Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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Family Matters in Delightful New Sci-Fi Novel

The Captain’s Daughters

By Doreen D. Berger

PolarisPrint, 2021

Genre: Fiction, Sci-Fi, Family

Rating: G

Via: Author Request

Summary: Two spunky sisters get more than they bargained for when they disobey their starship captain Dad and wind up captives in an interstellar game of cat-and-mouse.

“What lies within the folds of the fabric of the never-ending universe?

“Not now, Kimmi!” sniffs Her Momness.

Why is she saying this when I just brought her the Frisbee?  Hello? Earth to Mom? Come in, Mom?

“I’m right in the middle of the good part,” she says. “Can you gimme a min?”

Oh, bother. Cuz Mom said that like, two hours ago.

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Travel Memoir Offers Deep Dive Into West Africa

A New Day Dawns

By Terry Lister

Publisher: Brooklyn Knight Enterprises, 2021

Via: Author Request

Genre: Memoir/Travel

“This is Africa!”

Terry Lister is an experienced world traveler. He’s also a first class storyteller with a knack for drawing readers into his adventures. As in his first volume, Immersed in West Africa, Lister invites you to join him in traveling through four West African countries as he seeks to “learn what makes people tick.”

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High Octane Action Powers ‘Albertan Apocalypse’

Albertan Apocalypse

By John Keillor, 2021

Fiction/Dystopian/Action-Adventure

Summary: Governments have been destroyed worldwide by global catastrophe except in Alberta, Canada. But when malevolent forces try to take over, Albertans put up a ferocious fight to keep their freedom. 

Originally reviewed on Reedsy/Discovery.

Setting

It’s 2031. Twelve years ago a worldwide catastrophe destroyed the internet and disabled governments. Many human brains were also “ruined” when the atmosphere “was transformed into a microwave oven.” One of few stable societies remaining is in Alberta, Canada. But malevolent forces are converging to invade the province, exploit its natural resources, and enslave its citizens.

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GUEST POST: Author Jonathan Durham on Writer’s Block

Hello Friends!

Kimber here. Being my usual charming, magnificent, magnanimous self. While I’m sitting here waiting for She Who Must Be Obeyed (sometimes) to grab my leash so’s we can head out for a walk, I wanted to introduce you to one of our new friends.

His name is Edward Jonathan Durham. Isn’t that fun to say? Edward is the author of Winterset Hollow. It’s one of the most unusual books we’ve read all year. Read our full review here.

We recently reached out to Edward and offered him a guest post. He wrote about how he faces down The Dreaded Writer’s Block. There are some pretty nifty tips and ideas here. So I’d listen up ‘fize you. Take it away, Edward!

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What We ARE & AREN’T Interested In – or -Updated Submission Guidelines 3.0

Kimber here. Her Crankiness can’t come to the blog right now. That’s cuz she’s neck-deep in Mom Cranky. Lemme explain.

Back when Mom was young and foolish – like, yesterday – we took pretty much any request for a book review and ran with it. Hindsight being 20/20, we learned a few things in the process. Like:

  • Not all requests for book reviews are created equal
  • Our time is limited. So is our attention. We don’t have the time or attention to plow through a book that wouldn’t pass Troglodyte muster. Or spell check.

We get tons of requests for book reviews. From authors. Publicists. Publishers. Feline fans. (Nobody’s perfect.) We love reading good books by gifted writers. And doing honest book reviews.

Less Than Half

But we’re picky. In fact, we accept less than half of the review requests that come in.  We just don’t have time to read stuff that belongs on the bottom of a bird cage. (You wouldn’t believe some of the junk we get.) 

Clarifying

So we’ve found it necessary to clarify what we are and aren’t interested in regarding book reviews.  Like this:

What We’re Interested In:

No promises here. This list is for general reference only. It does not guarantee an acceptance of a request for a review, especially if we get a few chapters into your book and discover a dud. But in general, we’re interested in:

  • Thoughtful, well-written stories that speak to the human condition, offering hope and inspiration
  • Stories that are fresh and creative, not warmed-over leftovers  or wannabes (Hi, Harry Potter clones)
  • Uplifting stories that include some redemptive quality without being preachy
  • Books with a transcendent theme, e.g., that are bigger than the author
  • Books with a clear beginning, middle, and end
  • Books that are free of typos and grammatical or punctuation errors
  • Books anchored in a biblical worldview.

Special Interests Include:

  • Historical Fiction
  • Christian Fiction
  • Narrative Non-Fiction
  • Young Adult
  • Outdoor/Adventure
  • Memoir/Biographies (see below)
  • Travel
  • Clean love stories
  • Humor. One of us loves dry humor and wry wit. Bonus points if that includes a dose of sass (Hi, Mom)
  • Animal stories – Arf! Arf!

If your particular genre isn’t listed here, it doesn’t necessarily mean an Auto-Reject. Just be sure to query and provide an honest overview of your work before asking for a review.

What We’re NOT INTERESTED In:

  1. Memoirs about childhood trauma or abuse
  2. Trashy “romance novels”
  3. Anything with gratuitous violence and/or profanity
  4. Garbage (see #2 and 3, above)
  5. “Self Help” books unless written from a biblical worldview
  6. Anything needlessly dark, distasteful, or otherwise disgusting (see #2, 3, and 4)
  7. We no longer accept PDFs for review

AUTHOR ALERT

Are you an author who’s written a book series? Have we read and reviewed the first installment and liked it? Have you commented or connected on a good review of book one? Unless you have, please don’t send us the next one. We’re not interested.

For more, see 4 Reasons Why We’re World Champion ‘Book Bailers.’

For additional information on our Rating System and Submission Guidelines, please click here.

Are we clear?


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‘Spies Never Quit’: Spunky, With a Dose of Sass

Spies Never Quit

By M. Taylor Christensen

Moon Zoom Press, 2021

Fiction/Action-Adventure/Spy Thriller

Via: Author Request

Summary: When a young woman’s mom is abducted, she goes undercover to save her. Can the novice “spy” pull it off – or will her inexperience cost them both their lives?

“A light spy thriller where the romance is sweet and the suspense is cozy.”

What do you do when some Uber Bad Guys kidnap your research scientist mom and force you to steal and hand over all her research so they can build a huge lethal weapon, or else?

If your name is Mari Sandoval, you try to break into your mom’s lab and comply. Foiled by some spunky sorority girls who are more than they appear to be, the eighteen year-old college freshman considers her next move. And what it may cost.

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‘Winterset Hollow’: Cunning, Careful & Quite a Ride

Winterset Hollow

By Jonathan Edward Durham

Fiction/Dark Contemporary Fantasy

Published by: Credo House Publishers, 2021

Rated: PG-13

Via: Author Request

 

Freedom comes at a price.

Can he afford it?

These questions and more swirl throughout Winterset Hollow, a gut-grabbing, action-packed literary tour de force by Jonathan Edward Durham.

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Look Who’s a “Top Reviewer”!

Kimber here.

Isn’t it fun to toot someone else’s horn? I get to do that today! Cuz I’m braggin’ on Mom! (Do you think I’ll get some extra bacon outta this? Hmmm…)

You didn’t think Mom does book reviews just for this blog, did you? Naw! Mom loves books so much, she does reviews all over the place, including this outfit called Reedsy/Discovery.

Top Reviewer!

Did you know that Mom was recognized as a Top Reviewer for Reedsy/Discovery last month? (Well. It was mostly me. But Mom helped. A little.)

Anyway:

Mom says, “C’mon, Kimmi. Don’t get your water warm. It’s no big deal, okay?”

No idea what that means. But I’m still tooting Mom’s horn! Cuz she’s like, PAWsome! (I’m still waiting for that bacon!)

Happy Wednesday Friends! Thanks for Reading!

See you again soon! Cuz you’re Seriously PAWsome, too!

 

 

 


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GUEST POST: The Many Reincarnations of Cinderella

By Bruce Calhoun

Perhaps the most famous fairy tale in Western literature, Cinderella has been retold and reimagined in a staggering number of books and movies.   The books and movies fall within two categories:  modern day Cinderella stories featuring an underdog heroine and historical Cinderella stories with a twist – such as telling the story from the point of view of a mouse that gets turned into a horse.

“Cinderella” has also become part of a catchphrase for any sports team that attains great success against all odds or any individual who goes from rags to riches.   I will confine myself to commenting on a few historical Cinderella books, including my own:  Ardennia:  The Unlikely Story of Cinderella’s Prince.

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How ‘I’m Supposed to Make a Difference’ DOES

I’m Supposed to Make a Difference:

A Memoir About Overcoming Trauma and Abuse

By Kevin Vought

Non-fiction/Memoir

Via: Author Request

Summary: The true story of one man’s quest to confront the inner demons of his horrible childhood and chart a course toward hope and healing.

“The events that unfolded over the next few hours would define who I was to become in life. These few hours spawned much of the hatred, loneliness, terror, pain, and dread that have plagued me for decades. I still have nightmares about that day. I would go years at a time without a good night’s sleep because of those nightmares.” – Kevin Vought, I’m Supposed to Make a Difference.

This is a story of childhood abuse and its lingering, lifelong effects. It’s also a story of transformation and hope. The author shares how he not only healed from horrific childhood trauma, but how his journey also transformed him into someone who wants others with similar experiences to be able to heal and become whole, too.

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