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Reviews: THE MAID & RECKLESS GIRLS

 

I’m not Sharon and it’s not Thriller Thursday, but today I have two mystery/thriller reviews to share.  One is in the vein of a cozy mystery, while the other is somewhat of a locked door mystery that reminds me a lot of the TV show Lost.  I read both of these while I was on vacation the week after Christmas and quite enjoyed them.

 

Reviews:  THE MAID & RECKLESS GIRLSThe Maid Goodreads

Author:  Nita Prose

Publication Date: January 4, 2022

Publisher:  Ballatine Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

The Maid by Nita Prose follows a lovable, quirky maid named Molly who discovers a dead man in one of the hotel rooms she cleans and then ends up wrongfully accused of the man’s murder.

Molly is such a unique and charming character that I fell in love with her right away.  She may only be 25 but she has somewhat of an old soul, probably because she was raised by her recently-deceased grandmother.  Molly is all about cleanliness and order, and so she loves working as a maid to help bring a sense of order to the lives of others.  It was actually adorable listening to her describe her work with such pride and passion.  She reminded me a bit of Mary Poppins! Although she comes across as this old soul, Molly is also quite naïve and innocent in the ways of the world.  When someone befriends her, she immediately trusts that their motives are sincere.  Her trusting nature, endearing as it is, is unfortunately what lands her in hot water regarding Mr. Black, the murdered hotel guest.

The bulk of the story follows Molly as she sets out to prove her innocence and to figure out what really happened to Mr. Black. I don’t want to give away too many details about the plot itself since it is a murder mystery, but I did want to share that what made this such a special read for me was that the entire story comes to us from Molly’s perspective.  As you can imagine based on what I’ve shared about Molly and the way she views the world, it’s quite an interesting and unique perspective.

Molly stole my heart and had me cheering her on to prove her innocence, but there were also several other fantastic characters in the story, a number of whom come to Molly’s aid because they believe in her and because they know she has no one else in her corner now that her grandmother has passed away.  There’s a definite “found family” vibe with these characters and I loved that for Molly.  It’s not often that I think of a murder mystery as having a heart-warming element, but this one definitely does.

The Maid is an engaging mystery that is filled with twists and turns and features a heroine that you can’t help rooting for.  I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys mysteries, especially cozies. 4.5 STARS

 

Reviews:  THE MAID & RECKLESS GIRLSReckless Girls Goodreads

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publication Date: January 4, 2022

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins is advertised as being perfect for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware and I agree wholeheartedly as those two authors immediately came to mind once I started reading this book. Reckless Girls is a variation on the locked door mystery in the sense that it takes place on an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean and the characters in the book end up stranded there.  We all know that no good can come from that and as the story unfolds, we get to see firsthand just how bad things can get.

The novel’s main character is Lux, a young woman who has recently been fired from her job and is temporarily crashing at a friend’s place with her boyfriend.  In need of cash and eager for an adventure, Lux and her boyfriend accept an offer to earn a tremendous amount of money by sailing two women, Amma and Britney, out to a remote island in the South Pacific that they keep hearing about.  What they don’t realize is that they’re about to get way more adventure than they had planned on, starting with a treacherous storm that nearly capsizes their boat before they even get to the island.  When they finally make it to the island, they realize they won’t be alone because another man and woman apparently had the same idea they did.  No worries though. The more the merrier, right?  That is, until yet another stranger shows up and things take an ominous turn.  Missing people, disappearing boats, sabotaged radio equipment, the list goes on and on. If they’re alone on the island, who is responsible?

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that the most fascinating part of the book for me were the backstories we get on each of the other characters who are on the island with Lux.  As their stories unfold, it becomes clear that no one is as they seem and there are definitely some hidden agendas as to why they have all converged on this island at the same time.  I enjoyed watching all of their threads come together to give a complete picture, especially as we follow Lux who is trying to put all of the same pieces together we are.  Hawkins definitely kept me guessing the truth about all of them until the very end.

Aside from the twisty mystery itself, I also really loved how atmospheric the story is. The island itself has an ominous, creepy history that we learn about as the story progresses.  It reminded me a lot of the TV show, Lost.  The story also has a Gothic, almost supernatural vibe to it at times.

One element that surprised me was that I didn’t really like any of the characters in the book. I guess Lux is probably the one I cared about the most, but even then, I wasn’t overly attached to her. Normally I don’t like books where I don’t feel like I’m rooting for anyone, but with this book, I was so curious about what bad things would happen next and whether or not they would all make it off the island alive, that not liking them didn’t really bother me.

 If twisty thrillers, locked door mysteries, and Gothic settings are your jam, be sure to check out Reckless Girls.  3.5 STARS

Can’t Wait Wednesday – THE EX HEX by Erin Sterling

 

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.  It is a meme that I have  loved participating in since I first started blogging, but as Jill is no longer actively posting, from now on I’ll be linking to Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, which is a spinoff of the original WoW meme.

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My selection for this week is THE EX HEX by Erin Sterling.  If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I love a good witchy read.  I also read that the author described this as Hocus Pocus with sex and that pretty well sold me, lol.

THE EX HEX by Erin Sterling

Publication Date:  October 5, 2021 by William Morrow

 

From Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, writing as Erin Sterling, casts a spell with a spine-tingling romance full of wishes, witches, and hexes gone wrong.

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

 

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your CWW selection for this week. 🙂

Review: THE WIFE UPSTAIRS by Rachel Hawkins

Review:  THE WIFE UPSTAIRS by Rachel HawkinsThe Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
four-stars
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 5, 2021
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Retelling
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rachel Hawkins’ latest novel, The Wife Upstairs, is a domestic thriller that is inspired by the popular Gothic classic, Jane Eyre. Thankfully, however, you don’t have to have read Jane Eyre to thoroughly enjoy this dark and suspenseful tale.  Jane Eyre’s Gothic English setting has been updated to a gated community in Birmingham, Alabama, and the Jane in this tale is not a governess, but instead is a professional dog walker.

As in the original tale, Jane is the classic underdog character.  She grew up in foster care and has been struggling to make ends meet.  She shares an apartment with a loser roommate who eats her food, uses her things without asking, and is just all around rude. Jane has some secrets in her past that she is running from and so she is living somewhat off the grid, making money by walking dogs for rich people in the elite Thornfield Estates and stealing trinkets from their homes to pawn for cash at every opportunity.

Life starts to look up for Jane, however, when she has a chance run-in with a handsome, wealthy widower, Eddie Rochester, while she’s out walking dogs.  Because his wife and her best friend drowned in a boating accident and their bodies still haven’t been recovered, Eddie is the talk of the neighborhood amongst the bored housewife set.  Jane sees her run in with Eddie as the doorway to a better life for herself, and lucky for her, Eddie is so enamored with her that he goes out and gets himself a dog so that he can hire Jane as his dog walker, which quickly escalates to Eddie asking Jane to move in with him.  That’s when Jane starts to realize that what seems too good to be true may actually be just that and that Eddie may have just as many dark secrets lurking in his closet as she does in hers.

One thing that surprised me about The Wife Upstairs is that I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters.  That was kind of a bummer since I would normally be rooting for the underdog, but something about Jane and her machinations just didn’t sit well with me and I felt the same way about Eddie.  Even feeling ambivalent about them, however, I still found myself completely invested in the story.  Why? Because, like those bored housewives, I really wanted to know the dirt on everyone. What is Jane running from? What is Eddie hiding?  If those deaths were just an accident, why haven’t the bodies turned up?  There were just so many questions and so many deliciously dark twists and each turn of the page would just ramp up the tension and suspense all the more.

I don’t want to say anything else because you really need to experience the unraveling of all of those deep, dark secrets yourself, but if you’re in the mood for a dark and suspenseful domestic thriller and/or are a fan of the original Jane Eyre, definitely check out The Wife Upstairs.

four-stars

About Rachel Hawkins

Rachel Hawkins is the author of Rebel Belle and the New York Times bestselling series Hex Hall. Born in Virginia and raised in Alabama, Rachel taught high school English for three years before becoming a full-time writer.