Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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The KIMBER Awards!

You’ve heard of the Academy Awards. The Emmys, Tonys, and Golden Globes. But you may not have heard of The Biggest Bow Wow of them all:

The Kimber Awards.

You may not have heard of this prestigious honor. That’s because I, Kimber, just made it up. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Well, okay. Mom helped. A little. She lobbied for “World’s Most Super Duper, Seriously Splendid, Extra Excellent, Terrifically Talented, Genuine Genius-y, and All-Around Awesome Author Awards.”

I nixed that. After all. Someone has to be the adult in the room. Besides. Mom and I thought that with all this negative COVID-ish talk going around, something upbeat is in order. (Well, okay again. It was mostly me. But Mom helped a bit.)

Where was I? Oh yeah. The Kimber Awards. …

 

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‘Blood Countess’ Poses Strange Dichotomy

Blood Countess

Blood Countess (Lady Slayers)

Barnes & Noble

(Amulet Books, 2020)

By Lana Popovic

Historical Fiction/YA

“Sick puppy,” says I, Kimber the Magnificent.

“No kidding,” Mom rejoins. “Seriously off her rocker.”

I’m not sure what a “rocker” is. But the antagonist in this book, Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary, is off it by about a mile and a half.

This is a weird book to peg or review. Mom started it the other night. She kept me up until one in the morning finishing it. Ugh!

It’s a gripping read. For sure.

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10+ Bark-Worthy Books Set in Exotic-ish Locales

You don’t have to say it. I know I’m beautiful. Also shy, modest, and retiring.

Kimber here with another edition of Fine Wine Fridays. (I was holding out for Excellently Scrumptious and Splendiferous Book Lists That Are So Delicious, They’re Even Better Than My Fave Dog Chow or Squeaky Toy. Mom nixed that. Ugh.)

Anyway, today we’re highlighting books set in exotic locales or other continents. So if you liked Peter Pan or Narnia, you may like… Oh, wait. Scratch that. These are set in real places, not Neverland or Aslan’s Country (Mom, you are no fun!)

Squirrel!

Wait. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Fun, interesting, engaging reads in other settings. Some titles are old. Some are new. They may be even better than my squeaky toy. (But I’m still holding on to it. Just in case.) So here, in no particular order, are:

10+ bark-worthy books set in exotic-ish locales:

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Why “A Healing Touch” Isn’t – or – How to NOT Tick Off Mom

Happy Sunday Authors!

At least it’s a happy Sunday for some of us. Others who shall remain nameless are sulking (Hi, Mom!). Lemme explain.

 

Her Crankiness (hi again, Mom) is miff-ified at authors who waste her time by not adhering to and/or ignoring our submission guidelines when they request a review.

Case in point.

A Big Stretch

Back in August Mom got a review request for a “historical fiction” book “because many people turn to independent reviewers for realistic recommendations on what to read. Considering the current social, economic, and political climate, not only are readers looking for something new and different, many are wondering about young America’s beginnings as a nation. A Healing Touch speaks to this interest.”

We enjoy historical fiction. So we decided to dive in. Only to find out that “historical fiction” is a mighty big stretch for this thing.

Cuz what starts out as a story “of two people blazing trails into the Northwest Territory along the Ohio River in 1796” crashes big time in chapter 22. Here the author seems to forget where she is, jumping from historical fiction into porno. Too bad. It was a pretty good story up until that point.

Bye! Outta here! Doneski! Hasta la vista baby!

“Can’t believe I wasted two days on that,” grumbles Her Crankiness. Cuz there are two things that’ll get your book into the nearest round file (trash can), right off the puppy chow:

  1. Mistreating any animal, especially dogs, or
  2. Crap of the R-rated variety (or worse).

So don’t even go there. Don’t waste our time. It ticks us off. It gets you on our Kitty Litter List. You don’t want to be there, okay? (I’m telling you this so you won’t hawk up a hairball when we pan your stuff  because you didn’t bother to read the submission guidelines. Think of it as a public service announcement.)

Speaking of Which

For the zillionth time, as noted in the first line of our Rating System & Submissions page (for anyone who could be bothered to read it):

We review fiction and nonfiction books rated G to PG-13. We don’t have the time or interest in anything else. (Occasional exceptions may be made on the basis of artistic merit. But that is rare.)

 

Stay Inside the Lines

The novel noted above colored outside these lines. Way outside. And nothing tees off Her Crankiness like authors who can’t or won’t follow simple instructions or who misrepresent their work. She will not be happy that you’ve wasted her time. (Not a good idea. Trust me on this.)

Since you’re still reading, however, you’re smarter than that. You’re up front about your book. Its genre, storyline and content. If you’re honest about that, we like you already. If you’re not, then off to the Big Kitty Litter Box in the Sky with you!

Are we clear here?

 


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8 Ways to Boost Your Chances of Getting Your Review Request Approved

Kimber here. Her Crankiness can’t come to the blog right now. That’s cuz she’s neck-deep in Mom Book Cranky. And we’re out of cookies ‘n cream ice cream. Lemme explain a bit more on the book front.

Back when Mom was young and foolish – about 20 minutes ago – we took pretty much any request for a book review and ran with it. Hindsight being 20/20, as they say, we learned a few things in the process. Like:

  • Not all requests for book reviews are created equal.
  • Our time is limited. So is our attention. We don’t have the time to plow through a book that wouldn’t pass third grade muster. Or spell check.

We get tons of requests for book reviews. From authors. Publicists. Publishers. Feline fans. (Nobody’s perfect.) We love reading good books by gifted writers. And doing honest book reviews. But…

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BKLBITS Awards! 6 Vastly Over-Rated Books That Fall Flat

 

Ever finish a book and thought:

 “Well. That’s (fill in the blank) hours or days out of my life I’ll never be able to get back”?

Kimber here.

Mom and I have run across some of those lately. They’re the kind of books that epitomize the phrase, “All that glitters is not gold.” Cuz they’re just lousy. Boring. Insipid. Pointless slogs to the Middle of Nowhere. Littered with unsympathetic, cardboard characters we don’t know, don’t want to know, and could care less about.

BKLBITS Awards

Mom and I, we nominate these losers for what we call BKLBITS “awards.” That’s Big Kitty Litter Box In The Sky.

We’re telling you this to save you some time. As in, don’t waste yours on these colossal duds.

Heading this summer’s BKLBITS nominations, all of which earned a one star rating or less, are:

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Calling All Dog Lovers & Other Humans!

We. Are. So. Excited!!

 

Okay, okay. One of us is always excited. The other? Well, whenever she feels excitement coming down the pike, she lies down until the feeling goes away. (Hi, Mom.)

 

Kimber the Magnificent

Anyway, Kimber here. So excited to tell you about a free online event related to one of our favorite books this year, Walks With Sam! Here’s the 4-1-1:

 

Book Launch!

On September 13 at 6:30pm central, there’ll be a free online event to officially launch Walks With Sam.

 

All are welcome. Even cats.

 

Walks with Sam: A Man

Here’s the link:

Walks With Sam book launch.

 

Be there or be a feline!

 

For more, see our review of Walks With Sam, by David W. Berner.

 

Love,

Kimber

XX00


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And Now for a Public Service Announcement…

Bloggers! Readers! Writers! Book and canine lovers of all ages!

Your attention please!

Kimber here. Cuz Mom is going a little bit crazy. Well. I guess I should say crazier than usual. But it’s a good kind of crazy. The smiley kind if ya know what I mean.

Here’s the doggone lowdown on today’s PSA:

We’re overwhelmed. Requests for book reviews have been flooding in like a tsunami. We love it! But we just can’t keep up.

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GUEST POST: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Walks With Sam’ With Author David W Berner

Good Morning, Friends!

 

Kimber here. Mom and I are delighted to share a guest post by the author of one of our favorite books, Walks With Sam. Sam is a dog. A very astute, reflective dog. Ya know. Like me. In fact, I think Sam’s my new best friend!

 

Anyway, in this guest post author David W. Berner “walks” us through why and how he wrote this rich and wonderful memoir about contemplative walks with Sam. (Psssst! It started with a blog. No kidding!)

 

Walks With Sam will be officially released tomorrow, September 1! Don’t forget the virtual book launch on September 13. Details below!

Take it away, David!

***

An Idea

More than two years ago, I had an idea. What would it be like to reinvent the dog walking experience? Not so much for my doodle, Sam, but for me. All the experts say walking is a meditative, contemplative endeavor. Ask any of the great walkers—Henry David Thoreau, Charles Dickens, John Muir. But this time, what would it be like if the dog led the way? What if Sam was my guide?

 

A Chapter Change

It was a new time in my life, a chapter change, if you will. My only sibling, my younger sister had recently died after a long battle with alcoholism, my mother and father had died years before, and now I was what remained of the family of my youth. What is one supposed to do with that? I was also turning 60, a milestone age, and considering what would come next, how might I move in the world in my final years. A sabbatical from my position at the college where I teach had given me some freedom, and although I had projects to complete—a manuscript to finish and edit—I decided that I would dedicate myself to daily walks to allow my mind to find balance. And Sam, my young dog, would join me. She, too, needed those walks.

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GUEST AUTHOR: The Ultimate ‘Insider’s Guide’ to New York!

‘Mom! Wake up!’

 

“Mom! Mom! Wake up!”

 

“Gah….! Wha… Huh?” Crash. Stumble. Stubbed toe. “Dadgum it!”

 

Mom’s nothing if not quick. Especially when it’s 0500. And I’ve got a  cool new book to show her! It’s like an illustrated time travel thingy. Through New York City! I’m don’t know where that is. But it sounds good. So does a soon-to-be-released book, 400 Years of New York History: A Pictorial Guide.

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