A Free Dreamer Review: Covet by Yolande Kleinn

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Jack Mason—graphic designer and unrepentant player—has never been interested in monogamy. He certainly isn’t looking for romance when he meets Professor Colin Sloan.

Newly single and not looking for anything serious, Colin is intrigued by Jack’s offer of a physical affair with no strings attached. Becoming friends wasn’t part of the plan, but as accidents go, this one’s pretty great.

Peter Mason is Jack’s identical twin. In a long-term relationship himself, Peter tells no one that he’s falling for his brother’s newest favorite, even as the secret creates tension with his girlfriend.

When Peter’s relationship falls apart, he seduces Colin, fully expecting Jack to forgive his transgression. But Jack is keeping secrets too—he hasn’t told even Colin that he’s fallen in love. Suddenly the twins are feuding, and Colin is caught in the middle, blindsided by the revelation that he doesn’t want to choose between them.

Now all three must find a way to share, or they’ll tear each other apart.

I love menage stories but I guess I misinterpreted the plot. I totally didn’t realize there would be (sorta) twincest in this. Which, in hindsight, is glaringly obvious from the blurb. Guess I was too greedy… Because while I don’t mind incest with brothers (one older and one younger), twincest makes me feel very conflicted. My dad is an identical twin and thinking of him and my uncle is so wrong when reading a hot sex scene. But it’s not the author’s fault that I can’t read, so I’m not going to let my personal dislike influence my rating.

First things first: the sex scenes were hot. Absolutely scorching hot, especially whenever Peter was involved. And there was a lot of sex in this book.

There was no real twincest, Peter and Jack just shared Colin. They had sex with him but not with each other. This is the first menage where it’s one guy having two boyfriends. That was an interesting change from the usual way these stories go.

As hot as the sex was, there might have been a bit too much of it. The plot was a little shallow overall and had a few too many cliches (like the feisty female friend who meddles with her best friend’s love life). While we got a long build-up of attraction from Peter’s side, Colin’s attraction to him seemed a bit sudden.

I liked that there was a HFN ending. It fit the book perfectly and felt realistic.

Overall, “Covet” is a hot, fun read. Definitely worth a read, even though I’m not really fond of twincest.

The cover by L.C. Chase is totally hot, just like the book.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 268 pages
Published September 18th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626496279
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Moro’s Price by M Crane Hana

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Crown Prince, techno-geek, and secret sadomasochist Valier has lusted for years after the gorgeous gladiator called “The Diamond.” Meeting the escaped slave on a rooftop, Valier discovers Moro Dalgleish wants suicide before his former masters can reclaim him.

Infected with a deadly symbiont, Valier proposes empty sex to satisfy his urges and grant Moro’s release from a horrible life. Neither man plans for Moro to survive, or how the morning after will shake three empires to their foundations.

Okay, first of all you should be aware that this story is full of triggers. There’s lots of violence, rape, brainwashing, torture and suicidal thoughts, amongst others. If you’re easily triggered, stay away from this book. It’s incredibly dark.

Now, I have a thing for slave stories and it’s no big secret I love SciFi. “Moro’s Price” was an excellent combination of both. The world Moro and Val live in is very dark and complex. I liked the world the author created, even though it could have used a bit more worldbuilding. A hastily thrown together glossary at the end is NOT enough. The author does mention that there are more books set in this universe, which apparently have more world building. If I can ever find those books, I’m definitely interested.

I immediately found myself rooting for Moro. He’s suffered through incredible things and still there’s a strength in him. He’s not completely broken. Sometimes, his recovery around Val seemed a bit too fast and also a bit inconsistent, though. But I guess that’s kind of to be expected. His new situation isn’t exactly easy.

Val is a bit obnoxious at times. He’s cocky and arrogant, which has a lot to do with his royal heritage. But most of the time he just made for an interesting contrast to Moro.

The sex scenes were hot. Val is a sadist at heart, though he doesn’t live it out too much with Moro. Both Val and Moro have a strong bond to Cama, the goddess of Val’s people. It’s a bit like there are two minds living inside Val. There’s one sex scene between Moro and Cama, but it’s not overly explicit. The sex scenes between Val and Moro and the scenes of Moro being raped are much more explicit.

Aside from the slightly lacking worldbuilding, which left me a bit confused at times, the SciFi plot was intriguing. There’s lots of potential and I seriously hope there’ll be a second book in this series.

Honestly, if you like dark SciFi slave stories, then you should definitely give this a try. Just don’t expect a light, easy read!

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow does an excellent job with the cover and subject matter.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published June 26th 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781947139299

A Free Dreamer Recent Release Review: The Android and the Thief by Wendy Rathbone

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Will love set them free—or seal their fate?
In the sixty-seventh century, Trev, a master thief and computer hacker, and Khim, a vat-grown human android, reluctantly share a cell in a floating space prison called Steering Star. Trev is there as part of an arrangement that might finally free him from his father’s control. Khim, formerly a combat android, snaps when he is sold into the pleasure trade and murders one of the men who sexually assaults him. At first they are at odds, but despite secrets and their dark pasts, they form a pact—first to survive the prison, and then to escape it.
But independence remains elusive, and falling in love comes with its own challenges. Trev’s father, Dante, a powerful underworld figure with sweeping influence throughout the galaxy, maintains control over their lives that seems stronger than any prison security system, and he seeks to keep them apart. Trev and Khim must plan another, more complex escape, and this time make sure they are well beyond the law as well as Dante’s reach.
 I really quite enjoyed “The Android and the Thief”.
The setting was interesting. It’s the 27th century and we have our normal, average humans, just how we do now. And then we have the so-called “Androids”, who are humans as well, without any robot-parts or anything of the like. They aren’t average or normal, though. They’re vat-grown, born as adults, designed in a laboratory to serve in certain professions. They aren’t seen as humans and are essentially slaves with no rights. Khim is a soldier, has been a soldier since the day he was born. But then he’s permanently injured in battle and ends up being sold into the pleasure trade. That’s when rather graphic violent rape happens, so beware. Khim wasn’t designed to endure this kind of use. He snaps and kills one of the rapists, which lands him in prison.
Trev is the son of a powerful crime boss. He’s a professional thief with an obsession for “real-books”. Wanting to escape his father’s clutches, he strikes a deal, which lands him in prison. In the same cell as Khim. Who is, unbeknownst to Trev, the property of his father.
Both MCs had an interesting story to tell. Trev is very acrobatic and easy to like. Khim is very much the victim of circumstances and I really felt for him. Reading about how the two of them are forced to get along, for better or worse, was fascinating. Khim is understandably hesitant to trust or even like Trev.
The prison was an intriguing place. The place was very well described and it was easy to imagine what life there was like for Khim and Trev. It was my favourite part of the book.
And then they escape. And the love story really starts going. Somewhere around that point the book lost my interest. The romance was hard to relate to for me. I just didn’t feel the chemistry between the two. The sex scenes felt a little awkward at times and didn’t really do much for me.
There is one quote that will forever remain with me. Khim and Trev are kissing passionately. “Taste of salt. Fire. Extreme pizza.” I have absolutely no idea where that pizza came from. It still makes me laugh. I’m fairly sure there was no mention of pizza in the whole book, before or after that scene. And who doesn’t think of pizza when locked in a passionate kiss?
I really didn’t like the epilogue and the whole ending seemed a little too easy for me. There was a fairly easy solution to every problem. I still don’t think it’s very realistic.
“The Android and the Thief” was mostly entertaining. The romance part didn’t really work for me, though. I think I would honestly have preferred things to remain platonic between our two MCs.
If you have a thing for slightly cheesy romance, aren’t triggered by the violent rape and like an interesting space-setting, then go for it.
Cover art by Anne Cain is gorgeous.
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Book details:
ebook, 294 pages
Published April 3rd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: We Met in Dreams by Rowan McAllister

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

a-free-dreamer-release-day-review-we-met-in-dreams-by-rowan-mcallisterIn Victorian London, during a prolonged and pernicious fog, fantasy and reality are about to collide—at least in one man’s troubled mind.

A childhood fever left Arthur Middleton, Viscount Campden, seeing and hearing things no one else does, afraid of the world outside, and unable to function as a true peer of the realm. To protect him from himself—and to protect others from him—he spends his days heavily medicated and locked in his rooms, and his nights in darkness and solitude, tormented by visions, until a stranger appears.

This apparition is different. Fox says he’s a thief and not an entirely good sort of man, yet he returns night after night to ease Arthur’s loneliness without asking for anything in return. Fox might be the key that sets Arthur free, or he might deliver the final blow to Arthur’s tenuous grasp on sanity. Either way, real or imaginary, Arthur needs him too much to care.

Fox is only one of the many secrets and specters haunting Campden House, and Arthur will have to face them all in order to live the life of his dreams.

I’m usually not big on historical romance novels, but the blurb was sufficiently unusual and slightly creepy to make me curious. I definitely didn’t regret my choice.

First of all, you have to suspend your disbelief for this story. Fox breaks into Arthur’s house, late one foggy winter night. When Arthur catches him, Fox doesn’t knock him out or harm Arthur in any other way. Instead, he stays for a chat.

Once I got past that slightly strange beginning, I started getting caught up in the story. There are so many unanswered questions and so many secrets lurking here. Is Arthur truly hallucinating? Are the apparitions real ghosts? Or is his kindly uncle plotting against him and there’s a much more mundane reason behind those creepy noises Arthur hears every night? There’s an answer to all those questions in the end, rest assured.

The setting was subtly creepy. Not outright horror-story-like, but just enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end every now and then. I like this kind of subtly creepiness and the author did a brilliant job creating an eerie atmosphere.

While the author managed to convey the creepiness of the setting extremely well, it lacked a “British” feel all over. I think it might have been better if she’d chosen to set this in the USA instead of London. Part of it is probably due to the fact that most of the story takes place in Arthur’s rooms and we hardly ever see the outside world. But when I first read “color” instead of “colour”, I found it really jarring and kept looking for the American spelling. I know it’s pronounced the same, but if a story is set in London and has English MCs, then I expect the British spelling. It should only be a minor niggle, but it started to quite bother me after a while.

The MCs were nice. A little too nice, really. I don’t see why Fox would return to the seemingly insane Arthur and risk a prison sentence in doing so. And Arthur was a little too concerned with everybody else’s well-being.

After all the suspense throughout the entire book, the ending was a little anti-climactic. The revelation felt a little mundane, to be honest.

Long story short, “We Met in Dreams” was good. It might not have been brilliant but overall, I quite enjoyed it.  If you like ghost stories and the subtle creepiness they bring, then you’ll like this book.

The cover by Anna Silkorska is perfect for this story. I love the haunted manor.

Sales Links

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Book details:

ebook, 268 pages
Expected publication: February 27th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332966 (ISBN13: 9781635332964)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Dinner at Jack’s by Rick R. Reed

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

dinner-at-jacks-by-rick-r-reedPersonal chef Beau St. Clair, recently divorced from his cheating husband, returns to the small Ohio River town where he grew up to lick his wounds. Jack Rogers lives with his mother, Maisie, in that same small town, angry at and frightened of the world. Jack has a gap in his memory that hides something he dares not face, and he’s probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Maisie, seeking relief from her housebound and often surly son, hires Beau to cook for Jack, hoping the change might help bring Jack, once a handsome and vibrant attorney, back to his former self. But can a new face and comfort food compensate for the terror lurking in Jack’s past?

Slowly the two men begin a dance of revelation and healing. Food and compassion build a bridge between Beau and Jack, a bridge that might lead to love.

But will Jack’s demons allow it? Jack’s history harbors secrets that could just as easily rip them apart as bring them together.

This is a story full of hurt and lots and lots of comfort. It deals with PTSD after a violent attack, though the attack isn’t described explicitly.

At first, I couldn’t stand Jack. He was a mean, horrid person most of the time. Even knowing he suffered from a mental illness, I couldn’t make myself like him. But soon enough, he got his own chapter from his POV and I started understanding him better. The two POVs are essential to me. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did, had there been only Beau’s POV.

My favourite character in the whole story was Beau’s cute little pug, Ruth. She was absolutely adorable. I loved her to bits. The way Beau leads whole conversations with her made me like him instantly. I loved that she was the boss and very much the “alpha”. Beau totally failed to be the leader of the pack that every dog owner should be, leading to some hilarious scenes with her. And I can totally relate to the feeling of “she’s so ugly, you just have to love her”. That’s the feeling I always had with my cat.

Quite a few of Beau’s chapters start with a recipe. I skipped most of those, tbh, since I’m a very lazy and unwilling cook. It’s still a unique feature I haven’t come across before. Food plays a very important role throughout the whole book.

I think the PTSD was mostly described realistically. Jack doesn’t just instantly get better thanks to lots of loving. Everybody keeps insisting that he really, really should get help from a professional, but Jack doesn’t want to.

The one thing that really bothered me was the whole set up. It’s all one huge coincidence. Not only have Beau and Jack met years ago, they also happen to be from the same small town, Maisi just so happens to go looking for a personal chef on Craigslist and Beau just so happens to actually read and, despite his better judgement, also accept the job. It was just too much to feel realistic.

Still, I enjoyed “Dinner at Jack’s”. It’s not as sugary-sweet as I’d feared. There are a lot of dark elements and the mental illness is taken seriously. But the best part was still Ruth.

Cover: The cover by Reese Dante shows Jack and Beau embracing in the snow and gnocchi at the bottom. It fits the story really well.

Sales Links

        

Book details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: October 3rd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634776712 (ISBN13: 9781634776714)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Faire Secrets (The Faire Folk #4) by Madeleine Ribbon

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

faire-secrets-by-madeleine-ribbonZion’s life is falling apart. His home burned down, his obnoxious ex-boyfriend is scheduled to get out of jail, the managers of the magical Renaissance Faire expect him to do a month’s worth of work in days, he hasn’t seen his sick sister in nine months, and he’s discovered a hidden room filled with secrets in the rubble of his library.

Usually, spending a few hours practicing rope bondage would be enough to clear Zion’s head, but not this time. This time there’s too much going wrong, and none of his problems are going away. In fact, life is throwing him yet another curve ball in the form of a handsome architect named Vin—the same Vin who spent all of last year trying to climb into Zion’s pants. Zion resisted then, but he’s not so sure he can do it again. He’s not so sure he even wants to.

Zion’s mountain of problems just keeps growing, and it’s only a matter of time until he gets buried beneath them.

First of all, I haven’t read the previous books in this series. I read the blurb for “Faire Secrets”, which is book four, and thought it sounded interesting. I went back and glanced over the blurbs of the previous books. Since this couple didn’t show up in any of them, I figured it should work as a standalone. Unfortunately it doesn’t. That’s totally my own fault and has nothing to do with the quality of the book/series. So I’m going to try to keep my rating as fair as possible and not punish the author for my own mistake.

The world of the Faire seems very intriguing. It looks like a lot of world building has happened in previous books and I really like the little that still happened in this book. The author has obviously put a lot of thought into her world and shows a great love for little details, which make the place even more alive and real.

Zion is an interesting man. I can’t help but relate to his work as a librarian, since I work with books as well. I always love to read about characters who truly appreciate books. Unfortunately for Zion, his world is currently in the middle of falling apart. Everything’s a mess. Usually, a bit of rope bondage helps him calm down, but that’s not enough this time. While Zion likes to be put into elaborate bondage and loves the feel of rope on his skin, he’s not into any other BDSM things. He’s neither a submissive, nor a masochist. He’s just kinky. I really liked that about him.

The sex scenes were very hot. Vin and Zion are very versatile and open to new things. The scenes were a good mix of explicit and non-explicit. Not every single time the two of them had sex was described in elaborate detail. Instead, the author chose to only show us the times when the sex was important to the plot and the relationship.

I liked that Vin was so open from the beginning. He told Zion that he wasn’t good at the guessing game and thus needed to be told explicitly what he was supposed to do or not do. I hate it when MCs don’t talk to each other and just assume things all the time!

I especially loved reading about Zion’s work with the ancient texts he found. I think those were my favourite scenes by far.

There isn’t much to complain about. The plot wasn’t exactly full of breathless suspense, but I still felt well entertained. I just wasn’t fully invested in the story all the time, which was probably a result of my lacking knowledge of previous events.

I’m sure I would have liked “Faire Secrets” even better if I had read the previous instalments. It has definitely made me curious about them and I want to read the first three parts now.

The cover by Fiona Jade is a bit generic. I think it could have done without the shirtless man. A greater focus on the books and scrolls might have worked better.

Sales Links

Loose Id LLC

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Book details:

ebook, 257 pages

Published May 17th 2016 by Loose Id

Series: Part 4 of the Faire Folk series – add to your Goodreads shelf here:

  1. Faire Fugitive
  2. Faire Protector
  3. Faire Diviner
  4. Faire Secrets

A Free Dreamer Review: The Starving Years by Jordan Castillo Price

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Starving Years right coverImagine a world without hunger. In 1960, a superfood was invented that made starvation a thing of the past. Manna, the cheaply manufactured staple food, is now as ubiquitous as salt in the world’s cupboards, pantries and larders.

Nelson Oliver knows plenty about manna. He’s a food scientist—according to his diploma, that is. Lately, he’s been running the register at the local video rental dive to scrape together the cash for his exorbitantly priced migraine medication.

In a job fair gone bad, Nelson hooks up with copywriter Javier and his computer-geek pal Tim, who whisks them away from the worst of the fiasco in his repurposed moving truck. At least, Nelson thinks those two are acquainted, but they’re acting so evasive about it, he’s not sure how they know each other, exactly.

Javier is impervious to Nelson’s flirting, and Tim’s name could appear in the dictionary under the entry for “awkward.” And with a riot raging through Manhattan and yet another headache coming on, it doesn’t seem like Nelson will get an answer anytime soon. One thing’s for sure, the tension between the three of them is thick enough to cut with a knife…even one of those dull plastic dealies that come in the package with Mannariffic EZ-Mealz.

When reading the blurb for this book, I’d hoped for a well-developed dystopian story that happens to have gay MCs. Unfortunately, the story didn’t quite live up to my hopes.

The thing that bothered me the most was the severe lack of world building. There’s manna, some sort of artificial food thing. Almost everybody eats that stuff instead of real food. We never do find out why this became so popular, nor do we find out what it’s made of or how it is produced. That’s a real shame, because the concept was certainly very interesting.

Another thing was the whole thing about a man “putting his mark” on a (pregnant) woman. It seems to be a big deal and very important and yet we never learn the how and the why. Apparently not having a father for your child is a huge thing in this society, but the author failed to explain why.

Overall, the story could have used a bit more depth. All three MCs were thinking with their dicks a little too much for my taste. And the love was a bit too insta for me. But at least the sex was hot.

All three MCs had an interesting past. They could have used a bit more depth too, though.

The plot was engaging and a nice change from your run of the mill m/m romance plot. There actually was a real plot here. Some revelations were a bit foreseeable but overall I definitely wasn’t bored.

All in all, “The Starving Years” had a little too much romance for me and too little actual depth and world building. The plot and the MCs were interesting though, and I felt well entertained.

If you’re looking for M/M romance with a bit of a dystopian feel to it, you’ll probably enjoy this more than I did, since I’d hoped for a solid dystopia with a bit of romance.

Cover: The cover by Jordan Castillo Price shows a man with duct tape over his mouth. Judging by the cover alone, I’d almost expect a BDSM story. I don’t think I would have checked this out, if I hadn’t seen an edition with a different cover first.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 286 pages
Published March 5th 2012 by JCP Books LLC (first published March 3rd 2012)
ISBN139781935540434
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://jordancastilloprice.com/starvingyears/index.html settingNew York (United States)

A Free Dreamer Review: The Circus of the Damned (Deal with a Devil) by Cornelia Grey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

TheCircusoftheDamned_500x750Magician Gilbert Blake has spent his entire life conning drunkards in the seediest pubs in the darkest towns, careful to hide the true depths of his power. But when he spends a little too much time in Shadowsea and the infamous slumlord Count Reuben gets wind of his abilities, hiding within the Circus of the Damned may be Gilbert’s only chance at survival.

But there’s more to the Circus than meets the eye. Every time a performer dies, a new one must take his place, or the entire circus suffers the consequences. And while the handsome ringmaster Jesse isn’t one to coerce unwilling performers into giving up their souls to the devil, a recent death in their ranks makes Gilbert exactly what they need.

Yet the longer Gilbert stays with the Circus, the more danger he seems to bring them. Being with Jesse is more than Gilbert could have hoped for, but as Count Reuben’s men continue to search for Gilbert and the Circus loses another performer, they all face running out of time long before the Devil claims his due.

First of all, I had very high expectations of this book, since I absolutely loved   “Devil at the Crossroads by Cornelia Grey. Unfortunately, this book didn’t quite manage to live up to my expectations.

But let’s talk about the things I liked first. Once again, Cornelia Grey gave the trope of the “deal with the devil” an interesting and unique twist. The descriptions of the circus were full of loving details that made the whole setting come alive. I could practically breathe the circus air and see myself talking to all those unusual and strange circus performers.

I could easily relate to the protagonists and found myself head over heels for Gilbert within a few words. Gilbert is a real man – he drinks, he gambles (and cheats), he’s got a foul mouth and doesn’t mind the occasional brawl and he’s absolutely unapologetic about it. He openly admits that his pet mouse is probably a lot more intelligent than him and saved his ass on more than one occasion. I loved how Miss Grey gave even Gilbert’s mouse her own distinct characteristics.

The plot was fascinating from the very beginning. There’s tons of actions and the love story between Gilbert and Jesse develops as more of a side product, which is a huge bonus for me because I love stories with lots of plot and little romance. Once the sex did happen, it wasn’t simply hot. It was sensual and very erotic, even if the action itself was mostly vanilla. The UST up to that point alone had me drooling. Miss Grey definitely knows how to write sex! I loved that there were no sappy declarations of love. Gilbert is a man of action, so he acted and didn’t talk.

Unfortunately, the minor characters didn’t get quite as much love as the protagonists did. Sure, there are lots of weird and unique people, but overall I would have loved to find out more about them. A few more conversations between Gilbert and the other circus performers would have been nice.

The world building was a little disappointing as well. There were some very interesting concepts there, but the bigger picture kind of fell flat. I couldn’t tell if this was a completely different world or if it was a kind of historical AU. That was a real shame.

To sum it up, “The Circus of the Damned” was a very enjoyable read. I’m hoping for a sequel so we get to find out more about the world and the side characters.

Cover  by Kanaxa is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’d love to have this book as a paperback, simply because it would look so amazing in my real bookshelf. It’s definitely the best of the series.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 347 pages
Published November 3rd 2014 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleCircus of the Damned (A Deal with a Devil Story)
ISBN139781626491656
Edition LanguageEnglish