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TWO SISTERS LOST IN A COULEE READING

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

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.

 

Sister Reads Review: Redemption Road by John Hart

Redemption RoadRedemption Road by John Hart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Date read:  April 6th – 9th, 2017

Sister Reads Review by BRENDA and NORMA

Norma’s little twisted mind figured out whodunit way before Brenda did and this had Brenda thinking that I had to be wrong or was slightly confused. Hahaha sister dear!!

REDEMPTION ROAD by JOHN HART is a gritty, dark, gripping, and a suspenseful thriller/police procedural novel that has a literary fiction feel to it. The road to redemption is a road filled with compassion and emotionally troubled relationships that will have you totally engaged to the surprising and gratifying ending.

JOHN HART delivers an extremely well-written read here that takes you on an emotional and bumpy road of trust and betrayals that tests the beliefs and the personal strengths of our two main characters, Elizabeth and Adrian throughout their complicated relationship.

We loved the unique relationships and understanding Elizabeth had with troubled, flawed and damaged Gideon and Channing which added some backbone to the storyline. The relationships added contrast to Elizabeth’s strained relationship with someone close to her.

REDEMPTION ROAD has just the right amount of grit and shocking events with twist and turns that every thriller reader craves!!

We suggest catching a ride along with Elizabeth on her road to redemption. It’s a thrilling and electrifying ride! Definitely recommend!!

 

Traveling Sister Reads Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/6311/22/63 by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read:  March 28 to April 6, 2017

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

3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars for the book
5+++++++ stars for the reading experience for all of us participating in this ‘Traveling Sister Reads’!! So much fun!!!

Steven King has a lot going on here in 11/22/63 as we have some time-traveling, political history, and also a little bit of romance in this Historical Fiction Thriller novel that had us all engaged, interested, and rooting for a positive outcome but we must admit that we found ourselves a little bored at times.

Although fictional, King skillfully weaves together fact and fiction and he did an incredible amount of research as explained in his Afterword and much of this story is based on fact. We were all a little ashamed to admit that we didn’t know much about the Kennedy Assassination prior to reading this and we all were happy to have learned a lot while reading this story. It sparked an interest for Lindsay that will surely lead her to read other books on this topic.

We found that the action picks up right away as we quickly learn the details of the time traveling aspect of this novel and how most of the time traveling worked. The time traveling was kept fairly simple and understandable. The story takes on a human side of it through the romance and the lives of the characters which takes up a lot of the middle of the book. Showing us a pleasant, ordinary, and somewhat boring life for a bit of the story. We loved the romance that transpired within this story as it was a pleasant distraction from some of the political history, especially the Russian political history, that we all struggled with.

We like how King gave a story to angry, violent, and disturbed Lee Oswald giving us some interesting insight into his and his family’s lives.

The story sagged and really dragged for us at times and we felt that a lot of unnecessary details could’ve been sliced and diced a bit and still tell a strong story. Unfortunately, this did take a bit away from the story and was a bit discouraging. The chapters being broken done in sections did help getting through the length of this weight lifting book.

We thoroughly enjoyed the story being told from the perspective of Jake Epping/George Amberson, who we all absolutely loved as a main character. Jake’s personality and inner thoughts had us all giggling to ourselves at times. Jake was a very anchored character to reality and loved his desire and determination to change the future not only for his world but for all of mankind.

We LOVED good hearted and wounded Jake and Sadie and their tender relationship that had us rooting for them throughout the entire book. We were completely caught off guard that this turned out to be somewhat of a love story – not what we were expecting at all and we absolutely loved that part of the novel.

Toward the end, we all kept looking for a twist that never came and felt that while we enjoyed the story, the book didn’t quite live up to the hype we had expected.

 

Never Let You GoNever Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

From Goodreads:  Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

Sister Reads Review: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Lincoln in the BardoLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date listened:  April 4 to 6, 2017

Sister Read Review by Norma and Brenda

We both listened to the audio version of LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by GEORGE SANDERS and found it to be quite the entertaining, compelling, and unique listening experience. It’s a performance with a 166-person full cast with actors, musicians, and a number of Saunders’ family, friends, and members of his publishing team.

To name a few:

Nick Offerman
David Sedaris
Ben Stiller
Julianne Moore
Susan Sarandon
Megan Mullally

This story does take a little bit of work and having some background information on the story, how it is written, and how the audio version is performed will make the story less confusing.  The payoff is worth it!

Norma’s thoughts:  Normally I go into a book completely blind but under Brenda’s suggestion I did not do that this time.  Although, I still found it a little confusing and was lost at times, it did make it a little better knowing what to expect. We suggest not going into this one blind as a little bit of the books knowledge will make this a better read.  This time around for our “Sister Read” Brenda enjoyed this book a little bit more than I did.

LINCOLN IN THE BARDO is not your typical story it is confusing and complicated but yet it is a simple story about family, loss, duty, acceptance, understanding, and perseverance in the face of excruciating circumstances. Voices of the ghosts talk on top of each other creating a colourful mixture of the different characters perspectives while in the “Bardo”.  (Definition:  a state of existence between death and rebirth, varying in length according to a person’s conduct in life and manner of, or age at, death.)

We both listened to the audiobook and followed along with the Ebook and this really enhanced the experience and also made it less confusing.

Review by Norma: The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

The Orphan's TaleThe Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE ORPHAN’S TALE by PAM JENOFF is an emotional, heartwarming, and heartbreaking Historical Fiction novel bringing together a tale about a traveling circus in Europe during World War II and of the friendship and sorrow of two women aerialist performers from the circus.

I found the circus theme to be quite enlightening, fascinating, and interesting as I haven’t read too many books about traveling circuses during this time period. We also learn through The Author’s Note that this story was inspired by real people that the author met during her research for this novel and that the circus was a way to hide some Jewish people to help keep them safe during the Holocaust, although it was not a biography it was purely fiction.

PAM JENOFF delivers an intriguing, fascinating, and beautifully written tale here told in dual points of view of our two main characters, Astrid and Noa. This is a tale about friendship, family, survival, bravery, secrets, and the sacrifices that these two characters faced during their time performing at the circus. Through their stories we see their friendship strengthen which ultimately bonds these two women together.

After finishing a novel like this and reading The Author’s Note it always seems to make the book so much better for me as I really like knowing that the book was inspired by real people and events.

Would recommend!!

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

 

All Our Wrong TodaysAll Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Goodreads Giveaway!

From Goodreads:  You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary.

Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.

NOS4A2NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Audiobook Version

From Goodreads:  Don’t slow down

Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn’t tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie’s twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor.

And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble…and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape Charlie’s unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget.

But Charlie Manx hasn’t stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen. On the road again, he won’t slow down until he’s taken his revenge. He’s after something very special—something Vic can never replace.

As a life-and-death battle of wills builds—her magic pitted against his—Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Charlie once and for all…or die trying…

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