The Book Women of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson @KYBookWoman #travelingfriendsread

We are excited and honored to have Kim Michele Richardson joining us in the Behind the Pages group on September 5 @7:00pm EST for a Spoiler-free Q & A

Brenda’s review

Kim Michele Richardson brings us a unique, fascinating, impressive, unforgettable story here that explores a part of history in Kentucky that is not well known or forgotten. She weaves some history along with fiction to create a vivid and strong sense of place and time here with the “Blue People” and the Pack Horse Library Project. She creates a strong, dedicated, brave and memorable character Cussy Mary know as The Book Women or Bluet

Cussy Mary is the last living “blue people” who works as a traveling librarian in 1930 Appalcahis. She brings joy with books, medicine, messages and hope to people when times are heartbreaking tough. She travels with her mule Junia who becomes a strong and interesting character and she really pops out of the pages. I enjoyed the relationships that Cussy builts are she travels her route. My heart went out to the people and I felt the power of words with each. 

The story also explores the racial intolerance of a society who feel threatened by the things they don’t understand. The prejudice and racism stirred up some strong emotions for me and again I found myself yelling at the characters. As upsetting as it was Cussy Mary has an engaging strong voice and through her it was easy to connect with her. I felt for her and could see the person who she was under her blue skin. I highly recommend.

Norma’s review

Fascinating, powerful, and moving!

THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK by KIM MICHELE RICHARDSON is an interesting, heartfelt, beautiful, and informative story that is packed full of well-researched historical content that I personally never knew about before.  Although this story depicts place, people, and time extremely well it had me curious to pop onto the internet numerous times to do a little bit of searching of my own. I had no clue about the “blue people” of Kentucky and the Pack Horse Library Project.

KIM MICHELLE RICHARDSON delivers an original, bold, entertaining and well-written read here that has us following right alongside Cussy Mary as she delivers much-loved books to her patrons. Cussy Mary, also known as Bluet and the Book Woman was such a caring, selfless, strong, and brave character.  Some of the scenes in this book were extremely hard to take and so hard to believe that people were treated the way they were for being a different colour. Just about broke my heart!

The story in itself was extremely enlightening and comes with a powerful message but I would have enjoyed it a little bit more if it had a different ending.  There was so much heartbreak that gave me a heavy heart and I needed an uplifting and happy ending to totally satisfy me.  

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Totally fascinated by the cover which definitely enticed me to pick up this book. I absolutely love the beautiful old-fashioned, country feel to the cover and it is such a meaningful and effective representation to storyline. 
Title: Enticing, intriguing, appealing, and such a meaningful representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, entertaining, and engaging. 
Plot: Engrossing, interesting, heartfelt, moving, powerful, thought-provoking, fascinating, well-researched, enlightening, steady-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: A traumatic and dramatic end that left me a little bit spent and unsatisfied. Although I do believe that it was a realistic and historically correct end though.
Overall: Even though I was a little bit disappointed in the end it was still an extremely worthwhile, entertaining, and unforgettable read. Would recommend!

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware @SimonSchusterCA @RuthWareWriter #travelingsistersread #BookReview

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware was a highly anticipated book for The Traveling Sisters and was one of our more lengthy group reads we have had.  Some of us couldn’t wait to get their hands on this one and start reading it right away while others took a bit before diving in. This lead to such a fun discussion as we all added in our thoughts as we read it.  So did it live up to our anticipation? YES!! We highly recommend!!!

Norma’s Review

Creepy, suspenseful, & mysterious!

THE TURN OF THE KEY by RUTH WARE is a compelling, dark, twisted, and haunting mystery thriller that immediately sucked me in and had me totally absorbed within this tale.

Right from the very start there is this intense sense of foreboding that definitely makes this quite the gripping book to read… is a slow-burn and the intensity level slowly increases as the story progresses. I absolutely loved the creepy modern gothic vibe going on here and RUTH WARE definitely knows how to deliver an atmospheric, vivid, and hair-raising suspenseful novel that I found to be quite appealing, enjoyable and entertaining.

My only real gripe here that I have though is that I don’t always feel that she follows through with some aspects to the storyline. Not sure if she knowingly doesn’t follow through with some things or if it is part of her signature technique to be a little bit vague. I’ve noticed this style of writing in almost all of her books and sometimes it has bothered me and others not so much. This one it didn’t bother me as much.

I absolutely loved the format of this novel which was written in an epistolary format (letters).  The tone was set right at the very beginning and I thought it followed through right to the very end.  I also thought RUTH WARE did a fabulous job with the creepy sounds and the ominous atmosphere with the setting of Heatherbrae House.  I was a little bit freaked out and scared which definitely left me a little on edge while I was reading certain scenes. 

Brenda’s review

Yey Happy!  Tell me a story!!

I am sure I have already told you!!

Unlock Happy, turn the key, isolate yourself and let this creepy and smart house entertain you for for a few hours. Happy the home app that families can’t live without creates a unique setting here with an isolated Gothic estate turned luxury smart house.

Ruth Ware creates quite the entertaining gripping page-turner while building suspense and weaving in some dark history to the estate with modern conveniences. She kept us on our toes, trying to figure out if new technology was good or evil here. Something sinister was going on for sure and I enjoyed this one from start to finish.

Lindsay’s review

Gothic and suspenseful.  Atmospheric and addictive.  Twisty and mesmerizing.

A nanny hired to watch over four children in the remote countryside in Scotland.   An old mansion house upgraded with all the latest technology. Unexplainable happenings.  Unmanageable children. Add all of these together and you get the perfect formula for a brilliantly spellbinding gothic mystery thriller – that’s exactly what this novel was!

Rowan is a nanny who is hired by the Elincourt family.   I loved every part of Rowan’s flawed character. There were so many layers to her background and personality – I enjoyed following her through this eerie and mysterious journey.

I have read and enjoyed all of Ruth Ware’s books.  Her writing always pulls me into a trance of feeling as though I am right there with the characters.  I loved the haunting and engrossing atmosphere throughout this story. The pace and flow were perfect – kept me intrigued and curious from start to finish.

Thoughts from some of our Traveling Sisters

I tell you what, there is no way I would have spent numerous nights in this house like Rowan did. I was completely creep out as nightfall hit each evening. Things were happening and they appeared to be supernatural. Given the history of this home, there is no doubt that is what would be running through my mind if I were staying there. Add to it this “smart house” with all the amazing, yet creepy features. That would drive me mad in itself. If I were Rowan I would be concerned that my employers were watching my every move, meaning that someone else could be too. For Kim’s full review on her blog

I loved the Gothic elements and the spooky atmosphere of Heatherbrae House, which got my heart racing and made me jump every time a branch brushed the side of the house in the wind whilst I snuggled up under the covers reading. Remote, isolated location – tick! Spooky old mansion – tick! Unreliable narrator – tick! Slight supernatural elements that give it some extra creep factor – tick! It’s all there for the taking, which makes this one of my favourite reads by the author yet – although I think I said that with the last few books as well. Ware is a masterful creator of the perfect setting for a spooky mystery: be it a boat, an old beach house, and English manor house or a house in a dark wood. A few paragraphs, and she has teleported me right into the story, which makes her one of my favourite authors today. I recommend that you read it and judge for yourself! Heidi

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Intriguing, ghostly, suspenseful, ominous and an extremely fitting representation to storyline. I have an absolute love for Ruth Ware cover designs!
Title: I was immediately intrigued by the title of this book and definitely enticed me to read this book. 
Writing/Prose: Haunting, engaging, vividly descriptive, and readable.
Plot: Suspenseful, appealing, eerie, menacing, gripping, perfectly-paced, absorbing, ominous, enjoyable and entertaining.
Ending: A cryptic and satisfying resolution. 
Overall: I was immediately interested in this tale and thoroughly enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery, the characters and the storyline. Would recommend!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!

The Passengers by John Marrs @BerkleyPub @johnmarrs1 #travelingsistersread #BookBloggers #thepassengers

The Passengers by John Marrs is now available and it’s one not to miss!!! The Traveling Sisters were all left cheering for this one once we finished. There might of been some dancing going on!! So…..

Brenda’s review

Readers start your thrill ride and let the best passenger win.  Try to stay calm and strap yourself in. Its techno-thriller time!

John Marrs takes us on an entertaining, chilling action-packed, fast track ride to the unthinkable where technology and humans collide in more ways than one. This is one ride where the fear of death is more than the thrill and no one wants to finish this course.  

It’s all about the entertainment here and John Marrs knows how to rev up the tension here by adding quite the cinematic action.  The premise is brilliant and he creates some interesting moral dilemmas here. From the very first page, I was completing drawn into the premise of the story but was a little disturbed by our hacker’s intentions.  After a few chapters, I was intriguingly entertained and played along as I was reading. I couldn’t turn those pages fast enough to that explosive conclusion for the passengers.  

The Passengers is a fun read for group reads and it made for an entertaining, exciting discussion for The Traveling Sisters.  I highly recommend! 

Norma’s Review

Holy Shooty Balls!!! Gripping, chilling, & absolutely unputdownable!

THE PASSENGERS by JOHN MARRS is an engrossing, chilling, suspenseful, dark, disturbing, fun, easy, brisk, and highly compulsively readable psychological thriller that was another rapid-raced read for me. I was immediately sucked into the narrative and devoured every single page of this highly entertaining and thrilling book. Once I started reading it I was immediately hooked and so absorbed in the storyline that I finished it in less than a day. 

The idea of driverless vehicles is a little bit scary as well as a little bit appealing to me. I’m not exactly sure if I would wholeheartedly be for it or inclined to actually get into one though as I love being a driver and find it quite relaxing. Although I guess I would be able to read if I was just a passenger though. But the idea of my vehicle being hacked would forever be on my mind though so I say nope…..let me drive!

I couldn’t stop thinking, holding, smelling, and reading this book. I even did something that I haven’t done in quite a while…..I peeked at the ending because I just couldn’t handle the suspense anymore or get to the ending fast enough…..and I thought I was reading it pretty darn fast as it was. Luckily my impatience of peeking at the ending didn’t spoil the fun or pacing for me!

JOHN MARRS delivers quite the impressive, clever, creative, exhilarating, thought-provoking, intense and well-written read here that was brilliantly executed. I am absolutely in awe of how creative and ingenious this story was. As each character is introduced and their secrets are revealed it is quite shocking and ratcheted up the intensity level tenfold. I was shocked more than once while reading this one which left me on the edge of my seat in anticipation. This was so darn good!!

Thoughts from some of our Traveling Sisters

Kim OMG this book is absolutely brilliant! How have I not read a John Marrs book before this? Where has this author been all my life?!  Seriously this book had me at the edge of my seat the entire wild ride. For Kim’s full review on her blog

Stephanie Reading John Marrs’ newest book The Passengers was like watching a blockbuster Hollywood movie: you’re on the edge of your seat the entire time with suspense “watching” the brilliant action scenes unfold (because Marrs’ writing is so realistic you feel as if you’re right there), experiencing the unexpected disasters and jaw dropping cliffhanger chapters―then that surprising ending! This would make an excellent film! As you can probably tell, I freaking loved this book, which I have to admit surprised me a bit because I’m not a techno-thriller/sci-fi thriller kinda girl, at all and almost didn’t pick this one up… oh, would that have been a mistake, my friends, since I binged this book in a serious way! For Stephanie’s full review on her blog

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Dizzying, fearful, futuristic, scary, deranged, intriguing, suspenseful and an extremely fitting representation to storyline. 
Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and such a powerful, fitting, and effective representation to storyline that definitely packed quite a punch.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engrossing, intelligent, masterly, absorbing, compelling, and compulsively readable. 
Plot: Clever, intriguing, creative, shocking, intense, thought-provoking, suspenseful, riveting, brisk, absorbing, fun, enjoyable and entertaining.
Ending: Intense, shocking, flabbergasting, exciting, & wholly satisfying!
Overall: It was such an irresistibly fun and entertaining book and another winner added to my favourite reads shelf. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience!!! Everyone needs to read this book!!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for our advance copies. It was an absolute pleasure reading this highly irresistible and fun novel!!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!

Behind the Pages Q & A with Robyn Harding @rhardingwriter #behindthepages #thearrangement

We had the honor of Robyn Harding joining us live in our Goodreads Reading Group Behind the Pages with The Traveling Friends where we asked her about her book The Arrangement. She spent an enjoyable hour with us answering our questions and after our discussion I might of did some dancing. I am excited to share some of the Q & A with you here on our blog.

Brenda Congratulations Robyn on The Arrangement being an instant Canadian bestseller!! Can you share with us how that felt when you found that out? I did my famous book dance for you! Was there some dancing going on for you? 

Robyn Can you post a video of your famous book dance? I was in bed when I got the email from my publisher with the news. (They are in Toronto so three hours later than it is here.) So I didn’t dance, but I felt very very happy. I think all writers have a lot of insecurities, so it feels really nice and very validating. Like… I guess I am kind of good at this after all! 🙂

Debra I know you did research for this book by learning more about the Sugar Baby/Sugar Daddy relationships. I would like to know how you found the individuals you interviewed and what were some of the pros and cons they shared with you about these arrangements. I would also like to know what was the most eye-opening thing you learned while researching this book.

Robyn The women I interviewed were very sweet. I asked if there parents knew that they were sugar babies and they said yes. That surprised me… but it’s good because at least they can tell their parents where they are going and hopefully stay safe! The pros were the money, the gifts and the trips. The cons were emotional complications and, though they didn’t articulate this, it can’t be fun to do sexual favors for someone you’re not attracted to!! 

Heidi Is Natalie based on a real sugar baby you have met and talked to? Was it difficult to connect with people who are in that scene?

Robyn I wanted Nat to be a really relatable girl. I grew up in a small town and moved to the city, and while I was never a sugar baby (I don’t think it was a “thing” then), i understand her financial desperation. The sugar babies I interviewed were really sweet and open about everything. 

Brenda I love the title The Arrangement and really thought it was a perfect title. It describes the story but still leaves it pretty open to what the arrangement is if you haven’t read the book or go in blind to a book. Did you come up with the title first or did the story shape the title? Was it your first choice for a title? I also love the cover! I am always curious about how authors choose the cover. How did you go about choosing the cover?

Robyn I originally wanted to be very provocative and call the book DADDY. They did a cover with the word on sugar cubes and I LOVED it. But the sales department thought it looked too much like erotica. I was so bummed, but I think THE ARRANGEMENT is a good title. We went through many cover options. I love the colors of this one and I think it’s eye catching, but I would have preferred something that spoke more to sugar relationship. The Aussie cover is great and they will use it for the US paperback. It’s so hard when you don’t agree with your publisher on a cover, but they are SO important!! 

Brenda I would really like to about the names sugar babies and daddies. I feel like there is so many different meaning to it. Did you get any insight as to why they are called that? Or how those names came about for them?

Robyn In researching the origins of this term, I learned that there was a very wealthy businessman who had a sugar plantation and factory. He married a very young woman and people called him her sugar daddy. The term stuck around all these years! 

Brenda I always love to know a bit about authors writing process. Did you start with the idea and then let it guide you, or does it all come together as you are writing? With the research, you did, did that guide you more as to where you wanted to go with the story? 

Robyn I knew I wanted to write about a sugar baby/daddy relationship. I started writing it and then my Canadian publisher pushed me to do the research. That changed everything! With that insight, i went back and basically started over with a deeper understanding of how that life really works!  This was a fun one to write! I did my research and then laid out the basic plot points and created character profiles as I usually do. Then the book kind of wrote itself! 

Julie When socializing or hanging out with friends, does your book come up a lot in conversations? What question are you asked the most often?

Robyn Yes, the books often come up! A question I ALWAYS get – in a joking way – is “is this based on real life?” My next book is about a couples swap gone wrong so friends have been teasing my husband and me!

Brenda Often thrillers are purely entertaining and lately, I have noticed from hosting groups reads believably can be very important to readers. I thought you did a really good job here adding a realistic element here with the sugar babies and weaving a very entertaining thriller. Was that something you planned or did it all that come together for you as you were writing? 

Robyn Realism is so important to me! I like to read about heightened reality, things that could plausibly happen. I related a lot to Nat because I’m from a small town and moved to the city and was often struggling financially. So I took that stress and fear and put it into her story line. I’m glad it felt like it could really happen! 

Brenda What are you working on now?

Robyn I am working on moving into my new house! So stressful! Buuuut… last week I handed in my next manuscript that should be published next summer. It’s about a couples’ swap that goes very very badly. It will be called THE SWAP (thought that could change). 

For more Q & A with Robyn Harding you can find them here Check out the group and see who our upcoming authors.

What Robyn said about us

I really enjoyed participating in the Traveling Friends Q & A. The group was enthusiastic, kind, and asked Intelligent questions! I would happily do it again.

Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand #travelingfriendsread #BookReview

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Brenda’s review

Summer of ‘69 is my first book I read by Elin Hilderbrand and I have to say it was the perfect one to start with.  It’s already coming up to the end of summer and we haven’t had any summer weather and I really enjoyed being swept away to the sun in Nantucket.  The cover alone took me to my happy summer place. 

Elin Hilderbrand weaves a historical fiction, family drama  with a beach read that was the perfect summer read for me. She vividly creates the iconic american summer of ‘69 while capturing each of the characters’ own conflicts that represents a theme of that era.   The writing flows so quietly as Hilderbrand explores a lot of themes here. 

I was immediately drawn into the family dynamics here with their misunderstanding, secrets, headache and worry.  Their relationships are complicated however the dynamics between them is easy and light while still capturing their emotional depth and growth.

I enjoyed every minute of this story and it all came together so well.  I highly recommend! I look forward to diving into one of the many other books by Elin Hilderbrand I own! 

Norma’s review

Evocative, entrancing, & absorbing!

I have been meaning to read one of ELIN HILDERBRAND books for quite a while now and I am so glad that I finally followed through and read my very first book by her. This is some fine storytelling here. I totally loved the dynamics between the characters, was full-heartedly entranced by the setting, enraptured by the premise, and had a deep fondness for the whole story in general. 

SUMMER OF ‘69 by ELIN HILDERBRAND is a nostalgic, fun, touching, moving, and breezy domestic tale that totally enchanted me. I was immediately hooked and fully absorbed within this storyline. Being born in 1966, I absolutely loved being transported back to a place in time and era that totally came alive for me. It was extremely easy to visualize and experience place and time perfectly through the words expressed here. Loved that! 

ELIN HILDERBRAND delivers an intriguing, vivid, atmospheric, beautifully written and retrospective tale here that has woven together some historical moments perfectly into an easy-breezy summer read with heart. I really loved the tone and flow of this novel. It was like sitting down with a good friend on a relaxing summery day while they relayed to me their story. 

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: A feel-good, happy, summery, and lively cover that depicts this time period and storyline perfectly.
Title: Intriguing, appealing, emotive, relevant, and a simply beautiful representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Compulsively readable, expressive, prolific, engaging, and dramatic. 
Plot: Dynamic, steadily-paced, fun, captivating, nostalgic, heartfelt, relevant, and entertaining.
Ending: A beautiful and heartfelt ending that left me feeling totally satiated.
Overall: I thought this was the perfect summer read and absolutely loved reading the authors note in the end where I found out where the inspiration behind the story came from. That just brought in an extra feeling of respect, meaning and warmth for the novel for me. Would highly recommend!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!

Behind the Pages Q & A with Noelle Salazar, Author of The Flight Girls #travelingfriendsread @noelle_salazar #BookBloggers

We are so excited to have Noelle Salazar joining us in the Behind the Pages Goodreads group August 25 @7:00 pm EST for a Q & A. We look forward to finding out more about what inspired Noelle Salazar to write about these strong female pilots. You can find the group here.

The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar

About the Book

A stunning story about the Women Airforce Service Pilots whose courage during World War II turned ordinary women into extraordinary heroes

1941. Audrey Coltrane has always wanted to fly. It’s why she implored her father to teach her at the little airfield back home in Texas. It’s why she signed up to train military pilots in Hawaii when the war in Europe began. And it’s why she insists she is not interested in any dream-derailing romantic involvements, even with the disarming Lieutenant James Hart, who fast becomes a friend as treasured as the women she flies with. Then one fateful day, she gets caught in the air over Pearl Harbor just as the bombs begin to fall, and suddenly, nowhere feels safe.

To make everything she’s lost count for something, Audrey joins the Women Airforce Service Pilots program. The bonds she forms with her fellow pilots reignite a spark of hope in the face war, and–when James goes missing in action–give Audrey the strength to cross the front lines and fight not only for her country, but for the love she holds so dear.

Shining a light on a little-known piece of history, The Flight Girls is a sweeping portrayal of women’s fearlessness, love, and the power of friendship to make us soar

To find out who were the women of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) follow this link here.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!