The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman #BookReview #travelingsistersread

The Rules of MagicThe Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Traveling Sisters review by Brenda with Norma, Jennifer, JanB, Victoria, Berit, Dana, Marialyce and Nikki

I read The Rules of Magic with eight of my Traveling Sisters and we all found this to be a very magical reading experience.

The Rules of Magic is a spellbinding, heartfelt and heartbreaking, insightful, sad and beautiful story that was so full of emotion for all of us.  The story started off a little rocky for some of us at first as we were getting to know the Owens siblings.  A lot was being told to us all at once but once we let that go and felt the magic within the storyline we were able to escape into this magical world of love, courage and a family curse. For the rest of the sisters they were enchanted right from the start with this magically written story.

Alice Hoffman does a fantastic job here creating unique, quirky characters each of them with some danger to them. The tension builds as each deals with their own personal conflict and we loved their bond and support they had for each other. We all loved the animals in this story that made such wonderful characters themselves with their bonded relationship with one of the siblings.

We all felt a strong message throughout this story of love more, not less in so many different ways and that brought out such a wonderful discussion amongst each other. We dug deep into Hoffman’s insightful words and shared with each other the messages we each got from the stories allowing us to look at it differently had we read it on our own.  We savored our discussion reading experience as we talked about the joy, love, loss, sorrow, acceptance, courage and support we felt within this wonderful story.  We will be thinking of this discussion and this story for awhile.  We highly recommend for group reads!

Thank you NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Canada, and Alice Hoffman for a copy to read and review.


Norma’s Review

5 brilliant stars for this magically written story!

I absolutely loved everything about this book and savoured every single word that was written.

THE RULES OF MAGIC by ALICE HOFFMAN was a fantastic, endearing, and a spellbinding novel that was an absolute joy to read.  It was a touching, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and a powerful story with a strong message of love and courage within the pages of this book.  I absolutely love a little bit of magical realism within my books but I think there was so much more to this story than that.  The words written were just as magical as the magic within the story.

This was a Traveling Sisters Group Read that we all absolutely raved over and didn’t want it to end. I was quickly drawn into the magical world of the Owen’s family and the family curse. Would highly recommend!!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Canada, and Alice Hoffman for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!


The Hush by John Hart #BookReview #travelingsistersread

The HushThe Hush by John Hart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars 🌟

The Hush is the second book to John Hart’s The Last Child which we also did as a Sisters Read not too long ago.  We read The Hush with three of our Traveling Sisters and we were all really excited to read it as we all absolutely loved The Last Child.  We were so hoping that it would live up to all of our expectations but unfortunately, we were somewhat disappointed as we didn’t think it had the same feel to it as The Last Child.  It did work for some of us though but not as well for everyone.  We didn’t expect the dark magic and the supernatural within the storyline but we all tried to have an open mind and just enjoy the story.  I think for some of us if we would have read the synopsis or researched the book a little better we would have enjoyed it that much more as some of us really do love a little dark magic and the supernatural within the storyline.  “I know I do, said Norma.”

THE HUSH by JOHN HART was an unexpected and attention demanding book that took us on a magical and mythical journey here into Johnny’s world of the Hush.  There was definitely some need to suspend disbelief here and we really needed to focus on the story and accept the black magic and the supernatural as part of the storyline to make this one work.  This was hard for some of us to do especially Brenda.  Once some of us did accept it and we started to understand where the story was going, especially for me (Norma) then it was an enjoyable read. For Brenda, she never did and was completely lost throughout this whole story.

We loved the relationship between Johnny and Jack and really would’ve liked to have seen that explored some more.  We loved the way they protected and cared for each other and we could really feel their loyalty, friendship, and love that they had for one another giving the story a warm feeling.

The ending left some of us confused and we thought our discussion was really helpful and enjoyable as we worked out the ending amongst ourselves, pulling the story together for some of us especially Brenda.

Thank you, NetGalley, St Martin’s Press and John Hart for a copy to read and review.


Traveling Sisters Review for The Last Child

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!



The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffausen #BookReview #travelingsistersread

The Vanishing SeasonThe Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

Traveling Sisters Review by Brenda with Kaceey

The Vanishing Season was another Traveling Sisters read that I squeezed in with Kaceey between our Sister reads.

The Vanishing Season is a haunting, enjoyable, fast-paced and suspenseful crime mystery thriller with a little creep added to it that had us intrigued but was a bit of a slow start for us. However, once we got to know our main characters Ellery and Agent Reed we loved the dynamics between them and we wanted to know more about them.

Joanna Schaffhausen does a good job creating a strong and interesting yet flawed character here with Ellery and we liked her right from the start. We were intrigued by her tragic past and how her past tied to her present life.

The suspense builds as clues and hidden secrets are revealed and the tension rises between Ellery and Reed leaving us questioning who to trust and not to trust. We loved discussing this between us and Kaceey figured a few things out that I, of course, didn’t. We thought Joanna Schaffhausen weaved the past with the present well for a satisfying ending.

We can’t leave this review without mentioning one of our favorite characters Ellery’s dog Speed Bump and we loved the humor, love, and devotion he brought to the story. We hope to see more of this furry character in the future. We recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Joanna Schaffhausen for a copy to read and review.


Kaceey’s Review


At the age of 14, Ellie was taken by an infamous serial killer. Close to death, she was rescued by FBI agent Reed Markham. Years later, Ellie is now a police officer in the small town of Woodbury, Massachusetts. Once again she turns to Agent Reed for help. People are suddenly vanishing in her small town. Is it even conceivable this could be tied to the monster from her past? Why is this happening again? More importantly how is this happening again?

It all boils down to trust…and trust is in short supply in this small town. No one seems to have any for anyone. Ellie’s carefully crafted world is crumbling around her. Now it’s a race against time to discover who’s behind the disappearances, before another victim vanishes.

I‘ve read several books dealing with serial killers lately. Though they all seem to morph from a similar theme, but this one did have an original flavor to it. Just right on the creepiness scale, and tastefully spread to make a delicious and frightening thriller. Even though I guessed the ending early on it was still an enjoyable read!  A great debut for Joanna Schaffhausen, I will be watching for her next release.

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Joanna Shaffhausen for a copy to read and review.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate #travelingsistersread #BookReview

Before We Were YoursBefore We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 stars! Cover love!!!!

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by LISA WINGATE is a heartbreaking, interesting, and a powerful Historical Fiction novel that was enlightening to read.  This story was inspired by actual true life events about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society that was based in Memphis and the director Georgia Tann. This Memphis-based adoption organization was absolutely horrific in the way that they treated and exploited these children.

We thought that LISA WINGATE did a wonderful job at shedding light onto this story of how these children were exploited and of course, it was very heartbreaking and shocking to read about. Some of us didn’t even know that this horror even existed and went on for so long. Our heart broke for the children, parents and for the adoptive parents as well. Although, this story was based on true life stories the actual children that were portrayed in this novel were fictional.

LISA WINGATE delivers a well-researched and emotional story here with alternate timelines, one from the past which was told by a young girl named Rill who was taken from her parents along with her brother and three sisters and were brought to this horrible place. The present day story was told to us by an adult woman named Avery who is in search of learning the truth about her Grandmother’s past.

Out of the two storylines a few of us enjoyed the present day one a little bit more as we didn’t connect as much to the characters from the past story as we did to the present day ones. The children that were in this horror home they all seemed to blur together and we felt like we never really got to know them.  We absolutely felt for the children in a whole though but all the horror just blended together. We felt we could see Rill’s grief but we couldn’t feel her grief. We could see that she wanted to go home to her parents but really couldn’t feel her desperation. Some of us thought LISA WINGATE spent a little too much time on that and it created too much drama for some of us.  For the others they really enjoyed both stories. We absolutely loved how the two stories came together in the end though.

Brenda and I read BEFORE WE WERE YOURS with four of our Traveling Sisters and we were split on how we felt about this one with some of us loving it much more.  For Brenda and I we were split as well with me enjoying it somewhat more than what she did. Most of us agree this was our favorite kind of historical fiction however for a couple of us things didn’t quite work out as well for them.

To sum it all up it was an engrossing, moving, heart-wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale that has definitely left us with a lasting impression.  Would recommend!


House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick #travelingsistersread #BookReview

House of ShadowsHouse of Shadows by Nicola Cornick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars rounded up to 4!

Review by Norma

HOUSE OF SHADOWS by NICOLA CORNICK is a romantic, fascinating, suspenseful and a compelling historical fiction novel that was an enjoyable and entertaining read.

NICOLA CORNICK delivers an atmospheric and vividly descriptive novel here with interesting and complex characters told in three different time periods from three different women. I found all time periods equally intriguing and enjoyed the journey as I was transported into this fascinating tale of romance, discovery, danger, love, mystery, and even a hint of the supernatural.

To sum it all up it was an interesting, well-researched, unique, and an entertaining read that had me totally engaged from start to finish! Would recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Harlequin Books, and Nicola Cornick for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a review.

The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens @aeskens #travelingsistersread #BookReview

The Heavens May FallThe Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Traveling Sisters Review by Brenda with JanB, Melissa and Berit

The Heavens May Fall is the third book written by Allen Eskens and is not exactly part of a series however his books do seem to follow a pattern and have recurring characters from his past books. My first book I read was The Life We Bury and I was first introduced to some of the characters in that one. I really enjoyed The Life we Bury and suggest starting there. The second book written is The Guise of Another and I haven’t read that one yet. Allen Eskens fourth book The Deep Dark Descending follows this one and I read that one with my Traveling Sisters and we all really enjoyed it. They can be read as a standalone however for readers who like to read in order of characters appearance I suggest starting with The Life we Bury and reading them in order.

The Heavens May Fall starts off a little slow at first as we get some background into our main character Max’s grief over losing his wife in a hit and run accident a few years before. Eskens digs deep into Max’s overwhelming grief, loneliness, and guilt over not keeping her safe. It became a little intense and a bit tough to take all at once and that brought out an interesting discussion on grief for us.

The story is cleverly told from Max and Boady’s POV and through their voices we see opposite sides to their stories involving a murder case they both are involved in. Both are damaged and flawed and we see how they are forced to confront their own personal conflict. The tension builds in the murder trial between Max and Boady and it cleverly tests their friendship. It all became about the characters for some us and we loved the dynamics between the characters however it did feel like it was a bit lacking in character development that could have been from not reading all of the books. Lila from The Life We Bury appears in the story and we really enjoyed her involvement in this story.

Allen Eskens does a great job keeping us guessing with this cleverly crafted plot with twists and turns we didn’t even realize were happening until the shocking and brilliant ending that made for a fantastic final discussion for us. I highly recommend!