The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: February 1st, 2022

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | iTunes | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


First Line:

The first recorded incidence of the Violence occurred as Ruth Belmont of Land O’Lakes, Florida, was putting a tub of mayonnaise in her cart at a warehouse store on Tuesday, April 15th, 2025.

the violence by delilah s dawson

When I read the blurb for The Violence, I was instantly intrigued. But, I was also a little hesitant to read it. I was intrigued by the last few books that I did not like. So, keeping that in mind, I dove into The Violence. To say that I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. I loved this book!!

The Violence is a dystopia set in 2025 Florida. In this world, we have learned to live with COVID and adapted our lives around it. Life has gotten back to normal when news reports start talking about people randomly attacking and killing people. These random attacks soon become commonplace, and a new pandemic is announced. As with the COVID pandemic, its seriousness is downplayed until it is out of control.

The Violence centers around three people and follows them from the pandemic’s start to the end. Chelsea is a stay-at-home mother trapped in an abusive marriage. She dreams of getting out and saving her girls but can’t because her husband would destroy her. So, when The Violence starts, Chelsea uses that to her advantage. Ella is Chelsea’s seventeen-year-old daughter who has witnessed her mother’s abuse for years. She is caught up in an abusive relationship herself but breaks it off when her abuser is caught on camera (and in a public place) beating on her. Patricia is Chelsea’s narcissist mother. She is more concerned with maintaining appearances than helping her daughter and granddaughters escape their abuser. The Violence brings them together unexpectedly, but it also tears them apart. With Chelsea on the run, Ella looking for her, it is up to Patricia to keep Brooklyn safe. But who will keep Patricia safe? And will Chelsea ever get free from her ex? Will Ella find her mother before her father does? What happens when everything comes to a head?

The Violence had a lightening fast storyline. I had zero issues keeping up with how fast the storyline went. Surprisingly, there is no lag. This story didn’t stop. Put it this way, I read it in one night; that’s how fast it went.

Before I get deeper into the review, I want to give everyone a trigger warning heads-up. This book is graphically violent (hence the title). The author doesn’t hold any punches when infected people storm (when they blackout and kill people). She also doesn’t hold back during the abuse scenes. At the beginning of the book, there is a forward explaining why she wrote those scenes the way she did. But still didn’t prepare me for how graphic those scenes were. There is also scenes of verbal abuse (Patricia remembering calling toddler Chelsea stupid stuck out to me), sexual abuse (Chelsea getting raped by David), emotional abuse (Hayden telling Ella he was going to kill himself if she didn’t respond to his text), and animal abuse (David kicking the family dog every time he saw him and that awful scene when Chelsea blacked out). Those examples are only scratching the surface of this book. So read with caution if any of these triggers you.

I loved and pitied Chelsea. I hate to say it, but the way her mother treated her growing up paved the way for her to be in an abusive relationship with David. My heart broke for her during those first few scenes when David choked her. The author made me feel the horror and desperation she went through. I did think she was genius for her plan to get David taken away, and Ella’s 911 call only cemented it. But it was a short-lived plan, and she was getting threatened by David’s friends (one a lawyer and one a cop). When she ended up getting The Violence, she did what any mother would do, she shut herself away, and when she got word that her ex was coming home, she ran to her mother. But, it was what happened after she left the girls at her mother’s. I was equally shouting “Yas girl” and cringing at what she was doing. The name Florida Woman will forever be associated with her.

My heart broke for Ella. She was such a broken child, and I wanted to spirit her away from her family. She had no safe space for her to decompress. Instead, she went from school (where her friends and abusive boyfriend were) to home, where she had to worry about her father potentially killing her mother. She also was tasked with keeping her 5-year-old sister safe and away from her father at night. That meant locking herself and Brooklyn in her room at night. But, that all changed when her father was arrested, and her mother got The Violence. Ella became Brooklyn’s parent. I didn’t blame her for getting angry when Chelsea decided (after finding out that David was getting out of jail) to move them to Patricia’s. I also didn’t blame her for leaving to find Chelsea because Patricia was awful. It showed how much she had grown. But, it was when she stumbled upon the RV and got hooked up with the scientists that she started to blossom. She became that strong, independent girl that she should have been from the start.

I was not too fond of Patricia. OMG, I wanted to go into the book and strangle her at points. She was one of the more awful people that I have ever read. The way she ignored Chelsea’s bruises and how she talked to Chelsea was horrible. Everything was about appearances to her. But, as her backstory was revealed, I did start to feel sorry for her. Her abusive childhood and rape (which resulted in Chelsea) shaped her. She modeled the only behavior that she knew, verbal and emotional abuse. When she took in Ella and Brooklyn, I could see cracks in her facade. And when she was left to care for Brooklyn, those cracks became bigger and bigger. Her character growth and transformation was one of the more surprising ones I read. I loved how she ended up.

Brooklyn was adorable. I was so surprised that she wasn’t more traumatized. I mean, she witnessed her father almost killing her mother. She was uprooted from her house and lived with her grandmother, who was distant and cold. Then, Ella, her protector, leaves. Instead of acting out, having tantrums, or regressing, she remained normal. The only sign the author gave that she had been traumatized was the nightmares she had while sleeping in Patricia’s closet. My heart (and Patricia’s) broke when I realized who she was talking about and what. But other than that, there was nothing.

The secondary characters did round out the book. They all added an extra depth that the book needed.

The horror angle was well written. As I mentioned above, there was a lot of gore and violence associated with this book. The author got in-depth with the gore. I did think certain scenes could have been toned down, but then they wouldn’t have had the punch that they did.

The mystery angle was also very well written. I couldn’t figure out what would happen next in the book. After a certain point, I couldn’t figure out if everyone would come together and when.

The end of The Violence was, well, violent. I will not say much about it except that David got what was coming to him. I also liked the epilogue, showing where everyone was. It gave me hope for all the characters.

I would recommend The Violence for anyone over 21. There is graphic violence, language, and graphic accounts of sexual assault.

March 2022 TBR

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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.

WWW Wednesday: February 23rd 2022

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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:

Last week, I had done an update of what was happening with me (why I wasn’t posting). Here’s the update to that.

My arm is better. I got back my full range of motion but it still hurts when I move it in certain directions (like taking my bra on/off or brushing my hair). Other than giving birth naturally (which happened with Miss R), that is the most painful thing I have experienced to date and do not wish to experience again.

We got the results of Miss R’s sleep study. She was diagnosed with periodic limb movement disorder. I am still waiting to hear from the Dr but got the diagnosis from the patient portal when I logged on yesterday. I am expecting a phone call from the specialist today (maybe?) and then we will discuss what will happen going forward.

Mr. Z got his braces last Thursday!!! They only put on the top braces which weren’t something I was expecting. I had thought they were going to do top and bottom. But, ortho explained that he wants the top teeth to start to straighten out before he puts the bottom and the Herbst device on. Mr. Z wasn’t thrilled with that change in plan but oh well, what is he going to do?

Miss B had her doctor’s appointment yesterday (for her 16 well-child) and we found out that she has slight scoliosis of the spine. Her Dr wasn’t that concerned with it. She has reached her adult height of 5’0″ and the curvature isn’t going to affect her in any way. Still, was very surprised to find out.

Reading

I have been reading like a fiend. I have finished 4 books (I think) since last week and plan on finishing at least 2 more by the end of this week. I have caught up with all of my indie authors and now am working on my NetGalley backlog. So yay!!!!

But, I am very behind on reviews. I have two reviews due this week (one I am working on after I am done with this post) and then 2 more that need to get written by next week. I am planning on buckling down after this post and getting at least 2 reviews written today and hopefully the rest is written tomorrow (keeping my fingers crossed).

Watching:

I had been watching the Olympics and put most of my shows on pause while that was going on. I wasn’t too impressed with what was shown. I would have loved to see some of the lesser-known or newer sports on prime time. Instead, it was repeat upon repeat of the same thing. NBC dropped the ball on that one (and I refused to get Peacock to watch what I wanted). I had the same complaints about the Summer Olympics too.

Once they ended, I started watching my shows again. I binged Archive 81 in 4 days. I don’t know if any of you have watched that but it is freaking creepy. I also didn’t like the ending. Put it this way, I didn’t see it coming and wasn’t thrilled with what happened. But, it did lead into a Season 2 (maybe, hopefully). So, we’ll see. Right now, I am watching Chosen. It is a Dutch show about a girl finding out the truth about their small, quiet town. I am still on episode 1 and not really feeling it. But, I felt the same way about Archive 81 and ended up liking it, so we’ll see.

Making:

This week I am making a Philly Cheesesteak French Onion Soup. Not having high hopes for this recipe….lol. BK is home and he is making marinated chicken also, so there is a backup. Next week, I’m making a garlic lover’s pot roast.

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:

Who is the power behind the throne?


Marian has risked everything to bring King Richard the Lionheart to England.

But as the king’s heart turns toward vengeance who will be left to stand in his wake?

If you like inspirational heroines, unique love stories, and non-stop twists and turns, this action-packed fantasy retelling is for you!

I wasn’t a big fan of how this book went. It seemed a little rushed. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Mainly because in the first two books, Mare was portrayed as someone different and in this book, she did a 180. Still, would highly recommend this Robin Hood retelling!!


What I am currently reading:

Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.

I am enjoying this book. It is a cute read and I am 100% team Grace. Noah is rubbing me the wrong way, even with him trying to make amends. I am about 50% (or so) through and I have a feeling this book is going to get a lot better!!!


What books I think I’ll read next:

All of these books are NetGalley ARC’s that are past their publication date. I am expecting to get to at least the first 3 by next Wednesday.

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. From the author of The Warehouse.

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.

At once a dazzlingly time-twisting murder mystery and a story about grief, memory, and what it means to—literally—come face-to-face with our ghosts, The Paradox Hotel is another unforgettable speculative thrill ride from acclaimed author Rob Hart.

WWW Wednesday: February 2nd 2022

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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:

For the 4th week in a row, we are expecting snow here in Western NC. Our local weather people are going insane over this because it never happens. I am OK with it as long as the kids don’t miss school.

Miss R is having a sleep study done. She has been waking up gasping and isn’t getting a good night’s sleep. Her Dr said to do a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea and then onto an ENT. Was not expecting that but it needs to be looked at. Keeping my fingers crossed that the sleep test rules out stuff and that the ENT doesn’t need to do surgery.

Mr. Z has officially applied to the high school of his choice. In my area of NC, the city has 4 different high schools. There is the local high school, the magnate high school, and two charter high schools. His choice (drum roll please): the magnate high school that his sister attends. While she attends the criminal justice academy, he will be attending the computer programming academy. That is if he gets in (but I have it on good authority that he will).

Miss B had to drop out of the air rifle team. Their practices were after school (for the local high school) but during her last period. So she couldn’t attend and she was very upset. She was looking forward to it. I have pushed her into joining the Gay/Straight Student Alliance but she is not really feeling it. In her words: “I don’t need to announce to everyone that I’m gay.” She is debating on trying out for the play (I think it’s called Zombie Prom??) but she hasn’t made up her mind.

Reading

January sucked for me with reading. My start into February has been great and I am hoping to keep my reading streak up. I am a little behind with my indie author reading. I have a paperback that an author sent me that I haven’t picked up and the review was due two weeks ago…sigh. I am also severely behind with my NetGalley ARCs. I am not sweating it, though. A lot of those ARCs have archive dates way in the future and I am getting to them when I get to them. The indie authors are more important.

I am just about caught up with my indie author reviews (I have to buckle down and finish one for tomorrow and one over the weekend). I am caught up with my NetGalley reviews (for once).

Watching:

Honestly, I haven’t been watching much of anything. I have been either too tired to watch TV or I have lost interest in anything that I was watching (except ER). So, any suggestions would be nice.

Making:

I made a chile-lime pulled beef (not pork like I said in last week’s post) on Monday. I served it over white rice. It was alright. The kids liked it but they all said it wouldn’t be something that they asked for again. Next week, I plan on making a beef bourguignon in the crockpot. On paper it looks good, we’ll see about how it tastes. The author of the recipe says to serve it with mashed potatoes but since it has potatoes in the recipe, I’ll be skipping that.

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. Just a warning, it will basically be the same as last week.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
 
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be—and it’s begun to run backwards, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.

I enjoyed reading this book. But, I wouldn’t go as far as to recommend it to younger kids. This is a higher middle-grade book (think over 13). There are a lot of very dark undertones in the book. There are also some scenes where younger kids would be scared.


What I am currently reading:

“We’re all complicit in things we regret. Sometimes, we just do what we must.”

In the city-state of Devovea, behind the walls of the Castle, Scylla Delevan waits for a chance to prove herself. When a Magistrate is murdered and her father stands accused of the crime, she eagerly sets out to prove his innocence. As she races to find the real killer before it is too late, she begins to unearth dangerous secrets that could throw the fragile balance of her city into chaos. In too deep to turn back, Scylla is forced to question all she has ever known and choose between what is expected of her and what is right.

Family loyalty and personal beliefs collide as Scylla navigates a dystopian world divided by race and gender. Heir of Blood and Secrets will challenge you to consider how far you are willing to go—and what you are willing to sacrifice—to forge a better world.

What books I think I’ll read next:

I am listing these in the order that I expect to read them. Barring an act of God (or my kids not having school), I do plan on reading at least the first 4 by next week.

He took them in, but could they ever leave?
There’s something off about Lord Rupert Lacy, but Caz’s hippy mother and dreamy younger sister don’t see it. In fact, they’re so taken with the guy that within a week of meeting him, they accept his invitation to move in. Though it’s a step up from living in a trailer, Lacy’s dilapidated mansion scares Caz. Haunted by strange noises and bizarre dreams, Caz becomes convinced that Lacy’s missing daughter is trying to tell her something.
Scotland, 1342. The Great Plague ravages the countryside. In its wake the body of a beautiful, young noble is laid to rest on a funeral pyre. Her fiancé begs a sorcerer to use his magic to summon a demon and bring the young woman back to life in exchange for his own.
Fast Forward to:
America, Present. Fourteen year old Jeremy McKee attends a fantasy workshop which is run by a young woman named Ariella. One afternoon, an old vagrant on the street offers Jeremy a small crystal which produces visions of a young woman resurrected from death hundreds of years ago. Slowly, the truth begins to reveal itself. The woman in the vision and the one running the workshop are one in the same. The vagrant is the sorcerer, Armand. He explains that Jeremy’s ancestor, D’Arcy, offered his soul for the life of his betrothed but reneged at the last minute. Now the demon has returned for payment and is prepared to unleash the Black Plague if he doesn’t get what he he is owed.
Who is the power behind the throne?


Marian has risked everything to bring King Richard the Lionheart to England.

But as the king’s heart turns toward vengeance who will be left to stand in his wake?

If you like inspirational heroines, unique love stories, and non-stop twists and turns, this action-packed fantasy retelling is for you!
If you could read someone’s mind, what would you do with the truth?

Hunted by both the military and her own personal stalker, Dani conceals her psychic abilities and hides in plain sight. Within her mind is the ability to change the landscape of nations. For that, a branch of the government would lock her away—to ensure her safety.

Marc Crofton left his black-ops unit to join his brothers’ private investigative after discharge. A chance meeting with the quiet, unassuming spitfire in his veterinarian’s office sends his world in a tail spin involving spies, both domestic and international.

Each must rely on the other to survive a world where betrayal and deception, desire and trust, weave a fabric that transcends time.
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.
Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.
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.

February 2022 TBR

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February is the month of groundhogs, love, and the Winter Olympics. I plan on ignoring the first one, celebrating the second, and watching the third.

I also plan on doing reading. A lot of reading. I have carried over a bunch of books from January. Maybe not as much as what I carried over from December, but still a lot.

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


January backlog:

Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out
feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.
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.
If you could read someone’s mind, what would you do with the truth?

Hunted by both the military and her own personal stalker, Dani conceals her psychic abilities and hides in plain sight. Within her mind is the ability to change the landscape of nations. For that, a branch of the government would lock her away—to ensure her safety.

Marc Crofton left his black-ops unit to join his brothers’ private investigative after discharge. A chance meeting with the quiet, unassuming spitfire in his veterinarian’s office sends his world in a tail spin involving spies, both domestic and international.

Each must rely on the other to survive a world where betrayal and deception, desire and trust, weave a fabric that transcends time.
A virus invades the lives of all humanity and causes a madness pandemic from the reminder of the past and the exposure of thoughts threatening to change everything, but then another virus attempts to erase the memories and recover the future, while a third virus scopes to save the new generations.
Who is the power behind the throne?


Marian has risked everything to bring King Richard the Lionheart to England.

But as the king’s heart turns toward vengeance who will be left to stand in his wake?

If you like inspirational heroines, unique love stories, and non-stop twists and turns, this action-packed fantasy retelling is for you!

February TBR

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
 
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be—and it’s begun to run backwards, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.
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.
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.
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.
“We’re all complicit in things we regret. Sometimes, we just do what we must.”

In the city-state of Devovea, behind the walls of the Castle, Scylla Delevan waits for a chance to prove herself. When a Magistrate is murdered and her father stands accused of the crime, she eagerly sets out to prove his innocence. As she races to find the real killer before it is too late, she begins to unearth dangerous secrets that could throw the fragile balance of her city into chaos. In too deep to turn back, Scylla is forced to question all she has ever known and choose between what is expected of her and what is right.

Family loyalty and personal beliefs collide as Scylla navigates a dystopian world divided by race and gender. Heir of Blood and Secrets will challenge you to consider how far you are willing to go—and what you are willing to sacrifice—to forge a better world.

The Insect Room by Felicity Hughes

Scotland, 1342. The Great Plague ravages the countryside. In its wake the body of a beautiful, young noble is laid to rest on a funeral pyre. Her fiancé begs a sorcerer to use his magic to summon a demon and bring the young woman back to life in exchange for his own.
Fast Forward to:
America, Present. Fourteen year old Jeremy McKee attends a fantasy workshop which is run by a young woman named Ariella. One afternoon, an old vagrant on the street offers Jeremy a small crystal which produces visions of a young woman resurrected from death hundreds of years ago. Slowly, the truth begins to reveal itself. The woman in the vision and the one running the workshop are one in the same. The vagrant is the sorcerer, Armand. He explains that Jeremy’s ancestor, D’Arcy, offered his soul for the life of his betrothed but reneged at the last minute. Now the demon has returned for payment and is prepared to unleash the Black Plague if he doesn’t get what he he is owed.
A locked-room murder mystery set at a hotel for time travelers—in which a detective must solve an impossible crime even as her own sanity crumbles—from the author of The Warehouse.

For someone with January Cole’s background, running security at a fancy hotel shouldn’t be much of a challenge.


Except the Paradox is no ordinary hotel. Here, the ultra-wealthy guests are costumed for a dozen different time periods, all anxiously waiting to catch their “flights” to the past. And proximity to the timeport makes for an interesting stay. The clocks run backwards on occasion—and, rumor has it, ghosts stroll the halls.

Now, January’s job is about to get a whole lot harder. Because the U.S. government is getting ready to privatize time-travel technology—and a handful of trillionaires have just arrived to put down their bids.

Meanwhile there’s a blizzard rolling in, and the timestream’s acting strange. Which means nobody’s leaving until further notice.


And there’s a murderer on the loose.

Or at least, that’s what January suspects. Except the corpse in question is one that somehow only she can see. And the accidents stalking their prestigious guests…well, the only way a killer could engineer those is by operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once. Which is surely impossible.

There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and forcing her to confront secrets of her own.

Because here at the Paradox Hotel, the past is waiting around every corner.

At once a dazzlingly time-twisting murder mystery and a story about grief, memory, and what it means to—literally—come face to face with our ghosts, The Paradox Hotel is another unforgettable speculative thrill-ride from acclaimed author Rob Hart.

WWW Wednesday: January 26th 2022

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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:

After a week of no school (but they did have virtual learning Thursday and Friday), my kids went back to school on Monday. I can’t tell you how excited I was for them to go back…lol. I love them but they were getting on each other’s nerves and mine.

We’re slated to get hit with another snowstorm on Saturday. Like I mentioned last week, any snow that we get, the city shuts down. My prediction….no school Monday and maybe a 2-3 hour delay on Tuesday. Of course, Miss R is thrilled. She loves snow and days off from school.

I don’t know if I mentioned it but Miss B got on her JROTC air rifle team. She got the email the week of January 10th and she is so excited!! She is also doing JROTC events and going up in rank.

I have nothing really to say about Mr. Z. He’s my low-key, no-maintenance kid. He has discovered a love for zombie books. We had gotten him books 1-3 of The Extinction Cycle series by Nicholas Sansbury Smith for Christmas and he devoured them. BK ordered books 4-6 around New Year and Mr. Z finished them. He’s asking for other books in that genre.

As I mentioned above, Miss R is loving the snow. She has spent hours outside, playing in it. I am liking it because she’s outside and not sitting around with her face glued to a screen. In other news (with her), I got her 3-week progress report for Quarter 3 (they get two progress reports a quarter). Her reading level blew me away. She went from an 80L (Lexile Range)-230L to a 665L-815L. Depending on the site, that puts her at a middle/late 3rd grade/early 4th-grade reading level. I am very proud of her!!

Reading:

I barely did any reading last week. I was very stressed out (with the kids being virtual). That also led to me developing my first ocular migraine. That lasted for a little over 4 days (Weds, Thurs, Fri, and Saturday) and I am still not feeling 100%. I am also behind on my indie author reviews. Thankfully, they are understanding (stupid migraine)

Review-wise, I am still behind. Because of my migraine, I wasn’t able to write anything (it hurt to look at the screen). I am hoping to catch up with Random House/SMP reviews by Friday and to have the indie author reviews written by Sunday. I hate being behind!!

Watching:

BK and I started watching Foundation on Apple Plus but we stopped after the first episode. It was because of my migraine and not feeling well. We also started watching Ted Lasso.

Making:

I made the unstuffed shells yesterday. It was a pretty easy dish to make and the kids loved it. Next week, I am making Chile Lime pulled pork. I am not holding my breath with them liking it (they are all very picky) but miracles have happened.

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. Just a warning, it will basically be the same as last week.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.

Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.

But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.

When it becomes clear that the group is e
ven more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.

What I am currently reading:

When Kayla Carter’s husband dies in an accident while building their dream house, she knows she has to stay strong for their four-year-old daughter. But the trophy home in Shadow Ridge Estates, a new development in sleepy Round Hill, North Carolina, will always hold tragic memories. But when she is confronted by an odd, older woman telling her not to move in, she almost agrees. It’s clear this woman has some kind of connection to the area…and a connection to Kayla herself. Kayla’s elderly new neighbor, Ellie Hockley, is more welcoming, but it’s clear she, too, has secrets that stretch back almost fifty years. Is Ellie on a quest to right the wrongs of the past? And does the house at the end of the street hold the key? Told in dual time periods, The Last House on the Street is a novel of shocking prejudice and violence, forbidden love, the search for justice, and the tangled vines of two families.
Pall Warren lives in a world filled with unrivaled natural beauty, constant struggle and shifting perceptions of reality. The time frame of his story is set in a medieval context. Peace over the land he lives in is an illusion only. Pall discovers that war not only must be waged against competing interests within his own land, but also against unnerving entities filled with extreme malice toward the human race. As the journey to discover who he really is unfolds, he learns that appearances are not at all what they seem to be on their surfaces.

This story is ultimately about the battle between faith and disbelief, as well as how hope and cynicism clash against one another in the human spirit.

Can the ultimate basis of truth be found? In Pall’s quest for meaning, can virtue be used to combat and overcome evil?

What books I think I’ll read next:

A virus invades the lives of all humanity and causes a madness pandemic from the reminder of the past and the exposure of thoughts threatening to change everything, but then another virus attempts to erase the memories and recover the future, while a third virus scopes to save the new generations.
Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
 
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 

Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be—and it’s begun to run backwards, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.
If you could read someone’s mind, what would you do with the truth?

Hunted by both the military and her own personal stalker, Dani conceals her psychic abilities and hides in plain sight. Within her mind is the ability to change the landscape of nations. For that, a branch of the government would lock her away—to ensure her safety.

Marc Crofton left his black-ops unit to join his brothers’ private investigative after discharge. A chance meeting with the quiet, unassuming spitfire in his veterinarian’s office sends his world in a tail spin involving spies, both domestic and international.

Each must rely on the other to survive a world where betrayal and deception, desire and trust, weave a fabric that transcends time.
Who is the power behind the throne?


Marian has risked everything to bring King Richard the Lionheart to England.

But as the king’s heart turns toward vengeance who will be left to stand in his wake?

If you like inspirational heroines, unique love stories, and non-stop twists and turns, this action-packed fantasy retelling is for you!
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.
Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.
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.

October 2021 Wrap Up

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October flew by!! It seems like I blinked and yesterday was Halloween.

I had a full month in October with a lot of indie authors contacting me to review their books. I also picked up a lot of books on NetGalley (I know, it’s a sickness, I am trying to cut back but it is hard).

I did fall behind with reading and reviews. As of today (11-1) I am behind 1 review and 5 books (not including the 4 books that I need to read and review by Friday…smh). I am planning to sit down and read this weekend but still…sigh. I am going to read the indie authors first and then work on the NetGalley ARCs. Hopefully, I at least get the reviews for the indie authors done by the weekend.


Books I got from NetGalley:

Reputation by Lex Croucher

Girls Before Earls by Anna Bennett

The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson

Kagen the Damned by Jonathan Maberry

Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne


Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers

The Voinico’s Daughter by Sallie Cochren

From Fame to Ruin: A Romantic Thriller Standalone by Jina S. Bazzar

Sigiriya: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, Betrayal, and Tragedy in the Royal Court by Senani Ponnamperuma

Intertwined: A Biker’s Tale by Andrew Hartman

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories by Patricia Furstenberg


Books Read and Reviewed

Not Your Average Hot Guy by Glenda Bond (review here)

Three Sisters by Heather Morris (review here)

The Sultan’s Court by R.A. Denny (review here)

Our Trespasses: A Paranormal Thriller by Michael Cordell (review here)

The Brightest Star in Paris by Diana Biller (no review written….yet)


That’s it!!! Not what I wanted for books read and reviewed but I’ll deal!! Let me know if you have read any of these books.

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