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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Review: The Lodge by Sue Watson

The LodgeThe Lodge by Sue Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Deep, dark secrets and non-stop drama are certainly a family affair in Sue Watson’s The Lodge!!!

In this story we follow the Wilson family, who all get called to a weekend getaway at a remote lodge by the matriarch of the family, Angela. It’s a complicated dynamic, but Angela is ready to celebrate her 75th-birthday and she wants her whole family there.

Thus, she rents the Lodge and invites her son, Scott, his ex-wife, Fiona, his new wife, Danni, who once played the role of the other woman, and their baby, as well as Scott and Fiona’s two teenagers.

Thrown in just for fun is a young woman named Jenna, who claims to be a professional chef. As Danni and Scott react to Jenna’s presence though, it’s clear she may not be exactly who she’s selling herself as.

The story is told mainly through Fiona and Danni’s perspectives, but we do get some others in different sections. I found both women’s thoughts fascinating from the start and wanted to know more about their lives.

They’re both feeling self-conscious going into the weekend and they’re also bringing a lot of preconceived notions in with them. Both are mothers and also have a natural instinct to do whatever they can to protect their children.

When a terrible storm hits and the Wilson family is trapped at the Lodge, with no end in sight, tensions rise to an unbearable level. People begin to break and cracks are revealed amongst the many relationships.

Will anyone make it out of the Lodge unscathed?!

The Lodge was highly addictive and entertaining as all heck. It was actually my first Watson novel, but certainly won’t be my last. I look forward to many, many more in the future.

I listened to the audiobook and found the narration to be a perfect fit for the story. It drew me in right away and I felt like I was actually getting to know these characters; hearing their stories told their own way.

I vibed with Fiona immediately, and she continue to be my fave throughout. Although not perfect, I could see where she was coming from and definitely related to some of her feelings and motivations.

This story starts off rather quickly, throwing the Reader right into the enticing set-up, with all of the family coming together at the Lodge. You can tell right away that everyone is keeping secrets, but what are they and how big of a blowout are they going to make when they’re revealed?

In addition to the secrets, not a lot of great choices are made either and this definitely adds to the fun of the story. I just love characters making bad decisions.

The drama level just got deeper and deeper too as the story went on and more and more secrets came to light. It was freaking fascinating. I couldn’t get enough.

Towards the end, a couple details didn’t quite work for me, or felt a little too convenient, but overall, I think this was really well done. A great Winter Weather Thriller!

I definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a dramatic story, particularly with an extended family involved who have a lot of secrets from one another. Also, I recommend this to Readers who enjoy closed-circle mystery/thrillers that feature inclement weather.

Thank you to the publisher, Bookouture Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was a ton of fun!

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Review: The Nanny’s Child (The Lies We Tell #2) by L.G. Davis

The Nanny's Child (The Lies We Tell #2)The Nanny’s Child by L.G. Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Nanny’s Child is Book #2 in The Lies We Tell by L.G. Davis. I read the 1st-book, The New Nanny, earlier this month and found it to be suspenseful and highly addictive.

At the end, there was still so much left to explore involving our main character, the nanny, Christa. I bought this book on kindle and started it right away. I couldn’t wait.

I have to be careful discussing the set-up of this book, because I don’t want to inadvertently spoil the end of The New Nanny. I will say, Christa now finds herself back in the United States with new leads to follow involving her past.

She has accepted a nanny position for Harper and Troy, looking after their twin girls, but Christa’s appearance in their lives is no lucky accident. Christa has a motive.

A neighbor, Madison, the ex-best friend to Harper, is suspicious of Christa from the start. Christa seems too good to be true, which pretty much means that she is. Madison begins some snooping of her own.

When their quiet suburban street is rocked by murder, all of the characters are thrown into a tailspin. How could Christa end up involved with another murder and more importantly, how is she going to get out of it?

The Nanny’s Child though intriguing, particularly early on, didn’t quite pack the same punch for me as the 1st-book. It’s unfortunate, because initially I was seeing just as much promise, but eventually it sort of fell off a cliff for me.

The New Nanny was suspenseful and dramatic, beginning-to-end. While this one started that way, it got to a certain point where it felt like the author was just sick of writing this story and ended up wrapping everything up extremely quickly and cleanly. It didn’t make sense to me in the context of everything else.

There was a particularly chilling story-line, carried over from Book #1, that provided a lot of the tension for the story, which seemingly out of no where just ended. The character involved in that was basically like, it’s over now. I give up. You’re free, Christa.

This didn’t make any sense to me that such a sinister character would suddenly just fold like that and frankly, I was disappointed that after everything we had been through, that is how it would conclude.

There was another piece of the story, involving a different character, that I felt sort of ended that way as well. It all felt very anticlimactic, after such a strong, dramatic build over the course of the two books.

With this being said, I still appreciate Davis’s writing and her ability to throw a lot of twists into her drama. Even though this one let me down a little bit in the end, I absolutely will be picking up more books from this author.

Overall, I’m sad to see Christa go. I wish some of these plot-lines could have been continued on in a third book.

Christa is like that friend you love, who has a lot of great qualities, but just makes terrible, risky decisions all the time. I’m gonna miss her.

I recommend this duology to any Reader who enjoys a fun, engaging, OTT-popcorn thriller. These books can be read extremely quickly, and will definitely take your mind off your own life for a while!

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Review: The New Nanny (The Lies We Tell #1) by L.G. Davis

The New Nanny (The Lies We Tell #1)The New Nanny by L.G. Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

L.G. Davis brought all the twisted, evil, wicked drama here and I ate it up like caramel popcorn on Halloween…


The New Nanny follows Christa, who has accepted a nanny position for the Mayer family. The post includes looking after their teen son, Wyatt, and some light housework duties, cooking and cleaning for the family.

The pay is great, she’ll get some free-time, and Christa has a special interest in this particular child. The catch is, she has move to a remote mountain village in Austria to take it.

It’s an easy decision for Christa and before she knows it, she’s there, settling into the Mayer’s lavish home.

Christa quickly notes that the family dynamic is a little off. The mom, Robin, whose perspective we also get at times, seems emotionally troubled, and she has very strict and specific rules for Wyatt, such as he isn’t supposed to leave the house. The Dad, for his part, is rarely present.

Christa is uncomfortable with the Mayer’s treatment of their son. They hardly interact with him at all. Christa is determined to shower this boy with all the love he needs.

Christa was already a bit on edge around the Mayers, but then she hears the rumors about the disappearance of their last nanny. Could these people actually be dangerous?

It’s a race against time to figure out the truth about the Mayer family. Are Christa and Wyatt in danger? Christa needs to get to the bottom of this years old disappearance and get herself and Wyatt to safety, if need be.

With the help of a new friend, Christa digs in, risking everything to get the truth. Hold on to your hats because, oh baby, does this get intense. Talk about a nail biter!

I had so much fun reading this. It’s wildly entertaining and I found L.G. Davis’s writing style to be engaging and addictive. In fact, I had so much fun with it, I purchased a copy of the second book immediately upon finishing this.

I wasn’t done with these characters, or Davis’s fun, fast-paced, intriguing plots. There’s no way I was waiting to get more of Christa’s story. It would feel like abandoning a friend if I were to leave her now!

This was one of those types of stories where you get way more invested than you anticipated you would. I was getting so into it, yelling at the characters, shaking my head, telling my dog all about it.

This seriously surprised me. It was such a delight to read; pure fun. Sometimes you just need this type of engaging, OTT-Popcorn Thriller. It’s not perfect, but who cares? Seriously, when you’re having this much fun, who cares?

Thank you to the publisher, Bookouture, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am looking forward to following L.G. Davis’s work from here on out. I’m a fan!

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Review: The Girls from Hush Cabin by Marie Hoy-Kenny

The Girls from Hush CabinThe Girls from Hush Cabin by Marie Hoy-Kenny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

The moment I heard about this YA Thriller involving a sleepaway camp and featuring a gorgeously ominous cover, I knew that I needed to read it ASAP.

A bonus for me was that The Girls from Hush Cabin is a debut for Marie Hoy-Kenny and we all know, I love checking out author debuts. It’s such an exciting moment!

In this story we meet a group of four teens, Holly, Zoe, Denise and Calista, who have been friends since they used to bunk together at Camp Bellwood Lake. Unfortunately, after the closure of the camp, the girls drifted apart a bit.

They’re brought together again unexpectedly after the tragic death of their beloved counselor, Violet. They all want to attend her services to pay their respects, so they decide it would be best to go together.

Since Zoe lives in the same town that Violet did, the other girls travel to Zoe’s to stay for the duration of events.

The girls have definitely changed over the years, but if there is one thing they can agree on it’s that Violet’s death is suspicious as heck.

They believe she could have been murdered and that her death could be related to the incident that caused the closing of the camp. The thing is, each one of the girls is keeping her own secrets about that particular summer and may know more about the incident than they’re letting on.

If someone was willing to kill Violet over it, could they all be in danger too?

The girls want to uncover the truth, whatever the risks. They feel like they owe it to Violet, even if it means exposing some hurtful truths of their own.

I had so much fun with this. I don’t care what anyone says, this is a dramatic, OTT page-turner. Hoy-Kenny delivered exactly what I wanted and expected.

I thought the story was well told. I liked the structure of it, starting with how we met each of the girls and then also, that we got all of their perspectives.

As mentioned, they each had their own secrets, memories and experiences with Violet and learning all that stuff helped to build out the substance of the story.

This is super dramatic. The girls make every scene a dramatic scene, but they’re teens who just lost a good friend. Only one of them had really ever experienced that kind of loss before, so this is a whole new experience for them.

I think for characters this age, it all made sense. Not only was there external drama, there was also a lot of drama just amongst the four girls.

Ultimately though, I liked how they worked together and ended up evolving through a lot of their disputes. Some of the things, I personally would have found hard to forgive, so good on them.

There were also some side characters bringing a lot of intrigue and dramatic flair as well. Violet’s Mom, Mrs. Williams, was a particular favorite of mine.

If you read this, you’ll easily understand why. All I could picture while reading her was Jennifer Coolidge, who I absolutely adore.

As this gets closer to the conclusion, things really amp up. This definitely went places I wasn’t expecting. My jaw dropped more than once; such a thrill ride.

Overall, I just think this is a fun time. It might not make my top 10 list, out of the 100s of books I read this year, but I still think it is a great freaking debut and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Blackstone Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I think Marie Hoy-Kenny is a great addition to the YA Thriller space. I’m looking forward to her next release!

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Review: In a Quiet Town by Amber Garza

In a Quiet TownIn a Quiet Town by Amber Garza
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

In a Quiet Town is the latest release from one of my auto-buy authors, Amber Garza. I have read all of Garza’s published works and have enjoyed them all.

There’s just something so addicting and entertaining about her style of tense Domestic Dramas. There’s always a bit of mystery and intrigue, as well as interesting explorations of different familial relationships.

In this story we meet Tatum, a mother of two grown children and wife to a pastor in a small California town.

At the beginning of the story, we learn that Tatum has recently reconnected with her estranged daughter, Adrienne. Years ago, Tatum’s husband basically disowned Adrienne because she wasn’t living up to his lofty expectations.

Adrienne was happy to get out from under the thumb of her overbearing father and has been living her own life ever since, recently working as a bartender.

Tatum has missed having her daughter in her life and has started secretly visiting her at the bar. She was delighted when Adrienne seemed open to them reconnecting.

Tatum has become a regular at the bar, going in once a week on a night she knows Adrienne will be working. One night though, Adrienne isn’t there and none of her coworkers have seen or heard from her.

Tatum knows something is wrong. Adrienne is not the type of girl to just not show up at work. Plus, she knows it is the night her mother visits. She would have called in. Something must have happened to her.

As Tatum starts searching for Adrienne, she doesn’t find a lot of help. The police seem to think she has just run off for space, or whatnot, but Tatum knows that’s not true.

Eventually, she meets a man claiming to be Adrienne’s fiance. This comes as a complete shock to Tatum. Why didn’t Adrienne mention she was engaged?

Then again, they have just rekindled their relationship, perhaps her daughter felt it was too personal to share.

Regardless, Tatum is just happy that someone else is as distraught about Adrienne’s disappearance as she is. At the end of the day though, can she really trust this guy?

They begin working together trying to figure out where Adrienne is. As the intensity builds, it becomes clear that she didn’t leave of her own volition and could still be in terrible danger. Can Tatum find her before it’s too late?!

As always, I was immediately drawn in by Garza’s characters. From the start, I wanted to know more about Tatum and enjoyed learning about her life and family.

Garza excels at creating believable mother-child relationships. Sometimes I will be reading along and a quick line, or thought pattern, will give me chills or bring me close to tears. I always love the relationships she builds within her stories, because they aren’t always easy.

This one actually made me uncomfortable at times because it felt so real. There is a strong religious aspect due to Tatum’s husband being a pastor, which played a large role in Adrienne’s estrangement.

While I don’t have a lot of that in my background, and can’t really comment on how it would impact a family dynamic, the circumstances put forth in this novel seemed very believable to me.

I liked how Tatum, even though she was a mother of grown children, felt like she was still learning about herself, growing and coming into her own.

Part of her growth was due to the love of her children and her unwillingness to give up on Adrienne. I found that character growth really powerful. It was nice to see that just because she was a well-established adult, her life didn’t have to remain static. She could make changes.

It did get pretty intense. By about the halfway point, I was yelling at the book while reading. Particularly any scene involving a man. I wanted to smack them all.

Please note, that’s not my general demeanor, but these guys deserved it.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a tense domestic drama blended with a nice mystery. Bonus points, if you enjoy reading about mother-child relationships. Also, if you have enjoyed any of Amber Garza’s work in the past, you should definitely pick this one up.

Thank you so much to the publisher, MIRA, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I will continue to pick up anything from this author and am already anticipating the next release!!

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Review: You Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard

You Can Trust MeYou Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m happy to say that You Can Trust Me is more than just a beautiful cover. In fact, it ends up being my favorite Wendy Heard novel to-date.

Quick and addicting, though slightly predictable, I had a ton of fun reading it. IMO, it’s a great Summer Thriller.

In this story we follow two perspectives, best friends, Summer and Leo. I call them best friends, but in truth, they’re more like sisters.

Both Summer and Leo are on their own and have been for years. They make their way through the cruel world the best ways they know how, usually by conning people, and for Summer, even some stealthy pick-pocketing.

Leo is more a long-game kind of girl, but she still gets enough dough to get by. The girls are free-spirited. Preferring the open road to being tied down in one place.

They’ve been traveling around California in Summer’s Land Cruiser and things have been good. They’re happy with and supportive of one another. In truth, they’re a great match.

Their constant hustle can get tiring though, but Leo has her eyes on a big payout, via a well known billionaire and philanthropist, Michael Forrester.

Michael seems to be taken by Leo’s charms and she receives an invite to his private island. She can hardly believe her luck. She’s about to hit the mother-load.

Then Leo disappears. When she doesn’t return back to the Land Cruiser when she should, and Summer hasn’t heard from her, Summer panics.

She needs to find her. Something must be wrong. Leo would never leave her without saying goodbye, would she?

Determined to find her friend, Summer sets out to infiltrate Michael’s island. This could be her toughest and most dangerous con yet, but Leo is worth it.

Leave no woman behind.

Going into this, I’ll be honest, from the synopsis, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be for me. However, I was very quickly wrapped up into the story. I loved learning about Leo and Summer and watching how they lived their lives.

It wasn’t a relatable lifestyle to me, by any means, but I do always love a devious long-game, so Leo was my jam. I had a lot of fun watching them plot and scheme.

I also thought the setting of Michael’s private island was quite interesting. There was something very Jeffrey Epstein about it. I enjoyed having something real life to sort of compare this to. It made it feel more realistic to me.

The way the girls could get swept away to this island and once there, they honestly could have vanished into the ether. They were just playthings for the powerful men visiting the island; mere arm candy, trotted around like little prizes.

Additionally, I enjoyed how Heard switched the perspectives back and forth. They’re also not completely synced in time through most of it, so it was interesting watching the truth of what happened to Leo unfold.

While all the present drama is unfolding, you also get to learn quite a bit about both Leo and Summer’s past; like before they met up and became friends.

I enjoyed that background information quite a bit. I think it helped to explain a lot about their lifestyle, reliance on one another, as well as some of their decision-making and motivations.

Again, this helped to make it feel more realistic to me. I could see how, considering what they had been through, they would end up in their current predicament.

Overall, I found this to be really enjoyable. Heard did a nice job with the character work and I liked the steady build-up of intensity over the course of the story. The conclusion was satisfying as well, which made it a nice, well-rounded story.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a quick, Summer-vibes Thriller, with devious characters and a wild plot. This would make a great weekend read.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Bantam, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m a little late to the party, but glad I finally made the time for this one!

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