Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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A Champion for the Ages

“Inevitable.” Isn’t that a great word? Learned it from Mom the other day. As in, the 147th annual Run for the Roses is coming up on May 1. So debates about who was the Greatest Thoroughbred of All Time are… inevitable.

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Or so I’m told.

A few other things I learned:

The “Run for the Roses” is also known as The Kentucky Derby. The Derby is always run on the first Saturday in May. It’s the first jewel in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred horse racing.

Why do I, Kimber the Magnificent, care about Thoroughbred racing? Well, I don’t. Not really. But Mom does!

She’s been reading a Walter Farley book about one of the greatest champions to ever set hooves on a race track: Man O’War. Along with legendary Triple Crown winner Secretariat, Man O’War is a top contender for Greatest Thoroughbred of All Time honors.

Back to the Farley book.

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JUBILEE: Why Hermon Pettit May Be The Greatest Man You Never Heard Of

What?

Kimber Lugs-a-Lot here. I’ve been helping Her Momness lug stuff out of the resident black hole. (Mom calls it “the basement.” But it’s really a black hole where things go to vanish. Forever. Poof!)

Anyway, she lugged up this dusty old box. It hadn’t been opened since 1999. Inside? Books! Lots and lots of books!

“Oh, my!” Mom whispered, pulling out a dusty paperback. “I haven’t seen this since 1979!”

I have no idea what that means. But Mom was doing that glistening-eye thing again as she pulled out this book, Jubilee! Autobiography of Hermon Pettit.

Re-reading the remarkable saga of a man of God who devoted his life to intercession, we realized that Hermon Pettit may be the greatest man one of us has never heard of. Till now.

Here’s how and why Hermon’s story intersects ours:

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Kimber to the Rescue with ‘Trail Angel Mama’!

Trail Angel Mama: Tales of a Pacific Crest Trail Angel (2015)

By Sue Holman and Trisha Faye

Non-Fiction

Mom was in a Blue Book Funk the other day. After wading through mountains of garbage disguised as “hiking memoirs” of the Pacific Crest trail (PCT), she was ready to buy stock in Pepto-Bismol. (For more on that, see 7 Skunkers and Clunkers.)

Well. You know me. I’m a rescue dog. I’m a rescuer. It’s what I do. So I says to Mom, “Maybe you oughtta check out The Book Place. Do the search thingy. See what else is available in the PCT category.”

Weeks later, Mom finally stumbled upon Trail Angel Mama: Tales of a Pacific Crest Trail Angel. (Mom’s nothing if not quick.) At less than 100 pages, Mom almost passed it over.

“No way!” barks I! Order that puppy!’

She did.

We loved it!

A Border Collie mix, Kimber is a rescue dog. She’s also The Smartest Member of the Family.

Did I mention I’m a rescue dog? And totally brilliant?

Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. Trail Angel Mama is the first PCT/hiking-ish book we’ve ever awarded marks. Here’s why:

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AUTHOR ALERT: A Word of Explanation (I’d Listen up ‘Fize You)

Author Alert! Author Alert!

Incoming!

Kimber here. Advising you that Her Crankiness is at it again. Regarding book review requests. As in, how NOT to request a book review from us. And HOW TO GREATLY REDUCE the chances of getting your review request accepted. Also a word about guest posts.

If you’re a serious author, you’re gonna want to know this stuff. So here’s the 4-1-1:

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GUEST POST: Interview With Intrepid World Travel Author Kaitlyn Jain

Kimber the Magnificent here. The other day Mom and I came up with another brilliant idea in the guest author department: revisiting a heartfelt and often hilarious travel tome we recently reviewed. (Well, okay. It was mostly me. Mom helped a little.)

Mom and The Kimster. (At least ONE of us is awake. Most of the time.)

Today we’re chatting with the author of an interesting, insightful, and often very funny travel-ish book, Passports and Pacifiers—Traveling the World, One Tantrum at a Time. Her name is Kaitlyn Jain. Let’s tune in and see what she has to say. You won’t want to miss this, if I do bark so myself! (For our full review of Passports and Pacifiers, click here.)

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3 Surprising Packages of Hope

Kimber here. I bet you think Her Crankiness is… 100% cranky, right? So do I. (Don’t tell Mom, okay? Let’s just keep this our little secret.)

But every once in a while Mom surprises me. Not that I’m surprise-able. But …

Wait. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Mom and I read a trio of books recently that were … surprising. They were quite different from each other, too. Think dogs and cats. (Well, okay. Maybe not cats. But you get the picture.)

Anyway, the first book is a delightful new Christian romance from Kim Vogel Sawyer. The second is a non-fiction “travel tome with a twist” from Joseph F. Smith, M.D. There’s also an historical fiction novel by Kristin Hannah.

All get an Official Thumbs Up from Her Crankiness. Here’s why (short version):

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7 Skunkers & Clunkers

Ever get a whiff of skunk? You don’t need to get close. One whiff is Plenty. (Don’t ask how I know that.)

Mom and I, we read. A lot. Like, 300+ books a year on average. We know what we like. What we don’t. What works. What stinketh.

We try to approach every book with an open mind. Give it a chance. That being said, it doesn’t take us long to smell out a stinker. (We don’t look for this stuff. It finds us.)

When we can, we pass on our 100% unscientific, totally subjective “olfactory discoveries” to you. No extra charge. Consider it a Public Service Announcement.

So here’s our newest list of literary skunkers and clunkers. Four topped our most recent DNF (Did Not Finish) list. Here’s why:

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‘Book of Lost Friends’ Hits High Notes

The Book of Lost Friends (Ballantine Books, 2020)

By Lisa Wingate

Historical Fiction

“If there is magic in this world, it is contained in books.” – The Book of Lost Friends

You know one of us looooooves historical fiction. And I love anything Mom loves! Because, hey! It’s me. Kimber the Magnificent!

Anywho, our intrepid humans at The Book Place know Mom loves historical fiction too. They’ve piled her with tons of historical fiction set in World War II. But Mom got a teensy-weensy bit tired of HF set during WWII.

So someone suggested The Book of Lost Friends. Set in 1875-ish and 1987. I’ll let Mom tell you more. You know how Mom is. Take it away, Mom:

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GUEST POST: The ‘Gentle Journey’ Continues With Author Cathay O. Reta

“Hey Mom!” says I. “How ’bout we do something special for Valentine’s Day?”

“What’d you have in mind, Kimber?” replies Mom. She’s doing that smiley eyes thing again.

“How ’bout we invite one of our new favorite authors to do a guest post? We could ask the Camino de Santiago walk lady. Cathay O. Reta and Keep Walking: You Heart Will Catch Up. Tell us what she’s up to. Any new books in the pipeline. Lessons learned. What’s next. What about Ray?  Perfect for this Valentine’s thingy!”

“Kimber, you’re a genius!”

Mom’s nothing if not quick.

So here, without further barking, is Cathay’s guest post. You’re gonna enjoy this! Take it away, Cathay:

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Delicious! ‘Crystal Shadows’ Fills Fantasy Bill

Crystal Shadows: Gripping New Blood (Olympia Publishers, 2020)

By R.J.  Parker

Fiction/Fantasy

It was a dark and stormy night…

No. Really. It was. I, Kimber, was there. And the night wasn’t just “dark and stormy.” Rain was coming down in sheets. Sideways. The wind was howling like a banshee with a tooth ache. A flood watch and a wind advisory were in effect.

“It’s a perfect day to curl up by the fire with a good book,” spake Mom.

Well. Who am I to disagree?

Thankfully, R.J. Parker’s Crystal Shadows: Gripping New Blood filled the bill. Here’s why:

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