REVIEW| Uprooted

Uprooted
Naomi Novik

⭐⭐⭐

Find on Goodreads

Synopsis:


Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows - everyone knows - that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn't, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. 


REVIEW:

I'm sorry but since when have both the US and the UK publishing houses decided that they are going to make fantastically gorgeous covers? Whereas, the US gets the same cover as it did in it's Hardcover format, the UK (PanMacmillan/TOR UK) decided that they wanted to go for a little redesign. Guys, the last cover was B-E-A-U-Tiful but this one I feel works a little better as a first impression when exposing the reader to the plot and writing of the novel. This one takes on a more contemporary design for a story that feels old as time. The progression lines are put across page reminds me of the popular Eastern European of papercutting, simple and elegant with the addition of the gold foil that screams of that old tomeness.

Plot-wise, overall this book was fast paced but wasn't that set pace that felt overly rushed. In fact, in some places, it actually felt really slow even though a lot was happening within the plot. Often I found myself trying to guess what direction that Naomi was taking the plot, I often found that it was taken into a completely different turn and left me flat palming my face, going "HOW DID I NOT GET THAT!" 

If I wasn't truthful I would say that I fell in love with Agnieszka right away but that would be false press. It took a while for me to understand Neiska. And when I did that was when I was more intrigued by what was going on in the plot, the relationship between the "Dragon" and herself. I mean I was mentally involved in that relationship and not gonna lie but I'd happily snog the Dragon. 

One thing that I have admired is Novik's ability to slip and swerve into various prose and  just as effective as the last. A novel that not only breaks the fold of the softened fairy tales, chosen to be told to children today, yet also presents a story deep with roots of family and friendship loyalty that I think everyone could take away with them, old and young. Although, there is a little racy seen that may not be as suitable for that younger reader-- you can wait kids!


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Waiting on Wednesday| Riverkeep

Waiting On Wednesday is a book meme set up Breaking the Spine where all those who participate share weekly those book releases we are dying to get our hand on as soon as they are released.

This week's WoW post is:


Riverkeep
Martin Stewert

Find on Goodreads

Synopsis:

The Danék is a wild, treacherous river, and the Fobisher family has tended it for generations—clearing it of ice and weed, making sure boats can get through, and fishing corpses from its bleak depths. Wulliam’s father, the current Riverkeep, is proud of this work. Wull dreads it. And in one week, when he comes of age, he will have to take over.Then the unthinkable happens. While recovering a drowned man, Wull’s father is pulled under—and when he emerges, he is no longer himself. A dark spirit possesses him, devouring him from the inside. In an instant, Wull is Riverkeep. And he must care for his father, too.When he hears that a cure for his father lurks in the belly of a great sea-dwelling beast known as the mormorach, he embarks on an epic journey down the river that his family has so long protected—but never explored. Along the way, he faces death in any number of ways, meets people and creatures touched by magic and madness and alchemy, and finds courage he never knew he possessed. 
This is just pure book-cover-porn. The gold and blues are just stunning, I can't wait to see this up on the shelf of a bookstore.

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READ-A-THON| #TBRTakedown 4.0 Wrap Up

In total over the week that TBRTakedown took part I read the grand total of four books! I only set out to read three.

The challenges: 


1. A book that's been on your TBR shelf over a year!
2. An unread sequel sitting on your TBR shelf!
3. A first book in a series on your TBR shelf!
4. An "out of your comfort zone" book on your TBR shelf
5. A book from your most recent haul.
First I got to:


Illuminae (The Illuminae Files 0_1)
Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

⭐⭐⭐ 

Find on Goodreads


REVIEW


This was a little cheat- I was already 200 pages into Illuminae before that midnight strike. So I only really read 399 pages.


This covers the challenges 3,4 and 5. Sci-fi is just rarely my thing.




Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2)
J.K. Rowling

⭐⭐⭐ 


I refuse to write a review.

I bought this as a birthday present to myself because I have never owned a full set of the Harry Potter books. Slowly, I will collect these and display them on my phantom bookshelf. 

All in their Hardback glory!

Completes challenges 2 and 5.


Uprooted
Naomi Novik

⭐⭐⭐

Find on Goodreads

Review to come!!

Another book that has been on my "Currently-reading" list on Goodreads for what seems like an age.

But, I am glad I finished this. It was just fabulous and a stand-a-lone that I would only wish has a sequel.

*looks up fanfiction*

Completes challenges 1.


Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1)
Leigh Bardugo

⭐⭐⭐


Review to come!!

Not sure what to feel on this book. My thoughts will have to be discussed in my review. But this was a book and series that I will be trying to complete by the end of summer- I'm 1/3 of the way there already!!

This completes the challenge 1 and 3.


*whispers* 

For the first time ever I completed all the challenges.

So in total I finished four books with the grand total page count of: 1,715..

Granted I did start a couple of books before the actual read-a-thon. It's a give or take number.

This was fun, let's do it again some time.

REVIEW| Illuminae

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files 0_1)
Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis: 



This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.



This afternoon, her planet was invaded.




The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.




But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.



Review:


You know--this must be the first orange cover that I own. Literally. I don't even think I own a yellow book. They just never appeal to me, cover and content wise. Books that usually have the bright yellow and orange covers tend to be in the contempory of the YA section at Waterstones. But, after reading Nevernight something told me that I should give this one ago. So I bought it, the only copy left in my local Waterstones.
However, my lack of love for the colour of orange doesn't compare nor come into how much I love this cover. It's simple but effective, summerizing the content of Illuminae. Three simple layers. Articles from the "hacked" documents build the foundation, layered ontop is the bold orange space theme and then the scratched and block of white and black to paste on the authors and the name of the book. I think this is just a great example of a budget book cover done right, with still the same level of thought gone into it as one that requires three different artist for a decent outcome.
*applauds*
Now. The book.
You know when you read a book written by two different authors and you can just tell who wrote what. My biggest fear going into a co-authored novel. Not at any point did I question what was what even when voice changed into these unknown voices documenting surveillance footage. I think the choice of format worked in favour of not having to mask writing style for 600 pages of prose.
I think the hacked documents helped to speed the plot onwards because although there was descriptions they were stripped back to the minimum and so well ingrained so that they didn't become clumsy and awkward to read, slowing down the action.

My biggest difficulty when reading was drawing emotional connections to the characters that we are introduced to. My reading of Kady was under a sympathetic nature-- I felt sorry for her and the loss that she battles as the novel progresses. But at the time progressed she became real, she became someone that I admired. She kept me on my toes-- well, edge of my reading chair-- out of unpredicabilty of her actions. For once, I was left guessing. 

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TAG| The Intimidating TBR Tag

Honestly, I cannot remember who started this tag but I have seen this floating around on both book blogs and over on booktube. I thought this would be a better way of showing how bad my book buying addiction has become. If you know who came up with this idea for a tag, please let me know so I can give proper credit.


01. What book have you been unable to finish?



Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte

I have tried to read this book on at least four different occasions and can never pass past the hundred page mark. Which is concerning considering that this book was required reading for my A2 English Literature exam-- and they wonder why I suck.

I hate the style of narrative and the supposed "love" that is meant to drive Heathcliff into this supposed revenge against the next generation because Cathy [1] refuses to marry Heathcliff on the grounds that it would "degrade" her. 

GRRRRRR.... Bugger off.

What book have you yet to read because...

02. ...you just haven't had the time?



The Mistborn Trilogy
Brandon Sanderson

I just recently bought myself the boxed set due to finally having the money and the excuse that it was my eighteenth birthday when I bought it.


I read Warbreaker by Sanderson and absolutely loved the magic system that Sanderson is better know for. I cannot wait to dive in this summer.




03. ...it's a sequel?
Ensnared (Splintered #3)
A.G. Howard


Ah, yes.

I remember this trilogy very fondly. It was the first retelling of Alice in Wonderland that I actively wanted to read. I inhaled read Splintered-- enjoyed Unhinged and was looking forward to reading book three.

I just sort of sit there on my shelf for a while and now can't remember much of the story. Will have to reread the first two...





04. ...it's brand new?
Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1)
Phillip Pullman


This is many of my friend's favourite book series. AND I still haven't gotten to it. My mum bought me a copy of the 20th-anniversary edition-- now I just got to pick it up. 


I am hoping to get to this series soon. 

I do have three months of summer and I'm already on book three, five days into it.







05. ...you read a book by the same author and didn't enjoy it?


Lauren Oliver

ANY BOOK MY LAUREN OLIVER!

Okay, bit of an exaggeration but I was just never a fan of her delirium series, couldn't even get passed the first book. 

Her new book Replica looks intriguing based on the reading experience. Hopefully I'll get an ARC but I will try again.






06. ...you're just not in the mood for it?


Champion (Legend #3)
Marie Lu

Dystopian-- not my cup of tea anymore.


It's that genre that just got too much exposure by publishing companies and now I'm sick of it. It's that sweet that you can have if you fancy it.

Maybe at some point. In a year or so...









07. ...it's humongous?

The Inheritance Cycle

Christopher Paolini

I am pretty sure everyone has at least had a go in trying to read Eragon. I only own the first book which isn't the book opposite but in honesty it's the only one of the series that's in my hard-drive and laziness is over ruling my body to google the first book's cover.


Sorry?









08. ...because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?
Incarnate
Jodie Meadows

This cover is so pretty!! 


The premise of this book follows a world where souls are reincarnated and that is just something i've never read before in a YA book.

I'm still interested in reading this debut but might hold off til I have nothing else to read.







09. What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke

THIS BOOK IS 1006 PAGES LONG!!?

Ain't nobody got time for that!

This is a book that I feel is a "christmas". The kind where you got two weeks off from college and no major exams for another four-six months.

What have I got myself in for?


10. Who do you tag?

If you've reached this point in the post and haven't done this tag-- you are VERY much TAGGED to do this tag.

Waiting on Wednesday| Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

Waiting On Wednesday is a book meme set up Breaking the Spine where all those who participate share weekly those book releases we are dying to get our hand on as soon as they are released.

This week's WoW post is:


Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Untitled #1)
Rosamund Hodge

Find on Goodreads


The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.
Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan. 
Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.
Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . . 
I love a retelling as much as the next person.  Stunning cover. Enticing synopsis. Fantastic reviews. Sign me up.

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REVIEW| Nevernight

Evernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1)
Jay Kristoff

⭐⭐⭐⭐+
Synopsis:

Mia has many names: The Pale Daughter, The Crow, or Kingmaker; she is the killer of killers and destroyer of empires; but her story begins when she is only ten years old and forced to watch her father hang as a traitor.

At the time of his death, her shadow deepens and a darkness joins Mia. A darkness that takes the shape of a cat and helps her to escape the men tasked with her disposal.

She calls him Mister Kindly, and he drinks her fear. 

Review: 

Holy sh*t! Where do I even begin?

First, let us discuss this cover. This alone I would give five stars, who wouldn't? I have never seen a more beautiful fantasy cover -- that is for a first edition print-- HarperVoyagerUK did an amazing job at selecting the right artist. The thing I love most about this cover is that, the more you read and loose yourself in Kristoff's world of Itreya, the more you notice the details that the artist, Kerby Rosanes, has put into the illustration design. The Barrel, the masquerade mask, the not-cat- everything so beautifully placed within the body of the crow. The motif for the Covere familia.

A while ago I sent out a tweet for recommendations for a book with a 'kick-ass female assassin protagonist" this book not only delivered this  but, rather had the added bonus of this well-developed world. Itreya is a world like no other- the title "Nevernight" you learn to derive from how in this world you never get night because of this unfortunate factor that there are three different suns. All giving variant types of light; only becomes "Truedark" after every certain number of years. 

Kristoff builds both the world and the voice of our narrator through the use of footnotes, these tended to be something that didn't offer a whole lot to the overall plot but was something that I enjoyed and brought to life the rich, Italian, medieval setting that Kristoff has based Itreya on. Other times these footnotes were an added sense of humour that really spoke to my sense of humour that just had me giggling.

There was a lot of character growth that felt natural for the duration of the novel, Mia learning about herself and what she feels is important to keep certain traits close to her heart and not loose then when in actual fact where is finds herself is somewhere that could have ultimately stripped them away. Not only was their growth but the plot itself took various twists and turns. I am pretty sure Kristoff through in some red herons in there when I was trying to work out some of the cruicial parts of the plot-- and yes, when I got to page 553 I did have a WTF moment. 

I am still not over it. 

At all.

This book left me broken and hurt. A double edged blade- one side left you broken and crying the other giggling long into the night. A balance only a wielder of words could manage. My salutes, sir.

This, so far, is one of my favourite books I have read this year. I can't wait to get my finished copy in August. Only to speed through it once more before I head off to Bangor.

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READ-A-THON| #TBRTakedown 4.0

Shannon over at LeaningLights on both Youtube and Twitter is yet again hosting another fun round of #TBRTakedown. Saying that we have a lot of fun challenges to help guide our reading during this intense reading week-- 20th-26th June.

The challenges: 

1. A book that's been on your TBR shelf over a year!
2. An unread sequel sitting on your TBR shelf!
3. A first book in a series on your TBR shelf!
4. An "out of your comfort zone" book on your TBR shelf
5. A book from your most recent haul.
I plan to read three books on my TBR for 4.0:

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1)
Leigh Bardugo

Find on Goodreads




This book will complete challenges 1 and 3. I bought this book way back for my 17th birthday and now I have just turned 18.. oops?




Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2)
J.K. Rowling



I just recently bought myself the hardback in this edition as a treat for my birthday-- it's about time that I get myself some more Harry Potter books on my shelf. (This complete challenge number 5 and 2.)




The Unexpected Everything
Morgan Matson



I'm not a big "YA Contemporary" reader at ALL. In fact I tend to find them tedious and repetitive-- that being said I thought I would give Morgan Matson a try because everyone seems to love her books and it is summer. 

By default I guess you can guess what number challenge this would complete.

I'll give you a clue:

It's number 4 ;)



Waiting on Wednesday| And I Darken

Waiting On Wednesday is a book meme set up Breaking the Spine where all those who participate share weekly those book releases we are dying to get our hand on as soon as they are released.

This weeks WoW post is:

And I Darken
Kiersten White

Find on Goodreads

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. 
And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Basically this book is a historical retelling of Vlad the impaler and I am totally a sucker for anything thing to do with the ruler who influenced one of the biggest Vampire novels in Literature history- Dracula.

Yes I made that "Sucker" pun on purpose... I'm sorry that I'm not sorry.

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18th Birthday| My Life in Books

So, if you didn't know my birthday is today-- 11th June. 

The same day that seven years earlier in 1991, Dan Howell (danisnotonfire) came screaming into this world (happy birthday!!); today, is the day that eighteen years prior to June 11th, 2016 that I too came howling into the arms of my mother, obviously it was just a cry to get my hand on a book right away, right?

To share this big occasion to finally being able to be called a legal adult and vote for the greater good of my wonderous country (sorry-- sarcasm went a bit overboard) I thought I would share the last eighteen years of my life through the medium of books. Of course, these are books that aren't actually my life but, those that I remember reading at a particular age and have great significance to how I came to be who I am today.

Ages 0-5 years:

I thought my best bet at organizing the younger years is to group all the books together obviously, I don't have that many memories containing what was read to me by my mother nor the books I learned to read with, without some reference to someone else and the constant budging for answers, This is what I gathered:


We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Michael Rosen, Helen Oxenbury

This amount of times I must of made my mum read this book to me at this tender young age that I couldn't yet read.

My first adventure story!





Everyone Got Wet (Biff, Chip and Kipper stories)
Roderick Hunt, Alex Brychta

These were the books that are specifically designed to help encourage children to learn to read, based on the child's ability to suit a level where it was accessible but remained challenging. 

These must work because I found out these are the books that my brother and sister are made to use when being taught to read!

I do remember there being a TV show made as well-- I'll have to google that later.




Hairy MaClary from Donaldson's Dairy
Lynley Dodd

There used to be this TV programme where this farmer used to go to get called to this house place- there was a face that appeared on the wall- and he would go in and read this cat, plant and bookshelf all a story. 

One of my strongest memories of television in my childhood.


Aged 6:

At this age I didn't feel ready to start on reading those big daunting paperbacks that were like 100 pages long-- Come on! I was like 6.



Where the Wild Things are.
Maurice Sendak

I remember being really obsessive about this book when I was six, again that obsessive disorder I got started out young.
I would read and read this book again and again,

All because we were doing this really cool sewing project where we were all creating puppets based on the Wild Things that were in the book.

Might even have it somewhere. Maybe. Depends on whether I threw it away when we got evicted a couple of years ago.

Aged 7-9 years:

AH! When I finally got the guts- and the go ahead- to reach up onto that shelf where those "chapter books" were kept away from us.


James and the Giant Peach; Matilda; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Roald Dahl

When I finally got on those chapter books I only really stuck to one author-- Roald Dahl.

He has followed me on this journey as a growing reader. Even to this day I consider him one of the greater children's writers of his generation and I implore you to just pick up one of his books. No matter what age you are!!!














Aged 10:


A Series of Unfortunate Events
Lemony Snicket

My mind was pretty blown away by these books- it was the first books series that I actually completed. 
I think it took me the whole academic year to complete it in its complete order. 

I did it, though. Go ten-year-old me!!






Aged 11:

Magyk (Septimus Heap #1)
Angie Sage

I don't even remember much about this book series other than, it had something to do with the seventh son of the seventh son and I only got up to the third book before giving up, even then I didn't get very far.

I still have my copies of book two and three, I wanted to try and complete this series but they changed the covers to look typical fantasy- someone in a cloak and a hidden face.
Aged 12:

Gingersnaps 
Cathy Cassidy

Just like my Roald Dahl phase I also had a bit of a Cathy Cassidy phase. This one I regret quite a bit. Wasted all my reading hours to binge on these books-- there was so much teen drama!!!








Aged 13:
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)
Cassandra Clare

Where do I begin? 
I only picked this up because I started booktube-- little did I know that Cassandra Clare was to consume my existence for a further four years (and now moving onwards), that I would meet her three times and have her know who I am.

She gets a lot of spit for these books but I love them in all their quirky and fabulousness.

Herondale boys hold the key to my heart.
Aged 14:


Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter #1)
J.K. Rowling

This is where i make the confession that I didn't read the Harry Potter series until I was fourteen. I grew up with the movies-- well, I was a hidden fangirl for the most of it and didn't let on to my mum that I actually really loved these films.

I would really like to collect the hardback editions of the ones oppisite. So far I only have the one shown.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
Suzanne Collins

I remember not really been known as the avid reader that I later became to known to be in Secondary School but, I was one of the first people in my year to read and get obsessed about the books, soon after the movie adaptions were released and it became a thing to go see the film.



Aged 15:
Divergent (Divergent #1)
Veronica Roth

I was thirteen when this came out. No one knew about this book when I picked it up. It wasn't until someone recommended this to me did I realize I was ahead of the game.

So many memories with this one. We spent ages discussing this book and recommending different books a year later:- I should give special thanks to: Mirin, Helima, Lisa, NgocAhn, Alesie, Emline, Tim and everyone else.

You made my year eleven special and gave me some memories to cherish although that is embarrassing to admit I'm grateful.

Also, I think I am the only one in that group that can saftely say they have met V.Roth and had all their books signed and dedicated!!

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)
Cassandra Clare

Ah! This book was painful. So many emotions. The first time I can pinpoint the dying need for a book- I mean I had to wait TWO FREAKING YEARS!! It was so worth it. Bittersweet.







Aged 16:


A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)
George R.R. Martin

A series that I have mentioned before, I feel like this is my greatest achievement-- these books are huge and so daunting. So when I decided to read this one Christmas I thing I can say I made a choice for the better.

I love this world and the richness in character, world building, and history. Winds of Winter really needs to hurry along and get itself onto my shelf.


The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1)
Samantha Shannon

Not sure why this one is significant but I just have a strong connection to this book and that summer where I was alone for almost a year. 

Sad times.



Aged 17:
Temeraire: His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire #1)
Naomi Novik

By the Angel! How much do I adore this book?
What I loved about this book is that it held the most precious relationship between human and dragon that I have never read before-- it was just so sweet, understanding and tender.

If you didn't know I am obsessed with dragons. I currently own three collectors figurines of dragons. And plan for more. I would really like a black dragon to put on my dragon fantasy shelf-- one day. One day.
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