Tempted by….Ronnie Turner: A House of Ghosts by W. C. Ryan @WilliamRyan_ @Ronnie_Turner #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #AHouseOfGhosts

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Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . .

An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read this winter.

Today on my Tempted by…. feature I have A House of Ghosts by W. C. Ryan as featured by the lovely Ronnie Turner on her eponymously-named blog. Ronnie’s review, which you can find here, is short and sweet but totally enticing to the extent that I had to run out and grab a copy of the book straight after reading it.

If you go over and read the post, I put it to you that this is a masterclass of how to write a book review that teases out all of the salient points about the book without rambling on for hours (as my readers will know is something I am perpetually guilty of in my own reviews), all couched in beautiful language and delicious descriptions that can’t help but sell the book to you. This is what makes Ronnie one of my favourite bloggers to follow and I love reading her reviews and trust her recommendations.

If you have enjoyed reading this review, you’ll want to take a look at the rest of Ronnie’s blog where she has some lovely and unique features such as her book photography and cover designers talking about their work on book covers. You’ll also find links to her own writing and, I’m sure once you’ve seen what a way with words she has in her reviews, you’ll be keen to check out her novel Lies Between Us as well. If you would like to read my review of Ronnie’s book, you can find it here.

If you have been tempted, as I was, to buy a copy of his book, you can get it here.

The Luckiest Thirteen: The Forgotten Men of St Finbarr – A Trawler Crew’s Battle in the Arctic by Brian W. Lavery #BookReview #BlogTour (@brianlavery59) @BarbicanPress1 @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheLuckiestThirteen

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A true-life drama of an intense battle for survival on the high seas.

The Luckiest Thirteen is the story of an incredible two-day battle to save the super trawler St Finbarr, and of those who tried to rescue her heroic crew in surging, frozen seas. It was also a backdrop for the powerful stories of families ashore, dumbstruck by fear and grief, as well as a love story of a teenage deckhand and his girl that ended with a heart-rending twist.

From her hi-tech hold to her modern wheelhouse she was every inch the super ship the great hope for the future built to save the fleet at a record-breaking price but a heart-breaking cost. On the thirteenth trip after her maiden voyage, the St Finbarr met with catastrophe off the Newfoundland coast. On Christmas Day 1966, twenty-five families in the northern English fishing port of Hull were thrown into a dreadful suspense not knowing if their loved ones were dead or alive after the disaster that befell The Perfect Trawler. 

I’m privileged today to be taking part in the blog tour for this amazing book, The Luckiest Thirteen, by Brian Lavery, which tells the true-life story of the crew of the super trawler St Finbarr and their battle for survival against incredible odds. My thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the tour for this book, and to the publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

We don’t really think about it, do we? The danger that some people put themselves in, in order to provide certain things for the rest of us. We take these things for granted – fossil fuels, electricity, fish, security – without thinking about the terrible conditions and dangers that other people have to endure in order to provide them for us.

I have given it some thought over the past couple of years. Around this time last year I read a short story called Safety Tips for Living Alone,  about the collapse of a manned surveillance tower off the American coast which is based on true events. The Irishman introduced me to a TV show called ‘The Deadliest Catch’ which follows trawler men from Alaska fishing for King crab in some of the harshest conditions on the planet. i’m sure most of you will have seen the movie, ‘The Perfect Storm.’ Well, you can add this book to the list of things which will open your eyes to what human beings endure to bring goods to us that the rest of us take for granted.

This is the forgotten story of an event which happened on Christmas Day in 1966 when the super trawler St Finbarr caught fire whilst out in a remote part of the ocean in a terrible storm. Because this happened at Christmas at a time when communication was not available 24/7 all year round, the families of the men on the ship had to wait anxiously for news for three days and the rest of the world barely got to hear about it at all. The author of this book has tried to remedy this by bringing the tragic story to people’s minds by way of this book.

It may not sound like the kind of thing you would normally like to read, it certainly isn’t my standard reading fodder, but this is the beauty of blogging for me and a joy I want to share with you – reading outside of your comfort zone and, as a result, discovering amazing stories that would have just passed you by otherwise. This is one such book, and I am so glad I read it.

The author really brings to life the reality of life for these men on the inhospitable waters, separated from their families at the worst time of year while the rest of us are cosied up together celebrating Christmas, battling elements that most of us would not walk outside in, never mind take to the waves. They were away for months at a time, with limited communication with their families back home and working in conditions that were by no means as safe as they are today. What really struck me, as a lawyer who worked for one of the biggest personal injury firms in the UK, was the end of the book and the outcome of the enquiry into the disaster. In today’s climate, there is no way that people would not have been held to account for what happened.

I’m not going to lie to you, this book contains a lot of technical detail about boats and engines that wasn’t very interesting to me as I mostly didn’t understand it. At the beginning, there is also a degree of historical detail about some of the people that seemed a little irrelevant to the story and slowed the pace of the start. I urge you to push past this because, once you do, the author really brings to life the human story behind this tragedy and it is more gripping than any thriller novel you will pick up, the truth of it giving it extra poignancy. This is what people endured, and it deserves to be heard and remembered.

So, push yourself out of your reading safe place, pick up something different. take a plunge into the extraordinary lives and risks of a community I bet your barely give a second’s thought to. Think about the sacrifices they make to bring you something you take for granted and appreciate what you have in life. This book will open your eyes a little, which can never be a bad thing. I’ll certainly be complaining less about my cushy circumstances, having read it, I’m very lucky.

The Luckiest Thirteen is available now by following this link.

To follow the rest of the tour and get some further reviews of this book, please visit the blogs listed on the poster below:

The Luckiest Thirteen Blog Tour poster

About the Author

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Brian W. Lavery is a former national newsman, whose tales deliver true journalistic flair. Born in Glasgow, long resident in Hull, he writes with a deep knowledge of the community and the dangers faced by those working in extremes. He has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Hull. 

Connect with Brian:

Website: http://www.brianwlavery.com

Twitter: @brianlavery59

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Tempted by….Random Things Through My Letterbox: Bitter by Francesca Jakobi @fjakobi @wmbooks @annecater #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #Bitter

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It’s 1969, and while the summer of love lingers in London, Gilda is consumed by the mistakes of her past. She walked out on her beloved son Reuben when he was just a boy and fears he’ll never forgive her.

When Reuben marries a petite blonde gentile, Gilda takes it as the ultimate rejection. Her cold, distant son seems transformed by love – a love she’s craved his entire adult life. What does his new wife have that she doesn’t? And how far will she go to find out? It’s an obsession that will bring shocking truths about the past to light . . .

Bitter is a beautiful and devastating novel about the decisions that define our lives, the fragility of love and the bond between mother and son.

Today’s book which has made its way on to my teetering TBR courtesy of a recommendation by a fellow book blogger is Bitter by Francesca Jakobi which I bought after reading this review by Anne Cater who blogs at Random Things Through My Letterbox.

Anne needs no introduction to most of you, she is the doyenne of book blogging, a highly respected blog tour organiser and general all-round head cheerleader for book promotion. I would find it hard to believe that there is anyone reading this who hasn’t read Anne’s blog but, if not, head over there straight away and check it out. Her reviews are always honest and well-balanced and insightful so, when she raves about a book as much as she did this one, I know it is something I need to read.

The premise of the book really grabbed me, a woman who walks out on her young child. As a mother, I can never understand how any woman could do this, so I’ll be fascinated to see what the protagonist’s motivations are and how their reunion pans out. I’m really drawn to books with flawed central characters, as most of us are in real life, and how the writer manages to make a reader care about someone who has done something deemed by society as so unnatural. Anne waxed so lyrical about the depth, subtlety and beauty of this book that it sounds like a compelling read and I’m looking forward to getting in to it.

Please do go and check out Anne’s original review of the book and if you then feel like it might be something you would enjoy, you can buy a copy here.

The Promise of Tomorrow by AnneMarie Brear #BlogTour #Spotlight (@annemariebrear) @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #ThePromiseOfTomorrow

The Promise of Tomorrow

Due to reading pressures and the start of NaNoWriMo, this is another book that I haven’t had chance to read yet, but I wanted to shine a spotlight on it today as it sounds like a great read for lovers of historical fiction. I have had the good fortune to meet AnneMarie, as she is a fellow member of the RNA, and I am delighted to be sharing details of her latest book with you.

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“Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village. There, they are taken in by the Wheelers, owners of the village shop. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads. 
Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will have the woman he needs. 
However, when McBride finds out where Charlotte lives, his threats begin, and Harry takes it upon himself to keep Charlotte safe. Only, World War I erupts and Harry enlists. 
Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride’s constant harassment and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.

 
Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?”

If you would like to read some reviews of the book, to further whet your appetite, make sure you check out the posts of the other bloggers on the tour detailed on the poster below. And if you would like to get your hands on the book, you can buy a copy here.

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About the Author

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Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances and sometimes the odd short story, too. Her passions, apart from writing, are travelling, reading, researching historical eras and looking for inspiration for her next book.

Connect with AnneMarie:

Website: http://www.annemariebrear.com

Facebook: AnneMarie Brear

Twitter: @annemariebrear

Blog: https://annemariebrear.blogspot.com

Finding Rose by Julie Ryan #BlogTour #Spotlight (@julieryan18) @RaRaResources #Giveaway #RachelsRandomResources #FindingRose

Finding Rose

I’m delighted to be shining the spotlight today on this very unique book, Finding Rose by Julie Ryan. Unfortunately, time constraints have meant that I have not been able to fit in reading this yet, but it has been firmly added to my TBR and I’m looking forward to getting to it soon. Let me share the details with you so you can see why it has piqued my interest. There is also a great giveaway below.

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“When three sisters, Ginny, Sally and Molly are brought together at their father’s hospital bed, they are forced to confront not only the prospect of a future without him but also the secrets of the past that have kept them apart.

Their father, Eddie Matthews, drugged up on morphine, seems to be rambling but could he in fact be reliving previous lives as a Tudor monk and as a soldier on the Front in WW1. Struggling to speak he reveals that he has a secret and urges his daughters to ‘Find Rose’. Can the sisters put aside their differences to fulfil his last wish?”

To read some fabulous reviews by my fellow bloggers, check out the tour dates on the poster below:

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If you would like to pick up a copy of Finding Rose for yourself, you can find it here.

Giveaway

To win a £10 Amazon Voucher, simply click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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

About the Author

Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and a rescue cat. She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance, as she can’t bear to get rid of any! They have been attempting to renovate their home for the last ten years.

She is the author of the Greek Island Mystery series, Jenna’s Journey, Sophia’s Secret and Pandora’s Prophecy, each of which can be read as a standalone. Her latest book, Finding Rose, is a new departure for her as it is set against the backdrop of WW1 and has a strong link to the Tudor Court.

Connect with Julie:

Facebook: Julie Ryan Author

Twitter: @julieryan18

Pinterest: Julie Ryan

Goodreads: Julie Ryan

Bone Lines by Stephanie Bretherton #BookReview #BlogTour #PublicationDay (@BrethertonWords) @Unbounders @annecater #BoneLines #RandomThingsTours

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“A young woman walks alone through a barren landscape in a time before history, a time of cataclysmic natural change. She is cold, hungry and with child but not without hope or resources. A skilful hunter, she draws on her intuitive understanding of how to stay alive… and knows that she must survive.

In present-day London, geneticist Dr Eloise Kluft wrestles with an ancient conundrum as she unravels the secrets of a momentous archaeological find. She is working at the forefront of contemporary science but is caught in the lonely time-lock of her own emotional past.

Bone Lines is the story of two women, separated by millennia yet bound by the web of life.  A tale of love and survival – of courage and the quest for wisdom – it explores the nature of our species and asks what lies at the heart of being human.

Although partly set during a crucial era of human history 74,000 years ago, Bones Lines is very much a book for our times. Dealing with themes from genetics, climate change and migration to the yearning for meaning and the clash between faith and reason, it also paints an intimate portrait of who we are as a species. The book tackles some of the big questions but requires no special knowledge of any of the subjects to enjoy.

Alternating between ancient and modern timelines, the story unfolds through the experiences of two unique characters:  One is a shaman, the sole surviving adult of her tribe who is braving a hazardous journey of migration, the other a dedicated scientist living a comfortable if troubled existence in London, who is on her own mission of discovery. 

The two are connected not only by a set of archaic remains but by a sense of destiny – and their desire to shape it. Both are pioneers, women of passion, grit and determination, although their day to day lives could not be more different. One lives moment by moment, drawing on every scrap of courage and ingenuity to keep herself and her infant daughter alive, while the other is absorbed by work, imagination and regret. Each is isolated and facing her own mortal dangers and heart-rending decisions, but each is inspired by the power of the life force and driven by love.”

Today I’m very excited to be on the blog tour for this very different book. I love the way that the books Unbound are producing via their unique publishing model are pushing the boundaries of what is available for us to read and this book is no exception. My thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for my place on the tour and the publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. And a happy Publication Day to Stephanie Bretherton for her debut novel, I hope you have the day you always dreamed you would when your first book was published.

This book is a fascinating study of science, philosophy, religion, gender, morality, history, all bound up in the fascinating story of two women living 74,000 years apart. It is the story of Eloise, a scientist in the present day who is presented with the bones of a prehistoric woman to study, and of ‘Sarah’ that prehistoric woman, battling for survival and to protect her child in an extreme environment. As Eloise studies the skeleton and tries to learn all she can about the woman they belonged to, she is also finding out about herself, and about all of us and how we got to where we are now, what we have found and what we may have lost along the way.

This book presents the reader with so much to think about, so much to contemplate and leaves them with more questions than it does answers, which is a marvellous gift for us to be given. Eloise is a thoroughly modern woman, dealing with dilemmas facing many professional women in the modern day, especially in traditionally male-dominated sectors. She is confronted with the decisions and sacrifices she has made to get where she is, whether they have been worth it and what her contribution as a person and as a woman means for her. She is tussling with so many conflicts – personal, philosophical, moral, religious – some of these she attempts to work out by writing letters to Darwin which could seem a bit gimmicky when described so baldly but actually it worked really well within the context of the book to help set out and work through some of the issues Eloise is faced with.

Alongside Eloise’s story in the present day, we are alternately following the story of Sarah, battling with a hostile climate 74,000 years ago. For me, her story was perhaps the more compelling part of the book as we contemplate what she had to go through to survive back then and what was driving her to do the things she did. Some of them are things that have been lost to us in the modern day, buried under the external support we now have in our every day lives, that innate instinct to survive, listening to our gift as it tells us what we need to do to survive. Sarah relies heavily on something within herself telling her what to do, and it is this inbred, internal voice that compels her to leave her tribe and head away to where she believes at the very core of herself she will be safe. Is this something genetic? Is is something that has carried down through the generations by those who listened to it and as a result, survived to pass on their genes down the generations to the modern day? Is this something we could all still tap in to if we let ourselves and stop over-thinking everything? This is something I have contemplated  myself previously and this book has just given me even more food for thought. Some of the things are motives that still drive us today – self-preservation, bloody mindedness, the desire to protect our offspring and, therefore, our genetic legacy, and … love. There are perhaps more parallels between Eloise and Sarah than there are differences.

This book requires focus, attention and thought to get the most from it but it is one that is really worth the effort. It is not dry and dull, despite the complex issues addressed, but a really fascinating treatise on our origins and the  evolution of our species from then to now, how we got here, what our ancestors needed to do to survive, what they passed down to us, and the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of that history and what people are doing to explain it, to get to the truth of where we come from and how those origins have influenced who we have become. A very ambitious and intelligent book, meticulously researched, that the writer has pulled off beautifully and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Bone Lines is published today and you can get your copy by following this link.

To follow the rest of the blog tour, check out the fabulous blogs listed below:

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About the Author

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Who do you think you are? A daunting question for the debut author… but also one to inspire a genre-fluid novel based on the writer’s fascination for what makes humanity tick. Born in Hong Kong to expats from Liverpool (and something of a nomad ever since) Stephanie is now based in London, but manages her sanity by escaping to any kind of coast

Before returning to her first love of creative writing, Stephanie spent much of her youth pursuing alternative forms of storytelling, from stage to screen and media to marketing. For the past fifteen years Stephanie has run her own communications and copywriting company specialised in design, architecture and building. In the meantime an enduring love affair with words and the world of fiction has led her down many a wormhole on the written page, even if the day job confined such adventures to the weekends.

Drawn to what connects rather than separates, Stephanie is intrigued by the spaces between absolutes and opposites, between science and spirituality, nature and culture. This lifelong curiosity has been channelled most recently into her debut novel, Bone Lines. When not bothering Siri with note-taking for her next books and short stories, Stephanie can be found pottering about with poetry, or working out what worries/amuses her most in an opinion piece or an unwise social media post. Although, if she had more sense or opportunity she would be beachcombing, sailing, meditating or making a well-disguised cameo in the screen version of one of her stories. (Wishful thinking sometimes has its rewards?)

Connect with Stephanie:

Website: http://stephaniebretherton.com

Facebook: Stephanie Bretherton

Twitter: @BrethertonWords

Instagram: @brethertonwords2

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Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott #BookReview #BlogTour (@nikola_scott) @headlinepg @annecater #SummerOfSecrets #RandomThingsTours

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I am so delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott. I have been longing to share my thoughts on this book for a while and today is the day, so pull up a chair and get comfy so we can begin. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me on to the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly.

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“August 1939

At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives…

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Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband’s devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she’s drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything…”

Before we launch in to the review of the book, let’s just take a moment to admire this stunning cover, shall we? It’s so striking and enticing, who wouldn’t want to pick up this book and dive in? Full marks to the cover designer for doing a fabulous job. I have an ARC copy with a plain blue cover but I think I am going to have to replace it with a published copy so this beautiful design can grace my shelves.

This is a dual timeline narrative, set partly in 1939 just before the outbreak of the Second World War and in the present day.

In 1939, Maddie feel cocooned in the isolated estate at Summerhill, spending her days sketching and waiting for her sister Georgina to return from a trip to Europe. But when Georgina does come back, she brings with her a group of friends who disrupt the status quo at Summerhill and Maddie’s peace of mind. She is also haunted by past events and secrets that eventually have to come out.

In the present day, Chloe has the perfect life which is just about to be rounded off when she finds out she is pregnant. But all is not what it seems to the outside world and Chloe begins to realise that her relationship is not perfect and she is in danger of losing herself. Circumstances conspire to bring these two women together to form a friendship which reveals parallels between their lives that help them both.

I really loved this book. I am a sucker for a dual timeline narrative and this one is done beautifully. The stories weave together seamlessly and are so cleverly aligned it is a joy to read. I was equally entranced by both timelines so there was no sense of rushing through one chapter to get back to the other timeline. I loved the way they came together and the friendship that grew between the two women in the modern day was lovely. In fact, all the relationships in this book were wonderfully drawn and really captivating, the author has a real skill for this.

The book has a leisurely pace which allowed me to really become engrossed and revel in the wonderful descriptions and all the small details that brought the time periods and settings to life but at the same time there was enough going on and plenty of clues, and small revelations to keep the pages turning to the end of the book. This is a novel that it was truly and enjoyable experience to read. It was a real treat and I immersed myself in the experience totally.

Definitely a book I would highly recommend to fans of this type of novel and one I personally will return to in the future.

Summer of Secrets is hot off the press and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the blog tour for the book, make sure you check out the blogs listed below:

Summer of Secrets Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Nikola Scott Author pic

Nikola Scott was born and raised in Germany and studied at university there. Having been obsessed with books from a young age, Nikola moved to New York City after her Master’s degree to begin her first job in book publishing, a career in which she could fully indulge her love of fiction!

She spent ten years working in publishing in New York and then in London, editing other people’s books, before she decided to take the leap into becoming a full-time writer herself.

She now lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two sons.

MY MOTHER’S SHADOW was published in 2017 to wonderful reviews. Her new novel SUMMER OF SECRETS is coming in September 2018.

Connect with Nikola:

Website: https://nikolascott.com

Facebook: Nikola Scott Author

Twitter: @nikola_scott

Instagram: @nikolascottauthor

Goodreads: Nikola Scott

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