Posted in Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee, Its Book Talk to share some of our old favorites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that was published over a year ago.

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Norma and I really enjoyed reading The Alice Network and we stood up cheering when we saw that Kate Quinn has a new book coming out in February and we can’t wait to read to it.

The Alice NetworkThe Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Goodreads summary

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.

From our Traveling Sisters Group review

The story told from emotional, broken, grief and guilt-stricken Eve’s perspective we learn her backstory and her part in The Alice Network. This was our favorite part of the story as we really enjoyed the friendships here and their deep connection that they had with each other. Eve’s character and her perspectives we felt were the strongest part of this story. We really could feel and see their loyalty and how protective they were of each other. We loved how the Kate Quinn gave her a stutter and it really showed how she was able to use that to her advantage.

The Alice Network made for an interesting group read and discussion that we all really enjoyed. We all agreed we really appreciated learning about the remarkable Alice Network. We recommend for group reads and for anyone looking to learn more about this very interesting part of history and the workings of this spy network of women.

About the Author

Kate Quinn is a New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written seven historical novels, including the bestselling “The Alice Network,” the Empress of Rome Saga, and the Borgia Chronicle. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

Coming February 26, 2019

The HuntressThe Huntress by Kate Quinn

Goodreads Summary

From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel, The Alice Network, comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…

Bold, reckless Nina Markova grows up on the icy edge of Soviet Russia, dreaming of flight and fearing nothing. When the tide of war sweeps over her homeland, she gambles everything to join the infamous Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on Hitler’s eastern front. But when she is downed behind enemy lines and thrown across the path of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, Nina must use all her wits to survive.

British war correspondent Ian Graham has witnessed the horrors of war from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials. He abandons journalism after the war to become a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Fierce, disciplined Ian must join forces with brazen, cocksure Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. But a shared secret could derail their mission, unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride grows up in post WWII Boston, determined despite family opposition to become a photographer. At first delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancée, Jordan grows increasingly disquieted by the soft-spoken German widow who seems to be hiding something. Armed only with her camera and her wits, Jordan delves into her new stepmother’s past and slowly realizes there are mysteries buried deep in her family. But Jordan’s search for the truth may threaten all she holds dear.

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Have you read The Alice Network?  Are you cheering like Norma and I about The Huntress and looking forward to reading it?  Drop us a comment!  We love to hear from you!

Posted in Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee, Its Book Talk to share some of our old favorites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that was published over a year ago.

Norma read The Life We Bury quite a while ago and kept suggesting it to me to read but for some reason, I kept putting it off.  Finally, I listened to it and I loved it and wondered why I waited so long to give it a try.  So I suggested if you haven’t read this one to read it as soon as possible because the sequel is now on NetGalley and will be released November 13 2018

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The Life We Bury
by Allen Eskens

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

As Joe writes about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory.

Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?

Coming November 13, 2018

The Shadows We HideThe Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens

In the highly-anticipated sequel to the national bestseller The Life We Bury, Joe Talbert returns to investigate the murder of the father he never knew, and to reckon with his own family’s past.

Joe Talbert, Jr. has never once met his namesake. Now out of college, a cub reporter for the Associated Press in Minneapolis, he stumbles across a story describing the murder of a man named Joseph Talbert in a small town in southern Minnesota.
Full of curiosity about whether this man might be his father, Joe is shocked to find that none of the town’s residents have much to say about the dead man-other than that his death was long overdue. Joe discovers that the dead man was a loathsome lowlife who cheated his neighbors, threatened his daughter, and squandered his wife’s inheritance after she, too, passed away–an inheritance that may now be Joe’s.
Mired in uncertainty and plagued by his own devastated relationship with his mother, who is seeking to get back into her son’s life, Joe must put together the missing pieces of his family history– before his quest for discovery threatens to put him in a grave of his own.

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Have you read The Life We Bury? Want to read it now? Are you excited for The Shadows We Hide? Drop us a comment!!  We would love to hear from you

Posted in Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah #travelingsistersread

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee, Its Book Talk to share some of our old favorites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that were published over a year ago.

Today we would like to share another favorite Traveling Sisters Group read.

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Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

From the author of the smash-hit bestseller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past.

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard: the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time – and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

Web_L367-4_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s Traveling Sisters review

Winter Garden is a well layered, intriguing and powerful family saga that explores the complicated relationships between a Mother and her daughters and the two sisters. The story is told from the past through a fairy tale told by distant, cold and interesting Anya who is layered with mystery and the present as we see how the fairy tale begins to bond these women together.

Kristin Hannah cleverly and skillfully weaves an emotional fairy tale into the storyline that becomes the core of this story and we begin to see how it shaped the relationship between Anya and her daughters. We were drawn into the story through the fairy tale and it became a favorite part of the story for some of us. The imagery in the tale came to life for us and became very real. We felt many emotions as our hearts broke for the characters. Through the fairy tale, we come to know who the characters are. Brilliant!

We all really loved the discussion we had for this one and we really dug deep into the emotional depth of this story and how it made us feel. We used some discussion questions that really enhanced our discussion. It’s stories and discussions like this that really bring out the best reading experiences for me.

The ending pushed this non-crier to choke up and fighting back the tears. I will leave you all with this quote from the story and we all highly recommend reading Kristin Hannah at her best with this one.

“Joy and sadness were part of the package, the trick, perhaps was to not let yourself feel all of it but to hold on to the joy just a little more tightly because you never knew when a strong heart could just give out.”

Web_L323-2_brunette_green eyesFrom Jan’s review

These three women slowly reconnect with one another during a trip to Alaska and the telling of their mother’s story. There’s a lot of universal truths contained within the pages of this book. So much of the personality quirks of each of the women is explained by delving into the dynamics of the family relationships. Lies and secrets can destroy relationships, but understanding a person’s story gives clarity into their seemingly inconceivable ways of behaving in the present, bringing empathy and understanding.

I confess that I felt differently about some of the characters by the end of the novel than I did at the beginning. And Anya’s story demonstrates that we can be sad for the lost years but it is never too late to right wrongs and mend broken relationships. The ending had me sobbing, even though it was tied up a little too predictable and neatly with a couple of unlikely coincidences. But I didn’t care. I needed that ending.

Web_L301-3_brunette_brown eyesFrom Nikki’s review

Alternating between past and present, this story reminds us that we can’t jump to assumptions. It reminds us that there is always way more happening than what’s presented on the surface. It reminds us about the importance of communication and the difficulties of bearing those pieces of ourselves that we just don’t want others to see. The story is beautifully written, and the journey is one of love, heartbreak, and pain. But in taking that ride, the sisters and their mother not only discover more about one another, they find themselves along the way too.

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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 Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz #travelingsistersread

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee, Its Book Talk to share some of our old favorites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that were published over a year ago.

Today we would like to share another favorite Traveling Sisters Group read that made for a great discussion where we shared many suspicions and theories.

Magpie MurdersGoodreads Summary

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

Traveling Sisters Group review

Norma, Lindsay and I read Magpie Murders with seven of our Traveling Sisters and it brought out one of the best and most fun group discussions we have had yet. For this one, we tried to stay as close as we could to each other with our reading goals so we could play detectives together and discuss our suspicions along the way. For some of us, it was really hard to put this one down but it sure was worth it staying somewhat close together for the discussions.

Magpie Murders is a brilliant, hugely enjoyable, fun, and delightful well-plotted intriguing Golden Age style mystery inside a mystery that is done exceptionally well. A fantastic playful whodunit with satisfying twists and turns and many red herrings for us to ponder and discuss with our Traveling Sisters.

Anthony Horowitz does such a fantastic job here with all the characters and they are so well developed. Some quirky, some cunning, some likable, and some not so much and some we grew to like. All very interesting and compelling to read.

We all loved the setting and the atmosphere of the small, quaint English Village where everyone knows everyone and everyone has a secret.

We really enjoyed sharing clues, our suspicions, red herrings and keeping track of the suspects. Two sisters really doing a great job keeping us on track with the suspects. We all tried to pay close attention to one another to pick up on those clues and information to piece this mystery together. One sister picking up a clue not knowing for what and we all were very surprised at how that fitted into the mystery. We were discussing the clues without even realizing they were clues. We suspected everyone and no one with all the red herrings in this one. This made for such a fun and delightful reading experience.

The ending like every good whodunit which was wrapped up nicely with no loose ends and we all were satisfied with it in the end. However, one character did have us discussing how we felt about how the story wrapped up for her and we were split on how we felt about that and it brought out a bit of a discussion for us.

This is such a good choice for a group read or works really well if you so choose to read it on your own. We suggest grabbing your favorite beverage and curling up in your comfy chair and getting lost in this brilliant absorbing golden age mystery within a mystery for a few hours. It will be a favorite for some us and a favorite sister read for Brenda and Norma. We all highly recommend.

The Traveling Friends Group are now reading The Word is Murder and really enjoying it and the discussion.

The Word Is MurderGoodreads summary

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

SHE PLANNED HER OWN FUNERAL. BUT DID SHE ARRANGE HER OWN MURDER?

New York Times bestselling author of Magpie Murders and Moriarty, Anthony Horowitz has yet again brilliantly reinvented the classic crime novel, this time writing a fictional version of himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes.

One bright spring morning in London, Diana Cowper – the wealthy mother of a famous actor – enters a funeral parlor. She is there to plan her own service.

Six hours later she is found dead, strangled with a curtain cord in her own home.

Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric investigator who’s as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. Hawthorne needs a ghost writer to document his life; a Watson to his Holmes. He chooses Anthony Horowitz.

Drawn in against his will, Horowitz soon finds himself a the center of a story he cannot control. Hawthorne is brusque, temperamental and annoying but even so his latest case with its many twists and turns proves irresistible. The writer and the detective form an unusual partnership. At the same time, it soon becomes clear that Hawthorne is hiding some dark secrets of his own.

A masterful and tricky mystery that springs many surprises, The Word is Murder is Anthony Horowitz at his very best.

Have you read these titles?  Want to read them?  Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee, Its Book Talk to share some of our old favorites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that were published over a year ago.

Norma and I are joining in on this meme to share some favorites from some of our Traveling Sisters Group reads.  It’s been over a year ago we started our group and this one was one of our first group reads and a favorite of ours.

 

All the Best PeopleGoodreads Description

An intricately crafted story of madness, magic and misfortune across three generations from the author of The Middle of Somewhere and House Broken…

Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.

An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.
Traveling Sisters Group Read Review by Brenda, Norma, with Lindsay, Susanne, and Jan’s thoughts

All The Best People by Sonja Yoerg is an intriguing, easy flowing and multi-layered story that is beautifully written that explores family, hope, and acceptance surrounding mental illness through three generations. The story also explores the relationships between mothers and daughters.

Sonja Yoerg does a fantastic job compassionately creating, realistic, conflicted, and complex characters here as we were really able to feel the emotions of all the characters allowing us to open our hearts and drawing us right into their fears, pain, and heartache. She gave us understanding, insight, and compassion into mental illness for families of loved ones as she shines a light in the dark far corners of mental illness for all the characters.  Her descriptions are vivid, insightful and moving.

The story combines four different perspectives which are told in three generations from one family in two timelines from the past of 1926 and present day of 1972. When we first meet Carol we start to see signs of her illness and we were all drawn into her mind and we could hear her thoughts and feel her fears. We meet Solange when she is young and learn her backstory and events leading up to her being committed to an asylum and see how younger Carol deals with the absence of her mother. We learn of past treatment, shedding light on stigma and the treatments given. We also hear from 11-year-old Alison as we see her start to lose her mother when she needs her the most. She tugged and captured our hearts. We admired her strength and perseverance.

We can’t leave this review without mentioning Walt as a few of us had such a book crush on this sweet and genuine character.

We felt a strong connection to some of the characters and it brought quite a bit of insight and personal experiences into our discussions as we were reading this book. We could see a bit of ourselves within this story which for some of us was at times a little emotional and heartfelt. With love, hope, compassion, and understanding that shined through in this book and our discussions, we could see who All The Best People are.

Have you read this one or would you like to read this one?  Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you.