Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

4 Fines & Flubs for Fall


So there I was. Snoozing in the sunshine. Minding my own business. (It’s tough being Beautiful and Brilliant. But someone’s gotta do it.) Then She Who Must be Obeyed (sort of) skips in with, “Hey Kimmi! I’ve got a great idea!”

Another one?! Insert eye roll here.

“You know those last four books we read?” asks Her Momness, all bright-eyed and chipper. “Two were great. Two were like, Gag me with arugula.”

Yeah. I remember. I was there. (For the reading part. Not the arugula-gagging part.)

Continues Mom: “Instead of doing separate posts on each book, how ’bout we roll ’em all into one post? We can call it 4 Fines & Flubs for Fall! Whaddya think?”

 Don’t say I didn’t warn you, okay? I hate arugula.

The Fine Reads First:

This is The Good Stuff. We thoroughly enjoyed these engaging, well-written books:

1. Nightbooks

By J.A. White

Juvenile Fiction/Fantasy

“Because we were kind,” Alex said. “And kindness beats cruelty every time.”

Lured into a magical apartment by the witch Natacha, young Alex Mosher becomes a prisoner whose life depends upon his ability to spin enchanting night stories (Hi, Scheherazade). Another prisoner, Yasmin, has already tried every means of escape. No dice. But Alex is running out of time – and original stories – and he’s desperate for a way out of this twisted place.

Scene stealer: Lenore the cat (Don’t tell Kimber, okay?)

Bonus points: This brisk contemporary fantasy also explores the writing craft and the magic of storytelling. 

Beautifully written with pitch-perfect pacing and some did-not-see-that-coming original plot twists, Nightbooks is as delish as an enchanted gingerbread house. Without the witch. Extra yummy with a hot cuppa, a roaring fireplace, and a sweet little furry face.

2. Across the Desert

By Dusti Bowling

Middle School Fiction

“Hodophiles unite!”

 A “hodophile” is one who loves to travel. An adventurer. (We had to look it up, too.) But this book is Too. Much. Fun! 

Twelve year old Jolene (“Jo”) feels unloved, unseen, and unwanted. Her divorced mom battles an opiod addiction. Jo’s only friend is Adelaide (“Addie”) Earhart, another 12 y.o. girl who flies around in her ultralight while livestreaming her adventures.

It works out well until Addie crash-lands in the middle of the Arizona desert. In summer. No one knows where she is except Jo. No one else is willing to help. So Jo sets out to find Addie herself.

Top-notch writing, sturdy characters and a fast-moving plot propel this gripping tale of determination, loyalty, friendship, and family. 

Scene stealer: 17 y.o. Marty Peterson. Jo meets her on a bus headed to Lake Alamo, Addie’s last known location.


The Flubs

Falling into the “Gag me with arugula” category, these two titles just didn’t spin our fins. Or anything else. As in, Pass the No Doze:

1. The Sun Also Rises

By Ernest Hemingway


Mom first read this novella, Hemingway’s first, in high school. (Kimber: You know. Shortly after the discovery of fire.) It’s allegedly about American and British ex-pats who travel from Paris to Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights.

Thought it moved with the alacrity of a three-toed sloth.

Thought she’d give it another go. 

Guess what? It still moves with the alacrity of a three-toed sloth.

See the source image2. Return to Uluru: The Hidden History of a Murder in Outback Australia

By Mark McKenna


Lemme save ya about 256 pages: Outback officer Bill McKinnon was a jerk. You’re welcome.

What “fines” or “flubs” have you read lately?

4 thoughts on “4 Fines & Flubs for Fall

  1. Flub: Road of Bones by Christopher Golden. It was supposed to be a supernatural thriller about the Kolyma Highway in Siberia, named after the gulag prisoners who died building it. But the road barely plays a role in the book. It’s just something the annoying characters drive over from one dumb scene to another. Disappointing!

  2. My favorite review of all time is your review of “Return to Uluru: The Hidden History of a Murder in Outback Australia”. LOL.

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