My Girlish Whims Book Club #42

I've had some pretty big life changes since my my last set of book reviews in the form of two small and snuggly little bundles:


Tyler William, and Jack Owen Bardwell made their almost 6 week early arrival on 1/8/2022! After a little over two weeks in the NICU to help them feed and grow, our sons have been chilling back at home with us and doing great! Our world has quickly been turned upside down in the best way.  Two newborns are obviously a lot of work, but my heart has never been more full and I am just completely loving this new role as mom!

While my time is largely filled with baby care these days, I still am making time to read! Often times I'm reading while pumping or jiggling a baby in my lap and shoving lunch in my mouth at the same time, but yes - I'm still reading :)


Here's what I've been multi-task reading lately and my thoughts on each!

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The Maid

By Nita Prose. Synopsis from Amazon:

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

 I just adored this book! The main character Molly truly made the story.  She was quirky and kind and just the most likable type of protagonist out there. Of course, the sweetest and most likable characters are all too often taken advantage of, which we saw time and time again in this book. It made you angry as the reader and gave you extra motivation to keep reading to hope that everything turned out ok for her. Even though this book technically did have a mystery in it, the story was more about the characters than the mystery but I did appreciate that there was a neat and tidy wrap up to the mystery at the end and we were able to walk away from the book with all loose ends tied up.  While this book may be based "only on a simple maid" it has a heartwarming story wrapped up in it that extends far beyond the job title of the help the book was based on and is worth reading for sure.

By Sarah Penner. Synopsis from Amazon: 

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.
 
I know this book was very popular in 2021 but it took me a little while to get around to reading it.  It was the second book of 2022 I read and I am so glad that I finally did get to it, as I really enjoyed this book! The storyline alternates between present day London following Caroline who's wants, marriage and purpose in life she has just all began to question after finding out her husband of 10 years has cheated on her, and a "killer apothecary" from the 18th century and her 12 year old assistant mixing potions and vials for good...or maybe evil???  The two storylines seem wholly unrelated, but the author intertwined them so very well in this book that I was very invested in seeing both through.  I appreciated the overarching themes and lessons that Caroline went through in her story and the "coming of age" she endured during her trip in London, and also found little Eliza such a breath of fresh air and appreciated how she helped Nella through her personal battles.  With a dash of magic, a heavy dose of murder and some mystery thrown in this was an interesting read about revenge and powerful women - including those growing into themselves still.  I enjoyed it!

Reckless Girls

By Rachel Hawkins. Synopsis from Amazon: 

ONE ISLAND

Beautiful, wild, and strange—Meroe Island is a desolate spot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. It’s the perfect destination for the most adventurous traveler to escape everything... except the truth.

SIX VISITORS

Six stunning twentysomethings are about to embark on a blissful, free-spirited journey—one filled with sun-drenched days and intoxicating nights. But as it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in, sending them on a dangerous spiral of discovery.

COUNTLESS SECRETS

When one person goes missing and another turns up dead, the remaining friends wonder what dark currents lie beneath this impenetrable paradise—and who else will be swept under its secluded chaos. With its island gothic sensibility, sexy suspense, and spine-tingling reimagining of an Agatha Christie classic, Reckless Girls will wreck you. 

I was really excited to read this new release by Rachel Hawkins since I really enjoyed her book The Wife Upstairs (reviewed here) and the description of this book seemed interesting! While I enjoyed the setting of the book with the remote paradise island vibe, the rest of the book fell flat for me.  The main character Lux bugged me - it felt like she had no backbone and had just settled way too easily to randomly follow her boyfriend Nico around the world. The set-up of the book seemed weird - it seemed super excessive that Brittany and Amma were willing to pay $50k for basic stranger Nico and his girlfriend to sail them to the deserted island and once they arrived and the other characters are introduced who become part of the six visitors of the island, none of them stood out as one we wanted to root for.  It also bugged me how the author described the elaborate food they prepared and ate and how much good wine and beer they drank - like they literally would have needed cases and cases of booze in storage on the boat and multiple refrigerators stuffed with food on their boats for that to play out properly! I wouldn't spend the new release price on this book again, but would borrow it from the library to read if you want a little paradise island mystery - just don't expect it to "wreck you" like the synopsis suggests!

The Golden Couple

By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Synopsis from Amazon:

Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.

Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.
When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.

I was able to read this book ahead of its release through Net Galley. I've been a fan of this writing duo ever since reading The Wife Between Us so I was excited to get to read this one ahead of it's release! Overall I enjoyed the book: I liked Avery as one of the main characters and enjoyed her strong female presence and therapist-gone-rogue profession. Marissa and Matthew were only kind of ho-hum to me, and didn't really exude "perfect couple" vibes throughout any part of the novel (even without Marissa's infidelity present) so the title of the novel seemed a bit off base to me.  I was interested to keep reading to find out what would happen next, however the main thing that bugged me was that there were so many scenes in the novel that were supposed to be suspenseful with either Marissa or Avery holding their breath waiting to see if something would happen that never really did.  It seemed like the author was trying to do a lot of slow burn/build up suspense which only really culminated at the very end of the book in one quickly wrapped up action scene.  I wasn't able to connect all the pieces ahead of the ending but the conclusion also didn't blow me away.  Not bad, but not a great read but still an enjoyable one.

That's a wrap for these reads! I just got a new shipment of books in from book of the month with three new books I can't wait to read...let's see how much multi-tasking time I can find to get started with them!

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