Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea @CharlieDonlea @KensingtonBooks #BookReview #travelingsistersread


Don’t Believe It
by Charlie Donlea

Norma’s review and rating 4.5 out of 5 Stars

This was a good one just the way I like my mystery/thrillers!

DON’T BELIEVE IT by CHARLIE DONLEA is a gripping, fascinating, action-packed, and suspenseful crime thriller novel that I was immediately drawn into and had me totally engaged in the storyline right up to that surprising and shocking ending.  This book was so entertaining, enjoyable and extremely hard for me to put down.

CHARLIE DONLEA delivers a well-written, detailed, unique and twisty read here that had me questioning whether Grace was guilty or innocent for murdering her boyfriend while on vacation in St. Lucia.  

This book pretty much kept me guessing right up to around the 70% mark and then that is when I started piecing things together.  Even though I thought I knew what was happening when the actual reveal came it was presented in a way that shocked and surprised me.  I loved that about this book!

I absolutely loved the way that this story was told and with the way it was formatted had me immediately intrigued in this storyline.  It was a lot of fun following along with our central character, Sidney an investigative reporter who was producing a true-life documentary into the innocence of Grace as the investigation unfolded in real-time.  What Sidney learned we as readers learned at the same time which really moved the plot forward for me.

To sum it all up it was an entertaining, enjoyable, fast-paced, and clever read with an ending that left me hoping for a sequel!  Would recommend!

Publishing Date:  May 29, 2018


Brenda’s Traveling Sisters Review

We were left shouting We Don’t Believe It Charlie Donlea you did it! You left us all in the Tongue-tied Coulee after reading your brilliantly plotted story!

Norma and I were lost in a Coulee reading Don’t Believe It with seven of our Traveling Sisters and we all ended up in the same Coulee. For only the second time ending up in the Tongue-tied Coulee doing nothing but dancing with enjoyment.

Charlie Donlea boldly writes a well layered entertaining fun story here with well-plotted twists and turns and he knows when to introduce characters just at the right time. We really liked the idea of the documentary being part of the story however for some of us it did overshadow the mystery for us and felt at times we lost some focus to the mystery but this did not take away from any dancing enjoyment of the story at all.

Some of us who read The Girl Who Was Taken were very happy to see a character from that story cross over to this one and loved how they fit into this story. Such a clever way to really pull us into the characters.

Charlie Donlea lead us down many different paths in a Coulee as the suspense grew with each one. We started branching off in different directions with our suspicious and guesses to what was going on. As we neared the end we found our way back together with some us picking up on different clues along the way till those last twists that some of us suspected and another that brought us all together dancing in the Tongue-tied Coulee. We highly recommend not to miss this one or you will be saying I Don’t Believe I didn’t read it.


Lindsay’s review

4.5 stars!  

Oh wow – this was good!!!

This story follows Sidney Ryan, an up and coming filmmaker who specializes in true crime documentaries revolving around old murder cases.    She takes on the case of Grace Sebold, an acquaintance from school who was convicted of murdering her fiancé while on vacation ten years prior.  Grace has been sitting in a St. Lucian prison for the last decade claiming her innocence. Sidney is determined to uncover all details relating to the case and present them in a ten episode documentary series, similar to the Netflix special Making A Murderer.

This novel will have you flying through the pages, shocking you with twists and turns, making you scratch your head with frustration in guessing what actually happened.  The characters are real, the suspense is addictive, the pace is perfect! I loved how the story was presented to include various interview segments, sections from the developing TV documentary episodes along with courtroom trial tidbits. It kept the story fresh and interesting throughout.

I loved Charlie Donlea’s previous novel, The Girl Who Was Taken.   I am thrilled to say this follow up novel was fantastic and equally thrilling.  I look forward to reading more from Donlea! I am a huge fan!

Thank you so much from all of us to NetGalley, Kensington Books and Charlie Donlea for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!

Traveling Sisters Book Mail: A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza @HogarthBooks @fatimafmirza @melisabookblog @tarheelfit @MackTweetsBooks

Up next in the Coulee for The Traveling Sisters reading is:  A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza.  Thank you to GoodReads, Sarah Jessica Parker, SJP for Hogarth, Fatima Farheen Mirza and Penguin Random House for providing us with copies of this beautiful, huggable book.

Norma’s Coulee Photo


Thank you to all Traveling Sisters for sharing your photo’s with us!

Dana’s Photo


Mackenzie’s Photo


Kristin’s Photo


Jan’s Photo


Brenda’s Photo


Susanne’s Photo


Kaceey’s Photo


Jennifer’s Photo


Melisa’s Photo

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Nikki’s Photo

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Thank you to our Traveling Sisters who are in a Coulee reading with us (Brenda & Norma): Susanne, Kaceey, Lindsay, Jan, Jennifer, Kristin, Mackenzie, Nikki, Melisa, Melissa, Dana, Carol, Kendall, Mary Beth, Victoria and Berit.

Our blogging Traveling Sisters’ Blogs:

Jennifer – Tar Heel Reader

Melisa- The Book Collective

Berit – Audio Killed The Bookmark

Mackenzie – PH Diva

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy #BookReview #travelingsistersread


The Perfect Mother
by Aimee Molloy

Brenda’s review and rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Norma and I were lost in the sunny, grassy lush coulee with five of our Traveling Sisters reading The Perfect Mother and we really enjoyed our reading experience and discussion on this story.

The Perfect Mother is a fun, entertaining and engaging story with a bit of dark to it that had us feeling comfortable in our sunny, grassy coulee from any unsettling scenes from this story. We meet a group of Brooklyn new mothers all with their own secrets who meet regularly to support each other through their new experiences of motherhood.

Aimee Molloy creates some interesting characters here with the group of “May Mothers”. Each with a common bond but different from each other with their own personal conflicts related to motherhood. At times we did become confused and found it hard to keep them apart. On a Mom’s night out one of the “May Mother’s” baby is kidnapped and the friends come together to try and piece the mystery of the baby’s disappearance. At times we did feel that the story lacked some emotion that we needed to feel to connect with the grieving Mom, Winnie. We didn’t feel the pain Winnie felt for her missing child. We didn’t really feel we got to know her.

Aimee Molloy touches on some judgments of society here with what new Moms face. She does a good job layering a good mystery with the right amount of drama for us. However, the coulee we started in, wasn’t the one we ended up in as things did go a bit sideways for us. We weren’t quite satisfied with the way things wrapped up for us and for some of us that affected part of our enjoyment of this story. Overall we highly recommend this well-written story that has some real substance to the issues these interesting Moms face, making this a very interesting read.


Norma’s Review

3 Stars! I wish I would have loved this one a little more!

This book was chosen to read as a Traveling Sisters Group Read and what originally attracted me to this book was the title and the cover – which is pretty much how I choose all my books to read!

THE PERFECT MOTHER by AIMEE MOLLOY is a steady-paced, insightful, character-driven, and a twisty psychological domestic thriller that is filled with interesting characters that I really appreciated.  The voices and dynamics of these women really rang true to me! At times I did find it hard to keep the characters straight and I had a hard time focusing on this story. Unfortunately, this did affect my enjoyment for the story and therefore lowered my overall rating.  

AIMEE MOLLOY delivers a well-written read here with an interesting and unique storyline told from multiple perspectives which focuses mainly on a group of women who stop at nothing as they come together to investigate the disappearance of Baby Midas.  The portrayal of these women and their angst was portrayed extremely well.

Overall, it was a mostly enjoyable, quick and easy read with an ending the totally took me by surprise.  Would recommend!

Thank you so much from both of us to Edelweiss, Aimee Molloy, and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review.


Susanne’s Review

3.75 Stars.

In Brooklyn, a group of mothers to-be, all due in the month of May, coined “The May Mothers” start a meet-up, sharing stories and bonding over impending motherhood.  

Being the perfect mother seems unattainable and yet these mothers strive for it.  Receiving monthly emails about what to expect each month, exchanging messages with helpful suggestions, gaining support from each other whenever the need arises.

After their babies are a few months old, their bond deepens unexpectedly.  Frannie, Nell, Colette, Winnie & Token decide to take a “night off.” What starts out as an innocent night having drinks at a pub, ends with a bang when Winnie’s son, Midas, goes missing, disappearing from their home without a trace.  

Thereafter, the May Mothers come together, investigating.  What happened that night, in addition to investigating each other.  They can’t help it. They don’t really know each other that well, and yet, they desperately want to trust each other.  Yet, can they? Should they?

“The Perfect Mother” is told from several different perspectives, some of which are confusing at first.  Though it starts off a little slow, the novel picks up at the mid-way point and takes off so quickly that I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough.  The ending was quite the shocker – which frankly, I’m still not sure I get. I’m hoping it’ll come to me one of these days! “The Perfect Mother” is a slow burn, character-driven suspense novel that definitely kept my interest.  It was my book of the month pick and was a great choice.


Kaceey’s Review

Oh my! Now that was one twisty read!!

The May Mothers – A group of new moms form a casual friendship, getting together to share their experiences and support one another. After all, they’re new parents…with lots of questions.

When the ladies plan an evening out without their babies in tow, no one could imagine the consequences of that innocent rendezvous.

There is a definite rhythm to this book, though it took me nearly half-way in to find the pace. I struggled a bit keeping a few of the characters apart. But once rolling, it flowed smoothly and I couldn’t put it down!

Told from multiple POV from those in the mommy’s group. Each with a story to tell and, maybe even a past to keep hidden. Here’s the challenge – you may think you have this one down. You may think you have it all figured out. HA! Are you in for a big surprise!

If you like domestic thrillers then don’t pass this one up!


White Houses by Amy Bloom @AmyBloomBooks #BookReview #travelingsistersread


White Houses
by Amy Bloom

Brenda’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

White Houses has been sitting on my shelf for some time and finally, I grabbed it off my shelf and found a grassy, shady spot to hide in a coulee till I finished reading this story.

Amy Bloom beautifully captures the hidden love between Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena “Hick” Hickok. She does a fanatic job creating a compelling picture of the relationship between these very different women from different backgrounds. Though Hick’s perspective she brings to life their relationship while giving us Hicks’ take on Franklin Roosevelt and life in the White House. We see some history as well though Hicks’ eyes that really added to the story.

Hick makes an interesting and compelling voice and she really steals the show here in this story for me. She is tough with brass knuckles who is funny and opinionated and I really enjoyed learning their story through her.

White Houses was a very interesting read for me as it pulled into the story yet at times I found myself uninterested in parts but still completely drawn into the emotional depth of this brilliantly written story. I highly recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House and Amy Bloom for a copy to read and review.


As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner @SusanMeissner #BookReview #travelingsistersread


As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

The Traveling Sisters Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brenda and I were lost in a coulee with four of our Traveling Sisters reading As Bright as Heaven and we were all drawn into this eye-opening, emotional, and heartbreaking read. It led to a very interesting discussion where we shared our thoughts on the things that we learned from this read and also our thoughts on grief.

AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN by SUSAN MEISSNER is a story about love, loss and family. It was such a fantastic, enjoyable and beautifully written historical fiction novel that we thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.

This is the first book that most of us have read that centered around the Spanish Flu and it was definitely an eye-opening experience for us as we knew little about the Spanish Flu. We really appreciated what we learned here with some of the devastating effects that the pandemic of 1918 had on the world. Susan Meissner does a good job balancing history and with focusing on the impact it had on the Bright family.

SUSAN MEISSNER does such a fantastic job creating an interesting and unique setting here with this story that really added some layers to the storyline for us. A few of us had different reactions to the setting that brought out different emotions for us. It gave us a different and interesting perspective to the tragic events of such a devastating pandemic.

Susan Meissner delivers a well-written and compelling read here with interesting, honest and believable characters that touched all of our hearts. We absolutely fell in love with the Bright family and thoroughly enjoyed reading this story through the four different perspectives of the Bright women/girls of the family. Each given a strong voice that set them apart with their age and personalities, allowing us to feel for each one.

The cover of this book is so beautiful and the title is extremely fitting to this story!

This was definitely an interesting, entertaining, enjoyable and unforgettable story that I am so happy to have discussed and read with my fellow Traveling Sisters. Would recommend!


Every Single Secret by Emily Carpenter @EmilyDCarpenter #BookReview #travelingsistersread


Every Single Secret
by Emily Carpenter

Brenda’s rating and review: 5 of 5 stars

Norma and I were lost in a coulee reading Every Single Secret with five of our Traveling Sisters and we ended up in a coulee we have never been in before. I will get to that a little bit later. We were split into two different coulees with most of us in one and two sisters in another with some things just not working for them enough to suspend disbelief to enjoy this one.

Every Single Secret was such a stand out for some of us. It’s an exciting, fun and entertaining yet dark and disturbing read that left us thinking are we reading a thriller or is a horror movie playing out in our head. It had that feeling of tension like you get when you are watching a horror movie.

Our main characters Daphne and Heath start off keeping every single one of their secrets a secret and that had us questioning them and a bit frustrated at times in the dynamics of their relationship. Allowing the suspense to increase and creating the right amount of tension that had us glued to the pages.

We loved the setting of the creepy house that was represented as a retreat. Well, the creepy retreat I won’t say anything more about that to you. The description of the retreat left us intrigued and with the feeling of creepiness all at the same time.

Emily Carpenter caught our attention right away, had us questioning many things, with some of us figuring out some things along the way, then took a twist that had us reading as fast as we could till we got to the end. We were speechless and wondering did we really like this one.

Great job Emily Carpenter you have thrown some of us Traveling Sisters in this group off our game and into a coulee we have not been in before. You stunned us, left us speechless, wondering what we just read and asking ourselves did we like this story. That isn’t something that has happened to most of us before. You made this group read a very unique and interesting one. So for throwing us into the tongue-tied Coulee, Every Single Secret gets all the stars from me.

We highly recommend giving this one a go and see if Emily Carpenter can leave you feeling like most of us did.

Published May 1, 2018


Norma’s Review

4.5 Stars!  

Well this book pretty much left me totally speechless upon finishing!

EVERY SINGLE SECRET by EMILY CARPENTER is an intense, dark, chilling, and suspenseful psychological thriller novel that immediately drew me in and held my interest right until that shocking and action-filled ending.  This book was so entertaining and extremely hard for me to put down. I raced through this one!

EMILY CARPENTER delivers a well-written, unique and twisty read here that had me pretty much-questioning everything that was happening within the pages of this book.  The way that the details were revealed to us was extremely well-done and the setting was creepily atmospheric which I totally loved.

I always like to figure out why an author chooses a certain title or cover for their book and I’m not going to say too much about the title but I will mention something about that extremely clever cover though.  Once you learn the significance of the birdhouses on that beautiful front cover you will be a little shocked and in awe of this author too!

To sum it all up it was an entertaining, enjoyable, fast-paced, and clever read with an ending that left me speechless!  For a book to leave an impact on me like that means it was a great read! Would recommend!


Susanne’s Review

3 Stars.

When Daphne and Heath meet, its instantaneous. Their connection. After a few months, they just know: soul-mates. And yet, both have secrets. Secrets, they have never shared with each other – and I’m not talking about the small stuff. As it turns out, their pasts – well, they are anything but ordinary. And they’ve kept every last detail from the other.

Though Daphne would like to keep it that way, Heath has something else in mind. He would like to bear all to his beloved and he has found the perfect place to do so: a therapy based retreat center for couples. Once there, Heath seems right at home with the Dr., and the other guests. Daphne, however is immediately suspicious: of everything, including being filmed for twenty-two hours a day, and, of the Dr.

Moving at breakneck speed, it is hard to keep up the pace. It is only when multiple storylines are told, that a few of the chapters become somewhat frantic. And then.. you’re reading and all of a sudden – you’re like What?! As if! For me, it stretched the confines of believability as I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what in heck was going on. Yet, from a pure entertainment standpoint, well, it got

Thank you so much from all of us to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Emily Carpenter for the opportunity to read and review this title.