-paced, intense, exciting, danger, compelling, suspenseful, action-packed, fabulous heroine, and gripping. 
Ending: An action-packed, thrilling, bittersweet and an unresolved or open ending that came together really well for me and left me feeling quite satisfied. Of course I was left with a few unanswered questions though which I do believe works extremely well for a retelling of a fairy tale. 
Overall: I was thoroughly entertained with this post-apocalyptic take on the classic fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood”. Would recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha from Berkley Publishing for providing me with a complimentary copy of this tale.

Posted in Reviews

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner @SimonSchusterCA @jenniferweiner #MrsEverything

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner is available now at your favourite bookstore!

Norma’s Review

Emotive, all-embracing, & a sweeping saga!

MRS. EVERYTHING by JENNIFER WEINER is a timely, rich, emotional, gripping, and thought-provoking saga that spans decades between two sisters, Jo and Bethie. We get an intimate look into each of these character’s lives as we follow along their story. MRS. EVERYTHING gives us a realistic and true to life story about women that well deals with everything. This was definitely an eye-opening reading experience for me as it delves deep into their everyday struggles as well as giving a voice to all women in a much broader stance. 

JENNIFER WEINER delivers an interesting, engaging and beautifully written story here that was easily one of the most important, entertaining, and memorable books that I will ever read. This being my very first JENNIFER WEINER novel I was thoroughly impressed with how easily she was able to instill such an important message in her storytelling. I felt that the novel at times was quite deep but so worth spending the time with these two sisters. It was definitely a heartfelt story that was so heartwarming and felt perfectly complete in the end. 

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: I love the look and feel to this cover and think that it is such a bold, striking, meaningful and fitting representation to storyline. 
Title: Intriguing, thought-provoking, relevant, and a fabulous representation to storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Engaging, effective, effortless, readable, beautiful, and well-written. 
Plot: Steadily-paced, relatable, interesting, thought-provoking, touching, hopeful, heartfelt and powerful. 
Ending: An impactful and bittersweet ending that moved me and left me feeling that I read something really special here.
Overall: This was not a quick and easy book for me to read as it was quite deep, emotional, and raw. It is one to savour! Would recommend!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada and Jennifer Weiner for my complimentary copy.