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

Book Cover
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

Book Cover
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?

Fool Me Once (Blackhawk Security: Book 3) by Margaret Watson

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Fool Me Once by Margaret Watson

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: May 15th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Suspense, Contemporary

Series: Blackhawk Security Series

Once Removed—Book 1 (review here)

Once Burned—Book 2 (review here)

Fool Me Once—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Google Play

Format Read: Published Book

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis:

When attorney Alexandra comes home early and overhears her husband Jerry hiring a hitman to kill her, she runs. Heads toward Seattle. After being a street kid there, she knows how to disappear.

But a man is following her. After she finds a tracking device, she wonders if tall, compelling Gideon is Jerry’s hired killer.

Alex and Gideon become stranded in a massive snowstorm. Snowed in at a tiny hotel, Alex isn’t sure which is more dangerous – her husband, who is likely coming after her? Or the dark stranger she’s trapped with? A man who’s clearly hiding secrets.


First Line:

Alex curled her fingers around the stem of the shallow glass as the loud, happy voices of her staff bounced off the restaurant’s walls.

Fool Me Once by Margaret Watson

I know that I have said this several times, but I love the romantic suspense genre. There is something about seeing a romance blossom while the main characters either fight for their lives or try to uncover a plot (or sometimes both) that makes me happy. So, it was a no-brainer for me when Margaret emailed me to let me know that book three was available for review.

Fool Me Once is the 3rd book in the Blackhawk Security series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. The characters from the previous books do make appearances, but they don’t take over the storyline, which I liked.

As with the previous two books, Fool Me Once is a fast-paced book. Right from the beginning, when Alex overhears her husband hiring a hitman to kill her, it was super fast. There was a small amount of lag once Gideon and Alex get to the Blackhawk Security compound, but the author could get the book back on track and keep the fast pace up until the end of the book.

Alex was a tough cookie with a backstory that broke my heart. At times, she came across as abrasive, and there were a few times where she was unlikable. But, in the end, I did like her and was rooting for her.

I wasn’t too sure what to think about Gideon. He came across as a bit stalkerish at the beginning of the book. His backstory wasn’t fully explained until they got stuck in the motel. Gideon’s backstory wasn’t as heartbreaking as Alex’s, but it was still sad.

The suspense angle of the book was well written. I liked that the author decided to go the Russian mafia/corrupt federal agent route. It made the book so much more interesting to read.

The romance angle of the book was well written also. I liked that the author didn’t have the characters jump right into bed with each other. Instead, there was a wait. There was InstaLove, but I did expect it.

I loved the end of Fool Me Once. I am not going to get into it, but there is a HEA. Plus, Alex’s ex-husband got what he deserved.


I enjoyed reading Fool Me Once. It was a fast-paced book with memorable characters. Plus, the romance was enjoyable to read.

I would recommend Fool Me Once to anyone over the age of 21. There is non-graphic violence, sex, and some mild language.

WWW Wednesday: May 26th 2021

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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:

As with my IMWAYR post, I am going to keep this short. My finger is still bandaged and it is still difficult for me to type. It sucks but that’s what I get for tangling with an electric hedge trimmer. I am lucky I didn’t lose my finger.

I also want everyone to know that I will be going on vacation starting Friday and I will not be back to posting until June 7th. This is a long-overdue vacation and I can’t wait!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

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Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

What I am currently reading:

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Mystery writer Brooke Davies is the new wife on the block. Her tech-billionaire husband, Jack, twenty-two years her senior, whisked her to the Bay Area via private jet and purchased a modest mansion on the same day. He demands perfection, and before now, Brooke has had no problem playing the role of a doting housewife. But as she befriends other wives on the street and spends considerable time away from Jack, he worries if he doesn’t control Brooke’s every move, she will reveal the truth behind their “perfect” marriage.

Erin King, famed news anchor and chair of the community board, is no stranger to maintaining an image–though being married to a plastic surgeon helps. But the skyrocketing success of her career has worn her love life thin, and her professional ambitions have pushed Mason away. Quitting her job is a Hail Mary attempt at keeping him interested, to steer him away from finding a young trophy wife. But is it enough, and is Mason truly the man she thought he was?

Georgia St. Claire allegedly cashed in on the deaths of her first two husbands, earning her the nickname “Black Widow”–and the stares and whispers of her curious neighbors. Rumored to have murdered both men for their fortunes, she claims to have found true love in her third marriage, yet her mysterious, captivating allure keeps everyone guessing. Then a tragic accident forces the residents of Presidio Terrace to ask: Has Georgia struck again? And what is she really capable of doing to protect her secrets?

What books I think I’ll read next:

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When the secrets of the past threaten to destroy the future.

A tale of hope, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of a woman, this sweeping epic spans the Atlantic from New England to Morocco during the Age of Exploration.

2019: A young woman finds a relic engraved with a mysterious symbol off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Terrorists in Morocco steal a 17th-century book engraved with the same symbol. As the woman struggles to unravel the secrets behind the symbol, her life changes in ways she could never have imagined.

1657: Transported back in time, she meets the alchemist, John Winthrop, Jr. who is plotting to lure the greatest scientific minds to the New World. But the more she learns, the more she fears for the lives of the loved ones she left behind.


In a stunning twist of fate, a modern terrorist has traveled into the past, where he has become a Barbary Corsair. He has plans of his own. And he will stop at nothing to succeed.
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Olivia Callahan’s quiet, orderly life is shattered when she regains consciousness in a hospital and discovers she is paralyzed and cannot remember a thing. The fragmented voices she hears around her help her piece together that an apparent assault landed her in the hospital, but nobody knows who attacked her, or why. After a chilling struggle to survive, she awakens from a coma unable to remember what happened to her or anything at all, except she has been told she is an entirely different person. Or is she?

Now, in spite of a brain injury that has rewired her personality, Olivia is on a mission to reclaim her life. As clarity surfaces and she starts to understand who she was, she is shocked. Had she really been that person? And if so, does she want her old life back?
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When attorney Alexandra comes home early and overhears her husband Jerry hiring a hitman to kill her, she runs. Heads toward Seattle. After being a street kid there, she knows how to disappear.

But a man is following her. After she finds a tracking device, she wonders if tall, compelling Gideon is Jerry’s hired killer.

Alex and Gideon become stranded in a massive snowstorm. Snowed in at a tiny hotel, Alex isn’t sure which is more dangerous – her husband, who is likely coming after her? Or the dark stranger she’s trapped with? A man who’s clearly hiding secrets.
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Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.


Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?
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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?

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**