Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

4 Reasons Why We’re World Champion ‘Book Bailers’

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Book Bailer-Outers Extraordinaire!

Did you know Mom and I are World Champions? Well. We are. We’re World Champion Book Bailer-Outers. In fact, Mom’s getting to be a world class book bailing sprinter! The number of minutes it takes Mom to determine whether or not she wants to invest any more time in a particular book is getting shorter and shorter. It used to be six to eight chapters. Or one hundred-ish pages, depending on the book. Now it’s about half that. (We don’t need to chow through an entire garbage dump to know that it’s rotten. We can tell by the smell. Usually a mile off.)

Ya see, Mom and I? We get scores of book review requests every day. We accept about half. And we just don’t have time to read junk. As defined by us. Our blog. Our rules. Hence the sprint thing.

4 Cases in Point

Four recent Book Bailing cases in point? Gabriela Marin’s Made of Pixels and Jasper Fforde’s The Constant Rabbit. Kathleen and Michael Gear’s People of the Canyons, and Ruth Ware’s One By One. Here’s the 4-1-1 :

Made of Pixels

By Gabriela Marin

Here’s the short list:


  • Frequent misuses of verbiage and grammar. Examples:
  • While most seven year-olds have “classmates,” we’re pretty sure they probably don’t have “colleagues.”
  •  Grandma probably doesn’t chat with her “nice.”
  • Verb tense confusion. Sometimes present and past verb forms appear in the same sentence.
  • Confusion about “too” vs. “to.”
  • The erstwhile mom (if you can call her that) is sometimes “Lili” and other times “Lilly.”

Clunky & Choppy

Set in Bucharest, Romania during the Ceausescu regime, the narrative is clunky, uneven, and top-heavy. It tries too hard. Oh. And disguising a pages-long commercial as a “Prologue” and “Foreword”? Nah. (Don’t get us started on beatings, slappings, and kitten drowning.)

Biggest Problem

The biggest problem with this book? There’s no real story. No sympathetic characters. No real opportunity for the average reader to connect with the subject. Just a random collection of random characters and events concocted into random chapters. No-Doze, anyone?

Additionally, it doesn’t seem that the author read our guidelines before submitting this book for review. (We always know. Always.)


The Constant Rabbit

By Jasper Fforde

Okay. Who are you and what have you done with Jasper Fforde?

Cuz whoever penned this loser wasn’t the same dude who did The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, or anything else worth reading. Like this:

“Oh, look!” chirps Her Momness. “Another political spew disguised as fiction.”

Gag me with arugula. Cuz we loved Fforde’s prior novels. Granted, Thursday Next is a tough act to follow. Especially when she’s riding shotgun with Miss Havisham in that red convertible.

But this dud? Well, barf.

“If I want a Pecksniffian lecture on politics,” sniffs Mom, “I’m perfectly capable of finding one in non-fiction, thank you very much. Don’t go there under the guise of bunnies and libraries and lettuce.”

Besides. This sort of thing has already been done. Way better. Hi, George Orwell.


People of the Canyons

A Novel of North America’s Forgotten Past

By Kathleen O’Neal and W. Michael Gear

Someone who shall remain nameless recommended this clunker. Yea, verily. This makes watching a presidential debate look appealing.

As the Stomach Turns

Rife with murder and mayhem, brutality, and superstition, the plot seems a stretch as well as anemic. One-dimensional characters litter a story so obtuse, it reads like it just stepped out of As the Stomach Turns.

The story itself – supposedly about a tyrant who controls the most powerful priests and priestesses in the world but wants more -is as dull as dirt. And about as lucid. It’s also tiresome. Redundant. Dull as dirt. (That’s not a typo.)


One by One

By Ruth Ware

Look! Up in the French Alps sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a weeklong trip for a “trendy” London-based tech startup where each member of the shallow, self-centric “team” has something to hide. And something to lose or gain. And starts disappearing.

A Brick

Talk about a brick. It’s not yet dinnertime but since we’re already knackered, let’s all slosh over to the den for a little corporate chanting before the surprise PowerPoint presentation no one cares about.

Get real.

Another over-hyped dud that falls flat. Tries too hard. Is peopled with cartoonish characters in perpetual junior high mode.

Oh, we are so cool. We invented cool. So Snoop on us. Cuz we’re… the epitome of stale, superficial, and stultified.

Cliched much?

Adding insult to quackery, the author too often stoops to cramming vulgarities into characters’ mouths like it’s her favorite indoor sport. Most can’t complete a sentence without dropping the F-bomb. So not impressed.

But really. “Rock, paper, scissors?” is more engaging than this thing. Dumped it – like, on the floor. Cuz… barf.

Now one of us is thinking of more productive things we could’ve done with the time: Blowing soap bubbles. Herding cats. Counting ceiling tiles. Listening to What’s His Name speechify. Gag me again.

— Rant Over —

“You gonna eat that?”

Mom said I better add that “over” thing. I always do what Mom says. Well. There was that time with the New York steak… But I think she’s forgotten about that. So let’s not push our luck here, okay?

Our Blog; Our Rules

Meanwhile, if you don’t like honest reviews or opinions that differ from yours, fine. We really don’t care. If you’re an author complaining about a negative review? We still don’t care.

So if you want to stay off our Big Kitty Litter Box in the Sky list of lousy books, kindly review:

ATTN AUTHORS: Kimber’s 8 Book Review Rules

Author Alert: A Word of Explanation

Rating System & Submission Guidelines





Running shoes image credit: Public Domain.

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