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!

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

The Whisper Man by Alex North @CeladonBooks @alexnorth @about_thethrill

Hot supreme diggity dang! We are busting out a groove here and boogieing to the beat of excitement with this Traveling Friends group read. We all had a such a hard time putting this one down once we started reading it. It’s one fabulosity read.

Brenda’s review

Alex North does some mighty fine footwork here with this creepy, unnerving, and captivating dark, suspenseful thriller.  It has all the elements here to make this a spooky and compelling read for me. There are some supernatural overtones here that send my imagination into overdrive with some unexplainable elements to this story. That dark and twisted thriller mind of mine had me a little unnerved here while reading this story.   It’s a police procedural with a glimpse into a dangerous and broken killer. It has well-layered characters with complicated and compelling relationship between father and son. I loved the dynamics here between the characters.  

Alex North does such a great job here with Jake who stole the show for us.  It’s not easy to pull off a creepy, story with a child character being the centre of it and he nailed it here for us.  We loved the eerie feeling going on here with the whispering but never felt disturbed by it. The story is entertaining and fun yet just enough dark and twisted.  Just the way I love it! 

I highly enjoyed the time I spend with this spooky story and the characters along with my Traveling Friends!!  I highly recommend it. 

Norma’s review

Suspenseful, a little bit spooky, & definitely full of heart!

THE WHISPER MAN by ALEX NORTH is an engrossing, fast-paced, tense, dark, and eerie novel that had me fully immersed in this story right from the very start. What and who “The Whisper Man” is and represents in this tale is downright brilliant, unnerving and definitely has this creepy and spooky vibe resonating throughout this novel. The following rhyme definitely gave me the chills.

If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.
If your window’s left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass. 
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily say that this novel creeped me out though or scared me out of my wits but it definitely had an underlying spook factor with the supernatural overtones to the story. I found to be quite absorbing and appealing.

ALEX NORTH delivers an atmospheric, intriguing, well-written and irresistibly unsettling thriller here that thoroughly entertained me. The little boy in this book definitely stole the show for me! He was the shining star and I loved his character so much!! He reminded me so much of the little boy in the movie The Sixth Sense.

The story is told in short chapters from alternating perspectives of Tom Kennedy, Jake (his son), DI Amanda Beck, and DI Pete Willis. I was never confused once and I absolutely loved the short chapters as it definitely helped to keep the pacing high to easily hold your attention. 

Lindsay’s review

Intense. Haunting. Addictive. Engrossing. Chilling.

Seven-year-old Jake and his widowed father, Tom, move to Featherbank. A new town for a new start after the passing of Jake’s mom. Featherbank has a past filled with secrets. Jake seems connected to some of these long buried stories and secrets of the small town. Not long after moving to Featherbank, a young boy goes missing which stirs up old memories of a serial killer who once lived in there.

This was a spine-tingling, heart-pounding, sleep-with-the-lights-on story! I am not one for reading scary stories (I’m a big chicken!), but this was so engrossing that I became addicted to the novel from the very start. I couldn’t put it down once I began this shocking and unforgettable journey. The frightening parts were not gory or over-detailed, but simply created an extreme feeling of tension and nervousness that I couldn’t shake. The characters were fantastic! I was invested in them from the first chapter. The changing narratives was perfectly executed and added multiple layers to this mesmerizing novel. Simply put, the writing was excellent! I look forward to what Alex North comes out with next.

We read this one along with our Traveling Sister Kim! Check out her review here

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: An eye-catching, relevant, eerie, sinister, brilliant, intriguing, suspenseful, and extremely fitting representation to storyline. This cover definitely caught my attention and I love it! 
Title: Appealing, creepy, suspenseful, significant, intriguing and absolutely love how the title plays so fittingly and meaningfully into storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, vivid, suspenseful, engaging, captivating, and fluid. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing! 
Plot: Chilling, sinister, suspenseful, unsettling, moving, riveting, fast-paced, clever, absorbing, enjoyable and extremely entertaining. 
Ending: Spine-tingling, rewarding, and thoroughly satisfying!
Overall: An excellent read that had me thoroughly engrossed and immersed in this tale from start to finish! And learning that this story was inspired by the author’s own son who told him he was playing with “the boy in the floor” was quite clever and in itself frightening. I highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Celadon Books for gifting us and our Traveling Sisters a copy of this book. It was an absolute pleasure reading and discussing this book in our group.

#travelingsistersread #travelingfriendsread

Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Reads

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware @SimonSchusterCA @RuthWareWriter #travelingsistersread #BookReview

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware was a highly anticipated book for The Traveling Sisters and was one of our more lengthy group reads we have had.  Some of us couldn’t wait to get their hands on this one and start reading it right away while others took a bit before diving in. This lead to such a fun discussion as we all added in our thoughts as we read it.  So did it live up to our anticipation? YES!! We highly recommend!!!

Norma’s Review

Creepy, suspenseful, & mysterious!

THE TURN OF THE KEY by RUTH WARE is a compelling, dark, twisted, and haunting mystery thriller that immediately sucked me in and had me totally absorbed within this tale.

Right from the very start there is this intense sense of foreboding that definitely makes this quite the gripping book to read…..it is a slow-burn and the intensity level slowly increases as the story progresses. I absolutely loved the creepy modern gothic vibe going on here and RUTH WARE definitely knows how to deliver an atmospheric, vivid, and hair-raising suspenseful novel that I found to be quite appealing, enjoyable and entertaining.

My only real gripe here that I have though is that I don’t always feel that she follows through with some aspects to the storyline. Not sure if she knowingly doesn’t follow through with some things or if it is part of her signature technique to be a little bit vague. I’ve noticed this style of writing in almost all of her books and sometimes it has bothered me and others not so much. This one it didn’t bother me as much.

I absolutely loved the format of this novel which was written in an epistolary format (letters).  The tone was set right at the very beginning and I thought it followed through right to the very end.  I also thought RUTH WARE did a fabulous job with the creepy sounds and the ominous atmosphere with the setting of Heatherbrae House.  I was a little bit freaked out and scared which definitely left me a little on edge while I was reading certain scenes. 

Brenda’s review

Yey Happy!  Tell me a story!!

I am sure I have already told you!!

Unlock Happy, turn the key, isolate yourself and let this creepy and smart house entertain you for for a few hours. Happy the home app that families can’t live without creates a unique setting here with an isolated Gothic estate turned luxury smart house.

Ruth Ware creates quite the entertaining gripping page-turner while building suspense and weaving in some dark history to the estate with modern conveniences. She kept us on our toes, trying to figure out if new technology was good or evil here. Something sinister was going on for sure and I enjoyed this one from start to finish.

Lindsay’s review

Gothic and suspenseful.  Atmospheric and addictive.  Twisty and mesmerizing.

A nanny hired to watch over four children in the remote countryside in Scotland.   An old mansion house upgraded with all the latest technology. Unexplainable happenings.  Unmanageable children. Add all of these together and you get the perfect formula for a brilliantly spellbinding gothic mystery thriller – that’s exactly what this novel was!

Rowan is a nanny who is hired by the Elincourt family.   I loved every part of Rowan’s flawed character. There were so many layers to her background and personality – I enjoyed following her through this eerie and mysterious journey.

I have read and enjoyed all of Ruth Ware’s books.  Her writing always pulls me into a trance of feeling as though I am right there with the characters.  I loved the haunting and engrossing atmosphere throughout this story. The pace and flow were perfect – kept me intrigued and curious from start to finish.

Thoughts from some of our Traveling Sisters

I tell you what, there is no way I would have spent numerous nights in this house like Rowan did. I was completely creep out as nightfall hit each evening. Things were happening and they appeared to be supernatural. Given the history of this home, there is no doubt that is what would be running through my mind if I were staying there. Add to it this “smart house” with all the amazing, yet creepy features. That would drive me mad in itself. If I were Rowan I would be concerned that my employers were watching my every move, meaning that someone else could be too. For Kim’s full review on her blog

I loved the Gothic elements and the spooky atmosphere of Heatherbrae House, which got my heart racing and made me jump every time a branch brushed the side of the house in the wind whilst I snuggled up under the covers reading. Remote, isolated location – tick! Spooky old mansion – tick! Unreliable narrator – tick! Slight supernatural elements that give it some extra creep factor – tick! It’s all there for the taking, which makes this one of my favourite reads by the author yet – although I think I said that with the last few books as well. Ware is a masterful creator of the perfect setting for a spooky mystery: be it a boat, an old beach house, and English manor house or a house in a dark wood. A few paragraphs, and she has teleported me right into the story, which makes her one of my favourite authors today. I recommend that you read it and judge for yourself! Heidi

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Intriguing, ghostly, suspenseful, ominous and an extremely fitting representation to storyline. I have an absolute love for Ruth Ware cover designs!
Title: I was immediately intrigued by the title of this book and definitely enticed me to read this book. 
Writing/Prose: Haunting, engaging, vividly descriptive, and readable.
Plot: Suspenseful, appealing, eerie, menacing, gripping, perfectly-paced, absorbing, ominous, enjoyable and entertaining.
Ending: A cryptic and satisfying resolution. 
Overall: I was immediately interested in this tale and thoroughly enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery, the characters and the storyline. Would recommend!

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, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Reads

The Passengers by John Marrs @BerkleyPub @johnmarrs1 #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers #thepassengers

The Passengers by John Marrs is now available and it’s one not to miss!!! The Traveling Sisters were all left cheering for this one once we finished. There might of been some dancing going on!! So…..

Brenda’s review

Readers start your thrill ride and let the best passenger win.  Try to stay calm and strap yourself in. Its techno-thriller time!

John Marrs takes us on an entertaining, chilling action-packed, fast track ride to the unthinkable where technology and humans collide in more ways than one. This is one ride where the fear of death is more than the thrill and no one wants to finish this course.  

It’s all about the entertainment here and John Marrs knows how to rev up the tension here by adding quite the cinematic action.  The premise is brilliant and he creates some interesting moral dilemmas here. From the very first page, I was completing drawn into the premise of the story but was a little disturbed by our hacker’s intentions.  After a few chapters, I was intriguingly entertained and played along as I was reading. I couldn’t turn those pages fast enough to that explosive conclusion for the passengers.  

The Passengers is a fun read for group reads and it made for an entertaining, exciting discussion for The Traveling Sisters.  I highly recommend! 

Norma’s Review

Holy Shooty Balls!!! Gripping, chilling, & absolutely unputdownable!

THE PASSENGERS by JOHN MARRS is an engrossing, chilling, suspenseful, dark, disturbing, fun, easy, brisk, and highly compulsively readable psychological thriller that was another rapid-raced read for me. I was immediately sucked into the narrative and devoured every single page of this highly entertaining and thrilling book. Once I started reading it I was immediately hooked and so absorbed in the storyline that I finished it in less than a day. 

The idea of driverless vehicles is a little bit scary as well as a little bit appealing to me. I’m not exactly sure if I would wholeheartedly be for it or inclined to actually get into one though as I love being a driver and find it quite relaxing. Although I guess I would be able to read if I was just a passenger though. But the idea of my vehicle being hacked would forever be on my mind though so I say nope…..let me drive!

I couldn’t stop thinking, holding, smelling, and reading this book. I even did something that I haven’t done in quite a while…..I peeked at the ending because I just couldn’t handle the suspense anymore or get to the ending fast enough…..and I thought I was reading it pretty darn fast as it was. Luckily my impatience of peeking at the ending didn’t spoil the fun or pacing for me!

JOHN MARRS delivers quite the impressive, clever, creative, exhilarating, thought-provoking, intense and well-written read here that was brilliantly executed. I am absolutely in awe of how creative and ingenious this story was. As each character is introduced and their secrets are revealed it is quite shocking and ratcheted up the intensity level tenfold. I was shocked more than once while reading this one which left me on the edge of my seat in anticipation. This was so darn good!!

Thoughts from some of our Traveling Sisters

Kim OMG this book is absolutely brilliant! How have I not read a John Marrs book before this? Where has this author been all my life?!  Seriously this book had me at the edge of my seat the entire wild ride. For Kim’s full review on her blog

Stephanie Reading John Marrs’ newest book The Passengers was like watching a blockbuster Hollywood movie: you’re on the edge of your seat the entire time with suspense “watching” the brilliant action scenes unfold (because Marrs’ writing is so realistic you feel as if you’re right there), experiencing the unexpected disasters and jaw dropping cliffhanger chapters―then that surprising ending! This would make an excellent film! As you can probably tell, I freaking loved this book, which I have to admit surprised me a bit because I’m not a techno-thriller/sci-fi thriller kinda girl, at all and almost didn’t pick this one up… oh, would that have been a mistake, my friends, since I binged this book in a serious way! For Stephanie’s full review on her blog

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Dizzying, fearful, futuristic, scary, deranged, intriguing, suspenseful and an extremely fitting representation to storyline. 
Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and such a powerful, fitting, and effective representation to storyline that definitely packed quite a punch.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engrossing, intelligent, masterly, absorbing, compelling, and compulsively readable. 
Plot: Clever, intriguing, creative, shocking, intense, thought-provoking, suspenseful, riveting, brisk, absorbing, fun, enjoyable and entertaining.
Ending: Intense, shocking, flabbergasting, exciting, & wholly satisfying!
Overall: It was such an irresistibly fun and entertaining book and another winner added to my favourite reads shelf. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience!!! Everyone needs to read this book!!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for our advance copies. It was an absolute pleasure reading this highly irresistible and fun novel!!

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, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Reads

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding @SimonSchusterCA @rhardingwriter @about_thethrill #travelingsistersread #BookReview

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

We read The Arrangement with a few of our Traveling Sisters and after reading this one we need to know more about Sugar Bowls. Robyn Harding will be our first author in our new group Behind The Pages with The Traveling Friends to answer a few spoiler-free questions about The Arrangement. She will be popping into the group to see any positive comments our friends might have for her and joining us on Sunday, 10:00-11:00 am PST August 11 to answer a few questions I just need to know the answers too. To share the love for The Arrangement and ask Robyn question or see what she has to say you can find the group here. Or join the group.

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/1003230-behind-the-pages-with-the-traveling-friends

Brenda’s review

Candy Bar and Jelly Beans!! Yipee! I might be on a Tootsie Roll here with another winning thriller for me! My groove is back.

Are you ready to rumble here in this sugar bowl? Wondering what a sugar bowl is or curious to take a look into one. Well, Robyn Harding has got you covered here with her intriguing, entertaining yet unsettling fast, easy-paced story that left me wanting to talk about it. 

Things are not so sweet as sugar here between this arrangement with our main characters and Robyn Harding delivers a unique take here with the premise to the story and adds some twists and turns that had me totally entertained from start to finish. I highly recommend!

Norma’s Review

Seductive, alluring, and wickedly entertaining!

A modern day and sinister version of Pretty Woman right here folks! I didn’t even realize that this was a thing, what’s a Sugar Baby & Sugar Daddy? Well I know now and I definitely fell for this hook, line, and sinker. 

THE ARRANGEMENT by ROBYN HARDING is a fascinating, dark, twisted, and gritty tale that was such an irresistible, entertaining and fun book to read. I was immediately pulled into the story, totally intrigued by the premise, and fully absorbed in this suspenseful page-turner.

Thoughts from our Traveling Sisters and blogging Sister Its All About The Thrill

Wow! The author certainly knocked it out of the park with this one! Five flipping scandalous stars from me. This book will leave you with your mouth hanging open. I loved it! I was submersed into a world that I had no idea that existed until a recent news segment and of course this book! Up until this point sugar babies were just a candy I had enjoyed as a child. For Kim’s full review

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Arresting, intriguing, eye-catching, electrifying, and a fitting representation to storyline. I definitely love the cover art and find it aesthetically pleasing. 
Title: A perfectly perfect, suspenseful, intriguing and fitting representation to storyline. I absolutely love how the title played so perfectly into storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Compulsively readable, well-written, entertaining, engaging, and suspenseful. 
Plot: Fascinating, suspenseful, gritty, unique, riveting, brisk, engrossing, dark, thrilling, seductive, sinister, captivating, twisty, and entertaining.
Ending: Well that was an extremely satisfying end that I absolutely loved! So good!! A neat ending that wraps things up smoothly & perfectly. 
Overall: I absolutely loved this one and devoured every single page of this dark, sexy, sinister, and thrilling tale! Would highly recommend! 

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada and Robyn Harding for our copies.

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, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters Reads

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin #travelingsistersread @StMartinsPress @megangoldin @about_thethrill

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin * is available now and one not to be missed!

Norma’s Review

Fanciful, mindless fun, & a rocky ride!

THE ESCAPE ROOM by MEGAN GOLDIN * opens up with quite the electrifying scene that definitely piqued my interest but unfortunately fizzled out shortly thereafter which steadily stayed that way until around the 50% when it sparked up again. At that point I was all in and found the rest of the story exhilarating and an intoxicating page-turner that had me racing to see how things were all going to play out.

MEGAN GOLDIN delivers quite the original and cleverly written read here that is just as cutthroat as those ruthless, backstabbing, and unlikeable characters. The story is told in a back and forth format between Sara Hall and the elevator where the escape room game takes place. The drama in the elevator definitely got on my nerves a little bit in the first half of the book because of all the characters bickering back and forth. I actually love some good character bantering but the bickering was just a little too much for me to handle at times. Also there was a little bit of information that didn’t necessarily move the story forward and was left stagnant and never addressed again. My curious mind would have liked a few things answered.

There was definitely a turning point for me where I seen things in a different light and was able to foresee where this story was headed. An aha moment if you will! At that particular point in the book I was able to put all my reservations aside and just enjoy the ride.

Brenda’s review

Yahoo!  Another winning thriller for me!  Could I be getting my groove back!?!

Giddy up friends!  The Escape Room is one fun wild rodeo here and it’s all bulls, muddy ground and once the dust settles there is nothing left behind but blood. 

The Escape Room did start off pretty rocky for me with those very unlikable four Wall Street investment bankers and the drama level to this one was throwing off my groove even more and I was one grumpy reader.  I did a little complaining to Norma, Lindsay and Kim @ Its All About the Thrill. Well, well did this one take a fast, entertaining and fun turn for me and I was grooving to the beat and turning these pages as fast as I could. I soon realized just how well-layered and brilliantly written this one was and that ending paid off big time for this reader!!

After reading this one I have one thing to say “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Investment bankers”!  I highly recommend!!!

We received copies from the publisher through NetGalley and Edelweiss

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: My feelings towards this cover is neutral.
Title: Intriguing, appealing, suspenseful, and a fitting representation to storyline. The title of this book definitely piqued my interest as I find escape room games quite intriguing, although I’ve never played myself. I want to though!
Writing/Prose: Compulsively readable, superfluous, entertaining, and dramatic.
Plot: Suspenseful, gripping, fast-paced, dark, sinister, chilling, captivating, imaginative, fanatical, and entertaining.
Ending: Totally worked for me and highly satisfied!
Armchair Detective Skills: I was pretty much stumped until around the 70% mark and then things started to come together for me. The feeling was wholly satisfying.
Overall: It is so worth suspending disbelief to thoroughly be entertained by this easy and fun read! Would highly recommend!

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Traveling Sisters Read

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!