Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos @r_veletzos @SimonSchusterCA #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers

The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos

img_6779Norma’s review

Haunting, compelling & engrossing!

THE GIRL THEY LEFT BEHIND by ROXANNE VELETZOS is a fascinating, captivating, and deeply moving historical fiction novel inspired by true events of the author’s mother. The way that the story unfolds is so powerful, poignant and so delicately and beautifully written that easily held my attention.

My absolute favorite historical fiction novels are ones based on true events. Just knowing that is always deeply affecting and brings out these intense feelings that I have for the storyline, characters and setting. It just makes me that much more appreciative and transfixed in the story being told.

ROXANNE VELETZOS delivers an absolutely beautiful and lovely written story here with compelling and strong characters, a harrowing and vivid setting, and an intimate and heartfelt storyline. The author did a wonderful job at fully immersing me into this story and the characters lives. It was heartwarming and also heartbreaking to read and at one point it gave me goosebumps all over. I absolutely love it when a story produces so many different emotions and reactions from me.

I was totally fascinated with the photos that were included in this book and looked at them many times while I was reading this book.

Web_L365-1_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review

The Girl They Left Behind is an emotional family saga and a love story filled with tragedy yet written with hope that drew me right in one of my favorite types of stories.

Roxanne Veletzos passionately and vividly weaves her family’s story, some history of WWll Romania with a fictional side to some of this story. She starts the story off by vividly capturing the desperation of Jewish parents who left their daughter behind in hopes she will be safely taken care of and survive the violence surrounding them. We are taken on a heartbreaking journey with her grandparents’ story that she changed very little of. I appreciate how Roxanne Veletzos filled in the mystery to some of this story with her fictional account to the story. Making this such a hopeful and satisfying story to read right to the very end. I highly recommend!

Web_L353-3_blonde_blue eyesLindsay’s review

A beautiful and heart-wrenching story about family, love, loss and letting go.
“In anguish and despair, we release this child into the hands of God, with hope and faith that she may be saved.” This was the note that was left in a little girls’ beautiful velvet dress on the day that her Jewish parents fled the city of Bucharest, Romania leaving their young daughter abandoned and alone on the streets. This little girl was the author, Roxanne Veletzos’s, own mother and this is her story.

The main character in this engrossing novel is Natalia, a four-year-old Jewish girl. Natalia’s parents went into hiding, leaving their young daughter behind, in the hopes that a loving family would find and care for her until they could safely return and bring her back home. Natalia is placed in an orphanage and quickly adopted by a loving and wealthy couple who do not have children of their own. Natalia is an
unforgettable character – she really got to me. We follow her journey through childhood and then adolescence and beyond where her curiosity stirs and she begins to question her birth parents decision to abandon her.

This wartime novel is heartbreaking, shocking and emotional. I truly felt for this family and what they endured. There were many pieces of history revealed that I had not known about which made the book so much more impactful for me. The fact that this novel is based on the authors’ own family was a jaw-dropping revelation. I finished reading the book with tears streaming down my face.

This book is split into three parts. I found Part 1 and Part 3 the most captivating and moving, with my attention wandering slightly during Part 2. The writing was excellent, the storyline at that point felt a bit drawn out and less impactful. Regardless of this, the ending made up for any lack of spark I felt in the middle section.

This is a powerful and deeply moving book that will sit on my mind long after writing this review.

Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Roxanne Veletzos for providing me with an ARC to read and review

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Eye-catching, hauntingly beautiful, intriguing, impactful and an excellent representation to storyline.
Title: The title immediately intrigued me and is such a moving, effective and extremely fitting representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, poetic, eloquent, vivid, fluent, gorgeous and captivating. Absolutely loved the writing-style!
Plot: Engrossing, emotional, descriptive, thought-provoking, interesting, heartfelt, fast-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: Tender, loving, touching, and bittersweet that gave me goosebumps.
Overall: This was an absolutely stunning historical fiction novel and one that I won’t soon forget! Would highly recommend!

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Posted in Reviews

Kelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan #BookReview #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers

KelegeenKelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan

Deeply affecting, utterly devastating & overwhelmingly sad!

Oh my goodness…..I don’t think a book has ever affected me and my emotions in the way that this one has. It was definitely an excellent read but a tough one that made me feel a little down and depressed, even finding it a little hard to shake that feeling while I was absorbed in this book.

KELEGEEN by EILEEN O’FINLAN is a haunting, shocking, emotional and heart-wrenching tale set in Ireland in 1846 during the potato famine. The amount of pain, sorrow and suffering was extremely tangible and absolutely devastating to read about. Only knowing minimal information about this part of history really affected and impacted me as a reader.

EILEEN O’FINLAN delivers an atmospheric, compelling and important read here that I am so glad that I read. Even though it was a difficult book for me to read the characters and their strength, love and courage definitely shined through and helped me to get through this book.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Hauntingly beautiful!  The sadness and pain that emanates from her eyes on the cover definitely depicts this storyline well.
Title: I can’t say that this title intrigued me or enticed me to read this book but it is a meaningful and fitting representation to the storyline.
Writing/Prose: Poignant, captivating, and straightforward.
Plot: Emotive, eye-opening, interesting, affecting, unforgettable and distressing.
Ending: Satisfying and hopeful.
Overall: Even though it was a difficult book for me to read I am so glad to have had the chance to read this book and learn more about Ireland’s history. Would recommend!

Thank you so much to Eileen O’Finlan for gifting me a copy of this book to read.

Traveling Friends Group Read

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Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren @SimonSchusterCA #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers @about_thethrill

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren is out today and we are excited to bring our reviews for this highly anticipated book from the writing duo Christina Lauren!  The Traveling Sisters were left cheering after reading this one—well almost all of us reading this one was…..

Web_L339-3_brunette_brown eyesNorma’s review

Hilarious, short and sweet!

I don’t know whatever I was thinking in taking so long to read a book by Christina Lauren. I will definitely be filling up my TBR with more books from this highly entertaining writing duo.

I absolutely adored MY FAVORITE HALF-NIGHT STAND by CHRISTINA LAUREN and the snarky humour had me literally laughing-out-loud! Not too many romantic comedy books will actually bring out that type of reaction from me but this one definitely made me chuckle out loud. I pretty much had that loving contented feeling throughout this whole book putting a huge smile on my face.

CHRISTINA LAUREN delivers a well-written, fun, light and enjoyable read here that totally sucked me right into the storyline with its premise of online dating. I was so emotionally invested and had so much fun with these characters and their love story which kept me highly entertained swiping those pages at lightning speed to reach the conclusion.

This classic love story was such a welcoming and refreshing change that I didn’t even care if it was somewhat predictable or not. I just wanted to read and fall in love with every aspect of this storyline right along with the characters which I most definitely did.

Web_L449-2_blonde_blue-eyesBrenda’s review

Very different opinions ahead from me.  lol

Norma and I read My Favorite Half-Night Stand with five of our Traveling Sisters and we all really enjoyed this story—except for me.  As you can see Norma and I had very different reactions to this story.  Lately, I have been reaching out of that normal type of read for me and really surprised at how much I enjoyed them.  Well, I was surprised again here with this one too but by not enjoying it as much as I thought.  Norma knowing me was even thinking as she read this story, Brenda is not going to like this.  lol .  She was right.  I am feeling a little like I am the only one who has read this book and didn’t enjoy this story.  I almost feel a little uncomfortable here writing this review.  I really do think my opinions here on this one will definitely not be the normal reaction to this story.

The story started off entertaining and fun for me and I was loving the humor and dynamics between these friends.  About 3/4 into the story, the humor took a turn to not so funny for this over sensitive Momma’s heart.  The dynamics between these friends and other characters took a sideways turn for me and what started off as fun and entertaining just left me feeling sad with the way they treated each other and especially one character in the story.

So enough from this too serious and oversensitive reader and on to more from the Traveling Sisters.

img_6615From Stephanie’s review

It was the perfect read for me right when I needed it because it was a witty, funny, sexy rom-com that I blew through in a night. The laughs alone and the happiness I felt while reading it was more than enough of a reason for me to tremendously enjoy this book! I’ve found a new favorite writing duo everyone, woohoo!

Let me just say that I love Millie Morris! And her job is seriously awesome…why when I decided to become a university professor did I not think of being a criminology professor and teach about serial killers since I share her quirky obsession for them?? What a fascinating job, right? I will say that wish more of her obsession had been explored in the book since her job rocks. Oh well! For Stephanie’s full review

Thoughts from the Traveling Sisters taken from Goodreads

My Favorite Half Night Stand was enjoyable from the first page to the last. I laughed out loud quite a few times. Predictable? Of course! What rom-com isn’t? That didn’t take away from any of the fun I had reading it. It was a quick, easy read that was a nice break from my usual thrillers – especially during this time of year. I think it would make a great movie too! Suzy’s thoughts

I liked the humorous dialogue in the book, there’s some back and forth banter that’s entertaining. My favorite sections were the group texts, excellent dynamic. This book would make a great, fun, movie adaptation. Carol’s thoughts

The characters live in the modern digital age, so it was fun to read not only their chats, but the online dating messages as well. The group of friends is cohesive and have a lot of fun together. I enjoyed their chats and found them to be clever and showcased each character sense of humor and intellect. The book is also told through Millie and Reid’s POV which helps the reader get to know each character even more, but we also root for them. When I wasn’t rooting for them, I was wishing I could shake each of them! The writing duo of Christina Lauren have the gift of creating fun, witty and interesting characters that are instantly likable and ones we want to root for.

This book did not disappoint and succeeded in not only entertaining me but causing me to want to binge read the rest of these Authors books! Another HUGE plus for me was that the ending did not feel rushed.  Debra’s thoughts

Kim over It’s All About the Thrill thoughts to come

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: That bright, fun, intriguing, and welcoming cover definitely caught my eye and is an extremely fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Intriguing and fits the storyline extremely well.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, sharp, amusing and absorbing.
Plot: Engrossing, interesting, compulsive, witty, comical, fast-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: A swoon-worthy ending that left me feeling completely satisfied and extremely happy.
Overall: Would highly recommend to anyone that is looking for a feel-good, humorous, quick and easy read that is pure enjoyment!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to read an advance reading copy of this novel. It was a perfect and fun escape!

Traveling Friends Group Read

Have you read this one?  Do you agree with The Traveling Sisters? Are you on the couch with Norma on this one and the Traveling Sisters or are you with Brenda on her thoughts?  Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Reviews by Lindsay

Review by Lindsay: The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount @MistyAMount

The Shadow GirlThe Shadow Girl by Misty Mount

 

Spellbinding.  Haunting. Eye-opening.  Unforgettable. Brilliant.

This novel follows thirteen-year-old Zylia, a shy and lonely girl who is searching for her purpose in life.   Zylia has a large family with loving parents, yet often feels alone and ignored amidst the chaos of life at home with her five siblings.  At school, she feels as if she is constantly in the way and often invisible.

There were times I questioned if the plot was real or fantasy which is usually a turn-off for me.  However, the supernatural elements were presented in such a gradual and soft manner that it flowed beautifully and kept me curious and mesmerized from start to finish.

The characters in this novel got to my heart!   They were real, relatable and deeply affecting. I enjoyed exploring the family dynamic between Zylia, her siblings, her parents, grandmother and classmates.   Each character brought a new layer of intrigue and development to the plot.

The atmosphere is thick, vivid and engrossing which truly enhances the evocative storyline.   Many scenes had me reminiscing about my high school years in comparison to Zylia’s. The themes introduced in this story are deeply contemplative and thought-provoking.   Zylia is a truly unique main character who I adored, was fully invested in and loved rooting for. She will remain on my mind long after I have finished writing this review.

A big thank you to the extremely talented author, Misty Mount, for providing me with a copy of this beautiful novel in exchange for an honest review!  It was a true pleasure to read.

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Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers

Web_L521-3_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review


Unraveling Oliver
by Liz Nugent

Sociopaths and psychopaths fascinate me and I love a great story that delves deep into the mind or actions of both.  After reading Lying in Wait I really became fascinated with what makes a sociopath. Well, Liz Nugent answers that question here for me with our sociopath Oliver.

Unraveling Oliver is a chilling, unique, intelligent and very fascinating look into what makes a sociopath.  The story starts off with a bang with that chilling and intriguing first line that had me hooked and I flew through this one as fast as I could to find out what lead up to that chilling first line.
The story isn’t a whodunnit or not necessary a whydunnit but I would say more of a how did that happen dunnit. Liz Nugent brilliantly takes us back through flashbacks to what might have been the start to Oliver’s unraveling.  Through the POV of the people in his life, Liz Nugent unravels what might have shaped him into a manipulating, cruel and abusive person he was. With each character’s POV, I became more engaged in the story and intrigued by Oliver.

Liz Nugent does such a great job here creating and developing some very compelling characters.  The characters are different from each other adding more layers to the story as we see their POVs.  I enjoyed learning about Oliver through each character. I loved everything about this one from start to finish and I highly recommend.

Web_L083-1_brunette_green-eyesFrom Kim’s review

Okay, I am going to try to keep the fangirling under control here, because I just am loving Nugent’s writing style. This book has a gritty, sarcastic undertone that is quite hilarious. Mind you, the situation is not funny but my god I laughed out loud so many times with the one-liners. I work in the Emergency Room as a nurse and admittedly we tend to have a “dark humor.” This defiantly has a tinge of dark humor to it and maybe that is why I can’t get enough of these wonderful witty lines.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a humorous book by no means. Oliver Ryan is a troubled and violent human being. There is no secret made of that as the book opens with him beating his wife into a coma. ” I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.” Yep that is quite the opening line, is it not? If you read Lying in Wait you know how gripping her books are right from the start. For Kim’s full review

FC-2 VerityFrom Debra’s review

This book is told through various character’s POV as they try to come to terms with what Oliver has done. All look back upon their relationship with Oliver. Each giving a brief look into his/her interactions with Oliver and what made Oliver tick. Each person has some small revelation, which added together, really depict the unraveling ‘of’ Oliver. Great title for the book, by the way.

I found this book to be an interesting character study of one man and the many layers of his life. The book shows how the events in his past led to the actions he takes after dinner one night.

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

 

Posted in Reviews

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers @SimonSchusterCA @liznugentwriter

Happy Canadian Publication Day to Liz Nugent!

LYING IN WAIT BY LIZ NUGENT

Web_L339-4_brunette_brown eyesNorma’s Review

Wowza!!! 5 Absolutely Perfect Stars! Favourite 2018 Read!

Oh my goodness, LYING IN WAIT by LIZ NUGENT was an absolutely fantastic and unputdownable read that had me totally consumed with curiosity right from the moment I read that killer opening line. I was hooked and the suspense was so intense that I was flipping through those pages as fast as I possibly could.

LYING IN WAIT by LIZ NUGENT is an engrossing, dark, disturbing, and dramatic read here that in my opinion had all the elements to make this the perfect psychological thriller. The storyline, the characters, the suspenseful writing, and that totally shocking ending that definitely ruffled some of my feathers made this an all around fulfilling read.

LIZ NUGENT delivers an exciting, twisty, suspenseful, and well-written read here with one of the absolute best characters in a psychological thriller that I have yet read. The way that this story was delivered with such ease and so subtly without any unnecessary graphic content was so gripping and intensely suspenseful in its own way. I love it when an author can write so well that takes you into the story fully then when the reveal comes you are totally blown away which I most definitely was.

Web_L367-4_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s Review

I read Lying in Wait with five of my Traveling Sisters and it made for another fantastic discussion. We highly recommend for group reads!

Lying in Wait’s first line caught our attention, peaked our interest and we all flew through this one as fast and we could. It’s one of the most intriguing starts to a book we have read. The ending left quite an impression with us all too. It had us jumping up out of our chairs, throwing our arms up and cheering or yelling and chanting WOW or WHAT did I just read!!

Lying in Wait is a well-layered, complex and entertaining story that delves into the mind of a controlling, calculating and cold character. When buried secrets start to surface our characters start to unravel and we are drawn into their insecurities, greed and the lengths they will go to keep their secrets buried. The story becomes darker and murkier with each page.

Liz Nugent does a great job creating intriguing and creepy characters with complicated relationships. At times I questioned who was the victim and who was the villain. The characters are fun to dislike and are unlikable in the best possible way.

After reading Lying In Wait, we have put Unraveling Oliver on our list for an upcoming group in November.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Creepy, sinister, suspenseful and immediately had me intrigued. I love covers that have a scary feel to it because I find them so appealing! An extremely fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Intriguing, suspenseful, and a fitting representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, captivating, and fluid.
Plot: Suspenseful, engrossing, fast-paced, held my attention fully and extremely entertaining.
Ending: Shocking, maddening, and brilliant. I wanted to throw my precious book at one moment but in the end I was totally satisfied.
Overall: An irresistible, intense, surprising, suspenseful, and fabulous read! Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to read an advance  reader’s copy of this book! It was an absolute pleasure reading this fantastic novel!

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Have you read this one? Want to add it to your TBR? Drop us a comment! We love to hear from you.