Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


Seriously PAWSome!

Hello Friends!

Happy New Year!

Kimber the Magnificent here to tell you something you probably already know (if you don’t, you should):


She not only cooks a mean T-bone steak that’s all luscious, delicious and flavorful, mouth-watering and juicy and…

Wait. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Mom. Seriously PAWsome. As in, Bibliophile Extraordinaire and World Class Reader. Like this:

You read that right: Mom and I read 403 books in 2022. (Well, it was mostly me. But Mom chipped in. A little.)

It’s a New Personal Reading Record for most books in one year. And nope, we didn’t review every book. Cuz that’s just silly.

I’d let Mom tell ya more. ‘Cept she’s snoozing. For obvious reasons. I ‘spect she’ll wake up around spring. Or maybe later.

You gonna eat that? Askin’ for a friend.

What are your eating… I mean, reading goals for 2023?


7 Most SURPRISING Reads of 2022

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a seemingly dark, deserted room and everybody and their dog jumps out and hollers, “SURPRISE!!”? It’s so unexpected and sudden. You may feel astonished. Happy. Giddy. In shock. Or the surprise may give you a heart attack.

“Someone say, ‘T-bone?'”

Well. We came across some reads this year that surprised us. (The good kind of surprise, not the heart attack kind.) The books below are all by authors that are new to us. That we never heard of before grabbing their book and deciding to take “a shot in the dark.” All feature:

  • Excellent writing that’s briskly paced
  • Strong, sturdy characterizations
  • A solid plot that’s unusually clever, creative, fresh, and/or informative
  • A transcendent theme or message
  • Are page turners worth re-reading

These titles include indie and/or first-time authors. Several are either self-published or published by small imprints. And they’re all surprisingly good.  Engaging. Interesting. Quick as Kimber after a bowl of kibble. Or extra crispy bacon. 

Most have had little to no exposure. And that’s too bad. Because these are all worthwhile reads. Think “breath of fresh bookish air.” Yeah, baby!

So… drum roll please for the 7 Most Surprising Reads of 2022 (in no particular order):

Continue reading


4 NEW Award Winners (It’s Not What You Think!)

Her Grumpiness: “Ding! Ding! Ding! Kimmi, we have some winners!”

The Magnificent One: A winner for what?

HG: “Winners for Worst Book of The Century,” saith Her Grumpiness. “We’re talkin’ Barf-o-rama on Steroids here.”

TMO: The century? Really?

HG: “Okay, Kimmi. How ‘bout Worst Books We Read in the Last Month?”

TMO: Better, Mom. Should I get the Tylenol?

HG: Maybe. First, let’s run through the list of Four Worst Books of December, the condensed version:

Note: We received complimentary copies of these books via Reedsy/Discovery in exchange for honest reviews.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

The Heart of CHRISTMAS!

‘It’s not easy being beautiful and brilliant. But someone’s gotta do it!’

Thank you for joining us for a year of gaining new friends, discovering new authors, and savoring good books!

For those who’ve taken the time to read Pages and Paws, share links, like a post, comment, submit guest articles or recommend Pawsome titles new and old, THANK YOU!

It’s been a great ride. We’re looking forward to more in 2023!

Please join us as we celebrate today with one of our favorites. By Matthew West:

“Wherever you are, no matter how far,

Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas.

Live while you can, and cherish the moment.

The ones that you love, make sure they know it…”

And today:

Our best wishes to you and yours for the merriest of Christmases and a Happy New Year!

Mom and Kimber


The Best Gifts of Christmas

“all snug in their beds…”

Kimber: Mom just called me in from the yard. ‘Bout time. That big yellow ball in the sky is starting to spread across the horizon like a giant egg yolk. Temperatures are dropping. The Powder Puff just sauntered past. Why that canine lets her owner deck her out in that green and red jacket + reindeer antlers, I’ll never know.

Anyway, when Mom opened the porch door, I caught a whiff of Something Warm and Wonderful inside. She says, “Kimber, dinner! Come!”

I don’t need to be called twice. No siree, Lassie! I bounded up the stairs and into the house like Rin Tin Tin after a bad guy. Sure enough. Something Warm and Wonderful was waiting for me.

Continue reading


‘Christmas Across Africa’ Charms & Captivates

Peace, Joy and Love:
Christmas Across Africa

By Terry Lister

Genre: Non-Fiction/Travel, 2022

Via: Author Request

Pages: 120

Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

Steve Maraboli, winner of the United Nations Award for Philanthropy (as quoted in Peace, Joy and Love: Christmas Across Africa.)

One of our favorite travel writers in back. This time Terry Lister offers a collection of experiences and observations just in time for the Christmas season.

Titled Peace, Joy and Love: Christmas Across Africa, Lister’s newest collection covers Christmas traditions and celebrations in over a dozen African countries. These include both predominantly Muslim countries like Morocco and Tunisia to predominantly Christian countries like Ethiopia and Kenya. And all points in between, including Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, the Gambia, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Cameroon.

Continue reading


Richard Paul Evans: ‘King of Christmas Fiction’


Kimber here. I’m gonna do that stretchy-yawny thing this morning just for you. Cuz Christmas is coming and Mom loves Christmas! No idea what that means. But if Mom loves Christmas, then I do too!

So today I’m waking up just in time to introduce – or remind – you to/about one of Mom’s favorite authors: Richard Paul Evans. Aka: The “King of Christmas Fiction.” Cuz sure as Santa’s makin’ his list and checkin’ it twice, Richard Paul Evans releases a new Christmas-ish novel every year about now.

Brimming with inspiration and hope while neatly sidestepping sappy, Richard’s gentle, uplifting stories are a great choice for curl-up-near-the-fireplace seasonal reading! And I oughtta know! But I’ll let Mom fill ya in. Take it away, Mom!

Continue reading


A Five Minute Festive

Merry Christmas Dear Readers!


Mom and I have cooked up something short and sweet for you today. Well, actually we cooked this up last year. But who’s counting? Besides. Ya see, one of us is being a lazy slug today (Hi, Mom).  Come to think of it, I, Kimber, am a bit tuckered, too.

Mom says solitude can be hard to come by in our rush-rush, hurry up, instant everything society. Grabbing a few quiet moments to refresh and recharge can be a challenge any time. But it’s particularly tough during the holidays, huh?

This One’s For You

So if holiday merry-making has you ready to tear your hair out or your festive feathers are a bit ruffled, this is for you.

Slow down.  Grab a hot cuppa. Plop in a peppermint stick. Sit down. Put your feet up. Give Manheim Steamroller’s Stille Nacht (Silent Night) a listen.  Five quiet minutes. You’ll be glad you did.

Know someone who could use a yuletide boost? Don’t forget to share!








Snowy field image credit: Public domain



Is ‘Die Hard’ a ‘Christmas Movie’?

It’s that time of year again. Time for celebrating and merry-making. Giving and gratitude. Caroling and cantatas. Sleigh bells. Snow. And the never-ending debate over whether or not Bruce Willis’s “Die Hard” is a “Christmas movie.” (We are speaking of the original.)

Image: Mirror Screen Grab

What’s a “Christmas Movie”?

We’re gonna settle that controversy once and for all today. Of course, it all boils down to: What makes a movie a “Christmas movie”?

Many would say a Christmas movie should focus on the Babe born in Bethlehem, angelic choirs and wise men from the East. Santa. Sleigh bells. Snow. The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. Festive trees and twinkling lights. Themes of peace, joy, love, and “a thrill of hope.” It goes beyond just tossing out the phrase “Merry Christmas” like confetti on New Year’s. 

The Acid Test

Far as we’re concerned, the “acid test” of whether or not a movie is indeed a “Christmas movie” is pretty simple:

Is Christmas incidental or intrinsic per the movie in question?

Another way to look at it:

Can you take the movie’s essential elements, drop them into any setting other than the Christmas season and have the elements (and thus the movie) still work?

Continue reading