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Book Review! A History of Glitter and Blood

Seriously, that title. If you know of any book with a better, more evocative title, please share in the comments, because I don’t think one exists!

A History of Glitter and Blood

A History of Glitter and Blood will be available in early August 2015 – sorry for the super-advance review, but I was too excited to wait 🙂 – mark your calendars now!

This book is brilliantly, beautifully f*cked up.

And I’m just gonna say this right up front – this is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of book. There is no in between. Also, although there seems to be an impression out there that this is a YA book, I’d say it’s more along the lines of New Adult or even just plain Adult.

If you like your fantasy fiction to be all sunshine and rainbows or squeaky clean YA, walk away now. Ditto if you need clear narration and lots of detail. However, if you enjoy books that make shivers run down your spine and give you a sense of atmosphere so thick you can imagine that you’re there next to the characters, keep reading!

I was immediately drawn to this book by the title. I mean, “A History of Glitter and Blood?” Hell yes!!! I knew that this was going to be a dark fairy tale type story, which are some of my favorites to read. And the cover art is amazing (although I can see how the cover would also draw in a lot of people who really aren’t going to like this story.)

Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies.
But when Beckan’s clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn’t have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected.
This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.

The narration is unique, and if you don’t realize what’s going on it’s a lot harder to read, but I picked up quite quickly that I was reading a story where the “author” was spazzing out and writing to himself as much as to anyone else. It takes some getting used to, but this is one of the best versions of this device that I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time. Without the spazzy narration and note-to-self asides, I don’t think the sense of atmosphere would have been nearly as vivid.

I won’t say much about the individual characters or plot, because for me, those actually weren’t as important by the end as the actual feel and atmosphere they all added up to… which might sound bad, but actually I mean it in a very good way. The story touches on particular individuals and particular things that happen before and after a war, the choices they make, and how each character’s individual natures affect their choices, but this story’s brilliance lies in how it adds all those things up to create a very true, resonating portrait of humanity.

All that said, I loved it! If you like Holly Black or dark versions of fairy tales, you definitely need to read this.

Do you like to read books with weird narration and/or changing POVs, or do you stick to the more traditional first-person or third-person style?

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Book Review! A Court of Thorns and Roses

Friends, I tried my hardest to get hold of an advance copy of this book, but I just couldn’t make it happen. Since I was so head-over-heels for the Throne of Glass books, I decided to go ahead and pre-order this one from Barnes & Noble for my Nook app so I could read it right away. Of course, I finished it just a few hours after it landed in my inbox.

It was awesome.

But I’ve been sitting on this post for a while because I was having a hard time writing a review that wasn’t too spoiler-y or too basic and vague… Anywho, here we go!

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

First of all, how amazing is that cover!?! I like that it gives you an idea of what the main character looks like without being the “girl in a formal dress looking over her shoulder” style that’s become ubiquitous. Also, red. Which is very fitting given the plot of this story. To get us started, here is the publisher’s blurb:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

First of all, the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin is a slow burn with a few bumps in the road, not an insta-love like the publisher’s blurb might suggest. There are lots of hard choices to be made, and Maas doesn’t pull punches to give Feyre an easy out, which I quite liked. About 2/3rds of the way through the book we learn more about Feyre’s family and a lot of depth gets added to their characters, which really took this book to the next level for me – it would have been so easy to use the family characters as set-up in the beginning and then leave them there, as flat, one-dimensional individuals who were holding Feyre back and had little to no redeeming qualities of their own, but Maas took the time to give them layers and make them continue to be an important part of the story and Feyre’s choices. Bravo.

There are a couple of characters that “help” Feyre out at various points in the story – for a price, of course. We’re dealing with the Fey here. Based on those characters I’m anticipating much more political gamesmanship in the next book, which is great, because Maas does so well with the politics and individual characters’ motivations in the Throne of Glass books. I’m also looking forward to seeing more of Rhysand in the next book, because I’m always a sucker for a tall-dark-and-handsome bad boy 😉 Although this is known to be a sort of Beauty and the Beast retelling, Maas very skillfully places the story in the world of the Fey and gives nods to the original tale while staying true to her own writing style and keeping the story fresh. If you know it’s there, you can most definitely see the parallels, but subtle enough that you could miss it if you didn’t already know.

While I really enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses and I love Sarah J. Maas’s writing, I think I like the Throne of Glass books just a little bit more. The two series each have a distinct feel to them, and I find that world and those characters a bit more intriguing. It probably stems from the fact that Throne of Glass is a totally original world from the author. That said, I will definitely be reading the rest of this series.

If you like a darker sort of fairytale à la Holly Black or Gregory Maguire, A Court of Thorns and Roses should be right up your alley!

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Book Review! The Bone Season Series – Books 1 & 2

Holy. YES. (!!!!!)

 

That’s all I wrote in my notes for these books. That’s probably not helpful, though, so I’ll do my best to write an actual, thoughtful review for you guys 🙂

Let’s start with the first book, The Bone Season:

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)

This is one of those books that I picked up randomly, when I was browsing through my local bookstore for a paperback to bring with me on a long international flight at the beginning of February. I had a ton of ebooks on my tablet (most of them from NetGalley, which is pretty much the greatest thing ever for a book-reviewing nerd like me) but I was worried about my battery running out and then having nothing to read. Well… this book didn’t even make it through the first 8 hours of my travel. I started reading with every intention of putting it down once we were in the air and electronic devices were given the OK, but I was totally and completely sucked in and couldn’t put it down! At around 480 pages, it isn’t a skinny book either, so you know I was reading fast to see what was going to happen. I was lucky enough to not get sucked into this series until the second book was already released, and you better believe I bought the digital version of book #2, The Mime Order, as soon as I had internet service.

 

The publisher’s blurb: The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing. It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

My thoughts: The Bone Season is a refreshing, captivating new take on the dystopian trend, and the added urban fantasy/paranormal/magic elements make it absolute perfection. Paige is a well-written heroine – she’s determined, but sometimes unsure of herself or of whether she’s making the “right” decision; she has power, but she needs to learn to use it. The cast of characters is large and diverse enough to keep things moving, but not so large (or so oddly named) that you can’t keep them all straight. Shannon also does a great job of making each supporting character their own person with depth. The set-up of the world and how certain parts of society are structured absolutely ring true as something that could/would/has happened in reality and it lends an aura of familiarity to the world as a whole that allows other more fantastic things to seem less over-the-top. It’s our world with embellishments, not something completely alien or unbelievable.

There is most definitely a forbidden-romance shtick, but I can overlook it given how amazing everything else is. The end of book #1 leaves off at a clear transition point, which I think worked out really well.

Now for book #2, The Mime Order:

The Mime Order (The Bone Season)

The publisher’s blurb: In the internationally bestselling The Bone Season, Paige Mahoney escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but now her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.
As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on.

My thoughts: The Mime Order picks up right where The Bone Season left off, with Paige and her fellow voyants sneaking back into Scion London. In this book, there is a ton of information about the inner workings of the Syndicate and how voyants work and get along with each other (or don’t). Paige works tirelessly to try and get the word out about the threat of the Rephaim, but she encounters a lot of trouble from unexpected quarters. The one small, niggling, complaint I have about this book is that for a “mollisher” who’s supposed to be second in command of a very powerful Syndicate gang and as an individual who just went through everything she did to get out of Sheol I, Paige is still very naive. Some of that is probably an effort on the author’s part to make the plot twists more unexpected, but it made me a little irritated that Paige seems to take a lot of things at face value when she clearly shouldn’t.

That being said, the plot twist at the end was absolutely crazy (which is where the five exclamation points at the top of this post came from!) and not at all what I was expecting. Total bombshell. At this point I’m equal parts upset and eager to see what book #3 brings!

Unfortunately, now it looks as though I have to wait until next year for book #3. I’d be mad, except that this appears to be a 7 (yes, 7!) book series. Based on what I’ve read thus far, I have really, really high hopes that Samantha Shannon will be able to pull off a seven book series without being boring or predictable in the slightest.

One thing I will say – a lot of the online reviewers mention that they picked this up because of the blurb that Samantha Shannon is being touted as “the next J.K. Rowling.” DON’T. Don’t even go there. Don’t do that to yourself. Only J.K. Rowling is J.K. Rowling, and if you go into this expecting “the next Harry Potter!” you’ll be sorely disappointed. And that would be sad, because this book is amazing!

If you’re a fan of Holly Black, The Throne of Glass series, The Hunger Games series, or if you just love a good YA dystopian book, you need to get your hands on The Bone Season books now. Trust me 🙂 Also, if you click the links above to the Goodreads pages, there are previews available for both books!

Have you read any of the Bone Season books? If so, what did you think? 

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Book Review! Sparrow59

*Update* Sorry for the changing post/delays, I had this post saved and scheduled for 10am this morning, but WordPress apparently decided to not publish at 10am and to delete the whole review section…

Participate in a blog tour – with giveaway – for a book I already knew I wanted to review? Yes, please! In addition to writing a book, Sparrow59’s author, Devon Ashley, coordinated this whole blog-tour and giveaway herself. She’s clearly awesome. Sparrow59 just released on December 16th, and is only $1.99 until December 19th, so go pick up your copy now!

This is my first-ever blog tour, so let me know your thoughts on the format, the book, or anything else that strikes your fancy 😉

My thoughts on the book:

That ending – whyyyyyyy?!

Ok, let me back up a bit. This book is a standard spy-thriller-mystery in the vein of the Bourne Identity, but told from the perspective of a female spy. At the end of a successful op, Sam, Drew, and their teammate Lance are waiting for extraction when the unthinkable happens – someone gets the drop on them. Now Lance and the rest of Team Sparrow are dead, Drew is missing-presumed-defector, and the CIA thinks that Sam is somehow involved in keeping Drew hidden. That would be bad enough, but Sam and Drew haven’t just been spies playing a married couple, they are actually husband and wife, and Sam has every intention of tracking Drew down and figuring out what happened.

Sam is a balanced, well-written character. She can’t magically do everything and doesn’t come out of every fight unscathed. I like how the author chose to stage her relationship with Drew (i.e. I’m glad that it started before they were partnered together, rather than the typical, “we were thrown together and now we’re in love” ridiculousness that I read so often). It’s fun to read a spy novel that has a female protagonist who is a competent professional, not just the bait for a honey-trap.

The plot of the book pretty much proceeds as you’d expect, right up until the last 10 pages or so. Prepare yourself for a rough ending, my friends. I do think it is a good ending for the story, and I’m definitely intrigued to see where the author takes things in the next two books that I see entries for on Goodreads (although there’s no release date for those yet.)

A bit of a sidenote: I enjoyed the bio-research aspect of the plot – it gives the whole story an original twist. That said, I’d like to see more of that included in the next two books (what chemicals are they using/making and how/why?) Details like that, which can educate a reader without them really being aware of how much they’re learning, are one of my favorite literary devices, and are a hallmark of good writing!

And now, for a GIVEAWAY!

There will be three giveaway winners, (1) signed hardback, (1) signed paperback and (1) $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N. The link below will take you to the Rafflecopter widget for the giveaway, just follow the instructions there to submit your entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other bloggers participating in the blog tour!

Blog Tour Line-Up

Monday, December 15th

Fire & Ice Book Reviews (review)

Rachel Reads Ravenously (review, excerpt #1)

All In One Place (review, excerpt #2)

Tuesday, December 16th (Release Day)

Besties & Books (excerpt #3)

MegPie93’s Book Review (review)

Bookworm Coalition (review, excerpt #4)

Wednesday, December 17th

A Soul Unsung (excerpt #5)

Books & Graphics (excerpt #1)

This Redhead Loves Book (excerpt #2)

Thursday, December 18th

A Literary Perusal (review, excerpt #3)

Barks & Baking (review)

Friday, December 19th

All My Book Finds (excerpt #4)

Books Need TLC (excerpt #5)

Get a copy of Sparrow59 for yourself here:

eBooks: Amazon US, UK, DE, IN, FR, ES, IT, JP, NL, BR, CA, MX, AU, Nook, Kobo. and Lulu.

(Paperbacks at Amazon US, UK, DE, ES, FR, ITHardbacks pending at Lulu)

* I did not receive any compensation for participating in this blog tour/giveaway, but I did receive a free ebook of Sparrow59through NetGalley. All opinions are my own!*

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Book Review! Chasing Power

I’ve received several advance/publicity copies of YA books through NetGalley since I joined earlier this year, but this is the first YA title that I’ve liked enough to share here on Barks & Baking!

Chasing Power

Chasing Power, by Sarah Beth Durst

Available to purchase on October 14, 2014.

The publisher’s blurb: 

Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla’s life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive… or survive.

My thoughts:

There were a few stumbling moments early on in the book, but I was fully on-board by the time Kayla and Daniel team up and start looking for the stones. The search takes them various places around the world, and while the different locations were interesting, I would have liked to see a bit more real history added into the story (it’s a great way to add to the reader’s knowledge without forcing it or being a great big info-dump.) Kayla is pretty decisive for a YA character, and not naive, which is refreshing. She also is very good at putting major issues in context and acting accordingly –  as evidenced by her reactions to the events toward the end of the book.

Kayla’s best friend, Selena, is a strong secondary character, and I love the dichotomy of how she acts with the rest of the world versus how she is around her family. It’s easy to write supporting characters that are one-dimensional/stereotypes who are only there to interact with the main characters, but I think it’s particularly important in YA books to support the idea that people are multi-faceted and may have a mix of more and less desirable characteristics, and that even the most put-together appearances may go hand-in-hand with personal struggles. That being said, I think that Daniel could have been written better – he felt a bit flat to me, and the scenes that I surmise were supposed to add “depth” to his character really didn’t. The “cocky-to-hide-his-vulnerability” thing was overplayed, he was very single-minded throughout the book (“must. find. mother.”) He basically gets a pass whenever he acts like a jerk, whereas Kayla and Selena dealt with things more maturely.

I’d say this falls at a 3.5/5 stars on my scale. I probably won’t re-read it, but it’s one I’ll probably recommend to other YA readers looking for new reading material.

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Tag: The Book Blogger Test

I had a lot of fun with the A to Z Survey that I posted last week, so I’m excited to bring you something similar today. I first saw this tag on @Girl in the Pages and @Blogs of a Bookaholic – go check them out! – and it looked like tons of fun. I went down a bit of a WordPress rabbit-hole looking for the blog where this test originated, but I’m glad to say that I think I found it, so thanks to @Laura’s Book Reviews for dreaming this up!

Confession: No one tagged me to do this, and this isn’t strictly just a book blog, but since I do so many book reviews I thought it might be nice to give you all a little more info. about my reading habits 🙂

The Book Blogger Test:

Top three book pet hates?

1. Authors who jump on a bandwagon. When there is one really successful book that stands out and get a lot of press, there tend to be a lot of copycats, particularly in the YA genre. I’ve read so many books and seen so many variations on standard plots, and I can understand drawing inspiration from other authors, but you need to add something of your own to the mix!

2. People who don’t return books. Unlike a lot of people I know, I’m happy to lend my books out (and I even buy some books in paperback just so I can do that) but it’s really disappointing when I go to re-read something or suggest it to someone else and I can’t find it because it was never returned!

3. Unpronounceable character names. We all got over it with Hermoine because eventually the books explained it to us (in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for those keeping score at home) but I find that it can really ruin the flow of a book when I constantly stumble over the characters’ names, especially if they’re a main character. This also goes for main characters with names that are just odd.

* Honorable mention in this category goes to people who interrupt me while I’m reading, especially if they’re looking to start a conversation (if they’re asking about the book, they get a pass.) My friends and family know I have a strict 3-strikes policy: if you interrupt me once or twice, I’ll be polite and pretend it didn’t happen, but if you interrupt me a third time or more, don’t expect a civil response 😉

Describe your perfect reading spot.

A big cozy chair in front of a wood-burning fireplace, with an ottoman and a soft blanket. And the Horrible Hound. And a hazelnut latte.

Tell us three book confessions.

1. I dislike the Game of Thrones series. (Yup, I know. Bad book blogger right here.) I read the first three books, which are like 600 pages each, so I certainly gave it a fair try, but I don’t like Martin’s writing style, and I get enough “realism” from having to take coursework in criminal law and my job as a lawyer, so I don’t like a lot of that in my reading.

2. I re-read books all the time. I can’t tell you how many time’s I’ve re-read the Harry Potter series, Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom books, and Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books. Whenever I want to read something to unwind, those are my go-tos, even if I have new books waiting to be read.

3. I’ve never read Ender’s Game or the Dune Chronicles, even though I love sci-fi and people have suggested/lent them to me several times…

When was the last time you cried at a book?

Probably the last time I re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The scene toward the end with Dumbledore always gets me, no matter how many times I read it.

How many books are on your bedside table?

Just one, Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy. I love it in general, and I think it’s a great relaxing read if I want to wind down before bed – unlike the mysteries or adventurous fantasy/sci-fi books I tend to go for 🙂

What is your favorite snack whilst you’re reading?

A hazelnut latte and/or whatever meal it’s time for. I eat way too fast if it’s just me and the food, so I read while I eat or try to eat with other people and have some conversation.

Name three books you’d recommend to everyone.

1. Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone

2. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

3. The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings

Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf in your bookcase.

This may be a bit of a cheat, but my books are in 2 2×4 Ikea Expedits and each shelf doesn’t hold very many books, so this is my favorite “cube” of books 🙂

 
Write how much books mean to you in just three words.

Everything, at once.

* Wow, that was hard. Even 4 words would have been way easier!

What is your biggest reading secret?

I usually walk past anything that might be called a “romance,” and YA books that contort the plot to include a love-interest or – even worse – a love-triangle irritate me to no end, but I love Sherrilyn Kenyon’s League series and her Dark-Hunter series. Both of which are definitely in the romance section of the bookstore…

 

I “tag” anyone who hasn’t already done this test – I’m a huge snoop and I’d love to see your answers 🙂

Was there anything on this list that surprised you? What are your reading related pet-peeves?

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Book Review & Giveaway! – Murder at the Brightwell

Congrats to the winner of the giveaway, Laura M.!

The lovely staff over at St. Martin’s Press gave me a free copy of Murder at the Brightwell for my review.

Murder at the Brightwell: A Mystery

The publisher’s description certainly got it right with this one: “Set in 1930s Britain’s posh seaside holiday scene, Murder at the Brightwell is at once a glamorous glimpse into the past, a delightful love story, and, of course, a gripping, exciting whodunit. Drama, gossip, and mystery all abound!”

Very much in the style of Agatha Christie and Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series, this book was a fun sleuthing romp through the early part of the 20th century. The heroine, Amory, is a unique mix of confidence, wit, and romantic uncertainty – the latter usually occurring when her ne’re do well husband, Milo, is concerned. Amory takes a trip to the seaside with an old flame and his friends, and as members of their party drop like flies, she simply can’t stay on the sidelines. As with any amateur sleuth, she doesn’t figure out who is perpetrating the murders until she’s made a few wrong guesses, but she does manage to impress CID’s Detective Inspector Jones along the way.

This was a charming, light read, and I’ll certainly be interested to read more books by this author!

St. Martin’s also asked if I’d like a second copy of this book to give away. Silly question, right?! This title won’t be released for sale until October 14, 2014, but for the next week you can enter to win your very own advance copy of the book, along with a few other fun items from yours truly!

As you may have seen from the sneak peek I posted here on the blog and on my Instagram, the prize package looks a little something like this:

The winner of this giveaway will receive everything they need for a good old-fashioned afternoon tea:

  • A paperback advance copy of Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver
  • A book full of tasty “afternoon tea” recipes (I’ll admit, I was tempted to keep this for myself, the little cookies and sandwiches in here look awesome!)
  • A patterned tea cup from Anthropologie (I got the blue/green version for myself, and chose the orange to give away because I thought it went nicely with the cover of the book)
  • A (sealed) container of my favorite tea – Earl Grey Crème from Giant foods – which is an Earl Grey tea with a vanilla-y creaminess to it. I’m usually a milk and sugar girl when it comes to Earl Grey, but this works nicely without any milk or sugar, as it already has a little sweetness to it.

To enter the giveaway, click on the Rafflecopter link below (it may take a second or two to load). Then, you can get up to two entries, by either a) leaving a comment below that answers the prompt or b) following/subscribing to my blog (please make sure to enter the username you use to follow/subscribe, because I will verify this before I mail the prizes to the winner!) Or you can do both and get 2 bites at the apple 🙂 The giveaway will accept entries until midnight on Friday, August 22nd** and I will select a winner at random. The winner will be announced on the blog on August 23rd and I will provide an email address so the winner can send me their contact info.

Thanks so much for entering – Good luck!

(This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to winner Laura M.!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* A little disclaimer – The copy of Murder at the Brightwell for this giveaway was provided by St. Martin’s Press, but all other items were purchased by me. The links on the book title and photo go to Barnes & Noble simply because they are my favorite bookstore, but they are not sponsoring/affiliated with me in any way.

** I’m hoping that’s correct, and I didn’t somehow screw this up, but it’s my very first giveaway, so if there are any issues, I beg in advance for your patience. Thanks!