Mailbox Monday

winter mailbox 4

Mailbox Monday

According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Click on title for synopsis via GoodReads.

Friday (01/22/21):
The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda~ eBook from Thomas & Mercer/MB Communications via Net Galley
The Stranger In The Mirror by Liv Constantine ~ Print ARC from Harper Collins
Forgive Me by Susan Lewis ~ TPB from Harper Collins

Saturday (01/23/21):
Deliberate Duplicity by David Rohlfing ~ print ARC from Books Forward PR

 

Mailbox Monday

winter mailbox 4

Mailbox Monday

According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Click on title for synopsis via PICT.

Tuesday:
Shadow3 Ridge by M.E. Browning~ Signed HC from Author
Symphony Road by Gabriel Valjan ~ Kindle from Author

#Review | THE BETRAYAL by Terry Lynn Thomas

The Betrayal by Terry Lynn Thomas
Genre: Legal Thriller, Political Thrilller
Published by HQ Digital
Publication Date: October 28th
ASIN: B08GH3J8X3
Pages: 234
Review Copy From: HQN via NetGalley
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 4

Synopsis (via GR)

Attorney Olivia Sinclair is shocked when she receives an anonymous video showing her husband Richard sleeping with someone else. After years of handling other people’s divorces, she thought she could recognise a marriage in trouble.

She angrily throws Richard out of the home they share. But days later she’s arrested—for the murder of his mistress.

Olivia knows she’s innocent but, with all the evidence pointing at her and an obvious motive, she must find the real killer to clear her name.

She may be used to dealing with messy divorces, but this one will be her most difficult case yet. Olivia’s husband has already betrayed her—but would he set her up for murder?

My Thoughts

I had seen many posts about this book on FB groups I belong to, and seeing it was a thriller, I requested it. I did not know at the time that this was the debut novel of this genre and that the author has written other books, which I have to admit, I have not read.

From the start of the book, I was hooked. The writing was smooth, which I enjoyed. The suspense was constant and captivating. It definitely was a thrilling read.

However, and this could be that for the past year or so, thrillers are all that I have read that I figured out the who and why very early in the book. If my memory serves me correctly, in the past I read another book with a plot very similar to this one, which is another reason why I might have figured it out.

Would I recommend it, yes!!!! And I will be looking up this author’s other books because I did really enjoy her writing style.

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
  • SWEET WATER by Cara Reinard | #Showcase #Interview #Giveaway

    Sweet Water

    by Cara Reinard

    January 1-31, 2021 Tour

    Synopsis:

    Sweet Water by Cara Reinard

    What did her son do in the woods last night? Does a mother really want to know?

    It’s what Sarah Ellsworth dreamed of. Marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Martin. Living in a historic mansion in Pennsylvania’s most exclusive borough. And Finn, a teenage son with so much promise. Until…A call for help in the middle of the night leads Sarah and Martin to the woods, where they find Finn, injured, dazed, and weeping near his girlfriend’s dead body. Convinced he’s innocent, Sarah and Martin agree to protect their son at any cost and not report the crime.

    But there are things Sarah finds hard to reconcile: a cover-up by Martin’s family that’s so unnervingly cold-blooded. Finn’s lies to the authorities are too comfortable, too proficient, not to arouse her suspicions. Even the secrets of the old house she lives in seem to be connected to the incident. As each troubling event unfolds, Sarah must decide how far she’ll go to save her perfect life.

    Sweet Water Reviews:

    “An unsparing account of ‘rich people problems’ that goes on forever, like all the best nightmares.” —Kirkus Reviews

    Book Details:

    Genre: Domestic Thriller, Crime Fiction
    Published by: Thomas & Mercer
    Publication Date: January 1st 2021
    Number of Pages: 364
    ISBN: 1542024935 (ISBN13: 978-1542024938)
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

     

    Cara Reinard

    Author Bio:

    Cara Reinard is an author of women’s fiction and domestic. She currently lives north of Pittsburgh with her husband, two children, and Bernese mountain dog.

    Q&A with Cara Reinard

    Welcome and thank you for stopping by CMash Reads
    Reading and Writing:

    What inspired you to write this book?

    It all started with a short story I published in the Mindful Writer’s Into the Woods anthology (2018), a compilation of stories, poems & essays. My story was about two college kids who messed around with drugs in the woods in a park outside of Manhattan. Only one of the kids left the woods alive. It was a premise that stuck with me long after the story was published and one I thought could expand on. I moved the setting to Pittsburgh, thought of the most beautiful, affluent wooded area around, and started drafting Sweet Water.

    What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?

    I’ve never written anything with an alternating timeline before. Sweet Water flashes back to 1987, the 90s and the early 2000s. Even though I’ve lived during all those eras, it was challenging keeping my historical facts straight. For instance, I had a lot of musical references in the book and I had the copyeditor flag me a couple of times because I used bands who existed but weren’t “known” yet. On top of the alternating timeline, I had a dated journal and I had to make sure my days of the week accurately synched up.

    Give us a glimpse of the research that went into this book.

    Because the book was set in a real town and I used a lot of historical references I had to fact check everything. I also had to research laws and other criminal cases like the one in my book to make sure they were factually represented.

    How did you come up with the title?

    At last, an easy question! Sweet Water is the Native American translation for Sewickley, the name of the town where the book is set. Water is a present theme throughout the book so it seemed like a fitting title.

    Your routine in writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

    I wish had a set routine! I work full-time in an unrelated field and have two elementary-aged children (and a husband I talk to occasionally). I write when I have the time, although the colder months are often more productive because I’m forced inside more. I also attend one writing retreat a year where I’m usually able to crank out a lot of words. If I’m on deadline, I join other fellow authors on Twitter for #5AMwritersclub and get in some early morning edits.

    Tell us why we should read your book?

    Sweet Water is a domestic suspense novel and book club fiction. The alternating timeline and town, which is described as a character itself, sets it apart from other books in the same genre. I’d say readers who are fans of Kimberly McCreight and Ruth Ware will enjoy this book.

    Are you working on your next novel? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

    Yes, I’m working on my edits for Into the Sound, my second book to be released through Thomas & Mercer on December 1st, 2021. It’s a novel of domestic suspense in which a woman is forced to expose long-buried family secrets to find her missing sister after she’s suspected of being swept away during a Long Island superstorm.

    Fun Questions:

    Your novel will be a movie. You would you cast?

    Sarah, my main protagonist – Rosamund Pike. Martin, her husband – Hugh Jackman. Joshua, Sarah’s ex – Josh Hartnett.

    Favorite leisure activities/hobbies?

    Running, going to shows with my husband, playing with my Bernese mountain dog and kids (cheer and hockey mom).

    Favorite foods?

    Anything Mediterranean, especially Italian! Or anything my husband makes for me, he’s the resident chef!

    For more information, visit:
    www.carareinard.com
    Goodreads
    BookBub – @CaraReinard
    Twitter – @carareinard
    Instagram – @carareinard
    Facebook – Cara Reinard, Author

     

    Read an excerpt:

    Chapter 1

    I reach for my phone inside my purse slung around my neck. It’s dangling behind my back because I had nowhere else to put it while examining the body.

    “Sarah, is she breathing?” Martin asks. I turn my head to find him, but it’s too dark.

    I stumble, disoriented under the canopy of trees. We’re somewhere off Fern Hollow Road, the closest turnoff to Finn’s pinned iPhone location.

    “I d-don’t know,” I sputter, still shocked we found her and not Finn when we parked the car and hiked the rest of the way into Sewickley Heights Park.

    “Check her—now. I need to find Finn.” Martin’s voice fades into the forest, and all I want to do is follow him, but I just spoke to my son on the phone. His speech was slurred, and his girlfriend is . . .

    “Oh God.” I open my mouth and let out a strangled breath, so sick that I sway to the side.

    My eyes water as I kneel beside Yazmin Veltri, a girl I’ve known for only the briefest period. The wetness soaks through the holes in my jeans, settling into my bare kneecaps, ice on bone.

    “Yazmin?” I shine my phone’s light in her direction, but I’m stopped by the certain hint of marijuana.

    Shit. All these years working with at-risk young women, and I couldn’t see that Finn was dating one.

    “Please,” I beg the starlit sky peeking through the trees. “Let her be breathing.”

    I sniffle and inhale the truth through the rotting leaves. Something terrible has happened here, and I’m too late. The autumn mist snakes in through my nose, out through my mouth, emitting tiny white puffs of air.

    The forest ground is slippery, a feathered blanket beneath my knees, slathering the tops of my shoes.

    I hear more hurried footsteps. Martin sounds like a mouse lost in a maze. Has he found Finn? I need to go to him, but my husband told me to stay here.

    The branches scratch the tops of my feet as I move closer to her, the fallen leaves collecting between my knees. Yazmin could still be alive. A bitter taste rises in my mouth as I bite my tongue, and I’m close enough to touch her now.

    My arm trembles as I place two fingers on the cold flesh of her neck. Not only cold—wet. I can’t see what I’m touching, but I can feel her absence. Right below her jawline, in the space beside her trachea where I know a steady drumbeat should exist, there’s nothing.

    No pulse. My heartbeat quickens and plummets. Oh God.

    My blood is rushing. Pounding. I’m sweating despite the near-thirty-degree temperature. I dip my head closer to Yazmin’s chest, careful not to tangle my hair with hers. I’ve checked on my kids enough times in the middle of the night to know this girl’s not breathing. I shut my eyes and listen anyway.

    Sure enough, the steady rise and fall of Yazmin’s chest is absent along with her pulse.

    “She’s dead. We have to call the police,” I announce, loud enough for Martin to hear, but not nearly as loud as the screaming in my head.

    Call somebody! Help!

    I hear Martin crunch closer, and I turn my back on the girl.

    I scoot up on my legs and use my hands to push myself into a crouching position. My breath is heavy, and everything on my body—my hands, my knees—rattles with fear. I hear a cry in the distance.

    My son’s cry. And then Martin’s rustling footsteps. Beside me again.

    “Where is he?” I ask.

    “He’s okay, but . . .” Martin nods to the right. “He’s injured. We need to get him out of here, Sarah.”

    “Okay,” I say, but I close my eyes because my head is a ringing bell of stress even though this wooded area is one of the things that drew me to this town. The park is near the country club where we’re members, where Martin’s family have been members for years, and things like this just don’t happen here.

    “Let’s go, Sarah!” Martin urges.

    My eyes snap open, and I hold up my phone. “Wait. I’m calling 911. For her.”

    “No.” Martin swats my hand away with the flick of his strong knuckles. The blood on my palms makes everything slick, and my cell phone goes flying across the forest like a bar of soap in the shower. I slip sideways into a bramble of branches and land on my left hip, staring at my husband’s garish face in the moonlight. He looks unfamiliar, that expression one reserved for when he loses business at work, a rare occurrence. Martin is an innovator, his causes noble. Sometimes I don’t approve of how he does things, but I usually approve of why.

    “Damn it.” Martin scrambles to find my phone. Right now, I don’t approve at all.

    “Why did you do that?” I ask, but I’m more surprised that he’s hit me than I am by the fact that he doesn’t agree with my decision to call the police.

    “It will get reported tomorrow. We need to leave with Finn. Now.”

    “What? That makes no sense.”

    Martin retrieves my phone, and I’m trying to get his attention, but he’s looking right past me at the gas pipeline in the distance, a clear-cut, inclined path free of foliage about a thousand yards long in the mountainous terrain. Martin and I messed around with sleds one winter on a protected slope of land just like it, and I think maybe Finn and Yazmin planned their own adventure out here tonight and something went terribly wrong.

    “Martin.” I try to get up, but my foot slips on a mossy rock.

    He grabs my arm. Then drops it. “Watch yourself,” he says, but he doesn’t help me rise. He’s too busy texting.

    It’s then that I hear water rushing nearby. The river rocks are indigenous to this area, like everything else woodsy and serene in Sewickley.

    Sewickley, the Shawnee word for sweet water, derived from the tribe’s belief that the borough’s shores were a little sweeter on that stretch of the Ohio River, the maple trees that grow at its shores only part of the saccharine story.

    “Who’re you texting?” I’m crying and my hands are still wet, but I can’t wipe them. There’s blood all over my palms, and I can’t remember how it got there; head wounds bleed the worst.

    “Hold on!” Martin is standing with his back to me now, holding his phone in the air like he’s trying to decide what to do with it, a six-foot silhouette of trepidation. He scratches his dark hair and rubs his cell phone on his sweater-vest, but he doesn’t use it to call anyone, only texts.

    “I’m getting legal advice from my father,” Martin says.

    His father?

    I picture William Sr. texting back from the comfort of one of his high-back chairs inside his home, one of the few estates that make up Sewickley Heights like a richly woven patchwork quilt—the expensive kind sewn together with colonials surrounded by alabaster columns and mile-long driveways.

    “Martin?”

    William’s house is a fat-thatched Tudor hiding behind manicured bushes, a peek of white here, a slip of brown there, but there’s no hiding from this.

    “Of course you have to report it!” I look again—at her—and the blood is already congealing around her open head wound, her neck bent at an awkward angle, a matchstick snapped in half. The rushing water streams just behind her.

    Martin’s tugging on my coat. “Get up, Sarah. We have to go.”

    “We can’t leave her.” Yazmin’s long black hair is covering the expression on her face, although the one I imagine is stuck there will haunt me more than the one I cannot see. She rests on her back, and it would be an odd way to fall, backward instead of forward, her hands crossed over her chest as if she were thwarting an attack. It reminds me of a tae kwon do block from when Finn used to take classes. We’d enrolled him when he was a child because he was painfully shy, whereas Spencer, his older brother, was frequently mentioned by his teachers as boisterous or exuberant, adjectives used in private schools to describe disruptive overachievers. I might expect Spencer to get into trouble with a girl like this, but not my poor Finny.

    I turn toward Martin. He’s speaking, but I’ve stopped listening.

    His eyes are pleading. “She’s dead. We can’t help her. Finn was the last person with her.”

    “But—”

    “He’s on something, Sarah. Drugs.” Martin shakes his head furiously. “This looks bad.”

    I can hear what he’s saying, but I’ve retreated into my own body, and I don’t even know who we are right now.

    We used to be Martin and Sarah Ellsworth of Blackburn Road.

    We were the couple sitting at a corner table at a fancy restaurant, splitting a bottle of wine. Laughing at each other’s jokes.

    “We have to do something for her.” My voice is swallowed by the humming sounds of the forest and the flapping of the leaves on the trees, the river. She’s already dead, but we need to make sure she’s at least taken to the hospital so her parents can identify her. Bile rises in my mouth. My heart is beating so fast, drowning out everything else, but I faintly hear Finn’s voice again nearby.

    “I’m sorry.” Martin extends his arm to help me up, but I waggle my finger in the air at him, pointing to my hands, reminding my brainy husband that I’m bloodied and pulling me up isn’t a good idea. I must’ve made the mistake of touching Yazmin in the wrong place.

    “Right.” He draws his palms back.

    My legs won’t work. I gaze up, silently praying. The large enveloping trees of Sewickley Heights tower above us like old wealthy gatekeepers winking in the night.

    “I need your help. I can’t move him on my own, Sarah,” Martin reveals.

    I close my eyes, wishing it all away. It’s all a bad dream.

    “Can we just make an anonymous call from a pay phone or something? For her parents’ sake, at least?”

    “You can’t. They’ll try to interview Finn, see the drug use, and assume the worst. He’ll go to jail.” His voice is thick with desperation. “Sarah, this will ruin Finn’s life. This isn’t his fault!” Martin kicks a stone with his worn loafer, a product from one of the posh boutiques that line downtown Sewickley, a mishmash of overpriced things people don’t really need displayed in windowed storefronts on cobblestone streets. There’s a place to reupholster old furniture with patterns better left to die with their original owners, a claw-foot-tub specialist, an herbal spa with enough fresh fruit remedies to double as a bakery, the imported-leather-shoe store.

    I bought Martin the shoes he has on now, and he’s worn them down to the soles. He’s practical, a computer engineer and CEO of a robotics start-up in the Strip District. He does things that make sense.

    But right now, he’s not making any.

    “Maybe she slipped.” My voice is shallow like the night air sneaking away from my lips, but the idea of an accident fills my heart with hope. “We’ll leave an anonymous tip.” If I had my phone, I’d call myself.

    I’d explain this is exactly how we found her. She wasn’t even near our son when we discovered her body.

    Unless . . . we’ve messed with the scene of the crime so much that we’ve hurt Finn more than helped him. I look down at my bloody hands and cringe. As far as we know, Finn is the last one who saw Yazmin alive. This could be very bad for him. “Shit.”

    Martin grabs me by the arm. “We have to go, Sarah. Get up.” I can’t see much of Martin’s face but the stringy blue vein in his forehead that only comes out when he’s upset.

    It’s been only minutes, but we need to move—faster.

    “We need to go to him,” I say.

    “Yes.” Martin nods.

    I’m in shock. That’s what’s wrong with me. I blindly follow Martin, adrenaline fueling my limbs. Finn is off the beaten path, and I feel as though I’ve already failed him for taking so long. He’s huddled over a pile of leaves, his knees tucked into his chest like he used to do when he was a little kid. He looks so small right now.

    So young.

    A little boy who fell off his scooter and skinned his knee. I wish this problem were as easy to fix.

    I wipe my hands on my jeans and throw my arms around him.

    “I’m here. Mom’s here.” Finn’s crying and I don’t know how to make it better for him. He obviously didn’t mean for the girl to get hurt, but this was no accident either. He’s made a terrible mistake, gotten himself into a horrible predicament. So Finn did what we always told him to do if he was ever in trouble—he called us.

    ***

    Excerpt from Sweet Water by Cara Reinard. Copyright 2021 by Cara Reinard. Reproduced with permission from Cara Reinard. All rights reserved.

     

     

    Tour Participants:

    Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



     

     

    Enter To Win!!:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cara Reinard. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on January 1, 2021 and runs through February 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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    Mailbox Monday

    winter mailbox 4

    Mailbox Monday

    According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

    Click on title for synopsis via GoodReads.

    Wednesday (01/06/21):
    You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon~ ARC from Harper Collins

    Happy New Year!

    happynyearcountdown

    Wishes for a very Normal, Healthy, and Happy 2021!!!!

    December Wrap Up

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    December Books Read


    Another bad month. Only 3 books read and one DNF. I am hoping that 2021 is better with my reading mojo.
    Dec_PicCollage

    My review was posted For Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane was posted on December 29th, which can be seen HERE
    My review for The Last To See Her by Courtney Evan Tatewas posted on December 19th, which can be seen HERE.

    My review for Beyond The Headlines by R.G. Belsky will be posted on May 1, 2021.

    #Review | PRETTY LITTLE WIFE by Darby Kane

    Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane
    Genre: Domestic Thriller
    Published by William Morrow
    Publication Date: December 29, 2020
    ASIN: B088RCV5T2
    Pages: 407
    Review Copy From: Publisher via NetGalley
    Edition: Kindle
    My rating: 5

    Synopsis (via GR)

    Debut author Darby Kane thrills with this twisty domestic suspense novel that asks one central question: shouldn’t a dead husband stay dead?

    Lila Ridgefield lives in an idyllic college town, but not everything is what it seems. Lila isn’t what she seems. A student vanished months ago. Now, Lila’s husband, Aaron, is also missing. At first these cases are treated as horrible coincidences until it’s discovered the student is really the third of three unexplained disappearances over the last few years. The police are desperate to find the connection, if there even is one. Little do they know they might be stumbling over only part of the truth….

    With the small town in an uproar, everyone is worried about the whereabouts of their beloved high school teacher. Everyone except Lila, his wife. She’s definitely confused about her missing husband but only because she was the last person to see his body, and now it’s gone.

    My Thoughts

    I requested this book via NetGalley after seeing quite a lot of buzz about it in the book blogging community because I didn’t want to miss out in case it was as good as people were saying it was. At the time, I didn’t know it was a debut novel. Was it? I’ll answer this question in a bit. I will say, upfront, is this will be very vague because there is no way I want to give even a smidgen of a spoiler.

    Aaron is a bit controlling when it comes to his wife Lila. That is, until the day she finds some shocking and horrendous videos that she found on a phone that he thought he had hidden from her. From that moment on, things in the Ridgefield home change. Change so much that Aaron goes missing. But it isn’t Lila who reports this. It’s the Principal at the school where Aaron is a teacher.

    A local Podcast, that has been following the case of missing high school students, now add Aaron into the mix. Are these cases connected?

    The reader learns that Lila changed her name 13 years ago, but no history before that. Until the police department starts investigating. The reader also learns that Lila’s early years were tied to a man who now sits in prison.

    The suspense in the book did not let up. As more evidence came forth, the more my head spun. As more of the history was told, the more I didn’t know what characters to like or dislike. And who of the characters were the suspects or the victims, or even who was truly the murderer ( oh yes….the bodies start to pile up!!!!).

    Was there someone in this cast of characters that had a wrong to right? Maybe even a hero? Does the truth finally reveal itself?

    If this was Ms. Kane’s debut novel, then I can’t wait for what the future holds. But I know one thing, she is now on my “authors to read” list.

    Was the buzz correct about this book? ABSOLUTELY and then some!!!!

    Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

    REVIEW DISCLAIMER

  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.