Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton @AuthorSJBolton @StMartinsPress #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers

We thought today would be the perfect day to share one of our favorite creepy-good, Halloween reads!!!   There is something more than just secrets buried in this story!!!

The Craftsman by Sharon J. Bolton

Web_L143-2_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review

Sharon Bolton is a favorite author for me and I was really excited to add The Craftsman to the Traveling Sisters group reads.  Seven Traveling Sisters joined in on this sister read and a couple sisters have now added Sharon Bolton to there list of favorite authors.

The Craftsman has all the elements here with the atmospheric setting and buried secrets, disturbing and claustrophobic crime, a brew of witches and the supernatural lurching to make this story an entertaining, and deliciously creepy yet disturbing at times story.

The story starts off with an intriguing and creepy scene that sets the story up perfectly.  We are then taken back to the past and are drawn into a gruesome and disturbing crime that would have anyone feeling claustrophobic.   We start to get to know our main character Florence and loved how different she is from other female characters in a police procedural. She is fierce, strong and independent at a time when women were treated like they shouldn’t be.  She faces challenges here with strength and determination. She is driven not by her own personal demons but by her independence and need to prove herself.

We all loved the setting here with the small town and its mysterious characters and the buried secrets they hold.  The setting comes alive with its spine-chilling danger and we could feel the terror the characters felt in this story.  We loved the real danger and the magical and supernatural danger to the story.

We highly recommend this one to thrillers lovers looking for a little something different.  You will be sure to read something different here with this story.

Web_L077-3_brunette_brown-eyesNorma’s review

Whoa! That was one awesome read…..and because I can’t help myself! Holy Shooty Balls that was some book!!

Chilling, gripping & unputdownable!

I absolutely loved this book and it was definitely my kind of story!  I love creepy suspenseful books with supernatural aspects to it and this one definitely satisfied my craving for an excellent spooky, spine-chilling and suspenseful read!

THE CRAFTSMAN by SHARON BOLTON is a dark, disturbing, tension-filled and an absolutely fantastic psychological thriller that had me totally engrossed, entertained and interested throughout this entire book.  I was immediately drawn into this story and not once did I lose interest. In fact, it had me on the edge of my seat with feelings of excitement and uncertainty right from the very start and in the end I was totally blown away by that ending.    

SHARON BOLTON delivers an impressive, original, clever, atmospheric, suspenseful, twisty and well-written read here with the perfect mix of intrigue, suspense, mystery, and the supernatural.  Bolton captures the essence of these characters and the eerie setting perfectly.

I thoroughly enjoy Bolton’s writing style and absolutely loved how this story unfolded.  It opens up in the present, 1999 and then switches narrative to 1969 through flashbacks and then back to the present, 1999.  This was an extremely effective way to set the mood and keep the suspense and tension high.

It was one of those books that definitely cast its spell on me and the witchcraft and supernatural aspects to this story was absolutely spellbinding.

Web_L099-2_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s review

A suspenseful, chilling and ‘witchy’ story!

This novel follows Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady who, as a new police officer in 1969, helped put convicted murderer Larry Glassbrook in prison.   Larry, the local funeral director, was found guilty of murdering three local teenagers by burying them alive in caskets he made himself. Florence’s determination and persistent drive to find answers and solve the murders lead her team to the shocking conviction of Larry.

There are two timelines – 1999 and 1969.   In 1999, Florence is attending Larry’s funeral in the small town where she brought him to a murder conviction.  Here she revisits her old stomping grounds and rehashes long-buried memories and secrets. The second timeline in 1969 follows Florence through her introduction into the male-dominated police force where she relentlessly works toward proving herself and solving her case.  I enjoyed both timelines and felt they flowed and intertwined intriguingly.

I loved Florence’s character!   She had an innocence about her but such a strong will and determination to get answers.   I was rooting for her from page 1. The ‘witchy’ factor in this novel is quite strong which was perfect for a late October read, however, I found that it did get a little too ‘witchy’ for me in the second half of the book.   Some details felt unrealistic and I couldn’t wrap my mind around them causing me to lose some of the connection I felt in the first half. Regardless of this, I still enjoyed the novel and look forward to reading more by this author (this was my first Sharon Bolton).  

Web_L083-1_brunette_green-eyesFrom Kim’s review

I have read close to 70 books this year and this one is in my top 3! To think, I almost passed on reading this book because I was worried it would be too gruesome for me. I decided to brave it and I am so glad I did. It is a creepy, twisted, edge of your seat thriller. I could not put this one down! Now excuse me as I am off to order my next Sharon Bolton book, Daisy in Chains. I have some catching up to do as I have now added another favorite author to my list! For Kim’s full review

FC-8-JamieFrom Mary Beth’s review

This book is my favorite book on 2018. I loved this one so much. This was the perfect Fall/Halloween read. It had everything I wanted in a thriller. I loved the witchcraft and the covens. I was immediately drawn into the story. This book really creepy and scared me and I do not scare easily. Any book that has to do with being buried alive really creeps me out. Shockingly I didn’t have nightmares last night. I think this book will stick with me for a very long time.

I thought I had this book all figured out and thought I knew what was going to happen next. I kept guessing and guessing and I was wrong every single time. This book is so intense, with so much action that never stops.

Sharon Bolton is my all time favorite author and I always want more after I read her books. She has one brilliant imagination.

Web_LF05-5_brunette_green-eyesFrom Stephanie’s review

I love thrillers that are deeply dark, dangerous, and take you places in your mind you might otherwise not want to go. I’m more than a bit morbid and bloodthirsty with my thrillers, and Bolton gives you that with The Craftsman, where the atmospheric vibe is at times tense, disturbing, and extremely terrifying. Yet what can you expect in a book that has a psychopathic, monstrous serial killer on the loose not only kidnapping children but burying them alive too–whoa! Then throw in some witchcraft, both white and dark spells, a little voodoo, masterful writing, an out of this world plot, a strong, intelligent female character like Florence, and I’m sold! And you should be too because this is an amazing book. In fact, I probably don’t have the words to express how stunning and marvelous this book is!  For Stephanie’s full review

Norma’s Stats:

  • Cover:  Creepy, sinister, piqued my interest and fitting.
  • Title: Oh what an absolutely brilliant title and loved how it played into the storyline.
  • Writing/Prose: Well-written, compelling, stunning, and proficient.
  • Plot: Suspenseful, creepy, darkly gothic, supernatural, witchcraft, unsettling, fast-paced, enjoyable and extremely entertaining.  I loved this brilliant original storyline!
  • Ending: Totally shocking and jaw-dropping!  I must have read those last few sentences over about 10 times because that is how stupefied I was!  I loved it!
  • Overall: A riveting read that was perfect for the Halloween season.  One of my favourite books of the year and was quickly placed into my favourite reads shelf for 2018! Would highly recommend!

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Have you read this one?  Did it make the perfect creepy good read for you?  Want to read this one?  Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you.

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

Sadie by Courtney Summers @courtney_s @StMartinsPress @WednesdayBooks @about_thethrill #findsadie #travelingfriendsread #BookBloggers

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Norma, Lindsay and I read Sadie with six of our Traveling Friends and this story made for a fantastic group discussion.  

img_6531Norma’s Review

Powerful, compelling, & heartbreaking!

I have enjoyed YA stories in the past but in my opinion, I think this book is geared to a much wider audience than just teens.

SADIE by COURTNEY SUMMERS is a memorable, important, and a fantastic YA mystery novel that immediately grabbed my attention and had me glued to those pages right to the very end.

Sadie’s story was not an easy read as it delves deep into Sadie’s pain and some tough subject matter. But, I thought that the author handled it with such care though and was very sensitive with the delivery.

I didn’t necessarily find the storyline all that gripping but, the way that the author weaves her sentences and delivers this story was absolutely enthralling. When I wasn’t reading this one, I was thinking about it. Sadie really got under my skin and has left a lasting impression.

I loved COURTNEY SUMMERS’ unique writing style here and thought the podcasts was a very effective way for us to get to know all the characters. It gave us a different perspective into Sadie’s character and I really enjoyed how the story unfolded. Sadie’s narrative with a stutter and all was absolutely heartbreaking to read and really impacted me as a reader.

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

Web_L521-3_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s Review

Shortly after this one was chosen as a group read I went out and bought the book and started reading it. Once I started reading the podcast parts to this story I decided to listen to it as well.  The audiobook is so well done with multiple narrators that really enhance the whole experience with this story. I highly recommend listening to this one.

Sadie is a dark, gritty, moving yet at times bleak story that explores abuse and power and one girl’s driven need to seek revenge.  We follow along as our main character; angry, brave, reckless yet very sensitive Sadie as she searches for the man she believes is responsible for her sister’s murder. We also meet West and through crime podcasts he tracks Sadie’s journey and we hear from people who have met Sadie along the way.  The podcasts are so well done and really adds to the suspense of the story.

From that haunting line from May Beth “My heart can’t take another dead girl” my heartstrings were pulled and I was desperate to find out more about Sadie. Courtney Summers does such a great job drawing us into Sadie’s world.  I instantly fell in love with Sadie. I wanted to protect her, love her and allow her to grieve with me.  I could feel Sadie’s heartbreaking vulnerability, her love and support she had for her sister Maddie. Her grief becomes dangerous and I wanted to keep her safe.

The ending here made for quite a bit to discuss. We had a few different reactions to the ending and it was really interesting to see the different thoughts to the ending, so for that reason alone we highly recommend this one for group reads.

Web_L109-2_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s Review

4 stars!    A heart-wrenching and haunting coming-of-age story.

This novel revolves around nineteen-year-old Sadie who has run away from home in the hope of seeking revenge for the murder of her younger sister Mattie.  Sadie has always been Mattie’s protector, taking on a mothering role to Mattie from the time she was born.  Sadie hides many deep and disturbing childhood secrets that she is planning on addressing and exposing in hopes of getting justice for Mattie’s suffering.

This book will break your heart.   It deals with some extremely sensitive and highly disturbing subject matter but is presented in a respectful way that conveys the message without getting into unnecessary detail.  Be prepared for something that will pull at your heartstrings and have you rooting for these characters to find justice.

I enjoyed the presentation and flow of this novel.   It is told in alternating chapters through Sadie’s perspective and then an eight-episode podcast hosted by popular radio host, West McCray.   The podcasts were a fantastic piece of this compelling and suspenseful journey.

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Courtney Summers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Web_L095-3_brunette_brown-eyesFrom Kim’s review 

This book is so unique. The author has you following along with Sadie’s journey as she hunts down the killer in Sadie’s own chapters. Yet we also are following along with a radio podcast being put on by a fellow named West McCray. The podcasts are reporting the search for Sadie as she now has gone missing. So they are retracing all Sadie’s steps along the way. I loved the podcast chapters, there was so much personality and it was so entertaining as they interviewed people that Sadie had come into contact with.

I loved this book! I did not pick up this book as an ARC because quite frankly I did not want to read a YA. Well then all the rave reviews started rolling in from people that I know read the same type of books I do and they loved it. So I picked up my copy of Sadie and whoa this is not your typical YA. There was a lot of hardcore, not so pretty details. These details made you feel like you were right there with Sadie. I was rooting for Sadie all the way.  For Kim’s full review

FC-2 VerityFrom Diane’s review

Although marketed for the young adult audience, this book is a worthy crossover. It is hard-hitting, timely, with the movement so often in the news, and the young, Sadie, is sure to win your heart. When Sadie’s younger sister Mattie is murdered, a sister who she raised, Sadie sets off on a journey to find the man responsible. When Sadie’s car is found, empty but holding all her belongings, a neighbor who was more of a mother to the girls than their own contacts a man who does podcasts focusing on cases such as these.

The pages fly by in this book, partly due to its form, alternate chapters between the podcast, called the Girls, and a first-person account by Sadie. Sadie’s vulnerability, her sense of guilt over her sister’s death, and her stutter, quickly wins over the reader. One of my triggers is any type of abuse of children, I usually try to avoid this type of read.

Web_L109-6Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Stunning, breathtaking, and a perfect and highly affecting representation to storyline.
Title: Simply brilliant and such a meaningful representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Edgy, witty, emotive & brilliantly written.
Plot: Engaging, impressive, unforgettable, perfectly-paced, and held my attention.
Ending: An ambiguous ending that I think worked really well for this YA story but didn’t necessarily satisfy my need of knowing a little bit more though.
Overall: Sadie definitely left an impression on me as well as this author’s writing style! Would recommend!

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Have you read this one?  Added it to your to be read list?  Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier #travelingfriendsread

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

I read Jar of Hearts with four of my Traveling Friends and we all frantically raced through this one.   I quietly snuck away with my favorite beverage and locked myself in my room to finish this one.

Norma read this one a while back before it was released with our Traveling Sisters and I have included her review here in this post.

Web_L365-1_brunette_blue-eyesBrenda’s review

Jar of Hearts is a chilling, intense and compelling story with a horrific and violent crime. The descriptions are disturbing at times and are not for the fainthearted. For us twisted readers who like the darker side of the coulee we couldn’t stop reading.

Jar of Hearts is skillfully paced and well plotted with flashbacks to a violent crime that our main character Geo was involved in and with a crime in the present that seems connected.  The tension rises as the story progresses and the brilliant secrets are revealed at just the right time.  And that ending just so perfectly revealed leaving us feeling so happy with this story.  We highly recommend.

Thank you to my son for purchasing this book for me for my birthday!!

Web_L077-2_brunette_brown-eyesNorma’s review

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!

img_6645From Christina’s review

This had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. I wasn’t there because there were frivolous twists or red-herrings thrown in and I was honestly surprised by how engrossed I was despite it missing things that are fairly traditional for these types of novels. The development into the story and it’s writing is was got me. I didn’t want to know the outcome, I needed to and I didn’t want to miss a single detail along the way. For Christina’s full review

L473-2_brunette_brown-eyesFrom Kim’s review

This book was quite the page turner for me. I had heard the hype and I am here to say, yes it is all that a bag of chips! I was absolutely shocked at the ending. My mind did not even go there. Hillier spun such a wicked, twisted story and I loved it. This woman knows how to write a book!  This is a must read in my opinion. I have had a lot of favorites reads this year but this is either #1 or #2 on my list. It is just that darn good. For Kim’s full review

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Have you read this one?  Adding it to your to be read list? Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox @HesterBFox #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers @HarlequinBooks

The Traveling Sisters agree don’t look any further!  This is the perfect read for this time of year!!!  We are all cheering with excitement over this one!!!

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Web_L461-2_purple_brown-eyesNorma’s review

Spooky, suspenseful & a little bit witchy!

This book reminded me so much of the gothic romantic suspense novels that I used to love reading growing up. They were my absolute favourite stories and this tale just made me feel all nostalgic and reminded me of my fondness for these types of stories.

THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL by HESTER FOX is a dark, haunting, romantic and an excellent debut novel that had me totally absorbed, entertained, and interested throughout this entire book.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that this story was all that gripping or suspenseful for me though but it definitely had an ominous feel to it that I found quite appealing.

HESTER FOX delivers an atmospheric, intriguing and beautifully written gothic romantic tale of suspense and mystery here with wonderful character development, a captivating setting and an extremely spellbinding storyline. I really enjoyed the creepy dark vibe and the supernatural aspect to this novel even if it was a little subtle the real magic here was in Lydia’s character.

It was one of those books that definitely cast its spell on me and I wanted to savour every single page.

 

Web_L463-2_purple_green-eyesBrenda’s review

Norma, Lindsay and I read The Witch Of Willow Hall with six of our Traveling Sisters and we all agreed that this was the perfect book for this time of year.  

The Witch of Willow Hall is just what we were craving.  It has all the elements for a great spooky, atmospheric, entertaining and chilling read with just a little bit of creep to add a little shock to the story.  There is just the right amount of tragedy and romance with a sprinkle of witchcraft and a dash of the supernatural, making this the perfect gothic historical fiction for us. 

We loved the gothic feel here with Willow Hall and were intrigued by the mystery it holds from the past and now the mystery of a scandal that a family is fleeing from.  The suspense to the story grabbed us right from the start and increased as tragedy hits and secrets are slowly revealed.

The sisters here in this story are compelling, complicated and one very messy one that we grew to love to hate.  They are very different from each with some mystery to their characters making each very intriguing. We loved the dynamics between them.

We highly recommend this fun and entertaining gothic historical fiction to anyone who loves an easy paced story.

Web_L463-1_purple_green-eyesLindsay’s review

Gothic. Mysterious. Haunting. Secretive.

This was a spine-tingling, highly atmospheric story.   Willow Hall, the countryside mansion that this novel revolves around, has such an alluring and dominating presence.  The house itself, the grounds the house lays on, the woods and the hidden pond. They all held a vital piece of this story and added an extra layer of suspense and intrigue.   I loved that!

The characters were so very well done!  The author, Hester Fox, does an outstanding job developing each and every character whether they were central to the story or held background roles.   There is a supernatural element to this novel which is handled very gently and subtly. I tend to shy away from novels involving strong supernatural aspects.  My hesitation is always that the story will feel unrealistic, however, that definitely wasn’t the case with this novel. I truly felt interested and invested in this story throughout.

For me, the intrigue and suspense in the first half of this novel outweighed the second half.   While I was still interested and engrossed in the main storyline, I felt that some parts of the second half dragged.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read that was perfect for the month of October!

Thank you from us all to NetGalley, HARLEQUIN – Graydon House Books and Hester Fox for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!

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Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Beautiful, alluring, eye-catching, intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline. My interest is always piqued when the word witch is in a title and I’m usually all over it!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, captivating, and fluid.
Plot: Foreboding, menacing, engrossing, leisurely-paced, enjoyable and extremely entertaining. I adored this storyline!
Ending: A lovely ending that I was extremely satisfied with and left me feeling hopeful.
Overall: A fascinating read that had me totally engrossed within this gothic romance tale from start to finish! I absolutely loved the creepy and menacing feel that subtly emanated throughout this wonderful atmospheric tale! Would highly recommend!

Have you read this one?  Agree with the sisters or disagree?  Want to add this one to your list to read?  Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens #travelingfriendsread #BookBloggers

Where the Crawdads Sing was one of my most anticipated group reads and this story exceeded any expectations I had for it.  I loved this story and it made for a fantastic discussion. Fifteen Traveling Friends joined in on this discussion and quite a few of us have added this one to our favorites list.

Where the Crawdads Sing is a compelling, insightful and original well-layered coming of age story that also digs deep into the environment surrounding this story.  It is so stunning and vividly written not only in the descriptive atmosphere but also with the insightful way it is written. 

We meet our main character Kya at a young age and learn how she becomes isolated from the people and world around her.   This part of the story brought on a bit of discussion for us and some of us struggled a bit here with suspending some disbelief here. However, this is also where the magic of the story and the marsh comes alive.

In our discussion, we talked about how the marsh became so many different things to Kya allowing us to see some comparisons and symbolization between nature and human behavior.   We became totally immersed in the vivid setting of the marsh and it was like the story was being told and shown to us by it. We felt like we were drawn into the mind of a character. We could feel how hauntingly isolating yet peaceful it was to Kya. We could see just how dangerous that was for Kya when the outside world becomes apart of Kya’s marsh.  The writing here is so vivid and made this such a stunning story for some us, however, there were a couple sisters who found it dense and at times myself included became a bit weary of it.

We highly recommend this truly amazing story with such an unforgettable character.

Web_L339-3_brunette_brown eyesNorma’s Review

Stunning, enchanting & emotive!

So before I start off with my review there is something that I must confess to. While reading this novel there was always this niggling annoyance in the forefront of my mind telling me that I wasn’t connecting with the third person narrative here. I am not exactly sure what it was for me but that really bothered me that I wasn’t able to give this story my whole heart. Regardless of not connecting with the third person narrative, I thought this story and the words written were absolutely beautiful though. And in the end after long discussions with my dear friend, Kris she helped me work out my feelings towards this book and come to a few realizations that were pivotal. I am so happy to say that I was able to get that warm fuzzy feeling that I was so desperately seeking from this book.

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by DELIA OWENS was an engrossing, moving, heartbreaking and charming coming of age, love story and murder mystery novel all wrapped up into one incredible and delightful story. I was immediately drawn into this quiet and powerful story that revolves around the survival and resilience of an unforgettable young girl named Kya, abandoned at the age of 10 and growing up alone in the marsh. Kya’s story consumed my thoughts and my heart totally while I was reading this novel. She had me laughing, smiling, crying, worried and rooting for her every step of the way.

DELIA OWENS delivers an intriguing, atmospheric, suspenseful and beautifully written read here that is so vividly descriptive and absolutely mesmerizing. The descriptions of the marsh and everything that it entails pertains so meaningfully to this story. Unlike Kya, I just wish that it didn’t take me as long to come to that realization of how meaningful the marsh was to her whole being and story.

This was an awesome group read with an absolutely wonderful discussion and with the help from Brenda and our Traveling Friends I was able to fully enjoy this novel! Thank you friends!

Web_L443-2_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s review

Heartbreakingly unforgettable. Deeply symbolic. Hauntingly atmospheric.

This is the story of Kya, a ‘marsh girl’ who grows up isolated from society. Abandoned by her mother at the tender age of six, Kya is left vulnerable and constantly awaiting her return.  At the age of ten, Kya is deserted by the rest of her family, leaving her completely alone to fend for herself in the wild and unruly marsh. There are a few characters that enter Kya’s life, each having a direct impact on her development and views of the world. Each of the characters is memorable and very well developed.

Kya’s story is one that will stick with you – it is emotional, disturbing, shocking and touching. While I enjoyed this story,  I did not love and adore this book as much
as most others have. The biggest thing that didn’t quite work for me was the pace of the novel – it dragged throughout. The marsh descriptions, though vivid and atmospheric, felt too much at times and I was lost in these descriptions rather than the story itself. With that being said, I feel it was fully intentional to have such overpowering descriptions and that is what many readers truly loved and connected with – it just didn’t work for me.

We received an advanced copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons through Edelweiss.

 

Web_L109-6So many amazing reviews from our Traveling Sisters and Friends and I want to add them all and their full reviews, but that would make for a very long post for you all to read.  So I have stuck with adding a bit from their reviews and recommend checking out their reviews on Goodreads.  So on to our Traveling Sister’s reviews.

Web_L423-2_blonde_brown-eyesKristin’s review

Kya’s journey spans years, the reader present from her childhood into maturity. I love this story’s ode to wilderness and Mother Earth with all her glorious wonder; her instinctual need to nurture and protect. I love each character’s flawed nature as well as those redeemed. I love the heart and soul that saturates every inch of this story, and more than anything, I LOVE that spectacularly bold ending!

To the reader who appreciates nature’s effortless beauty honored in fiction; to those who seek a love story every bit true as it is tender; to the one who needs a tantalizing murder/mystery to spice things up, and for those who tend to root for the underdog in hopes she’ll someday sparkle like the gem she is—this one’s for you.

Web_L301-3_brunette_green eyesFrom Debra’s review

This book had a little bit of everything that I love: a likable main character who pulls at your heartstrings, murder mystery, atmosphere, drama, coming of age, and romance. There are several characters who give and show kindness including, Tate, the cashier who gives back too much change and the couple who make sure Kya has what she needs. What is the saying? Those that have the least to give, give the most! There is a police investigation and courtroom drama and some twists and turns I did not see coming.

This book is beautifully written and contains poetry and vivid descriptions of the Marsh. I highly recommend this book! It’s thoughtful, evokes emotion, and transports the reader back in time to the Marsh. I loved every page.

img_6644From Christina’s review

This, at its heart, is a deeply sad but moving story about a misunderstood girl, about abandonment and loss. However, there are uplifting moments and characters that come into Kya’s life that shed light into her dreary and lonely world – through friendships with a shop owner named Jumpin’ and his wife Mabel, through a boy named Tate who teaches Kya not just how to read but about acceptance and friendship and joy. These two timelines slowly begin to converge upon one another and as it does the true gem of this story becomes apparent: nature and all it’s wonders.

Web_LF05-5_blonde_blue-eyesFrom Rose’s review

While the stories are engrossing enough at face value, Owens was hinting at something much larger than a poor girl living in a swamp. This is a book about nature as the equalizer. People can hide behind their material possessions, but true character is revealed when all of that is stripped away.

In a way, nature is also the narrator of this novel. We get such detailed glimpses into the most intimate moments of Kya’s life – whether joyous or heartbreaking – to which no human was privy because she was always alone. The only entity that would’ve known Kya so well was the marsh. The cranes, the lagoons, and the mosquitoes carried her from childhood, through adolescence, and into adulthood. They raised her, they knew her, and they told her story.

FC-2 VerityFrom Marialyce’s review

It was masterful, exceptional, an outstanding tribute to the environment of North Carolina’s coastline, of small-town Southern living, of a people who lived, loved, and were products of their time.

In this novel, we meet so many characters that resonant with the songs of their upbringing, who fall to the lure of money, power, and the ways of what their insular world has decided. They harbor prejudice, animosity, and enmity for those who they consider below them.

Delia Owens, our author in her inaugural novel, makes you one with the story. She assembles a group of characters ranging from the Marsh Girl, Kya Clark, a girl of mystery, forced to live on her own when her siblings, mother and eventually her cruel and callous father leave her, to the wonderful Tate who becomes her friend, her mentor, and the man she will someday love. Alas, though Tate also leaves her as she becomes a dupe for the unscrupulous Chase. There are the loving characters of Jumpin and Mabel, who look out for Kya with a quiet heart, with their loving manner propelling the story forward and portraying the beauty of caring for others. Conversely, Ms Owens, presents with a troop of hardhearted and callous folks who populate the town and feel that Kya is dirty, contaminated, and squalid.

Web_L117-5Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Eye-catching, beautiful, and an extremely fitting representation to the storyline.
Title: Fits the story so well and love how it plays so meaningfully into the story. I also really enjoyed the few lines in the book that referred to the title.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, lovely, eloquent, and engaging.
Plot: Entertaining, thought-provoking, captivating, steady-paced, held my attention and extremely enjoyable. Even though I had some reservations with the third person narrative it did not take away my enjoyment for the story.
Ending: Bittersweet, powerful, rewarding, and very satisfying.
Overall: An outstanding, emotional, memorable, and heartfelt read! Would highly recommend!

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Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce #travelingfriendsread #BookBloggers @SimonSchusterCA


Dear Mrs. Bird
by A.J. Pearce

img_6531Norma’s review

DEAR MRS. BIRD by A.J. PEARCE was an absolutely wonderful, charming, fun, and for the most part an all around light-hearted read that immediately grabbed my attention and had me totally engaged right to the very end. Although there were definitely some very emotional, moving and heartbreaking scenes though that pulled at my heartstrings.

A.J. PEARCE delivers an intriguing and well-written tale here with very interesting, real, and loveable characters. The story was told from the perspective of Emmeline (Emmy) Lake and the setting takes you back to the streets of London during World War II. Emmy Lake was such a delightful and fun-loving character and I thoroughly enjoyed how optimistic, caring, kind and positive she was during such a heartbreaking time.

The storyline was extremely amusing at times and I thoroughly enjoyed the advice column aspects to it and everything that it entailed from the “inappropriate topics” to Mrs. Birds intense and no-nonsense character.

After reading the Author’s Note in the end and learning how the idea of this story began and that many of the letters in DEAR MRS. BIRD were inspired by actual letters and articles from wartime magazines always brings in another added layer to the story for me. So thought-provoking and touching!

Web_L117-2_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review

Norma, Lindsay and I read Dear Mrs. Bird with our Traveling Friends and we all were immediately drawn into this charming, heart-breaking and heart-warming story. Things start off chirpy when we first meet ambitious, chipper, and optimistic Emmy and we were drawn into the hilarious misunderstandings, witty dialog, meddling characters and refreshing lighter tone to the story.  

A.J. Pearce does a great job giving a voice to the women at the home front though letters to an advice columnist.  We see how women put on their smiley face and tried to find a new normal during the London Blitz. We admired Emmy’s compassion to reach out to help these women find that new normal. Soon reality catches up and things start to turn darker as they start to see death and destruction around them.  The story takes on a darker tone and we didn’t except it take that turn so quickly and would of liked the pacing a bit better for that.  

The ending wraps up well and in even with the darker parts to the story it still remains an uplifting and charming story that really highlights the strength of these women!! We recommend!!

Web_L109-3_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s review

This was a light hearted romp in 1940’s London that centered around Emmeline (Emmy) Lake, a strong and determined young woman doing her part to help the war effort. Emmy finds herself employed as the typist for an eccentric and outrageous advice columnist, Mrs. Bird. While the job isn’t exactly what Emmy had hoped it would be, she puts forth her best effort and tries to help improve the columns dying fan base.

The novel gives interesting insight into a women’s side of the war effort. Women’s determination to stay strong and continue living their lives, all the while the horrendous wartime atrocities lingering in their minds. Their men gone to fight the brutal war with no end in sight, yet they continue on helping where they could while longing for their men to return home safely.

This was an entertaining story with likeable characters and witty humour. While I enjoyed the characters and their relationships, I didn’t feel completely invested in them or fully engrossed in their lives. It was more of a light, surface glimpse into their story without a true connection. The novel had a lot of sarcastic humour which had me chucking a few times, but for the most part, felt overdone. I enjoyed the advice column letters scattered throughout the novel and wished the story had a stronger focus on the column itself.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Somewhat intriguing, love the bright colors, the typeset and display of the title with the typewriter keys – very fitting!
Title: Fits the story well and love how it also plays obscurely into the story.
Writing/Prose: amusing, light, and empathically written.
Plot: Engaging, steady-paced, held my attention and extremely enjoyable.
Ending: Warming, touching, memorable and completely satisfying.
Overall: An excellent, uplifting, delightful, and heartwarming read! Would recommend!

Thank you so much from all of us to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and A.J. Pearce for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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