A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza @goodreads @fatimafmirza @SJP @SJPforHogarth @penguinrandom #travelingsistersread #BookReview

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A Place for Us
by Fatima Farheen Mirza

5 of 5 stars for all The Traveling  Sisters

Brenda’s Traveling Sister Review

Norma and I read A Place For Us with 15 of our Traveling Sisters. Right from the very first mention of reading this book we were excited and had no idea the incredible reading experience that awaited for us. With a few sisters who mostly stick to thrillers and were a little hesitant at first as this was not their normal read we all dived in together and were immediately drawn into this family and story.

I will not be able to beautifully put my thoughts together or write a review as beautiful as my Traveling Sisters have with their reviews but I am going to try by sharing from my heart how much this story touched us and how it made us feel.

Sometimes a book hits in ways you don’t expect and everything becomes clear as to why you read and you seek book after book chasing that incredible feeling of finding that book that really spoke to you leaving you feeling so privileged to have read it. A Place For Us was that book for us.

Fatima Farheen Mirza took us on an emotional journey like we have never experienced before and we really wished we could have been lost in a coulee for real reading this together and hiding from the demands of life to solely focus on this read and reading experience. We took our time and savored every word and moment of this beautiful and gracefully written story as well with our very meaningful discussion. Through this journey, we experienced so many emotions as we read and discussed this story together.

Fatima Farheen Mirza does an amazing job of inviting us into the lives of this Muslim family and showing us their love, their struggle to find balance, their convictions, mistakes, their inner struggles and most of all, what they held dear to them as a family. We instantly connected with them and they became our family. They became us and we could see ourselves, our neighbors and our community in them. We could truly see the magic of Mirza’s talent and her ability to bring the private parts of this family to life not just by their struggles of each finding their place within their culture and religion but also with finding their place in this world. This allowed us to see the story on a more universal level that can be related to any family.

So much emotional depth to this one and we dug deep into the layers and really took our time discussing this story. Our hearts were twisted, broken and we were in agony at times with our emotions. After finishing reading this story, some of us were left weeping and others speechless as we felt our hearts were ripped out from our chests. In the end, we all came together and shared our feelings towards this tender story that touched us in so many similar ways yet so differently at times.

For a short time, we found our place together reading this unforgettable story and it will always be a very special Sister Read for us all.

Thank you so much from all of us Traveling Sisters to Goodreads, Sarah Jessica Parker’s new imprint SJP for Hogarth, Fatima Farheen Mirza, and Penguin Random House for bringing us all together for this Incredible Traveling Sister Read by providing us with the opportunity to read and review an advanced physical copy of this book.

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Norma’s Review

5 Glowing Stars! Wow! This book was an absolutely phenomenal read and was quickly placed on my Goodreads Favourite Reads shelf for 2018!

This book was absolutely everything to me! My thoughts and emotions did not change from the very first sentence of this book and held dear right to the very last sentence. If anything it just reminded me of what I seek and why I love to read! A PLACE FOR US moved me more than any other novel has ever moved me before.

I have never been so excited to have received a book in the mail like I was with this one. Upon opening the package and actually having this book in my hands (giving it a smell & a hug ~ I think all of us Traveling Sisters can relate to that!) the first thing I noticed was that beautiful cover. This story is just as gorgeous and beautiful as that cover!

A PLACE FOR US by FATIMA FARHEEN MIRZA was an absolutely fantastic, powerful, thought-provoking, moving, and heartfelt novel that has affected me in ways that no other novel has ever done before. I was immediately drawn into this story and savored every single sentence! I absolutely love the title of this book and found it was extremely fitting to this story. No matter who we are or where we are from there is A Place for Us!

FATIMA FARHEEN MIRZA delivers a steady-paced, fascinating and beautifully written story here with interesting, compelling, realistic and believable characters that I absolutely fell in love with. The story is told from multiple perspectives which alternates between the voices of Layla, Hadia, and Amar, with a surprising narrative near the end which I absolutely loved. We see the same events unfold through the different perspectives and what the significance of each event meant to them and how it ultimately shapes each character. We really get a good look and understanding into each of these events. Even though there is a lot of memories within each chapter that flip around in place and time I didn’t find it at all confusing and really enjoyed the way that this story was told.

In the end, I thought this was such an important, touching and powerful story and I am so happy that I had the pleasure of reading it! This book has the power to change the way we think and feel and has reminded me of all the reasons of why I love to read! 💕 This is by far one of the best books that I have ever read!!

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Kaceey’s Review

A powerful debut novel that explores the complicated relationship of a traditional family existing in a modern world.

Tradition. Respect. Strong words that run deep. Words not only meant to guide ones’ life, but in many ways define it.
Some stay within the tight circle of what they hold to be true. Others, rebellious and curious, seek the lure of the unknown. Would it be possible to find the joy and happiness everyone seeks somewhere in the middle?
To be sure, a delicate line between honoring your heritage while co-existing in the modern culture you find yourself in. For some, it may be an easy path. For others, it may be a struggle they carry their entire lives.
The very human desire to stay true to who you are without losing your self.

Hadia and her 2 siblings have grown up in a traditional Muslim family in a modern American culture. It is up to them to navigate the pull that each society has on them.

Today Hadia is getting married and her greatest wish is to have her brother Amar standing by her side. A brother that has sadly been estranged from the family for years. Can the family put their differences behind them and come together on this special day? Or will tradition and stubborn minds hold them back from reconciliation.

I believe everyone struggles to find their “Place.” A sense of belonging. To find that bit of peace in this confusing, ever-changing world. So, if you’re lucky enough to find yours, hold onto it with everything you have!

This book touched me more than I ever imagined it would and was a major step out of my bubble. With the encouragement of my sisters I embraced it. And what a touching gift it turned out to be. This book and it’s messages will stay with me for a very long time.

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Susanne’s Review

Extremely rare are the novels that touch the soul, permanently marking the heart, creating a burning in the lungs, making it impossible to draw in enough air. “A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza is that kind of novel.

Every word read, causing an emotional chill and creating a sensation that coursed through me, making my heart all a flutter.

“A Place For Us” is a novel about a family of five: Rafiq, Layla, Hadia, Huda and Amar, all of whom struggle to be true to themselves, while trying to remain faithful to each other, their religion and their traditions as Muslim Americans. Rafiq, runs a tight ship, strictly adhering to the militant upbringing, he himself grew up with. Layla, lives for both her family and her religion, they go hand in hand and she believes in the power of her faith to help guide her through. Her children are her life, though unconsciously she gravitates to one, more than the others. Hadia, the eldest daughter, is the best and the brightest, the one who needs recognition, personally and professionally above all else. She has a need to live by a certain code, regardless of who it impacts. Huda is the quiet one, the most confident, the most self-assured. The one everyone goes to when they need to be consoled. Amar, is the youngest child, the one who struggles the most: within his family unit, with school and with his beliefs. He has always been the outsider. The one thing he wants most in this life is forbidden.

At the outset of “A Place for Us,” the family comes together to celebrate Hadia’s wedding. Amar returns for the celebration from parts unknown, having been estranged from the family for many years. Everyone walks on eggshells. afraid of each other and most of all, afraid of facing the truth.

Emotions are palpable, from the very first moment, the tightness in the chest, the sinking, nervous feeling in the stomach. I am there, scared straight, watching, waiting, all eyes on Amar.

Fatima Farheen Mizra created characters who I felt a complete and utter kinship with, almost a “oneness” with when reading this. I am Hadia, when she is in competition with Amar and when confronts her Baba (Rafiq) about him; I am Amar, when he dotes on his mother, when he plays with his friend Ali, when he looks longingly at Amira and when he hangs his head in shame. I am also Huda, when she comforts those around her. Whose character resonates most with me you might wonder..gnawing away every fiber of my being? Amar. Always Amar. Thinking of his unrelenting heartache, his unwavering need for acceptance, love and understanding, my chest is tight and my eyes fill with tears.

When reading this novel, my head swirled with a myriad of thoughts. How do you define “A Place for Us?” Is it culture, family, religion or tradition? It it a “place” for you or a “place” for me? In my opinion, the answer isn’t that simple. It is the “place” where each character feels the most comfortable being the person they are, the “place” they feel the safest and most at ease and for each it is different.

No one knows how they might impact someone else and yet, in “A Place for Us” each and every character’s life is impacted by another’s actions and decisions. Ways in which you would never imagine. In my mind, this was the take-away – to be accountable for your actions and think about how your choices affect those around you as all actions have consequences, even the trivial ones.

“A Place for Us” is novel I lived and breathed. It is full of life lessons and a gazillion heartfelt, desperate, tear-jerking moments. To say that I was invested in and loved Amar, Huda, Hadia and Baba and this book is an understatement. The writing is so fluid, like a fountain, the water rising up, up, up ever so slowly, and splashing over quickly. It calming, exquisite, intricate, muted. In other words, sheer perfection. It has a “place” in my heart and soul and the characters will continue to give me chills for a long time to come. 

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Lindsay’s Review

Emotional. Eye-opening. Beautiful. Breathtaking. Intense. Raw. Unforgettable.

This novel follows the lives of a Muslim Indian American family. The eldest daughter, Hadia, is getting married which brings the family back together under one roof after being apart for the last few years.

Let me start by saying, the writing was absolutely stunning, exquisite and quite simply – perfection. The fact that this author is 27 years old is mind-blowing. She writes with such maturity, elegance and beauty that the words have no choice but to lift off the page and work their way deep into your heart.

These characters are real. I feel like I know them. Each and every character came to life for me – they stirred up my emotions and had me enthralled in this heart-wrenching story.

This story will make you think. It will make you feel. It will challenge your thoughts and beliefs.

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For more of our Traveling Sister’s reviews we have included their links to GR and blog posts.

Melisa’s Review   /   Melisa’s Blog

Kristin’s Review

Mackenzie’s Review   /  Mackenzie’s Blog

Melissa’s Review

Jan’s Review

Carol’s Review

 

 

 

The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown @KarmaBrown @HarlequinBooks #Bookreview #travelingsistersread

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The Life Lucy Knew
by Karma Brown

Norma’s review & rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars!

THE LIFE LUCY KNEW by KARMA BROWN was an enjoyable, interesting, quick and easy read that had an extremely interesting and fascinating premise to it. I absolutely love books with an amnesia component to the storyline and whereas I did enjoy this one I was a little disappointed with the ending. I normally thoroughly enjoy Epilogues and all that they reveal to us but with this one I would have liked to have had a little more insight into the in-between of our main characters relationship, therefore lowering my overall rating.

KARMA BROWN delivers a well-written read here with an engaging and unique storyline that has us following along with Lucy and her heartbreaking journey. Our main character, Lucy is suffering from a head injury where her brain has re-written her memories causing false memory. I really felt strong emotions for Lucy and what she endured. I can’t even imagine how I would feel or how I would react in a similar situation.

Overall, it was an enjoyable, entertaining, and quick read with an ending that I wasn’t completely satisfied with. Karma Brown is an author that I thoroughly enjoy as she always delivers a reliable, heartwarming, and emotional read. Would recommend!

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Lindsay’s Review

3 stars.   

I have read and loved every one of Karma Brown’s books.  She is one of my favourite authors! Unfortunately, this novel fell shy of my hopes and expectations.

Lucy Sparks wakes up from a coma after falling and hitting her head.   She has lost most of her memory from the last four years. She also discovers that she has what her doctors call, ‘false memories’ or ‘honest lying’.   Her brain has created memories that feel real but are not real. Through therapy sessions along with the help of her friends and family, Lucy works to unravel the details of her life that seem scattered and broken.   

I found the premise of the story intriguing, however, the execution didn’t quite work for me.  I couldn’t connect with Lucy. As devastating as her situation was, I didn’t “feel” anything for her.  For me, the storyline seemed to take on a less serious tone than Brown’s previous novels.

Even though this novel didn’t live up to my love of her previous books, I still look forward to what Karma Brown has in store for us next.  I remain a huge fan of her work.

Thank you so much from both of us to NetGalley, Karma Brown, and Harlequin – Hanover Square Press (U.S. & Canada)/Park Row for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier @StMartinsPress @MinotaurBooks @JenniferHillier #BookReview #travelingsistersread

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Norma’s review & rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 Gripping & Unputdownable Stars to JAR OF HEARTS!

JAR OF HEARTS by JENNIFER HILLIER is an intense, chilling, dark and twisted psychological thriller novel that grabbed my attention very quickly and had me totally invested throughout this whole story.

JENNIFER HILLIER delivers a unique, well-written and very descriptive read here with characters that were not all that likeable but they were definitely compelling to read about though. I found the storyline and some scenes quite disturbing and unsettling but nonetheless it was a thrilling, entertaining and exciting book for me to read.

I thought that the reveals were perfectly timed and the way that the story developed and was presented to us was quite the impressive storytelling and very appealing to this reader. I think that is one of the reasons why I enjoyed this story so much!

Cautionary Warning: There is some disturbing content and scenes that might be sensitive for some readers.

Publishing Date: June 12, 2018

To sum it all up it was an enjoyable, fast-paced, concisely written, thought-provoking, and a cringe worthy read with an ending that took me a little by surprise. Would recommend!

This was a Traveling Sisters Read that I read along with Diane. Thank you so much, Diane for reading this one with me!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Jennifer Hillier for the opportunity to read a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

The Girl With No Name by Lisa Regan @Lisalregan @bookouture #BookReview #travelingsistersread

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The Girl With No Name
by Lisa Regan

Brenda’s review and rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again Lisa Regan had Kaceey, Susanne and I lost in the untamed dense woody coulee while we were reading the second book to the Detective Josie Quinn series The Girl With No Name. She pulled us deep into the woody area and we hid from life to read this fast-paced story that grabbed us right from the start to the very end.

We grew to love Detective Josie Quinn even more in this story. In the first book to the series Vanishing Girls, it took us awhile to warm up to Josie and really connected to her character. It was her relationships that won us over. We were happy to see Josie still connected to the relationships we became invested in and we see her dealing with the some of the fallout of Vanishing Girl. This allowed us to see her as a more realistic character.

We were intrigued right from the start when Josie is called to a crime scene and we realize the victim has a connection to her from Vanishing Girl. As Josie digs deeper she finds a connection to her fiance and the story became even more interesting for us as we tried to piece together the crime.

Lisa Regan took us down another intense heart pounding fast paced road again with twists and turn and an ending we didn’t see coming. We highly recommend both books to this series.

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Kaceey’s Review

Josie, the interim sheriff is called to a scene of a possible home invasion. The female victim is now in the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Compounding her troubles, her newborn baby is nowhere to be found.

Eventually, the investigative trail leads too close to home for Josie. Her problems nearly run parallel to that of this latest victim. Josie’ fiancé Luke is missing and an unknown woman is found in his home with no memory of who she is or why she was there.

As the case begins to unfold, deeply-held secrets may be uncovered that would change her life forever.

 A lightning-fast read that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the action. I adore the detectives working with Josie! Noah is fast becoming a new favorite character for me. (Book crush!) Hoping his role will be even bigger in the next installment!

 I’m quickly becoming a huge Lisa Regan fan. I enjoyed the first book in the series The Vanishing Girls but this one was just that much better! The third book in this series Her Mother’s Grave is to be released in July 2018. I’m already standing in line! Keep them coming Lisa!

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Susanne’s Review

One Heck of a Page Turner!  

Josie Quinn is back and this time she’s in charge.  When Detective Noah Frawley calls Chief Quinn to the scene of the crime where a woman has been found, beaten almost to death, her hours old newborn having been torn from her, Josie can’t imagine things getting any worse.  Then, inevitably they do: Luke, her fiancé, goes missing. The evidence leads to a mystery woman who claims amnesia and just happens to have been found in Luke’s home, wearing his clothes.. This mystery woman was also at the crime scene when the battered woman gave birth.  It simply can’t be a coincidence. As the investigation continues, Josie can’t help but wonder how Luke ties into all of this – finding out the answers to that question terrifies her, though not as much as the idea of not finding him at all.

With time slipping away, and Luke and the newborn baby’s life hanging in the balance, Josie and Noah are in overdrive and neither can slow down for a second or all will be lost.

“The Girl With No Name” is a drama-filled mystery with crazy twists and turns, some of which were a little out there and some of which kept me on my toes.  It is one mystery/suspense whose pages I couldn’t swipe through fast enough to get to the end. This being the second book in the Josie Quinn Detective series, I am now fully invested and have high hopes for this series and for Josie.  Lisa Regan sure knows how to write intriguing female characters as is evident by Josie Quinn and my personal favorite, Claire Fletcher (whose character and series I miss, and hope to see again one day soon).

Thank you from all of us to NetGalley, Bookouture and Lisa Regan for an ARC of this book to read and review.  

The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Mario @CamilleDiMaio #BookReview #travelingsistersread

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The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio

Norma’s Review and Rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have never read a book by Camille Di Maio before and when I saw the beautiful cover of this book I just knew that I had to read this one!  I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this beauty of a book! The story is just as beautiful as that cover!

THE WAY OF BEAUTY by CAMILLE DI MAIO was a fantastic, informative, interesting, and heartfelt historical fiction novel that pulled me in immediately.  I absolutely love the title of this book and it was extremely fitting to this story. The way that the title came into play within this story was absolutely beautiful and will stay with me for a very long time! I will let you experience that feeling for yourself as it really explained a lot to me and brought the whole story together for me!

CAMILLE DI MAIO delivers a well-paced and beautifully written story here with interesting, compelling, likable and believable characters that I absolutely fell in love with.   This multi-generational story was told in two perspectives with the first half from Vera and the last half from Alice’s perspective, Vera’s daughter. I enjoyed both perspectives equally.

 In the end, I thought this was such a touching and wonderful story which was vividly descriptive and I really loved following along the lives of these two women and reading about the women’s suffrage movement!  Would recommend!

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Brenda’s Review

Norma, Lindsay and I were lost in the heartwarming feel-good lush coulee reading The Way of Beauty soaking up the warm sun and this fascinating story of two strong women and their lives.

The Way of Beauty is a charming, sweet and heartwarming historical women’s fiction novel that touches on many topics while bringing a piece of history to life here with Penn Station and blending the lives of two very strong women and the people connected to them.

Camille Di Mario does such a great job balancing the topics well that allowed us to feel for the characters and their situations. At times maybe a little too much of that feel good feeling which came close to too much drama for me however it was really nice to read a very heartwarming story that left us feeling good after reading it.

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Lindsay’s Review

This was an intriguing, charming and heartfelt story that spans from 1900 – 1963. We experience the perspectives of two strong, loving and determined women – Vera and Alice. Along the way, we meet many unforgettable characters connected to each of these women.

One of the themes explored throughout this book is the suffragette movement which I often find myself drawn to.  I find the courage and resilience of women during these challenging times astounding and awe-inspiring. I enjoyed the dual perspectives from Vera and Alice, however, my connection was much stronger with Vera. I was glued to the pages of her story, hanging on every word.  While I enjoyed Alice’s perspective, it lacked that special spark I felt with Vera.

The writing was wonderful. This is my first novel by Camille Di Maio and I was highly impressed. The vivid descriptions really pulled me in and had me connecting with the setting and characters. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded and came together in the end.

Thank you so much from all of us to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Camille Di Maio for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.

 

Sunshine Rays on Jess Kidd in a Coulee #BookReview #travelingsistersread

The sun was shining down on Jess Kidd in a Coulee as Norma and I were reading Himself and Mr Flood’s Last Resort with some of our Traveling Sisters.  We started off lost in a coulee with two of our TS reading Himself first and then we followed it with Mr Flood’s Last Resort with two more of our TS joining us in a coulee. We found ourselves in a very different coulee with these two books as both stories were very different from what we have read before.  It’s like Jess Kidd has created a unique genre on her own here by blending a mystery, suspense with supernatural and magical realism to her stories. Jess Kidd writes clever and imaginatively with her stories and does a fantastic job blending darkness with light.

In the end, after reading both stories by Jess Kidd we were split as to which one we felt was the strongest story of the two. We highly recommend both of these magical stories.  

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Mr. Flood’s Last Resort
by Jess Kidd

Brenda’s Traveling Sisters Review and rating: 4 of 5 stars

Norma and I were lost in the heavy dense wooded coulee reading Mr. Flood’s Last Resort with four of our Traveling Sisters and we were swept up in the mystery and magic of this story that explores grief and loss. Jess Kidd does a good job bringing out some emotions here for us with the emotional depth that touches on grief and loss.

Jess Kidd does a fantastic job creating well-developed enduring characters here with our main characters Cathal and Maud. We really loved the dynamics between these two very different characters that really added some contrast to the story. We loved the dynamics that the other colorful and eccentric characters brought to the story as well.

What really stood out for us was Jess Kidd’s ability to blend a murder mystery set in a gothic mansion full of secrets and chaos with some black humor that adds some comic relief to the story.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Atria Books and Jess Kidd for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Norma’s Review

4.5 stars! This novel had the perfect mix of genres that I absolutely love to read!

MR FLOOD’S LAST RESORT by JESS KIDD is a magical, clever, imaginative, and an absolutely wonderful novel that had me totally engaged, entertained and interested throughout this entire book.

JESS KIDD delivers a well-written and creative story here with an absolutely wonderful gothic mansion setting, quirky characters and an extremely mesmerizing storyline. I really enjoyed the magical realism and the Irish folktales that were seamlessly blended into the storyline.

To sum it all up it was an interesting, charming, dark, comical, and an enjoyable read with a satisfying ending. Would recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Atria Books, Simon & Schuster Canada and Jess Kidd for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Himself by Jess Kidd

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Norma and I were lost in the magical lush coulee with two of our Traveling Sisters reading Himself.  At times we were hidden in the bushes looking over our shoulders for the supernatural who were wanting to find us and tell us their secrets.

Himself starts off dark and violent and left us wanting to stay hidden in those magical bushes to hide from the dark but soon humor is introduced into the story to lighten the darkness of this story. Jess Kidd does a good job balancing the dark with some light here with magic and humor.

She adds some supernatural elements here with our main character Mahony who sees the dead that holds the secrets and lies in a small Irish town.  At times we were left confused with some of the supernatural and magical parts of the story and we were grateful to have a discussion to help us figure out some aspects of this story.   It lead to a very interesting discussion amongst us and in the end about reading and discussing this story we were left very satisfied to come out of the bushes to recommend this story.

 

Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea @CharlieDonlea @KensingtonBooks #BookReview #travelingsistersread

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Don’t Believe It
by Charlie Donlea

Norma’s review and rating 4.5 out of 5 Stars

This was a good one just the way I like my mystery/thrillers!

DON’T BELIEVE IT by CHARLIE DONLEA is a gripping, fascinating, action-packed, and suspenseful psychological thriller novel that I was immediately drawn into and had me totally engaged in the storyline right up to that surprising and shocking ending.  This book was so entertaining, enjoyable and extremely hard for me to put down.

CHARLIE DONLEA delivers a well-written, detailed, unique and twisty read here that had me questioning whether Grace was guilty or innocent for murdering her boyfriend while on vacation in St. Lucia.  

This book pretty much kept me guessing right up to around the 70% mark and then that is when I started piecing things together.  Even though I thought I knew what was happening when the actual reveal came it was presented in a way that shocked and surprised me.  I loved that about this book!

I absolutely loved the way that this story was told and with the way it was formatted had me immediately intrigued in this storyline.  It was a lot of fun following along with our central character, Sidney an investigative reporter who was producing a true-life documentary into the innocence of Grace as the investigation unfolded in real-time.  What Sidney learned we as readers learned at the same time which really moved the plot forward for me.

To sum it all up it was an entertaining, enjoyable, fast-paced, and clever read with an ending that left me hoping for a sequel!  Would recommend!

Publishing Date:  May 29, 2018

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Brenda’s Traveling Sisters Review

We were left shouting We Don’t Believe It Charlie Donlea you did it! You left us all in the Tongue-tied Coulee after reading your brilliantly plotted story!

Norma and I were lost in a Coulee reading Don’t Believe It with seven of our Traveling Sisters and we all ended up in the same Coulee. For only the second time ending up in the Tongue-tied Coulee doing nothing but dancing with enjoyment.

Charlie Donlea boldly writes a well layered entertaining fun story here with well-plotted twists and turns and he knows when to introduce characters just at the right time. We really liked the idea of the documentary being part of the story however for some of us it did overshadow the mystery for us and felt at times we lost some focus to the mystery but this did not take away from any dancing enjoyment of the story at all.

Some of us who read The Girl Who Was Taken were very happy to see a character from that story cross over to this one and loved how they fit into this story. Such a clever way to really pull us into the characters.

Charlie Donlea lead us down many different paths in a Coulee as the suspense grew with each one. We started branching off in different directions with our suspicious and guesses to what was going on. As we neared the end we found our way back together with some us picking up on different clues along the way till those last twists that some of us suspected and another that brought us all together dancing in the Tongue-tied Coulee. We highly recommend not to miss this one or you will be saying I Don’t Believe I didn’t read it.

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Lindsay’s review

4.5 stars!  

Oh wow – this was good!!!

This story follows Sidney Ryan, an up and coming filmmaker who specializes in true crime documentaries revolving around old murder cases.    She takes on the case of Grace Sebold, an acquaintance from school who was convicted of murdering her fiancé while on vacation ten years prior.  Grace has been sitting in a St. Lucian prison for the last decade claiming her innocence. Sidney is determined to uncover all details relating to the case and present them in a ten episode documentary series, similar to the Netflix special Making A Murderer.

This novel will have you flying through the pages, shocking you with twists and turns, making you scratch your head with frustration in guessing what actually happened.  The characters are real, the suspense is addictive, the pace is perfect! I loved how the story was presented to include various interview segments, sections from the developing TV documentary episodes along with courtroom trial tidbits. It kept the story fresh and interesting throughout.

I loved Charlie Donlea’s previous novel, The Girl Who Was Taken.   I am thrilled to say this follow up novel was fantastic and equally thrilling.  I look forward to reading more from Donlea! I am a huge fan!

Thank you so much from all of us to NetGalley, Kensington Books and Charlie Donlea for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!

Traveling Sisters Book Mail: A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza @HogarthBooks @fatimafmirza @melisabookblog @tarheelfit @MackTweetsBooks

Up next in the Coulee for The Traveling Sisters reading is:  A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza.  Thank you to GoodReads, Sarah Jessica Parker, SJP for Hogarth, Fatima Farheen Mirza and Penguin Random House for providing us with copies of this beautiful, huggable book.

Norma’s Coulee Photo

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Thank you to all Traveling Sisters for sharing your photo’s with us!

Dana’s Photo

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Mackenzie’s Photo

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Kristin’s Photo

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Jan’s Photo

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Brenda’s Photo

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Susanne’s Photo

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Kaceey’s Photo

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Jennifer’s Photo

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Melisa’s Photo

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Nikki’s Photo

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Thank you to our Traveling Sisters who are in a Coulee reading with us (Brenda & Norma): Susanne, Kaceey, Lindsay, Jan, Jennifer, Kristin, Mackenzie, Nikki, Melisa, Melissa, Dana, Carol, Kendall, Mary Beth, Victoria and Berit.

Our blogging Traveling Sisters’ Blogs:

Jennifer – Tar Heel Reader

Melisa- The Book Collective

Berit – Audio Killed The Bookmark

Mackenzie – PH Diva

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy #BookReview #travelingsistersread

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The Perfect Mother
by Aimee Molloy

Brenda’s review and rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Norma and I were lost in the sunny, grassy lush coulee with five of our Traveling Sisters reading The Perfect Mother and we really enjoyed our reading experience and discussion on this story.

The Perfect Mother is a fun, entertaining and engaging story with a bit of dark to it that had us feeling comfortable in our sunny, grassy coulee from any unsettling scenes from this story. We meet a group of Brooklyn new mothers all with their own secrets who meet regularly to support each other through their new experiences of motherhood.

Aimee Molloy creates some interesting characters here with the group of “May Mothers”. Each with a common bond but different from each other with their own personal conflicts related to motherhood. At times we did become confused and found it hard to keep them apart. On a Mom’s night out one of the “May Mother’s” baby is kidnapped and the friends come together to try and piece the mystery of the baby’s disappearance. At times we did feel that the story lacked some emotion that we needed to feel to connect with the grieving Mom, Winnie. We didn’t feel the pain Winnie felt for her missing child. We didn’t really feel we got to know her.

Aimee Molloy touches on some judgments of society here with what new Moms face. She does a good job layering a good mystery with the right amount of drama for us. However, the coulee we started in, wasn’t the one we ended up in as things did go a bit sideways for us. We weren’t quite satisfied with the way things wrapped up for us and for some of us that affected part of our enjoyment of this story. Overall we highly recommend this well-written story that has some real substance to the issues these interesting Moms face, making this a very interesting read.

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Norma’s Review

3 Stars! I wish I would have loved this one a little more!

This book was chosen to read as a Traveling Sisters Group Read and what originally attracted me to this book was the title and the cover – which is pretty much how I choose all my books to read!

THE PERFECT MOTHER by AIMEE MOLLOY is a steady-paced, insightful, character-driven, and a twisty psychological domestic thriller that is filled with interesting characters that I really appreciated.  The voices and dynamics of these women really rang true to me! At times I did find it hard to keep the characters straight and I had a hard time focusing on this story. Unfortunately, this did affect my enjoyment for the story and therefore lowered my overall rating.  

AIMEE MOLLOY delivers a well-written read here with an interesting and unique storyline told from multiple perspectives which focuses mainly on a group of women who stop at nothing as they come together to investigate the disappearance of Baby Midas.  The portrayal of these women and their angst was portrayed extremely well.

Overall, it was a mostly enjoyable, quick and easy read with an ending the totally took me by surprise.  Would recommend!

Thank you so much from both of us to Edelweiss, Aimee Molloy, and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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Susanne’s Review

3.75 Stars.

In Brooklyn, a group of mothers to-be, all due in the month of May, coined “The May Mothers” start a meet-up, sharing stories and bonding over impending motherhood.  

Being the perfect mother seems unattainable and yet these mothers strive for it.  Receiving monthly emails about what to expect each month, exchanging messages with helpful suggestions, gaining support from each other whenever the need arises.

After their babies are a few months old, their bond deepens unexpectedly.  Frannie, Nell, Colette, Winnie & Token decide to take a “night off.” What starts out as an innocent night having drinks at a pub, ends with a bang when Winnie’s son, Midas, goes missing, disappearing from their home without a trace.  

Thereafter, the May Mothers come together, investigating.  What happened that night, in addition to investigating each other.  They can’t help it. They don’t really know each other that well, and yet, they desperately want to trust each other.  Yet, can they? Should they?

“The Perfect Mother” is told from several different perspectives, some of which are confusing at first.  Though it starts off a little slow, the novel picks up at the mid-way point and takes off so quickly that I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough.  The ending was quite the shocker – which frankly, I’m still not sure I get. I’m hoping it’ll come to me one of these days! “The Perfect Mother” is a slow burn, character-driven suspense novel that definitely kept my interest.  It was my book of the month pick and was a great choice.

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Kaceey’s Review

Oh my! Now that was one twisty read!!

The May Mothers – A group of new moms form a casual friendship, getting together to share their experiences and support one another. After all, they’re new parents…with lots of questions.

When the ladies plan an evening out without their babies in tow, no one could imagine the consequences of that innocent rendezvous.

There is a definite rhythm to this book, though it took me nearly half-way in to find the pace. I struggled a bit keeping a few of the characters apart. But once rolling, it flowed smoothly and I couldn’t put it down!

Told from multiple POV from those in the mommy’s group. Each with a story to tell and, maybe even a past to keep hidden. Here’s the challenge – you may think you have this one down. You may think you have it all figured out. HA! Are you in for a big surprise!

If you like domestic thrillers then don’t pass this one up!

 

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