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 Can't Wait Wednesday, Traveling Friends Reads

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton @about_thethrill #travelingfriendsread #BookBloggers

Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about and that we have yet to read.  It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Today we are sistering up with Kim @It’s All About the Thrill to share in our excitement for another upcoming group read for a book by Sharon J. Bolton that we can’t wait to read.  Our group read for The Craftsman is underway and it’s a hit with all of us so far.  Now we are so excited to get started on Daisy in Chains.  Daisy in Chains has been on our radar to read for Norma and I since we read and loved Dead Woman Walking.  We both bought the book and it’s been spending some time on our much-loved shelve of books waiting for the perfect time to read it.  Soon that perfect time is coming and I feel there will be some cheering going on in the coulee when we start reading this one.

Daisy in Chains by Sharon J. Bolton

From Goodreads

Famous killers have fan clubs.

Hamish Wolfe is no different. Locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women, he gets countless adoring letters every day. He’s handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced he’s innocent, and that he’s the man of their dreams.

Who would join such a club?

Maggie Rose is different. Reclusive and enigmatic; a successful lawyer and bestselling true-crime writer, she only takes on cases that she can win.

Hamish wants her as his lawyer, he wants her to change his fate. She thinks she’s immune to the charms of a man like this. But maybe not this time . . .

Would you?

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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, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens #travelingfriendsread #BookBloggers

Where the Crawdads Sing was one of my most anticipated group reads and this story exceeded any expectations I had for it.  I loved this story and it made for a fantastic discussion. Fifteen Traveling Friends joined in on this discussion and quite a few of us have added this one to our favorites list.

Where the Crawdads Sing is a compelling, insightful and original well-layered coming of age story that also digs deep into the environment surrounding this story.  It is so stunning and vividly written not only in the descriptive atmosphere but also with the insightful way it is written. 

We meet our main character Kya at a young age and learn how she becomes isolated from the people and world around her.   This part of the story brought on a bit of discussion for us and some of us struggled a bit here with suspending some disbelief here. However, this is also where the magic of the story and the marsh comes alive.

In our discussion, we talked about how the marsh became so many different things to Kya allowing us to see some comparisons and symbolization between nature and human behavior.   We became totally immersed in the vivid setting of the marsh and it was like the story was being told and shown to us by it. We felt like we were drawn into the mind of a character. We could feel how hauntingly isolating yet peaceful it was to Kya. We could see just how dangerous that was for Kya when the outside world becomes apart of Kya’s marsh.  The writing here is so vivid and made this such a stunning story for some us, however, there were a couple sisters who found it dense and at times myself included became a bit weary of it.

We highly recommend this truly amazing story with such an unforgettable character.

Web_L339-3_brunette_brown eyesNorma’s Review

Stunning, enchanting & emotive!

So before I start off with my review there is something that I must confess to. While reading this novel there was always this niggling annoyance in the forefront of my mind telling me that I wasn’t connecting with the third person narrative here. I am not exactly sure what it was for me but that really bothered me that I wasn’t able to give this story my whole heart. Regardless of not connecting with the third person narrative, I thought this story and the words written were absolutely beautiful though. And in the end after long discussions with my dear friend, Kris she helped me work out my feelings towards this book and come to a few realizations that were pivotal. I am so happy to say that I was able to get that warm fuzzy feeling that I was so desperately seeking from this book.

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by DELIA OWENS was an engrossing, moving, heartbreaking and charming coming of age, love story and murder mystery novel all wrapped up into one incredible and delightful story. I was immediately drawn into this quiet and powerful story that revolves around the survival and resilience of an unforgettable young girl named Kya, abandoned at the age of 10 and growing up alone in the marsh. Kya’s story consumed my thoughts and my heart totally while I was reading this novel. She had me laughing, smiling, crying, worried and rooting for her every step of the way.

DELIA OWENS delivers an intriguing, atmospheric, suspenseful and beautifully written read here that is so vividly descriptive and absolutely mesmerizing. The descriptions of the marsh and everything that it entails pertains so meaningfully to this story. Unlike Kya, I just wish that it didn’t take me as long to come to that realization of how meaningful the marsh was to her whole being and story.

This was an awesome group read with an absolutely wonderful discussion and with the help from Brenda and our Traveling Friends I was able to fully enjoy this novel! Thank you friends!

Web_L443-2_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s review

Heartbreakingly unforgettable. Deeply symbolic. Hauntingly atmospheric.

This is the story of Kya, a ‘marsh girl’ who grows up isolated from society. Abandoned by her mother at the tender age of six, Kya is left vulnerable and constantly awaiting her return.  At the age of ten, Kya is deserted by the rest of her family, leaving her completely alone to fend for herself in the wild and unruly marsh. There are a few characters that enter Kya’s life, each having a direct impact on her development and views of the world. Each of the characters is memorable and very well developed.

Kya’s story is one that will stick with you – it is emotional, disturbing, shocking and touching. While I enjoyed this story,  I did not love and adore this book as much
as most others have. The biggest thing that didn’t quite work for me was the pace of the novel – it dragged throughout. The marsh descriptions, though vivid and atmospheric, felt too much at times and I was lost in these descriptions rather than the story itself. With that being said, I feel it was fully intentional to have such overpowering descriptions and that is what many readers truly loved and connected with – it just didn’t work for me.

We received an advanced copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons through Edelweiss.

 

Web_L109-6So many amazing reviews from our Traveling Sisters and Friends and I want to add them all and their full reviews, but that would make for a very long post for you all to read.  So I have stuck with adding a bit from their reviews and recommend checking out their reviews on Goodreads.  So on to our Traveling Sister’s reviews.

Web_L423-2_blonde_brown-eyesKristin’s review

Kya’s journey spans years, the reader present from her childhood into maturity. I love this story’s ode to wilderness and Mother Earth with all her glorious wonder; her instinctual need to nurture and protect. I love each character’s flawed nature as well as those redeemed. I love the heart and soul that saturates every inch of this story, and more than anything, I LOVE that spectacularly bold ending!

To the reader who appreciates nature’s effortless beauty honored in fiction; to those who seek a love story every bit true as it is tender; to the one who needs a tantalizing murder/mystery to spice things up, and for those who tend to root for the underdog in hopes she’ll someday sparkle like the gem she is—this one’s for you.

Web_L301-3_brunette_green eyesFrom Debra’s review

This book had a little bit of everything that I love: a likable main character who pulls at your heartstrings, murder mystery, atmosphere, drama, coming of age, and romance. There are several characters who give and show kindness including, Tate, the cashier who gives back too much change and the couple who make sure Kya has what she needs. What is the saying? Those that have the least to give, give the most! There is a police investigation and courtroom drama and some twists and turns I did not see coming.

This book is beautifully written and contains poetry and vivid descriptions of the Marsh. I highly recommend this book! It’s thoughtful, evokes emotion, and transports the reader back in time to the Marsh. I loved every page.

img_6644From Christina’s review

This, at its heart, is a deeply sad but moving story about a misunderstood girl, about abandonment and loss. However, there are uplifting moments and characters that come into Kya’s life that shed light into her dreary and lonely world – through friendships with a shop owner named Jumpin’ and his wife Mabel, through a boy named Tate who teaches Kya not just how to read but about acceptance and friendship and joy. These two timelines slowly begin to converge upon one another and as it does the true gem of this story becomes apparent: nature and all it’s wonders.

Web_LF05-5_blonde_blue-eyesFrom Rose’s review

While the stories are engrossing enough at face value, Owens was hinting at something much larger than a poor girl living in a swamp. This is a book about nature as the equalizer. People can hide behind their material possessions, but true character is revealed when all of that is stripped away.

In a way, nature is also the narrator of this novel. We get such detailed glimpses into the most intimate moments of Kya’s life – whether joyous or heartbreaking – to which no human was privy because she was always alone. The only entity that would’ve known Kya so well was the marsh. The cranes, the lagoons, and the mosquitoes carried her from childhood, through adolescence, and into adulthood. They raised her, they knew her, and they told her story.

FC-2 VerityFrom Marialyce’s review

It was masterful, exceptional, an outstanding tribute to the environment of North Carolina’s coastline, of small-town Southern living, of a people who lived, loved, and were products of their time.

In this novel, we meet so many characters that resonant with the songs of their upbringing, who fall to the lure of money, power, and the ways of what their insular world has decided. They harbor prejudice, animosity, and enmity for those who they consider below them.

Delia Owens, our author in her inaugural novel, makes you one with the story. She assembles a group of characters ranging from the Marsh Girl, Kya Clark, a girl of mystery, forced to live on her own when her siblings, mother and eventually her cruel and callous father leave her, to the wonderful Tate who becomes her friend, her mentor, and the man she will someday love. Alas, though Tate also leaves her as she becomes a dupe for the unscrupulous Chase. There are the loving characters of Jumpin and Mabel, who look out for Kya with a quiet heart, with their loving manner propelling the story forward and portraying the beauty of caring for others. Conversely, Ms Owens, presents with a troop of hardhearted and callous folks who populate the town and feel that Kya is dirty, contaminated, and squalid.

Web_L117-5Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Eye-catching, beautiful, and an extremely fitting representation to the storyline.
Title: Fits the story so well and love how it plays so meaningfully into the story. I also really enjoyed the few lines in the book that referred to the title.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, lovely, eloquent, and engaging.
Plot: Entertaining, thought-provoking, captivating, steady-paced, held my attention and extremely enjoyable. Even though I had some reservations with the third person narrative it did not take away my enjoyment for the story.
Ending: Bittersweet, powerful, rewarding, and very satisfying.
Overall: An outstanding, emotional, memorable, and heartfelt read! Would highly recommend!

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Have you read this one? Adding it to your TBR list? Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Sneak Peek Sunday

Sneak Peek Sunday: My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers @BerkleyPub @about_thethrill @smariedowning

Happy Sunday Everyone!!!  Today we are joining Kim @ It’s All About The Thrill and Christina @ Recipe and A Read and with this Sunday Sneak a Peek where we take a look inside a highly anticipated upcoming group read and give a little sneak peek into our thoughts and just how excited we are to read this book.

Today we are so excited to take a peek into My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing.  When we first got wind of this one we knew we needed to get our hands on it.  We checked NetGalley and Edelweiss with no luck at first however, Norma was determined and kept her eye on both and was really excited to find it on Edelweiss.  There was some dancing in the coulee when we found it and we are so excited to add this title to our list of upcoming Traveling Sisters reads.

My Lovely WifeMy Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

From Goodreads

Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this wildly compulsive debut thriller about a couple whose fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting…
 

Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored.

We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.

We all have secrets to keeping a marriage alive.

Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.

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With that description I am already intrigued and want to find out more.  I took a peek into the first chapter and I have to say it starts off right away with what looks like a different and unique storyline.  I didn’t want to stop reading and I now know this will be coming up soon for The Traveling Sisters because I don’t think it’s one we want to wait to read.  This has been put on our list for one of our most anticipated upcoming reads.

Expected Publication Date March 26, 2019.

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Have you read this one?  Are you now adding this one to your Goodreads shelve?  Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in First Line Fridays

First Line Fridays: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor @HarperCollinsCA @HazelGaynor #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers

First Line Friday is hosted by Hoarding Books. Where we share the first line or lines of a book we are currently reading or going to start soon.

Our First Line Friday is for a Traveling Sisters Group read that we are currently reading and enjoying very much.  I am not too far in but already it is an extremely emotional and moving historical fiction novel that is inspired by true events.  The writing in stunningly beautiful.

They call it Heartbreak Pier, the place from where I will leave Ireland.  It is a place that has seen too many goodbyes.

Goodreads Summary

“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”

1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.

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Have you read this one? Want to read it? Please add your first line to a book you have started or going to start. We would love to hear from you!!!