Review Roundup | The Maid, Bookshops and Bonedust, and Twilight Falls

Posted November 30, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments

Review Roundup | The Maid, Bookshops and Bonedust, and Twilight FallsThe Maid by Nita Prose
Series: Molly the Maid #1
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Ballantine Books on January 4, 2022
Also by this author: The Mystery Guest
Format: Audio/Physical (289 pages) • Source: Libby, Purchased
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble

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.

THE MAID is a book that I’ve debated reading for a while. I wasn’t sure if it would be for me but I ended up snagging a cute little paperback copy and staring at it on my shelves for a long time. I wasn’t sure what to read earlier this month and it was calling to me, so I picked it up. I won’t lie, it took me a while to get into. I wasn’t sure if I could get into Molly’s head. That ended up not being the issue but I’ll get to my thoughts in a second.

This story follows Molly the maid, who stumbles upon the dead body of a frequent guest at the hotel she works at. She ends up getting mixed up in everything (a few crimes) without even knowing what’s going on. She struggles with social situations and appears to be neurodivergent (not given a name on page and everyone else seems to think she’s just quirky or “bad” at reading social cues).

The book was hard to read for me in the first half. It just felt like she was getting taken advantage of over and over again by bad people, and I was really upset reading it. I don’t pick up books where people like this are being taken advantage of or bullied because honestly it’s one of those things that just hits me too hard. I contemplated DNFing multiple times because it was simply hard to read and I wasn’t sure there would be enough payoff in the end.

Super glad I stuck with it. About halfway through, things really took a turn (in a good way) – Molly ends up with some excellent friends who have her best interest in mind. She’s able to find people who understand her and they all develop a plan to get her out of the sticky situation she’s inadvertently involved in. There’s even a genuinely swoony romance that I was hoping for from the beginning but really doesn’t take off until the final 25% of the book.

A couple of moments really managed to surprise me when I thought this was going to be a super simple cozy mystery where the reader kind of knows what’s going on before the MC. The second half of this story REALLY impressed me and I was hit with feels I did not expect at all, which led to a much better rating than I could have guessed. So excited to read the next book – going to try to get it ASAP when it’s released.

Review Roundup | The Maid, Bookshops and Bonedust, and Twilight FallsBookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree
Series: Legends & Lattes #0
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Published by Macmillan on November 7, 2023
Also by this author: Legends & Lattes
Format: Audio/Physical (352 pages) • Source: Purchased
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble

When an injury throws a young, battle-hungry orc off her chosen path, she may find that what we need isn't always what we seek.

In Bookshops & Bonedust, a prequel to Legends & Lattes, New York Times bestselling author Travis Baldree takes us on a journey of high fantasy, first loves, and second-hand books.

Viv's career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam's Ravens isn't going as planned.

Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she's packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk—so far from the action that she worries she'll never be able to return to it.

What's a thwarted soldier of fortune to do?

Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn't possibly imagine.

Still, adventure isn't all that far away. A suspicious traveler in gray, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling, and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected.

LEGENDS & LATTES was such a cozy surprise for me earlier this year! I wasn’t sure how it would resonate with me but it totally worked. Low-stakes fantasy is a genre I didn’t know I needed!

BOOKSHOPS & BONEDUST is a prequel novel following Viv when she takes a breather in a seaside town after an injury. She stumbles into the local (outdated and dingy) bookstore and hits it off with the owner (and not so much her pet Potroast). She also meets the local bakery and quickly falls in love with all of her confections.

This story follows a similar plotline to LEGENDS & LATTES except it’s a bookstore instead of a cafe. Viv helps Fern completely renovate and revitalize the bookstore, introducing things like author signings and “blind date with a book” sales. It was so fun to read and have her discover all these new ways to keep her store fresh.

I would argue that this installment had a little more “drama” relating to a mysterious book and the necromancer that Viv was trying to attack before her injury. It’s still largely low-stakes but I do think it had more going on. It was fun to see Viv try to get used to slow small-town life, knowing what we know about her future in LEGENDS & LATTES.

There’s not much to say except that I really think if you enjoyed the first one, you’ll probably like this one almost exactly the same amount. As long as you’re not annoyed that they’re a bit similar in setup, the cozy vibes are excellent. I would love to read more about Viv’s adventures beyond L&L and even between B&B and L&L. The epilogue of this was really cute and exciting too!

Review Roundup | The Maid, Bookshops and Bonedust, and Twilight FallsTwilight Falls by Juneau Black
Series: Shady Hollow #4
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Random House on November 7, 2023
Also by this author: Shady Hollow, Cold Clay , Mirror Lake, Summers End
Format: eBook (259 pages) • Source: Libby
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble

The fourth book in the Shady Hollow mystery series sees Vera embroiled in a case involving star-crossed lovers whose affair may have turned deadly.

It's spring in Shady Hollow, and romance is in the air. Even reporter Vera Vixen is caught up in the season as her relationship with new police chief Orville Braun blossoms. But true love is not always smooth sailing, as two of the hollow's young residents come to find. Jonah Atwater and Stasia von Beaverpelt find themselves battling their families in order to be together. And when Alan's father, Shelby, goes over the top of Twilight Falls, all signs point to Stasia being the murderer.

The evidence against Stasia appears overwhelming, and Orville arrests her. It looks like the case is closed, but Vera isn't so sure. There are almost too many clues indicating Stasia is the killer, leading her to suspect someone is setting Stasia up. Besides, what about the mysterious ghostly creature skulking around town at night? Maybe he or she was involved? As Vera investigates further, her sleuthing puts her in direct opposition to Orville, and soon she's stirred up a hornet's nest of trouble.

I requested TWILIGHT FALLS from Libby the day it became available – I really enjoyed the rest of this series overall, even if the mysteries are incredibly easy to solve. Some cozy mysteries are just like that! I wasn’t planning on starting this immediately after another cozy read in BOOKSHOPS & BONEDUST but honestly it was the only book calling to me at the time.

We’re back in Shady Hollow in springtime, following Vera as she tries to crack another case. The father of local otter Jonah is killed at the local waterfall and his beau (that his father didn’t approve of) Stasia the beaver is immediately a suspect. He had an issue with their inter-species dating, which is close to Vera’s heart since she’s a fox dating the police chief bear.

As usual, this was a cute and cozy little mystery! I figured it out fairly easily but I really believe these books are purely about the vibes and not the difficulty of the mystery. I think this was a more fun mystery compared to some of the others in the series as well – I really liked it.

I will definitely keep reading these as they come out. There’s not much more than could be said!

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.