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review 2014-05-15 23:37
The Moon Sisters



By Therese Walsh 

ISBN-13: 9780307461605

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Publication date: 3/4/2014

Pages: 336

Format: e-book 

My Rating:  5 Stars


THE MOON SISTERS is an emotional journey—a compelling read of grief, hope, and power of family bonds--the dynamics of two different sisters.

Jazz, the older, is forward-thinking, hard, stubborn, and realistic. Whereas Olivia, the younger is totally the opposite –living in a dream world, strong-willed, yet free spirited, due to her synesthesia (a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway---a mental wiring condition which senses overlap). Think sounds, sights, scents, and tastes which will heighten and seduce you as a reader.

After their mother’s unresolved death, Olivia and Jazz try and move on with their lives. Olivia spends her day staring at the sun; whereas, Jazz takes a job at the local funeral home and trying to settle into a boring life in Tramp, West Virginia.

Olivia, the dreamer, sets off for Cranberry Glades with their mother's ashes, in search of the will-o-the-wisp ghost lights, to set everything right and lay her mom to rest. Jazz, tries to stop the trip before it starts. When that fails, she goes along to keep the journey on track. Their car breaks down and Olivia hops onto a train in a desperate attempt to fulfill her mother's dream. There, she meets Hobbs, a guy running away from his life, and he agrees to lead her on her quest. Jazz, determined to bring rationality, angrily pursues them.

Each of the sisters -----hiding things from one another ---make their journey toward the acceptance of their mother’s death. However, is the journey more important than the destination? 

THE MOON SISTERS alternates between Olivia and Jazz, as we get to hear from both characters and their specific viewpoints. I thorough enjoyed the poetic descriptions, and as a nature lover, could totally relate.

The author, Teresa Walsh did an outstanding job with the character development, skillfully creating a beautiful thought-provoking story of loss and recovery. I enjoyed the mixture of humor, magic, reality—a cross between two strong characters (controlling, versus spacey dreamer). Addressing many high-charged topics such as a mother’s love, bond of sisters, love, depression, suicide, guilt, alcoholism, homeless, runaways, and theft. (I enjoyed the mother's story, as well).

Fans of Sarah Addison Allen (Lost Lake), Kristin Bair O'Keeffe (The Art of Floating), and Catherine Ryan Hyde (Take Me With You), will enjoy the blending of glowing language and the dreamlike magical journey through sorrow and healing. 

I enjoyed the staging breakdown (which sometimes does not happen quickly). 
First Stage: Denial
Second Stage: Anger
Third Stage: Bargaining
Fourth Stage: Depression
Fifth Stage: Acceptance

Synesthesia: (Found this fascinating) …Though often stereotyped in the popular media as a medical condition or neurological aberration, many synesthetes themselves do not perceive their synesthetic experiences as a handicap. To the contrary, most report it as a gift—an additional "hidden" sense—something they would not want to miss. Most synesthetes become aware of their distinctive mode of perception in their childhood. Some have learned how to apply their ability in daily life and work. Synesthetes have used their abilities in memorization of names and telephone numbers, mental arithmetic, and more complex creative activities like producing visual art, music, and theater.

I highly recommend THE MOON SISTERS, as this book reminds me a little of my sister and our relationship --- we are total opposites and have already begun to see the strong differences, as our mom has been recently diagnosed with colon and liver cancer. This type of book is sometimes heartwarming as we see flawed and realistic family drama, hidden secrets, guilt and regret; however, there is always room for unconditional love and forgiveness.

I look forward to reading more from this talented author (her master’s degree in psychology is definitely reflective throughout this emotional coming-of-age tale).

Source: www.goodreads.com
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review 2014-03-26 00:00
The Moon Sisters
The Moon Sisters - Therese Walsh The story of The Moon Sisters intends to highlight the strong but fractious bond unique to sisters. It follows the familiar format of other sibling novels. Olivia and Jazz could not be more different, and they must come to an understanding and acceptance of their differences before they can move forward after their mother’s possible suicide. That they do should come as no surprise to anyone, as it is a tale often told albeit with variations on the theme.

Ms. Walsh’s variation includes Olivia’s synesthesia, which is actually one of the highlights of the novel. Her unique approach to new situations and new people is a wonderful reminder that appearances are deceiving. Similarly, her view of life emphasizes the beauty in the world. That her ability also provides her with an excellent compass of a person’s emotional state and lie detector is also convenient to her story.

Naturally, Jazz is the yin to Olivia’s yang. Olivia is all about music and taste and color, while Jazz’s world is black and white. There is right and wrong and no gray areas in-between to confuse the issue. She is serious and responsible while Olivia is carefree and individualistic. There would be no story if Jazz were anything but the exact opposite of her little sister.

The journey on which the girls find themselves is pleasant enough. There are shady characters who may or may not be trustworthy. Of course, for the trip to be successful, the girls must reconcile their differences, and they resolve some other conflicts along the way.

The thing is, there really is nothing special about the story. Olivia is a fun character, but readers may find her totally irresponsible and flighty. Jazz tends to be a bit too angry, but other readers may find her anger justifiable. That their reconciliation comes with unveiled secrets about their mother is not a surprise, nor are those secrets that shocking. The entire story has a redundant air about it that does nothing to set it apart from other sibling stories.

Still, The Moon Sisters is pleasant distraction from real life. The girls’ poverty is eye-opening, and the descriptions of West Virginia are truly beautiful. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon or two, even if there is nothing truly unique about the story.
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review 2014-03-02 13:35
Reveiw & GIVEAWAY - The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh
The Moon Sisters - Therese Walsh

I loved this one!  So much.  I was offered this one by the publisher, Crown,  and I'm so thrilled I accepted because it's my favourite book so far this year.  I barely laid it down from start to finish. I'm a REALLY slow reader usually but I just rattled through this one.


It's hard for me to write a review of something I loved over one I hated as it's all about the 'feels' for me and I can't put it into words sometimes.  (Just an FYI - with this one I have a lot of feels and chances are that this review is going to be all over the place because of it.)

A moving tale of family, love, and the power of stories. After their mother's probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz are figuring out how to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia, who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights, is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother's unfinished novel to say her final goodbyes and lay their mother's spirit to rest.

Though they see things very differently, Jazz is forced by her sense of duty to help Olivia reach her goal. Bitter and frustrated by the attention heaped on her sunny sister whose world is so unique, Jazz is even more upset when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper. Though Hobbs warns Olivia that he's a thief who shouldn't be trusted, he agrees to help with their journey. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, and they will finally be forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important.


I don't read very much in this genre (is it Women's fiction?  Family drama? Coming of Age?...I'm not sure) but the thing that drew me to accepting this one was the mention of Synesthesia.  It's a condition I've heard of before but don't really know anything about.  It's fascinating.  No two people who are affected by the condition have the same experiences and it varies from person to person but Wiki describes it as -

"A neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.  People who report such experiences are known as synesthetes.


Loosely explained, it's the ability to hear colours, or smell sounds, or even taste words.  It's fascinating to me. 


Anyway, the story.  It's just so interesting!  Told in alternating chapters from Jazz and Olivia's points of view with some chapters interspersed with letters written by the girls' mother to her father when she was alive.   Is it fate or luck that leads someone to make a certain decision over another?   Is life all mapped out for us or is it just being in the right place at the right time?  Maybe it's a bit of both?


I really cared about the characters, I loved them, both the main two girls and their family and the interesting people they meet on their journey (and their stories which run alongside Jazz and Olivia's are equally wonderful).  Brilliantly written, evenly paced and satisfying to the end. 


I'm not doing this justice at all, I'm all over the place.  I can't find the words.  I just loved it all and everyone needs to read it!


What we need here is a GIVEAWAY so that someone else can be lucky enough to get a hardback copy of this to soak up the good stuff!



I've been offered a second copy by the publishers to use as a Giveaway and I'm so excited to be able to share this with everyone on BL.  I've set up a Giveaway page and if you'd like to enter into the draw you can enter HERE or by clicking the giveaway banner above.  Winner will be drawn on 16th March and announced shortly thereafter on the blog here.  Please make sure on your entry that there is a way of reaching you if you're the lucky winner!


Good luck to everyone that enters! 




Completing this means I am 336 pages closer to my 1 Million pages goal :D






And, I'm calling this for the letter 'F' in my AtoZ Challenge.  F is for Family



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review 2014-02-26 16:57
The Moon Sisters
The Moon Sisters - Therese Walsh

The Moon Sisters is story about siblings - the love and the hate and the rivalry between siblings. It is also a story about the parent and child relationship - how that can impact a person their whole lives through and how that can be completely different for two siblings. The book reads well to begin, becomes a little slow in the middle, and comes to a satisfying ending.


Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2014/02/the-moon-sisters.html


*** Reviewed for GoodReads First Reads program ***

Source: www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2014/02/the-moon-sisters.html
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review 2014-02-23 00:00
The Moon Sisters
The Moon Sisters - Therese Walsh This hauntingly personal story is about two sisters who are about as different as two people could be, and the fascinating way they deal with their mother and her death. You can read my full review here. https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2014/03/15/unseen-visions-hiding-in-plain-sight/
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