Top Ten Tuesday—Valentine’s Day/Love Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


Today’s TTT is a freebie. Seeing that Valentine’s Day is on Sunday, I decided that I am going to highlight the last 10 romances I read. This should be an interesting list!!

What are your favorite romances? Let me know!!!


  1. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
  2. Once Removed by Margaret Watson
  3. Once Burned by Margaret Watson
  4. Knocked Up by the Billionaire by Tasha Fawkes
  5. Killer for Hire by Alexis Abbott
  6. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  7. Security Breach by Evan Grace
  8. Bender by Stacy Borel
  9. Loving the Marquess by Suzanna Medeiros
  10. Forgiving History by Jenni M. Rose

Once Removed (Blackhawk Security: Book 1) by Margaret Watson

Once Removed (Blackhawk Security Book 1) by [Margaret Watson]

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: January 15th, 2021

Genre: Romance

Series: Blackhawk Security

Once Removed—Book 1

Once Burned—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Indigo | Kobo

Format Read: eBook

Got book from: Author via BookFunnel

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse (not graphic but talked about), Domestic Violence (not graphic, talked about), mild violence

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Lainey becomes trapped in a burning building with her almost-divorced husband’s body, Brody rescues her just in time. And when she realizes the killer is now after her, she takes refuge at Brody’s Montana ranch.

Lainey and Brody have been fighting their attraction for years. But as the barriers between them fall, Lainey rescues Phoebe, a runaway teen, from the compound where her husband died. Now they’re forced to focus on Phoebe and an invisible threat.

Whoever murdered her husband has eyes on Lainey. Will their fragile new family survive a desperate predator? Can they protect Phoebe, identify the killer and find their happily ever after?


Synopsis Overview:

Lainey is looking for her ex-husband to serve him divorce papers. Knowing that he was working as a security guard at a compound, she heads there. Instead of finding him, giving him the forms, and leavingLainey finds his body. She is then assaulted and left to die in a burning building. Lainey is saved by Brody, a rancher who happened to be in the area.

Under suspicion of her ex-husband’s death, Lainey is forced to move in with Brody when someone tries to break into her house, and the police don’t do anything about it. Deciding to stop at the compound to see if any clues could clear her name, Brody and Lainey find a tween scavenging for food. Deciding to take Phoebe in, Lainey and Brody realize that even a well-fortified ranch can’t protect Lainey from whoever is after her.

Brody and Lainey also have to deal with their growing feelings for each other. Both of them have good reasons for wanting to take it slow. Lainey, it is because her husband physically abused her. Brody, it’s because his ex-wife played games with him. Also, Brody has a secret, and he is afraid that if Lainey finds out what it is, she will reject him.

Will Lainey find out who is after her and why? Will Brody trust Lainey with his secret? And will Phoebe be safe?


Once Removed is the love story of Lainey and Brody. What I liked about Once Removed is that it wasn’t an InstaLove story. Lainey and Brody had known each other for a couple of years before anything happened. Lainey was Brody’s accountant, and their attraction grew over the years instead of over a couple of weeks. Now, saying that, the book did move fast when it came to the relationship. Lainey and Brody were living together for a couple of days. But the author allowed their romantic relationship to grow.

The mystery/thriller angle of Once Removed was well written. The author kept me guessing who was going after Lainey and why that person was doing it. I did have a small suspicion, but that was proven wrong when the bad guy was revealed.

Phoebe’s storyline was well written, and I loved how the author merged them towards the end of the book. It also pulled on my heartstrings. The pain that Phoebe was feeling was transparent. Her gradual acceptance of Brody (and more immediate acceptance of Lainey) was heartwarming. I liked that the author didn’t get into graphic detail about the abuse and neglect that Phoebe endured. The little snippets that were shared were enough to make me go teary-eyed.

I also liked that the author chose not to go into details about the abuse Lainey endured. Yes, she talked about it, but it wasn’t graphic. I also liked that the author chose to tackle a problem regarding law enforcement and domestic violence. Instead of her ex being reprimanded, the sheriff’s office closed rank around him. They ignored what he was doing until they couldn’t. Sadly, this is more common than what we think, and I am glad that the author chose to showcase it.

While Brody’s secret wasn’t necessarily a bad one, it was still significant. I won’t go into what it was, but I could understand why he was hesitant to call DCF about Phoebe.

There is sex in Once Removed. It was tastefully written, and nothing was graphic. I did have to laugh in the events leading up to Brody and Lainey having sex. There were a couple of near misses with Phoebe that made me go, “Yeah, I can relate. “

The end of Once Removed was your typical mystery/romance. The reveal of the bad guy did surprise me. Only because it wasn’t who I thought it was going to be. The author also set up the next book in the series perfectly. And the epilogue was PERFECT!! I loved it!!


Once Removed was a fantastic romance/mystery. It was fast-paced with a mystery that the author kept me guessing until the end of the book. I cannot wait to read book 2!!

I am going to recommend that no one under the age of 21 read Once Removed. There is talk of spousal and child abuse (not graphic). There is an attempted murder at the beginning of the book and an attempted kidnapping at the end. There is sex, but nothing explicit.

WWW Wednesday: January 20th, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

Some of you might have noticed that I skipped last week for WWW. It wasn’t because I wanted to. No, I overbooked myself with appointments. I had 2 on Wednesday….sigh. By the time I got home, I was too tired and too grumpy to blog. Instead, I logged onto Sims 4 (after supper) and took my frustrations out there.

I have been watching His Dark Materials (based on the Golden Compass books) on HBO Max and Bridgerton (based on the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn)on Netflix. I am loving both of them!!!

Blog:

I started to go through my past posts and fix broken links. I think I got to about 20 of them before getting sidetracked. I plan on starting that back up shortly. I can’t stand it when I stop something and don’t complete it. It drives me absolutely NUTS!!

Over the weekend, I have made the decision to start accepting reviews again. That means I need to put up my contact info page again and redo my review policy and rating system pages. That is something that I have been putting off doing for a while and it is the push I need to start posting reviews again. I am going to cap my reviews at 6 a month (Thursdays and Fridays are going to be book review days). That way, I don’t feel rushed or pressured into accepting/writing reviews. It also means that I will have time to read books that I like.

Reading:

I am reading steadily. I did take a small break last week, on Wednesday (see above), but started reading again on Thursday. I had only one book come off hold. I added Alex, Approximately and that book looks like it should come off hold shortly (I am number 2 out of 6 people waiting for it).


I recently finished reading:

Fire and Sword (Sword and Sorcery, #1)
Condemned to hang for their crimes, they’ll march instead to perish as heroes, or live as free men.

A broken nation in need of a savior – ravaged by plague, decimated by dark magic, infiltrated by a foreign evil seeking to dominate from within. Three will rise to save the beleaguered land. But will they be enough?

Three men condemned to die: Aldous Weaver, a heretic monk turned sorcerer, imprisoned for accidentally incinerating the leader of his order. Kendrick the Cold, an infamous crusader turned fugitive, is a villain who knows he can never be a hero. Theron Ward, an aristocrat with a penchant for slaughtering monsters, and a legend in his own mind.

When the kingdom of Brynth is threatened by a far greater evil, the unlikely trio must make a choice — seek to escape this land that cries for their execution, or find the true heroes within themselves. And then, armed with fire and sword, march together against the forces of darkness. But can three such disparate warriors ever prevail?

I enjoyed reading Fire and Sword. It wasn’t your typical fantasy. All 3 main characters were very flawed. One was a teenaged monk who finds out he is a sorcerer. The next one is a soldier who gained an infamous reputation during a genocide but lives with mind numbing guilt every day. And the last main character is a man who is an aristocrat who slaughters monsters but who has a dark secret. The plotline was fast moving and the characters were engaging.


What I am currently reading:

Ghost Detective (Myron Vale Investigations, #1)
Everybody dies. Nobody leaves … Award-winning author Scott William Carter returns with his tenth novel, a spellbinding tale of a man who bridges both sides of the great divide.

After narrowly surviving a near-fatal shooting, Portland detective Myron Vale wakes with a bullet still lodged in his brain, a headache to end all headaches, and a terrible side effect that radically transforms his world for the worse: He sees ghosts. Lots of them.

By some estimates, a hundred billion people have lived and died before anyone alive today was even born. For Myron, they’re all still here. That’s not even his biggest problem. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t tell the living from the dead.

Despite this, Myron manages to piece together something of a life as a private investigator specializing in helping people on both sides of the great divide–until a stunning blonde beauty walks into his office needing help finding her husband. Myron wants no part of the case until he sees the man’s picture … and instantly his carefully reconstructed life begins to unravel.

I am about halfway through reading Ghost Detective and I am loving it. I have read a few mysteries that involve a person that can see ghosts but this one is the most original. My only issue is that the flashback scenes are not clearly marked. So, I have been getting confused when it goes back and forth. Other than that, loving it!!!


What books I think I’ll read next:

MacFarland's Lass (Scottish Lasses #1)
SCOTTISH LASSES

Meet the lasses in the world of Mary Queen of Scots…Like the Scottish thistle, they’re lovely yet tough, beautiful yet prickly, and only the strongest and wisest heroes are able to elude their thorns to discover the tender blossom within.

MacFARLAND’S LASS
by Glynnis Campbell – writing as Kira Morgan (formerly Captured by Desire)


A woman on the run…a man on the hunt. He has forty days to earn her trust. She has forty days to win his heart. They have forty days to outwit their enemies.

When Florie Gilder, the once-respected jeweler to Queen Mary, claims sanctuary in an abandoned church for a crime she didn’t commit, huntsman Rane MacFarland, a local hero of the common folk, vows to protect her. But when his overlord charges him with preventing the fugitive lass’s escape, Rane finds himself torn between duty and desire when he begins to fall for his spirited captive. And when powerful foes conspire to turn Rane and Florie against each other, they need courage, wits, and, most of all, love, to survive.
Once Removed (Blackhawk Security, #1)
When Lainey becomes trapped in a burning building with her almost-divorced husband’s body, Brody rescues her just in time. And when she realizes the killer is now after her, she takes refuge at Brody’s Montana ranch.

Lainey and Brody have been fighting their attraction for years. But as the barriers between them fall, Lainey rescues Phoebe, a runaway teen, from the compound where her husband died. Now they’re forced to focus on Phoebe and an invisible threat.

Whoever murdered her husband has eyes on Lainey. Will their fragile new family survive a desperate predator? Can they protect Phoebe, identify the killer and find their happily ever after?
Once Burned (Blackhawk Security, #2)
After a number of threatening incidents, Chef Julia Stewart seeks help from Blackhawk Security. They recommend bodyguard Nico Elliott. The Seattle chef is reluctant, but finally agrees. To stay close, Nico poses as a busser in her restaurant.

As the dangerous incidents escalate, Nico and Julia grow closer. Nico keeps Julia safe, but they need to figure out who’s trying to kill her. And why.

Amid rising threats, their attraction flares out of control. With everything at stake, Julia faces her tormenter. Will he kill her? Or will the truth destroy her first?
Alex, Approximately
Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.
Exploited (The Dark Redemption #1)
WARNING: This book contains some dark, dirty and dangerous situations before ending in a jaw-dropping cliffhanger. The debauchery will continue in the second book in the series, Redeemed.

I’m going to hell, and my angel’s about to lose her wings.

For years I’ve left a path of death and destruction wherever I go. I promise myself that after one last job I’ll have the money I desperately need to quit taking lives. That’s how I find myself back in my hometown of Lexington.

So beautiful and innocent, I unknowingly end up saving the life of the one girl I was supposed to keep silent…the one girl I was supposed to end.

She’s my fallen angel sent from above.

I can’t resist staining her pure white wings with my darkness when I use her. Defile her. Deceive her.

The two of us were both ruined by our pasts when they intersected. Pasts that we’re still trying to escape with the hounds of hell on our heels.

Fate brought us together. Now, I’ll do anything to protect my angel from the demons that haunt her. I won’t stop until I slay the devil himself to keep her safe, the man who ruined both of our lives.

The only problem is, my silent angel is keeping secrets from me – the biggest of which is that I’m not the only one who wants to exploit her.
The Last City of America
A virus stole fertility from many people long ago, ending society over several generations. The United States became the Seven Cities of America.

Chicago, cut off from the other cities, ruled in darkness, is home to the scientist who created the virus. Hateful of humanity, hateful of himself, the dying scientist passes his knowledge on to his apprentice, who he believes will use it to damn all life to everlasting misery.

The apprentice, Harold, his own past stained with unforgivable acts, does not share his master’s hatred. But he wants this knowledge, and would shamelessly kill innocents to get it. But to what end, he struggles to realize— all the while wondering if humanity, worthless as it seems, deserves compassion more than he deserves omniscience.

As Harold struggles with his future and his identity, Chicago’s ruler, the host, learns of the knowledge he has. Harold is has to flee his home.

The host, Grakus, is on a journey of his own— to prove that humanity should never have existed, to guide it to its destiny of self-destruction. He will not allow the apprentice to thwart his delicate plan to do so.

But the apprentice will not allow the host to steal his decision before he’s had the chance to make it.

The Last City of America is a character-driven epic touching every corner of America, exposing every level of its beauty. The individual emulates humanity, and humanity’s faults are written in the individual. The two walk with one another into the final decision. Cities fall one-by-one to man’s ignorance. The world is ending. This time forever. Two hands reach out to save it: good and evil.

This is the story of how we will be remembered

Going to be truthful here, I am thinking that I am going to read only 2-3 of these books. Maybe 4, if I really push it. I give myself 6 as a challenge to see if I can actually do it, read 6 books in a week. So far, I haven’t been able too. Maybe this will the week.

So, that’s it. My WWW for this week. Hope you enjoy and please leave yours in the comments below!!

Hometown Girl (Into the Storm: Book 6)by Margaret Watson

Hometown Girl (Into the Storm Book 6) by [Watson, Margaret]

4 Stars

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of Publication: January 14th, 2020

Genre: Romance

Series: Into the Storm

To Save His Child—Book 1 (Review Here)

An Innocent Man—Book 2 (Review Here)

An Honorable Man—Book 3 (Review Here)

The Dark Side of the Moon—Book 4 (Review Here)

Family on the Run—Book 5 (Review Here)

Hometown Girl—Book 6

Where you can find Hometown Girl: BookBub | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book Synopsis:

To escape from her hometown, Claire Kendall had to leave her past — and her sister — behind…

Now her sister’s sudden death has Claire going home to confront her past and her orphaned nephew — who blames her for saving herself and not his mother. Complicating matters is Tucker Hall, a man who seems to have a genius for getting in the way when it comes to parenting Nick.

Claire know she’ll be happy only once the town of Monroe is a speck in her rearview mirror, but she can’t go before Nick is ready. In the meantime, she’ll have to see a lot of Tucker and hope that he doesn’t give her any reason to stay…


First Line:

Tucker Hall leaned against the wall of the Blackhawk helicopter and pretended to stare out the window.

Hometown Girl by Margaret Watson

My Review:

I have been burnt out on reading lately. I have been finding myself making excuses not to read books, even if they are my favorite author. This reason is why I kept putting off Hometown Girl. I couldn’t bring myself to read it. Well, I decided to revamp my reading schedule. From Friday night to Sunday night, I do not touch my Kindle. I rarely check on how my blog is doing (other than making sure specific posts go live), and I don’t worry about deadlines, overdue books, …etc. Let me tell you all; it has made an enormous difference. When I got to Hometown Girl, I was excited to read it.

Hometown Girl is book 6 in the Into the Storm series. It can be read as a stand-alone book. The prologue in each book is a different take on a covert Afghanistan terrorist raid gone wrong, which is perfect. The author goes over the backstory, and the rest of the book is focused on the romance.

Hometown Girl had a medium paced plotline. Because it was somewhat of a mystery/suspense, I did expect the book to go a bit faster. But, instead, the pacing of the plotline ended up being perfect. There were no dropped storylines or characters either.

I wish that Claire’s backstory had been gone into a bit more. But, at the same time, I am glad that the author kept it a little vague. The abuse she suffered as a child/teen/young adult ended up having more of a wallop, then having it spelled out.

I did think that Claire had a massive chip on her shoulder when it came to her hometown. I understood the awful memories associated with it. I would have been the same way. Her feelings were justified in the beginning/early middle of the book. But by the end, I was over it. The people in the town were not the same people that were there when she was growing up. I felt that she only agreed to stay because Nick wanted her too. And because of her feelings for Tucker.

I loved Tucker. I liked that he found his calling after the cluster that happened in Afghanistan. He took that experience and turned it into something that he used to help kids. I loved reading his coaching scenes. He lifted the kids instead of putting them down. He didn’t take crap from them (or the parents either). He was ethical. That scene where the parents asked him to teach their kids how to cheat (after losing four games in a row) made me mad. Tucker’s response was perfect!!

I liked Nick and man, did I feel for him. His whole world was turned inside out. I didn’t blame him for lashing out at Claire either. His mother just died, and her estranged sister shows up and takes custody of him. I would have been mad too. I loved seeing his gradual acceptance of Claire. It wasn’t overt, but there were little things, like not being sarcastic or showing a childlike enthusiasm for something as simple as a cat.

I liked Claire and Tucker’s romance. It wasn’t a fast-paced, burning hot romance. But, it also wasn’t a romance where you couldn’t see the passion. It was comfortably in the middle. They did have sexual tension and chemistry. The sex scenes weren’t graphic, which was enjoyable. I like an explicit sex scene as much as the next person. But, lately, I have found myself enjoying non-graphic sex scenes.

The plotline that centered around Claire and her sister’s death was interesting. I had a feeling it was going to go the route it did. I also got a feel for at least one of the bad guys halfway through the book. The identity of the killer did surprise me. Looking back, I should have known it was that person. Actions speak louder than words!!

The plotline that involved Claire, her ex-husband, and his wife was well written. I loved how Claire handled her ex. I laughed when she called his bluff about Nick’s father. I did think Claire was a bit stalkerish when it came to his wife. Considering that Claire had been married to him and knew what life was like with him, she was right to approach her.

The end of Hometown Girl was your typical romance HEA. I loved that Tucker was finally able to come clean to Claire about his past. Honestly, I thought it was going to be worse than it was when it was revealed. I also loved the scene with Nick. It showed how far he had come!!


I would give Hometown Girl an Adult rating. There is non graphic sex. There is mild language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Hometown Girl. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Stranger in a Small Town (Door County: Book 3) by Margaret Watson

Stranger in a Small Town (Door County Book 3) by [Watson, Margaret]

4 Stars

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: August 15th, 2019

Genre: Romance

Series: Door Country

Small-Town Secrets—Book 1 (review here)

Small-Town Family—Book 2 (review here)

Stranger in a Small Town—Book 3

Where you can find Stranger in a Small Town: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Seth Anderson arrives in Sturgeon Falls determined to prove two things — he never fathered a child, and Kat Macauley is a counterfeiter.

Fiercely protective, passionate and loving, Kat is not what he expected. Also unexpected are his growing feelings for her. To protect his investigation, he doesn’t tell Kat the whole truth. But as he unravels the crime, he has second thoughts about choosing a career over a family.

That won’t matter if Kat can’t forgive him for lying to her. Will his lies, and Kat’s doubts, make it impossible to create a new family?


First Line:

The woman on the bed stirred and her eyes fluttered open.

Stranger in a Small Town by Margaret Watson

My Review:

Stranger in a Small Town is the 3rd book in the Door County series. After reading the first two books, I knew that this book was going to be a good read. I wasn’t disappointed by what I read.

The plotline of Stranger in a Small Town was medium paced and well written. There were no dropped storylines or characters mysteriously disappearing, which added to my enjoyment of reading the book. There was a twist in the plotline that I should have seen coming.

While Stranger in a Small Town is book 3 in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone. But, and I stress but, if you want to understand the different family dynamics and relationships, then I suggest reading the books in order.

The storyline involving Seth, Kat, and Regan was heartbreaking. I liked that the author showed all angles of the story. From Seth’s disbelief to Kat’s anger to Regan’s confusion, it was real. I also liked that the author let Seth process that he had a daughter before starting things off with Kat. After the DNA test came back positive, then it was full steam ahead for the romance.

The secondary storyline with the counterfeit money/the pregnancy (because they are interconnected) was well written. The build-up to who was putting money in the safe box was excellent, as was who was counterfeiting the money. I was surprised by who it was. I didn’t see it coming at all. Talk about a twist.

The pregnancy storyline, which went at the same time as the counterfeiting one, was heartbreaking. It left me in tears. How the author wrapped, that storyline up was heart-wrenching.

I do wish that more information about Seth’s Secret Service service. I was intrigued by it. The author gave the barest glimpse into what he did, and that left me wanting more. It also explained why he was so hard to find when Regan’s mother tried to tell him that she was pregnant.

The romance between Seth and Kat took some time to build up. Kat had trust issues, and she kept lashing out at Seth. But, once those trust issues were gotten over, the romance was on its A Game. That led to some hot and heavy sex scenes.

The end of Stranger in a Small Town was intense. I couldn’t put the book down. I needed to see how the counterfeiting/pregnancy storyline was going to end. While I knew that Kat and Seth were going to have a HEA, I wanted to know how it was going to come about. And the epilogue!! It was a perfect ending to the series.


I would give Stranger in a Small Town an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Stranger in a Small Town. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Small Town Family (Door County: Book 2) by Margaret Watson

Small-Town Family (Door County Book 2) by [Watson, Margaret]

4 Stars

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: 2019

Genre: Romance

Series: Door County

Small-Town Secrets—Book 1 (review here)

Small Town Family—Book 2

Stranger in a Small Town—Book 3

Where you can find Small Town Family: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Reporter Dylan Smith comes to Sturgeon Falls to find his father. He has only one lead – charter boat captain Charlotte Burns.

After a rocky childhood and disastrous marriage, Charlotte is wary and guarded. The charming reporter sets off all her alarms, but she can’t resist him.

His questions point to Gus, who was like a father to Charlotte. Knowing this could destroy Gus’s marriage, Charlotte’s caught between her loyalty to Gus and her growing feelings for Dylan.

Families come in all shapes and forms. Can Dylan and Charlotte create the bonds that make a family? Or will secrets tear them apart?


First Line:

“What do you think you’re doing?”

Small-Town Family by Margaret Watson

My Review:

As I was reading Small-Town Family, I realized, it has been a while since I have read any romance. Which is crazy since they are the books I like to read the most. I was super excited to start reading Small-Town Family.

Another reason why I was so excited to read this book was that I kept pushing it to the back burner, which I try not to do. When indie authors contact me, I try to make their book a priority. But, sometimes, life gets in the way – which is what happened here. When I rewrote my reading schedule (something I do 2-3 times a year), I made sure that all indie authors were first.

The plotline for Small-Town Family was surprisingly fast-moving. I wasn’t expecting this book to have a fast-moving plotline. I was expecting it to be slower. But, it was a pleasant surprise and fit with the storyline. There were no dropped characters or storylines, either. That made for a great read.

I thought that the main characters in Small-Town Family were well written. I liked that they weren’t “perfect.” Charlotte had issues with trust, and she had a temper. Dylan was secretive to the point that it interfered with his and Charlotte’s relationship. I liked that the author wrote those characters like that. It made for an exciting read.

The main storyline, Dylan’s search for his father, was well written. I did figure out early on in the book who Dylan’s father was. I was suspicious at first because, hey, it was too convenient. It wasn’t until Charlotte was talking to a specific character that my internal radar went “ding, ding, ding.

The secondary storyline about the marina was exciting, but honestly, I was not too fond of it. I get why the author put it in the book. There needed to be a common ground for Charlotte and Dylan to bond over. I figured out what was going on the minute Charlotte’s boat was chartered. I wasn’t surprised when the bad guys were revealed.

The romance between Dylan and Charlotte was sweet, but man, it seemed to take forever to get there. Charlotte’s instant distrust of Dylan was a big drawback. But, once Charlotte decided to let Dylan in, my cup runneth over. I liked that Charlotte was the one who chose to let things move forward. That led to some pretty hot sex scenes.

The end of Small-Town Family was satisfying. I wasn’t sure if I liked how Dylan’s father was revealed or the anger that went along with it. I also think that what was asked of Charlotte was wrong. But it did work out in the end. Both storylines were wrapped up in a way that made me smile and do a fist pump.


I would give Small-Town Family an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Small-Town Family. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Small-Town Secrets (Door County: Book 1) by Margaret Watson

Small-Town Secrets (Door County Book 1) by [Watson, Margaret]

4 Stars

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of Publication: October 7th, 2019

Genre: Romance

Series: Door Country

Small-Town Secrets—Book 1

Small-Town Family—Book 2

Where you can find Small-Town Secrets: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Although she doesn’t realize it, Kendall is drowning in secrets. About her husband Carter, who died in a car crash. About Gabe, who was driving the night Carter died. About her brother George’s girlfriend. Gabe’s return to Sturgeon Falls brings the secrets bubbling to the surface.

Since Carter’s death, Kendall’s been too busy running a B&B, managing a cherry orchard and raising two girls to think about Gabe. But when he shows up at her B&B, memories come rushing back – including the crush she’d had on him.

Can Kendall and Gabe face the past and find forgiveness? Or will the secrets bury them?


First Line:

He’d thought he was ready for this.

Small-Town Secrets by Margaret Watson

My Review:

I needed to read Small-Town Secrets. Not only because it is a romance but because I needed to read a book that had a simple plot. I needed a book where I didn’t have to keep intricate notes. I got that in Small-Town Secrets.

Small-Town Secrets is a book about reconciling the past with the present. It also shows what the power of forgiveness does. I liked that it showed that what is shown to the public isn’t what goes on in private.

There are one main storyline and two prominent secondary storylines. They were all well written. The pacing of the storylines seesawed between slow and medium. I didn’t mind that. Considering what Gabe and Kendall were working through, it was needed. The secondary plotlines were woven into that plotline with skill.

I liked Kendall, and I sympathized with her. She was a single mother raising two girls and running two businesses (a B&B and an orchard). I did think that she was harsh on Gabe at the beginning of the book. But, considering what happened, I would have been the same way. I felt she took Amy’s secret well and handled the fall out gracefully. I don’t know if I would have been as understanding (or kind) as she was.

Gabe was terrific in Small-Town Secrets. He straightened his life out after the car accident. Gabe didn’t hide his feelings for Kendall and did his best to protect her. From the intruder to the mysterious guest, he was there for her. Gabe did have secrets, but he didn’t come back to disturb lives. He came back to honor Carter and reconnect with Kendall.

Amy’s secret was a doozy. When it was revealed (early in the book), I was surprised. What I wasn’t expecting was George’s reaction and what he said to Amy. I was stunned by his response. “Holy crap, son, calm down,” went through my mind. I did think that Kendall dealt well with Amy’s secret. I mean, what else could she do?

The romance between Kendall and Gabe seemed to happen overnight. I do want to point out that it wasn’t Instalove, though. The feelings that Kendall and Gabe had for each other had been simmering for years. All that simmering came to a boiling point and exploded.

The end of Small-Town Secrets was satisfying. I liked how Kendall and Gabe’s storyline ended. I was “eh” about Amy’s storyline. George rubbed me the wrong way. The author did leave another storyline (the one with the guest) open. I am curious to see what that goes.


I would give Small-Town Secrets an Adult rating. There is sex. There is mild language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Small-Town Secrets. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Bending the Rules (The Devereux Family: Book 3) by Margaret Watson

Bending the Rules (The Devereux Family Book 3) by [Watson, Margaret]

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of Publication: February 19th,2019

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Series: The Devereux Family

A Safe Place—Book 1: Review here

The Woman He Knows—Book 2: Review here

Bending the Rules—Book 3

Where you can find Bending the Rules: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The hardest thing is doing what’s right. Nathan Devereux’s parenting days are over. He raised his siblings, and now he’s ready to start living a life free of responsibility. After the year he’s had, he deserves it. But when the daughter he never knew existed and her way too tempting guardian, Emma Sloan, show up, his plans go out the window.

Nathan can’t ignore his daughter…or Emma. Yet having a relationship with them means giving up what he’s worked for. Worse, his past is sneaking up behind him and could threaten them all. He faces a choice he’s not sure he can make—or even wants to. Turn his back on Emma and his daughter? Or bend the rules to protect them? Either way, their future is at stake.


First Line:

Nathan Devereux scowled as he hung the handicapped placard from his rearview mirror.

Bending the Rules by Margaret Watson

My Review:

I was excited to read Bending the Rules, even if I thought that Nathan was a jerk in The Woman He Knows. I wanted to know how the author was going to change my opinion of him for the better. Oh boy, did she change my opinion of him. But the book still fell flat for me. I will explain why in my review.

The plot of Bending the Rules was an interesting one. Nathan had a hard year and was glad when everything was finally beginning to settle. He had worked hard at raising Frankie, Patrick, and Marco and deserved some time to himself. Then Nathan gets a phone call that shakes him to his core. He finds out that a drunken one night stand he had in college had a surprising result — a 13-year-old daughter whose mother died a few weeks before. Nathan wants to forge a relationship with his daughter. He also wants to form a relationship with his daughter’s guardian, Emma. But the drama from the past year rears its ugly head and Nathan is forced to make a choice. Does he turn his back on Emma and his daughter, or does he tell them what is going on?

As I mentioned above, I wasn’t a huge fan of Nathan in The Woman He Knows. His surly demeanor in that book did impact how I viewed him in this book. The first couple of chapters didn’t help either. But, after those early chapters, my view of him started to change. He dealt with learning that he had a daughter well. Once the DNA test came back positive, he did his best to try and bond with Harley. By the end of the book, I admired him. He faced his past head-on when trying to find answers for Harley. He dealt with Emma’s trust and jealousy issues well.

Emma drove me up a flipping wall. I understand that she was surprised and a little wary of Nathan, but she acted like a jerk for most of the book. Instead of asking him what was going on, at first, Emma assumed that something criminal was going on. She blew hot and cold with him the duration of her relationship. Also, Emma refused to let Harley watch the CD that her mother made for her. I get where she was coming from but still. It was wrong. I will admit that her antics in the book did affect my rating. I couldn’t connect to her at all.

I loved Harley. She was a typical 13-year-old. I did think that she adjusted well to having a father, uncles, and an aunt. Her snarkiness cracked me up. I laughed my butt off at some of the one-liners that she pulled on Marco. Having a 13-year-old myself, I found myself sympathizing with Nathan and Emma on a few occasions.

As much as I didn’t like Emma, I won’t deny that she and Nathan had some serious sexual chemistry. I liked that the author kept them from jumping into bed right away. But, once they did, the sex was explosive.

The end of the book was intense. While I didn’t agree with the choice that Nathan made, I understood why he did it. But at the same time, I didn’t agree with the decision that Emma made either. I loved it when things got ironed out, though. It made a perfect ending for the book. I am wondering if Marco is going to get a book? Please say, yes!!


I would give Bending the Rules an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Bending the Rules I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Woman He Knows (The Devereux Family: Book 2) by Margaret Watson

The Woman He Knows (The Devereux Family Book 2) by [Watson, Margaret]

4 Stars

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: February 19th, 2019

Series: Devereux Family

A Safe Place—Book 1: Review here

The Woman He Knows—Book 2

Bending the Rules—Book 3

Where you can find The Woman He Knows: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Darcy Gordon is hiding, watching for her past to catch up with her. So when her boss is injured in a suspicious accident, she’s certain it was meant for her. But instead of fleeing, as every instinct screams, guilt forces her to stay and help her boss’s brother run the restaurant where she works. 

There’s just one problem – Patrick Devereux is an FBI agent. His too-sharp eyes threaten to reveal all her secrets. Expose her for who she really is. She wants to lower her guard and let Patrick know her. But when he learns the truth, will he understand? Or will he arrest her? 


First Line:

Darcy stepped onto the small patio of Mama’s Place and stood in the shadows for a moment, watching.

The Woman He Knows by Margaret Watson

My Review:

I couldn’t wait to read The Woman He Knows. The blurb was what reeled me in. Plus, I wanted to read Darcy and Patrick’s love story. They had some serious chemistry in A Safe Place. I was curious to see what their story was going to be like. I wasn’t disappointed. The Woman He Knows more than delivered.

The plotline of The Woman He Knows was interesting. Darcy is on the run from her abusive ex-husband, who is also an ex-cop. Assuming another name, Darcy lives looking over her shoulder, waiting for her ex to track her down. Then her boss is injured in a hit and run accident and Darcy is convinced that it is her ex. When Patrick takes over managing Mama’s Place, Darcy needs to keep him at arm’s length. Patrick is an FBI agent, and Darcy has learned, through experience, that the police is not to be trusted. Darcy needs to let Patrick in. She needs to let him know her secrets. Because if she doesn’t, it could prove to be fatal to her.

I loved how the author showed how difficult it is for a woman to get out of an abusive relationship. The stalking and harassment were spot on. I also loved how the police will turn a blind eye to the abuse if it is one of their own committing it. I was not surprised that they didn’t do anything about it. Instead, they covered for their “brother” and acted like it didn’t happen. Even today, with domestic violence more out in the open, it happens. And it needs to change!!

I liked Darcy. I understood why she was so leary of Patrick. She committed felonies to disappear. She was terrified that if he found out, he would arrest her. I also understood her fighting her feelings for him. She felt that she didn’t deserve to have a relationship because of what I stated above. So, it was interesting to see her open up to Patrick about her past relationship. There was a point in the book where I wanted to hug her and say, “Tell him, honey. He understands more than you think he does.”

I couldn’t quite get a grasp on Patrick at first. I knew that he felt responsible for the death of his parents, which was awful because it was in no way his fault. But, by the middle of the book, I started to understand why he felt that way. I also liked that he was able to pick up that something was wrong with Nathan and Darcy. That’s when I started to love him. He was going to do anything and everything to find out what was going on with them. I wish more insight were given into his investigation into Nathan’s finances. By the end of the book, I was cheering him on.

Darcy and Patrick had OK chemistry. I wasn’t immediately struck by how much they wanted each other. Instead, I was more struck by Darcy trying to keep as far away from Patrick as possible. But, if the chemistry was OK, the sex was hot. It was so hot that if my Kindle could have steamed, it would have.

The end of The Woman He Knows was intense. My breath was held during Darcy’s trip, and I was praying for Patrick to turn up, which he did. He did something that I cheered. I also cheered when he stood down the other agent. Talk about taking my breath away. This was one of the better endings of a book that I have read to date.


I would give The Woman He Knows an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Woman He Knows I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Red Dawn Rising (The Four: Book 4) by Margaret Watson

Red Dawn Rising (The Four Book 4) by [Watson, Margaret]

4 Stars

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: July 9th, 2019

Genre: Paranormal, Romance

Series: The Four

The Third Eye—Book 1: review here

An Indigo Wind—Book 2: review here

Dark Matter—Book 3: review here

Red Dawn Rising—Book 4

Where you can find Red Dawn Rising: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Musician Cassidy Drake has no idea who she really is until a brutal attack on her mother reveals truths she never could have imagined. Finn Brody, the mysterious man she meets at the hospital, suspects Cassidy’s true nature when magic erupts around them. 

Cassidy and Finn are drawn into a battle neither of them want. But they are essential in the quest to stop the evil fae queen from conquering the human world. Joined with the rest of The Four, can they defeat an entity with vast, unimaginable power? Or will they be the first casualties in the coming epic battle for survival? 


First Line:

Niamh stood over Brody’s body, holding her blade.

Red Dawn Rising (The Four: Book 4) by Margaret Watson

My Review:

Red Dawn Rising was at the top of my must-read books for the second half of 2019. I was anticipating this book. I had so many questions from the previous books, and I was hoping that they would be answered in this one. Oh, boy, were they!!

The plotline of Red Dawn Rising was fast paced and engaging. It answered every single question that I had from the previous books, including who Finn was. There was zero lagging of the plot and no dropped storylines. I loved it!!!

Finn’s backstory was heartbreaking and surprising. I would have never figured out that he was a Fae prince. I also wouldn’t have figured out that he was Niamh’s nephew. Which made what happened at the beginning of the book even more heartbreaking. I loved how patient he was with Cassidy (she wasn’t easy to deal with). I loved him.

I wasn’t a fan of Cassidy for a considerable part of the book. Something about her rubbed me the wrong way. She left a bad taste in my mouth during the first few chapters of the book. She kept denying what was right in front of her face. Until she came face to face with Sloan. After that, she became more likable but still. I wanted to shake her and say, “Listen, girlfriend, these people have been through stuff and know things. Listen to them.” By the end of the book, though, she came through. More than came through!!

Finn and Cassidy had intense sexual chemistry and attraction. The author kept them at such a high-level of sexual attraction/chemistry that I was almost expecting them to combust when they finally had sex. Then she amped it back up. I loved that she made them wait until halfway through the book to have intercourse. The reason why it was interesting. Finn and Cassidy were melded. Let’s say that it was intense and magical. Of course, Niamh feels it, and of course, she sends out her assassin to deal with it.

Naimh was someone that I wouldn’t mess with in real life. She was scary. I mean, she killed her FAMILY because she felt that she was the rightful ruler. She was unhinged by the end of the book. I did feel bad that things had to go down the way they did. But it was the only way to stop her. She was insane.

The end of Red Dawn Rising was intense. The whole battle scene with Niamh was intense. It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. There was a death that I didn’t see coming. Talking about breaking my heart!! The epilogue was bittersweet. But it was fitting for the series.


I would give Red Dawn Rising an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Red Dawn Rising  I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**