The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones and Where the Truth Lies by Anna Bailey #BookReview #Mystery #Thriller

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones

They went away as friends.
They came back as suspects.

Rachel and Jack. Paige and Noah. Will and Ali. Five friends who’ve known each other for years. And Ali, Will’s new fiancée.

The three couples travel to Portugal for Ali and Will’s destination wedding. Arriving at the gorgeous clifftop villa, the weekend away is a chance to relax and get to know Ali a little better. A newcomer to their group, she seems perfectly nice and Will seems happy after years of bad choices.

But when Rachel discovers a shocking secret about Ali, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them holds begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel.

In Sandie Jones’s explosive new suspense novel, jumping to conclusions can become the difference between life and death.

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones | Goodreads

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones captured my attention in the first few pages. It kept me invested in the story until about halfway when Rachel’s paranoia (the narrator of this wild and wicked tale), born of her overwhelming guilt, just became too much for me to handle. I loved the twists and turns the story took, and there are many.

I also loved certain characters and loved to hate others. Still, I felt that all were developed enough to understand motivations and choices. I didn’t, however, love the third-person focused POV through Rachel and would have enjoyed a third-person omniscient narration to get a break from the paranoia. This way, it would never get to be so much that it impeded my enjoyment of the story.

The setting, however, never got to be too much, and I could just envision this unique cliffside seascape with its enormous waves and treacherous paths. I absolutely adored the setting, and the descriptions of it were sublime and immersive. As I mentioned earlier, this is a wicked and wild tale with secrets and lies on top of secrets and lies ripe with thrills and psychological mischief. I mostly enjoyed this novel and would not hesitate to pick up another story by Sandie Jones.


Where The Truth Lies by Anna Bailey

The town of Whistling Ridge guards its secrets.

When seventeen-year-old Abigail goes missing, her best friend Emma, compelled by the guilt of leaving her alone at a party in the woods, sets out to discover the truth about what happened. The police initially believe Abi ran away, but Emma doesn’t believe that her friend would leave without her, and when officers find disturbing evidence in the nearby woods, the festering secrets and longstanding resentment of both Abigail’s family and the people of Whistling Ridge, Colorado begin to surface with devastating consequences.

Among those secrets: Abi’s older brother Noah’s passionate, dangerous love for the handsome Rat, a recently arrived Romanian immigrant who has recently made his home in the trailer park in town; her younger brother Jude’s feeling that he knows information he should tell the police, if only he could put it into words; Abi’s father’s mercurial, unpredictable rages and her mother’s silence. Then there is the rest of Whistling Ridge, where a charismatic preacher advocates for God’s love in language that mirrors violence, under the sway of the powerful businessman who rules the town, insular and wary of outsiders.

But Abi had secrets, too, and the closer Emma grows to unraveling the past, the farther she feels from her friend. And in a tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark—the truth of what really happened that night—to change their community forever. 

Where the Truth Lies by Anna Bailey | Goodreads

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Where the Truth Lies by Anna Bailey is a dark, highly atmospheric thriller that put the fictional town of Whistling Ridge, Colorado, on the map as the town I least want to visit. It is full of either heinous people or spineless victims – no one I could relate to or even empathize with. 

Despite this world that pulled me deep into despair, there were aspects that I just loved about it. Dotted like breadcrumbs are the most ingenious teases as to what happened to Abigail Blake. These delectable bites kept me from bolting away from Whistling Ridge. Instead, they held me spellbound to the mystery at hand. I also liked the dual timeline of Now and Then, which allowed me to see the events leading up to Abigail’s disappearance interspersed with the investigation of her case. 

Those glimpses into the past let me get to know Abigail, and she shows more of the attributes I would connect with. Though she is not untainted by this world full of trigger warnings for violence – sexual and physical. And, those aspects of her personality that developed due to her surroundings are the very ones that kept me at a distance.  

If you are looking for the epitome of an atmospheric story with the most brilliant teases, and you are not triggered by non-graphic violent scenes, then Where the Truth Lies is just the story you want to pick up this summer.

30 Replies to “The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones and Where the Truth Lies by Anna Bailey #BookReview #Mystery #Thriller”

  1. Both tbr reads for me that I’ve been pretty curious about.. Glad for the warning about the paranoia in The Guilt Trip, though.
    Great job! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Good to know.. It does kind of take the wind out one’s sails, hearing that, but maybe it won’t be as bad if I go in knowing what to look out for.
        Unless knowing makes it even more noticeable.. 😅

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds super interesting – the plot is so suspenseful! Would you class it more as a Thriller or a Mystery? Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Guilt Trip is more of a psychological thriller though it does have a whodunnit in the last 10-20% and Where The Truth Lies definitely falls much more into that Mystery Thriller niche. Amazon classifies it as a Crime Thriller.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It does become almost claustrophobic. You just kind of want to slap the main character and tell her to snap out of it. Lol 😆

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen the mixed reviews on The Guilt Trip but yours was the first that had me understand some of the disappointment. I read a Kubica book that did something similar and I hated being in the musings of a mentally disturbed character too long so I understand your feelings about it perfectly. I still plan to listen to it as you’ve given me enough incentive to do so. Excellent review, Tessa💜

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve seen The Guilt Trip all over the blogosphere, but this is the first review I’ve read. I get what you mean about being in that character’s head for too long. I’d definitely need a break. Sounds like there’s all kinds of dastardly deeds going on in Whistling Ridge. Great reviews, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a very bad town. Very bad. It takes the stereotype of a backwards small town and ratchets it up about 10 notches. Yikes!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think I’ll skip Where the Truth lies, but The Guilt Trip, despite the single narrator, still intrigues me. I like that you mentioned so many twists and turns. That one is going on my TBR! 🙂

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  6. These both sound good, but I think I’ll pass on The Guilt Trip. I’m sort of burned on psychological thrillers such as this one. Where the Truth Lies is on my TBR. Beautiful reviews as always, Tessa. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great reviews. This isn’t the first less than stellar review for the Guilt Trip that I have seen, it’s probably not for me anyway. Where the Truth Lies sounds much better!

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  8. I’m trying to imagine what kind of secret in The Guilt Trip would be so awful that it caused marriages and relationships to fall apart. That sounds extreme! And I’ve read a couple of novels lately where the narrator was just a terrible choice, either being annoyingly suspicious of everything or knowing things they couldn’t.

    Where the Truth Lies sounds like another secrets book! I’m never drawn to novels that hinge on a big secret because I never find the secret to be THAT unforgiveable. I mean, most thriller characters aren’t cooking at eating children or keeping sex slaves, that sort of thing. At least none that I’ve read :3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol. I don’t know that that would be a very fun plot but who knows – in the right hands anything is possible 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel awful that I wrote that previous comment because last night on the news there was a story about a woman in the next county over who killed her husband, dismembered him, and had her small children help dispose of the pieces. 😬


  9. Wonderful reviews Tessa. I had problems with The Guilt Trip and although I finished it and liked it enough to do that, there was just something that rubbed me the wrong way. I am not familiar with Where the Truth Lies, but it sounds interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think for me the big problem was just being inside someone’s head who was so insecure and felt so overwhelmingly guilty all the time. It got to be way too much.

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