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

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

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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Caraval book review

by Stephenie Garber (2017) Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.” – Stephanie Garber, Caraval

Once a year, the legendary and magical Caraval performance brings wonder and madness into life, a game where the audience takes part and anything can happen. Scarlett has never left her tiny island but dreams of seeing Caraval and escaping her father with her sister, Tella. But those far-flung dreams soon become reality when Scarlett and her sister receive an invitation, only for Tella to be kidnapped by the director of the game. Scarlett must save her beloved sister before she disappears, but she must also remember that what happens in Caraval is never quite what it seems…

Wow, wow, WOW!!! This book has certainly lived up to the hype because my god is it amazing!!!

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Seriously, the world-building in this book is extraordinary and there was nothing predictable in this book whatsoever. Every character was brilliantly constructed, my favourite being Legend because of how mysterious and dangerous he’s made out to be. Scarlett and Tella have a typical sister relationship with each of them trying to do what’s best for the other every time and I liked both of them because they were flawed and believable as sisters.

The DESCRIPTIONS in this book were something else – is it possible for words to actually seep magic because that’s what I felt like was happening when I read Caraval. I could just read writing as beautiful as that all day; I never once tired of it or found myself bored – it really grabs and holds your attention throughout the whole book.

Sp the story goes that Scarlett must solve a series of clues along with other participants in order to save her sister from Legend, with the help of a sailor she met along the way. But everyone has warned her that it is only a game, and to not get swept away by it… Scarlett soon learns things and speculations are made but I could not have guessed what happened in the end! It was so unpredictable and amazing with a slight cliffhanger teasing you at the end that definitely leaves you craving for more.

“Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.” – Stephanie Garber, Caraval

Now of course I’m going to have to mention many spoilers because SO MUCH HAPPENED in this book that I did not see coming so look away now to avoid spoilers!

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I shall start by freaking out.

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THIS BOOK WAS SO AWESOME I CAN’T-

Okay so Scarlett and Tella live with their abusive father who actually beats them up. But if Tella does something wrong, he beats up Scarlett and vice versa. I just didn’t see that coming and that was only in the first few chapters!! Doesn’t even scratch the surface of twists and surprises.

They both escape to go to Caraval with Julian the mysterious sailor who seems to know an awful lot about Caraval. Tella is taken hostage by Legend and Scarlett has to save her, and if she wins the game, she gets one wish.

Legend was just the most enigmatic character made and I couldn’t wait to meet him. As Scarlett and Julian tried to solve the clues to find Tella, I had a sneaky suspicion that Julian might be Legend BUT I WAS WRONG. Right, so maybe the guy who says he is Legend when Scarlett confronts him is Legend.

WRONG AGAIN.

Where the hell is this Legend guy and who is he?!

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And after all that we still didn’t find out who Legend is and by the end of the book I am internally screaming because I need to know who he is!!!

I honestly thought we had met him at the end when he was going all crazy and manic but we all knew that Julian was involved somehow in the game so when ‘Legend’ KILLED him-

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And then we aren’t even left to get over that because straight away Scarlett goes to find her sister and Legend strolls in all concerned that Scarlett has got too swept away by the game. Tella believes him and things escalate as she realises Scarlett was telling the truth and she THROWS HERSELF OFF THE BALCONY

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WHAT ARE YOU DOING GARBER?!

I couldn’t deal with all that it was too much for a first book in a series, it felt more like a finale or something. But the magic of books is that they always surprise us and of course Julian and Tella didn’t really die! They appear at the end all well and totally not dead but we’re still left just as confused as Scarlett.

Just as it’s about to end, Tella creeps off somewhere and we discover the letter that Legend wrote back to her on receiving her proposal for tickets to Caraval. She owes some kind of payment for her wish being granted for basically her and Scarlett to get away from their abusive father.

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So what does Tella have to do in payment for getting tickets for Caraval and escaping their father? Who the hell is Legend and when exactly are we going to meet him?! I have questions! So many questions!!

I loved every second of this book and I cannot WAIT for the sequel!!!

“Hope is a powerful thing. Some say it’s a different breed of magic altogether. Elusive, difficult to hold on to. But not much is needed.” – Stephenie Garber, Caraval

 

Uni and reading

It’s that time of year again – school/college/uni is starting and after a wonderful summer of reading and relaxing, you’re suddenly inundated with work and time is something you don’t have. So when do you read? Your monthly TBR of maybe 10 books turns into a wrap-up of 3 and all you can wonder is, where did all the time go?

While I am enjoying being back at uni and seeing my friends again as well as getting away from home for a bit, I’ll admit that the initial excitement has worn off as the routine of writing up lectures and going into uni every day has taken hold. It will be different for everyone; I have some friends that are only in uni for 2 days a week, whereas I’m in everyday 9-5 with odd breaks – it just depends on your degree. But there’s still a hell of a load of work you have to do, so how exactly can you fit in reading when you have to sleep, eat, cook, clean, go to uni, write up your own notes, exercise, socialise and all the ten thousand other things you have on your to-do list?

Everyone says the secret is balance, you need to prioritise the important things like uni and work, then plan around what time you have left for socialising and doing things you enjoy which, in every bookworm’s case, is reading.

So I’m planning on setting aside time everyday to read, and when is the best time for this? At the end of the day when you’ve been to uni and done all your work. This means that giving yourself an hour or two to read every night is a reward for completing all your work and jobs throughout the day, but it can also act as an incentive. You just ended on a cliffhanger last night? Get all your work done as soon as possible and you can find out what happens! It’s a great way of ensuring you do what you need to do and will help keep you motivated when that looming pile of lectures that still need to be written up are looking very unappealing.

I am going into my third year at uni now and all I can say is, keep up to date with your lectures – make sure you do the work FIRST and then you can carry on reading the rest of your book. But allow yourself days off from your approach of getting work done and then reading, by using the weekends or on other days off to read more or maybe finish those last 100 pages.

Balance. Hard to do, but so important. Don’t do too much of one thing and neglect the other – don’t spend all weekend socialising, letting that pile of work grow larger, but also don’t spend all day working and giving yourself nothing as a reward for getting it done. It’s taken me two years at uni to finally realise that I spend so much time wasted on my phone not achieving anything (bookstagram is a major distraction though) and I probably won’t learn my lesson this year either and get behind with work, but I am going to try and adopt this approach to ensure I cope with uni work and still manage to get uni work done as well.

Here’s a tip list I’ve come up with for reading at uni:

  • do your work first, THEN read
  • set aside a portion of the day for reading but be flexible if your workload suddenly increases (likewise, if your workload decreases then take the opportunity to read more!)
  • don’t be too ambitious with your monthly TBR – you’ll just feel disheartened if you see all the books you didn’t have time to read
  • spend any opportune moment reading whether it’s in between lectures or on the bus/train home, but at the same time don’t exclude yourself from conversations and spending time with your friends/colleagues
  • see reading as a reward for getting your work done but equally, don’t rush through work in order to get reading
  • don’t compare yourself to others (little life lesson there) – there’s always going to be someone who manages to do all their uni work and can still read 20 books a month, you are you and be happy with what you achieve because what may be small to them, may be big to you and vice versa
  • enjoy reading!

Let me know how you manage your time with school/uni/work and reading and if you have any tips then let me know in the comments! Good luck to anyone returning or starting college/uni as well 🙂