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Miss Victoria Hicks

Bristol, UK
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  • World War Z

  • By: Max Brooks
  • Narrated by: Christopher Ragland, Rupert Farley, Nigel Pilkington, and others
  • Length: 13 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,276
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,903
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,907

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched firsthand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living - or at least the undead - hell of that dreadful time.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good old fashioned gory fun

  • By monkey-puzzle on 21-11-12

Amazingly different and utterly absorbing.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-11-14

This book is set out in a unique way, as a series of interviews with survivors from a variety of different countries, cultures, religions, customs and social classes all over the world, who have lived through the zombie apocalypse.
Once you get used to the documentary style of this book it is truly gripping and engaging.

Each character interview is short enough to hold your interest while being long enough to include details making the story logical and believable.
The wide variety of viewpoints keeps the story flowing and adds believability that the world is recovering from a truly horrific event.
The interviewees have their own accents and voices. The multiple narrators pull off the different characters convincingly and it is refreshing to have a variety of voices giving their all instead of a single narrator trying to do them all half-heartedly.

There is no plot/storyline, no main character whose story you follow and no heroes, just people recounting their individual experiences of zombie invasion to build a picture of humanity and it’s survival.
You experience a range of emotions, from fear to fright, angst to anger. You feel their pain and share their anger.
This might not sound very appealing and I think I would have lost interest in a print version of this book, however an audiobook is the perfect format for this style of writing, it is meant to be an oral representation of history, and the audio version really captured my interest and held it throughout making it really enjoyable to listen to.

This is a highly detailed account of how an initially seemingly harmless infectious disease can quickly spread throughout the world and cause mass panic.
How powerful nations think they can stop the infection and the infected from reaching them only to be over run by the sheer numbers of the undead. All of this then leads to a desperate mission to stay alive by individuals as governments and society collapses around them.

I think the scariest thing about this work of fiction is how unexpectedly relevant it is in the current worldwide emerging health/infectious disease crisis.

As a sub note, there are a lot of references to the film in the reviews for this book which I feel is unfair as they are two entirely different bodies of work. The film may be inspired/adapted from the book however that doesn’t mean that the fans of one work will like the other.
I have seen the film and at the time didn’t know that it was based on a book. I quite liked the film but took it for what it was, a Hollywood zombie film.
When I found out that there was a book I immediately wanted to read it.
I have found that most book adapted works leave alot of detail out and the books are either much better or contain much more detail. This is definitely the case here. The film is for visual effect, the book is for content. Having experienced both the film and the book, I can safely say that you shouldn’t judge one by the other.
If you like the film, the book will give you more. If you don’t like the film, the book will give you a completely different experience and so much more.

I encourage everyone to give it a try.
Highly recommended.

  • Delirium

  • Delirium Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Lauren Oliver
  • Narrated by: Sarah Drew
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 228
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 193

They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years suffocated by a lie. There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • FANTASTIC **********

  • By Alice on 03-02-13

Deliriously Good!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-08-13

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years suffocated by a lie.
There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure.

THE STORY
Set in the city of Portland USA, 'Delirium' is a YA dystopian fiction novel written in the first person point of view of the lead protagonist, Lena.

In the world of Delirium love is a disease, know as Amour Deliria Nervosa, which must be cured. This cure is, also referred to as ‘the procedure’, is performed on every citizen at the age of 18, making them safe from the effects of the deliria.
Once a person has undergone ‘the procedure’, they are matched with someone of the opposite sex and live their lives as set out by the rules of society.

Delirium follows the story of Lena, a teenage girl approaching her 18th birthday.
As a firm advocate for the cure, and with only 3 or so months before her procedure, Lena cannot wait to be cured and take her place in society. That is until she meets Alex and she starts to question the world around her.
Throughout the story we see Lena grow as she starts to question the world around her and she begins to discover secrets about the deliria and the world around her, that not everything is as black and white as she's been taught.

WRITING STYLE
The narrative is well paced and flows nicely, making the story easy to follow.

Each new chapter begins with a quote from a book, song or reference text from the Delirium world. This thrusts you into the world of Delirium with its altered histories, religions and beliefs.

CHARACTERS
The author presents characters and their backgrounds really well, making you feel like you really know them. You start to feel for all them and really care about what happens to those you come to know and love.

Lena is the lead protagonist of the story and is different from the stereo-typical female leads.
She isn’t exceptional, doesn't have anything that makes her stand out from the crowd. She isn’t the damsel in distress, the mean girl or the popular girl. She isn’t the prettiest or the smartest. She is just a normal human seventeen-year-old girl.

Alex is the lead male of the story and although we don’t hear from his point of view his double life and his impact in Lena’s life makes for a truly gripping story.

The supporting characters in the story give added depth to the structure, believability and fluidity.
There aren't too many, just enough that everyone is memorable. They are well rounded, believable and critical to supporting the main theme.
Lena's best friend Hana is just as believable as Lena and their relationship is very well developed.
Lena's family, both the sweet and the irritating characters, were also just right.

THE SETTING
Like the characters of Delirium, the setting and structure of society is very believable.
It doesn’t take a big leap of the imagination to believe that our world could develop and change into the delirium world in the not too distant future.

ROMANCE
Unlike other romance stories, there is no love triangle. This is, quite simply, a love story between two people who want nothing more than to be together in a world that is trying to drive them apart.

The relationship between Lena and Alex develops slowly. The developing romance doesn’t feel forced, false or rushed and the feelings shared between them feel real without being overly mushy.

They are well developed, realistic characters with concerns and problems of their own, outside of each other. Their relationship isn't the all consuming purpose of the plot, and the rest of the plot is enough to feel like it wasn't just a carrier for the romance, without getting in the way of the romance.

NARRATOR
Sarah Drew narrates this audio book brilliantly. The characters emotions are well depicted and she distinguishes between different characters' voices effortlessly.

CONCLUSION
For me, Delirium is one of those books that i just couldn’t get enough of. With well developed characters and many plot twists and turns this story is not at all predictable. I was hooked from the very beginning right through to the last words and was immediately left wanting more. Thankfully for me this is the first book in a trilogy, other titles in the series are Pandemonium and Requiem, and i am very excited to now be able to indulge in the following 2 instalments. I will of course review those as and when i finish them.

I would recommend it to people of all ages and those how like dystopian fiction such as Hunger Games & Divergent.

  • Shiver

  • By: Maggie Stiefvater
  • Narrated by: David LeDoux, Jenna Lamia
  • Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 70
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 48

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf – her wolf – is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives. In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human... until the cold makes him shift back again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More than just a werewolf story

  • By Miss Victoria Hicks on 02-08-13

More than just a werewolf story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-08-13

Shiver by Maggie Steifvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf in particular - her wolf - is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Every winter, she watches him, but every summer, he disappears.
Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives. In winter, he stays in the frozen woods, with the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, he has a few precious months of being human... until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be.
But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human - or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

THE STORY
'Shiver' is a story about a late teenage couple fighting to be together, the only thing standing in the way of their ever growing love is time.
Grace is an ordinary girl with a not so ordinary story. Right from the beginning we know that as a child, Grace was attacked by wolves and bitten. Ever since, she has been fascinated by the wolves who live in the woods outside her home. Particularly with the yellow-eyed wolf that saved her.
Sam is a boy with an extraordinary secret. Trapped by weather and time, he is in love with a girl that has never seen his human face.
When their worlds collide they have to fight not only for their lives and their love, they have to fight to be together.

Sam and Grace meet for the first time when she finds him human, naked and bleeding on her back porch. With his unmistakable yellow eyes, Grace instantly recognises Sam and knows instinctively that he is the wolf she has been watching. From this point we are drawn into Sam's world and the story progresses at a good pace.

The storyline itself can be slightly dark in places although it focuses more on the relationship between Grace and Sam than anything else.

Sam has a truly traumatic past. And then there's the fact that he can only be human when the weather is warmer, and eventually will have to relinquish his human identity for good.

I love how the temperature is uniquely used and adds a vein of tension throughout the story, as each chapter begins with by stating the temperature, which steadily drops throughout as Sam and Grace's time runs out, and almost becomes as much of a character in the story as either Grace or Sam.

I enjoyed the gradual development of the story and found that the relaxed pace meant that even simple moments such as family drama, school drama, day-to-day life, etc were able to tell a story.

It was interesting to follow how two people from such different worlds interact with each other, and it was great to see how their experiences with friends and families had shaped them individuals as well as how they related to one another.

The super natural storyline does not at all over power the love story and the storylines fit together perfectly.

WRITING STYLE
Shiver is told in the 1st person points of view of the hero and the heroine, Sam and Grace.
The idea, to have both the main characters have individual chapters on their experiences, works brilliantly, cleverly evolving both characters at an equal rate.
Each has a clear voice, although each chapter states the narrator at the start.

The narrative style is good, easy to follow and it is interesting to get points of view from the different characters throughout the book.

THE SETTING
I really loved the setting of this book, especially the woods and how much they are featured in the book, almost taking on a character of their own.
The immensely detailed descriptions give you a sense of natural beautiful woods, and yet they are also a sinister, dark, twisted and mysterious place, where wolves and humans naturally came together.

I like that the woods are such a big part of Grace's feelings towards Sam; she gazes at them longingly and dreams of living under the golden leaves just as she dreams of Sam himself.

Also, the constant underlying feature of the cold brings an added tension to the story. As you follow the changes in temperature, you feel the same cold that the characters do which only adds to the experience.

ROMANCE
Unlike other romance stories, there is no love triangle. This is, quite simply, a love story between two people who want nothing more than to be together but who both know they are running out of time.

The relationship between Grace and Sam develops slowly. Although they are apparently in love immediately, due to a deeper connection, the developing romance doesn’t feel forced, false or rushed and the feelings shared between them feel real without being overly mushy.

They are well developed, realistic characters with concerns and problems of their own, outside of each other. Their relationship isn't the all consuming purpose of the plot, and the rest of the plot is enough to feel like it wasn't just a carrier for the romance, without getting in the way of the romance.

CHARACTERS
Grace is the female protagonist of the story and is different from the stereo-typical female leads.
She isn’t the damsel in distress, the mean girl or the popular girl. She's not rich and she doesn't have a sob story in her past. In fact she is she is quite the opposite. A thick skinned, practical and resilient girl who is down-to-earth, focused and likes everything to make sense.

Sam is the male protagonist of the story and is different from the stereo-typical male leads.
He isn’t the usual bad boy or arrogant jerk with oodles of attitude. Nor is he the 'alpha male' stereotype.
In fact, he is quite the opposite. Gentle and fragile, sensitive, artistic and romantic.

I especially liked the way neither Grace nor Sam have had perfect relationships with their friends and family, and this becomes a strong bond that they shared.

Grace's parents are useless and pay little attention to their daughter, whereas Sam's parents are better left unspoken about.

The supporting characters in the story give added depth to the structure, believability and fluidity.
There aren't too many, just enough that everyone is memorable and most are involved in small side plots so don’t become insignificant.
They are well rounded, believable and critical to supporting the main theme. From Grace's distant parents, Sam’s pack master/father figure and the pack members themselves, to the mean girl you love to hate.

THE WOLVES
I really liked the wolves and the world they inhabited. The descriptions of them changing form were particularly well thought out.
I loved the original take on the werewolf legend. Stereo-typically, werewolves turn into massive super-wolves, weird human/wolf mixes or have telepathic abilities allowing human speech and communication.
The werewolves in Shiver turn into proper wolves, think wolf thoughts, act like wolves and eat wolf foods with only the faintest memory of the human things that were most important to them in their human lives. For example, people's faces or scents were familiar but their names forgotten. These new wolves make change somehow more frightening because the human side of them is basically lost as soon as they transform.

CONCLUSION
I wouldn't compare this book to any others that i have read, as none of them are quite like this.
Shiver is truly unique and i am very glad that i took a chance on it when it popped up in my recommendations.

I didn't realise at the time that it is the first part of a trilogy, so i am very excited to now be able to indulge in the following 2 instalments.
I will of course review those as and when i finish them.

This book appeals to all ages and i highly recommend it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Mockingjay: Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 3

  • The Final Book of The Hunger Games
  • By: Suzanne Collins
  • Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,891
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,932
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,947

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena live, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Game Over... but do they live happily ever after?

  • By Laura on 15-06-11

Brilliant & addictive conclusion to the trilogy

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-13

I love this trilogy and have collected the books in all formats, paperback, kindle e-book & audio, as well as having the film on blu-ray.
Covering a wide variety of social, economical & political issues, as well as having the added edge of believability in this age of reality television, The Hunger Games has me hooked from beginning to end no matter what format i use. (i have the series in paperback, kindle e-books & audible audiobook)
The writing itself is gripping, engaging and fast paced and the narration flows very well.
The characters are well rounded and the relationships between them are strong and well developed.

I have been listening to audiobooks from a very young age and although i have my old favourites that have grown up with me as well as some new favourites, this series definitely ranks in my top 5 listens.

I am fairly new to dystopian fiction and haven’t read many in books in this genre but i have compared this trilogy to my other favourite dystopian trilogy, Divergent by Veronica Roth.

I am huge fan of the 'Young Adult' genre, although the genre title always amuses me as you couldn't find another category that spans a much wider customer base than the title suggests.
From Harry Potter to Twilight, Narnia to Divergent this series holds its own in a very competitive genre and will be a firm favourite with readers of all ages.

  • Catching Fire: Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 2

  • Hunger Games, Book 2
  • By: Suzanne Collins
  • Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,291
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,112
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,125

Katniss Everdeen continues to struggle to protect herself and her family from the Capitol in this second novel from the best-selling Hunger Games trilogy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic series

  • By Renee on 09-04-12

Another brilliant & addictive piece

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-13

I love this trilogy and have collected the books in all formats, paperback, kindle e-book & audio, as well as having the film on blu-ray.
Covering a wide variety of social, economical & political issues, as well as having the added edge of believability in this age of reality television, The Hunger Games has me hooked from beginning to end no matter what format i use. (i have the series in paperback, kindle e-books & audible audiobook)
The writing itself is gripping, engaging and fast paced and the narration flows very well.
The characters are well rounded and the relationships between them are strong and well developed.

I have been listening to audiobooks from a very young age and although i have my old favourites that have grown up with me as well as some new favourites, this series definitely ranks in my top 5 listens.

I am fairly new to dystopian fiction and haven’t read many in books in this genre but i have compared this trilogy to my other favourite dystopian trilogy, Divergent by Veronica Roth.

I am huge fan of the 'Young Adult' genre, although the genre title always amuses me as you couldn't find another category that spans a much wider customer base than the title suggests.
From Harry Potter to Twilight, Narnia to Divergent this series holds its own in a very competitive genre and will be a firm favourite with readers of all ages.

  • The Hunger Games: Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1

  • By: Suzanne Collins
  • Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,417
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,762
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,772

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, robotic reading.

  • By Rhiannon on 15-05-12

Brilliant & addictive.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-13

I love this trilogy and have collected the books in all formats, paperback, kindle e-book & audio, as well as having the film on blu-ray.
Covering a wide variety of social, economical & political issues, as well as having the added edge of believability in this age of reality television, The Hunger Games has me hooked from beginning to end no matter what format i use. (i have the series in paperback, kindle e-books & audible audiobook)
The writing itself is gripping, engaging and fast paced and the narration flows very well.
The characters are well rounded and the relationships between them are strong and well developed.

I have been listening to audiobooks from a very young age and although i have my old favourites that have grown up with me as well as some new favourites, this series definitely ranks in my top 5 listens.

I am fairly new to dystopian fiction and haven’t read many in books in this genre but i have compared this trilogy to my other favourite dystopian trilogy, Divergent by Veronica Roth.

I am huge fan of the 'Young Adult' genre, although the genre title always amuses me as you couldn't find another category that spans a much wider customer base than the title suggests.
From Harry Potter to Twilight, Narnia to Divergent this series holds its own in a very competitive genre and will be a firm favourite with readers of all ages.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

The Borrowers cover art
  • The Borrowers

  • By: Mary Norton
  • Narrated by: Rowena Cooper
  • Length: 4 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

Pod, Homily, and Arrietty are a family of tiny people who live beneath the floor, behind the grandfather clock in the old rectory. They own nothing - everything they have is borrowed from the "human beans", who don't even know they exist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Miss on 25-05-12

An old favourite that spans the generations

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-13

I love this story. It was the very first audiobook i ever listened to (i had it on cassette) when i was about 5yrs old and i have been addicted to both this book and audiobooks in general ever since.
The writing flows well and the narration is well paced, clear and easy to listen to.
This piece spans the generations, my grandmother and my children listen to it and so will many other generations to come.
Highly recommended.

Insurgent cover art
  • Insurgent

  • Divergent, Book 2
  • By: Veronica Roth
  • Narrated by: Emma Galvin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53

One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An amazing sequel!

  • By @Scattered_Laura on 28-05-12

Another strong dystopian piece from Veronica Roth

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-13

Like the first book in this trilogy, Divergent, i love Insurgent and have it in Paperback, Kindle e-book & Audible audiobook.



Insurgent starts where Divergent finished and in this installment the dystopian world is thrown into chaos.

With fierce political and power struggles, the sub themes of political control and social rebellion are even more enhanced.



In this book the reader/listener gets to discover and experience more about each faction and the factionless.



Remaining questions for Divergent are answered while new ones are created, some of which are answered before the book ends and some are not, leaving you wanting more.



The return of Emma Galvin as narrator is very welcome, she does a brilliant job.



I cannot wait for the third and final book in this awesome trilogy.



Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Divergent cover art
  • Divergent

  • By: Veronica Roth
  • Narrated by: Emma Galvin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 196
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 101

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Suprisingly good!

  • By Lara on 07-01-12

One of my favourite dystopian works.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-13

I love Divergent and have it in paperback, kindle e-book & Audible audiobook.



The writing is well developed and the story gripping. The characters are very easy to identify with and you find yourself wanting to learn more about them.



I know i am stating the obvious here but this is a Young Adult/Teen genre. It is light enough for the younger teens but deals with some very important social issues such as bullying, domestic violence,



As many people have said there are similarities to The Hunger Games, such as segmented society within a city, but they are their own stories.



Being the first part of a trilogy, this book sets the scene in this dystopian world and establishes the characters, political issues and power struggles from the outset.



The reader/listener is kept guessing throughout the story with just enough revealed to fill in the gaps and solidify the story by the end, but leaves enough questions to keep you guessing and wanting more.



This book is very well narrated by Emma Galvin, i think she would be suited to many other YA stories and if she had narrated the twilight audiobooks i would have bought them too.



Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful