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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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Traveling Sister Read Reviews

Traveling Sisters Review: The Child by Fiona Barton

The ChildThe Child by Fiona Barton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Traveling Sisters Review by Norma with Brenda and Kaceey

Norma’s thoughts:  After reading The Widow by Fiona Barton I knew that I had to read this one right away.  Although, I did enjoy The Widow I thought that this novel was a much better read!

THE CHILD by FIONA BARTON is an engaging, suspenseful, and character-driven psychological thriller novel that was packed full of twists and suspense that had us on another guessing marathon, messaging back and forth as we were reading.  Soon after meeting our three main characters Kate, Angela and Emma we were intrigued and immediately drawn into their emotional stories trying to figure out how they were all connected and what secrets they were withholding.  At times having Kaceey and Brenda suspicious of everyone and Norma trying to keep us under control with our theories.

FIONA BARTON delivers a well-written and fast-paced story here that is told in four different women’s perspectives Kate, Angela, Emma and Jude that had us all engaged in figuring out their scars, wounds, and secrets leaving Norma on the right track right away. However, Brenda who was off on her own out of the box theory was a bit disappointed with the outcome and the ending of the story. She wanted a bit more for one very interesting character than the ending she was given.

FIONA BARTON cleverly reveals information at key times for us to figure out key points just before the characters do but not clever enough for Norma who pieced together some of the twists earlier on and then guided Brenda into figuring some out and Kaceey on the right track for another shocking twist.

To sum it all up it was a well-crafted, creative, gripping, fast-paced, and an enjoyable read with a twist ending. Would recommend!!

 

Traveling Sisters Review: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Midnight at the Bright Ideas BookstoreMidnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Traveling Sisters Review by Brenda, Norma and Kaceey.

5 Shiny, Sparkling, and Bright stars from all of us!

When we first thought about reading Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore we wanted to read it with Kaceey and Lindsay, however, the timing was not on our side and we ended up only being able to read it with Kaceey. We really missed Lindsay on this one and wished it would’ve worked out for all of us.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is an intriguing, dark, clever, and one of the most original and engrossing thrillers we have read. It starts off fast and dramatic and caught our attention right away. It quickly turned into a fast page-turner afternoon with us turning the pages as fast as we could and messaging each other quite often with our theories and guesses until life demanded our attention. Making this the best and funniest Traveling Sister Read we have done so far with Kaceey.

Matthew Sullivan delivers a well-paced and well-written solid story here with one of the most perfect settings in our opinion taking place in an eccentric bookstore with quirky and unique characters. We all loved the feeling with the sense of place and could visualize ourselves walking through the aisles of the bookstore as he described all the areas so vividly. He had us all wanting to visit and explore that bookstore. We were amused by the Bookfrogs and enjoyed how they were part of a community within the bookstore that Lydia and her quirky colleagues would try to protect and embraced them as part of the bookstore.

The clever solid original plot with savvy connections and puzzles incorporated in the storyline had us searching for clues but very little clues were given along the way for Norma to follow and her detective skills were stalled. So very clever of Sullivan but not clever enough for Kaceey who shocked us and herself with figuring out right away who the Hammerman was but not knowing the reasoning behind it. Of course, Brenda is off in left field trying to lure them to join her there with her out of field theories. It really adds more fun to our reads with how different of readers we are and how we compliment each other. We could really see that with this book and in this reading experience.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is one not to be missed and we highly recommend pushing this one to the top of your list.  

Thank you to NetGalley, Scribner and Matthew J. Sullivan for copy to read and review.

Traveling Sisters NetGalley Review: Finding Claire Fletcher by Lisa Regan

Finding Claire Fletcher (Claire Fletcher, #1)Finding Claire Fletcher by Lisa Regan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Traveling Sisters NetGalley Sister Review by Norma with Brenda, Lindsay and Kaceey’s thoughts.

An absolutely brilliant take on the double meaning of the title!!  Loved it!!

5 stars!! Well that was one awesome all-around great read for Norma & Kaceey!

4 stars!! From Brenda & Lindsay (So for the purpose of this review 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars)

We thought it was time to bring our regular Traveling Sisters Lindsay and Kaceey together to do a Traveling Sister Read/Review with us.  After a bit of searching by Brenda and trying to coordinate all four us with the same book at the same time with a few unsuccessful attempts, we finally decided to go with FINDING CLAIRE FLETCHER by LISA REGAN from NetGalley. What a great choice this book was as we all thoroughly enjoyed this emotional and heart-breaking read.

FINDING CLAIRE FLETCHER is an intense, dark, disturbing, haunting, gripping, and suspenseful psychological thriller that captured all of our attention right from the very start and had some of us reading way past our reading goals as we kept thinking of this story and simply could not put it down.

LISA REGAN delivers a well-written and fascinating story here told in two alternating timelines from the perspective of our main character, Claire as we follow along her horrific ordeal that she endured while being held captive for 10 years. As well as the point of view from Connor a detective and his involvement and determination in FINDING CLAIRE FLETCHER.  We were really able to feel the nightmare that Claire went through because LISA REGAN gave us a clear picture and a good understanding and insight into the horror that Claire endured asking ourselves why do we read this stuff.

Right away Brenda and Lindsay put their detective skills to work and thought they figured out someone suspicious, almost having Norma convinced but leaving Kaceey not convinced and waiting for it to go somewhere. We had a good laugh over that one.

To sum it all up it was a gripping, fast-paced, and an enjoyable read with a perfectly paced satisfying ending that didn’t feel rushed. Would recommend!!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer and Lisa Regan for the opportunity to read a copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

BRENDA’S THOUGHTS

Sometimes I have to say I come up with some pretty good ideas and I have to say bringing Kaceey, and Lindsay together to do a Traveling Sister Read with Norma and me is definitely one of them. It was a little challenging finding the perfect book for our read and in the end it turned out quite simple with Finding Claire Fletcher from NetGalley.

Finding Claire Fletcher is a dark, disturbing, intense, yet fascinating story that had me wondering why I am reading this but so engrossed in the story I couldn’t put it down.  I wanted to learn more about what Claire had endured in her years of captivity and wanted to understand the psychological effects it had one her.

Lisa Regan does a good job going deep into Claire’s mental state, giving a good understanding and insight to the psychological side of the abuse she received from her abductor.  I could really feel her terror, her shame and her will to survive her captivity.  She is strong yet damage along with compassionate yet revengeful and she had me gripping my IPad intensely with fear but cheering her on as well.

I highly recommend Finding Claire Fletcher to thriller lovers who like some psychological insight to the characters.

Thank you so to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer and Lisa Regan for a copy to read and review

LINDSAY’S THOUGHTS

4 stars!   This was an intense and gripping thriller!

I was completely intrigued and hooked to this novel from the very first page.  The author, Lisa Regan, does a fantastic job creating an extremely addictive story, building suspense as each page and chapter passes.   I loved the main characters, Claire and Connor.   I cared about their lives and what was happening to each of them on this gut wrenching, devastating and terrifying journey.

The story revolves around solving a ten-year-old child abduction case.   Claire has been beaten down – mentally, physically and sexually abused while living in captivity for ten years.  At the hands of her abductor, she lives in a world that is so disturbing and sickening that I had to turn away from the book for moments to calm myself.  I was so upset and frustrated with Claire’s situation and wanted to reach into the story to save her.  Regan’s writing is so addictive that even though I had a hard time reading these scenes, it didn’t deter me from continuing with the book – I absolutely HAD to know what was going to happen.
The first 85% of the book was a 5-star reading experience but the last 15% of the story lost its spark which is why I took one star away.  I felt some of the things that happened near the end were somewhat unrealistic and didn’t fully add up for me.   It was still a good ending and I did feel a sense of closure, but for me, the ending simply wasn’t as amazing as the rest of the book.

Overall, this was a great read that I would definitely recommend!  It was such a pleasure to read this along with my amazing Traveling Sisters – Brenda, Norma and Kaceey!!   It always makes for a much more enjoyable reading experience when I can chat with my lovely ladies along the way!

A big thank you to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer and Lisa Regan for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

KACEEY’S THOUGHTS

A traveling sister read with my 3 favorite Canadian sisters Norma, Brenda and Lindsay!

Wow! Powerful and heart-wrenching.
Claire Fletcher is a young lady of just 15 when she is brutally kidnapped off the street, only blocks from her home. Now she’s in the hands of a deeply disturbed maniac, who takes great pleasure and sick joy abusing her physically and emotionally over the next 10 years. Nearly half her entire lifetime. Absolutely frightening!

During her endless captivity, Claire has earned the so-called privilege of working part-time. She takes advantage of this small window of opportunity to slip out past her “curfew.” On one such outing, destiny leads her to Connor Parks, a recently divorced police detective.  He quickly realizes there is a great deal more to this young, mystery lady. Is it possible she’s the same girl that’s been missing for the last 10 years?

This book explores the horrific acts and depraved mind of a pedophile. Then also delves into the psyche of the kidnapped victim. The guilt Claire is burdened with, and the small sliver of herself that she desperately clings to throughout this living nightmare.

Now you ask… why in the world would Claire remain in this crazy animal’s grasp for 10 years?  Why wouldn’t she run for home or to the police when given the chance? Well, keep turning the pages. You will be enlightened after finishing this book.

The hardest part of reading this with my lovely sisters is that I wanted to keep reading (I think we all did, actually!). It took everything I had not to finish this in one sitting! (I’m only human!)

This book may be hard for some to read, the subject matter is difficult, but it is so well crafted. It will leave you cheering for Claire’s strength, will and determination.
Absolutely amazing. Highly recommend!

Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer and Lisa Regan for an ARC to review.

 

Traveling Sisters Review: Evil Games by Angela Marsons

Evil Games (D.I. Kim Stone, #2)Evil Games by Angela Marsons

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Traveling Sisters Review by NORMA, BRENDA and KACEEY!!

Oh my goodness this was even better than the first book, SILENT SCREAMS!!!

EVIL GAMES (DI KIM STONE #2) by ANGELA MARSONS is an action-packed, dark, chilling, interesting, and suspenseful psychological thriller that had us all flipping those pages as fast as we could.  What an extremely fitting and wonderful title for this book…..it was perfect!!

DI Kim Stone is back here in a thrilling cat and mouse game with one of the best, cunning, unique, and interesting sociopaths we have ever read.  At first we thought Kim has met her match but soon learned our sociopath has met hers. We were on the edge of our seats rooting for our favourite detective.  That’s not the only case Kim was working on as upon opening the book we were quickly introduced to Kim and her team capturing a despicable and disgusting child molester.  A case that appears to be solved but of course there is more here than meets the eye!

ANGELA MARSONS delivers another complex and layered story here and has created a scary mind-blowing sociopath who is such a good character that we disliked so much but on the other-hand loved.  What an awesome and complex villain she made.

DI Kim Stone continues to fascinate us and has us laughing out loud with her wicked sense of humor. We enjoyed getting to know her a little more and were heartbroken as we learned more about her dark sad past. We loved how Marsons gave us a glimpse of Kim’s soft side and vulnerable side as we could see her reactions and feelings as she related to and cared for the victims in her cases.

After being off our game for Silent Scream, we all had our game on going into Evil Games and we were all ready for the twists and turns.  We all started out strong with Brenda picking up on Alex’s evil games first and Norma and Kaceey right behind piecing things together.  Kaceey figuring out the big reveal early on with Norma right behind her picking up on one of the major clues while Brenda was twirling around in left field by herself.  With some confusion on all the sisters parts we were able to piece together who done it (not twirling Brenda) and our sociopath’s games making us all feeling quite proud of our gameplay.  Sure made for some interesting and fun discussions.

We are definitely keeping our game on and are looking forward to the action-packed
race against time as DI Stone tackles her next case in book three.

 

Traveling Sisters Read:  Beartown by Fredrik Backman 

BeartownBeartown by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Traveling Sisters Review by NORMA, BRENDA and LINDA!!

5 stars! Well that was a “barn burner” of a read for Norma and Brenda!!

4 stars!! For Linda! (So for the purpose of this review 4.5 stars rounded up to 5)

BEARTOWN by FREDRIK BACKMAN is a powerful, memorable, emotional, spirited, and an uplifting but yet gut-wrenching novel with some moments of humour thrown in along the way that kept us all engrossed in this tale of a small town community’s commitment to the well-loved game of hockey.

BEARTOWN is a novel that delves deep into the emotional side of the human spirit/human nature which is packed with passages of wise insights and full of wisdom. Brenda started out making notes, changed to underlining passages in the book and finally giving up because there was too many and thought she might as well mark the whole book.

FREDRIK BACKMAN explores the emotional, physical, and mental side of the players, and has a remarkable ability to make us see and understand them and how they are seen through the eyes of the community. He had us engaged not only with the players but the community as well. He explores right and wrong, fear and courage, limits and loyalty of friendship, the bond and love a parent has for their children and their worst fear, that left us asking ourselves many questions.

Norma and Brenda giggled to ourselves every time Canada was mentioned and wanted to know where in Canada he was actually referring to. It’s not like it’s that small of a place. Toronto? LOL.

Linda who has read and loved all of Backman’s books did find it started out a little slow and had a little bit too much hockey for her but it did pick up in the second half though. Some of his language and subject matter was a little more colorful than she is used to from Backman. This added to our discussions and the fun we had reading and discussing this book full of awesomeness.

Highly recommend this absolutely amazing, insightful, & inspiring novel! This is a favourite read of 2017 for Norma & Brenda!

Traveling Sisters Review:  Silent Scream by Angela Marsons 

Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1)Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Traveling Sisters Review by NORMA, BRENDA and KACEEY!!

SILENT SCREAM (DI KIM STONE #1) by ANGELA MARSONS 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.

SILENT SCREAM opens up great and caught our attention right away but then got a little weighed down for us with the array of characters that had us a little confused and struggled somewhat keeping them all straight. How did they fit into the story and when were they introduced? So then things started to go a little slow for us however when the action picked up and the boat started rocking we could not put this novel down. It felt like the calm before the storm for us.

DI Kim Stone is a fascinating and feisty female character with a wicked sense of humour and a soft side to her that we all absolutely loved. We loved the glimpses into her past and felt heartbroken by her childhood memories. Allowing us to see the vulnerable side of her.

ANGELA MARSONS delivers a complex and layered story here that is cleverly written in such a skillful way that allowed us to really get into the unique and distinctive characters and the storyline.

There is little snippets throughout, at just the right time, giving us a glimpse into the killer’s creepy motives adding some tension to the story for us.

The confusion with the characters and the slow start threw Kaceey off her game and she never saw the twists coming. Norma simply had a hard time getting her groove back after not reading much on vacation and was also stumped and felt like the author offered all those distractions early on to confuse her. Actually quite clever! We all thought we had it figured out only to find out we didn’t. Brenda is always off her game when it comes to thrillers and was so excited that she figured something out only to find out she didn’t. We all had a good laugh over this.

In amongst some darkness with subjects like abuse and neglect there is light with kindness from some of the characters that had us loving them even more.

Angela Marsons sure has left us wanting more and we are ready to dive into book two of this series very soon. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for DI Kim Stone next. Highly recommended!

Traveling Sisters Read Review:  It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

It Happens All the TimeIt Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Traveling Sisters Read Review by NORMA, BRENDA and LINDSAY

Date read:  May 26 – 27, 2017

4.5 stars rounded up to 5

IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME by AMY HATVANY is a formidable, compelling, thought-provoking, and a bold novel that explores the emotional side of a friendship torn apart after a tragic night spent drinking, leaving lives forever changed. Exploring the fallout and betrayal of trust between friends.

AMY HATVANY delivers a brutally honest portrayal here of a subject matter that is hard to talk about. The story unfolds in alternating points of view of our two main characters, Amber and Tyler, which added credibility to the story and forces us to see both sides of their stories. It switches time periods from before and after and gives us a backstory of their friendship which was somewhat confusing for us at the beginning until we understood the shifting time periods.

Amber and Tyler are complex and well-developed characters both with mental illnesses. AMY HATVANY does a really good job with exploring, addressing, and following through with their mental health which was a very satisfying aspect of the story for us.

There was one part of the story that we all found to be a little over the top and felt it was done to add a dramatic effect to the storyline but in our opinion it was unnecessary and boundering a little on hypocritical territory. There was definitely lots of conversing and questions raised over this aspect of the novel.

Overall, we all thoroughly enjoyed this novel and really enjoyed the conversation that developed over this extremely thought-provoking and emotional journey that this novel took us on. Highly recommended!

Traveling Sisters Review: The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle

The Blessings of the AnimalsThe Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Date read:  May 22 to 24th, 2017

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

THE BLESSINGS OF THE ANIMALS by KATRINA KITTLE was not what we expected at all going into this one.  We went into it thinking it was going to be more about the connection/relationship between humans and animals and their power to heal but found it to be more of a complicated chaotic mix of human relationships — with so many different topics that we found them too complicated to connect with and the importance of the topics were lost in the struggle to engage in them.

KATRINA KITTLE delivers a complicated read here which is told mostly from our main characters point of view, Cami who is a veterinarian and her husband blindsides her one morning by leaving while she is out on a humane society rescue.

Things that we enjoyed about this novel:

** Loved the animal aspect of the book and how the characters related to them and how they found comfort in being around the animals.  (Muriel, the goat was one of Lindsay’s favourite characters!)

** Liked the main character, Cami – she was a strong, independent woman who faced an inner struggle of working toward finding her true happiness.  We enjoyed watching her character progress, overcome challenges and grow throughout the story.

** We enjoyed the farm, stable, and veterinary clinic settings. (This was very relatable and an enjoyable aspect of the novel for Norma.)

Norma’s thoughts:  For me living on a ranch and raising horses, I did really enjoy Cami’s connection she had with her animals especially the horse, Moonshine.  I see first-hand everyday the bond that my daughter shares with her horses and how amazing horses are in their ability to get right into your heart and soul.

Things that we didn’t enjoy so much about this novel:

** We felt that several of the topics covered could have been omitted from the story and it would have made for a much stronger read.  We would have liked a little more character development instead of adding more topics.

**  We all found keeping track of the characters was a little confusing for us at times as there were too many secondary characters introduced to us without taking the time to develop them to understand how they fit into the story.

**  We felt that the book tackled too many topics — while many of the topics covered were very interesting to read about, the fact that so many were included in one book took away from truly connecting with the storyline and characters — which did take away some of the enjoyment for us.

Overall, we all enjoyed Katrina Kittle’s writing style and found comfort in reading this moving story.

 

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!

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