Review: The House Across the Street by Jill Childs

The House Across the StreetThe House Across the Street by Jill Childs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The House Across the Street is a new release Popcorn Thriller from Jill Childs. This is my first work from this author and it did keep me at attention and entertained.

This is a neighborhood drama following a few different perspectives. The main focus is on Anna and Lily, life-long best friends. They grew up across the street from one another, and have grown up more as sisters than friends.

Anna is a single mother to a 11-year old daughter, Cassie, who she gave birth to when she was just 17. They were barely done school by the time Cassie was born, but Lily never deserted Anna, like many other teen girls might of.

As adults, even with all that has gone on in the past, they are still present in each other lives. One night, at the start of our story, Anna spies across the street, through the windows of Lily’s father’s home, someone who shouldn’t be there. It’s ominous and she fears something is wrong.

After investigating, Anna’s fears are proved true. Someone has murdered Lily’s father in his bed. After the authorities are notified and it appears that Anna is the only witness, she begins to receive threatening notes.

Fearing the killer may be after her, or worse, after her daughter, Anna stops aiding with the investigation, even though she had promised Lily she would help.

There’s back and forth between Anna and Lily as we try to piece together what the hell is going on in this neighborhood. We also get a bit from Cassie, as she tries to understand all that is happening around her, and why she may suddenly be a pawn in someone else’s game.

Overall, this was a good story. It did nothing wrong, it’s fast-paced and well-told, but I can’t say I found it overly-compelling, or memorable.

It’s simple, easy to follow, and could be great for someone looking for a quick read to distract them on a road trip or while doing some housework. It’s definitely a story I’ll forget pretty quickly though.

I did feel like the male characters were very forgettable. It took me over half the book to even realize that Anna’s ex-boyfriend and Lily’s brother weren’t the same person. That’s not necessarily a good sign.

I also was a little turned off by a couple of twists at the end, but that is purely personal opinion. Others may find them to be jaw-dropping and interesting.

I’m happy to have given this one a listen. The audiobook was well narrated and I wouldn’t be opposed to picking up more from this author in the future.

Thank you to the publisher, Bookouture, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I love a good Popcorn Thriller every once in a while. They’re great palate cleansers amongst some of my darker reads.

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Review: The Main Character by Jaclyn Goldis

The Main CharacterThe Main Character by Jaclyn Goldis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Main Character is the 2nd-release that I have read from Jaclyn Goldis, the 1st being The Chateau, which ended up not being a great fit for me.

While I still had some issues with this one, it was definitely a more enjoyable read, IMO. Thus, Goldis and I have an upward trajectory together, and I love to see that.

In this story we are following a group of characters on a luxury train trip aboard the newly-renovated Orient Express. The focus of our tale is Rory, who has recently worked as the main character for a bestselling mystery author, Ginevra Ex.

What does that mean exactly? Basically, Ginevra researches Rory, her main character, including everything in her life, and everyone, and then the author frames the main character of her next book on what she discovered while learning about Rory.

I’m sure that sounds intrusive and it was, but Rory willingly participated. How bad can it be?

The train trip was a gift to Rory from the author at the conclusion of the project. The ARCs are ready and Ginevra wants to thank Rory for her time.

Upon boarding the train though, Rory is shocked to find her brother, her best friend and her ex-fiance already aboard. What the heck is going on here? Why would the author bring them all together like this?

It seems Ginevra uncovered some truths during her research that could shock the heck out of Rory. Playing out on the train, as twisted as any fictional story, Rory finds herself suddenly in a vacation from hell. Was this the author’s plan all along? Rory needs to find out.

As with The Chateau, there’s a lot going on here. We get various perspectives in the present, as well as a historical perspective. Generally, I enjoy that, and by the end, I enjoyed that here as well, but in the beginning, I will admit to being bored by the historical portions.

I did appreciate how the author ended up tying the two timelines together though, and it does make sense in light of everything that ultimately played out.

I did enjoy the characters and all of their interpersonal dramas. They’re not likable, but they were definitely interesting. I did have times when I felt for Rory, and I sort of liked her best friend, Caroline, as well.

As with most friend groups, there are secrets which end up being exposed. It makes for an intense trip and I do feel like Goldis did a solid job building that tension throughout.

One area where I was disappointed, however, was the atmosphere. I’m an atmosphere girlie and when you tell me we are going on a train journey, especially on the infamous Orient Express, I want to feel that.

Honestly, I kept forgetting they were even on a train. There was so much focused on their interactions, they really could have been anywhere. It’s unfortunate, because the train is a huge selling point for this novel.

Nevertheless, there are still some fun and engaging attributes to this, so I can see a lot of Readers really enjoying it. I’m also happy that I had a much better experience with this than with The Chateau.

If you pick this one up, I highly recommend reading the Author’s Note at the end, where Goldis discusses some of her inspiration for the historical portions of this story. I thought that was so good to know and I’m sure her family is extra proud of this one because of it.

Thank you to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m 100% on board with future work from this author.

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Review: Tell Me Who You Are by Louisa Luna

Tell Me Who You AreTell Me Who You Are by Louisa Luna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first learned of the existence of Tell Me Who You Are, I excitedly expected it to be a continuation to the Alice Vega series. It was only after I received a copy, that I realized that it wasn’t. That it’s actually a standalone novel.

Nevertheless, it sounded like the kind of Psychological Thriller I enjoy, therefore I was still excited to get to it. I’ve had great success with Luna’s previous work, and had no doubt she would impress me with this as well.

In this story, we are mainly following Brooklyn psychiatrist, Dr. Caroline Strange. While Dr. Caroline isn’t the only perspective we follow, for me, she was definitely the star.

Dr. Caroline is opinionated, head-strong and certainly confident, both in her field and in her every day life. Things take a turn though when she has her first session with Nelson Schack, a disturbing new patient.

Nelson succeeds in getting under Caroline’s skin quickly by uttering two statements, I am going to kill someone, and I know who you really are.

Then a woman goes missing. A woman who Caroline has a loose connection to. Unfortunately, for Caroline, the police know of her connection to the woman and now she’s apparently their number one suspect.

Believing the police to be incompetent, I mean they’d have to be if they suspect her, Dr. Caroline takes matters into her own hands, trying to track down the elusive Nelson, and possibly even rescuing the missing woman.

During this process, Caroline needs to face her own past, and the terrible truth that lies there.

I know Tell Me Who You Are won’t be for everyone, but it’s just my kind of messy train-wreck drama. I found every aspect of this compelling and entertaining.

Going into it, I was aware it didn’t have the highest overall rating, but from the very start it hooked me. The cast of characters are so interesting. I couldn’t keep my brain from thinking about this story. I was eating it up.

I flew through this so fast. As it cycled through the various perspectives, my mind was flipping like a rolodex trying to make all the connections. I thought Luna did a great job piecing this all together and bringing it to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.

I would recommend this to Readers who enjoy books like An Anonymous Girl, The Perfect Daughter or The Golden Couple. All have a similar vibe, part of which is being a fly on the wall during someone’s therapy session.

I did listen to the audiobook and really enjoyed that format. There are different narrators for the various perspectives and I did find it well-done and engaging.

Thank you to the publisher, MCD and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I had a great time with this and look forward to more from this author!

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Review: Keep Your Friends Close by Leah Konen

Keep Your Friends CloseKeep Your Friends Close by Leah Konen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Separated from her husband, George, and embroiled in a tense custody battle over their 2-year old, Mary needs a friend to support her now more than ever.

She realizes, as she tries to put her life back together, that over time she’s become estranged from the friends she had before she and George married. He took over her life. He changed her. She feels very alone.

It’s at this low point when Mary happens to meet Willa at a playground in her Brooklyn neighborhood. Mary has never connected with another Mom organically like this before, so it feels a bit fated. Willa seems equally receptive.

The two become fast friends and Mary feels like she finally has someone she can confide in about everything she is currently going through.

One night though, after too many margaritas, Mary says some things about George that she later regrets. It seems too have turned Willa off as well, because after that night, Mary doesn’t hear from her again.

Willa ghosted her.

A couple of months later, fed up with all things Brooklyn and with their divorce almost finalized, Mary decides she needs a completely fresh start.

She travels to a town halfway between NYC and her hometown, where her family still lives. She figures this will be a fair middle ground when sharing custody of Alex.

It’s there that she bumps into Willa again, only Willa pretends not to know who she is. Oh yeah, and she claims her name isn’t Willa, she’s Annie. What the heck is going on? Mary feels like she’s losing her mind.

Things go from bad to worse, when George tracks her down to try to win her back. Mary doesn’t want any of this. She just wants a new life.

When George turns up dead shortly thereafter, Mary quickly becomes the prime suspect. With no one else to turn to, Mary seeks out Willa again for help.

As new evidence comes to light, Mary starts to wonder just how well she really knows Willa, if at all. Is she friend, foe, or something much, much worse? Mary needs to figure it out ASAP before she loses even more than she already has!

Keep Your Friends Close is an entertaining and fast-paced Domestic Thriller. Konen kept the drama high throughout, so it’s easy to fly through. You want to get to the truth.

I liked the back and forth between Then and Now sections as the full scope of Mary’s relationship with Willa, as well as the dissolution of her marriage are presented to the Reader. I actually really enjoyed getting to know Mary.

I think Konen did a great job of keeping me at the edge of my seat with short chapters and several mini-reveals. Just when I thought it was starting to come together, something else would come up that would leave me scratching my head.

I also appreciated getting Willa’s perspective a bit as well. That helped to fill in some of the finer details of what all had happened in this messed up friendship.

I will say towards the end, it did start to get a little convoluted, IMO. It definitely toed the line into the dreaded, one twist too many territory. However, the ultimate conclusion did leave me satisfied.

I would recommend this to Readers who enjoy Thriller, or Suspense stories, involving complicated Female Friendships. Bonus if you love a Twisted Domestic Drama. This one definitely went there as well.

Thank you, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I enjoyed this and am definitely planning to read more from Leah Konen!

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Review: The Vacancy in Room 10 by Seraphina Nova Glass

The Vacancy in Room 10The Vacancy in Room 10 by Seraphina Nova Glass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

The Vacancy in Room 10 is the latest from Seraphina Nova Glass, a Mystery/Thriller writer who has definitely become one of my go-to authors over the past couple of years.

The first time I picked this up, it was in the morning before work. I have about 35-minutes each morning, before I start my real day, where I sit and read and drink coffee. It’s my me-time, Monday through Friday.

I read the first few chapters of this in one of those moments and knew it was something I would want to binge. I put it down and patiently waited for the weekend to arrive…

I picked it up again on Saturday morning and didn’t stop until it was done. This was fully-immersive and engaging, the day flew by. It was seriously so fun!

In this story, we follow two MCs, Anna and Cass. Anna’s husband, Henry, an artist, dies at the beginning of the story, tragically and unexpectedly. He phoned Anna just prior to his death, saying some cryptic things she didn’t understand.

In the wake of his death, Anna begins to dig into the parts of his life from which she was excluded, like the apartment he rented at The Sycamores, a dilapidated repurposed-motel. He claimed to be using the space as an art studio.

Cass is the property manager-handyma’am at The Sycamores. Cass is only there following a total upheaval of her regular life, where her long-time partner left her for a much younger woman. It was a very public, very messy break-up, that has severed all Cass’s previous ties.

Cass is at rock bottom now, as are some of the other residents at The Sycamores. It’s a colorful place. The long-time residents have formed a bit of a dysfunctional found family that was fascinating to read about.

Anna decides to move into Henry’s studio to immerse herself in that side of his life. She figures she can question the people there and find out if they know anything that could help her make sense of what happened to Henry.

As the Reader, you follow along with these two women as they try to put the pieces of their shattered lives back together, find peace and maybe return to some normalcy.

The alternating perspectives kept this one moving along at a nice steady clip. I found both Cass and Anna’s perspectives so interesting, but I will admit to favoring Cass. I just loved her way of navigating everything she was going through. I found her dry humor relatable and endearing.

There were so many twists and turns throughout this story. SNG definitely had some tricks up her sleeve with this one. It went in directions I wasn’t expecting and kept me guessing in an entertaining way.

I also loved the feelings I had while reading this. I found myself really connecting with the vibe of The Sycamores and the way that many of residents interacted with one another. That found family feel was oozing off every page and it took me by surprise.

I was rooting for these characters. I wanted them to be able to move forward from the things that had happened to them and going along with them on their journeys was as captivating as the mystery elements.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a well-rounded Mystery/Thriller, with captivating characters and strong levels of suspense. This will be a memorable one for me. I’m just so pleased.

Thank you to the publisher, Graydon House, for providing me with a copy to read and review. For me, this was the best I have read from this author. She slayed it!

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Review: Five Bad Deeds by Caz Frear

Five Bad DeedsFive Bad Deeds by Caz Frear
My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Five Bad Deeds is suspenseful Domestic Drama from one of my go-to authors, Caz Frear.

I really enjoyed all the books in the Cat Kinsella series by this author, so was looking forward to this standalone novel. The synopsis sounded intriguing and luckily, it delivered.

We do get a few different perspectives in this story, but our main perspective is that of Ellen; a wife, mother, and by all appearances, a good person.

Ellen has a lot on her plate, raising a head-strong teenage daughter, as well as toddler twin sons. She’s currently job-hunting and undertaking a fairly significant renovation on their beautiful family home.

She’s also balancing time with her sister and friends, just trying to keep all the balls in the air.

When the first sinister note arrives, Ellen can hardly believe it. Is someone threatening her? Who could possibly dislike her so much they would be this cruel? What has she ever done to deserve this kind of ire?

The anonymous enemy doesn’t stop with notes though, it seems this person is truly out to trash Ellen’s life and her reputation. As the threats intensify, Ellen scrambles to figure out who is behind it all and stop them, before it’s too late.

I had so much fun with this. I read 43% in the first sitting. I couldn’t put it down once I started. I loved the perspective shifts and how they were used to build-out the story.

As mentioned above, Ellen is our MC and we are getting her perspective the majority of the time. But every once in a while, mixed amongst the Ellen sections, we get the perspectives of various side characters in her life.

Their perspectives are pretty much solely providing their personal commentary on Ellen. So, in this way, it’s very how you see your life, versus how outsiders see it. It was interesting to me to have it formatted this way.

Ellen’s sister, Kristy, plays a big role in the story, and her thoughts on Ellen were some of the most enlightening, IMO. It’s very true that there are two sides to every story, and it was never more evident than in the sister’s thoughts about one another and their relationship.

This is just the kind of secret-laden, spite-filled Domestic Drama I love. I was captivated by the twisty storyline. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any crazier, it did.

The structure felt unique and I loved how the truth was revealed. It was a bit of a jaw-dropper. Well done by Frear!!

While I understand this type of Domestic Suspense/Drama may not be for everyone, I tend to have a lot of fun with this type of story. I eat it up like cake; it’s so good.

If you are the type of Reader who loves small town stories, with a cast of characters harboring a ton of secrets, than this story may be for you. Also, if you are reading for fun, or escape, and are mainly looking for something to take your mind off life for a while, this could fit the bill.

If the synopsis sounds intriguing to you, give it a go. Hopefully, you’ll end up enjoying it as much as I did.

Thank you to the publisher, Harper Paperbacks, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Caz Frear is a go-to author for me. I’m definitely looking forward to whatever she delivers next!

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Review: The Fury by Alex Michaelides

The FuryThe Fury by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Fury, the latest from Alex Michaelides, is a unique and unsettling Tragedy from which I couldn’t look away. This kept my head spinning all the way through. We love that!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this author’s previous novels, so had been highly anticipating this. I started to see some early reviews though that made question if I would like it.

Luckily, I found this to be engaging and intriguing from the very start. Our narrator, Elliot, addresses the fact that he is our narrator. It’s like we are sitting with him, having some drinks, and he is telling us a story from his life.

I absolutely adore that kind of narrative. It always makes me feel like I am actually a part of the action, or more fittingly in this case, of the friend group.

Elliott relates to us the details of an ill-fated trip he took with his best friend, Lana, a retired movie star, her husband, Jason, their mutual friend, Kate, also an actress, Lana’s son Leo, an aspiring actor, and Lana’s assistant, to a remote Greek island for a weekend getaway.

We know what starts out as a beautiful holiday, ends up to be anything but. The group gets trapped on the island due to high winds. Emotions and tensions are running high. The claustrophobic nature of their excursion becomes palpable.

This strain could be blamed for the violence and death that ultimately occurs, couldn’t it? Or is something much deeper lurking under the surface that leads to the bloody and chaotic conclusion?

Y’all, I was absolutely swept up into this story. I know that some Reviewers have mentioned that it was slow for them, but I didn’t have the same experience with it. I had the audiobook and listened to the first 70% just while adulting, doing my cleaning and other errands, one Saturday.

I was obsessed with learning all I could about the characters and couldn’t help but continuing on. The narrative structure is out of the ordinary, but I loved how it was done.

Michaelides kept me guessing. It also should be noted that I am a huge fan of unreliable narrators and Elliott fits that moniker to a tee.

I wouldn’t say this is a simple story to read, and I can see how it wouldn’t be for everyone. I can also see how some may find it slow. There is quite a bit of develop in the beginning, building out our group and their relationships.

However, for those who enjoy some mental gymnastics, mixed with great character work, an unreliable narrator and tension so thick you could cut it with a knife, this is sure to be a success.

If any of these descriptors are buzzwords for you, give it a go. You may like it, you may not, but either way, it’s sure to be a memorable experience.

A few other aspects of this book that worked for my tastes were the remote location, particularly the fact that it is set on an island, I live on an island, so tend to love to see that, the cast of unlikable characters and the teeny bit of character crossover from The Maidens and The Silent Patient.

No, you don’t need to read either of those novels prior to reading this, but for those who have, those little name drops can be a lot of fun.

While this doesn’t have the same level of mystery as The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, it did sort of remind me of that in some ways. I think the vibe of mild confusion mixed with enjoyment is quite similar.

If you enjoyed that one, you may enjoy this as well. Overall, I think this is just so fun. It’s clever and engaging and yes, also a tad confusing at times.

I’d definitely read it again, maybe try and pick up some subtleties I might have missed this time around.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio and Celadon Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was a great reading experience for me and I’m happy to have a copy on my shelves.

I can’t wait to see what Michaelides comes up with next!!

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Review: A Twisted Love Story by Samantha Downing

A Twisted Love StoryA Twisted Love Story by Samantha Downing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to expect from A Twisted Love Story after seeing a few mixed reviews. For me it was a fun and engaging Domestic Drama, which offered up quite a bit of food for thought that I wasn’t necessarily anticipating.

Downing was able to draw me in and keep my attention, which is pretty tough to do during the holiday season!

This story focuses on Wes and Ivy, whose contentious romance has nevertheless lasted for a decade.

Their on-again, off-again nature may seem toxic to outsiders, but for them, it is their deep, passionate love for one another that pushes them to extremes at times.

Ivy messes up though and ends up contacting the wrong outsider and drawing her attention to their relationship. Unfortunately, the new woman in their life is a detective and Wes and Ivy have something they’re desperate to hide.

As Detective Karen Colglazier begins to circle the couple like a shark, the heat ramps up and they start feeling serious pressure. It’s a classic game of cat-and-mouse as Ivy and Wes scramble to get out from under the Detective’s scrutiny.

When I first began this story, I hadn’t read the full synopsis. Samantha Downing’s name was enough to attract me to the book. As it was first kicking off, we’re getting a lot of info regarding Ivy, Wes and their relationship. I was curious how it was going to gain intensity, or suspense, from that set-up.

It soon became clear Downing had a plan and I just needed to relax into it. She definitely pulled it off in the end.

I found this story to be compelling and highly readable. While I would tamper your expectations as far as thrills go, I think as a character exploration and twisted romance, this one is extremely well-paced and plotted.

I may be reading too much into it, but it made me think a lot about assumptions. We all make assumptions, even if unintentional, a lot of time based on our own experiences.

We’ve all heard of, or even know of, relationships like Wes and Ivy’s. I enjoyed watching the side characters interacting with them and discussing their relationship with them.

Each of these friends and family members it seemed felt they knew what was best, but I don’t feel like any of them were ever truly spot on with this couple.

Most interesting to me was the Detective’s perspective. She was definitely making assumptions about them, which I felt were incorrect, but then things would happen that would make me second-guess my own interpretation. It was super enjoyable and engaging.

I would recommend this story to people who enjoy dramatic, possibly OTT-Domestic Dramas. This title says it all, this is a twisted love story. That’s exactly what it is.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This is only my second Downing novel, but I’m excited to pick up more!

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Review: The Guest by B.A. Paris

The GuestThe Guest by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


B.A. Paris is back and she’s bringing my favorite kind of suspenseful Domestic Drama with her.

I had so much fun reading The Guest. Frustrating in the best ways, I found it to be completely addictive and one heck of a gripping roller coaster ride.

In this story we meet Iris and Gabriel, a married couple living in the British countryside. They have a grown daughter who is currently working abroad in Greece, so all is fairly peaceful on the homefront.

That is until the day a local boy suffered a terrible accident, falling into a nearby quarry. Gabriel was the one to find the boy’s battered body and even though Gabriel’s a skilled doctor, there was nothing he could do.

The boy couldn’t be saved, but Gabriel did get to be with him in his final moments, so he wasn’t alone.

Gabriel hasn’t been the same since that tragic day, and even though Iris is trying to help him cope, it’s definitely put a strain on their relationship.

As they are grappling with this, an unexpected house guest arrives. Their old friend, Laure, has shown up from Paris. She says that she and her husband, Pierre, have had a terrible fight and she needs a place to stay.

Iris and Gabriel have been best friends with Laure and Pierre for many, many years, so they tell Laure that she is welcome and that she can stay for as long as she needs.

Laure moves herself in and makes herself as comfortable as possible, wearing Iris’s clothes and shadowing her every move. As the days and even weeks pass, the couple begins to question Laure’s story and her motives.

What is she really doing there and when the heck is she going to leave?

As tension mounts, more people get drawn into the twisted drama; the new couple in town, their handsome gardener and even Iris and Gabriel’s daughter.

As mentioned above, I really enjoyed this one and found the narrative to be compulsively readable. From the Prologue, Paris had absolutely hooked me. She definitely has a gift for drawing the Reader in.

From the initial set-up, with Laure arriving at the house, you can just tell it is going to get freaking wild. There’s a vibe under the surface of constant tension and intrigue.

No matter how crazy things get though, I always find Paris’s main characters to be relatable. I never have a problem putting myself in their shoes and imagining what I would do in any given situation.

This one had me biting my nails with tension, yelling at Laure, yelling at Iris. I would have done some major clean-out of my house, that’s for sure.

I really got sucked into all of the interpersonal drama in this story, but also loved the mystery running throughout. It was hard to tell who you could trust and some of the connections were also shady.

There were some real strong reveals and I was happy with the way it ultimately concluded. This did feel more reminiscent to some of Paris’s earlier works as well, which were a little stronger for me than her more recent releases.

I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a taut, twisted Domestic Drama, particularly if you have enjoyed B.A. Paris’s earlier stories.

I would also recommend reading this one with a friend, or Book Club. I actually Buddy Read it and thought it was exciting to discuss it with someone else as we discovered the twists and turns together.

Overall, I thought this was such a great read. I’m so happy Paris continues to write these types of stories. As long as she is writing them, I’ll be reading them.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me copies to read and review. The Guest is releasing on February 20, 2024, and IMO, this one should not be missed!!

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Review: A Likeable Woman by May Cobb

A Likeable WomanA Likeable Woman by May Cobb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Likeable Woman is the third novel that I have read from May Cobb and it will not be my last.

There’s no denying that Cobb has a knack for writing Rich People Drama and I’m here for every OTT-minute of it.

In this story we meet Kira, a single-woman living in L.A., who is headed back to her wealthy and traditional hometown in East Texas for the first time in decades.

She’s been invited to attend the vow renewal ceremony of an old frenemy. Although that’s not high on her priority list, there are other things calling her back as well. It’s time.

Kira fled town all those years ago following her mother’s mysterious death. Having left the way she did though, there’s of course unfinished business.

Additionally, her grandmother has been hounding her recently, telling Kira she has something to give her of her mother’s. That’s definitely piqued Kira’s interest.

Thus, after reaching out to her childhood best friend, and biggest crush, Jack, Kira makes a plan and heads home. Jack agrees, if Kira is going, he’ll go as well.

After they reunite, Kira’s surprised when her grandmother gives her a memoir that was apparently written by her Mom just prior to her death. Her Mom, Sadie, was an artist, but Kira didn’t know she was a writer too.

Even with everything going on that weekend, Kira can’t help but diving into the memoir. The story she finds there, in her mother’s own words, makes Sadie’s death look a lot less mysterious and lot more like murder. Is that possible?

This novel is told from two perspectives: Kira in the present and her Mom, Sadie’s, perspective that’s put forth in her memoir. I enjoyed this choice for telling the story and found both perspectives equally enjoyable.

Kira’s return to her hometown played into one of my favorite tropes too, so right off the bat, we were starting off ahead. As someone who left my hometown decades ago, and also rarely, if ever goes back, I always find something intriguing and relatable about that type of narrative.

I particularly enjoy when the MC is looking into some mystery from their past. Kira has never felt comfortable with the accepted story of her Mom’s death. She’s always felt there was more going on and through this memoir, she finally gets the opportunity to look into it further.

Upon returning, Kira feels completely out of place, like an outsider even though she knows everyone there. I found it interesting that through her Mom’s recollections, you could tell that Sadie also frequently felt like an outsider.

Sadie was an artist and a bit of free spirit, who didn’t quite fit into the mold that was expected of her in their small conservative town. Both Kira and Sadie ended up trying to fight the constraints put on them, but luckily for Kira, she was able to move away and build a new life for herself.

Unfortunately, Sadie never got that lucky.

In addition, I also really enjoyed watching Kira explore past relationships, particularly with Jake and her sister, Katie. Kira seemed to want to make connections so badly, but maybe because she had been on her own for so long, was a little clumsy in trying to express herself, or her needs.

The whole idea of the memoir was also great for me. I loved that idea of Kira finally learning about her Mom and having it be through her Mom’s own words, even though she wasn’t there to speak for herself. There was something so special about that.

I feel like there were some great messages in here too, which I won’t get into for risk of spoiling anything, but honestly, this is more than an OTT-story. There’s actually some great take-aways as well.

I know May Cobb’s stories can be hit or miss for some, but I always enjoy her drama-fueled, East Texas-set, Domestic Thrillers. There’s just something about well-to-do women and men behaving badly, that I am always down for.

I will say this one does feel more subtle than her previous stories that I have read. The others sort of pushed the limits in certain areas, or taboo subjects, but this one felt much more traditional, but also a bit more powerful. It’s thoughtful, even in spite of all the drama. I liked that.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys small town Domestic Dramas, or Thrillers, where long-buried secrets are revealed. Also, to anyone who enjoys some quality Rich People Drama. Cobb always excels at that.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait to see what Cobb delivers next!!

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