Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review of THE NEAR WITCH and More ARCs and Prizes (And Reviews) for You

For today, here's the plan. I've got a full review of THE NEAR WITCH finally. And if you scroll down, you'll also find another ARC giveaway and more.


THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab


Near WitchSummary: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.


The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.


MY REVIEW
THE NEAR WITCH opens with a looming sense of darkness, an undefined eeriness that draws you in. Sort of like sitting around a campfire, listening to the beginnings of a well-told ghost story. Except Schwab's ghost is a mysterious wind and the songs of the past--whispers of witches, betrayals and revenge.  There's also an edge of sadness because of a loss, but it's not too bitter as it's reined in by Lexi's unrelenting spiritedness, presenting a sharp contrast to the emerging gloom. As the story progresses, the mystery that sprouted at the beginning takes a dark turn when children begin to disappear.

And then you hit page 40.

What had been before just a darkness in the distance, a mystery that begged to be solved, suddenly becomes a danger to Lexi. The mystery becomes a threat--even if Lexi doesn't fully realize it at first. But you do. I think I spent the better part of this book in a constant state of shivers. THE NEAR WITCH is a book that sucks you in and has you thinking/saying things like, "Lexi, check the charm! Make sure it's still there!" It's a book that makes you feel fully invested as a reader. Not just in the mystery, but in the characters themselves--and in the romance. The difficult circumstances within the story heighten the romantic tension, making it feel at times bittersweet.

But one of the most impressive attributes is the paranormal element. It's not that witches haven't been done before, but Schwab took them a new direction, creating such an original twist. Even the setting felt completely new--not modern and not fully old, not fantasy and yet not conventional. Some of the typical conventions of witch stories are employed, but Schwab also created some new rules--which means no expectations for a reader. The best stories are the ones you can't predict, creating something entirely new out of the old. THE NEAR WITCH is a remarkable debut--original and truly gripping.


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For now, how about a couple more ARCs to win? I've got a lot of these guys. So many coming out in August and September, so some of my reviews may be a little more condensed. But you'll likely be seeing more reviews than usual. Only so many Thursdays...

Today, I'm offering:

(Click on images for Goodreads summary in a pop-up window.)

AFTER OBSESSION
by Carrie Jones and Steven E Wedel

After Obsession
MY CONDENSED REVIEW: Told in alternating points of view, AFTER OBSESSION is a riveting paranormal romance about demonic possession. Very spooky. It's a compelling read with hints of humor that help to dispel that darkness. So often alternating POVs feel really similar, but this one had two very distinct voices, likely because of the two authors. It was refreshing. A great read, especially for fans of dark paranormal romance.




[Signed] PETER NIMBLE AND HIS FANTASTIC EYES by Jonathan Auxier 

Peter Nimble
MY CONDENSED REVIEW: I haven't read a lot of middle grade, but I fell in love with the voice in this. It's different from anything I've ever read. A certain dry humor which I found really absorbing.  There's a dark undertone there, too, but it's subtle--if you really think about the reality of what's being hinted at, you realizes how gloomy it is. But there's overall a very light feel to it meshed with the darkness--sort of like the first Harry Potter. It's an adventure story, very fun. Would appeal to both boys and girls. Highly recommend it for fans of adventure middle grade.



THE BEGINNING OF AFTER
by Jennifer Castle

Beginning of After
MY CONDENSED REVIEW: A beautiful story that is both heartwrenching and sweet. There's the potential for some serious tears, though, as it's a story of one girl's grief journey. The greatest heartbreak occurs very early on. But unlike some of the other grief stories that are out there, it's not a constant emotional battle. There are a number of happy moments to relieve the tension. Moments of laughter. Overall strong characterization and voice. A memorable contemporary.


So, up for grabs: AFTER OBSESSION, PETER NIMBLE, and THE BEGINNING OF AFTER

Click Here to Enter to Win my Three ARC International Giveaway

Giveaway ends Saturday, July 23, 2011, Midnight EST. Open Internationally. Must be 9 years to win PETER Nimble and 13 years to win AFTER OBSESSION and THE BEGINNING OF AFTER. Under 18's must have parent permission to enter. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipping.

Thanks so much for entering. Good luck!


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Finally, I wanted to tell you guys about a wicked fun middle grade that has just released.

BORN TO BE A DRAGON
by Eisely Jacobs


Born to be a dragon
Summary:
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup…


This is what Lord Edric wants you to believe. He will do anything in his power to see that humans never come in contact with dragons again. However, he doesn't plan for Meia, the foster child who dreams of dragons, believing they are real. Or Deglan, the ten-year-old dragon who bears the ancient mark that threatens everything Lord Edric has worked for.
Join these two unlikely friends as they discover the truth behind a legend so extraordinary it will alter each of their lives… forever.



MY THOUGHTS:
Super cute middle grade! A dragon action adventure that features an unlikely bond. Some great touches of humor, as you might expect if you've been following Jacobs' Twitter. I loved her dragons and the special friendship that holds the book together. The book also features fostering as well as themes of family and loyalty. A memorable read for kids that will appeal to boys and girls.

Check out LK Gardner-Griffie's blog for a thorough, emotional review of BORN TO BE A DRAGON.

GIVEAWAYSEiselyJacobs is hosting a huge scavenger hunt giveaway with daily prizes including two polos that feature Deglan, a dragon from her book as well as a NOOK at the end of the giveaway! Stop by Heather McCorkle's group blog Critique Sisters Corner to enter to win a copy of BORN TO BE A DRAGON.

102 comments:

  1. I am so glad you liked The Near Witch, I am pretty excited about it!

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  2. 1) Really want to read Beginning of After 2) Love Carrie Jones 3) Need more MG in my arsenal for the classroom...you have out done yourself, Carolina! Hope you are feeling better!

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  4. Loved your review of The Near Witch. It is def one of my favs this year.
    Great contest as usual!

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  5. The Near Witch is one of the books I'm dying to read this year!

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  6. I would love to win three ARCs and save on my huge book expenses which are threatening to put me in the poorhouse !

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

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  7. I'd love to read The Beginning of After & After Obsession. Thanks so much Carol ^__^

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  8. I'm really anticipating The Near Witch...anything that has love and fairy tales is for the win!

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  9. thanks for the reviews. i'm really looking forward to after obsession and the near witch.

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  10. If the wind calls on me at night, it's because I've eaten too much chili con carne, Carolina, and the witch complains about it.

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  11. Every day I come here, thinking "yeah, Carol can't have had time for another epic, awesome book review and giveaway post."

    Yeah. I've been wrong a lot lately.

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  12. I love your review, it really makes me anticipate the book even more. :D

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  13. I wasn't sure about The Near Witch, but now it does sound good. Thanks for the review. All these ARCs sound really good too. I hadn't heard of the first two before.

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  14. I'm glad you liked THE NEAR WITCH. It sounds like such a shivering and amazing read.

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  15. You've got me so wanting to read The Near Witch and all these other books too. Thanks for the contest.

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  16. Great review! Makes me even more excited for The Near Witch. :)

    And thanks for the awesome contest! The Beginning of After looks amazing.

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  17. Man, those books that make me shout at them while I read them... they may convince my husband I'm crazy (crazier), but I love them!

    PETER NIMBLE looks brilliant! Adore the cover, and I love adventurous MG.

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  18. oh man, the covers on all those books are so great! I love me a good cover

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  19. Thanks for this awesome giveaway! I was looking forward to reading The Beginning of After. :)

    ~Yolande

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  20. So many great books to read! I need more hours in the day, or just less work to do so I can read. ;)

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  21. thanks so much for this giveaway and for making it international!!
    i would love to win these books!!

    Janhvi

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  22. Thank you Carol! What a great post and review!!

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  23. Thanks so much for the giveaway. All the books seem really good.

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  24. Great giveaway Caroline ;) and the reviews were good !! ;) thanks for making the comp international ;)

    kat
    kittee_cat@bigpond.com


    After obsession and near witch look interesting !! and the rest !!

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  25. What great reviews! There are a lot of books here to add to the tbr pile!

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  26. Thank you for an awesome giveaway!!!!

    shel_b21@yahoo.com

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  27. Yay for awesome giveaways. <3

    I'm Grace, I just hate signing in with my google account cause it's a pain.

    Also, I was hoping it was gonna be a NW giveaway, but I can live with this too. ;)

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  28. Grace, I just closed a giveaway of THE NEAR WITCH, but I haven't drawn yet. If you enter before I do the drawing, I'll never know...

    (that goes for anyone else)


    http://www.carolinavaldezmiller.com/2011/07/review-and-arc-giveaway-of-j-warmans.html

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  29. Yay ARCs!! I love your blog :)

    -Carina l. Tai

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  30. Thanks for the giveaway and for making it international!! as i said on the form i retweeted your tweet under @star_light91 :)

    tasnim x

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  31. Thanks for the giveaway!!!! i really want to read all three of the books :D crosses fingers :D

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  32. Great review, Carol. I love the notion of the best stories "creating something entirely new out of the old." Completely agree. Can't wait to read The Near Witch!

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  33. I'm glad you enjoyed The Near Witch so much. I've been looking forward to it for quite some time now.

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  34. The Neat Witch seems to be a big hit and I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! I love anything Witch-y and am dying to read this book!You totally sold me when you said that this is the kind of story you'd listen to sitting around a campfire! Sounds FAB!
    And gosh, is that The Beginning of After I see there?! This book is on top of my wish list, can't wait for it to be published:)
    Thanks for this awesome contest, you're so very generous! :)

    I Tweeted it: http://twitter.com/#!/SeoEvie/status/93379326434754560

    <3 from Vancouver!

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  35. Love the ARC giveaways! Thanks! This Born to be a Dragon looks good!

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  36. Great books! After Obsession is the one that I have my eye on!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  37. Too much awesome *gasps for air* I always have such a good time over here and finally I'm able to comment!

    THE NEAR WITCH IS A MUST READ. Everyone better get their hands on a copy! I devoured it!

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  38. Thank you so much! You have the most amazing giveaways! All the books sound so good but I'm super excited for The Beginning of After. I've been wanting to read it for a long time so I can't wait until it's release! Thank you so much again for all the giveaways!

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  39. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    Also, you just made me want to read The Near Witch even more! I love books that can suck you into the story!

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  40. Thank you so much for the lovely review of Near Witch, as well as the awesome giveaway opportunity:)

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  41. I like your review for The Near Witch, now I really wanna read it, anyway glad you liked it.
    Also thank you for another cool giveaway.

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  42. Eisley's book sounds great!! I am such a horrible blog party emailer that I didn't even realize it was out :( I swear, I will catch up soon.

    Also, I can't wait to get to the Near Witch. I love how haunting it sounds in your review--and you KNOW I love those creepy stories.

    <3

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  43. I kind of like the condensed reviews, they pop right out next to those beautiful book covers. Thanks for the info and chance to win!

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  44. I love your reviews; they are always full of great info with awesome insight.
    Thx for all you do!

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  45. The Near Witch just seems like such a breath of fresh air that I'm more excited with every review. And, seriously, Victoria is so adorable (starwhals!) that it's just perfect. Loved the review!

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  46. I'm so excited about The Near Witch. What a great giveaway. I tweeted this link.

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  47. I loved, loved, loved the Near Witch as well.

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  48. All three of those ARCs sound great. Thanks for the chance to win them! :-)

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  49. Awesome contest, thanks for making it an intl one :)

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  50. Great contest! Can't wait to read these books!

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  51. Thanks for the chance at more great ARCs, Carolina! :)

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  52. Wow! What an awesome giveaway! Thanks so much for the chance to win these great books :)

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  53. Love your condensed reviews!
    Can't wait for pg 40 oh TNW!

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  54. Thank you so much! I'd love to win The begginig of after, it catched my eye and i really want to read it. Great giveaway!

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  55. Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  56. So many amazing books. I'm in love.

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  57. I just posted my own review of the Near Witch. I really likes it :)
    Thanks for the review and the giveaway :)

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  58. I'd love to read these. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  59. Thanks for the review and giveaway! I'd especially like THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, but the other two sound great too.

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  60. LOVE YOUR BLOG! Thank you for the amazing giveaways.

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  61. Thank you so much for the chance to win and also for review♥

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  62. Nice review. Glad you liked the book! I look forward to reading it sometime soon ^^

    Thankyou~

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  63. These all look great--I need some new YA to read... :)

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  64. Those are some beautiful covers.

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  65. Thanks for the giveaway and the reviews! :)

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  66. They all look great. I really want to read After Obssesion ^^ Thanks for the Giveaway :)

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  67. hi miss carolina! for sure you got the best giveaways and you do really cool book reviews. could you please put me in for that peter nimble book. big thanks!
    ...hugs from lenny

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  68. Great contest! Loved the review for The Near Witch! It was something that I was already on the lookout for and your review just made me really, really antsy to get page-turning! :)

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  69. Had seen the cover for The Near Witch, but now I am very much interested in reading it -- will have to add it to the tbr list - thanks : )
    Thanks for making the contest international too with such great prizes

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  70. Peter Nimble is one we've had our eye on!

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  71. I won a pre-order of The Near Witch months ago so I'm very excited to know I'll be getting that one. I've heard nothing but amazing things about it so far. As for the ARCs, they are all ones I want. Thanks for another amazing giveaway!

    ~Briana

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  72. Ohh yes I cannot wait for NW also, that is a great set of ARCs thank you for the awesome giveaway!

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  73. Thanks for the reviews--The Beginning of After looks like a promising read!

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  74. The Near Witch was really awesome. I liked that it wasn't part of a series. That's very rare these days.

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  75. The Near Witch, After Obsession, and The Beginning of After are all ones that I've been so anxious to read! Thanks for the chance to win After Obsession and The Beginning of After! :D

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  76. Thankl you for all these cool giveways.
    marthakilleham@yahoo.ca

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  77. Thank you so much for doing it international!
    I'm looking forward to read The Beginning of After

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  78. I really want to read After Obsession. Thanks for giveaway.

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  79. love your giveaways!!..I wanted so bad the The Beginning of After:)


    http://optimisticasme2.blogspot.com/2011/07/carolina-valdez-millerreview-of-near.html

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  80. I would love these books forever! Thank you so much! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

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  81. Such great books! Would love to read them :)
    Thank you for the giveaway :)

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  82. Thanks for another amazing giveaway, you are truly generous and awesome!

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  83. I'm dying to read After Obsession and Castle's newest book! Thank you so so much!

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  84. Thank you for this giveaway

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  85. Ooh, awesome contest! I've been waiting for the Near Witch forever!

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  86. You write really good reviews. Thanks for this giveaway!
    I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/Kejtie/status/94396946365681664
    Facebooked: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=224924134209833&id=163716410368154

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  87. Thank you so much for this awesome giveaway! I'm really hoping for After Obsession! :)

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  88. Thank you so much for this amazing giveaway! I would love to win any one of these books. I am definitely following your blog, because I think it's amazing! :)

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/endsxtonight/status/94461828414967809
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=122071501219115&id=100000675285472

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung
    susanhaugland@att.net

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  89. Super awesome giveaway and reviews! Thanks!- Kimberly Callegan

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  90. Is the giveaway open to international participants? If it is, please count me in!

    I'd like to win After Obsession.

    Thanks!

    aloveforbooks at gmail dot com

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  91. Thanks for this giveaway! :)

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  92. Thank you very much for the giveaway! :)

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  93. Yay! thanks for this chance Carol :)

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  94. Thanks for holding this awesome giveaway! It's so generous of you!

    http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=123244101102328&id=825115

    http://twitter.com/#!/nodizzies/status/95225723777851392

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  95. Great giveaway! Thanks for hosting.
    bevsharp@desch.org

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  96. Would love to enter both ARC giveaways but am getting an "Over Quota" error message on both.

    Please enter me with this comment.

    Thanks.

    Carol T

    I am International and Follow via GFC - buddyt

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

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  97. I would love to win these books!! Thanks for the chance.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  98. I closed this book and immediately found myself thinking about it and wanting to be back in its pages. If you enjoy a fairy tale that's original and magical, pick up The Near Witch, you will be lost in its mystery and romance before you finish the first page.

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