A Conjuring of Light book review

by V E Schwab (2017) Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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“Love and loss,” he said, of “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

– V E Schwab, A Conjuring of Light

Darkness is spreading through Red London and the Antari must leave the city and travel in order to find a way to stop this great power which is threatening to destroy their world. Friends and foe join together to protect the city and its people, love and magic blossoms as well as power being tested and the grief of a city losing to darkness. Kell must do all he can to save his family, joined by the adventure-seeking Lila and nobleman Alucard as they sail out to find a way of beating dark magic.

OH. MY. GOD. I can’t believe this series is at an end. Schwab has such an amazing way with words I seriously don’t know how she does it – building a completely insane but brilliant world filled with magic and the most wild and crazy characters, each with their own stories and past. It was such a beautiful end to an awesome trilogy that I will never forget – the shades of magic series is one of my favourite ever and I want everyone to read this series.

The book starts off pretty much where AGOS left and it was heartbreaking and action-filled right from the beginning without so much as a breath to take in between all the drama. The huge cliffhanger that we were left on at the end of AGOS gets resolved and the plot for the book is set as they have to find a way to stop Osaron.

ACOL sees Osaron take over Red London and Kell, Lila, Alucard and Holland (yes Holland is back and has a lot of character development too) must work together to seek of an object that could stop Osaron’s take over of Red London. Rhy has his own mission to save as many of his people as possible, the ones that can fight against and come out triumphant to Osaron’s magic, all the while the King is creating his own ways to stop the disease over London.

There is so much character development in this book as we see Rhy becoming more King than Prince as he tends to his people, Kell trying to save everyone and Lila and Kell becoming something more. We see the other side to Alucard as he races to save his sister and the relationship between him and Rhy is an adorable as ever.

There was also so much sass in this book! I love the banter between the two brothers and the relationship between Kell and Alucard – the fact that he despises him because of how he hurt his brother. Kell and Rhy are so cute together and the fact that they aren’t brothers by blood just strengthens their relationship even further because they just make the cutest brothers.

This book just wasn’t long enough – I wanted more of every single character and so much happened. Schwab was amazing with her story-telling as always and ACOL had such an unexpected ending but it was just a brilliant goodbye to a truly wonderful series.

Now I have to mention some spoilers – SO MUCH HAPPENED in this book so look away now if you haven’t read any of the shades of magic series.

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So I’ll start with the beginning where Kell is trapped and the collar is killing his power and so Rhy, poor Rhy is slowly dying in Red London. I was so scared for Rhy but I knew he didn’t die so early on – he couldn’t otherwise I would have cried, but he did die which was really strange to read that he truly only lives so long as Kell does. I loved how Alucard stayed with him it just made me all

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With Kell, Lila and Rhy all okay, now here comes another disaster – Osaron is in Red London and killing everyone with his power (I can’t believe Kisimyr got killed off – she was just so bad-ass) so people are dying all over and the palace has to barricade themselves in. The King and Queen are helpless to save the Maresh empire but this doesn’t stop Kell and Rhy who both go out to save as many people as possible. Antari are immune to the disease that Osaron is spreading so they go out to mark as many people as possible with their blood but it’s not enough – they need to stop Osaron, not just save people.

Here enters the Inheritor and the main plot for the book – an object that can contain his power but requires a sacrifice to use (oh god) but before this, we see sweet Alucard ride out into the fog (why, WHY would you do that?!) to save his sister.

Of course she dies and Alucard has left the safety of the palace for no reason so the disease enters his head.

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I seriously had no idea if he would survive or not but thankfully Rhy comes to his rescue and he stays with Alucard and pulls him from the disease.

They’re just so adorable together I could have an entire book of the two of them and be happy. I’ve always loved their relationship but I hated how Alucard left Rhy and caused him so much hurt and that’s why Kell hates him so much. But we learn why Alucard hurt Rhy when he left him – his brother found out that Alucard was seeing Rhy and so basically trapped him on a ship to get him away from the Prince so he couldn’t go back. IT WAS JUST SO SAD because Kell hates him and Rhy was left so hurt by the whole thing but it WASN’T ALUCARD’S FAULT!

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It physically hurt when Alucard was saying goodbye to Rhy before he left on the ship to find the Inheritor and Rhy just didn’t let them have a goodbye. What if something happened to Alucard and they had left on those crappy terms? Why can’t they just make up or at least part on good terms before, I don’t know, one of them potentially dies and that was the last conversation they had?!

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Throughout the whole book I thought one of the four main characters was going to die and then Rhy and Kell’s mother and father suddenly got killed off. The Queen was assassinated and the King got killed by Osaron because he thought he stood a chance at defeating him – I was kind of expecting their deaths I guess, but poor Rhy having to now be King after losing both his parents. But I’m so glad he had Alucard in the end that stayed with him; if Alucard had died I think I might have cried.

I’m glad King Maxim and Queen Emira finally showed Kell some love! The bit where he had the opportunity to find out who his biological parents were was so tense because I really thought it would be revealed to us and we’d have this whole other storyline but it actually worked when he burnt the note. I’m glad we never found out who his birth parents were because his real parents had been the King and Queen (even though they didn’t let him travel and kind of kept him as a bit of a trophy), they still loved him and it showed in the end. It was a brilliant little touch the story and to his character and I loved it.

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Of course Kell and Lila’s relationship stepped up a gear which resulted in one of the best scene’s of the book!

One of my favourite quotes was when Kell and Lila were getting a little too ‘in the moment’ as they were kissing and Alucard bursts in and yells “Stop fucking with the ship!” which just had me laughing. I love the sass in this book and Lila especially pretty much showed her dislike to something by calling it what it was but not before putting “fucking” in front of it. She’s just the best.

The four of them are all amazing and work so brilliantly together, despite Kell hating Alucard there’s just such a good relationship between the four of them.

“What are we drinking to?”
“The living,” said Rhy.
“The dead,” said Alucard and Lila at the same time.
“We’re being thorough,” added Rhy.”

– V E Schwab, A Conjuring of Light

It was a really well written scene though and I’m glad Kell got to find some happiness in Lila and they ended up travelling the world together. That’s the one thing he wanted to do but couldn’t – travel, which was pretty ironic for an Antari.

The ending was actually beautiful but also melanchony. Rhy has Alucard, but loses his brother to his travels with the wild and ferocious Lila. I was both happy that they all got a good ending but I wanted the last page to be the brothers together or in fact all four of them together but because it didn’t, it kind of made it even better? Like life isn’t what you expected but you can be happy in finding what comes your way. It was just so unexpected that the four of them would end up alive so I was so glad to see them all alive and well at the end, and with the people they loved.

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One last thing I have to mention is HOLLAND. Okay so I never liked Holland I thought he was vile but he is just way more complex than I thought! He was originally a nice guy, someone who loved his world and wanted to make it better – then the Danes got involved and tortured him into a man that had emptied himself of caring or kindness because it was easier to help deal with the shit they gave him.

I’m glad he helped Kell and Lila save Red London and ultimately destroy Osaron. He got to go back to White London and die at peace knowing he couldn’t have done anything more. He was one of my favourite characters because you hated him at first, then kind of liked him, then hated him then actually grew to like him again with the flashbacks to his past.

Holland was also really funny in this book as well with his dry sense of humour and sarcastic comments towards Kell and Lila – he could have an entire spin-off novella to himself and I would TOTALLY read it.

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Words can’t express how much I love this book and this entire trilogy. It is amazing and magical and wonderful all wrapped up in the most beautiful writing and it will be a series I treasure on my bookshelf for a long time.

“Anoshe was a word for strangers in the street, and lovers between meetings, for parents and children, friends and family. It softened the blow of leaving. Eased the strain of parting. A careful nod to the certainty of today, the mystery of tomorrow. When a friend left, with little chance of seeing home, they said anoshe. When a loved one was dying, they said anoshe. When corpses were burned, bodies given back to the earth and souls to the stream, those left grieving said anoshe.

Anoshe brought solace. And hope. And the strength to let go.”

– V E Schwab, A Conjuring of Light

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May wrap-up & June TBR

May has been a busy month for me – I had my exams, found out my results (I passed!) and went on a plane for the first time! I went abroad for the second time in my life and saw the beautiful Lanzarote with some uni friends and of course the highly anticipated ACOWAR came out which I devoured in two days (and cried at a book for the first time). It has been a crazy month, thankfully full of ups and good news and not to mention some brilliant books!

Books I read in May:

 

A Court of Thorns and RosesImage result for a court of thorns and roses uk

Author: S J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star (reread)

 

 

 

 

A Court of Mist and FuryImage result for a court of mist and fury uk

Author: S J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star (reread)

 

 

 

 

A Court of Wings and RuinImage result for a court of wings and ruin uk

Author: S J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

 

Given To the SeaImage result for given to the sea

Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Putnam’s Childrens
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

 

Everything, EverythingImage result for everything everything

Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Corgi Children’s
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the wonderful ACOWAR came out and I absolutely LOVED that book! I couldn’t stop reading and read it in two days, crying on the last page purely because of the terrible sense of loss, of something ending that I didn’t want to end. It was amazing and I loved it, but I still think ACOMAF is my favourite. I got the beautiful colour map of Prythian as well which I’ve stuck on my wall 🙂

I loved rereading ACOTAR and ACOMAF but it’s never quite the same as when you read a book for the first time! It’s interesting picking up on little things you may have missed or get mentioned later on.

Given To the Sea was the book included in the April Fairyloot box and I started it on holiday but only just finished it a few days ago. I have to say it’s not a favourite of mine and I didn’t really enjoy it that much, however Everything, Everything was so good and just what I needed!

My TBR for June will include some more contemporaries I think, like Wing Jones and Summer Days and Summer Nights (a collection of twelve summery short stories). I need to finish off my ACOWAR reread and possibly read the Fantastic Beasts screenplay. Hope you all had a brilliant month and June is even better for you!

Jo x

Book hangovers

So recently I finished the amazing and brilliant A Court of Wings and Ruin and it has given me a MASSIVE book hangover and it got me thinking – do I love or hate book hangovers?

And the answer is both. I truly love reading a book that has captivated my attention so much that I am wholly invested in the characters and storyline so that when it comes to an end, it’s like losing something beautiful.

But then I also hate book hangovers because I can’t think about any other book for ages and the prospect of just picking up another book is incomprehensible! I did it last year (after reading A Court of Mist and Fury, coincidentally) – I picked up another book to read after having reading ACOMAF in two days and then rereading it in one. However that was not the right choice because that book paled in comparison which perhaps didn’t reflect my true feelings on the story because, in my state of book hangover, nothing would be as good as the book I had just read.

So I learnt my lesson. Any book that gives me a hangover, I will reread it again slowly and give myself time to get over it at my own pace. There’s no point forcing yourself to read another book, maybe just to get closer to that goodreads goal, because your heart doesn’t want it! It just wants to cling to the book you just read, be apart of it and not say goodbye to the characters or places just yet.

It’s a bittersweet upon finishing a book you’ve waited months for, and there’s always that struggle of wanting to devour it in one go, but also wanting to make it last because you know the more you read, the closer you are to the end of the story.

So give yourself time. Reread that book again, write down your favourite quotes, chat to people about it. Book hangovers mean you’ve read a truly awesome book that will stay with you for a long time, but they also sit heavy on you for days and whilst your mind is refusing to let go of that story, just let it. Time is the best cure for a book hangover – and maybe another reread 😉

What do you do to get over book hangovers?

Jo x

The Rose and the Dagger book review

by Renée Ahdieh (2016) Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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With the threat of war looming in the distance and Shahrzad ripped from her love, the Caliph of Khorasan, Khalid, they must each come to terms with their choices and strive to save their beloved city. Khalid desperately tries to rebuild his city broken apart from the lightning attack as finds himself alone as he pushes his dearest friend, the Captain of the Guard away. Meanwhile Shahrzad is back with her first love, Tariq, who is prepared to do anything to protect her.

Shahrzad needs answers to the magic rooted deep inside her and an answer to her most desperate question of all – how to break the curse on Khorasan. But with enemies waiting in the shadows to take down the boy-king of Khorasan, who can Shahrzad trust?

“From the stars, to the stars.” – Renée Ahdieh, The Rose and the Dagger

I adored the beautiful The Wrath and the Dawn and it has taken me ages to finally get round to reading the sequel but as suspected, it was just as wonderful as the first book. Full of sumptuous writing and a love between two characters so strong it could rival the classics, this book is definitely a fitting end to a gorgeous duology.

The Rose and the Dagger picks up where Wrath left off with Khalid dealing with the aftermath of the storm and Shahrzad back with her family and Tariq. Neither is coping well without the other as Khalid burdens the curse that has poisoned his city for so long, and Shahrzad is trying to discover and understand the magic that runs through her blood.

Shahrzad and Khalid are just the most beautiful pairing ever and I love the honest and deeply-rooted respect they have for each other as equals.

“No. He was not here to retrieve his wife. For his wife was not a thing to be retrieved.” – Renée Ahdieh, The Rose and the Dagger

It’s lines like this one that just made me want to hug the book and thank the author for writing it – it was amazingly refreshing and emotional to read a book where ‘prince charming’ didn’t save the woman or she have to rely on a man to save her. They were both willing to die for each other and had the same stubbornness and need for protect the other – they were one and the same.

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Seriously their love for each other was the stuff of fairytales and I could read more and more books centred around these two characters and in fact, I’d love it if another series was written based in this world because two books is not enough! I love the stories Shahrzad tells and the hint at the A Thousand and One Nights retelling this book is inspired from.

I just love this book so much and I can’t wait to read more from this author!

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I’ll mention a few spoilers now so if you don’t want to see, now is the time to look away!

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There are just a couple of things that happened that I simply have to mention – TARIQ – ahem, excuse me so let’s start with Jahandar.

Once a caring and loving father turned power-hungry, book-clutching crazy man who literally set the whole city on fire thanks to his lightning storm. He won’t give up the book but Shahrzad finds out that its destruction is the only way to break the curse without having to fulfil it.

Shahrzad’s sister, Irsa, goes to deliver the book she managed to rip from her father’s death-grip and just as Shahrzad and Khalid are coming into view, TARIQ decides that he can’t control his anger and lashes out and fires an arrow at the Caliph because he ‘swore’ one of them would die when he next saw him.

(She chose Khalid, just let it go, Tariq!)

And somehow in the time it takes an arrow to be fired, a few pushes and shoves occur between Khalid and Shahrzad and Shahrzad is the one to end up with an arrow in her back.

TARIQ YOU ABSOLUTE MORON. Well done, you just shot your love in the back with an arrow because you couldn’t just stop and think that maybe she’s happy and maybe she doesn’t want you.

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But all is well and Shahrzad recovers and somehow they all forgive each other?! Personally I wouldn’t if I had been shot in the back with an arrow…

But anyway I was actually stressing out so bad when they finally had the book because I just wanted Khalid to DESTROY IT ALREADY! Has he not read books? Bad things happen if you wait to do something that is vital in like I don’t know, breaking a curse or something?!

But thank goodness that nothing bad did happen and he finally,  finally destroyed the book and broke the curse on his city.

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HOWEVER. It was at this point that Shahrzad got captured by Khalid’s horrible, vile uncle. But thanks to the help from Despina and Vikram, she manages to escape so again, it’s cheers all round and Shahrzad and Khalid are finally going to be back together and rule over Khorasan as Caliph and Calipha!

But OH NO because GUESS WHO’S BACK – the one and only TARIQ and he can’t LET IT GO that someone has harmed Shahrzad. So he lashes out and tries to kill Khalid’s uncle which of course turns everything into a fight and Rahim – Rahim – is the unfortunate casualty in this case as he leaps in front of the Caliph to save his life.

IS NO ONE GOING TO SLAP TARIQ?

Thanks to him, Shahrzad got an arrow in her back and Rahim died because he couldn’t just curb his temper.

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Okay so besides that moron basically ruining everyone’s lives, there is an even worse person lurking behind the scenes as none other than Shahrzad’s father, furious at losing his book and source of all his powers, leaps to destroy Khalid. He basically wants to win his daughter’s love again since he has become such a horrible power-hungry person so he thinks the best way to do this is to kill his eldest daughter’s love.

I was actually internally freaking out at this bit but thank the lorrrrrd Jahandar came to his senses and did the one useful thing he could do and gave his life to bring back Khalid.

The ending was so cute with Shahrzad and Khalid with their child – I love books that end on a good hopeful note so you can imagine a good life for your characters long after parting with them ❤

“In the end, there is only time for love.” – Renée Ahdieh, The Rose and the Dagger

April wrap-up & May TBR

My exams start tomorrow so this month has been a bit slow on the reading due to revision, but I managed to read five books! One was a poetry and the other a book of quotes so they were very quick reads. I also got to meet Laini Taylor this month and read her brilliant book, Strange the Dreamer. Plus, I got the fabulous April Fairyloot box so even though it’s been a busy month, I’ve had some good bookish treats to get me through!

Books I read in April:

 

Beauty and the Beast Book of the FilmImage result for beauty and the beast book of the film

Author: Elizabeth Rudnick
Publisher: Parragon Book Service
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star
Review here

 

 

 

 

Beauty and the Beast Lost In a BookImage result for beauty and the beast lost in a book

Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Paper Rocket
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

Strange the DreamerImage result for strange the dreamer uk

Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher:
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

Belle’s LibraryImage result for belle's library

Author: Walt Disney Company
Publisher: Disney Press
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

Love, and youImage result for love, and you gretchen gomez

Author: Gretchen Gomez
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

My favourites were Strange the Dreamer because the writing was just outstanding and I loved the characters, plus the story was amazing!!! I also really enjoyed reading the Beauty and the Beast Book of the Film after I had watched it and was still hung up on the brilliance of that live action film. Belle’s Library was a really cute collection of quotes and the illustrations were so adorable, whereas I found the Lost In a Book just slightly less interesting and I found Belle and the Beast to be written differently compared to their characters in the film. Love, and you was a really heart-rending collection of poems but personally, I didn’t connect to it much purely because the book was entirely on relationships so it was my least favourite. I recommend all of these books though if you want to experience some awesome writing!

I’m currently rereading ACOTAR in preparation for the release of ACOWAR tomorrow!!!! Unfortunately I have exams so I’ll have to wait till next week to get round to reading it. This month I also want to finally get round to some books that have been sat on my TBR shelf for a while; I need to finish off City of Ashes and maybe read the book that was in the April Fairyloot box!

Have a great month reading everyone! Let me know what you thought of any of these books if you read them.

Jo x

April Fairyloot unboxing

I received the beautiful Fairyloot box the other day and if you’ve never heard of this, it’s a UK-based YA/fantasy subscription box! I absolutely love getting these boxes because they always put the best books in and have such cute little bookish items inside and feature some brilliant designers/artists.

This month the theme was DREAMS & WISHES and we definitely knew it would feature something inspired by ACOMAF (one of my favourite books ever) and The Bone Season (another of my favourite series!) so naturally I had to get this box as well as it featuring one of my favourite artists, Risa Rodil.

Despite having to wait over the weekend till the postroom at uni opened again on Monday, I didn’t get spoiled so everything was a lovely surprise! (As it should be but unfortunately people do like to post unboxings on instagram as soon as they’ve got it!) I love looking at people’s instagram stories for when I haven’t ordered the box and it’s a great way of showing the contents of the box but allowing people to avoid being spoiled as they can avoid looking at their story.

But enough about that, here’s what I received in my box!

  • The Mime order quote tote bag by Miss Phi
  • ‘To the stars who listen, and dreams that are answered’ ACOMAF quote mug by Risa Rodil
  • Reverie candle by Meraki Candles which smells of mint, marshmallows and
  • ‘dreams’ enamel pin badge by House of Wonderland
  • gemstone notebook by Portico
  • dreams magnet by Fairyloot
  • bonus items: Hunted postcard and Spindle Fire quote print

My favourite item has to be the mug and bag because I can’t choose and they are both GORGEOUS! I also absolutely love the smell of the candle and I’ll totally use the cute little pin badge and magnet. I really want to read Hunted which is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and Spindle Fire sounds like a great Sleeping Beauty retelling too! I love it when they include little recommendations and upcoming book release peaks because it means more books to discover!

And now for the book featured this month…

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It’s GIVEN TO THE SEA by Mindy McGinnis!

I totally googled ‘YA April releases’ and found this book which fitted the description that Fairyloot gave when they released the theme for April – I couldn’t help myself! It was still a nice surprise because I couldn’t be sure!

I’m very happy with the contents of this box this month and I’d thoroughly recommend checking out Fairyloot! Sometimes I find the boxes aren’t quite to my taste, so I wait for the themes and designers I like – they always announce a theme and some items/suppliers that will feature in the box so it’s not too hard to avoid being disappointed! Everyone has their preferences but most of the time this box has such good bookish items and the most amazing YA reads in it!

Jo x

Beauty and the Beast Book of the Film book review

by Elizabeth Rudnick (2017) Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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This is an absolutely beautiful book of the film of Beauty and the Beast – one of my favourite films ever. I already love the story of Belle the bookworm being the outsider in her little village and the Beast being the first real person she has met, so naturally I went to see the live action film and it was just outstanding.

Keen to stay in my little bubble of the magical world of Beauty and the Beast, I found this book on instagram and thought it sounded just what I needed after being enchanted by the film.

As soon as I turned the first page I knew it was going to be a brilliant read and it definitely was! It follows the live action film almost exactly with the dialogue and occurrence of events and even though I already knew exactly what the characters would say and do, I was still eager to turn the page and read on.

The only thing missing, obviously, are the songs but the scenes of which a song is featured, is still described thoughtfully in the book so their significance is not lost.

With gorgeous description and totally reminiscent of the live action film, it’s a heart-warming and truly magical read. If you love Beauty and the Beast, this is such a good book to pick up and relive the magic!

“She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.” – Beauty and the Beast

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