REVIEW: THE END OF HER, BY SHARI LAPENA

 

A long-ago accident—and a visitor from out of the blue. . .

Stephanie and Patrick are adjusting to life with their colicky twin girls. The babies are a handful, but even as Stephanie struggles with the disorientation of sleep deprivation, there’s one thing she’s sure of: she has all she ever wanted.

Then Erica, a woman from Patrick’s past, appears and makes a disturbing accusation. Patrick had always said his first wife’s death was an accident, but now Erica claims it was murder.

Patrick insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. Still, Erica knows things about Patrick—things that make Stephanie begin to question her husband. Stephanie isn’t sure what, or who, to believe. As Stephanie’s trust in Patrick begins to falter, Patrick stands to lose everything. Is Patrick telling the truth—is Erica the persuasive liar Patrick says she is? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?

How will it end?

Who is telling the truth in The End of Her? Or will there be plenty of liars to go around?

Just when I thought I knew who to believe, another twist would come out of nowhere, and I would be stunned again.

One thing for sure, I knew I hated Erica. But is Patrick truly innocent? And what about Stephanie? She seems so sweet, and as if she could do no wrong. But are there unexpected dark depths to her?

The story takes us to the past while also plunging forward into the future to show what lies ahead for these characters.

Enough said. Saying more would spoil the tale, so suffice it to say, your head will be spinning by the time this story concludes. 5 brilliant stars.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: READING, BLOGGING, & WAITING…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

Another great week has sped by, with three books read and reviewed.  One of the books was a NetGalley ARC, my last one to read until September; and another one was a dusty book from my TBR.  A brand new one was a good conclusion to the week.  I only wrote five blog posts this week, however.

We are still locked down, of course, and the alternating days in the dining room are over.  When that will change is anybody’s guess, but since the virus is surging in California, along with some other states, I guess we’re here for as long as it takes.  This week we were all swabbed and await test results.  Hopefully “negative.”

Trying to think of books, movies, and pleasant things…and awaiting goodies from Amazon:  those are my days.  Let’s grab some more coffee and take a closer look at the week.

Meanwhile, check out the pottery bowl that serves as my mail receptacle in the entry way.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “His & Hers”

Tuesday Potpourri:  It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books…

More Engaging Books…

Books from the Backlog:  Another Potential Treasure!

Bookish Friday:  “The End of Her”

Review:  Just Between Us, by Rebecca DrakeReview:  Until I Find You, by Rea Frey – (NG-8/11/20)Review:  His & Hers, by Alice Feeney

INCOMING BOOKS:

Empty physical mailbox!  I did download four e-books.

Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing, by Allison Winn Scotch

The Silent Wife, by Karin Slaughter

Imperfect Women, by Araminta Hall

Paris Never Leaves You, by Ellen Feldman

***

CURRENTLY READING:

My Pear-Shaped Life, by Carmel Harrington

***

That was my week.  A mix of familiar things, but with a touch of surprising ingredients in my books. What did yours look like?  One night I celebrated with a glass of red wine.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: MOVING ALONG…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

This past week was pretty good, with three books read and reviewed.  I wrote seven blog posts, and one of them was my monthly wrap-up that spotlighted the great books of July…and shouted out that I read fourteen of them!  I hadn’t read that many since January.

It is Saturday morning, and as I sip my coffee and wait for the breakfast tray, I am grateful not to feel rushed to finish that fourth book by day’s end. 

I am still in lockdown, but I enjoyed a video chat with my granddaughter Fiona yesterday.  I am sad for her, though, as her jobs are in companies that are locked down…and yesterday the unemployment ran out!  However, she has a good attitude, and a safe place to stay in the meantime.

It is a good thing that I like hanging out in my apartment, and since we have “no place to go,” I dress up in my favorite things just for myself…and the staff. LOL.

Let’s grab some more coffee and look at last week’s events:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Night Swim”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Anticipation…

Enjoying Bookish Moments…

I Found Another Neglected Book!

Coffee Chat:  Books, Blogging, Etc.

Bookish Friday:  “Just Between Us”

July Was a Good Reading Month…

Review:  The Request, by David BellReview:  The Night Swim, by Megan Goldin – (NG-8/4/20)Review:  Friends & Strangers, by J. Courtney Sullivan

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Empty physical mailbox!  I did download two e-books.

His & Hers, by Alice Feeney

The End of Her, by Shari Lapena

***

CURRENTLY READING:  Until I Find You, by Rea Frey (NG – 8/11/20), my final August review book:

Celebrated author Rea Frey brings you her most explosive, emotional, taut domestic drama yet about the powerful bond between mothers and children…and how far one woman will go to bring her son home.

***

Then I hope to read a few more books on my shelves, including some neglected ones.  Well, I can imagine this happening, anyway.

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Here is yesterday’s breakfast tray: French toast, coffee, oatmeal, and the ever-present (lately) mimosa.  I had ordered a six-pack of Champagne splits a week ago, and finished the last one in the pack and didn’t order more.  Yet.

***

COFFEE CHAT: BOOKS, BLOGGING, ETC.

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

As I sit here in my apartment waiting for the breakfast tray, I am busy blogging.  I already wrote a post about how I Found Another Neglected Book, in the backlog event.  I have been doing this event for a few weeks and have read a few of them already.  I have brought the others back to the Kindle from where they had been “hiding” in the Cloud!  So that’s a start.

  • This week I have read and reviewed The Request, by David Bell, and I loved it!  I’ve also read my NetGalley ARC that will be released on 8/4/20:  The Night Swim, by Megan Goldin.  I have one more August ARC to read!
  • Currently I am enjoying Friends & Strangers, by J. Courtney Sullivan.
  • I was just scrolling on Facebook and saw a post from my granddaughter Fiona, expressing outrage about Woody Allen being married to someone who had been like a daughter to him, and she wondered why there are no “memes” about it.  I had to remind her that it happened before social media took off…but that there were books and movies about it.
  • I referenced a memoir written by Mia Farrow, which I have on my shelf.  What Falls Away.
  • At the time, I saw a couple of movies about Woody and Mia, too.  I haven’t thought about any of that in years!
  • Perhaps I have thought about it more than I realized, since I have a book on my shelf written by Woody and Mia’s son, Ronan Farrow, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist, in which he exposes a conspiracy to protect predators: Catch and Kill.
  • I plan to read it soon.  These events are troubling for many of us, as we look around at the world today and see how many people in power are “protected” by their enablers.  Don’t even get me started!
  • Meanwhile, I am trying to enjoy my fiction books, mostly thrillers, and fix attractive meal trays for myself, like this one from yesterday.  The scones were pretty good, and the mimosa, which came from my own grocery supplies, was delicious!  LOL.

***

What events/books/etc. are keeping you engaged today?  Or keeping you up at night?

***

REVIEW: THE NIGHT SWIM, BY MEGAN GOLDIN

Ever since her true-crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall has become a household name—and the last hope for people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The new season of Rachel’s podcast has brought her to a small town being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. A local golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into her investigation—but the mysterious letters keep coming.

Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insist she was murdered—and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody in town wants to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases—and a revelation that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

A small town in North Carolina is the centerpiece of The Night Swim, focused on a current rape trial and a possible murder twenty-five years before.

As the story sweeps back and forth in time, we are led along by Rachel’s narrative, Hannah’s mysterious letters, and bits of Rachel’s podcast as she documents the current trial.

It doesn’t take long to see that many characters are interwoven into both stories, reminding us that the past can follow us into the present, as the secrets and crimes are untangled and revealed.

With an intensity that is enhanced by the short chapters and the fast pace, I sometimes felt confused by how many similarities existed between the separate events. Were these facts coincidental, or were many of the players repeating their bad behavior in the present?

One thing I’ve learned about small town life is how desperately the people depend on friends, and even enemies over whom they have leverage, and as a result, they sometimes escape justice. 5 stars.

***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: SPINNING MY WHEELS…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

Here we are, almost finished with July, and the week sped by like most of the weeks lately.  In fact, if the Pandemic would end this quickly, wouldn’t that be great? Reading and blogging have definitely helped me keep my mind away from the horrific events of 2020, and that has worked primarily because of the distractions of those activities.  I finished my third book of the week today, and it was my final NetGalley ARC for July.  But on the heels of that one come two books in early August (the 4th and the 11th).  So the stress continues.  When in this kind of situation, I ask myself “how did this happen?”  Usually it involves being unable to pass up a good book.

I will work harder to prevent that in the future!

Meanwhile, I have found time for shows on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. I finished (and loved!) the second season of In the Dark.

Let’s grab some coffee and take a closer look at the week.

***

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Summer Deal”

Bookish Delights…

Bookish Wednesday…

Plumbing the Depths of My TBR…

Bookish Friday:  “Girls of Summer”

Coffee Chat:  One Step Forward, Another Step Back…

Review:  The Girl from Widow Hills, by Megan MirandaReview:  The Safe Place, by Anna DownesReview:  Playing Nice, by J P Delaney – (NG-7/28/20)

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Empty physical mailbox!  I did download two e-books.

He Started It, by Samantha Downing

The Lost and Found Bookshop, by Susan Wiggs

***

CURRENTLY READING:

The Request, by David Bell

 

Then I plan to start on my August ARCs.

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Here is one of my recent meals in the apartment, tuna salad with a dinner roll, and a glass of wine from my bottle.  The dining room offers sweet wine that is not very satisfying.  LOL.

***

COFFEE CHAT: ONE STEP FORWARD, ANOTHER STEP BACK…

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

 

Another week is behind us, with some books read and some changes afoot.  Yes, we are now in Lockdown 2, although we never left the first one.  We did have socially distanced days in the dining room on alternate days…but those are over.  Five staff members have tested positive since June…odd how we find out significantly after the fact.  So we are restricted to our apartments again.

  • I was talking on the phone yesterday with another resident, one who shared a table back in “normal” times.  We agreed that it is ironic how we are punished when staff, who go home every night and aren’t under scrutiny, are the ones who didn’t follow the rules.  Or perhaps they were just unlucky.  Much harder to control their behavior, however.
  • I definitely feel for them, but we are still locked away.
  • I was so pissed off at first and had a mimosa to soothe me, especially since they didn’t bring the French toast…and then called a couple of friends.  One who is living “outside,” and the resident mentioned above.  I felt better afterwards.  The mimosa helped.

  • Funny thing, though, letting off steam did remind me that I am glad to be safely tucked away, despite the fact that the dining room is now off limits again.  The worst part about that:  the food has slipped into the inferior category again.  They don’t bring what we’ve ordered, or they just change the order at will.
  • The bread and cream cheese you see above on that tray came from my fridge, my groceries.
  • Another annoying aspect:  we now have to wear masks in our apartments when staff come in to “provide care,” is how they put it.  I immediately jumped on that one, since all they do is deliver things, change the trash, and just interrupt whatever we’re doing.  I finally settled with the administrators that since they come in so often, I will simply put the mask on when they are closer than six feet from me.  That is working so far.
  • I have read two books so far this week.  The Girl from Widow Hills, by Megan Miranda; and The Safe Place, by Anna Downes.
  • Both books were engaging, although a little slower than I like.  Next I plan to read a NetGalley ARC, Playing Nice, by J.P. Delaney – Released on 7/28.  I have also added more hardcover/paperback books to my nightstand (below).

  • That stack is certainly growing, and so is the TBR shelf in my entry way.  My regular bookshelf is also providing great comfort to this bookworm.

  • I didn’t have much of an opportunity to enjoy my new handbag and tops, now that we are stuck in our apartments.  Should I dress up and carry the handbag in the corridor for our one scheduled walk each day?

***

In case you note the bitter tone in my post, I apologize; sometimes I can remain positive and cheery…and at other times, not so much.  But I am trying to focus on each day…and my books!

Stay safe!

***

REVIEW: THE GIRL FROM WIDOW HILLS, BY MEGAN MIRANDA

 

Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

And now, the girl from Widow Hills is about to become the center of the story, once again, in this propulsive page-turner from suspense master Megan Miranda.


When we first meet Arden Maynor in her current iteration as Olivia Meyer, she is an adult trying to move beyond the events of her childhood. As The Girl from Widow Hills, she is the story in the news, the little girl who was rescued after three days. One from whom journalists constantly seek more information.

Did nobody really believe the story they were told back then? Does Olivia not remember what happened, or is she part of a cover-up?

When a man is found dead outside her home miles away from where she grew up, in the place she has found to start over, is there more to the original story that will be revealed?

I loved how twisty and unexpected the journey takes us until finally we are offered bits and pieces of the truth. 4.5 stars.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: THE WEEK SPRINTED BY…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

Here we are again at week’s end.  How do those days sprint by so quickly?  I did enjoy reading three books, and two of them were nonfiction; those will count for the Nonfiction Reading Challenge.  Officially, I have met my goal, but I have several more from that category that I must read.

This week I watched bits and pieces of shows on Prime, Netflix, and Hulu...and then settled down for Season II of In the Dark. I’m only on Episode 2, though.

Now…let’s grab some coffee and take a closer peek at the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Sparks:  Reshuffling the Collections, Etc.

Monday Potpourri:  A Doll Story, Etc.

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Playing Nice”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Book Releases:  It’s Not Hoarding!

A Bookish Week…

Backlog Books…Another One!

Bookish Friday:  “The Safe Place”

Happy Saturday!

Review:  Stranger in the Lake, by Kimberly BelleReview:  Nomadland, by Jessica BruderReview:  Too Much and Never Enough, by Mary L. Trump, Ph.D.

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

One book came in my mailbox; I received a giveaway book from Goodreads; and downloaded two e-books.

My Pear-Shaped Life, by Carmel Harrington

Giveaway Win:

Me and Carlos, by Tom Perrotta

***

Downloads:

The Safe Place, by Anna Downes

Too Much and Never Enough, by Mary L. Trump, Ph.D.

***

CURRENTLY READING:  The Girl from Widow Hills, by Megan Miranda

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Here is my lunch today in my apartment:  turkey, vegetables, and cream of broccoli soup.  I added red wine from my own bottle:

And then a very small piece of apple pie with ice cream.

***

COFFEE CHAT: READING, SHOPPING, ETC.

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

 

Good morning, bloggers!  Hair salons have shut down again, but even before that happened, we were still locked down here, so no such outings were allowed.  I changed my Avatar to reflect the absence of styling.  LOL.

I have ordered groceries again through Instacart.  It is amazing how quickly I go through everything, mostly because the fridge is tiny, so I have to keep that in mind.

 

  • Reading has been pretty good.  I read and reviewed Stranger in the Lake, by Kimberly Belle; and Nomadland, by Jessica Bruder.
  • Last night I started reading the Mary Trump book:  Too Much and Never Enough.
  • This morning was a day of eating in the apartment.  Yes, every other day is in the dining room still.  Here is what I ordered:  French toast, oatmeal, coffee, and I made myself a Cranberry Mimosa with ingredients in my fridge.

***

That is my day so far.  What has your week brought?  Are you hanging in there and staying safe?

***