Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Hello folks! Guess what? It's giveaway time! I'm giving away my ARC copies of Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson and The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki. Just follow this link to enter yourself to win. Right now, the contest is open only to folks in the US. I will draw two winners at the end.


Disclaimer: I received these books for review from the Historical Novel Society. My reviews can be found on their site.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: "Madam: A Novel of New Orleans" by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin

Hello folks! Today I'm bringing you a review of Madam: A Novel of New Orleans. I've always been fascinated by the culture, history, and society of New Orleans. I read Storyville by Lois Battle some years ago and really enjoyed it. I did not enjoy Madam nearly as much, but it was still an interesting read.
Madam: A Novel of New Orleans follows the true story of Mary Deubler, a back- alley whore born into the licentious world of late 19th-century New Orleans. Mary comes from a long line of prostitutes but dreams about a better life in order to provide for her younger brother, Peter, and his wife, Charlotte. In this novel set against the push for a regulated district of vice, Mary must overcome tragedy and heartbreak on her rise to become New Orleans’ most famous madam.
New Orleans has always been a city set apart, and the world of sweltering temperatures, corruption, ragtime, and voodoo is brought vividly to life. In addition to Mary, this novel features a wide cast of characters, all interconnected in their dealings: Tom Anderson, the savvy but ruthless ruler of the New Orleans underworld; Countess Lulu White, the city’s premiere madam and queen of the demimonde; Ferdinand, an educated octoroon musician fighting against Jim Crow and the oppression of the late 19thcentury; and finally Sidney Story, the alderman who originated the district that would become known as Storyville. While they are all diverse and interesting, the sheer number of perspectives keeps the focus of the novel off Mary, who is the most fascinating of all. Madam ends with Mary’s transformation into Josie Arlington and, to some extent, suffers from it. Fewer deviations from Mary’s story would have allowed for more detail once she had achieved her fame; instead, the reader is treated to an epilogue written by Mary’s niece, Anna.
Despite these drawbacks, Madam is a fascinating account of New Orleans’ unsavory history and is recommended for lovers of New Orleans and general historical fiction readers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Author Spotlight: Vicki Shecter and "Curses & Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii"

Curses and Smoke
Publication Date: May 27, 2014 Arthur A. Levine 
Books Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Genre: YA Historical

When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air...

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?

Buy the Book

About the Author

Vicky Alvear ShecterVicky Alvear Shecter is the author of the young adult novel, CLEOPATRA'S MOON (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta.

Author Links

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, May 12 Bibliophilia, Please bookworm2bookworm's Blog Tuesday, May 13 Broken Teepee Passages to the Past In the Hammock Blog Wednesday, May 14 CelticLady's Reviews The Most Happy Reader I'd So Rather Be Reading History From a Woman's Perspective Thursday, May 15 Kinx's Book Nook A Bibliotaph's Reviews Historical Fiction Obsession Friday, May 16 Booktalk & More The Mad Reviewer Book Lovers Paradise Saturday, May 17 SOS Aloha Reading the Ages Kelsey's Book Corner Sunday, May 18 Giant Squid Books WTF Are You Reading? Monday, May 19 Caroline Wilson Writes So Many Books, So Little Time Tuesday, May 20 West Metro Mommy The True Book Addict The Musings of ALMYBNENR Wednesday, May 21 Book Nerd Tower of Babel Hardcover Feedback Thursday, May 22 Paperback Princess Bittersweet Enchantment Friday, May 23 History Undressed Historical Fiction Connection Saturday, May 24 Literary Chanteuse Just One More Chapter Sunday, May 25 A Dream within a Dream The Little Reader Library Monday, May 26 Pages of Comfort Griperang's Bookmarks Raizza's Book Blogging Adventure Tuesday, May 27 Princess of Eboli Ageless Pages Reviews The Musings of a Book Junkie


To win a copy of Curses & Smoke or a $25 Amazon Gift Card please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on May 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 28th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. a Rafflecopter giveaway  photo 5d0bedea-42a1-42ca-9aac-7d15a9a3c0dc.png

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: Kathy Fischer-Brown's "The Serpent's Tooth Trilogy"

Please join Kathy Fischer-Brown as she tours virtually for her Serpent's Tooth trilogy - Lord Esterleigh's Daughter, Courting the Devil, & The Partisan’s Wife - and her novel Winter Fire. Blog tour includes a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card. See below to enter.

Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter: Book 1, The Serpent’s Tooth trilogy

01_Lord Esterleigh's Daughter
Publication Date: June 13, 2012 Books We Love Ltd.
Formats: eBook, Paperback

As a child, Anne Fairfield dreams of the father she never knew, the hero who died fighting the French and their Indian allies in a land across the sea. Her mother’s stories, and fantasies of her own devising, sustain and nurture her through a poor and lonely existence. Until one winter night, a strange man comes to call, and the life she has known comes crashing down like shattered glass. Forced to confront sordid truths, secrets and lies, the headstrong young woman begins to learn that, like generations of women ruled by their hearts, she is destined to follow in their footsteps. Set against the backdrop of 18th century England, Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter is the first book in “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy, which follows Anne from the rural countryside, to London society and into the center of the American Revolution.

My Review

I read the first book in the trilogy and enjoyed the Ms. Fischer-Brown's style. Her writing sets the tone and scene for this novel, which is set in England in the mid-eighteenth century. I will admit that I had a hard time liking Anne at first--she is childish, headstrong, and completely selfish. Her upbringing was obviously hard, but was filled with love, and while discovering the truth about her father may have been traumatic, she seems bent on punishing everyone around her as a result.

As she digs deeper into the past, she becomes more amenable to her circumstances, and thus more likeable. The novels excels in that it introduces a myriad of characters, all of whom leave the reader wanting more. I've noticed a lot of comparisions to Jane Austen or rather "the dark side" of Jane Austen. I don't really get that beyond the fact that the book is set in England and deals with the aristocracy. The novel is set nearly half a century before Jane Austen even began to write her novels--if anything, I would reference Daniel Defoe or Henry Fielding, though there is little comedy in Anne's journey. The novel is quite gothic in fact.

All in all, Lord Esterleigh's Daughter  is an interesting read that aptly captures the period in which it is set. Be prepared to purchase the second and third novels in the trilogy as the first is a true cliff hanger!

Buy the Book

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Courting the Devil: Book 2, The Serpent’s Tooth trilogy

Courting the Devil
Publication Date: August 31, 2012 Books We Love Ltd.
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Four years after a near fatal blunder uproots her from her home and inheritance, Anne Darvey, daughter of the Marquess of Esterleigh, finds herself an indentured servant on a farm near Fort Edward in New York, as the British army advances toward Albany. Driven by guilt over the pain she has caused her father and grief over her lover’s death, she sets out to deliver a message. The consequences lead to the discovery that all is not as it seems, and sets in motion events that lead to love and danger. Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, Courting the Devil is the second book in “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy, which follows Anne from her childhood in the rural English countryside, to London society, and into the center of the American Revolution.

Buy the Book

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The Partisan’s Wife: Book 3, The Serpent’s Tooth trilogy

01_The Partisan's Wife
Publication Date: February 6, 2013 Books We Love Ltd.
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Faced with an impossible choice, Anne Marlowe is torn between her husband’s love and the hope of her receiving father’s forgiveness. As American forces follow up on their tide-turning victories over the British at Freeman’s Farm and Bemis Heights, Peter is drawn deeper into the shady network of espionage that could cost them both their lives. Is his commitment to “the Cause” stronger than his hard-won love for Anne? Will her sacrifice tear them apart again...this time forever? Or will they find the peace and happiness they both seek in a new beginning? The Partisan’s Wife follows Anne and Peter through the war torn landscape of Revolutionary War America, from the Battle of Saratoga to British-occupied New York and Philadelphia, and beyond.

Watch the Book Trailer

Buy the Book

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Winter Fire

Publication Date: November 6, 2010 Books We Love Ltd.
Formats: eBook, Paperback

When Ethan Caine pulled the unconscious woman from the half-frozen creek, he had no idea that his world was about to explode. Dressed in quilled doeskin of Iroquois design, she stirred up dark secrets from his past. At the same time, she was everything he desired. But she was more Indian than white, and on the run for murder. He needed to know the truth. He needed to find it within himself to trust her. Banished by the Seneca Indians who adopted and raised her, ostracized by the whites in the settlement, Zara Grey wanted only to be accepted. “Ethancaine” treated her with kindness and concern. It was easy to trust him. But her Indian ways disturbed him, and in her heart she would always be Seneca.

Watch the Book Trailer

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About the Author

03_Kathy Fischer-BrownAs a child Kathy wanted to be a writer when she grew up. She also wanted to act on the stage. After receiving an MFA in Acting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts and playing the part of starving young artist in New York, she taught theater classes at a small college in the Mid-West before returning home to the East Coast, where over the years, she and her husband raised two kids and an assortment of dogs. During stints in advertising, children’s media publishing, and education reform in the former Soviet Unions, she wrote whenever she could. Her love of early American history has its roots in family vacations up and down the East Coast visiting old forts and battlefields and places such as Williamsburg, Mystic Sea Port, and Sturbridge Village. During this time, she daydreamed in high school history classes, imagining the everyday people behind all the dates and conflicts and how they lived. Claiming her best ideas are born of dreams, Kathy has written a number of stories over the years. Her first published novel, Winter Fire, a 1998 Golden Heart finalist in historical romance, was reissued in 2010 by Books We Love, Ltd., which also released Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter, Courting the Devil, and The Partisan’s Wife. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, photography, playing “ball” with the dogs, and rooting on her favorite sports teams. For more information visit Kathy Fischer-Brown's website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, May 5 Review at Caroline Wilson Writes (Lord Esterleigh's Daughter) Tuesday, May 13 Guest Post at The Bookworm Friday, May 16 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective (Lord Esterleigh's Daughter) Monday, May 19 Review at Just One More Chapter (Lord Esterleigh's Daughter) Tuesday, May 20 Guest Post at Just One More Chapter Tuesday, May 27 Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise (with Louise Turner and Juliet Waldron) Monday, June 9 Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection Thursday, June 12 Review at Book Nerd (Winter Fire) Monday, June 17 Review at Historical Fiction Obsession (Lord Esterleigh's Daughter) Wednesday, June 18 Review at So Many Books, So Little Time (Winter Fire) Wednesday, June 25 Review at Closed the Cover (Winter Fire) Monday, June 30 Review at Book Nerd (Courting the Devil)


To win a $20 Amazon Gift Card please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on July 1st and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. a Rafflecopter giveaway  photo f7f1ea67-ca82-43f0-818d-fdff281a9e9c.png

Friday, May 2, 2014

Author Spotlight: Penny Jo Renner and "Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames"

Please join Peni Jo Renner as she tours the blogosphere for Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames from April 28-May 30. 9781491705933_COVER.inddPublication Date: September 17, 2013 iUniverse Formats: Ebook, Hardcover, Paperback On a cold night in 1692, two young girls are caught up in the divining games of a slave woman-and then begin to act very strangely when the game goes wrong. Suddenly, Salem Village is turned upside down as everyone fears that witches may be involved. Six months later, as news of the girls' strange behavior becomes known, fear and suspicion overwhelm a nearby farming community, pitting neighbors against neighbors and turning friends into enemies. When Rebecca Eames makes one careless utterance during a verbal attack on her family, she is falsely accused of witchcraft. After her fate is decided by three magistrates, Rebecca must endure a prison sentence during which she and her fellow captives have no choice but to valiantly struggle to find humanity and camaraderie among dire conditions. In this novel based on a true story, a woman wrongly imprisoned during the seventeenth-century witchcraft trials comes full circle where she must determine if she can somehow resume her life, despite all she has endured.

Praise for Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames

"Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames is a story of the fear, suspicion, and accusations as they permeate the surrounding communities. The narration was exquisite, really painting a picture in my head and bringing to life the language of the Puritans much better than it usually is done. I loved that it was based on a true story and that the story really expands on a piece of the darkest of American history. Such a cool read!" - Katelyn Hensel, Readers' Favorite “Elegantly written, meticulously researched, and historically accurate, the author’s work rings true. … Renner’s vast talent as a writer is enhanced by the fact that she’s telling the story of her own family, completely captivating from beginning to end.” - Kelly Z. Conrad, award-winning author of Shaman “In the colonial-era tale Puritan Witch, the plight of Rebecca Eames and her family plays out against the backdrop of one of the most intriguing periods in American history.” - Julie Castillo, writer and editor

Buy the Book

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About the Author

Peni Renner is the author of "Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames", an award-winning historical novel based on the true-life account of Peni's 9th great 03_Peni Jo Rennergrandmother. The book is Renner's first published work, and follows Eames' life and struggles in 1692 Massachussetts during the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Writing historical fiction has always been a lifelong dream of mine. I was discouraged for many years after receiving multiple rejection slips, and turned to other creative outlets like crocheting, quilting and cross-stitch for many years. Then I met a 3rd cousin of mine online who is also into geneology and history. She told me we shared a common ancestor who was involved in the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692, and her story had never been told. My love of writing was rekindled and I began to research this ancestor, Rebecca Blake Eames. In August of 2012 I had the privilege of visiting her grave in Boxford, Massachusetts. After months and months of research, writing, rewriting and revising, Puritan Witch came into being, featuring a lovely sketch done by my sister-in-law, Jane Sisk. I have several other story ideas I am working on at the moment, all pertaining to interesting ancestors my 3rd cousin has introduced me to. For more information please visit the Puritan Witch Facebook Page. You can also follow Peni Jo Renner on Twitter.

Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 28 Book Blast at Broken Teepee Book Blast at Our Wolves Den Book Blast at The Musings of ALMYBNENR Tuesday, April 29 Book Blast at The Lit Bitch Book Blast at A Book Geek Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse Wednesday, April 30 Review & Giveaway at Closed the Cover Thursday, May 1 Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book Book Blast at Historical Fiction Obsession Friday, May 2 Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book Saturday, May 3 Book Blast at Griperang's Bookmarks Sunday, May 4 Book Blast at I'd Rather Be Reading Monday, May 5 Book Blast at Kincavel Korner Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes Tuesday, May 6 Review at Just One More Chapter Wednesday, May 7 Review at Books in the Burbs Book Blast at Kelsey's Book Corner Thursday, May 8 Book Blast at Curling Up with a Good Book Friday, May 9 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past Book Blast at Carpe Diem Monday, May 12 Interview at Flashlight Commentary Book Blast at West Metro Mommy Tuesday, May 13 Book Blast at Let Them Read Books Wednesday, May 14 Book Blast at Historical Tapestry Thursday, May 15 Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews Review at Impressions in Ink Friday, May 16 Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection Monday, May 19 Review at Book Lovers Paradise Tuesday, May 20 Review at 100 Pages a Day Book Blast at The Maiden's Court Wednesday, May 21 Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time Thursday, May 22 Guest Post at Bibliophilic Book Blog Friday, May 23 Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer Book Blast at Reviews by Molly Saturday, May 24 Book Blast at Book Nerd Monday, May 26 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective Tuesday, May 27 Review at WTF Are You Reading? Guest Post at Layered Pages Wednesday, May 28 Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews Friday, May 30 Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict Monday, June 2 Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read  photo c6a89d97-37a3-4cb5-9caa-d8829f543f90.png

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley

I've been looking forward to posting this review ever since I finished the novel back in March. But as I was reviewing it for the Historical Novel Society, I waited until the review went live on their site. 
I really enjoyed this novel. I read Riley's The Orchid House last year and though it had its drawbacks, I enjoyed it a great deal. I saw none of those same issues in The Midnight Rose and so I definitely recommend reading it. Especially if you like shifting time periods and a little suspense with your romantic historical fiction.
The Midnight Rose spans across four generations and two continents to tell the story of Anahita Chaval, royal companion to an Indian princess during the early 20th century; and Rebecca Bradley, an up-and-coming movie star filming the role of a lifetime in modern-day England.
Riley has published several novels, and The Midnight Rose is her strongest yet. The novel opens with Anahita’s story. She is an old woman and reflecting on her life, which has been one of extremes. Her only regret is never discovering the whereabouts of her long-lost son, who supposedly died at a young age. On her deathbed she charges her young and brash great-grandson Ari Malik to discover the truth.
Anahita’s life is recounted throughout the novel, and it is a remarkable one. Her position as royal companion takes her from the sultry climes of Jaipur to the frosty winters of England. There she finds racial prejudice, classism, and an unexpected love at the great estate of Astbury Park.
When Ari finally takes up his quest, it brings him into Rebecca’s orbit. She is filming a period drama at the now crumbling Astbury Park, and her role brings her dangerously close to the past. When Ari comes seeking the truth about his great- grandmother’s stay on the estate, he and Rebecca will discover the dark and long-buried secrets of the Astbury family.
This novel will appeal to many readers, as it contains mystery, suspense, historical detail, and romance. The plot does take a surprising, slightly difficult-to-digest turn towards the end, but all in all it is an enjoyable read. 

Author Spotlight: G.K. Holloway and "1066: What Fates Impose"

Today I'm spotlighting G.K. Holloway and his novel of early medieval England "1066: What Fates Impose." G.K. is touring the blogosphere from April 14 - May 2, so make sure to visit some of the other sites listed below for giveaways and reviews.

1066 What Fates Impose1066 What Fates Impose

Publication Date: March 4, 2013
Matador Publishing

King William then utters the following words to the room: ‘I appoint no one as my heir to the Crown of England, but leave it to the disposal of the Eternal Creator, whose I am and who orders all things. For I did not attain that high honour by hereditary right, but wrested it from the perjured King Harold in a desperate bloody battle.’

England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own.?There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland. Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold. Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?

Buy the Book

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About the Author

GK Holloway

I have been interested in history since I was a boy, which I suppose explains why, when I came across a degree course in History and Politics at Coventry University that looked tailor made for me, I applied right away. In my first year at Coventry I lived in the halls of residence within a stone’s throw of the Leofric Hotel. In the opposite direction, just a short walk from my halls, is the bell tower that houses a clock, which when its bell chimes the hour, produces a half size model of naked Lady Godiva riding a horse for the titillation of tourists. Above her, Peeping Tom leans out of a window for a better view. In all of the three years I was there, it never once occurred to me that I would one day write a book featuring Earl Leofric and his famous wife, as key players. After graduating I spent a year in Canada before I returned to England to train as a Careers Officer in Bristol. Later, I lived and worked in Gloucestershire as a Careers Officer and then in Adult Education as an Education Guidance worker. After I met my wife, I moved back to Bristol to live and I worked at Bath Spa University as a Student Welfare Officer for a number of years. It was about this time I read a biography about King Harold II which fascinated me so much I read more and more about the man and the times. I found the whole pre-conquest period of England so interesting I couldn’t understand why no one had written a novel about it. So, I decided to write one myself. Now, after many years of study and time spent over a hot keyboard, I have finally produced thatnovel. 1066: What Fates Impose is the result of all that study and hard work and is the first book I’ve written. I am now working on a sequel.

Virtual Tour and Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 14 Book Blast at Kincavel Korner Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection Tuesday, April 15 Book Blast at Passages to the Past Book Blast at Let Them Read Books Wednesday, April 16 Review at Svetlana's Reviews and Views Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read Thursday, April 17 Book Blast at Closed the Cover Book Blast at Historical Tapestry Friday, April 18 Book Blast at Time 2 Read Book Blast at The Bookworm Monday, April 21 Review at Flashlight Commentary Book Blast at Griperang's Bookmarks Tuesday, April 22 Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee Interview at Flashlight Commentary Wednesday, April 23 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book Interview at The Maiden's Court Thursday, April 24 Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book Book Blast at Reading the Ages Friday, April 25 Review at Impressions in Ink Book Blast at Ink Sugar Blog Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer Monday, April 28 Review at Kinx's Book Nook Book Blast at Just One More Chapter Tuesday, April 29 Review at CelticLady's Reviews Book Blast at Historical Readings and Reviews Wednesday, April 30 Review at Historical Tapestry Book Blast at Book Nerd Thursday, May 1 Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes Friday, May 2 Review at Curling Up By the Fire Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader Book Blast at A Book Geek Book Blast at Layered Pages


To win a copy of 1066: What Fates Impose please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on May 2nd. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 3rd and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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