Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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Is ‘The Lost Queen’ Worth the Hunt?

The Lost Queen: A Novel (. Book #1 of The Lost Queen. Simon & Schuster, 2018)

By Signe Pike

Set in sixth century Scotland, The Lost Queen is a retelling of the Arthurian legend via the sister of Merlin.

Languoreth is the daughter of an ancient king (or chieftain). As such, she’s duty-bound to marry for socio-political reasons and not for love. But she has an affair with a young general.

Told in the first person, the story begins with Languoreth and her twin brother, Lailoken (later known as Merlin), mourning the recent loss of their mother, a Wisdom Keeper skilled in the healing arts. (Since this is a book review, not a history lesson, I am not going to delve into the historical underpinnings of this book and its protagonist. Google is your friend.)

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Why ‘Rainbow Bridge’ Will Melt Your Heart

Rainbow Bridge_COVER

Rainbow Bridge (Mirador, 2020)

By Dan V. Jackson

I can’t put into words how much I loved this book. How much I didn’t want it to end. How I really, really ought to buy stock in Kleenex.

For example, when I’m getting ready to write a book review, I typically take notes throughout the book. I started doing that with Rainbow Bridge. Then I stopped. The story took over. It resonated so deeply, in fact, I couldn’t read it and take notes at the same time. So I put my notes away and immersed myself in this extraordinarily powerful and poignant story.

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20 Awesome Outdoor Classics for Kids!

Grays skies are clearing. Temperatures are inching upwards. Summer’s waiting in the wings. Even if you’re stuck inside, you can still roam the outdoors through books! Especially with Great Outdoors Month starting on Monday, June 1!

Welcome to another edition of Fine Wine Fridays! Featuring The Best in Rich, Full-Bodied Read-a-Likes and other cool stuff!

Today we’re highlighting 20 top outdoor titles for kiddos. These books are geared for children ages third through ninth grade, roughly.

All include strong characters, engaging plots, and superlative story-telling. All have stood the test of time. (You may detect a big canine bias here. Because as Kimber knows, everything is better with dogs. Yes sirree, Lassie! That goes double for the Great Outdoors!)

Besides. If you can’t go to the outside, we’ll bring the outside to you, inside with:

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Why “Waking Up” is a Snoozer

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Waking Up on the Appalachian Trail: A Story of War, Brotherhood, and the Pursuit of Truth (BooksGoSocial, 2020)

By N.B. Hankes

Got insomnia? Forget Sominex. This snoozefest will put you to sleep in a foot fall.

Waking Up supposedly chronicles an Army vet’s hike with his brother along the Appalachian Trail as the author looks for “time in the wilderness” to help provide “answers and clarity” regarding his time in Iraq, or… something. (I’m deliberately not linking to it. You’re welcome.)

But this isn’t a hiking book or a trail tome. It’s not even much of a “memoir.” Most of Waking Up is just a convenient springboard for a slow roll into a slathering left-wing socio-economic harangue of Springer Mountain proportions. Indeed, a sizeable slice of the book is spent alternately blasting society for its alleged greed and corruption and blaming everyone else on planet earth for the author’s own lack of preparation, planning, and poor choices.

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From Appalachia to Yale Law: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Delivers Searingly Honest Memoir of Upward Mobility

Image result for Book Cover Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Thorndike Press, 2016

By J.D. Vance

 

You may want to buckle up before plunging into this memoir. Cuz it’s a doozy. It’s also an eye-opener worth the plunge.

“To understand me, you must understand that I am a Scots-Irish hillbilly at heart” explains the author in the Introduction. He grew up poor, in the “Rust Belt,” in an Ohio steel town that “has been hemorrhaging jobs and hope for as long as I can remember.” But he graduated from Yale Law. That’s a pretty compelling story any way you slice it. So I’d listen up ‘fize you. Like this:

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5 Worthy Reads ‘For Us, The Living’ On Memorial Day

Memorial Day typically marks the unofficial start of the summer season. But let’s also take time out to remember those who gave their “last full measure of devotion” for their country. To honor those brave men and women in uniform who gave their lives so we can enjoy the blessings and responsibilities of liberty today.

 

Abraham Lincoln’s poignant two minute speech dedicated the Gettysburg National Cemetery just four months after that bloody battle took place. The Gettysburg Address memorializes the enormous debt of thanks and gratitude that we, the living, owe to those who gave “the last full measure of devotion” that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.”

We cannot dedicate, consecrate, or hallow the sacrifice of those who gave their “last full measure of devotion” to their country beyond what they have already done. But we can remember. We can reflect. We can humbly honor their sacrifice.  It is up to us, the living, to never forget.

One way to “never forget” is to read.

Worthy Reads for this Memorial Day weekend:

 

Image result for The Killer Angels Book Cover
  • The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. The historical novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty were also the casualties of war. Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece is unique, sweeping, unforgettable—the dramatic story of the battleground for America’s destiny.
The Bridges at Toko-Ri

The Bridges at Toko-Ri, by James Michener. A tale of the American men who fought the Korean War, detailing their exploits in the air as well as their lives on the ground. Young and innocent, they arrive in a place they have barely ever heard of, on a ship massive enough to carry planes and helicopters. Trained as professionals, they prepare for the rituals of war that countless men before them have endured, and face the same fears. They are American fighter pilots. Together they face an enemy they do not understand, knowing their only hope for survival is to win.

 

The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane. Don’t make me explain this.

 

 

 

 

A Medal for Leroy

A Medal for Leroy, by Michael Morpurgo

 

When Michael’s aunt passes away, she leaves a letter that changes everything. It starts with Michael’s grandfather Leroy, a black officer in World War I who charged into a battle zone not once but three times to save wounded men. His fellow soldiers insisted he deserved special commendations for his bravery. But because of the racial barriers, he would go unacknowledged. Now it’s up to Michael to change that.

A moving, memorable story of family, identity, and history. Inspired by the true story of Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British army.

 

My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier.

This Newbery Honor book brings the Revolutionary War to life. Young Tim Meeker’s 16 year-old brother goes off to fight with the Patriots while his father remains a reluctant British Loyalist in the Tory town of Redding, CT. Young Tim knows he’ll have to make a choice – the Patriots or the Redcoats – and between his father and his brother. A stirring tale full of action and suspense.

 

What would you add?


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‘Until June’ Warms Body & Soul

Until June, (Backlit PR, 2020)
By Barbara M. Britton
A severely injured WWI veteran and his female caregiver face an Alaskan winter alone in a remote hunting lodge as they wait out an influenza outbreak. That’s the premise for this delicious historical romance.
It’s 1918 in Juneau, Alaska. Mr. Chambers, wealthy owner of the town mine, is desperate to find a caregiver for his son Geoff, a severely injured veteran of Bellau Wood. Seventeen year-old seamstress Josephine “Jo” Nimetz has nursing experience and is desperate to support her ailing, recently widowed mother.

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