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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Blabber

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Hardback
465 pages
YA Fantasy
Read Jan 5 – Jan 11
Spoiler-free blabber

Hype is a dangerous thing.

I had heard many, many good things about this book before I picked it up, and with King of Scars coming out at the end of this month, I figured I should get to it beforehand in case events within are mentioned in passing in the next series. I am a fan of the Grisha trilogy – all the books in there hover around 4 stars, give or take – and the majority of people seem to actually like this book more than that series. So going in, I was pretty pumped.

Unfortunately, I guess I was too pumped. I ended up liking the book, but that thing, that ‘oomph’ that everyone felt that made them absolutely adore it.. I didn’t feel it. As stated, the book was good. I liked it. I didn’t love it, though.

I liked the plot. I loved the world. I liked the pacing. I liked the characters… mostly. The biggest thing that killed this book for me though was the characters’ ages. I knew going into the book that it was young adult and therefore I would be reading about seventeen year olds. But even going in with that mindset, I still couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to get passed that, well, a bunch of seventeen year olds were breaking into a military stronghold deemed impenetrable. The method they used to get in as well, seemed a bit farfetched to me. I just kept sitting there thinking ‘Someone at some point in time must have tried that method. Like, how long has this place been around and nobody tried this?‘ But apparently, this group of people in particular, these teenagers, were way, way smarter than any military strategist or security personnel with decades of experience. Who knew.

I guess my point is that, after the build-up of the stakes and the danger and whatnot, the actual exhibition kinda… fell flat, which leads me into my other issue with the book. Whether it was the writing or the fact that I couldn’t suspend my disbelief, I just couldn’t feel the intensity of the situation. The stakes are basically life and death, in the long term. You’d think that would have me going ‘oh no oh no oh no are they gonna make it ugh ugh’, but it really didn’t. The situation, which should have had me on the edge of my seat, lacked any sort of feeling of urgency. And I think this reason specifically is why I rated it lower than people tend to. I wasn’t able to get myself to feel for the characters or the situation. There was no sense of impending doom, no anxiety build up about what would happen should they fail. It just.. wasn’t there.

Also, I don’t like Kaz. He reminds me too much of Kvothe from the Kingkiller Chronicles and I hate Kvothe. Kaz had the vibe of ‘I’m good at this stuff just because’, and it drove me bonkers. The second I realized the similarities, I actually said, “Oh nooooooo,” out loud. Kaz has this reputation for doing the gritty stuff, for doing any job, for being nefarious and cruel and yada yada. You don’t really get to see that, though. Sure it’s alluded to, but it really felt like ‘I’m telling you this stuff so I don’t actually have to write it and do the character development’. He had development during the story, which was ok, but his background didn’t really show through. I knew he was supposed to be this tough guy but like.. it didn’t really seem like it.

But! Like I said, I did like this book. What lacked for me in immersion, intensity and Kaz was made up for by just being back in the Grisha universe again. As stated, I like the world this novel takes place in. The world building for the city, the island, and the other countries mentioned are pretty neat. The magic system is super interesting and its use in this book had a different dynamic than in the Grisha trilogy, so it was nice seeing it from another perspective. I feel like so much more could take place here, and going by the new series that’s coming out soon, I’m gonna get my wish.

The side characters as well – basically everyone except Kaz, I really liked. I liked Nina in particular, because she had the same feelings towards Kaz as I do. Because of that, it makes me question him – maybe he was supposed to be written as an insufferable butt on purpose and will get called out on it in book two? Who knows. If that happens though, then you can bet your butt I’ll be singing its praises. The other side characters too were rather entertaining. I really like the character dynamics between Nina and Matthias, though I think the reason for the strife between them is a bit farfetched. The reason the author used to get them not quite liking each other is, well, ridiculous. The reasoning given for Nina doing what she did was that she had no other choice. She totally had another choice. There were so many other choices. It’s a minor issue though, I guess. I guess. The interactions between Jesper and Wylan too, I really enjoyed. I think those two characters are my favorite overall, and I hope to see them grow and develop in the next book.

And I think the best part about this book was the pacing. While I didn’t really feel the intensity of the situation, the pace of the writing kept me reading at a steady rate. Nothing felt slow or unnecessary, nothing felt rushed. The pacing saved this book for me. I really appreciate it when an author can keep a steady sense of ‘keep reading’ in me throughout the book, whether or not it’s during an action scene. It doesn’t happen super often, so it was so nice that it did.

Overall, this book was good. It wasn’t great, as I had been led to believe, but it was good. I liked it.

3.75/5 stars

 

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Posted by on 01/12/2019 in blabbers, Books, Review

 

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New Year’s Book Tag

Book Tag

Hello, a tag today! This tag was created by Heather @bookables and updated to reflect the end of 2018. I wasn’t tagged, but whatevs!

1. How many books are you planning to read in 2019?

Probably 50. I tend to do 50, but this past year I set my goal to 40, anticipating a slower reading year. Then surprised myself by reading 80-something books. So… 50. Hopefully more, but that’ll be the min.

2. Name 5 books that you didn’t get to this year but want to make a priority in 2019.

Hey hey, I just made a post about this on Wednesday. Go look at that. :”D

3. What genre do you want to read more of?

Fantasy! It’s already my most-read genre, but I want MOAR.

4. Name 3 non book related goals for 2019.

I only have one: Don’t set any new year’s resolutions. Sure I have reading goals, and I do have personal goals, but I find if I take one of these goals and make it specifically a new year’s resolution, I tend to fail it miserably. I’d rather just keep everything to myself and not associate it with the new year. They’ll be more likely to succeed that way.

5. What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read?

Hood by Stephen Lawhead. I’ve probably had this book for ten years. I don’t even remember when I bought it. I have the second book as well, so… hopefully this year? Maybe? We’ll see.

Hood (King Raven, #1)

6. One word that you’re hoping 2019 will be:

Happy

7. Tag a friend!

Katy! DO IT.

 
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Posted by on 12/28/2018 in Book Tag, Books

 

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Christmas Song Book Tag

Blogmas 2018

Hello, a tag today! This tag was created by Hailey in Bookland.

1. “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

My gut instinct is to say ‘The Darkling’ but I’m going to try to be original, at least.

Image result for tomura shigaraki imgur

So I’m going to go with Tomura Shigaraki from My Hero Academia. He’s not a cleanly polished villain – he’s prone to temper tantrums and is a bit of an unpredictable element as far as his behavior goes. I like him though, don’t ask me why.

2. “All I Want for Christmas is You” Which book to you most hope to see under your Christmas tree?

I think I’m gonna save this answer for later. I plan on doing a whole ‘books I hope Santa brings’ list.

3. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.

Izuki Midoriya from My Hero Academia for sure. (Are you seeing a theme here). In the beginning of the series, Midoriya has his fighting spirit, but that’s about it. No quirk, no power, nothing. Throughout the series though, he gets the opportunity to change that.

My Hero Academia, Vol. 1 (My Hero Academia, #1)

4. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” a) Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list? b) Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?

Naughty list: Johan from Monster. Being a serial killer will do that.

Nice list: Rapskal from the Rain Wild Chronicles. He’s such a precious little bean.

Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 1: Herr Dr. Tenma (Naoki Urasawa's Monster, #1)Dragon Keeper (The Rain Wild Chronicles, #1)

5. “Frosty the Snowman” Which book just melts your heart.

All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John. Morbid, but hey, the heart wants what the heart wants.

All My Friends Are Dead

6. “Feliz Navidad” Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

Any chance I have to mention Wotakoi, I will. It takes place in Japan.

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol 1 (Otakoi: Otaku Can't Fall in Love?!)

7. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Which holiday themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?

Like, physically? I mean, I guess I could chuck copies of A Christmas Carol at people.

A Christmas Carol

8. “Sleigh Ride” Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with 

Temeraire from His Majesty’s Dragon, because spending anytime with a dragon at all that I know wouldn’t eat me and would actually enjoy reading books with me would be super neato.

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)

9. “Baby it’s Cold Outside” Which book that you didn’t like would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?

I feel like if I truly got cold enough to warrant burning books for warmth, that eventually none of them would escape. Wouldn’t matter if I liked them or not.

10. “Do you hear what I hear” Which book do you think everyone should read?

This is a hard question. There’s no book that would fit everyone. Hm hm hm… I don’t know. Everything I come up with, I immediately come up with a type of reader that likely wouldn’t like it. I wouldn’t want someone to read something if I know they wouldn’t enjoy it. Augh, help me out.


That’s it! Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 12/20/2018 in Blogmas, Book Tag, Books, Uncategorized

 

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Three Quotes Challenge – Day 1 | Nanowrimo edition

Book Tag

Hello! Today a tag! I was tagged by the Orangutan Librarian, so thanks friend! 😀

What they did was rather interesting – instead of just random quotes, they used favorite first lines from books! So I’m going to twist it as well, but in a different way. For those of you who haven’t seen my word vomit lately, I’m participating in Nanowrimo this year. Therefore, I’ve decided to post quotes that inspire me or relate to the story I am writing.

Rules

• Thank the person who nominated you
• Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
• Nominate three new bloggers each day

(trigger warning for suicide)


One of my characters goes through.. well, he goes through some pretty difficult things. But, don’t worry, he’s the hero of my story.

Today I tag: Hadeer @CaireneLibrarian, Sarah @DragonsandZombies and Katy @BookbinderWay

See you next time, peeps!

 
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Posted by on 11/10/2018 in Book Tag

 

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Disney Book Tag

DisneyBook Tag

So! At the time of posting this, I’m at Disney – this is my first time there. I’m going with my 11 year old nephew and I’m not sure who’s more excited about it. I figured posting the Disney Book Tag was fitting. I saw this tag on Sarika @BetweenThePages blog, so go check her out, peeps.

The Little Mermaid: a character who is out of their element, a ‘fish out of water’

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)

Louis from Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice. Louis is the vampire being interviewed, and at the beginning of his story, he tells of how he became a vampire and what an awful teacher he had. So a lot of the learning he had to do was done on his own. You can tell he realized that early on – that his teacher was terrible – and that he resented the guy for it.

Cinderella: a character who goes through a major transformation

Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, #1)

Malta from the Liveship Traders series by Robin Hobb does this. In fact, a lot of Robin Hobb’s characters do this – this large, complicated development arc. It’s part of the reason why I adore her books so much. When Malta is first introduced, she’s a young girl, obsessed with romance and drama and picturing herself the star of some plot. As the book progresses though, she is forced to face what’s in front of her, and she learns and grows from it. By the end of the trilogy, she was one of my favorite characters.

Snow White: a book with an electric cast of characters

Saiyuki Reload, Volume 9

The characters from Saiyuki fit this. A half demon, the legendary Monkey King, a man transformed, and a trigger-happy priest with a smoking habit. Saiyuki is such a good series, if you haven’t picked it up, I recommend it.

Sleeping Beauty: a book that put you to sleep

Daredevil, Vol. 1

I think out of the eleven books I have marked as ‘did not finish’, Daredevil volume 1 by Kevin Smith was the most boring. It’s really the only one I dropped out of just pure disinterest. I got I think… 40% into it? Maybe?

The Lion King: a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood

I have to copy Sarika’s answer and say ‘every fantasy character ever’. If at the beginning of a book you see a character’s parent or role model or something that seems like a nice person? Boom, dead. Yay motivation and plot devices.

Beauty and the Beast: a beast of a book that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3)

Any Robin Hobb book could fit this, but since I’ve already mentioned her books in this, I’m going with the books in the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks. They’re all chunkers, the one I selected as a visual is the longest so far, sitting at 846 pages. Takes me a while to get through them, but they’re so, so worth it.

Aladdin: a character who gets their wish granted, for better or worse

Orange: The Complete Collection, Volume 1

The characters from Orange do – the story follows a group of friends in high school, where the main character receives a letter from her future self, warning that one of the friends commits suicide in the future, and to do everything she can to prevent it. It’s great, and I loved it.

Mulan: a character who pretends to be something or someone they are not

Snow Crash

Pretty much everyone in Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. The book takes place partially in a virtual world, and everyone is hiding behind avatars.

Toy Story: a book with characters you wish would come to life

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)

The cast from Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series. Why? Because it’d mean we’d have dragons in this world. 😀 Nice ones, even.

Disney Descendants: your favourite villain or morally ambiguous character 

I recently just did a post on villains, so I’ll just link to that. The top one wears a hand on his face. He’s neato.


And that’s it! If you’d like to do this tag, consider yourself tagged! Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 10/28/2018 in Book Tag, Books

 

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Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft | Blabber

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
Fantasy
383 pages
The Books of Babel, Book 1
Read July 21 – Sept 8, 2018
Spoiler-free blabber

Reading Senlin Ascends felt like reading an epic poem without the poem.

It had the lone ‘hero’ going on a huge journey to achieve a goal, it had lands of intrigue, it had allegory, it had beliefs held dear by the main character shattered over and over, it had everything, man.

I adored this book.

Back in March of this year, I completed the r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge, and was lucky enough to win an ebook of my choosing as a prize, given to me by one of the sponsors of the bingo game. I chose this one, having heard about it briefly, just enough to pique my interest. And man, I’m glad I chose it – I had never really read an ebook with so much gusto before. And I admit – I was definitely reading it at times I probably shouldn’t: During restroom breaks at work, during car rides when I was the passenger even though reading in the car makes me sick, during down time at restaurants, whenever I could. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The writing was beautiful, the main character had me rooting for him, and the world that Josiah Bancroft created is absolutely fascinating.

The book, if you haven’t heard of it, follows a man named Thomas Senlin, who upon arriving at the foot of The Tower of Babel loses his wife in the crowd, and has to ascend the tower to find her before she’s lost forever. The premise is quite simple, but the world created within the confines of the tower is quite rich. The tower itself is a feat of imagination. So high that only rumor tells if there is a top and what is there – each level, called a ringdom, is quite different from the one below it. Whether it be The Parlor, a level full of actors and performances and you can’t tell who’s playing a role and who’s not, or The Baths, a level rich in soap and hotels and conspiracy, each one feels as real and gritty as sand in your fingernails. I really enjoyed the depth of setting each ringdom had. Each felt like its own fully developed world with lore attached to it, even though they were connected by stairways and tunnels. Everytime Senlin arrived at a new one, it was like reading about a brand new place. The book also had a light steampunk feel to it – airships carried passengers from level to level, using air currents as their only source of movement, which I thought was pretty neat.

Senlin himself was a good character to follow. His development arc was nice and complicated. At the beginning, he was so full of awe for the tower. Coming with his new wife to the base of the tower on honeymoon, his story begins with him full of whimsical tales and beliefs about how wonderful the tower is and how splendid each level must be. Like all great tales though, he finds his beliefs called into question over and over again, each revelation of truth like a slap to the face. Characters he meets on each level only add to the complexity of the story – why they’re there, how they got there, why they stopped in that ringdom specifically. Each character gave Senlin added depth through the way they interacted and how each of their meetings came to an end. All of it felt like I was reading a giant metaphor. The allegory was strong in this book – it felt like a book I would read for a literature class in college. I could fill the margins with notes if I wanted. Heck, I want a physical copy now to do just that. When I continue this series (which I will be doing) I want to switch to physical copies so I can love on them without needing to worry about a battery charge.

Here is an example of the writing – a quote from near the beginning of the book. The context is Senlin is at the base of the tower, and has just witnessed the death of several people around him:

He especially delighted in the old tales, the epics in which heroes set out on some impossible and noble errand, confronting the dangers in their path with fatalistic bravery. Men often died along the way, killed in brutal and unnatural ways; they were gored by war machines, trampled by steeds, and dismembered by their heartless enemies. Their deaths were boastful and lyrical and always, always more romantic than real. Death was not an end. It was an ellipsis. There was no romance in the scene before him. There were no ellipses here. The bodies lay upon the ground like broken exclamation points.

I just. I love it. This is the first of many quotes I marked, and it’s the one that made me fall in love with Senlin Ascends. From this quote on, I was smitten. The whole book is littered with passages like this, and each one had my heart going ba-dump-ba-dump. Josiah Bancroft is a wordsmith and with just this one book, one of my favorite authors. He could publish his grocery list and I’d read it.

Another enjoyable aspect about this book is the tone it took – in addition to the characters and plot, the tone just made this world seem huge. Far bigger than a story set in one tower should feel. Repeated references to endless exploration of the tower, conversation and speculation on what and who is at the top, speculation of who built it and when, the way the people live their lives in each ringdom, almost in isolation of the others. It made each level feel like the size of a country instead of a city, and it gave the book a feeling of vastness that could allow for many, many more books set here to be written. When I said that it felt like I was reading an epic poem, I was not exaggerating. It just all feels so big.

I feel like there’s going to be a fantastic story told here, as Senlin continues his plight, and I’m here for it man. The next book is out and the third is expected next year. I’m hoping each lives up to this one, and improves on it (thought, that’ll be hard to do considering how good this one is already…).

I know I’ve done nothing but gush, but man, this book is so good. I. Loved. It. New all-time favorite, fan for life.

5/5 stars

Ps. I mentioned in a tweet that I was reading this book and Josiah Bancroft liked it. I may or may not have peed.

Happy reading!

 

 
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Posted by on 09/23/2018 in blabbers, Books, Review

 

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Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas | Blabber

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas
YA Fantasy
Read Aug 23 – 27th
648 pages
Throne of Glass, Book 4
Spoiler-free blabber

I feel like these books are hard to review. Objectively, there are a lot of problems with them, but subjectively, I tend to adore them.

To prove my words, I wrote that top bit there and then I sat here for five minutes staring at my screen, trying to figure out how to start. Hm…

Queen of Shadows was a book on my 10 in 2018 list, the second year in a row it appeared there. I read the first three books rapid fire back in January of 2016 and then got distracted. This read was the second attempt. I picked it up once in 2017 and got a chapter into it before realizing I had forgotten character relations, major plots points, and all sorts of things from the first three. I ended up watching a spoilery in-depth review of Heir of Fire before jumping into it this time, and while my memory was spotty on it for a while, it definitely was a better experience.

Going into this one, I had heard it was a party-splitter, that some fans adored it and others really, really disliked it. I read it, waiting and waiting for this opinion-altering event to occur, and… I never really found one. Overall themes in the book could be off-putting I suppose, but I don’t think I quite understand why this book is so disliked by some when obviously they had liked the first three. I don’t really see how it was so different overall. So, if you are in the ‘didn’t like this’ party, enlighten me, because I am truly curious what I missed.

I think my favorite thing about this book and Maas’s books in general, is how easy they are to read. I tend to pick them up when I’m in a reading slump, because without fail I fly through them. I think I read this 650 page book in… four days? Maybe five? I really buzzed through it, and considering I’d only been reading manga beforehand because of  the slump, I’d say that’s pretty good.

I’ve mentioned in past reviews of the series that Celaena or Aelin or whatever her name is, is not my favorite character. She rubs me the wrong way. I feel like her abilities are too much for the amount of training she’s received compared to her enemies, some obviously much older and much more experienced. I guess she just comes across as a bit unbelievable to me. Though, she’s nowhere near as bad as my favorite Mary Sue. And honestly, I think I liked her more this book than I have in any of its predecessors. Originally in book one, she was very immature – threw tantrums, was vindictive. I think seeing her actually have interpersonal relations with people has helped. And I very much like ‘Aelin’ more than ‘Celaena’. Her character development has been going pretty well and maybe one day, I’ll actually like her. Maybe.

So, I mentioned there are problems with the book objectively, the main character being a bit over-inflated being one. Another is the age of many of the main players and leaders of factions. Everyone from the resistance to the assassins to the guards are in their late teens or early twenties, with the exception of the centuries-old fae who is somehow able to get along with everyone with no maturity or generational-gap issues. He just… fits right in, but you would think he’d have more problems adjusting. A third is the eventual almost-guaranteed attraction of every male character to Aelin. At one point or another, all of them decide they’re crushing on her or more, regardless of their age. Heck, even her cousin gets territorial over her (though not for romantic reasons, don’t worry, it’s not gross). A fourth is all the ‘alpha-male’ bull-doody that results from issue three. Aelin herself calls it out, but she does it in a way that says ‘Oh you guys. Quit fighting over little ol’ me’ and never actually addresses the root of the behavior or why it’s weird for them all to be posturing to each other over this 19-year-old woman.

So yes, objectively, issues. None of these issues are particularly new, they’ve been in the series since book one and just growing broader with the addition of more characters. Do they bug me? Yes. Are they enough for me to dislike the series? Weirdly, no. But, I can see why they’d be too much for some people. I feel like if I wasn’t able to fly through the books as easily as I am, these issues would be much more of a factor for me. But I at least want to acknowledge them.

Plot-wise I rather liked this book. I liked the expansion of the world, I liked the subplots of the side characters. I like Chaol and I really like Manon. The witch subplot chapters were some of my favorites, and I really like how she’s been developing and how her thirteen are actually starting to get personalities. When she was introduced last book, I found her interesting but her chapters were kinda flat. Aside from Manon herself, none of the characters in them were really given any opportunity to show that they were more than cardboard cut-outs. This book allowed for that, and I think that Manon’s First is one of my favorite characters in the series now. She’s pretty great.

Another thing I liked seeing was the friendship that developed between Aelin and one of the female characters that was mentioned earlier in the series and then forgotten about. She reappears in this book and actually gets a good dose of character development. It’s always nice to see a movie or book pass the Bechdel test, man. Just because a book has a main female lead doesn’t mean it passes, and it’s a bit sad that fails are so common. I think this relationship in particular is what made me dislike Aelin less in this book than I have in the others. I feel like this friendship was a much needed dynamic, and I hope it lasts.

And finally, as mentioned above, I flew through it. The writing was compelling enough to keep me reading for over a hundred pages a day, and that is the main reason why I liked it so much. The book was fun. It was enjoyable to read, and I found myself unable to put it down. It made me wanna break my book buying ban so I could go get the fifth one (but I didn’t, I’m making myself wait).

So overall, despite the issues this book has, I did rather like it, and I’m looking forward to the fifth one.

4.25/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 09/08/2018 in blabbers, Books, Review

 

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