Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost Heart

Posted January 3, 2024 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments

Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost HeartThe Mystery Guest by Nita Prose
Series: Molly the Maid #2
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Ballantine Books on November 28, 2023
Also by this author: The Maid
Format: Audio/eBook (304 pages) • Source: Libby, Spotify Audiobooks
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When an acclaimed author dies at the Regency Grand Hotel, it's up to a fastidious maid to uncover the truth, no matter how dirty—in a standalone novel featuring Molly Gray, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Maid, a Good Morning America Book Club Pick.

Molly Gray is not like anyone else. With her flair for cleaning and proper etiquette, she has risen through the ranks of the glorious five-star Regency Grand Hotel to become the esteemed Head Maid. But just as her life reaches a pinnacle state of perfection, her world is turned upside down when J.D. Grimthorpe, the world-renowned mystery author, drops dead—very dead—on the hotel’s tea room floor.

When Detective Stark, Molly's old foe, investigates the author’s unexpected demise, it becomes clear that this death was murder most foul. Suspects abound, and everyone wants to who killed J.D. Grimthorpe? Was it Lily, the new Maid-in-Training? Or was it Serena, the author’s secretary? Could Mr. Preston, the hotel’s beloved doorman, be hiding something? And is Molly really as innocent as she seems?

As the case threatens the hotel’s pristine reputation, Molly knows she alone holds the key to unlocking the killer's identity. But that key is buried deep in her past—because long ago, she knew J.D. Grimthorpe. Molly begins to comb her memory for clues, revisiting her childhood and the mysterious Grimthorpe mansion where she and her dearly departed Gran once worked side by side. With the entire hotel under investigation, Molly must solve the mystery post-haste. If there's one thing Molly knows for sure, it's that dirty secrets don't stay buried forever...

THE MAID was a pleasant surprise and a bit of a roller coaster for me (which is weird considering it’s a somewhat “basic” cozy mystery). I almost DNFed if because I just wasn’t connecting with the story and didn’t really care about what was happening. As usual, a chapter or two after considering the DNF, I became a bit hooked… and I ended up giving the book 4.5 stars! I was excited by the premise of the sequel and immediately requested it from the library.

I was really intrigued by a second story with Molly and loved how this one tied into her past. Molly is solving another murder mystery – this time it’s the famous author that her grandmother once worked for. The story involved flashbacks to her time spent in his mansion and all of the goings-on there. It didn’t feel like the author was retroactively adding things or changing things to make the plot work either – enough negative things were included about the victim from book one to make me feel like this was a well-planned sophomore follow-up.

There are some times with these books where I start to lose interest a little bit and that’s the only reason for a 4.5 rating instead of 5 stars. I just don’t get THAT feeling unfortunately. I was sad that Juan Manuel was missing throughout this book because he was visiting family but it made sense to keep the mystery plot moving without getting the romance in the way.

I would love for this series to continue even though I didn’t really love the implications at the end of this book as to what Molly may do next.

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost HeartThe Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Atria Books on September 14, 2023
Also by this author: The Appeal, The Christmas Appeal , The Twyford Code
Format: eARC (432 pages) • Source: Publisher
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Everyone knows the story of the Alperton Angels, the cult that brainwashed a teenage girl into believing her baby was the anti-Christ. When the girl came to her senses and called the police, the Angels committed suicide and mother and baby disappeared. Now, true crime author Amanda Bailey is looking to revive her career by writing a book on the case. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen; finding them will be the true-crime scoop of the year. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and also on the baby’s trail. As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realize that the truth about the Angels is much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined, and in pursuit of the story they risk becoming part of it.

I decided to read this one on a whim because I was really dying to add another five-star book or two to my list before the end of the year. It was a pretty lean reading year for them. I knew MegLovesBooks on booktube gave this one five stars and I love Janice Hallett, so I went for it.

I was so excited this ended up being a five-star read for me! Was it mostly based on vibes and being very addicted and intrigued the whole time? Yes. The format made it so easy to read (like Hallett’s other books I’ve read) and I couldn’t put it down. Cult books are hit or miss for me like they are with many people but I really loved the experience of reading it.

The book is about Amanda Bailey, a true crime author writing a book and collecting research on the Alperton Angels cult. She’s “collaborating” with another guy as they try to track down the baby from 18 years ago who the cult viewed as the antichrist. The story, in typical Hallett style, featured interviews, chats and texts, emails, etc…. my favorite format of book to read.

I think if I could complain about anything, maybe I expected more twists?? Honestly though when I reflect back on everything that happened in this book, she really WENT THERE. The twists were twisting.

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost HeartRaiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Berkley on December 5, 2023
Format: Audio/eARC (357 pages) • Source: Publisher, Spotify Audiobooks
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Rival archaeologists must team up on a secret Aztec expedition, or it could leave their careers—and hearts—in ruins.

Archaeologist Dr. Socorro “Corrie” Mejía has a bone to pick. Literally. 

It’s been Corrie’s life goal to lead an expedition deep into the Mexican jungle in search of the long-lost remains of her ancestor, Chimalli, an ancient warrior of the Aztec empire. But when she is invited to join an all-expenses-paid dig to do just that, Corrie is sure it’s too good to be true...and she’s right.

As the world-renowned expert on Chimalli, by rights Corrie should be leading the expedition, not sharing the glory with her disgustingly handsome nemesis. But Dr. Ford Matthews has been finding new ways to best her since they were in grad school. Ford certainly isn’t thrilled either—with his life in shambles, the last thing he needs is a reminder of their rocky past.

But as the dig begins, it becomes clear they’ll need to work together when they realize a thief is lurking around their campsite, forcing the pair to keep their discoveries—and lingering attraction—under wraps. With money-hungry artifact smugglers, the Mexican authorities, and the lies between them closing in, there’s only one way this all ends—explosively.

I had incredibly high expectations for this book and it became one of my most anticipated books of the year. People compared it to Indiana Jones and the more recent movie The Lost City, where there’s jungles and adventure and villains.  This book definitely had those! I really thought this could be a five-star read for me.

The book follows Corrie, an archaeologist, as she joins a dig led by her enemy from grad school, Ford. I absolutely loved the setting and vibes of this one. It was so fun to read about their camp, the dig site, and all of the different elements that go into an archeological dig (assuming it’s generally true to real life since I don’t know! lol). The book totally had twists and villains that I wasn’t prepared for, even though I should have been. This subgenre with adventurous romance is something I hope to explore next year. I generally enjoyed SOMETHING WILDER by Christina Lauren but wasn’t fully prepared for how insane that story would get, which affected my rating. But if more authors write books with these vibes in the future, I’m there!

I’d give this one 4.25 stars if possible. I really loved the setting and vibes, as I mentioned, and the romance was quite good! Very sexy and steamy. The two had a lot of chemistry built over the years. The miscommunication or lack of communication (and occasional lying) was not my favorite, though I could see why it happened. I think she forgave Ford a LITTLE too quickly but I also could see why he did things the way he did.

Overall, this was a really fun book to end my year with! I really hope to track down similar books in the future because the vibes were awesome.

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