BOOK BLOG: S.A. Patrick

A Darkness of Dragons: a brilliant adventure!

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“After playing a forbidden spell-song to save a village from rats, 12-year-old piper Patch Brightwater is thrown in jail. But there he meets Wren – a noble girl under a rat-shaped curse – and together they befriend Barver, a fearsome dracogriff, and set off on a grand adventure filled with sorcerers, dragons, bandits…and one very deadly enemy.
From the depths of the Tiviscan dungeons to the highest peak of Gemspar Mountain, this stunning book reminds us of the soaring joy of adventure, the captivating danger of magic, and of the delight of finding friends in unexpected places.”

The brilliant humans of Usborne sent me a copy of A Darkness of Dragons a while back, but I’ve been in a bit of a state of reader’s block (as I explained in my November wrap up post). I’ve just been unable to read/do anything bookish of late… blame it on tiredness/SAD/general life. I read the first five chapters of this before said reader’s block started. Then, on Saturday, I picked this back up and within the space of a few hours I had CONSUMED the whole thing – that’s how good it is! 

This book is based in the world of the Pied Piper of Hamelin (which for me made my heart SO SO HAPPY – I love when books are based around traditional tales. If someone could write a book like this based on Rumplestiltskin, that would be incredible! I am a massive Rumplestiltskin fan!). Obviously, the Pied Piper is a terrible man and in this world, pipers are well loved and respected people. I loved the world of the pipers – the thought that music and magic were very much intertwined was a sheer delight to read. This was one of those books that once I was there, I was immersed in the world. I was walking through the forest with Patch and co. It’s an incredible world to be part of too… although I don’t know that I’d survive ha!

As well as this book being an incredible adventure, a young man, his dragon friend, his rat friend and an adventure to save their world, it features some absolutely incredible characters. Patch (the main character) is an incredibly brave and somewhat stubborn protagonist that I think kids will absolutely adore. Throw in Wren, a brilliant young girl who has been hexed into being a rat, and an incredibly sarcastic and dry dracogriff in the mix and you have this excellent bunch of characters who I just wanted more from. (I can’t wait for book 2 because I am a SUCKER for sequels!)

There’s some brilliant themes of friendship in this story. Unexpected friendships particularly. I loved the friendship that grew between Patch and Wren in particular. It showed that friends are there to support and guide each other through everything. These friends don’t have it easy, but they stick through the thick and the thin with each other! I mean, how many friends would stick by you when you’re thrown into one of the worst prisons imaginable?!

I think this book is going to go down a STORM at school. I can’t wait to hand it to some of the readers in my class. 

Have you read A Darkness of Dragons?
Can you think of a story you’d love to see revived?
Would you like a dragon friend?

Talk to me! Send me a dragon… please… someone?! Massive thanks to Usborne for sending me a copy!

S x 

Christmas Songs book tag

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Halo, halo, halo! 

It’s Friday… that means it’s TAG DAY. (I should start posting tags on a Thursday cause alliteration is my jam… but old habits die hard, maybe in the new year!) 

Today I’m taking on the Christmas Songs Book Tag. I saw this while browsing the interwebs for different tags and thought it was the perfect FESTIVE tag to be involved it. Plus, I bloody love a Christmas song! If you fancy joining in the fun, feel free! I don’t remember where I saw this first!

“You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch” – Name a Villainous Character You Couldn’t Help But Love.

I’ve gone with Kaz Brekker for this one. I don’t know that he’s VILLAINOUS to be honest, but he’s not a good man… but my gosh, I adore him.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Which Book Do You Most Hope To See Under Your Christmas Tree.

Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury. It’s not out til next year, but my word. I am SO READY for this book. (Hello Mel, or Scholastic, I love you guys).

“Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer” – Name a Character That Overcomes Major Obstacles and Learns To Believe in Themselves.

Steffi from A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. I think this book is one of the greatest things to exist. I love everything about it. 

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”:
a) Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list? 

b) Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?

Top of the nice list for me would be Rhys from A Quiet Kind of Thunder.
Top of the naughty list for me is Scythe Goddard from Scythe. He is a TERRIBLE man.

“Frosty the Snowman”: Which book just melts your heart.

All of them?! I cry at EVERYTHING. However, Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda made me so happy. I ship Simon and Blue so so much.

“Feliz Navidad”: Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

Jack of Hearts and Other Parts by L.C. Rosen. Set in America, but I’m not sure why this was the first one to pop into my head since a lot of the books I read aren’t even set in the UK. 

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Which holiday themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?

I’ll Be Home for Christmas. This is an anthology that I read last Christmas that I just ADORED. I don’t read many Christmas books, but this one is MAGNIFICENT.

“Sleigh Ride”: Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with (doesn’t have to be a love interest!)?

Hahaha! I went down the “not love interest” route, and decided on Tilly from Pages and Co by Anna James because I’d like to spend my Christmas holidays reading and book wandering please!

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”: Which book that you didn’t like would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?

Either Caraval or Freshers. I don’t hate either of them, but I didn’t particularly enjoy them either. 

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”: Which book do you think everyone should read?

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig. It’s just exceptional. It will 100% be in my ‘Best Books of the Year’ list. Please, all of you, go and buy it, get it from the library: something. Read it. You won’t regret it.

And there you have it! My take on the Christmas songs book tag!

Are you surprised by any of my answers?
Would you agree or disagree with any of them?
Are you brave enough to take on the tag?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

S x 

 

November wrap up!

It may be December 10th, but I still am yet to round up my (rather pitiful looking) November reads!

In November, I:

Only read 3 books!
Started a few books, but my brain wouldn’t let me read.
Suffered from some pretty bad SAD.
Was a bit poorly.
Slept a lot.
Started rehearsing for the Christmas play at school.
Experienced my worst reading block for a while.
Did some Christmas shopping!

My November in books is a pretty TINY pile comapred to some months… but hey, when you’re not in the mood, you’re not in the mood!

The books I managed to get through were:

2 YA books and 1 kids book. 

I was SO VERY FORTUNATE to be send a proof copy of Fierce Fragile Hearts and I consumed it in a matter of hours a few weekends ago. I’m currently still trying to process my thoughts on it, but I tell you this guys, you NEED to get on it. It’s out next year and I just think Sara Barnard has yet again written an absolute winner. She is 100% one of my faves.

I’ve written a review of The Boneless Mercies here and my review of Fortunately, The Milk is to come!

What about my book challenges?

#BritishBooksChallenge: 105/12 (maybe more!)
#52books2018: 92/52 (just kids books!)
Goodreads challenge: 152/52

Now, for all this month wasn’t a GREAT success reading wise, I am still streets ahead of my yearly goal… which pleases me to no end! I’m hoping to read 4 books in December, so that I’m on 156 books (300% of my original target). Bring on the Christmas holidays!

How is your yearly goal looking?
Are you looking forward to Christmas festivities too?
What’s on your Christmas to read pile?

Let me know in the comments!

S x

The Bookish Naughty or Nice tag

Morning troops!

How are we all? What’s going down this here Friday morning? Has Christmas reached your house yet? 

As we all know, Christmas is the time when you are deemed “naughty or nice”, so I thought I’d find a naughty or nice themed tag to do! I luckily found the perfect one… a bookish one on my friend Amy’s blog. You should check out her post here.

Received an ARC and not reviewed it: Naughty

Now I have never done this on PURPOSE, but I can imagine there’s an ARC or two in my collection that I’ve not reviewed.

Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley: Nice

I’ve not used Netgalley for ages as my Kindle has been dead for a good few months. I need to find my charger lead. There’s so many brilliant books on the old NG that I need to get on!

Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did): Naughty

Again, not purposefully. I ALWAYS intend on reviewing, but there’s bound to be one that’s slipped under the net. I always review on GR as I use it to track my books.

Folded down the page of a book: Nice

This is sheer heracy. I am a page rememberer (much to the dismay of my best friend!)

Accidentally spilled on a book: Nice?

I PROBABLY have in the past, but keep your hot drinks away from my books thanks.

DNF’d a book this year: Nice

Nope. I’ve read and finished EVERY book I started this year. I’m not one who DNFs very often.

Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it: Nice?

I THINK. But let’s be real… I probably have. I’m sure one of my friends will correct me on this one haha!

Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework): Naughty

Guilty as sin. Some weekends all I need to do is switch off and read.

Skim read a book: Naughty

Yep. Who hasn’t?!

Completely missed your Goodreads goal: Nice

Nope, I always hit my goal. I aim for a book a week, so I always hit it.

Borrowed a book and not returned it: Naughty

I still have one of my friend Charlotte’s books from like a few months ago. I’ll get round to reading it EVENTUALLY.

Broke a book buying ban: Naughty

MORE THAN LIKELY.

Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about: Naughty

LOL, I’m a book blogger. What do you expect?

Wrote in a book you were reading: Naughty

My friends and I used to do a thing where we’d send a book around – it was so lush to see what each of us thought of the different scenes!

Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads: Nice

TECHNICALLY, I’m naughty for this because I don’t add picture books to my GR… I know I know, I need to.

Let me know your thoughts about my responses! I’d love to hear how you would answer these prompts!

S x 

Looking for a brilliant read for a teen in your life?

Here we are, day 3 of my gift guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them! It’s been a blast looking back at my year in books and thinking which ones I would recommend people buy and read AND SHOVE IN EACH OTHERS FACES *ahem*.

Today, on this here final day of recommending, I’m sorting through the MANY MANY YA books I’ve read this year and giving you 12 that you ABSOLUTELY need to buy for the YA fan in your life! (Just as the past few days, none of these books will REALLY come as a surprise!) Without further ado…

2018 ya recs

Scythe/Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (while we’re at it… The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy too, LBR)

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard (and ANY of her other books too)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Show Stopper/Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock

The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Clean by Juno Dawson

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber (and Wing Jones too)

Floored by the Floored Seven

TADAAAAH. You made it. This list could’ve been so much longer. GO AND BUY THEM ALL. READ THEM ALL. LOVE THEM ALL.

Do you agree with my recommendations?
Can you add any to my list?
Which of these books have you loved most?

Talk to me in the comments! Are you SHOCKED by my choices?

S x

“Which books should I add to my Christmas list, Miss?”

Yesterday, I shared 10 recommendations for emerging chapter book readers – check it out if you’re after recommendations for 6+ years! Today I’m sharing books that I’ve shared with the kids in my class, school and life! Today is the turn of those who are confidently reading longer chapter books – longer chapter books that are BLOODY BRILLIANT.

None of these books will come as a surprise to ANYONE who knows me, but nevertheless. I think one of the best books you can buy kids is a book. These recommendations are books I’ve loved, but also books that my kids have wholeheartedly taken under their wing!

2018 mg recs

(I know right, SHOCKERS)

Now, some of these are book 1 in a series that I would recommend the whole series of… but if I’d put ALL of the books in the series of, I would have been here forever!

The House with Chicken Legs – Sophie Anderson

The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club series – Alex Bell

A Place Called Perfect series – Helena Duggan

Armistice Runner – Tom Palmer

The Light Jar – Lisa Thompson

Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James

The Way Past Winter – Kiran Milwood Hargrave

Snowglobe – Amy Wilson

The Nowhere Emporium series – Ross Mackenzie

Brightstorm – Vashti Hardy

The Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle

Who Let The Gods Out series by Maz Evans (Simply the Quest reviewBeyond the Odyssey review)

And there you have it… my second lot of MG recommendations which are perfect to buy for any budding bookworm in your life!

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any favourites?
Would you recommend any for me to add to my list?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Come back tomorrow for YA recommendations!

S x

 

“You know books… can I have some recommendations?”

The amount of times I’ve been asked for recommendations over the past few weeks is LUSH. Whether it’s from my kids for what to read next, for parents on what to buy their kids for Christmas or from my colleagues on what to read, it’s all lush to talk books.

Over the next 3 days I’m going to collate 3 different lists for books I’d recommend – be it to read or to buy someone for Christmas!

Today I’m tackling 7+ (ish) recommendations

Tomorrow will be 8+ish and then Wednesday will be YA recommendations! There are LOADS of recommendations out there, I just decided to collate my favourite 10 from the past year (or so)!

If you have a reader who is just starting to read chapter books, or likes the look of illustrated chapter books, these books are brilliant.

2018 recs

Violet and the… series by Harriet Whitehorn

Fabio – The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective by Laura James

Royal Rabbits of London series by Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig

Amelia Fang series by Laura Ellen Anderson

Max – The Detective Cat series by Sarah Todd Taylor

The Wild Robot series by Peter Brown

The Twitches series by Hayley Scott

Sam Wu series by Katie and Kevin Tsang

Horace and Harriet series by Clare Elsom

There you have it! 10 of the best books for Y2+ I’ve read recently. I’d love to know your thoughts! Let me know!

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any recommendations that I could add?
Which of these would you like to pick up most?

Talk to me!

Remember to come back tomorrow for recommendations for books for those 8+ years!

S x

BOOK BLOG: April Tucholke

The Boneless Mercies: a beautifully brilliant book!

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“Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are Boneless Mercies – death-traders, hired to kill quickly, quietly and mercifully. It is a job for women, and women only. Men will not do this sad, dark work. Frey has no family, no home, no fortune, and yet her blood sings a song of glory. So when she hears of a monster slaughtering men, women, and children in a northern jarldom, she decides this the Mercies’ one chance to change their fate. But glory comes at a price …”

ANY book that has this gorgeous a cover is SURE to catch my eye. Just look at that turquoise, the black and the foil… and yes, that gold is metallic and shiny (my picture just does it NO justice at all). I had high hopes for a book with such an incredible cover, and my gosh, this book did not disappoint. 

The Boneless Mercies tells the tale of Frey, her friends and a journey through some wicked and wild enemies. Frey and her friends are Boneless Mercies – young women who are hired by people to do mercy killings for anyone who can pay. None of these girls fell into being a Mercy on purpose, they all became mercies because of the way their lives fell into place. No matter though, they are frightfully loyal to each other and there is an awful lot of love between them. I think they friendship might be one of the things I loved most about this book… their unrelenting loyalty and love for each other. We all need friends like that. 

There’s some BRILLIANT themes of life and death in this story. The way that death is approached in this story was fascinating to read. There’s no glorification of death, but a gentle acceptance of it and a giving of death. I loved the girls’ dedication to their jobs, even when they don’t want to do that job anymore. 

Another thing I love SO MUCH about books is the incorporation of folk stories and myths (I know, what a surprise, I’ve definitely typed that sentence before) and this book doesn’t shy away from it. There’s a lovely sense of storytelling in this story. “Storytelling can keep you warm on the coldest of nights” (that’s not a direct quote, but it’s paraphrasing a quote!) You see the girls’ lives and the lives of the ones they meet through their storytelling, and it made me feel like I was sat by a fire, listening. This is the perfect book to read while sitting next to a fire… just incase you want a recommendation! 

I have to take a very little moment here to write a little appreciation for Trigve here. I don’t wanna give any spoilers, but guys. I think he’s just wonderful. If there is to be a book 2, I need my shipper heart to be happy, thanks! 

I’m not gonna lie, yes, there was a bit when I cried (again, no one will be shocked by this!). This book made me 100% invested in these girls’ lives, and I needed them all to keep powering on, keep surviving. Cause I tell you now… I WOULD NOT. In the cold and the snow and the outside all the time? NO THANKS. 

If you, like me, are a lover of books with BRILLIANT characters, some incredible storytelling and set in an intriguing world, then this is 100% the book for you! GO GO GO FRIENDS.

My Goodreads review:

A brilliantly written book with characters I absolutely adored. There was so much in this that I need time to process it. Badass characters, a sense of mythology and an interesting world. I REALLY hope there’s going to be a second one.

Have you read The Boneless Mercies?
Do you think you’d be a good Mercy killer?
RECOMMEND ME BOOKS LIKE THIS PLZ. Thanks.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, because I need to know if ANYONE ELSE was with me on the Trigve thing. I love him. A massive thank you to Olivia at Simon and Schuster for senging me this book! I wholeheartely loved it! 

S x 

 

BOOK BLOG: David Long

Egypt Magnified: the perfect book for any Egypt loving bookworm! 

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“Grab your magnifying glass and explore the sights and sounds of ancient Egypt in this fascinating search-and-find adventure, packed with over 200 things to spot.”

When I was approached by the publishers as to whether I would like a copy of this book for review, I knew instantly that I would ABSOLUTELY LIKE A COPY FOR REVIEW. I am constantly on the lookout for engaging and brilliant non-fiction books. We all know that non-fiction books of the past could be dull and just collect dust… but recently non-fiction books are becoming more and more desirable. And this book does not disappoint! This would make the perfect Christmas gift for any non-fiction loving wannabe historian in your life! 

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Egypt Magnified comes with a brilliant magnifying glass so you can play a “Where’s Wally?” type game in the book. With sections covering everything from The Nile and The Desert to Tutankhamun’s Tomb, this book is just brilliant. (Why yes, I did in fact take about half an hour of my time when this arrived to play with the magnifying glass… unfortunately, I never was any good at Where’s Wally!)

With gorgeous illustrations by Harry Bloom and JAM PACKED with facts, this book is educational and fun – a perfect mix! I learned a fair few things when I gave this book a read… and I’ve taught the Egyptians before! Each page is about a different topic, and along the top is the “10 things to spot” section. The pages are filled with information, illustration and intrigue! 

I can’t recommend this book enough – to parents, teachers, librarians and ANYONE ELSE. It has such a brilliant place in homes, schools and libraries. I can’t wait to pass it on to Year 4 for when they study the Egypians – I just know it’s going to go down SO well. (So well in fact, I’m jealous that they get to have it! If there could be a Greek edition, that’d be awesome!)

What period in history would you most like to delve deeper into?
What’s your favourite type of non-fiction book?
Can you recommend me any new non-fiction books?

A massive massive thank you to the publishers over at Quarto for sending me this absolute delight! 

S x 

Wrap up time!

This could be wrap up because cold, or wrap up because it’s time for MINI REVIEWS! If you’re here looking for a scarf appreciation post, you’ll need to come back next week *wink*

So… what have I read recently?

Today I’m going to give a wrap up of some of the MG books I read last month! I am loving doing mini reviews at the minute! 

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A Chase in Time – Sally Nicholls

The old gilt-edged mirror has hung in Alex’s aunt’s house for as long as he can remember. Alex hardly notices it, until the day he and his sister are pulled through the mirror, back into 1912. It’s the same house, but a very different place to live, and the people they meet need their help. Soon they are caught up in an action-packed adventure, solving a crime, rescuing priceless jewels, and eating more cake than they have ever eaten before.

This is a brilliant tale of time travel, learning about the past and a bit of doing what’s right! With incredible characters and an engaging story, this book is going down a storm in the classroom! I really enjoyed this! The characters, the historical elements and the magical mirror give it a feel of a classic story. This would make a brilliant read aloud in the class. I am truly hoping there’s going to be a second book!

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Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters – Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere is no stranger to flops and fails, kerfuffles and catastrophes. After all, engineering is all about perseverance! But this time, Rosie has a really important project to tackle—one that feels much bigger than herself. Rosie’s beloved Aunt Rose and her friends, the Raucous Riveters—a group of fun-loving gals who built airplanes during World War II—need help inventing something new. And Rosie is just the engineer for the job! After one flop . . . then another . . . and another . . . Rosie starts to lose hope. But thanks to some help from her fellow Questioneers Iggy Peck and Ada Twist, Rosie gets the job done. And, along with the Riveters, she rediscovers the meaning of home.

This book is just LUSH. Helping people and having fun is such a brilliant thing to read about! It also has incredible depictions of women and children in engineering, the importance of family and lovely messages about not giving up when something goes wrong. I really REALLY loved this. I think it’d be the perfect addition for any classroom or home library!

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Isadora Moon Makes Winter Magic – Harriet Muncaster

Isadora Moon is special because she’s different. Her mum is a fairy and her dad is a vampire and she’s a bit of both. Isadora loves playing in the snow, especially when her creations come to life! But snow magic can’t last forever. Will she be able to save her new friends before they melt away? 

As a big fan of Isadora Moon (and knowing that the kids at school are) I was very excited to get the chance to read this book! From the incredible cover, to the brilliant illustrations, this book is lots of fun. The short chapters and perfect for younger readers and the back is filled with fun snow-y things to do. The story is fun and the characters are all great. A perfect wintry tale!

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Max The Detective Cat: The Phantom Portrait – Sarah Todd Taylor

Max is ready to solve another case! The entire theatre company have travelled to Lord Fawley’s castle to put on a show for his daughter’s Halloween birthday ball! Rehearsals start well, but soon some ghostly goings-on and talk of a family curse have the actors in a panic. Never fear – Max the detective cat is on the case, and his whiskers are prickling with suspicion that these strange events have more to do with jewels than ghouls…

Having read the first book and falling greatly for Max, I was very excited to read this second book! Yet again Max comes along with the help of his brilliant friend Oscar to save the day. This book is a bit spookier than the first one, with ghostly goings on, missing diamonds and a creepy theatre. It’s perfect for children who are reading shorter chapter books! If you need a heroic cat, look no further than Max! 

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The Boy Who Lived With Dragons – Andy Shepherd

Having your own dragon is magical – but Tomas is also about to find out what living with a dragon is REALLY like. When the fire-breathing kicks in and you get singed every five seconds, it’s like having an unpredictable volcano in your pocket. Learning to train the dragons and keep them out of trouble at school and home will take all Tomas’s creativity and patience … What is more, the dragonfruit tree is starting to look droopy and unwell. Tomas and his friends have got to do all they can restore it to health and uncover its deepest mysteries, as well as trying to work out what big secret local bully Liam, ‘King of Trouble’, has got up his sleeve … One thing is for sure, life is never dull when you have a dragon in your pocket.

This is another one, where I’d read the first book, utterly adored it and it’s gone to school never to be seen again (because the kids are loving it!) Book 2 didn’t fail me either. This is a great sequel to the first book – I really enjoyed this. The young Steph in me loves these books. They’re brilliantly fun capers about the importance of friendship and being kind. With lovely messages about telling the truth and being kind, these books are spot on for Y3+. I also definitely want a dragon now.

Have you read any of these brilliant MG books?
Can you recommend anything similar for me?
Do you enjoy a wrap up?
What’s your true opinion on scarves?

Speak to me! Leave me a comment! Send me a dragon! Send a message through a magic mirror! 

S x