Tag Archive | Favorite Books of the Year

Mid-Year Top Reads + Roundup {2017}

Hi everyone!

We seem, impossibly, SOMEHOW, to be halfway through 2017? I… I don’t know quite what to do with this information. I’ll just be over here in a shock blanket next to Sherlock. Ahem.

MEANWHILE, this means I get to recap my top favorite reads of the year and… generally just list all the books I’ve read so far, because I want to, and in case you’re curious. XD

Favorite Books So Far This Year (More or Less)

Here’s a glimpse at my top-favorite most-wow books this year, although there have been many other AWESOME reads. It’s been a good half-year for reading. πŸ˜€

  • Magician’s Ward was Regency Fantasy and the first awesome book I read this year.
  • Hexwood blew my mind.
  • Sentinel (and technically Arbiter too…) are awesome because JET.
  • The Beast of Talesend is hilarious and perfect.
  • The Fatal Tree concludes one of my new all-time favorite series.
  • Moonblood was absolutely gorgeous fantasy.
  • Where the Woods Grow Wild was excellent fantasy plus hilarious.
  • Halayda‘s the last book I read and… I haven’t sorted all my thoughts on it because, like I said, it’s recent, so I dunno if it will stay on my top-list or not, but initial reaction was Fae and characters and snark = I loved.

Some runners-up are mooore awesome fantasy, namely:

  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry (buddy-story in Faerie, plus banter!)
  • Masters and Beginners (so much awesome Faerie things and refreshing YA!)
  • King’s Warrior and Second Son (feels-like-home epic fantasy, plus Brant!)

More on all these books below!

Stats

According to my Goodreads Reading Challenge, I’ve read 50 books out of my… 50 book goal! (So maybe I’ll be an overachiever this year. Maybe. Just a smidge.)

(And yes, some of these are re-reads, short stories, or an unpublished beta-read and a picture book, sooo… it’s not as much as it looks like, I promise. XD I think I read 35 new books?)

ALL THE BOOKS

And now, a liiiist of all the bookses, with quicky thoughts on them, ratings, and linkses to reviewses.

(I’m leaving out the short stories and putting the re-reads at the end, even though the pictures are just screenshots of my Goodreads Reading Challenge, which have all of those on, AND are in reverse-chronological order due to it showing up that way, because I’m lazy and consequently confusing. OH WELL! You’ll figure it out. XD)

If you’re curious about any of these, or want to add them to your to-read list, you can find them all listed on my Goodreads challenge, HERE. (So I don’t have to link to all of them, which would be exhausting. o.o)

  • Magician’s Ward – Patricia C. Wrede — 5 stars — Regency Fantasy is a genre I must inhale more. This was hilarious/epic, like Georgette Heyer meets Diana Wynne Jones. Also, Mairelon the Magician! ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors – H.L. Burke — 4 stars — Steampunk novella with great banter and lovable talking computer. Slightly scary but totally awesome. Must read rest of series soon! [Mini Review on Goodreads]
  • The Faerie Ring – Kiki Hamilton — 3 stars — Annoyed me slightly, BUT scary fairies in alternate 1800s London, plus Rieker was awesome. [Mini Review on Goodreads]
  • King’s Warrior – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — 5 stars — Awesome medieval fantasy with dragons and great characters, including Brant and Kiernan Kane, two of my favorites ever! [REVIEW]
  • The Firethorn Crown – Lea DouΓ© — 4 stars — Twelve Dancing Princesses and dragons and great characters; torn about the villain; overall enjoyed. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Suit and Suitability – Kelsey Bryant — 5 stars — Absolutely delightful retelling of Sense and Sensibility set in the 1930s; so historical-feeling but YA and sweet. ^_^ [REVIEW]
  • Wild Robert – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Short but delightful, and stopped right where I wanted to learn more! XD But super enjoyable. [REVIEW]
  • Aunt Maria – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Mind-blowing DWJ fantasy, which I loved. So, so good. [REVIEW]

  • Mort – Terry Pratchett — 4 stars — This and Guards! Guards! are my favorite Discworld books so far. πŸ˜€ Dark humor (not for everyone. XD) but overall I quite enjoyed. [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Mansfield Park – Jane Austen — 3 stars — Actually a really good book, trying to do really interesting things; I just couldn’t enjoy it because it was depressing. o.o But still good! [REVIEW]
  • Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett — 3 stars — Tricky because I LOVED the Bill Door plot, but didn’t care for the other main plot, so half I disliked, and the other half were some favorite Discworld times. [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Soul Music – Terry Pratchett — 2 stars —Β I was sad about things, okay. Plus the rock references went over my head and didn’t do much for me. (Loved the motorcycle and the rat though; and some parts I quite enjoyed.) [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Hexwood – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — MIND BLOWN. SO MANY THINGS. ALSO MORDION IS MY FAVE. ❀ AND IT’S FANTASY/SCI-FI/ARTHURIAN/MODERN/TIMEY-WIMEY. Just imagine if Aragorn was turned into the Winter Soldier and then thrown into a genre-defying time-travel thing that breaks your brain and is mindbogglingly plot-twisty, with ALL THE FEELS. Basically. Anyways, one of my fave DWJ books, just dark and might not be for everyone. XD [REVIEW]
  • Viper – Jamie Foley — 4 stars — Thrilling novella mixing military thriller/fantasy, with characters I love. Great backstory! I want to re-read this for Jet… [REVIEW]
  • Second Son – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — 5 stars — Awesome epic fantasy, backstory for Brant from King’s Warrior, who’s one of my favorite characters. ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Beggar Magic – H.L. Burke — 5 stars — Steampunk-feeling original fantasy with a twist of murder mystery and friendship and cute romance. So fun! [REVIEW]
  • King’s Blood – Jill Williamson — 2 stars —Β Excellent author, I was just too devastated about a certain character death to look at this objectively; I’m sorry! D: (*goes quietly away to sob in a corner*) [REVIEW]
  • Sentinel – Jamie Foley — 5 stars — Genre-defying fantasy/modern/apocalyptic/in-another-world/superpowers, with snark and humor and great dialog and characters, this was SO ORIGINAL and I loved it; plus Jet is one of my top-fave characters of ALL TIME. ❀ [REVIEW]

  • Masters and Beginners – Daley Downing — 5 stars — Such an extremely enjoyable and refreshing contemporary YA fantasy, with SO many cool faerie-ish things; can’t wait for book two! [REVIEW]
  • Puss in Boots – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Very brief retelling, which was interesting since I’d never read anything retold by DWJ! Mostly very like the original, but with enough humor and good explanations to make it super fun. Puss in Boots now makes sense to me and this is the definitive version for me. XD
  • The Beast of Talesend – Kyle Robert Schultz — 5 stars — Hilarious and awesome fairytale-ish shenanigans and one of my top faves. JUST READ IT. [REVIEW]
  • The Fatal Tree – Stephen R. Lawhead — 5 stars — An excellent conclusion to the Bright Empires series, I am STILL attempting to wrap my brain around it so I can review it. All I know is that even if I don’t understand everything and might still have some questions (be right back, must re-read series to find answers…), I love this series and these characters fiercely, and this was an tremendous final book. ❀ Just go read The Skin Map, people. Just do it. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Arbiter – Jamie Foley — 5 stars — SO INTENSE, plus more of Jet, plus hilarious memory loss and basically all the things. ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Moonblood – Anne Elisabeth Stengl — 5 stars — Absolutely GORGEOUS and fabulous fantasy, so perilous and Fae and just so good. *collapses* Plus, Eanrin and Beana and Oeric. ❀ [Review-of-sorts on Goodreads]
  • Adventures and Adversities – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — A super sweet medieval story with a Christian message; quite enjoyed. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Where the Woods Grow Wild – Nate Philbrick — 5 stars — Classic-feeling yet utterly original fantasy, HILARIOUS, excellently-written, plus lovable characters. Instant classic! [REVIEW]
  • Dogsbody – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Brilliant mind-blowing DWJ as usual, fantasy/sci-fi/modern/mythology. It’s bittersweet (she might not have figured out how to do happy endings yet…) but overall super good. Plus the main character is a former-star-being-turned-dog, and now I know ALL about dogs, which made it hilarious. XD
  • Mythic Orbits 2016 (short story anthology) – edited by Travis Perry — 2 stars — Not totally fair, since there were 4-star, 3-star, 1-star, AND 2-star stories in this collection, but overall they were too weird or disturbing for me, and I just don’t usually get along with short stories. XD But others might enjoy more. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Brothers and Betrayal – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — Robin-Hood-ish and I really liked the story of John (the Robin Hood character) and Princess Brianna; also great Christian theme of forgiveness. [REVIEW]
  • The Noble Servant – Melanie Dickerson — 5 stars — Extremely enjoyable Christian romantic Goose-Girl retelling, with a great hero and great wrapup to the Thornbeck Forest series. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry – H.L. Burke — 5 stars — Absolutely fabulous “buddy story” about rival magicians and magic and a scary Faerie realm, with a touch of Steampunk feel. I LOVED Jericho and Auric and their banter! ❀ So good. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Bellevere House – Sarah Scheele — 5 stars — Extremely enjoyable retelling of Mansfield Park, quite different than the original, but excellently written and funny, set in the 1930s with a Christian spin; sort of romantic-comedy-ish and so fun! πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Courage and Corruption – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — A strong character-growth novel about twin brother and sister and a kingdom teetering on the brink of war, looking for its rightful king. Enjoyable medieval Christian fiction in the fictional country of Taelis. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]

  • Dreams and Devotion – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — Well-written medieval tale of a peasant girl and her brother as a new priest, separately facing adversity and growing stronger in their faith. It’s an extremely emotional and bitter-sweet book, focusing on the little things, but it kept me so absorbed and it was overall quite good. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW TO COME NEXT WEEK, with blog tour and giveaway]
  • For Love and Honor – Jody Hedlund — 3 stars — Mostly a just-okay read for me, but overall enjoyable medieval romance; I loved the bantering of the hero and heroine. πŸ™‚ [Mini-review on Goodreads]
  • Halayda – Sarah Delena White — 5 stars — This is truly EPIC fantasy, with a dash of steampunk, set mostly in Faerie in another world, with dashes of tweaked mythology, SO much great imagery and fantasy, characters I absolutely adored, breathtaking writing, and a dash of humor and hilarious snark and banter, with some great character dynamics and a side of sweet romance. It’s a little darker than some, but so epic. Faerie King Taylan and snarky shape-shifting Zad are definitely new favorites! ❀ [Review to come at some point, perhaps?]

RE-READS

Note: All re-reads are, nearly always, 5 stars. Why else would I re-read them? XD

  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen — Re-reading so I could read the retelling; enjoyable. πŸ™‚
  • The Magicians of Caprona – Diana Wynne Jones — SO FUN.
  • The Dark Hills Divide – Patrick Carman — MY CHILDHOOD.
  • Witch Week – Diana Wynne Jones — CHRESTOMANCIIII. ❀
  • Mixed Magics – Diana Wynne Jones — And Chrestomanci short stories are so fun. XD
  • The Pinhoe Egg – Diana Wynne Jones — MY FAVORITE CHRESTOMANCI BOOOOK. ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones — Yes, I read this for the 5th time. I REGRET NOTHING. ❀ Still my top-favorite-book-of-all-time-tied-with-The-Lord-of-the-Rings. πŸ˜€
  • Year of the Griffin – Diana Wynne Jones — I loved this SO MUCH MORE on this re-read! :O So enjoyable, and griffiiiiins! ❀
  • Blood Ties – Hazel B. West — Jumped on the chance to re-read this for a readalong! We’re about to start reading An Earthly King next, and I. can’t. wait. πŸ˜€ (But alternate-history modern Ireland with cars and swords and Faeries, though. <3) [REVIEW of Blood Ties from Last Year]

~ ~ ~

So there you are! I hope you enjoyed this glance at my reading year so far! What’s your favorite book you’ve read in 2017?

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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Top 12 Books I Read in 2016!

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*comes in singing* Happy blogoversary to meeee!

That’s right, one year ago today, I posted my Foreword first post on this blog!

The Page Dreamer has officially existed for a whole year! *cue excitement* *and Gandalf fireworks* *because naturally*

Today I’m going to look back at this year of booksβ€”the reading, the reviewing, and, most importantly, my top favorite reads of the year! Let’s get to it. πŸ™‚

Reading Stats

I read 78 books this yearβ€”huzzah!

I was planning for 60 (according to Goodreads) and overshot that a bit because I’m addicted an overachiever.

Check out my Year in Books on Goodreads to see them all listed! πŸ™‚

year-in-books

9 of those were rereads, 6 were nonfiction (*cue gasps from a shocked audience*), and 63 were new fiction reads.

5starrating

Of those 63, I rated 40 of them 5 stars.

*crickets*

I know, I have a problem with being very agreeable to most books. Moving on, then!

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10 books were 4 stars.

3starrating

7Β  books were 3 stars.

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6 books were 2 stars. (We do not speak of 3 of these, For Reasons Of Bad Endings, and one of them I just didn’t believe the romance most of the book [which never happens], and two were just all right.)

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According to my visible stats, I had no 1-stars, but that’s ignoring the fact that one story in a collection is totally a 1-star, even if I chickened out in my review and gave it a medium rating for being good most of the time until the ending WHICH WAS NOT OKAY. So 1 book was 1 star.

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(Seeing a trend here…? I literally rated two-thirds of the books I read in 2016 five-stars.)

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Fun fact: I read 12 books by Diana Wynne Jones this year. Yes, that averages to one every month. Half of those were new reads, and half were rereading aloud, because OH THE FUN. (Hence this being a fun-fact instead of just a fact. Ahem.)

totals

I also seem to have read 20,000 pages this year??? Um. What is up with that? O.o That’s like the same amount of WORDS I wrote this year (if you ignore the 50K during NaNo).

Okay, enough stats, I can tell I’m boring you. πŸ˜‰

Without more further ado, I give you (in no particular order because I’m an indecisive otter, except my very favorites are in a special category at the top)…

My Top 12 (more or less) Reads of 2016

(All titles link to their Goodreads pages; I also link to my reviews if one was written.)

BEST OF THE BEST

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1. Paper Crowns – Mirriam Neal

{My Review}

A favorite up there with The Lord of the Rings and Howl’s Moving Castle, I was SO ecstatic when Paper Crowns was published this year! It has literally everything to make it a fantabulous book, including witty writing and banter, characters who are simply my FAVORITE (Hal! Azrael! And Salazar, Asterope, Astryn, Ginger… Just everybody) and Fey and a talking cat and adorable romance on the side and adventure and JUST READ THIS BOOK BECAUSE IT’S PERFECT. ❀ Favorite of the year. πŸ™‚


2bonehouse 3spiritwell 4shadowlamp

2. The Bone House / The Spirit Well / The Shadow Lamp – Stephen R. Lawhead

{My Review of The Bone House} {My Review of The Spirit Well} [review of The Shadow Lamp to come]

THIS SERIES. I haven’t finished it yet (The Fatal Tree was, however, a Christmas present, so that will be read very soon!) but the ones I’ve read so far are simply fabulous. Different eras and settings and cultures, lovable characters, adventure, stunning writing, and all deliciously complex. I can’t wait to finish! Book 4, The Shadow Lamp, may be my favorite of the series yet! Just so much is HAPPENING. (Plus Kit and Wilhelmina and Cass and Giles and even Haven, etc. <3)


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3. Blood Ties / An Earthly King – Hazel B. West

{My Review of Blood Ties} {My Review of An Earthly King}

I’ve done my share of flailing over this series, but REALLY, I just love these modern-Ireland-mixed-with-alternate-history-and-Faerie books! The friendships and adventure and humor and characters and WORLD are just so fabulous! ❀


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4. Fire and Hemlock – Diana Wynne Jones

{My Review}

Yeah, no surprise this is here… there has to be a DWJ book in my top few! πŸ˜‰ I rambled enough about it in my review, but it was just AMAZING and I can’t wait to reread it this year. πŸ˜€ Tam Lin retelling, just brilliant, not to mention bookish things and writer things and modern Faerie things and Tom Lynn and his cello and amazingness. ❀

THE REST OF THE BEST

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5. Deep Secret – Diana Wynne Jones

This one was somehow way darker than any other DWJ book I’ve read before, with some more mature-audience elements, but it just sucked me in so completely and was so original and amazing and the characters and and and… Diana Wynne Jones!!! ❀ I really need to review this one. o.o (The sequel-of-sorts, The Merlin Conspiracy, is amazing too.)


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6. The Rose and the Balloon – Kirsten Fichter

{My Review}

Once again, all my thoughts are in my review (apparently I reviewed most of these?), but this was just a delightful Beauty and the Beast retelling novella and I adored it! ^_^ (Also Dmitri. And the bickering.)


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7. Jackaby / The Map: A Jackaby Story – William Ritter

{Series Review}

Because Jackaby. Jackaby himself is basically all that needs saying here. Also historical fantasy is something I apparently like? And references! Like having banshees and redcaps and allusions to the song Whiskey in the Jar — these things make me happy. πŸ˜€


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8. Yorien’s Hand – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

{My Review}

Ohhh my goodness, this book! Dragons and fantasy and Brant the epic warrior and Kiernan Kane (the mysterious minstrel!) and all of the things! ❀ Just… really really good. I’m kicking myself for not having read the rest of the series yet… but that will happen SOON. ❀


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9. Defying Shadows – Ashley Townsend

{My Review}

Flailing is available in the full review, but TIME TRAVEL + ROBIN HOOD RETELLING + WILL + PLOT TWISTS + ADORABLE ROMANCE/CHARACTERS = Yes. ❀


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10. The Beautiful Pretender – Melanie Dickerson

{My Review}

Another Beauty and the Beast retelling, crossed with The Princess and the Pea, this was just an enjoyable book. ^_^ Really well-written with likeable characters; one of Melanie Dickerson’s best, so far!


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11. Moominsummer Madness – Tove Jansson

Standing in mostly for the entire Moomin series, I almost put Finn Family Moomintroll here but decided Moominsummer Madness is probably my favorite, if only because of Snufkin and the woodies and the park keeper. Just. YES. πŸ˜€ The Moomin books are DELIGHTFUL, Snufkin is a kindred soul of mine (seriously though. <3) and I just love these books! ^_^ This one has a flood and an abandoned theater stage and all sorts of fun, whimsical, fantastical shenanigans.


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12. The Castle Corona – Sharon Creech

I don’t even know why, but I simply adored this little tale in a vaguely-Italian fairytale kingdom, with a mystery and a Storyteller and all sorts of questions and intrigue and delightful characters! I even started out thinking I wouldn’t really like it but it totally surprised me, and now here it is on my top-reads-of-the-year post! Who would’ve thought! Simply utterly charming and delightful. ^_^

Honorable Mentions go to the following

(because they’re not my “usual” genre — being two Regency Romances and a Contemporary Superpower book — but they were really good)

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  1. Devil’s Cub – Georgette Heyer (BECAUSE GEORGETTE HEYER.)
  2. Emma – Jane Austen (This was unexpectedly extremely well done. Also Mr. Knightley.)
  3. Twinepathy – C. B. Cook (Blaze and Anvil! That is all.) {Read my review}

Bonus Categories

FAVORITE STORY IN A COLLECTION

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  • With Blossoms Gold – Hayden Wand (in ONCE: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales) — A retelling of Rapunzel, I simply ADORED it! It was fun, funny, exciting, and clever, and the banter and humor and character interactions, not to mention Prince Benedict (and Prince Orlando too) were just MARVELOUS. ❀
  • (Runner-up: Death Be Not Proud – Suzannah Rowntree in the same collection, because it was just so so brilliant and clever and this author is apparently amazing.)
  • Read my review for this collection

FAVORITE NONFICTION

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  1. Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman — Brilliant and inspiring and original. Loved it enough to read it 3 or 4 times AND listen to the speech a couple of times. {My review}
  2. If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit – Brenda Ueland — Finally, somebody (even if the book was from 1938) talking about writing the way I think of it, and about writing the way you want, and speaking out against criticism. This book inspired me SO much. ❀

FAVORITE PICTURE BOOK

  • The Water of Life – Brothers Grimm, retold by Barbara Rogasky, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman — I hadn’t read this tale of Grimm’s before, but it was great and I positively adore Trina Schart Hyman’s illustrations!

Blog Stats

Because it’s my blogoversary, so of course I want to look at my stats! πŸ˜‰

Most popular posts:

(I find it slightly amusing that, for a book-review blog, my most-read posts are mostly non-review posts. XD)

  1. Cover Love: Some 2016 Releases
  2. Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag {2016}
  3. Bookish Book Lover Tag
  4. 25 Bookish Facts About Me
  5. By the Book Tag
  6. The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead
  7. Fantasy Fan-Art
  8. My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (So Far)

By the Numbers:

  • 61 posts (woohoo!)
  • 120 followers (you are all awesome! <3)
  • 720 comments (half of these being me replying. XD)
  • 1343 visitors
  • 3549 hits

Top Commenters:

  1. Christine
  2. Madeline J. Rose
  3. Skye
  4. Sarahtps
  5. Jenelle
  6. Savannah Grace

Thanks SO much, all of you awesome people, and just everyone who reads and/or comments — I so appreciate you all! ^_^ ❀


Whew. Now you know all about my year of 2016 — at least the bookish part… but that’s the most important, yes?? πŸ˜‰

Have you read any of my top 12? (Or… a little more like top 24 if you look at categories and series… BUT STILL.) How was your year of reading in 2016? Tell me all! And I wish you all a fabulous reading year of 2017! Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer