Posted in Traveling Sisters Reads

Our upcoming Traveling Sister Group reads we are excited about @CeladonBooks

I have been in a bit of blogging rut and buried in a coulee with Norma and Lindsay. We climbing out of our rut and creating some excitement for some titles we just received are looking forward to reading and reviewing.

Celadon Books has published some great books that we have read in our groups and keep talking about, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides and The Whisper Man by Alex North. They are now Goodreads choice award nominees.

We are excited to add Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin to our upcoming Traveling Sister group reads.

From Goodreads: Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men―employees at the resort―are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth―not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

The Traveling Sisters are switching it up and reading a Non Fiction book in the group.You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters
by Kate Murphy

It’s no secret in our groups the world is just too noisy for me so I jump at the chance to read and discuss one.

From Goodreads

When was the last time you listened to someone, or someone really listened to you?

This life-changing book will transform your conversations forever

As a society, we’ve forgotten how to listen. Modern life is noisy and frenetic, and technology provides constant distraction. So we tune things out or listen selectively – even to those we love most. We’ve become scared of other people’s points of view, and of silence.

Now more than ever, we need to listen to those around us. New York Times contributor Kate Murphy draws on countless conversations she has had with everyone from priests to CIA interrogators, focus group moderators to bartenders, her great-great aunt to her friend’s toddler, to show how only by listening well can we truly connect with others.

Listening is about curiosity and patience – about asking the right questions in the right way. Improvisational comedians and con men are much better at it than most of us. And the cleverest people can be the worst at it. Listening has the potential to transform our relationships and our working lives, improve our self-knowledge, and increase our creativity and happiness. While it may take some effort, it’s a skill that can be learnt and perfected.

When all we crave is to understand and be understood, You’re Not Listening shows us how.

Thank you to Celadon books for our copies for our group reads.


Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Reads

Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens @aeskens @HBGCanada

Amazing!!! Lindsay and I read and discussed Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens together and we loved it!! As I was discussing this one with Lindsay I started to see more into the depth of the story and I recommend this one for group reads. I then decided to explore Allen Eskens’s website and found some discussion questions. I highly recommend checking them out. I held a discussion in my own head as I answered them on paper and pen. Is that odd or do other people do that? I will be suggesting this one in our Traveling Friends Goodreads Group. I feel this one would make a great in-person group discussion as there is a lot to talk about. It also makes for a thought-provoking discussion with yourself. lol

Brenda’s review

The title here draws from the quote, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Allen Eskens draws on that ignorance and explores prejudice and racism as a way to explore his “own failing regarding notions of prejudice and racism” Taken from his author notes.

Nothing More Dangerous is a prequel to Allen Eskens other books. Boady Sanden is a law professor in The Life We Bury, and we see more of his character in The Heavens May Fall. In Nothing More Dangerous Boady is 15 years old and we follow his coming of age story.

Ellen Eskens creates a thought-provoking part coming of age story here with interesting characters, each with a journey of their own. He weaves a mystery here in the story while layering racial thoughts and feelings along with the racial themes that had me thinking deep into the story. I loved the dynamics here between the characters and their relationships. A few different relationships are explored here so well and each had me feeling different emotions. Eskens has some moves here with those well-layered themes and character dynamics and like a DJ he rolls them right into the next one and we see how dangerous ignorance can be. Ok, I took that phrase with the DJ from Eskens here in this story. He weaves some cliches/phrases in the story that had me laughing and cringing at the same time. I love cliches/phrases and I have been known to use them myself.

The ending was so beautiful and so perfect right out to that amazing line Was Blind and now I see. I really do see so much more after reading this one. I highly recommend.

Lindsay’s review

2019 Favourites List!

Boady (love that name!) is a fifteen-year-old boy who lives with his widowed mother on a remote dirt road in their small town. Hoke, an older man, lives next door and spends many hours with Boady having front porch chats and teaching life lessons. Boady finds himself caught up in a local missing woman’s case where he stumbles upon evidence that no child should be witness to.

Boady stole my heart! I loved everything about him and was fully invested in his journey from start to finish. I adored his relationship with Hoke – it was one of my favourite parts of this novel. I loved watching the dynamics of each of Boady’s relationships change and develop – with his mother, Hoke, his friends and himself.

I enjoyed everything about this book! The gritty, back-roads storyline. The enticing and endearing characters. The engrossing, suspenseful mystery. The writing drew me in from the first word and didn’t let go of my mind until the very last. The way this had my emotions flying around – love, anger, hope, frustration, disgust, comfort – I felt it all.

This is my third Allen Eskens book. I continue to be amazed by his writing – the words seem to easily make their way off of the page and into my heart. I have a strong connection to his writing style and look forward to picking up his other novels.

Thank you to Hachette Canada for sending us our copies to read and review

Posted in The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Friends Reads, Traveling Sisters Reads

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger @WmKentKrueger @SimonSchusterCA @AtriaBooks

This Tender Land was our monthly group read for October in our Traveling Friends Goodreads group. This mesmerizing and absorbing read makes for such a great group read. There is so much to think about and talk about. We all lost our hearts to these characters and loved this well thought out story!

This Tender Land swept me away on a thought-provoking adventure along the river with the children here in the story and I lost my heart to them as they searched for their place in the world. I was captivated by the children and their personal journey and adventures. They encounter challenges, threats and kindness from strangers along the way. I loved how with each turn or twist of the river, they learned something about themselves, each other, people and the world around them. In turn, I learned something about myself or saw something different in the world around me.

William Kent Krueger offers up his heart here is this remarkable affecting beautiful story full of hope and possibilities not only for these endearing characters but for us as well.

“In asking you to read This Tender Land, I am, in a way, offering you my heart.”

There is some tension here with the danger lurking in every turn. I found myself rooting, fearing for the children and yes, shouting at them at times. I wanted to protect them and was silently teaching them about the ways of the world in my mind but it was them that taught me something. I highly recommend reading this one and as Odie said “Open yourself to every possibility for there is nothing your heart can imagine that is not so”

I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley.

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Reads

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox @HesterBFox @HarlequinBooks @HarperCollinsCa

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox is now available and it’s a great one to curl up with your favorite beverage this Halloween

Last year around this time I read The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox with a few of my Traveling Sisters and it was a hit for us and we thought it was a great one for this time of year. I read The Widow of Pale Harbor with a couple of my TS and it was also a hit for us. I did enjoy The Widow of Pale Harbor a bit more. I highly recommend both.

Brenda’s reivew

Things did start off a little rocky for me here with the strange unsettling things going on in this town and I was reading with one eye closed hiding behind my pillow. Soon things started to come together and I start to see how that is cleverly weaved into the story.

The Widow of Pale Harbor has all the elements to make this a creepy good Gothic atmospheric read. It has an entertaining and engaging mystery that had us all following the clues with a little help from Debra who set us on the right track with there. The romance in this one was perfectly done and I was enjoying the dynamics with that. I was swept away to this historic Maine 1846 setting and the castle and town came alive for me with that creepy, foreboding feeling.

Near the end, the drama and action pick up and I was a little worried my drama patience was going to go over the edge, however, the story kept me on the edge of the cliff and brought me safely to a satisfying ending.

Traveling sister friend read. You can find our discussion here. Spoilers are used. Did you love this one too or? Join us and let us know your thoughts.

Thank you to Eden at HarperCollins for my copy!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Sisters Reads

Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston @StMartinsPress

Secrets of the Chocolate House (Found Things #2) by Paula Brackston is now available

Brenda’s review

I enjoyed The Little Shop of Found Things and loved the dynamics between Xanthe and Flora and the time-travelling element to the story. Well those elements are even better here in Secrets of the Chocolate House and I highly recommend reading both together if you can.

This time around a copper chocolate pot sings to Xanthe and she is swept away to another dangerous adventure. The time-traveling element is explored more here and along with Xanthe, we discover her true destiny and her role as a spinner. I can get lost in storylines like this but with this one, I found it intriguing and simple.

Paula Brackson does a great job here with both settings and I enjoyed the charm and magic both brought to the story. She adds some lurking danger to both settings through conflicts with the characters. The threat in the past adds tension to the story and is brilliantly weaved with the present.

I enjoyed my escape in time with these characters and I look forward to more with Xanthe.

Lindsay’s review

A spellbinding journey back into my favourite time-travel story!

I will start by saying, generally, I am not one to enjoy time-travel stories as I have a hard time accepting storylines that aren’t realistic. This book is a huge exception for me – I LOVE the time-travel aspect. It is presented in a delicate, subtle manner that was easy for me to embrace. I enjoyed this book even more than Book #1!

I fell in love with the main character, Xanthe, in the first book in this series. She is a young woman who owns an antique shop with her aging mother. She finds herself drawn to certain antique items that “sing” to her, connecting her with their past. As soon as I started this book, I was immediately drawn deep into Xanthe’s newest adventure.

The writing is eloquent and engrossing. The atmosphere is thick and palpable. The storyline is intriguing, warm and suspenseful. The characters are unique and endearing – I was fully invested in their lives.

If you enjoy time-travel stories or feel like trying a beautifully written step outside your usual genre, I highly recommend this series!

Thank you to Jordan from St Martins Press for our copies

Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Reads

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris @StMartinsPress

Love a strong character, this one is for you and one not to be missed!!!

“She was the bravest person I ever met.” —Lale Sokolov on Cilka Klein, The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Brenda’s review

Cilka’s Journey is a fictionalized story that is inspired by what Heather Morris discovered about real-life Cilka who is a character in The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Cilka survived Auschwitz and then was sent to a labour camp for collaborating and sleeping with the enemy. Heather Morris captures what it could have been like for Cilka and the other prisoners in the camp.

Cilka’s bravery and strength shine through here as we see her care for prisoners and her friends. It is an inspiring, hopeful story of an ordinary young woman who becomes an extraordinary woman under unimaginable circumstances. Cilka’s actions throughout the story show us the goodness in people at times of horror and the strength needed to survive. I highly recommend it.

I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley

Lindsay’s review

An engrossing, shocking and unsettling extension of this series. I read and loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz last year and was eagerly anticipating getting my hands on a copy of Cilka’s Journey. Although a very difficult novel to read due to the atrocities detailed within these pages, I found this book to be even more intriguing and informative than the first one. The writing is honest, brutal at times, but so important to read so we can honour those that lived through these devastating wartimes. Their voices cannot be forgotten.

Cilka is only sixteen-years-old when she is sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1942. She is singled out by the commandant to be given separate living arrangements where she will be available for his pleasure. After living this way for three years, the camp is liberated, although Cilka is not freed. She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy. She is sentenced to fifteen years at a Siberian prison camp where living conditions are not much different than they were at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

I had not known about these Siberian prison camps prior to reading this novel. I was devastated to learn that these dreadful prison camps continued existing after the liberation of Auschwitz. The charges that Cilka faced were so extremely unjust. Had Cilka denied the commandant what he requested, she would have been killed. What other option did she have? My mind was spinning with this situation throughout the entire novel. What options did these prisoners have other than to accept what was demanded of them?

I loved Cilka’s character. She was extremely strong and inspiring in the face of so much pain. She gave strength and hope to many.

On a side note, I believe a large part of what made me truly connect to and love this book so much was that I had been advised by Brenda (who read this novel before I did) that not everything that happens to Cilka is based on fact. As with any historical fiction book, fact and fiction are weaved together to paint a broad picture of the time period/situation being examined. Although Cilka was a real person who could of endured much of what happens in this novel, not every circumstance is her personal story. I think knowing that ahead of time really enhanced my connection to the story as it stopped me from looking too deep into the reality of each scenario. As the Heather Morris mentions in the Note at the end of the novel, “There is a mix of characters inspired by real-life figures, in some instances representing more than one individual, and characters completely imagined.” I urge you to keep this in mind when reading this harrowing and unforgettable book. Heather Morris does a phenomenal job incorporating much detail into this gripping and emotional storyline.

I will leave you with one of the most powerful quotes from this book. “Everyone affected by war, captivity, or oppression reacts differently — and away from it, people might try to guess how they would act, or react, in the circumstances. But they do not really know.”

Thank you to my lovely local library for the loan of this exceptional novel!