THE TRAITOR’S GAME by Jennifer A. Nielsen Blog Tour Review

I am super excited to be a part of THE TRAITOR’S GAME Blog Tour and to be sharing my review post on its release day.

Yes, the wait is finally over for Jennifer A. Nielsen‘s THE TRAITOR’S GAME, so if you’ve been dying to read this first book in the new series you’ll be able to grab a copy today!

If you haven’t yet heard of this new release – which is seriously, seriously, awesome – all sorts of info is below, along with a link to an excerpt. And if you’d like to join to conversation to talk about what you think about Kestra and Simon and all that happens, join the conversation on social media using #TheTraitorsGame.

Of course if you want to know why it’s called THE TRAITOR’S GAME or discover the meaning behind the tagline – Motives Will Shift. Secrets Will Emerge. – you’ll have to dive in to find out.


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Title & Series: THE TRAITOR’S GAME (The Traitor’s Game #1)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Release date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 400
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook



Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well—and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.

The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what—and who—it is they’re fighting for.


NOTE: This review is based on an eARC and ARC received by the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A finished Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.

The Review

THE TRAITOR’S GAME is instantly and completely riveting, immeasurably intriguing, and filled to the brim with action, deception, secrets, lies, betrayal, and heartbreak. The dual POV both reveals and teases. The world is elaborate and interesting and dangerous and thrilling. The characters are captivating, mysterious, challenging, defiant, and a bit untrustworthy. The story grips and twists and surprises and leads to a phenomenally astonishing ending that hints at just some of the amazingness to come in the sequel.

Kestra knew the Dallisors had enemies. With her father willing to do Lord Endrick’s bidding, there were bound to be those who despised her family. She just never imagined how many or who she’d have to protect herself against. And she never thought a time would come when she could be coerced into helping them.

Simon took an oath to stand with those looking to take back the throne, those seeking to defeat Lord Endrick. The rage he felt toward Kestra Dallisor for her betrayal was just fuel on a fire already burning. He never imagined his allegiance would be questioned or that he’d be the one to question it. He never dreamed he might one day have to protect the person he hated most in the world.

Jennifer Nielsen went so far above and beyond with this first book in her new series. Her world and characters stand out – corrupting magic, remarkable and deadly creatures and weapons, an alluring myth, exciting and treacherous and conniving friends and foes. The plot is electrifying and jam-packed with harrowing chases, lethal assaults, intricate plans, difficult choices, shaky alliances, unanticipated outcomes, devastating losses. The pace is fast, the writing suspenseful and engaging and detailed, and the ending worth every nail-biting moment leading up to it.

If you like your heroines fierce, your heroes protective, their loyalties divided, their missions complex, their motivations hidden, their lives full of secrets, THE TRAITOR’S GAME is an absolute must.

The Rating

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

The Trailer


About Jennifer A. Nielsen

Jennifer A. Nielsen is the acclaimed author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Ascendance Trilogy: The False Prince, The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne. She also wrote the New York Times bestselling Mark of the Thief trilogy: Mark of the Thief, Rise of the Wolf, and Wrath of the Storm; the standalone fantasy The Scourge; the historical thriller A Night Divided; the second book in the Horizon series, Deadzone; and Book Six of the Infinity Ring series, Behind Enemy Lines; and The Traitor’s Game, the first book in a series of the same name.

Jennifer lives in northern Utah with her husband, their three children, and a perpetually muddy dog.


DARK BREAKS THE DAWN Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Welcome to today’s stop on the DARK BREAKS THE DAWN blog tour. If you haven’t yet heard of this awesome new series by Sara B. Larson, you should definitely check out the all the stops on the tour to learn more.

For my stop today I’m sharing my thoughts about this amazing first book in the duology. Though I am keeping my lips sealed about its similarities to Swan Lake. And even though I would love to talk about just what happened. Especially right there at the end.

Whether you are a fan of Swan Lake or are unfamiliar with it, DARK BREAKS THE DAWN is a story that promises to captivate and will leave you desperate for the next installment.

So if you’re in the U.S. and would like the chance to win a copy, be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter below. And if you’d like to know what I thought, scroll down for my review.


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Author: Sara B. Larson
Release date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 320
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook


On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn into the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.

In the first book of a remarkable duology, Sara B. Larson sets the stage for her reimagining of Swan Lake — a lush romance packed with betrayal, intrigue, magic, and adventure.


NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.

The Review

DARK BREAKS THE DAWN is an enchanting and magical and riveting tale that introduces a princess who is just about to come into her abilities, a people who are divided by their powers of darkness and light, and two warring kingdoms kept embroiled in battle by a ruthless king who wants to rule them both. It is an exciting and suspenseful story that will keep readers guessing and will leave them anxiously awaiting the sequel.

Evelayn spent years training in anticipation of the day she would finally have access to her full powers. But nothing could have prepared her for what it would feel like to have them. And she never would have expected to have to master them as quickly as she needed to.

But when, after ten years of fighting valiantly against King Bain’s onslaughts, the Light Kingdom of Éadrolan’s defenses are breached, Evelayn will have to become the queen that her people need her to be and find a way to defeat the Dark Kingdom. Even if it means taking risks her mother never did. Because with no experience and no time to hone her skills, there are no safer options that could lead to victory.

Sara B. Larson penned a captivating and imaginative story that goes well beyond the confines of Swan Lake. She delivers the beauty, romance, magic, tragedy and betrayal that readers will expect, but adds adventure and mystery, creates tension, offers a number of characters to adore and despise, and teases secrets that will be revealed in the next installment.

DARK BREAKS THE DAWN is a mix of fairytale and fantasy. It is fascinating. It is thrilling. It is heartbreaking. It is bewitching. And with a beautiful princess, a handsome lord, two gorgeous but deadly princes, an evil king, a wicked queen, a dangerous quest, amazing abilities, and a killer cliffhanger ending, it promises to be a wonderfully gripping read.

The Rating

About Sara B. Larson

SARA B. LARSON is the author of the acclaimed young adult fantasy Defy trilogy: Defy, Ignite, and Endure. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write books—although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband and their children. She writes in brief snippets throughout the day (while mourning the loss of nap time) and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting of her sugar addiction.


The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

  • Three (3) winners will receive a finished copy of DARK BREAKS THE DAWN – US only

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour Schedule

Week One

Week Two

THE SLEEPING PRINCE Blog Tour: ‘Five Favorite Quotes’ Guest Post + Giveaway


Welcome to the fifth stop on THE SLEEPING PRINCE Blog Tour. If you haven’t yet discovered this series by Author Melinda Salisbury you are seriously missing out. The books are dark and captivating, combining fairytale and folklore into something truly wonderful and magical and memorable.

The introductions tease the promise of the awesomeness to come and the endings just tease. If you don’t believe me, simply check out the first of the author’s favorite quotes and passages. And if you want to be teased a bit more, read numbers two through five.

While THE SLEEPING PRINCE is the second book in this series, you don’t have to read book one to fall in love. Of course if you want to be in the know while reading, and be more familiar with the world and a few of its players, you should definitely dive into THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER first.

This is not just a series with amazing covers. The stories are quite fantastic. And if you’d like the chance to win a copy of this second book in the series scroll down and enter in the Rafflecopter.

If you’d like to know more about the books and the author, some information is below. You can also visit the other stops on the tour for a few reviews, interviews and guest posts.

THE SLEEPING PRINCE comes out on May 31st, so now’s the perfect time to add it to your TBR pile and to pre-order your copy!



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Title & Series: THE SLEEPING PRINCE (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #2)
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Release date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook


Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater’s Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more.

Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.

When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Indiebound | Goodreads

The Guest Post

Five Favorite Quotes (or Passages) and Why They are Favorites

by Melinda Salisbury


The opening few paragraphs are some of my favourite work I’ve ever written. They set the tone for the whole book:

The night guard on the East Gate reached to scratch the sudden sharp itch at his throat. As his legs gave way beneath him and he crumpled, he saw his fingers, slick with blood, black in the dim glow from the lamp that lit the gate. He was dead before he hit the ground.

The golem stepped over his body.

The second guard turned, lips parted to scream, or swear, or beg, his sword rising to meet the creature, but too late. A silver flash through the air and the guard collapsed, his blood mingling with that of his colleague.

The lumpen, blank space where the golem’s face ought to be was tilted towards the sky, as though sniffing or listening. It passed through the gate, its misshapen head knocking the lamp, sending it swinging, casting nightmarish shadows over the thick stone wall of the East Gate. As the oil spilled and smoked, and the flame guttered, the golem stepped a trail of bloody footsteps through the gate and into the slumbering royal town of Lortune, dragging a club as long as itself in one hand, a large double-headed axe in the other.

Moments later a second golem followed, an axe and club of its own clutched in its twisted hands. Its weapons had yet to be christened.

The two creatures moved forward, slowly but steadily, their gait rocking and lilting, the motion more reminiscent of ships on the ocean than anything that moved on land.

The Sleeping Prince followed them.

As for the rest, presented without comment or context are my favourite non-spoilery lines from the book:


“Mysterious boys are not as enjoyable in reality as they are in stories.”


“How do I tell her?” he said. “How do I tell her he’s gone?”


My eyes narrow. I don’t believe him, and my left eyebrow creeps up to let him know it.

“You wouldn’t understand my reasons,” he roars, his face turning purple. “You don’t understand anything, you stupid girl. I was kind to you. I looked out for you. I would have taken care of you. But no. I’m not good enough for you. Little miss high and mighty from Tremayne.” His head tilts as he examines me and my jaw tightens in anger. “Look at you,” he continues. “You’re not even that pretty.”

“If you lay a hand on me—”

“Ha!” He cuts me off with a bark of laughter. “I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire. Not now. Not now I know you’re soiled goods.”


“Needs more salt.” He smiles.

About Melinda Salisbury

Melinda Salisbury

Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian. The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel. She can be found on Twitter at @AHintofMystery, though be warned, she tweets often.

Find her: Website | Twitter | TumblrInstagram | PinterestGoodreads

Other Books in the Series

The Sin Eater's Daughter

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Title & Series: THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1)
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Release date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 320
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook


A startling, seductive, deliciously dark debut that will shatter your definition of YA fantasy.

Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn’t a member of the court. She’s the executioner.

As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies-a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Indiebound | Goodreads

The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

  • Three (3) winners will receive finished copies of THE SLEEPING PRINCE – US only

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour Schedule

Week One

5.23.16 | Dark Faerie Tales – Interview

5.24.16 | Addicted Readers – Spotlight

5.25.16 | Two Chicks on Books – Interview

5.26.16 | Once Upon a Twilight – Review

5.27.16 | Fiktshun – Guest Post

Week Two

5.30.16 | My Friends Are Fiction – Review

5.31.16 | Adventures of a Book Junkie – Guest Post

6.1.16 | The Broke and the Bookish – Review

6.2.16 | Fiction Fare – Interview

6.3.16 | Mundie Moms – Review

DEAD UPON A TIME Blog Tour: ‘Fairytale Influences’ Guest Post + Giveaway


I am super excited to be today’s stop on the DEAD UPON A TIME Blog Tour and to have a fantastic guest post from Author Elizabeth Paulson to share on DEAD UPON A TIME’s fairytale influences, as well as an incredible poem the author wrote entitled Gretel Loves Hansel.

Fairytale retellings and re-imaginings are really hot right now and this new release takes things one step further: DEAD UPON A TIME  is a mash-up of a few classic favorites! And it’s a super quick and entertaining read.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to check it out, be sure to read the book’s description below and visit a few (or all) of the stops on the tour to see what other bloggers are saying about the book and to read a few interviews and guest posts.

And if you’d like the chance to win a copy of DEAD UPON A TIME, scroll down and enter in the Rafflecopter below.

But first you’ll definitely want to read Elizabeth Paulson’s post on the book that influenced her novel and read her awesome poem about Hansel and Gretel.



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Author: Elizabeth Paulson
Release date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 224
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


It’s a fairy-tale nightmare . . .

One girl is kept in a room where every day the only food she’s given is a poisoned apple. Another is kept in a room covered in needles — and if she pricks her finger, she’ll die. Then there are the brother and sister kept in a cell that keeps getting hotter and hotter. . .

A sinister kidnapper is on the loose in Kate’s world. She’s not involved until one day she heads to her grandmother’s house in the woods — and finds her grandmother has also been taken. Already an outcast, Kate can’t get any help from the villagers who hate her. Only Jack, another outsider, will listen to what’s happened.

Then a princess is taken, and suddenly the king is paying attention — even though the girl’s stepmother would rather he didn’t. It’s up to Kate and Jack to track down the victims before an ever after arrives that’s far from happy.


The Guest Post

DEAD UPON A TIME’s Fairytale Influences…


by Elizabeth Paulson

In high school, I arranged my life around ways of avoiding the school cafeteria. I had friends and a place to sit, but hated the discord of voices and scraping utensils, the chairs and tables scooting across the linoleum floor. Having been hospitalized for an eating disorder, I felt on stage in the cafeteria, as if everyone was watching me eat.

I escaped into the library and if the librarians chased me out, I snuck into my English teacher’s classroom. There, I ate my bag lunch in peace and devoured his poetry collection with excitement. Anne Sexton’s Transformations stood at the end of the second to last shelf. Slim and white, with a charcoal drawing of a witch and a raven peeking out from a hood on the cover, that book cast a spell on me immediately.

Here were familiar fairytales drenched in acidic wit and modern metaphors. The best parts of the stories, the violent consequences and the spiteful villains, remained intact. The innocent princesses did not act so innocently, however. The happily-ever-afters were compromised. I love Sexton’s raw imagery, her sarcasm, her modern allusions. I love her unflinching acknowledgement that sex and aggression were sometime entwined and that both had the power to enchant. Transformations became one of those books I continued to reach for, mining for lessons about mythology, poetry, and the way we can bend stories to reflect ourselves.

I didn’t allow myself to try transforming any fairytales until years after; I didn’t want to write poems that sounded like hollow echoes of Sexton’s work. The poems I finally wrote satisfy me; they wear their influence proudly, but they stand as my own.  They helped me warm up my writing muscles in order to write Dead Upon a Time. And when it came time to create the book’s villain, the evil witch who had made space in her soul for something that would eventually devour her, I remembered Anne Sexton’s glamor and bravado and tried to infuse Caterina with that kind of commanding presence. I wanted readers to fear but also revere her a little.

As for Anne Sexton, I love her still.

Below is a one of the poems I wrote, as a fairytale transformation.

Gretel Loves Hansel

My brother of the fellow empty belly, of thistle

rubbed into our gums for taste, of weak knees,

of water and onion stew. My banished also

brother, my likewise forsaken, my as good as orphaned

as well. My clever brother of the white pebbles,

of their neat arrow towards home. Him

of the bread crust, the other heel of the loaf.

My bread crumb brother shaking his slingshot

at those oblivious birds. My deep woods

brother, who skinned us a rabbit and then wept

so much for it we could not eat.  My cracking

acorns brother. The shiver against me,

the warmth near the cooling embers of my father’s fire.

My sweet brother of the oasis, the other nibbling

guest, second set of criminal teeth.

With his mouth full of licorice shingle, gum drop

mail box. Then frozen by the sudden

cackle. The chosen meal of him, the tasty bit.

My brother, the well-fed favorite, fattening up

in the witch’s cage. With the cunning bone,

thankful for the lucky blindness of the wicked.

One for whom she grows impatient, licking

her lips and tired of chickens. My doomed one,

for whom I finally stoke the fire, for whom I lay down

kindling. My brother who skinned me a rabbit,

then cried so hard he could not breathe. Harmless one

still trusting the dumb trick of his chicken bone.

My brother, the roast for which she tests the oven,

for which she climbs in. My wailing brother and his rattling

cage. Him dissolving behind me. Mine. My brother

for whom I place each hand on the iron door. We used to

push each other on that swing hanging from the old

magnolia tree. Him with the mighty hands. The iron door

pushes back and the woman inside is screaming.

My brother for whom I hold fast. The skin of my palms

cooks against the oven door and the witch

eases off. Mine for whom I hold fast. I hold mine.

–Elizabeth Paulson

About Elizabeth Paulson

Elizabeth Paulson lives on the edge of the woods somewhere in America.

The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

  • THREE (3) winners will receive a finished copy of DEAD UPON A TIME – US only

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour Schedule

Week One

Week Two




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Author: Katie Alender
Release date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Point
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


Asylum meets Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in this riveting tale of ghosts, secrets, and family, from master of suspense Katie Alender.

Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. It used to be an insane asylum, a place to lock up “troubled” young women long ago. And a restless, wicked spirit is still at play–and it doesn’t want defiant girls like Delia to go anywhere.

So the house kills her.

Now Delia is a ghost, trapped in her creepy home forever. As she meets the other ghost girls who haunt the narrow hallways, as well as the handsome ghost boy on the grounds, she learns shocking truths about the house’s history. Delia also realizes that her alive and grieving sister might be the house’s next target. Can Delia unlock the mystery of the old asylum, save her sister, and free herself?


NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

The Review

Katie Alender’s THE DEAD GIRLS OF HYSTERIA HALL is an immensely entertaining one-sit read that offers a captivating mystery, a deliciously creepy setting, and several rather interesting ghostly residents to keep readers hooked. And with a heroine whose unavoidably tragic fate is known from the start, it promises to be a story that is both immeasurably sad and incredibly spooky.

Delia never wanted to spend the summer cleaning out the home she inherited from her aunt. But when she arrived and discovered it was not just a home, but a former institute for girls that had been dubbed Hysteria Hall, she was just a tiny bit curious about the place her aunt called home. That is until she felt as if she was being watched, followed, chased. Until she thought Hysteria Hall might be haunted.

However, with both parents dead set on staying until the job was done, leaving right away wouldn’t be option. And once the malevolent force residing in the institute set its sights on Delia, she wouldn’t be leaving at all. Not alive, anyway.

Author Katie Alender infused her chilling and eerie ghost story with humor and heart. She touched upon issues that were very real and relevant and horrifying and heartbreaking at one point in our country’s history. She gave readers a heroine who was headstrong, a touch selfish, not always easy to like, but sympathetic and ultimately someone to root for. She added in the possibility of romance. And she created a mystery with a few twists and turns and surprises. All of which make for a positively gripping read.

With a number of mysterious disappearances and deaths, an asylum with a dark and hidden past, an intriguing array of ghosts with secrets of their own, and its newest trapped resident anxious to uncover what her aunt had been trying to tell her and desperate to find a way to escape, THE DEAD GIRLS OF HYSTERIA HALL is guaranteed to be a suspenseful and electrifying and unputdownable page-turner that may generate a few smiles as well as a few tears.

The Rating


About Katie Alender

Katie Alender author photo 300x375

Katie Alender is the author of The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, Famous Last Words, Marie Antoinette: Serial Killer, and the Bad Girls Don’t Die series. She is a graduate of the Florida State University Film School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. When she’s not writing novels, she can usually be found quilting, reading, eating delicious high-calorie foods, and hanging out with her friends (on very special occasions, she manages to do all of those things at once).


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