4 1/2 stars, Joanna Barker, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence

Rags to Riches

Joanna Barker is a relatively new author that I can’t get enough of! Her first novel showcases the excellent writing voice she has for a debut author.

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Governess Juliana Ashbourne has dreams reaching far beyond the confines of her current position, hoping to someday establish her own school for girls. When she inherits a fortune from her late grandfather, she is shocked to learn that “someday” may soon be within reach. However, there is one condition: she must spend a month at the estate of Havenfield–with the very family who disowned her mother. Intent on securing the money she needs to start her school, Juliana accepts the invitation, vowing to guard her heart against those who shunned her all her life.

But Havenfield is far from what she expects. She discovers a grandmother seeking forgiveness, a cold and disapproving aunt, and a painfully shy cousin. And then there is Mr. William Rowley. Though the heir to the estate is a merciless tease, Juliana finds in him a friend and confidant–and perhaps something more. As she struggles to make sense of her new place in the world, her stubborn independence clashes with a yearning to belong and the even more confusing desires of her heart.

This rags to riches story has an enchanting heroine and an endearing hero with just the right amount of wit. I seriously loved William’s teasing. I enjoyed him so much as a character that it was a little difficult for me to understand her frustration with his teasing at times. His humor was dry and adorable.

I Loved the story line she gave to the aunt and the depth that added to the family dynamics. It blended well with the beautiful concepts of home and family she develops in the novel.

The story of redemption and forgiveness was beautiful. With how dotting the grandmother and her desire to treat her as family, I didn’t quite understand the dress situation. I kept thinking, you would have thought they would have gifted her at least one new gown?

Then I thought of the character Joanna Barker has created in Juliana. The refusal to accept a gown if it was offered, and wanting to be taken seriously, reflect her twice mended dress and her frustrations with William. I love when a character is well reflected in even the little subtle things.

Joanna’s second book was released just this week and is also a Rags to Riches story!

Beauty and the Baron: A Regency Fairy Tale Retelling

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Rose Sinclair has run out of options. With her father in prison and their bookshop sold to pay his debts, she has no choice but to turn to Henry Covington, the Baron Norcliffe. But the baron has more than earned his harsh reputation, and Rose must face his wrath in order to save her father—and herself.

Since the deaths of his parents, Henry Covington has isolated himself from society, ensuring the solitude of his estate with his deliberate callousness. However, when the beautiful Miss Sinclair appears on his doorstep, begging for a chance to repay her father’s debt to him, a moment of weakness finds him offering her a position—as a maid in his own house.

They both soon learn that first impressions are not to be believed. Henry is surprised—and intrigued—by Rose’s optimistic charm, while Rose slowly uncovers Henry’s true self, his compassion concealed behind the pain of loss and betrayal. But when a shadow from Henry’s past returns, their newfound hope is tested. They must decide for themselves who to trust and what they will risk for their happily ever after.  

Beauty and the Baron is a Regency retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and is Book 1 in a series of Regency retellings.

As a retelling Joanna Barker incorporated portions of the traditional tale making it obvious is was a beauty and the best retelling, but not overly cliche. Unique enough to stand out. The relationship was well developed for a novella with a good blend of misunderstanding, friendship, and attraction. She created tender moments and an engaging plot. The plot twists added excitement, but my favorite part was that the plot twists did not make them misplace their trust in each other. It’s a really sweat, clean read.

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Five Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Melanie Cellier, Moderate Violence

Worthiness

I’m a sucker for a fairy tale retelling. I have to admit however, that Snow White wasn’t ever one of my favorite fairy tales. The Disney Snow White wasn’t exactly  compelling. It wasn’t until the tv show “Once Upon a Time” debuted that I finally enjoyed the story of Snow White. She finally had a back story, and gumption. The love story also gave us more than, I saw you once, in which we didn’t converse, and now I’m going to kiss you awake and marry you…weird.

All that being said, I didn’t fall in love with the Snow White story until I read Melanie Cellier‘s, A Dream of Ebony and White.

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“Snow has always lived under the shadow of her cruel stepmother, with only her beloved father and her childhood friend—the huntsman, Alexander—to make life bearable. When her father dies, she should be crowned queen, but instead she finds herself fleeing for her life. With no allies, no skills, and no food, her future could be over before it has truly begun.

But there’s more at stake than just one life. If Snow can’t claim her throne, her kingdom faces destruction. Snow has to make a choice: focus on her own salvation or put everything on the line—even those she loves the most. And if she’s going to succeed, Snow must fight the hardest battle of all, against her own doubt and weakness, and gain new skills and strength she never imagined possessing.”

I love Melanie Cellier’s writing style and her wit. It was the character of Snow White and her insecurities that made me love this story. Every young adult battles with feelings of insecurities and worthiness. Melanie Cellier understands, acknowledges and validates their worries, then gives them strength to battle them. All wrapped up in story of adventure and love.

Her stories have the character development and story line to make them great, but it’s the way that she pulls in the different facets of each fairy tale that makes them phenomenal. The cottage, the mirror, the apple and especially the huntsman were all twined in to give you a brand new love for an old favorite, or a new favorite in my case.

 

Giveaway

Scary Things

We’ve been a little MIA the last few weeks, holidays will do that. But in my particular household there’s been a lot more than just holidays going on…

My husband and I both took big scary leaps at the end of 2018. He created a game! It’s a family friendly card game that our whole family loves. It’s called Die Fly!

He put it up on kickstarter and just today it got funded!! It still has 12 days left, so if you like card games- you should definitely go get yourself one. We are so proud of him. It’s scary creating something and then putting it out into the world.

That leads to me. I decided to start writing down the stories in my head. I have a long way to go and lots to learn, but I finally got the courage to submit to a publisher. They were requesting short stories for an anthology that fit my genre perfectly. That process has taken up a great deal of my efforts, and may account to nothing. However, it was huge for me to even try. Feedback and critiques were hard, but I’m so grateful to everyone who read my little story and gave me honest feedback, it took what I thought was a pretty good story and made incredibly better.

One of the pieces of advice I’ve heard a lot is; if you want to be a good writer, you need to do a lot of reading. Not to worry I have also been doing a lot of reading and have a whole list of books that will be reviewed and up starting next week.

Go do something scary, I promise it will be worth it! –N.C.

Giveaway

2018 Reader’s Choice Awards

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Here is your chance to vote for your FAVORITE Clean Wholesome Romance books that were published this year! This is your chance to spread some love for the authors & books that deserve more praise and attention. The voting is hosted by Clean Wholesome Romance.

RULES
No anonymous votes. Sorry, but you have to vote with your name and email address.

One vote/submission per person. Your response will be emailed to you and you can edit your vote.

You can vote for up to THREE books in each category.

You must be subscribed to Clean Wholesome Romance’s Newsletter to cast your vote. This helps ensures that there is only one vote per person.

Voting runs from December 18, 2018 to January 2, 2019.

Books must have been published during the year 2018.

Authors CANNOT vote for a book they wrote or published.

Those related to an author CANNOT vote for a book written by a member of their immediate or extended family.

You can nominate the same book for more than one category (ex: Best Debut author, contemporary romance & Best Book Cover)

Please include the book title & author’s name in your nominations.

Voting is done here.

Help Spread the Word & Enter to win $25!

Five Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Moderate Violence

Dream Come True

My baby girl was in her dance studio’s production of the nutcracker last week. And I’m not gonna lie, I think I teared up a time or two.

I loved being in the nutcracker as a young girl and have many fond memories of dress rehearsals and cast parties. (Just in case you’re wondering, those things are not as fun as a mom.) However, the performances were priceless and I would sit through fifty more dress rehearsals to see my little snow sprite dance her heart out on stage.

Suffice it to say the nutcracker is a very dear story to me and I kind of hold it to a high standard. “Barbie and The Nutcracker”, is NOT The Nutcracker. That’s why I haven’t seen “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” yet. I’m saying all of this so you understand, this is high praise when I tell you; Brittany Fichter‘s retelling, Clara’s Soldier, was absolutely fantastic.

5195zAatLPL“A bride-to-be without answers.
A soldier who never came home.
A nutcracker that might hold one last Christmas wish…

World War II has been over for three months, but Clara can’t join in the Christmas festivities with her friends and family. The fiance she sent off to Europe three years ago never returned. But just as she’s about to give up hope, her godfather might just have one last miracle up his sleeve.

And it all begins with a nutcracker.”

It was a uniquely beautiful way to tell the Nutcracker story.

Brittany Fichter created emotionally driven characters, with strong backgrounds. The shifting setting pulled in the magic and the rats felt like a real threat.

She pulled me into the her world from page one and wonderfully wove the heartbreak of war with the thrilling nature of the nutcracker story.

This was a new version of an old favorite that I will reread and love over and over again.

Giveaway, Rachael Anderson

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

We recently reviewed Rachael Anderson’s newest book My Brother’s Bride on her blog tour. You can see that here, but don’t click on it until you’ve entered the giveaway below!

My Brother's Bride (Serendipity Book 2) by [Anderson, Rachael]

 

Author Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

 

You can find our reviews for the books below by clicking on their image.

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash. Enter Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 1/10/19

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 may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

Giveaway

Bring Me Back

“Have you ever made a mistake? One so monumental you lost everything? I did, and I hate myself for it! All I want to do is close my eyes, and let the darkness consume me. Make it all go away. The end.

Ainsley is drowning in the depth of her despair. One wrong decision left her alone, with only regret as her constant companion. To escape it all, she makes another choice. One she hopes will end everything. Instead, she’s thrown into a whole new world filled with opportunities she doesn’t believe she deserves.

Ethan gives the appearance of breezing through life. But underneath his bright facade, he’s scarred by loss. When fate leads him into Ainsley’s world at the exact moment she needs someone the most, he can’t ignore the chance to right the wrongs of his past.

Ainsley and Ethan will struggle to help each other heal and start anew.

They’ll learn that the secret to conquering their pain lies within their power, if only they can do it together.

Always together.

Sometimes the ending is really the beginning.”

We haven’t read this book yet, but we’re really excited to. We loved her debut novel, you can find the link for that and it’s review below. For now enjoy this excerpt:

ETHAN
“FILL THESE OUT, PLEASE.” The nurse at the ER admin desk
shoved a clipboard holding a stack of insurance forms into
my hands. “Once we get your partner stabilized, I’ll go find
out about sending you in to see her.” She gave me a curt nod
and disappeared behind the desk.
What had I been thinking? I hadn’t been thinking. Not
much beyond getting my neighbor here in time. I had been
living next door to Ainsley for the last six months, ever since
the construction on my house was completed. And I had
noticed her from day one. Who wouldn’t, with her striking
blue eyes, long blonde hair, and a body every man dreams of?
But there was more. She had this frailty about her, if you
looked close enough. And it drew me in, right from the start.
But she never let me get further than a few pleasantries. Still,
it didn’t stop me from trying. And I had tried to be her
friend.
When I found her earlier today… I shuddered as the
memory washed over me.

I clutched the letter in my hand, secretly happy I had an excuse to
ring Ainsley’s doorbell. The mailman had messed up and I
couldn’t let the opportunity slide, noting her car in the driveway.
Walking up to the door, I rolled my shoulders and took a deep
breath, aiming for cool and suave, not flustered and eager like she
had me feeling each time I caught a glimpse of her.
I rang the bell and turned to soak up the bright rays of sun,
feeling my stomach knot as the anticipation rose. A few seconds
passed, but no one came to open the door.
I turned to ring the bell again, sure she was home, when I
stopped dead in my tracks, my hand still suspended in the air. My
heart started pounding in my chest as the ground beneath me felt
like it was moving.
“Ainsley! Ainsley!” I pounded on the door, her lifeless body
sprawled on the floor in the hallway just visible through the
sidelights. My palms felt moist as I fought against the rising
panic.
“Ainsley!!” My voice was hoarse as I belted out her name over
and over.
Instinct took over. I ran to the back door and found it
unlocked. I hadn’t ever let myself in, but now wasn’t the time to
worry about that.
“Ainsley!” I fell on my knees next to her, taking in the full
scene. Her chest was barely moving, her lips a faint shade of blue.
An empty pill bottle lay on the floor beside her. I picked it up,
already sure of what was going on but needing to confirm it.
Time seemed to stand still as I pieced it all together, but the loud,
ringing sound in my ears forced me to move and get help.
“Ainsley, what have you done?” I cried as I slipped my phone
out of my back pocket and called 911. I hoped I wasn’t too late,
that we still had time.
“What happened?” One of the paramedics loaded her on a
gurney while the other got to work checking her vitals. I rehashed
all I knew, which wasn’t very much.
They loaded her in the ambulance, and after getting the right
info about where they were taking her, I sped over to the hospital
in record time.
“What’s your relationship to the patient?” The ER clerk typed
in Ainsley’s name without making eye contact.
“I don’t see how that’s important now,” I growled.
“Only the next of kin can see the patient.” She looked up for
the first time and took in my panicked state.
“I’m her…boyfriend.” Where did that come from? I didn’t even
know her that well, but I couldn’t take it back now.
“I see.” The woman stared up at me over her wide-rimmed
glasses, pausing as she studied me. Did she pick up on my
hesitation? Did she detect the lie?
“Please take a seat. I’ll have her paperwork ready in just
a sec.”
I released the breath I held and dropped down in the vinyl
seat, overcome by the events of the past hour.

I’d been waiting for over two hours, and I was frantic. I
didn’t do so well in a hospital setting.
“Mr. Van Der Beek?” A doctor dressed in light blue scrubs
walked into the waiting area. I stood up.
“Yes?” My heart beat double time, waiting for him to give
me news on Ainsley.
“We were able to stabilize your girlfriend.” The word
made me wince. The doctor luckily mistook it for the info he
was delivering, and his expression softened, his eyes full of
sympathy. “Ainsley experienced respiratory depression, and
we needed to intubate her to ensure she was getting enough
oxygen.”
I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and nodded my
understanding.
“We’ll keep her in the ICU until she gains consciousness.”
“But she’s going to be okay?” I pleaded.
“We’ll know for sure tomorrow. I think you got to her in
time.” He patted me on the shoulder and turned to leave but
reconsidered.
“Mr. Van Der Beek.” He stared into my eyes.
“Yes?” I felt the weight of the day settle on my shoulders.
“Your girlfriend is very sick. Even if she makes a full
physical recovery, you have a long road ahead of you.”
I nodded, my eyes stinging. “Thank you, Doctor.” I sank
onto one of the chairs lining the side of the waiting area. If
anyone knew how long that road was, it was me.

 

 

 

 

Author Mylissa Demeyere

Mylissa Demeyere was born in Belgium, and resides in the beautiful city of Ghent. She lives in a somewhat organized home with her four beautiful children and the love of her life. If she isn’t working, she’s writing, running, reading, or enjoying time with her kids, who are growing up way too fast.

The Songs That Brought Me Back is her second novel in The Songs Series, with a third book releasing in the middle of 2019.

 

 

 

You can find out review of “The Songs of you and Me here.

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash Enter  Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 1/10/19

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 may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

Donna Hatch, Four Stars, Giveaway, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Violence, Moderate Romance

Secrets

It’s hard to teach children the difference between a good secret and a bad secret. For instance, it’s not okay to tell daddy what mommy got him for Christmas, but there are other secrets that need to be told. We’ve tried to teach our kids that surprises, like presents are good to keep secret, but if the secret could hurt someone physically or emotionally, then it needs to be told. Lets hope over the next week and a half you have a lot of surprises and very few secrets.

“A stolen Christmas kiss leaves them bewildered and breathless.

A charming rogue-turned-vicar, Will wants to prove that he left his rakish days behind him, but an accidental kiss changes all his plans. His secret could bring them together…or divide them forever.

Holly has two Christmas wishes this year; finally earn her mother’s approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl, and learn the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss…even if that stranger is the resident Christmas ghost.”

Donna Hatch is an expert at swoon worthy moments. This book is no exception. The story is so fun and her enchanting characters make it come to life.

 

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Author Donna Hatch

Donna Hatch is the award-winning author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series” and is published in sweet Regency romance and fantasy. Her professional memberships include Romance Writers of America (RWA)and American Night Writers Association (ANWA). A sought-after workshop presenter, she juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, not to mention her six children (seven, counting her husband), and still manages to make time to write. A native of Arizona who recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

 

 

 

You can find our review of “The Guise of a Gentleman” here.

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash Enter Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 1/6/19

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 may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

Giveaway, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Three Stars

I smell snow…

I know it’s crazy, but snow makes me so happy and we haven’t had enough of it in my neck of the woods this year. Cold and I aren’t always on good terms, but snow and I go way back. Lorelai Gilmore, Me, Kelsey Patrick from Hayley Wescott’s “A Snow Globe Christmas”… all the cool people know snow is magical and it’s not Christmas without it.

“Kelsey Patrick is homesick for the snow and family Christmas tree from her childhood in Connecticut. The holidays are coming and South Florida weather is lovely, but it’s not what she wants for Christmas. She’s making the best of it, but she expects her Christmas to be un-snowy and lonely.

When she receives a lovely and thoughtful last minute Secret Santa gift from Mrs. Claus, Kelsey’s Christmas spirit is revived. When she tries to find the one who gave her the gift under the guise of Mrs. Claus, she makes an assumption that leads her down the wrong path.

Brett Taylor is firmly seated in the friend zone and knows Kelsey is making a mistake, but he’s in no position to try to change her mind.

Just when both Brett and Kelsey are set to spend their holidays working and alone, a chain of events just might change all that. And maybe Mrs. Claus will see her sweet work behind the scenes bring two love birds together at last.”

Hayley Wescott is a new to me author and though I loved the plot idea, I felt like the timing was a little off. Important things felt rushed and non important details got a little too much focus.  The characters had great potential and I liked the glimpses we were given, but would’ve liked to see them developed a little more. It was a quick Christmas read with a sweet ending.

 

 

 

Hayley Wescott loves a sweet love story with the emphasis on the sweet. As a Christian author, she’s happy and fulfilled to write stories about real life that don’t include cringe-worthy moments or details a reader doesn’t really want.

Some of Hayley’s stories are about real life. Contemporary stories about flawed people and people that have issues. But each of these stories is resolved in a positive way and the guy always gets the girl.

As part of the Hero Hearts group, Hayley loves writing about heroes who will save the day in big ways and small ones. With Annie Boone, who writes historical romance, and Kate Cambridge who writes both historical and contemporary romance, these three will deliver sweet stories that will capture your heart. Handsome men with big hearts and big jobs and the women who end up falling for them.

 

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash Enter Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 1/6/19

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 may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

Five Stars, Giveaway, Low Language, Low Religion, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence, Rachael Anderson

Straight to the Heart

You know those books that make you go “Awww” and just get you right there? Those are Rachael Anderson’s books for me.

“Abigail Nash leads a lonely existence. Her mother died giving birth to her, her father’s business dealings took him away more often than not, and her ailing great-aunt, unable to provide much in the way of companionship, was a lack-luster guardian at best. So when her dear friends offered to launch her into London society, it appeared Abby’s life was taking a turn for the better, with suitors and social engagements aplenty. When she marries a proclaimed darling of the ton, it seems she will at last settle into the life of her dreams.

But appearances aren’t always what they seem, and dreams often become disappointments.

Just months into her marriage, Abby finds herself widowed, penniless, increasing, and determined to never hope again. But when her late husband’s brother, the Earl of Brigston, attempts to thaw the numbness surrounding her heart, Abby must decide if she has it in her to risk another chance at happiness, knowing the odds are not in her favor.”

This book is really so cute! Rachael Anderson handles some rather difficult topics very delicately. I was impressed with her focus on redemption, and the various relationships in the book including the brother’s and the mother-in-law. The romance was written with sweet chemistry and just the right amount of slow build. –M.V.

 

Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

 

 

Author Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter

BookBub * Goodreads * Amazon Author Page

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Enter Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 1/1/19

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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.