Monthly Giveaway and Review: Starcrossed


It's a new month, so time for another giveaway. I'm going to do what I did last month and post both my review and the giveaway together. One winner will receive a hardback copy of Starcrossed. This giveaway will run through the rest of September, so plenty of opportunities to enter.
 
Starcrossed
(Starcrossed #1)
by Josephine Angelini
YA Paranormal
May 31st 2011 by HarperTeen (first published April 1st 2011)


Goodreads summary:
How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.


What I thought:
Overall, I have heard really good things about this series and decided I should give it a try since the third book just came out this year. I also really like stories incorporating mythology, which this one does. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but this book met those expectations in some ways and not in others.

I really love the relationships in this book. I liked Helen's relationship with her father, her relationship with her best friend, and her very volatile relationship with Lucas and the Delos family. I also liked each of the Delos' family relationships. It's always interesting to me to see different family dynamics. It was a little Twilightesque how the Delos family moved in and were introduced into the story, but maybe that just couldn't be helped.

The way Helen really hated Lucas in the beginning came off a little strong to me. Maybe some of what bothered me initially was that I really dislike it when an individual's choice or behavior is out of their control. I don't think that ever is the case in real life (yes we are forced toward certain decisions by circumstances and whatnot at times, but we still have our will intact for the most part). The situations like this in the book were a little too over-the-top for me in that regard.

Once Helen doesn't hate Lucas anymore, I rather enjoyed the story. There are several discoveries and other things going on. There's also a undertone of danger, which keeps the story moving at a good pace. Then Helen meets someone from her past and things change again. I didn't like what this someone tells Helen and Lucas, especially since I saw right through it. I've seen this before in another series and I didn't like it then either (do you know which series I'm referring to?). There is also quite a bit of drama (I think I was in a mood not to read about teenage drama when I read this), which I normally can only take so much of.

I will say that overall I did enjoy reading this and am planning on finishing out the series to find out what happens. I'm hoping that I will like the next two books much more.

Content: Pretty much clean, except for some innuendo.

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Have you read this? Are you planning to? Do you want to win your own copy? Enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter below.





 

Please note that you must be at least 13 years old. This giveaway is open to US continental residents only. Please ensure that you correctly enter your email (and check your junk mail folder if I'm not on your contact list) so that I have a way to contact you. You can read my giveaway policy on my policies page.

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Review: Doon

Doon
(Doon #1)
by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon
YA Fantasy
August 20th 2013 by Zondervan


Goodreads summary:
DOON…

Veronica doesn't think she's going crazy. But why can't anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes? When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months.

But the Scottish countryside holds other plans.

Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna's great aunt—and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation. Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica's daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they've longed for...or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.

DOON is loosely based on the premise of the musical Brigadoon, with permission from the ALan Jay Lerner Estate and the Frederick Loewe Foundation. Follow the journey at http://www.DoonSeries.com

~Destiny awaits!



What I thought:
I really love this cover! I think it is such a good representation of the tale within and the story-book world that the characters travel to. So many covers don't do this. You think it's going to be one type of story based on the premise and cover and get something completely different. That definitely isn't the case here.

There really is a bridge, mist, and a castle in the distance, even though Mackenna doesn't believe it. She also thinks that her best friend, Veronica, is losing it a little when she mentions a dreamy guy that only she apparently sees. Mackenna just wants to have a fabulous summer hanging out with her bff and real guys before she starts her perfect drama internship in the fall. Veronica has faith for both of them though and that is how their journey begins.

I really loved most of this book. I'm going to get the things I didn't like out of the way first.

DISLIKES:
I thought that there should have been a little more explaining in the beginning when the two girls cross over. The girls don't seem to question much nor are they questioned a whole lot either. Then there are all these assumptions that aren't reasoned out at the time. All of this is answered later, but in reality I thought much more should have been answered initially.

I didn't like the indecision and drama towards the last third of the book by Mackenna, Veronica, Duncan, and Jamie, although mostly by Veronica. There were a couple of spots where she was really immature and that just rubbed me wrong. I also didn't like how clueless some of the characters were in parts and the fact that they didn't communicate very well.

LIKES:
I loved the characters! Veronica has had a rough life, but it hasn't completely hardened her. She likes to dream, which is why it is so easy for her to believe that there could be a magical place called Doon. This is also probably how she escapes her life in some ways. Mackenna has grown up with all these fairy-tale stories, yet she is more of the practical one and is very focused on her career. She doesn't even believe in true love, at least that it's not for her at this point in her life. Duncan is utterly charming! He's got that lopsided smile, has a great sense of humor, is extremely patient, but is also smart, loyal, and very good looking. Then there is Jamie. He is more reserved, but there is a fun and passionate side to him that Veronica catches glimpses of once in a while. He is strong, protective, confident, loyal, and drop-dead gorgeous. There is plenty of chemistry between each gal and her love interest, as well as some serious swoon-worthy scenes.

It was fun to see how the characters interacted. They each have their own backgrounds and hopes for the future and none of them are exactly the same. However, they do all want what is best for Doon and they are tempted by love even if that's not what they're looking for. I appreciated that everything didn't just fall into place. This is a happily-ever-after tale, but it doesn't necessarily end how you would think. Just as in most stories, there is someone who doesn't want everyone to be happy and who is only out for herself. In this story it is a witch who is just waiting for her chance to ruin Doon in order to become more powerful.

If you like magical worlds, dashing prince charmings, adventure, and happily-ever-after then this book is definitely for you. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

Content: Some mild violence and innuendo, but I would consider this clean.
Source: NetGalley and bought

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Have you read Doon or are planning too?








Disclosure: This review is of a book I was given for free by an author, tour host, or publisher, or through NetGalley or Edelweiss. This in no way influences the opinions shared in my review. You may see my complete policy on my policies page. This post also contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback.

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Series Review: Shadowfell and Raven Flight

I love Juliet Marillier. Her writing and characters are always so well done. The circumstances also feel realistic to me under whatever situations the characters find themselves in. She also does such a great job in her story-book world-building. That's why I continue picking up her books and giving them a try every time.

I would say that this series is probably not for readers who don't really like fantasy or who read page-turners. Both of these books are rather slowly paced with some climatic points here and there. There also isn't a lot of romance. The chemistry is there when the two main characters are together, but they take a while to figure things out and when they do, they aren't together very much.

Both my reviews are going to be a little on the shorter side for these two. Let's get to it.

Shadowfell
(Shaddowfell #1)
by Juliet Marillier
Fantasy
September 11th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers


Goodreads summary:
Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill--a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk--Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death--but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban's release from Keldec's rule. Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.


What I thought:
I've been going back and forth on what to say. I really liked Neryn, but did think she should be a little older. I also really liked Flint. He is just about my ideal fierce protector, commander, lethal assassin kind of guy. I also liked the strange, but interesting Good Folk. They play a major role and take part in much of the story. Human interactions are actually at a minimum for Neryn during her journey. I also liked the chemistry between Neryn and Flint.

I really liked the plot. They live in a country that has gone to ruin because of a powerful and wicked king. Neryn holds a magical power that is ancient and has the posibility to be a great influence. I liked the different forces at work here and how the characters fit in the story. I do wish that it would have been a little more engaging, but I do understand that this was the first book and that the story was being set up.

Overall, if you like Marillier and Fantasy and don't mind the slower pace, then I would recommend this.

Content: Some mild violence and innuendo, but I would consider this clean.
Source: Library

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Raven Flight
(Shadowfell #2)
by Juliet Marillier
Fantasy
July 9th 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers


Goodreads summary:
Neryn has finally found the rebel group at Shadowfell, and now her task is to seek out the elusive Guardians, vital to her training as a Caller. These four powerful beings have been increasingly at odds with human kind, and Neryn must prove her worth to them. She desperately needs their help to use her gift without compromising herself or the cause of overthrowing the evil King Keldec.

Neryn must journey with the tough and steadfast Tali, who looks on Neryn's love for the double agent Flint as a needless vulnerability. And perhaps it is. What Flint learns from the king will change the battlefield entirely—but in whose favor, no one know.



What I thought:
I felt in some ways that there was a little more going on in this second book than in the first and it seemed to engage me a little bit more as well. Then at the same time I really wanted a lot more interaction between Neryn and Flint, which we get very little of. Of course, I'm a romantic, so I wanted a little more of that same chemistry from the first book.

I still like where this story is going and the characters. I do have to say that I wish Neryn would have been a little stronger and more willing to depend on the Good Folk when she needed to. She doesn't stand up to Tali much when I think she really should have as well. Tali also got on my nerves with all her talk of focusing only on the fight against the king and being rude to Neryn. I just think when life is short, you should live while you can when you can. I also didn't like how little faith she had in the Good Folk when they had already proven themselves so many times. I think Flint was probably the character I liked the most even though he is pretty tortured and we don't see a lot of him. There is a part towards the end that really shocked me. I just didn't think the author would do what she did. There is also a great set-up for the third book.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Flint around a lot more in the third book. I think the next book is probably going to be much more intense, if it is the final book in the series. There is a battle to wage and tasks to complete.

Fans of Juliet Marrilier should enjoy this book, as well as Fantasy readers who like a slower paced book and not much romance.

Here are a couple of excerpts that I liked:

"Another man might have taken vengeance in blood and fire, or made an end of himself. Regan is stronger thatn that. There's a light shining in him, moving him forward: the light of freedom. That's what draws all of us to follow, to take risks, to keep on fighting when we see out comrades fall beside us. But there's no light without shadow."

"Let there be a time in the future, I prayed, when he laughs with his children, and plays on the shore with them, and spends all his nights in loving arms. Let us have that. To whom I was praying I did not know."

Content: Some mild violence and innuendo, but I would consider this clean.
Source: Library

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Have you read this series or are planning too?







Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback.

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Stacking the Shelves and Peek Into my Postbox #21


Welcome to Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about the books I am adding to my shelves each week, sharing with you my excitement for my newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!


I am also joining Peek Into My Postbox, hosted by Fire and Ice.

I got some fabulous books this week! I also made a first this week: I received my first physical ARC, Friends and Traitors, in the mail!!! It's even better because it's a book I'm really excited about reading! Okay. Enough of the exclamation marks. ;) I took Just Like Fate with me to see Suzanne Young this week and got it signed by her too. You might see it in my monthly giveaway later if I decide to share it. We'll see. Here they are in all their gorgeous cover glory:
Purchase from Amazon
Slayers (Slayers #1) by C.J. Hill
Purchase from Amazon
Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Purchase from Amazon
Purchase from Amazon

I keep thinking my ebooks are going to go down so that it wouldn't take a ton of time to not use the Amazon widget, but each week I get proved wrong. Here they are (from NetGalley, Edelweiss, authors, tour hosts, and Amazon):


What did you get?







Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback.
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Blog Tour: The Exemeus

 

 
The Exemeus
(The Exemeus #1)
by Folami and Abeni Morris
YA Fantasy
January 3rd 2013 by Royal Colours Ink           
 

Summary
 
Hyalee Smith is dead, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Her short life was devoted to love and to hate. Love of the man who stole her heart, hate for the man who stole the world. Murdered by the government she swore to destroy, she has been given another chance to make it right. But to save the planet, she needs the help of the most powerful mystic the world has ever seen—unfortunately he hasn’t been born yet.

In a world where fear is the only currency, Dephon has committed the ultimate crime:inspiring hope.

His only goal is to make it safely through ninth grade, but on a post-apocalyptic Earth run by the Treptonian government, it isn’t that simple. Heir to a legendary power, Dephon Johnson is the only threat to the government’s rule. And on Trepton, all threats must be eliminated. When hundreds of assassins are dispatched to neutralize him, Dephon is forced to fight back. His only chance of survival is to enlist the aid of the greatest warrior the world has ever known. The only problem is, she's been dead for 13 years.



Scavenger Hunt

Make sure to check out The Exemeus Scavenger Hunt, where you can win a Kindle Fire or $150! The first stop is at My Guilty Obsession, where you can get the first clues on this incredible journey for an amazing prize! The Scavenger Hunt starts on Monday, August 26th and runs through Friday, August 30th. Chances to win are through midnight on September 1st. Buy your copy of The Exemeus today, if you haven't already!


 
About the Authors

Folami and Abeni Morris are a sister-sister writing team. Together they wrote (and rewrote) The Exemeus, somehow managing to accomplish it without murdering one another. Despite their facial similarities, tendency to finish each other’s thoughts and stick up for each other constantly, no, they’re not twins and thus deserve their own individual bio.

Folami Morris grew up in the tiny city of San Mateo Ca, where nothing ever happens and no one ever leaves. She went to Xavier University for undergraduate, getting her B.A in physics and her B.S in Biology. After graduation she returned to California, to live in an even smaller city, where even less happens, Antioch Ca. During this time she escaped the monotony by hanging out with her imaginary friends Hyalee and Dephon, and by writing the Exemeus. She finally escaped to Queens NY and now realizes that quiet and tiny aren’t so bad. 

As luck (and logic) would have it, Abeni Morris grew up in the same tiny little town as her sister, then she too escaped to the tinier town of Antioch. She has yet to leave. She received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from Cal State East Bay. She is the mom of two amazing kids, who swear that they deserve a percentage of the book proceeds and a ton of the credit. At least she raised dreamers.

You can find the authors on their website.


 
Giveaway

1 winner will get the Kindle 6" e-ink,  1 will get a $25 Amazon Gift Card and 1 will get a Paperback of Demon's at Deadnight by A & E Kirk (I'm still waiting to hear what, if any, will be open internationally but I will be sure to include it in the rafflecopter)
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Friday Favorites #18: Suzanne Young


Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted here, that spotlights a favorite author, book, series, publisher, cover, blog, etc. Basically whatever bookish thing that you love, recommend, and want to tell others about. Just pick one and link up to my post each Friday to share. You can use the graphic I used above, the other one here, or your own.


This week my favorite bookish thing is actually an author that I have really enjoyed seeing in person. I went to see Suzanne Young again on Tuesday night at a bookstore by me. She was there to launch her new book, Just Like Fate, that she co-wrote with Cat Patrick.


Why She Is a Favorite

She is so great in person! I think I like her so much because she can be rather sarcastic and so am I. Some of her comments really cracked me up.

She did something a little different this time around and had a friend interview her and then at the end opened questions up to the audience. I asked her about what she likes to read since what she writes is dark and a little sad. She said she reads romances and that the couple has to end up together in happily-ever-after. She doesn't want to read anything remotely sad. I have found this the case with other authors as well - that they tend to not read what they write.

She has several books in the works, including a novella to A Need So Beautiful titled A Desire So Deadly, that you can pre-order now and get when it releases in November. I have both books in that series (signed even), but still need to read them. I just missed out on getting an ARC of the follow-up to The Program, titled The Treatment. She said that the publisher was going to send the ARC's without covers and asked them to wait until there was a cover. Maybe next time. One can always hope! ;)

I really like how with all of her books her premises all include subjects that make me think. Just Like Fate asks what would happen on each side of a choice? A Need So Beautiful asks what is more important, yourself or doing what's best for others even if it destroys you? I also like that she writes duologies. There are so many series that could have (and probably should have) been written in two books.


Other Info From the Event

She talked about her book trailer a little bit. There's a band in the book that the two authors made up and then also wrote some lyrics for. They thought it would be really cool if they could actually get a band in real life to play their song. They did, and the band even recorded it under their band's name from the book, called Electric Freakshow. The real band is The Social Fantastic. You can hear a portion of the song from the book trailer for Just Like Fate:


To find out more about Just Like Fate's launch, you can go to Suzanne's blog. There are some fun pictures there and a Q&A between the two authors. Go check it out!
 
You can also find Suzanne here: Goodreads - Facebook - Twitter - Myspace

Have you read Just Like Fate? Are you planning to? It's on my list to read soon, hopefully next week. Do you have a favorite to share this week?

 
Link-up Here:

If you link and want to put the links on your site as well, here is the html:

<!-- start InLinkz script -->

<script type="text/javascript">
document.write('<script type="text/javascript" src=http://www.inlinkz.com/cs.php?id=311231&' + new Date().getTime() + '"><\/script>');
</script>

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Blog Tour: Finding Sheba

 

 
Finding ShebaFinding Sheba
(Omar Zagouri #1)
by H.B. Moore
Adult Romantic Suspense
August 15th 2013 by StoneHouse Ink (first published August 5th 2013)                

Summary
 
For centuries, historians have theorized the Queen of Sheba as only a seductive legend, and scholars have debated over the legitimacy of King David or King Solomon. When undercover Israeli agent, Omar Zagouri, stumbles onto a tomb in Northern Jerusalem he unknowingly finds the final clue that threatens to overthrow government claim to the Holy Land, pits wealthy collectors against one another, and sends ruthless archaeologists scrambling to find the queen’s secret burial place. An assassination attempt on the Coptic Pope, His Holiness, Patriarch Stephanus II, is only the first in the chain of lethal crimes. Omar must find a way to prevent the greatest discovery of the century from becoming the most deadly.
 
 


Review

When I finished reading the first chapter, I knew this was going to be good and well-written. There are three different points of view that we follow throughout the book. I thought the author did a really good job in organizing these so that it was easy to follow what was going on. I also liked the way she paced her information. At the beginning I was wondering why it would be such a big deal to know exactly where Queen Sheba was buried and then her character asks the same thing and gets her answer. Perfect timing.
 
The plot was pretty well paced. There were a few lulls for me and a few places where some of the information felt a little unnecessary to me. Besides these though, there were some fairly intense and suspenseful moments, but it wasn't tense the whole time, which was also nice. Sometimes I can get a little stressed out reading and this didn't do that to me. I wasn't exactly sure who each character could trust all the time and who was actually going to turn out to be a love interest. I also wasn't sure exactly what would be found about Queen Sheba in the end. I love when stories can surprise me, or at least keep me guessing.
 
I really liked all the characters. I liked how each one was introduced into the story and their back story. I wasn't quite sure how much each character was going to be involved, who would end up together, and who would make it out at the end. It was definitely suspenseful in that regard.
 
If you're looking for a good Adult Suspense novel, then I would definitely recommend picking this one up!
 
Content: Clean, except for some innuendo and violence.
Source: Tour host, which did not affect my review in any way.



 
heather mooreAbout the Author

Author Heather B. Moore is the award-winning author of ten novels, two inspirational non-fiction books, and two anthologies, including The Newport Ladies Book Club Series, A Timeless Romance Anthology, and Christ’s Gifts to Women (co-authored by Angela Eschler). Her historical fiction is published under the pen name H.B. Moore. She is the two-time recipient of Best of State in Literary Fiction, two-time Whitney Award Winner, and two-time Golden Quill Winner for Best Novel. Her most recent historical novel under H.B. Moore is Daughters of Jared (2012 LUW Gold Award of Excellence & 2012 LUW Best Book Trailer).

You can find Heather here:


 
 
 
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Book Blast: DiSemblance

 

 
DiSemblanceDiSemblance
by Shanae Branham
YA SciFi
August 20th 2012 by CreateSpace (first published August 1st 2012)               

Summary
 
Jason Tanner’s life has always been different from the ordinary citizen’s. It started when he was an infant and his parents were only teenagers. A computer science prodigy, Lloyd attended MIT but left a pariah in the eyes of the school’s dean—but a computer physics genius in the eyes of his primary investor. Then his theories and ideas created a holographic machine and their world shrunk as contact with the outside world became less and less frequent. A computer prodigy now himself, Jason is about to learn that the world never waits for you if you have the ability to change it: it will come for you.

Detective Bruce Durante has been handed the case of the Comfort Killer, a serial killer so named because he appears to abduct terminally ill patients before returning their corpses to their families in refrigerated coffins. When he picks up the trail, it leads straight to the home of Lloyd Tanner.

Jason has been living life through the world of Lloyd’s invention and wishing he could carry on a relationship with Boston, the beautiful girl next door. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, he is brought back to reality in a hurry. He is forced to destroy all of the planted evidence—and finds he is being targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. But the secrets of his father’s invention run deep and Jason, his brother Isaac,Boston, the Comfort Killer, and Detective Durante hurtle towards one another on a deadly collision course that leaves everyone’s life hanging in the balance.
   


About the Author
Shanae
Shanae Branham is a professional writer with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in grammar. I have also attended several years of classes and workshops in screenplay writing at the Los Angeles Screenplay writer’s Expo. I love suspense thrillers and am a master at plot and character development. I enjoy stories with happy endings. I promise all my readers that when they put one of my books down or walk away from one of my movies, they will be enthused with excitement and joy. This does not mean there will not be some sad parts, because you have to feel the bitter in order to understand the sweet. In fact, I have struggled with Dyslexia my whole life, so you can imagine how overjoyed I was when DiSemblance won a Silver metal in the fantasy/science fiction category at the eLit awards in 2012.

You can find Shanae here: 


 
Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 9/13/13

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. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  
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