Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

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‘Citizen K-9’ Offers Mystery, Levity

Citizen K-9

By David Rosenfelt

Publisher: St. Martin’s, 2022

Genre: Fiction/Murder Mystery

Pages: 263

Via: Library

An unsolved double murder. A cold case. A crackerjack team of private investigators specializing in cold cases. Playing cards. Like, the king of clubs. A high school reunion where two friends vanish without a trace. Not a single clue that makes sense. At all. A retired cop, Corey Douglas, and his brilliant German shepherd, Simon Garfunkel. A scene stealer extraordinaire and the smartest member of the team by far, Simon is also recently retired from law enforcement. And Really Bad Dudes.

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Rattlensnakes and Reunions


The Smartest Member of the Family. (Don’t tell Kimber I said that, okay? I’ll never hear the end of it.)

Mom and I were nosing through Draft Posts That Never Saw The Light of Day recently. (Well, I was nosing. Her Momness was … um… snoozing.) Anyway, we found this post that we thought deserved a second chance. It’s about being a writer. Kind of.

So here ya go. You’re welcome:

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A Word on Kimber

First off, this is NOT a bookish post. This is a KIMBER-ish post. So if you’re okay with that, keep reading. If not, you know what to do. As long as it doesn’t involve chocolate. Lemme explain. Like this:

How to have a heart attack in 3 easy steps 🐾

  1. Notice something’s wrong with the world’s sweetest furry face.
  2. Find an empty bag of almond bark on her bed. (Left behind by a son who shall remain nameless when he moved out last summer. It was unopened, double-sealed. But apparently not Kimber proof.🐾)
  3. It’s the weekend. The vet’s office is closed. Nearest emergency vet services are over an hour away. With a “6 to 8 hour wait, minimum.”

The Great Almond Bark Disaster occurred one month to the day after a family member’s trip to the E.R. with anaphylaxic shock. (Hi, Lisinopril. Incidentally, 15 hours in the E.R. is a really lousy way to spend the night/next day. In case you’re wondering.)

The little stinker (the furry one) is back to her usual “I love everyone, ain’t life grand?” effervescent self today. Bein’ All Magnificent and everythin’.

Her Crankiness is still recovering.

‘Meanwhile, back at the ranch,’ one of us is So Not Interested in racking up any more emergency frequent flyer miles. Mom’s just funny that way. 🤦‍♀️

Reminder: NEVER give your dog chocolate. It can be deadly. Kimber was lucky. The jury’s still out on Her Crankiness.

Now if we can just get Kimber the Intrepid to the U.N. She’d have world peace figured out in no time. As long as it doesn’t involve almond bark.


The ASPCA Animal Poison Hotline number is:(888) 426-4435.

We will return to our regularly scheduled broadcast next time.


Kimber Brag and Top 1%!

Isn’t it fun to toot someone else’s horn? I get to do that today! Cuz I’m braggin’ on Mom! (Do you think I’ll get some extra bacon outta this? Hmmm…)

Kimber, chicken bus driver wannabe.

You didn’t think Mom does book reviews just for this blog, did you? Naw! Mom loves books so much, she does reviews all over the place, including this outfit called Book Sirens.

If you hop on to Book Sirens, you’ll find us under PagesAndPaws. Looking all magnificent and everything. (At least one of us, anyway.)

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‘Maya Fairy’ Hits a Bull’s Eye!

Maya Fairy

By Stanislava Buevich

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy (November 2022)

Pages: 280

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

Not everything you’ve heard about fairies is true. So when a young girl finds out the truth about her own house fairy, keep an eye out for fairy dust in this delightful magical mystery by Stanislava Buevich.

“Has your child been acting strangely? Tired? Rundown? Listless?” There’s a reason for that. But it’s not what you think as revealed in this charming and winsome fantasy for middle grade readers.

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GUEST POST: Author Carmen Leal on ‘The Lifesaving Power of Dogs’

“I Chose You” author Carmen Leal.

By Carmen Real

Author of I Chose You, Imperfectly Perfect Rescue Dogs and Their Humans.

Winner of our first-ever Pawsome Book Award.

Take it away, Carmen:


On June 18, 2015, an inattentive driver in a large SUV slammed into our small Subaru leaving me with a concussion and moderate frontal and temporal traumatic brain injury. As cliched as it is, everything changed in an instant. I went from loving my job as a concierge in Hawaii creating dream vacations for guests to dreading having to deal with people because of the never-ending level ten migraines.

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‘I Chose You’ Wins Prestigious Award

I Chose You

Imperfectly Perfect Rescue Dogs and Their Humans

By Carmen Leal

Publisher: Wag Away Publishing, 2022

Pages: 264 pages

Genre: Non-fiction/Inspirational

Via: Blog Tour

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

“I know these dogs!” saith Kimber the Magnificent. “They’re my BFFs!”

Her Momness: “Okay, Kimmi. But everyone’s your BFF.”

Kimber: “So?”

So…. You’ve heard of the Pulitzer Prize? The Newbery Medal? The Nobel Prize? Small potatoes, bub. They’re nothing next to the Official Mom-Tested, Kimber-Approved Pawsome Book Award.

The Pawsome Book Award

“What’s a Pawsome Book Award?” you ask. Good question. It’s like sunshine on a cloudy day. Birthdays. The first day of summer vacation. Christmas morning. BFFs. All rolled into one.

Reserved for the top one percent (that’s 1% for those in the back) of all books read, the Pawsome Award is our highest honor.

I Chose You is the first-ever recipient of this prestigious award. Here’s why:

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‘Search and Find Animals’ a Treasure Hunt for Young’uns

Pages: 44

Genre: Children’s Non-Fiction, 2023

Via: Book Sirens

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

You know those Where’s Wally puzzle books? They’re a series of detailed, double-page spread illustrations depicting zillions of people doing a variety of amusing things at a given location. Readers are challenged to find a character named Wally hidden in the group. You have to look pretty close.

Well. Shelby Hudson has created a delightful children’s book in the same vein, only featuring animals, the alphabet, and counting. It’s like a treasure hunt for all things furry, feathery, or fishy. 

Young children are encouraged to look for and find animals starting with certain letters hidden in each colorful illustration in this charming book. “Find an animal that begins with G,” for example. The answer is a Giraffe. Other featured animals include the usual dog and cow as well as some more unusual animals such as kangaroo and octopus.

Later, readers are encouraged to count the number of animals they find in each picture. Four dolphins, five chicks, 10 mice, etc.

A brief discussion on how and why puzzle books help children “develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills” is included. Also tips such as encouraging interaction and using descriptive language.

Young readers will enjoy finding and identifying the animals in each scene. Vivid illustrations will keep them engaged. Parents will appreciate how the book helps develop their child’s concentration and cognitive skills.

Entertaining and educational, Search and Find Animals is like a treasure hunt for kids. Delightful! (And you don’t even have to find Wally.)

Our Rating:



‘To Dream of Shadows’ Will Leave You Breathless

To Dream Of Shadows : A Gripping Holocaust Novel Inspired by a Heartbreaking True Story

By Steve N. Lee

Publisher: Blue Zoo (April 2023)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Print Length: 466 pages

Via: Author Request

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

“Here we go again!” says I, Kimber the Magnificent. “You’d think one of us would learn. Don’t start a top-notch historical fiction thingy at night. If you do, you’ll be up till the wee hours finishing it. Cuz you can’t put it down! But you know Mom!” (Insert eye roll here.)

Just being all magnificent and everything.

Yeppers, Steve Nee’s To Dream of Shadows is one of them thar barn-burning page turners. Here’s the 4-1-1:

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GUEST POST: The Tail or The Dog?

Michael R. Franch, author of “Ghost With Two Hearts.”

By Michael R. French

Author of Ghost With Two Hearts

The relationship between characters and plot in any novel is pivotal and  tricky. A story is often plot driven but what I remember  most when I finish a satisfying read are the characters.  Of course, good plots makes characters memorable how they get in and out of jams, express or repress their emotions, and make sacrifices, but down deep I just like who they are above and beyond what they do.  They may start out as the tail but they end up as the dog. 
 My own characters sometimes become friends.  At least conversationally. “Hey,  should I return my latest, ridiculous Amazon purchase?” Or, “What wine should I  bring to this dinner party because my expertise is wine labels.” If they’re going to be my friends, this begs the question about what kind of characters do I like to draw from in real life. Someone different from me, as much as possible, and who strikes me as interesting in conflicted ways.  Someone challenged by the limits of both their strengths and their weaknesses. In the end, I hope they are sympathetic to most readers.
Even unsympathetic characters require a lot of attention and exploration before they go on the written page.  Minor characters, too, require serious thought because their place in the narrative can enhance or diminish the total effect. Every blemish – and all novels have them, if a reader looks closely enough -shows.
In Ghost With Two Hearts, there are two main characters, and I like both, but creating one, a computer coder, was easier than fabricating the other, a ghost serving an eternity in Shinto Hell.  Making a realistic (at least plausible) ghost, about whom an author  can’t do much research, worked out in the end. A lot of drafts were  written and discarded over 18 months.  I got to invent a ghost who is quite human.  She is being tortured by gods (i.e., society) by denying her the right to sleep/dream, controlling her memories, and shutting her off completely from loved ones she inadvertently damaged but longs to be forgiven by and united with.  How does anyone escape a fate like that?
We know the need to be loved is universal. In Ghost With Two Hearts, I began to wonder if that includes the dead.

About Ghost With Two Hearts:


Approaching 30, Adrian, a talented software engineer, takes stock of his wealth and accolades – and how unhappy he is. He doesn’t make friends easily, dislikes social media, and was bloodied in a divorce. He finds no common purpose in a country defined by political vitriol, distrust, and inequality.

Taking a leave of absence from his company, he travels to Japan with a samurai sword that his grandfather stole from a Japanese captain in World War Two. Adrian is determined to find its rightful heir. Doing the morally correct thing, he hopes, will make him feel better about his life.

Print Length: 193 Pages

Genre: Fiction, Cultural Heritage Fiction, Ghost Fiction

Publisher: Independently Published January 12, 2023


Find Michael online at:

Author website