Favourite Author #2: Leigh Bardugo

This post is dedicated to Leigh Bardugo. Anyone who has been following this blog for a while will know that I’m obsessed with Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. I also loved The Grisha Trilogy and am planning on re-reading them in the future, whether that happens or not though!!!!

All information is from Leigh Bardugo’s website: http://www.leighbardugo.com/


Author Bio

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Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over one million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and The Language of Thorns— with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including The Best of Tor.com and the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and the forthcoming Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Los Angeles, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

Social Media Links

Twitter
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Instagram
The Grisha Trilogy on Facebook



Books

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Goodreads

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1)
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

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Goodreads

Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy #2)
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

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Goodreads

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy #3)
The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

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Goodreads

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where
anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

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The Language of Thorns (Grishaverse)
Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

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Goodreads

Wonder Woman: Warbringer
Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.



Coming Soon

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King os Scars (Nikolai Duology #1)
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

There has also been talk recently of a third Six of Crows book, some people are in two minds of it being official or not. My thoughts on it?? PLEASE let it be true!!!!

Blog Tour Extract: Confessions of a First Time Mum by Poppy Dolan

512fjtTsQQL._SY346_Confessions of a First Time Mum by Poppy Dolan

Publisher: Canelo  Published: 25th June 2018

Description

Stevie’s life has changed beyond recognition since having her first baby.

Stevie loves being a mum, but between the isolation and being vomited on five times a day, she really wishes she had someone to talk to.

With husband Ted working hard to keep the family afloat, Stevie really doesn’t want to burden him with her feelings. Turning to the internet, Stevie starts the anonymous First-Time Mum blog and blasts the rose-tinted glasses of parenthood right off her readers.

In the real world, Stevie meets the formidable Nelle and gorgeous Will, along with their own little treasures, and starts to realise that being a ‘perfect mum’ isn’t everything. But when the secret blog goes viral, Stevie must make some tough choices about who she wants to be, and whether she’s ready for the world to know the truth…

A perfect laugh-out-loud read for fans of The Unmumsy Mum, Gill Sims and Emma Robinson.

Amazon UK | Kobo UK | Google Books UK | Apple Books UK


Extract

Chapter 8

Ted had been really receptive to the idea of some quality family time when he got back, smelling of peaty whisky and taxi air fresheners. He’d bought a really lovely plush panda for Cherry, which she took to her heart straight away, trying to gouge out and eat its eyes. His business exec blanket from the flight was for me, because I’m ‘always cold’. I decided to let that slide and focus on the fact he’d thought of our girl first and foremost. Some brownie points there.

‘OK, well, I’ll leave it all in your hands, then,’ I’d enunciated slowly. ‘Where we go. When. What stuff we need in the change bag. Yeah?’ I’d been so casual about it, so cool. Not at all the trap-laying wife.

‘Hmm? Absolutely,’ he’d replied, bunging his suitcase contents into the washing machine – darks, whites, woollens. Ted has a severe case of laundry blindness and I’ve given up trying to lead him through it.

And so, are we sauntering by the River Thames, hand in hand, sharing a honeycomb ice cream? Are we at the Roald Dahl museum, teaching Cherry her first revolting rhymes as a harmonised family unit? Are we just at the local park with a picnic already prepared, simply enjoying the lovely area we live in?

Are we fuck.

We’re at Twist and Bounce. A place so wholly demonic that they took the hell that is an airless, windowless soft play centre and added trampolines and random bursts of Euro synth dance music, which upon hearing you’re supposed to drop everything and run into the central play area and join in a crazed ‘flash mob’ Macarena. I don’t come here on a Tuesday, let alone a weekend. But this was Ted’s best idea. Some might say, rightly, his only idea.

The noise pummels my ears as screams and screeches ping off the hard painted walls and right down my ear canals. The coffee is – frankly – shit: watery and thin. I’d rather have my usual stone-cold instant at home. At least I’d know the cup had been properly cleaned. And it wouldn’t have cost £3.50.

This place is not at all relaxing for me and it’s way too much stimulation for Cherry as a six month old. Large toddlers whoosh and wheel around her, dangerously close to treading on a precious fat finger. Her head whips this way and that as she tries to take them all in and I can read her little squint: Hey, how can I stare at you if you run so fast! Come here and let me chew an item of your clothing until we’re friends! And as she licks one red ball from the pit, and then a green one, and then another red – as if tasting whether the colour has any effect on flavour – I shudder to think what human substances have been left behind on those balls and in

which decade they were last cleaned. Judging by the smell of urine hanging around, barely covered by air freshener, I’m not altogether confident.

But I won’t go in and rescue her from this berserk place. No. She’s not in any real danger and Ted has made his choice, so he’s in charge. Even when he picks up Cherry and looks over to where I’m sitting and pulls a wonky grin, as if to say, ‘Am I doing this right? Do I look weird?’ I choose to pretend I can’t catch the drift and I just send a jaunty thumbs up back. No, this isn’t right. Yes, you look weird, your lanky frame awkwardly squeezed into a ball pit meant for the under-5s. But on your head be it.

I’m going to sit here, upgrade myself to a can of Diet Coke and do nothing and try not to even think anything. Not – is she hungry for lunch yet? Shall I start warming the pouch in some hot water? Not – is she having a bad reflux day? Are the wipes close by? That is all on Ted today, whether he’s appreciated it or not.

When I come back to my little table with my nicely chilled can, I take a long, slow breath. Mindfulness. Calm. First World Problems.

Yes, OK, this isn’t a pottering-about session in Marlow with a cream tea, but I’m here, we’re all well and we’re lucky to have the disposable income to do family trips like this. Even if they are to a mostly abandoned industrial estate just outside town. I have a cold fizzy drink to sip alone and that is a very fine thing in itself.

I take a quick snap of the can on the table, just to remind myself to stop moaning and start enjoying the details. Just then, something flashes up in my First-Time Mum Messenger inbox.

Hi First-Time Mum! I’m a junior features ed at the Metro. Wondering if you’d write a short piece for us about parenting in the blogging age, or another angle if you’ve been thinking of one, thanks. We can provide a standard fee. Let me know. X

My mouth goes dry and I knock back some of my drink, the bubbles threatening to burst out of my nose. Metro? Short piece? FEE?!

I take a screenshot and ping it to my WhatsApp group.

Stevie: OMG, GUYS, WHAAAAAAT DO I DO?

After ten twitchy minutes I get a reply.

Will: WHAH! Amazing!!! You do it, of course. Money and fame – what’s not to love? You’re High Wycombe’s answer to Belle du Jour!

Nelle: Hang on, I’m doling out fish fingers for lunch. Belle Whosit? And yes, DO IT, STEWART.

Will: Belle du Jour was a secret blogging call girl who made a mint from her ‘sexploits’ (ugh). I think our Stevie could be quids in here. First stop Metro, next stop: Glamour! Psychologies! Red!

Nelle: Will she have to do sexploits?! I didn’t think we’d forgiven Ted that quickly… 😉

Despite the hand clamped over my mouth, I am giggling hysterically through my fingers.

‘What’s so funny?’ Ted almost makes me leap out of my plastic seat.

‘Oh, um, nothing. Just… Will saying I’m a call girl. Everything OK?’ I blunder on speedily.


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Summer Book Tag

With this beautiful weather in the UK at the moment, it definitely feels like summer!!! A better summer than normal anyway. So, in honour of that here’s this Summer Book Tag!!


LEMONADE: PICK A BOOK THAT STARTED OFF BITTER BUT THEN GOT BETTER

Kirsty Greenwood’s The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance. I didn’t like Jessica in the book to begin with, but by the end I did. The story was a bit sketchy to begin with as well but it improved along with the characters.

GOLDEN SUN: PICK A BOOK THAT MADE YOU SMILE BEYOND COMPARE

The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley. Amazing Book. Or The Little Wedding Island by Jaimie Admans

TROPICAL FLOWERS: PICK A BOOK SET IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY

Strange The Dreamer by Laina Taylor. I will not forget Weep in a hurry.

TREE SHADE: PICK A BOOK WHERE A MYSTERIOUS OR SHADY CHARACTER IS INTRODUCED

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart. I won’t say anything else as it’s being published soon!!

BEACH SAND: PICK A BOOK THAT WAS GRAINY AND THE PLOT BARELY DEVELOPED

Ugh, I’m not even going to answer this one for the pure fact that the only book I’ve read like this recently has been banned from memory. It was awful.

GREEN GRASS: PICK A CHARACTER(S) THAT WAS FULL OF LIFE, MAKING YOU SMILE

I want to say Death from An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson. He was a funny character even if he was only there for a few moments at a time.

WATERMELON: PICK A BOOK THAT HAD SOME JUICY SECRETS

Renegades by Marissa Meyer. Both Nova and Adrian have big fat juicy secrets in this book.

SUN HAT: PICK A BOOK WITH A VAST, BIG UNIVERSE/SETTING

Am I going to pick anything different than the Grishaverse books? I mean, come on…

BBQ: PICK A BOOK IN WHICH A CHARACTER WAS PORTRAYED AS A HUNK

Let me go with a recent read for this one. Anders Ostergaard from Bahama Mama.


What are some of your favourite summer reads?

Blog Tour Extract: The Girl in the Pink Raincoat by Arlene Hughes

Hughes_THE GIRL IN THE PINK RAINCOAT_preview.jpeg The Girl In The Pink Raincoat by Alrene Hughes

Published: 12Th July 2018
Publisher: Head of Zeus
ASIN: B0778ZPTVN
ISBN13: 9781788543965

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Kobo

Description

When a factory girl and a Jewish businessman fall in love it seems that the whole world is against them.

Manchester, 1939. On the eve of war Gracie Earnshaw is working in Rosenberg’s Raincoat factory – a job she hates – but her life is about to be turned upside down when she falls in love with Jacob, the boss’s charismatic nephew.

Through Jacob, with his ambitions to be a writer, Gracie glimpses another world: theatre, music and prejudice. But their forbidden romance is cut short when Jacob is arrested and tragedy unfolds.

Gracie struggles with heartbreak, danger and old family secrets, but the love of her first sweetheart comes back to her in an unexpected way giving her the chance of a new life and happiness.


Extract

Sunday afternoon was warm and sunny, and after dinner Sarah announced that she was going to whitewash the outside privy. ‘If there’s going to be a war, I want to make sure all my affairs are in order.’

Gracie looked at her mother, shook her head in disbelief and convulsed with laughter. ‘What? What?’ was all she could say.

‘You know what I mean,’ said Sarah. ‘I wouldn’t want anybody to talk about me if we’re bombed.’ By now Sarah knew how ridiculous she sounded and started laughing as well. ‘Anyway, do you want to help me?’

‘No, Mam. The last thing I want is to spend a lovely day in a lavatory. I think I’ll change my clothes and go out for a bit. I’ll be back for my tea.’

It was a fair walk from Oldham Road to Heaton Park, but Gracie didn’t mind. It was good to be out in the fresh air, to leave behind the streets of two-up-two-down terraces and find herself in the leafy suburbs. She wore her Sunday best – blue floral cotton frock and cardigan with a matching ribbon in her dark hair. She strolled under the colonnade that marked the entrance to the park and joined the crowds of people enjoying the warm sun and a holiday atmosphere. If anyone was concerned about the threat of war they certainly didn’t show it.

The lake was crowded with rowing boats and she stopped to watch the antics of four lads who couldn’t work out how to stop the boat going round in circles. Then she set off up the long drive towards Heaton Hall, a large and impressive Georgian house. To the right of it was a high vantage point topped by a little temple. She climbed the hill and looked out over the park from where she could see the anti-aircraft gun and searchlight that Charlie had described. The encampment was well dug in and surrounded by a wooden fence. Two soldiers stood on guard. The gun was much bigger than she had imagined and the thought of it in action made her shudder.

In the distance to the north and east were the mills of Bury, Rochdale and Oldham. To the south, as far as the eye could see, were the factories and canals of Manchester and Salford, and to the west, on this clearest of days, Gracie fancied she could see the port of Liverpool. Above her the sky seemed huge and for a moment she imagined it full of enemy planes.

‘It’s an impressive weapon, isn’t it?’

She turned. Jacob Rosenberg was at her side. ‘I suppose so, but I hope to God they never have to fire it.’

‘I’m afraid they probably will, Gracie, and sooner than we think.’ He went on, ‘The news is bad today. The papers are saying we’ll be at war this time next week. Just think, we could be enjoying the last Sunday of peace for a long time.’

‘Well, that’s put a dampener on the day, hasn’t it?’ said Gracie.

‘Oh, I’m sorry, forgive me.’ There was the lovely smile that brightened her working days. ‘Let me make it up to you,’ he said. ‘How about an ice cream?’

They walked down the hill together, and Gracie couldn’t help wondering why he was in the park and, of all the people there, he had ended up standing next to her. ‘It seems a bit of a coincidence that you’re here today,’ she said.

‘Not really. I often have a walk here on Sunday afternoon. I only live up the road.’

‘So you didn’t hear me say I was coming here?’

He pretended to be surprised. ‘Why would you think that?’

She had the feeling he was teasing her, but she wouldn’t let him get away with it. ‘I know you watch me at work when you think I’m not looking,’ she said.

‘Ah, but that’s because you watch me when you’re supposed to be stitching raincoats.’

She opened her mouth to protest, but he was already laughing. ‘Let’s just say we keep an eye on each other. But today’s different, isn’t it?’

‘Is it?’ she said.

‘Of course it is. We’re not in the factory. It’s just you and me out for a walk in the sunshine. So, how do you want to spend our time together on the last Sunday of peace?’

They went to look at the Hall, walking around the outside and peering through the tall windows at grand fireplaces, huge dark paintings of people long dead, an elegant table that would seat half of Gracie’s street. ‘It would have been such a bustling place at one time,’ said Jacob, ‘with carriages sweeping up the drive bringing the cotton barons to dine.’

Gracie’s eyes lit up. ‘Yes, and the lady of the house, in an Empire-line gown, embroidered with pearls, and long white evening gloves, would have stood at the foot of the sweeping staircase waiting to greet them.’ She ran up the steps outside a French window and struck a pose. Jacob followed her, playing along, bowing low

‘Welcome, Mr Rosenberg,’ she said, in her poshest voice, ‘and how is the raincoat business?’

‘Thriving, ma’am, thriving.’

‘And, tell me, do you treat your workers kindly?’

‘Indeed I do, ma’am, especially the pretty ones.’

She frowned. ‘So, you have an eye for the ladies, have you?’

‘I wouldn’t say that.’ He took her hand and brought it to his lips.

Gracie pretended to be shocked and looked up at him under her eyelashes.

‘I shouldn’t have done that, should I?’ he said.

She laughed. ‘Don’t be daft, Mr Jacob, I’m just play-acting.’ But she was surprised to feel her heart racing.

‘Oh, you can’t call me Mr Jacob when we’re not in the factory.’

‘No?’

‘I’m just Jacob.’

She put her head to one side, pretending to study him. ‘Just Jacob, I like that.’

They wandered through the rose garden, heady with scent, and into a shaded woodland walk. ‘Do you like working at the factory?’ he asked.

‘Not really. Some days I think there’s not much difference between us and them down the road in Strangeways.’

‘Come on! My uncle’s not that hard a taskmaster, is he?’

Gracie pulled a severe face and mimicked her boss: ‘Miss Earnshaw, I don’t pay you good wages for clowning around when there’s raincoats to be stitched.’

Jacob threw back his head and laughed. ‘You should be on the stage, Gracie.’

Back on the main path, Jacob bought them ice-cream cornets and they went to sit on a bench under a chestnut tree.

She studied him closely: his dark hair a little longer than most men’s, strong nose and chin and, when he turned to look her, the darkest of brown eyes. ‘I’ve not seen you wearing the little cap before,’ she said.

‘The kippah… Jewish men cover their heads to honour God. I don’t usually wear it, but I’ve just been to shul, that’s my church, for a meeting and, well, it’s expected.’

‘And the way you speak, is that Jewish too?’

‘My accent, you mean?’

Gracie nodded.

‘In a way… I grew up in Germany, but I’ve been back and forward to England every few years, sometimes London then Manchester, learning the family business. I was supposed to go back to Germany a while ago, but…’ He looked away.

‘But what?’ asked Gracie. She saw his jaw tighten and it was a moment before he answered.

‘I wanted to go back, but my parents thought I should stay here. Now is not the time to be a Jew in Germany. As we speak, thousands are fleeing the country, frightened for their lives.’ He shook his head. ‘It’s a bad business.’

Gracie would have asked him to explain, but he looked so sad. After a minute, he checked his watch and his voice was brighter when he said, ‘Come on. It’s almost time for the concert.’

The bandstand was lower down the hill, set in an amphitheatre of grassy banks where people were sitting around, waiting for the music to begin. Jacob took off his sports jacket and spread it on the ground. ‘There you are,’ he said, and they sat down so close together their arms touched.

Besses o’ th’ Barn brass band, resplendent in their uniforms trimmed with gold and red, were straightening their music stands and playing random notes by way of a prelude.

The conductor stepped up, raised his baton, and the band members put their instruments to their lips. The baton fell, and the air was instantly full of the rich sound of brass. The programme of patriotic music lifted everyone’s spirits, and at the end of the concert the conductor invited the audience to sing along to ‘There’ll Always Be An England’.

‘Oh, you won’t know the words,’ said Gracie.

‘It doesn’t matter,’ said Jacob. ‘I’m happy just to close my eyes and listen to you.’

The day had turned chilly by the time they left the park and they stood together under the colonnade before they went their separate ways.

‘I’m glad I came out for a walk today,’ said Jacob.

‘So am I,’ said Gracie, and she thought he might kiss her, but then he frowned.

‘Gracie, when we’re back at work tomorrow…’

Instinctively, she knew. ‘I understand,’ she said. ‘I won’t say anything.’

‘It’s just that…’

Gracie touched his arm. ‘It’s all right, don’t worry.’

Jacob took her hand and held it. ‘Thank you. I’ll see you tomorrow,’ he said, and she watched him go.

On the long walk home, her thoughts were full of Jacob. He was nothing like other lads she knew: he was funny and sad, confident and shy and so very, very handsome.

At the bottom of Cheetham Hill, not far from the raincoat factory, she was surprised to see a ragged procession of people walking towards her up the road. Men with long black coats and high-brimmed hats, women in dark clothes with their hair covered, several with a baby tied in a shawl across their bodies. Closer they came, too weary to look about them, carrying bundles or battered suitcases. But it was the sad-eyed children

trailing in their parents’ wake that touched her: a little girl in what was once a pretty party dress now ripped and stained; a boy with ringlets hanging in front of his ears and a little round cap on his head.

Gracie’s heart went out to them for she knew at once that they were Jews and they had travelled a very long way to get to Manchester.

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The ABC Book Challenge: ‘D’

Memorable titles that start with the letter “D”

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Defender by G X Todd
  • {A} Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

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Books Starting with “D” on my TBR

  • {The} Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee
  • {The} Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
  • Defiance by C.J. Redwine
  • Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

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Blog Tour: An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson

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An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson

Published: 28th June 2018
Publisher: Wicked Kilt Publishing
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B07D23TM38
Source: Rachel over at Rachel’s Random Resources and the author Kiltie Jackson, thank you for my copy in exchange for my honest review! Thank you for letting me take part on the blog tour as well!!!

Goodreads | Amazon UK

Description

Are you ‘living’ your life or just living your life?
Elsa Clairmont was widowed barely five years after marrying her childhood sweetheart. She has struggled to come to terms with the loss and, six years later, has almost ceased to live herself. She does just enough to get by.
Danny Delaney is the ultimate ‘Mr Nice Guy’. He’s kind, caring and sweet. A talented artist in his teens, his abusive mother ruined his career in art and he turned his back on his exceptional gift. Now, he does just enough to get by.
On New Year’s Eve, both Danny and Elsa die in unrelated accidents.
Thanks to some poker playing shenanigans, Elsa’s husband Harry, and Danny’s old Art teacher, William, manage to orchestrate a deal with Death that allows Danny and Elsa to live for one more year on the condition they both agree to complete three tasks.
They have until the last chime of Big Ben on the 31st December to fulfil their quests.
If they succeed, they stay in the world of the living.
If they should fail however…
‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is a story of personal growth and self-discovery as two people find themselves forced to make overdue changes in their lives, changes in other people’s lives, and all with the added challenge of finding true love before their time runs out.

Will they do it?

Can they do it?

After all, it’s a matter of Life or Death…


My Review

I really didn’t know where this book was going to go. Honestly, I didn’t think it could match up to the first in the series but… It worked. A lot. It matched up to Rock-‘n’-roll Lovestyle and then some.

The writing style was a bit odd though, it felt like it would go off on a tandem and then eventually get back to where it was going. It worked for the story though, and it worked for the characters. I loved the little side scenes with Death, Harry and William. Death was hilariou, he would have been the life of the party!! I loved the whole near misses, the little moments that we were so close to having. I also loved that we got to catch up with Sukie, Pete, Beth and Jordie along the way as well.

I liked Elsa, and I’m glad she wasn’t living in pain throughout the whole book. I liked to see how to grew into herself again and found who she was again.

Danny was a likeable character as well. It was a nice change from some of the men you can get in books like this. He was caring, and quite humble. I did not like his girlfriend, Sandra. She made me so angry, and I would have happily given her a slap. Sukie’s descriptions of her in certain scenes are definitely an excellent description of her.

I’m very glad we got the ending that we got, it was pure excellence. I really, really want there to be a follow up for Sukie and Pete, and other characters that we get to meet in this book. I need to know what happens to them all.


thumbnail_An Artisan Lovestyle Head Shot Piccie.jpgAuthor Bio

Kiltie grew up in Glasgow in Scotland, This is a very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life.

When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then, after several years of obtaining interesting experiences -which are finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands. Kiltie currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one grumpy husband. Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having plenty of moggies, there are no towers!

The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their house on the condition they keep paying the mortgage! She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles. She really dislikes going to the gym! Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job and write her stories for a living.

Kiltie’s debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, was released in September 2017 and won

a “Chill With A Book – Reader Award” in December 2017.

She first began writing her debut novel eleven years before it was released but shelved it as she didn’t think it was very good. In November 2016 when, having read more on a best-selling author who had begun her own career as a self-published author, she was inspired to revisit the unfinished

manuscript and finally finish what she had started. Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing. ‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is the second book in the Lovestyle Series.

Work is due to begin on book three (not yet titled but also part of the Lovestyle Series) in the Summer of 2018. She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and the ideas still keep on coming. Kiltie now lives her life around the following three quotes: “I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!” “Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?” “Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”

Website http://www.kiltiejackson.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kiltiejackson
Twitter – https://twitter.com/KiltieJackson


Giveaway – Win a £40 / $40 Amazon Voucher (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. 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.

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Book Review: Bahama Mama by Tricia Leedom

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35041996.jpg Bahama Mama (Key West Book 2) by Tricia Leedom

Publisher: Firefly Hill Press
Published: 8th May 2018
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B071YDQ3BH
Source: NetGalley and Firefly Hill Press. Thank you lovely people for my copy, in exchange for my review.

Goodreads | Amazon UK

Description

Troubles are piling up for Molly MacBain. Between navigating the moods of an increasingly sassy teenage daughter, grappling with money problems, and dealing with her daughter’s deadbeat dad, Molly doesn’t need any more stress in her life. Her best friend’s wedding should be a welcome chance to relax, but Molly’s dismayed to discover her friend’s new brother-in-law is her idol—country music superstar Anders Ostergaard. After spending years on the country music circuit herself, Molly can’t help but have a fangirl moment when she meets Anders in real life.
Anders flies to Key West to attend his brother’s wedding and keep a low profile after a Vegas tragedy plasters his face to the cover of every tabloid. He has strict rules about getting involved with fans, but with her sharp wit and refreshing openness, Molly draws him in like no one has before, even as the shadow of his recent scandal stalks closer.
Their flirtation is put on hold when Molly’s daughter witnesses a murder and winds up in Jamaica. Anders offers Molly his private plane, and together they race for Montego Bay, dodging the hit man who’s hell-bent on eliminating everyone who knows of his crimes.
When danger and proximity spark a blazing romance, Molly can’t help wondering about the future. Can a fan and her idol build a lasting love? Or is their relationship just a fling fueled by the sultry Caribbean breeze? And most importantly—can she survive long enough to find out?

My Review

Where in the world can I find myself my own Anders?? Seriously, I know I’m a married woman but holy f***.  I thought his brother, Jimmy Panama, in the first Key West book was hot, but Anders has taken it to a whole new level. I’ve only got extremely high hopes for the third book next year featuring the third brother Jonas. If it’s anything like the first two then we are in for one hell of a hot ride.

I’ve really enjoyed reading this book. It’s got a little bit of everything for everyone. Sex? Check. Action? Check. Humour? Check. Hot man? Double check. It’s been pure escapism for me and I loved every page. Everything works really well together and it’s a fantastic read.

The writing style was gripping, fun, and very heartfelt in moments. It left me guessing a little until right at the last moment it all clicked into place, when there was one little tiny detail what made me think through it properly. I sort of expected the ending, it wasn’t that difficult to work out when it came to Molly and Anders relationship.

I definitely preferred Molly in this book compared to the characters of the first. I found her feisty, independent, and funny. I felt for her in the book when it came to things with her daughter, Cheyenne, and for how she felt towards Anders. Her first meeting with him had me laughing, it’s definitely something I would do. You already know my opinion on Anders so let’s not go there… Molly’s relationship with Cheyenne really bounces from the page, and so do her feelings and friendships towards other people.

This book definitely deserves its 4 out of 5. The only thing that I will say is that it was all a little far-fetched, but I loved it for that.

 

The Book Addiction Book Tag

 hello gorgeous!

I found this tag over at Thrice Read, you can read their post HERE.


What is the longest amount of time you can comfortably go without picking up a book?

Depending on if I’m stuck in a slump or not, it’s normally about a day.

How many books do you carry on your person (or kindle) at any one time?

Just the one… Although I have been known to have a nearly finished book on me and my kindle..

Do you keep every book you buy/receive or are you happy to pass them on to make space for more?

90% of the time I’m keeping them. If I know that my mum or my sister would really like them, then they get passed on to them.

How long would you spend in a bookshop on a standard visit?

Too long… When I went to get some books with vouchers after Christmas I think I was in there for over an hour.

How much time per day do you actually spend reading?

This all depends on work, child, man-child, if I have things to be doing etc. But, saying that I normally get at least an hour in before bed.

Where does the task ‘picking up a book’ appear on your daily to-do list?

First thing in the morning, with my first cup of tea of the day.

How many books do you reckon you own in total (including e-books)?

No Comment… If I have in writing how many I have and the man-child sees it I may have, no I WILL HAVE, a mini war on my hands. I always downplay it…

Approximately how often do you bring up books in conversation?

Pretty much at least once or twice a day.

What is the biggest book (page count) you have finished reading?

Erm, probably Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon.

Is there a book you had to get your hands on against all odds i.e searching bookshops, online digging etc?

Nothing I can think of really… Although there are probably books that I really want to read but haven’t gone all out for them.

A book you struggled to finish but refused to DNF?

The only one I can think of is The Rosie Project. This is the book that taught me life is too short. I hated it.

What are 3 of your main book goals for 2018?

  1. Decrease the TBR a few less than it was… (This will not succeed)
  2. Read some new authors and genres
  3. Review 90% of what I read. So far this is going really well!

Have you ever had the privilege of converting someone into a reader (maybe via inspiration or incessant nagging)?

Not that I actually know of.

Describe what books mean to you in five words.

Escape, relief, love, home, comfort.

Book Covers I Love #4

Book CoversSo, this month I’m going for Best Dressed Women. Shoes, dresses, ball gowns. Pretty much just women in general!


women4 Women & Children First  by Gill Paul

I love the colours of this cover, it makes me want to sail away on a boat (I don’t like boats). The way the woman’s dress is flowing in the wind is eye catching and beautiful.

Book Description: She was the most magnificent ship ever built, yet on the eve of 14th April the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, leaving the lucky ones floating in wooden rowing boats, and the rest struggling for their lives in the icy water.
The sinking of the Titanic not only steals lives but blows apart the futures of those who survive: Reg, a handsome young steward who works in the first class dining room: Annie, a gifted Irishwoman who is travelling to America with her four children: Juliette, a titled English lady who is pregnant and unmarried: American millionaire George Grayling and his wife Margaret who are trapped in a poisoned marriage; and a mystery passenger who never shows her face in public.
As each of them tries to come to terms with the aftershock of the fateful might, they must begin to rebuild their lives. But how can life ever be the same again when you’ve heard thousands of people dying in the water around
you?


12973964.jpg Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Every girl needs to own a pair of killer heels. This cover shows that, whether you’re human, or part human at that…

Book Description: A forbidden romance.

A deadly plague.

Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.


19286101Golden Earrings by Belinda Alexandra

I love the cover to this book, it’s radiates the passion you would get from the dance if you were there. The colour, especially in the flesh, is beautiful.

Book Description: Paloma Batton is the granddaughter of Spanish refugees who fled Barcelona after the Civil War. A disciplined student with the School of the Paris Opera Ballet, Paloma lets little get in the way of her career until she receives a visit from an otherworldly being who leaves her with a pair of golden earrings. Sensing that she has been given a quest, Paloma begins exploring her own Spanish heritage and makes the connection between the visitor and ‘la Rusa’, a woman who rose from poverty to become one of the great flamenco dancers of modern times. La Rusa died while living in Paris in 1952. Her death was ruled a suicide but as Paloma begins to unravel the secrets of the past, she discovers more than one person who had good reason for wanting la Rusa dead, including Paloma’s own grandmother.


13138635 These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

I love the deepness of the colour of the girls dress on this cover. It’s stunning and works extremely well with the stars and the blue.

Book Description: Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.


15733844.jpg The Perfect Present by Karen Swan

I live the vintage feel of the way the woman is dressed on this cover. I love the vintage style, and wish I could pull it off. Ths cover is classy and beautiful.

Book Description: Haunted by a past she can’t escape, Laura Cunningham desires nothing more than to keep her world small and precise – her quiet relationship and growing jewellery business are all she needs to get by. Until the December day when Rob Blake walks into her studio and commissions a necklace that will tell his enigmatic wife Cat’s life in charms. As Laura interviews Cat’s family, friends and former lovers, she steps out of her world and into theirs – a charmed world where weekends are spent in Verbier and the air is lavender-scented, where friends are wild, extravagant and jealous, and a big love has to compete with grand passions. Hearts are opened, secrets revealed and as the necklace begins to fill up with trinkets, Cat’s intoxicating life envelops Laura’s own. By the time she has to identify the final charm, Laura’s metamorphosis is almost complete. But the last story left to tell has the power to change all of their lives forever, and Laura is forced to choose between who she really is and who it is she wants to be.



 

Favourite Authors #1: Carrie Elks

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This month I’m introducing something new to Book Addict Rambles. I’m going to do posts featuring my favourite authors, lists of their books, and any upcoming ones. The number on the posts is no way an order of favouritism.

This post is about Carrie Elks. The first book I read of hers was Fix You, and I instantly knew she was going to be a favourite. I’ve read all but 3 books listed below and have loved all of them!! Her men are sexy, her women are independent strong women, and most importantly she doesn’t write cheesy sex scenes!!


Author Bio

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Carrie Elks writes contemporary romance with a sizzling edge. Her first book, Fix You, has been translated into eight languages and made a surprise appearance on Big Brother in Brazil. Luckily for her, it wasn’t voted out. Carrie lives with her husband, two lovely children and a larger-than-life black pug called Plato. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found baking, drinking an occasional (!) glass of wine, or chatting on social media.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Twitter: @CarrieElks
Facebook: @CarrieElksAuthor



Books

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Goodreads

Fix You

How can something so wrong feel so right?

From the moment Hanna Vincent meets Richard Larsen at a glamorous London party, they are drawn to each other despite their differences. He’s the handsome son of a wealthy New York family, she’s the poor black sheep with a contagious love of life. On paper, they are complete opposites.

As she becomes the nanny to his younger sister the attraction between them grows, though the differences between them are too much to overcome. Until the day they meet in New York and everything changes. After a passionate night together they try to make things work, but neither of them can imagine the ways their love will be challenged.

Then one day, Hanna walks into Richard’s office and reveals an explosive secret. One that rocks the foundations of his world. Richard must decide if he can ever forgive her, and they both need to choose whether to take a risk on happiness, or if their broken love is beyond repair.

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Goodreads

Coming Down (Love in London #1)

Once upon a time a talented art student met a beautiful girl, and their lives exploded into colour. For one long, hot summer at university, Niall Joseph and Beth Lawrence were the king and queen of the campus.

And then their world turned black.

Nine years later, Niall is now a successful artist, and is freshly back in London after spending years in New York. He walks straight back into Beth’s life, lighting her up in a way she hasn’t shone for years.

She isn’t looking for a relationship. He isn’t searching for anything more than friendship. And yet in each other they both find the thing they’re looking for – redemption.

But things aren’t as easy as they seem. And they’re about to get even more complicated.

A powerful tale of second chances, Coming Down is the first in the Love in London Series, but can be read as a standalone book.

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Goodreads

Broken Chords (Love in London #2)

When happy-ever-after is only the beginning…

Lara Cartwright thinks she has it all. Married to a sexy rock star, with a new baby and a burgeoning career, she should be happy, shouldn’t she? But life isn’t a fairy tale and Lara’s perfect world is slowly falling apart.

Alex Cartwright is talented, tattooed and passionate. A family man, he adores his wife and baby, but can’t shake off his need for success. When his band is offered a lucrative tour of the US, the distance growing between him and Lara isn’t only measured in miles. As their baby falls seriously ill, Lara finds herself wondering if Alex really cares for them at all.

Emotional and absorbing, Broken Chords is a story of desire, redemption and the crazy notion that love can still conquer all.

Author Note: Broken Chords is the second story in the Love in London series but can be read completely as a stand-alone.

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Goodreads

Canada Square (Love in London #3)

Secrets have a way of coming out…

Amy Cartwright isn’t sure who she’s supposed to be anymore. Her family thinks she’s flighty, her ex believes she’s a walkover (the bastard) and her friends think she’s plain crazy. But there’s a different side to her that nobody sees, nobody but the cool, sexy Scotsman who just happens to be her boss.

Callum Ferguson isn’t looking for excitement; he’s had that and it almost ruined him. He likes things calm and predictable – everything that his new PA turns out not to be. But from the moment she walks through his office door it’s as though the light has come back into his life, and he can’t get her out of his mind.

Fighting against the inevitable, they both try to ignore the attraction, but the flame of desire is too bright. They’re soon drawn into a steamy love affair that they have to hide from everybody, knowing the revelation could cost them everything they’ve worked so hard for, including each other.

Author note: Canada Square is the third in the Love in London series, but each book can be read as a standalone.

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Goodreads

Summer’s Lease (Shakespeare Sisters #1)

He broke her once – will she let him do it again?

Sam Carlton is at the height of his career. A successful actor with a lucrative franchise, he attracts the paparazzi wherever he goes. So when a scandal hits, the only place he can think of to hide is in his parents’ empty villa in Italy. But when he gets there it isn’t empty at all.

Cesca Shakespeare could do with a little luck. After her career in writing failed before it even began, she’s had a string of dead end jobs, and even worse apartments. So when she’s offered a job taking care of an old Italian villa on the banks of beautiful Lake Como, it feels as though her life might finally be changing for the better. Until the man who ruined it walks through the door.

As Sam and Cesca get to know each other again, spending long hot days and steamy nights together, they begin to challenge everything they thought about each other. But then real life hits and it leaves them with one question – is this just a holiday fling, or can their love weather the cold winds of reality?

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Goodreads

A Winter’s Lease (Shakespeare Sisters #2)

Struggling film student Kitty Shakespeare is determined to make the most of her new job as nanny to major producer Everett Klein’s son, Jonas. It might not be exactly the career she’d hoped for when she moved from London to LA, but thanks to her habit of freezing up in interviews, this is her last chance to impress a key player in Hollywood – if she can get this right, then surely he’ll take a moment to look at her work. However, what Kitty hasn’t allowed for is Everett’s sexy-as-hell brother, Adam – but love at first sight this is not.

Adam Klein may be sexy, but he’s also gruff and rude and in no way ready to make a fool of himself over the nanny – not after the year he’s had. All he wants to do hole up in his cabin and hide from the brother who destroyed his life. If only he could find it easier to ignore the way Kitty makes his heart race . . .

As Christmas approaches, Kitty and Adam come to realise that the course of true love never does run smooth – and just maybe, it’s more interesting that way…

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Goodreads

Absent in the Spring (Shakespeare Sisters #3)

Losing control never felt so good . . .

A successful lawyer, and the eldest of four sisters, Lucy Shakespeare is used to being in control of everything and everyone around her, most particularly herself – that is until she meets the gorgeous Lachlan MacLeish.

Lachlan’s hired Lucy because he needs the best. His inheritance, the Lairdship of Glencarraig, is suddenly in doubt, thanks to his devious half-brother. Glencarraig is the only place where his memories of his family are happy ones and there’s no way he’s going down without a fight. The very last thing he wants is a distraction, but as soon as he sees Lucy, he knows he’s in trouble.

Despite their efforts to resist, it isn’t long before Lachlan has Lucy longing to break all her careful rules. As they travel from Scotland, to Paris and on to New York, Lucy can’t help but wonder: is it sometimes worth risking it all?

Coming Soon!!

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Goodreads

By Virtue Fall (Shakespeare Sisters #4)

The fourth, and final, book in the Shakespeare Sisters series.

With a broken marriage behind her, Juliet is just about ready to give up on love. Living in a ramshackle bungalow in Shaw Haven and working as a florist, she is desperately trying to build a new life with her daughter, Poppy. But try as she might, the one thing she can’t ignore is the man next door . . .




All information featured is from Carrie Elks website: https://carrieelks.com/