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Archive for January, 2017

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Helen Fields fantastic thriller “Perfect Remains” which was published 26th January 2017 by Avon Books.

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If you’ve been following the blog tour you will know that the author, Helen Fields has been killed and the breadcrumb trail of clues is slowly revealing more about her killer.  Today I can share clue number 6 with you, can you work out who it is yet?

Follow the blog tour for clues about Helen’s demise and who the culprit is.

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You can buy a copy from Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Published: 30 January 2017
Reviewed: 30 December 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Cranachan Publishing in return for an honest review

 

Description:

An eight-year-old girl and her granpa are on the run…

“When me and Granpa watched James Bond films, he told me not to be scared because people didn’t have guns like that in Scotland. That must’ve been why the robbers used hammers.”

Orphaned Mary lives with her granpa, but after he is mixed up in a robbery at the bookies where he works, they flee to the Isle of Skye. Gradually, Mary realises that her granpa is involved. And the robbers are coming after him–and their money.

Mary’s quirky outlook on life, loss, and her love of all things Elvis, will capture your heart. Full of witty Scots banter, Mary’s the Name will have you reaching for the hankies, first with laughter, then with tears.

Heart-warming and heart-breaking, this darkly comic debut is from a fresh voice set to become Scotland’s answer to Roddy Doyle.

My Thoughts & Review:

From the very moment I heard about this book I knew it would instantly be added to my wish list, it sounded funny but sad, warm yet dark and seeing as I have a soft spot for Scottish books and independent publishers there was no chance I would be missing out on reading this book.

“Mary’s The Name” is a special book and one I will revisit before the year is out, there’s just something so lovely about the plot, the characters and the style of writing that feels ‘just right’ for me and I could happily read it again despite knowing what happens.  Why?  Because quite simply it touches the heart of a reader and leaves you wanting more.  Allow me to explain….

Our main wee lassie Mary is eight, she has the innocence and naivety befitting her years but yet she has profound moments of startling clarity that most adults would struggle to maintain.  Her views on life are simple, bad people do bad things, and good people do good things.
Using Mary as the narrator allows Ross Sayers to explore the topics of love, loss and life through the eyes of an eight year old, giving the reader an insight into a mindset they might not have encountered.  Doing this does not make certain subjects less emotive or heart breaking, I would say it makes them even more so because you experience them through Mary’s eyes, but seeing her tenacity and determination to keep going is rewarding.

The use of local dialect in this is utterly fantastic, I absolutely loved reading the dialogue between Mary and her Granpa, often chuckling out loud at bits because so much of Mary’s stubborn streak reminded me of someone.  The vernacular added an authenticity to this, as did incorporating aspects of historical information from Skye.
Ross Sayers has a gift for making the settings of his book come alive, having been to Skye I can honestly say that I was fondly remembering the main street in Portree from the vivid descriptions in “Mary’s The Name”, seeing the views that were mentioned as Mary explored her new surroundings.  It felt obvious to me that the author had spent time researching the settings for his book and had taken great effort to recreate this through his writing.

The pace of the book is perfect, it’s the sort of book that you could read in a day if you got peace and quiet.  The style of writing is easy and enjoyable to read, the story flows well and you can’t help but get swept away by it.

If you want to read something funny, heart warming, heart breaking and full of reference to Elvis then this is the book for you, just make sure you have plenty tissues before you start because it’s not a book you want to put down!

You can buy a copy of “Mary’s The Name” here.

Oh one last thing – check out the way Ross Sayers was promoting his book, if that’s not inventive and groundbreaking I don’t know what is!

About the Author:

Ross Sayers is a writer of Scottish fiction, and his debut novel, ‘Mary’s the Name’, is released January 30th 2017.

Ross graduated from the University of Stirling in 2014, with a BA (Hons) in English Studies (first class), and graduated again in 2015 with an M.Litt in Creative Writing (distinction).

His stories and poems have featured in magazines such as Quotidian and Octavius, and his short story, ‘Dancin’ is currently used on West College Scotland’s Higher English course.

You can tweet him @Sayers33 or see more of his writing at rosssayers.co.uk.

 

 

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Published: 23 January 2017
Reviewed: 17 January 2017

5 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by publisher

 

Description:

Remember those people that destroyed the economy and then cruised off on their yachts? Well guess what – someone is killing them.

Dublin is in the middle of a heat wave and tempers are running high. The Celtic Tiger is well and truly dead, activists have taken over the headquarters of a failed bank, the trial of three unscrupulous property developers teeters on the brink of collapse, and in the midst of all this, along comes a mysterious organisation hell-bent on exacting bloody vengeance in the name of the little guy.

Paul Mulchrone doesn’t care about any of this; he has problems of his own. His newly established detective agency is about to be DOA. One of his partners won’t talk to him for very good reasons and the other has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth for no reason at all. Can he hold it together long enough to figure out what Bunny McGarry’s colourful past has to do with his present absence?

When the law and justice no longer mean the same thing, on which side will you stand?

The Day That Never Comes is the second book in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin trilogy, which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit, when the second novel comes out in a series that I’ve fallen in love with I am a little hesitant.  What if the second book is rubbish?  What if the characters have lost their sparkle and interest?  What if….what if….what if?

But my worries were unfounded, Caimh McDonnell has written another cracker of a book, encompassing some of my absolute favourite characters ever to grace our pages and I have to say, I would love to see them cast in real life just to see the hilarity of the situations.
For those not familiar with Caimh’s writing (catch yourselves on and check out the review of “A Man With One Of Those Faces”  and then buy a copy as it’s on special offer right now), it’s a whirlwind of hilarity, catastrophe and sheer madness with characters that are various shades of interesting.

“The Day That Never Comes” continues much in the same tone as book one, Paul Mulchrone has a problem, well quite a few problems, but the four legged, desk defecating Maggie is his main one.  Paul is still as feckless, cynical and a victim to poor judgement.  Brigit Conroy is still a fierce woman, one you’d take on at your peril and Bunny McGarry…..where do I begin with the hurley brandishing, grumpy ex Gardaí?  He’s missing, and no one’s seen him for days.

I’ll not bore you by rehashing the plot, but I will say it’s clever.  There’s a darker feel to this book, the characters have developed from the previous book but retained the key aspects of their respective personalities.  Brigit has definitely fared well, she has become stronger and fierier in the interim.  The way in which she handles herself publicly is confident and takes no nonsense, but she wears her heart on her sleeve when it comes to more personal matters which is endearing really.
Paul is one half of the wonderful comedic duo that features in this book, his friend Phil Nellis is the other.  Poor Phil is ‘that’ friend most of us have had at one point, a bit naive and a wee bit gullible but has a heart of absolute solid gold.  The dynamic between these two characters is sheer brilliance, I could almost imagine them in the pub (with a pint for Maggie), chatting away.  There’s a fantastic quote about Phil that I can’t find now I’m looking for it, but I shall paraphrase (sorry Caimh) “That was the unnerving thing about Phil; he could go from being completely stupid to moments of  brilliance, often in the same breath.”

The pace of the book is perfect, it’s a quick read with plenty satire and moments that will have a reader laughing out loud.  The plot is well crafted and there’s an authenticity that pours from the pages, the subtle nuances are spot on, you can almost hear the accents, experience the cultural aspects all through the innovative use of language.

You can buy your copy of “The Day That Never Comes” in the UK here, and USA here.

About the Author:

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Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

His writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created. He was also a winner in the BBC’s Northern Laffs sitcom writing competition.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Follow Caimh’s witterings on @Caimh


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour (and go back for the ones you’ve missed!) there’s some great reviews, guest posts and a cheeky giveaway! 

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Published: March 2017
Reviewed: 23 November 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Trapeze in return for an honest review

Description:

For fans of Disclaimer and I Let You Go, Tattletale is the debut psychological thriller you can’t miss.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who believed in fairytales. Now she is out to get your happy ending.

One day changes Jody’s life forever.
She has shut herself down, haunted by her memories and unable to trust anyone. But then she meets Abe, the perfect stranger next door and suddenly life seems full of possibility and hope.

One day changes Mags’ life forever.
After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her brother Abe is in hospital and no-one knows what happened to him. She meets his fiance Jody, and gradually pieces together the ruins of the life she left behind.

But the pieces don’t quite seem to fit…

My Thoughts & Review:

When I saw the folks at Trapeze saying how good this book was and how it would be one of those books not to miss out on I knew that it had to be something pretty special and one that I might need to read.

Tattletale is an incredibly tense read, it’s creepy and there’s an aura of claustrophobia that leeches from the pages.  The reader is aware that danger lurks in the shadows and the silence but cannot stop reading.  As the story unfolds the reader learns that things are not as clear cut as they may have initially seemed.

The tales from Mags and Abe’s childhood are disturbing and saddening reading, the details adding to the overall picture of these complex characters and give an insight as to how they ended up where they are today.  The narrative from a young girl, the identity of whom we find out later is utterly harrowing and uncomfortable reading.  The reader knows what is happening from the subtle and not so subtle language used by Naughton which makes this an emotional read and one that I can only describe as traumatic but enthralling.

The writing itself it a thing of beauty, it really is.  The clever layering of plot and small details mean that the reader experiences some amazing writing.  Building a complex plot is one thing,  but to combine it with incredibly intense and clever psychological framework is taking it to another level.  Deviously, Naughton allows the reader to form their own conclusions from the breadcrumb trail she sets out before slowly revealing what actually happened, and despite the clues being there, I will admit I sat back for a moment and was wowed at what I had read.  Exploring sensitive subjects in a novel can be difficult for some authors, they need to be written with objectivity and the correct level of sensitivity, but I think that it is handled well here, but I would urge caution, as it does handle some topics that some readers may feel very uncomfortable reading about (child abuse and rape).

Definitely recommended for fans of psychological thrillers

You can pre order a copy of Tattletale here.

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It’s a great delight to welcome you to my stop on Ragnar Jónasson’s blog tour for his latest Icelandic thriller “Rupture” and share my review of this immensely amazing novel.

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eBook Published: 24 December 2016
Print Book Published: 15 February 2017
Reviewed: 23 January 2017

5 out of 5 stars

 

Description:

1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all … In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik, who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them. Haunting, frightening and complex, Rupture is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers.

My Thoughts & Review:

I think it’s safe to say that Ragnar Jónasson is a writer who can do no wrong in the eyes of many readers, this one included.
He writes some of the most poetically haunting scenes in his novels with the use of very few words, and yet evokes a great sense of chilling unease from his readers in doing so.  Never before have I read a book that has left me feeling the need to find a thick pullover and a hot water bottle purely because of the way in which a scene is described.  The chilly tendrils of suspense leech from the pages of this book, slowly weaving their way around a reader until it gets to the point that you are victim to this masterfully written thriller, the outside world ceases while you are wrapped up in this.

With numerous threads running through the plot a reader might be concerned about trying to keep track of what is happening but fear not, each thread is succinctly interwoven with the next, coming together to form an immensely clever plot, one that keeps readers guessing and keeps the pace steady.  Although this is the fourth book to feature Ari Thór, it reads well without having read the previous books (Snowblind, Nightblind and Blackout), but I would wholeheartedly recommend reading all of them to immense yourself in this wonderful atmospheric delight.
There’s a sense of danger that lies early on in the plot, that gives rise to a feeling of unease, a foreboding that builds to an uncomfortable claustrophobia which just makes this all the more gripping and enjoyable to read.

I’m desperately trying not to say too much about the plot of this one, there are so many subtle aspects that give things away or may skew your thinking but suffice to say this is definitely a contender for book of the year.  The writing is clever, clear and precise.  Short chapters ensure the pace moves along swiftly without anything superfluous added in for theatrical flair, just the sort of deliciously perplexing read that we have come to know and love from Ragnar Jónasson.

A special note to say a huge hat tip to Quentin Bates, the translator of this magnificent novel, his skills are truly brilliant and has translated this so well that it reads naturally as if it were originally penned in English, losing nothing of the subtle nuances or atmosphere.

My absolute heartfelt gratitude to Karen at Orenda Books for sharing this wonderful series with me and having me be part of the blog tour for Ragnar’s latest book.

You can buy a copy of Rupture via Amazon here.

About the Author:

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Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teaching copyright law at the Reykjavík University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavík, and is co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. Ragnar’s debut thriller Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015, with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout following soon after. To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner, and had rights sold in fourteen countries. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for guest posts, reviews and perhaps a cheeky giveaway!
 

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I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Mark Hardie’s debut Burned and Broken, and share my review of this impressive novel.
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Description:

 An enigmatic policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found burned to death in his car on the Southend sea front.

A vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.

As DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team are brought in to solve the mystery that surrounds their colleague’s death, they’re under intense pressure to crack the case without damaging the force’s reputation. 

When a dramatic turn of events casts a whole new light on both cases, the way forward is far from clear. Were the victims connected in some way? And just how much should Pearson and Russell reveal to their bosses as they begin to unearth some dark secrets that the force would rather keep buried?

My Thoughts & Review:

The book opens with the horrific scene of DI Sean Carragher burning to death  in his car.  The discovery of his unrecognisable body in the burnt out vehicle sparks an investigation by DS Frank Pearson and the Essex Police Major Investigation Team.  As far as openings go, this is a pretty powerful one, it immediately grabs the reader’s attention.

The narrative jumps back four days, the author recounts the events leading up to the investigation of DI Carragher’s death.  During these four days the reader is introduced to Donna Freeman, a sixteen year old in her first year out of care.  Donna is convinced that her friend Alicia has been murdered and continuously tries to get someone to listen to her that it was not an accident.  We also discover that DI Carragher was being investigated by Professional Standards for suspected corruption, witness intimidation and assault to name but a few, and that there are no shortage of suspects connected with his death.

In amongst the sprawling investigation, DS Frank Pearson has his own troubles, in poor health and undergoing tests for suspected pancreatic cancer and estranged from his wife.  DC Catherine (Cat) Russell finds the reach of the Professional Standards investigation into her former partner (DI Carragher) is coming too close to home, falling under suspicion by association, she desperately wants to protect Sean Carragher, but remaining loyal will mean telling lies for him.
The death of one of their own sees the Police throwing resources at this case to solve it quickly, but that also means there are many pair of eyes watching the investigation, ones that will not approve of the discoveries made by Pearson and Russell.

This is a very cleverly written thriller, with layer upon layer of detail. The use of different perspectives for narration gives the reader a good insight into the Police investigation as well as the life of Donna in care.
The novel is split into three distinct parts, and this is a very effective technique for setting out the story, indeed this would also make this an idea book to transfer to screen.
Well paced plot, with brilliant little details added for that extra something special.  The characters are well crafted, realistic and credible.  The location used is a welcome change from the normal big cities, so thank you Mr Hardie, you’ve broken away from the “norm” and given the reader what we’ve been screaming out for.

A very impressive début novel and one I would have no hesitation to recommend.

You can buy a copy of Burned and Broken here.

About the Author:

Mark Hardie was born in 1960 in Bow, East London. He began writing fulltime after completely losing his eyesight in 2002. He has completed a creative writing course and an advanced creative writing course at the Open University, both with distinction.

Mark lives with his wife Debbie in Southend-on-Sea.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour!

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I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Angela Clarke’s “Watch Me” and share my review of this brilliant thriller.  Even more excitingly though, Angela has teamed up with the wonderful Cass Green and Tammy Cohen to offer you the chance to win a copy of The Woman Next Door and a copy of First One Missing as well as her own book – details below!

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Published: 12 January 2017
Reviewed: 3 January 2017

5 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by publisher as part of blog tour

Description:

YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.

My Thoughts & Review:

As the second novel in the Social Media Murders Series I was intrigued how this novel would pan out.  Having quickly read “Follow Me” before delving into this book to make sure I had a good grounding in the series and of DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton, I can honestly say this is superb “follow” up (see what I did there?!).  I want to stress that “Watch Me” can be read without having read “Follow Me”, there is enough detail for a reader to appreciate the previous case and the relationship between Cudmore and Venton.

The plot is the work of sheer genius, taut and intense, goading the reader to ‘just one more chapter’.  The brilliant use of timings on each chapter, telling the reader how long is left makes the pace almost frantic, and really adds a sinister edge.  I’m not a fan of rehashing the plot and spoiling the book for others but I will say that this twists and turns in ways I would not have expected and it certainly gave me pause for thought with the current trends in Social Media.

It’s fair to say that Angela Clarke has secured her place on my list of favoured authors after this book, the way that she struck a feeling of great unease within me whilst I read this was impressive.  The characters she has created are very well rounded and so well developed – the relationship between Cudmore and Venton is wonderfully written and it is nice for fans of the series to see these characters grow both individually but still retain that connection from the case involving ‘The Hashtag Murderer’.

Overall I would say this is a book that most crime fiction fans would appreciate, it’s edgy, fast paced and utterly brilliant!

You can buy a copy of Watch Me here.


About the Author:

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Angela Clarke is an author, columnist and playwright. Her debut crime novel Follow Me (Avon) is out now. Follow Me is the first in the Social Media Murders Series.

Her memoir Confessions of a Fashionista (Ebury) is an Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller. Her debut play The Legacy received rave reviews after it’s first run at The Hope Theatre in June 2015. Angela’s journalist contributions include: The Guardian, The Independent Magazine, The Daily Mail, and Cosmopolitan. Now magazine described her as a ‘glitzy outsider’. Angela read English and European Literature at Essex University, and Advances in Scriptwriting at RADA. In 2015 Angela was awarded the Young Stationers’ Prize for achievement and promise in writing and publishing.

She is almost always late or lost, or both.

Find out more at: http://angelaclarke.co.uk


Giveaway

As part of her blog tour, Angela has teamed up with numerous authors to offer you lucky readers the chance to win a copy both her book and that of the featured author’s each day of the tour!  Today there are two other author’s books up for grabs  “The Woman Next Door” by Cass Green and “First One Missing” by Tammy Cohen. – can’t say Avon Books don’t know how to spoil their readers!

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A No.1 e-book bestseller, perfect for fans of HER by Harriet Lane and IN A DARK DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware.

Two suburban women. Two dark secrets. The almost perfect murder.

Everybody needs good neighbours…

Melissa and Hester have lived next door to each other for years. When Melissa’s daughter was younger, Hester was almost like a grandmother to her. But recently they haven’t been so close.

Hester has plans to change all that. It’s obvious to her that despite Melissa’s outwardly glamorous and successful life, she needs Hester’s help.

But taking help from Hester might not be such a good idea for a woman with as many secrets as Melissa…

Cass Green is the pseudonym of Caroline Green, an award-winning author of fiction for young people. Her first novel, Dark Ride won the Rona Young Adult Book of the Year and the Waverton Good Read Award. Cracks and Hold Your Breath garnered rave reviews and were shortlisted for eleven awards between them. She is the Writer in Residence at East Barnet School and teaches Writing for Children at City University. Caroline has been a journalist for over twenty years and has written for many broadsheet newspapers and glossy magazines. The Woman Next Door is her first novel for adults.

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A support group for families of victims of the same serial killer, where everyone is grieving and everyone has secrets. Welcome to the club no one wants to join.

Tammy Cohen (who also writes as Tamar Cohen) is a freelance journalist writing for national magazines and newspapers. After a late start, she has now written six novels – The Mistress’s Revenge, The War of the Wives, Someone Else’s Wedding, The Broken and Dying For Christmas and First One Missing – all published by Doubleday/Black Swan. She is a member of the Killer Women crime writing collective and lives in North London with her partner and three (nearly) grown children, plus one very badly behaved dog.

How To Enter

  • Please share the pinned post on Twitter to spread the word about the launch of Watch Me –  you will find it over on @TheQuietKnitter.
  • Giveaway is UK only (sorry!).
  • Closes at Midnight on Monday 23rd January, the winner will be announced on Tuesday 24th January.
  • One winner will be chosen at random (names in a hat & first one drawn wins).
  • The winner’s address will be passed to Avon Books who will arrange for the bookish delights to be sent out.

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for giveaways and reviews, and remember to check back to previous days for the posts you might have missed!!

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