Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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GUEST POST: Meet ‘Whitney Chronicles’ Author Larry Lawrence

Today we’re chatting with Larry Lawrence, author of the The Whitney Chronicles series. (Read our review of his latest book inthe series, No Greater Love, here.) Take it away Larry:
I began writing while I was still working as a full-time pastor and worship leader residing in North Carolina. When I retired in 2015, I decided that I would turn my hand to writing and began a journey that fascinates me to this day. I have published four books in the Whitney Chronicles series, and another is due out very soon.

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GUEST POST: Meet Doreen Berger, Author of ‘The Captain’s Daughters

Kimber the Magnificent.

Hey! Hey! And double woof! It’s a guest author post! It’s not only a guest author post, but this author is also a dog mom! Yes siree, Lassie! It just doesn’t get much better than that! See:

How cute is this?! Honey and Buddy, author Doreen Berger’s dogs.

Wait? Where was I?

Oh yeah. Guest post.

Anyway, Doreen Berger shares a behind-the-scenes look at how her novel, The Captain’s Daughters, was born. (Read our review here.) So grab a doggie treat. Pour yourself a hot cuppa. Pull up a chair. Cuz this is just plain fun! Take it away, Doreen!

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‘Will You Love Me?’ Offers Powerful Story of Dual Healing & Hope

Will You Love Me?

The Rescue Dog That Rescued Me

By Barby Keel

Citadel Press Book – Kensington Publishing Corp, 2018

Via: Publisher Request

Genre: Non-Fiction/Inspirational

Book 2 in the Foster Tails Stories.

Summary:

The true story of a woman and a dog, both battling past demons and immense suffering, find comfort and solace in each other as they journey together toward healing, hope, and love.

Kimber the Magnificent here to tell you about a very special author. Barby Keel is my kinda lady. She founded and runs the Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary in Sussex, U.K. (No idea where that is. But it sounds nice.) 

Now. Why is Barby my kinda lady? Well. When it comes to loving, defending, protecting, and caring for abused, abandoned or unwanted animals, Barby Keel is a Force of Nature. You sooo Do Not want to mess with this woman. Especially if you dump a horrifically mistreated greyhound at the sanctuary’s gate on a cold, wet night.

Bailey’s Story

That’s where Bailey’s story begins. Merges with Barby’s. And something extraordinary, even miraculous, happens in the process.

Kimber the Amazing Rescue Dog!!

The Rest

I’ll let Mom tell you the rest. Cuz I gotta grab a nap and a tissue. (Fair warning, okay?)

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3 Titles: The Good, The Tasty, & The Wa-Wa Section

Ready to dive into something a little different? Good! Cuz Mom and I? We’re mixing it up today with three titles that are as different as me and the neighbor’s feline. (Gag me with Meow Mix!) 

Today we’re reviewing a Young Adult dystopian fantasy. A yummy cookbook with down home cookin’ (it passed the Kimber Taste Test, so grab a plate!). And a clunker of a skunker. Can you guess which is which?

Ready? Set? Play ball!

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Faith-Flavored Fiction at its Finest in ‘Whitney Chronicles’

The Whitney Chronicles Book 4: No Greater Love

By Larry M. Lawrence

Rating: G

Genre: Fiction/Christian Fiction

Launch Date: December 15, 2021

Via: Reedsy/Discovery

Josiah and Olivia Whitney are middle-aged residents of a rural North Carolina town. They’re trying to get their new business, Whitney Engineering, up and running and live a comfortable, quiet life. But fate seems to have other designs – and so do human traffickers.

Hot-headed city council member Bruce Madison is seen yelling at new Sheriff Tyrell “Ty” Andrews. Questions and conflict soon follow. Does Madison have a connection to human trafficking and the drug cartels? What about the quintet of people surreptitiously hauled into town by a tractor trailer? And who’s trying to silence them, and why? A high stakes game of cat-and-mouse with a deadly assassin ensues. When desperate people take desperate measures, who will survive?

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Epic YA Fantasy a Rousing Read

The King’s Trial (Morgan Horse Publishing, 2019)

By M.L. Farb

Fiction/Fantasy/Young Adult

Via: Author request

Palace intrigue. Love. Loss. Double crosses. An evil queen bent on enslaving a third of her people. An unassuming tavern hand with a knack for picking up vital information. A petulant prince and his beautiful, spirited fiancé. A kingdom teetering on the verge of anarchy.

Main characters:

Yosyph: The protagonist is a “shadow walker” wannabe.There’s more than meets the eye with this guy. Just like this book.

Katrin: the feisty seventeen year-old daughter of a wealthy merchant. She’s been betrothed to Prince Halavant since infancy, but is now targeted for assassination by the Queen, Halavant’s mom.

Prince Halavant: Haughty and supercilious, Halavant is about a mile wide and a quarter inch deep when we first meet him. But then… Well. You’ll have to read for yourself to find that out.

Naven: Personal servant of Katrin’s father and her trusted friend.

“When we overthrow the monarchy, we will have a rule of law and not of whim. A law that will protect the weak and give everyone access to justice.”

The Plot:

Yosyph says little, observes much, and is assumed mute. Posing as a tavern hand, he gathers intel on the wicked queen. When he learns she plans to enslave his people forever, Yosyph vows to raise a rebellion. But he fears that such a revolt will only result in needless bloodshed and the death of thousands.

After saving Katrin from the queen’s would-be assassins, Yosyph and Katrin embark upon a dangerous journey across a peril-filled desert in search of Yosyph’s kin. He hopes they will join him as allies in the war that is to come. Can he muster the faith necessary for his plans to come to fruition? Will Yosyph’s unexpected answers to his prayers stop his realm from descending into bloody darkness? What exactly is a “king’s trial,” anyway? Why does it exist, and for whom?

“Wishes and horses, and a year to ride them.”

Enchanting & Echoes

All of these questions and more are addressed in this enchanting, fast-moving fantasy. Fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings will find much to enjoy here. If you know what to listen for, you may also hear whispers of The Once and Future King.

Rife with unexpected twists, the plot is complex and intricate without devolving into unwieldy or clunky. The narrative flows smoothly as it switches POVs between Halavant and Yosyph.

“Stockpile swords and speak softly.”

Gently Faith-Flavored

Indeed, there’s a lot going on in this sturdy, gently faith-flavored story. A robust plot is buttressed by prodigious world-building skills, full-bodied characters, and rich word pictures. A fresh and original tale saturated in courage, sacrifice, love, loyalty, and loss, this expertly crafted story reels you in from chapter one and doesn’t let go until the very end.

Delightful!

Book 1 in The King Trials series, The King’s Trial is an absorbing, rousing read that’ll have you turning pages faster than Secretariat rocketing around the final turn in the Belmont. It’s a delightful read that’s ripe for a sequel. Keep an eye out for more! Cuz this one’s a keeper!

Our Rating: 4.5


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Apocalyptic Christian Thriller Packs a Wallop!

Salvation

Book 3 in the Subversives trilogy

By Raena Rood

One Foundation Publishing, 2021

Genre: Christian Fiction/Apocalyptic Thriller

Via: Author Request

“… (we) must tell them what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.”

– Betsie ten Boom

Kimber here, ready to rock and roll with Salvation, the third and final installment in the fast-paced, high-octane Subversives trilogy by Raena Rood. But first, a disclaimer:

Her Crankiness   – Hi, Mom – isn’t necessarily a big fan of book series or trilogies. The reason is simple. Way too often, the first book starts off as a real barn burner. Subsequent titles soon run out of gas. They sputter and putter and limp into The End with way too many stops in Dullsville and Snooze Gulch along the way.

So we were a little hesitant to take on the Subversives trilogy. Which just shows you what we know.

A Pleasant Surprise

The trilogy turned out to be one of the most well-written, thoroughly engaging and highly readable books/series of the year. (Not to brag or anything – Hi again, Mom – but one of us read over 350 books last year. Well, it was mostly me. But Mom helped. A little.)

“Whatever happens to us in the future, we must never lose faith in the end of the story.”

Anyway, here are our reviews of the first two books in the Subversives trilogy: 1) Subversive, and 2) Sanctuary: What Do ‘Sanctuary’ and Secretariat Have in Common?

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TTT: Recent Additions to My Book Collection

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is Recent Additions to My Book Collection. There’s a little bit of everything here: Fiction. Memoir/Biography. Young Adult. Fantasy. Historical fiction. And so on. (Several these titles can be found at Reedsy/Discovery.)

Think of it as a bookish smorgasborg. So grab the nearest knife and fork and dig in:

  1. Sitting on Top of the World (December 2021)

By Cheryl King

Young Adult/Historical Fiction

 

A rich and robust read sure to warm your heart and brighten your winter – or any season.

Set in rural Tennessee in the 1930s, this is the powerful and poignant story of a close-knit family struggling to survive after the Stock Market crash.

With ailing parents and an injured big brother, fourteen year-old June Baker is a “girl with gumption.” She has to be when she decides to “ride the rails” in search of work to help keep the farm from going under. The outlook is grim. And the family has lost almost everything. Will they lose each other, too?

A thoroughly enjoyable read with a strong female protagonist.

  1. Aslan: Running Joy

    (June 2021)

By Kristin Kaldahl

Christian Fiction/YA

Recovering from a kidney transplant, Krissy’s health is delicate. She’s always been about horses and dogs. The 14 year-old Oklahoman sold her mare cuz she’s afraid she’ll get hurt riding. But Krissy’s more afraid of dreaming and failing. Again.

Horseless, Krissy sets her sights on dog agility competition. Are Krissy and her “totally-wrong-for-agility runt,” Aslan the Shetland Shepherd dog (Sheltie), up to the challenge?

Clever, captivating, and 100% delightful!

3.The Whitney Chronicles, Book 4: No Greater Love (December 2021)

By Larry Lawrence

Christian Fiction

A heart-pumping plot, expert writing, and plenty of action tackle a potentially divisive topic without being divisive.

A deep dive into human trafficking and the criminal activity of those smuggling “unauthorized” people across the border and the plight of those caught between ruthless, rapacious “coyotes” and their longing for a better life in America.

  1. Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good

    (August 2015)

By Jan Karon

Fiction

After five hectic years of retirement from Lord’s Chapel, Father Tim Kavanagh returns with his wife, Cynthia, from the land of his Irish ancestors. While he’s glad to be at home in Mitford, something is definitely missing from his life: a pulpit. But when he’s offered one, he decides he doesn’t want it.

Uplifting. Delightful. A warm and wonderful read!

  1. Fishing For More: A Memoir

    (January 2022)

By Brett Bloemendaal

Memoir/Biography

And a river runs through it…

Laced with gentle self-deprecating humor, keen insight, and skillfully painted word pictures of life both on and off the water, Fishing for More emerges as a Norman Mclean-ish account of how fishing can help heal body, mind, and soul. (That being said, it could use a Language Clean-up on Aisle All.)

  1. Heartless Hette

    (2021)

By M.L. Farb

Fiction/Fantasy

An unlikely trio sets out on an epic quest to not only find and restore Princess Hette’s lost heart, but to also find the true meaning of friendship in this delightful blend of fairytale and fantasy.

 

 

  1. Children of Little Might (December 2021)

By Peter D’Hollander

Young Adult/Fantasy

Action and intrigue abound in this nimble, eminently engaging fantasy with an unusual hero.

Fresh and original, this absorbing fantasy focuses on Montague “Monty” Glupie, an autistic sixteen year-old with a gift for translation and language.

With magic, an enchanted kingdom, “palace intrigue” and a kingdom under siege, there’s plenty of action in this quick-moving fantasy.

  1. Mystery in the Hill

    (March 2021)

By Aaron Qualio

Mystery

A small Wisconsin town is shaken to its core when four high school boys make an unexpected discovery. As past and present secrets are exposed, more unsolved mysteries are revealed, leading to more danger than anyone could have ever imagined.

This one was a big surprise. Almost bailed during the first few chapters. Turned out to be quite the read.

9. From This Moment ( 2021)

By Kim Vogel Sawyer

Christian/Romance/Amish

Raised in the foster care system, Jase Edgar has recently moved to Kansas from San Antonio. But the newly minted youth pastor faces a crisis of faith related to the loss of his fiancé. Rachel’s life – and their plans to minister together as church planters – was cut short by a drunk driver. And Jase can’t make sense of something that doesn’t make sense.

Strong writing, rich, robust characters, and a lithe, agile plot undergird this highly engaging story. More than a few surprises and unexpected plot twists will keep you turning pages until the end. No ferhoodling!

If your hope tank is running on empty, From This Moment is for you!

10. A Breath of Fresh God (August 2021)

Charissa Fryberger

Non-Fiction

It is easy for us to “underlook” God, yet even when we forget to notice Him, He hasn’t turned His attention from us.

Charissa Fryberger finds wonder in the many ways God taps us on the shoulder, making us catch our breath in sudden remembrance that He is right here with us.

 

Beautifully written without being preachy. One of my top reads of 2021! Read my review here.

What’s your latest book add?

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish,
Now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl


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4 Mystery/Suspense Titles: 1 Winner

A legal thriller and a sports novel. Both by the same well-known author. Two murder mysteries.

Four distinct titles. Three are by well-established, “international best-selling” authors: John Grisham and James S. Murray. The fourth book, Mystery In The Hill, is by a newbie: Aaron Qualilo. Which one rises to the top? Here’s our take:

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Why THIS Debut Novel Reads Like a BOSS

Sitting on Top of the WorldSitting on Top of the World

By Cheryl King

Historical Fiction/Young Adult

Via: Reedsy/Discovery

Launch Date:  December 31, 2021

Some books just grab your attention. Slide down your throat. And wrap themselves around your heart. Sitting on Top of the World is one of those books.   

June Baker is a “girl with gumption.” The “almost fifteen year-old” has to be while she rides the rails in search of work as the family farm hangs in the balance. How she got there and why rounds out the first part of this delightful book. What’s happens next fills the second half. Both pick up steam quickly in this heartwarming, delicious read about family, faith, loss, love, desperation, betrayal, and hope during the Great Depression.

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