I read Stone Mothers with a couple of my Instagram friends and it lead to such a great discussion.
Victorian mental asylum, deep dark secrets threatened to be exposed and the lengths these characters take to keep them buried.
The Stone Mothers is an atmospheric, slow-burn psychological thriller that at times I found a bit like a drama rather than a thriller. I love a good atmospheric read with walls that hold secrets begging to be told and this story sure delivers on that. However, the part that didn’t quite deliver for me was the suspense I needed more but that was ok because the drama part of the story was well done.
The story started off a bit slow at building the suspense and tension however it left us feeling as Heidi described as feeling like we were all part of a group but were the only ones who didn’t know what everyone was talking about. We felt like we were kept in the dark. I started to feel a bit impatient and frustrated and that slowed down the story for me. The story did pick up for me at Part two and I began to turn those pages as fast as I could to see how everything wrapped up in the end.
What I really liked about this story and made the story for me I can’t really say as it could be a spoiler for some people. I guess that’s what makes discussing in a group so great. I highly recommend for buddy/group reads.
Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for my copy.
Have you read this one? Want to read this one? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!
We read No Exit by Taylor Adams in our Traveling Friends Goodreads Group and this one left us very excited after reading it! We highly recommend not missing this exciting and entertaining thriller!
Whoa! Edgy, chilling & engrossing stuff here!
NO EXIT by TAYLOR ADAMS is a highly entertaining, riveting and action-packed thrill ride that was quite the tense psychological thriller. The storyline and the chilling setting of this tale immediately drew me in and held taut right to the very end. I found that the storyline was so darn nightmarishly exciting that literally had my heart racing and kept me on the edge of my seat making this one totally immersive read.
TAYLOR ADAMS delivers a rapid-paced, suspenseful, gripping, well-written and perfectly executed read here that was such a vivid portrayal that I thought I was actually watching a thriller movie unfold rather than just reading it. That is pretty good storytelling to be able to totally immerse me in every little scary vivid detail as I am definitely not a visual reader.
This was pretty much the perfect thriller for me and one that totally blew me away. Yup landing into my favourite reads shelf!
Colorado blizzard, stranded travelers, an isolated rest stop, a kidnapped child, a cat and mouse game between a young woman and a terrifying psychopath
No Exit is one of my favorite type of thriller. A thrilling fast-past, climatic, heart-pounding game of cat and mouse between two strong and very different characters who try to outwit each other. I even joined in on this cat and mouse game by yelling at the characters and rooting here for our young brave heroine who gives it her all to outwit a psychopath.
No Exit had me turning those pages as fast as I could. It’s intensely gripping right up to that climatic and emotional ending. There are some terrifying twists and turns that did get a bit graphic at times. We were feeling things were getting pretty intense here with some of those scenes and might not be able to the same way about a certain thing used in this story without thinking about this story. Taylor Adams sure knows how to play that shock effect well here. We might even be thinking twice about stopping at any rest/visitors centers again. And I am going to stick to my “if it’s snowing I am not going rule.
A look into our discussion
Loved this!!! I was on the edge of my seat for most of it….I actually had to put it down a time or 2 because it was stressing me out!! I loved Darby & her resourcefulness & grit. She was amazing. This was one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time! Beth
It was fast-paced, exciting and kept my attention! The twists were unpredictable and Darby was bright and amusing. Loved it! JuJu
What a crazy ride! I am not a fan of rest stops to begin with, so this has further deterred me from stopping at one! Nikki
Wowzers! The anxiety and nail bitting twists up until the very end was entertaining. I couldn’t put this down. I loved the twist and turns Jennifer
Definitely a fast paced read and super creepy. I did not see the reveals coming Great ending! Carolyn
Cover: Frightening, isolating, and frigid. This cover totally caught my attention and is a fabulous representation to storyline. I am so ecstatic to say that it totally lived up to all the hype and exceeded all my expectations!
Title: Intriguing, clever and an absolutely perfect representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, gripping and fluid. Thoroughly enjoyed the narrative!
Plot: Scary, unsettling, intense, suspenseful, twisty, imaginative, and a little bit graphic.
Ending: A shocking, surprising, intense and action-packed ending that left me feeling totally wowed.
Overall: This book had one of the most brilliant fictional premises that I have read to date and I thoroughly enjoyed escaping into this extremely scary tale! Would recommend!
Thank you so much to Edelweiss, the publishers William Morrow & HarperCollins Canada, and Taylor Adams for the ARC. We also purchased a copy for ourselves.
Have you read this one? Want to read this one? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!
This week I am bringing you another review that I have fallen behind on. We read A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne with a few of our friends on Instagram. Our main character Maurice sure gave us a lot to talk about.
He is hungry for success, ambitious yet lacks talent, devious and manipulating. Nothing stands in his way of getting what he wants
The Ladder To The Sky is a compelling yet disturbing dark story that explores how far one man will go to achieve success using deceit and manipulation. It has been quoted as a “deliciously dark tale” and I have to agree. Maurice is handsome, charming and not afraid to work that. He is dangerously fascinating yet irresistible. Oh, and he is a sociopath. He had us feeling uncomfortable, disturbed and angry. He shocked us and watching him throughout this story felt like watching a train wreck about to happen in slow motion and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
It’s a great one to read in a group as there is a lot to talk about here with this one and if you are like me it’s also a great one to get wrapped up in your little thoughts and discussion with the characters. I highly recommend.
Maurice – you conniving, selfish scoundrel! Never have I ever been so intrigued by such a nasty and repulsive main character. Wow!
This novel follows Maurice Swift in his rise to fame. We are introduced to Maurice as a handsome young man whose goal in life is to become a famous writer. He will stop at nothing to get ahead, latching on to countless people to use them for all he can get. As the story progresses, we witness just how greedy, manipulative and destructive he can be.
This story is unpredictable, outrageous, fascinating and jaw-dropping. I felt like I was in a constant state of shock, never knowing what to anticipate next. The author, John Boyne, has such a unique and enthralling way with words. He created a highly unlikeable main character with such an addictive and engrossing storyline that you can’t help but be intrigued and curious throughout. The writing is brilliant, the characters are unforgettable, the storyline is unique and shocking.
This is my second novel by John Boyne and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend checking out this book and author!
Thank you to NetGalley, Crown Publishing and John Boyne for providing us a copy to read and review. I also purchased a copy for myself
Have you read this one? Want to read this one? Drop us a comment we would love to her from you!
We had the absolute pleasure of Christina McDonald joining in on our Traveling Friends Goodreads discussion as well as our Instagram discussion for her outstanding, emotional, thought-provoking domestic suspense novel The Night Olivia Fell. Christina so gracious with her time, spend two hours chatting with us and answering our questions. She shared some insight into the story and her writing. It was the most incredible reading experience we have had in our groups. After our discussion with Christina there might of been some dancing around the house!
The Night Olivia Fell:Suspenseful and twisty that kept us guessing, so heart-wrenching it left us in tears, a mother’s love and the lengths she will go to protect her child shone through and left us reflecting on our own need to protect our children. Family secrets and the search for the truth left us discussing what we prefer truth or happiness. A mother’s grieve left us hugging our own children.
THE NIGHT OLIVIA FELL by CHRISTINA MCDONALD was an absolutely fabulous novel that I completely devoured and was totally invested in. It was such a moving, suspenseful, enjoyable, and heartfelt tale that immediately evoked emotion and totally grabbed my attention. It opens up with a nightmarish scene that definitely pulled at my heartstrings and had me sitting on the edge of my seat in anguish and despair for Abi and her love for Olivia as we are pretty much privy to Olivia’s fate right from the very beginning.
CHRISTINA MCDONALD delivers an impressive debut that was character-driven, gripping, fast-paced, intriguing and well-written that was told in two timelines between Abi’s perspective after Olivia’s fall and Olivia’s before the accident.
I absolutely love it when a book produces so much emotion from me and has me pondering and guessing the outcome with all the different possible scenarios. This book for me had it all! An emotionally charged & fascinating storyline, realistic & believable character dynamics, and a well-crafted & intense mystery.
One of my worst nightmares. Being woken in the night by a phone call that my child has been in an accident and is in the hospital. This is what happens to Abi Knight. After mysteriously falling off a bridge, her teenage daughter, Olivia, is on life-support with brain damage and no chance of recovery. Upon absorbing the shock of this devastating news, Abi discovers that Olivia is pregnant and must stay on life-support to keep the baby alive.
This story pulled me in right away. I had countless urgent questions from the first few pages. What happened to Olivia? Who is the baby’s father? What was she doing out at night on that bridge? The author, Christina McDonald, does a fantastic job keeping the suspense thick and strong throughout the novel. The characters were extremely well developed, leaving a lasting and impactful impression. The dual timelines and transition between narrators were smooth and powerful, leaving me yearning for just “one more chapter”. The last few chapters had me sobbing and emotionally drained. The Epilogue was so very powerful and perfect.
A look into our Traveling Friends Goodreads discussion
I have to say wow! I love how everything all came together. At one point I suspected everyone throughout reading it. I love how they were so many red herring and believable read flags throughout the story. I loved both perspectives and really thought Christina captured both of them so well. I was really blown away by Olivia’s voice. So realistic and not annoying. Lol I am not sure what I expected going into this one. I think I was thinking it was going to be more like a twisty fast-paced thriller but this was an emotionally fast-paced story that explored a family’s love and secrets. It surprised me how much insight and emotion depth there was to it. Brenda
Well I am adding another “Wowza” comment! This was an amazing book for me and I was a babbling mess in the end. I just loved this book and thought it was pretty much perfect in every way. Norma
I thought the characters were very well developed, the suspense had me intrigued all the way through, the switching perspectives between Olivia and Abi were great. My suspicions were all over the place. Lindsay
Wow! Read this one in two sittings And, it did bring a tear to my eye in the end. I found it to be suspenseful from start to finish, Jayme
Wow – that was an emotional read for me! I shed a few tears. Such a good story! Heidi
I am right there with all of the “WOW” comments! 🙂 This one had it all–suspense, great plot, well-developed characters, and an emotional and satisfying ending. I was not expecting to get all teary at the end, wow.. that was heartbreaking Nikki
I really enjoyed the book too. I think the way it was written starting with Olivia on life support and then delving back into the past to find out how she got there was what made it so suspenseful. Carolyn
I enjoyed how Christina wrote it in both POV. I thought it was easy to follow but also kept you on the end of your seat trying to figure out what really happened. Of course, I kept thinking I figured it out and in the end ALL of my theories were wrong! The writing was captivating, thought-provoking, suspenseful and emotionally charged. I think she did a fantastic job and I cannot wait to read more from her! Chessi
I enjoyed this book right from the first page I liked the chapters being split between the two main characters as you got a little more insight of the storylines about each of them and how different they were from what they each believed. Jess
From our Friends’ review
Nikki The Night Olivia Fell immediately drew me in and never let me go. Christina McDonald delivers a novel that blends a little bit of mystery, a little bit of suspense, and a whole lot of emotion into a heart wrenching and thrilling tale
Alternating between past and present, the story unfolds as we hear from Abi and Olivia. The alternating perspectives and timelines truly enhance the story, giving life to these characters and building the momentum of the novel. McDonald does an excellent job capturing both the mom and daughter side, with her teenage-voice for Olivia being especially well executed.
While there are mysteries to be solved and secrets to uncover, there are no super, major shocks or blindsiding twists… and that’s ok! Because the family dynamic, the level of heartbreak, the exploration of hard choices, and the overall emotional feel of the story is what makes this book. The mystery part is just extra icing on the cake.
Towards the ending this story morphed into an emotional roller coaster for me. There is a part where the fine details that the author includes literally had me feeling like I was in the room with them. I often come away from a book feeling euphoric when I really love the book. This book touched on something that I can’t even put into the words. I felt emotionally overwhelmed for several hours after finishing. I felt a sense of personal loss, which I never feel like this when reading a book. I had to keep reminding myself that it is a BOOK and it is a work of fiction. I think this speaks volumes as to the immense talent this author has that she managed to get me so emotionally worked up. I obviously can’t express how much I loved this book and I highly recommend it to everyone. This book is going to stay in my thoughts for a long time to come. For Kim’s full review
Debra This book is told through both Abi and Olivia’s point of view. Abi after being told about her daughter’s fall and Olivia’s told from months leading up to and the day of the fall. The reader gets to learn more about each of these women, their thoughts and emotions. Family dynamics, mother-daughter relationships, dating, falling in love, friendship, truth, the search for one’s identity, etc. it’s all here in this book.
I found this book to be absorbing and felt for both Abi and Olivia. This book will pull on your heartstrings and had me reaching for my tissues. Watching Abi grieve and fight to learn what happened to her daughter, I couldn’t help but wonder what if? Unimaginable. The reactions and emotions in this book felt believable and raw.
The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald has the most heartbreaking and heartfelt ending I’ve read in along time. It’s a book where you need time to sit and finish in one day, the chapters are short and easy whilst spilt between the two main characters.One telling the story from the present and the other telling the story on the run up to devastating conclusion. It’s fast, it’s easy, it also keeps you guessing and plotting what you think is going to happen to then twist and make you realise you never really knew at all and it just breaks your heart (and yes I cried that doesn’t happen very often when reading a book only on rare occasions😢) I really highly recommend this book, The ending to this story is going to stay with me for a long time.
Thank you so much to Christina McDonald for joining in our discussion and for sending me a finished copy of your book. I will be hugging it for awhile!
Have you read this one? Are you running to the store or your computer to buy this one? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!
Lisa Jewell does it again!! She nailed it with this one and satisfied the anticipation we had here with Watching You! She has written another well-layered story in her traditional way of layering those clues and reveals at just the right time but this time with a little bit of a different twist here to that. She maintained creating that suspense she is a master at but left that final reveal right up to the end. Now there were some clues there and normally I pick up on Jewell’s clues but this time around I found they were hidden in the layers. When I read that reveal and what came after I was left jumping out of my chair yelling “Wow I didn’t see that coming”.
My first book by Lisa Jewell was I Found You and it became one of my favorite books. I was hooked on Lisa Jewell’s writing and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on more of her books. I went on a reading binge with a couple of my Traveling Sisters and we enjoyed all her books we read. Then She Was Gone was another highly anticipated book for us and one we all loved. I highly recommend all of her books!
Entrancing, irresistible and compelling!
WATCHING YOU by LISA JEWELL is a clever, unputdownable, and suspenseful psychological thriller novel that immediately drew me in and had me totally engrossed and interested right from the very first page.
The opening scene had me so intrigued in finding out who was murdered and why that I was racing through those pages as fast as I possibly could. We the readers aren’t privy to any of that information and that is definitely the strong point of this novel. The process is a slow-burn as we get to know all the characters and their motives. Plenty of questions started swirling around in my mind and where some of those questions are answered the motive behind those actions aren’t revealed to us until the end.
LISA JEWELL delivers an intriguing, character-driven, well-written and plotted story here with interesting and engaging characters that was told in multiple points of view along with police transcripts intertwined into the storyline. The police transcripts were a favorite and such an effective way for us to get a firsthand look into the investigation and pick up on some of those clues.
I absolutely loved that this book created so many questions and the subtle clues are perfectly interspersed in the storyline but piecing them all together was definitely making my head spin. So I decided that I was just going to read and let the story do the job for me. And, I am so glad that I did because what transpires in the end was absolutely stunning and so totally worth it!
A tense, secretive and twisty story that had me guessing until the end.
This is my third Lisa Jewell book and she continues to impress me. I love how addictive, fast-paced and gripping her novels are. I just can’t seem to put them down once I start the first chapter. Her storylines are current, suspenseful and highly intriguing.
There are several characters in this book, all are well developed with perfectly timed introductions, leaving no room for confusion. The plot largely focuses on Josephine (Joey) Mullen who lives with her new husband in her brother and sister-in-laws’ house in a well-respected neighbourhood. They are trying to find steady jobs and get settled before finding a place of their own. We meet several of their neighbours, with chapters alternating between many of their perspectives. Each perspective brought a new layer of suspense and allure, each with a hint of secrecy that could possibly connect the intricate pieces of this puzzle together. The title says it all – “Watching You” – this applies to many scenarios throughout this fast-paced and highly addictive novel.
Norma’s Stats Cover: Eye-catching, intriguing, and effective! Absolutely love everything about this cover and such a fantastic representation to storyline. Title: Intriguing, suspenseful, and an absolutely perfect representation to storyline. Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, absorbing, captivating, and skilled. Plot: Suspenseful, fascinating, engrossing, fast-paced, held my attention fully and extremely entertaining. Ending: A twist ending that wrapped up everything perfectly! Loved it! Overall: An irresistible, intense, surprising, suspenseful, and fabulous read! Would highly recommend!
Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Lisa Jewell for our copies to read and review
Have you read this one? Are you clicking on your favourite bookstore to order it now or out the door to buy this one? Have you read any other books by Lisa Jewell that you enjoyed? Drop us a comment!
Norma, Lindsay and I have decided to take our love of reading in a group to Instagram and we have now started hosting group reads there. For one of our first exciting and fun group reads on Instagram Norma and I read Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty with a few bookstagramers. We loved this one and it was a surefire winner for us that left us cheering after reading it. On a suggestion from members, we also read this one in our Traveling Friends Goodreads group. Our Traveling Sister and close blogging sister Kim, joined us cheering for this one in both groups. Today we are sistering up with her on this post. So please pop on over and check out her review @It’s All About The Thrill.
In our Instagram group, we hosted an ongoing discussion, and this really made for a very interesting and fun discussion as we swapped theories, shared some of our favorite quotes that left us laughing out loud and cried together over some of the scenes in this story. A couple friends who read this one already joined in on our discussion. Now things were interestingly different in the Goodreads group and overall friends were left in the over-the-top and off the rails coulee.
Brenda’s review and thoughts into our group reads.
Nine Perfect Strangers started off strong for me and a few other friends in both groups. We instantly loved one of our main characters Frances and a few of us could really relate to her. Liane Moriarty had us starting off laughing out loud as we met our nine perfect strangers. Now all of them are not strangers to each other as there is a family and a couple. Liane Moriarty does a great job here creating some different strangers with different backgrounds each dealing with their own conflicts. We get a glimpse into their inner thoughts and see their insecurities and their feelings or assumptions into each other. Really making that an interesting part to each of their POVs. Things do take on a more serious tone when we learn more about why some of our characters are on this retreat and at times I was left in tears, now some of you know I am not a crier and Moriarty really was able to capture some real like emotions here with these characters for me. This is where I thought her brilliant writing came in. She had me laughing one minute and crying the next but not at the expense of some of the serious topics she explored. I thought the humor relief was done well here and paced well where it was needed. Now where this story went a little sideways for some us I thought was very brave of Liane Moriarty to tackle and we could see how that paid off for her for some of us but not for others in our groups. She introduces a part to the storyline not yet explored in any stories I have read before. I applaud her for taking that risk. Now I will admit things did get a little over the top towards the ending and I did start to get a little worried. I can certainly understand how this left some of our members feeling this one went over the top and off the rail for them. In the end, it all worked for me and a few of us. We highly recommend.
Wildly entertaining, wickedly perceptive & an irresistible page-turner!
“It’s just a story!” ……and oh boy what a story it was!
NINE PERFECT STRANGERS by LIANE MORIARTY was such a fantastic, lighthearted, fun, sad, and touching story that was so thought-provoking and yet so humorous to read. I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t get enough of these quirky characters. I adored this book right from the very start and had me laughing out loud numerous times and then at other times gasping out loud in shock for the pain that some of these characters were suffering.
LIANE MORIARTY delivers quite the fascinating, intriguing, vulnerable, lifelike, and beautifully written read here with quirky and realistic characters, a brazen and dynamic premise and an extremely spellbinding and enthralling storyline.
What really stood out about this novel for me was how realistic and raw these characters were written. I could see myself and others in probably every single one of these characters in this story. I thought the inner thoughts and dialogue was absolutely spot on.
I absolutely loved the way that this novel made me feel and yup, in the end, it gave me that warmth and satisfying afterglow that I seek in my books.
Cover: Simply beautiful, natural, effective & purely Moriarty! P.S. – Do you see an outline of a woman’s body on the cover?
Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and a fabulous representation to storyline. The nine guests were perfectly imperfect!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, captivating, witty, intelligent and smart.
Plot: Intriguing, clever, thought-provoking, suspenseful, perfectly-paced, absorbing, enjoyable and highly entertaining.
Ending: Clever and totally satisfying. Loved the progressive timeline.
Overall: An extremely enjoyable & entertaining read that had me totally engrossed from start to finish! Would highly recommend!
Have you read this one? Were you left feeling this one was a sure-fire winner for you or over the top and off the rails? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you.