Review: The Ring and the Crown

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

The Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown, #1)

Publication date: April 1st 2014

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Number of pages: 384

Series: The Ring and the Crown (1#)

Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Source: Borrowed. This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

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Review:

A world of magic, politics and love where passions run high.

I’m not going to lie. I really didn’t have high expectations for this book. At all. The reviews I’d seen hadn’t been brilliant and I wasn’t a fan of the author’s ‘Blue Bloods’ series. Thankfully, I did like this one more than I thought. Otherwise that beautiful cover would completely have gone to waste.

I’d describe this book as following 4 main female characters (Marie-Victoria, Aelwyn, Isabella and Ronan) and one male, a man named Wolf. It was told in third person but narrated various scenes of the lives of the 5 characters listed above. I surprised myself to actually liking all the characters listed above (usually I’m pretty biased and find one point of view that I like most/least). But I was very interested in all their stories and really felt for them.

I love the way that Arthurian legends have highlighted so heavily in the story. There are mentions of characters like Merlin and Vivian and I really wish that there were more books that kind of showcased these legends. Being from a background rich in British and Celtic history, these legends have featured a lot in tales my parents used to tell me. Plus who couldn’t love BBC’s television adaption of Merlin. That actually has to be one of my favourite shows ever. Ever, ever, ever.

I also adored Melissa de la Cruz’s writing. Even though she was writing in third person, I never felt detached from the story. Her writing just kind of flows perfectly and is very easy to read. I got through this book very quickly and could easily have kept going.

While for my enjoyment level of the story I would rate the book 4/5 stars (or something like that) for most of the book, I feel like the ending and the story fell a bit flat over all. I feel like I was waiting for some big climax or some complication of sorts to happen. I don’t really feel as though much happened over the entire course of the novel. The story seemed to be more about who was falling in love with who.

Which left me feeling totally disappointed towards the end. I can’t really say much more without spoiling it but I decided to drop my rating because I felt a little cheated. Like everything that did happen in the story happened for nothing and it was pointless.

Although, I did appreciate the twists. Even if some of them made me a little bit frustrated.

And I loved the way it was kind of written as an alternative as to how history could have gone. I would love to read more books like that in YA.

The other thing is, we didn’t get to see much of the friendship particularly between Marie-Victoria and Aelwyn. I don’t feel like I really saw much closeness between them, only relied on what the author had shared about their past, which to be honest wasn’t that much.

I thought this review would be more positive but apparently now that I’m reflecting on it, things have changed. I probably won’t continue on with the trilogy. However, I actually did enjoy what I read, believe it or not. It was a nice, light read.

3/5 comets
The Earth shook. If they thought the Leaning Tower of Pisa was leaning before…

Add The Ring and the Crown to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Melissa de la CruzMelissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

Review: True

True by Erin McCarthy

True (True Believers, #1)

Publication date: May 7th 2013

Publisher: Penguin Group USA

Number of pages: 222

Series: True Believers (1#)

Genre: YA/NA Contemporary

Source: Received in exchange for review. This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

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Review:

Just a slight disclaimer for myself here – yeah I know I don’t usually review NA books. I only really read YA. But I saw this on Netgalley, under the Teens & YA category (I don’t look under NA). Yes, it was also listed under New Adult, but I figured it couldn’t be too bad if it was listed under Teens & YA.

And no, it wasn’t as bad as I’ve heard a few of them are. Sure, there were some moments, but it wasn’t awful.

And even if it was, the story would have made up for it anyway. The characters were amazing. Rory was so great. She’s totally me. Except I’m better at English than human biology. So just swap Rory and Tyler’s best subjects and you have me.

Oh my goodness. Tyler was amazing. He was actually so sweet when you looked past his stereotype.

His brother’s were fantastic! This book isn’t just about a college romance. There are also some dark themes in here, like abuse and a drug-addicted parent. And also a rarer theme – like Tyler’s brother who has Down Syndrome.

I didn’t like it at one particular point near the end, but, thank goodness it changed. Seriously, it could have wrecked the story for me.

The romance was amazing. I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without talking about it properly! But yeah, it was so cute, and both characters involved were amazing. They were so devoted to each other and it was just. So. CUTE.

Anyway, if you want to try an NA book, then I think I’ve found you a starting point.

5/5 comets
Bye, bye Earth! Out of this world.

Add True to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Erin McCarthyToday and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written almost fifty novels and novellas in teen fiction, new adult, and adult romance. Erin has a special weakness for New Orleans, tattoos, high-heeled boots, beaches and martinis. She lives in Ohio with her family, two grumpy cats and a socially awkward dog.

Blogging Inspiration: What Could That Be?

Blogging inspiration is probably the thing I struggle most with in terms of blogging. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love blogging. And believe it or not I do have ideas about what I want to post about.

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So, being the proud-but-obsessive list-making person that I am, I of course compile all of my ideas into a list.

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But by the time I’m thinking of doing a post again, I feel like the ideas have sort of fizzled out.

Where before when I first came up with the idea and knew exactly what I wanted to do with the post, now I have either completely forgotten what I wanted to say/write, or more likely, find that I don’t think the idea is as interesting anymore.

As if that wasn’t enough of a problem, it gets worse because while I do have a lot of ideas, they all come at once. So by the time I get to them, they are never as enticing and sometimes that means I can’t work up the steam to blog.

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After all, what do you think inspired today’s post?

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But as the end of my school holidays are drawing closer, it has occurred to me that I won’t always be able to be super inspired and at the ready to write a post. So I’m guessing I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and write the posts sometimes.

Why don’t I do that more often? Because I’m worried it upsets the qualities of the post and obviously doesn’t give the same result as writing spontaneously and in the moment does.

So as of now I plan to schedule more posts when I am ‘in the moment’ and maybe go into more detail in my post planning lists.

Are you one of the people who obviously have tremendous super powers and can therefore write a spectacular post at a moment’s notice? Or are you more like me – the ideas come flooding, and then staggered? 

New Year Bloggy Resolutions 2014

New Year Resolutions

First post of the year! Yay!

I was just about to do my own New Year Blogging Resolutions when I came across Chiara’s over at Books for a Delicate Eternity (http://delicateeternity.wordpress.com/). Then I was looking at her questions and realised they covered pretty much everything I wanted to say anyway and couldn’t resist joining in! So here goes –

 Reading:

I will read more books…

Oh definitely more review books. It’s getting ridiculous. I have a new plan that I began to follow at the end of last year that was read as many arcs as I can during the week and one non-review book whether it be from the library or not. Speaking of which, I have way too many books unread on both my Kindle and shelf too but I am kind of stockpiling (it’s hard to explain).

I will try reading…

More classics and mystery novels. I am not a fan of mystery books at all because I haven’t found one that I really enjoyed and that has kind of put me off them a little bit. As for classics, I am determined to start and finish Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, even if it mean reading a little bit a week.

I will finish…

Oops, I kind of got into that in the last question. But aside from Les Mis, I really want to read a couple of complete series’ that I own and have started, including:

  • The Matched trilogy by Ally Condie
  • The Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren DeStefano
  • The Maze Runner trilogy + prequel by James Dashner
  • Hush, Hush saga by Becca Fitzpatrick
  • The Blood of Eden by Julie Kagawa
  • Fallen by Lauren Kate

More than I thought….this includes rereading the books I have read in the series too.

And I’d love to finish The Mortal Instruments this year.

I will start…

And hopefully finish:

  • The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
  • The Legend trilogy by Marie  Lu

I will not read…

Same thing as Chiara here – books I don’t want to. I hate DNFing books but I will probably have to.

  Posting:

I will try to post:

When I can. I usually find it very difficult to post every single day, so I’m aiming for every other day if need be.

I will post more:

Reviews. I have a lot of reviews that need to be typed up and posted. I think I’d be a little more enthusiastic about posting the reviews if maybe I typed them up straight after finishing the book on Goodreads instead of handwriting them first. Also, more of my Babbling with Bookcomet posts because they’re really fun and seem to be my more popular posts.

I will post fewer:

Nothing really. Since I have been able to post more at the moment, this may be hard to believe for any new followers but my problem last year was finding time to post.

If I do not post:

Then oh well. I have that post to look forward to still.

  Visiting:

This topic was actually going to be one of my main resolutions.

I will visit blogs:

Whenever I can (and want to). I love it when people comment on my posts because it shows that someone is actually reading what I write. So I am going to make an effort to do the same for other people and meet some great bloggers.

I will comment on more:

Same thing as Chiara again – reviews. I never know what to say. Particularly if I haven’t read the book. But comment on more everything in general.

I will comment on fewer:

Nothing, I need to comment more 🙂

I will return the comment favour as much as I can…

I’m quite happy to say that I do do this most of the time.

I will try and visit and comment on ____ blogs:

Bloggers whose blogs I really enjoy reading and appreciate. They deserve to know people read their posts and appreciate all the time and effort they put into them.

I will not post comments that are…

Nothingy. I will not post comments just for the sake of commenting.

I will post comments that are…

Relevent, interesting, thoughtful and are frequent (if you get what I mean).

 

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Some other resolutions that I wanted to mention, include putting more time into getting to know some other bloggers. Maybe I might get a Booklikes account and use Twitter, Tumblr (never even posted on), Pinterest and Goodreads (yes, I use this a LOT but I mean put more time towards my groups and stuff) more often.

I would also love to finish all my reading challenges because they would help greatly with decreasing my tbr pile and would be a great way to meet new bloggers and, well, they sound like fun!

Oh – and the other thing was that I started something called The Bookcomet Book Awards pretty much on the day I started my blog and never really picked it up again. I want to make this a regular and fun thing.

 

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So there you have them! I have a review to post later, but after this my posts will probably go back down to once a day.

Counting the Stars (28#)

counting the stars

Counting the Stars is a meme hosted here at Bookcomet! This meme allows you to display what books you have gained in the last week! Feel free to join.

This is always the post I look forward to the most. For some reason, this edition a lot. As you can see, I never miss a week. This meme has been going on for SEVEN months now! And I’m planning on making that more.

The rules:

  • Post a sticker – whether it be mine or your own (provided it has Counting the Stars on it).
  • Either a) leave a link to your post in the comments below or b) tell me your answers in the comments – either is fine!
  • Try to post titles under at least a few of the catergories below.

Books I bought:

One of the books I bought weeks ago from TBD finally came – but not the edition I wanted. Still waiting on two, both of which were preorders. One should come soon though. Then I surprised myself by actually buying a book in a store. It’s been a long time guys.

  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare BlakeAnna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (this is massive guys. MASSIVE)Les Misérables

Gifted:

Won:

Not last week but the week before I mentioned winning a book. The Kindle edition was sent to me yesterday and I’m looking forward to reading it.

  • Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie KarsakChasing the Star Garden (The Airship Racing Chronicles, #1)

For review:

I went a little crazy with arc requesting this week after trying so hard to cut back. Plus, I got a request.

  • Anomaly by Krista McGeeAnomaly (Anomaly #1)
  • Imposter by Susanne WinnackerImpostor (Variants, #1)
  • Mine to Tarnish by Janeal Falor (I am SO excited for this. I loved You Are Mine!)Mine to Tarnish (Mine, #0.5)
  • The Girl Who was on Fire edited by Leah WilsonThe Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy
  • The Almost Girl by Amalie HowardThe Almost Girl
  • Cress: Chapter One by Marissa MeyerCress (Lunar Chronicles, #3)
  • Jaded Stone by Kelly WalkerJaded Stone (Souls of the Stones, #4)

 Read:

Not too happy with my progress. I finished Poison Princess (I started it last week though) and read another book so that I could read Jaded Stone by Wednesday.

  • Poison Princess by Kresley ColePoison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1)
  • Cornerstone by Kelly WalkerCornerstone (Souls of the Stones, #1)

Library:

Last week I requested a lot of books from the library. I requested some more this week even though all the ones from the week before still hadn’t come…I will be reading a whole trilogy! Yay!

  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessThe Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)
  • The Ask and the Answer by Patrick NessThe Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2)
  • Monsters of Men by Patrick NessMonsters of Men (Chaos Walking, #3)
  • Crash by Lisa McMannCrash (Visions, #1)
  • Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz (won’t be reading. Didn’t realise that it wasn’t YA. Kind of assumed it was because of Blue Bloods. And got excited about the TV show. Oh well.)Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family, #1)

To be read:

  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessThe Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)
  • Reign of Blood by Alexia PurdyReign of Blood (Reign of Blood, #1)

Currently reading:

  • Jaded Stone by Kelly WalkerJaded Stone (Souls of the Stones, #4)

So feel free to join in and link up! I’d love to see what you got and read during the week!

North Pole Reform School

North Pole Reform School by Jaimie Admans

North Pole Reform School

Date of publication: November 6th 2013

Publisher: Self-published

Number of pages: 234

Series: N/A

Source: From the author in exchange for an honest review.

Date finished: 3rd November

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 Goodreads synopsis:

Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.

Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.

She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.

But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.

A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music.

Suitable for older teens and upwards due to bad language.

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  Review:

North Pole…Elves…Zombies…’Nuff said.

The plot of the book is pretty much explained in the title. A reform school in the North Pole for people who ruined Christmas. I tell you, that’s a pretty cool school.

North Pole Reform School was a really heartwarming, Christmassy book. It wouldn’t fail to get anyone in the mood for Christmas. I just adored the characters…Miseltoes (love that name), Luke, Emily, Huugo, Navi, Tinsel.

Yes, you read the first sentence correctly. There are zombies in this book at the North Pole. This must be a first for fiction history. Everyone who would listen, or pretend to, wouldn’t hear the end of invisible ducks, zombies at the North Pole and red cube jokes.

The reindeer were so cute. I loved lessons involving them. It had to be my favourite lesson.

North Pole Reform School was a light and fun read. I also loved Not Pretty Enough, also by Jaimie Admans, and I can see Jaimie rapidly becoming a favourite author. I’d love there to be a continuation of the story. The ending was really cool too – I couldn’t stop smiling!

North Pole Reform School is perfect for the festive season. Cute, funny and quirky – I love this book to bits!

 4.5/5 stars!

Add North Pole Reform School to Goodreads

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  Goodreads author bio:

Jaimie AdmansJaimie is a 27-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, drinking tea and watching horror movies. She hates spiders and cheese & onion crisps.

She has been writing for years, but has never before plucked up the courage to tell people. She writes mostly chick-lit and young adult. Kismetology is her first novel and there are plenty more on the way!

Model Misfit by Holly Smale

Model Misfit by Holly Smale

Model Misfit (Geek Girl #2)

Publication date: September 26th 2013

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Number of pages: 356

Series: Geek Girl (2#)

Source: From the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion

Date finished: 11th October

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 Goodreads synopsis:

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek.”

Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.

What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.

With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.

Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.

Can geek girl find her place on the other side of the world or is Harriet lost for good?

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 Review:

Geekiness to the MAX. It’s enough to make anyone really want to be a geek. If you already are a geek, then you will feel a sense of pride. Read this book and you will see why.

Harriet is the perfect character for this story. She’s innocent, awkward, clumsy and of course, geeky. Since you don’t often come across these characteristics in books (and Holly Smale’s amazing writing skills help), it really makes Model Misfit bring out the emotions. There is one particular part of the book where I was extremely happy for all the characters and then (a little while later), quote: “NOOOOOOOOOO.” Luckily that was followed by another “yay!” A lot of the books is like that though. My emotions kind of felt what I guess is a yo-yo effect: up and down, up and down, and so forth.

What would Model Misfit be if there had been no Wilbur? I’m not sure to be honest but definitely not as good. His weird name calling and bubbly personality sort of compliment Harriet’s character. However, I still stand by what I said in my review of Geek Girl. “My little pot of bean paste” is definitely the weirdest name he has called Harriet so far. While the old characters are awesome, some of the new ones are too. Rin was quirky and fun and her obsession with Australia was so funny. Model Misfit, as a whole, was hilarious – I kept laughing out loud and earning myself some curious looks from those around me. The clumsy mistakes Harriet made were hilarious, as were the ways she tried to cover them up.

Luckily there some facts (really interesting ones) to balance the humour out. Those around me also got to hear those facts. Though this time they were more interested than annoyed.

I’m so happy that there is going to be a sequel! For a while after I finished Model Misfit I was a little unsure because everything was rounded off so nicely. Fortunately on Goodreads I discovered there was going to be a third book! The people around me also found that out too.

I love the cover of Model Misfit. It’s so quirky and fun. As a reader (and massive fan of the Geek Girl series) I can honestly tell you that it fits Model Misfit perfectly.

Please, I urge you to read Model Misfit! There are NO excuses. The only reason I will excuse you is if you haven’t read Geek Girl yet. But then you still have to read Model Misfit. If you are looking for a funny read, definitley check out the Geek Girl series!

 5/5 stars!

Add Model Misfit to Goodreads

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  Goodreads author bio:

Holly SmaleHolly fell in love with writing at five years old, when she realised that books didn’t grow on trees like apples. A passion for travel, adventure and wearing no shoes has since led her all over the world: she has visited 20 countries, spent two years working as an English teacher in Japan, volunteered in Nepal, been bartered for in Jamaica and had a number of ear-plugs stolen in Australia, Indonesia and India.

As a teenager, she also did a little modelling in the hope that eventually she would be sent somewhere exciting.

She wasn’t.

Holly has a BA in English Literature, an MA in Shakespeare, and currently lives either in London or @holsmale.