#BookReview : Mightier Than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles #5) by Jeffrey Archer #MightierThantheSword #CliftonChronicles #HistoricalFiction

Mightier Than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles #5) by Jeffrey Archer
Publication date : February 24th 2015
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press
Genre : Historical Fiction
Pages : 400
Stars : ★★★★☆

A bomb goes off, but how many passengers on the MV Buckingham have lost their lives? You will find out only if you read the opening chapter of Mightier than the Sword.



When Harry arrives in New York, his publisher Harold Guinzberg tells him he has been elected as the next president of English PEN, which will give him the opportunity to launch a campaign for the release of a fellow author, Anatoly Babakov, who is languishing in a Russian Gulag in Siberia. His crime, writing a book Uncle Joe, which gives an insight into what it was like to work for Josef Stalin. So determined is he to see Babakov released, Harry puts his own life in danger.



Emma Clifton, now Chairman of Barrington Shipping, is having to face the repercussions of the IRA bombing her ship.
Some board members feel she should resign while others, including Sebastian Clifton, newly elected to the board, are determined to see she remains as Chairman.



Giles Barrington is now a Minister of the Crown, and looks set for high office, but a trip to East Germany does not end as a diplomatic success, and once again Giles’ political career is thrown off balance by none other than Major Alex Fisher. Fisher decides to stand against Giles at the forthcoming general election. But this time who wins?



Sebastian Clifton asks his girlfriend Samantha to marry him. She happily accepts, but then later changes her mind after she discovers what Seb has been up to behind her back.



The book ends with two court trials: one at the high court in London, a libel case pitting Emma Clifton against Lady Virginia Fenwick; while another, a show trial, takes place in Russia after Harry has been arrested as a spy. Thus continues book five of the Clifton Chronicles, Jeffrey Archer’s most accomplished work to date, with all the trademark twists and turns that have made him one of the most successful authors in the world.

Previous books I read in series:

Book 1 Only Time Will Tell
Book 2 The Sins of the Father
Book 3 Best Kept Secret 
Book 4 Be Careful What You Wish For

Mightier Than the Sword was perfect title for this book. Another stellar book in this compelling series that revolved around two family and their never ending problems. It was about, good vs bad, don’t get greedy, sticking to morals and principles will always be rewarding, fight for yourself at right time, fate, family, love and passion.

Writing was as usual gripping, engaging and fast paced that demanded attention in all chapters. Mightier Than the Sword, told from multiple perspective from Harry and Emma, Giles, Sebastian and Lady Virginia’s POV, was set in Bristol and London, occasional visits in U.S. but this time Harry travels to Russia and Giles to Berlin that changed their life.

Mightier Than the Sword started in 1964 picking up from the end of last book, Be Careful What You Wish For, and ended in 1970. It’s clear from the synopsis, no main character died in the blast on Buckingham’s maiden voyage but I will not tell more or what damage it caused. I was thinking how I should write the review as I don’t want say much but at the same time I don’t want end up saying little. Moreover, lot was going on in this book, turn after turn and many surprises. Each main character was facing enemy in this book and each were given equal attention so I will divide my review in what they were facing, what was good and bad with their situation.

As soon as Emma returned from states she was facing Libel trial filed by Virginia moreover some member of board were plotting against her and that included a new enemy Desmond Muller. It felt like she was running out of luck this time. Desmond was unscrupulous, clever and sharp enemy who gave Emma and company hard time and his timing of final strike was fabulous. For first time I feared for Emma. Court room session didn’t help in reducing that fear as Virginia’s lawyer was brilliant. I was curious to see how she was going to fight both of them at the same time and this time if she lose, she was going to lose big- her position, reputation and company.

Emma evolved a lot over four previous books of this series. Her impression as first woman chairman of public company was formidable. She was admiring, ethical, honest person with high morals and principles. She wouldn’t do wrong with anybody but at the same time wouldn’t let anyone harm her and her family.

Sebastian was fighting Adrian Sloane, his boss who planned to take over Farthings bank. This initial part was tense. Sloane was smart and most dishonest and greedy man. His plan was great, with time in his favor and took over the bank real fast that made Seb resign from his job but he was determined to get back to him. I was curious to see how he was going to fight him with no job and less money.

Seb was exceptionally brilliant but in getting revenge and money fast, living accomplished life, he messed up his personal life. Over the course of this book, he learned and developed a lot. He took one step at a time and climbed financial ladder, took all the opportunity at right time. It was looking like all Cedric taught to him finally came to its fruition when he saw name of Hakim Bishra. I liked that man and I loved how game of fighting Sloane turned from this point.

Giles was not happy family man in this. His son died at age 3 and that broke him and Gwyneth apart. He respected Gwyneth but love was drifting and when he went to Berlin to attend conference as a minister of Crown, he made a mistake that made him resign and once again fight election. Time was also not in his favor as again he had to fight against Fisher. I was curious to see what was the result of election and how would he face consequences of his mistakes. He was best example of sportsmanship and I loved him for being resilient and following his heart. I enjoyed every word and pages when he fought election and later when he supported Emma, but Gwyneth was best and I hope he don’t regret letting her go.

Harry was facing most dangerous situation of all. To begin with he was now president of English PEN and started a campaign for release of Anatoly Babakov, Russian novelist who was imprisoned for 20 years for writing a book on Stalin, titled Uncle Joe. He was curious to find out what was in the book and why Russian government destroyed every copy on publication day of Uncle Joe. He passionately felt for Babakov. But fight for his release meant fight against whole Russian government. First he went to Russia as a guest speaker of PEN- he delivered mind blowing speech (it was as good as Gile’s election speeches) and some work from cabinet secretary (which turned out real interesting). I didn’t know he had photographic memory until this book! Why it wasn’t mentioned before! He discovered location one last copy of Uncle Joe and had to visit Russia again but without protection secretary. Isn’t it just getting just better and better? I was curious to find out how he would locate it and how he would get away with or maybe not? What will happen if Russian caught him? This part was best on whole book.

I enjoyed every tricky situations every characters faced, how they fought their enemies- who won one or two small battle as well that made me worry for characters- and how they came out of it. I loved each of them for not losing hope, sought each other’s help and advice, fought keeping their morals and principles intact that ultimately rewarded them with best result.

I loved reading scenes that were based on historical events like Berlin wall and The Stasi of the East German communist government, imprisonment of Russian writer, and Stalin’s biography through Uncle Joe which was most intriguing.

Climax made me anxious, laugh, curious and awed all at the same time. Harry’s escape, Emma’s trial, and enemies’ plan all was pumping the adrenaline at best. I was holding my breath when finally end neared and then I cursed, ‘Damn Cliffhangers!’ At 3:00 a.m. I got up from bed pulled out sixth book and read few chapters to see the real end. And I tell you it was amazing.

Why 4 stars-

Honestly, I’m tired seeing Virginia and Fisher again. Cliftons and Barringtons are so nice and always do right thing so why they are having lot of enemies? It’s like wherever they go they made enemy. From 1919 to 1970 there wasn’t a year they didn’t face problem! It’s really far fetching.  

Overall, Mightier Than the Sword was gripping, fast paced historical fiction and family saga, full of twist and turn and drama. I definitely recommend this to fans of Jeffrey Archer.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Links: Amazon (IN) | Amazon (US) | Amaon (UK) | Book Depository

What do you think about the book? Have you read this already or any book in this series or same author? Have you read a book in which character has photographic memory?

Happy Reading!

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#CoverReveal : The space between time by Charlie Laidlaw @claidlawauthor

Hello Readers! Today is the cover reveal for The space between time by Charlie Laidlaw. Check out the detail and the wonderful cover of this contemporary fiction below.

Book Details:

The space between time by Charlie Laidlaw
Expected Publication Date: June 20th 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Dark Comedy

Back cover synopsis:

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…

Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.

But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.

The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

Synopsis:

The Space Between Time is a dark comedy about love and loss.  It’s also about memory and how a childhood remembered can years later falsely distort what we feel about those closest to us.

Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world.  She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation.  Tom Cruise is almost an adopted uncle.

She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist whose theories on the universe have been much ridiculed.

The story centres on Emma’s childhood in Edinburgh and East Lothian, and the overpowering event of her mother’s death, apparently in a freak lighting strike.  

However, the secret that only Emma knows is that her mother’s death was no accident.  It precipitates a suicide attempt, and estrangement from her father.

Emma stumbles through university and finds work as a journalist in Edinburgh, although she is once more becoming mentally unstable and, following the death of her father, again tries to commit suicide.

It’s while she’s in a mental institution that her psychiatrist suggests she writes a memoir of her life, to help her make sense of everything that’s happened to her, and The Space Between Time is the story she writes.

The tragic-comic story, aimed at both male and female readers, has heart, humour and warmth.  Its central message is that, even at the worst of times, a second chance can often be just around the corner.

In coming to terms with her life and the deaths of her parents, Emma finds ultimate solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe – which offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

Book Link : Amazon

The cover…

About Author:

CL bandw

I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.

Twitter: @claidlawauthor

Facebook: charlielaidlawauthor

Website: http://www.charlielaidlawauthor.com

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#BookBlitz : Blueberry Pancakes by Anton Lee Richards

Hello readers! Today is the book promo tour for Blueberry Pancakes by Anton Lee Richards, organized by Shalini @Digital Reads Blog Tours. Please check out books details and snippet in this post below.

Book details

Blueberry Pancakes by Anton Lee Richards
Publication Date : January 26th 2019
Genre : MM Romance / Contemporary

Book Blurb

Writing songs for a would-be pop star is painful. When young, gay songwriter Duncan falls in love, he writes a love song. When he gets dumped, he writes a break-up song. Luckily for his songwriting career, his love life is a roller-coaster.

When his long-term boyfriend breaks up with him, Duncan finds solace in music. And pancakes, of course. With the help of his sassy diva singer and best friend Marlene, her ex-boyfriend guitarist, and a local music producer, they form a musical dream team to produce songs to pitch to agents, and for Marlene’s promising singing career.

A new guy here, a new guy there, they are delicious distractions, but this drama fuels new and better songs. And that ex? He just won’t seem to go away. But it all pays off when they have their first number one hit with a teenybopper all-girl band.

Not everything in their favorite hangout-a breakfast restaurant called Pancake Heaven-is rainbows and maple syrup. The all-girl band drops them as songwriters, and they squabble with one another over their musical future. Will they find the success they can be proud of?

Blueberry Pancakes is a contemporary gay drama about falling in and out of love, the price of success, and walking through the world with confidence.

Add to Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18701758.Anton_Lee_Richards

Book Excerpt

I don’t remember how many couples he introduced me to at this party, and I forgot most of their names. In each case, Christopher introduced me as my Duncan. I never thought of myself as being so much of a catch that somebody would be proud to be with me, the way I felt proud to have Jesse when we were together.

            “I need a drink,” I whispered in his ear.

            “Just a few more,” he said.

            Bradley approached us again, and three more couples followed. We made a circle, and everybody shot off questions in rapid succession. It started off easy with questions about my work and where I grew up, but then developed into an interrogation of whether I owned summer homes and stock portfolios. Was I supposed to feel bad I didn’t? One guy leaned in and asked how attached I was and if I wanted to keep my options open. He wore thin-rimmed glasses that fell down his nose as he raised his eyebrows.

            “I’m happy where I am,” I said. I wasn’t sure if that was a lie or not, but I certainly didn’t want to get it on with a guy asking people if they would cheat on their partners after just meeting them.

            “You’ll break soon enough,” he said, winking. “When it happens, I’ll be there.” 

            A flamboyant guy with a pure-white, faux-fur sweater and hot pink jeans chimed in. “I have a brownstone in Lincoln Park. You should come see it sometime. It has a hot tub on the rooftop with a nice view of downtown.” I couldn’t concentrate on remembering his name because the sweater was distracting me.

            “I bet you like being the pretty one,” said a voice behind me. Behind me, a drag queen with a Jackie O wig smiled at me. She had really broad shoulders or was just wearing shoulder pads underneath her shimmering black dress. “You’re the pretty one. Don’t act like you don’t know it.”

            The notion stopped me in my tracks. Was I? Is that why Christopher was so adamant about calling me arm candy? Jesse was always the pretty one when we were together. I scanned the room and mentally ranked the attractiveness of each person. At first, I hated myself for being so shallow, but then I told myself it was in the name of scientific research. I guessed I would rank decently in this crowd of gay men who ranged from their mid-20s to their 50s. There were so many hotties. I came across a guy standing near the fireplace and figured he was without a doubt cuter than me. He had a nice body and was not afraid to show it off. This was the first time another guy caught my eye since I met Christopher.

         “If I were with you, I’d tell you how pretty you are every single day,” said the drag queen. “I’d praise the day someone like me could get someone like you.” She opened her arms to hug me, and I demurred. Where was Christopher to save me?  

Author Bio

Anton Lee Richards is a queer writer from Chicago. In a previous life, he worked in IT. In a previous life before that, he was a songwriter. He lives in Chicago with his partner and his Instagram-star bunny.

Author Contact Details and Social Media

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Book links

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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Publication Date : May 13th 2013 (first published May 29th 2003)
Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Read Date : January 12th 2019 
Genre : Fiction / Historical Fiction
Pages : 344
Stars : 5/5

The Kite Runner of Khaled Hosseini’s deeply moving fiction debut is an illiterate Afghan boy with an uncanny instinct for predicting exactly where a downed kite will land.

Growing up in the city of Kabul in the early 1970s, Hassan was narrator Amir’s closest friend even though the loyal 11-year-old with “a face like a Chinese doll” was the son of Amir’s father’s servant and a member of Afghanistan’s despised Hazara minority.

But in 1975, on the day of Kabul’s annual kite-fighting tournament, something unspeakable happened between the two boys.

The Kite Runner was the story of Amir and Hassan, their childhood, life and complicated relationship; societal issue, selfishness, betrayal; casualty of regime change, insurgency; and kite fighting tournament that changed both boys’ life.

Tw- sexual abuse of minors, selling kids and derogatory behavior towards women and Hazaras.

Hassan was illiterate hazara, a servant’s son but was most modest, clever, so content and happy with himself and whatever Amir and his father provided. He was most brave kid in the book who accepted everything thrown towards him and stood up to defend Amir without thinking of the consequences. But on that dreadful day I really wished he didn’t stand up to defend Amir. Even after what he suffered and faced his heart was so pure that didn’t harbor ill feeling for Amir and I loved him for that. My heart ached whenever I saw him hurt and suffering and even after all he lived fullest leaving past behind.

Amir was rich boy who wanted all attention, respect, and love of his baba. In doing so he lost something precious, a friendship of Hassan, his peace and conscience. I really hated him from running away when Hassan needed him most. It broke my heart and I almost cried for what happened to Hassan. Like him I had that thought throughout the novel, if he reacted on that day, stood up for Hassan and himself the things might have turned out differently. There were many flaws in this character but at the end he learned his lesson and earned his redemption and for that I like him.

Amir’s fatherwas remarkable character but there was a surprising twist in his characterization as well. Ultimately there was a flaw in this idealistic brave man as well but I also admired him for the way he tried to share equal love and kept his corner of heart reserved for his son.

Other secondary characters of the book, Ali, Soraya, Rahim Khan, Farid were great to read. Antagonist of the book was horrendous. Who will you consider the real antagonist, was thought-provoking question.

Book was set in Kabul, Afghanistan. The setting was vivid and bringing the real Afghan and its people alive. The juxtaposed picture of Afghan before and after Russian coup and Taliban insurgency was shocking to read.

The story was first person narrative from Amir’s perspective. It started with a phone call from Rahim Khan that reignited the past forcing Amir back to his life in Kabul until the winter of 1975. Reading Hassan’s description, Hassan’s father Ali and his unfortunate life with his wife, Amir’s beautiful house and Hassan and Amir’s birth story in the beginning, hooked me to writing of author. I knew I’m going to like this book in that first chapter only.

In very early in the book we read about Shia- Sunni differences and conflicts. How religious and societal issue kept Hassan and Amir’s friendship tainted and even Ali and Amir’s father- A relationship with strong brotherly bond still they never called named it friendship.

A question that was raised by narrator in first chapter kept me reading the book to get its answer- What happened on the winter of 1975? And why would he seek atonement? As I dived deep in the book more questions sparked that hooked me to the book till the end- what happened to Hassan after winter of 1975? How and where he lived? Why Amir and his father left Kabul and how they reached American? Why Amir returned to Kabul? Will he find his peace at last?

The book gave answers to all questions. Life of Amir and his father in America was depicted with realistic touch. An immigrant and asylum seeker can relate to their life. The effect of Taliban insurgency on people of Afghan as well as characters’ life was tragic and unfair. It was poignant to see poverty, hunger and homeless on the street of the country.

It shattered my heart reading what happened to Hasan on the winter of 1975. It broke something in me on reading what Rahim Khan delivered to Amir in Pakistan but on reading what happened to Hassan’s son and how he was treated made me cry. And chapters after climax were soul shattering. I almost wished to enter in the novel and do sometimes to make Hassan’s son feel better.

Relationship between Hassan and Amir, Amit and his father, Amir and Rahim Khan, Hassan and Ali, Amir and Hassan’s son was perfectly portrayed. Each relationship had something good to teach. Each will hold you to the pages of the book and ponder about it until you feel it in the heart.

End of the book was bittersweet. I wish it had turned out all right, but such shattering story takes longer than 344 pages to be completely all right. The afterward of the book just great.

This was utterly intense, poignant, soul-stirring and thought-provoking very original fiction that I highly recommend to fiction and classic lovers.

Author: Khaled Hosseini 

Buy Link : Amazon.in / Amazon.com

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Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

watching-glass-shatter

Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

Publication Date: October 8th 2017
Read Date: November 17th 2018
Genre: Fiction / Family Drama / Mystery
Pages: 278

Stars: 5/5

5 star

Synopsis

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.
Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.
We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits.
You can see sample chapters and descriptions at: https://jamesjcudney.com/
You can purchase at: http://mybook.to/WGS
reviews

Watching Glass Shatter was Family drama and full of secrets surrounding the Glass family telling the story of each Glass sons, their secrets, and their bond with each other.

Foundation of 40 years of marriage was shaken by heartbreaking secret that was revealed in letter, on the death of Ben (Benjamin) Glass that made Olivia Glass to get into depth of the secret. In solving the mystery of the letter Olivia decided to spend time time with her five sons that got her into more shocking secrets raised lot of questions. Some secrets devastated her, some made her furious, some made her question her bonding with her sons and some brought change in her own nature. It taught Olivia lot of things, being more humble and accepting the newer perspective, coping with loss and the most important of them was accepting the past, gaining the strength to accept the content of the letter Ben left behind.

Though I was familiar with author and his writing, have read many reviews of this book nothing could have prepared me for the exquisite, unique writing style. Book was steady pace, written in third person narrative telling the story of each Glass family members separately in each chapter titled by characters’ name that made it easy to follow characters separately without confusing reader.

It was character driven book with lots of characters in it. Story was focused mainly on 6 characters- Olivia, Teddy, Matt, Zach, Caleb and Ethan. Author did a fabulous job in narrating all of them with detailed description. They all were different from each other.

We get to know about Ben through the memory of Olivia and her sons that told their relationship with Ben and how great father and husband he was.

Olivia was old fashioned, controlling, arrogant mother that distant her sons from her. Both her daughter-in-law disliked her for this nature and so I but as story progressed she grew on me and I ended up liking her. Loved her development in the story, how she handled the problems in each of her son’s life and the way she brought change in herself. Diane, Olivia’s sister was side character but held important place in Glass family’s heart. I like her most in the book. She was loving and strong support of the family. I loved the way she kept them all together.

I didn’t like the extravagant lifestyle of Matt and Margaret and the way he kept pushing himself. Teddy and Sarah were another couple I didn’t like much. Teddy was closed shell and didn’t acted maturely being the eldest of all and though Sarah’s intention was good, like Olivia, I didn’t appreciate her approach. Caleb-Jack were my favorite characters. Jack was funny and the way he was introduced to Olivia was hilarious. Ethan-Emma were innocent of all and another favorite characters. They were the only one who didn’t keep secrets for years. All characters found solution to their problems at the end while it saddened me to read about Ethan and the way his story ended.

This book tells about the family values, importance of sticking together during ups and downs, accepting differences and forgiving each other no matter what. The secrets, twist and turns were shocking unpredictable that hooked me till the end of the book. I couldn’t guess who Ben addressed in his letters. I loved Olivia’s decision and Rowena’s confession. The book ended nicely, it was sad but satisfactory end.

Overall, it was captivating, addicting, emotional and juicy family drama with exquisite writing and quirky characters that I recommend o all fiction readers.


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Author: James J. Cudney

 Buy Link: Amazon.in / Amazon.com

*** Note: I downloaded free e-book via Amazon Kindle. ***

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