A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis~ Blog Tour

~Hey guys,

Today I’m delighted to be taking part i the blog tour for A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis and I’ll be sharing my review for this crime thriller in just a little bit. First though, here’s all the bookish info!

About the author:


The first thing I ever wrote that received any notice was a one page story for my third grade English teacher. I don’t recall what the assignment was, but I somehow found myself writing about a woman at a dinner party who suddenly realizes her teeth are invisible. She sits there, wedged between two chattering guests, wondering how she will eat, how she will talk, and generally how she will get out of the situation without having to open her mouth and reveal her dilemma. My teacher showed the story to my parents with a note to this effect: She could be a writer.

What if her note had instead encouraged me to be a dentist?

But it didn’t. And so here I am.

Karen Ellis is a pseudonym of author Katia Lief.  She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and The Authors Guild.  She lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY.

About the book:

FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost…

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa’s skin. Everything she has buried – her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother’s death – threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself…and return to the darkness she’s been hiding from for years.

A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

My thoughts:

A Map of the Dark is a fiercely compulsive read. I sat down to start it, and before I even realised it, I was over halfway through. I just couldn’t put it down. I’m a huge fan of American-based crime thrillers, especially when they have a great cast of characters and an intriguing plot. That is exactly why I loved this one. It had everything I look for, as well as a few surprises.

Elsa Myers is a FBI agent, tasked with investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl in Queens. Torn between sitting by the bedside of her ailing father and wanting to find the girl, Myers has a struggle on her hands. I really liked Elsa. She is flawed, and nobody loves a dark back story more than me, so when we learn what happened in her past it really changes the way you see her as a character.

I loved the pacing of the story too. It moves really quickly, with little nuggets of information scattered through the narrative that you’d miss if you’re not paying attention. It made me question everyone, and their motives, which always wrecks my head but makes me become invested in the outcome!

A Map of the Dark is a really clever crime thriller. There is much more to it than meets the eye at first glance. Relationships, family secrets and the past are the main players here and each one is woven seamlessly into the plot. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and I will definitely be reading more from this author!

Highly recommended!


Check out the blog tour:

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I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May~ Ellen’s Review & Giveaway

Hi everyone,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for Peter May’s I’ll Keep You Safe and I’ll be sharing her review a little further down!There’s also a chance to win a copy of I’ll Keep You Safe for yourself.


To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is retweet the pinned tweet on my Twitter page @BibliophileBC. It’s that simple!


  • UK entries only
  • One RT = one entry
  • Winner will be chosen by midnight on January 14th
  • Winner will be notified and details will be passed to the publisher

About the author:

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Peter May is the multi award-winning author of:

– the Lewis Trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland;
– the China Thrillers, featuring Beijing detective Li Yan and American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell;
– the Enzo Files, featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo MacLeod, which is set in France. The sixth and final Enzo book is Cast Iron (January 2017, Riverrun).

He has also written several standalone books:
– I’ll Keep You Safe (January 2018, Riverrun)
– Entry Island (January 2014, Quercus UK)
– Runaway (January 2015, Quercus UK)
– Coffin Road (January 2016, Riverrun)

May had a successful career as a television writer, creator, and producer.

One of Scotland’s most prolific television dramatists, he garnered more than 1000 credits in 15 years as scriptwriter and script editor on prime-time British television drama. He is the creator of three major television drama series and presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland before quitting television to concentrate on his first love, writing novels.

Born and raised in Scotland he lives in France.

His breakthrough as a best-selling author came with The Lewis Trilogy. After being turned down by all the major UK publishers, the first of the The Lewis Trilogy – The Blackhouse – was published in France as L’Ile des Chasseurs d’Oiseaux where it was hailed as “a masterpiece” by the French national newspaper L’Humanité. His novels have a large following in France. The trilogy has won several French literature awards, including one of the world’s largest adjudicated readers awards, the Prix Cezam.

The Blackhouse was published in English by the award-winning Quercus (a relatively young publishing house which did not exist when the book was first presented to British publishers). It went on to become an international best seller, and was shortlisted for both Barry Award and Macavity Award when it was published in the USA.

The Blackhouse won the US Barry Award for Best Mystery Novel at Bouchercon in Albany NY, in 2013.

About the book:

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Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.


Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.


As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs.

I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May

Ellen’s Review:

I’ll Keep You Safe is an absolutely beautiful and epic story told from various POV’s and between the present day of the incident and the past history of Niamh and Ruairidh’s life/love story and their creation of the Ranish tweed design company. I really liked Niamh and felt for her as everything she thought she knew about her husband was torn apart at the seams. As the story progresses it becomes apparent that they were soulmates yet Ruairidh appears to have thrown this relationship to one side and become the victim of a car bombing  with his mistress as a result.

We follow this investigation from the streets of Paris to the barren beauty of the Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Hebrides. The descriptions of this landscape and its traditions were truly enchanting and really captured my imagination. That Niamh is left alone and heart-broken in this haunting place full of memories really tugged at my heart strings. As more and more was revealed about her past, I wondered how Niamh would ever be able to carry on especially as she is considered as a suspect.

There is a rich cast of characters in this story; a fashion designer with a grudge, Niamh’s family who have never been happy with the couple’s marriage and childhood friends who might hold a clue to who the murderer may be. Two of my favourite characters were Detective Sylvie Braque from Paris and Detective Sergeant George Gunn of the Isle of Lewis. It seems that they are from different planets of policing but they come together to try and solve the case.

I’ll Keep You Safe is more than a thriller; it’s a story of love and loss and of adapting to life altering circumstances. I have learnt about the creation of tweed and island traditions that people hold dear to this day, something I would never expect from a thriller. This is the first book by Peter May that I have read but it definitely won’t be the last!

Check out the blog tour:



Standstill by J. A. Marley ~Blog Tour

Hi all,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Standstill and I’ll be sharing my review with you guys a little further down. First though, the all-important bookish information!

About the author:


John A. Marley’s writing career started with a poem about two brothers who both liked sausages…their names were Butch and Dutch and his Primary School teacher Mr. Murray liked it so much it made the main noticeboard at the entrance to Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast.  A little older but none the wiser, he ended up as a film journalist in his native Northern Ireland, contributing to local newspapers, BBC Radio Ulster and latterly writing as the main film critic for the glossy magazine, Northern Woman.

John’s love of good stories came from the Irish predilection for telling a good yarn and the fact that there was nothing quite like sneaking away his Dad’s battered paperbacks to read even though he knew they were meant for adults and not kids. And so pulp fiction such as The Edge Westerns by George G. Gilman, the adventure novels of Alistair MacLean and the thrillers of Jack Higgins all served to whet his appetite for a good story told at pace.

These days, his reading tastes still focus on thrills, spills and good plot and he can’t walk by a James Lee Burke or an Elmore Leonard without pausing to read a few pages…even if it is in a busy bookshop.


John A. Marley is also a TV producer with a proven track record in creating and producing distinctive, original entertainment and factual programming and formats for both a UK and international audience. His eclectic portfolio of high-profile shows include Britain’s Ultimate Pilots: Inside the RAFBritain’s Flying PastStaraokeBest of FriendsSkatoonyNoel’s House PartyThrough the KeyholeSMTV:Live/CD:UKHow Euro Are You? and live coverage of “The Oscars” with Barry Norman.

John runs his own production company Archie Productions which he launched in 2008. Prior to setting up his own indie, John enjoyed a wide and varied career in television with creative roles at Talent Television, Planet 24, Carlton Television and Walt Disney UK. John’s broadcast media career started in his native Northern Ireland as a radio host.

About the book:

J.A. Marley - Standstill_cover_high res.jpg

Even the deadliest criminals leave a trail…

When a psychotic policeman drags the young, ambitious thief, Danny Felix out of bed, he could not imagine he was about to be plunged into the robbery of a lifetime.

Corruption and coercion follow the corrupt Detective Inspector Harkness everywhere he goes and now he has Danny just where he wants him.

But Harkness isn’t the only officer with Danny in his sights. Christine Chance is getting closer to him while doing her best to be a mother to her seriously ill daughter.

Can Danny escape Harkness with his life intact? Can he avoid detection by Chance?
And does he have what it takes to use the streets of modern day London to pull off the theft of the 21st Century?

Danny thinks he can…but there will be bloodshed.

Click the link below to get your copy:

Standstill by J. A. Marley

My thoughts:

Standstill is a gritty and dark UK crime novel which follows a corrupt cop and an ambitious thief as they plan a crime the scale of which neither has seen before. What follows is a pacy and hard-boiled journey into the depths of London and the lengths to which people will go to get what they want.

I was gripped by Standstill early on. I became invested in Danny, and even for all of his bad decisions, I was still rooting for him the whole way through. As a character, he is really interesting. For all of his foibles, there is goodness there somewhere and you can see it in brief moments during Standstill. What makes life hard for him is the corrupt Detective, Harkness. He is a piece of work for sure. I really didn’t like him, but I guess that’s a good thing, that John Marley can create such a hateful and divisive character!

I found the story really interesting too. I don’t want to say much because I’m afraid I’ll give away something about the plot. What I will say is that I wasn’t expecting it to go the way it did. More than once, I had to go back to see if I had read something right! It is twisty and packed with action and it definitely kept me turning the pages.

Christine Chance is also a great character. Her daughter is gravely ill, and the author portrays her struggle between trying to be with her daughter while needing to work her cases well. I think she proves herself to be a very strong and resilient character and its evident a few times throughout Standstill.

I really enjoyed this book. Standstill is a clever and gripping thriller, with an interesting cast of characters. If you like UK crime fiction then this is definitely a book to add to your list!

Recommended for sure!

Check out the blog tour:

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Hydra by Matt Wesolowski @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to finally (I read this in early December! 🙂 ) be able to share my review for Hydra by Matt Wesolowski with you all as part of the blog tour!

About the author:

IMG_1026-2 copy

Matt Wesolowski is from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- and US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature Feature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio..

About the book:


Before Scarfell Claw, there was Hydra… One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north-west of England, 26-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the ‘Macleod Massacre’. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation. King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out. As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious Black-eyed Children, whose presence extends far beyond the delusions of a murderess…

Click the link below to order your copy:

Hydra (Six Stories) by Matt Wesolowski

My thoughts:

I had been waiting patiently for Hydra for what seems like an eternity. It was probably only months, but it felt like forever. Having read Six Stories at the end of 2016 (See! That sounds like AGES ago considering its now 2018!!!), its safe to say I was eager to see where Matt Wesolowski was going to take us after the thrill-ride of Six Stories.

I knew Hydra was going to be dark, but I didn’t realise how unsettling and creepy it would actually be until I settled in to read it. Black-eyed children (not a spoiler, its in the blurb!) haunted me for days after I finished. Children are honestly one of the scariest tools to use in writing for me. And these ones were up there with the worst. I shuddered more times than I could count while reading.

Some background. Arla Macleod massacred her family in 2014. She is being held in a medium security mental health facility, and will speak to nobody except Scott King. As a consequence of this, King finds himself becoming entangled in a very complex and disturbing investigation. As well as Arla, five more people are interviewed for the podcast series, and each interview seems to put a different spin on what King thinks he knew about the massacre.

I don’t want to go into the plot to be honest. I honestly think Matt Wesolowski is one of the finest young writers out there at the moment though. Capturing the horror of the events in Arla’s past, combined with the exquisitely tense interviews, Hydra is just an absolutely brilliant book. It is compelling, genuinely chilling, tense and so utterly relevant to the world as we know it today. It addresses mental health issues, online trolling and the complexities and subtleties of the human condition so perfectly.

I loved it, really loved it. It completely freaked me out. There was so much to keep up with, and just when I thought I had it Matt threw in something else, and those creepy children. I am not able for the power of suggestion!!!

Matt Wesolowski is such a genuine talent and his creativity knows no bounds with Hydra. It is truly a captivating book. Scary at times, but so immensely readable. I can’t heap enough praise on his ability to create menacing narratives that push their way beneath your skin.

Highly, highly recommended.

Previous posts:

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

*Blog Tour* Q&A and Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

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~Blog Tour review~ Know Me Now by CJ Carver @BonnierZaffre @C_J_Carver

Hi everyone,

Today, I’m delighted to be closing down the blog tour for CJ Carver’s Know Me Now. In a little change to the plan, instead of just reviewing Know Me Now, I’ll be sharing my reviews for all THREE books in the series in this post!

Spare Me The Truth


Dan Forrester, piecing his life back together after the tragic death of his son, is approached in a supermarket by a woman who tells him everything he remembers about his life – and his son – is a lie.

Grace Reavey, stricken by grief, is accosted at her mother’s funeral. The threat is simple: pay the staggering sum her mother allegedly owed, or lose everything.

Lucy Davies has been forced from the Met by her own maverick behaviour. Desperate to prove herself in her new rural post, she’s on the hunt for a killer – but this is no small town criminal.

Plunged into a conspiracy that will test each of them to their limits, these three strangers are brought together in their hunt for the truth, whatever it costs. And as their respective investigations become further and further entwined, it becomes clear that at the centre of this tangled web is a threat more explosive than any of them could have imagined.

How did I leave this book on my TBR for so long?!

In Spare Me The Truth, we meet Dan Forrester, suffering from amnesia and trying to piece his life back together in the aftermath of his son’s tragic death. He’s approached by a woman who tells him that what he know about his son’s death is all a lie.

Colour me hooked! I banged through this book in less than 24 hours. I became so completely absorbed in it. I read it at every available moment because I just had to see where the author was taking us on this rip-roaring rollercoaster!

Spare Me The Truth is a cracking series opener. It is fast-paced, intense and totally gripping. The plot is layered and twisted, and every delicious reveal lends itself beautifully to the tense atmosphere in the book. Add to this a stellar line up of characters and I was sold!

Highly recommended!

Tell Me A Lie


A family in England is massacred, the father left holding the shotgun.

PC Lucy Davies is convinced he’s innocent

A sleeper agent in Moscow requests an urgent meeting with Dan Forrester, referencing their shared past.

His amnesia means he has no idea who he can trust.

An aging oligarch in Siberia gathers his henchmen to discuss an English accountant.

It’s Dan’s wife

Back with Dan Forrester in this brilliant second installment, and it opens with an absolutely gripping few chapters. An entire family is massacred, except for the father, who is found holding the murder weapon. Who is he? What motivated this heinous act?

Carver is a master at clever twists and trickery in these books. Each one seems to be more determined to catch the reader out until the stunning reveals. Tell Me A Lie is no different. Naturally, I flew through this one too. There’s a lot going on in this one, but once I found my stride I couldn’t put it down!

In Tell Me A Lie, we go between the UK and Russia and this chilling location really adds to the narrative as it sets up the plot nicely. This time, Dan’s family is in trouble. His wife is on the radar of a Russian Oligarch, and this is not someone you want to have attention from.

Another fast-paced and engaging tale featuring Dan Forrester, and PC Lucy Davies. Lucy is really standing out as a character in this one, and she’s just so likeable. I enjoyed reading more about her in this one!

Another highly recommended for this one!

Know Me Now

Know Me Now


A thirteen-year-old boy commits suicide.

A sixty-five-year old man dies of a heart attack.

Dan Forrester, ex-MI5 officer, is connected to them both.

And when he discovers that his godson and his father have been murdered, he teams up with his old friend, DC Lucy Davies, to find answers.

But as the pair investigate, they unravel a dark and violent mystery stretching decades into the past and uncover a terrible secret.

A secret someone will do anything to keep buried . . .

Published by Bonnier Zaffre, you can get your copy by clicking HERE!

About the author:

Carver, Caroline 3

C.J. Carver’s first novel Blood Junction won the CWA Debut Dagger and was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best mystery books of the year. Half-English, half New Zealand, C.J. has been a travel writer and long-distance rally driver, driving London to Saigon and London to Cape Town. Her novels have been published in the UK and the USA and translated into several languages.

My thoughts:

This was my 3rd CJ fix in 7 days. Clearly, I binge read the first two in preparation for this one, and I am SO GLAD I read them together as it really added to the momentum.

In this one, it gets a bit more personal for Dan. His godson is found dead, of an apparent suicide. But not everyone is convinced that’s what happened. Dan enlists the help of PC Lucy Davies again, to see if she can help uncover anything. What they both find out is far more terrifying and far-reaching than anyone expected.

Family dynamics, honesty and friendship are all called into question in Know Me Now and it makes for some very tense reading.

I hate trying to convey how good a book is without wanting to tell you every minute detail, but where’s the fun in that?! These books are just so addictive, so you really just need to read them all. Seriously!

You can keep your Jason Bournes and your Ethan Hunts, I want to see Dan Forrester on the big screen. I can imagine these books as movies so easily. The writing is cinematic, the action is full on and CJ Carver is most certainly an excellent thriller writer!

If you love twists and turns, a smidge of violence and pulse-pounding action, YOU NEED THESE BOOKS!

Highly, HIGHLY recommended!!!

Catch up on the blog tour:


~Blog Tour review~ Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan @SVaughanAuthor @simonschusterUK


About the book:

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it. 

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

Out in January from Simon and Schuster, click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:


Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to be a journalist. After training at the Press Assocation, she spent eleven years at the Guardian as a news reporter, health correspondent and political correspondent. It wasn’t until her second child was born, that she finally did what she’d always wanted to do and started writing fiction. The Art of Baking Blind is the result, and will also be published in the US (St Martin’s Press) and in nine translations. She lives near Cambridge and is working on her second novel.
FB: Sarah Vaughan Author
twitter: @SVaughanAuthor

My thoughts:

Anatomy of a Scandal is one of “those books”. The kind where ‘just one more chapter’ turns into ‘oops, I’ve read the whole book’! Well that’s what it was for me anyway. I read the whole thing in just a couple of sittings.

I had been saving it until closer to publication to read, but I jumped at the chance to take part in the blog tour as it meant I could it sooner, and I am so glad I did!

Anatomy of a Scandal is a compelling and timely tale, full of secrets and lies. I found it difficult to see where it was going st times, and the subject matter i very dark. But Sarah Vaughan writes with honest and sensitivity that it ends up being a very cleverly woven tale.

The blurb is fairly self-explanatory, if a bit vague. So, in that vein, I’m keeping my review a bit vague too. I’d be afraid to give away any of the subtle nuances that are so intricately written into Anatomy of a Scandal.

The characterisation is excellent in this book. The reader will find themselves too-ing and fro-ing between the characters as much as the actual characters themselves. The plot is well-executed and compelling. It is not fast paced, but it tips along nicely from start to finish. It definitely kept me enthralled.

I think if you like character-driven books, moral dilemmas and their resolutions, then Anatomy of a Scandal should most certainly be added to your 2018 list.

Highly recommended!

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~Blog Tour~ Water & Glass by Abi Curtis~ Ellen’s Review


About the book:

In the lower depths of a massive submarine, ship’s zoologist Nerissa Crane takes an ultrasound of a heavily pregnant Asian elephant. The elephant conceived off-ship but, it transpires, was forced on board – along with Nerissa and a hastily assembled collection of humans and animals – by an apocalyptic environmental disaster that has flooded the earth. Nerissa is calm and solitary in her work and in navigating the trauma of her husband’s presumed death in the floods; but when one of her animal charges escapes, she is reluctantly forced to enter the ship’s thrown-together communal world where she uncovers a shocking conspiracy that causes her to question who and what she is. Water & Glass is a thrilling dystopian tale about human nature – and the animal world – under great pressure and in enclosed spaces.

Click the link below to order your copy:

Water & Glass by Abi Curtis

About the author:


Abi Curtis is Professor of Creative Writing at York St John University. She has won an Eric Gregory Award and Somerset Maugham Award for her poetry collections, The Glass Delusion (Salt, 2013) and Unexpected Weather (Salt, 2009). She has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing and is inspired by art, psychology, science and the environment. She has written on such subjects as mushrooms in Freud, squid in literature, and the creative possibilities of pollination, and often collaborates with artists and musicians. Water & Glass, her first novel, is published by Cloud Lodge Books.

Ellen’s Review:

I really enjoyed this dystopian book where we join zoologist Nerissa on board the ark inspired Baleen; a submarine loaded with a collection of animals and humans destined to be a brand new start for all after an environmental apocalyptic disaster. It doesn’t take too much imagination to envisage this version of our possible future with the current issues we are facing in the world. It is no surprise that the author of Water & Glass is an award winning poet, her words are lyrical and poignant.

When one of Nerissa’s animal charges goes missing she is forced from her solitary life into the other decks of the vessel and discovers all is not as it seems aboard the Baleen and that not everything she and the other passengers have been told is true. The story is told from various POV’s, one of my favourites was Molloy; a wooly brown rat who is very tame and shows no fear of humans. All Molloy wants is food, warmth and partnership and isn’t that what we are all after!?

This is a book about human (and animal) nature; how far will we go to ensure our survival? I hope there will be more I the series as I really got involved in everybody’s stories!

Check out the blog tour:

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