Nobody’s Pawn, from Amy McNulty (Never Veil #3)

Hello, lovelies! I’m here today to end this sense of eternal déjà vu from your minds as you come across the blog and similar covers hunt you: welcome to the review for the last volume of the Never Veil series, from brilliant Amy McNulty: Nobody’s Pawn! =D

One would think I would already have run out of comments over the series at this point, but one may not really know how much of a pain in the ass I can be ❤ With love, of course! #Always

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All right, let’s knock protocol down so we can move on to the review. First of all, I received Nobody’s Pawn from Amy herself in exchange for an honest review – thanks so much, from the bottom of my heart! I’ll be forever grateful for having met you and your work ❤ Also, if you didn’t get a chance to take a look at my reviews for books one and two and wish to do so before continuing your journey here with me, be our guest ❤

Nobody’s Goddess (Never Veil #1) | Nobody’s Lady (Never Veil #2)

Ready, set… GO!

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the story

If Noll thought things were bad with the curse, she had to admit that without the curse, they downward tragic. With Jaron’s poor leadership, the men in the village were completely rebellious and deep into existential crisis. Now that the parties slowed down and they realized that being free wasn’t just about the good stuff, most men were feeling lost and helpless. How did you manage freedom if you never knew it in the first place? Noll’s friends were going crazy.

The women weren’t doing much better. Without their other halves helping, the village started to falter and nerves got shattered. Most of them had been left as soon as Ailill suspended marriage contracts and didn’t know how to woo their loved ones back home. Some, like Rosalyn, never would – her man had found love with another man, after all. And it was all Noll’s fault.

At least, she was given one last chance to right at least one wrong: Ailill. Against all odds, the lord is back for yet another life… But has no memories from the time he spent with Noll on his previous life. As things get trickier with the village and Jaron tries to make Jurij the new lord, Noll and Ailill are forced to travel beyond the Never Veil. No matter how great the danger, Noll will be dead and buried before anyone messes up her home – you know, more than herself.

Three people crossed the veil… how many will the kings and queens allow coming back?

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the analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

As I reached the last page of Nobody’s Pawn, I blinked once. Twice. Like, is this for real? No more Never Veil series for me? How am I supposed to keep breathing? Once again, Amy petted me in the head on one moment as I successfully predicted a twist and kicked me in the stomach right after with another twist I would never even dream of – all metaphorically, please! Hahahaha! Seriously, this definitely is one of the best series I’ve had the pleasure of reading this year and it changed my life in levels I can’t even begin to explain. All I have left to say to Amy for now is thanks for the memories and I hope I get to fight with see Noll and Ailill again sometime! Four proud and shiny stars ❤

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Ok, maybe I have some more things to say, haha! Like, talking about the narrative, again in first person style from Noll’s point of view. Also, I have to start by point out how much Noll grows as a narrator in this book – she slowly learned how to recognize the problems around her and to weight sufferings. It may sound stupid to say so, but it made all the difference for the reader: her own problems weren’t oh-so-big anymore, so she gave us a much better picture of what happened in the village. Unfortunately, I was turned really down to see the line “I released a breath I didn’t even realize I was holding” used twice with slight wording change and another time applied to tension on the muscles. I just can’t with this line =( Along other minor problems that will be mentioned later, this is one of the reasons why this book isn’t a full five stars.

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The other minor issues are on the plot – they are three in fact. Let’s start with those, shall we? =)

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To start, I felt like Noll’s sentiments for Ailill evolved too fast without a good explanation – actually, this is a problem present on the last book already, I forgot to point it among all my late-teen angst, sorry! I felt she hated him with the force on the moment and then snap your fingers, suddenly Ailill is the dream man. I understand that some key things did happen rather suddenly, but I think someone as Noll would have been more confused and less prompted to instalove… Oh well, what do I know about feelings? Haha! Moving on.

The second aspect is Noll’s powers. I felt her magical powers were kind of left aside during the series and suddenly poof, she is indeed a goddess in the better sense of the word. I’m not a regular fan of over power characters without a good background behind them, but again, it’s a personal pet peeve. But now that I think of it, all reviews are about pointing how many pet peeves of ours that books can ruse and our rating goes higher the less our feathers are disturbed. Interesting.

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Right, third aspect, back to track! The end itself was too open for my tastes. I felt as if there was a chapter missing, as I still had so many questions and McNulty had already started the acknowledgements. Another personal trace, of course, as there isn’t any rule saying ends need to tie up all strings, but I felt many important answers were missing. Oh, well, I can’t have it all, right? =)

Now, to the part of the plot I really liked: the pace. Once again McNulty’s brilliant writing style made us float from a moment to the other without ever wanting to release the book, no matter how hungry you are or how many messages your boss sends you during your lunchtime #truestory. At the same time, I loved how slowly McNulty eased us through the whole truth about the village and Noll’s world, as having everything dropped out so suddenly isn’t nice at all. As I commented on the first book’s review, this is where we understand how badly gender wars can be to a society – despite the heavy fantasy, all characters are still human and act the part. The choices made are poor and result in an unwelcoming world for both sides. As they learn to unite and ignore what’s between each other’s legs, things start to work and harmony slowly ascends.

Risking sounding repetitive, this is what the Never Veil series is truly all about: choices. Kinship. Loyalty. Responsibility. Maturity. The gender question is necessary and important, the romance is amusing, the adventure is thrilling, but they are all flourishes to McNulty’s true message: your happiness is in your hands alone. You make your own path, no matter if you are aware of it or not. As much as people try to keep you in or out of paths, it’s still your decision to follow their advice and orders. It’s all about the power of our beliefs and what we choose to do with what is given to us.

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Or maybe McNulty just wanted to write a badass book and I got so drunk in Diet Coke I’m already down a really high and wasted path of thinking and saw too much into the small things. It wouldn’t be the first time, haha!

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I’ll spare you all from more of my teen angst and talk about the characters =) To resume it all on one sentence: OH BOY HOW THEY GREW! As I apparently was born without the ability to stick with only one sentence to do anything on life, I’ll just keep going now, ok? Haha! Of course, Noll has the most important and notorious personal growth of the whole series, but many characters reached an important maturity level on this book, especially among the men, and this maturity is the key for them to move on. I mean, the whole village – Noll included – had their asses kicked with Noll’s interventions, but how you deal with it afterwards show your true colors.

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All right, that was cheesy even for my standards, so let’s just peek at some cool quotes from Nobody’s Pawn and be done with this, haha!

 “Because I was always outside, even when I thought I was in.” – Noll

~*~

“Being alone for any period of time can be a torment.” – Ailill

~*~

“Freedom can be a difficult burden.” – Ailill

~*~

“My name sounds so lovely on your tongue. Like it belongs to this special woman who isn’t me, but whom you [Ailill] believe me to be.” – Noll

~*~

“I didn’t realize I could almost faint from embarrassment without even looking at something.” – Noll

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To wrap up this kick ass series, if you like dystopian, fantasy, young adult, gender equality discussions and mind-blowing books, you need to have the Never Veil series in your life ❤

4star

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Thanks so much for reading my review and coming to pay us a visit here on the blog! Also, thanks a million to Amy for sending me this book and for simply being the awesome person she is ❤ I must leave you now for the day, but I’ll be around and, most importantly, I’ve got MANY reviews and posts to read, write and discuss with you all ❤ A round of applause for this beautiful community that book blogging is!

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Until some other time and love you all,

assinatura

Nobody’s Lady, from Amy McNulty (Never Veil #2)

Hello, again! Aren’t you all proud of me for popping up again on your mailbox on such short notice? I knew you would, haha! #what Hope everyone survived Monday – I was barely conscious myself until a few minutes ago, being a creature of the night and darkness – and hope everyone has a great week ahead. Keep calm, Christmas is coming ❤

But I babble, as always. I’m here for much better reasons, I promise: let’s talk about the second book of the Never Veil series, from Amy McNulty: Nobody’s Lady! =D

Annelise, dear, haven’t we already seen a review for this book on this post?

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Yes, my darlings, it’s true. However, I was too awestruck on the first time I’ve read this series to have a coherent and constructive review for this book, so now I’ll present you with a 2.0 one to try to do justice to such a wonderful series! =D Also, if you are experiencing a double sense of déjà vu, I must admit I just posted the review for the first book below, haha! Oops? Sorry not sorry?

Anyway, I have received this book from Chapter by Chapter’s team in exchange for an honest review for their blog tour in April and here I am again to fulfill this duty with extreme pleasure. Thanks so much again, guys! Also, if you didn’t got the memo of the review of the first volume in the series, you may want to read that before we start the second o/

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Nobody’s Goodess – Never Veil #1

Now, let’s go ahead, shall we? =)

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the story

Noll finally got what she wanted: everyone on her village was free to love whomever their hearts truly desire. The men didn’t live to worship their goddesses anymore and women could see beyond their respective men. However, things aren’t going as Noll expected and that’s an understatement.

After so many bad blood between her and Ailill, he politely tossed her away from the castle and after her father and Jurij left her mother and sister, Noll felt politely tossed out from there as well. Now living on her own at an isolate area of the village and woodcarving her own pieces to make a living, all Noll wants is to be forgotten and, perhaps with a bit of luck, forgiven by her people and Ailill.

As she should have guessed, Noll hadn’t luck. Her peaceful days were short-lived as her old childhood friends made way into her heart once again and begged her for help. This time, Noll was sure she could fix things and help people rather than destroy their lives and beliefs. She knew she would do everything in her power to make things right, even if it meant her own demise.

But is Noll prepared to expose others to a danger even bigger than she knows?

the analysis

Just remembering those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

If I had to use only one adjective to describe the Never Veil series, it would be ‘mind-blowing’. Like in scrambled-eggs-made-out-of-what-is-left-from-our-brains blowing. I was already in awe with the first book, but the second took things to the next level. My feelings for Noll got more clear, my love for Ailill only increased and I felt Amy pulling my blood thirst as I got to know the real personalities of some of the men of the village. This book just didn’t make for a full five stars because I was absolutely unable to care for any of the characters 98% of the time (not even Ailill) and because the line “I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding” was used. It was a huge turn off =( All in all, four proud stars just like the last time I’ve read it ❤

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The narrative keeps its style from the last volume: first person from Noll’s perspective. Honestly, at first I was making so many concessions to Noll, but now I just hate her. As I read Nobody’s Lady, I remembered the wisdom of my good old friend Jenny regarding Red Queen. She told me at the time, when I stopped to breathe between rants, that no one would ever read the book because of the main character what’s-her-name. We read it because the girl was trapped into a very interesting situation with even more interesting people and the sad part was that we only got to glimpse at those marvels through what’s-her-name’s eyes. Unfortunately for Victoria Aveyard and luckily for McNulty, I was able to cut Noll much more slack than I did with what’s-her-name in Red Queen and I enjoyed the Never Veil series to the core.

but i have a sweet and forgiving nature endora bewitched

Also, McNulty has the upper hand with me: her writing style is so involving and beautiful. For real. I’ve read four books and a short story by her so far and the writing always sweeps me off my feet and waltzes around with me on its arms.

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me and the Never Veil series, haha!

The plot was, once more, wonderfully done. I have to admit I saw some of the shit hitting the fan before it did, but that was more due people’s skills than a brilliant trail of thinking into this particular story. Since elementary school, I have a special knitted group of friends and those four amazing girls were responsible for my education in predicting shit hitting the fan. Especially as, most of the time, I was the one with the bucket of water to do damage control in the afterwards. However, Noll wasn’t so fortunate: her friends left her before she got a good grip on how to recognize the signs of something foul in the air. I don’t hold her innocence against her as I would have with other characters.

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I was indeed bothered with the pace of the story. Despite the incredible personal growth that Noll experiences, she keeps extremely self-absorbed and really selfish, just too happy about being the village’s martyr when they needed clear leaders and she was one of the two people that knew what was happening to everyone. Also, this volume made me realize I didn’t have a correct idea of the size of the village – while I imagined a place with like, 200 people, we get to know it was about 500 people or so. It’s something minor, but it was quite a shock, haha!

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I didn’t really want to enter more in the character’s merit, but I must. You see, it’s not that they aren’t interesting people, it’s just that I’m mildly a bitch and am hard to woo into liking someone, real or fictional. Ask my cousin’s girlfriend: the girl has been trying to woo me for five years in all ways she can to make me like her because my cousin is like my twin brother, but she still isn’t going anywhere in my good sides.

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I had a fling with Ailill, I admit, but he wasn’t a strong enough male for me to admire and I’m afraid I didn’t fall for the whole amorous triangle thing between Ailill, Noll and Jurij because guess what: I never liked Jurij! #bigsurprise I did like to meet Rosalyn, but her part was too small for my tastes, just like Alvilda’s. As to all the other characters, I just didn’t connect with anyone =(

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As I fleetingly mentioned on the last review, the greatest catch of the Never Veil series is the questioning of society roles and the chaos that comes every time we change something on it. Of course, the happenings on the book are immediate and brutal, but it’s a perfect lesson on definitive gender equality: women and men have to learn they can’t live without each other, that no gender is superior and that everyone is screwed as long as they fight with each other. McNulty’s message is clear: we have to stick together, to unite. Then, we succeed.

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As much as I allow my skeptical side to guide me through life, I like to hope for a society in which labels won’t define us or confine us to anything. A world where it won’t matter if you are men or women, if we are white or black, hetero or homosexual, tall or short, slim or fat. I honestly hope that someday the people who really have the power to bring significant change on a world level wake up to face the facts and help us build a free and less hypocrite society and series like Never Veil help me to feed my hopes even when all facts point to a continued downfall of the whole human society. Maybe someday the right person will come across it and make the difference, who knows?

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All right, things got intense here too fast. I do need a therapist after this post, wow! Sorry, guys! Maybe I should stop listening to all my emo songs from the 2000’s, haha!

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what I have been singing in the shower, oops!

Anyway, let’s just wrap this up with some cool quotes from Noll =)

“So much for convincing him [Jurij] to join the ever-growing list of people who hate me.”

~*~

“I wasn’t so sure happy drinking was anything more than painful drinking under the mask of laughter.”

Also, this volume also won a new cover for the release of the third book, Nobody’s Pawn:

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As it happened with the first, I already liked the first version, but the second nailed it even more! ❤ This model is so beautiful I could cry *–*

Overall, if you like awesome fantasy books with dystopian touches, you have to get your hands on this series ❤ It seriously changed my life.

4star

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Thanks so much once again to everyone who was brave enough to read this review until the very end, as I do realize this IS LONG. Who knew George R. R. Martin syndrome is contagious? Also, once again I’d like to thank the team of Chapter by Chapter for my review copy and Amy herself for all the endless patience with me ❤ You rock, Amy!

Until other time and love you all,

assinatura

Nobody’s Goddess, from Amy McNulty (Never Veil #1)

[alternative title: OMG THIS DYSTOPIAN IS ACTUALLY SO CLEVER OMG!]

Hello, guys! How’s everyone doing on this beautiful Sunday? I had a good amount of free time on Saturday, so I managed to prepare some reviews for this week in advance – go, me! Hahaha! In resume, the next posts will probably be scheduled, but I’m here all the time to talk, so please free to comment your heart away and I shall answer as soon as the time zones allow me to! ❤

But enough jibber jabber, I have important business with this post: dear readers, please meet Nobody’s Goddess, first book from the Never Veil series, by Amy McNulty!

I had read this book earlier this same year, but it was so mind blowing I couldn’t find the words to write a review – also, Amy told me the third book would be out in October, so I allowed my brain to be stunned for months and only made a re-read to accompany the last book in the series. Best decision ever ❤ Oh, I got this particular copy from Chapter by Chapter when I participated in their blog tour for Nobody’s Lady =) Thanks again, guys!

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the story

They say there is a man out there for every woman – in this case, quite literally.

Noll lives on a good sized village with a rather peculiar trait: men’s lives are dedicated to serve women. Or, more specifically, their respective goddess. Until they have their love returned for the women of their dreams, the men have to walk around in masks.

This is only the tip of the iceberg: women can choose to reject their men, but they will have to live alone and knowing no other men will ever love her. Also, if a woman without direct blood ties sees a man that has yet to have his love returned without a mask, the man will vanish within air.

Things have been like this forever, but Noll is sure it’s some kind of curse. She never quite fit in with the village girls, preferring to run wildly with the small boys, playing at wrestling and wars. One by one, the curse claimed her friends. As they found their goddesses, they abandoned Noll and everyone else. All her friends, except Jurij. Her beloved Jurij. Her sister’s man.

As things get out of control in Noll’s life with the approach of Jurij’s marriage, Noll accidentally falls into the waters of her favorite cavern… And finds herself at her own village, thousands of years ago. She finally has the chance to change her destiny, but at what cost?

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the analysis

Just remembering those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

Can I just start by saying OMG? Because I think that’s an exact definition for Nobody’s Goddess from beginning to end, seriously. This book stole my breath away twice in all the right moments and the cliff hanger on the last chapter would have killed me both times if I didn’t have the next book on me as well, haha! I’m not a huge dystopian fan, but this book has brilliant dystopian touches mixed with a lot of fantasy and OMG Amy McNulty is just totally ingenious writing anything she wants to! I promise I’ll gather my shit together and start my analysis, but this was a high-five stars book! ;D did you see what I did there?

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Ahem, now that I’m more controlled, let’s talk about narrative: first person from Noll’s perspective. I can sense some jaws dropping from people that follow me for a while, as I just gave five stars to a book in first person and be prepared to feel your jaws dropping lower: I fought with Noll almost all the time. Our love/hate relationship was epic and extreme, but still I loved the book. The story was just too good, even with all the rage in Noll’s head, haha! The pace of the story is also really good and very fluid.

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The plot was brilliant. McNulty plays with her reader, dividing her twists in two categories: the ones you see coming and the ones that take advantage of your self-satisfaction at being right about the sequence of happenings in the story and push you to your knees in the ground until your face is touching the earth too. She understood so well my double personality about being able to guess and being unable to guess things, I just want to hug her. Tight. And never let go.

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The fantasy/dystopian aspect of the story was marvelously developed and McNulty created an unique world, discussing at the whole time the genres wars. Are women better than men? Are men better than women? No, for both things. Each time one genre has too much control over Noll’s village, things go terribly wrong and I loved it. This whole series is a lesson in human equality of all kinds, but I’ll develop this argument better on my review for the third book, haha!

Now, characters. I hate Noll like, with a force. The teen angst present in this book was, in my opinion, her best moment, as it was allied with ignorance and made her bold besides stubborn. I also didn’t care for her family or Jurij – in fact, I hate Jurij too, more than Noll. The only characters I loved in this book were the lord, whose name will be kept in secret due spoilers, and Alvilda ❤

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I’m a difficult soul to bound, you see.

Also, I wanted to comment on the change of covers of the series right before the release of Nobody’s Pawn, the last volume:

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I particularly already loved the first cover, but the new version is so much more passionate! I loved the model and the art ❤ In fact, I won’t shut up about it on Amy’s inbox, haha! She must have already blocked me at this point or started screaming just to see the word “cover” on texts, haha!

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Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that McNulty brought me something new when I got to read Nobody’s Goddess. It wasn’t about Noll’s teen angst, it wasn’t about the love, it wasn’t even about the gender equality. It all came down to what we decide to do with the choices we are given. No one ever thought they had a choice to fight the system, but Noll chose exactly that. No women had ever dared to confess their loves for other man that weren’t their own and Noll chose to do exactly that. No one ever questioned the way things were before and things only got to change when Noll set them into motion. Don’t get me wrong, she’s one of the most selfish people I have ever seen, but she is brave, she is daring and she changed her fate.

I honestly think that, in a time of so many uncertainties for the whole world, it’s important to remember we are still free to choose, even when everything points you to a “choiceless” path. If we think hard enough, we can always find the perfect solution for our sufferings – we just have to accept the consequences of our actions later. It’s easier to say you won’t take action because there isn’t anything you can do to make things better, but trust me when I say the only thing we can’t fix is death. Most of the time we are indeed powerless in our environments and it sucks on galaxies levels, but Noll shows us that, if we keep ourselves centered and keep trying to do the right thing, we will eventually have what we want. Not because life rewards us, but because we conquered it.

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Wow, am I not incredibly deep those last few days? Haha! Sorry, I’ll end up making you guys wish I wasn’t back at all, haha! Maybe I just need to go back to therapy or to write a self-help book and win shitloads of money. Whichever comes first, haha!

I chose some quotes from the book to woo you into reading it, so let’s finish with them =)

“It wasn’t much, but I controlled what the wood would be. And no one told me I didn’t really get to choose.” – Noll

~*~

“A few well-placed stabs from Elgar The Blade to his abdomen might ‘improve my temper’.” – Noll

~*~

“I was cursed by the gift of choice.” – Noll

~*~

“I could live without love. I’d accepted that by now. I wasn’t sure I could live without freedom.” – Noll

~*~

“I feel compelled to do anything I so much as think you want done. It is a battle within me not to slit my own throat at this very moment.” – The lord

~*~

And this winning lines between Noll and the lord of the castle:

The Lord: You were born to torment me.

Noll: I think the same of you.

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Overall, if you like YA, Fantasy, Dystopian and heart gripping plots, you have to add Nobody’s Goddess to your bookshelves right now! ❤

5star

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Thanks for bearing with the philosopher me once again and for reading yet another overly long review! George R. R. Martin rubbed off a little in me since the challenge, ugh. See you around and love you, guys!

assinatura