#BookReview Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly

Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly was a beautiful contemporary drama.

This novel follows a family through their treasures and troubles. Cassie and Coco are sisters whose Mother left them when Coco was only one and Cassie was eight. That memory hurts and shapes them as adults, leading to a lot of the conflict in this novel. Pearl is their grandmother, who took care of the girls with the help of their Father, when their Mother left.

As adults, Cassie is married and is a strong, working woman. She has two beautiful daughters, Beth and Lily, and seems to have it all: a nice house, a loving husband, two beautiful girls, a lovely sister and a helpful grandmother. Alas, that is not true. Cassie enjoys the drink when life gets tough, and life has been very tough lately. Shay, her husband, seems to be more interested in his Mother than Cassie. Even when Cassie brings it up, Shay doesn’t seem to realize that he doesn’t spend anytime with his wife or kids anymore.

Coco is thirty, flirty and thriving… or so we think. She owns her own vintage clothing store (life goals, much?) and has an awesome bestie named Jo, and is close to Jo’s daughter. A few years back, Coco broke up with her fiancee Red when she thought he was cheating on her. Ever since, she’s had some dates but hasn’t settled won. But, Red has been seen around town… is she over him? And what will she do when tragedy strikes close in her life?

I absolutely LOVED Cassie and Coco. Their story lines kept my hooked to this book like there was no tomorrow. I couldn’t help but binge their stories because I needed to know how they turned out. I felt these girls were very relatable (either hurt or thriving in the loss of a parent) and dealt with realistic scenarios in realistic ways. I did find their intertwined stories very sad (and I kind of want to know how a couple of them played out) but in the end I think it had a good message and moral. We can either grow, do nothing, or let the hurt define us.

The ending itself is very beautiful and I’m glad a certain plot line was able to close. There are some open ended questions left with us, but the ending itself felt… good. It felt nice and made my heart sing and soar! It’s the happy ending I won’t get, so it makes me feel very good inside.

I didn’t enjoy every plot line as much, but not because they were bad. Pearl and Pheobe’s stories didn’t intrigue me as much, but it’s because I just didn’t relate as much to them. They were still beautifully written and a marvelous addition to the book though! Don’t be scared off because I don’t relate to an older grandmother! I also really did not like Shay. Man, was he dumb… He loves that his wife is blunt and to the point, but doesn’t like it when he’s called out on his bullcrap.

If I had a negative for this book, it would be that some chapters moved at a really fast pace while others were slow. Since there was enough fast to out-weight the slow, it didn’t bother me as much. I can see some people not enjoying it though.

My biggest positive is that all storylines eventually intertwine. I love books like that! When you start the book, some of the people seem like they don’t belong… until they do. Cathy does this seamlessly and makes it super impressive! That’s one of the reasons I can rate this book so high. Not only does Cathy have excellent style in her writing, but she can also make it work!

Overall, I am so happy I read this book! It gave me a few too many tears for my own personal liking, but it’s still a gem hidden among my shelves.

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.



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If you enjoyed this book (or review!) here’s some others you might enjoy:
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon
#BookReview Driving on the Left by Gail Ward Olmsted
#BookReview Literature® by Guillermo Stitch


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#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon is one of the loveliest books I’ve read this year.

Family drama, generations of Irish men & ladies, comedy, tragedy and character growth. What more could a girl ask for in novel? Not much else!!

I was truly surprised by how amazing this book was, considering it has so few reviews. It’s by far one of my favourite reads and it will sit high atop my shelves. Kathleen MacMahon has a beautiful sense of writing style and her prose is just magnificent. I can’t get enough of this book and I want more by her.

This story follows the MacEntees – an Irish family with four generations of men and women trying to deal with a long, hot summer. Deidre and Manus were once married, but Manus is now with his male lover and at Deidre is grasping with the fact that she is now “old” and in her 80s. Alma, Acushla and MacDara are their children and they all have to grasp with their own choices too. Alma and Acushla married twin brothers, and somehow their lives are echoing each other. The girls’ children, Constance and Nora, are also dealing with their own lives choices. The entire book follows these characters one by one and lets us into a world of family drama, insanity and growth.

I would have loved to read a book like this in high school, when you have the opportunity to pick apart lines and themes within the story. I loved seeing how each character interacted and how life didn’t end up the way they quite expected it. Lots of humors is thrown in with the tragedy, family drama is addressed in a very real way, and this book shows just how tough life can be (yet also how fruitful and silly we can make it). In summary, it’s all about perspective.

Kathleen does a great job showing the differences between the generations and how they interact with one another. The conflict felt so real and the book felt like it could have been a non-fiction retelling (but it’s not!). I really want to read more by Kathleen because she has a real knack for story telling. I was so attached to these characters and I was furious that this book had to end (and in the way that it did! I cried! I never cry at books!).

I HIGHLY recommend this book if you love fictional dramas, stories set in Ireland, and books about being a family.

Five out of five stars! I would give it more if I could.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.


Check out another book (or review!) that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran
To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year Lunch by Diane Keyes- BOOK REVIEW
Quick Book Review: The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Quick Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah


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Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview Driving on the Left by Gail Ward Olmsted

Driving on the Left-2


Driving on the Left is a beautiful character drama following a mother and a daughter on their trip in Ireland.

This beautiful story really blew my socks off – I wasn’t expecting this fantastic story in what sounded like a cheesey romance novel. Following Jackie and Becca and their somewhat parallel stories was breathtaking and addicting! Seeing two women develop over this novel and how their lives are intertwined was a real treat that I highly recommend!

When reading the book, I drew parallels to Big Little Lies in the character development aspect (not the murder or soap opera like story lines), and the elegance of The Crown. While the book was more heavily focused on growth and development (with a splash of romance) over action, this book was still fast paced and kept me hooked. Having Jackie and Becca switch point of views also gave unique perspectives into the same situations (both past and present). And seeing these characters make big, life changing decisions along the way was also so incredibly moving. It was a book I’d love to bring to a book club and digest with an entire group of women!

The background of Ireland was also incredible. I’ve never been to Ireland, so I had to do some research online to see what Gail was talking about, but I felt like she gave the right descriptions to set the tone. Her descriptions were breath taking enough that I want to go to Ireland now and have my own little adventure!

This book was easily read as a stand alone (but apparently it’s a part of a series!), and would be a great book to devour in one sitting. I want a sequel to see how these characters grow and develop more, since Gail did a tremendous job of making me fall in love and feel for these characters. She does it so flawlessly, and I didn’t even notice myself yearning to know these characters and relating to them.

My only con for the book is that I want more! I want more of these characters as soon as possible! This book tells a lovely tale of reminiscing and life changes through the ages. With the addition of a Mother-Daughter story on top of the drama and romance… yeah, it’s a real hit!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Gail Ward Olmsted in exchange of an honest review.


About Driving on the Left:

Jeep Tour


To move forward, you need to let go of the past…. Jackie Sullivan decides it’s time for a fresh start, after her marriage falls apart and she loses her job. Meeting a sexy tour guide inspires her to build a new life for herself among the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. But Jackie is looking for more than just romance. Fueled by an unflagging sense of humor and lots of caffeine, she sets out on a journey of self-discovery and she plans to get it right this time. Jackie’s had her happy, now she wants her ever after!
Purchase the book on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Driving on the Left

Amazon.ca – Driving on the Left


Find Gail Ward Olmsted on her website: http://www.gailolmsted.com/

Or give us both a shout out on Twitter! @GWOlmsted & @ReviewAlholic


Comment below – what is your favourite romance novel?