Posted in Traveling Sisters Reads

Not To Be Missed Monday: Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonald @Christinamac79

It’s no secret how much we love Christina McDonald. She is one of the kindest authors out there who loves to share her time with her readers. We had the pleasure of her joining us twice for an author Q & A. She joined us in our Behind the Pages Goodreads group and talked a bit about Behind Every Lie. At that time, we hadn’t read Behind Every Lie. Today we are excited to share our reviews with you all!

Behind Every Lie is available tomorrow February 4, 2020 and we suggest not missing this one if you love a fast-paced, head spinning, twisty domestic thriller with a bit of drama to it.

We loved The Night Olivia Fell and highly recommend if you haven’t read that one to read it. It’s one not to be missed. Behind Every Lie is quite a bit different from The Night Olivia Fell and it’s best going into it knowing that and trying not to compare the two. I found The Night Olivia Fell to have more emotional depth to it and Behind Every Lie to be a twisty and suspenseful mystery with unreliable characters.

Brenda’s review

Behind Every Lie is a domestic thriller with all the elements that make for a readable, fast-paced, intense and suspenseful one. The characters are unreliable and interesting and left me guessing who to trust and not. There is quite of bit of drama here that left my head spinning and I felt like I was doing the twist with those layered twists and turns in all that drama. There are a few things explored here within this mystery and the mother-daughter relationship and there is plenty to unpack here with the secrets and lies that add some tension to the story.

Norma’s review

Unsettling, illuminating & wholly absorbing!

BEHIND EVERY LIE by CHRISTINA MCDONALD has quite the opening scene and a premise that definitely hooked me and kept me entertained and completely invested in. It was such an emotionally intense, suspenseful, enjoyable, and entertaining mother-daughter domestic thriller. It is packed full of drama and atmosphere. The vivid descriptions added to the tension for me and definitely helped to set the mood.

CHRISTINA MCDONALD delivers a complex, captivating, dark, character-driven, gripping, intriguing and well-written read here that is told in alternating perspectives from Eva’s after being hit by lightning and Kat’s mysterious past. I thoroughly enjoyed our main character here and it was extremely fun trying to figure out if her memory was affected by being struck by lightning or if there was something else going on here. My absolute favourite is an unreliable character.

I absolutely love it when a book starts out with a bang and has plenty of questions for us to ponder but gives me this firm grasp that I know exactly where the story is headed. These types of stories are so satisfying for me as I like it when an author guides us to the conclusion and then throws in a surprising twist ending that totally works then I’m one happy reader. She writes these emotionally-charged stories that taps right into all your emotions as well as this deep sense of foreboding to make it quite the suspenseful storytelling.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Impending doom, ominous, foreboding, haunting, eye-catching and a fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Intriguing, suspenseful, affecting and an extremely fitting representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Engaging, taut, readable, beautiful, and well-written.
Plot: Steadily-paced, complex, fascinating, foreboding, vivid, atmospheric, suspenseful, and moving.
Ending: A dazzling, clever, and twist ending that was extremely satisfying! There were some aspects to the storyline that I felt were easy to predict but that ending totally took me by surprise!
Overall: An emotionally charged & intriguing storyline, realistic & believable familial dynamics, and a well-crafted & intense mystery. Would highly recommend!

Expected Publishing Date: February 4, 2020

Thank you so much to Christina McDonald for our copies to read and review.

From our Q & A with Christina McDonald

Brenda Can you give a sneak peek into what Behind Every Lie is about?

Christina BEL is about Eva Hansen, who wakes up in the hospital after being struck by lightning and learns that her mother, Kat has been murdered. Eva was found unconscious down the street, but she can’t remember what happened, which of course makes the police very suspicious of her. To clear her name and to find out if she is capable of something so terrible, Eva heads to London—Kat’s former home—and begins to unravel the mystery behind her mother’s murder.

Brenda How did the idea for Behind Every Lie come to you?

Christina There were two things that really factored into the idea behind BEL. The first is I randomly saw a picture of Lichtenberg figures, which are the branching electrical marks sometimes left on the skin of people who’ve been struck by lightning. I was so fascinated that I began researching more about lightning strikes, particularly how it affects short-term and long-term memory.

During this time I read the impact statement for Emily Doe, who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner at Stanford University. It really impacted me and I thought: how do you go on after that? Your self-trust and worth would be eroded.

Now I know that sexual assault in a story can be incredibly unsettling for some readers (I don’t show it, but do reference it in this book), but I felt it was so important for women (and men, of course) to know they have a voice. Sexual assault has often been covered in stories, but not often is the pain explored through the victim’s eyes. It’s so common to see men presented as both attacker and savior, while women as powerless, and I wanted to flip that around, to show a woman taking control after that trauma and learning to trust herself again.

So I wrote BEL, which takes a thriller concept and places Eva, my protagonist, around a similar past. Now she’s been struck by lightning and can’t remember if she murdered her mother, and this further erodes her self-trust. So she embarks on a journey to find out who she really is and what she’s capable of, while trying to solve the mystery of who murdered her mother.

For more of our Q & A can be found here on our blog or in our Behind the Pages Goodreads group here

Posted in Reviews

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner @DuttonBooks @LisaGardnerBks

This is exactly why we have been faithful fans for so many years of LISA GARDNER. She keeps knocking out fantastic books. We absolutely loved this latest installment in her Detective D.D. Warren series with Book # 11. This is an author that we can always count on that never disappoints and always delivers such fantastic mystery/thrillers that are gripping, emotional, action-packed and packed full of nail-biting suspense. It’s no secret that we are huge fans and we have read all of her novels to date. She is one of the few authors that we have read right from the very beginning and have continued on throughout the years, getting super excited with each new release. That speaks volumes of how talented this author is!

Brenda’s review

Hot Diggity dang!!! Lisa Gardner brings back three of my favorite characters, serial killer survivor turned vigilante Flora Dane, Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren and FBI Agent Kimberly Quincy here in When You See Me. This team go together like tea and biscuits with Flora being the strong bag of leaves here as she faces her worse fears and traumatic past with kidnapper Jacob Ness. The dynamics between these strong characters are fresh, humorous and exciting. Computer analyst and true crime enthusiast Keith is by Flora’s side and I loved the warm relationship growing between the two.

The story is intriguing, a bit different with some great twists and turns but it’s all about the characters and connections for me here. D.D. warmly takes a character under her wing and I hope to see more of the character in the future.

We read this in our Traveling Sister reading group and one sister read this one as a stand-alone and thought it worked however if you are new to these characters I suggest starting with Find Her where we first meet Flora Dane.

Norma’s review

Compelling, nerve-racking, & absolutely unputdownable!

WHEN YOU SEE ME by LISA GARDNER (Detective D.D. Warren #11) is a complex, gripping, suspenseful, twisty, emotional and intense thriller which unites three of my most favorite characters ever – Detective D.D. Warren, Flora Dane, and Kimberly Quincy.

LISA GARDNER creates such compelling, well-developed, fabulous and dynamic characters that you can’t help but love and be emotionally invested in. I absolutely loved that this story was told from multiple perspectives of all the key players here. This definitely added to the tension for me and definitely helped to set the mood. Although this story is quite intense it was also quite fun, touching and emotional to read. There was a scene with Flora and Keith that completely warmed my heart. I have never ever read anything so beautiful.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover/Title: Intriguing, appealing, and fitting representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Compulsively readable, notable, strong, impressive, well-written, entertaining, engrossing, and prolific.
Plot: Suspenseful, emotional, complex, riveting, fast-paced, dark, thrilling, captivating, taut, twisty, and entertaining.
Ending: An action-packed, surprising, thrilling, and explosive ending!
Overall: Another stellar read from the Queen of Thrillers that had me immediately hooked and completely riveted. Highly recommend!

We received our copies from NetGalley and EW.

Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Reads

Get It Today Tuesday: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain @StMartinsPress

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain was a highly anticipated read for The Traveling Sisters and we loved it!! I recommend running to your nearest bookstore or device and getting it today!! It’s one not to be missed!!

Brenda’s review

Well, that is some mighty fine, creative writing here by one of my favourite authors. I loved this one!!

Big Lies is a Small Town did start off a little slow for me and I was feeling a bit worried that I wasn’t quite getting where the story was going here by almost halfway. I was intrigued but at first, felt like I was being strung along a bit. Then I reminded myself that I have nothing to worry about because this is Diane Chamberlain. Well, well my patience was rewarded and around the middle of the book, the pace took off me and things started falling into place. I started piecing together this well-layered story and flew through the second half.

After reading so many books, things can get a little boring at times and I seem to lose my groove a lot and it is getting harder to find that one that is creative and a bit different from the rest. Diane Chamberlain creates a very unique and compelling story here. She brilliantly weaves the two timelines here with our main character Morgan and Anna. I was so pleased with the way everything wrapped up in the end so perfectly for me. After reading this one, I was marching around the house cheering with excitement for finding another one that kept me in my groove. I highly recommend it.

Lindsay’s review

A suspenseful and captivating mystery set in a small town.

Told in the dual narratives of 1940 and 2018, the two main characters, Anna and Morgan are young artists looking to find their way. Before finishing a mural project for the small town of Edenton, Anna goes missing in 1940. Almost 80 years later, Morgan is asked to restore the unfinished mural project so it can be hung in a local art exhibit. Little does Morgan know the hidden secrets she will find while researching and restoring the mysterious mural.

I adore small town settings and this one was no exception. The atmosphere engrossed and intrigued me from start to finish. I felt as though I was right there in Edenton with the characters. I loved the dual narrative, although I felt a deeper connection to and investment in Anna’s life in 1940. The plot unfolded smoothly while moving back and forth between the timelines, leaving a large sense of mystery at the end of each chapter which made me want to keep reading. Please be warned that there are some heavy topics covered within these pages: racism, physical abuse, rape, harassment.

One issue I had was that Morgan’s romance felt cliche and unnecessary, however, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. There were parts of the ending that I found predictable, yet I still felt connected to and invested in the storyline and it left me with a good sense of closure and contentment.

If you are a fan of Diane Chamberlain, like I am, you will not be disappointed. This book showcases her usual captivating writing, unique storyline and unforgettable characters which has left me hungry for what she comes out with next.

Thank you to St Martin’s Press for our copies!

Posted in Reviews

Moody Not To Be Missed Monday: A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

Not sure what mood you are in for! A Noise Downstairs has a few elements to it making this one a great one if you are not sure what you are in the mood for.

Brenda’s review

Linwood Barclay is one of my favorite authors and his books, and I have some history together. I loved listening to his books and his stories kept me entertained on some long runs. Lately, I have been missing out on some of his newer books and I am happy to say I am glad I didn’t miss out on this one.

A Noise Downstairs is a fun, entertaining, twisty and easy read with a unique creepy tormentor here with the Underwood typewriter that sets quite the eerie atmosphere to the story. I was hooked right from the start, and I was a little afraid of the noise downstairs, and I might not be just talking about the book. I pulled the covers over my head and turned the pages as fast as I could as the tension started to rise with every reveal. Things began to feel a little predictable but weren’t. I thought I had a few things figured out, but those red herring are layered well here in this story.

This is one is all about the entertainment value here and not entirely that plausible. It’s a great one to get lost in the eerie atmosphere here by a noise downstairs.

I received a copy on EW

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Reads

Thoroughly Worthwhile Thursday: Long Bright River by Liz Moore @LizMooreBooks @riverheadbooks

Lindsay and I decided to download and read Long Bright River at the last minute, and we are so glad we did not miss this one. It is a thoroughly worthwhile reading experience that will stay with us for a while.

Brenda’s review

Long Bright River is a love story between two very different sisters who are bonded together by their toxic childhood. The story centers around the opioid crisis in a Philadelphia neighbourhood. Their childhood shapes them differently, with Kacey now lost in the streets and Mickey, a police officer on the streets searching for Kacey.

Long Bright River is profoundly moving and an affecting quietly written story with no drama that captures the raw reality of addiction not only on a loved one but a neighbourhood devastated by an epidemic with real, honest, strong characters. Liz Moore skillfully weaves a murder mystery here while exploring the bond between Mickey and Kacey through now and then chapters. I loved Mickey, and she is not without flaws making her a very relatable character. While we follow Mickey’s journey to find Kacey and the mystery unfolds, Liz Moore creates a profound picture of how their lives parallel what is happening in the neighbourhood. She creates tension and suspense her with the mystery element to the story with some great twists that tie so well into the story. I highly recommend not missing this reading experience.

Lindsay’s review

An extremely well-written, gut-wrenching, powerful story about addiction and the bond of sisters.

Raised by their less than interested grandmother, Mickey and Kacey grew up looking after one another. They were as close as sisters could be. As a teenager, Kacey mixes with the wrong crowd and becomes a drug addict leading to a life on the streets. The sisters become strangers to one another. Mickey joins the local police force but can’t ignore the constant tension of worry that one day she will find Kacey in a bad state on one of her work calls. Will Kacey ever get the help and support she needs? Will the sisters ever be as close as they once were?

I was invested in this story from page one. The story is told through Mickey’s perspective and it is intense. Mickey is a strong yet vulnerable character who I loved. What she endured while keeping her loyalty to her sister was heart wrenching. The bond of sisterhood is a strong one. The pace and flow of the book was excellent – it kept me fully engaged from start to finish. The writing was smooth and engrossing. I had a constant sense of tension and dread in my stomach in wonder of what Kacey’s outcome would be. I truly felt for Mickey and all that she had to endured

We received our copies from Edelweiss .

Posted in Reviews

Get it today Tuesday: You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley @OakleyColleen @BerkleyPub

Get it today!!! You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley is out today!!

Brenda’s review

You Were There Too explores love, committed, connections, chances, fate and what-ifs. It’s a beautiful love story, and the more I think about it in more ways than one.

Our main characters here married couple Mia and Harrison experience challenges due to the heartache they experience as a couple. Each of them also has their conflicts within themselves. Mia has a secret and she literally meets the man of her dreams who is not Harrison. The man from her dreams has been dreaming of her too. The story takes an interesting and unique turn as they take on a journey to research their dream connection.

This is a story that I felt different about after I finished it then as I was reading it. It’s heart-wrenching and shocking sad and at first, it was not the way I wanted it to go, but the more I think about it, I see how well it all together in the end. I highly recommend for anyone who loves a love story!

About the book from Goodreads

Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.

Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

Evocative, distressing, & absolutely heart-wrenching!

YOU WERE THERE TOO by COLLEEN OAKLEY is a moving, intense, emotional, and an original love story that was quite the emotive and beautiful book to read. I was immediately intrigued and sucked into the narrative and absolutely loved the mysterious dream aspect to the storyline which had a slight supernatural vibe to it.

The tale is original and fresh! Something that I have definitely never read before. I was totally invested and all in the first half of the story and then the spark fizzled out for me a little bit and never really caught again. There was this niggling that I had with one aspect of the storyline that never really sat well with me, ultimately affecting me and my thoughts towards this one.

The story takes quite the unexpected and shocking turn that I never seen coming and threw me for a loop. After thinking about it I think this definitely worked and was quite clever but unfortunately my mind was already made up. I don’t think I have ever been as stubborn or unforgiving as I was with this one.

COLLEEN OAKLEY delivers quite the intriguing, raw, compelling, evocative, and well-written read here that definitely touched me in a deeply profound way. I think if a book can produce so many different emotions from we whether that be from deep affection to ruffling my feathers a little bit then the author has definitely produced one heck of a story whether I fully enjoyed it or not.

I read this one with my lovely friend and fellow Traveling Sister, Lindsay! Thanks so much for reading and discussing this one with me.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Intriguing, calming, tender, warmth, love, and a fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Clever, relevant, intriguing, and an effective and fitting representation to storyline. Love this title!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, easy to follow, evocative, entertaining, engaging and readable.
Plot: Unforgettable, heartfelt, intriguing, distressing, maddening, compelling, immersive, shocking, thought-provoking, steadily-paced, unpredictable, and entertaining.
Ending: I’m speechless, somewhat shaken, and a little bit perturbed about that ending!
Overall: This book was an unusual and intense read for me and even though I go into all my books blind the direction that this book took was nothing at all like what I expected. Would recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for kindly sending us a copy of this book!