Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Reads

The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister @GillianMAuthor @PutnamBooks

The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister is now available!

Brenda’s review

This was my first book by Gillian McAllister and I really wasn’t sure what to expect here with the premise to the story. I was pleasantly surprised with just how real, raw, brave, insightful and compelling this story was. Gillian McAllister is definitely an author I will be looking at to read more from. 

The Good Sister is a gripping, riveting story that digs deep into the dynamics of two very different sisters, their relationships with their husbands and their conflicts with motherhood as the courtroom drama plays out after one sister is accused of murdering her niece. 

Gillian McAllister does a great job here weaving a suspenseful courtroom drama with some very interesting family dynamics here in this story. I am not a big fan of courtroom drama and at times I found it a bit repetitive however it is very effectively done here as we see the different perspectives of the events in real life for the characters and then in the courtroom. It’s incredibly tense and tough to read at times as we find out what happens to eight week old Layla. 

I loved just how real the characters are with their emotions and the dynamics here with the characters. I felt it was a unique take for a thriller as there were so many different thriller ways this could of went or added drama that could have been added that wasn’t. The unique insight to this one kept it compelling and I was turning the pages as fast as I could to get to find out if Becky really was the Good Sister. 

The ending came together so well making this one such a gripping and riveting story with so much to think about and discuss making this one a great one for a group discussion. I highly recommend. 

I received a copy from Edelweiss

From DeAnn’s review

I was so anxious reading this book, I wanted to find out what had really happened and part of me did not want to know! The pacing was excellent, the characters really came to life and were realistically flawed. The really interesting part was the parents of the sisters. How do you sit in the courtroom while one daughter is on trial and one is mourning the loss of her child? Can you support both of them? Somehow the family seemed to stay strong.

I found the writing to be very well done and the story flowed for me while I worried about these characters. How can anyone deal with this situation? Grief and anger mingled together and family ties were definitely strained.

From Stephanie’s review

The story told is very powerful and addictive. You really won’t be able to put this one down as the chapters switch back and forth between Martha and Becky, along with chapters told through POVs of various witnesses right before they testify in court, which makes for an intriguing read since that upped the emotional intensity of the book.

More than just being about how Layla died, the novel is about the relationship between these two sisters and how they must deal with this tragic death, the accusation, the trial, it’s aftermath and the impact it’s made on them as sisters and as individuals. It’s also about a family torn apart, mother, father, brother, sister, husband, and how they must overcome such horrific tragedy even when their family is divided. From Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Traveling Sisters Read
Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Reads

Those People by Louise Candlish @louise_candlish @BerkleyPub #ThosePeople

Can you relate to that loud neighbor living beside you? Do you ever wonder “Could you hate your neighbor enough to plot to kill them?” Well Those People by Louise Candlish is now available and we highly recommend picking up this one and see what Those People have to hide.

Norma and I read Those People with a few members of the Traveling Sisters Goodreads Group and it lead to quite the entertaining discussion and we talked about these people and shared stories about our neighborhoods from different parts of the world and I think we all can relate to Those People in some way.

Norma’s review

Menacing, topsy-turvy, & brassy!

THOSE PEOPLE by LOUISE CANDLISH is an outlandish, eccentric, and wacky tale that definitely amused and entertained this reader. The fun here is deciphering who “Those People” are and seeing what lengths they will go to in order to protect their cushy neighborhood from those not so likable new neighbors. Hmmm or maybe it’s the not so new residents?

LOUISE CANDLISH delivers a vivid, entertaining, and steady-paced read here with lots of unlikeable characters to either be entertained by or maybe a little disgusted with. I chose to be entertained by them and couldn’t get enough of their idiosyncrasies.

The mystery unfolds slowly from alternating perspectives as we meet the neighbors.  There is quite a huge cast of characters to keep track of which I did find a little bit confusing in keeping them all straight and who belonged to whom.

I didn’t really think there were any real surprises here but I did really enjoy the way this story was formatted.  Which definitely set a menacing and sinister tone here for a fun and entertaining read.

Brenda’s review

What a great premise for a twisty, domestic thriller that explores the darker side of human social interaction in such an entertaining way. Things start off a bit slow here as we get to know both sides of “those people” and soon tempers are flaring and hostilities escalate and the characters are driven to their breaking points. At times my head was spinning with those twisty turns the story took and how I felt about the characters shifted as we started to see them conflicted and reacting to each other’s behaviour.

The end came together so well in such a satisfying way for me. I highly recommend for a fun and entertaining read.

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for our complimentary copies.

From Stephanie’s review

I love the title as it’s a play on the words “those people” because really, who does that mean—the Booths or the more “civilized” characters? Candlish is also shrewd with her insights into human behavior, and I enjoyed how she portrayed the effects the Booths had on not just a neighborhood but the individuals since flaws were revealed.

Just like with Our House, These People had an ending that was quite a twist! Just when you think everything is all figured out, Candlish throws in an ending that leaves you astonished. I’m still thinking about it. Definitely a captivating, slow-burning read! I can’t wait to read more by Candlish! For Stephanie’s full review

From Heidi’s review

What drives respectable people to take the plunge into the world of crime and corruption? Murder, even? If you have ever wondered this, then you are in for a treat. The slow and steady unravelling of a whole neighbourhood because of two unlikeable misfits is like watching a forest-fire take hold – you know it is not going to end well. I loved the way Candlish exposes the deepest darkest corners of our characters’ minds, right down to the unexpected finale.

Those People is a book for readers who enjoy slow burning, character driven books that slowly and deliciously unravel – sit by with a glass of wine in hand and watch it all go to sh**. If you are a reader who wants action, then you may find this one a bit slow to take off. However, Candlish draws her characters well and with great skill, which made this a joy to read for me. I soon found myself utterly consumed by the situation, and I couldn’t wait to find out how it would all play out. Another original and entertaining read from the author – what a great movie this one would make! I really look forward to see what she comes up with next.

Traveling Sisters read

Posted in Goodreads Summer Challenge, Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey @BerkleyPub @KerryAnn

Happy Pub day to Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey! This is one not to be missed if you love Rom Coms or if you want to venture out of your normal and try something different.

Brenda’s Review

Waiting For Tom Hanks is another book that took me out of my normal and it was one I didn’t really have high hope of controlling my eyes from rolling.  Well, let me tell you just how much I loved this one. There might have been some dancing going on after reading this with the way this one wrapped up.   I was so pleased by that ending. Maybe there is hope for this unromantic sole.

Waiting for Tom Hanks is a fresh modern take on a rom com and if I was to sum it up in one word it would be irresistible.  However, there is so much more to this one. The story has all the plot elements to a rom com and at times it did feel it was going to go in the direction of those predictable, overused plot lines but nope Kerry Winfrey keeps it fresh, spinning a very interesting, entertaining, hilarious, heartfelt story here.  

I loved the colorful, quirky and very likable characters in this story and the dynamics between them.  I really enjoyed following Annie through her conflicts and adventures as she searches for her Tom Hanks.   

I loved the ending, did I mention that already.  It was on the super romantic side that is known in rom com but in such an unique comical way. I was at the edge of my seat, rooting for our couple and thoroughly entertained by the dynamics between these characters.   I highly recommend!

This was my pick for the prompt Short & sweet: Read a book with less than 100 pages (or a book you can finish in one sitting) from the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge.  I read it in one sitting but I did fall asleep halfway through. In the Traveling Friends group, a few of us agreed it still counted. Lol

Norma’s Review

WAITING FOR TOM HANKS by KERRY WINFREY was such an engaging, fun, wonderful, amusing, quick, and endearing rom-com tale that was a pure delight to read. I pretty much had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading this book.

Sweet, charming, & a purely lighthearted pleasure!

KERRY WINFREY delivers a well-written, highly entertaining and enjoyable read here with loveable, quirky and realistic characters. I was totally smitten with these characters and this storyline that had me eagerly flipping those pages as fast as I could.

This was more than your classic rom-com tale as it’s written in such a way that felt so refreshing and new. I thought it was such an ingenious and interesting angle using Tom Hanks references from those beloved romantic comedies throughout this novel. What Tom Hanks represents and stands for in this story is absolutely swoon-worthy and so perfectly meaningful. I think we can all attest to wanting our very own “Tom Hanks” love story!

I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t get enough of this feel-good story and quirky characters.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Fun, quirky, charming, and an effective representation to storyline. Love the cover art!
Title: Intriguing, adorable, clever, and a fabulous representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, captivating, humorous, fluid and charming.
Plot: Refreshing, fun, delightful, adorable, lighthearted, fast-paced, absorbing, enjoyable and highly entertaining.
Ending: A swoon-worthy ending that left me feeling quite content, happy and satisfied with.
Overall: 4.5 Stars! I adored this extremely engrossing, enjoyable & entertaining book right from the very start and had me laughing out loud numerous times. Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing and to Kerry Winfrey for gifting us a copy of this absolutely adorable and enjoyable book. It was an absolute pleasure spending time with this book!!!

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

#waitingfortomhanks #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers #BookReview #askusaboutourbooks

Posted in Reviews

The Last Thing She Remembers by J.S. Monroe @JSThrillers @parkrowbooks @HarperCollinsCa

The Last Thing She Remembers by J.S. Monroe is now available!

Lindsay’s review

A spine-tingling suspenseful story!

A woman shows up on the doorstep of a young couple home in a small Wiltshire village.  The couple answers their door to find this strange woman who doesn’t know her own name or why she is on their porch, only that she just got off a flight and has lost her luggage, passport and personal belongings.  Not knowing her identity or anything about her past, the strange woman is drawn to the town and tries to piece her life together. She must rely on the kindness of the locals to try to find answers to her puzzling situation.  

This book had me hooked from the first page.   I felt as though I was caught in an eerie fog of mystery along with the main character throughout her journey.   The author, J.S. Monroe, does an excellent job building a dark and foreboding atmosphere which gave me a chilling feeling and kept me curious throughout.  The chapters switch perspectives between several characters adding deeper layers of intrigue. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger which left me eager to continue on to find out how things would conclude.

I enjoyed the storyline, however, there were a few situations that seemed far-fetched.   I am usually turned off by any sort of unrealistic plot points, however, I was able to overlook them and simply enjoy the journey.   The writing was excellent which had me flying through the pages and kept me fully engrossed within the plot.

Thank you to HarperCollins for sending me a physical copy to read and review!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads

The Traveling Friends are Taking on The Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge @goodreads #travelingfriendsread

The Goodreads Summer reading challenge is underway in the Traveling Friends group. We are challenging ourselves to read and knock off some of those unread released ARCS and anticipated books we have really wanted to read but have fallen behind on. We are sharing our picks and progress and doing a few buddy/friends reads for some of our picks for each prompt. If you haven’t joined in and would like to you can find us here.

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/683159-the-traveling-friends

Some upcoming buddy/friends reads or reads going on now

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

The Girls at 17 Swan Street by Yara Zgheib

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

We are beyond excited for the group read starting soon June 15 for Miracle Creek by Angie Kim and are so looking forward to reading this one with so many friends. If you haven’t joined in there is still time.

Posted in Blog Tours, Reviews

I Know You’re There by Sarah Simpson #BlogTour @aria_fiction @sarahsimpson

I Know You’re There by Sarah Simpson Blog Tour

Hello everyone and thank you so much for stopping by! We are so excited and it’s our absolute pleasure to be a part of the blog tour for I Know You’re There by Sarah Simpson and share our individual reviews with you. Thank you so much to Victoria Joss at Aria for inviting us to be a part of this blog tour.

Today we are sharing Brenda and Lindsay’s reviews with you!

The Traveling Sisters ~ Norma, Brenda & Lindsay! xxoo

SARAH SIMPSON – About the author
Sarah Simpson has a first-class honours degree in Psychology and has experienced working at a Brain Rehabilitation Hospital. She has spent time as a family consultant for Warwickshire and Oxfordshire solicitors and gained knowledge of the Family Court System. She now lives in Cornwall with her husband, three children and animals.

Follow Sarah
Twitter handle: @sarahrsimpson
Facebook: @sarahsimpsoncornwall

About the book

Is your house as safe as you think?

Natalie spent most of her childhood feeling afraid. So when she moved into her cosy little flat in St Ives and met her three friendly neighbours, she knew at once it was somewhere she’d feel safe.

Before long, Natalie’s neighbours have become the family she never had. Kind, motherly Morwenna, serious, reliable Nigel, and sweet, anxious Daniel. They collect each other’s mail, water each other’s plants, and share each others lives.

But as Natalie knows all too well, the people who are closest to you can also be the most dangerous. And this house is not as safe as she thinks…

Lindsay’s Review

This story had me on edge from start to finish!

Natalie lives in an apartment in a house shared with three others.   She has good relationships with the other tenants, considering a couple of them close friends.  Having escaped a violent and abusive childhood, Natalie has always lived in fear of facing her past.   She can’t seem to shake the feeling of being watched and having her past catch up with her.  Mysterious notes begin to appear causing everyone to question how well they really know one another.

I applaud the author, Sarah Simpson, for creating such an intense feeling of tension throughout this entire novel.   I truly felt Natalie’s fear and anxiety, feeling as though I was worried about what I would find out on the next page.   This chilling sense of dread built a very strong and palpable atmosphere.  

The characters were intriguing, each carrying a sense of secrecy that had my suspicions jumping all over the place.  The novel changes perspectives between the house tenants, each chapter ending with a small cliffhanger which left me eager to read further.   The pace did waver slightly as there were times I felt the plot dragged a bit, however, my curiosity and interest was piqued throughout.  

Brenda’s Review

I Know You’re There starts off slow as we get to know our main characters who live in different flats in the same building. It seems like a good set up for Natalie and she thinks she has found her people here however not everything is as it appears with her new friends. Each character has their own personal conflicts and secrets and they are slowly revealed as we get to know the characters.

I know You’re There delves into the mental health of the characters and a few conditions are explored here with our characters. Sarah Simpson does a great job here delving into each character and their personalties as we learn each of the characters conflicts and secrets from their past and how that has affected their dynamics here in the story. The characters and dynamics are complex and at times I did become a bit confused with the dynamics.

The pace picks up around the middle of the story and the tension rises as the mystery starts to unfold right to that very satisfying ending that wrapped up so well.

Thank you so much to Victoria Joss at Aria and Sarah Simpson for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Fiction Books Guest Post

Why Do I write Psychological Thrillers?

This is something I am frequently asked. I Know You’re There is my third psychological thriller, it’s a good question and to be honest, not one I ever really ask myself. I honestly, haven’t ever considered writing in a different genre, other than an idea and a will I have for a children’s book, totally at the other end of the spectrum.

Why did I choose this particular genre? Possibly because my mind naturally thinks, feels and ticks in this way and this is also why I have never questioned it. Probably not something I should admit to but my mind naturally errs on the dark, evocative, twisted side, when I am deep in my imagination.  I am not, for the record, a narcissistic psychopath, or anything remotely dark in nature but I do have an intrinsic, enquiring interest in the conditions and traits that provoke such tense states. The good old question, nature or nurture, what is it? that can flip people to show an unflattering side of the personality coin.

I guess, if I think about where my ideas come from it is a combination of people watching, personal and professional experiences. I watch people (again not in a stalker type fashion) and I wonder what is happening behind the sometimes fragile surface, because the psychology of human behaviour is fragile and exposed, and are things really as the surface would have it seem? What conflicts could be happening behind the scenes, we are not privy to? Causing and instigating ever rippling consequences?

​I have always had a deep fascination in the mind and how it can become so iniquitous and then what happens. I love to explore what ensues when people’s emotions are tested, strained, torn, when life throws its stuff at them as it so often can. How come some people will cope, remain relatively unchanged and others will struggle or hit out?Understanding, it’s not always the events in life to determine emotional state but more how people have learned or chosen to react and manage the events. There’s sometimes a human arrogance to assume we know how we would respond to given experiences as really – we have no idea. Because context and perspective are everything, always. It’s these ambiguities I love to write about. 

​What any of us take from any story is always influenced and so determined by our own life experiences, state of mind, learned behaviours and individual biology. I can only hope to leave readers with a certain emotional feeling, in this respect I am unable to influence the effect of the story. For me, this is what makes writing and reading so incredibly special, understanding each and every individual will take something different from each page turn, each chapter.

So, I write within the psychological thriller genre, and I see it more that I write about life and behaviours. Rarely is life plain sailing without evocative moments, without times of sadness, of fear and times of clinging to the edge of the seat. All I hope to do is push this notion, these emotional states to the ambiguous limit and sometimes, twisting them that little bit further, squeezing out the questions – what if? What then?

Book Addict Rambles Q+A

1: can you introduce yourself and your books for everyone please? 

Sarah is relatively late to the writing scene, despite a love of books and writing from when she was very young, it wasn’t until 2016 that she sat down to put pen to paper. Her Greatest Mistake was then some twelve months in creation, followed by some vigorous re-writing. In June 2017, she signed with her current agent Broo Doherty and shortly after was offered a three book publishing contract with Aria, Head of Zeus.

She has written three psychological thrillers. Her Greatest Mistake, a domestic noir look behind closed doors which reached an overall eBook chart position of 16 in the UK. Who I Am, a complex and taut look at friendships and much more and her latest – I KNOW YOU’RE THERE and I know you’ll let me in….

I Know You’re There.

Is your house as safe as you think? 

Natalie spent most of her childhood feeling afraid. So when she moved into her cosy little flat in St Ives and met her three friendly neighbours, she knew at once it was somewhere she’d feel safe. 

Before long, Natalie’s neighbours have become the family she never had. Kind, motherly Morwenna, serious, reliable Nigel, and sweet, anxious Daniel. They collect each other’s mail, water each other’s plants, and share each other’slives. 

But as Natalie knows all too well, the people who are closest to you can also be the most dangerous. And this house is not as safe as she thinks…

Sarah lives in a small coastal town in beautiful Cornwall with her husband, three children, German Shepherd and cat. 

•What inspired you to write this book?

I Know You’re There was inspired by my natural interest for complex psychological conditions and the general vulnerabilities of the workings of the human mind. I loved the idea of four strangers coming together, taking up residence in an old Victorian house, divided into flats. All the characters with their own back stories and emotional baggage, all of them in some way, burying darker times from earlier years. I think it has always interested me – how well do we ever know anyone, to understand what it is driving responses, emotions and thought processes. How easy it is to only see what we want to see based on these conditions. Sometimes the most obvious scenarios are the most difficult to spot. As with all my books, this rides on the understanding none of us truly know how we would react and feel in any given circumstance. So life, professional and personal life experiences have inspired me with a sprinkling of fascination of the often unknown capabilities of the mind.

•Did you base any of the characters on anyone you know personally? 

No, not anyone I personally know. But I would say the characters all derive from an amalgamation of people I may have crossed paths with at some point in time. Certainly, my characters have individual traits I have at some point encountered, be it – personally or professionally. 

•What can we find you doing when you’re not writing? 

I enjoy the simple things in life. A glass of something cold, watching the sunset is good for me. I live in Cornwall, so being outdoors is really important. I am most happy when I’m literally anywhere near or in the sea, whatever the weather. I love walking with my family and Arthur our German Shepherd, particularly exploring new stretches of the coast line. Naturally, I am a people watcher, so I could happily sit at one of my favourite spots, with a mug of coffee or a chilled glass of wine and soak up the life around me. It probably goes without saying, I spend many hours, when I am not writing, catching up on reading. 

•Are you currently working on anything new? 

I have just finished writing my fourth book. So I am at the editing stages all over again with a strong idea for book five hovering somewhere in the background.

•Have you ever considered writing a different genre? Have you ever written a different genre, if so what was it? 

So far, I have concentrated on the psychological thriller genre, this is my comfort zone area, dark, evocative and twisted. That doesn’t make me as scary as it sounds, honest! However, at the other end of the spectrum, I have had an idea for a children’s book whirring around my mind for some years. Occasionally, I jot down the ideas that randomly pop up and I really hope to make this a reality at some point in the next year or so. 

•What books have you recently read and enjoyed? 

So many wonderful books. To name a couple – I Invited Her In by Adele Parks and Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan. Both of these books, I found to be beautifully written with compelling plots and believable characters.

• Have you done any other jobs than being an author? What was your favourite? 

Aside from all the many varied part-time jobs as a teenager, I have worked within marketing and I have also worked as a mental health clinician for many years. But, I am never happier than when I am writing. Not in any way does it feel like work, I even love the editing process, so this answer is categorically, a really easy one.

•How did you celebrate your first book being published? 

I think I was working on this day and so creeping on to the internet at every possible opportunity to soak up the buzz from all the generous people sharing the word. In the evening, I celebrated at home with a glass or two of Prosecco, with my husband and family. It all felt a little surreal to be honest, I simply couldn’t believe I had written a book worthy of publishing!

•What does your typical day look like when you’re writing? 

I begin as early as possible because I am best free-writing in the morning and editing in the afternoon or evening, both sometimes. I wake early, see my son off to school, prepare a meal for the evening, usually something that can be slow-cooked in the oven that I have to smell all day long. Then, I begin writing between 7.30 and 8.00. I will t write through to around 13.00, then deal with any household necessities and usual distractions that cannot be ignored. In the afternoon, normally, I see to any emails and if I am not heading towards a deadline, I tend to research and edit. or if I am feeling naughty – I read. As everyone begins to return home in dribs and drabs, I do the family thing, we walk our dog a couple of miles across the sand dunes, then at some point we all eat together. I set myself personal deadlines and I am really strict about sticking to them. For example, during these last few weeks, many days, I have written or edited for ten hours plus a day and for seven days a week. Finally, somewhere, I make time, dipping in and out on the social media platforms. I read mostly before bed, usually knocking myself out with my kindle or book, falling asleep. 

•Finally, my out of the box question. Would you rather explore a new planet, or the deepest parts of the ocean? Why? 

Definitely, the deepest parts of the ocean. I would love to do this, deep sea diving and then some. It completely fascinates me, such incredible, mythical and beautiful creatures, organisms and plant life. It’s kind of amazing, another entire world existing beneath our reach in our oceans, most the time we have no idea about or any connection to any of it. This is one of my dreams, to explore the depths of our fabled oceans.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you would like to read a copy of this book for yourself, it is available to pre-order from the following retailers:

Pre-order links:

Amazon Kobo iBooks GooglePlay

Follow Aria
Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

Please check out these other fantastic blogs that are participating in the blog tour!