When You See Me by Lisa Gardner @DuttonBooks @LisaGardnerBks

This is exactly why we have been faithful fans for so many years of LISA GARDNER. She keeps knocking out fantastic books. We absolutely loved this latest installment in her Detective D.D. Warren series with Book # 11. This is an author that we can always count on that never disappoints and always delivers such fantastic mystery/thrillers that are gripping, emotional, action-packed and packed full of nail-biting suspense. It’s no secret that we are huge fans and we have read all of her novels to date. She is one of the few authors that we have read right from the very beginning and have continued on throughout the years, getting super excited with each new release. That speaks volumes of how talented this author is!

Brenda’s review

Hot Diggity dang!!! Lisa Gardner brings back three of my favorite characters, serial killer survivor turned vigilante Flora Dane, Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren and FBI Agent Kimberly Quincy here in When You See Me. This team go together like tea and biscuits with Flora being the strong bag of leaves here as she faces her worse fears and traumatic past with kidnapper Jacob Ness. The dynamics between these strong characters are fresh, humorous and exciting. Computer analyst and true crime enthusiast Keith is by Flora’s side and I loved the warm relationship growing between the two.

The story is intriguing, a bit different with some great twists and turns but it’s all about the characters and connections for me here. D.D. warmly takes a character under her wing and I hope to see more of the character in the future.

We read this in our Traveling Sister reading group and one sister read this one as a stand-alone and thought it worked however if you are new to these characters I suggest starting with Find Her where we first meet Flora Dane.

Norma’s review

Compelling, nerve-racking, & absolutely unputdownable!

WHEN YOU SEE ME by LISA GARDNER (Detective D.D. Warren #11) is a complex, gripping, suspenseful, twisty, emotional and intense thriller which unites three of my most favorite characters ever – Detective D.D. Warren, Flora Dane, and Kimberly Quincy.

LISA GARDNER creates such compelling, well-developed, fabulous and dynamic characters that you can’t help but love and be emotionally invested in. I absolutely loved that this story was told from multiple perspectives of all the key players here. This definitely added to the tension for me and definitely helped to set the mood. Although this story is quite intense it was also quite fun, touching and emotional to read. There was a scene with Flora and Keith that completely warmed my heart. I have never ever read anything so beautiful.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover/Title: Intriguing, appealing, and fitting representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Compulsively readable, notable, strong, impressive, well-written, entertaining, engrossing, and prolific.
Plot: Suspenseful, emotional, complex, riveting, fast-paced, dark, thrilling, captivating, taut, twisty, and entertaining.
Ending: An action-packed, surprising, thrilling, and explosive ending!
Overall: Another stellar read from the Queen of Thrillers that had me immediately hooked and completely riveted. Highly recommend!

We received our copies from NetGalley and EW.

Get It Today Tuesday: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain @StMartinsPress

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain was a highly anticipated read for The Traveling Sisters and we loved it!! I recommend running to your nearest bookstore or device and getting it today!! It’s one not to be missed!!

Brenda’s review

Well, that is some mighty fine, creative writing here by one of my favourite authors. I loved this one!!

Big Lies is a Small Town did start off a little slow for me and I was feeling a bit worried that I wasn’t quite getting where the story was going here by almost halfway. I was intrigued but at first, felt like I was being strung along a bit. Then I reminded myself that I have nothing to worry about because this is Diane Chamberlain. Well, well my patience was rewarded and around the middle of the book, the pace took off me and things started falling into place. I started piecing together this well-layered story and flew through the second half.

After reading so many books, things can get a little boring at times and I seem to lose my groove a lot and it is getting harder to find that one that is creative and a bit different from the rest. Diane Chamberlain creates a very unique and compelling story here. She brilliantly weaves the two timelines here with our main character Morgan and Anna. I was so pleased with the way everything wrapped up in the end so perfectly for me. After reading this one, I was marching around the house cheering with excitement for finding another one that kept me in my groove. I highly recommend it.

Lindsay’s review

A suspenseful and captivating mystery set in a small town.

Told in the dual narratives of 1940 and 2018, the two main characters, Anna and Morgan are young artists looking to find their way. Before finishing a mural project for the small town of Edenton, Anna goes missing in 1940. Almost 80 years later, Morgan is asked to restore the unfinished mural project so it can be hung in a local art exhibit. Little does Morgan know the hidden secrets she will find while researching and restoring the mysterious mural.

I adore small town settings and this one was no exception. The atmosphere engrossed and intrigued me from start to finish. I felt as though I was right there in Edenton with the characters. I loved the dual narrative, although I felt a deeper connection to and investment in Anna’s life in 1940. The plot unfolded smoothly while moving back and forth between the timelines, leaving a large sense of mystery at the end of each chapter which made me want to keep reading. Please be warned that there are some heavy topics covered within these pages: racism, physical abuse, rape, harassment.

One issue I had was that Morgan’s romance felt cliche and unnecessary, however, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. There were parts of the ending that I found predictable, yet I still felt connected to and invested in the storyline and it left me with a good sense of closure and contentment.

If you are a fan of Diane Chamberlain, like I am, you will not be disappointed. This book showcases her usual captivating writing, unique storyline and unforgettable characters which has left me hungry for what she comes out with next.

Thank you to St Martin’s Press for our copies!

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

Not sure what mood you are in for! A Noise Downstairs has a few elements to it making this one a great one if you are not sure what you are in the mood for.

Brenda’s review

Linwood Barclay is one of my favorite authors and his books, and I have some history together. I loved listening to his books and his stories kept me entertained on some long runs. Lately, I have been missing out on some of his newer books and I am happy to say I am glad I didn’t miss out on this one.

A Noise Downstairs is a fun, entertaining, twisty and easy read with a unique creepy tormentor here with the Underwood typewriter that sets quite the eerie atmosphere to the story. I was hooked right from the start, and I was a little afraid of the noise downstairs, and I might not be just talking about the book. I pulled the covers over my head and turned the pages as fast as I could as the tension started to rise with every reveal. Things began to feel a little predictable but weren’t. I thought I had a few things figured out, but those red herring are layered well here in this story.

This is one is all about the entertainment value here and not entirely that plausible. It’s a great one to get lost in the eerie atmosphere here by a noise downstairs.

I received a copy on EW

The One and Only (The ELI Chronicles #1) by Julia Ash #BookReview @Author_JuliaAsh

4.5 Stars!

Action-packed, vividly descriptive & breathtakingly beautiful!

I can hardly believe that I am describing a post-apocalyptic and zombie book as breathtaking. But the imagery and the words written were absolutely beautiful. I felt like I was right there snap dab in the middle of everything that was happening in this book. The heroine is absolutely fabulous!

THE ONE AND ONLY (The ELI Chronicles #1) by JULIA ASH is an engrossing, exciting, twisty, adventurous, interesting, fast-paced, and refreshing story that I was immediately drawn into. I was totally immersed in this tale and completely devoured all aspects of this storyline. I do not think that this is your typical zombie apocalypse book by no means. There is so much more to this story than initially meets the eye.

JULIA ASH delivers quite the clever, atmospheric, captivating, engaging, suspenseful and well-written story here with exceptionally well-developed and portrayed characters. I absolutely loved our dynamic duel here, Ruby and her husband Clay. It was so refreshing to have a married couple that loved, worked, and fought together for the greater good of mankind. The love that these two shared was absolutely beautiful and palpable. I was totally touched by more than one beautiful passages. There were many!

I’d like to send out a huge thank you to Julia Ash for sending me out a copy of this amazing book to read (she was also kind enough to send me The Tether book #2 as well, which I am going to be diving into very soon)!

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Powerful, suspenseful, intriguing, harrowing, bleak, and a perfectly fitting representation to storyline.
Title: A simply perfect, appropriate, chilling, beautiful, impactful and fabulous representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, fluid, suspenseful, eloquent, and engaging. I totally loved and connected with the writing style.
Plot: Engrossing, clever, refreshing, scary, adventurous, action-packed, exciting, emotional, captivating, haunting, interesting, riveting, fast-paced, and entertaining. Violence and Gore: Mild
Ending: Whoa! A twist ending that was both shocking and thrilling. I absolutely loved it! It definitely set the stage for the next book in this series.
Overall: This was an all around fabulous book for me and I can definitely see this being made into a movie and I would definitely pre-order myself a ticket if it did. I’m a huge fan and I highly recommend this one!!!

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About the Book from @Goodreads

When bioterrorism threatens to obscure humanity, one woman has the power to restore hope.

Ruby Spencer plans to resign from the U.S. Special Warfare Council. With an escalating Extinction Level Infection (ELI), the SWC needs the best minds acutely focused on the fight ahead. Yet motherhood has shifted her priorities. She’s preoccupied with her newborn’s health and safety. So resigning is the right choice.

For her last assignment, the SWC sends Ruby and husband Clay on a low-risk mission to Taiwan where they’ll consult with scientists analyzing the infection. Too bad Lt. Col. Quinton Oxford—the American Consulate’s embittered military attaché, is waiting in the shadows. Because Ox’s plans for the couple are everything but low-risk.

When the Spencers are separated and kidnapped from Taiwan to Moscow, Ruby is thrust into a perverse war game between superpowers, where she’s the prize. Only she doesn’t know why. Or even how her abduction relates to the ELI crisis.

But her connection with Zoonosis Mutated Bacteria is emerging. And the fate of her family, of the world, awaits her next move.

Thoroughly Worthwhile Thursday: Long Bright River by Liz Moore @LizMooreBooks @riverheadbooks

Lindsay and I decided to download and read Long Bright River at the last minute, and we are so glad we did not miss this one. It is a thoroughly worthwhile reading experience that will stay with us for a while.

Brenda’s review

Long Bright River is a love story between two very different sisters who are bonded together by their toxic childhood. The story centers around the opioid crisis in a Philadelphia neighbourhood. Their childhood shapes them differently, with Kacey now lost in the streets and Mickey, a police officer on the streets searching for Kacey.

Long Bright River is profoundly moving and an affecting quietly written story with no drama that captures the raw reality of addiction not only on a loved one but a neighbourhood devastated by an epidemic with real, honest, strong characters. Liz Moore skillfully weaves a murder mystery here while exploring the bond between Mickey and Kacey through now and then chapters. I loved Mickey, and she is not without flaws making her a very relatable character. While we follow Mickey’s journey to find Kacey and the mystery unfolds, Liz Moore creates a profound picture of how their lives parallel what is happening in the neighbourhood. She creates tension and suspense her with the mystery element to the story with some great twists that tie so well into the story. I highly recommend not missing this reading experience.

Lindsay’s review

An extremely well-written, gut-wrenching, powerful story about addiction and the bond of sisters.

Raised by their less than interested grandmother, Mickey and Kacey grew up looking after one another. They were as close as sisters could be. As a teenager, Kacey mixes with the wrong crowd and becomes a drug addict leading to a life on the streets. The sisters become strangers to one another. Mickey joins the local police force but can’t ignore the constant tension of worry that one day she will find Kacey in a bad state on one of her work calls. Will Kacey ever get the help and support she needs? Will the sisters ever be as close as they once were?

I was invested in this story from page one. The story is told through Mickey’s perspective and it is intense. Mickey is a strong yet vulnerable character who I loved. What she endured while keeping her loyalty to her sister was heart wrenching. The bond of sisterhood is a strong one. The pace and flow of the book was excellent – it kept me fully engaged from start to finish. The writing was smooth and engrossing. I had a constant sense of tension and dread in my stomach in wonder of what Kacey’s outcome would be. I truly felt for Mickey and all that she had to endured

We received our copies from Edelweiss .

The Moonshiner’s Daughter by Donna Everhart #bookreview @KensingtonBooks @wordstogobuy

Provocative, emotional, & compelling!

THE MOONSHINER’S DAUGHTER by DONNA EVERHART is an engaging, fascinating, gritty, heart-wrenching, and soul-stirring southern historical fiction novel that was such a fabulous, compassionate, and heartfelt story. I was immediately sucked into the storyline and it gripped me right until the very end.

I absolutely love these types of gritty southern fiction tales and absolutely loved that this story was centered around moonshining. I’ve always had this fascination for the history of the making and running of moonshine and this definitely fulfilled my curiosity. Along with the moonshining there is some tough themes discussed here within this novel. Very early on we are privy to our main character here, Jessie having an eating disorder. We are given a firsthand look into how she struggles with her appearance and how that ultimately affects her self-esteem. DONNA EVERHART explores and delivers this subject-matter with tender loving care. Jessie and her journey totally consumed my thoughts and my heart, her story definitely resonated with me deeply on a personal level.

DONNA EVERHART delivers a steadily-paced, well-researched, and a beautifully written story here that remarkably captures the essence, time, and place perfectly. I felt like I was experiencing everything in this novel right along with these believable and exceptionally well-drawn characters. This novel deeply affected and touched my heart. It is one that I soon won’t forget.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Eye-catching, lovely, vintage, and an extremely fitting representation to storyline. I absolutely love this cover and it definitely enticed me in reading this book.
Title: An intriguing, relevant, effective, and fitting representation to storyline. I absolutely love this title!
Writing/Prose: Easy to read, eloquent, entertaining, vivid, palpable, engaging and captivating.
Plot: Gritty, stirring, heart-felt, memorable, atmospheric, plausible, interesting, steadily-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: A bittersweet, heart-felt, moving, and satisfying ending.
Overall: 4.5 Stars! I have such a deep affection for this story and highly recommend it!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Donna Everhart and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.

About the book from Goodreads

Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, The Moonshiner’s Daughter evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past . . .

Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that belongs to Jessie Sasser’s daddy, but Jessie wants no part of it. As far as she’s concerned, moonshine caused her mother’s death a dozen years ago.

Her father refuses to speak about her mama, or about the day she died. But Jessie has a gnawing hunger for the truth—one that compels her to seek comfort in food. Yet all her self-destructive behavior seems to do is feed what her school’s gruff but compassionate nurse describes as the “monster” inside Jessie.

Resenting her father’s insistence that moonshining runs in her veins, Jessie makes a plan to destroy the stills, using their neighbors as scapegoats. Instead, her scheme escalates an old rivalry and reveals long-held grudges. As she endeavors to right wrongs old and new, Jessie’s loyalties will bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths—and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.