Nadaness In Motion is the book blog owned by Nada Adel Sobhi and it is where honest book reviews meet author interviews, guest posts, and personal writing ranging from poetry to short stories alongside the Takhayyal/Imagine writing prompt challenge. ---
“You cannot kill a breeze, a wind, a fragrance; you cannot kill a dream or an ambition.” - Michel Onfray
Today, I’m featuring cozy mystery author Julie K. Mulhern with a review for her latest book in The Country Club Murders, Back Stabbers.
But first I’d like to send out a special thank you to tour host Lori Casewell and to author Julie Mulhern for their quick response to problems I encountered when trying the Adobe Digital Editions via Edelweiss for the first time. I didn’t realise that when the book expired on Edelweiss, it would also expire and be rendered useless on the Adobe Digital Editions app. So, thank you Lori and Julie.
So, today I’ve got a review for Back Stabbers, book 8 in the series, along with a giveaway for ONE Signed Print Copy of Back Stabbers by Julie Mulhern.
Book: Back Stabbers
The Country Club Murders (Book 8)
Author: Julie K. Mulhern
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication date: 23 October 2018
Genres: Cozy mystery, humour
Number of pages: 253 (Kindle edition)
All Ellison Russell wanted was an update on her stock portfolio. Instead, she found her broker dead.
With an unexpected out-of-town guest at her house, Ellison is too busy for a murder investigation. Only this time, Detective Anarchy Jones wants her help, and she can’t deny the handsome detective. Can Mr. Coffee supply her with enough caffeine to keep her brain sharp and everyone else happy?
Juggling bodies (one, two, three, four), two-faced friends, her social calendar, and a cat (yes, a cat) is taxing but Mother might be the biggest challenge of all.
With a killer drawing closer, can Ellison put together the pieces or will she be the one getting stabbed in the back?
Book Review by Nadaness In Motion
"Of the three partners at Bisby, Marshall, & Wallace, one was hospitalised, one was murdered, and one was a murder suspect."
Ellison Russell has a knack for finding dead bodies and by that I mean if there was ever a Guinness World Record for the number of dead bodies found, Ellison Russell would break the record several times over.
Back Stabbers by Julie K. Mulhern is the eighth book in The Country Club Murders. And even though it is my first – full – read for Mulhern, it feels as if I had known the characters a long time. Ellison is relatable, funny, down-to-earth, and tough coffee addict.
Narrated from Ellison's first person perspective, the novel is quick-paced and enjoyable, with lots of sleuthing and jumping around. The reader is introduced the murder from the first few pages.
"You have that sound in your voice."
"The I've-found-another-body sound."
I loved Ellison, though I think she drinks way too much coffee and that her coffee cups are too small. I connected with her on various levels. As the novel progresses, the reader is introduced to previous books and previous murders such as Ellison's husband.
There are too many cheaters in this book, hence the title Back Stabbers. I was beginning to think there weren't any decent people in Kansas City where the book is set.
Not only does Ellison keep stumbling on dead bodies, her father surprises her with news that her never-before-seen half-sister is not only coming to town but also would be staying with her. Add to that, there is trouble in paradise, or particularly with the oddly-named Detective Anarchy Jones, whom we are led to believe it Ellison's boyfriend.
One of the things I absolutely loved about Back Stabbers is the constant humour. Not only is Ellison sarcastic, but her imagery plays into the humour as well.
"Why didn't someone else find him? Why you?...Why do these things [dead bodies] happen to you?"
"I wish I knew."
"Perhaps you should figure it out, then you could avoid making the mistake in the future."
My disappointing propensity for finding bodies was an evergreen topic.
There were a lot of angles to the mystery, allowing Mulhern to keep the reader off-track most of the time.
There's also a lot of "show-don't-tell". Used expertly throughout the book.
"My stomach took the elevator to my ankles and all the strength left my fingers (not just left but packed it bags and took off for Palm Springs)."
One of the things I thought was odd about the book is the absence of cellphones. UPDATE: The author just informed me that the book is set in the 1970's - something I hadn't sensed while reading.
Ellison also has tough parents to deal with. Her mother is a dragon of a woman and her father is eccentric in a way. In Back Stabbers, Ellison's father appears to be distant from his daughter but lavishing his half-daughter with long over-due affection. I sympathised with Ellison but personally disliked her father, whom I thought had emotional issues.
"With his rumpled overcoat, permanently disagreeable expression, and tendency to blame for the world's ills, Detective Peters was not my favourite person to look at – especially when he was smirking at my discomfort. Overall rating: 5 stars
Overall, I truly enjoyed this read for Julie K. Mulhern. Definitely won't be my last. I loved jumping around with Ellison, who is a strong character. Anyone who could put with a mother like that deserved a medal.
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.
Today, I'm featuring an author I've wanted to feature for sometime but have never been able to read her books. Meet Claudette Melanson. I'll be showing you an excerpt from the first book, Rising Tide: Dark Innocence, which is available for free in e-book format (retailers below) along with the synopses and covers for books 2 & 3 in The Maura DeLuca Trilogy.
I also have a few teasers from books 2 & 3, Undertow and Riptide.
Rising Tide: Dark Innocence
The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 1
By: Claudette Melanson
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Rising Tide will sink its fangs into you, keeping you awake into the wee hours of the night
Could Maura's life get any worse? ...turns out it most certainly can.
Isolated and sheltered by her lonely mother, Maura's never been able to make friends. She seems to drive her classmates away—except for the odd times they pay enough attention to torture her—but she doesn’t understand why. Maura considers herself to be a freak of nature, with her unusually pale skin and an aversion to the sun that renders her violently nauseous. Her belief is only worsened by the fact that almost everyone around her keeps their distance.
Even her own father deserted her before she was born, leaving Maura alone with her emotionally distant mother, Caelyn. Even though Maura is desperate for answers about her unknown parent, Caelyn remains heartbroken and her daughter can’t bring herself to reopen her mother’s wounds. Or is there a more sinister reason Caelyn refuses to utter a word about her long-lost love?
When a cruel prank nearly claims Maura’s life, one of her classmates, Ron, rushes to her rescue. Darkly handsome & mysteriously accepting, Ron doesn’t seem to want to stay away, but Maura is reluctant to get too close, since her mother has announced she’s moving the two of them to Vancouver…nearly 3,000 miles away from their hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania.
If life wasn’t already challenging enough, Maura begins to experience bizarre, physical changes her mother seems hell bent on ignoring, compelling Maura to fear for her own life. Vicious nightmares, blood cravings, failing health and the heart-shattering loss of Ron—as well as the discovery of a tangled web of her own mother's lies—become obstacles in Maura's desperate quest for the unfathomable truth she was never prepared to uncover.
Awards and Nominations:
2015 Readers' Favorite Gold Medal Winner for YA Mystery
2015 RONE Award Finalist for YA Paranormal
2015 New Apple Top Medalist for Young Adult Ebook
Chosen as one of 400 for the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for 2014!!!
Excerpt fromRising Tide by Claudette Melanson
There was no shock strong enough to stop me then. Just a greedy, driving impulse pounding through every cell. I was hungry, and I wanted beyond all wants, to eat. A red film pervaded my eyes, turning the world crimson. My pulse screamed inside my head, exiling all other sound. And the boy’s blood called to me, drawing me down to my knees on the ground beside him.
“Maura!” From somewhere very far away, part of me acknowledged Ron’s voice. The reverberation was enough to draw me up, up, up from where I was, at present, drowning in gluttony at the taste of blood. Not quite enough though; I continued to lap at the side of the nameless boy’s head.
“MAURA!!” Ron’s voice was much more forceful then—a force to be reckoned with—and rife with shock. But he didn’t settle for shouting at me. I felt him behind me, hooking his hands under my shoulders and jerking me to my feet in an instant.
He whirled me around, roughly, and I found myself staring blankly into his face, trying to focus. “My god! What are you doing?!!” He was shouting at me, his face not an inch from mine, but I still couldn’t come around from my bloodhaze completely. I wanted to shove him away…violently…and reattach my mouth to the bloody wound at my feet.
“Stop! Leave me alone!” I fought against him until I saw Shane coming through the door after us. He stopped short and stared at me, his mouth gaping open with shock, fear in his eyes. Ron pushed him back inside, slamming the door in his face.
He turned his attention back to me and shook me forcefully. “Maura.” My name came out a rough whisper. “What’s wrong with you?!!”
He wiped the back of his right hand across my mouth. The left came up after to cover my mouth and nose, attempting to sweep away the bloody mess with his fingers. I heard from that small, not-in-control part of my mind again. A tiny voice wondering exactly what was happening. The part in control didn’t care about anything except his exquisite scent. He smelled better than the pizza, better than the boy’s blood… I struck at him, precipitously, like a viper. He narrowly avoided the sink of my teeth into his skin.
I had to give Ron credit; he only looked frightened for a moment. In the slice of an instant, he composed the look on his face, bravely took another spit-laden swipe at the corner of my mouth and jerked the door back open.
He hauled Shane out by the front of his shirt and then slammed the door shut—that time in Merina’s astonished face—once again.
Shane’s eyes slid toward me, then flicked quickly back to Ron’s face. They stayed there.
“Shane.” Ron said his name with calm and quiet. “This guy fell and hit his head.” He inclined his own toward the figure sprawling before us. “Maura was trying to help him by cleaning up the wound.” He said those words with such weight, as if he were burning them into Shane’s head with a branding iron. “You got that? She was helping him.” When Shane didn’t respond he shook him firmly, as he had me before. “Do you understand?”
Shane snapped out of the trance he’d seemed trapped in. He looked from Ron’s face to my own, blinked a couple of times and then nodded his head. He licked his lips before he spoke. “Yeah. Yeah, I‘ve got it.” He shook his head to clear it, and Ron released his grip on Shane’s shirtfront.
At that moment, my head snapped around to the left corner of the house at the sound of approaching footsteps. Caelyn glided into my view, as smooth as silk in her tight black-leather jacket. The expression on her face was enough to render my knees incapable of supporting my weight. I slid toward the ground, but Ron hauled me back up immediately. I tried to form words, but my vocal cords didn’t seem to be working. My head was starting to clear to the fact that Caelyn was going to kill me, slowly, painfully… I looked up to Ron, fully mindful he had no power to save me.
Check out the book trailer Praise for Rising Tide by Claudette Melanson:
"This captivating and commendable work had me immersed from the beginning. The story flows from scene to scene with ease, and the author shows exceptional skill when it comes to storytelling."
"Mrs. Melanson’s writing is so descriptive and talented. Throughout the entire story, I felt like I was watching a movie."
"Melanson grabs you from page 1 and doesn't let you go until the very bitter end, only bitter because the book is finished."
"I found pure delight in this book and will recommend it to other readers."
"The writing by Claudette Melanson in this novel is top notch and I can see the movie rights for this being grabbed in no time."
˃˃˃ Sure to become one of the Books to Read of the year, Rising Tide: Dark Innocence isn’t the usual YA tale of vampires. Full of Mystery and Suspense, this Vampire Mystery Thriller packs just enough Romance & Humor, while delivering plenty of Dark Fantasy served with a side of the Supernatural. Maura, in the midst of her vampire awakenings is unarguably a vampire in denial. It is a novel that is certain to become one of the classic paranormal and fantasy books of its time--the series is not only for Teen & Young Adult readers, but has been well-received by many adult readers, as well. Maura doesn't live in Castle Dracula in Transylvania, but she must still discover the bloodlines constructing the creature she is destined to become, while overcoming social issues, such as bullying, that rock her world while coming of age. She is an strong Urban Science Fiction & Fantasy female protagonist readers love.
Add Rising Tide by Claudette Melanson on Goodreads
Continue reading for more on books 2 and 3 in the trilogy!
Undertow: Death's Twilight
The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 2
Maura finally found the truth she was always seeking…or has she?
After being left in the dark for all of her life, Maura’s father, Maxwell, has finally returned to reveal sinister family secrets Maura could never have dreamed possible—including his revelation that she is one of The Born. But his daughter soon discovers both he and her mother are keeping pieces of her reality hidden, still. As Maura struggles to unravel the mysteries surrounding her new existence and discover every piece of the cryptic puzzle, life appears intent on casting stumbling blocks across her path with every step forward.
Tragedy seems to stalk Maura, and those around her, as she stumbles along, altering the young changeling’s family, just when they have all come back together. The changes left in its wake could be for the better, or may threaten their existence, entirely.
With the arrival of Christmas comes the opportunity for Maura to draw close to everyone she loves—and finally reunite with Ron, the man she loves. But permanence has always eluded her, and in her current state of flux this pattern endures, as fate seems intent on snapping the threads that bind her to those she holds most dear. Maxwell’s good intentions pave a road for Maura, littered with misery, while her mother, Caelyn’s, desire to shield her family from pain may tear her away from them, altogether. The perfect happiness in the young vampire’s grasp is so easily swept away and dragged under, out of reach. Can Maura erupt from the darkness and confusion to break the surface and find the life she’s always dreamed of?
In the midst of chaos, assistance materializes in the form of another of her kind—ephemerally beautiful, yet explosively volatile, this new vampire may prove capable of unlocking the puzzle-box Maxwell seems intent on securing from her sight. Maura will discover the darkest parts of herself in her quest to understand the being she is destined to become. Her newfound friend has some shady intentions of his own—such as thwarting the love that has grown between Maura and Ron. Following in the wake of the impulsive vampire’s misguided instruction may further pull a naive Maura down into the depths of ultimate despair, heartbreak…and even destruction.
Awards and Nominations
2015 Readers' Favorite Honorable Mention for YA Horror
2016 New Apple Summer eBook Solo Medalist for YA Horror
Maura has never felt so alone in her life…nor has her existence ever been so overshadowed by peril…
Not only do both her parents—her distant but loving mother and recently- returned father—remain absent from her life, but due to the hideous error in judgement executed in collusion with her best friend, Valdamir, and adoptive sister, Susie, Maura has been cut off from the pair’s friendship and support, forbidden by both her father and the fallout from the dire outcome to see either of them. The heartbreak she suffers, brought on by the weight of these estrangements, is only intensified by the continued mysterious absence of her supernaturally-destined mate, Ron…whose disappearance delivers grave consequences Maura would have never dreamed possible…
Despised by her vampire cousin, Aldiva, for reasons Maura cannot yet comprehend, the young changeling will be forced to guard her back with every step, as she comes to realize this member of her vampire family would love nothing more than to bring about her demise. Aldiva’s wrath calls forth other members from both Vancouver covens, forcing them to rush to Maura’s aid—even though her father, their king, has expressly forbidden the other vampires to initiate contact with his daughter. Will her extended family on Vancouver Island obey, abandoning Maura to her doom, or will they instead rebel against Maxwell’s wishes in order to save her life?
In addition to the menace personified in her unsolicited enemy, the unlikely vampire princess will find herself drowning as she is pulled down into the depths of a far more devastating crisis…one which may condemn her to a fate she considers much more undesirable than death. But in order to tear herself free from the deadly pull which is drawing her under, Maura must enlist the help of her preternatural family, exposing her newfound friends to a danger none of them have ever had the misfortune to face before. Can she be saved or will the riptide drag Maura under…along with those she loves the most…
2017 New Apple Solo Medalist for Summer eBook - Young Adult General Fiction
Claudette Melanson writes dark fantasy, horror and children’s books in Kitchener, Ontario with seven bun babies at her side: Tegan, Pepper, Butters, Beckett, Sansa, Daenerys & Caramel. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English, BS in English Education and an MA in Literature. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite paranormal characters. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.
In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories...along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings. An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.
Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.
An enduring legacy... A rebellion... A destined love...
Raised in his father’s image—practical and disciplined—there are no gray lines interrupting the Earl of Stanfeld’s black and white world. Until his mother has a dream and begs to return to her Highland home.
Alisabeth was betrothed from the cradle. At seventeen, she marries her best friend and finds happiness if not passion. In less than a year, she’s a widow. Vowing to honor her husband’s memory, she joins his activist group of Glasgow weavers and is soon embroiled in the Radical War of 1820.
Crossing the border into Scotland, Gideon finds his predictable world turned upside down. Folklore, legend, and political unrest intertwine with an unexpected attraction to a feisty Highland beauty. But Lissie doesn’t trust the Englishman or the rising desire between them. When the earl learns of an English plot to stir the Scots into rebellion, he must choose his country or save the clan and the woman that stirs his soul.
Excerpt from Rhapsody and Rebellion by Aubrey Wynne
“Mama, you were dreaming.” Gideon’s thumb stroked the top of her hand, his voice soft and soothing. “Look at me, Mama, and you will see.”
Maeve slowly turned her head, tears now spilling down her cheeks. “Oh Gideon, it was ghastly.”
“What did you dream?”
“It was not a dream.” Her voice faltered. “Your cousin, Ian, is dead.”
“What? Did you receive a letter from Scotland?” Gideon had not seen any correspondence from his mother’s family over the last week, and nothing had arrived today.
“I do not need a letter. I saw it. There has been a terrible slaughter in Manchester, and Ian was trampled by a Hussar’s charger...” She lifted her chin and wiped her wet cheeks with determination. “You must take me home to my clan.”
“To the Highlands? You haven’t been there since your wedding.” He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “I can’t just run off to Scotland with my aging mother because of a dream.”
“Aging?” Her eyes narrowed, anger shining from beneath her lashes. “I have more stamina than most of those mutton-headed females of the ton.”
He had to agree with her but bit back a smile. “This is folly. A trick of the mind from lack of sleep.” He pressed his lips to her fingers. “Let’s have a glass of sherry, and you’ll feel better after we eat.”
“Don’t patronize me. Your father didn’t believe in…” She took his face in both her hands, strength growing in her touch and her gaze steady and direct. “It doesn’t matter. Listen to me. It was not a dream but a message that we are needed at home.”
“This is our home.” Gideon stood and leaned an arm against the fireplace mantel, worried the past year had also taken a toll on her mind. An uprising in Manchester? There had been rumblings throughout parts of the country but nothing significant.
“This is your home. Mine has always been in Scotland, regardless of how long I’ve been away.” Her eyes pleaded with him.
“What about Marietta’s visit in September?” That would end this foolishness, he was sure.
“It will have to wait until October. You must promise we will leave as soon as you return from London. Or I will go alone.”
He looked up to the ceiling, hoping for some divine intervention. None came. “I give you my word.”
Praise for Aubrey Wynne's Rhapsody and Rebellion: “Well-written historical romance with a bit of everything – a tragedy, a conflicted hero, a strong and fragile heroine, interesting characters, and a happily ever after.” - Amazon verified review “Best Regency Romance I’ve read in a long time and highly recommend!” - N.N. Light Book Heaven Reviews “I adored this story. I look forward to reading more in this series.” - Reads2Love Review “A wonderful romance!” - 5 Kindles Review
Author Aubrey Wynne
Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of
children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas.
Her short stories, Merry Christmas, Henry and Pete's Mighty Purty Privies have won Readers Choice Awards. Dante's Gift and Paper Love received the 2016 Golden Quill, Aspen Gold, Heart of Excellence and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.
In addition to her Chicago Christmas novellas, Aubrey will release two more Regency romances in 2018. The Wicked Earls’ Club will release again in 2019. Wynne’s medieval fantasy series launched in 2017 with Rolf's Quest, winner of the NTRWA Great Expectations.
Winner’s choice of a $50 Amazon Gift Code or $50 in PayPal Cash
Ends 2 November 2018
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. The giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
events of The Children of Hurin by J. R. R. Tolkien or as I would prefer
to call it The Series of Unfortunate Events that Befell the Children of Hurin,
take place probably thousands of years before The Hobbit and The Lord
of the Rings.
are elves, dwarves, and Men, a wingless dragon, and lots of sadness and
main idea behind the story is that Hurin curses Morgoth in his face, so the
latter curses Hurin and his family, making Hurin watch his children unknowingly
"I am the Elder King: Melkor, first and mightiest of all the Valar,
who was before the world and made it. The shadow of my purpose lies upon Arda,
and all that is in it bends slowly and surely to my will. But upon all whom you
love my thought shall weigh as a cloud of Doom, and it shall bring them down
into darkness and despair. Wherever they go, evil shall arise. Whenever they
speak, their words shall bring ill counsel. Whatsoever they do shall turn
against them. They shall die without hope, cursing both life and death."
The Children of Hurin opens with an info dump of the
people in the book and who married who, including several names we never
actually meet. There is a genealogy tree at the end of the book, which honestly
should have been at the beginning because I had to go back to it several times
while reading. The info dump wasn't necessary but just got me confused.
had three children: Turin, who is the main focus of the story, his sister Urwen,
and his other sister Nienor who appears towards the end and is dragged into the
curse laid upon father by Morgoth.
"The doom lies in yourself, not in your name."
What my book looks like after reading
language is really tough to get around. True, I've been reading modern and
contemporary fiction but this was a tough read. Reading this book, one sees how
the elements of fiction have changed over time. There is no showing versus a
lot of telling. The description is simpler and there aren't many alternatives
is minor character development for Turin. Sometimes he's likeable and sometimes
he isn't. But it is easy to sympathise and connect with him. In terms of
imagery, there aren't many, but there were several sections of rich
of the things that The Children of Hurin has gotten me excited about is
rereading The Silmarilion, where there is a powerful tale of Beren and
Luthien. People in the story make many analogies between Turin and Beren. I
also have The Book of Lost Tales part 2, which I plan to finally start.
"This man is not Beren. Even if he be both as fair and as brave. A doom
lies on him; a dark doom."
is interesting to learn that The Children of Hurin was originally
written as a poem – a very long one "running over 2,000 lines",
according to the notes section after the novel.
Today, I'm featuring a gorgeous cover for an upcoming
horror anthology. I don't know any of the authors in this collection but I hope
to make their acquaintance soon.
Witching Hour: Sinister Legends
(Witching Hour Anthologies)
Publication date: 23 October, 2018
Cover design: Cover by Combs
Genres: Adult, Horror, Paranormal, Thriller
Bloody...maybe we shouldn’t test that just yet.
Urban legends, fact or fiction, at the end of the day
they’re all stories. We know not to spin around the room in the dark whispering
her name. We've heard about the man with the hook and the terror that stalks
the babysitter while she's home alone.
But there are other tales told around the fire at
night. The man finding the steps into hell and sanity flickering away. Mind
control experiments by governments, big and small. The woman married to the man
of peculiar tastes. There are the haunted hospitals, sleep trials in Russia and
Slenderman and Bigfoot are nowhere within these
stories; these are only the unusual and dark ones, slanted into truth.
In every legend, there is a seed of truth. Welcome to
the Witching Hour.