Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

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‘The Edge of Everywhen’ & Why Everyone’s Story Matters

The Edge of Everywhen (B&H Publishing, 2020)

By A.S. Mackey

How do you know when a book wants to be read?

The Edge of Everywhen brings readers face-to-page with this question and many more in this delightful new fantasy by A.S. Mackey. Also enchantment. Loss. Danger. Family. Hope. Redemption. Why everyone’s story matters. And a really, really good read!

Indeed, The Edge of Everywhen is a splendid romp through all things bookish, magic, and true. Clever and convincing without being Pecksniffian, The Edge of Everywhen is a literary tour de force any bibliophile will love. (If you’re not a dyed-in-the-ink bibliophile at the start of this charming novel, chances are you will be by the end.)

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How ‘Adorning the Dark’ Ignites the Creative Process

Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making

Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making (B&H Publishing, 2019)

By Andrew Peterson

Ever read a book and started jumping up and down with:

 “Yes! YES! He gets it! I get what he gets! Someone has finally put into words what I’ve felt about the creative process for years! Zippity doo-dah, zippity-aye!”

Andrew Peterson’s Adorning the Dark is one of those books.

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The Munificent Seven: 7 Great WWII Reads You May Not Have Heard Of

Welcome to another edition of Fine Wine Fridays!

FWF brings you The Best in rich, full-bodied reads. I can personally recommend each title because I’ve actually read All Of Them.

This week Pages & Paws is featuring outstanding reads set during World War II. If you love to read gripping, engaging stories about people and events set within compelling historical settings, these seven titles are among the best. Both fiction and non-fiction are included. How many have you read?

My Family for the War

1. My Family for the War, by Anne Voorhoeve

Escaping Nazi Germany on the kindertransport changes one girl’s life forever

Ten-year-old Franziska Mangold is torn from her family in Berlin and taken out of Nazi territory aboard the kindertransport. The train secretly takes nearly 10,000 children to safety in England. Taken in by strangers who become like family, Frances (as she is now known) courageously pieces together a new life for herself because she doesn’t know when or if she’ll see her true family again. Frances struggles with questions of identity, family, and love ,against the backdrop of war-torn London.

Originally published in Germany, Anne Voorhoeve’s award-winning novel is filled with humor, danger, and romance. A captivating, compelling read.

2 & 3. The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie ten Boom and A Prisoner and Yet…, by Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially built room and aiding their escape from the Nazis. For their help, all but Corrie found death in a concentration camp. The Hiding Place is their story.

A Prisoner and Yet… When the Nazis overran Holland Corrie ten Boom, her father and sister, chose to risk death by making their quiet, respectable home a haven for refugees. Finally the Gestapo came and during the months in a concentration camp that followed, Corrie ten Boom shared suffering and torture, watched her father and sister die. Yet she survived, mind intact, soul still free.

Where did this gentle, undemanding woman find the courage to resist… to suffer… and to endure? This book contains the answer. It reveals a belief in Jesus Christ that carried an innocent woman through some of the worst agonies man can devise.

A Prisoner and Yet

The Hiding Place is one of the most gripping, inspiring stories I’ve ever read. In fact, I’ve re-read it and its “companion volume,” A Prisoner and Yet, numerous times. Both titles get five stars!

The Wartime Sisters

4. The Wartime Sisters, by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Insightful, poignant and powerfully subtle, this novel is a deep dive into the unique sisterhood of unrelated women. Set during WWII.

Read my full review here.

Hansi: The Girl Who Loved the Swastika

5. Hansi: The Girl Who Loved the Swastika, by Maria Anne Hirschmann

“Don’t ever forget Jesus!” This tearful admonition of her foster mother followed the teen-aged orphan girl as she began her trip to Prague.

Maria (“Hansi”) was the envy of all in her little Czechoslovakian village. She won a scholarship to the Nazi school in the capital and would be able to serve the Fuhrer.
Thus Maria began a long journey into blind devotion to Hitler and the atheism of the Nazi system. The path led to a storybook romance…cruel disillusionment at Hitler’s suicide…a traumatic awakening to the swastika’s scourge across Europe and upon the Jews…a breathtaking escape from Communists… and a reemergence into the love and lordship of her mother’s Jesus.

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6. All Ships Follow Me: A Family Memoir of War Across Three Continents, by Mieke Eerkens

An engrossing, epic saga of one family’s experiences on both sides of WWII. All Ships Follow Me questions our common narrative of the conflict and our stark notions of victim and perpetrator, while tracing the lasting effects of war through several generations.

Read my full review here.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

7. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris


A shatteringly beautiful love story set amid the tragedy and horror of a Nazi death camp. This riveting, remarkable story of hope and courage is based on interviews were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.

Wait. Did I say “seven”? Okay. I fibbed.

Here are four more compelling stories that take place during world wars. Three are from WWI.

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8. War Horse, by Michael Morpurgo

It’s 1914. Joey, a sturdy farm horse, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of World War I on the Western Front. When Joey is dragged away, his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he’s forced to leave behind. In the army the beautiful red-bay horse is trained to charge the enemy, drag heavy artillery, and carry wounded soldiers not much older than Albert off the battlefields.

Amongst the clamoring of guns, and while plodding through the cold mud, Joey wonders if the war will ever end. If it does, will he ever see Albert again?

Heart-rending and riveting. I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting.

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9. A Medal for Leroy, by Michael Morpurgo

A moving, memorable story of family, identity, and history.

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.

Inspired by the true story of Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British army.

An Eagle in the Snow

10. An Eagle in the Snow, by Michael Morpurgo

Inspired by the true story of the man who might’ve stopped WWII. The Mother Lode of “What ifs?”





Read my full review here.

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11. Making Bombs for Hitler, by Maria Forchuk Skrypuch

Lida thought she was safe. Her neighbors wearing the yellow star were all taken away. But Lida isn’t Jewish. She’ll be fine, right?

But Lida’s parents are ripped away from her and she’s separated from her beloved sister, Larissa. The Nazis take Lida to a brutal work camp, where she and other Ukrainian children are forced into backbreaking labor. Starving and terrified, Lida bonds with her fellow prisoners. But none of them know if they’ll live to see tomorrow.

When Lida and her friends are assigned to make bombs for the German army, Lida cannot stand the thought of helping the enemy. Then she has an idea. What if she sabotaged the bombs… and the Nazis? Can she do so without getting caught? Will Lida ever see her sister again?

I read this start to finish in one sitting. Couldn’t put it down!


What would you add?

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‘For Whom the Book Tolls’ Rings Bells!

For Whom the Book Tolls: An Antique Bookshop Mystery

For Whom the Book Tolls: An Antique Bookshop Mystery (Crooked Lane Books, August 2020)

By Laura Gail Black

It’s not looking good for young Jenna Quinn. Newly arrived at a small North Carolina town at the invitation of her Uncle Paul, Jenna finds her uncle dead in his antique bookstore. Jenna’s the prime suspect. It looks even worse when the police find out she’s just beaten an embezzlement/murder rap and is the primary beneficiary of her uncle’s will. Uncle Paul not only named her the new owner of Baxter Books Emporium, he also left Jenna a lot of dough.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Get ‘A Higher Calling’

Image result for A Higher Calling Pursuing Love Book cover

A Higher Calling: Pursuing Love, Faith, and Mount Everest for a Greater Purpose (Waterbrook, June 2020)

By Captain Harold Earls and Rachel Earls

A Higher Calling is the compelling true story of one couple’s courage and commitment, devotion and faith in the face of high adventure, unexpected adversity, and spine-tingling danger.

Co-authored by Harold and Rachel Earls, Higher is equal parts biography/memoir, love story, epic adventure, travelogue, and faith-journey. It’s a delightful, uplifting read about two people who sacrifice much to achieve a common goal: summiting personal and actual “Mount Everests.”

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10 Terrific Books for Mom on Her Special Day (or anytime)

Does your mom love to read? Is her (or your) idea of paradise a quiet reading nook, a pina colada, and hours of uninterrupted page-turning?

Great! Then mom will appreciate our Best Books for Mom list.

Kindly note that books don’t necessarily have to focus on a mom to make the cut. Bonus points if they do. But our list is about compelling, captivating reads that mom can enjoy in that quiet nook with her chilled drink and some alone time. So our list is based on – but not strictly limited to – the following criteria:

  • Must be an enjoyable, uplifting read (who wants a downer on Mother’s Day? Ack!)
  • Superlative writing
  • Credible dialogue and a solid, poignant story
  • Strong, three-dimensional female characters who learn, develop and grow
  • Bonus points if all of the above include a dose of spunk and sass

That being said, Kimber and I are rushing in where angels fear to tread with our purely subjective, 100% unscientific list of Best Books for Mom on her special day:

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15 High Octane Novels With Superstar Heroines


What’s a Superstar or a”Bad Ass Heroine?”

In our literary context, a “BAH” is a main female character who:

  • Doesn’t quit when the chips are down, but digs deep, discovering and drawing on resources she probably didn’t know she has.
  • Is a dynamic, three-dimensional character.
  • Overcomes adversity with valor, integrity, determination, and grit.
  • Isn’t perfect, but learns from her mistakes.
  • Is clever and courageous.
  • Keeps a clear eye, a keen ear, and a level head.
  • Possesses rapier wit. Bonus points for a decent sense of humor.
  • Turns Mama Grizzly in a nano-second if her loved ones are threatened.

Oh yeah. Having a titanium spine qualifies, too. So does not acting like an idiot. Additionally, …

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5-ish Top Books of 2020


Wild Land, by Rebecca Hodge. Crooked Lane Books, 2020.

You know how moms are? Always wanting to get the last word? Well. Today it’s my turn.

Kimber here to tell you about one of the best books mom and I have read all year. (Hint: Juni and Tye!)

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6 Books to Read if You Loved ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’

Welcome to another edition of Fine Wine Fridays, where we feature rich, full-bodied read-alikes. Today we’re focusing on books like The Chronicles of Narnia.

Did you love disappearing into a wood robe and entering into a magical land with Lucy, Edmond, Peter and Susan Pevensie? How about Aslan, Jadis, Eustace and the heroic Reepicheep?

If you enjoy top-flight stories brimming with enchantment, intrigue, and allegorical undertones like C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, here are six more titles with similar themes and styles. All offer strong stories. Epic battles between good and evil. Fantastic creatures. Heroes and villains. Friendships won and lost. And wonderfully magic reads. In no particular order:

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1. Green, by Ted Dekker

As foretold by ancient prophets, an apocalypse destroyed Earth during the twenty-first century. But two thousand years later Elyon set upon the earth a new Adam. This time, however, he gave humanity an advantage. What was once unseen became seen. It was good and it was called…”Green.” But the evil Teeleh bided his time in a Black Forest. Then, when least expected, a twenty-four year old named Thomas Hunter fell asleep in our world and woke up in that future Black Forest. A gateway was opened for Teeleh to ravage the land, and… Oh, wait. You’re on your own for the rest.

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  1. 2. The Magic Bicycle Series, by John Bibee

“Once there was a magic bicycle that found a boy,” begins this tale of adventure and suspense. When John Kramer comes across an old, rusty Spirit Flyer bicycle, he finds it far from ordinary. First, the bike helps him save a neighbor’s barn from burning. Then it brings him into conflict with the boys in the Cobra Club, a representative of Goliath Toys and other forces that not only want John’s bike, but want it destroyed. While John learns about the Magic in the bicycle, every reader will be delighted as they join him for this fantastic ride.

This was one of our boys’ favorite read-alouds when they were young. Excellent!

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  1. 3. Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S. Lewis

A Cambridge academic is abducted and taken on a spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra, which he knows as Mars. Dr. Ransom’s captors are plotting to plunder the planet’s treasures and plan to offer Ransom as a sacrifice to the creatures who live there…

The first book in Lewis’s classic science fiction trilogy.

4. The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young

I absolutely loved this book. One of the most compelling/absorbing works of fiction/allegory I’ve ever read.

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5. This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti

Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a pastor begin to compare notes, they suddenly find themselves fighting a hideous plot to subjugate the townspeople―and eventually the entire human race. A riveting thriller, This Present Darkness offers a fascinating glimpse into the unseen world of spiritual warfare.

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6. Epic, by John Eldredge

For most of us, life feels like a movie we’ve arrived at 40 minutes late.

Good things happen. But so do tragic things. What does it mean?

We find ourselves in the middle of a story that’s sometimes wonderful. Sometimes awful. Usually a confusing mix of both. And we haven’t a clue how to make sense of it. No wonder we keep losing heart.

We need to know the rest of the story…

Epic isn’t an allegory in the classic. But it’s an excellent take on The Great Story. The full story. And where you fit in it. Insightful and incisive. Beautifully written. Five stars.


What would you add to this list?