Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

7 Summer Hits & Misses

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Kimber the Magnificent: It’s summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime! Finally!!

The weekend forecast is for boatloads of sun and temperatures skimming the upper 80s/low 90s. That’s unusual here in the soggy pacific Northwest. But after months and months of drooling skies and overcast, Mom and I are ready for sunshine and warmer temps! Yea, Lassie!

One of us is so excited about summer that she’s been slacking on posting (Hi, Mom). So we’re gonna take care of that today, catching you up on what we’ve been reading.

We’re gonna include some Seriously Pawsome Reads and some Kitty Litter Box candidates. Seven in all. In no particular order.

Ready? Set? Let’s go!

Seriously Pawsome

To make this category, a book must include:

  • Robust, three-dimensional characters
  • Fresh, engaging plots
  • Superlative story-telling
  • Brisk pacing, strong writing, and a “didn’t want it to end” feeling at the final page.

In Hot Water

By Kate Kingsbury

Genre: Mystery

A middle-aged widow, Vivian Wainwright owns the Misty Bay Tearoom on the Oregon coast. But on the eve of the tearoom’s second anniversary, the dream turns nightmarish when a man falls to his death from a hotel balcony.

The body turns out to be the ex-husband of Vivian’s assistant, Jenna. She quickly becomes the prime suspect. 

Vivian and her other assistant, Gracie, set out to help clear Jenna’s name, using their wit and a bit of criminology know-how Vivian picked up from her late attorney husband. They must work quickly. If they don’t, Jenna faces a murder rap…or worse.

This novel has a definite “Jessica Fletcher – Murder, She Wrote” vibe going. Rich, warm, and delightful! 

Sparring Partners

By John Grisham

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Novellas

The “king of the legal thriller” is back at it in this collection of three very different but equally quick and clever dramatic novellas.

Jake Brigance returns; a death row inmate makes an unusual final request; a dysfunctional legal family gets their day in court—but maybe not the way they envisioned it. Law is a common thread, but Grisham has several surprises in store.

Captivating and quick! Read it cover to cover in one sitting.

Book Nerd

By Holly Maguire

Genre: Children’s

Okay, okay. Technically, this is a “children’s” book. But, hey! One of us qualifies, right? And this book is a delicious celebration of books and book lovers. Beautifully illustrated with brief, pithy quotes and inspirational thoughts about the beauty of books and the joys of reading! Wonderful!

Where The Wild Things Are

By Maurice Sendak

Genre: Children’s/Fantasy

Just couldn’t resist revisiting this treasured classic from yesteryear.

Kitty Litter Box Candidates

Here’s the short list of our criteria for this category:

  1. A pointless slog to the Middle of Nowhere littered with unsympathetic cardboard characters we don’t know, don’t want to know, and could care less about.
  2. Poor writing littered with spelling and grammatical errors and typos.
  3. Political polemics disguised as fiction.
  4. Badly overwritten, tedious and mundane. Dull as a box of rocks and twice as dense.
  5. Does not enrich, enlighten, educate or inspire in any way.
  6. Gratuitous violence and/or profanity
  7. A snoozefest

Image result for The Month of Borrowed Dreams. Size: 120 x 170. Source: www.bookdepository.comThe Month of Borrowed Dreams

By Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Genre: Who knows?

Mom: And to think I could’ve been watching paint peel. Cuz the story – if you can call it that – moves with the alacrity of a three-toed sloth.

Cuz this Snorefest isn’t just snooze worthy, it’s also vapid.

Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy

By Nathaniel Philbrick

Genre: Non-Fiction

You know that Peanuts character, the “wah-wah” adult? Well…

Patterned after Steinbeck’s classic, Travels with Charley, this non-fiction book had such potential. That’s one reason why it was such a disappointment. We love history and this book seemed to offer some fascinating details. But 100+ pages in and we’re scouting up supplies of industrial-strength No Doze. Yawn.

Dinner on Primrose Hill

By Jodi Thomas

Genre: Romance/Nobody Cares

“Well,” says Mom. “That’s two days out of my life I’ll never be able to get back.” What a waste. Too much salacious and not enough substance. 


Jury’s Still Out:

These are book we’re either reading right now, or they currently reside in our TBR pile. Anything look familiar?




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