Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


A Dream & A Dance: Memoir of the Garden Island Grille


The Last Dance: A Memoir of the Garden Island Grille

By Dave Trentlage

Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir, 2023

Pages: 260

Kimber: Someone say “burgers”?

Mom: No, Kimmi. I said “restaurant.” Now stop vulching.

Kimber: Vulching? I am not vulching. I am merely standing guard over the kitchen, ever-vigilant in case any stray top sirloin finds its way onto the floor. By the way, what’s a “restaurant”? It has burgers, right?

I am invisible. You Do Not see me. I am not vulching. Am not. Am Not. AM NOT!

Well. Let’s get one thing straight right out of the gate, okay? This isn’t a story about a restaurant. It’s not about what it takes to run a successful restaurant. It’s not even a behind-the scenes look at running a restaurant in the garden island of Kauai, although you’ll find all of the above and more within.

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‘Links of the Two Worlds’ a Breath of Fresh Air

Links of the Two Worlds

By Samantha Hopper

Indie author, 2020

Rise of the Royals, Book 1

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy (ages 7 to 18)

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

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Oh, wait. That’s already been done.

Hmmm. How ‘bout : It was a dark and stormy night…?

Dufus Awards

Alright, alright. What we’re really after here is something more original, says I, Kimber the Magnificent. Something like The Dufus of the Decade Awards. And I have a nominee. (You knew that, right?) Lemme explain:

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21 Top Love Stories Of All Time

Happy Valentine's Day Red Glitter Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day with some great love stories!

Now, by “love stories” we don’t mean stuff you can use to line the bottom of your bird cage. That’s not what this post is about. You won’t find any cheap dime store boiler plate trash here. This list focuses on timeless love stories that go above and beyond boiler plate “romance.” (Hint: A transcendent theme of selflessness and sacrifice appears frequently in this curated list.)

Some of these titles are relatively new. Others have been around awhile. All reach straight for your heart. So climb aboard. And settle in to stay. (B.Y.O. tissue. In no particular order):

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‘The Cannastar Factor’ Kicks Up A Rumpus

The Cannastar Factor

By Stephen Steele


First book in the Trouble With Miracles trilogy

Genre: Fiction: Action/Adventure

Via: Author Request

Pages: 312

Alex Farmer is a burnt-out E.R. physician from L.A. He receives a cryptic letter from an old colleague/friend, Maury, a molecular biology whiz. When Maury winds up dead under suspicious circumstances, Alex finds himself in the hinterlands of Montana looking into a murder. He discovers that Maury was working on a shadowy, super-secret project related to “transgenics” and the human immune system.

Montana rancher Cydney “Cyd” Seeley has a master’s degree in plant genetics. She and Alex get off to a rocky start. But when they finally start comparing notes, they discover that Maury was on to something that may have cost him his life. And they’re next on the hit list of a corrupt and crafty U.S. Senator who’s in the hip pocket of Big Pharma.

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’40 Fingers’ for Friday!

Happy Friday Friends!

We’re doin’ something a little diff today. A little bookish. A little music-ish. A lot cool-ish. (Kimber: By the way, whaddya think of my new pic featured on the blog header? Am I like Totally Pawsome, or what?!)

Have you read James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans? Seen the 1992 movie starring Daniel Day Lewis as Hawkeye? If you’ve seen the movie, you know that it doesn’t bear any particularly close resemblance to the book. (Cuz, yeah. We’ve read it. Twice.) But the movie has a great musical score.

A Treat!

So you’re in for a treat today.

Here’s the main theme from The Last of the Mohicans as performed by 40 Fingers. This is the first all-guitar performance of this score we’ve ever heard. It’s a little bookish. A little music-ish. A lot… Well. You know.

Just under two minutes. Enjoy! And have a great weekend!


100 Books For Your Bucket List

Kimber the Magnificent here. Telling you about this poster we got awhile back: 100 Books Bucket List. Mom and I? We’ve read 81 of the titles listed. The rest? Who cares? And some titles on this puppy? They’re on our Super Duper Over-Rated Duds and Disses and Total Waste of Time, Off You Go to the Kitty Litter Box List*. (Mom’s version. I just call it our Yuck List.)


So We Did

Anywho. That poster thingy got one of us thinking. Mom, says I, Kimber the Genius. We can do better. Let’s make our own Bucket List. So we did.

Mom Tested, Kimber Approved

Below is our Mom Tested, Kimber Approved, 100% Unscientific, Totally Subjective 100 Books For Your Bucket List. As in, Good Stuff Here. Enjoyable. Enlightening. Inspiring. Entertaining. Thought-Provoking. Great writing. And Just Plain. Fun. Both fiction and nonfiction. 

Note: We’re not talkin’ all Hoity-Toity here. So relax, okay?

Some titles are newer than others. Most have been around awhile. Stood the test of time. You’ll find some well-worn “classics” that are probably on everyone’s “Best Books” list.  Some might surprise you. And a few are… Well. Hi, Mom.

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How Not to Dread the Doc in One Easy Read (No, Really)

“The vet? Whaddya mean, ‘The Vet’?!” spake I, Kimber the Magnificent. “I am not goin’ to The Shot Place, period. No how. No way. So don’t even feature it.”

“Umm… Well, Kimmi. It’s time for your semi-annual check-up” replies Her Momness. “C’mon, let’s get going. It’ll be fun!”

Easy for you to say, Toots. Cuz I ain’t budging.

“Wait. Did I say, ‘vet’? asks Mom. “My bad. I really meant Doctor Dan. You know. The place with all your favorite treats and toys?”

When do we leave?

Here’ the human version of that conversation (sort of) via a new NF book by Ann Hester. It’s called Patient Empowerment 101: More than a book, it’s an adventure! 

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

Here’s the 4-1-1:

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7 Sweet Reads for the Little’uns

My baby picture. I know. I’m ADORABLE.

Kimber: Mom! Mom! I found some puppy winners!

Mom: “Puppy winners, Kimmi? What are you barking about?”

Kimber: Insert eye roll here. Moooooom! You. Know. Books for little’uns. You know. Like not yet big dogs. P-u-p-p-i-e-s. (Duh.)

Mom: “Okay, Kim. Calm down. Stop dancing for a min. What did you find?”

Kimber: Thought you’d never ask. Here, with further tail-wagging or barking, is our list of seven soon-to-be available books for children. (You know. P-u-p-p… oh, never mind.) All include warm and rich writing. Bark-worthy illustrations. Some may even include a doggie treat or two. Can I get back to you on that?

Note: We received complimentary copies of these books from Net Galley in exchange for honest reviews. Most are 20 to 30 pages or less.

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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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