Posted in Reviews

House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler #bookreview #BookBloggers @BonMot101 @SimonSchusterCA #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads

House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler is available now!

Engaging, intense & thought-provoking!

First off I am not exactly sure that I would say that this book is in the same caliber as Jodi Picoult but I thought that it was an interesting and well-crafted debut though.

HOUSE ON FIRE by BONNIE KISTLER is an emotionally-charged, entertaining and fascinating tale that immediately drew me in and held my interest right to the very end.  I found the drama within this story to be quite captivating and totally immersive. Even the subplots were quite interesting to read about and I thought that we really got to see into our main character’s psyche with the inclusion of those storylines.  They definitely brought something into the main plotlines for me.

BONNIE KISTLER delivers a slow-burning, suspenseful, intriguing and well-written read here that delves deep into the psychological side of a family’s tragedy through the exploration of their grief and loss.  I found it very interesting to see how all of these characters dealt with their grief and drama.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Fiery, eye-opening, bold, appealing, intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline. Coverlove! 
Title: Intriguing and absolutely loved how the title played so fittingly and meaningfully into storyline. I have a fascination with learning the meanings behind the titles and when I learned the meaning behind this one it was a very satisfying and rewarding feeling. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging and readable. Thoroughly enjoyed the narrative! 
Plot: Slow-building, steadily paced, intense, emotional, suspenseful, thought-provoking and complex. 
Ending: A surprising, intense and action-packed ending that left me totally satisfied. 
Overall: I enjoy a bit of drama in my stories so this one was right up my alley and adding in a little bit of mystery to it well then I am one happy and contented reader. Would recommend!

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

Something fun about me:  I go into the majority of my books blind and without any preconceived expectations.  I do really think this enhances my reading experience and it totally works for me! If I am confused at all I will read the synopsis a few chapters in if I am not getting the feel for the book…..which luckily doesn’t happen very often.

Have you read this one? Want to read it? Let us know your thoughts on it! We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward #BookBloggers #travelingsistersread #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads #askusaboutourbook @HarperCollinsCa

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward is available March 5, 2019!

Alarming start, questionable middle & a beautiful bad ending!

BEAUTIFUL BAD by ANNIE WARD starts off with quite the bang and is graphically intense with some cringe-worthy scenes that definitely gave me the heebie jeebies. It is just too bad that those feelings didn’t continue on for the duration of reading this whole book. The storyline gave me something to think about and I could feel the obsessiveness & anxiety levels emanating throughout the pages of this book but somewhere along the way I started questioning the storyline and wasn’t too fond with the way that some things unfolded. 

There was a lot of unnecessary information and not enough pertinent information. I love unreliable characters but for me this felt more like an unreliable storyline which I kind of have a pet peeve with. I want a storyline to have subtle clues sprinkled throughout and I don’t like to feel manipulated and that is exactly how I felt here. 

ANNIE WARD delivers a slow-moving, intriguing and well-written read here that is told from multiple POV’s and a vast timeline spanning a little over 10 years. Now the way that this story was formatted with the chapter headings and the various timelines leading up to “THE DAY OF THE KILLING” was actually quite clever and definitely held my interest and fascinated me. I thought this part of the story was rather gripping and I quite enjoyed Maddie’s perspective. 

I can hardly believe that I am saying this but I didn’t really buy into Maddie and Ian’s relationship. I do believe in love at first sight (I’m 26 years happily married after a whirlwind romance) but I just didn’t believe it here and “get” their attraction that they had for one another. 

Regardless of not connecting with these characters and storyline as much as I would have liked I do feel that this thriller will be a well-liked and hit with other readers. I do hope that you enjoy this one much more than I did!! 

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Intriguing, eye-catching, appealing, ominous and a fitting representation to storyline. I absolutely love this cover and I think it is quite beautiful for a thriller. This is another book where the cover definitely made me want to read this book. 
Title: Intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging and readable. 
Plot: Slow-building, steadily paced, intense, suspenseful, thought-provoking and complex. 
Ending: A predictable outcome with a surprising final twist that kind of shocked and excited me. 
Overall: I didn’t necessarily find this a thrilling escape but I did rather enjoy the atmosphere and setting to some of the backstory making this a good reading experience.

Thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada and Annie Ward for the opportunity to read this ARC.

Have you read this one? Want to read it? Drop us a comment as we would love to hear from you! Have a wonderful day everyone!

Posted in Reviews

Fallen Mountains by Kimi Cunningham Grant #BookReview #travelingsistersread @amberjackpub @kimicgrant

Fallen Mountains by Kimi Cunningham Grant is available March 5, 2019

Norma’s Review

Atmospheric, riveting and intensely entertaining!

I was immediately intrigued by the mystery of FALLEN MOUNTAINS and found the setting to be immensely appealing.  I am a total sucker when it comes to dark and gritty tales set in a small rural town. They are by far one of my favorite types of reads and add in great writing, a suspenseful mystery full of secrets and a missing person – well then I am one happy and contented reader!

FALLEN MOUNTAINS by KIMI CUNNINGHAM GRANT is a compelling, dark, gritty, and suspenseful mystery that immediately sucked me in and had me totally absorbed within this tale.  My thoughts and feelings never wavered once while reading this book. It had such a rugged down to earth feel to it that I really connected with and found to be extremely enjoyable and entertaining.

KIMI CUNNINGHAM GRANT delivers an atmospheric and character-driven novel here that was quite the impressive, intriguing, suspenseful and well-written read with compelling and memorable characters, an absorbing mystery and an extremely transfixing storyline.  The story is told in alternating chapters starting with “After” and then “Before” the disappearance of Transom. I thought the pacing and the flow between the two was absolutely perfect for an exciting and suspenseful read.

I absolutely loved the storytelling and thoroughly enjoyed both timelines equally.     

Brenda’s Review

Fallen Mountain is a gripping, gritty, yet simple story that explores the haunting secrets hidden in a small town. The story starts off a bit slow as we get to know our characters allowing us to connect to these flawed interesting and real like characters with some darkness to them. 

Kimi Cunningham Grant does a great job creating a realistic down to earth feel through her descriptive atmospheric writing and we could feel the emotional connection the characters had to each other and their surroundings. 

I loved how Kimi Cunningham Grant weaves a character-driven story with a mystery to it. The suspense builds right from the start and is maintained right to the haunting ending that left me still thinking about it. 

Lindsay’s Review

5 stars!   I loved every single page of this gritty, backroads story!

Red is the sheriff in Fallen Mountains, Pennsylvania.  He and his secretary, Leigh, are the only employees of the small town law enforcement office. Red is ready for retirement, his resignation letter typed and waiting to be handed in, when he receives notice that Transom Schultz is missing. Transom is the son of a powerful family that has long ruled the town and also the person who Red reluctantly helped cover up a crime seventeen years prior.   Worried that Transom’s disappearance may be linked to that long ago hidden crime, Red tucks his resignation letter away until the situation has been sorted and resolved.

I loved everything about this novel!   The characters, the writing, the storyline, the pacing, the flow, the suspense – simply perfect!   Red reminded me of Walt from the TV show Longmire which I loved. I felt an immediate connection to this story from page one, instantly sympathizing with Red and his situation.  The atmosphere was thick and wrapped me up completely throughout this rugged and unforgettable tale. I will be thinking of these characters long after I have finished writing this review.  It was a book that I wished would have continued further, not because I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, but simply because I didn’t want to let the characters and storyline go.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Eye-catching, haunting, suspenseful, beautiful and extremely fitting representation to storyline.
Title: I was immediately intrigued by the title of this book and definitely enticed me to read this book. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, vividly descriptive, and simply beautiful.
Plot: Suspenseful, appealing, thought-provoking, gripping, perfectly-paced, absorbing, memorable, enjoyable and extremely entertaining. I absolutely loved this storyline!
Ending: A pleasing and satisfying resolution. 
Overall: I was immediately interested in this tale and thoroughly enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery, the characters and the storyline. Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Amberjack Publishing and Kimi Cunningham Grant for gifting all of us an advanced copy of this book. It was an absolute pleasure reading it!

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

Posted in Book Musings

Random Book Musings: Unlikeable characters…….Do they make the story more interesting for you or make the story harder for you to enjoy and like? #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers

Hello everyone and Happy Monday to you all!

Thought I better do my Book Musings question for this week since I forgot again last week. I am totally guilty that my mind hasn’t been necessarily on book related things lately… has been stuck in granddaughter/grandma mode. Which I am absolutely loving btw! Who would have known that being a grandma feels so darn good and satisfying. LOL I am totally smitten with that adorable little baby girl.

Anyway… is my question for this week.

I always have these random bookish questions that I’m curious about so I ask our Traveling Sisters a weekly (sometimes more) book related question. We thought it would be fun and interesting to take some of those questions to our blog and see what you all think or do. I hope that you will also join in on the discussion with us.

Norma’s Random Book Musings Question

Unlikeable characters…….Do they make the story more interesting for you or make the story harder for you to enjoy and like? 

Norma’s Answer

For the most part unlikeable characters make the story more interesting for me. I definitely don’t need to like the characters for me to enjoy the story but they do have to feel like they are contributing and moving the story forward for me to fully embrace and enjoy them. I am totally able to forgive and forget an unlikeable character though that I don’t necessarily like or have a problem with. I just usually chock it up to oh well if I am enjoying the story in a whole why does that little character need to ruin the whole book for me. LOL

Lindsay’s Answer

Unlikable characters are hit or miss with me too. Sometimes they can completely ruin a book and overshadow any sort of enjoyment I get from the story. Other times, as Diane mentioned with Maurice, they make the story highly appealing and intriguing. So I guess it all boils down to the writing and if the author has created this unlikable character to suit the story and move it forward, like Norma said. 

Brenda’s Answer

More interesting for me. I think they add contrast to the story. I like having characters to dislike and to like. If everyone is likeable or unlikable I find the dynamics between the characters a bit boring and unrealistic. Real life is hard and messy.

Well I was beyond excited when I won this #goodreadsgiveaway THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER by KAIRA ROUDA! This is a highly anticipated read for us as we absolutely loved BEST DAY EVER!

Now to the best part. Your answers. Please join in our discussion and let us know your answer. We would love to hear from you!

graphics by Lovelytocu

Posted in Reviews, Sister Reads

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman #BookBloggers #travelingsistersread @BerkleyPub @alysonrichman

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman is available now!

Brenda’s Review

A Mother’s love and sorrow, a teacher who cares and a child’s courage to live life to the fullest make for a tissue-worthy story here.

The Secret of Clouds is a tenderly written heart-warming and heart-breaking story that explores the bond between a teacher and her student. Who soon find they can learn something from each other.

Alyson Richman captures a mother’s love, fear and sorrow, a teacher’s caring ways to make a difference with her students and an ill child’s courage to connect to the outside world. Through each character, we learn something about resilience, perseverance, acceptance, love and connections in many ways, sorrow and healing.

I really enjoyed the special connection and dynamics between the characters. Each connection is interesting and heart-warming. At times the pace is slow and predictable however I think it’s to bring a bit of relief to the reality of the story.

Norma and I read this one on our own since a few of our Traveling Sisters read this one because I couldn’t get our schedule organized. It is definitely one we recommend for group reads.

Norma’s review

Passionate, compelling and evocative!

THE SECRET OF CLOUDS by ALYSON RICHMAN is an emotionally charged, tender, moving, beautiful and insightful contemporary novel that I absolutely loved and thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. The story was so beautifully told and totally touched my heart.

ALYSON RICHMAN delivers quite the awe-inspiring, emotional, touching, entertaining, well-written and unforgettable read here that will definitely stay with me for a very long time. I was totally invested in this story, fully absorbed in these characters lives and thoroughly enjoyed both storylines equally. The story and writing definitely held my full attention and I didn’t even care or notice that it might have been a little predictable. If a book can totally take you away into the world you are reading that for me is one extremely satisfying reading experience.

This is a book that I will always hold close to my heart.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Beautiful, intriguing, hopeful, huggable, spellbinding and an extremely emotive and fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Oh my goodness! The meaning behind this title is absolutely awesome, extremely fitting, and definitely heartwarming. Love…love….love it!!!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, perceptive, beautiful and extremely readable. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and it definitely resonated with me.
Plot: Engrossing, powerful, affecting, moving, interesting, enlightening, fast-paced, and highly entertaining.
Ending: A beautifully written, heartwarming and extremely satisfying ending! This was a huggable and endearing book.
Overall: A fantastic and captivating read that had me totally absorbed within this story right from the very start, thoroughly enjoying every minute of this unputdownable and heartfelt story! Would recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing and Alyson Richman for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a review! I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience!

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

Posted in Reviews

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers @BerkleyPub

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray is out tomorrow February 19, 2019 . Mark it on your to do it list if you don’t have this one. It’s one not to be missed.

Norma’s Review

Extraordinary, powerful & moving!

THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY GIRLS by ANISSA GRAY is an absolutely fabulous, raw, heartfelt and moving novel that immediately grabbed my attention with that extremely intriguing opening line. The writing style hooked me immediately, the storyline was completely absorbing, and the characters were out-and-out fascinating. 

ANISSA GRAY delivers an impressive, interesting and beautifully written read here that is told in alternating perspectives between three sisters, Althea, Viola and Lillian with letters interspersed from Proctor to Althea. The author does such a wonderful job portraying the complicated familial dynamics really allowing us to feel and see right into each of their struggles. I couldn’t help but feel strong emotions for each of these sisters stories and was definitely hoping that they would all find the strength and love they needed.

Brenda’s Review

First, have to say I just love the title to this story. It’s such a brilliant title and so fitting. The title alone was enough to grab my attention and have me wanting to read this one.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is a beautifully written emotional, honest and engaging story that takes a look into a family hungry for love and forgiveness.

Annisa Gray does such a great job creating interesting strong women each with a strong voice and their own personal conflict from the past. She drew us into their lives right from the start and we could feel their struggles and experiences that shaped the dynamics within their family. We could feel their pain and love. I fully was emerged into their lives from the first page and they stayed with me long after reading this one.

This is definitely one that makes for a great reading group pick. So much you will want to talk about with this one. We highly recommend!

Lindsay’s Review

Raw. Emotional. Insightful. Heart-breaking. Hopeful. 

Hard working and highly respected local restaurant owners, Althea and Proctor, stun their community when they are arrested and jailed for crimes unknown to their small town. Althea’s sisters, Viola and Lillian, are left to pick up the pieces for Althea and Proctor’s children, Baby V and Kim, who are ‘orphaned’ and left feeling lost in life.

This is a deeply affecting novel that had me feeling the strong sense of sadness that haunted each of the character’s lives. The author, Anissa Gray, did a fantastic job pulling me into this complicated family’s struggles and relationship dynamics. I was rooting for these characters.

I enjoyed the writing and characters, however, the storyline itself felt overly heavy and dark at times. I couldn’t shake the deep sense of sadness that overshadowed my reading journey with this family. There was a sense of hope throughout, but there were many obstacles and struggles these characters had to overcome to reach that light. There were also a few sections where my attention wavered and the story felt slow. Overall, it was a debut novel that I enjoyed and I look forward to reading more from this author. 

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Eye-catching, dazzling, intriguing, beautiful and an extremely meaningful representation to storyline.
Title: I think this is one of the most intriguing, clever and creative titles I have come across yet. That title and cover definitely enticed me into needing to read this novel! 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, effortless, genuine, beautiful, and skillful. 
Plot: Engrossing, interesting, absorbing, heartfelt, steady-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: I was completely satisfied in the way that this novel wrapped up.
Overall: This was an incredibly powerful and impressive story that kept me turning those pages rather quickly in order to find out the fate of Althea and Proctor’s twin daughters. I would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group and to Anissa Gray for the opportunity to read an advance reading copy of this novel. It was an absolute pleasure reading this extremely impressive debut novel.