All-time Favorites · Christie's Reviews · Romance · Young Adult

New Review: The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young! It’ s my TOP YA PICK OF 2018!!!!

 

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Impossible Vastness of Us and the On Dublin Street series comes a heartfelt and beautiful new young adult novel, set in Scotland, about daring to dream and embracing who you are. THE FRAGILE ORDINARY is now available where all fine books are sold. Order your copy of THE FRAGILE ORDINARY today!

 

 

About THE FRAGILE ORDINARY:

I am Comet Caldwell.

And I sort of, kind of, absolutely hate my name.

People expect extraordinary things from a girl named Comet. That she’ll be effortlessly cool and light up a room the way a comet blazes across the sky.

But from the shyness that makes her book-character friends more appealing than real people to the parents whose indifference hurts more than an open wound, Comet has never wanted to be the center of attention. She can’t wait to graduate from her high school in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the only place she ever feels truly herself is on her anonymous poetry blog. But surely that will change once she leaves to attend university somewhere far, far away.

When new student Tobias King blazes in from America and shakes up the school, Comet thinks she’s got the bad boy figured out. Until they’re thrown together for a class assignment and begin to form an unlikely connection. Everything shifts in Comet’s ordinary world. Tobias has a dark past and runs with a tough crowd—and none of them are happy about his interest in Comet. Targeted by bullies and thrown into the spotlight, Comet and Tobias can go their separate ways…or take a risk on something extraordinary.

 

Christie’s Review

5 +++++ STARS

The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young is my TOP YA pick for the year, and an all-time favorite read. Young completely blew me away.

…the real beauty of life is in the fragile ordinary.

Comet was a girl so many of us can relate to, I know I can. She is beautiful, sweet, and so intelligent. She feels like she can never fit in with her peers it seems, so she does what she can to make herself invisible. She is so afraid to take any kind of step outside of her comfort zone that is until new student, Tobias, enters her world. He is unlike anyone she has ever encountered, making her feel things she has only felt toward her heroes in the novels she reads. He was no ordinary cute boy, In her words, he looked a teen Viking. I loved how her imagination would get away with her. He was hero in one of her dystopian novels, and she was the heroine. Some of that infatuation falls away when she realizes he isn’t a hero. He’s disrespectful to his teachers and hangs around with the wrong crowd. However, she can’t get him completely out of her mind.

We only get Comet’s POV in this book, so what I discovered about Tobias is what I learned through Comet’s eyes. I, like her, thought her was a troublemaker, but as I would soon learn, like Comet, appearances can be deceiving. You can’t always judge a book by its cover. There is a lot more to Tobias than meets the eye. Turns out he is more like one of the heroes out of her books than she thought.

As you can imagine, there is some angst and drama. I mean we are talking about teenagers who are full of drama. What these two kids endure is something no one should. Young does a fantastic job of addressing issues that face teens every day, and she does it in a wonderful but very realistic way. Comet and Tobias do have some trust issues as would be normal with their relationships they have with their parents, especially Comet’s parents. They both have to learn how to move past those, risking their hearts.

 

What most people never learned was that sometimes what would make us happy the most also scares us the most.

I could go on and on about this book. It would be so easy too. It was so well-written with very well-developed and multi-dimensional characters. Young left nothing out, even creating a beautiful setting. As I have written in past reviews, being able to envision the setting makes me feel like I’m a part of it. The little seaside town was so charming and added so much to the book. I have had to step back and consider what I needed to do to make others see how very special this book is. I just hope I gave you a little glimpse of why I adored this book! If I had to recommend one book this year, The Fragile Ordinary is it!!! I’m just so curious to see what kind of wonderful adults she and Tobias have grown into!

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“Endearing and relatable, Comet-the girl who is searching for her place in this world-will shoot through the sky and into your heart.”

— #1 New York Times bestselling author Erin Watt


 

 

 

EXCERPT:

By the time we got to the house and I let us into my bedroom, I was a jittering wreck. Massive waves of nervous energy were emanating from Tobias, making me worse. He was rarely nervous about anything. Once inside my room, I waited impatiently as Tobias slumped down on my bed, elbows on knees, head in hands.

I shrugged out of my jacket and unwound my scarf. Still waiting.

“Comet,” he huffed, not looking up. “Sit down, okay, you’re making me nervous.”

“You’re making me nervous.” I sat on the armchair across from him. “You and Stevie didn’t kill someone, did you? Did Dean dispose of the body for you and now he’s blackmailing you?”

Tobias’s broad shoulders shook and he lifted his head to stare at me with amusement tinged with sadness. “You’ve got to stop reading so many books.”

“Never.”

He smiled at me, his look so tender that I squirmed with the need to shoot across the room and throw my arms around him. Instead I met his gaze and asked directly, “What happened back there?”

“I just chose you over Stevie,” he said.

I swear my eyebrows must have hit my hairline at this pronouncement. “What?”

“Stevie and some of the guys have been hanging around Dean more and more. Dean is a dealer. And he’s part of something bigger—we’re talking an adult-sized, criminal gang who deal drugs and steal cars for a living. Dean deals cocaine to kids. Blair Lochrie High School is one of his grounds. He sells to quite a few kids there.”

At our high school?

Class A drugs at our high school?

“Bloody hell,” I whispered, “Where have I been?”

“Where I prefer you—safe with your nose stuck in a book.”

“Tobias…Stevie?”

Hearing the worry in my voice, he winced. “I tried, Com. I tried to keep him out of it, but he’s so messed up and I couldn’t stop him. I hung around to make sure he was okay.”

“Is that why you’ve been avoiding me?” God, please let that be why he was avoiding me.

“Yes.” A million apologies swirled in his gorgeous eyes. “I didn’t mean for Stevie to find out about you, because I didn’t want you anywhere near the stuff he was getting involved in. But then you two got along, so well I thought you might…have feelings for each other, so I told him that he either stopped hanging around Dean or he stopped hanging around you. He agreed keeping you out of that stuff, away from the boys, was better for you. So we stopped coming around as much and then stopped coming around at all. Tonight was his initiation into Dean’s crew. It was supposed to be both our initiations, I guess, because Dean was sending Stevie to some other party with drugs, and I was following Stevie as backup. Now I’m not.”

There was so much to process in what he’d just said.

My brain blurted out the first thing it wanted to deal with. “Stevie and I don’t have feelings for each other. I don’t like Stevie, Tobias.”

His eyes widened as my tone implied that I liked someone else. “No?”

“No.”

“Good. Because I just left him to that hell.” He stood up and started pacing back and forth. “I tried to help him even if it meant hurting you, and he just let himself get pulled further down into that crap.”

I stood up, reached out to touch him, to slow him down. He stilled, looking at my hand on his arm. “What did you mean? You chose me over Stevie?”

“Comet, Dean made it clear that if I left with you, I couldn’t go around there or anywhere near him again. So I either had to stay and go with Stevie as his backup on a drug deal and leave you to handle Dean on your own, or I could walk out of there with you and leave Stevie to do it alone. For good.” His gaze moved over my face, as if he were committing each feature to memory.

My heart started thudding so hard the blood rushed through my ears. “So you chose me.”

“Of course,” he choked out. “I’d never let anything happen to you. And seeing you there…I never want to see that crap touch you again. It was a wake-up call for me. I don’t want to be a part of that shit either. That’s not me.”

Seeing something in his expression made me brave in a way I never thought I could be. Knees trembling, I stepped up to him and placed a hand on his chest, over his heart. His chest was strong and hard beneath my hand, his body heat surrounding me and that woodsy, spicy, citrusy scent he wore teasing my senses. I wanted to sway into him, hold him tight, and never let go, but I had something important to say first now that I had his absolute attention. “Being a good student, working for something, achieving something, playing hard at football…it wasn’t all for your dad, Tobias. There is no maybe about it. Deep down you want those things for yourself, too. You’re smart and good and such a special person.” I gave him a tremulous smile, wondering if how I felt for him was as obvious to him as it was to apparently everyone else. “You deserve the life you really want.”

His chest rose and fell faster beneath my hand as we stared into one another’s eyes. Tobias licked his lips, as if he was nervous. “What if I want to get my grades back up?”

“Then I’ll help.”

“And join the rugby team?”

“Then you’ll try out.”

He nodded and slowly lifted his hand to cover mine. He took a step closer to me, his breathing sounding a little shaky. The thud of his heart racing beneath my palm made mine accelerate. My legs shook and my fingers curled into Tobias’s shirt. “And…what if what I really want…is you?”

Joy flooded me. I can’t truly describe the feeling. The euphoria. The excitement and thrill and fear and worry that cascaded through me at the thought of being with Tobias King.

No matter the plethora of emotions that came with his question, my answer was instant and absolute. “Then you have me.”

 

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About Samantha Young:

Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

 

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Historical Fiction · Historical Romance · Romance

Tempting the Laird (The Highland Grooms #5) by Julia London Excerpt Tour

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Julia London, comes TEMPTING THE LAIRD—the fifth standalone novel in her Highland Grooms Series!

TEMPTING THE LAIRD is now available where all fine books are sold. Grab your copy today!

 

 

TEMPTING THE LAIRD Synopsis:

Mystery and desire cloak the Scottish Highlands

Unruly. Unmarried. Unapologetic. Catriona Mackenzie’s reputation precedes her everywhere she goes. Her beloved late aunt Zelda taught Cat to live out loud and speak her mind, and that’s exactly what she does when Zelda’s legacy—a refuge for women in need—comes under fire. When her quest puts her in the path of the disturbingly mysterious Hamlin Graham, Duke of Montrose, Cat is soon caught up in the provocative rumors surrounding the dark duke. Never one to retreat, Cat boldly goes where no one else has dared for answers.

Shrouded in secrets, a hostage of lies, Hamlin must endure the fear and suspicion of those who believe he is a murderer. The sudden disappearance of his wife and the truth he keeps silent are a risk to his chances at earning a coveted parliamentary seat. But he’s kept his affairs tightly held until a woman with sparkling eyes and brazen determination appears unexpectedly in his life. Deadly allegations might be his downfall, but his unleashed passion could be the duke’s ultimate undoing.

 

Grab your copy of TEMPTING THE LAIRD here!

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Exclusive Excerpt

“Milord, Mr. Stephen Whitson at your service,” the man said, bending over his outstretched leg.

“He wants to take the abbey, that’s what,” Catriona said angrily.

“Cat.” Aulay had come around on the other side of her. He took her hand and placed it firmly on his forearm, then covered it with his hand, squeezing so tightly that she winced. “Allow the man to speak, aye?”

“It is true that the abbey is a concern for the Crown,” Whitson said, and casually flipped the tail of his bobbed hair over his shoulder. “I have been sent by the Lord Advocate’s office.”

“The Crown?” Cailean repeated skeptically, and stepped forward, putting himself before Catriona. “I beg your pardon, sir, but we are in the midst of a wake for Miss Griselda Mackenzie.”

“My condolences,” Whitson said. “I regret my arrival is inopportune, but our previous correspondence went unanswered. As I attempted to explain to Miss Mackenzie, I’ve come with an urgent matter for the laird.”

“Aye, bring them forth, Cailean,” Catriona’s father called from the other end of the room.

Whitson did not wait for further invitation. He neatly stepped around Cailean and began to stride across the room, heedless of the others gathered.

The room had grown silent, all ears and narrowed gazes on this man.

Cailean followed Whitson, but when Catriona tried to move, Aulay tugged her back. “Stay here.”

“I’ll no’ stay back, Aulay! That’s my abbey now.”

But Aulay stubbornly tugged her back once more. “Then I would suggest, if you want to keep it, you mind your mouth, Cat. You know how you are, aye? Particularly after a wee bit too much to drink.”

She was not going to debate how much she’d had to drink with him. “What of it?” she snapped. “Zelda is gone and I have drunk my sorrow.” She shook his hand off and hurried after the others.

Her father had come to his feet. He leaned heavily on a cane, but he still cut an imposing figure and was a head taller than Mr. Whitson. Her father was a good judge of character, and he had judged this man’s character quickly, for he did not offer him food or drink. He said curtly, “What is your business, then?”

Mr. Whitson lifted his chin slightly. “As you are to the point, my lord, so shall I be. Kishorn Abbey was used unlawfully in the aiding and abetting of Jacobite traitors who sought to displace our king in the rebellion of ’45, and in return for that treason, the property as such is forfeited.”

Catriona and her family gasped, but her father, Arran Mackenzie, laughed. “I beg your pardon? Kishorn Abbey sits on land that has been owned by the Mackenzies for more than two hundred years. There was no aiding and abetting. We’ve been loyal subjects, sir, that we have.”

“Kishorn Abbey was used to house fleeing rebels after the loss at Culloden and was operated by a known Jacobite sympathizer in the form of Miss Griselda Mackenzie. It is pointless to deny it, my lord—we have the witness of two of the sympathizers. As the property was used to house traitors, it is forfeited to the Crown by order of the king.”

“By order of the king?” Cailean echoed incredulously. “Are you mad, then? Ten years have passed since the rebellion.”

Mr. Whitson shrugged. “It was a crime then and is yet, sir.”

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Julia London’s TEMPTING THE LAIRD – Review & Excerpt Schedule:

June 27th

Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – Excerpt

GhostPepperBabes/ Pimpers’ Dungeon – Excerpt

Tania’s Book Blog – Excerpt

June 28th

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt

June 29th

All about reading – Review & Excerpt

TBR Book Blog – Excerpt

June 30th

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Sofia Loves Books – Review

July 1st

NightWolf Book Blog – Excerpt

Vivi’s Messy Kitchen – Review

July 2nd

Bookishly Yours – Review & Excerpt

Jax’s Book Magic – Excerpt

July 3rd

Feel the Book – Excerpt

KatyaRath – Review & Excerpt

Romance Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt

July 4th

Books 2 Blog – Review & Excerpt

The Book Addict’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

July 5th

Travels N Reads – Excerpt

Vagabonda Reads – Review & Excerpt

July 6th

3 degrees of fiction – Review & Excerpt

Canadian Book Addict – Review

My Nook, Books & More – Excerpt

 

 

About Julia London:

Julia London is the New York Times and USA TODAY best-selling author of more than thirty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular Cabot Sisters historical romance series, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch and The Perfect Homecoming. She has over 100,000+ Facebook followers, is the recipient of the RT Book Reviews for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. You can visit her website JuliaLondon.com. She lives in Austin, Texas.

 

 

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Excerpt Reveal · Fiction · Pre-Order Links · Women's Fiction

Saving Beck by Courtney Cole Excerpt Reveal with Pre-Order Links

 

 

Reminiscent of the beloved novels by Mary Kubica and Jodi Picoult comes a chilling portrayal of a son’s addiction and its harrowing effects on both him and his mother from New York Times bestselling author Courtney Cole. SAVING BECK releases July 17, 2018. Check out the sneak peek below, and pre-order your copy of SAVING BECK today!

 

 

SAVING BECK Synopsis:

There comes a time when offering your life for your child’s doesn’t work, when you realize that it’ll never be enough.

The cold needle in his warm vein was a welcome comfort to my son at first. But then it became the monster that kept us apart.

Heroin lied, and my son believed. It took him to a world where the last year didn’t happen, to a place where his father was still alive. What Beck didn’t understand was that it couldn’t bring his father back from the dead. It couldn’t take away his pain, not permanently.

You think it can’t happen to you, that your kids, your family, will never be in this situation.
I thought that too. But you’re wrong.

Step into our world, and see for yourself.
Watch my golden boy become a slave to this raging epidemic. Watch me try and save him.

Drug addiction comes with a price.
Trust me, you’re not equipped to pay it.

Don’t miss this heart wrenching, evocative, yet hopeful novel—it will leave you forever changed.

 

Pre-order SAVING BECK here!

Amazon Hardcover | Kindle | Nook | Barnes & Noble Hardcover

iBooks | B-A-M | Kobo | IndieBound | Audible

 

 

 

 

EXCERPT:

The hospital is a beacon of light and hope as we pull in. I barely remember to put my car in park before I jump out and I leave it in the middle of the lane, the tires wrenched haphazardly toward the curb.

“Ma’am, you can’t park there,” a guy in a security uniform says with his fake badge, but I don’t answer. I toss him my keys and push my way to the doors, and that’s when I see him.

My son.

They’ve pulled him out of the ambulance, and he’s so still, so white. He’s got the body of a man and the face of a boy, and he’s got vomit in his hair. One hand dangles over the edge of the gurney, orange flecks dripping from his fingers to the floor, but no one notices, no one cares.

“Beck,” I breathe, and he doesn’t open his eyes. “Beck,” I say louder, as loud as I can. His mouth is slack, but he’s not dead, he can’t be dead because someone is pumping his heart with her fist. She’s running next to the gurney, and she’s pounding on his heart, making it beat.

“Coming through,” she yells at the doors, and there is a team of people working on him. They’re frantic, and that’s not good.

I chase after them, through the emergency room, through the people, but someone grabs me at a giant set of double-doors, the gateway to the important rooms.

“You can’t go in there,” a nurse tells me.

“That’s my son,” I try to tell her, but she doesn’t care. “Beck,” I scream, and I try to see through the windows, but I can’t because he’s gone. “I love you, Beck. Stay here. Stay here.”

The nurse grasps my arm, and I can’t stand anymore. My legs are tired and the adrenaline… it numbs me. I collapse beside her and she tries to hold me up, but she can’t… I’m on the ground.

My face is wet, when did I start crying?

“You have to save my son,” I beg her, my fingers curled into her arm. I stare into her eyes. Hers are green, ringed with blue, and she looks away. Something about her seems so familiar, something about those eyes.

“We’ll try, ma’am,” she says uncertainly. It’s the uncertainty that kills me. “We’ll do everything we can. I’m going to take you to a quiet room, and give you a blanket. Is there anyone I can call for you?”

I shake my head. “No. I already called my sister.”

“Okay,” the nurse says quietly and her name tag says Jessica. She takes me to a waiting room, a quiet private one, the ones they use when the outcome might not be good. I know that because I’ve been here before.

I swallow hard and she puts a cup of coffee in my hand.

As she does, she pushes a stray hair out of her face and her bracelet catches my eye. A simple chain with a silver dolphin on it. I’ve seen it before.

“You were here the night my husband was brought in,” I realize slowly. “Weren’t you? Do you remember me?”

It was a year ago. A year, two months… I check my watch… six days and twenty-two hours ago. Of course she doesn’t remember me.

But Jessica nods.

“I’m so sorry about your husband,” she tells me now, her voice quiet and thick. “I swear to you, we did everything we could.”

“I know,” I tell her. Because I do. The accident was so bad, there’s no way anyone could’ve survived. Except for Beck. He lived. But Matt...his injuries were insurmountable. That’s what the doctor told me that night.

I stare at the door, and this is the same room and that is the same door, and this is the same blue-tiled floor. For a minute, I’m back in that moment, and the doctor is coming in. I’d waited for hours and his face was so grave and I knew, I knew, before he could utter a word.

I shook my head because I didn’t want to hear what was coming next, but he spoke anyway.

Matt’s injuries were insurmountable, he’d said. We did everything we could.

But everything wasn’t enough, and my husband died.

“Is it a different doctor tonight?” I ask suddenly. “I need a different doctor. One who can save my son.”

I know it’s illogical. I know it was never the doctor’s fault, but it doesn’t matter because Jessica is nodding. “It’s a different doctor tonight,” she tells me. “Dr. Grant, and he’s very, very good.”

“Okay,” I whisper. “Okay.”

“If you need anything, you tell me,” Jessica says and I can see that she means it. She likes me. Or she feels sorry for me. It doesn’t matter which. I nod and she’s gone, and I’m alone.

Just like I was a year ago, and just like that night all I can do is pace.

I’m a caged mama wolf and there’s nothing I can do, but I know that if I stop moving, Beck might die. My energy is attached to his energy. I have to move. It all depends on me.

So I walk in circles.

I walk six paces, over the six white tiles, then I turn, taking three steps over the blue. I tread back six paces over the white, and then turn again, taking three more over the blue.

I will not stop, Beck. I won’t fail you. I won’t.

It becomes rhythmic, and I match my breaths with my steps. I’m a machine, a time-keeper, a being made of clock-work as I walk in circles, marking time. Every step I take, Beck is still alive. I feel it in my heart. It’s all up to me.

 

 

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

 

 

 

 

About Courtney Cole:

Courtney Cole grew up in rural Kansas and now lives with her husband and kids in Florida, where she writes beneath palm trees and is still in love with the idea of magic and happily-ever-after. She is the author of Saving Beck.

 

 

 

 

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4.5 Star Review · Cozy Mystery · Giveaways

Shadow Dancing (A Country Club Murder Mystery #7) by Julie Mulhern Book Tour with Review and Giveaway

Shadow Dancing (The Country Club Murders)
by Julie Mulhern

 

About the Book


Shadow Dancing (The Country Club Murders)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Henery Press (June 19, 2018)
Print Length: 210 pages
Digital ASIN: B07BMJM89K

Visiting a psychic is outside the norm for Ellison Russell. Finding bodies is not. Unfortunately, the psychic’s crystal ball says she’ll soon be surrounded by death. Again.

Drat.

Now there’s a corpse in the front drive, a witchy neighbor ready to turn Ellison and her (not so) little dog into toadstools, and a stripper named Starry Knight occupying the guest room.

How did 1975 go so wrong so quickly?

Ellison must handle Mother (who’s found a body of her own), make up with a certain handsome detective, and catch a killer, or the death surrounding her might be her own.

Christie’s Review

4.5 Stars

Shadow Dancing is a great mystery with great characters!!! I

Ellison has decided it’s time to quit finding bodies, oh if only she had control over that! Trouble seems to find Ellison wherever she goes. Even though she doesn’t want to, she allows Libba to drag her to see a psychic who gives her information about her love life and predicts her daughter, Grace’s, life might be in danger. She doesn’t believe in that kind of stuff, but anytime Grace might be in danger, she will worry. That is just when the trouble starts, and of course, and it’s not long after that, she is brought into a murder mystery.

While I loved the mystery and all the twists and turns, I also loved that the author dug deeper into her relationships with her parents, Grace, and her love interest, Anarchy. By the end of the book, I was already waiting to see in what direction these relationships will go in the next book.

If you are looking for a book with a mystery to keep you guessing, great characters, humor, and a bit of a romance, give this series a try!

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About the Author

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Author Links

Website – www.juliemulhernauthor.com

FB – https://www.facebook.com/juliekmulhern/?ref=hl

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JulieKMulhern

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8573907.Julie_Mulhern

 

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