The Guilt Trip

The Guilt Trip -- for those who enjoy character-driven plots, this is a family drama filled with layers of secrets and lies.

Book Review

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones

Rating: 3 out of 5.

About The Guilt Trip

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones -- book cover

Six friends.

Rachel and Noah have been friends since they met at university. While they once thought that they might be something more, now, twenty years later, they are each happily married to other people, Jack and Paige respectively. Jack’s brother Will is getting married, to the dazzling, impulsive Ali. The group of six travel to Portugal for their destination weekend.

Three couples.

As they arrive at a gorgeous villa perched on a cliff-edge, overlooking towering waves that crash on the famous surfing beaches below at Nazaré, they try to settle into a weekend of fun. While Rachel is looking forward to getting to know her future sister-in-law Ali better, Ali can’t help but rub many of the group up the wrong way: Rachel’s best friend Paige thinks Ali is attention-seeking and childish, and while Jack is trying to support his brother Will’s choice of wife, he is also finding plenty to disagree with Noah about.

One fatal misunderstanding . . .

But when Rachel discovers something about Ali that she can hardly believe, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them hold begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel. Soon, jumping to conclusions becomes the difference between life and death.

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The War Nurse

The War Nurse -- a well researched story, set amidst the trauma of a WWI field hospital. This book is packed with inspiration, bravery, and compassion.

Book Review

The War Nurse by Tracy Enerson Wood

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A few years ago, the Canadian government released the personnel files for the soldiers who fought in WWI. I was fascinated to find my great-grandfather’s records. He’d arrived in England in 1918, only to be struck with influenza. He was released from the hospital just one week before the war ended and sent home after that.

Reading The War Nurse by Tracy Enerson Wood, I was immediately transported to this gritty field hospital in France. The story follows the real-life figure of Julia Catherine Stimson, an American nurse. The team of nurses worked tirelessly to serve those wounded in battle. But what struck home for me, was the mention of those who were hospitalized with influenza before seeing action. This is a remarkable bit of history that I hadn’t heard expounded upon in a novel before. Not only did it give me insight into my grandfather’s story, it felt especially applicable for our own pandemic-weary world.

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July 2021 Mini-Challenge

July 2021 Mini-Challenge throwback!

It’s not Thursday but it’s time for a throwback! Introducing our July 2021 mini-challenge!

Happy July, book buddies. This month’s mini-challenge is all about our PAST 52 Book Club challenges. We’ve chosen one prompt from the 2018, 2019, and 2020 challenges! Whether you’re joining us for the first year, or you’ve been with us from the start, this mini-challenge is the perfect way to show your love for the 52 Book Club!

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The Glorious Guinness Girls

A beautifully set, historical novel featuring the glittering upper society life in 1920s London. A story about belonging and discovering who you really are. Book Review for: The Glorious Guinness Girls.

Book Review

The Glorious Guinness Girls by Emily Hourican

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

About the Glorious Guinness Girls:

From London to Ireland during the 1920s, this glorious, gripping, and richly textured story takes us to the heart of the remarkable real-life story of the Guinness Girls—perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia.

Descendants of the founder of the Guinness beer empire, they were the toast of 1920s high society, darlings of the press, with not a care in the world. But Felicity knows better. Sent to live with them as a child because her mother could no longer care for her, she grows up as the sisters’ companion. Both an outsider and a part of the family, she witnesses the complex lives upstairs and downstairs, sees the compromises and sacrifices beneath the glamorous surface. Then, at a party one summer’s evening, something happens that sends shock waves through the entire household.

Inspired by a remarkable true story and fascinating real events, The Glorious Guinness Girls is an unforgettable novel about the haves and have-nots, one that will make you ask if where you find yourself is where you truly belong.

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Hostage

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh -- What I love most about Clare Mackintosh is that just when you think the story is over and there can't possibly be any more twists... there are! The 52 Book Club

Book Review

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About Hostage:

(From the publisher): You can save hundreds of lives. Or the one that matters most. A claustrophobic thriller set over twenty hours on one airplane flight, with the heart-stopping tension of The Last Flight and the wrenching emotional intensity of RoomHostage takes us on board the inaugural nonstop flight from London to Sydney.

Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems of her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures in her marriage. But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina’s assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply.

It’s twenty hours to landing. A lot can happen in twenty hours.

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On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor

Jaime Jo Wright's best book yet! On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor. A haunted manor, lost confederate gold, hidden codes -- this ghostly tale has it all!

Book Review

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ghosts. Confederate gold. Haunted houses. Secret codes. Kidnappings. This story has it all.

And honestly? I think it’s Jaime Jo Wright’s best novel yet!

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor has all of the components of a traditional Wright story. (Check out our review of Wright’s The Haunting of Bonaventure Circus.) Its dual-timeline features two strong, female characters who are each wounded by their past and searching for their own set of answers. Individually, the two timelines are well developed with strong mysteries of their own. But they also come together beautifully! The mystery of Foxglove Manor weaves itself across the decades to create a suspenseful and haunting read.

If you like eerie, historical stories (Brontë sisters, anyone?) this is one you won’t want to miss! Be sure to keep reading for the rest of my review!

About On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor:

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor book cover

1885: Adria Fontaine has been sent to recover goods her father pirated on the Great Lakes during the war. But when she arrives at Foxglove Manor–a stone house on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior–Adria senses wickedness hovering over the property. The mistress of Foxglove is an eccentric and seemingly cruel old woman who has filled her house with dangerous secrets, ones that may cost Adria her life.

Present day: Kailey Gibson is a new nurse’s aide at a senior home in a renovated old stone manor. Kidnapped as a child, she has nothing but locked-up memories of secrets and death, overshadowed by the chilling promise from her abductors that they would return. When the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. She’ll have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons, including her own.

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Unknown Threat

Book Review

Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Looking for an action-packed but completely clean read? A story with a little romance, a little faith, and a fast-paced plot? Look no further than Lynn H. Blackburn’s newest novel, Unknown Threat!

About Unknown Threat:

Unknown Threat book cover

US Secret Service Special Agent Luke Powell is lucky to be alive. Three of his fellow agents have died in unusual circumstances in the past ten weeks. Luke is devastated by the loss of his friends and colleagues, and his inability to locate the killer feels like a personal failure. He and his team are experts at shielding others, but now the protectors are in need of protection.

FBI Special Agent Faith Malone is driven to succeed and confident in her ability to solve every case she’s assigned. She’s been put in charge of the investigation into the unprecedented attacks, and with Luke’s life in danger, the stakes have never been higher. But it’s hard to know how to fight back when you don’t know who the enemy is.

Luke has teamed up with Faith before, but he’s not convinced she’s up for the job and she’s not convinced he’s telling her everything he knows. As more agents are targeted, Luke and Faith will have to learn to trust each other and work together to bring a killer to justice and prevent any more names from joining their fallen brothers and sisters on the Secret Service Wall of Honor.

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The Last Flight

Book Review

The Last Flight by Julie Clark

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

What was the last book YOU read in one sitting?

The Last Flight by Julie Clark kept me hooked from page one until the very last line! It was the sort of story where I had to rewarm the bathwater three times because I needed to read just one more chapter! This book was a thrilling, non-stop adventure. (See my full review below!)

About The Last Flight:

The Last Flight by Julie Clark book cover

Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns bright and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move.

What he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish. A plan that takes her to the airport, poised to run from it all. But a chance meeting in the airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision.

The two women switch tickets, with Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico crashes, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

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You Will Remember Me

You Will Remember Me -- a riveting read with an explosive ending that I absolutely did not see coming!

Book Review

You Will Remember Me — Hannah Mary McKinnon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You Will Remember Me is one of those books where I figured out the who fairly early on. But I still did not see that ending coming. This is one book that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon!

About You Will Remember Me:

You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon

(From the publisher) He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland with a gash on his head and wearing only swim trunks. He can’t remember who he is. Everything—his identity, his life, his loved ones—has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth uncovers more questions than answers.

Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind.

Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave?

Shared fates intertwine in a twisty, explosive novel of suspense, where unearthing the past might just mean being buried beneath it.

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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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