Book Drunkard

“I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” L.M. Montgomery


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Twilight Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome by Faith L. Justice, review.


Twilight Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome
by Faith L. Justice

Publication Date: May 12, 2017
Raggedy Moon Books
eBook & Print; 392 Pages

Series: The Theodosian Women, Book 1
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Action & Adventure

 

Twilight Empress tells the little-known story of a remarkable woman—Galla Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman princess, Gothic captive and queen—Placidia does the unthinkable—she rules the failing Western Roman Empire—a life of ambition, power and intrigue she doesn’t seek, but can’t refuse. Her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries.

A woman as well as an Empress, Placidia suffers love, loss, and betrayal. Can her strength, tenacity and ambition help her survive and triumph over scheming generals, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun? Or will the Dark Ages creep closer and bring down the Empire?

Amazon US | Amazon CAN | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo

My Review

TWILIGHT EMPRESS by Faith L. Justice is exactly the type of book I mention when people ask me why I love Historical Fiction so much.  Like the author, I’m a history junkie, so I appreciate her writing style and the research and time it takes to create a story set during an era long forgotten.

Placidia is a wonderful character.  She’s not one accept her fate when things get tough, and sadly, that was a lot!  She’s strong and loving and gracious.  She’s not someone I’ve heard of before and I completely devoured her story.  In times such as this, it’s nice to read about a strong woman in a man’s world.

I’m thrilled I was able to learn something new while reading this book.  It’s an incredible and inspirational journey.

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Faith L. Justice is a science geek and history junkie, which is reflected in her writing. Her short stories and poems have appeared in such publications as “The Copperfield Review”, “Beyond Science Fiction and Fantasy”, and the “Circles in the Hair” anthology. Faith has published in such venues as “Salon.com”, “Writer’s Digest”, “The Writer”, and “Bygone Days”. She’s an Associate Editor for “Space & Time Magazine”, a frequent contributor to “Strange Horizons”, and co-founded a writer’s workshop more years ago than she cares to admit.

To contact Faith, read her essays and interviews, or get a sneak preview of her historical novels, visit her website at www.faithljustice.com. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 11
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, September 12
Feature at The Hungry Bookworm
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, September 13
Review at Book Drunkard

Thursday, September 14
Feature at The Reading Queen

Friday, September 15
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, September 18
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, September 19
Review at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

Wednesday, September 20
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

Thursday, September 21
Feature at A Holland Reads

Friday, September 22
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, September 25
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, September 26
Feature at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, September 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review & Giveaway at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, October 2
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, October 3
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, October 4
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 5
Review at A Bookish Affair

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Mata Hari’s Last Dance by Michelle Moran, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom…or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the charges she’s been arrested on: treason leading to the deaths of thousands of French soldiers.

As Mata Hari waits for her fate to be decided, she relays the story of her life to a reporter who is allowed to visit her in prison. Beginning with her carefree childhood, Mata Hari recounts her father’s cruel abandonment of her family as well her calamitous marriage to a military officer. Taken to the island of Java, Mata Hari refuses to be ruled by her abusive husband and instead learns to dance, paving the way to her stardom as Europe’s most infamous dancer.

From exotic Indian temples and glamorous Parisian theatres to stark German barracks in war-torn Europe, international bestselling author Michelle Moran who “expertly balances fact and fiction” (Associated Press) brings to vibrant life the famed world of Mata Hari: dancer, courtesan, and possibly, spy.

MY REVIEW:

Michelle Moran has long been one of my favourite authors and I have enjoyed every one of her books so far.  MATA HARI’S LAST DANCE is no exception.

I knew little about Mata Hari when I picked up this book other than that she was a spy.  Margareth Zelle MacLeod, also known as “M’greet”, didn’t have an easy life growing up, nor during her years of marriage. Learning her background was much appreciated and helped me to understand her choices later in life.  I don’t often cry reading books, but this one had me in tears at the end.  Is it weird that even though I knew the history, I still hoped for a different ending??

Moran has a knack for writing about strong female characters in history.  I always feel more akin to them after I’ve read her books.  Her writing style is easy and smooth and I fly through the pages while wishing sleep and work weren’t things.  Also, the cover is stunning!!

The book is on the slim side and if I had a complaint, that would be it.  I wish the book had been longer so that the story didn’t feel rushed.  There was much I would have loved to had expanded.  However I do understand that too much of the same thing–dances and conquests–could have weighed the story down too much and made it bland.  I’m looking forward to what Michelle Moran writes next!

4 stars

Thank you to Touchstone for the ebook version via NetGalley


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Lilac Girls by Martha Kelly Hall, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

MY REVIEW:

LILAC GIRLS by Martha Kelly Hall is the story of three women from three different countries–Poland, Germany, and the USA–who lived during the Holocaust.  Most of the book is centered around Ravensbrück, Hitler’s only all female concentration camp where horrific testing and operations are performed.    The tale is often, understandably, quite brutal.  While the backgrounds of the women are completely different, they come together in a way that is both tragic and triumphant.

The story is told through the voices of the three women, each with their own narrative and easily distinguishable.  The author has fictionalized a heartbreaking historical event and shown us what life may have been like during that time.  Parallels to current day events were startling at times.  Photos of the women featured in the story at the end of the book made me enjoy it even more.

5 stars.

 


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The Mourning Ring by Sarah Parke, review


Publication Date: October 10, 2016
CreateSpace
eBook & Paperback; 350 Pages

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fantasy

READ AN EXCERPT.

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Bronte lives to tell stories. She longs to improve her fortunes through her writing. Charlotte’s father expects her to leave behind her childish fantasies in order to set an example for her three younger siblings.

But the Bronte children hold a secret in their veins—a smidgen of fairy blood that can bring their words to life.

When Charlotte discovers that the characters from their childish stories exist in an alternate world called Glass Town, she jumps at the opportunity to be the heroine of her own tale.

The city of Angria teeters on the brink of civil war and Charlotte and her siblings must use their magic and their wits to save its people from a tyrant with magic abilities. But entering the fictional world means forfeiting control of their own creations. If they fail, the characters they have come to know and love will be destroyed.

Charlotte is determined to save the city and characters she loves, but when the line between creator and character becomes blurred, will she choose her fantasy or her family?

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

My Review

THE MOURNING RING by Sarah Parke is a fantastical tale of the Brontë siblings during their childhoods and how they found out they had fairy blood running through their veins.  When they discover that the characters in their imaginary kingdom of Angria are in trouble, the foursome take a magical journey to save the day.

This is Sarah Parke’s debut novel and I can only hope that she continues down this road.  The story is imaginative and well told, suitable for youngsters and adults alike–especially those like me who have a bit of Peter Pan in them.  It was interesting to envision the Brontë’s as teenagers as I usually view them as adults.  I was especially happy to learn of Tales of Angria, a book written before their more famous works as it gives me something new to read by some of my favourite authors.

With the perfect mix of historical fiction and fantasy, I give THE MOURNING RING 4 stars ****.

 

Thank you to Amy from Historical Fiction Virtual Books Tours for asking me to be part of the blog tour.  

 

About the Author

Sarah Parke writes fantasy and historical fiction (sometimes at the same time) for young adult readers and those young at heart.

She has a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program. Her work has been published internationally, most recently in the July 2015 issue of The Writer magazine.

For more information, please visit Sarah Parke’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, April 20
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Review, Excerpt & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, April 21
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Review & Excerpt at Adventures Thru Wonderland

Saturday, April 22
Interview at T’s Stuff
Review at A Book Drunkard

Sunday, April 23
Review, Excerpt, & Interview at Quitterstrip

Monday, April 24
Review & Excerpt at Rainy Day Reviews

Tuesday, April 25
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books 
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, April 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at A Chick Who Reads


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Shadow of Whimsy Blog Tour


Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story
by Ann Hymes

Publication Date: June 15, 2016
Secant Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction/Literary

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Several generations of one family have lived, loved, and lied at Whimsy Towers, a unique oceanfront house in Chatham, Massachusetts. Strong women who refuse to be suffocated by marriage have found excitement and refuge in this house filled with artists and parties. Love surfaces in unexpected ways.

The newest owner, Theresa Alston Crandall, has just inherited the property and leaves her too-predictable husband in Virginia to spend time on the Cape and unravel family secrets and history. She swims, reflects, explores, and watches dramatic cloud formations float high over the ocean as she sorts through the choices in her path forward.

Romance arrives in the form of a young widower and landscape gardener with an awesome pickup truck, who likes Theresa’s dog and provides temptation to stay at Whimsy Towers. Tips of tree branches dance with the weight of birds that seem to scream warnings of danger, and the churning ocean disrupts family continuity.

Theresa learns how her Southern grandmother came to buy a storm-weathered New England house and how loveless marriage is not a mandatory life style. The final decision feels just right.

“In her debut novel, Hymes presents a conflicted young woman who is beginning to question her humdrum existence. From grief and loss to forgiveness and redemption, Hymes does not hold back. The author steers clear of predictable outcomes in this unexpected story, providing ample romantic suspense and witty prose to keep the reader turning pages. Chock-full of rich descriptions of the New England coast, as well as surprising scandals and an adorable dog named Gypsy, the book should satisfy even seasoned beach readers. A captivating and uplifting tale best suited for fans of meaningful beach-town romances.” -Kirkus Reviews

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo

My Review

SHADOW OF WHIMSY: A CAPE COD LOVE STORY is a book of few pages.  But, those pages contain the charm and wit of many books.  This is Ann Hymes first novel and it’s an enjoyable one.

This book has it all–love, mystery, family.  The author has a knack for description, and, though I’ve never been to New England, I feel like I’ve been there after finishing the book.  Characters aren’t your typical which I always appreciate.  This isn’t your run of the mill romance as it’s quite unpredictable.  I was immediately pulled into the story and stayed there until the last page.

With a refreshing book that gives you the unexpected, I give SHADOW OF WHIMSY: A CAPE COD LOVE STORY by Ann Hymes 3 stars ***.

Thank you to Amy from Book Junkie Promotions for inviting me to participate in this tour.  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Ann Hymes is a retired real estate broker and mother of two grown daughters. She has a B.A. in English from Mills College and an M.A. in English from Washington College. Her published work includes creative nonfiction. An active international volunteer, including service in the Peace Corps in the 1960s, Ann lives in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 27
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 28
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, March 1
Review at Books, Dreams, Life

Thursday, March 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, March 3
Spotlight at Cafinated Reads

Monday, March 6
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Tuesday, March 7
Review at Book Drunkard
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, March 10
Review & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, March 14
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, March 15
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, March 16
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, March 21
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, March 24
Review at Blushing Babes Are Up All Night

Giveaway

Five copies of Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story are up for grabs during the blog tour! To enter, please click the link below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 10th. You must be 18 or older toenter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

 

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/53SYk/shadow-of-whimsy

 

 

 


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18 and Life on Skid Row by Sebastian Bach, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this uncensored, unfiltered memoir, the musician and former front man for Skid Row tells the story of how a choir boy became a mega-successful hair metal god, rode the wave of fame in Heavy Metal’s heyday, and came out alive on the other side when glam rock went the way of the cassette tape and the Walkman.

Sebastian Bach is an iconic rock vocalist who has sold in excess of twenty million records worldwide. Best known for his powerful high vocal range and his flowing blonde locks, he’s been a stand out member of the metal music scene since he was fourteen. From first joining Kid Wikkid, Bach has rocked out with Skid Row, Madam X, The Last Hard Men, The Frogs, and Frameshift, and with famous friends such as Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Soundgarden, Pantera, and Guns ’N Roses.

But eventually the party bus stopped and the rock star grew up. Yet the fun didn’t end. Bach established a successful solo career as an actor, musician, and singer, appearing on numerous television shows and on Broadway. In this no-holds-barred memoir—raw, powerful, wild, funny, and reflective—he charts his unconventional childhood, first in the Bahamas and then in his rise from small-town Canada to the world’s greatest concert stages to the Great White Way and beyond.

There’s the usual sex, drugs, parties, women, hair products, and headbanging rock ‘n’ roll, but there is also a lot more. Here is a rock star who can write, tell a great story, and has kept his career moving forward despite the changing musical landscape. Through it all, this talented artist remained devoted to his craft, and to having a damn good time.

MY REVIEW:

If you grew up in the 80s listening to metal, you were probably a fan of Skid Row — and most likely in love with the lead singer, Sebastian Bach.  I know I was!

In his book, 18 AND LIFE ON SKID ROW, Sebastian tells us the story of his life, starting at the beginning with his earliest memories.  Oftentimes while reading, I felt I was sitting on a bar stool beside him, listening to him talk about his adventures while we drank shots.  He is very candid throughout the book, sharing the good and bad times.  I love the parts where he talks about other big bands in the 80s and the friendships he had with them, but I mostly enjoyed the personal bits.  It was during those stories that he really opened up and shared himself with us, unflattering or not. I appreciated the candor.  The various pictures of his family, the band, friends, and himself peppered throughout the book were a definite plus!

I recently had the chance to see Sebastian Bach in concert (For the FIRST time!!) and it was amazing.  I’m so glad I was able to read this book.  For any fan of hair metal, this is a must read.

With all the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll you can handle, I give 18 AND LIFE ON SKID ROW 4 stars ****.

 

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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Days of Sun and Glory by Anna Belfrage, review


02_days-of-sun-and-gloryPublication Date: July 4, 2016
Matador
eBook & Paperback; 418 Pages

Series: The King’s Greatest Enemy
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimer’s rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit. England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France.

Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queen’s plans – whether he likes it or not.

Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as the king and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war – and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead.

Days of Sun and Glory is the second in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

My Review

What a thrill to read and review the second book in Anna Belfrage’s The King’s Greatest Enemy series.  The first book, IN THE SHADOW OF THE STORM, was excellent and this book is just as great, if not better.

In DAYS OF SUN & GLORY, we are re- introduced to Kit and Adam and the rest–Edward II, Isabella of France, Depenser, and of course, Mortimer.  I was drawn in from the first page and was constantly reminded throughout the story how marvelous Anna is at weaving a believable fictional tale into real life history.  The historical content is very detailed without being heavy and is well researched.  Adam and Kit are an awesome couple, though greatly flawed, which I love!  I hate those perfect relationships authors oftentimes write.  Kit is super annoying most of time.  She has a knack of saying the wrong thing, getting herself into bad situations, and jumping to wrong conclusions.  But, she is feisty and I enjoy her so much.

I cannot recommend this book and series highly enough.  There is adventure, intrigue, romance, and sex all perfectly written giving the book excellent flow.  It was hard to put down and kept me interested from the beginning.  I am so looking forward to the next book in the series (And, I also need to read The Graham Saga!!  If it’s half as good as this series, it’ll be wonderful)

 

About the Author

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financia03_annna_belfrage-2015-1l professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.

When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.

Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.

The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, was published in 2015. The second book, Days of Sun and Glory, will be published in July 2016.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule04_days-of-sun-and-glory_blog-tour-banner_final

Monday, August 29
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 30
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, August 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads

Thursday, September 1
Review at Lampshade Reader
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, September 2
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, September 5
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, September 6
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, September 8
Interview at Books and Benches
Character Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, September 9
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, September 12
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 13
Review at Let Them Read Books
Interview at Oh,for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 14
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, September 15
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Monday, September 19
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, September 20
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, September 21
Review at It’s a Mad Mad World

Friday, September 23
Review at The True Book Addict
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Monday, September 26
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 27
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings

Giveaway

To win a copy of Days of Sun & Glory by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or newwinner is chosen.

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/oVmiR/days-of-sun-and-glory