We are Brenda, Norma and Lindsay and we are The Traveling Sisters. We read and review together. We are the hosts to The Traveling Sisters & Friends Goodreads Reading Groups and The Traveling Friends Instagram Reading Group.
The Favorite Daughter is a moving, heartfelt story that delves into the power of memories, learning to forgive when betrayal rips you apart and discovering what home means to you. The story explores a family separated by betrayal and brought together by their father’s illness. We see the effect of betrayal, secrets and heartache had on this family that left me with so much to think about.
From the first pages, I was completely immersed in this family drama and fascinated by how betrayal affected this family and how the power of memories shaped them. The family explores the past by creating a memory book of their father’s past and secrets start to come out. Through the layers in the story, Patti Callahan Henry shows us the meaning of forgiveness and had me thinking about how that can shape us and how memories can define what home means to us. It had me thinking about the memories we might want to forget, the importance of family secrets being revealed or not, and about time lost within a family.
The ending came together so well for me and pulled on a few of my heartstrings. I was left thinking about forgiveness and memories in a different way than I have before. I highly recommend this well-done story!
Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for my complimentary copy.
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This is my first experience with this author and I must say that I am really surprised that I haven’t picked up one of her books before as these are the types of stories that I love to read in between those dark, twisted, and thrilling suspenseful thrillers. I will definitely be adding this author to my ever-growing TBR shelf in the future.
THE FRIENDS WE KEEP by JANE GREEN is an entertaining, moving, and unforgettable read that’s a quick, light and easy summer reading story that is definitely worthy enough to read leisurely at the beach. Although it’s a story with some substance that definitely made me hyper-aware of my own personal friendships and life experiences as well as some of those unhappy memories. This book felt so genuine to read and some aspects to the character’s individual storylines totally resonated with me.
The book centers around the friendship between Evvie, Maggie, and Topher that begins when they were roommates at University and then fast forward to thirty years later when these three friends reconnect. In between, we get some insight into how each of these characters lived their lives and what events occur that ultimately brings them back together again. Of course, there are some secrets and juicy stories here to make this a fun and amusing read.
JANE GREEN delivers a compelling, intriguing, thought-provoking, and well-written read here that totally captivated and immersed me into the storyline. The characters were likable and relatable to a point where I thought that I alone was the intended audience. I love it when I connect so well to an author’s writing style.
Friendships that lasts forever, the years that separate them, second chances and the secret that keeps them apart.
The Friends We Keep is my first book by Jane Green and I am really glad I got the opportunity to read this story.
The Friends We Keep is an easy entertaining, engaging story that explores friendship over time. It’s a bit of a love story between friends as we follow them as they search for what they want from life. We see them through love, grief and forgiveness from University friends and then later into adulthood.
Jane Green does a great job smoothly switching POVs of the characters while showing us their secrets, the darkness that haunts them, their pain and exploring their personal conflicts that sets them down their own paths. She touches lightly on some serious themes here, however giving them some substance and never making light of them.
I was a bit conflicted with the way it came together in the end and this left me thinking and talking about how I felt about how some of the storylines came together. Some wrapped up quite nicely for me and others I just didn’t buy into and left me questioning a few things. Overall, in the end, this story gave me a lot to think about not only with each character but also with how some things were brilliantly written and the things that missed the mark for me.
Norma’s Stats: Cover: Welcoming, summery, calming, relaxing and a fitting representation to storyline. Title: Appealing, intriguing and absolutely loved how it played so meaningfully and fittingly into the storyline. Writing/Prose: Well-written, readable, genuine, appealing, moving, engaging, and captivating. Plot: Fun, amusing, insightful, memorable, fascinating, secrets, lies, hope, love, steadily-paced, absorbing, enjoyable and entertaining. Ending: I had no issues with the way this story wrapped up and left me feeling quite happy and contently satisfied. Overall: It was a light, quick and easy read that totally captured my attention as well as my heart. Would recommend!
Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for our complimentary copies!
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It’s no secret to just how much The Traveling Sister’s love Charlie Donlea and we have been reading his books in our groups since reading The Girl Who Was Taken. It was one of our first Traveling Sister group reads even before starting our Goodreads Group two years ago. Since then we have been introducing him to our members and everyone has become a fan for sure!
We read Some Choose Darkness with a few of our Traveling Sisters and with a few friends on Instagram and of course we all loved it. I highly recommend if you haven’t read any of his books to give this one a go. Now we all have our different favourite books and mine is Don’t Believe It. I do suggest reading The Girl Who Was Taken first because Don’t Believe It has a recurring character from The Girl Who Was Taken and it added a little more interest to the story.
Deadly secrets hiding in plain sight, a forensic reconstructionist, a cold case and the search to reconstruct the crime.
Some Choose Darkness is a gripping, suspenseful fascinating character study and compelling thriller with interesting strong characters. I loved the fierce, intelligent and determined characters of Rory and Angela. I love the dynamics created here between them that was done so differently with one from the past story line and the other character in the present.
Charlie Donlea boldly writes another entertaining, well layered story with those red herrings and carefully laid clues that only he can write and he has become a master at. We were drawn into uncovering the dark truth that connects the past to the present with some of us making those connections before others. Of course I didn’t make too many and that heart pounding ending left me once again tongue-tied after reading it and then shouting I can’t believe you did that to us again Charlie Donlea. I should of seen that coming. There are some unanswered questions that left me thinking and needing to discuss them in the group and in the end we all agree we really didn’t care. I highly recommend!
Well the absolute perfect hook for enticing me to read this book was being invited to read her story from none other than our protagonist herself, Rory Moore in a very clever letter. It was just enough to pique my interest and get me excited to dive into this story!
SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS by CHARLIE DONLEA is an entertaining, dark, disturbing, suspenseful, and engaging psychological suspense novel that I must admit didn’t immediately grab my attention. I did have a little bit of problem with the repetitive nature of the story in the beginning, although I quickly learned its purpose though. Once I ignored that little niggling voice in my head I was able to sit back and enjoy this story and fly through those pages.
CHARLIE DONLEA delivers a compelling, intriguing, and well-written read here with absolutely fantastic characters that totally captivated and fascinated me. The strength of this novel handsdown is the author’s fabulous characterizations. CHARLIE DONLEA definitely shines when it comes to how interesting and fleshed out his characters are.
The story is told in alternate timelines and perspectives which I absolutely loved. There is a pivotal point in the story that happens around the halfway mark which I thought was quite the brilliant way to add tension and suspense to the storyline.
So I played at being an armchair detective and I’m not playing that game anymore as I pretty much had the whole ending figured out and it definitely ruined it for me. I really need to learn to just read the story and try not to piece things together so much. I felt the ending was a play by play of what I already had figured out. I definitely felt a little letdown and was not all that impressed with myself. LOL Although I will say I absolutely loved one aspect to the ending and so look forward to reading more about Rory Moore in the future. Hint…hint!
Another outstanding fast-paced, gripping thriller by Charlie Donela! I loved everything about this book!
Rory Moore is a quirky forensic reconstructionist who investigates cold murder cases. She insists on working alone and has an unexplained ability to pick up hidden details that have been overlooked by the police force, making her a valuable asset to local detectives. Rory’s father passes away, leaving her to close down his law practice. Through this process, Rory is introduced to a case that she can’t shake. A convicted murderer who has been in prison for the last forty years is set to be released on parole and her father was his attorney. While she dreads having to face the courtroom and public eye on such an infamous case, she is deeply drawn into the clients’ history and solving the many unanswered questions.
I have read and loved all of Charlie Donlea’s books and this is no exception! He has the magical writing formula that makes his novels undeniably captivating, addictively suspenseful and heart-poundingly unforgettable. He creates vivid and fascinating characters that engross and wrap you up in the story from page one. He consistently provides an absolutely fantastic read leaving me itching to read his next work!
I absolutely adored the main characters in this book! They were strong, flawed, unique females who I was fully invested in from start to finish. Donlea included characters on the autism spectrum within the story, leaving an impactful impression. I truly felt for these characters, immersed in their world, getting a serious glimpse into their minds and struggles. It was eye-opening, engrossing and heart wrenching.
Warning: the crimes involved within the plot are very dark, creepy and disturbing. Though they made me uncomfortable while reading them, it heightened the suspense and fueled my fascination to find out how things would come together in the end.
Donlea is quickly becoming my go-to writer. There are Authors who I anxiously await new books from and he is right there at the top of the list. I enjoy that his plots are plausible. There are twists, turns and reveals but all of them seem plausible. Nothing comes to far out of left field. He does his research and writes very good mystery/crime/psychological fiction. His book contains interesting characters who I feel for, root for and some I boo and hiss at. I also appreciate that his books are intelligent. He does not spoon feed his readers. True, some will figure out things around the half way mark. I figured out one thing fairly early but still didn’t now everything until around the 55% mark. Even if you figure things out or don’t, this is still a riveting tale about “the Thief” his “rush” and the women who he encountered and had in his life.
Again, I was captivated from page one. I found this story to be engrossing, well thought out, perfectly paced, exciting and intelligent. There were some suspenseful moments, but more importantly, Donlea knows how to write interesting and fully developed characters which we care about. I cared about what happened to the female characters in this book. I admired their strength and the way their minds worked. The strength in this book was not only the way in which the story was told via multiple POVs but in the characters themselves.
Norma’s Stats: Cover: I’m kind of neutral when it comes to this cover design. Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and absolutely loved how it played so fittingly into the storyline. Writing/Prose: Well-written, readable, fluent, appealing, straightforward, engaging, and captivating. Plot: Disturbing, dark, chilling, edgy, memorable, fascinating, suspenseful, fast-paced, absorbing, enjoyable and entertaining. Ending: I was a little bummed in the end as I didn’t find it all that surprising or twisty. Overall: Rory was such a fabulous, refreshing & quirky character! I absolutely loved her and kind of wanted to join her in drinking a Dark Lord stout with her! Would recommend
Thank you so much to Kensington Books for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley
Have you read any of Charlie Donlea’s book? Have a favourite? Want to read any of his book? Drop us a comment! We would love to hear from you!
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane is now available and I highly recommend for group reads. This was one of the best books I have read for a group read.
Ask, Again, Yes is a moving, quiet beautifully written family drama that explores love, forgiveness, friendship, tragedy and trauma that takes place over four decades. We see neighbors whose lives are intertwined when tragedy strikes and a violent act tears them apart.
Mary Beth Keane writes with compassion and I could feel the tenderness, generosity and grace she has given her characters. I was completely drawn into the lives of Peter and Kate who are both flawed by their childhood. I was fully invested in them over the years as they piece together their lives.
There are many things quietly written in the sentences here and secrets in the layers to the story. At times I felt like I was observing the story and left to find those secrets for myself instead of being shown the story and allowing me to feel what the characters are feeling. It left me so many questions as I was reading the story to pondered and so much I wanted to talk about.
The ending left me with too many questions with not enough closure with the many variables left opened for me to delve deep into the story with my own thoughts. However that is what makes this story an excellent choice for group reads to discuss the many variables to this story and I really enjoyed discussing this one with Kim Its All About the Thrill and a few of our Traveling Sisters. I highly recommend.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for my complimentary copy.
I can’t express how much I loved this book! It was a book that drew me in from the very first page. There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding this book and it fully deserves it. The story itself is just fascinating and unique. I have never read this author before and I absolutely loved her writing style. It flows so effortlessly that you really don’t want it to come to an end. For Kims’s full review
ONE MORE LIE by AMY LLOYD is an engaging, dark, suspenseful, and thrilling psychological suspense novel that immediately grabbed my attention and held taut right to the very last page. I was hooked right from the very first page and was racing through those pages as fast as I possibly could to see exactly who was deceiving who. The short chapters definitely helped to make this a fast-paced and quick read whilst ratcheting up the intensity level as the story progressed.
AMY LLOYD delivers an uncomfortable, intriguing, and well-written read here with characters that totally captivated and fascinated me. The subject matter is a little bit disturbing and I wouldn’t say the characters were all that likable or relateable but they definitely got under my skin though. The voices from our two main characters, Sean and Charlotte were distinctively their own and had me feeling different emotions for each of them. AMY LLOYD handles the tough subject matter really well here and with care.
Now I wouldn’t necessarily say that this story was all that shocking or twisty but it definitely had one heck of a thrilling and satisfying resolution in the end.
I’d like to thank HarperCollins Canada for providing me with an advanced copy of this book.
One More Lie is a fast-paced, suspenseful engaging and chilling read. From the very first pages, I was hooked wanting to know about the tangle of lies that lead to one more lie.
The premise of this story is disturbing and chilling here with the thought and reality of children so young committing crimes. I was fascinated by the unhealthy and toxic relationships here between the characters at a young age and the impact it had on them after a crime was committed. Amy Lloyd did push that uncomfortable feeling however I never felt that this story was going to go in the direction of anything more than just an entertaining thriller. The tension and suspense increased with each chapter as we become tangled in the web of deceit and lies and I was turning the pages as fast as I could to find out the truth. The truth in end left me completely satisfied with the way it all came together.
I received my copy from the publisher on NetGalley
Norma’s Stats: Cover: Dark, creepy, suspenseful, and a fitting representation to storyline. Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and such a fitting representation to storyline. There was always one more lie…… Writing/Prose: Well-written, readable, engaging, and captivating. Plot: Disturbing, dark, sinister, memorable, fascinating, suspenseful, fast-paced, absorbing, enjoyable and entertaining. Ending: There isn’t too much I can say about this ending without being spoilerish but I will say that I thought it fit extremely well and was totally satisfied with how everything all played out. Overall: 4.5 Stars! The storytelling and the suspense of figuring out the truth from all the lies made this such an entertaining and enjoyable read. Would highly recommend!
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Norma and I along with a few of our Traveling Sisters have finished reading this story and we are excited to share our reviews with you. The discussion is still going on and Lindsay is finishing up. Please check back for Lindsay’s review.
Captivating, affecting, & illuminating!
MISTRESS OF THE RITZ by MELANIE BENJAMIN is an engaging, suspenseful, and hauntingly beautiful historical fiction novel that totally captures something extraordinary here as well as fully capturing my heart. I was immediately taken with this story and found myself totally mesmerized and in awe of MELANIE BENJAMIN’S ability to weave such a fantastic story that is based on real-life people and actual historical events with her own liberties of juicy fictional storytelling.
MELANIE BENJAMIN delivers a vividly descriptive, interesting, and well-written read here with characters and a setting that totally captivated and intrigued me. I was totally taken and fascinated with both Claude and Blanche’s dynamic relationship as well as with their lives spent in the highly acclaimed Hotel Ritz in Paris.
I was thoroughly entertained and enjoyed how this story unfolded right from the very beginning. And I was totally wrapped up in this couple’s relationship and loved the suspense of the unraveling of the secrets and lies.
I read Mistress of the Ritz with a few of our Traveling Sisters and we all really enjoyed this one with us having similar thoughts on it.
An extraordinary real-life American woman, a proper Frenchman and a glamorous iconic hotel.
Mistress of the Ritz explores the lives of brash and reckless real life Blanche and proud Claude Auzello The Mistress and Master of the Ritz. The story starts off slow and it’s all about the characters here. The story delves into their marriage where secrets and lies threaten their marriage along with the Hotel Ritz in Paris. The real-life people and events are the inspiration of this story and Melanie Benjamin skillfully weaves them into the story well giving her own fictional account to the story and characters. She brings vibrant life to the Ritz and what it must have been like hosting the German’s in this beloved hotel.
The second half takes off and I flew through the pages as fast as I could as we see the secrets and lies unfold. I was completing captivated by Blanche and Claude as they learn the truth about each other. My heart was warmed yet broken after reading this one.
Melanie Benjamin wraps up that ending well and brilliantly left us wanting and needing to talk to each other about it. It was nice to be able to share how that ending made me feel and see how it made my TS feel. The Mistress of the Ritz makes for a great choice for a group read and you will want to talk about it. I highly recommend.
The books begins with the couple meeting and showcases the issues in their marriage, their cultural issues and through the use of differing POV, chapters, the reader is given each character’s inner thoughts, motivations and secrets. Some have found the beginning to be slow, but I actually enjoyed the pace. I appreciated how the Author took her time introducing each character and their marital issues. I thought this was nicely done to show how they grew to keep secrets, had misconceptions about the other, lacked effective communication skills and how this affected each other throughout their marriage and especially during a time of great danger. They loved each other, but how well did they know each other? From Debra’s review on Goodreads
Although the book was a tad slow to start as it centered a bit on the marital problems of the Auzellos, I found by the second half that I couldn’t put the book down and was completely immersed in the story. I thought Benjamin did a great job with telling this story, especially since there is so little record about the Auzellos, but Benjamin takes what is known and turns it into an inspiring, captivating read about two people that I’d never heard of in history. The characters really came alive for me in the second half, and the novel was written as smooth as silk. Of course, the Auzellos aren’t the only main characters in the book as I think the Ritz took on a life of its own with the story sweeping and swirling in and around it. For Stephanie’s full review
Norma’s Stats: Cover: Lovely, intriguing, majestic, eye-catching and a fitting representation to storyline. Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and absolutely love how the title plays so fittingly into storyline. Writing/Prose: Well-written, beautiful, fluid, vivid, engaging, and captivating. I totally connected with and absolutely loved MELANIE BENJAMIN’S writing style. Plot: Haunting, memorable, fascinating, inspiring, suspenseful, perfectly-paced, original, absorbing, enjoyable and entertaining. I absolutely loved that this book was inspired by the real-life couple of Claude and Blanche and the setting of the Ritz. As I thoroughly enjoy books that are based on real life events and people. Knowing that just makes the story that much more appealing, memorable and fascinating to read. Ending: An exceptional and extremely palpable ending that warmed my heart but also left it a little broken-hearted. Overall: 4.5 Stars! I was totally captivated by this book and totally taken with these characters and their lives and with the events that happened at the Ritz. A book that I am glad that I took my time with and savoured every single word! Loved this book so much!!!! Would highly recommend!
Thank you so much to Ariel at Wunderkind PR, NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine / Delacorte Press, and Melanie Benjamin for the opportunity to read an electronic ARC of this book.
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