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TWO SISTERS LOST IN A COULEE READING

Two sisters coming together sharing their book reviews and just talking books!

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Reviews

Traveling Sisters Review: The Last Child by John Hart

The Last ChildThe Last Child by John Hart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Traveling Sisters Review by NORMA, BRENDA and JEN!!

HART has a knack to keep you totally engaged with jaw-dropping moments that even surprised Norma’s deductive sleuthing skills.

THE LAST CHILD by JOHN HART is an action-packed, tense, fast-paced, and a suspenseful thriller with lots of surprising twists and turns along the way that kept us all reading and guessing right to the very end.

JOHN HART delivers a character driven story here that is brilliantly and cleverly written in such a skillful way that allows us to really get into our main character’s voices and the storyline, Johnny, a young boy’s desperate search for the truth and Hunt’s relentlessness and personal quest in solving the crime which ends up costing him dearly.

Johnny who’s mature way beyond his 13 years is on a desperate truth seeking personal mission to find his missing twin sister.  He is shrewd, smart, and vulnerable at times.  We loved how resourceful and determined teenage Johnny was in fighting to find out the truth in an adult world.  With some adults caring, controlling and failing him, making him more determined than ever in finding out the truth.

This is a book that we couldn’t stop reading, with a story that was so filled of heart, and with flawed characters who you couldn’t help but to root for. Highly recommended!

Thoughts by Brenda:  Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

Anything Is PossibleAnything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars

Anything is Possible is the sequel to My Name is Lucy Barton and is read as short stories. In these unforgettable wise, simple and gracefully told short stories we learn more of the siblings and neighbours known to us from My Name is Lucy Barton as they share gossip, judgement and their sadness and disappointments. I found My Name is Lucy Barton to be more of quieter story while Anything is Possible felt a bit louder with more things said as we learn the characters stories of disappointments. I found there is a gift here in these stories as I learned the wisdom and saw the forgiveness in the silence of things that were left unsaid.

These stunning short stories and characters reminded me that with a little kindness and compassion Anything is Possible. I highly recommend.

Traveling Sister Reads Review:  The Stand by Stephen King 

The StandThe Stand by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Traveling Sister Reads Review by NORMA, BRENDA and KACEEY!!

Let’s take a stand against evil!!

5 epic stars for THE STAND by STEPHEN KING as we all thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience of reading this masterpiece of a novel together.

With not too many of Stephen King’s novels read and not really being all that familiar with his work, when we thought of King we thought of horror, disturbing, and very frightening came to our minds. THE STAND is much more than that and not what we expected at all as we all went into this one pretty much blind. This is a whole different kind of disturbing and an unforgettably frightening story but yet hopeful with such a complex and believable story of human behaviour. It’s clear to us now why this is considered a masterpiece.

How can we not say something about the length of this very long book and what an achievement we all felt after getting through it. Yeah us! We spent two weeks with this complex plot and intense and complicated characters and enjoyed the discussions it created with each other.

STEPHEN KING created a believable world here after a devastating destruction of the human race and it left us wondering how it would play out with our generation of technology. Could we survive or rebuild? Hmm Stephen King maybe you could add another 400 pages.

This is an excellent book to choose for a group read and makes for great discussions. Would recommend!

Review by Norma: The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

The Red HunterThe Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read:  May 9 to 14, 2017

I absolutely fell in love with that eye-catching book cover and title of this book and because of that I couldn’t wait to read this one. This was my very first introduction to a LISA UNGER novel.

“What is the difference between justice and revenge?” – Lisa Unger

THE RED HUNTER by LISA UNGER is an action-packed, steady-paced, tense, and suspenseful Psychological Thriller with a few twists and turns to keep you reading and guessing right to the very end.  Although, this book was a little predictable and I had a good idea of how it was all going to playout there were still some surprising aspects to this story that did keep me intrigued right to the very end.

What made this such an intriguing read for me was the layered plot-line and the strong characters as sometimes it just doesn’t matter if I know whodunit (there was one surprise for me though) as I was so wrapped up in the characters lives and the issues that were going on within this story.

LISA UNGER delivers a vivid and easy read here with several enjoyable writing styles which is told in multiple points of view and timelines bringing together two separate stories that come together in the end.  I did find it a little confusing at the start but once I figured out how the story was being delivered I found it easy to follow along with the storyline and all the characters involved.

Trigger Alert:  There is a rape scene early on in the novel and is discussed throughout.

To sum it all up it was an entertaining, enjoyable, suspenseful, steady-paced, quick and easy read with a satisfying ending.  Would recommend!

 

Traveling Sister Reads Review:  I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi 

I Liked My LifeI Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Date read:  May 8 – 11, 2017

Traveling Sister Read Review by NORMA, LINDSAY and BRENDA!!

5 glowing stars for I LIKED MY LIFE as we all thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience of reading this wonderful novel – very impressive for a debut novel! It definitely lived up to all the ‘hype’!!!

Here is our very relatable and our “love of books” favourite quote: “Maddy was head down in a book later I learned that was the rule, not the exception — if Maddy wasn’t working she was reading!”

I LIKED MY LIFE by ABBY FABIASCHI is a touching, spectacular, and haunting but yet beautiful and honest portrayal of how one deals with death and loss. Although, the story does revolve around death, it wasn’t a depressing story at all. There is an enjoyable amount of witty humour, warmth, and wisdom that FABIASCHI incorporated into each of the characters’ dialogue and inner thoughts.

Maddy is thoughtful and devoted to her successful husband and wonderful daughter, who liked her life and has us wondering what drove her to her final moments.

Norma’s thoughts: One of the most enjoyable aspects of this storyline for me was that I perceived that Maddy’s character was a loving and nurturing ghost. Her spirit influences the characters in this book with “suggestive thoughts” to help guide her family through the pain and suffering of her death. The supernatural aspect of this novel is well interwoven and received which makes it feel quite natural and real as they struggle to find out the reasoning behind her death.

Brenda & Lindsay’s thoughts: While Brenda & Lindsay perceived Maddy more as an actual character who is not ready to leave her family as she watches over them and coaches them along through their grief. Maddy was the glue to their family and could really see how she was the bridge between Brady and Eve.

ABBY FABIASCHI delivers a unique story here with complex and sometimes unsympathetic characters that is told in alternating points of view of our equally loved three main characters Maddy, Brady, and Eve. We were rooting for a ‘happy ending’ for each of them.

Lindsay, personally felt a strong connection to Maddy especially through her experience of leaving a corporate job to become a stay-at-home mom.

We all absolutely LOVED the simple life lessons of “Maddy’s Truths” which were very relatable and refreshing!

It was a pleasure to have Linda join us in the conversation of this book. We all really enjoyed our conversation and sharing our thoughts on this one and it was interesting to see how we all unraveled the story. Norma right away forming her connections, Brenda not even close to it, Lindsay reading along with no expectations at all, and Linda picking up the theme of the novel early on.

We all highly recommend this incredible and highly enjoyable book and look forward to reading this author’s next novel!

Review By Norma: Caraval By Stephanie Garber

Caraval (Caraval, #1)Caraval by Stephanie Garber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read:  May 6 – 7, 2017

I definitely lost myself in STEPHANIE GARBER’S mysterious and whimsical world of Caraval!
I do love a good fantasy novel every once in awhile…..leaving reality behind….and stepping into a world where magic and fairytales exist. (I love the ONCE UPON A TIME series!)  This was the perfect escape for me!  I am really looking forward to reading the next installment in this series.

“Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.”
― Stephanie Garber

CARAVAL by STEPHANIE GARBER is an extremely fun, magical, enchanting, and captivating tale with a few surprises at the end of each chapter to keep you reading and guessing right to the very end.  I was totally entertained throughout this whole story.  

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”

STEPHANIE GARBER delivers a vivid and easy read here which is told mostly in our main characters point of view, Scarlett.  There is a sweet and clean romance that develops within this story that I thoroughly enjoyed and might have been one of the things that I liked most about this story.  My favorite character I must say though was Julian.  

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

To sum it all up, this was an enjoyable and an interesting YA Fantasy novel with a very eye-catching cover that had me totally engrossed in the magical and dangerous world of Caraval.  It was a quick and easy read with a cliffhanger ending.  Would recommend!

Review by Norma: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

The Women in the CastleThe Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read:  April 30 to May 6, 2017

I found this to be a dramatic and an uniquely told story that gave me a new understanding and a different perspective on this time period of World War II that I have never experienced before while reading a Historical Fiction novel.

THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE by JESSICA SHATTUCK is an intriguing, powerful, difficult, and thought-provoking read about the struggles and relationships of three widowed women.  Their lives and fates become intertwined by a vow that our main character, Marianne made to her husband and best friend to find and protect these women and their children if a plan that they were involved in as resistors failed.

JESSICA SHATTUCK delivers an extremely vivid and well-written read here from the perspectives of three interesting and memorable women.  We follow along their stories from their past and present lives together leaving me feeling frustrated and heartbroken at times. I liked each of our main characters equally, Marianne, Ania and Benita although, it did take me a little while to warm up to them but once I did, I became fully involved in this story as I learned more about them and the history surrounding this time period.

I must admit though a few times throughout this story I did struggle with some of the historical aspect of this novel as I found the timelines and places a little confusing at times. But, when I got to Part 2 of this novel it was much easier to follow along with the storyline and all the characters involved.  I do wish that I was given a little more insight and background into some of the information that was given to us in Part 1 of this novel though as I believe I might have been able to enjoy this book a little bit better.

To sum it all up, this was an enjoyable and a very interesting historical fiction novel with a fantastic cover that had me totally engrossed in each of these characters lives. As I was learning about these women’s challenging personal experiences and contemplating some unimaginable decisions that they made to the heartwarming and satisfying ending. Would recommend!

 

Review by Norma: Friction by Sandra Brown

FrictionFriction by Sandra Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

April 27 to May 2, 2017

This was my very first introduction to a Sandra Brown novel and I am definitely a new fan of her writing style! I used to read romantic suspense/mystery novels all the time and I am not sure why I never picked up one of her books before but I will definitely be reading more books by this author in the future!

FRICTION by SANDRA BROWN is a sexy, exciting, and an action-packed read that had me totally engrossed in this story right from the prologue. The storyline has a lot going on here, everything from secrets and lies, corrupt cops and shady lawyers to family reconciliation and dynamics, attraction, love and romance, which kept me totally entertained right to the pivotal and satisfying ending.

SANDRA BROWN delivers an intriguing and well-written read here with believable and interesting characters. I loved our main characters Texas Ranger Crawford Hunt and Judge Holly Spencer!

“A word of caution, judge. Don’t show up at my back door looking like you do unless you want to get manhandled.” (Oh my! I loved this quote!)

Crawford was one heck of hot and sexy character that I was definitely a little smitten with! I loved his attitude and his attraction he had towards Holly and his devotion he had to his daughter, Georgia!

Although, I felt that there were no real surprises to who the culprit was going to be, I was a little surprised at one of the reveals though which made it a very satisfying and gratifying conclusion to this story. Would recommend!

 

Traveling Sister Read Review:  Every Last One by Anna Quindlen 

Every Last OneEvery Last One by Anna Quindlen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Traveling Sister Read Review by NORMA, LINDSAY and BRENDA!!

4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars for EVERY LAST ONE as this novel took us all on an extremely emotional roller coaster of a ride!

EVERY LAST ONE by ANNA QUINDLEN is a novel that can be compared to riding a very steep roller coaster. The first half of the book was the slow chug up the hill, anticipation for the thrill to kick in, wondering when that huge ‘drop’ is going to happen. Once you hit the MAJOR ‘drop’ at around the halfway point, you are in for a breathtaking, emotional, and page-turning ride that doesn’t stop until the very last chapter.

EVERY LAST ONE is a highly emotional, spectacular, and beautiful but yet disquieting novel that offers a deep exploration of family relationships and female friendships.

“sometimes I live so much in my mind that I forget what is before my eyes”

When we meet Mary Beth she is living a pretty ordinary, happy, and somewhat perfect life. We get to know her daughter, twin sons and her husband though her perspective as she gives us a good picture of her life. She is involved and connected with her children but yet distracted and unaware at the same time. The things that make us human and sometimes even when we are doing everything right, bad things can still happen.

ANNA QUINDLEN does a great job bringing truth and understanding of human behaviour and emotions to this heartbreaking story that had Lindsay in tears for most of the second half of this novel.

While the first half of this story did drag a little for us as it was all about character development – it builds the backstory and gives the family history needed to fully understand the entire plot. Then the second half hits you with a bang which makes you understand and appreciate the first half so much more. We all felt a satisfying sense of closure at the end of the novel.

We all loved the main character, Mary Beth! Her perspective and narrative was very relatable and powerfully written which made this an extremely enjoyable and incredibly great book for all of us as we had lots to discuss and enjoyed the conversation immensely!

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