Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

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20+ Mesmerizing Memoirs/Biogs To Read Before You Die!

Kimber: “Memoirs? Biogs? Is that like when that Barbra lady sings about misty water-colored memories? Like in the movie with Robert Corvette?”

Mom: “The movie is The Way We Were, Kimster. And the actor is Robert Redford.”

Kimber: “You drive what you want and I’ll drive what I want… Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. Memoirs and Biogs.  Guess we better start with some definitions:”

  • A memoir is usually a collection of memories written by the person themselves. It’s the story of a specific time, theme, or experience in a person’s life.
  • A biography presents chronological events from the life of a specific person. It’s the story of someone’s life told by someone else.
  • An autobiography is a person telling their own life story.

Got that? Great. Cuz we’re gonna color outside the lines a bit. Bring you some of All of the Above, under the general-ish category of Memoir/Biogs. (We’re using the terms a bit loosely. So don’t blow a gasket, okay?)

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Recs for Your Summer Reading

What’s on YOUR Summer TBR?

Mom’s at it again. She’s skipping merrily around the house, opening every window in sight.  Humming that Temptations song. You know the one. About sunshine on a cloudy day.

Here in the omni-soggy Pacific Northwest, we take whatever we can get in the “sunshine” department. Maybe that explains Mom lately. Why she keeps crowing, “Summer’s comin’! Woo-hoo!”

Has anyone found my frisbee? Cuz frankly, what’s summer without a nice, chewy, frisbee?

Anyway, with the weather warming up and some blue skies finally putting in an appearance, we whipped up a quick list of books for your summer reading. Categories include:

  • Most Unusual and Imaginative.
  • Most Intriguing.
  • Notable Nonfiction.
  • Just Plain Fun.
  • Favorite Re-reads.
  • Most Poignant.
  • #1 Favorites.

Titles appear in no particular order. So without further ado, here ya are. You’re welcome:

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‘Be Right Back’ Isn’t Your Average Book of Poetry – Here’s Why

Be Right Back – The Travelogues of a Wandering Mind

By Jeffrey Greenmun, 2023

Genre: Non-Fiction, Poetry (Don’t freak out, okay? More on that in a min.)

Pages: 174

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

Okay, okay. Quiet down in the back. Especially those of you who want to jump up and run screaming from the room the minute you hear the word “poetry.”

You know who you are.

So just hang on a min, okay? Cuz if poetry isn’t your cuppa, give Jeffrey Greenmun’s Be Right Back – The Travelogues of a Wandering Mind a chance. Articulate and eloquent, this delicious blend of poetry and biography may change your mind. Here’s the 4-1-1:

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The Best ‘Box’ Novel Yet?

Kimber: Hey Mom! You know that author guy we stumbled upon a while back? The box-y dude who writes crime thrillers set in Wyoming?

Mom: “You mean C.J. Box?”

Kimber: Yeppers! Didya know he has a new book out?

And that’s how Her Momness and I flew over to the library faster than Captain Kirk aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.  Here’s what we found:

The Setting

It’s early spring in Wyoming. State Game Warden Joe Pickett is facing the mother of all storms in C.J. Box’s latest crime thriller western, Storm Watch. And we don’t mean just the blizzard kind, either. No siree, Lassie! Although there’s enough snow and ice and freezing temps in this taut and tightly written novel to make you want to toss another log on the fire. Maybe two.

Well. The Cowboy State is about to get hit by an “apocalyptic blizzard” in more ways than one.

Kimber: The title has a double meaning, if you get my drift. As in snow drift. Also deep doo-doo of the political type “drift.”

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Will You Remember ‘Sweethearts’?


The Timeless Love Affair – On-Screen and Off – Between Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy

By Sharon Rich

Published by; Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1994

Genre: Non-Fiction/Biography

Via: Library

Kimber: Let’s get one thing straight right out of the kennel, okay? Her Crankiness is a huge MacEddy fan. (For you young whipper-snappers, that’s a person who loves Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy films from Tinseltown’s Golden Era.)

So altho some MacEddy fans may rave about Sweethearts, ‘ole Stick in the Mud (Hi, Mom) disagrees. Somethin’ about ‘disappointing’ and ‘a one-way ticket to Snoozeville.’

We’ll get to why in a min. So kindly keep your hair on, okay? First, a little background:

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10 Terrific Titles for Mom on Her Special Day (or anytime)

Kimber here. Gettin’ ready to break out my super-duper, snazzy-jazzy, woniferous and totally amazing canine Happy Dance! Cuz today’s one of my favorites! As in, Mother’s Day! (Don’t make me explain this.)

So, hey! Is your mom like Her Momness? Does she  love to read? Is her (or your) idea of paradise a quiet reading nook, a pina colada, and hours of uninterrupted page-turning?

Great! Then your mom will appreciate our Best Books for Mom list. Kimber Tested. Mom Approved!

Kindly note that books don’t necessarily have to focus on a mom to make the cut. Bonus points if they do. But our list is about compelling, captivating reads that mom can enjoy in that quiet nook with her chilled drink and some alone time. So our list is based on – but not strictly limited to – the following criteria:

  • Must be an enjoyable, uplifting read (who wants a downer on Mother’s Day? Ack!)
  • Superlative writing
  • Credible dialogue and a solid, poignant story
  • Strong, three-dimensional female characters who learn, develop and grow
  • Bonus points if all of the above include a dose of spunk and sass

That being said, Her Momness and I are rushing in where angels fear to tread with our purely subjective, 100% unscientific list of Best Books for Mom on her special day. Let’s go!

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‘Purposeful Work, Blessed Rest’ A Breath of Fresh Air

Purposeful Work, Blessed Rest:

A 6-Week Devotional for Mothers

By Anna Hawkes Cabral, 2023

Genre: Non-Fiction/Inspirational

Via: Author request

Kimber here. Being all magnificent and everything. And letting you in on a little secret. So listen up. (Are you listening? Good!) I’m getting the Most Terrific-est, Woniferous, Splendiferous and All-Around PAW-somest person on the planet a little something special for a Really, Really Important Day.

Mom: Kimmi, are you talking about yourself again?

Kimber: Well. Maybe. But I’m really talking about Mother’s Day. (I’ll let you guess who that Really PAWsome person is. Besides me, of course.) Her Momness will fill you in on the rest:

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‘The Retreat’ Hits a Snag

The Retreat

By Sarah Pearse

Publisher: Viking, 2022

Pages:  Waaaaay too many

Genre: Who cares?

Via: Library

Ever grab a new book by an unfamiliar author? Feel that surge of excitement as you peruse the cover blurb and the synopsis? Break in to your happy dance with that “Oh yeah!” feeling? …

… Only to start reading and feel like you just walked into a blender.

That’s what Sarah Pearse’s The Retreat is like. It came highly recommended as a “cliffhanger murder mystery” by someone who shall remain nameless.

What we wound up with was a badly overwritten hunk of junk that doesn’t really get going until Chapter 44. We would’ve ordinarily bailed out long before then. But we promised a friend (who shall remain nameless) we’d read the whole thing.

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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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‘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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