Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


Worst Book Review Sites on the Web?


If you’ve been reviewing books for anything length of time – say, 20 minutes or so – you know that not all “book review” sites are created equal. Some are professional. Others are a joke. Full of unresolved kinks, oopses, ouchies, and amateurs. So how do you tell the difference? What are the worst book review sites on the web?

The Worst

Based on my experience and what I hear from other quality reviewers, two sites stand out (stand down?) as The Worst: the OnlineBookClub and Reedsy/Discovery.

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Why ‘Anna’s Story’ Will Wring Hearts

Anna’s Story

A true story of a young girl’s will to survive in the arftermath of World War II

By: Steven Kautner

Date Published: July 2022

Genre: Non-Fiction – Biography/Memoir/WWII

Via: Reedsy/Discovery

Pages: 148

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

“How could I not write this story?” asks author Steven Kautner in this gripping and harrowing account about what happened to his mother, Anna Friedrich, and her family of ethnic Germans after World War II. The follow-on is, “How can anyone not read this story?” Because Anna’s Story is absolutely astonishing. Eye-opening. And jaw-dropping. It’ll blow you away.

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ATTN AUTHORS & Author Wannabes!!

Her Crankiness is at it again. That scrunchy face eye roll thing.

“Good grief!” Mom flounces. “Not again!” (“Flounces.” Isn’t that a great word? No idea what it means. But Mom likes it. So I do too.)

Now what? says I, Kimber the Magnificent. You know. The level-headed one. All even-keeled and imperturbable. (No idea what that means either. But it sounds good, huh? Can I eat it?)

Well. Gonna cut to the chase here. Save you some time. As in:



Can you hear us in the back?

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The Challenge of “Spare”

“When is someone in this family going to break free and live?” – Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex


We finished Spare yesterday. It’s Prince Harry’s memoir/autobiography about his relationship with “the Firm.” (For purposes of this review, we will refer to the author as “Harry.”)

The Challenge: We Don’t

Writing a review of Spare is a challenge. Total objectivity is almost unattainable.

Because the Royal Family is one of the most widely recognized in the world, with near-constant media attention, spin doctors, comm directors and Fleet Street vultures, it’s almost impossible to approach a book about The Royals without at least some pre-conceived ideas. Prejudice. Bias. Because of the media microscope under which the Royals live and work, we think we “know” them, especially with the advent of smartphones and social media.

We don’t. Not even close. Repeat for those in the back: We don’t. Not even close.

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Action/Adventure Hit and Miss


Kimber here. Mom says it’s time for a quick reading wrap-up. That’s when she does her version of recently read hits and misses. Why? So you can avoid the dumpster fires. Not waste your time on doggie doo-doo that some fluff ball with no taste published. And grab some Good Stuff. Note: We received complimentary copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

For more on our rating system, click here.

Me? I’m going to watch the doin’s from the sweet, delicious comfort of my  doggie bed by MyPillow.

Four Titles

But first, to books! We’re makin it easy today. With just four titles. The stinkers first: Continue reading


How to Boost Your Chances of Getting Your Review Request Accepted

Kimber here. Being all Beautiful and Brilliant. As usual. Her Grumpiness is also here today. Being all grumpy and geezerly. As usual. Seems today’s Grumpifying has to do with review requests. Cuz we’ve been getting a lot of stuff that’s straight out of Gag Me With Arugula. I guess we better clarify.

“Kimmi,” says The Big Grump. “We better clarify.”

Didn’t I just say that?

Listen Up

Well. If you’re wondering why your review request wound up in the Big Kitty Litter Box in the Sky, listen up. It could be due to a metric meow’s worth of reasons. But if you want to increase your chances of getting your review request accepted (no promises and no guarantees), here’s what NOT to do. (Can you hear us in the back?)

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What Keeps Us Going?

You know it’s a lotta work doing a book thingy blog, right? Maybe not as much work as grilling up a nice, thick burger all juicy and sizzling and…

Wait. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Book blogging.


Well. Some intrepid soul recently asked why we do book blogging? After all, it’s a ton of work. For free. (“Intrepid.” Isn’t that a great word? No idea what it means. But Her Momness likes it. So I do, too.)

So, Mom and Me? We put face and fur together on that one to round up a response. You know. Something other than, “Chocolate!” (For one of us.) Or, “We’re World Class Bibliophiles and can’t help it!” But really. The main reason we run this blog comes down to one word:

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Big Kitty Litter Box in the Sky Awards 4.0

So, “Happy Friday the 13th!” Ha!

It’s that time again, friends! Time for another rip roarin- edition of Big Kitty Litter Box in the Sky Awards. Cuz, holy Meow Mix! (Note: We received complimentary copies of these titles via Reedsy/Discovery in exchange for honest reviews.)

Here’s the short list of qualifications for a Big Kitty Litter Box in the Sky award:

  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. Brittle, wilted writing that’s as inspiring as overcooked cabbage. Or week-old sushi.
  4. Political polemics disguised as fiction.
  5. Badly overwritten, tedious and mundane. Dull as a box of rocks and twice as dense.
  6. Does not enrich, enlighten, educate or inspire in any way.
  7. Gratuitous violence and/or profanity.
  8. A snoozefest.

Cuz ya know Mom and me, we like to be helpful. As in, save you some time. By avoiding lousy snoozers that make fish wrap look delish. Like, we already did the fish wrap thing. So you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

So here, without further ado, is our BKLBITS Awards, Part IV:

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Book Tag 2023!

I’m a tag expert. Get the ball? I’m on it! Fetch the stick! It’s mine! Grab the Frisbee? Oh yeah! So Mom says we’re getting the tail wagging for 2023 with a January Book Tag.

“Someone say ‘Fetch’?,”

Ready to play? It’s goal-setting and challenges for the year. Aw, come on! It’ll be fun! Let’s jump on it! Ready? Set? Let’s go:

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High Octane Action Fuels ‘The Organ Grinder Factor’

The Organ Grinder Factor

By Stephen Steele

Pages: 252

Genre: Action/Adventure

Via: Author Request

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

A little champagne or Top Sirloin, please? Cuz after plowing through a bunch of Real Slogs lately, we finally came across a book worth reading. That we actually liked. About time.

Kimber here. Saying when The Organ Grinder Factor author guy reached out to us requesting a review after we plowed through a bunch of slogs, we were kinda like, “I dunno….” (Hi, Mom.) But this book sounded interesting. Then again, our review calendar is crammed. Think sardine tin.

But you know She Who Must Be Obeyed…. (Insert eye roll here.)

“Just one chapter, Kimber,” says She. “Then we’ll get back on track with the 88 million other books in the review queue.”

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Except “one chapter” became two. Then three. Then four. Then… Well. Before you can say, “Lassie Come Home,” we read the whole book. In one sitting. I’ll let Mom fill you in. If she promises to behave. Because you know Mom….

The 4-1-1:

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