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.

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Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke @HarperCollinsCa

It’s pub day for The Better Sister by Alafair Burke

We are so excited to bring you our reviews.

Norma’s review

Elaborate, suspenseful, and twisty!

THE BETTER SISTER by ALAFAIR BURKE is an exciting, intriguing, engrossing, disturbing, and fantastic domestic mystery/thriller that had me totally absorbed in this emotionally complex storyline. I was fully immersed and totally interested in the mystery and the interaction between these two sisters, Chloe and Nicky as it was quite dynamic.

ALAFAIR BURKE is such a fabulous storyteller and has this way of hooking you in right away with her extremely fast-paced narrative and her subtly sneaky delivery.  Which immediately had me questioning and wanting answers, even re-reading certain parts because I was certain I had to have missed something and dang if I did. She’s sneaky! lol

ALAFAIR BURKE delivers a compelling and well-written story here that is full of intrigue, suspense, courtroom drama, and familial dynamics. The topical storyline is timely and well-plotted, flowed seamlessly and had interesting and great characters.

This was another one of those books for me where the fantastic storytelling guided and entertained me right to the very end.  The courtroom drama was extremely interesting and smartly written without overwhelming you with complicated details. I could definitely tell that ALAFAIR BURKE knows her stuff.

Brenda’s review

Two estranged sisters, a murdered husband and father, some courtroom drama and a whole lot of messy family drama. 

The Better Sister is a simple yet intriguing whodunit domestic thriller with some interesting simple courtroom drama and a lot of family drama that didn’t feel too overly complicated to me. 

Now I am not sure I would describe this one as fast-paced or really entertaining. I felt the strength in this one was in the drama. Now that is something I never thought I would say, not being much of a fan of drama. There is a lot of messy family drama going on here with these very different sisters that unfolded slowly throughout the story instead of coming at you all at once. One sister who craves and needs routine and the other who lives in constant drama. I was hooked right from the start and I was turning the pages as fast as I could as the twists and turns came. I started to question who was the better sister as we learn more about some of their family secrets.

The ending came as a surprise and I didn’t see it coming. Maybe a bit weak with the big reveal and one you might find unsatisfying with a few holes. For me, it all came together well and I thought the pacing was well done as the drama slowly unfolded

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Absolutely love that dramatic, striking, breathtaking and extremely fitting cover. 
Title: Simple, impactful and a fabulous representation to storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, skilled, elaborate, suspenseful and engaging.
Plot: Engrossing, suspenseful, dramatic, realistic, interesting, fast-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: The ending made me pause and reflect but in the end I was completely satisfied with the outcome. 
Overall: The storyline is full of twists and turns and so subtly interspersed that I didn’t think this was predictable at all. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was all that surprising though when everything all played out but it was completely satisfying to me. ALAFAIR BURKE does it again and has another winner here with THE BETTER SISTER!! Would highly recommend!

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for our complimentary 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!

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Posted in Reviews

Alice’s Island by Daniel Sánchez Arévalo @SimonSchusterCA

Alice’s Island by Spanish author Daniel Sánchez Arévalo is his first novel to be translated to English. Pub date is tomorrow April 16, 2019!

Brenda’s review

Perfect happy marriage, a shuttering perfect lie and a wife’s search for answers

Alice’s Island is part mystery, part family drama with some drama within a community and part psychological thriller. When we first meet Alice her world is shattered when tragedy hits and she learns of a lie. She takes great lengths to find answers. Her search for answers start to leave her and me with more questions than answers and I started to question the way she was investigating and her tackles started to become questionable to me.

The story is not so much a page turner but more of a slow burn interesting one. At times a bit confusing to keep track of all the characters and suspects. I needed to use my detective skills more there to keep them straight. The characters each had their own conflicts and I enjoyed the dynamics between them but won’t say the characters were well drawn out.

I wasn’t really sure where the story was going and was intrigued throughout and as the story started to wrap up I wished I had paid more attention to the characters than trying to figure out the mystery to the story. I thought the story wrapped up well and I was left feeling satisfied after reading this one. I recommend to reader who like a slower paced story that focuses more on the dynamics of the characters.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for my complimentary 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!

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Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton @ChanelCleeton @BerkleyPub

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton is now available. Happy Pub Day!!! We are so excited to bring you our reviews for this exciting historical fiction novel that is not to be missed.

Brenda’s review

Rich in historical detail, a little romance, forbidden affair, a bit of a spy thriller, with a tad of family drama.

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton is a stand alone follow up to  Next Year in Havana . The story centres around Beatriz Perez who is introduced in Next Year in Havana . I am so glad Chanel Cleeton gave her a voice with her own story here.

When We Left Cuba is a beautifully written story that explores vengeance, betrayal and sacrifices. Beatriz Perez is driven by revenge and her love for her country and caught between Cuban American politics, her family and a powerful man. I love her, passion strength and bravery and we see how fearless she is and willing to do what it takes to get her revenge.

I enjoyed so much in this story and found it had all that it needed to make for an interesting read but not heavy on the the details. It’s a fast paced read that was entertaining yet heartbreaking and heartwarming at times. While the characters are fictional they are along with some events inspired from real like people. It read a bit like a spy thriller and I was excited to turn those pages as fast as I could.  The tension and excitement rises right up to the satisfying ending. I highly recommend!

Norma’s Review

Intriguing, suspenseful, glamorous & magnetic!

WHEN WE LEFT CUBA by CHANEL CLEETON is an engaging, fascinating, entertaining, beautifully crafted and rich historical fiction novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was immediately drawn into our main characters life, Beatriz Perez and loved the romantic & adventurous journey that this book took me on.  The author’s passion and knowledge definitely shines through tenfold and where some of the content was missed by me I totally appreciated learning about this part of Cuban and American history.

I didn’t have the pleasure of reading and visiting the Perez family in the NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA before reading this novel WHEN WE LEFT CUBA.  And normally I tend to shy away from reading follow-up books out of sequence order because it somehow makes me feel like I’m missing out or cheating the “system”.  So with that being said I am definitely going to revisit the Perez family again but in the meantime I am so glad that I put all of my feelings aside and dove right into this fabulously written romantic & dashing tale of espionage, revenge, love, & family drama.  

Even though this is a follow-up and some of the characters are revisited here this is Beatriz’s story and definitely works and reads well as a standalone.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Strikingly beautiful, glamorous, gorgeous, appealing and a fitting representation to storyline. Love the cover art!
Title: Intriguing, fascinating, powerful and a wonderful representation to storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Beautifully written, passionate, knowledgeable, fluid, engaging and entertaining. Absolutely loved the writing style!
Plot: Intriguing, informative, fascinating, thought-provoking, fast-paced, atmospheric and entertaining.
Ending: A pat and happy ending that was very satisfying and pleasing. I have a fondness for Epilogues! 
Overall: A fun, tense and exciting read with fabulous characters filled with rich historical content. Would highly recommend! 

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing and Chanel Cleeton for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book in exchange for a review.

Have you read this one or Next Year in Havana? Want to read them! Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

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Posted in Reviews

At the Mountain’s Edge by Genevieve Graham #BookBloggers #BookReview @GenGrahamAuthor @SimonSchusterCA #NetGalley #askthetravelingsistersaboutourreads #askusaboutourbook

At the Mountain’s Edge by Genevieve Graham is available now!A

Emotional, vividly descriptive & affecting!

AT THE MOUNTAIN’S EDGE by GENEVIEVE GRAHAM is a fascinating, entertaining and wonderful historical fiction novel that totally hooked and captivated me. The setting and premise of this novel intrigued and entertained me, I was totally taken with this tale that is set during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush and it definitely gave me all the feels. 

GENEVIEVE GRAHAM delivers an atmospheric, adventurous, engaging, and well-written read here that is told from two perspectives that has a cinematic feel to it. Liza & Ben were both such great characters that I thoroughly enjoyed and had me feeling so many emotions while I was following them throughout their adventurous journey. The courage, love, hope, loss, heartbreak and perseverance was palpable.

It is so refreshing reading a novel that is set in Canada and full of Canadian history. That was definitely a highlight for me and the beauty of this novel definitely shines through that will leave a lasting impression. 

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: A majestic, lovely, eye-catching, appealing, intriguing and fitting representation to storyline. I find this cover extremely fascinating and beautiful to look at!
Title: Intriguing, interesting, emotive and an effective and significant representation to storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Beautifully written, expressive, passionate, engaging and elegant. I immediately connected with the author’s prose. 
Plot: Detailed, atmospheric, well-researched, interesting, emotive, action-packed, fast-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: A touching ending that I was totally satisfied and happy with. 
Overall: I absolutely loved the adventurous and emotional journey this book took me on! Would highly recommend! 

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Genevieve Graham for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book in exchange for a review.

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

Posted in Reviews

Falling Behind Friday: Two reviews for Lisa Regan’s Detective Josie Quinn Series @Lisalregan @bookouture

Today I am bringing you two reviews for one of my favorite series that I have fallen behind on. I binged read through one book I fell behind on and then the current release to the series. Detective Josie Quinn is one of my favorite strong female detectives.

Brenda’s review

Af first it took me awhile to warm up to tough, cold and flawed Josie in Vanishing Girls the first book to the series but once I did I was hooked into this series. I grew to like and connect more with each book. One of the things that I found quite amazing about this series is we see just how caring and real Josie is through the dynamics between her and the people in her life. As the series progresses we see more into Josie’s personal life. I enjoyed seeing Josie grow in each book. After now reading all five books in the series I have to say they just keep getting better and better.

Her Final Confession Book 4 by Lisa Regan

A Murder, a confession, a determined detective searching for the truth.

One of the things I enjoy most about this series is the focus on Josie’s relationships and the dynamics between them. In this story Josie is determined to solve the murder of a student and save her friend from a murder charge. Secrets come to light adding some suspense and tension to the story. Just when it seemed like things were coming together in the case another twist comes and Josie races against time to find the killer.

There is a little romance going on here and I was happy to see Josie find some happiness there. We also see more of her personal relationships here in this story. I am going to stay vague on that because you just need to read this series to find out more about that.

The Bones She Buried Book 5 by Lisa Regan

A murdered Mom, threatened relationship and a hunt for a killer

The action continues here right from the start when Josie and Noah find his mother murdered. Grief and Josie’s drive to find the killer causes some fiction here in this story. Just when I thought Josie was catching a break the murder threatens her relationship and some of Josie’s flaws start to come out. And there I was again yelling at the characters.

The twists and turns keep coming and I started along with Josie spinning in circles trying to follow the leads and clues. In the end I thought every thing came together quite well with the case. Now for Josie well I can’t wait for the next book in the series. My fingers are crossed for her!!!

Have you read any books to this series? Have I intrigued you to give it a try? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Lisa Regan for my copies to read and review.

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