Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Line That Held Us by David Joy #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers

The Line That Held Us by David Joy

Web_L117-1_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review

Lindsay and I read The Line That Held Us with six of our Traveling Sisters and this was one that left us all breathless after reading it. It made for a great discussion.

David Joy holds nothing back here and pulls no stops with this stunning and violent story that explores sacrifice and suffering. We were immediately drawn into a world where our characters live by a code and where family roots run deep and the lines that hold them are clear. The story is fiercely intense with descriptive violence that at times forced me to put up some filters to not absorb some of the violence. David Joy does have a way with his writing and it beautifully flows easily without any shock value.

David Joy does such a great job here creating a haunting fascinating yet terrifying character here with Dwayne who is driven by rage and savage revenge. He is like no other character I have met before. He is compelling, unpredictable and unforgetting. I sat on the edge of my seat as the tension grew and I became scared about what he would do next. His character is so well done I could vividly see how his mind started to deteriorate, at times allowing me to feel empathy for his situation. That alone is brilliant writing to me.

The Line That Held Us is one I recommend with caution due to the violence and isn’t one for everyone. It needs some filtering or looking past the violence and into the words that are written around the violence.
Web_L109-3_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s review

I can’t shake the spine-tingling, stomach-churning, revenge-seeking, heart-pounding tension that filled every page of this intense, gritty, gun-slinging backroads tale.   

This dark, unflinching and violent story follows Darl Moody and Calvin Hooper, two men who have been friends since childhood.   Darl and Calvin find themselves caught in the deceit of covering up an accidental murder.  They are faced with unexpected and unending repercussions and revenge.   

This is not an easy read by any means.  It is dark, brutally violent and descriptively disturbing.   This would be hard on those readers with a weak stomach.  It had me queasy and cringing several times.   I found myself holding my breath and squinting my eyes while reading at several points in tension-filled anticipation of what brutal scene lay ahead on the next page.   With that being said, the writing is so strong and compelling that I couldn’t look away – I just had to keep reading.    This story gripped me from start to finish, my heart pounding in anticipation of where this haunting story would lead.

Thank you to Edelweiss, G. P. Putnam’s Sons and David Joy from both of us for an ARC to read and review.

FC-5-VerityFrom Debra’s review

An accidental shooting in the woods and the deadly aftermath could be a very sad yet simple tale – but not in the hands of David Joy. In the pages of “The Line that held us”, Joy has created a beautifully written gritty novel set in Appalachia. This book is violent, heart breaking and gut wrenching. The characters in this book are struggling – struggling with the consequences of their actions, struggling with poverty, struggling with loss, struggling with grief, struggling with keeping secrets, struggling with doing the right thing and struggling to survive. Love, loyalty, friendship, rage, loss, despair, and revenge are all combined and laid bare.

Web_L323-1_brunette_green eyesFrom Jan’s review

The characters are complex and for such a gritty book it’s very philosophical, which saves it from being just a simple tale of vengeance.  These are not characters I will soon forget. Be aware it’s not for the faint of heart. There were parts where I cringed, parts where I teared up, and the ending is so tense I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough.

The setting is Appalachia where people do what they do in order to survive. It’s a harsh life and the people are tough. Family and friendship ties are very strong. What happens when something happens to a loved one that forces us to make a choice? What are the consequences?

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

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor @HarperCollinsCA @HazelGaynor #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers


The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
by Hazel Gaynor

Web_L339-4_brunette_brown eyesNorma’s Review

Captivating, affecting & heart-wrenching!

This was my very first HAZEL GAYNOR book, and I must say that I absolutely loved her writing style.  I was immediately drawn into this extraordinary story by her beautiful storytelling right from the very first page and had me totally immersed, entertained, and interested throughout this entire book.

THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER by HAZEL GAYNOR is an absolutely stunning, sad, moving, heartwarming, and an excellent historical fiction novel that was inspired by the true story of Grace Darling, a lighthouse keeper’s daughter.  A fascinating story!

Some parts of this book was extremely sad and heartbreaking for me to read as it takes you on quite the emotional journey and I couldn’t help but feel right along with all the characters heartache, loss, and tragedy.  Even though there was so much sadness the book also had so much warmth and love emanating throughout that was so inspiring and empowering to read. Just how strong, resilient, and brave these women were was absolutely remarkable and it was an absolute pleasure reading and learning Grace Darling’s story.

HAZEL GAYNOR delivers a vividly descriptive, intriguing and beautifully written story here where she interweaves skillfully two different timelines, spanning over decades and centuries.  Grace’s story in 1838 and Matilda Emmerson’s in 1938. Both of these women’s stories captured my heart and I found them both as equally compelling and not once did I feel like one was more interesting than the other.    

I have a fascination for books with settings of lighthouses and it was one of those books for me where the author’s beautiful prose, moving storyline, and endearing characters made this an all-around fabulous read for me.  I love it when an author can bring out so many emotions from me while I am reading and for me, that is one incredibly satisfying reading experience!

Web_L365-3_brunette_blue-eyesBrenda’s review

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter was an unexpected gem I stumbled upon thanks to HarperCollins Canada. I quickly added it as a group read for the Traveling Sisters and along with Norma, Lindsay and I, two other sisters joined in on the discussion with us.

It’s an emotional gem of a story that is so perfectly paced and took us on the best possible emotional journey I could imagine. The characters crept into our hearts and haven’t let go.  This story and the characters are unforgettable and compelling with their bravery and strength.

The strength of the story lies in the emotions that drive the story forward.  From the moment we opened this book till the final pages we took a heartbreaking and heart-wrenching journey that explores bravery, duty, love, sacrifice, and loss. The characters here are not only brave with their actions but with their hearts.

Inspired by true events Hazel Gaynor develops compelling characters and completely emerges us in their timelines. They inspired us, brought us to tears and found a spot in our hearts.

This story makes for such a great discussion for group reads to share your emotional journey with.   I highly recommend this emotional and unforgettable story.

Web_L355-6_blonde_blue eyesLindsay’s review

Excuse me, while I dust off my Favourites shelf to make room for this beautiful, spellbinding, unforgettable novel that has secured a forever spot in my heart.   Not only does this mesmerizing book belong on my Favourites shelf, it easily takes top spot as my favourite read of 2018! I simply cannot imagine anything surpassing the love I have for this story.

I have such a soft spot for books involving lighthouses.   There is something about them that I am drawn to – they have such a secretive, magical, historic feel that intrigues me.  This breathtaking novel, which strongly focuses on life as a lighthouse keeper, follows two interwoven timelines one hundred years apart – 1838 in Northumberland, England and 1938 in Newport, Rhode Island.  Each timeline was equally intriguing for me – I was completely engrossed by every single word of this beautifully written multigenerational story. My mind and heart were fully captivated from the very first sentence.     

The start of this tale introduces us to twenty-two year old, Grace Darling, whose entire life has been lived simply on Farne Islands as a lighthouse keeper’s daughter.  One day, during a horrific storm, Grace and her father bravely battle the sea in a row boat to rescue the survivors of a nearby shipwreck. Grace’s courage and bravery during the storm is unexpectedly publicly celebrated and honored, making Grace a famous hero.   The unanticipated praise and attention are hard for Grace to accept and handle.

The lighthouses in this story are characters of their own.   The author, Hazel Gaynor, creates an atmosphere so vivid and gripping that I truly felt like a part of this compelling and unforgettable scenery and the cast of characters.   The isolated islands, the damp and windy weather, the sparse beaches where washed-up treasures were found and cherished, simple and quaint Cherry cottage. As I was reading, I could hear the echoes of the footsteps on the winding staircase as Grace climbed the lighthouse steps to proudly handle her daily duties.  

Upon finishing this amazing novel, I googled the name Grace Darling to find out this book is based on a true story.  Wow – I had no idea! This knowledge enhanced my love for this novel as I absolutely love historical fiction for that reason – I love learning about a time in our history that I knew little or nothing about.  

This book is written so beautifully that there will be no choice other than to make its way into your heart.  I warn you to have plenty of Kleenex ready, as this is an emotional journey that had me sobbing uncontrollably a few times.  I just love a good book cry! As my lovely GR Traveling Sister Norma brilliantly stated, as sad as this story is, it is filled with so much warmth and love.  Heart-wrenching and heartwarming!

To see Stephanie’s Novel Fiction wonderful review 

Web_L149-4Norma’s Stats:

  • Cover: Formidable, somber, breathtaking, wondrous, intriguing and an extremely fitting representation to storyline.
  • Title: Appealing, intriguing, interested and a simple but yet such a powerful representation to storyline.
  • Writing/Prose: Well-written, vivid, exquisite, engaging, captivating, and fluent.
  • Plot: Thought-provoking, powerful, passionate, emotional, engrossing, steady-paced, enjoyable and extremely entertaining.  
  • Ending: A sorrowful ending that I was extremely satisfied with as it ended historically correct.
  • Overall: An enthralling and memorable read that had me totally engrossed, emotional, and interested from start to finish!  Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada and Hazel Gaynor for providing us with an Advanced Reader’s E-Proof in exchange for a review!

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

Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers @SimonSchusterCA

Happy Publication Day to Kate Morton for one of our most highly anticipated books for this fall 2018, THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER!  What an exciting day for us and I’m sure for a few of you as well that love Kate Morton novels just as much as we do! The Traveling Sisters just finished this one and of course, we are all cheering!

 

Lindsay is the biggest fan of Kate Morton in our group and this one was one of her most anticipated reads and the excitement from this sister was out of this coulee!! Norma is also a big fan and could not wait to read get started on this one and let me tell you these sisters were doing cartwheels through the coulee.  Joining in on this read and cartwheeling with us is Stephanie @ Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Web_L339-3_brunette_brown eyesNorma’s review

Captivating, mysterious and spellbinding!

KATE MORTON once again put me under her spell with her fabulous new novel THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER.  The setting was just as bewitching as the storytelling! I absolutely loved the fantastical elements of this story, learning all the secrets hidden in Birchwood Manor and the character connections to the ghostly presence of Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter which was so pivotal to the story for me.  I love me a good ghost story!

THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER by KATE MORTON is an engrossing, wonderful, and breathtaking read here that offers many and such distinctive storylines that I found rather alluring and definitely appealed to me as a reader.  I was immediately drawn into this gothic story and it fully captivated my thoughts while I was reading this book.

KATE MORTON skillfully delivers an absolutely beautiful, richly detailed, complex and atmospheric read here that vastly intertwines different time periods and multiple characters together into one astounding and powerful story.    

Even though I had to closely pay attention to all the characters and how they were connected to the story and Birchwood Manor it did not take away how entertaining and enjoyable this story was for me.  It was great storytelling and the whole story felt like I was doing just that reading a story! I have been craving for a story just like this one and it definitely delivered!

Web_L355-4_blonde_blue eyesLindsay’s review

Evocatively atmospheric. Exquisitely detailed. Brilliantly narrated.

Let me start by stating, I love Kate Morton! She is one of my most favourite authors! I have read and loved all of her books.  I devoured this lengthy novel in days, putting aside all other reading to truly focus on her luscious and delectable writing. This novel stole time away from things I should have been doing, while at the same time I was trying to truly savour every single word of Kate Morton’s brilliance.

This is a multigeneration saga that expands well over 100 years involving love, loss, mystery, murder, art and many hidden secrets. Each timeline adds a deeper layer to this intricately woven and highly detailed story. There are multiple characters and a most memorable and divine English countryside setting that had me swooning. Birchwood Manor, the main setting throughout this novel, is a character of its own and I fell in love with this old mansion that held many secrets.

I was engrossed within this mysterious tale from start to finish. There were a few times, I had to stop and reread sections, as I found myself slightly confused within a few timelines and characters, however, my attention didn’t waiver. It was a fully satisfying and memorable read that I would highly recommend.

Web_L117-1_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review

This was my first book by Kate Morton and I really didn’t know what to expect from one of her books.  I went into this one with a few other books on the go and I found out there are a few things you might need to know when you read The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

This is a story to savor every beautifully written detail and the story and characters need focus and attention.  The story spans over 150 years and many themes are explored here and there is an extensive amount of characters being introduced through this atmospheric setting.  The characters are interesting and engaging and ones you really want to take the time to get to know.

This one makes for a perfect buddy read or group read.  We highly recommend for group reads. We really enjoyed our discussion and it was so great to share in the excitement with each other over this one.

This is a story to really get lost in.  It’s the perfect one to find to cozy up in your favorite reading spot with your choice of beverage, ignore the world and lock yourself into this story.

img_6614From Stephanie’s review

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of love between parents and their children, love between siblings, lost children, adults who have lost their way, discovering oneself,  passion, death, tragic endings, and finding happiness along the way. The ending was emotional and just perfect, and I’m completely won over by Morton’s expressive, poetic writing and intelligent plot. For Stephanie’s full review

Norma’s Stats:

Cover: Eye-catching, stunning, pleasing, and grabbed my attention!  That cover alone made me want to read this book and savour every word.  A fitting representation to storyline and love how it played into the story so meaningfully.

Title: Intriguing, pivotal, suspenseful, simple but yet an extremely fitting representation to the storyline.  Even though The Clockmaker’s Daughter wasn’t necessarily a brilliant title, the ties that bind her to the story definitely was.    

Writing/Prose: Lyrical, insightful, engaging, beautiful, and detailed.  Morton’s writing style is beautifully detailed and poetic but it definitely required my full attention though.  I forgot how beautifully descriptive Morton writes! Once I was able to fully immerse myself in this tale though (which didn’t take very long) and had the feel with how it was written it was much easier for me to read.   

Plot: Suspenseful, mysterious, alluring, engrossing, steady-paced, held my attention fully and extremely entertaining.  A little bit of patience goes a long way when reading this book!

Ending: Bittersweet, satisfying, and ended with a bit of mystery.  Although I found it to be extremely fitting.

Overall: An irresistible, relaxing, delightful, suspenseful, and fabulous read! An epic historical tale that was a little challenging to read at times but oh so worth it! Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending Norma and I an ARC to read and review!  It was an absolute pleasure reading this fantastic novel!

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Have you read this one?  Did you find that perfect reading spot to cozy up with this story?  Want to find that spot and cozy up to this one?  Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers #BookReview @crookedlanebks

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The Traveling Sisters stepped out of their comfort zones a little bit here when we were invited to read and review The Psychology of Time Travel as it isn’t a genre that some of us normally would read.  However, all of us who participated in this group read really loved the opportunity to try something different than we normally would pick up to read.  That is part of what makes our group reads so interesting and exciting and we are grateful for when these types of group reads come available to us.  We don’t need to love every book to have a great reading experience and this was one of those great experiences for us all.

The Psychology of Time Travel is a complex, heavy, complicated and unique story that explores time travel and the impact it has on the time traveler’s mentality. The story has a twist here with a whodunit and a mystery element to it.  You need to pay close attention to the alternating timelines and perspectives as things can get a bit confusing keeping track of all that is going on in the different and diverse storylines.

The characters here in this story are some of the most unique, diverse and interesting characters I have come across in a story.  Each character adds a layer to the story and another piece of the story is explored with each character.

There was much to discuss with this one and one thing for sure, this is a great one to discuss whether it worked for you or not.  It’s a thought-provoking story that opens up a lot of questions to explore in a discussion.

We highly recommend for readers who like a complex and intelligent well-layered story who might like to dig deep into some of the effects of time travel with some complex layers to it.

Now on to The Traveling Sister’s reviews

FC-26a-VerityFrom Debra’s review

There are a lot of story-lines and the characters travel through time, their lives intertwining with each other at various stages of their lives. With that many characters living in and traveling through various time periods, I do not know how the Author kept track of things. It is impressive. I was initially a little confused, but my advice is stick with it, because it does all make sense. I believe regular readers of science fiction and/or time travel books will not experience the initial confusion that I experienced. Plus, once I got the rhythm and the characters down, the time traveling was no longer an issue. The second half of the book was a faster read for me, mainly as I had a few things down/figured out and I was invested in learning the identity of the dead woman.

This book tackles very reverent issues while exploring time travel. This book is a marriage of science fiction, mystery and romance. This book also has a diverse cast of characters who are dealing with thought-provoking issues such as bullying, sexuality, love, loss, death, mental health issues, aging, and the choices we make. The plot is multi-layered and extremely well thought out.

Highly original and creative.  For Debra’s full review

img_6597From Christina’s review

I’ll be honest – this one took me a minute to get through. Things are confusing and get a little convoluted. However, if you stick with it, there really is a magnificent and truly original story here that I found touching and overall worthwhile. It was a hodgepodge of many different genres – science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction and mystery all rolled into one book and it will take you on an interesting ride to say the very least.

My favorite aspect here, and what I think worked the best was the examination of how time travel affects each person. It was incredibly interesting to see how it touched each individual character – from those that had encountered a great deal of it, to those that only touched it a bit. It is truly awe-inspiring the level of detail and thought that went into this. While I do think this book suffered from a bit too much story at times my overall takeaway was enjoyment and entertainment. This is a real time-travel masterpiece that examines it for the convoluted subject it is. For Christina’s full review

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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 Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell #travelingsistersread #BookReview #BookBloggers @Caroline_writes

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Web_L365-1_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review

Lindsay and I read Truth and Lies with three of our Traveling Sisters and this one goes on my list of one of the best thrillers I have read in a while. For the most part we all had similar thoughts on this however one sister did see some things differently.

For me these fascinating and interesting characters and the dynamics between them really made the story for me.  Along with the mind games and manipulation played here I was intrigued and chilled at the same time.

First we meet strong, confident and respected Detective Inspector Amy whose’s world becomes too unhinged when she finds out she is a biological daughter of serial killers.

Then we meet Amy’s mother, dark minded, manipulative and terrifying Lillian a psychopathic killer wanting to play some dark and chilling mind games with Amy.  Amy not wanting to have anything to do with her mother and her games is forced to go along with it to get some information from Lillian.  We loved the dynamics here between them and were fascinated by them.  Caroline Mitchell does a great job here creating a chilling and terrifying killer with no empathy or remorse making Lillian one of the best psychopaths I have read about. We were drawn into Amy’s struggles with accepting and questioning who she was and is.

Truth and Lies is gripping right from the start to the finish however some of us did think maybe Caroline Mitchell did push that ending just a bit with a couple of the twists that we felt might not have been needed.  Anyway this made for an interesting discussion and always fun to see everyone’s different thoughts.

I highly recommend this one to readers who love a chilling, evil and manipulative psychopath the kind so unlikable and horrible that you can’t but find her fantasying and likeable as a character.

Web_L149-3_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s review

Highly addictive! Gripping suspense! Unique and twisty plot! Incredible characters! I loved this book!

Detective Inspector Amy Winter is shocked when she receives a letter from the infamous and imprisoned serial killer, Lillian Grimes, explaining that she is her birth mother. Lillian is requesting to reunite with Amy in person to disclose the location of three bodies that have been missing for years.  Amy must process her entire childhood under a new light, all the while working against the clock to return the bodies home to their grieving families.

I couldn’t flip these pages fast enough! This is my first book by Caroline Mitchell and I am now a HUGE fan! I absolutely loved her writing – the characters, the dialogue, the atmosphere, the language – it all felt so real and memorable. The narrative and pace were both done to perfection. Though I found a couple aspects of the novel were unnecessary near the end, I still whole-heartedly enjoyed this book
and would highly recommend!  DI Amy Winter is a fantastic main character – I can’t wait to read more in the series.

Thank you from both of us to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer and Caroline Mitchell for a copy to read and review.

Web_L117-4From Bern’s review

This book had some serious cat and mouse action going between Amy & Lillian. I enjoyed their back and forth push and pull. Lillian is pure evil. She is a master manipulator, excelling at mind games. Amy never backs down, despite the turmoil she endures as her childhood memories begin to resurface. Amy must face her past in order to uncover the location of long hidden bodies and possibly save a young girl’s life.

The story took some well crafted twists & turns and left us with a very enticing cliffhanger. Mitchell certainly has an excellent start to a series here.

LC15-5From Mary Beth’s review

I was drawn immediately into this story. This book is a chilling thriller with lots of twists. I kept guessing and guessing and was wrong every time and didn’t find out things until the very end. This is one great serial killer thriller which was gripping and suspenseful. This was a real thrill ride that kept me on the edge of my seat. Lots of surprises in this one. The ending made me hold my breath and I had to come up for air.

LC15-9From Christina’s review

The last quarter of this book was chock-full of twists and turns that I definitely didn’t see coming. While in some cases that’s great and exciting, in others it means it came out of left field. Truth and Lies delivered both in spades. A few of the twists were shockers for me that amplified my enjoyment of the read overall and others were a bit far fetched. My main gripe and disappointment with this one is it felt that Mitchell wanted the mystery of Amy’s past to propel you to the end, instead of the story engaging you enough to finish.

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

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Read Reviews

#fashionvictim by Amina Akhtar #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers @Drrramina @crookedlanebks

Web_L301-4_brunetteOut today!!!  Happy Pub Day!!!!!

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#FashionVictim
by Amina Akhtar

Norma and I read #FashionVictim with three of our Traveling Sisters and we all were drawn into this story right away.  However, we did have some different thoughts on this one.

Web_L337-3_brunette_brown eyesNorma’s review

Fashionably dark and a wickedly fun read! Dexter anyone?

#FashionVictim by Amina Akhtar is a campy, compulsive and highly entertaining dark comedy that was a refreshing and fun book to read. It started off a little shaky for me but it sure didn’t take me long to be wrapped up in Anya’s world of fashion, her deadly antics and her mood boards.

AMINA AKHTAR delivers a creative, interesting, unique and easy read here with characters that were not the easiest to like but boy were they ever compelling and highly entertaining to read about though. The story is told from Anya’s point of view and there isn’t a lot of surprises to be had here as we are pretty much privy to the way that Anya’s mind works and what she is up to right from the beginning of the novel. I really enjoyed this approach as she really had me so curious and the tension comes in with the suspense of what she is thinking, going to do next and how.

I haven’t had this much fun following along with a character like Anya since maybe Dexter. I wouldn’t say that the storylines were at all similar though but there were some aspects to their characters that were, which I found to be rather appealing in a fictional-based kind of way mind you.

Web_L367-1_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review

Amina Akhtar takes some of the sillier parts of the fashion world and turns it into a ridiculously, uncanny and bizarre over the top fun read. The characters are so exaggerated, unlikeable and stereotyped it will have you laughing out loud at times but also feeling a little uncomfortable as well.  There are some serious issues here as well but I felt that Amina Akhtar took them to show just how catty things can get in the fashion world.  This is where things went a little sideways for Christina as she felt it was a little much at times.

I love the title and how Amina Akhtar ties that into the story.  That was a laugh out loud moment for me when I read that part of the story.  Such a clever title for this story.

We all enjoyed our unlikable yet so likable in a very unsettling and weird way fashion psychopath Anya.  Amina Akhtar does a good job pulling us into her mind and her intrusive thoughts that really felt real in my head at times, leaving us feeling a little weird at liking her.  We could see how the cattiness like shallow friendships, betrayals, and shifting alliances played on her mind.

#FashionVictim made for a really fun, and interesting discussion for us and it’s one I recommend for groups.  It leaves you with a lot to talk about.  I also recommend this one to anyone looking for something fun and different for an entertaining read and not to be taken very seriously.

Publishing Date: September 11, 2018

Thank you so much from both of us to Sarah at Crooked Lane Books for sending us a physical copy of this book.

From our Traveling Sisters

From Carol’s review

This is an over-the-top, absolutely entertaining, dark comedy.

The story follows Anya St. Clair who works in a fashion magazine and whose main goal in life is to become besties with her glamorous and influential co-worker Sarah Taft. When the opportunity for a promotion is put on the table, Anya becomes hyper-focused on getting it, even if it requires taking extreme and deadly measures.

This novel is deliciously addictive and once I started reading I could not stop. The story is told from the point of view of Anya and takes place in NYC. The characters are not explored deeply but are still compelling enough to give you some chills.

From Christina’s review

God, there was always so much work to do. Update this, kill so-and-so. I wish people understood how hard we worked in fashion – all to make it look effortless, easy.

When we enter into the story Anya is at the very beginning of an ever-growing mania. Her mental health is waning and she’s just dipped her toe into a murder spree that will last the entirety of the book. This is told solely from the POV of Anya and she is something else, to say the least. She’s one of the most complexly one-dimensional characters I’ve ever read. She’s absolutely you’re unlikable, unreliable narrator trope to a T. However, I don’t think Akhtar wrote these characters to be likable, they’re written to be entertaining and this book was pure entertainment.

I would’ve liked to see some break-up of Anya’s frenzy. While I enjoyed reading her POV I think the book suffered a bit because it ended up being a little choppy. I would’ve loved to see the Detectives take on things or a past / present break up of how Anya got to where she is today.

“I need to look like I belong in a photoshoot! That I’m cool and chill and don’t care. I need to affect – what’s the word? Not boredom?” “Ennui?” “Yes!” I jumped up and clapped. “I need to ennui the fuck out of my life. You’re brilliant Dr. M.”

There was a dry, dark and campy humor here that really worked for me and colored my overall enjoyment of this. However, despite the interesting premise things grew a bit tired throughout. The overuse of OMG, WTF and other abbreviations was grating at times. There is also a bit of stereotyping going on in this read. From body shaming to the assumption that anyone working in fashion is vapid, vane and dense. I do think this was meant to be ironic and to poke fun at the stereotypes but it got a little old for me in its redundancy.  For Christina’s full review

From Mackenzie’s review

Anya is someone who is destined to carry a novel. Her voice demands to be heard, and she doesn’t shy away from anything. It might be hard to imagine that living inside the mind of a delusional, deranged, murderous fashionista would be fun, but here we have proof that it is.

Anya is absolutely nuts, in the most fun way. We may see her killing someone off, only to later envision interacting with them and calling them #TeamAnya (Thanks, girl!). Every time this would happen I got positively giddy! There is something about the way Akhtar writes that is so readable.

And then that ending! Wow, what a trip the ending to this book is!!! It is perfect and delightful and twisted—just what I wanted from Anya and her cast of zany fashion friends! I heard that this was chosen for a Book of the Month and I’m so happy for Amina Akhtar. It is a well-deserved, but surprising choice. (Surprising because this book is so different and unique, not because it isn’t amazing). I loved it! I am already excited to see what Akhtar does next! For Mackenzie’s full review

Publishing Date: September 11, 2018

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Intriguing, dark and a good representation to story.
Title: Drew me in, extremely fitting and ties into plot perfectly with multiple scenarios.
Writing/Prose: colorful, exaggerated, satirical, and amusing.
Ending: Satisfying, wrapped up nicely but also open for the possibility of a sequel, and enjoyed Anya’s thought processes in the end.
Overall: An enjoyable, twisted, fun, quick, entertaining, and fast-paced read. Although there were definitely some aspects to this novel that was a little bit trying though with the way some things were portrayed and narrated. Would recommend!

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