Tag Archive | Christian Fiction

Blog Tour, Giveaway, + Review: “Dreams and Devotion” by Sarah Holman

Welcome to the blog tour for the release of Sarah Holman’s latest book in the Tales of Taelis series: Dreams and Devotion!

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been reading through the series up to this point, and enjoying it greatly, so I’m excited to share it with you! 🙂

Here’s a bit about the book, as well as a GIVEAWAY and other tour stops, and then below is my review. 🙂

Dreams and Devotion

Some dreams will be dashed, and their devotion will be tested.

Dara’s life is full of farm work and worries, especially now that her older brother is a priest in a far off city. Yet she still has time to dream of the life she hopes will someday be. She dreams of marrying her dear friend and the worries of her family ending. Now, the selfishness of one person threatens her very way of life.

Dresden’s initial excitement about living a life devoted to the service of God quickly is dashed on the rocks of reality. The life of a priest is nothing like what he imagined. To make matters worse, he finds out his family back in his home village is on the brink of disaster. Torn between his vows and his love for his family, what will he choose?

Dreams and Devotion releases July 15, 2017

Buy the book for the special preorder price, here.


Giveaway

*****ENTER GIVEAWAY VIA RAFFLECOPTER HERE*****


About the Author

Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.

Find her at www.thedestinyofone.com


Stops on the blog tour:

July 8

Bookish Orchestrations ~ Faith Blum

July 9

His Princess Warrior ~ Katie Hamilton

July 10

In the Book Case ~ Tarissa Graves

Jessica Greyson ~ Jessica Greyson

July 11

Gods Peculiar Treasure Rae ~ Raechel

Read Another Page ~ Rebekah Morris

July 12

Whimsical Writings For His Glory ~ Jesseca Dawn

Shannon McDermott ~ Shannon McDermott

July 13

The Page Dreamer ~ Deborah O’Carroll
(You are here! ^_^ Thanks for dropping by! <3)

July 14

Knitted by God’s Plans ~ Kendra E. Ardnek

With a Joyful Noise ~ Amanda Tero

Once Upon an Ordinary ~ Kate Willis

July 15

Jaye L. Knight ~ Jaye L. Knight


Title: Dreams and Devotion
Author: Sarah Holman

  • Date read: June 17, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction (in fictional country, medieval times)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 137 (Kindle)
  • Series: Tales of Taelis, #4
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC from the author for review purposes (many thanks!); these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Dreams and Devotions is a well-written medieval tale about a brother and sister, Dara and Dresden (love their names!): a peasant girl’s life at her farm and home village, and her brother’s life as a new priest, separately facing adversity and growing stronger in their faith. It’s an extremely emotional and rather bitter-sweet book, focusing on the little things, but it kept me so absorbed and it was overall quite good.

My favorite part was the moonlit harvest scene—I loved it! ❤ There’s a scene that’s staying in my memory for a long time. ^_^

Even though it was not an “exciting” story, and focused mainly on the day-to-day life of farming in medieval times and other struggles, it was so well-written and had me absolutely hooked. I could NOT stop reading! I was super caught up in it. 🙂 It’s definitely an unusual and unique tale, more somber and thoughtful than fun or adventurous, but keeping the reader’s attention all the same.

There were many heart-touching or heartbreaking moments, both good and sad, which made me tear up a few times. I don’t always like when books do that but it definitely made me feel strongly. 😉 Sometimes there seemed to be no hope for awhile, but it did sometimes bring goodness out of the darkness and show God using some things for good. There were a lot of good messages throughout the story, many of which I liked. 🙂

I’m continuing to love visiting this land of Taelis! 🙂 Delmore Castle and various characters from Courage and Corruption feature in this book, which was super neat! The harvest song even came back! I’m curious to see where the rest of the stories will take us, so I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series! ^_^ In the meantime, this is the fourth and latest Taelis book (though they can all stand alone!), and I’ve enjoyed the whole series so far. 🙂

It was a lot sadder than books that I normally like to read, feeling more like real-life sometimes than a work of fiction, leaving a few threads not wrapped up in a (to me!) satisfactory way (I wanted one character’s story to end up differently, but all we got was a note in the epilogue that unfortunately left it hanging, and I also expected a romance but didn’t find one; both were sad parts), but despite all that I’d still say it’s a good book, even if not my usual cup of tea. It was very well written, and I’m so impressed with the fact that, despite any quibbles or sadness (and these are my own, personal opinions!), it was still a very good book and had me extremely absorbed. Overall, quite good. 🙂

If you like Christian fiction and medieval times, a well-written book with heart, some bittersweetness, and people overcoming daily struggles and growing closer to God, you will love Dreams and Devotion. ^_^

Favorite Quotes

It was a stick he had fashioned into a crude bow. He had made it in their younger days when he and Geoffrey would play The Archer in the forest. She had been allowed to play with them at times, sometimes playing the part of the brave princess Brianna, sometimes playing a maiden in need of rescue.

***

“Dara, the greatest gift that we can ever offer anyone is ourselves. You have been a friend to me and so many others. You have not let the disappointments of this year keep you from being someone who dares to dream, hopes for the best, trusts God, and loves without holding back.”

***

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Read my other reviews for the series:

  

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Have you tried the Tales of Taelis series yet? Thanks so much for dropping by, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

5 Thoughts on “Father, Forgive Them” (Short Story) by Sarah Holman

Title: Father, Forgive Them
Author: Sarah Holman

  • Date read: July 4, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Short Story / Christian / Biblical-Era Fiction
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 30 (Kindle)
  • Source: Amazon
  • Notes: Short Story; read for the 10/10/10 challenge (reading/reviewing 10 of Sarah Holman’s books/stories in 10 weeks)
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Blog

1. There’s not really a lot to say about this without giving it away, since it’s such a brief glimpse, like a window looking at a few scenes, but I enjoyed it. 🙂

2. This is an interesting short story focusing on the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and specifically on a few words Jesus spoke which the hero of the story, Jonathan, can’t get out of his head.

3. The setting was vividly painted—I could see the olive trees and hill in one scene. There were also some poetic turns of phrase and imagery which I quite liked.

4. Jonathan and his encounter with the stranger at the end was my favorite part. 🙂 Beautiful. ^_^

5. I don’t usually read Biblical-setting fiction, so I don’t know how this compares, but if you want a quick read with a different look at the Resurrection story, you’ll enjoy this touching short story. 🙂

(Listening to the song “Stronger” by the Newsboys while I write this review—fits together, somehow!)

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Do you ever read short stories? Have you tried Sarah Holman’s fiction yet — she’s great! And, randomly, do you like listening to the Newsboys band? Thanks for reading! ^_^

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10 Thoughts on “Courage and Corruption” by Sarah Holman

Title: Courage and Corruption
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: June 16, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction (in fictional country, medieval times)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 161 (Kindle)
Series: Tales of Taelis, #3
Fave character: Uncle Edwin and King John
Source: Amazon
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Ten Thoughts on Courage and Corruption

1. Still enjoying this series. 🙂 I think this one was the most well-written in the series yet, and it’s awesome to see this author’s writing improving more and more over time!

2. It’s about a twin brother and sister (Christopher and Catherine) who don’t… erm… get along. 😛 They have to learn to become better people etc. There are a lot of strong Christian messages/themes along this line throughout the book. 🙂

3. I didn’t enjoy the first half of the story as much because it was hard reading about these characters being so angry and argumentative, so I… kind of didn’t like them very much then because they had so much to learn. Likely just one of my reading quirks. 😛 So for that reason, it wasn’t my personal favorite of the series, even though it’s the most well-written and would likely be a favorite with most readers. 🙂

4. In the second half of the book, I warmed to the story much more, and I found myself quite enjoying the intrigue and excitement, once most of the character-building parts had been dealt with. 🙂

5. I LOVED the plot that emerged in this one, linking back to a certain event in Adventures and Adversities, and featuring descendants of the little prince from that one! :O I was so hoping that plot would come back and it DID. 😀 That was one of my favorite things about the story. ^_^

6. My other main favorite thing was all the little stories Uncle Edwin told. 🙂 That was so fun, like lots of mini tales within this one; my favorite was the one about the Shepherd King and the one about Princess Brianna and John in the garden. 😀 Lovely little follow-up to Brothers and Betrayal! AWK. Such cute. ^_^

7. It’s been great reading more of these books set in the medieval country of Taelis! I especially loved seeing familiar places like Coraway Castle and Delmore Castle (both of which are super super cool… I’d love to live in Coraway Castle! I hope to see more of it in future books too. :)).

8. There are also lots of references to characters and events from the first two books, which I loved. ^_^ (Some of that’s inevitably a little sad though, of course, with multiple generations. 😦 But oh well. Otherwise I liked the references.)

9. Oh, and along that line, it was neat to see the main characters from Brothers and Betrayal in this one a little, much older but still lurking around being great. 🙂 Bryon, John, and Brianna all make appearances. 🙂

10. Overall, while some of it didn’t click for me personally, I think most people would really enjoy this! If you like Christian fiction with strong themes and families and adventure and medieval times, you will probably like this one; and like I said, it’s probably the most well-written yet. 🙂 Can also stand alone. I’m definitely curious to continue reading this series in this lovely land of Taelis. ^_^

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In the series so far (will update with links to my posts as I review them):

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10 Thoughts on Brothers and Betrayal by Sarah Holman

Title: Brothers and Betrayal
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: June 5, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction (fictional country in medieval times)
Age: YA? Suitable for younger as well
Year pub: 2015
Pages: 237 pages (ebook)
Series: Tales of Taelis, #2
Fave character: John/The Archer
Source: Amazon
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Ten Thoughts on Brothers and Betrayal

1. This one was even better than the first one! I quite enjoyed it. 🙂 I liked the first, but this one’s even more exciting, and more well-written, too! I just really enjoyed this. ^_^ It’s also a fairly short novel, so I was able to read it in an evening, which was nice. 🙂

2. It’s more-or-less a Robin Hood story! I’m not sure if I would QUITE call it a “retelling,” since it’s very different, but there are certainly references that felt very Robin-Hood-ish, which totally made my day. XD A lot of it twisted the old Robin Hood stories in a very classic turn-it-on-its-head retelling way, so it was fun to pick those things out. 😀 (Like Lord Notly—like Nottingham, mayhap?—and the mention of an archery contest, etc. :P) But I LOVE retellings, and haven’t seen a lot about Robin Hood, so I really, really enjoyed this book. 😀

3. I loved seeing a lot of the same places/names as the first one. The connections and references were fun. 🙂 It’s very handy to have a medieval story in a fictional country, and I’m quite attached to Taelis by now! ^_^

4. There was one thing I was sad about—inevitable with multi-generational stories, but I thought I’d be able to handle it but I wasn’t and it was super devastating; at least we didn’t SEE it… So that’s my main downside to the book; just a me-thing and I know it’s unavoidable but still. *cough*

5. I also… um… I’m afraid I didn’t really like the main character, Bryon, for a lot of the story. >.> I suspect I was supposed to like him, but he and I just didn’t get along very well. *cough* It may be partially because I’m a lot older (he’s like twelve) and I wanted to see more of John? Not sure. He was alright, just not my favorite.

6. It’s mostly set in a castle (the same castle as in book one, Delmore, but nearly finished being built now) and in a forest, which are like my favorite settings, so that was awesome. 😀 LOVED that. And the secret stairs and stuff. 😀

7. I can just see myself having positively adored this book when I was a little younger. I still enjoyed it but I think younger teens etc. might enjoy it even more, although I think anyone might enjoy it like I did—and it’s appropriate for any kind of age-range, which I appreciated. 🙂

8. It has a strong Christian message of forgiveness as opposed to revenge. The typical conversion scene was… well… typical and not necessarily fitting for the time period, but oh well. 😉 I did appreciate the forgiveness theme, because it’s a tough one.

9. The Archer/John was my favorite! 😀 I quite liked him, and would have liked to have seen more of him. ^_^ I love how he’s very Robin-Hood-ish, and I loved his lines—he has a sort of dry wit and quiet wisdom—and I also loved how he’s JOHN (and rather taller than most of them; hmm… ;)) but also the Robin-Hood leader of sorts, so it’s almost like it’s about Little John, who’s actually Robin. XD Anyways, he was great. I liked Princess Brianna too, and how they’re both sort of under-cover, even to each other. 😀 That was awesome!

10. Overall, I quite enjoyed it, and am looking forward to continuing the series! Definitely give this book a try if you like medieval stories and adventure, castles, and Robin Hood. 😀 (And it’s totally able to stand on its own, and doesn’t need to be a book 2 at all; so you can even start here if you want!)

FAVORITE QUOTES

[When the soldiers are chasing the young hero and his little sisters:]

“Stand aside! We are about the king’s business.”

“I can see that,” a casual voice said off to one side. Bryon glanced around until his gaze landed on a man atop a boulder, leaning on his bow. His golden hair was held back by a bit of string, and in one hand he twirled an arrow between his fingers. “I see you are after some hardened criminals, Lord Notly.”

The leader sneered. “They are no doubt members of your renegades, Archer.”

Bryon drew in a sharp breath. Was this The Archer?

“No doubt,” The Archer said, examining his arrow. “You really ought to give up chasing people around in the woods; you know how it displeases me.” He gave a cocky smile as he nocked the arrow in his bow.

***

“Then we shall see you make it safely to the edge of the forest. There are many desperate men who live in these woods.”

A giggle rose in Brianna’s throat. “Such as yourself?”

For the first time, a wide grin appeared on the young man’s face. “The maid has wit.”

***

“Or maybe they think you are just a bad shot,” Nathaniel teased.

“If they thought I was a bad shot, they would not fear me,” John countered, turning to his cousin.

Nathaniel shrugged. “Not necessarily. If you can’t hit what you are aiming at, and point an arrow at the person next to them, they might end up being the person dead.”

John rolled his eyes.

***

“Now tell me who it is or I will…” Notly could not seem to come up with the proper threat.

“Kill me? As you already plan to do so, threats of that nature do not seem to be of much use, do they?”

[Can you see why I like John’s lines? XD]

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In the series so far (will update with links to my posts as I review them):

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Befriended (Short Story) by Sarah Holman

Here’s another short story review for another of the Tales of Taelis stories! 🙂

Title: Befriended
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: May 27, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Adventure / Christian (Medieval, Fictional Setting)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 38 (Kindle)
Series: Short Stories of Taelis, #2 (prequel to Brothers and Betrayal, set after Adventures and Adversities)
Fave character: Kaden
Source: Amazon
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

This was a very quick, short read (I read it in fifteen or twenty minutes), but was a really cute story for all that. 🙂 I quite enjoyed it! ^_^

It’s set soon after Adventures and Adversities, with the same characters and a couple of new ones.

This is Eleanor’s story, and it was really neat to have one for her. 🙂 Kaden was a great character as well, and little John and Nathaniel were cute. 😛

I particularly liked the parts in the forest, and with the stars. ❤

I can’t really say much about it, lest I spoil the entire story, but overall it was sweet, had some moments that were fun and adorable, as well as spiritual moments, and overall made me happy.

It also made me more curious to continue reading this series! I’m looking forward to Brothers and Betrayal to see what John and Nathaniel do when they grow up. 😀

Definitely worth a read. 🙂

Favorite quote:

“My home is the North Star and with you,” Eleanor said.

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In the series so far (will update with links as I review them):

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Adventures and Adversities by Sarah Holman

Title: Adventures and Adversities
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: May 27, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction / Medieval (in fictional country in Europe)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2013
Pages: 314 (paperback)
Series: Tales of Taelis, #1
Fave character: William
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

I was a little uncertain if I would like this at first, but I was pulled into this story and ended up quickly absorbed, and enjoyed it very much! 🙂

I really grew to like these characters!

  • Alditha, our heroine, who tries to find the good in the midst of hardship.
  • Her sweet little friend Eleanor, such a bubbly and feisty thing. 🙂
  • But mostly William, Eleanor’s brother, who may have a thing for Alditha… 😉 He was brave and good and kind and heroic, and I really liked his character!
  • I also, unexpectedly, really liked Captain Harold, a guard. He was so nice! He might have been my second favorite. 🙂
  • There are other memorable characters, both good and bad, which populate this story, and it was interesting to meet each of them—I quite liked the kind hermit priest as well. 🙂

It’s set in medieval times, in a fictional country in Europe called Taelis. This made the book feel like a historical fiction novel, but without me wondering if all the details were real, which made it more fun. XD

From the point of view of peasants and servants, it was a different look at the higher classes. These heroes and heroines are good hardworking people, simple folks who are kind and good and do their best in the face of adventures and adversities.

There was love and loss, friendship and hardship, laughter and tears, and through it all the characters strove to find God’s plan in their lives and trust in Him.

It seemed at first like it was going to be one of those quieter books without much adventure, but it turned out to have plenty of excitement after all! Most of it was about the day-to-day struggles—physical, emotional, and spiritual—of the heroine, but there are other things going on as well. There are dangers and adventures, plots and fights, storms at sea and riding through stormy nights on land as well. It kept me absorbed and interested!

Most of all, I was caught up in reading about William and Alditha, so long separated, as they struggled through their separate lives, and waiting to see if they would finally be able to see each other again. 🙂

There were a few things that seemed inconsistent or didn’t make sense to me, and some slightly distracting typos (I have an older paperback version of this book, so I don’t know if there is a newer version or not), but on the whole I don’t have many specific complaints. 🙂

Overall, I enjoyed the book a lot and fell in love with this medieval world and these characters, and this nice simple tale of love and faith. It drew me in and was a sweet story. ^_^ I’m definitely looking forward to reading more in the Tales of Taelis series! 🙂

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In the series so far (will update with links as I review them):

~ ~ ~

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Ashburn by Julia Erickson

AshburnPhoto

Note

I’m posting this review of Ashburn today because Shantelle Hannu (as part of her Author Gems blog series in which she interviews and spotlights various authors and books) is having an interview/giveaway with author Julia Erickson this week, so go check it out! 🙂

Giveaway

GO HERE (or, y’know, to Shantelle’s blogpost where it’s featured. ;)) for the Rafflecopter giveaway to win e-book copies of Ashburn and Diamond! It’s open all week, from today (August 22) until August 28. Hop to it! ^_^

1 Hidden Gems 2

Hidden Gems: Authors You Need to Discover is a weekly blog event being held every Monday from August 1 to November 21, 2016, by Shantelle @ A Writer’s Heart, featuring author interviews, book spotlights, and book giveaways.

Be sure to check it out and follow her lovely blog so you don’t miss any of the delightful posts! ^_^

Title: Ashburn (I.C.E. Agency, #1)

Author: Julia Erickson

review

4starrating

I don’t usually read agent-y type books… which is something I should stop saying since this is actually the third agent-y type book I’ve read in the last month or so. XD But still, the point is that contemporary isn’t usually my thing. But I decided to check it out on the recommendation of a friend (thanks, Shantelle!) and was so excited to get to borrow it from another friend (thanks, Sarah!). I really enjoyed this one. 🙂

I loved the characters in this book, and especially how the point of view switches back and forth between Bryce and Cara. Bryce and Cara! Great characters. They’re so sweet together (the growing romance was so adorable), and I absolutely LOVE the bickering dialog between them — it was the best. 😀 So much fun. Also, the Rapunzel thing was funny. XD …Long golden hair. You’ll have to read it to find out. 😉

Bryce is the best, by the way. He’s just such a great character. Definitely a favorite. 🙂 Also, I positively NEED a pair of his agent-y sunglasses! Those would be super handy to have. *thumbs-up* Cara was nice too. And like I said, they’re so CUTE together and I adore their fun conversations — they’re just such a blast to read. ^_^

There was a Christian thread going through the story, which was nice. Also it’s one of the few books I’ve read which was about homeschool graduates. Both Bryce and Cara were homeschooled, which was neat. 🙂 I didn’t really have much in common with them, despite that, but still neat. 😛 The book is also quite clean, for those wondering about that.

Some of the plot seemed to get a little lost in the background at some points so in a way a lot of it wasn’t totally wrapped up (but it didn’t matter by the end, I guess), and I didn’t always agree with the way some things were handled (also, to be honest, the elaborateness of the ending honestly freaked me out, but I’m probably alone there. XD), and other than that I just enjoyed the ride.

Oh! And one of the most cool things of all about this book (you know, aside from the characters and the sweet romance and the banter) was the international chase and mystery and adventure! We travel all over with Bryce and Cara — Georgia to Venice to Paris to Germany… it was awesome to be immersed in all those countries and just gave it an international-spy-thriller feel… which I suppose is exactly what it is. 😉

So! A Christian romance spy suspense fun adventure with just the right mix of humor, dialog, romance, and edge-of-your-seat action, it was overall a very fun read for me, and I definitely recommend it if you’d like something kind of light and agent-y to read! 🙂

summary

From Goodreads:

Cara Stephenson, a talented graphic designer at Silver Strand Technologies, never thought she’d see her childhood best friend again… but when he suddenly reenters her life ten years later, he’s a completely different man. What is he hiding, and why should she trust him?

Bryce Reynolds is a man on a mission- a top-secret one at that! He never dreamed the girl down the street would one day become his link to the destruction of Ravenmeister, Inc.- a front for black-market arms and ammunition. Will he crumble underneath the burden of all his secrets?

When the hunt for a missing technology developer in possession of a priceless prototype drags Cara and Bryce on a high-adrenaline ride through the streets of Paris, Venice, and Munich, they must work together to find what they’re looking for… and survive the trip!

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon}

factoids

Genre/Category: Christian / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense / Romance

Age Group: I suppose it’s “technically” Adult since the characters are in their twenties, but it’s clean and would likely be most enjoyed by teens. 🙂

Published: 2014

Pages: 319 pages (paperback)

Series?: Book 1 of the I.C.E. Agency Series, followed by Diamond.

When Read: July 11 – 16, 2016

Favorite Character: Bryce A.K.A. Ashburn because he’s the best. ❤

Source: Borrowed from a friend.


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer