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You read that right – forgettable. Not unforgettable. Forgettable. Rachel Hawkins’ thrillers are always super buzzworthy when they are released. As someone with serious FOMO, I can’t believe I haven’t read her novels yet. I changed that this month but was seriously disappointed in what I experienced. You can see others’ ideas about the novel over on Goodreads, but find mine below.

the wife upstairs book cover

The Plot

Lux and her boyfriend Nico only met a few weeks ago in California. Lux becomes adventurous after the death of her mother and agrees to travel in Nico’s boat, The Susannah, to Hawaii. When they get there, the boat has internal issues – the motor is busted and there’s a hole in the body. Lux and Nico barely have any money and work jobs that don’t pay too much. Lux is disappointed as her whole plan was to travel the world with Nico.

When two young women approach Nico about paying for a ride to Meroe, a deserted island with a questionable past, Lux negotiates it into the fixing of their boat in addition to payment for the trip. She says that Nico will be able to show the women a more authentic trip if they go in their own boat and the women agree.

Rachel Hawkins
Rachel Hawkins

The four arrive at Meroe to find another couple staying on the island. Then, a stranger shows up. Is it bad news and will they survive?

The premise of this novel is extremely interesting. It reminds me of Agatha Christie, but takes a huge nosedive after the awesome premise. Sadly, about 75% of the novel is petty arguments and interactions between all of the characters staying on the island. These people do not act like they are 20-30 years old. They act like spoiled teenagers, betraying each other and talking behind each others’ backs. That is my first issue. The characters act unbefitting of who they are supposed to be.

This novel is marketed as a mystery and a thriller. What is the mystery? Where am I supposed to feel thrilled?

Mild spoilers ahead —

The novel, at about 75% in, finally realizes that there is supposed to be a plot. Suddenly people begin turning up dead and injured. It all happens so quickly and so nonsensically that I when I finished, I closed the novel and said to myself that I would never pick up another one of Rachel Hawkins’ books again. I was baffled that I spent so long wondering where the novel was going only to be treated like a reader who has no idea what a good book reads like.

I felt offended as a reader that Hawkins would lead her reader through a minefield of petty emotions and squabbles only to lead us to the most resoundingly disappointing, forgettable ending I’ve ever read. Literally. I am writing this review 24 hours after finishing the novel, and huge chunks of it are already leaving my memory.

Skip this one and don’t waste your time on a novel that goes nowhere but to a dissatisfying end.

2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

If you want to read Reckless Girls, we are providing the link for it below. Remember, if you use the link we will get $ as an Amazon Affiliate.

Sarah Moon is a stone-cold sorceress from Tennessee whose interests include serial killers, horror fiction, and the newest dystopian blockbuster. Sarah holds an M.A. in English Literature and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing. She works as an English professor as well as a cemeterian. Sarah is most likely to cover horror in print including prose, poetry, and graphic forms.

Book Reviews

A Murder in Reverse: “Wrong Place Wrong Time”

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The Plot

“A brilliantly genre-bending, mind-twisting answer to the question How far would you go to save your child?”  — Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Jen watches her son murder a stranger. Stab him to death. She and her husband, Kelly, watch as their son Todd is taken into custody.

The next morning, Jen wakes up and it’s yesterday. Jen knows that at the end of the night, her son kills someone. She is determined to stop it.

Jen goes further and further back in time trying to discover why Todd murdered a stranger and how to stop it.

The Verdict

This book is twisty. Right when you think you know the ending, something else is there to prove that the story is more multifaceted than that. While the premise of the novel is simple, Gillian McAllister elevates a simple concept with deep, dark twists.

It is best that you don’t know too much going into this one. For fans of Blake Crouch, this is such a good thriller with time travelling vibes.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Book Reviews

Woom: An Extreme Horror Novel

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“That doesn’t invalidate it,” Angel said. “There’s no statute of limitations on pain.”

The Plot

Angel is a man who knows pain: physical, mental, sexual. The story begins with Angel visiting Room 6 at the Lonely Motel and ordering a plus-size sex worker to his room. What comes next is Angel’s retellings of painful stories while performing sexual acts on the sex worker, Shyla.

The novel reads as a book of short stories, as Angel relays stories to Shyla and she tells him stories back. This is a novel of pain and disgust. Angel’s stories are so dark and traumatic that Shyla can’t believe they are true. As Angel bares his soul, we see a side of him that is melancholy and unable to process hurt in a natural way.

The Verdict

This novel is full of disgusting visuals and isn’t afraid to get dirty. This truly is an extreme horror novel. As a warning, there is discussion of feces, blood, rape, sex, and body horror. This novel is not for the faint of heart. You’ll close this short novel feeling dirty. Angel is a character that begs for sympathy while his stories narrate that he may not be as innocent as he perceives.

When the subtitle says this novel is extreme horror, believe it. Only the strong will survive Duncan Ralston’s Woom. It is more splatterpunk than anything, but true literary quality lies beneath the filth.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Read it yourself by clicking below!

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Book Reviews

Did She Do It? Stacy Willingham’s “All the Dangerous Things” Asks Us Just This

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One year ago, Isabelle’s life crumbled when her baby was abducted from her home. Her marriage to her husband, Ben, is destroyed as they try to navigate the fallout.

The Plot

Even one year after the abduction, Isabelle seeks answers. She is still doing appearances at true crime expos to get information on the attendees, thinking the abductor will be there one day. Abductors usually revisit their crime and Isabelle swaps her appearances for the event guest list, never taking any money for her talks.

Some think that Isabelle killed her own baby as evidence from the case says the perpetrator came from inside the house. Isabelle hasn’t slept – not fully – since Mason was abducted. Her therapist is worried that she may be having hallucinations. Is Isabelle the killer or is she on a quest for true justice?

The Verdict

I absolutely loved the complication of not knowing whether Isabelle was a reliable or unreliable narrator. This was my favorite aspect of the novel. It made me question everything that Isabelle had to say and the actions she executed.

Isabelle is a character that, as a mother, I really felt for. I wanted to believe that Isabelle was innocent, but I was hanging on the edge of my seat waiting to find out. Stacy Willingham is the master of a story that winds all around, waiting for you to find the truth.

If you are interested in reading Willingham’s first novel, A Flicker in the Dark, check out my review here.

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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