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Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Have another belated review from a couple of March Magics ago. XD

GuardsGuards

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Title: Guards! Guards!

Author: Terry Pratchett

review

This is less of a review, and more of a things-and-thoughts-about-the-book sort of affair.

I read this one a bit belatedly for March Magics—my first Pratchett novel. People say his books are reminiscent of DWJ, and there is a reason, namely: hilarious fantasy. (I still prefer hers, but he can be fun.)

It’s hilarious and a mess and doesn’t take itself seriously, and is basically a fun rollick. XD It takes SO MANY fantasy tropes and turns them on their heads. It has footnotes. (And one of its footnotes had footnotes.) Any book that has as detailed a thing about libraries on page three as this one has is bound to be great. (Also, the librarian is an orangutan. Because it can.)

The blurb (at least the one I read) seems to act like the book is about Carrot, but it’s really about Vimes. Captain Vimes is the LAST person you’d think of as a hero or even as Main Character material. He’s the most unlikely hero imaginable. But I surprised myself by realizing by the end that I absolutely loved him! XD He’s great.

Anyway, it follows the Night Watch of the city of Ankh-Morpork, a few down-on their luck, scrapings-of-the-gutter fellows. Captain Vimes, Sergeant Colon, Nobby, and Carrot. There’s also Lady Ramkin, who is interesting; the Patrician, who is creepy; and the little dragon named Errol!! (My favorite quote about Errol: “He’d eaten most of the table, the grate, the coal scuttle, several lamps and the squeaky rubber hippo.”)

You can’t really describe the PLOT, as such… there’s just a lot of stuff going on. There’s the Watch, and shenanigans, and it’s fun. 😀

Also, silly names like the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night. And helmet plumes. Also: dragons! And there’s a dash of timey-wimey to spice things up. The thing about the lost heirs!! (I kind of wish it might have turned out a little different about that character… but I don’t know if he’d have wanted that anyway, so I dunno.) There’s a bit of language/rude jokes, but still. I loved the thing about “a million to one chance but it just might work” and how people never say “it’s a certainty but it just might work”. XD There were also some brilliant things about dungeons (never build one you can’t escape from). And, of course, how people in books tend to yell “Guards! Guards!” — because they really do.

There are no chapters, just scene breaks, so it feels like a movie. This also makes it impossible to stop reading, which is awkward for those of us who need to remember to go sleep sometime.

Anyway, I enjoyed it a good deal, and this and “Mort” are probably still my favorite Pratchett books. 😀 I’ll have to try some more with the Night Watch sometime…

Some Favorite Quotes

“set a deep hole with spring-loaded sides, tripwires, whirling knife blades driven by water power, broken glass and scorpions, to catch a thief”

***

There is an art in throwing knives and, even then, you need the right kind of knife. Otherwise it does just what this one did, which is miss completely.

***

It was said that, since vast amounts of magic can seriously distort the mundane world, the Library did not obey the normal rules of space and time. It was said that it went on /forever/. It was said that you could wander for days among the distant shelves, that there were lost tribes of research students somewhere in there, that strange things lurked in forgotten alcoves and were preyed on by other things that were even stranger.*

Wise students in search of more distant volumes took care to leave chalk marks on the shelves as they roamed deeper into the fusty darkness, and told friends to come looking for them if they weren’t back by supper.

*All this was untrue. The truth is that even big collections of ordinary books distort space, as can readily be proved by anyone who has been around a really old-fashioned secondhand bookshop, one of those that look as though they were designed by M. Escher on a bad day and has more staircases than storeys and those rows of shelves which end in little doors that are surely too small for a full-sized human to enter. The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.

***

A couple of guards grabbed Vimes tentatively by the shoulders.

“You’re not going to do anything heroic, are you?” whispered one of them.

“Wouldn’t know where to start,” he said.

***

“Do you think picking someone up by their ankles and bouncing their head on the floor comes under the heading of Striking a Superior Officer?”

***

What would Captain Vimes do now? Well, he’d have a drink. But if he didn’t have a drink, what would he do?

“What we need,” he said slowly, “is a Plan.”

That sounded good. That sentence alone sounded worth the pay. If you had a Plan, you were halfway there.

***

“Oook,” the Librarian pointed out, patiently.

“What? Oh. Sorry.” Vimes lowered the ape, who wisely didn’t make an issue of it because a man angry enough to lift 300lbs of orangutan without noticing is a man with too much on his mind.

***

Fortunately, the chances of anyone surviving the ensuing explosion were exactly a million-to-one.

factoids

Genre/Category: Epic Fantasy

Age Group: Adult

Published: 1989

Pages: 288 pages (hardcover)

Series?: Part of the Discworld series, which frankly confuses me because there’s so many and they’re… yeah, confusing. But also book one in the Night Watch / Ankh-Morpork City Watch sub-series.

When Read: April 5 – 6, 2016

Favorite Character: Captain Vimes

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read it (a week late) for the March Magics a couple years ago, celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett, hosted by Kate @ We Be Reading.


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

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Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

Here, have a review from a couple of March Magics ago, which I never got around to posting. 😛 (This is making me want to get it out of the library again and re-read it!)

DSmirror

5starratingTitle: Deep Secret

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

review

I’ve discovered that I’m downright horrendous at writing reviews for books by Diana Wynne Jones. I plan to write one, then I put it off, and put it off, because I know that it’s far too complex to do justice to in a review — and how even do I wrap my head around it all, exactly?? So once again, as I did with Fire and Hemlock, I’m going to need to just start typing and hope something semi-coherent and possibly slightly resembling a review will come out of it…

This story is a mix of fantasy/sci-fi/modern, with some other worlds thrown in for good measure. Most of it takes place at a sci-fi/fantasy convention of all places. Talk about an original setting! It’s in first person but you totally forget this fact as the story draws you in.

I found this one in the adult section of the library (I usually frequent the YA room… sorry-not-sorry, but all the good stuff’s there!). I suppose it’s a bit more Adult than most of DWJ’s books (more language/dark/gruesome/disturbing/implied stuff) so be aware of that. I don’t really recommend it to teens because it’s kinda dark… But it’s so absorbing!

I LOVED the multiple-worlds stuff. Absolutely fascinating.

There are centaurs! YES.

I also loved the idea of “deep secrets” which Magids (the magic users) thread into the world through stories and art and such. Absolutely brilliant.

There were also a few things about writing and I think some jibes at publishers, etc., which I found hilarious. XD

DS-DWJ

The DWJ library book visiting some of its cousins who live on my shelf

I think it’s possible DWJ put herself in it. There was a lecture on A Sense of Humour in Fantasy. “Some woman beside him wrote funny stuff too” and said that in her own writing, sometimes her jokes made her laugh. (And I remember in some interview or essay or somewhere, DWJ said that about herself.) So I think she put herself into this book and I LOVE IT.

She definitely put in a fan of her book “Archer’s Goon”, as somebody at the convention wore a badge that said “All power corrupts, but we need electricity.” I was just sitting there grinning absurdly as I read that. XD

There are other references too, which made me happy, like to LOTR (somebody had a T-shirt that he said read: “I am a Hobbit.” In Elvish. I think she was making fun of these people, but it was funny. XD), and The Princess Bride. And at one point there was something about being rather like “a magical Bertie Wooster with an invisible butler”. I totally lost it there. It was the BEST.

As usual with DWJ books, there’s a fabulous cast of characters that I love. There’s Maree and Rupert (who tell the story in turns) and they’re so… well… THEM. It’s hard to explain. But I love ’em! Then there are other characters like Will (he’s great!) and Rob the centaur (!!). And one of my absolute favorites is Maree’s cousin Nick—who is, I hear, based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman, who Diana Wynne Jones knew. She based Nick off him, and he’s so incoherent in the morning before he’s eaten breakfast and IT MADE MY DAY. So very hilarious. And one can’t forget neighbor Andrew, the “fabulous Nordic type”! But no more, lest there be spoilers. (Oh! And the quacks! A sort of otherworldly duck. 😀 Loved them!)

I’m absurdly proud of myself for only staying up until 2-something a.m. and having the willpower to go to bed without finishing the last 70 pages. I got to the part where it said: “And, I see in retrospect, that was the last moment when events were in any way within my control.” And I thought: “Welp, I’d better go to bed before things get worse.” 😛

Anyway, DWJ is brilliant and I love her books so much, and this one was no exception! It was longer than many of them. I get addicted to her longer books and LIVE in them, and then have a tendency to accidentally go around in a haze for the next few days, vaguely living in the story again in the back of my mind after spending 414 pages in it…

DeepSecret

“Where is the road to Babylon? / Right beside your door.”

The road I’m looking for is the road to the library to get the sequel, thank you very much.

The story doesn’t need it, but I do.

summary

From Goodreads:

deepsecretAll over the multiverse the Magids, powerful magicians, are at work to maintain the balance between positive and negative magic, for the good of all.

Rupert Venables is the junior Magid assigned to Earth and to the troublesome planets of the Koyrfonic Empire. When the Emperor dies without a known heir, Rupert is called into service to help prevent the descent of the Empire into chaos. At the same time, the senior Magid on Earth dies, making Rupert a new senior desperately in need of a junior. Rupert thinks his problems are partially solved when he discovers he can meet all five of the potential Magids on Earth by attending one SF convention in England. However, the convention hotel sits on a node, a nexus of the universes. Rupert soon finds that other forces, some of them completely out of control, are there too…

factoids

Genre/Category: Contemporary Fantasy / Sci-fi / Inter-world Fantasy / ??? / DIANA WYNNE JONES (which is a category of its own, or should be, because it’s really hard to fit her books into pigeonholes…)

Age Group: Adult

Published: 1997

Pages: 414

Series?: Book 1 of Magids; followed by The Merlin Conspiracy

When Read: March 22 – 23, 2016

Favorite Character: Oh my GOODNESS, don’t ask me this! O_O (Er… I know I’m asking myself; shush.) Rupert or Rob or Nick or Will or Andrew or somebody. Probably most of the cast because you just get so attached to DWJ characters…

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read for March Magics, hosted by Kristen @ We Be Reading

Have you read this one? I feel this NEED to talk to people who have. XD (And I also want to re-read it either before or after Realm Makers, because Sci-fi/Fantasy Conference…)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Was using my shiny Sherlock bookmark while reading this; didn’t realize how appropriate it was until further in. XD

Title: The Invisible Library
Author: Genevieve Cogman

  • Date read: July 28, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 2016
  • Pages: 330 (paperback)
  • Series: Book 1 in the Invisible Library series (Series list on Goodreads)
  • Fave character: Vale and Kai
  • Source: Library (the appropriateness of this fact is not lost on me…)
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazon

This cover makes me happy.

Well. That was… interesting. O_O

I wasn’t planning on reviewing this, buuut I’ve had a few people ask for my opinion, so I’m doing a quicky review for it! 🙂 (Quicky here having the meaning of long, because hello, it’s me we’re talking about. *coughcough*)

THINGS I LOVED

So, it’s basically a mystery, set in an alternate London where it’s steampunk-y and also magical; there are Fae and other creatures; it’s about BOOKS; there’s this enormous Library outside of time and space; the heroine is a librarian questing for a certain book, with an awesome sidekick and an awesome detective; and pretty much WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? (I mean, a couple things, but we’ll get to that later.)

Imagine a Holmes story with steampunk and magic and Fae and books. That’s pretty much this, and I loved that. 😀 IT WAS SO FUN AND INTRIGUING!

The bookishness was fun, the mystery element was engaging, it was SUPER exciting and action-y a lot of the time, and written in an occasionally witty style, with characters to love once you get to know them, and some great dialog. Overall, it was quite enjoyable. 🙂

And the characters were all well-written and intriguing!

Irene was an interesting heroine, and I liked how bookish she was (I mean, Librarian, yes?) and sometimes just wanted to go curl up and read, but was usually pretty capable even if she didn’t feel like she was. I also loved how she loved mystery stories. XD

Kai! Yes, Kai was pretty cool. XD I really liked him most of the time. 🙂 Can’t say much about him because SPOILERS but yes. 😀 I’m curious to learn more about him and his “family”… And the way he was able to adapt in certain situations was awesome. Anyways, he was great. 😀

Vale! Oh my goodness, Vale. XD So I actually didn’t like him at first? o.o But he quickly grew on me, and basically he’s a detective in this time period so naturally I had to think of him as slightly Holmes-ish (though different of course). But I mean, Holmes in a magical world. XD And I loved his sword cane and capability and he was just awesome. 🙂 (Also curious to find out more about him…)

I also liked the interactions between these three—love these characters! ❤ *hugs ’em*

Silver was… interesting. O.o Slightly creepy Fae characters like that are always intriguing to read about, even when they’re kind of creepy. 😛 I actually was surprised we didn’t see more of him in this one, so I suspect he’ll be in later books more? And when he was up on the table like “bring me my gun!” that was awesome. XD

I really really disliked Bradamant and Alberich. I think I was more or less supposed to, kinda, so we’ll call that a good thing. 😛

(While I’m thinking of characters… Was there a love triangle? I don’t know if there was a love triangle. I think the point of the book was not focused on romance; so much so that it didn’t give any clear ideas on it, just veiled ideas [no pun intended] that were super confusing. Maybe I’m being overly picky and it’s not an issue? I dunno. I just felt like it was maybe being love-triangle-y, though it could just be professional-awesome-friendship on one side and romance on the other. Totally possible. It just didn’t give me enough information so it left me wondering because I’m silly like that. XD Probably for a later book…)

THINGS I DIDN’T LOVE AS MUCH

There were a couple things I didn’t care for and it did take me awhile to get into it, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed myself. XD

FYI, as far as “content” (which I don’t always include in my reviews but in this case since I was asked to review it, some readers may wish to know) there’s a little swearing, and a few implied references I could have done without, but considering I found it in the “Adult” section of the library it wasn’t too bad (I frequent the YA area, okay; it’s not a crime), and it’s also rather creepy/violent a few times. I don’t usually mind, though there was one part where a cyborg alligator tore off a bystander’s leg and I was like “too much information!” 😛 It just startled me because otherwise it mostly wasn’t too graphic. XD

It’s also totally random and petty, but I HATE characters like Bradamant, which always lowers a book’s quality in my opinion. The back-stabby, “perfect”ly beautiful ladies who are deadly and spiteful, up against the rival heroine who thinks of herself as plain etc. etc. It’s old, and tiresome, and a little too much “mean girls” cat-fight-y for my taste. 😛 It’s a “me-thing” which I’m sure nobody else cares about, but… personally it annoys me a lot. *cough*

And a couple of tiny unimportant things freaked me out, like Irene thinking it was cool that Kai gave her a nickname based on Milady de Winter. MILADY IS CREEPY AND EVIL OKAY. JUST. PLEASE. DO NOT BE FLATTERED BY THAT. -_-

And honestly sometimes the Library creeped me out. >.> I’M SORRY. Sometimes it was cool, but sometimes I didn’t like some things about it…

And just typical mainstream book quibbles. *shrug*

Still, I enjoyed myself and was impressed that turned it around when I wasn’t as caught up to begin with, and still made me love it in the end. 🙂 Though it did have an annoying tendency to leave out a TON of information and make you wonder about things and just not INFORM the reader enough, or was confusing about it—for me, anyway—so a lot of the time I was flailing blindly through, going “stop dancing around things and ‘showing’ things—just TELL me something for once or I will throw you across the room!” Ahem. It wasn’t THAT bad but I just felt like we didn’t get enough info up front and that was kind of frustrating for me? I don’t enjoy feeling unintelligent OR uninformed and this was trying to do both to me. 😛 But it got better once it finally slipped enough info in, so yay! 🙂

But enough of that! I don’t mean to bash it really—I ended up quite enjoying it! 🙂 If it intrigues you, I’d say try it out. 🙂 And I’m curious to see where the next books lead… I’ll probably try out the sequel at some point. Gotta get back to this fascinating world and follow these awesome characters more, dontcha know! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10 Thoughts on Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

3.5 stars? (Rounding to 4)

Title: Mansfield Park

Author: Jane Austen

  • Date read: March 10, 2017
  • Rating: 3.5 stars, rounding up to 4-ish?
  • Genre: Classic / Historical Fiction (Regency)
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 1815
  • Pages: (I read it in a collection with tiiiny type, so not sure it counts… Some edition is listed on Goodreads as 560 pages so I’m going with that)
  • Illustrator: Hugh Thomson (does two illustrations count?)
  • Fave character: Fanny, Edmund (sometimes)
  • Source: (Collection) from library sale
  • Notes: In collection Jane Austen: Her Complete Novels

[Mansfield Park on Goodreads — see my review on Goodreads here]

10 Thoughts About Mansfield Park

(in the form of things I liked and disliked)

LIKES

1. Fanny, poor thing, and how she stuck firm to right even though she was a timid introverted soul who was so Cinderella-ed (a word which here means trodden upon by jerkish relatives/acquaintances/“friends”, and basically treated like dirt. [Oh, joy.]) that it was painful to read. She was nice. 🙂

2. Edmund (sometimes; when he was being sweet and not A BLIND FOOL). He was an excellent character at times—so sweet and thoughtful and kind. 🙂 Especially in contrast to every other character in the book… Anyways, at times he was great! (We won’t talk about the other times, which is why they’re in parentheses.)

3. I had enormous fun connecting Cinderella parallels whether they were intended to be there or not. (I needed to make something fun in this…)

4. How everyone pretty much got their due at the end… more or less. It made it almost worth it.

5. On that note, it’s hard to explain exactly, but I did like the outlook on things. Putting value on being moral and standing up for your beliefs and a quiet life in the country, versus a life of vice and doing what everyone else does and city life; and doing all of it through the story and dialog, too. ’Twas well-done. (It does make me think that Jane Austen would hate living in our modern era. Just sayin’.)

Bonus like: a quote that I loved (the speakers are Edmund, then Mary Crawford, then Edmund again)

You are speaking of London, I am speaking of the nation at large.”

“The metropolis, I imagine, is a pretty fair sample of the rest.”

“Not, I should hope, of the proportion of virtue to vice throughout the kingdom. We do not look in great cities for our best morality.”

DISLIKES

1. Every character in the entire book, except Fanny, and her brother William, and occasionally Edmund, are all HORRIBLE HORRIBLE BEINGS. It’s exhausting to read a book about this. (Okay, maybe I’m being sliiightly unfair. There were occasional moments of almost-human decency scattered through the cast. BUT IT WAS RARE.)

2. Mrs. Norris. I LOATHED MRS. NORRIS. The stingy aunt of Fanny, she’s basically a cross between an evil-stepmother and the type of miser that Scrooge was trying to be all his life and never quite made it to, with a dash of thorough mean-spiritedness. SHE WAS HORRIBLE, OKAY. UGH. -_- One of the worst characters in the history of EVER. Excuse me a moment, I need to go scrub my memory with bleach to get rid of my memories of her…

3. Mary Crawford. Can I get another UGH in, please? Because UGH. She’s this frilly little light-hearted soul who blinds Edmund in a really stupid kind of love (I can’t see WHY) and pretends to be BFFs with Fanny, but is actually self-centered and has not a bit of good deep down, really, and is thick as thieves with her awful brother and thinks he’s amusing and the best. Blech. -_- Speaking of…

4. Henry Crawford. He’s awful. I didn’t loathe him as much as Mrs. Norris and Mary through most of the book, but he’s awful. He’s a worse person than they are, definitely. I mean, deciding to purposefully try to make a girl fall in love with him, just to break her heart? SERIOUSLY WHO DOES THAT? *is disgusted*

5. Basically, it was way too long to spend reading a 150,000+ word novel about horrible characters being horrible to a poor put-upon heroine, and all the characters being paired with the wrong characters through almost the entire book until like the last two pages (I’m not even exaggerating), in which all that happens is awful things to the heroine. IT WAS HARD TO HANDLE, OKAY. I don’t usually say books are too long, but I would have been okay with this being a third of the length instead of suffering through that. many. pages. Don’t get me wrong—it was well-written and I did enjoy things about it (see above) but the subject matter was just so unpleasant that I, personally, had a hard time reading it.

Conclusion

Overall, not my favorite, but regardless, Jane Austen’s still a fairly excellent author, and I’m very pleased to have finally read her 6 novels. 🙂

Have you read Mansfield Park, or any Jane Austens? Let me know what you think of them!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages…

~ The Page Dreamer

A Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson

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Title: A Spy’s Devotion (The Regency Spies of London, #1)

Author: Melanie Dickerson

review

Sometimes you just want an enjoyable read, you know? This was that for me. 🙂

I don’t read a lot of Regency romance type things, but I so wanted to try this one because I’ve loved Melanie Dickerson’s medieval fairytale romances. I was not disappointed — Melanie does an AMAZING job with the Regency time period! I just felt there; completely drawn in. It was really awesome to be in the time period, somehow. Simply fabulous. 😀

The heroine, Julia, was quite a good heroine — I really liked her, she was so nice but not stupid. The hero, Nicholas, was of course awesome; an honorable gentleman-spy-by-necessity. 😉 I really liked the alternating viewpoints between the two of them — that was such fun to read. The romance was really sweet and I so enjoyed reading their story. I JUST LOVED THEM! ^_^

The slight dash of espionage/suspense added a lot of interest to the plot. Regency spies in London — what a fun idea! I also loved that it had a bit of action and danger, which added to the heroism of the hero (and heroine)! I don’t tend to think of “action” when I think of Regency tales, but the time-period is perfect for it, so I LOVED seeing that in this!

I love Melanie’s fairytale retellings, but this was her first published “original” tale, and it was actually fun to not know anything about the plot and be kept guessing! So… I really love both this and her retellings, in different ways. I’m very much looking forward to book 2 of The Regency Spies of London, whenever it may release! (I hear it’s going to be about Nicholas’ sister Leorah, who I really liked, so that excites me!) I can’t wait!

This book is technically for adults as opposed to YA, but in this case I didn’t mind. It was quite an enjoyable Historical Fiction / Christian / Regency Romance novel, which I’d recommend to anyone who likes the genre, or even to try if you haven’t yet. I just really enjoyed it. 🙂

Overall? It’s not my usual genre or type of book to read, but it was a fabulous read despite that! I enjoyed it a good deal and I’d say I rather love it. ^_^

(Plus, that cover has got to be one of THE most gorgeous ones ever! It still makes me ever so happy every time I walk by my shelf and see it nestled in amongst my growing collection of Dickerson books. <3)

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summary

From Goodreads:

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

factoids

Genre/Category: Christian / Historical Fiction / Regency / Romance / with a touch of suspense

Age Group: Adult (probably could be read by young adults as well)

Published: 2016

Pages: 312 (paperback)

Series?: Book 1 in “The Regency Spies of London”

When Read: March 10-11, 2016

Favorite Character: Nicholas Langdon

Source: Got for my birthday

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Barnes & Noble} • {Libraries} • {Author’s Website}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer