People We Meet on Vacation

People We Meet on Vacation book cover and quote, "Full of humour, quick wit and delicious getaways -- we may not be able to go on a vacation right now, but at least we have this book!"

Book Review

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Rating: 5 out of 5.

For fans of friendship-turned-romance and stories full of banter and quick wit — People We Meet on Vacation is for you!

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (book cover)

From the publisher: Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.
 
Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.
 
Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.
 
Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

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Find You First

Find You First by Linwood Barclay -- I couldn't read quick enough. This fast-paced story had me on the edge of my seat.

Book Review

Find You First by Linwood Barclay

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About Find You First:

(From the publisher) Tech millionaire Miles Cookson has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of—except time. He has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and there is a fifty percent chance that it can be passed on to the next generation. For Miles, this means taking a long hard look at his past . . .

Two decades ago, a young, struggling Miles was a sperm donor. Somewhere out there, he has kids—nine of them. And they might be about to inherit both the good and the bad from him—maybe his fortune, or maybe something much worse.

As Miles begins to search for the children he’s never known, aspiring film documentarian Chloe Swanson embarks on a quest to find her biological father, armed with the knowledge that twenty-two years ago, her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant.

When Miles and Chloe eventually connect, their excitement at finding each other is overshadowed by a series of mysterious and terrifying events. One by one, Miles’s other potential heirs are vanishing—every trace of them wiped, like they never existed at all.

Who is the vicious killer—another heir methodically erasing rivals? Or is something even more sinister going on?

It’s a deadly race against time . . .

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Author Chat: Audrey Blake (The Girl in His Shadow)

Author chat with Audrey Blake, author of The Girl In His Shadow

Has anyone else already found one of their FAVOURITE BOOKS of the year? I wasn’t even finished the prologue and I already knew that this book was going to be a five-star read. (You can read my full review of this beautiful story here!)

The Girl in His Shadow captivated me instantly and has definitely stayed with me long after finishing it. That’s why I was super excited to get to chat with the author, Audrey Blake! Author interviews are like mini “behind the scenes tours” and I think that this one has a few surprises in store.

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May Mini-Challenge

May Mini Challenge 2021

I’m not sure what the weather is like where you live, but over here, it’s feeling a lot like spring! The cherry blossoms are blooming, fresh leaves are dotting the trees outside my window, and sunshine is pushing through the clouds. So, how about a cheery, flowery theme for our May Mini-Challenge?

For this month, I asked my admin team to help come up with three, spring-related prompts. And I think these check that box! As always, feel free to add these prompts in addition to your regular 52 reads, or to combine them with books you’re already reading for our 2021 challenge.

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The Woman With the Blue Star

The Woman with the Blue Star is a heartfelt tale of triumph and determination and a moving witness to the incredible bonds of friendship. The 52 Book Club quote.

Book Review

The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

How far would you go to save your life? To save the life of a girl staring up at you, out of a sewer grate? The Woman with the Blue Star is a heartfelt tale of triumph and determination, and a moving witness of the incredible bonds of friendship.

About the book:

The Woman With the Blue Star book cover by Pam Jenoff

(From the publisher) 1942. Eighteen-year-old Sadie Gault lives with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother seek refuge in the sewers below the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. Scorned by her friends and longing for her fiancé, who has gone off to war, Ella wanders Kraków restlessly. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it’s a girl hiding.

Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. Inspired by harrowing true stories, The Woman with the Blue Star is an emotional testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary strength of the human will to survive.

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The Girl in His Shadow

The Girl in His Shadow book cover and quote from The 52 Book Club, "Right from the very first pages of the prologue, this book screamed 'five-stars.'"

Book Review

The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Sometimes, I find myself on the first page of a book and immediately know — there’s something special here. Barely a few words in, the story already screams five stars. It’s a rare and elusive sort of magic. Indescribable, except for the gut-feeling of a bookworm.

That was this book for me.

About the book:

The Girl in His Shadow book review

(From the publisher): Raised by the eccentric surgeon Dr. Horace Croft after losing her parents to a deadly pandemic, the orphan Nora Beady knows little about conventional life. While other young ladies were raised to busy themselves with needlework and watercolors, Nora was trained to perfect her suturing and anatomical illustrations of dissections.

Women face dire consequences if caught practicing medicine, but in Croft’s private clinic Nora is his most trusted—and secret—assistant. That is until the new surgical resident Dr. Daniel Gibson arrives. Dr. Gibson has no idea that Horace’s bright and quiet young ward is a surgeon more qualified and ingenuitive than even himself. In order to protect Dr. Croft and his practice from scandal and collapse Nora must learn to play a new and uncomfortable role—that of a proper young lady.

But pretense has its limits. Nora cannot turn away and ignore the suffering of patients even if it means giving Gibson the power to ruin everything she’s worked for. And when she makes a discovery that could change the field forever, Nora faces an impossible choice. Remain invisible and let the men around her take credit for her work, or let the world see her for what she is—even if it means being destroyed by her own legacy.

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The Last Thing He Told Me

Book Review

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

About the book:

The Last Thing He Told Me book cover

(From the publisher) Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, and a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.

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A Gambling Man

A Gambling Man -- "Well set, and with interesting and likable characters, A Gambling Man was 400 pages of entertainment."

Book Review

A Gambling Man by David Baldacci

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Easy to read and packed with adventure, I always enjoy Baldacci’s stories. And A Gambling Man was no exception!

About A Gambling Man:

A Gambling Man book cover

(From the publisher): Aloysius Archer, the straight-talking World War II veteran fresh out of prison, returns in this riveting new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci.

The 1950s are on the horizon. Aloysius Archer is in dire need of a fresh start after a nearly fatal detour in Poca City. So Archer hops on a bus and begins the long journey out west to California, where rumor has it there is money to be made if you’re hard-working, lucky, criminal—or all three.

Along the way, Archer stops in Reno. A stroke of fortune delivers him a wad of cash and an eye-popping blood-red 1939 Delahaye convertible—plus a companion for the final leg of the journey, an aspiring actress named Liberty Callahan who is planning to try her luck in Hollywood. But when the two arrive in Bay Town, California, Archer quickly discovers that the hordes of people who flocked there seeking fame and fortune landed in a false paradise that instead caters to their worst addictions and fears.

Archer’s first stop is a P.I. office where he is hoping to apprentice with a legendary private eye and former FBI agent named Willie Dash. He lands the job and immediately finds himself in the thick of a potential scandal: a blackmail case involving a wealthy well-connected politician running for mayor that soon spins into something even more sinister. As bodies begin falling, Archer and Dash must infiltrate the world of brothels, gambling dens, drug operations, and long-hidden secrets, descending into the rotten bones of a corrupt town that is selling itself as the promised land—but might actually be the road to perdition, and Archer’s final resting place.

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The Agatha Christie Mystery Challenge

The 52 Book Club's Agatha Christie Challenge

She’s called the Queen of Crime. And with over 70 mysteries to her name, it’s little wonder why. Agatha Christie has long been a favourite author over here at The 52 Book Club. (She was our author of the year on our very first challenge!) Her mysteries include favourites like And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, and Death on the Nile.

That’s why we’re excited to announce our very first author challenge — the Agatha Christie mystery challenge!

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The Arctic Fury

The Arctic Fury: a historical novel packed with strong female characters and filled with arctic adventure and secrets.

Book Review

The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I pick books by their covers all the time. And this was one that had me hooked from the instant I first saw it on #bookstagram. Better yet? The story features an all-female arctic expedition AND a murder trial. Intrigued? So was I!

About The Arctic Fury:

The Arctic Fury book cover

(From the publisher) Eccentric Lady Jane Franklin makes an outlandish offer to adventurer Virginia Reeve: take a dozen women, trek into the Arctic, and find her husband’s lost expedition. Four parties have failed to find him, and Lady Franklin wants a radical new approach: put the women in charge.

A year later, Virginia stands trial for murder. Survivors of the expedition willing to publicly support her sit in the front row. There are only five. What happened out there on the ice?

Set against the unforgiving backdrop of one of the world’s most inhospitable locations, USA Today bestselling author Greer Macallister uses the true story of Lady Jane Franklin’s tireless attempts to find her husband’s lost expedition as a jumping-off point to spin a tale of bravery, intrigue, perseverance and hope.

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