Perfect Match – Zoe May

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Welcome back everyone, after the bit of a slump I got myself into with the previous read I can say I’m back into my normal reading habits.

I’ve taken advantage of a few hot days where I couldn’t really go out and do much (damn that heatstroke!) and stayed inside, where it’s cool to read. I’m not sure if this book should sit at 4.5 or 5 stars since I’m not sure if the previous one had me in enough of a slump that this felt amazing.

Regardless, the themes throughout the book are so positive and speak to experience and learning from mistakes that I loved it. The pacing throughout was consistent, well thought out and gave us a very clear heading when we had quite a jump in the timeline.

It felt like every character in this book had a reason for being there. With the focus of the book being online dating, this tended to revolve around how people meet, how you can get to know someone, how our past shapes our behaviours and so many little things in between.

For those suffering the dating scene of the 21st century I feel like this is something they should read. Love can happen in the most unlikely of places and with the people you least expect. For me, when my step-mum suggested I go on a date with a 30 yr old accountant she works with (I was 21 at the time) my reaction was along the lines of “ewww! I don’t want to date an old, boring accountant!” I ended up meeting him briefly at my dad and step-mum’s housewarming and eight years later we’re going strong!

The main message I felt came through with this story was to give people a chance and take care of yourself first before looking to add someone to that mix. Being happy with yourself is something that’s so important but overlooked so much in our technological age so I’m so happy Zoe was able to include that in such a great way.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Forbidden by Tracy Cooper-Posey and Julia Templeton. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Zoe May lives in southeast London and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copywriting before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple's top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association's Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as 'a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery - fresh and very funny'.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she's not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she's probably tweeting about the dairy industry. She is half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India, swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject!

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The Cake Fairies – Isabella May

Welcome back everyone, you’re in for a wild ride of Rach Random Resource tours over the next couple of months! Think 13 reviews over 2 months! How crazy am I?

I start off this crazy two months with a story about love, second chances, family and screen addictions. Together this sounded like it was going to be a great story with lots of positive messages and a chance for me to reflect.

Instead, I found the first half of the book to be very slow paced with every conversation and thought fully played out. While the second half you were lucky to get half the conversation explained let alone all the thoughts. I think if there had have been a happy pacing medium found throughout it would have felt more engaging.

With the slow pace that suddenly turned to a fast pace it felt like either the Isabella didn’t want to cut anything out, but also didn’t want to give us a mammoth sized book. Or, she was reminded to hurry up, or maybe she got bored writing so in depth. I mean, I can’t imagine how much time and effort that would have taken so I totally get it if she got bored or tired with writing in such detail!

Yet I think the main reason I found myself in a bit of a slump with this book is because the characters core personalities seemed to change at the drop of a hat. I get that under pressure and unknown circumstances people can react weirdly. But that’s usually out of fear or panic. Although these feelings were there when you read Polly and Annabelle’s thoughts, there seemed to be a larger shift that felt weird, unnatural and inconsistent.

Although I didn’t find the writing style suited me, I loved the messages Isabella spoke about throughout the book. Using cake to get people to connect, explore their emotions, realise their screen addictions and generally make changes for the better is genius. I don’t believe the effects would be so apparent with all the gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegan friendly etc etc etc requirements in todays day and age. I mean, they didn’t even leave a little card out with the cakes letting people know what they contained.

But one can wish the effects would’ve been as popular as they were in the book!

I’m not one to comment on this normally, but I feel like a little LGBTQ+ (I honestly don’t know how many letters and in what order they are meant to go so I’m sorry if I’ve forgotten anything) rep would have worked in this story. Annabelle or Ivy were prime candidates for this rep to be woven in in a way that added value to the story, so I really wish that had have been explored. It would’ve made total sense and I kept expecting it.

Overall, the messages and story were great. It was just those little inconsistencies that I struggled to connect with. I’m the type of reader who really needs consistency, so I do struggle when it’s missing.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Perfect Match by Zoe May. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.

Cake, cocktail, churros, ice cream and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s rules.

The Cake Fairies is her fifth novel.

The Good in Goodbye – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, after that slightly odd Christmas “romantic comedy” last week we’re back to Lisa Miller! Remember her from Intimate Strangers?

I feel like I need to go into some spoilers with this review, so if you don’t want spoilers, make sure you skip that section!

We pick up Lisa’s love story with AJ like a month and a bit after she had to leave him back in the US. She’s discovered something pretty life changing and she’s coping with it pretty well until tragedy strikes. Luckily, she’s home in Ireland so she’s got her childhood best friend and her parents with her to help her through this time. Not to mention a few new friends she makes in this book.

Overall, it felt like this story had a different feel to it than the first one. The first one was very much a romance, whereas this one felt more serious and addressed a few sensitive topics. Mental health, unplanned pregnancies, trauma, heart break, moral choices and various other topics. And I’m not sure it does it very well.

It felt like it was trying to address too many things and ended up losing it in a few places. Most of the book was great! I felt connected almost all the way through. But the last couple of chapters just didn’t feel right for the characters.

The choices made felt like they’d been done to create drama rather than to honestly have the characters develop further. I feel like I want to read the next book to see if it kinda corrects those issues. But at the same time, I’m also worried it might go further down the path of not feeling natural.

SPOILER TIME! DON’T FORGOT TO CHECK OUT THE REST AFTER THE SPOILERS!

AJ having bipolar feels like something that should’ve come out in the first book. Putting it here makes it feel like it was a “o what’s a way we can add in mental health awareness? This works!” and bang it went in. I’m not trying to say it wasn’t portrayed well. I just feel that setting it up a bit more in the first book would’ve worked better. Specially coz AJ said the Docs could tell Lisa everything when he was in the hospital and there was no mention of bipolar meds then. Just feels a little bit contradictory to me.

Lisa’s thought processes towards the end of the book bugged me as well. I get grief can do strange things to our minds, but to decide you don’t want to be with your guy as soon as he’s on the place home feels a little bit out of left field. Given how into open and honest communication they’re into, surely she’d talk to him about her concerns?

Finally, that last bombshell of Ana’s feels like it should be a set up. If the start of the next book isn’t a “we did this to see how you were coping” kinda thing then she’s like the most insensitive person ever! I mean. Lisa lost her baby at 12 weeks old. Why would you feel it’s OK to turn up on her doorstep claiming to be 12 weeks pregnant when she has little to no support system around her and she’s barely coping as it is? #horriblefriendmoment #shitfriend

I don’t know why I did that, but it felt appropriate.

WE’RE PAST THE SPOILERS NOW!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Give me a Christmas by Zoe Ann Wood. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did - with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself 'home', with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

Single All the Way – Elaine Spires

Welcome back everyone, after a busier November than I’d anticipated I’m kicking off the Christmas month with a book set over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This one ended up being a bit of a disappointment to me. I went into it expecting a romantic comedy and was left quite underwhelmed. The story itself was mostly fine. It was the delivery that didn’t quite do it for me. However, as an inspiring, life lesson kind of read this is amazing.

The first thing I need to say about this book was that its chapters were “days”, meaning some chapters took me an hour or so to read. I think this could have been done better if the days were “parts” to the book, and the character’s points of view were the chapters.

I think this would give the reader a cleaner point where they could stop reading rather than hoping they remember what was said when they put it down halfway through a conversation because you don’t know when the next natural break is.

The next point I was to talk about is the amount of characters used. Usually, the books I read follow one or two characters and might alternate their points of view between those two characters. Or, you might have a few other characters thrown in, but the point of view sticks to the main two characters.

In this book I couldn’t figure out who the story was meant to be about and (if I can remember correctly) the point of view alternated between 10+ characters. The only other book I’ve come across that uses to many characters is Game of Thrones, and George R.R. Martin has a chapter to each character, titled as the character’s name, making it easier to follow. In this case the character changes happened at mini breaks in the chapters and because of the amount of characters used, I often struggled to figure out who I was reading about.

The final thing I want to mention is the feel of the book. When I finished this book, I left it feeling like “romantic comedy” is the wrong way to market it. Instead, I think it should be marketed as a story that shows the trials and tribulations people face in their everyday life. The key messages I felt resonating with me were that of acceptance and love for all — including yourself, forgiveness, honesty and communication.

Even though it wasn’t quite the fun read I thought it would be, I finished it with more of a life lesson, key take away kind of feel. If you want to read about how different people face a range of issues (sexuality, grief, guilt, family secrets, being single later in life etc) then this is an inspiring read I urge you to read.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Lasairiona E. McMaster’s The Good in Goodbye, the sequel to Intimate Strangers. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine's keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels.

Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series - Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.

Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019! 

Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

Naughty or Nice – Rachael Stewart

Welcome back everyone, after a fake dating story last week we’re onto a hidden romance set in the lead up to the Christmas period. With 24 days to go until Christmas is here, how many more Christmas themed books do you think I can squeeze in?

With Rachael being the author, I knew I’d be in for some explicit sex scenes, yet I found it wasn’t as full on as I was expecting. Yes, there was still some graphic sex but nothing that made me too uncomfortable while reading on the bus. Because of course the sex scenes start when you get on the bus and end just before getting off in peak hour.

I mean, why couldn’t they have the decency to happen when I’m at home alone where no one could potentially read over my shoulder? I’m not complaining. Just making a comment that every book I read that has sex scenes seems to be timed to be explicit when I’m on a packed bus in peak hour.

The book itself kept me captivated (I read it in 3 days, and the third day only needed like 30 mins to finish the book) and kept me thinking about how tricky family and business relationships can be. Yet the one message that really stood out (there’s always a message for me in Rachael’s books) was men’s reactions to women.

Specifically, there was a scene where Eva left a part to go to the bathroom assuming Lucas would follow, and he did. When we changed to his perspective after the encounter his thoughts included references to the look she was giving him that was filled with lust and desire and that she wanted him to follow her.

In a world where SJW (social justice warriors) run rampant I can imagine how many women would be jumping up and down shouting “#METOO” and all sorts of other nonsense (I’m not against the movement, but I do believe SOME people take it too far) along the lines of “how dare he assume that’s what she wants?!”. Yet all I could think in response to that thought was “these actions are going to kill the behaviour men exhibit that is so sexy and masculine. Those women are going to push the scale so far to the other end that men are going to be scared to even look us in the eyes in case they get persecuted.

I believe there is a time and a place for those movements and thoughts. One of the times where it’s not appropriate is in a romantic setting. So long as the guy listens when a girl says no then I’m all for the kind of behaviour Lucas displayed when seducing Eva. It was hot, masculine and sexy as hell. A guy who knows what he wants and goes after it while respecting her boundaries is awesome and should be celebrated!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing the sequel to Single All the Way by Elaine Spires. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heart-warmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

Despite a degree in Business Studies and spending many years in the corporate world, the desire to become an author never waned and it's now her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she's not glued to her laptop, she's wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Giveaway - Win an e-copy of Naughty or Nice by Rachael Stewart (open internationally)


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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

A Forgiven Friend – Sue Featherstone

Welcome back everyone, we’ve got the final review for October with a Rach Random Resources tour.

First off, I want to note that this book is written by two authors which might explain one of my problems with the book. Before I go into the negatives though I want to talk about the positive points!

Rather than being a romance (like so many of my other books) it’s a straight up story about the friendship between two women. There aren’t too many books that explore this dynamic, so it was interesting to read this, especially since both points of view are written.

Unfortunately, other than the writing being well written there’s not much else I can say that’s good about it.

I wasn’t drawn into the story, although I think this has more to do with this being the 3rd book and there was no set up or recap at the start to tell me who’s who. It felt like each other had chosen a character each and written their side of the story without checking that they were writing the same thing when they wrote about the same interaction from both sides. There were at least 2 instances where this happened and the phrases they said differed, and even their reactions and movements were different for each character.

I also found Teri hard to relate to given she was so self-obsessed. But then again, I guess that lack of self esteem and her personality as a result was one of the things the authors wanted to explore. Instead I constantly found myself wishing I could bitch-slap her and yell at her to calm the F down and let other people get on with their lives without her needing to be the constant centre of attention.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I’ll be reviewing #Jerk by Kat T. Masen. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers and magazines, and in public relations.

More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity University.

The pair, who have been friends for almost 30 years, wrote two successful journalism text books together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage), before deciding to turn their hands to fiction.

The first novel in their Friends series, A Falling Friend, was released in 2016. A Forsaken Friend followed two years later, and the final book in the trilogy, A Forgiven Friend, published on November 19.

Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, and the most ‘gorgeous granddaughter in the whole world’, loves reading, writing and Nordic walking in the beautiful countryside near her Yorkshire home.

Susan is married and lives in a village near Leeds, and, when not writing, loves walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. She is also a member of a local ukulele orchestra.

Check out their blog Book Lovers Book List

Sue's Twitter

Susan's Twitter

It’s Not PMS, It’s You – Rich Amooi

Welcome back everyone, it’s been a busy week and I’m ending it with a book that I believe has some great points. Although I’m not sure how I feel about getting so analytical about a book…

I grew up with a mum who works in a male dominated industry. I spent time in her office, hearing how the men talked to each other, and the women in the office. Rich has done a great job of accurately writing how awful these kinds of workplaces can be. While I’m not happy about these workplaces existing, and men still being Neanderthals when it comes to women being better than them.

Any woman that can work in that environment, day in and day out, is a champion. But I also hope they don’t suffer silently like Ruth does. The only reason I’m ok with Rich openly talking about this type of work is to highlight how wrong it is.

Not only do we see how high-strung Ruth is, the impact it’s having to her physical and mental health and her relationships, both with herself and others. We also get to experience her life changing realisation and her journey of change with Dee and Nick.

The whole way through the book I felt like I was on the dates with Ruth, with her as she broke through the walls she’d built up and began to let those emotions through again. I’m surprised a male author could achieve that given there’s no way they can truly understand what women go through in male dominated workplaces. But he did good!

My only problem with how well he’s executed this is that I don’t think many men read romance, which means our ability to change this behaviour is limited. Unless men learn about these impacts they don’t know to change. They don’t know the impact it has to the woman they work and live with. Without getting men involved in these conversations nothing will change.

Yet somehow, I don’t think women are the only one to suffer these effects of suck toxic workplaces.

Other than the political, sexist etc crap in this story, I loved reading about how Ruth let herself go, found relaxation and had that shift of priorities that many people struggle to have when they are workaholics.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing A Forgiven Friend by Sue Featherstone. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Rich Amooi is a former radio personality and DJ who now writes romantic comedies full-time in San Diego, California. He is happily married to a kiss monster imported from Spain. Rich believes in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

Giveaway - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Car (open internationally)


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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Christmas Kisses on Hollywell Hill – Jackie Ladbury

Welcome back everyone, even though the last week’s read wasn’t solely based around Christmas, it had some Christmas moments. To make up for that we’re back to a Christmas book! Yay!

Kirsty and Jake are one of those cute couples that meet by running into each other in the supermarket. I mean, how does that even happen?!

I don’t even know how to talk about this book because one of the issues in the books, the cheating of Jake’s ex-wife, hit home to me while I was reading this. Until reading this book I’d never met anyone who’d been cheated on so the “I can’t believe someone would do that to someone else” was all hypothetical.

The emotional impact of discovering that the person you love with all your heart, who you thought loved you back, is cheating on you is incomprehensible. The lasting impact of this is what Jake is going through — the mistrust, the need to drown your sorrows and the feeling that you’re not good enough for the one you love — and we see this in how he interacts with Kirsty.

I didn’t have much left of the book when I found out about cheating and it put a whole new spin on how I perceived Jake’s actions. I went from thinking he was overreacting and being a bit of a dick, to wondering how he’d stayed so calm and could handle starting a new business and starting a new business.

Writing this review has me thinking about what I found out and I can’t help but feel horrible about that situation. I can truly say I loved this book. Yet at the same time it’s going to be tainted with that memory forever because of the emotional impact it’s had on me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing It’s Not PMS, It’s You by Rich Amooi. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Jackie Ladbury writes heart-warming contemporary and historical women's fiction that is always guaranteed a happy ever after. From spending many years as an air-stewardess and seeing that it really is love that makes the world go around, she determined to put the same sparkle and emotion into her stories. Her life is no longer as exotic (or chaotic) as it was in those heady days of flying as she now lives a quiet life in Hertfordshire with her family and two cats, spending her days making up stories and finding excuses not to go to the gym.

To find out more about Jackie Ladbury, check out her socials:

The Perils of Autumn – Rusty Blackwood

Welcome back everyone, after a few false starts I finally got here with this review!

I honestly thought going into this that the story would have more emphasis on Duff Taylor and his past. I swear I re-read the blurb when I wasn’t far into the book and it had more emphasis on Duff than when I read it on the back cover of my jacket after finishing. Yet the entire story revolved around Autumn and her relationship with Cyril.

As a romance story, it’s quite good. Autumn goes through quite a journey, has ups and downs, moments when it feels like Cyril and Autumn wouldn’t make it. Which is the typical arc of a romance story so that’s all good. Yet there was nothing about this book that really drew me in and kept me in.

If you’re looking for a book on the side, or maybe you don’t have a lot of time to read some having something you can read a little bit of as and when you have the time, this book is perfect for you.

In terms of the writing, I think the way the dialogue is written is one of the ways I couldn’t fall into the story. My dad was about the same age as Autumn in the same years and yet he doesn’t sound anything like Autumn or any of the other characters.

The dialogue felt really stilted, formal and more like it belonged in the 50s or earlier. Speaking to my dad he doesn’t remember the feel of how people speaking feeling formal back then. But he did admit he doesn’t really remember (granted that was almost 50 years ago) so he’s not 100% sure. Yet, when I think on how a lot of the movies, I’ve seen set in the 60s, 70s and 80s speak, they are all a lot more relaxed than this was written so I’m really not sure.

All I know is that I enjoyed it, I just didn’t love it or feel like I just had to keep reading at any point in time. Even when I knew I had less than 12 pages left.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Christmas Kisses on Hollywell Hill by Jackie Ladbury. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Top ranking romantic fiction author Rusty Blackwood, who chose her plume de nom by combining the colour of her russet hair with her husband's great, great, Scottish grandmother's maiden name, was born in St.Thomas, Ontario, Canada on October 5th, and grew up on her paternal grandfather's farm in the County of Elgin, located in the south-western portion of the province of Ontario.

She acquired her love of literature while still in elementary school where she entered her original compositions into county fairs, school contests, and whatever venue allowed participants in the writing field. She has carried that love ever since and has put it to use many times since becoming a professional writer in 2001.

From the time of youth she has loved the Arts in their many unique forms, she is a graduate with honors in Interior Decorating & Design. She spent many years on the south-western Ontario stage performing with her family's country music band: The Midnight Ramblers, followed by the country - rock - blues band: 'MIRAGE' as an accomplished vocalist, bassist, and rhythm guitarist. She now resides in the cultural city of St. Catharines, Ontario.

Check out Rusty's socials on BookBub and the ones below:

Giveaway - Win an autographed and inscribed hardcover copy of The Perils of Autumn (US and Canada only)


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Rusty Blackwood will be awarding an inscribed and autographed hardcover copy of "The Perils of Autumn" to be given to a randomly drawn winner (US/Canada only) via rafflecopter during the tour.