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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

Thoughts by Brenda:  The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve

The Stars Are FireThe Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Read April 22-24, 2017

I started off giving The Stars are Fire 4 stars, however while writing my review I realized that there was a few things that were missing for me or did not really work for me.

When we first meet Grace Holland she is in a dutiful and loveless marriage to sour Gene who is a man of few words. The setting is based on the real life fires from October 1947 that raged in Maine following months of severe drought. I thought Anita Shreve gave me a good feel of the daily life in 1947 and the impact the fires had on Grace’s life. The fires left quiet and meek Grace Holland alone with her children and homeless. She becomes brave, resilient, and resourceful and as she rewrites her life for herself and her family. I found myself rooting for Grace as she discovers new freedom and finds joy in her life.

All the other characters all seemed like an uninteresting “type” to me with no depth or development. I wanted to learn, understand and have some more insight to why Gene was so sour and angry with little words to share. Even though Gene was a menacing character, I found I had no emotions towards him whether it be dislike, sympathy or anger. I wanted more from his character.

I enjoyed Shreve’s writing and Grace’s story as she goes through the devastation and finds the courage to create a new life. It was not an absorbing read me but a comfort read with a satisfying ending.

Review by Norma:  Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Not a SoundNot a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read: April 18 – 23, 2017

3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars as I loved Amelia and Stitch! I am a huge fan of this author and was extremely excited and considered myself lucky to receive an advanced copy of this book!

NOT A SOUND by HEATHER GUDENKAUF is an interesting, moving, emotional, and lightly suspenseful mystery/thriller that hooked me in right from the get go with that ever surprising and unexpected first chapter. I love it when a book grabs my attention like that right away.

HEATHER GUDENKAUF delivers a well-written, fast-paced, captivating, and vivid read here told through the eyes of our main character Amelia and the ears of her loyal service dog Stitch. I was totally immersed in Amelia’s character even though she was imperfect at times she was such a powerful, unique, and strong female character with endearing and likeable traits.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Amelia & her service dog, Stitch! I hope that we get to visit these characters again in future books!

This wasn’t necessarily a gripping page-turner and was somewhat predictable but what I loved and enjoyed were the characters, the setting, the words written and the satisfying ending. Sometimes that is all I need to make it an enjoyable read for me. Would recommend!

Publication date: May 30, 2017

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Heather Gudenkauf, and Harlequin / Park Row Books for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

Review by Norma: In This Moment by Karma Brown

In This MomentIn This Moment by Karma Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read:  April 15 to 17, 2017

This is my first book by KARMA BROWN and it definitely will not be my last.

IN THIS MOMENT by KARMA BROWN is a cautionary tale that explores one woman’s overwhelming guilt, grief, love, balancing responsibilities and the consequences of split-second decisions that can ultimately affect you and your family.

Special mention to The Cookbook Club that was included in this storyline as I am a cookbook collector and really love the idea of a club that gets together and prepares meals from a unique and different cookbook each time they get together. I would love to be in a club like that!

KARMA BROWN delivers a well-written, original, and believable story here that had me wondering and pondering what I would have done if I was put in the same situation as our main character, Meg Pepper. Although, normally I am a person that really thinks of all the consequences that might happen from a certain decision or situation that I have made or come across. I have also been known to make split-second decisions that weren’t the best choices and have regretted them and wished that I would have thought it through better. Nothing as profound or tragic as Meg’s though. But, I think that is what made this story so enjoyable for me as it was so realistic and had me sympathizing and caring about the outcome of the decisions Meg made and the quilt she is harboring from those decisions. My stomach was in knots a few times while I was reading this story.

IN THIS MOMENT is a powerful, steady-paced, and an emotional read with a realistic and hopeful ending. Would recommend!!

Publication date: May 30, 2017

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Karma Brown, and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

 

Review by Norma: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

The Girl BeforeThe Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Date listened:  April 13 to 16, 2017

If I am rating this solely on my review rating system this book gets no more than 2 stars from me.  It was just okay and for the most part it wasn’t an enjoyable read for me.  I listened to the audio version of this book and what I did really like though was the narrators as it was performed very well by Emilia Fox, Finty Williams, and Lisa Aagaard Knudsen.

While the premise of THE GIRL BEFORE by J.P. DELANEY did sound quite intriguing to me and there was definitely something about this book that did hold my interest enough to keep me wanting to listen to the end.  There were just way too many things included in this storyline that just didn’t work for me and just seemed ridiculous. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.  At one point I wasn’t even going to finish listening to it as I was so turned off and it had a 50 shades kind of feel to it which is just not my kinda thing. However I continued as I did need to know how this was going to play out.  I am glad I am finished.

What I did like was the format of the storyline as it was delivered in alternating short chapters between then and now mirroring the points of view of our two main characters; Emma the previous tenant and Jane the current tenant. Which I found to be an enjoyable way to listen to this story.

 

Thoughts by Brenda:  The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 Stunning Stars

Read April 14-15, 2017

The Women in the Castle is a remarkable, elegant and well-crafted story that left me quietly closing my eyes and thinking about each character and contemplating their stories and decisions. Giving me a highly satisfying feeling.

I was highly engaged in the relationships of these three interesting and memorable women and their stories that took me on an emotional journey as I learned how their relationships formed, grew and changed. They are flawed, damaged and brave women who create some of their own damage that left me sympathetically frustrated, and heartbroken at times. I loved the unlikely and uneasy relationships of the widowed women and their families that were bonded together by a vow made by Marianne who is haunted by the war. This interesting and unique story gave me new insight and a different perspective on WWII from what I have read before.

The Women in the Castle is a heartbreaking and heartwarming story that I highly recommend.

All of Norma’s & my reviews can be found on our Sister Blog:
http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi…

View all my reviews

Review by Norma: Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Best Day EverBest Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read:  April 14, 2017

BEST DAY EVER by KAIRA ROUDA is a dark, thrilling, and sinister tale of deception and betrayal that takes place over a 24-hr period and had me flipping those pages with anticipation and fascination finishing the book in less than 24-hrs.  I could not put this book down!

Okay, for the first part of this novel it takes a little while to get yourself into the book and into the mindset of the main character but as you read on you get the idea of what the author is trying to portray here.  It is definitely worth the read and it gets easier and better as the story progresses.

AMY ENGEL delivers a gripping and highly entertaining read here told from the first person point of view of our main character Paul Strom who is described as an unreliable narrator by the author.  He is narcissistic, arrogant, a womanizer, and a psychopath who is trying to have the Best Day Ever with his wife Mia.  The author does a wonderful job portraying the mindset of this character as he is so well-written you totally get into his head and you discover rather quickly that there is definitely something not quite right here.  Which will have you wondering why is this the best day ever and who is actually going to have the best day ever, Mia or Paul?

This character is not an easy one to read, I didn’t really like him very much as he has a horrible attitude and is really high on himself.  You might also get a little lost sometimes as he will just go off into an inner monologue with himself confusing you even more.  Once I figured out what was happening though then I found it rather easy to follow along with the storyline.

The ending was satisfying with all loose ends tied up neatly in a bow. This time around I really liked that the author chose to end the story that way as I needed clarification and closure.  I did find the book somewhat predictable at times but there were a few little twists along the way to keep me interested enough throughout and I was totally curious in how this was all going to play out.  Would recommend!

Publication date: September 19, 2017

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Kaira Rouda, and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

 

Thoughts by Brenda:  A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of TragedyA Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read April 7-13, 2017

I found Sue Klebold to be honest, empathic, and credible with the facts she gathered and presented them well, and willing to take responsibility for her son. A Mother’s Reckoning is a sincere gesture in sharing and I thought Sue Klebold shared some very important information, messages and insight to living in the aftermath of tragedy.

Sue takes us from, denial to acceptance and then to some kind of comprehension of her life and the part of the tragedy committed by her son.

I think this is something you need to read for yourself if you have any questions or interest in what Sue Klebold has to share. I think it answered many for me and left me feeling satisfied. For that I have rated it 5 stars.

Sister Reads Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Never Let You GoNever Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sister Reads Review by BRENDA and NORMA

Date read:  April 8 to 11, 2017

4.5 stars rounded up!

Norma didn’t need to use her twisted mind as much with this one but she still managed to shock Brenda with figuring out the reveal and the details before she did. It adds a shocking twist to a thriller for Brenda that she normally wouldn’t of experienced if reading it on her own.

NEVER LET YOU GO by CHEVY STEVENS is an angst driven, chilling, gripping, and suspenseful domestic psychological thriller novel that explores the darkness of love, manipulation, and obsession.

CHEVY STEVENS delivers a well-written and believable story here, with the way that she weaves the story together. We found it to be a refreshing change of pace from your typical story of domestic violence that really stood out for the both of us.

The story is told from shifting points of view from skeptical and struggling Lindsey who is trying to keep herself and her daughter safe and vulnerable Sophie who is too young to understand obsession, fear, and betrayal. What made this story really standout for us was Lindsey’s knowledge of what her husband is capable of and Sophie’s desire to find some good in her father. Lindsey’s fear and Sophie’s determination added tension and fear to the story for us.

Brenda was too impatient to wait for the print copy and listened to the audio version of this story. Overall she enjoyed the narrators but has to admit the voice of Sophie did annoy her at times. She would’ve preferred to have read the book like I did.

We love CHEVY STEVENS novels and the references she makes within her books to places that are both familiar to us. It adds a little extra enjoyment when you recognize the names and places that she has referred to in the story.

NEVER LET YOU GO is an action-packed, fast-paced, and adrenaline pumping read with just the right amount of tension, shocking events, and twist and turns that will keep you guessing right to the very impressive conclusion!! Would recommend!!

Review by Norma: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke GirlsThe Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow!  5 holy cow stars!

“Nothing around here has ever been right.”

The subject matter of this book is quite obvious and unsettling which did make me feel slightly uncomfortable at times but in my opinion the author handles the content gently and with care!

THE ROANOKE GIRLS by AMY ENGEL is a dark, dirty and haunting tale that is emotional, thought-provoking, disturbing, and heartbreaking with a hint of a romance weaved into the story to lighten the mood ever so slightly.  I really enjoyed that part of the storyline.

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”

AMY ENGEL delivers an intriguing and powerful read here with flawed and interesting characters.  The writing is absolutely phenomenal which is told mostly in Lane’s point of view alternating between then and now as well as the perspective of all the Roanoke girls and their stories.  I particularly liked the narration in Lane’s voice as she was quick-witted and had a sense of humor that I found extremely enjoyable to read.

I was also thoroughly impressed with how the author made me feel while I was reading this story.  My feelings ranged from total disgust and anger to feelings of love and hope.

Would recommend with caution as the theme of this story might be sensitive for some readers!!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Amy Engel, and Crown Publishing for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

 

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