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Henry Franks: A Creepy Read for Halloween

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Every now and then I have readers send me books they've written, since I will never turn down a book someone thinks I might like. I tell them up front that their work will probably never get on Epbot, though, so it's up to them to take the chance on sending me something I may never even read. And even if I do read it, I prefer writing reviews for books that really impacted me in some way. Most of the books I read are good, but I want to talk about the stuff that really catches my imagination, for better or worse.

Which bring me to Peter Salomon's book, Henry Franks.

 Spooky-looking, no?

In fact, this is a perfect Halloween read, so I only wish I'd written this review sooner. Like the cover itself, it's a bit dark, a bit creepy, and a lot unsettling.

Henry is a boy covered in scars from a horrific accident he doesn't remember. The story follows him trying to regain his memory while falling for the pretty girl next door, and while a series of mysterious murders ravage their small town.

In a nutshell, Henry Franks is a mystery, and one that is incredibly easy to spoil, so be careful if you go reading other reviews of it. Even the few I saw on Amazon contained references I'm glad I didn't know going into the story.

It's also a mystery that excels in keeping you guessing. At the halfway mark I had this lightning bolt moment where I suddenly KNEW - I knew! - what the story was all about, but then I was wrong. Salomon throws suspicion everywhere, and even turns Henry himself into an unreliable character, until by the end you could believe almost ANYONE was the bad guy.

The story made me uncomfortable at times, and I have some qualms with the ending and the girl's character, but I honestly couldn't put the book down. I read it in less than two days, and despite my gripes with it, I have to say it was still a pretty good ending. Salomon gives us a solid resolution with a lingering sense of dread that's just right for the tone of the book.

My only real irritant with Henry Franks is something that is going to seem a little silly, and that John said I shouldn't mention, because once I do I'm going to curse all of you to notice this thing, too - like telling you not to think of pink elephants. So this paragraph is your warning: if you don't want to think about the pink elephant of Henry Franks, skip the next paragraph.

No? You really want to know? Ok, it's the heat. Yes, the heat. Franks takes place in Georgia, and for the first half of the book I felt like every other paragraph included some reference to how hot it was, or how much someone was sweating, or how it was so muggy and hard to breathe, until I felt like I needed to turn the AC down myself. I'm sure that was intentional on Salomon's part, and to be fair, I DID read it all in almost one sitting, which no doubt made me notice it more, but I still yelled at the pages at one point, "I GET IT: IT'S HOT." Heh.

So, to sum up, if you're looking for something creepy - not scary, but creepy - and suspenseful to read, I'd say give Henry Franks a try. In fact, if you'd like my copy (Only read once! In mint condition!) just leave me a comment on this post. I'll pick a winner at random tomorrow, and announce it here. And then you guys can tell me if it's hot in there, or if it's just me. ;)

UPDATE: And the randomly selected winner IS....Devon Pavan! Please e-mail me your mailing address, Devon, and thanks to everyone else for entering!

Posted by Jen at 7:57 PM Labels:

146 comments:

  1. I usually don't give up my books because I'm kind of weird like that. But I think the idea of doing a review and then a giveaway is genius! If I were to win, I'd promise to "pay it forward".

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  2. The random number generator hardly ever picks me, but I'll throw my name in the hat anyway. This book sounds right up my alley!

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  3. Sounds like my kind of book - I'd love to read it!

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  4. OOoh, I love a good creepy book! I hope I win! :-)

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  5. I'm in need of a new book to read!

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  6. You have definitely piqued my interest! Would love to add this to my list of books to read.

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  7. If/When I win your copy, I would like it signed by you. I promise to re-gift it after I read it.
    I have been to GA, it is HOT! lol

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  8. I love free books and would totally pass it on after i read it!

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  9. Oooh, freebie! And I love creepy reads. Happy Halloween!

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  10. I usually don't read books like this but you made it sound so intriguing that I would love to read it now!

    "I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!" - I mean I would like to enter into your contest xD

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  11. I love a good Halloween book.

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  12. This book sounds really interesting, I'd love to give it a read!

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  13. That sounds like exactly the kind of book I have been reading lately, creepy and unsettling! I always get into a Halloween frame of mind about half-way through September, and stay there until Thanksgiving. That's normal, right?

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  14. Oh! Thanks for passing along the book! I often want to read the books you review, but they aren't at a local library. I also like to pass along my books after I read them. So I'd like to be considered for the draw!

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  15. I've been looking for something new to read lately, and this book does seem interesting and worth a try.

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  16. I'm like you! Scary books (and movies... and movie trailers) scare the snot out of me--so I'll trust your judgement that a wuss like me could handle it!!

    Also, you've probably seen this news already being the Disgeek you are, but holycrapDisneyboughtLucasfilmandtheyaremakinganotherStarWarsomg!!!

    I hope to see your opinions of this news on Epbot soon! I'm a major Star Wars fangirl, so I'm excited but slightly nervous about the news.

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  17. I can't ever say no to a chance at a book. (Even if the part that bothers you will probably bother me, too, since I'm from GA and we all understand that, yes, it's hot, now talk about something else.)

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  18. I LOVE READING ME SOME BOOKS! I finished 'The Squire's Tale' yesterday, at your recommendation. Regardless of the winner, I'm adding this to my reading list.

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  19. I like creepy books, but not scary. I need a good new read! audio@centurytel.net

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  20. I can totally understand your disclaimer about what makes your review list. As an unashamed bibliophile, I have read and enjoyed a lot of the books currently being mocked by the general population. Twilight/Shades/Hunger.

    In my defense I had them long become they became movies or the 'it' book but I hate that I have to defend my reading habits at all.

    To me, books are like TV shows or movies. Some are serious, thought provoking or educational while some you like because they are a bit silly or predictable. It doesn't always have to be War and Peace caliber writing to be enjoyed or meaningful in some way.

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  21. Given the weather right now I would love -love - anything like that tricking my subconscious into thinking that it's warm.
    The book intrigues me - would love the copy (prefer dead-tree format if at all possible) but regardless, I will read this book :)
    Apologies for posting under anonymous - I'm posting this from my android
    Erin (#2)

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  22. Very interested in reading the book; and hey, if I don't get picked - I'll buy it. Pinky promise.

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  23. This book sounds really interesting. I would love to read it!

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  24. Ooh, I love creepy books...it's always better than watching a creepy movie--my imagination always amplifies the creep factor. O.o

    Hope I win! :D

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  25. Hey Jen, I'd like to give it a read!

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  26. This books sounds really interesting. I've been in the mood for a creepy read lately. By the way, if you want a very creepy read and don't mind feeling very unsettled, read "Let Me In" also titled "Let the Right One In" by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Graphic and so not your normal vampire story.

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  27. Sounds like a fun, creepy read! I'd love to take your copy off your hands!

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  28. Crap. I'm moving to Georgia next week. I do NOT need to hear about how hot it's going to get--I'm already dreading it. But, if I win, I'll still read it. :-)

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  29. Ooh,ooh, pick me, pick me. I need a new book to read.:-) Would it help if I offer to trade you for a smashed penny featuring a seahorse from Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, SC?

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  30. Great job convincing me to add another book to my every expanding list! I'll definitely check it out even if the random book number generator gods are not in my favor :D

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  31. I love a good mystery, thanks for the review and suggestion. If I am not lucky enough to win this, I will be looking into getting it myself!

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  32. Shoot, I never turn down a free book.

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  33. I need a new book to read while I am "patiently" waiting for my son to finish the book he won't share.
    Deana

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  34. Sounds good. I'll put it on my to-read list.

    I'm not too worried about the heat. The things that bother me in books are usually little details that don't add up, like the French police officer in the Da Vinci Code wearing a scrunchie & leggings, or the bad guys in a Tom Clancy book driving the speed limit on 285 to try and avoid notice. At least Georgia actually is hot!

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  35. Yes, its hot in here. And maybe only because I'm pregnant, but I want this book!

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  36. I'd love it if I got a copy of the book. And even if I don't, I love reading your book reviews. They give me more things to add to my ever-increasing reading list!

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  37. That's awesome! I love book recommendations.

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  38. I can't pass up the chance to read something scary for Halloween!

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  39. I'd love to have a chance to read it. I'll even keep it in nice condition and pass it along again once I'm done!

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  40. Sounds fabulous! I get stuck in the YA fantasy genre - it;s time to shake things up with a creepy mystery!

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  41. I think it's just you ;)
    You should pick me to give your book to because I might not have time to get it otherwise because I play water polo (which is an AMAZING sport you probably haven't heard of)and that pretty much eats up all my time. I read both your blogs practically religiously, though, and I really enjoy both of them! I also love reading, especially mysteries, and I'm all out of books!I could also let my family borrow it, so it would be well loved and find a great home with us. Please please please please please please (x infinity) pick me! :D

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  42. Thanks so much for the review and chance to win it, sounds great :)

    And no its not hot in Orlando right now (as you know, hi neighbor(ish) :P), much to my annoyance (the cold, not the neighborish part /rambling)

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  43. Ooooh, this really sounds like a book I'd love to get my paws on. So I'm definitely in!

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  44. Pick me! I am intrigued by the creepy moniker.

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  45. Creepy is such an underused thing anymore. Everything has to go for flat out horror or in your face gore. I love the subtle approach of creepy.

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  46. I read a book once that mentioned lost sunglasses SO many times I had to do a work search on my kindle for the word sunglasses. It was mentioned nearly 30 times with absolutely NO payoff!

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  47. This sounds really cool, I'd love to read it.

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  48. The only problem with me reading a creepy book is that I now live alone and will totally be paranoid! But, I will always accept book suggestions!

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  49. Ooh, sounds good! I would love to read it!

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  50. I'm always up for a good book! I'd love a chance to read it and possibly add it to my classroom library! :)

    As a side note, I read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and loved it. I highly recommended it to my students, and some of them have read it. :)

    pick me. pick me. :)

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  51. Sounds like one my hubby and I would both like!

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  52. I haven't read creepy in a while, so here's my hat tossed in the ring.

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  53. Ooh, sounds good and I promise to pass it on to the local juvenile detention center. I'm a firm believer in reading as an outlet.

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  54. This book sounds amazing! I'm from the deep south, and every winter now I miss the heat so much! *Jumping up and down waving wildly in the air* Pick me! Pick me! *ahem* Please? :)
    ~Alissa

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  55. I'd love to read this book, and I know my son (who's in the 8th grade) would enjoy it, too. Hope we get picked!

    KW

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  56. Ooh, I want! I love books, but don't have the money for them these days.

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  57. This books sounds excellent and pay it forward reading is the best kind!!

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  58. I definitely would like to give this a try.

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  59. This sounds like my kinda book! Please pick me! (That never works, does it?)

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  60. I'd love to read this! Gotta put it on my Goodreads list.

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  61. Can I have it? I love good suspense books. It would have been great to have during Sandy.

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  62. I love a good and creepy read! :)

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  63. I'd be happy to pay it forward again after I read it - we could send it to everyone commenting here in a huge book ring!

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  64. I'm always on the lookout for a good read! This sounds GREAT!! :)

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  65. Oh dang, this looks scary... But everyone could use a little unsettledness to keep them on their toes, I guess :)

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  66. Sounds fun, I'd love to try it!

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  67. It snowed here this morning. I could use a book that would make me feel warmer. Plus I like the cover art.

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  68. You def have me intrigued and I'm due for a new read. :-) And being in TN, almost on the GA border, I can relate to the heat, but could really use some now! Brrr!

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  69. I would love to borrow your copy of the book. If I win, I would like to be able to send it back to you so you can lend it to someone else. Not sure if you read the comments on something like this, but you could get a lot more use out of the book if it was a never ending contest lol. I dont know I thought it was a good idea, maybe the logistics still need to be worked out!!

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  70. Oh, I'd love to read this! "Creepy" is right up my alley!

    urchiken at gmail dot com

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  71. I would love a good book to warm me up here in chilly MN! :)

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  72. I'm always up for reading a creepy book!

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  73. Hi Jen, I read Miss Peregrine's on your recommendation and enjoyed it (wish there was more of it), so I'd like to give another creepy read a try.
    Thanks for being so awesome!

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  74. Not sure if it's to late for the give away, but in my defense I just got off work two hours ago. Still, now I have another book to add to The List. I should see how man books are on that thing

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  75. I'll never say no to a good book! And if you can handle the creepiness, I'm sure I can, too :)

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  76. Thanks for another great book review. I love it when I think I have a book figure out and then I'm wrong. Sounds like a unique story. I definitely want to read this book now.

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  77. I love a deliciously creepy book! Does it have excessive swearing or anything else a teen shouldn't be reading?

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  78. Sounds great, thanks! Checking it out! Ignoring the elephant... pink elephants in dumbo scared me as a child, :P

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  79. oh and yeah, I'd love to win it. :)

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  80. @mishqueen - nope, it's completely teen-friendly, so no worries there.

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  81. Always up for a good book and this one sounded great!

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  82. oooh! me! please pick me!

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  83. Well, who am I to turn down a chance at a free book, especially one which requires so little effort on my part! This does sound like a good book, though, and I'll keep it in mind for later reading even if I don't win it.

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  84. I've added it to my 'to read' list on goodreads... and drat to the writer of the top review on it giving a huge spoiler IN THE FIRST SENTENCE!! who does that?!

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  85. Pick me! Pick me! I love both your blogs and have shared them with others. Also that is SO awesome that you got your own geek card!

    Stephanie

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  86. I'd love the book! Thanks for offering! :)

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  87. Sounds exciting. Happy Halloween

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  88. I think that sounds like an interesting book! I think I'll look into it!
    zinger_17@hotmail.com

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  89. I've been looking for a good creepy book to read and your recommendation is more than good enough for me.

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  90. I would love a good new book!! :) I love creepy novels.

    Rachel J. :)

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  91. I would love to win this! I'm always looking for a good scary story to read because my husband doesn't like scary movies.

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  92. I would love a chance to read whatever you suggest and winning a book from you would be a huge bonus!

    Analogmommy
    Suzanne Sowada

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  93. I'm looking for something to read since Amazon is taking forever with my order :) Maybe mail from FL will be faster than from OH.

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  94. Did I get here in time to get in on the giveaway? Gee, I hope so because it sounds like my kind of book!

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  95. Oooh sounds good! Would love to read it and promise to write a review on Goodreads!

    muhshel at gmail.

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  96. I'm intrigued! I'd love to give a whirl!

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  97. Heehee. I've been reading Karin Slaughter's crime novels, all of which take place in Georgia also. Every page, she is not only talking about how hot it is, but how sweaty everyone is. That is, in the summer. In the winter, apparently it is soooo cold there. Really? Don't tell me about cold, I live in Wyoming!

    Thanks for the great review Jen.

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  98. Sounds super creepy! Would love to read it!

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  99. I'd like to read it!

    ~Jeccaess

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  100. We bought my son Eon for his 12th birthday per your recommendation. He loved it so much that we then had to buy him Eona. He read through both of them in less than a week. He would love to get a book from The Cakewrecks lady if you could please enter our name into the drawing.

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  101. Ooh, Ooh, me, pick me!
    *Jumps up and down with hand in the air*
    Robyn

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  102. Sounds like a book I would love!

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  103. Sounds like a fun read!

    Karen M

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  104. Of COURSE I'd like your copy, it's hard to buy books without a job. And, yeah, maybe we could all take turns reading it, then pass it along to the next Epbot reader!

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  105. This book sounds amazing, hope I win! Also, it's my b-day today, so it would be a nice present.:P

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  106. Not sure if I'm too late for this, but in my defense we only just got power back on a few hours ago.
    The book sounds neat and I'd love to check it out!

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  107. I'd love a chance to read this book. If I don't win I'll add it to my Christmas list. :)

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  108. Hmm. I definitely need to check this book out.

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  109. I never win at these things, but I'd love to check out this book!

    -Brandi Wilson

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  110. This one sounds pretty good. I'll buy the e-book if fate does not smile upon me as a winner.

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  111. I'd love to read it!

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  112. Is it too late to enter? I'd love to read it. And winter is coming to Minnesota, so subtle reminders of heat would be a good thing. Mind over matter and all that.

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  113. Sounds right up my alley!!! And Happy Halloween, Jen and John!!!! LOVE the Dreamfinder outfit!

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  114. Ok...I want to read this now! So, please random pickerer(?) pick me, choose me!!

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  115. Oh! Oh! Oh! Me! Me! Me!(If I can enter that is!)

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  116. I'll throw in my comment, but no disappointment if I don't win, of if you've already random number'd somebody up. I want to do random givaways if I had anything to give away--a good use for percentile dice.

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  117. Oh man I really want to read this now!!! I haven't read a good mystery for quite awhile :)

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  118. I'd be interested in reading it!

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  119. Oo, sounds like a good read! I'd like a copy.

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  120. Oh yes. I love books.

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  121. I love creepy (but not scary) stuff! Sounds like an interesting read, and I never pass up a chance at a free book :) Like many others, I promise to re-gift if I win-- keep the giving spirit going!

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  122. Totally asking for a Halloween treat - the book!

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  123. Sounds like it has potential, and I'd love to give it a go.

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  124. If i win, great! If not, it's going on my library list! :)

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  125. Ooooh, Shiny! I would love to read it :)

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  126. This sounds exactly like my kind of read!

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  127. Kristin E. from AUOctober 31, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Georgians know nothing about hot! Alabamians have it way worse. And we have nothing on you Floridians. Sounds like a great read.

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  128. Oh my goodness, I'd love to win this!

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  129. I hope I'm not too late?! Sounds like a great (post-)Halloween read.

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  130. Oooh I'd like to win! Although it is coming into Australian summer, so I might not be able to differentiate between the heat :P

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