Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Friends Reads

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim @AngieKimWriter @goodreads

YAHOO!!! Our June Traveling Friends Goodreads Group pick Miracle Creek by Angie Kim is wrapping up and it was one fantastic group read! Angie Kim nailed it here with her stand out, stunning, unique and twisty debut!!

Brenda’s review

From the very first page, Angie Kim writes an insightful, masterfully plotted and well-layered story here. One like no other I have read before. For me, it’s stories like this that I seek out and I need as a reader. It had me digging deep into the depth of the story and my mind raced with all kinds of thoughts that were provoked from the insight to the themes and elements in the story.

Miracle Creek explores a few themes here and it is so well developed and paced. There is a mystery here with a whodunit and the drama starts to unfold in the courtroom.  The mystery is so well weaved into the storyline it becomes just one of the elements that make up this story. The story turns into a fascinating study as we see the characters version of the truth and just how the truth can be altered or influenced.  The character’s moral compass is examined and a well played out dominion effect takes hold and wraps up this ending. It’s mind-blowing and absolutely fascinating how it all plays out. 

Angie Kim had me connected to each character in one way or another with the moving and insightful look into parenting. Each character conflicted and desperate in their struggles and feelings of being alone with their inner thoughts. I felt so many emotions as we see their thoughts and the judgement from others. The ending wraps up so well and after discussing this one in the group I was left with such a clear picture as to how one thing lead to another creating a brilliant well plotted story from start to finish.

Miracle Creek made for a stand out group read for us and one that will be a favourite of mine. There is so much to talk about here and in the discussion I could see all the different things we each picked up in the story that really enhanced the reading experience for this one.  I could talk about this one forever.

Norma’s review

Riveting, affecting, & vivid!

Wowza! I absolutely LOVED this and think all the buzz surrounding this book is so well deserved and warranted.

MIRACLE CREEK by ANGIE KIM is a poignant, moving, gripping, powerful, captivating and absolutely stunning debut novel that captured my attention and heart right from the very first page. I was immediately drawn into this murder mystery and found it so irresistibly unputdownable.

ANGIE KIM delivers a fascinating, suspenseful, interesting, engaging and beautifully written courtroom drama story here that was absolutely perfect in every way. The characters and storyline definitely got under my skin and I was intensely impressed with how masterfully done this story was.

This was such a powerful and thought-provoking read that I was totally invested and immersed in. I especially loved the emotive courtroom drama scenes which definitely created lots of intrigue and edge of your seat suspense. 

Traveling Friends Read

Some thoughts from our friends reviews from Goodreads.

This book introduces us to various characters who at first come across as likable but as the book progresses and as more information is divulged, their likability dwindles and suspicions shift. Most have secrets, hidden agendas, and secret thoughts. As their chapters progressed, the characters are fleshed out as are their inner thoughts and what they were really thinking and doing leading up to the explosion -Debra

The writing is expressive, the interactions between the characters feel natural and it is easy to feel empathy for most of them. Individual voices are clearly distinguished in chapters told by various characters as they relate the events leading up to the accident that changed their lives forever. All the characters have their own minor human flaws and failings, which contribute to the accident in one way or another. Intelligent and thoughtful, this is a novel that will appeal to a wide audience. – Carolyn

Told from many POV’s, Kim does an amazing job presenting this story from individual perspectives. The characters are so well written and so well developed, hearing each of their voices and their side of the situation gives life and understanding to the entire story. It is a reflection on how quickly and easily words/actions/situations can be judged, misconstrued, and misunderstood. Their stories are heartbreaking and fascinating, all in one. – Nikki

If you’re a parent, MIRACLE CREEK will hit you like a freight train right where it hurts most, because when it comes down to it, parents and children form the center of this brilliant novel. We all want the best for our children, right? Only who decides what is best? How will our choices affect our and their lives? And what if your child is sick, and in pain, and you’re just trying to stay afloat here and do the best you can? – Heidi

#miraclecreek #goodreadssummerreadingchallange #travelingfriendsread 


Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Reads

Bethlehem by Karen Kelly @StMartinsPress #travelingsistersread

Bethlehem by Karen Kelly is now available!

Brenda’s Review

Bethlehem is a carefully written, touching and moving family saga that takes a different approach here to those buried family secrets. The story explores temptation, regret, cost of carrying those secrets and how it changes the people who do.

Things start off slow here or better described as quietly as we see the relationships between the characters develop and get a strong sense of how they care for each other.  It takes some patience here and comes at risk here for reviewers as we are often rushed to get to the long list of titles we have. However, my Traveling Sisters warned me and I waited to start this one when I could give it the focus it needs.  

What seems as a simple story develops into a complex story and there is a lot of depth to this one.  Once the layers are placed the pace starts to pick up and the story becomes quite interesting. There are two timelines and stories going on here with our main characters and I found one to be much stronger than the other and at times the weaker one added some weight to the story.  However, I really enjoyed how it all came together and thought it was brilliantly done. There is a lot to think about and discuss with this one and it really lead to a great discussion among the Traveling Sisters who read this one. I highly recommend for group reads especially when they are read over a longer period of time and some focus can be given to it.

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin Press for my copy to read and review.


Posted in Reviews

The Need by Helen Phillips @helencphillips @SimonSchusterCA #theneed #travelingsistersread

The Need by Helen Phillips is now available!

Brenda’s Review

The Need is a unique, complex, brilliantly written story that is one of the strangest books I have ever read. Now, this is a good one to go in blind however if you are like me and want to know what direction a story is going I think it’s good to read a little bit about this one before going in. It’s a hard one to review because I feel saying anything about this story might be a spoiler as it really is very original and a very different reading experience here. However, it’s very complex and fast-paced and at times I felt I was missing things I really needed to pick up on. I feel the whole experience here is picking up on your own anxiety, fears, vulnerabilities, needs as a mother and facing your parenting self.

The Need is a thriller, horror with some sci-fi that explores the fears and needs that make a mother vulnerable. The story starts off like a fast-paced thriller with a little horror there and then things take a little sci-fi. There is some horror throughout the story but not like you might think. The chapters are short and quick but pack a lot in them with all the complex layers to the story.  Each chapter ended with me wanting to read one more chapter to find out what is coming next. 

Helen Phillips does a fantastic job here with the characters of the children and the dynamics with them.  The daughter Viv is witty, sharp and entertaining. A bit annoying at times but I really enjoyed her character.  She is realistic with all the traits of a toddler that had me laughing and cringing with her behavior.   

This one took some focus to really pick up on all the complexities of the story and I am really glad I gave this odd story a try. I think it one not to be missed for anyone who loves to delve into all the complexities of being a Mother. I highly recommend for group reads.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for my copy to read and review.

Posted in Reviews, Sister Read Reviews, The Sisters Recommend

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman @BerkleyPub @amplecat #travelingsistersread #thebookishlifeofninahill

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman is available today! This is the perfect book for all us bookworms out there who love anything bookish and like our main character would rather read over anything else. We highly recommend grabbing this one as soon as you can and spending some time with our fun, imaginative and very entertaining bookish introverted millennial heroine Nina Hill!

Brenda’s review

Abbi Waxman nails it here with everything about this story and our main character Nina Hill. I loved everything about this story and Nina. Nina is a character that I am sure any bookworm can relate to and she has all the traits that make up the DNA of us book lovers. I have never related so much to a character before and I instantly connected to her.

Abbi Waxman does such a fantastic job here using wit and humor yet care as she explores love and the dynamics between family, friends and the love of reading in such a unique way. She creates fun, colourful and likable characters that bring some chaos and anxiety to Nina’s quiet and organized life. We see how Nina grows and adapts to the changes that life throws at her in such a hopeful and feel good way that outshines anything I have read before.

I could go on and on about all the things I loved about this story but will end my review by saying Abbi Waxman has set the bar here for me by creating such a compelling, introvert, giving her conflicts, adding layers of depth to her and then letting her grow. I can’t recommend it enough!

Norma’s Review

Delightful, amusing, & full of heart!

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL by ABBI WAXMAN is an engaging, fun, charming, and lighthearted tale that totally captures the beauty and life of a bookworm perfectly.  I was immediately taken with this story and found myself totally mesmerized and in awe of how relatable, thoughtful and fantastic this story was. I pretty much had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading this book.

ABBI WAXMAN delivers an interesting, witty, endearing, and beautifully written read here with lovable and quirky characters and a setting that totally captivated and intrigued me.  I think reading a book about a bookworm is probably one of the most satisfying, pleasurable, gratifying and validating experiences out there and so relatable to all of us book lovers.  I was totally taken and fascinated with Nina Hill’s character and she fully captured my heart. There were so many times I felt a strong kinship to Nina and nodding in agreement to pretty much every aspect of her character and to plenty of scenarios in this book.  

I loved reading Nina’s day planner pages and how they were used as chapter breaks which definitely added a little extra flare to the novel for me.   

Norma’s Stats:

  • Cover: Pretty, intriguing, whimsical, eye-catching and a fitting representation to storyline.  I absolutely love everything about this cover — especially the color schemes. 
  • Title: Appealing, intriguing and absolutely love how perfect the title is to the storyline.  The title of this book definitely enticed me to read it. Anything book related in the title I’m in!  
  • Writing/Prose: Well-written, beautiful, witty, fluid, fun, engaging, and captivating.  I totally connected with and absolutely loved ABBI WAXMAN’S writing style. 
  • Plot: Fun, humorous, touching, memorable, perfectly-paced, absorbing, enjoyable and entertaining. 
  • Ending: The last line of this book was perfection!  Absolutely loved it!
  • Overall: I absolutely adored this book and didn’t want it to end!  It definitely gave me that huggable, warm and fuzzy feeling! Would highly recommend!

Thank to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for providing us with an advanced copy of this book. 


Posted in Reviews

I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie @SimonSchusterCa @CEMcKenzie1 #travelingsistersread #illnevertell

I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie is available now at your favorite bookstore!

Norma’s Review

Atmospheric, suspenseful, & compelling!

I’LL NEVER TELL by CATHERINE McKENZIE is an excellent, engrossing, and interesting domestic whodunit mystery/thriller that had me totally consumed with curiosity right from the very start. I was immediately hooked with the camp setting and the mystery to solve here totally intrigued me. I definitely have a fondness for books with camp settings, love dysfunctional familial dynamics and the slow unraveling of all the secrets and lies totally fascinated me. 

CATHERINE McKENZIE delivers a character-driven, twisty, suspenseful, and well-written read here with quite the atmospheric setting that definitely set the mood for a claustrophobic and intense read. The story is cleverly written and told in multiple perspectives from each of the MacAllister family siblings and Sean who works at the camp as well as flashback chapters from Amanda from 20 years ago. I was never confused or lost with keeping the huge cast of characters straight. 

The mystery here has this appealing nostalgic and classic feel to it that I am most definitely drawn to. And there is definitely something about CATHERINE McKENZIE’S writing style that I totally relate and connect to. I love her choice of words and how she weaves her sentences together. Another aspect of this novel that I thoroughly enjoyed was the addition of the timeline chart which definitely made me feel like I was solving the mystery right along with these characters. Also, the cool chapter headings! Loved them so creative and catchy.

P.S. – My favorite book growing up was The Secret Garden and I loved that this book was mentioned in this story. I also learned that it was a childhood favorite of Catherine McKenzie’s too from reading the interview in the back of the book. Cool! 🙂 

* Traveling Sisters Read *

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Ominous, sinister, appealing, suspenseful and immediately had me intrigued. A fabulous representation to storyline. 
Title: Intriguing, suspenseful, meaningful and absolutely loved how the title played so fittingly into storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, captivating, descriptive, astute, and fluid. I have this connection with her writing style that I find totally relatable and irresistible. 
Plot: Suspenseful, vivid, riveting, fast-paced, sinister, secretive, twisty, held my attention fully and extremely entertaining.
Ending: An unexpected ending that totally took me by surprise and left me feeling very satisfied.
Armchair Detective Skills: There were no real surprises for me along the way with all the multiple twists and turns until that final resolution. Loved piecing all those puzzle pieces together! 
Overall: An irresistible, enjoyable, entertaining, suspenseful, and fabulous read! Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada & Catherine McKenzie for the complimentary copy! It was an absolute pleasure reading this fantastic novel!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Reads

Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin @HarperCollinsCa @WmMorrowBooks #neverlookback #travelingsistersread @about_thethrill

Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin is now available!

Brenda’s Review

I loved If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin and was really excited when I got my hands on this one!  There might have been some dancing going on. After reading Never Look Back there was definitely some dancing going on with my Traveling Sister Kim who read this one with me. We both really enjoyed this one. 

Never Look Back is a fast-paced, fun twisty and action-packed story that had me on the edge of my seat trying to piece together how everyone was connected to our teenage couple serial killers here in this story. 

Alison Gaylin delivers quite the fun entertaining read here with each twist to the story as she delves into each character’s psyche. The story does have a predictable feel to it right from the start however Alison Gaylin has a way with those well-plotted twists that kept it feeling exciting. Each twist kept me guessing and doubting everything right up to the very end. I highly recommend for a tension-filled, entertaining read with some unsettling dark to it to keep you on edge. I highly recommend.

Thank you to William Morrow Books and HarperCollins Canada for my copy!

From Kim’s review

Wow! Just flipping wow! This book captivated me from the very first page and never let up. Sometimes a book starts out with a bang and you think that surely the author will not be able to keep up that type of  intensity all the way through the book, well this one does. This book was not on my radar and yet it is one of the best I have read so far this year! For Kim’s full review