Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Friends Reads

Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand #travelingfriendsread #BookReview

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Brenda’s review

Summer of ‘69 is my first book I read by Elin Hilderbrand and I have to say it was the perfect one to start with.  It’s already coming up to the end of summer and we haven’t had any summer weather and I really enjoyed being swept away to the sun in Nantucket.  The cover alone took me to my happy summer place. 

Elin Hilderbrand weaves a historical fiction, family drama  with a beach read that was the perfect summer read for me. She vividly creates the iconic american summer of ‘69 while capturing each of the characters’ own conflicts that represents a theme of that era.   The writing flows so quietly as Hilderbrand explores a lot of themes here. 

I was immediately drawn into the family dynamics here with their misunderstanding, secrets, headache and worry.  Their relationships are complicated however the dynamics between them is easy and light while still capturing their emotional depth and growth.

I enjoyed every minute of this story and it all came together so well.  I highly recommend! I look forward to diving into one of the many other books by Elin Hilderbrand I own! 

Norma’s review

Evocative, entrancing, & absorbing!

I have been meaning to read one of ELIN HILDERBRAND books for quite a while now and I am so glad that I finally followed through and read my very first book by her. This is some fine storytelling here. I totally loved the dynamics between the characters, was full-heartedly entranced by the setting, enraptured by the premise, and had a deep fondness for the whole story in general. 

SUMMER OF ‘69 by ELIN HILDERBRAND is a nostalgic, fun, touching, moving, and breezy domestic tale that totally enchanted me. I was immediately hooked and fully absorbed within this storyline. Being born in 1966, I absolutely loved being transported back to a place in time and era that totally came alive for me. It was extremely easy to visualize and experience place and time perfectly through the words expressed here. Loved that! 

ELIN HILDERBRAND delivers an intriguing, vivid, atmospheric, beautifully written and retrospective tale here that has woven together some historical moments perfectly into an easy-breezy summer read with heart. I really loved the tone and flow of this novel. It was like sitting down with a good friend on a relaxing summery day while they relayed to me their story. 

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: A feel-good, happy, summery, and lively cover that depicts this time period and storyline perfectly.
Title: Intriguing, appealing, emotive, relevant, and a simply beautiful representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Compulsively readable, expressive, prolific, engaging, and dramatic. 
Plot: Dynamic, steadily-paced, fun, captivating, nostalgic, heartfelt, relevant, and entertaining.
Ending: A beautiful and heartfelt ending that left me feeling totally satiated.
Overall: I thought this was the perfect summer read and absolutely loved reading the authors note in the end where I found out where the inspiration behind the story came from. That just brought in an extra feeling of respect, meaning and warmth for the novel for me. Would highly recommend!

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Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads

Girls Like Us by Christina Alger #travelingsistersread #BookReview

Girls Like Us By Christina Alger is available now!

Lindsay’s Review

Loved the characters! Loved the atmosphere! Loved the storyline!

Twelve years after moving away, FBI agent Nell Flynn, returns to her small seaside hometown to handle closing her father’s estate.   Nell’s mother was murdered when Nell was a child and since then, she and her father, a police detective, had a rocky relationship.   When Nell was old enough to be on her own, she left her hometown and never looked back.   Now that she is backin her childhood town following her father’s death, old memories return and she is drawn to looking into some unanswered questions about her past.   Shortly after her arrival,a dead body is found and Nell finds herself helping the local police investigate.   Could the body be connected to one of her father’s old cases?

These characters were fantastic!   I ADORED Nell!   She was such a strong yet vulnerable character who I was rooting for from start to finish.

Each character carried an air of mystery which kept me curious to see how things would play out.   The atmosphere was thick and engrossing throughout this thrilling and edgy storyline which had me flipping the pages as quickly as possible.  I really enjoyed the writing – the pace and flow of the story was excellent.   I look forward to reading more from this author!

Norma’s Thoughts

An easy-breezy, entertaining and quick read!

GIRLS LIKE US by CHRISTINA ALGER was an interesting premise with a fabulous and strong female character that mildly held my interest throughout. I was immediately intrigued and thoroughly enjoyed the mystery but felt like I was never fully engaged though. I was a little disappointed with the way a few things played out in the end which lowered my overall rating.

I enjoyed it just didn’t love it as much as I would have liked. It was a much loved book by quite a few other Traveling Friends though so please don’t let my rating/review deter you from picking this one up.

Thank you so much to Edelweiss, G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Cristina Alger for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy of this book.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins @Kristan_Higgins @BerkleyPub #travelingfriendsread #BookReview

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Norma’s Review

Affecting, emotional, & expressive!

I am a fairly new reader of KRISTAN HIGGINS, I have only read one of her previous novels, NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT and absolutely loved it. So I was extremely eager to read her latest offering here with LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES. I have read a few reviews where they have mentioned that this book isn’t written in her signature humorous style. So without really knowing her signature style I thought it was an extremely balanced read that produced the perfect mixture of emotions from me which included some laugh-out-loud ones from a few comical scenes. 

LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES by KRISTAN HIGGINS is a touching, impactful, powerful, insightful, and moving story that immediately captured my attention and my heart. I was totally immersed in these characters lives which had me smiling, laughing, happy, sad, and even shed a few tears over the course of reading this emotionally captivating story and in the end, it left me with feelings of such warmth in my heart.

KRISTAN HIGGINS delivers a beautifully written, engaging, and heartfelt story here with absolutely wonderful, relatable and compelling characters. With the fantastic characterizations the emotions and compassion that you feel for these characters are extremely palpable and easily be fully invested in.

The story is told mostly between the perspectives of Genevieve, Riley and Emma with a few chapters from some secondary characters. Although I totally loved each and every perspective equally, I had a fondness for Miller and thoroughly enjoyed him and his story. 

Brenda’s review

Life and Other Inconveniences is my second book I have read by Kristan Higgins and I have to admit my first was a miss for me.  Well I was completely surprised and this one was a big hit for me!

Kristan Higgins does a great job creating engaging characters using warm humor, insightful thoughts with realistic, raw emotions and actions.  For me the humor has to have some warmth to it when more affecting topics are explored in a story. I have been told I am just a little over sensitive when it comes to that.  

I was hooked right from the start with these engaging likable and unlikable characters. I loved the dynamics between the characters and I enjoyed the complicated relationships between them.  Old wounds are opened up and second chances are explored with emotional depth to the characters. Each are given a conflict and through each of their POV we see them grow. At times I did feel their inner thoughts were a bit repetitive and would have preferred to see them grow more by their actions.

There is a mystery here as well and that added some suspense to the story.  I really enjoyed how Higgins weaved that into the story line and I thought it all came together well.  The story wrapped up and I felt very satisfied after reading this one. I highly recommend. 

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Affecting, intriguing, heartfelt, peaceful, eye-catching, and an impactful representation to storyline. 
Title: An impactful and powerful title!!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, beautiful, captivating, expressive, skilled, and proficient.
Plot: Suspenseful, thought-provoking, heartbreaking, heartwarming, insightful, perfectly-paced, amusing, enjoyable and extremely entertaining. 
Ending: Bittersweet, satisfying, and heartwarming that definitely made me pause, reflect and contemplate. 
Overall: This book contained all the elements that I absolutely love in my books. Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this beautiful book.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson #travelingfriendsread

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A Nearly Normal Family * was our July pick for The Traveling Friends Goodreads Reading Group. This one started off seeming like a normal legal thriller here and even though it wasn’t the gripping read some of us expected there wasn’t anything normal about this legal thriller, domestic/family drama, whodunit and courtroom drama all in one. 

Brenda’s review


Give me a story with a family in crisis and I am all over it. The story did start off a bit slow for me until about 65% in and then things picked up and I was on the edge of my seat turning those pages as fast as I could.  I loved the theme here with what seems like a normal family find themselves questioning everything about each other after a crisis leads them protecting the ones they love. 

I enjoyed the structure here to the story that is told in three parts with the POV of the father, Adam, the daughter Stella who is accused of murder and the mother Ulrika.  I liked how we saw something different with each of their perspective that added some complexity to the story.

M.T. Edvardsson explores just how far this family will go to save the ones they love and gives it a twist that left this reader very happy with the way this one wrapped up. It left me thinking about so many thought provoking questions and wanting to discuss it with my friends.  

Norma’s review

Clever, compulsive, & emotive!

A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY by M.T. EDVARDSSON * was quite the unique, intense, and fascinating story. I was thoroughly entertained and loved how this story was broken up into three very powerful sections from each of the family members. The first section from the father’s point of view started off a little shaky for me but then once I got to Stella’s (the daughter’s POV) I was hooked. This was such an emotionally gripping story that was absolutely unputdownable! Highly recommend!

Lindsay’s review

Kept me highly intrigued and guessing from start to finish!

Eighteen-year-old Stella’s father is a pastor. Her mother is a criminal defence attorney. They paint the portrait of the “picture-perfect family” until the day Stella is arrested for murder. How could she be connected to an older mans brutal death? Stella’s parents are devastated as she is held in prison awaiting her trial. They do whatever they can to support their daughter.

This novel is told through three interesting perspectives: Stella, her father and her mother. With each perspective change, I felt a deeper connection to the story. The narrative pace and flow kept me curious and edgy, my mind continually whirled with possibilities of how it would all come together. 

This book came with a lot of hype and it definitely lived up to it for me. There were several times I thought I had it all figured out, but I was wrong every single time which kept the thrill strong. 

We received complimentary copies through NetGalley.

*Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links for products and services that we recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission. Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Friends Reads

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim @AngieKimWriter @goodreads

YAHOO!!! Our June Traveling Friends Goodreads Group pick Miracle Creek by Angie Kim is wrapping up and it was one fantastic group read! Angie Kim nailed it here with her stand out, stunning, unique and twisty debut!!

Brenda’s review

From the very first page, Angie Kim writes an insightful, masterfully plotted and well-layered story here. One like no other I have read before. For me, it’s stories like this that I seek out and I need as a reader. It had me digging deep into the depth of the story and my mind raced with all kinds of thoughts that were provoked from the insight to the themes and elements in the story.

Miracle Creek explores a few themes here and it is so well developed and paced. There is a mystery here with a whodunit and the drama starts to unfold in the courtroom.  The mystery is so well weaved into the storyline it becomes just one of the elements that make up this story. The story turns into a fascinating study as we see the characters version of the truth and just how the truth can be altered or influenced.  The character’s moral compass is examined and a well played out dominion effect takes hold and wraps up this ending. It’s mind-blowing and absolutely fascinating how it all plays out. 

Angie Kim had me connected to each character in one way or another with the moving and insightful look into parenting. Each character conflicted and desperate in their struggles and feelings of being alone with their inner thoughts. I felt so many emotions as we see their thoughts and the judgement from others. The ending wraps up so well and after discussing this one in the group I was left with such a clear picture as to how one thing lead to another creating a brilliant well plotted story from start to finish.

Miracle Creek made for a stand out group read for us and one that will be a favourite of mine. There is so much to talk about here and in the discussion I could see all the different things we each picked up in the story that really enhanced the reading experience for this one.  I could talk about this one forever.

Norma’s review

Riveting, affecting, & vivid!

Wowza! I absolutely LOVED this and think all the buzz surrounding this book is so well deserved and warranted.

MIRACLE CREEK by ANGIE KIM is a poignant, moving, gripping, powerful, captivating and absolutely stunning debut novel that captured my attention and heart right from the very first page. I was immediately drawn into this murder mystery and found it so irresistibly unputdownable.

ANGIE KIM delivers a fascinating, suspenseful, interesting, engaging and beautifully written courtroom drama story here that was absolutely perfect in every way. The characters and storyline definitely got under my skin and I was intensely impressed with how masterfully done this story was.

This was such a powerful and thought-provoking read that I was totally invested and immersed in. I especially loved the emotive courtroom drama scenes which definitely created lots of intrigue and edge of your seat suspense. 

Traveling Friends Read

Some thoughts from our friends reviews from Goodreads.

This book introduces us to various characters who at first come across as likable but as the book progresses and as more information is divulged, their likability dwindles and suspicions shift. Most have secrets, hidden agendas, and secret thoughts. As their chapters progressed, the characters are fleshed out as are their inner thoughts and what they were really thinking and doing leading up to the explosion -Debra

The writing is expressive, the interactions between the characters feel natural and it is easy to feel empathy for most of them. Individual voices are clearly distinguished in chapters told by various characters as they relate the events leading up to the accident that changed their lives forever. All the characters have their own minor human flaws and failings, which contribute to the accident in one way or another. Intelligent and thoughtful, this is a novel that will appeal to a wide audience. – Carolyn

Told from many POV’s, Kim does an amazing job presenting this story from individual perspectives. The characters are so well written and so well developed, hearing each of their voices and their side of the situation gives life and understanding to the entire story. It is a reflection on how quickly and easily words/actions/situations can be judged, misconstrued, and misunderstood. Their stories are heartbreaking and fascinating, all in one. – Nikki

If you’re a parent, MIRACLE CREEK will hit you like a freight train right where it hurts most, because when it comes down to it, parents and children form the center of this brilliant novel. We all want the best for our children, right? Only who decides what is best? How will our choices affect our and their lives? And what if your child is sick, and in pain, and you’re just trying to stay afloat here and do the best you can? – Heidi

#miraclecreek #goodreadssummerreadingchallange #travelingfriendsread 


Posted in Goodreads Summer Challenge, Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple @goodreads #travelingfriendsread #goodreadssummerreadingchallange

Lindsay and I read Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple  for the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge that we are participating in our Traveling Friends Goodreads Group.  Lindsay used this one for the “The book is better: Read a book being adapted for TV or film this year.” and I used it for a “Good as gold:  Read a book that won a Goodreads Choice Award”.

Brenda’s review

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a unique, fun and entertaining story that explores the creative side to our quirky, eccentric and endearing main character Bernadette through different documents used in the story.  At first, it took me a bit to get into the flow of the format with the emails, letters, etc. so I decided to listen to parts of this one and I really enjoyed the narrator. I thought it really enhanced the story to hear the different formats used in the story and the narrator was very expressive as she read the story.  I am so curious about the movie and looking forward to watching it when it comes out.

There is a lot of depth here with the different documents and how they are relevant to the disappearance of Bernadette and through them, we can see just how people view Bernadette leaving us questioning Bernadette’s state of mind.  I was also questioning a few other characters as well. We also see the creative side to Bernadette’s husband computer engineer Eligie who creates for Microsoft.  I enjoyed the dynamics here with both of their creative sides and just how different they were from each other as well as how people reacted to them.  

Some things felt a bit over the top here with just how eccentric Bernadette and this story is and towards the end, Maria Semple does push that a bit into an unrealistic way however for me, it felt heartwarming as to how it all came together.

“People like you must create.  If you don’t you become a menace to society. ”

In the end, I was left with so much to think about and so much I wanted to talk about.  I delved into the creative side of people and began to understand the creative people in my life a bit more after reading this one.  I highly recommend for group reads.

Lindsay’s review

Quirky and unforgettable characters with a unique and captivating storyline. 

This novel was a refreshing change of pace from what I have been reading lately. A silly, unpredictable story with eccentric and entertaining characters that had me laughing out loud. I really liked the way the story unfolded through letters, emails, reports and the narrative of Bee, the daughter of the family. Some of the plot overlapped between these points of narration giving a layered look into what was happening which I thought was done very well. 

For me, the first half of the book was more intriguing and enjoyable than the second half. My interest was piqued from the start and my curiosity had me flipping the pages as quickly as possible. The second half of the book began to drag in parts and my connection to the storyline lessened. The plot took an unrealistic route (for me) and lost its spark and intrigue. While I still loved the characters and their quirkiness, I wasn’t invested in what was happening to them.