Tag Archives: Seventh Street Books

Five-Year Anniversary Giveaway from Seventh Street Books

Before Seventh Street Books’ Five-year anniversary comes to a close, they are giving away a copy of their first book published, The Bookseller by Mark Pryor, along with a “special surprise gift” to FIVE lucky readers.


Leave a comment below for your chance to win. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 6, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Anna Blanc’s Morning by Jennifer Kincheloe

I roll over on my feather bed and moan, feeling vaguely hysterical, only mostly awake from a Detective Joe Singer dream. We were trapping a criminal together— a man who did unspeakable things. In the dream, the only way to catch the maniacal fiend and save our own lives was if Joe and I got perfect scores in ring toss.

But I woke up before we got to play, which is regrettable. I would love to play with Joe Singer, and I love catching criminals. I’m the smartest, bravest man on the force.

I catch my breath and pull myself to a sitting position, my lashes sandy, my bounteous bun sliding down my cheek like a melting scoop of ice cream. The alarm clock by my bed is alarmingly silent. I’d forgotten to set it. I’m due at the police station in fifteen minutes and just putting on my underwear will take that—corset, corset cover, chemise, drawers, petticoats, garters, stockings.

Adrenaline surges through the sludge of my sleepiness. I will need an excellent excuse. I’ll say I found orphaned children in the street. Twelve of them. That I instructed them in goodness and fed them Cracker Jacks. That I gave them my own clothes to wear. Even the boys.

Amendment. Not the boys.

I swing my feet off my giant oak canopy bed—which is only in the living room because it would not fit in the bedroom—and contemplate the daunting race to the kitchen. When my obscenely wealthy father cast me out, my mother’s heirlooms went with me into my dilapidated new apartment. By necessity, I crammed my belongings so close together, traversing the apartment now requires squeezing, climbing, and some vaulting. I crawl as fast as I can across an 18th century Louis the XV table and down onto a pouf upholstered in silk velvet, accidentally catching my toe on the cart where I keep my spirits—or rather spirit. My only bottle of whiskey topples to the floor and shatters. The amber liquid splashes across the planks of the floor, leaving them sticky and treacherous. Now I must climb over the baby grand piano to avoid the glass.

“Biscuits!”

There would be no more whiskey. Not for at least a month, as I owe money to a dress maker and a purveyor of guns.

I dump a tin of kippers out onto a Wedgwood plate and gobble them daintily with a silver fork, even as a rat scuttles across the counter. I throw a box of Cracker Jacks at it and peg it squarely in the bottom. It squeaks and disappears into a hole in the wall.

On my “to do” list for the day: hawk gold hatpins, complain to landlord about rats, wash ugly police matron uniform in the communal bathtub, and lastly—if Detective Wolf lets me—trap a criminal.


You can read more about Anna in The Woman in the Camphor Trunk, the second book in the “Anna Blanc” mystery series, coming November 14, 2017.

Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. If news about the murder gets out, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna work to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret, reluctantly helped by the good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent local leader.

Meanwhile, the kidnapping of two slave girls fuels existing tensions, leaving Chinatown poised on the verge of a bloody tong war. Joe orders Anna to stay away, but Anna is determined to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.

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About the author
Jennifer Kincheloe is the author of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc and The Woman in the Camphor Trunk. The Secret Life of Anna Blanc is the winner of the Colorado Gold Award for mystery and the Mystery and Mayhem Award for historical mystery. The novel was also a finalist for the Macavity Sue Feder Historical Mystery award, Left Coast Crime “Lefty” Award, and Colorado Authors’ League Award for genre fiction. Formerly, Dr. Kincheloe was the principal of a health consulting firm and a member of the research faculty for the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. She currently does research on the jails in Denver, Colorado. Visit jenniferkincheloe.com for more information.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Tom Green by Mark Pryor

So, my buddy Hugo Marston was here last year talking about a day in his life, and if I know him it was the usual mix of self-deprecating charm dosed with plenty of boy-scout adventures. That’s right, I haven’t read it because I get to see him every day doing his thing—saving injured puppies, rescuing nuns, and knitting wooly socks for bunnies with cold tootsies.

Oh, I should probably introduce myself, since everything is always about Hugo and he doesn’t normally get around to giving me my due. My name is Tom Green and I’m Hugo’s best friend. Have been since we met at the FBI Academy, when I helped him shoot and study. In fact, I think he’d admit that he wouldn’t have come top of his class if it weren’t for me.

My day normally begins at around ten, more often than not with a headache and a taste in my mouth that matches the newspaper lining in a parrot’s cage. Hugo will have been at work for several hours already, sipping lattes and hand-writing thank-you notes to guests of the US embassy where he works. Assuming he’s restocked the kitchen, I’ll make some coffee for myself and check out the news online. A couple of times a week I’ll wake up and find someone snoring next to me. If she’s pretty and I didn’t have to pay for her, I might be generous and spring for breakfast. If she’s not and I did, I’ll give her some cash purloined from Hugo’s wallet and end the transaction.

I can’t really talk about my job. It’s no secret that I work for the CIA on a contract basis, but the specifics I don’t share with anyone, even Hugo. He wouldn’t approve of most of what I do, he’s more of a by-the-book lawman. My focus is on results more than method, which is why the CIA have been good to me, kept me working despite a few issues with single malt and married women.

Hugo jokes about me mooching a room from him, which I do because of lunch. I’ve been to most places in the world and I can promise you that a long lunch at Les Deux Magots on Place Saint-German des Prés is unmatchable. It’s the kind of place you can sit by yourself for three hours and no one will hurry you. I can take a book and read while they bring their delicious tomato and goat’s cheese mille-feuilles, followed by the hand-chopped steak tartare. Thursday is my favorite day, when they do a roasted saddle of lamb. Succulent.

If I’m not working I’ll usually hook up with Hugo for an afternoon coffee. If he’s working on a fun case I’ll try and help him. He acts the Boy Scout but when he’s muddling around in the dark and isn’t sure which way to turn, he doesn’t mind me breaking a few windows to let in the light, if you know what I mean. It’s all good, we complement each other and haven’t failed on one of his cases yet.

I do worry about him, though. As much as I rib him, the guy has gone out on a limb for me in the past, put himself in a tough spot for me. There’s a chance that’s coming back to bite him now, more than a decade later. There’s this guy who I saw in Paris. Hugo didn’t believe me but I know I saw him. He’s trouble, in the worst way. If you want the details they’re covered pretty well in Hugo’s latest adventure, The Sorbonne Affair.

Anyway, although we’ve not really talked about it much I feel like I’ve put Hugo in harm’s way and so, if you really want to know what a day in the life of Tom Green is like, what I’ll be doing for the next few weeks anyway, it won’t be the usual roll of pretty ladies and fancy lunches. It’ll revolve around keeping my best friend safe.

And I’ll do it any way I have to.

Well, maybe just one bottle of wine per evening, and a scotch or two late at night. And, come to think of it, Hugo would know something’s up if I behave too well, so I suppose I’ll have to charm the occasional lady into the apartment. After all, if we change the way we live for the bad guys, then they win, right? And we can’t have that. No sirree, not on my watch.


You can read more about Tom in The Sorbonne Affair, the seventh book in the “Hugo Marston” mystery series.

Someone is spying on American author Helen Hancock. While in Paris to conduct research and teach a small class of writers, she discovers a spy camera hidden in her room at the Sorbonne Hotel. She notifies the US Embassy, and former FBI profiler Hugo Marston is dispatched to investigate.

Almost immediately, the stakes are raised from surveillance to murder when the hotel employee who appears to be responsible for bugging Hancock’s suite is found dead. The next day, a salacious video clip explodes across the Internet, showing the author in the embrace of one of her writing students—both are naked, and nothing is left to the imagination.

As more bodies pile up, the list of suspects narrows; but everyone at the Sorbonne Hotel has something to hide, and no one is being fully honest with Hugo. He teams up with Lieutenant Camille Lerens to solve the case, but a close call on the streets of Paris proves that he could be the killer’s next target.

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About the author
Mark Pryor is the author of the Hugo Marston novels The Bookseller, The Crypt Thief, The Blood Promise, The Button Man, The Reluctant Matador, and The Paris Librarian, as well as the novels Hollow Man and Dominic. He has also published the true-crime book As She Lay Sleeping. A native of Hertfordshire, England, he is an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife and three children. Connect with Mark at markpryorbooks.com

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Ellen Forester by Terry Shames

unsettling-crime-for-sam-craddockThis morning I lie in bed for a few minutes and wish things could have been different. Frazier knows I’m awake and he starts to stir, but like the gentleman that he is he waits until I start to move around before he leaps off the bed and gives a sharp bark to hurry me up. He has no use for self-pity. He wants to be out patrolling the yard to find out what mysterious creatures have visited in the night. He runs a tight ship and expects me to do the same.

“At your service, sir.” I swear he smiles when I say that. I let him out the back door and start the coffee and then go back to the bedroom to put on yoga pants and a T-shirt. I don’t exactly do yoga, but I do some stretches to get my blood moving. While I stretch, I hear Frazier give a few barks, telling the cat next door to stay in his own yard. By the time I’m done, Frazier is at the back door looking pleased with himself and ready for breakfast. The two of us eat together, although I draw the line at him sitting at the table. I listen to the news while I eat my toast and boiled egg.

It’s 7:30 and time for me to go to the studio. Classes don’t start until 9AM, but I like to get a sense of the day before the students come in. Today is Thursday. The beginning watercolor class meets on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Monday and Wednesday mornings are for more advanced watercolor students, and Friday is for private classes. It’s seldom I have a student with real talent. After all, this is a small town. But most of the people who attend seem to really enjoy art class. I am touched at how attentive they are and how earnest in their endeavors.

Only one student has surprised me. Loretta Singletary is a fussy, gossipy old woman. I guess all small towns have their share of women like that. But first impressions can be misleading. I found that she’s also generous and has a sly sense of humor. I was startled when she told me she wanted to take a watercolor class. Not only did I have no idea that she would be interested in painting, but I thought she didn’t like me because she has her eye on our chief of police, Samuel Craddock, and Samuel clearly was partial to me. But as soon as we got started, I found that she had a natural talent. I think painting has changed her in subtle ways. She’s quieter, and more thoughtful. But maybe she was that way all along and I just noticed it because I’ve gotten to know her better.

When new classes started this fall, I told her I wanted her to go into the more advanced class. I expected her to get all twittery and demure, but she said, “Good. I’m ready.”

I teach classes to make ends meet. My ex-husband is reluctant to pay me the money the judge awarded as alimony. I worked to put him through school, kept house, raised our kids, and yet he seems to think my work toward our mutual success was worth nothing. I know partly it’s because he is so angry at what happened between us, but that can’t be changed. At any rate, I’m pleased that I can make my own way when he withholds funds.

Classes go smoothly and the day speeds by. Eventually I’m alone to work on my own painting. I’m working on a landscape I like. Nothing earthshaking. I’m never going to take the art world by storm. But I sell a few pieces every year—enough to pay for personal art supplies. Samuel doesn’t know I sell them through a gallery in Houston. He thinks the ones here in my studio are the only ones I’ve done. He doesn’t like the art I produce. He likes modern art. I like it, too, but I don’t have the inspiration to do that kind of art. I’m not sure why I keep quiet about the work that gets sold. I never thought of myself as a secretive person, but it seems that I am about that.

I work for two hours, until Frazier barks to tell me it’s time to go home. Samuel will be coming over later. We spend a lot of evenings together. I know he’s working up to a fine romance, and I keep putting off the inevitable confession I’ll have to make before things go too far. I do wish things could have been different, but they’re not.


AN UNSETTLING CRIME FOR SAMUEL CRADDOCK is the sixth book in the Samuel Craddock mystery series published by Seventh Street Books, January 2017.

When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooper

Craddock’s fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman—either let the highway patrol have its way, or take on a separate investigation himself.

Although his choice to investigate puts both Craddock and his family in danger, he perseveres. In the process, he learns something about himself and the limits of law enforcement in Jarrett Creek.

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About the author
Terry Shames is the Macavity Award-winning author of the Samuel Craddock mysteries A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Last Death of Jack Harbin, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, and The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake. She is the coeditor of Fire in the Hills, a book of stories, poems, and photographs about the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire. She grew up in Texas and continues to be fascinated by the convoluted loyalties and betrayals of the small town where her grandfather was the mayor. Terry is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock by Terry Shames

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock by Terry Shames is the sixth book in the “Samuel Craddock” mystery series. Publisher: Seventh Street Books, January 3, 2017

an-unsettling-crime-for-samuel-craddockWhen the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooper

Craddock s fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman either let the highway patrol have its way, or take on a separate investigation himself.

Although his choice to investigate puts both Craddock and his family in danger, he perseveres. In the process, he learns something about himself and the limits of law enforcement in Jarrett Creek.”

This engaging and intensifying drama shares a chapter in the life of Samuel Craddock’s growth as a police chief when he is confronted with racism as he begins his career. The author did a wonderful job in executing this well-written story that quickly became a page turner. The narrative was deeply rooted in the various investigations which led to some great scenes with the strong-willed and determined young police chief that kept me riveted to all that was happening and at times I felt like I was in the middle of all the action. Terry did a great job of telling a story that needed to be told which gave me a better understanding of Samuel and is reflective of today’s times. This was a very good book.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher.

A Day in the Life with Hugo Marston by Mark Pryor

The Paris LibrarianI set my alarm every night but it’s the city that wakes me up, the sounds of my Paris street coming alive, voices and footfalls drifting up through my half-open bedroom window. I know how lucky I am to have a top-floor apartment, looking out over Rue Jacob in the Latin Quarter.

My day starts with a morning walk to the U.S Embassy. I’m head of security there, the Regional Security Officer or RSO, but for thirty minutes I’m a regular guy on the street, stopping to buy a croissant when I spy an open boulangerie door, or pausing on Pont du Carrousel to gaze down at the River Seine. When it’s cold I wear a fedora and long coat on my walks—the former by habit, the latter hides the gun I wear under my arm. I’ve needed that more than you’d think in Paris. It’s not a dangerous place, but the bad guys here don’t think twice about dumping people in the Seine after putting a couple of holes in them.

Once I’m at work, my secretary Emma always brings me a cup of good coffee. That woman does everything to perfection but I put coffee at the top of her list. Her other main asset is that she’ll give me a “Code Green” alert when I need one. It’s a personalized warning to let me know that a certain Tom Green is headed my way. Tom’s a combustible, unpredictable, and dangerous man, prone to heavy drinking, associating with ladies of the night, and taking my money. He’s also my best friend, and lives in my spare room when he’s not away on one of his secret missions for the CIA.

My day job varies, that’s why I like it so much. My boss is Ambassador J. Bradford Taylor, a former spook but one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet and he gives me free reign, not one of those micro-managers. For instance, when my friend Max, a bouquiniste (aka bookseller) beside the Seine, went missing the Paris police weren’t interested, figured he’d gotten into a beef with some guys and taken off on his own. I knew that wasn’t right and Ambassador Taylor gave me time and resources to look for him. Likewise, when an American was killed in the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery everyone thought “terrorism,” but that didn’t fit. I believed someone was stealing bones from the graves and he let me profile, then chase, the bad guy how I saw fit.

Ah, but you’re not here for me ramble on about my cases, so back to the daily routine. Often it’s nothing more fun than organizing the other RSOs and making schedules, but sometimes I’m escorting dignitaries, or maybe investigating crimes against US citizens. I work with the Paris police frequently, and on the more serious crimes I turn to Lieutenant Camille Lerens of the Brigade Criminelle. Talk about a force of nature. Without doubt, the toughest cop (maybe human being) I’ve ever met. She’s had to be—born as Christophe Lerens, you can only imagine how it was for a black, male cop to go through the transition process from Christophe to Camille. And yet she makes no big deal about it, just does her job spectacularly well.

I have a handful of cafes and bistros I walk to for lunch, and sometimes my friend Claudia Roux treats me. I say “friend” but we date, too, in a frustratingly casual way. I’m the one doing the chasing, a new experience for me, but we’re both good-natured about it. She’s a journalist, whip-smart and beautiful to boot. It doesn’t hurt that she has family money, in the sense that she never skimps on cheap wine and good cheese. I tell her that’s all she’s good for, but we both know better.

On my walk home, and on weekends, I like to stroll alongside the Seine and talk to the bouquinistes. I met several during that first case with Max and they’ll often hold a book for me—I have a small collection of first editions, and they love to come up with something new.

Which brings us to evening in Paris. Honestly, I don’t know if there’s anywhere that makes me happier. Taking a small table at a sidewalk cafe, smelling the garlic from the kitchen, tearing off a piece of fresh baguette or chewing on an olive as I look over the menu. On weekends I’ll start with a cocktail, usually an Americano, and move onto wine for the meal. I prefer a few small courses over one large one, and the French do this magnificently. Maybe escargot to begin with and duck confit for my main course. I’m usually with Claudia or Tom, sometimes Camille will venture out with us, and hours can pass that way, intense conversation but also moments of silence, watching people go by.

How I love to people-watch, and there’s nowhere better in the world. I get to travel in my job, but I always come back to Paris. Always. You should join me one evening.


The Paris Librarian is the sixth book in the Hugo Marston mystery series, published by Seventh Street Books, August 2016.

Hugo Marston’s friend Paul Rogers dies unexpectedly in a locked room at the American Library in Paris. The police conclude that Rogers died of natural causes, but Hugo is certain mischief is afoot.

As he pokes around the library, Hugo discovers that rumors are swirling around some recently donated letters from American actress Isabelle Severin. The reason: they may indicate that the actress had aided the Resistance in frequent trips to France toward the end of World War II. Even more dramatic is the legend that the Severin collection also contains a dagger, one she used to kill an SS officer in 1944.

Hugo delves deeper into the stacks at the American library and finally realizes that the history of this case isn’t what anyone suspected. But to prove he’s right, Hugo must return to the scene of a decades-old crime.

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Meet the author
Mark Pryor is the author of The Bookseller, The Crypt Thief, The Blood Promise, The Button Man, and The Reluctant Matador, the first five Hugo Marston novels, and the stand-alone Hollow Man. He has also published the true-crime book As She Lay Sleeping. A native of Hertfordshire, England, he is an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife and three children. Visit Mark on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Paris Librarian. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 18, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Emi by Susan Spann

The Ninja's DaughterMy name is Emi, and I am an actor’s daughter. My father, Satsu, acts in the chorus of the Yutoku-za, one of Kyoto’s most famous theater troupes, and my little brother Haru is the troupe’s most promising young performer. In fact, last week I overheard my grandfather say that Haru will inherit ownership of the entire troupe someday.

I am happy for Haru, but his success highlights my greatest sorrow.

You see, I act and sing far better than Haru, and from the time I learned to walk I wanted nothing more than to perform as part of my family’s troupe. But women cannot act on the stage in Japan in 1565, and so my dreams could never become reality.

I did not want to accept this truth, and continued to train as a singer and a dancer, determined to find a way to pursue my dream. But then, a couple of years ago, Father and Grandfather told me that I had learned as much as any actor’s wife should know. With the training I had, I could help my sons and my future husband—a man that, by custom, I would not get to choose.

My mother and my sister, Chou, tried to persuade me that I could be happy as a wife and mother—Chou said, “Girls like us . . . the best we can do is marry well and raise successful sons. Dreams of anything more lead only to sorrow.”

I didn’t believe her, and I had no intention of letting the men who control the Yutoku-za control my life as well, so I took matters into my own hands.

Secretly, I went to the women who had the power to change my life—wealthy, powerful women who own teahouses here in Kyoto and employ other women to work for them as dancers and entertainers. I tried to convince them to hire me, but they turned me away—and some of them even suggested I become a prostitute!

Some girls might have given up, but I’m not like most girls. Since I couldn’t get a job in a teahouse, I made another plan . . .

. . . but I was murdered before I could carry it out.

As I speak to you now in spirit, my body lies on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River. Dawn has broken, and the Kyoto police have forbidden an investigation because my status as an actor’s daughter makes me a person of no consequence.

Even in death, they claim my life means nothing.

But as it happens, not everyone in Kyoto agrees with that assessment. Two of the men who stand beside my corpse—a master ninja named Hiro Hattori and a Portuguese priest called Father Mateo—have chosen to defy tradition and the police, track down my killer, and bring me justice.

I wish them well, but regret that I cannot warn them of the dangers they will soon encounter. For my death, like everything else in the clandestine world of medieval Kyoto theater, is not what it initially seems to be.


The Ninja’s Daughter is the fourth installment of the Hiro Hattori/Shinobi Mystery series, and was released from Seventh Street Books on August 2, 2016.

Autumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.

As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival samurai threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace. Undeterred, Hiro and Father Mateo secretly investigate the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, their only clue a mysterious golden coin. The investigation soon reveals a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption that leaves both Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.

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Meet the author
Susan Spann is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year and the author of three previous novels in the Shinobi Mystery series: Claws of the Cat (a Library Journal Mystery Debut of the month and a Silver Falchion Finalist for best first novel), Blade of the Samurai, and Flask of the Drunken Master. She has a degree in Asian studies and a lifelong love of Japanese history and culture. When not writing or practicing law, she raises seahorses and rare corals in her marine aquarium. You can find Susan online at SusanSpann.com, on Twitter (@SusanSpann), and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of The Ninja’s Daughter. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 17, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!