GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Litfuse Publicity: God’s Crime Scene for Kids by J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace


Join your children in learning how to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation with a real-life detective! In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery. Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Your kids will look at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator and ultimately learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

Help your kids become detectives who investigate creation for signs of God and His creativity by entering to win the Mystery Investigation Kit!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 31. The winner will be announced September 1 on the Litfuse blog.

crime1About the Book:

Hone your reasoning skills as you investigate evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation.
In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God’s existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.
In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

Learn more and purchase a copy here.

crime2About the authors:

J. Warner and Susie Wallace have been training young people in the church setting for over a decade. J. Warner is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, Court TV and other crime-related television shows. A former atheist, he is the author of “Cold-Case Christianity: God’s Crime Scene,” “Forensic Faith,” and “Cold-Case Christianity for Kids.” He has a master’s degree in theology and is the founder of ColdCaseChristianity.com. Susie has a master’s degree in speech pathology and co-writes (and edits) all the kids books in this series. J. Warner and Susie have four children and live in southern California.

Find out more about J. Warner and Susie Wallace here.

My Opinion:

We are still working on finishing this book, will update very soon.

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Litfuse Publicity: 40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey


40-daysAbout the Book:

Nourishment for a mother’s soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling!

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions—an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:

—Self-acceptance
—Self-care
—Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations
—Generosity
—Presence
—Forgiveness

In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!

You can purchase your own copy here.

40-days-2About Sarah:

Often considered a dreamer and silly heart, Sarah Humphrey uses inspiration from her most beloved career, motherhood, to fuel her passion for writing, creative movement and teaching. She has and is authoring several books and children’s books. Sarah currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and three beautiful, bouncy kids.

You can connect with Sarah on her website.

My Opinion:

I entered into the whole adult coloring craze when it started getting big and I enjoy it, at least when I get time to do it. It’s the same way with my Bible studying – between home school, children’s activities, my college classes – I often let Bible study and time for myself get put to the wayside. Enter in 40 Days, this makes the calmness of the coloring and entering into reflection with the Lord easy to do since they are combined! In less than 10 minutes, or more depending on how fast you color, you’ll have delved into the Word all while taking care of you.

The Scripture comes from the NIV, CEB, and the NKJV but you can always look it up in the translation of your preference. The devotions are short, usually just a paragraph or two so it makes reading them before your children wake or you have to get your husband off to work, easy and quick. The pictures are simple to color, no complicated abstract pictures here, they are simple but beautiful and correlate nicely to the day’s devotions. I know my day goes better when I have spent time with the Lord and His Word than when I don’t. I will post some of my own pictures soon.

Please visit the Litfuse Landing Page to see what other bloggers thought about this book.

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Download Your Free How-To Guide for Bring Your Bible to School Day


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Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are preparing for Hurricane Matthew to hit. For students in hurricane-affected states who are facing school closures but still want to participate in Bring Your Bible to School Day, the alternate date is Thursday, October 20.

This brings about a good point: Any day can be a day you organize your friends to bring your Bibles to school together!

By signing up during the month of October for Bring Your Bible to School Day (even if you missed the official celebration), you can download a free how-to guide for teens, parents, pastors, and elementary students. It’s full of helpful information that will help you organize a day to take a stand for religious freedom and bring your Bible to school with your fellow classmates.

(Sign-ups must be received by midnight (MT), Oct. 7, in order to be automatically entered into the Newsboys giveaway.)

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey

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Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

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See the Newsboys in Concert with Adventures in Odyssey


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Want to be entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, the award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas? Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations: Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends on October 6.

By completing the information on this page, you’re automatically entered to win the chance to see the Newsboys with Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey. Don’t miss out on the chance to see a fantastic band with your family!

Plus Sign Up for a Free Two-Week Trial of Odyssey Adventure Club

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Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

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Commit to Bring Your Bible to School October 6


Celebrate religious freedom with other students across the U.S. on October 6—Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends in just a few short weeks. Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations.

By signing up, you’ll receive a free guide with tips, downloadable posters, sticker and T-shirt designs, information on your legal rights, and other fun, interactive activities.

You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, an award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas!

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey

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Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

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Litfuse Publicity: The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan


murder_zpsp7rape4f About the book:

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever—if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

To learn more and purchase a copy visit here.

What to read up on Jem and Merinda before reading book one? Check out the e-novella, A Singular and Whimsical Problem.

murder2_zpsdekiylvn About the Author:

Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

You can connect with Rachel on Twitter and on Facebook.

My Opinion:

I’m a huge fan of a certain detective and his side kick so when the description listed this as a female version I knew I had to check it out. I really, really wanted to like this book and I did – the mystery of the three murders of Irish women had me flipping the pages faster than I should have. Set in Canada, it was very reminiscent of the above mentioned male detective – without all the “mind-palaces” and drug use. Merinda and Jem use costumes to access places that women wouldn’t have been allowed access, of course this also puts them into jeopardy with the Morality Squad. I did enjoy learning that the Morality Squad was made up by the author for the book, however she does say at the end that in Toronto women were tried in courts for things such as idleness,dissolution and incorrigibility.

What did drive me slightly crazy while reading this was Merinda’s constant refusal to hear anything about God and her staunch women’s lib mindset. She doesn’t like it all when Jem begins falling in love. Then there is Jem who constantly wonders what she is supposed to do, and disregards her parents advice about what to do with her life, which is specifically to find a husband. I get that not everyone is called to married, and that is fine, but Jem’s blantant, almost seemingly disrespect of her parents, made me a bit testy. However, in light of these issues Jem and Merinda work well together and eventually they solve the crime, however I won’t disclose the intricacies of the crime.

I have to reiterate that I did like the book, it was an enjoyable read even with some of the issues I found in it – I hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I admit when I could tell there was a complaining scene or a women’s lib scene I did skip it and move on – not that I’m against women’s lib but I am against the idea that they espoused that being married and having children made a woman somehow not equal or as important as her husband. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series to see how Jem and Merinda are faring in their world and to see if they’ve matured any.

To see what other bloggers thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

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Meet best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem, who launch their own Sherlock Holmes-esque consulting detective business in 1910 Toronto in Rachel McMillan’s The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever–if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

Rachel is celebrating the release of The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder with a Murder Mystery Prize Pack giveaway (details below) and an author chat party on April 28!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 4/28. The winner will be announced at The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Rachel and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!

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Nourish Your Family’s Spiritual Health this Easter


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If your family is like most, breakfast is rushed to get everyone out the door. Lunch is spent at school or work. So where does that leave dinner? Nourish your family’s spiritual health as you eat supper together. Adventures in Odyssey and Odyssey Adventure Club want to give you a free resource to help you begin your new dinner tradition of making the most of your family mealtime, beginning this Easter season. Simply head to this page and fill out the form to receive a free sample of Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions.

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Want new resources to continue to build your family’s faith, even after Easter is over? Consider signing your family up for the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:

  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.

To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter. and Pinterest.

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Litfuse Publicity: The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck


wedding_zpskc7jrt2f About the Book:

For sixty years, a wedding chapel sat silent, waiting for love. But times have changed and the hour has come when it just might be too late.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—the wedding chapel he built for Collette Greer, the woman he fell for back in ’49. But now an offer has come to turn the chapel into what it was meant to be—a place for love—and Jimmy sees no reason to hang onto his dream any longer.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s abysmal marriage rate. But love surprises her when she falls head-over-heels for Jack Forester, a top ad man. Their whirlwind romance results in an elopement, and a mountain of doubt. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to overcome his own demons to find the words of his heart.

When Taylor takes an assignment in Heart’s Bend, the job does more than send her back to her hometown, but into a world of family secrets buried beneath the sands of time.

When Taylor’s journey intersects with Coach’s, they rediscover the heartbeat of their dreams and that the love they long to hold is right in front of them. And worth every waiting moment.

You can purchase your own copy at Rachel Hauck.

wedding2_zpsq3102h8a About the Author:

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as The Wedding Dress, Love Starts with Elle, and Once Upon A Prince. She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, Softly and Tenderly, one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets.

Connect with Rachel on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

My Opinion:

This is a beautiful story of long lost love and unrequited romance – set in both the modern world and also in 1948 and caught between Manhattan and Tennessee – there are viewpoints from the characters as they reminiscence and remember things from their past.Thankfully Rachel Hauck made it easy to know which view point was being read at any given moment. I fell in love right away with Jimmy and Collette’s love story – once they find out about letters that were kept away and the misunderstandings that have kept them apart of 60 years – you’ll fall in love too.

Of course, it’s a happily ever after sort of book, but I guess after sixty years of loss and wondering, “what if”, the characters are entitled to a bit of happily ever after. Of course Jimmy and Collette aren’t the only romance in this book there is also the marriage of Taylor and Jack but both are leading very separate lives even though married – how can they become one and renew that love that they first felt when they eloped? It all comes together in this book and it is a fast and enjoyable read.

You can read what other bloggers thought on the Litfuse Landing Page.

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Litfuse Publicity: Wispers in the Reading Room (A Chicago World’s Fair Mystery) by Shelley Gray


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About the Book:

Lydia’s job at the library is her world—until a mysterious patron catches her eye . . . and perhaps her heart.

Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.

Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.

Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.

Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks-the man so many people fear-is actually everything her heart believes him to be.

You can purchase your copy here.

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About the Author:

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.

You can connect with her at her website, on Twitter and Facebook.

My Opinion:

I have to apologize for two items of note, the first being how late I am in getting this review written and the second is that I have not read the other two books and that is a mistake I will be rectifying soon. While there are two books before Whispers in the Reading Room, this book does stand alone and stands alone quite well I might add. Back before huge libraries with multiple branches came about there were reading rooms, quiet, low key affairs and that is where Lydia works and where Sebastian Marks frequents – both notice the other but have not yet been thrown together until now.

Shelley writes superbly and the mystery weaves a tangled web of deceit and also one of reconciliation and ultimately love. Lydia needs everyone to think that she is still quite eligible for a marriage to one of society’s elite but what she finds our about her beau is anything but redeeming. Mr. Marks comes to her aid and there begins the mystery, who is he? Who is she? Then of course what will become of all of them – the maid, his ‘man’ and the jilted ex-beau? Well I’ll let you read to find out – it was a quick read and one that will keep you guessing the who done it well into the early hours of the morning.

Please do note that there is murder but it’s not described in detail until one the main characters is killed and even then it’s not something that I wouldn’t have an issue with my oldest daughter reading. Also there are mentions of women who are plying their trade, also known as prostitution, but the details are not involved and I don’t think the word prostitution is used – if it is I don’t recall it. Overall, though this book was a fantastic work of fiction and I’m looking forward to reading the first two books because I truly enjoy Gray’s writing and this one is no different.

To see what other bloggers thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

 

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Litfuse Publicity: A Thousand Shall Fall (Shenandoah Valley Saga #1) by Andrea Boeshaar


About the Book:

A story of love, hope, and healing set in the midst of the Civil War

Nineteen-year-old Carrie Ann Bell is independent and spirited. The only thing she really fears are the Union soldiers fighting against her Confederate friends. When her youngest sister runs away from home, brave Carrie Ann is determined to find her and bring her back. Disguised as a soldier, she sets off—only to find she’s fallen into the hands of the enemy.

Her childhood friend Confederate Major Joshua Blevins has warned her against these Yankees: they’re all devils, ready to inflict evil on unsuspecting young women. When Colonel Peyton Collier arrests her for her impersonation of an officer, it seems to confirm all her fears.

Soon, though, she finds herself drawn to the handsome, gallant colonel. He rescued her, protected her, and has been every inch the gentleman. Carrie Ann discovers that her foe has become her ally—and more than that, someone she could love. But the arrival of Joshua in the Union camp as a spy will test her loyalties. Will she protect someone who has been like family or be loyal to this stranger to whom she wants to offer her heart? When her world is being torn apart around her, whom should she trust?

Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, A Thousand Shall Fall is framed around compelling characters and a very romantic setting in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Andrea Boeshaar’s extensive research guarantees historical accuracy and romance genre enthusiasts and Civil War buffs alike will enjoy the Christian perspectives on actual historical events.

Purchase your copy here.

About the Author:

Andrea Boeshaar is the cofounder of American Christian Fiction Writers and runs “The Writer’s ER,” a coaching service for writers. She is the author of thirty published works, including Threads of Faith, a finalist in the Inspirational Readers Choice Awards. Andrea is also the author of a popular devotional and regularly blogs on a number of sites.

You can connect with Andrea on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

My Opinion:

I am a huge Civil War history buff, visiting the historical sites and reading books set during that time or about that time gets my interest piqued so when I had a chance to read A Thousand Shall Fall by Andrea Boeshaar I had to join in the tour. The book takes place in the Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia, which ironically enough is where I’m writing this review at – in a city that is mentioned in the book several times – and others that I’ve actually visited. Carrie is the heroine that most of us like to read about, strong and confident and sure of her ability to save everyone – she dresses as a man in order to go after her runaway sister and in the hopes her mother may finally love her and welcome her back home. Colonel Peyton Collier is a changed man, although the only ones who believe that is his Aunt and her freed slave, Tabitha.

The book kept me turning the pages quickly and even waking up in the middle of the early morning to get more reading in, a source of frustration that there is no down time at work to read or I would have had it read sooner. I was swept up in the tale of the North and South forces as they battle to take town after town and those who are neither side and terrorize the citizens. Carrie’s story feels so real, the romance that forms after a lapse when she sutures the Colonel’s arm and her struggle to be a caring, loving daughter and sister even after the truth of her familial heritage is revealed. I can even ‘see’ some of the landscape, especially Harper’s Ferry that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting – the writing of Andrea Boeshaar is rich with feeling and descriptions that make it a wonderful read.

If you’d like to see what other bloggers thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

 

 

The search for her runaway sister goes awry when Carrie finds herself arrested during the Civil War for impersonating an officer in Andrea Boeshaar’s A Thousand Shall Fall. Soon, though, she finds herself drawn to the handsome, gallant colonel who arrested her. Carrie Ann discovers that her foe has become her ally—and more than that, someone she could love. Will she protect someone who has been like family or be loyal to this stranger to whom she wants to offer her heart? When her world is being torn apart around her, whom should she trust?

Andrea is celebrating the release of A Thousand Shall Fall with a Kindle Fire giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of A Thousand Shall Fall
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 10th. The winner will be announced December 11th on Andrea’s blog.

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