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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

NBTM, GUEST POST & #GIVEAWAY - Deep End (Deep Blue Trilogy Book 3) by Kathleen Duhamel


Contemporary Women's Fiction



After years of struggle and harsh criticism, happily married rock star wife Claire Martin has finally achieved the career success of her dreams. As the featured artist in an international traveling exhibit, she looks forward to her best year ever, while her husband, singer Robert Silver of the legendary band Deep Blue, contemplates a return to touring.

Things are also looking up for Claire’s best friend, Denise Hrivnak, who’s planning her wedding to Robert’s musical partner, Art Hoffman. However, what should have been most joyful day of Denise’s life turns to tragedy when an unexpected event forces both woman to contemplate the terrifying possibility of life without the men they love.

Besieged by the paparazzi and sick with worry, Claire waits for answers in a Las Vegas hotel room, thinking over her improbable relationship with Rob and praying that love alone is strong enough to bring her beloved husband back from the brink.

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As we entered the room, Artie handed Rob a non-alcoholic beer and asked me, “What do you think?”

His pool table and pinball machines were gone. The area we were standing in, formerly known as Artie’s “toy room,” had been transformed into a dining space furnished with a sleek new table and seating for eight. A contemporary chandelier in a brushed silver finish hung overhead. A row of flickering votive candles marched down the length of the table, which was set for a party of four.

The only reminder of the room’s previous function was a display of seven vintage electric guitars hung on an exposed brick wall. Its centerpiece was a rare 1954 Fender Stratocaster with a sunburst finish. I was the one who suggested that Artie turn his collection into an art installation, now the apartment’s focal point.

“I think the room looks great,” I told him. “And I’m glad you kept the guitars on the wall. They say so much about who lives here.”

Artie ran one forefinger along the Strat’s distinctive curves.

“Well, I couldn’t bear to put the old girl back in her case,” he said.

Old girl? Uh-oh. Denise strolled into the kitchen, retrieved the unlit kitchen torch, returned, and pointed it in Artie’s direction, while struggling to keep a serious face.

“You realize 1954 was the year Claire and I were born, don’t you? Are you calling us old?”

“Rule of thumb, Artie,” I chimed in. “Don’t insult a woman who has the ability to burn you alive.”

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Kathleen Duhamel will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Although I grew up in Texas, I’ve spent most of my adult life in my adopted home of Colorado. I wrote and illustrated my first short story-a tale of baby sparrows leaving the nest-at the age of eight, and I’ve considered myself a writer for most of my life. My love of the written word continued throughout a varied career as a newspaper journalist and editor, public relations executive, freelance travel writer, and owner/operator of two small businesses. I live in the Denver area with my husband, a geriatric standard poodle, and a spoiled cat.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy getting together with friends, hanging out at home, and reading whenever I can. I’m a big fan of the Outlander books and television series.

Do you have a day job as well?
I work part-time at a non-writing job to support my book marketing, and I also do freelance children’s writing. I try to carve out at least two hours a day for fiction writing and marketing activities, and I also write on the weekends.

When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I began writing my first novel, Deep Blue, in 2013. It was published two years later. I was extremely fortunate to get a publishing contract on my first book, which seldom happens. It also had a downslide, since I had no fans or author platform to speak of. Marketing has been a huge challenge, and I still struggle with it, as many authors do.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I think it chose me! I’d always loved fiction with strong, independent female characters, so it was a natural outgrowth of my own interests. I was determined that my heroines would not be rescued by their men. In fact, it’s usually my flawed-yet-redeemable male characters who are able to resolve some of their issues with the help of loyal, loving women.

Where do you get your ideas?
Many of them come either my own or my friends’ experiences. I enjoy writing older characters because there’s so much rich subject matter in mid-life and beyond: meddling exes, children and grandchildren, aging parents, career pressures, life-threatening illness, and death of a spouse, to name a few. I also want to emphasize that love and sex are not only for the young.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would have started a blog and website long before the first book was published. It would have helped tremendously with building awareness and establishing a fan base.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Like my heroine, Claire, I am a cancer survivor. Living through a serious illness gave her an inner resiliency that served her well throughout the Deep Blue Trilogy and caused her to live each day to the fullest. We share a favorite quote from Goethe: Nothing is worth more than this day.

Claire’s best friend, Denise, is based on my own BFF and her career as a social worker, although I’ve taken certain liberties with her character. All my characters, even the men, have a bit of me in them.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with? 
My work in progress, Fed Up, is the story of a small-town chef and a semi-successful television actor who meet while he’s on location in Virginia. They both have serious personal issues that are standing in the way of a relationship. The sequel, Recipe for Disaster, will focus on how they more forward together. I’m planning to have them meet and clash with a couple of the characters in the Deep Blue Trilogy.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Don’t worry about trivial things like chapter length and word count. Don’t give up because the first draft is awful. It usually is. Write the story you want to read, keep editing and polishing it, and don’t concern yourself over whether it fits in one genre. Good storytelling will always be appreciated.

Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?
A character burdened by the mistakes of his past is guitarist and songwriter Artie Hoffman, half of the legendary rock and soul duo, Deep Blue. Although he began life as a minor character in an early draft of the book, he wasted no time in making his voice heard. He’s a brilliant musician, but Artie is also relentlessly sarcastic and unfiltered. He says the things no one else dares to utter. He’s also probably the funniest character in the series, as well as the most transformed by events in Deep End (Book 3).

What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
I require a quiet place where I can be alone with my thoughts, so no music or background noise. I write on a basic laptop using Word. No fancy writing software of any kind. I also keep a notebook handy for writing down dialog or notes on a particular setting.

Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than other? Racy? Love? Action?

Writing believable love scenes is difficult, so I sometimes leave them until last, when I’ve gotten most comfortable with the characters. Since all my writing is character-driven, I view my job as setting up a plausible situation and letting them run with it. When I fully understand their needs and desires, I’ll have a good idea of what will and won’t work in the bedroom (or elsewhere)!

Kathleen Duhamel is a contemporary women’s fiction writer and the author of the Deep Blue Trilogy (Deep Blue, Deeper, and Deep End) as well as the novella At Home With Andre. She wrote and illustrated her first short story at the age of eight, and has been a writer for most of her life. Her love of the written word continued throughout her varied career as a newspaper journalist and editor, public relations executive, freelance travel writer, and owner/operator of two small businesses. A native of Texas, she has spent most of her adult life in Colorado. She lives in the Denver area with her husband, a geriatric standard poodle, and a spoiled cat. She is a lifelong devotee of rock and soul music, contemporary art, and popular culture.

Tour Organised by: Goddess Fish Promotions 

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

NBTM, GUEST POST & #GIVEAWAY - K.I.A. by Alexander Charalambides





Hildegard lives in a real-life dollhouse, surrounded by prop houses and actors who play friends, teachers and foster parents. Only one man ever seemed real, and after his disappearance, she’s had enough playing along. As Hildegard makes her final preparations to run away from home, a swarm of black clad soldiers appear, controlling the police and swarming across her home town. She can evade them for now, but after learning their mission, she decides to play along one last time, following them to Truman Academy, a lonely building on a freezing aleutian island. Hildegard knows it for what it is: just another prop, but not everyone feels the same way. Through the hell of endless drills and marching, Hildegard befriends the stealthy Grace and bloodthirsty David, and enlists them in an effort to unravel the plan of the man called G and his monstrous menagerie of inhuman soldiers.

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“Doctor!” A student rushes in, holding a smoking walkie-talkie, and supporting a friend, limping on a bleeding leg. Islet jumps to his feet again, setting the injured student on the ground, elevating the leg, and shining a small flashlight across it.

“What happened?” I ask them.

“It’s G,” he says, never taking his eyes from Islet’s treatment. “We overheard the baggers, they formed up around him, somewhere near their comm room, and called in a chopper.” I scan the ground and snatch up a weapon.

“That’s where they had all the phones, right?” Grace says. “The one outgoing line.”

“Trashed.” The student groans. “By the time we got in it was just broken glass and charcoal.”

“If G escapes, we’re all as good as dead,” I tell the room. “And he has a lot to answer for.” They all look up. “So who’s coming with me to bring him in?” Some stand. Others raise their hands. “Grace.” I tap her on the shoulder. “Take two minutes to organize them, make sure they’re all healthy and armed.”

“Got it,” she nods. “He’s going to get what’s coming to him.”

“Islet.” I drag him aside. “We need to talk.”

“Uh, okay,” he nods. “What is it?” I listen to the murmur of voices and the clatter of equipment.

“I saw the medical staff.” He nods, making a show of listening. “Radiation suits.” His eyes roll down to his feet.

“You saw the bomb?” he asks.

“I saw enough to guess,” I say. “We all did.”

“I didn’t want to,” he gasps. “We were forced, we installed it at gunpoint, I hate-”

“I don’t care how you feel about it,” I say and shove him against the wall, “I need to know how big it is, what kind of detonator it has, and if it can be disarmed.”

“Well,” he gulps, “it’s tactical grade, I remember they said that, just enough to-”

“Get rid of the evidence,” I say.

“That was the idea.” He nods. “Even if we take the academy, they might-”

“They won’t,” I tell him. “G wouldn’t trust anyone else with the detonator, so we won’t give him the chance to get far enough away. Don’t get the wrong idea, Islet, I need to know if it can be moved.”

“Moved?” He flinches again. “You want to use it?”

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Plotter vs Pantser: The One Thing You Must Know Before Starting to WriteBy Alexander Charalambides

Since the Age of Origin, one conflict, ever raging, has defined the world of storytelling.

The Pantsers, a legion vast, vibrant, and The Plotters with their tangled schemes, always weaving.

For centuries, there was balance, but then, amid the darkness of the Internet-

Too dramatic?

Okay, I’ll drop the voice. I have something to say, I promise.

Plotters and Pantsers aren’t really at war, in fact, you don’t really see them talk much, but their different approaches, the relationships between them, and what you can learn from both are what I thought I’d use for this guest post.

First, we have to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

What the H-E double hockey sticks are plotters and pantsers? (which my computer insists on calling panthers. Cool.)

A Pantser is someone who writes ‘flying by the seat of their pants’ meaning they sit down and go to it, usually without much of an idea of what they want beyond whatever originally inspired them. They usually talk about characters “talking” to them, writing prompts, and usually try to stay inspired by using music playlists or staying close to their influences.

By contrast, a Plotter plans their work before they start, and then tries to realize their plan through their writing. Unlike the Pantser, the Plotter tries to eliminate outside influences and randomness, sticking as close to the original plan as possible, living or dying by their design. 

As you might’ve guessed, these two groups have cause to clash, and little way to settle disputes, since entertainment value (not technical skill, mind you) is completely subjective, and when it comes to writing, there’s always this nagging feeling that no matter what you do, you don’t really know what you’re doing, and whatever good stuff you produce is a product of slapping your keyboard at random, leading to the sort of defensiveness that can get people into Internet Arguments.

Pantsers are clueless amateurs, or Plotters don’t care about fun or expression.

Naturally, neither of these are true, and if you’ve never heard either of these accusations before, count yourself lucky.

So what can we learn from these two tribes? Wasn’t that the whole point of this post?

This is the part where I admit to being a fairly strict Plotter, purely because I think it’s important to try my best to filter and structure things so as to not waste anyone’s time.

I organize a novel on at least two separate levels of detail before I commit to any actual writing, and most editing I do is to keep what I’ve written close to my original plan.

So why am I talking about Pantsers at all?

Because I’ve learned from experience why Pantsers do what they do (mostly by accident), and one of my recent projects really suffered because of it.

I don’t want you to make the same mistake. 

Some of you’ve probably guessed already, but I’m talking about fun. The goofy idea, the nugget of inspiration, the mis-handled theme you can’t resist trying to fix.

Writing takes motivation, commitment.

If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t able to keep to a schedule and your readers will be able to tell. You’ll be stuck with the worst thing of all, a boring story.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that a good plan always makes a story stronger, but no writer should ever be ashamed of the urge to change things up or improvise just to follow a creative urge. If you’re not enjoying the story, no-one else will.  

Alexander Charalambides was born in London and grew up in Berkshire in the UK.

He studied Creative Writing, and graduated from the Open University.

As a freelance writer Alexander enjoys storytelling just as much as editing and analysis, but often takes time off to enjoy wind surfing, do the sickest of motorcycle flips, wrestle with deadly animals and lie about his hobbies.

In 2008 he moved to the USA and now lives in New Hampshire’s beautiful White Mountains with his family and two dogs, Gwynne and Gimli.

Tour Organised by: Goddess Fish Promotions

Monday, 29 January 2018

BLOG TOUR, EXCERPT, REVIEW & #GIVEAWAY - Baby Girl (Baby Girl #1) by C.M. Stunich

Book details:

Baby Girl 
by C.M. Stunich
Publication date: January 29th 2018
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense


He died that night, alone, in the rain, in the dark, the boy that called me baby girl.
I was only seventeen; we were going to be together forever.

On his way to pick me up for prom, he swerved. I’ll never know what made him do it, what killed the boy I’d loved my whole life. With roses clutched in his hand, he bled out in icy wetness all alone.

His best friend is here though, and I’m pretty sure he loves me.
But after the accident, I left for a year and didn’t look back.

Now I’m back in town and my heart is like shattered glass.
Do I pick up the pieces and risk getting cut? And do I let another boy call me baby girl?

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“Almost there in your terms or almost there in mine?” I ask and he chuckles again, the warm, low sound sliding across my skin like hot fingertips.
“Forty-five minutes thereabouts,” he says, and I breathe a sigh of relief.  “But we’ll have to venture off the road and into the water again.”  I groan but Phoenix bumps me playfully with his shoulder, scalding me with heat.  “It’s safe out dere, not like at the shop.”  His eyes darken and I can tell he thinks he made a mistake by letting me stay there.  “I’m sorry, Embry—”
I cut him off before he can keep going.
“Please don’t apologize.  The reason I stayed at the shop was to protect you.”
“You protect me?” he grumbles and then he’s licking his lips and glancing away sharply, curling his hands into fists.  “I’m such a fuckin’ idiot, getting you dragged into this shit.  I shouldn’t have let you stay there.  It occurred to me, yeah, that they might come looking for me, but not like that.  And I didn’t think they’d recognize you none or even care.  Girls don’t have to show back up as long as they keep dere mouths shut.”
He rubs a hand over his face.
“Do we have a plan for after we get to the cabin?” I ask and Phoenix gives me this … look that I don’t know how to interpret.  My breath catches and I glance away sharply.
“What kinda plan you thinkin’ about?” he asks me, and his voice is so rumbly and low that I feel this tightening in my lower belly, this primal pull that I could almost swear Phoenix is in control of.  He gives a metaphorical tug and my body responds like it’s on a string.
“Not that sort of plan,” I whisper back, touching my fingers absently to my lips.  Phoenix notices and laughs again, that warm easy chuckle that cuts through the night and swirls around me.  “I’m not having sex with you.”
“We’re both naked and wet and aroused and you don’t know think we gonna fuck?” he asks, stopping in the middle of the road and just staring at me with that heavy-lidded gaze of his.  Phoenix’s eyes are the color of starlight through clouds, a soft, muted gray that draws me in even when I don’t want it to.
“I chose him, not you, Phoenix,” I say, and then I hate myself as soon as the words leave my mouth.  My stomach clenches tight, and with the extensive bruises, it hurts.
“I know dat,” he tells me, voice husky and thick.  “But I don’t care.”

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5 out of 5 (exceptional)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

The night of the prom and what should have been a romantic and special night turned into a night they would not forget.  My best friend was beside me when we found my fiancĂ© in the car upside down he died on his own in the ice rain he should have been picking me up for the prom and we should have been having a ball instead we found my fiancĂ© dead, I had to run and get away from the town I lived there was to many memories there and I felt bad for leaving my best friend but I needed to keep away. A year later I returned and things have changed but the one person that has changed is the man that was there for me

This book is about how you deal with grief and what happened to the soul mate you wanted to spend the rest of your life. This book has had me in tears be aware you will cry. I am going to give this book 5/5 

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

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5x ebook copies of Baby Girl

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C.M. Stunich is a self-admitted bibliophile with a love for exotic teas and a whole host of characters who live full time inside the strange, swirling vortex of her thoughts. Some folks might call this crazy, but Caitlin Morgan doesn’t mind – especially considering she has to write biographies in the third person. Oh, and half the host of characters in her head are searing hot bad boys with dirty mouths and skillful hands (among other things). If being crazy means hanging out with them everyday, C.M. has decided to have herself committed.

She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C.M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.

Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to e-mail her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.

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Tour Organised by: Xpresso Book Tours

NBtM & #GIVEAWAY - Hanami (Hanami #1) by V.C. Buckley


New Adult romantic suspense



SAKURA SHINTANI is the Dragon Clan heir-Japan's most notorious crime dynasty. But can she keep this fact a secret from the prying brats of Oniyuri Academy? 

She tries to stay out of their radar while mastering her demons and keeping her murderous temper under control, but having the face of an angel only attracts everyone's attention... including the arrogant heir to Asia's most powerful tycoon, KENJIN KIYOHARA.

He senses the danger, but Sakura is too interesting to be left alone.

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He snatched her backpack and swung it around his shoulder.

“Hey!” she protested, lunging for it.

Jin stepped aside, evading her grasp. He smiled to himself, taking long strides toward his car. He could hear her feet going after him.

Mr. Fujimaru was already by the car, holding the door open. His guards stood waiting like goons by the sidewalk.

“Look,” she said, grabbing his elbow before he could duck into his car, “I don’t care if you rescued me. I am not going with you! I don’t even know you!”

Her words cut right through him.

She lunged for her bag again, but Jin threw it into the farthest corner of the back seat.

He looked at her tilting his head down, their height difference apparent. He thought about what she said.

She doesn’t know me? His forehead creased. Was he really that invisible to her? He felt like someone had just slapped him across the face. He took one long look at her before ducking into his car.

He was confused. Any girl would jump at the chance to be with him—she should have been honored and groveling at his feet for rescuing her! What was wrong with her?

He felt her slide into the seat next to him, her knees slightly touching the side of his thigh. But before he could think, she reached across him, leaning her upper body against his lap to grab her bag. Jin froze.

She straightened back up, clutching her bag to her chest. Her eyes met his with a piercing glare, and a wave of heat suddenly swept over him.

Jin looked away, landing his gaze on her reflection on the car door window. Even with an angry face, she still looked so beautiful.

Jin smiled, tilting his head to the side to get a better look. I should stop this, he told himself, but it was too late. She was too interesting to be left alone.

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Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE

V.C. Buckley will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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- There’s the copyediting hat, the proofreader hat, developmental editor hat, and finally the marketing hat, the PR hat, and sometimes the lawyer hat, the website designer hat or even the publisher hat. It can get daunting and overwhelming in the beginning.  And you will surely be using a great deal of time learning the ropes and educating yourself. But in the end, it will be all worth it after seeing your book on a shelf of your favorite bookstore.

- I thought all I had to do was write the story and make sure it was close to perfect before handing it to my publisher. Nobody warned me about the marketing that follows. Yes, there are author forums and websites you can goggle that tell you what to expect once you publish, but I never understood them at the time, and I wasn’t sure if it was applicable to me. Hence the delay of my marketing and book launch. But once I figured all that out with help from some experienced friends, everything fell into place and I was finally able to sit back and work on my next book.

- Writing can be socially challenging, especially when you’re on a roll. You don’t want to stop, because you won’t be able to concentrate on anything else. And then the days go by unnoticed, and before you know it, it’s been weeks since you last saw a human being that wasn’t a figment of your imagination.

- They say insanity is doing something over and over again expecting a different result. I guess I could be classified as insane while pitching and proposing my manuscript to countless of agents and publishers despite it being rejected by their other counterparts in the beginning. But when I finally took a step back and made changes that were suggested by reliable mentors, the outcome became more favorable. It took me 3 years before I finally found my way in, and having an understanding about how the publishing industry works truly helped.

- I spend so much time with my characters that they start to feel real after a while. I find myself wondering what Kenjin would do in certain situations, or whether Sakura would look good in that dress I saw in the mall. Though writing may be solitary, it doesn’t feel very lonely for long.

- I have a targeted daily word count, and sometimes I find myself measuring time in words. Like if I’m standing in line at the grocery, I’m thinking: “I could’ve done five hundred words by now.” Or like when I’m stuck in traffic, I can’t help but calculate the number of words I could have written during my travel time. It’s crazy, I know, but I also think it’s fun.

- It’s a big literary world out there, and everybody thinks they can write a book-which is probably true. So it now boils down to who can write well. It is your responsibility to hone your craft and push yourself to be better. Take lessons and classes on everything that will aid in your journey.  You have to keep evolve and adapt to the social changes around you especially when you write contemporary stories. As an author, you have to constantly learn.

- It’s easy to get carried away when inspiration strikes and nothing else matters but the words you want to put on paper. So much so, that you forget to eat, and barely move from the same spot.

I once wrote straight for an entire day, only stopping a few times to use the toilet and even then my mind was still running. This wasn’t healthy of course, and I started getting dizzy and having a bad headache. I also got a very stiff neck, which lasted for days, and I ended up not being able to write anything at all because of the pain.

- When you’re finally published, you will never look at books the same way again. I find myself reading the copyright pages and taking in the details of the cover.

After knowing all the hard work that goes into making a book happen, I couldn’t help but feel in awe of all the books around me. It makes me wonder if it went through the same journey as mine did.


- You are “supposed to be” in control of your time. Your productivity relies on how efficient you are, and how strong your will power is. Choosing to write and fill your word count quota is a daily battle, especially when great temptations lie around. Procrastination is your enemy… a really strong one, and you must master it.

V.C. Buckley was born in an isolated government facility and shipped off to an Island in Southeast Asia where she grew up braving tropical thunderstorms and warding off evil villains. At sixteen she was discovered by an agent and jetted off all over the world. Her stories come from gritty moments of her childhood to the glitz of her travels. She now lives in Manila with her husband, two kids and an herb garden that has hijacked her balcony.

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Tour Organised by: Goddess Fish Promotions