The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil


The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After
by Clemantine Wamariya

Review by Brenda

I don’t normally read biographies and seems to shy away from them but with all the high rating and reviews from my Traveling Sisters and Friends I finally along with Susanne dived into this one. I am really glad I did.

I went into this one not knowing much about the Rwandan genocide and Clemantine Wamariya really opened my eyes up to the reality of these horrific events and what it was like escaping those events. The story goes back and forth in time and at times I found it confusing and I struggled a bit with following the story. A good part of the story is Clementine and her sister’s journey, struggles and how they adapted from one environment to other. I could feel their struggles to stay alive, fight to stay clean and healthy and never giving up on that even when she was so tired of it all.

I really appreciated how open and honest the story was written and I could feel Clementine’s anger and bitterness as she tried to escape her past never looking for sympathy but just wanting to find her place and feel and be treated like a human after witnessing such inhuman cruelty and conditions.

I highly recommend this very emotionally and honest story of two sisters struggling to find their way through such horrible conditions from refugee camp to another and finally come to be reunited with their parents.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for a copy to read and review


Traveling Sisters One Year Anniversary $30.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Raffle

Brenda & I are celebrating our one year anniversary reading with our Goodreads Traveling Sisters Group with a $30.00 Amazon Gift Card GIVEAWAY RAFFLE! 🌟🌟🌟

We feel so lucky to be able to read and share our love of books with such a wonderful group of ladies – our ‘Sisters’ who we have come to know and look forward to reading and chatting with everyday! We thank each and everyone of you from the bottom of our hearts. You all are very special to us!!! 💕💜💕

Click here to enter giveaway on Instagram

Join The Traveling Book Bloggers and links that caught your eye!

Is there a link that caught your eye recently you would like to share or if you are a Book Blogger would you like to be part of a new group Norma and I are starting, The Traveling Book Bloggers?

Since a big part of what Norma and I do is bringing people together and sharing our love of reading and because my mind never stops coming up with new ideas.  I think I just now figuring out why I am so tired at night and fall asleep reading. lol.  Norma and I have decided to start a weekly post sharing your reviews as bloggers and we are calling it The Traveling Bloggers.

You can be part of the Traveling Book Bloggers in two ways.   All you need to do is let us know below by adding your link to your blog in the comment section below and Norma and I will pick a review that caught our eye from your blog and do a weekly post sharing links.  Or you can add a link in the comment section to a post that caught your eye and we will add it to our weekly post. At the end of the week, we will do a new post updating the new links to the post that caught our eye from your blog and links that caught your eye.

Please don’t be shy, we love to share and I think I have become a little obsessed with it.  We look forward to future links to share.  To keep the love going at the end of the week please reblog, like or tweet our post with the links.  That will leave Norma and I dancing in a Coulee.

Thank you in advance for participating in The Traveling Book Bloggers. We look forward to reading and sharing many posts to come.



Links To Reviews That Caught Our Eye Through Our Book Travels


Since so much of our blog is about sharing different views and reviews from The Traveling Sisters and Traveling Friends Reading Group experiences,  we thought we would start a post sharing links to posts we have enjoyed along our book travels through the many blogs that we follow.   The idea to share links came from  Kaila The Traveling Inkwell.  Kaila was inspired by  Zuky @ BookBum and Novels and Nonfiction.

I really enjoyed reading Zuky’s Favourite Reviews of the Week / 11th August.  Thank you Zuky for sharing our link to our review for Sister of Mine.

The reviews or posts that recently caught our eye

In a Coulee

Marialyce’s wonderful review for our Traveling Sisters Group read  Our Homesick Song by Emma Hooper

I have not quite finished this one but wanted to give a sneak peek into our discussion by Debra’s review for With you Always

Mackenzie’s PhDiva  Our House by Louise Candlish

On My Book Travels

Amy from Novelgossip has me wanting to jump into The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

I was excited to see two reviews for an upcoming Traveling Sisters Group read and now I am even more excited for the group read.

Nicki, The Secret Library The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarehas

Zuky led me to Inside my Library Mind where I found Marija’s review for The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

Zoe , What is Better Than Books?  Foe by Ian

Annie The Misstery has convinced me to read Barb Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe which has been sitting on my NetGalley Shelve for quite some time now

Wind-ups, updates and weeks in reviews are my favorite posts to read to see what you have been reading or will be reading.  The links that caught my eye.

Paula, Book Jotter Winding up the Week 30 

Jo’s Book Blog  Week in Books

So many more we would like to add, but I guess we need to continue our Travels though our day!!!  Be back next week for more links that caught our eye!!!

From the blog post to follow this one. Which is before this one on blog!!!!!





Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou #travelingsistersread #BookReview @lauriepetrou @crookedlanebks


Sister of Mine
by Laurie Petrou

Brenda’s Review

I do have to start off by commenting on the title like Norma did. I love the title and every time I think of the title I think of Norma calling me That Sister of Mine. Which she did quite regularly. So when I saw this title I knew we had to read it.

Well, let me just say that’s where any similarity to this story ended. These sisters and their dynamics and complicated relationship is nothing like my boring relationship with Norma. Thank goodness!

When we first meet the sisters Penny and Hattie we were drawn into their bond to protect each other and soon the tensions rises as we start to see just how complicated their relationship is. We start to see a secret that binds them and soon a competition between them sets in and things start to spiral for them.

Laurie Petrou does a fantastic job here creating the dynamics between Penny and Hattie and we were fascinated by their dynamics and couldn’t turn those pages fast enough to see how things turned out for them.

There is some good storytelling here that focuses on family ties, secrets and things that complicate and threaten relationships to move this story forward and not with any shocking twists and turns. Laurie Petrou’s writing and storytelling reminded me of the days when thrillers were more driven by suspense and you could rely on the storytelling over shock value.

We highly recommend Sister of Mine to anyone who likes a character-driven suspense domestic thriller that is light on the drama but high on complicated relationships.

Just some fun facts that Norma and I found interesting Sister of Mine was first published in Canada by HarperCollins and then sold in the US to Crooked Lane Books. The US version is slightly different due to some editing. Norma and I received physical copies from Crooked Lane Books.

Thank you so much to Sarah at Crooked Lane Books for sending me and that sister of mine a physical copy of this book.


Norma’s Review

I absolutely love the title of this book and found it to be extremely fitting for this story and it reminded me of all the times that I have said “That sister of mine!” whether it be when I am a little annoyed with her or loving her at that time!  Also, what made this book extra special to read for me was reading it with my sister, Brenda!

SISTER OF MINE by LAURIE PETROU is an engaging, tense, and haunting domestic suspense novel about the bond and secrets shared by two sisters, Penny and Hattie.  Once I started reading this one I couldn’t put it down as I was totally committed and consumed in this story. I was intrigued in learning their secrets and was totally entertained with their love/hate relationship.  The underlying suspense that arises from this novel here is more for us readers to see if they can actually keep their secrets between the two of them. I really enjoyed this approach because it definitely kept me captivated right to the very end.

What really shined the most for me here was the creative way that Petrou delivered this story as she really made it an extremely interesting portrayal with the dynamics between Penny and Hattie.

I absolutely loved LAURIE PETROU’S unique style of voice here and her writing style which made this an extremely quick, enjoyable and entertaining read.  Would recommend!

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

Have you had a chance to read Sister of Mine?  If not do you want to now?  Drop us a comment and let us know!

Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen #travelingsistersread #BookReview #NetGalley


Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

Norma’s Review

4.5 stars rounded up! Oh my! I was totally lost in the beautiful imagery of this fabulously and magically written novel!

HARRY’S TREES by JON COHEN is an engaging, fascinating, and an emotionally moving tale that definitely tugged at my heartstrings but in an uplifting and heartwarming way. Even though there was some sadness to this story it was the love, kindness, and hope that magically flowed through from the pages of this book to my very being that absolutely touched my heart.

JON COHEN delivers an endearing, thought-provoking and beautifully written novel here with a fairy tale interwoven into the storyline to make this a charming and an all around magical tale. I absolutely loved how a fairy tale was written into this story and all the underlying messages that this book had to offer.

I was immediately drawn into the fabulous setting and found the characters to be so intriguing and compelling and I was especially enchanted by young Oriana and how she played a major role in this story. Also, the descriptions of the library and the books from the librarian was such a welcoming part of this story for me.

The only time I would say that I wavered from this story was some of the references towards the trees. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was bored maybe just a little bit uninterested so that is where the book lost a half a star from me.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the symbolism that the trees had to Harry’s healing and how the fairy tale was incorporated into this story which was intertwined by a strong dose of reality. Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Harlequin and Jon Cohen for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!

Our House by Louise Candlish #travelingsistersread #BookReview


Our House
by Louise Candlish

Brenda’s Traveling Sisters Review

I read Our House with seven of my Traveling Sisters and we varied with how we all felt about this one.

We all started off drawn into this story and were intrigued right away when we met Fiona who comes home to find strangers have moved into her house and that it has been sold. The tension and suspense rise as we start to see betrayals and secrets spiral.

Louise Candlish does a great job here creating a different angle to a domestic suspense with a plot that revolves around a house. At times the house becomes the center of the story and we start to see just how connected our main character Fiona is to her home. The house itself starts to become a character I started to connect with

Louise Candlish adds just the right amount of drama to leave us questioning Fiona’s actions and creating a little ourselves for her in our discussion. We appreciated that she kept the drama down while still creating enough tension and suspense to keep the story moving forward for some of us. At times we did feel the story slowed down and got a little bogged down and things started to go sideways for me and a few sisters and we started to make our way out of a Coulee. Soon some of us were pulled back down on to a twisty path with twists and turns that kept us turning the pages as fast as we could right to the end.

You need a little patience with this story and the twists are not shocking but twisty leaving some of us quite satisfied in a coulee and for some of us they couldn’t wait to jump on out.

I recommend this Domestic Suspense Thriller to readers who are looking for a safer yet different angle to a thriller with a touch of drama.

Thank you to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing Group and Louise Candlish for a copy to read and review.


Lindsay’s review

A suspenseful, unique and twisty story!

This novel follows Fiona Lawson who has recently split with her husband Bram and has a “bird’s nest” custody arrangement forher two sons.   The custody arrangement allows Fiona and Bram to stay in the marital home separately with their sons a few nights each week.   One day, Fiona arrives at the house earlier than expected to find a young couple moving their belongings in.   Bram, her children and personal belongings are nowhere to be found.   The situation is shocking for all parties involved.   What transpires afterward is a turn of events that will keep you guessing.

This book started out strong – I was intrigued by the premise and immediately liked Fiona’s character.   Louise Candlish, drew me right into this wild and shocking situation, piquing my interest from the first sentence.  As the plot unfolds, the narrative switches between Fiona and Bram.

Unfortunately, the story lost its spark by the halfway point and began to drag and feel repetitious. The back and forth narratives became too detailed and many paragraphs and pages felt like unnecessary detail which took away from the suspenseful intensity.  Bram’s character was extremely selfish and irritating and I found his sections grew to become frustrating to read.  Overall, this was a good thriller with a unique and interesting premise.  It just didn’t work out as great as I had hoped for me.

Published August 7, 2018

A big thank you to Edelweiss, Berkley and Louise Candlish for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Read this one? Who do you agree with?  Have we encouraged you to read this one?  Drop us a comment and let us know!

Links That Caught Our Eye Through Our Book Travels


Since so much of our blog is about sharing different views and reviews from The Traveling Sisters Reading Group experiences,  we thought we would start a post sharing links we have enjoyed along our book travels through the many blogs that we follow.   The idea to share links came from  Kaila The Traveling Inkwell.  Kaila was inspired by  Zuky @ BookBum and Novels and Nonfiction.

I really enjoyed reading Zuky’s My Favourite Reviews of the Week | 5th August.  Lindsay was very excited to see her review for The Unforgotten listed and linked as a favorite. Thank you so much Zuky for sharing her review and our link.


The Links that recently caught our eye

In a Coulee

One of our favorite Traveling Friends Group Read that Debra joined in on.  Her review on her blog Open Book Post  Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea

Another great Traveling Friends Group read Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea Jonetta’s review  Blue Mood Cafe

On My Book Travels

After reading Zuky’s post  How to Write an Effective NetGalley Bio  I quickly updated my NetGalley Bio.

Secret Library Book Blog  Links I’ve Enjoyed this Week – 05/08/18

Short Book and Scribes Seven Day Spotlight

Carrie has me really wanting to start Rust and Stardust by T. Greenwood Carrie’s Book Review

Fictionophile Hello August (Fictionophile updates and July’s book haul)

and Cover Love

Keeper of Pages July 2018 Wrap up

Reading Between the pages  July Monthly Wrap-up and Book Haul

NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge

Reading Under the Blankie  Monthly Catch Up 7 July 2018

Danielle, Books Vertigo and Tea’s  interesting post Blogging Life The Challenges I Encounter With Discussion posts

So many more we would like to add, but I guess we need to continue our Travels though our day!!!  Be back next week for more links that caught our eye!!!

Traveling Friends Read: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman #travelingsistersread #BookReview

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Norma’s Review

3.5 Stars rounded up because I definitely found this book to be entertaining and had me totally glued to those pages!

SOMETHING IN THE WATER by CATHERINE STEADMAN is an engaging, refreshing, and a steady paced thriller that immediately drew me in with its opening scene and had me totally intrigued in finding out what was in the water.

So here’s the thing about my experience with this book. I have never been so unsure about my feelings about a book after finishing as I was with this one. There were so many parts that I enjoyed and was totally entertained by, but then after finishing it, I was a little underwhelmed and disappointed by the whole story in general. I thought this story had so much potential to be a great one. Although, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed CATHERINE STEADMAN’S descriptive writing style though which kept me totally invested in this story. Here is a quote from the book that I absolutely loved.

“But now that I can see her, I understand that those silences, which sounded empty over the phone, were actually very full. I just couldn’t see before what they were full of.”

CATHERINE STEADMAN delivers an insightful and well-written novel here that I would consider to be more of a slow-burner than a heart pounding and gripping thriller. The novel has an interesting enough premise with a touch of unease to the storyline and characters that well – I will let you experience for yourself. I will say though that I actually quite enjoyed the main character and didn’t experience some of the same issues that other readers did. I felt like she was true to herself and telling us a totally unedited version of her story and events.

Overall, even though I had some reservations about this story, I still found it to be a compulsive read with a few good twists. I was very engaged and interested in how this story was going to all play out. Would recommend!

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