The Desert Sky Before Us by Anne Valente @wmmorrowbooks @tlcbooktours #bookreview #thedesertskybeforeus

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Hope you had a wonderful relaxing day filled with food, family, and of course books! Delighted to share with you today my review for this descriptive story filled with dinosaurs and hope. Thank you so much Trish for my invitation to this tour.🦕

My Thoughts

Anne Valente Took me along on this road trip of discovery with her descriptive writing. Sisters Billie and Rhiannon set out on a road trip mapped buy their mother who insists they take the trip after her death. Billie has just been released after being incarcerated for the past six years and Rhiannon is still coming to terms with no longer being a racecar driver. Their mother has given them a journal with map coordinates and crude drawings that will lead them on a treasure hunt of sorts. Along the way not only will they find the treasures left behind by their mother, but they will also reveal secrets and become reacquainted with one another.

The writing in this book was so descriptive I felt as though I was right along with the sisters on this road trip through the south west. I have driven on a lot of the same roads that these sisters took and I thought the author did a really good job with bringing this area of the US to the pages. Now I didn’t necessarily know all the dinosaur stuff going on, and I found that very interesting. The beginning of the book was really compelling, I was really intrigued by the sisters and their back stories. I wanted to know why Billie was incarcerated and why Rhiannon no longer drove race cars. As the book progressed I began to care less. I really had a hard time relating to both of these girls, I could not understand their motivations and if I’m being honest they both seemed a bit self-serving. This is what makes this hard for me to review… On one hand I really liked the concept of the book and the descriptive writing. On the other hand I just found these characters a bit hard to like. Generally I can like or even love a book with characters I don’t like. But in this type of book I think I really needed to feel more of a connection to the characters in order to truly love the book. The sisters did get to know each other better throughout the story and I think they really began to repair their relationship, however I didn’t see much in the way of personal growth. Having said this I think this might be a case of this not being the right book for me, I think some people will really relate to these characters and for them this will be an incredibly special book! 7/10

*** Big thanks to William Morrow for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

From award-winning author Anne Valente comes this poignant and unforgettable literary novel of two estranged sisters—one, a former racecar driver and the other a recently-released prisoner—who embark on a road trip together to complete the scavenger hunt their mother designed for them before her death.

When Billie is released from a correctional facility in Decatur, her sister Rhiannon is there to meet her, even though the two haven’t seen each other in months. Painful secrets and numerous unspoken betrayals linger between them—but most agonizing is the sudden passing of their mother, a renowned paleontologist.

Rhiannon and Billie must overcome their differences as they set off on a road trip west, following the breadcrumb-trail of their late mother’s scavenger hunt, a sort of second funeral she planned in her final days. The sisters know the trail will end in Utah at the famous Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry, where their mother spent her career researching dinosaur fossils. But the seemingly endless days on the road the seemingly endless days on the road soon take their toll, forcing Rhiannon and Billie to confront their hostilities and revisit old memories—both good and bad.

As they travel across the heart of America, and as a series of plane crashes in the news make their journey all the more urgent, the two sisters begin to rediscover each other and to uncover their late mother’s veiled second life, taking them on an unexpected emotional journey inward—and forcing them to come to terms with their own choices in life.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photograph by Josh Finnell

About Anne Valente

Anne Valente’s first short-story collection, By Light We Knew Our Names, won the Dzanc Books Short Story Prize. Her fiction appears in One Story, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, and the Chicago Tribune, and her essays appear in The Believerand the Washington Post. Originally from St. Louis, she teaches creative writing and literature at Hamilton College.

Find out more about Anne at her websi

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Dead in Venice by Fiona Leitch @fkleitch @audibleuk #DerynEdwards #Mystery #Thriller #AudiobookReview

Hello again book buddies!!

I’m super happy to share my review of this little surprise that I didn’t even have on my radar.

Why did you pick this one up Vicci?

Well, funny story, I didn’t even know this book existed, I was chatting to a lovely lady on TBC (THE Book Club) on Facebook and someone was asking for Audio recommendations, I jumped in to give some of my favourites, and ended up in a messenger chat with her.
I sent her an audio with the Audible ‘Send this Book’ option, and luckily she loved it (Phew) and to say thank you, she gifted me a code for her book, I had no idea she was an author either, Anyhoo, I downloaded it, listened to it, and Loved it!!


My Thoughts 

Bella Tyson is a famous author, her genre is crime and she loves to write a good old Murder Mystery, but there is one thing holding her back at the moment, and that is writers block, after a messy and bitter divorce a couple of years ago, she just can’t seem to get back into the swing of it.

She receives an email from a fan who offers her an apartment in Venice to help her with new ideas for her new novel.
Bella obviously jumps at the chance, and soon starts thinking of ideas for her new book.

After arriving in Venice and meeting the very dashing Will, the two set off to see the sights of Venice, well until the murders start happening obviously!

This is brilliant for Bella as she can use these brutal murders for inspiration for her book, but then weird things keep happening that she can’t explain!

A super fun read, I loved Bella’s character, she used humour a lot to get herself out of situations, and I love her for that as I tend to do the same thing, although not as brilliantly as her!

Expertly narrated by Deryn Edwards, who bought Bella’s character to life and showed her sparkling personality.

A short listen at only 6 hours, and well worth grabbing!

**Thank you to the author for gifting me a copy of this book**


About the book 

Dead in VeniceCrime Grant Finalist
By: Fiona Leitch
Narrated by: Deryn Edwards
Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
Release date: 11-09-18
Publisher: Audible Studios


Bella Tyson is a famous 40-something crime writer suffering from writer’s block ever since a bitter divorce two years before. When a fan offers her the use of an apartment in Venice, Bella jumps at it, hoping a change of scene will have her writing again. Once there, she soon meets Will, a charming Englishman, who shows her around the city.

Enchanted by both Will and her new surroundings, Bella decides to write a supernatural murder mystery and begins researching local legends and the city’s more sinister side, including an illicit visit to the island of Poveglia, spooky former home of Venice’s asylum. Soon Bella uncovers more than she has bargained for and finds herself enmeshed in a series of gruesome real-life murders that uncannily mirror the legends she is researching.

As she and Will join forces to investigate, real life and local lore merge disconcertingly – for nothing in Venice turns out to be what seems, including Will….

Narrated by Deryn Edwards


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