WWW Wednesday: August 10th 2022

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:

  • We are getting ready for the first day of school. Backpacks and shoes were bought, and I went school cloth shopping for Miss R. We’re going shopping for Miss B and Mr. Z next weekend.
  • I can’t believe I am saying this, but we got another freaking cat. We went to the shelter and picked up a 10-week-old longhaired orange and white male kitten. Staying with the gangster theme for names, we named him Tony (after Tony Soprano, Vinne is after the actor who played Big Pussy in the Sopranos). He’s a spitfire who doesn’t like to be handled (we’re working on that).
  • On the reading front, I enjoy not reviewing books from NetGalley. To be honest, once I made the decision to cut the cord, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I am reviewing a book a week (well, two this week), and again, just love that I can read what I want when I am done reading the books I need to review.

So that’s the major things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s succeeded in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…

Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he returns home unexpectedly. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more? 


What I am currently reading:

In his semi-autobiographical novel, This Time Next Summer, Mikheyev weaves a tender tale about love and loss, one that is distinctly personal and yet universally human.

She was beautifully broken. And his everything.

Hurt and scarred by every man in her life, Jasmine had vowed to never love again. Then she meets Avgust, and her broken heart resumes beating.

A romantic idealist who measures love by his poetry output, Avgust had given up on finding that elusive once-in-a-lifetime kind of love he’d always dreamed of. But the moment he spies Jasmine in a coffee shop, he knows unequivocally that she is his Her—the woman who will change his life.

It was the perfect love story.

Until the secrets and betrayals of the past threaten to break them apart.

Will their love be strong enough to save Jasmine from her past, and Avgust from his future?

A Highland warrior battles to reclaim his birthright in the first of a new series filled with seduction, revenge, and soul-stirring passion…

They call him the Beast—a hardened mercenary whose heart seems as cold as his icy blue gaze. They do not know his true name: Niall Braewick, son of the Laird of Kincaid. It has been years since he escaped into the forest the night his father was murdered. Now he has returned, ablaze with a vengeful hunger. He will gain the MacClaren chief’s trust, gather his clan, and take back his lands. And take the MacClaren’s daughter as well…

Though he pulled her from the river, saving her life, Elspeth has been warned to keep her distance from her father’s hired warrior. He is a barbarian—a shame, as he is far more compelling than the lechers and fools competing for her dowry. Little does she know that, like the castle itself, she is a prize Niall intends to claim…but will he extract blood for blood and possess what is his, or will his enemy’s beautiful, innocent daughter tempt him to forsake his dream of conquest?


What books I think I’ll read next:

Zoe was still in high school when she saw her father shot dead by a classmate obsessed with her, and then still a kid witnessed the killer’s sentencing. A horrible tragedy, but now, thirteen years later, she’s thoroughly rebooted her life.

She’s the CEO of her own cyber security company, a celebrity in her field, and a speaker in high demand.

She’s just the kind of strong, self-reliant woman who can take care of herself in any situation.

Except the one she’s in.

She’s got a stalker.

And she already knows he’s a killer.

Given her background, Zoe knows instantly that she needs protection and she knows how to get it—her sister Mel’s the owner of Blackhawk Security.

But trust Mel to send Spence Flynn, the one agent Zoe can’t be alone with, but not because they don’t get along. It’s because attraction sizzles between the two of them like runaway electricity. And because they both know the last thing a body guard should do is get into a relationship with his principal.

It’s unethical and dangerous.

But how are they supposed to fight this thing? Spoiler: Good intentions suffer a knockout in the first round. And then, to the delight of the reader, the earth moves in the most delicious way.

Meanwhile, Zoe’s stalker is still sending her charms from a bracelet he stole from her thirteen years ago, the scariest being a heart he’s had engraved with both their names. Unnerving enough– and then he starts dropping off lunch for her, tailing her in a white Subaru, and trying to break into her condo.

Spence has his hands full in more than one way. And Zoe has a public appearance coming up. The perfect time for a stalker to strike.

The sweetness of first love…

Could a fiercely independent cop’s heart be stolen by the guy who makes her favorite doughnuts? Will a maid who used deceit to snare a mail-order husband get a dose of her own medicine? Can her handsome neighbor rescue a modern-day “princess” from a tenacious ex-boyfriend? Can two strangers in a rideshare be honest enough to fall in love for real? Can you remember your first love? How about your second? Third? Fourth?

Featuring the talents of Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Michael Di Gesu, Sylvia Ney, Katie Klein, Kim Elliott, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, and Sammi Spizziri. Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will touch your heart and rekindle lost feelings. Prepare to return to that first love…

“Where is your husband?”

Since waking up from the accident Dr Paige Hanson has been asked that question over and over. By the hospital staff, by her mother in law and by Government officials.

As she struggles to grasp the wisps of memory returning to her Paige learns that there’s more at stake than Leo’s whereabouts.

Turning towards the teachings of the one person she swore never to become she begins to realise that some questions are best left unanswered.

She doesn’t believe in fairy tales. He is married to his job. Maybe whiskey is the secret ingredient that will bring them together–and give true love a shot.

Wedding photographer Charlotte Linley loves her work –even though she hates weddings. Sure, she still holds a grudge after being left at the altar by her high-school sweetheart. But today Charlotte is just happy to have complete control over her career, which is flourishing. Especially since she joined forces with one of the three gorgeous owners of The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s hottest wedding venue.

Dean Troyer, bitter after the end of his own marriage, knows that Charlotte is the real deal–beautiful, talented, and successful. He may flirt with her every time she comes to The Stag, but Dean is determined to keep his professional distance…particularly now that she’s helping him with his own sister’s wedding. The only problem? The more time Dean spends with Charlotte, the deeper their connection grows. Is this a rom-com cliche’ or could it be that these two jaded souls in the wedding business have finally found their real-life happily ever after?

August 2022 TBR

It has been a minute since I have done one of these. Usually, I have a thousand and one books to put up, and it takes forever to read. But, I am pleased to announce that I don’t have many books (because of what I discussed here).

Also, I am looking to add a meme on Friday. I can’t remember where, but I saw someone doing one where they listed the countries they visited in books. If anyone knows who that blogger was or what blog the meme is linked to, please let me know!! Thank you in advance.

Anyway, here is my list!! Let me know if you have read or are planning on reading any of these books.


Am currently reading. So far, I love it!!

I am reading this in paperback. So far, very intriguing and has my attention

Also got this in paperback. Will probably be tandem reading it with another book on my Kindle.

I have been eagerly waiting for this book to be published. This series is fantastic, and I can’t wait to see the shenanigans that happen.

WWW Wednesday: August 3rd, 2022

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:

Here’s what has gone on since last week’s WWW Wednesday:

Well, it’s been over a month, and I have a ton to cover. So, here goes nothing.

  • Miss R had her tonsils and adenoids surgery on July 1st (which was a big part of why I went MIA). She had some complications during the surgery with her blood pressure. It was very high (a PA I know told me they should have canceled the surgery because of how high it was), and it had a problem coming down after the surgery. Because of that, her recovery was extended to 2 weeks and complete rest. Ever try keeping an active 8-year-old inactive? Yeah, it was as difficult as it sounds. But she made it through. Her throat healed, and she is back to her usual self.
  • BK got laid off in mid-July. We saw it coming (the company was downsizing because of lack of sales), but still, it sucked. But, as the old saying goes: when one door closes, another opens. He got a call 2 hours after being laid off and was offered a job where he used to work (the company he was at for 10 years). Of course, he took it and is super happy about it. The only sucky thing is that we won’t have insurance until October (I told the kids not to get sick until after October 1st…lol).
  • I am in therapy (due to PTSD) and starting a new therapy type called EMDR (click the link for details). My wonderful therapist and I are excited to try this. She (my therapist) even went to get certified so she could start this with me (and others).
  • I was in a huge reading slump which started when Miss R went in for her surgery. It got to the point where I didn’t even want to pick up my Kindle or read the paperbacks sent to me. Over the past couple of weeks, I had a big heart-to-heart with myself and decided to delete my NetGalley account (along with the ARCs). I had gotten overwhelmed with the number of books I had gotten from them. Also, I realized that almost all the books I had gotten from there were not from genres that I liked but were from more mainstream authors. I started this blog by reviewing indie authors and decided to take it back to its roots. So, for now on, I will be only reviewing books from author requests, my Want to Read shelf on Goodreads, and BookSirens.
  • One of my cats passed away during this time too. Her name was Skittles, and she was a long-haired diluted tabby. Even though she was mean to other cats, she was a sweetheart to people. We don’t know what happened. One day, she was doing her usual cat stuff, and the next, we woke up to a dead cat. She was only 5 1/2 when she passed.
  • Miss B was inconsolable after Skittles died. So, what did we do (and against my wishes)? We went to our county’s humane society and adopted a kitten (they were adopting cats and kittens out for $1 with no background check…smh). His name is Vinnie, and he is a terror. His paperwork put him at 10 weeks old. But when we took him to the vet (he had a cough, and I wanted an overall checkup), she said he was 8 weeks old. We think he is at least part Eygptian Mau. He has all the physical characteristics (including his eyes turning green) and many personality traits the breed exhibits. When I take him in for his 2nd set of kitten shots, I will ask my vet what she thinks.
  • I am gearing up for back to school. My kids go back on the 29th, and we have already started scaling back their bedtimes (they all go to bed around 9-930 and are asleep later). I am waiting for Miss R’s teacher assignment (they mail it), and Mr. Z has freshman orientation on the 23rd.

So that’s the major things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Nothing. I haven’t read a darn thing in over a month. I am going to fix that pretty shortly


What I am currently reading:

On a summer night in London, art teacher Eve Chapman finds herself in a hospital emergency room. She watches surgeons desperately operate on a young woman with a terrible head injury. But when the bandages are removed, Eve is horrified to find her own body on the operating table.

Trapped in a coma, Eve struggles to cope with the fact that no matter how hard she tries, her family and friends cannot see or hear her. But then she meets Luca Diaz, a handsome and comatose lawyer who can see her. He takes Eve under his wing and teaches her how to use her new abilities to help the living.

As the weeks pass, Eve struggles to find a way back to her body and to Nathan, the man she loves. But the more time she spends with Luca, the more she wonders if her old life is worth going back to at all.


What books I think I’ll read next:

A whisper of someone like her being born has been discussed for aeons by the gods. The question is, who is she, and where is she?
Meara lives an ordinary life with her eccentric grandmother and three siblings in a small Georgian house in Dublin. On her eighteenth birthday, her little sister is kidnapped by an incredibly powerful man, and her entire world turns upside down.
Long hidden family secrets tumble out, and supernatural beings suddenly surround her. However, she thinks she is a side character, the hero’s friend, and the heroine’s sister. After all, her nature is more girl-next-door than a tortured soul with ninja fighting skills.
Her only desire is to get her sister back and keep her safe but to do so; she must battle dangerous beings and reign in her treacherous heart which has begun to beat for her family’s sworn enemy, a gorgeous demigod.

Immerse yourself in complex romance and suspenseful serial-killer psychology that bend and break all expectations. Weaving together two innovative plots and completely unforgettable characters, The Killings Begin stands out as one of the most creative takes on storytelling in the last century. Don’t miss this thrilling debut to the Spectrum Series!

Gia Delgado flips her life upside down when she escapes from her arranged marriage and moves to Madrid. Finally, she can live the life she wants… if only it were that easy. When she realizes the lifestyle she craves is just out of reach, she enters into a contract with three complicated men. In exchange for an apartment and stipend, she’ll pretend to be their “no strings” wife, whether they want to display her in public or lead her to the bedroom. There are vital rules, though: They are all bound to secrecy, and no one is allowed to fall in love.

If you think you know what comes next, excuse me… you’re wrong.

Gia doesn’t know it yet, but someone sinister is destined to tear her life to shreds. From the outside, Tracey Lauch looks like the adopted son of a perfect high-society family. Who wouldn’t trust him? He works in the justice system, sits on his family’s art museum board, and even establishes a foster home to keep siblings together. These appearances mean nothing. As he tries to cope with his abandonment trauma, a reconnection to his past triggers him, and he loses control with deadly consequences. Now a serial killer, Tracey panics. Fleeing to Europe, he hopes that a change of venue will quell his murderous desires. Can he heal his past, or will his anger and pain enslave him forever?

Dive into an unpredictable world of secrets, murder, and psychological thrills unlike any other.

The Killings Begin was previously published as Murder in Zaporozhye.

In his semi-autobiographical novel, This Time Next Summer, Mikheyev weaves a tender tale about love and loss, one that is distinctly personal and yet universally human.

She was beautifully broken. And his everything.

Hurt and scarred by every man in her life, Jasmine had vowed to never love again. Then she meets Avgust, and her broken heart resumes beating.

A romantic idealist who measures love by his poetry output, Avgust had given up on finding that elusive once-in-a-lifetime kind of love he’d always dreamed of. But the moment he spies Jasmine in a coffee shop, he knows unequivocally that she is his Her—the woman who will change his life.

It was the perfect love story.

Until the secrets and betrayals of the past threaten to break them apart.

Will their love be strong enough to save Jasmine from her past, and Avgust from his future?

Zoe was still in high school when she saw her father shot dead by a classmate obsessed with her, and then still a kid, witnessed the killer’s sentencing. A horrible tragedy, but now, thirteen years later, she’s thoroughly rebooted her life.

She’s the CEO of her own cyber security company, a celebrity in her field, and a speaker in high demand.

She’s just the kind of strong, self-reliant woman who can take care of herself in any situation.

Except the one she’s in.

She’s got a stalker.

And she already knows he’s a killer.

Given her background, Zoe knows instantly that she needs protection and she knows how to get it—her sister Mel’s the owner of Blackhawk Security.

But trust Mel to send Spence Flynn, the one agent Zoe can’t be alone with, but not because they don’t get along. It’s because attraction sizzles between the two of them like runaway electricity. And because they both know the last thing a body guard should do is get into a relationship with his principal.

It’s unethical and dangerous.

But how are they supposed to fight this thing? Spoiler: Good intentions suffer a knockout in the first round. And then, to the delight of the reader, the earth moves in the most delicious way.

Meanwhile, Zoe’s stalker is still sending her charms from a bracelet he stole from her thirteen years ago, the scariest being a heart he’s had engraved with both their names. Unnerving enough– and then he starts dropping off lunch for her, tailing her in a white Subaru, and trying to break into her condo.

Spence has his hands full in more than one way. And Zoe has a public appearance coming up. The perfect time for a stalker to strike.

With One Breath (Blackhawk Security: Book 1) by Margaret Watson

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: March 1st, 2022

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Series: Blackhawk Security

With One Breath—Book 1

Once Removed—Book 2 (review here)

Once Burned—Book 3 (review here)

Fool Me Once—Book 4 (review here)

Just This Once—Book 5 (review here)

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two against the Taliban, two wildly different agendas — both crazy risky!

Laila’s not the type of woman who needs rescuing. Except for a tiny rule-breaking penchant, she’s a model CIA agent—smart, resourceful, brave, and very very determined.. But right now she’s in a tight situation—in more than one way. She’s hiding from the Taliban in a network of pitch-dark interlocking caves, so narrow a cat could barely thread its way through them. A cat or an agent trained for it.

And that would be Jase, her designated rescuer.

Once her CIA training agent, he’s the last man she’d get involved with, even though he’s the hottest guy she’s ever met. He’s bossy. Intimidating. Way too alpha. And a strict rule follower.

All traits on her ‘no fly’ list.

Set against the tense U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, this rapid-fire tale begins with electrifying action, moves on to fast-flying sparks, and never lets up. Laila’s on the way to Kabul to leave the country, where she also teaches a class of village girls, when her driver betrays her. She outwits him, but it’s only a matter of time till the Taliban track her down.

She’s never been so glad to see Jase.

Romance should be the last thing on either’s mind as they frantically crawl and slither their way through the claustrophobic caves, desperate to find an exit. Still, infatuation sparks.

And smolders.

But neither can afford to take their eyes off their own goals. Jase’s is simple–to rejoin his team and deliver Laila safely to Kabul. But Laila has a more ambitious agenda, one that will require breaking rules, disobeying orders, and endangering the whole team.


First Line:

Laila’s arms ached as she held the heavy M4A1 carbine in front of her.

with one breath by margaret watson

I committed the one thing that I have told people not to do—read books out of order if they are in a series. In my defense, the author restructured the series and bumped this book up to the first book in the series. So the book I thought I was reading last ended up being the first book in the series. It threw me for a loop but didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

With One Breath had an exciting plotline. Laila is a civilian CIA agent who goes undercover in a remote village to gather information on the Taliban. Jase was Laila’s trainer in Kabul, and he is part of an extraction team that is supposed to get Laila and leave after intel tells them that she is in immediate danger. Circumstances strand Laila and Jase in caves outside a Taliban arms depot. Fighting a red hot attraction, Laila and Jase must work together to avoid getting captured by the Taliban. But Laila also has another plan that needs to be set in motion once they get out. She wants to move her girl students and their families to the embassy in Kabul and save them from the Taliban. Will Laila and Jase get out of the caves? Will they rescue the girls and their families? And will they give in to their attraction?

With One Breath is the first book in the Blackhawk Security series. Since it is the first book, readers can read it as a standalone.

If you are claustrophobic and do not do well reading about people being trapped in caves, I highly suggest not reading this book. A good part of this book takes place in the caves where Laila and Jase are hiding. I am not claustrophobic, and those scenes got my anxiety going through the roof.

I liked Laila and loved her determination. The only thing that I didn’t even remotely like about her was that she trusted too quickly. She was led into a Taliban trap by the older brother of a girl she taught in school. Then, she took him with her during her rescue of those same girls. I get why she did it but still. Other than that, she rocked. I don’t know how she dealt with being in those caves (and traveling the passages!!) without having a breakdown.

I also liked Jase. I did think he was a little too straight-laced, but when the author gave his backstory, I understood why. I liked how he tried to keep it professional with Laila and kept his cool under pressure. Even though he didn’t like Laila’s plan, he went along with it. The only thing I didn’t like was that he called Lailabae.” I made my feelings clear in a previous review. Other than that, I thought he was the perfect Alpha male.

The suspense angle of the book was well written. I loved the cat and mouse game Jase and Laila played with the Taliban. Those scenes in the cave and the scenes that involved them escaping had me on the edge of my seat. I was also kept on edge with the plan to get the girls and their families out to Kabul and then out of the country. There were points during those scenes that I did wonder how it was going to go. And of course, what happened to Jase at the airport had me screaming!!

The romance angle of the book was also just as well written. There is no InstaLove involved. Instead, Laila and Jase’s relationship was allowed to blossom naturally. Of course, being in a high-stress situation did move it along, but it wasn’t Instalove. I also liked that the relationship continued to progress after Kabul and that it showed that being in love wasn’t perfect. It was messy, and some things could derail it if allowed. I loved it!!!

Jase and Laila had insane chemistry. The author kept the sexual tension up for most of the book before allowing them to have sex. That was the only time they had it, and I loved it. Not having sex every other page allowed me to focus on the storylines.

The end of With One Breath was terrific!! Laila and Jase fought tooth and nail for their happiness, and I cheered with how they ended up. I also loved that the author gave updates on the girls and their families.

I would recommend With One Breath to anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and sex.

Just This Once (Blackhawk Security: Book 5) by Margaret Watson

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: July 31st, 2021

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

Series: Blackhawk Security

With One Breath—Book 1

Once Removed—Book 2 (review here)

Once Burned—Book 3 (review here)

Fool Me Once—Book 4 (review here)

Just This Once—Book 5

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sierra Baker has no idea she’s in danger – until a frightening and unsettling traffic stop late one night. When Cody Parker shows up the next day and announces he’s her bodyguard, she’s even more terrified. Is Parker on the level? Or is this the shadowy stranger who stopped her car the night before?

Her partner Alex assures Sierra the danger is real – the Russian mob is after her. Parker has been sent to protect her. But she and Cody are oil and water. Complete opposites who agree on nothing. Except for their irresistible attraction to each other.


First Line:

Sierra’s shoulders relaxed as she turned her car onto the stretch of road winding through Iverson Woods Forest Preserve near Evanston.

just this once margaret watson

I have been in the mood to read contemporary romance lately. I had been reading some books with a heavy subject matter, and I needed something that was the opposite. So, when I got the invite to read/review Margaret Watson’s romances, I jumped on it. I have always enjoyed her book and figured that this book would be a perfect way to decompress. I was right!! I enjoyed reading Just This Once.

Just This Once is book 5 in the Blackhawk Security series. Readers can read this book as a standalone. But, I would highly recommend reading the previous four books to get the background behind some of the characters mentioned in the book.

Just This Once had an exciting plotline. The Russian bratva is targeting Sierra. They think she has the information that they were going after Alex (in book 4). Cody is a bodyguard for Blackhawk Security and was hired to guard Sierra until the threat was over. What they weren’t expecting was the instant attraction and heat between them. But secrets are being held, which could potentially kill Sierra and her family. Can Cody protect her from the bratva? And will he realize that what he and Sierra have is worth keeping?

I loved Sierra in this book. She was independent and knew what she wanted. She wasn’t afraid to challenge Cody on certain things. But she was also an enigma. I did get a little irritated with her past being such a secret. By the middle of the book, I was ready for her to spill the beans to Cody. But even when it was revealed, I was still left wondering what her parents did that made them targets. I am hoping that it will be shown in upcoming books. Other than that, I loved her!!

Cody was almost too alpha male for me. That was the only thing that I didn’t like about him. That and the fact that he called Sierrabae” all the time. I hate that word and think it is ridiculous for teens/early 20’s to say it, but having a character who is in his 30’s saying it made me go, “Bleh.” I will say that he was a great bodyguard, trying to keep it professional. I loved seeing his struggle to keep his feelings for Sierra at bay while trying to protect her from the Russians.

The suspense angle of the book was terrific. That part of the plotline continued from book 4 with the bratva. Alex’s ex-husband did make a small appearance at the beginning of the book, and my thought process was “Freaking Jerry.” If you have read book 4, you understand why I thought that. I also liked that the author continued the minor plotline of the police mole, and I loved how she wrapped it up.

The romance was just as good. I will warn everyone that there is InstaLove involved. Sierra and Cody were together for a very intense week. They were being chased by the mob and were holed up in a safe house (not a SAFE house but a house that was fortified and secure). I wasn’t surprised that the romance moved that fast.

The chemistry between Sierra and Cody was unbelievable. I kept waiting for them to break down and have sex. But, surprisingly, they only had sex twice. I loved that the author did that, though. It kept my attention on their romance instead of me skimming the pages just to read the sex scenes.

The end of Just This Once was interesting. I wasn’t surprised at what happened after Cody caught the mole. Police close ranks around their own. I was also surprised at Sierra telling Cody her real name. I have to say; it didn’t fit her. Of course, they get their HEA, but I wondered about that for a couple of chapters.

I would recommend Just This Once to anyone over 21. There is graphic sex, language, and violence.

WWW Wednesday: March 30th, 2022

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:

Nothing too much has been going on here. I’m finally feeling better. Yay!! But now, I have allergies and they suck. The kids are feeling better too. But they can’t miss any more school. They have all missed a lot due to them being sick.

Miss R is going to an ENT next week for the second step in her sleep apnea/PLMD diagnosis. Her sleep study Dr wants an ENT to check and see if her adenoids are enlarged. If they are, she gets them removed and a sleep study to see if she still has sleep apnea. If not, then we get a CPAP machine for her. I am hoping that it’s the first case. I have a feeling that getting her to wear a mask to sleep is going to be difficult.

Mr. Z was worried that he missed out on meeting with the guidance counselor to pick out the classes for next year. He had been out all the week before and she had sent an email stating that she would be there that week. Well, I guess she wasn’t. I got an email saying that she would be at the school next week. So, he’ll get his classes. I can’t wait to see if he’s going to be in any honors classes.

Miss B had a very exciting week last week. She had signed up for her junior year classes and was informed that she qualified to earn college credits for certain classes. I had to look it up and basically, she gets to earn college credits as she does her high school classes. Then she is able to switch those credits to any state-run college and they apply to her major. So, basically, she will be halfway to her Associate’s degree by the time she graduates HS. On top of that, she has to take her Criminal Justice classes. She is taking: Criminal Law, Ethics, Court Procedures, and Introduction to Criminal Justice (which I think is lumped in with Criminal Law). She was also pulled out of class yesterday and told that she got “Most Likely to Make Someone Smile” in the yearbook for sophomore year. She was thrilled. Two of her friends also got awards too (she couldn’t remember what for).

Reading

I am doing OK with my reading. I have gotten stuck on my current book. I hate it when that happens and I am hoping to have it finished tonight (or today!!). I have 2 books that I want to have finished and reviewed by Friday. Then I need to start on my NetGalley backlog (bleh).

Watching:

I finished Curon and wasn’t pleased with how it ended. Right now, I am watching The Chosen One on Netflix. It is a paranormal thriller set in the Pantanal in Brazil. I also have been watching Pieces of Her (American drama), and Invisible City (paranormal set in Brazil) on Netflix.

So, that the catch up with me. As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and what you have thought about them.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

A ghost spirit of dark’s universe falls in love with a ghost spirit of light’s universe, and while they cannot meet, for they wander around separate realms and spacetimes, they live their love through a secret and sacred interaction.

What I am currently reading:

Welcome to Paradise. Daniel’s alchemy has hurtled them 112 years into the future where a mysterious tree-shaped structure rises into the Moroccan sky. Generations have passed, but a culture grounded in ancient Yoruba traditions has sprung up.

Peri must choose between trusting the friendly strangers she meets and following Ayoub, the terrorist-turned-pirate, into the unknown. She fights to keep her family together, but her faith is shaken. Nothing is as it seems.

Caught between two warring factions, the YUS with brain chips and the Natural Resistance Force, Peri must search within herself to discover what truly makes life worth living. How much is she willing to sacrifice for paradise?

What books I think I’ll read next:

Sierra Baker has no idea she’s in danger – until a frightening and unsettling traffic stop late one night. When Cody Parker shows up the next day and announces he’s her bodyguard, she’s even more terrified. Is Parker on the level? Or is this the shadowy stranger who stopped her car the night before?

Her partner Alex assures Sierra the danger is real – the Russian mob is after her. Parker has been sent to protect her. But she and Cody are oil and water. Complete opposites who agree on nothing. Except for their irresistible attraction to each other.
Two against the Taliban, two wildly different agendas — both crazy risky!

Laila’s not the type of woman who needs rescuing. Except for a tiny rule-breaking penchant, she’s a model CIA agent—smart, resourceful, brave, and very very determined.. But right now she’s in a tight situation—in more than one way. She’s hiding from the Taliban in a network of pitch-dark interlocking caves, so narrow a cat could barely thread its way through them. A cat or an agent trained for it.

And that would be Jase, her designated rescuer.

Once her CIA training agent, he’s the last man she’d get involved with, even though he’s the hottest guy she’s ever met. He’s bossy. Intimidating. Way too alpha. And a strict rule follower.

All traits on her ‘no fly’ list.

Set against the tense U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, this rapid-fire tale begins with electrifying action, moves on to fast-flying sparks, and never lets up. Laila’s on the way to Kabul to leave the country, where she also teaches a class of village girls, when her driver betrays her. She outwits him, but it’s only a matter of time till the Taliban track her down.

She’s never been so glad to see Jase.

Romance should be the last thing on either’s mind as they frantically crawl and slither their way through the claustrophobic caves, desperate to find an exit. Still, infatuation sparks.

And smolders.

But neither can afford to take their eyes off their own goals. Jase’s is simple–to rejoin his team and deliver Laila safely to Kabul. But Laila has a more ambitious
agenda, one that will require breaking rules, disobeying orders, and endangering the whole team.
Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does.

When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.

Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.
Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.

Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.

When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
Inspired by a true story, this exciting debut explores a mystery about missing girls: When a girl goes missing, does she become the people others imagine her to be?

On December 1, 1946, Paula Jean Welden put on a bright red parka, left her Bennington College dorm for a hike, and vanished into the thin mountain air. Paula Jean’s disappearance captivated the post-war nation, leading to news articles, false sightings, rumors, psychic visions, and a short story by Shirley Jackson. Inspired by this unsolved mystery, quantum girl theory asks: does a missing girl become the person—or even the people—others imagine her to be? Or was she already someone else entirely?

At the center of this brilliant jigsaw puzzle of a novel is Paula Jean herself, now known as Mary Garrett, a clairvoyant with a concealed past, hustling for reward money by searching for missing girls. In 1961, a poster about a missing girl lures Mary to a town in the Jim Crow south, where she discovers that it’s not just one white girl who’s disappeared; two Black girls have vanished as well. With everyone from the white girl’s mother to the local sheriff resenting her presence in town, Mary can’t trust anyone. And then there are the strange visions that come to Mary, a phenomenon she calls “the sight”. As stories appear from other lives Paula Jean might have lived—a circus showgirl hiding from her past; a literary forger on the verge of discovery; a McCarthy–era informant in love with a woman she meets in a Communist cell—a reader may be prompted to ask whether Mary herself can be trusted.

Beautifully written, provocative, and original, Quantum Girl Theory is both a mesmerizing mystery and a startling thought-experiment about people and girls, asking whose disappearances—whose lives—matter, even as it explores the ways we may be haunted by the lives we did not lead. Or did we?
He doesn’t believe in love…

Traveling nurse Janie Atwood has come to Cold River to uncover old family secrets and maybe, if she’s lucky, find a new home. That the gorgeous, glowering sheriff next door thinks her caring for his elderly neighbor is a nefarious scheme is a bonus. Having never been anything but a good girl, Janie finds Zack Kittredge’s simmering suspicion an excellent reason to try being a little dangerous instead…

She doesn’t believe in squandering it…

Sheriff Zack Kittredge is okay with being… intense. He takes his loner status as seriously as he takes his responsibilities to protect Cold River. And he thinks cheerful Janie might be a threat to the town. But the more he gets to know her, the more he faces the truth―she’s brighter than sunshine and he’s like a moth to her flame. When Janie suggests he could use a few charm school lessons, he surprises them both by accepting. He doesn’t need help. But it’s clear he might need her…

Because the only thing hotter than the summer sun in the Rockies is the forbidden passion that burns between them…

WWW Wednesday: March 23rd 2022

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:

I know that it has been a month since I last did a WWW Wednesday. My excuse: I got super busy and for some reason, everything seemed to happen on a Tuesday and Wednesday. Crazy, right!!

Everyone in my family got sick with this awful cold that is going around. Now, I know it’s a cold because I covid tested Miss R and Mr. Z when they got it and each time it was negative. I have it right now and I feel like a truck ran me over. Miss B also got a nasty stomach bug that is making the rounds plus the cold. Fun times in my household.

Miss R is doing well. She is still having issues with her bully at school. Last week, Miss R dropped her chapstick and the little girl picked it up, used it, and then told the other kids that Miss R took it from her. Then she started calling her names. Miss R was in tears when I picked her up from school. Then I reminded her that she is getting over a cold and her germs are all over that chapstick, and now that little girl will be getting her cold. It made her feel better, but still.

Mr. Z got into the high school that he wanted. The wonderful thing about living in this area is that we have an option of 3 additional high schools to apply to if they don’t want to go to the city-run high school. You do have to apply to get into them. The school Mr. Z got into only takes 75 kids out of the whole county and the other 2 take 100 kids. If you don’t get accepted, you get put on a waiting list and will attend your local high school. He was thrilled to get in (he’s taking the computer programming academy). I also think he’s thrilled about the later start and finish times (school starts at 9 am and ends at 4 pm).

Miss R is doing well. We do have to work on her driving. She has a level 1 provincial license and needs 60 hours to move up to level 2. She has 4….lol. I am terrified to drive with her (she drifts and brakes too much) and BK is working a ton. Guess I am going to have to suck it up and take her…lol.

Reading

I am actually doing pretty well with my reading. I have caught up with all of my February backlogs. I do have 4 indie author books to read before the end of the month, but that should be a piece of cake. I am also caught up on reviews (this never happens). Having BK traveling for work again has helped me out on that end….haha.

Watching:

I have been watching a lot of foreign supernatural shows. I just finished Curon (an Austrian/Italian TV series) and am watching Dark (a German TV series) on Netflix. I am also watching Fringe on Paramount Plus and The Stand on HBO Max.

So, that the catch up with me. As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and what you have thought about them.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

An impossible crime. A detective on the edge of madness. The future of time travel at stake.

January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder.

Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting to catch their “flights” to the past.

Or where proximity to the timeport makes the clocks run backward on occasion—and, rumor has it, allows ghosts to stroll the halls.

None of that compares to the corpse in room 526. The one that seems to be both there and not there. The one that somehow only January can see.

On top of that, some very important new guests have just checked in. Because the U.S. government is about to privatize time-travel technology—and the world’s most powerful people are on hand to stake their claims.

January is sure the timing isn’t a coincidence. Neither are those “accidents” that start stalking their bidders.

There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. A reason why she’s the only one who can catch a killer who’s operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once.

But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and as her past, present, and future collide, she finds herself confronting not just the hotel’s dark secrets but her own.

What I am currently reading:

A heartless psychopath with size 16 shoes, nursing home hookers and an irreverent Las Vegas homicide detective with a gambling habit set the tone for this off-beat tale of revenge and retribution.

Blackjack addict Frank Savic is deeply in debt and facing family problems when he’s asked to delay his retirement to catch a vigilante killer who murders other murderers in a manner the veteran cop has never seen.

While dead bodies stack up in quick succession, the motorcycle-riding policeman also finds himself reluctantly involved with a desperate mother who will do anything to get justice for her dead son.

Savic, his investigation complicated by a suspected FBI coverup and a prison bribery scandal, is unaware that the murderer might be the solution to his own financial and domestic dilemma.

Add a vengeful killer who seeks justice for his own unbearable loss and you have a teasing psychological thriller that blurs the line between
good and evil and where surgical bone saws and spiders are just tools of the trade.

Yes, there are spiders.

What books I think I’ll read next:

A ghost spirit of dark’s universe falls in love with a ghost spirit of light’s universe, and while they cannot meet, for they wander around separate realms and spacetimes, they live their love through a secret and sacred interaction.
Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does.

When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.

Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.
Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.

Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.

When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
On December 1, 1946, Paula Jean Welden put on a bright red parka, left her Bennington College dorm for a hike, and vanished into the thin mountain air. Paula Jean’s disappearance captivated the post-war nation, leading to news articles, false sightings, rumors, psychic visions, and a short story by Shirley Jackson. Inspired by this unsolved mystery, quantum girl theory asks: does a missing girl become the person—or even the people—others imagine her to be? Or was she already someone else entirely?

At the center of this brilliant jigsaw puzzle of a novel is Paula Jean herself, now known as Mary Garrett, a clairvoyant with a concealed past, hustling for reward money by searching for missing girls. In 1961, a poster about a missing girl lures Mary to a town in the Jim Crow south, where she discovers that it’s not just one white girl who’s disappeared; two Black girls have vanished as well. With everyone from the white girl’s mother to the local sheriff resenting her presence in town, Mary can’t trust anyone. And then there are the strange visions that come to Mary, a phenomenon she calls “the sight”. As stories appear from other lives Paula Jean might have lived—a circus showgirl hiding from her past; a literary forger on the verge of discovery; a McCarthy–era informant in love with a woman she meets in a Communist cell—a reader may be prompted to ask whether Mary herself can be trusted.

Beautifully written, provocative, and original, Quantum Girl Theory is both a mesmerizing mystery and a startling thought-experiment about people and girls, asking whose disappearances—whose lives—matter, even as it explores the ways we may be haunted by the lives we did not lead. Or did we?
Welcome to Paradise. Daniel’s alchemy has hurtled them 112 years into the future where a mysterious tree-shaped structure rises into the Moroccan sky. Generations have passed, but a culture grounded in ancient Yoruba traditions has sprung up.

Peri must choose between trusting the friendly strangers she meets and following Ayoub, the terrorist-turned-pirate, into the unknown. She fights to keep her family together, but her faith is shaken. Nothing is as it seems.

Caught between two warring factions, the YUS with brain chips and the Natural Resistance Force, Peri must search within herself to discover what truly makes life worth living. How much is she willing to sacrifice for paradise?
He doesn’t believe in love…

Traveling nurse Janie Atwood has come to Cold River to uncover old family secrets and maybe, if she’s lucky, find a new home. That the gorgeous, glowering sheriff next door thinks her caring for his elderly neighbor is a nefarious scheme is a bonus. Having never been anything but a good girl, Janie finds Zack Kittredge’s simmering suspicion an excellent reason to try being a little dangerous instead…

She doesn’t believe in squandering it…

Sheriff Zack Kittredge is okay with being… intense. He takes his loner status as seriously as he takes his responsibilities to protect Cold River. And he thinks cheerful Janie might be a threat to the town. But the more he gets to know her, the more he faces the truth―she’s brighter than sunshine and he’s like a moth to her flame. When Janie suggests he could use a few charm school lessons, he surprises them both by accepting. He doesn’t need help. But it’s clear he might need her…

Because the only thing hotter than the summer sun in the Rockies is the forbidden passion that burns between them…
Sierra Baker has no idea she’s in danger – until a frightening and unsettling traffic stop late one night. When Cody Parker shows up the next day and announces he’s her bodyguard, she’s even more terrified. Is Parker on the level? Or is this the shadowy stranger who stopped her car the night before?

Her partner Alex assures Sierra the danger is real – the Russian mob is after her. Parker has been sent to protect her. But she and Cody are oil and water. Complete opposites who agree on nothing. Except for their irresistible attraction to each other.
Two against the Taliban, two wildly different agendas — both crazy risky!

Laila’s not the type of woman who needs rescuing. Except for a tiny rule-breaking penchant, she’s a model CIA agent—smart, resourceful, brave, and very very determined.. But right now she’s in a tight situation—in more than one way. She’s hiding from the Taliban in a network of pitch-dark interlocking caves, so narrow a cat could barely thread its way through them. A cat or an agent trained for it.

And that would be Jase, her designated rescuer.

Once her CIA training agent, he’s the last man she’d get involved with, even though he’s the hottest guy she’s ever met. He’s bossy. Intimidating. Way too alpha. And a strict rule follower.

All traits on her ‘no fly’ list.

Set against the tense U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, this rapid-fire tale begins with electrifying action, moves on to fast-flying sparks, and never lets up. Laila’s on the way to Kabul to leave the country, where she also teaches a class of village girls, when her driver betrays her. She outwits him, but it’s only a matter of time till the Taliban track her down.

She’s never been so glad to see Jase.

Romance should be the last thing on either’s mind as they frantically crawl and slither their way through the claustrophobic caves, desperate to find an exit. Still, infatuation sparks.

And smolders.

But neither can afford to take their eyes off their own goals. Jase’s is simple–to rejoin his team and deliver Laila safely to Kabul. But Laila has a more ambitious agenda, one that will require breaking rules, disobeying orders, and endangering the whole team.

Stocking the Shelves: February 27th through March 5th

Welcome to Stocking the Shelves. Every Saturday, I will be posting what books I got this week. Stocking the Shelves is hosted by Reading Reality. So, here is my list. Let me know if you have read any of these and what you thought!!


Indie Authors/Publishers

Sierra Baker has no idea she’s in danger – until a frightening and unsettling traffic stop late one night. When Cody Parker shows up the next day and announces he’s her bodyguard, she’s even more terrified. Is Parker on the level? Or is this the shadowy stranger who stopped her car the night before?

Her partner Alex assures Sierra the danger is real – the Russian mob is after her. Parker has been sent to protect her. But she and Cody are oil and water. Complete opposites who agree on nothing. Except for their irresistible attraction to each other.
Two against the Taliban, two wildly different agendas — both crazy risky!

Laila’s not the type of woman who needs rescuing. Except for a tiny rule-breaking penchant, she’s a model CIA agent—smart, resourceful, brave, and very very determined.. But right now she’s in a tight situation—in more than one way. She’s hiding from the Taliban in a network of pitch-dark interlocking caves, so narrow a cat could barely thread its way through them. A cat or an agent trained for it.

And that would be Jase, her designated rescuer.

Once her CIA training agent, he’s the last man she’d get involved with, even though he’s the hottest guy she’s ever met. He’s bossy. Intimidating. Way too alpha. And a strict rule follower.

All traits on her ‘no fly’ list.

Set against the tense U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, this rapid-fire tale begins with electrifying action, moves on to fast-flying sparks, and never lets up. Laila’s on the way to Kabul to leave the country, where she also teaches a class of village girls, when her driver betrays her. She outwits him, but it’s only a matter of time till the Taliban track her down.

She’s never been so glad to see Jase.

Romance should be the last thing on either’s mind as they frantically crawl and slither their way through the claustrophobic caves, desperate to find an exit. Still, infatuation sparks.


And smolders.

But neither can afford to take their eyes off their own goals. Jase’s is simple–to rejoin his team and deliver Laila safely to Kabul. But Laila has a more ambitious agenda, one that will require breaking rules, disobeying orders, and endangering the whole team.

The Paradise Tree by R.A. Denny (not on Goodreads yet)

Psychotherapist Emma-Jane Glass has prioritized work over leisure for far too long. She does whatever it takes to help her clients, and it’s bordering on professional obsession. When she publishes a controversial article about unstable mothers murdering their children, an anonymous letter arrives on her doorstep:

I will expose you.
Then, I will mutilate you…
Wait for me.

After she is abducted into the night, Doctor Glass finds herself at the mercy of a dangerous sociopath. But being a relentless doctor of the mind, she feels an urge to help her fragile captor, even if it might shatter her sanity-and her life. It becomes a game of survival, and only one mind can win.


For fans of deeply layered thrillers by Ruth Ware, Tana French, and Alex Michaelides comes the newest voice in psychological fiction.

March 2022 TBR

March is the month of spring, Daylight Savings, and St. Patrick’s Day (which is also my brother’s birthday).

I plan on doing a lot of reading this month. I need to catch up on my NetGalley TBR (which is huge….39 books).

So, here’s my list. Please let me know if you have read or are reading any of these books!!


February backlog:

A biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stopping tour-de-force about powerful women, angry men, and all the ways in which girls fight against the forces that try to silence them.

There’s something out there that’s killing. Known only as The Cur, he leaves no traces, save for the torn bodies of girls, on the verge of becoming women, who are known as trouble-makers; those who refuse to conform, to know their place. Girls who don’t know when to shut up.


2019: Thirteen-year-old Lila Sawyer has secrets she can’t share with anyone. Not the school psychologist she’s seeing. Not her father, who has a new wife, and a new baby. And not her mother—the infamous Caroline Sawyer, a unique artist whose eerie sculptures, made from bent twigs and crimped leaves, have made her a local celebrity. But soon Lila feels haunted from within, terrorized by a delicious evil that shows her how to find her voice—until she is punished for using it.

2004: Caroline Sawyer hears dogs everywhere. Snarling, barking, teeth snapping that no one else seems to notice. At first, she blames the phantom sounds on her insomnia and her acute stress in caring for her ailing father. But then the delusions begin to take shape—both in her waking hours, and in the violent, visceral sculptures she creates while in a trance-like state. Her fiancé is convinced she needs help. Her new psychiatrist waves her “problem” away with pills. But Caroline’s past is a dark cellar, filled with repressed memories and a lurking horror that the men around her can’t understand.


As past demons become a present threat, both Caroline and Lila must chase the source of this unrelenting, oppressive power to its malignant core. Brilliantly paced, unsettling to the bone, and unapologetically fierce, Such a Pretty Smile is a powerful allegory for what it can mean to be a woman, and an untamed rallying cry for anyone ever told to sit down, shut up, and smile pretty.
A mysterious plague that causes random bouts of violence is sweeping the nation. Now three generations of women must navigate their chilling new reality in this moving exploration of identity, cycles of abuse, and hope.

Chelsea Martin appears to be the perfect housewife: married to her high school sweetheart, the mother of two daughters, keeper of an immaculate home.


But Chelsea’s husband has turned their home into a prison; he has been abusing her for years, cutting off her independence, autonomy, and support. She has nowhere to turn, not even to her narcissistic mother, Patricia, who is more concerned with maintaining the appearance of an ideal family than she is with her daughter’s actual well-being. And Chelsea is worried that her daughters will be trapped just as she is–until a mysterious illness sweeps the nation.

Known as The Violence, this illness causes the infected to experience sudden, explosive bouts of animalistic rage and attack anyone in their path. But for Chelsea, the chaos and confusion the virus causes is an opportunity–and inspires a plan to liberate herself from her abuser.
1866. In a coastal village in southern England, Nell picks violets for a living. Set apart by her community because of the birthmarks that speckle her skin, Nell’s world is her beloved brother and devotion to the sea.

But when Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders arrives in the village, Nell is kidnapped. Her father has sold her, promising Jasper Jupiter his very own leopard girl. It is the greatest betrayal of Nell’s life, but as her fame grows, and she finds friendship with the other performers and Jasper’s gentle brother Toby, she begins to wonder if joining the show is the best thing that has ever happened to her.

In London, newspapers describe Nell as the eighth wonder of the world. Figurines are cast in her image, and crowds rush to watch her soar through the air. But who gets to tell Nell’s story? What happens when her fame threatens to eclipse that of the showman who bought her? And as she falls in love with Toby, can he detach himself from his past and the terrible secret that binds him to his brother?

Moving from the pleasure gardens of Victorian London to the battle-scarred plains of the Crimea, Circus of Wonders is an astonishing story about power and ownership, fame and the threat of invisibility.
The past comes back to haunt psychologist Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis when they investigate a grisly double homicide and uncover an even more unspeakable motive in this riveting thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

Los Angeles is a city of sunlight, celebrity, and possibility. The L.A. often experienced by Homicide Lt. Detective Milo Sturgis and psychologist Alex Delaware, is a city of the dead.

Early one morning, the two of them find themselves in a neighborhood of pretty houses, pretty cars, and pretty people. The scene they encounter is anything but. A naked young man lies dead in the street, the apparent victim of a collision with a moving van hurtling through suburbia in the darkness. But any thoughts of accidental death vanish when a blood trail leads to a nearby home.

Inside, a young woman lies butchered. The identity of the male victim and his role in the horror remain elusive, but that of the woman creates additional questions. And adding to the shock, Alex has met her while working a convoluted child custody case. Cordelia Gannett was a self-styled internet influencer who’d gotten into legal troubles by palming herself off as a psychologist. Even after promising to desist, she’s found a loophole and has continued her online career, aiming to amass clicks and ads by cyber-coaching and cyber-counseling people plagued with relationship issues.

But upon closer examination, Alex and Milo discover that her own relationships are troublesome, including a tortured family history and a dubious personal past. Has that come back to haunt her in the worst way? Is the mystery man out in the street collateral damage or will he turn out to be the key to solving a grisly double homicide? As the psychologist and the detective explore L.A.’s meanest streets, they peel back layer after layer of secrets and encounter a savage, psychologically twisted, almost unthinkable motive for violence and bloodshed.

This is classic Delaware: Alex, a man Milo has come to see as irreplaceable, at his most insightful and brilliant.
An impossible crime. A detective on the edge of madness. The future of time travel at stake.

January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder.

Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting to catch their “flights” to the past.

Or where proximity to the timeport makes the clocks run backward on occasion—and, rumor has it, allows ghosts to stroll the halls.

None of that compares to the corpse in room 526. The one that seems to be both there and not there. The one that somehow only January can see.

On top of that, some very important new guests have just checked in. Because the U.S. government is about to privatize time-travel technology—and the world’s most powerful people are on hand to stake their claims.

January is sure the timing isn’t a coincidence. Neither are those “accidents” that start stalking their bidders.

There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. A reason why she’s the only one who can catch a killer who’s operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once.

But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and as her past, present, and future collide, she finds herself confronting not just the hotel’s dark secrets but her own.

March TBR:

Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does.

When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.

Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.
If Avery Chambers can’t fix you in 10 sessions, she won’t take you on as a client. Her successes are phenomenal–she helps people overcome everything from domineering parents to assault–and almost absorb the emptiness she sometimes feels since her husband’s death.

Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple–until Marissa cheats. She wants to repair things, both because she loves her husband and for the sake of their 8-year-old son. After a friend forwards an article about Avery, Marissa takes a chance on this maverick therapist, who lost her license due to controversial methods.

When the Bishops glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.


The Golden Couple is the next electrifying novel from Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, the #1 New York Times bestselling author duo behind You Are Not AloneAn Anonymous Girl, and The Wife Between Us.
Inspired by a true story, this exciting debut explores a mystery about missing girls: When a girl goes missing, does she become the people others imagine her to be?

On December 1, 1946, Paula Jean Welden put on a bright red parka, left her Bennington College dorm for a hike, and vanished into the thin mountain air. Paula Jean’s disappearance captivated the post-war nation, leading to news articles, false sightings, rumors, psychic visions, and a short story by Shirley Jackson. Inspired by this unsolved mystery, quantum girl theory asks: does a missing girl become the person—or even the people—others imagine her to be? Or was she already someone else entirely?

At the center of this brilliant jigsaw puzzle of a novel is Paula Jean herself, now known as Mary Garrett, a clairvoyant with a concealed past, hustling for reward money by searching for missing girls. In 1961, a poster about a missing girl lures Mary to a town in the Jim Crow south, where she discovers that it’s not just one white girl who’s disappeared; two Black girls have vanished as well. With everyone from the white girl’s mother to the local sheriff resenting her presence in town, Mary can’t trust anyone. And then there are the strange visions that come to Mary, a phenomenon she calls “the sight”. As stories appear from other lives Paula Jean might have lived—a circus showgirl hiding from her past; a literary forger on the verge of discovery; a McCarthy–era informant in love with a woman she meets in a Communist cell—a reader may be prompted to ask whether Mary herself can be trusted.

Beautifully written, provocative, and original, Quantum Girl Theory is both a mesmerizing mystery and a startling thought-experiment about people and girls, asking whose disappearances—whose lives—matter, even as it explores the ways we may be haunted by the lives we did not lead. Or did we?
A psychopath with size 16 shoes, nursing home hookers and an irreverent Las Vegas homicide detective with a gambling habit set the tone for this off-beat tale of revenge and retribution.

Blackjack addict Frank Savic is deeply in debt and facing family problems when he’s asked to delay his retirement to catch a vigilante killer who murders other murderers in a manner the veteran cop has never seen.

While dead bodies stack up in quick succession, the motorcycle-riding policeman gets reluctantly involved with a desperate mother who will do anything to get justice for her dead son.

Savic, his investigation complicated by a suspected FBI coverup and a prison bribery scandal, is also unaware that the quirky murderer might also be the solution to his own financial and domestic dilemma.

Add the brooding backdrop of Venice, Italy…and a vengeful killer who reads Shakespeare, and you have a teasing psychological thriller where surgical bone saws and spiders are just tools of the trade.

Yes, there are spiders.

The Paradise Tree by R.A. Denny (not on Goodreads yet)

USA Today bestseller Caitlin Crews returns with Summer Nights with a Cowboy, another emotional romance in her stunning cowboy series Kittredge Ranch….
He doesn’t believe in love…

Traveling nurse Janie Atwood has come to Cold River to uncover old family secrets and maybe, if she’s lucky, find a new home. That the gorgeous, glowering sheriff next door thinks her caring for his elderly neighbor is a nefarious scheme is a bonus. Having never been anything but a good girl, Janie finds Zack Kittredge’s simmering suspicion an excellent reason to try being a little dangerous instead…

She doesn’t believe in squandering it…


Sheriff Zack Kittredge is okay with being… intense. He takes his loner status as seriously as he takes his responsibilities to protect Cold River. And he thinks cheerful Janie might be a threat to the town. But the more he gets to know her, the more he faces the truth―she’s brighter than sunshine and he’s like a moth to her flame. When Janie suggests he could use a few charm school lessons, he surprises them both by accepting. He doesn’t need help. But it’s clear he might need her…

Because the only thing hotter than the summer sun in the Rockies is the forbidden passion that burns between them…
Sierra Baker has no idea she’s in danger – until a frightening and unsettling traffic stop late one night. When Cody Parker shows up the next day and announces he’s her bodyguard, she’s even more terrified. Is Parker on the level? Or is this the shadowy stranger who stopped her car the night before?

Her partner Alex assures Sierra the danger is real – the Russian mob is after her. Parker has been sent to protect her. But she and Cody are oil and water. Complete opposites who agree on nothing. Except for their irresistible attraction to each other.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read in 2021

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 posts 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.


1. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

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Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

2. Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins

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On Bernadine Brown’s fifty-second birthday she received an unexpected gift—she caught her husband, Leo, cheating with his secretary. She was hurt—angry, too—but she didn’t cry woe is me. Nope, she hired herself a top-notch lawyer and ended up with a cool $275 million. Having been raised in the church, she knew that when much is given much is expected, so she asked God to send her a purpose.
The purpose turned out to be a town: Henry Adams, Kansas, one of the last surviving townships founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. The failing town had put itself up for sale on the Internet, so Bernadine bought it.
Trent July is the mayor, and watching the town of his birth slide into debt and foreclosure is about the hardest thing he’s ever done. When the buyer comes to town, he’s impressed by her vision, strength, and the hope she wants to offer not only to the town and its few remaining residents, but to a handful of kids in desperate need of a second chance.
Not everyone in town wants to get on board though; they don’t want change. But Bernadine and Trent, along with his first love, Lily Fontaine, are determined to preserve the town’s legacy while ushering in a new era with ties to its unique past and its promising future.

3. Elixir Project by Kary Oberbrunner

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EVERYTHING CAN BE HACKED, EVEN THE TRUTH.

Will this fact set Sienna free or plunge her into an even bigger lie?

Sienna Lewis lives in a world constantly threatened by a hacktivist group known as SWARM. After SWARM executes its deadliest attack yet, Sienna and her three college friends learn they have been chosen for the ELIXIR Project–a master plan designed to overthrow SWARM–and participation is mandatory.

As she faces the deadly challenges of the Project, Sienna confronts layers of conspiracies that force her to question everyone she trusts and everything she believes about her friends, her parents’ untimely deaths, and herself–all while staying one step ahead of SWARM. In this fast-paced, near-future thriller, will love and loyalty have time to catch up with Sienna? Or will she crack under the pressure of a future already chosen for her?

4. The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

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Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.


But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.

5. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

6. Killer for Hire by Alexis Abbott

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Bruno:

I sacrificed everything for her. When I saved her from the mafia, I traded my freedom for hers. I’ve never regretted it. Never looked back. I cut her out of my life to keep her safe. She never even knew what I traded for her.

I did everything I could to protect her from the retribution of the Italian Mafia, but it wasn’t enough. They’re after her again, and all that’s standing between her and the darkest fate imaginable is me.


Serena:

It’s scary the things you can close your eyes to. Even after I was rescued from men who wanted to do the worst things to me, I went on with my life. I forgot all about the threats of the mafia, about what they forced me to do, and even the man who saved me from them.

But now, my hero has returned, and just in a nick of time. Because the mafia is coming for me, and this time, I don’t know if we’re going to get out of this alive.

7. The Last Descendant by Megan Haskell

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A woman torn between honor and survival…

Rie is only human. The high elves have made that very clear. Even training as an elite fighter isn’t enough to earn the respect she craves. Her only allies are the fierce carnivorous pixies who travel by her side, yet still she clings to the hope of one day earning her place in the Upper Realm.

When she’s attacked by assassins from the enemy Shadow Realm, Rie’s martial prowess keeps her alive…and frames her as a traitor. Facing execution at the hand of a merciless king, Rie must forsake her oaths and flee into enemy lands to prove her innocence. What she uncovers may threaten more than her honor or even her life…for war is looming in the nine faerie realms.

8. Fire and Sword by Dylan Doose

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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?

9. Ghost Detective by Scott William Carter

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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.

10. Once Removed by Margaret Watson

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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?