Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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Action/Adventure Hit and Miss

What?

Kimber here. Mom says it’s time for a quick reading wrap-up. That’s when she does her version of recently read hits and misses. Why? So you can avoid the dumpster fires. Not waste your time on doggie doo-doo that some fluff ball with no taste published. And grab some Good Stuff. Note: We received complimentary copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

For more on our rating system, click here.

Me? I’m going to watch the doin’s from the sweet, delicious comfort of my  doggie bed by MyPillow.

Four Titles

But first, to books! We’re makin it easy today. With just four titles. The stinkers first: Continue reading


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High Octane Action Fuels ‘The Organ Grinder Factor’

The Organ Grinder Factor

By Stephen Steele

Pages: 252

Genre: Action/Adventure

Via: Author Request

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

A little champagne or Top Sirloin, please? Cuz after plowing through a bunch of Real Slogs lately, we finally came across a book worth reading. That we actually liked. About time.

Kimber here. Saying when The Organ Grinder Factor author guy reached out to us requesting a review after we plowed through a bunch of slogs, we were kinda like, “I dunno….” (Hi, Mom.) But this book sounded interesting. Then again, our review calendar is crammed. Think sardine tin.

But you know She Who Must Be Obeyed…. (Insert eye roll here.)

“Just one chapter, Kimber,” says She. “Then we’ll get back on track with the 88 million other books in the review queue.”

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Except “one chapter” became two. Then three. Then four. Then… Well. Before you can say, “Lassie Come Home,” we read the whole book. In one sitting. I’ll let Mom fill you in. If she promises to behave. Because you know Mom….

The 4-1-1:

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Sweet Children’s Story Celebrates the Season

Who let these guys on the front lawn?

Kimber: “Mom! Mom! Open the door, pronto!”

Mom: “Hey, Kimmi. What’s up?”

Kimber: “I gotta meet up for a play date with my new buddy! Hurry! Hurry!”

Mom (Mutters to self: I may regret asking this, but here goes): “What new buddy?”

Kimber: “Red Dog, of course! My new best pal from that children’s story thingy, Lily’s Egypt Adventure.”

Mom: “Um… You do know that Red Dog is a character in a book, right? That he’s not real. As in, fiction?”

Kimber: “Does that matter?”

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New Christmas Fable Brings Holiday Cheer

The Great Tree

A Christmas Fable

By Able Barrett

Bonus points: The Last Dog Publications, 2021

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 42

Via: Author Request

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

Kimber: Someone is a Super Star. No, really. All you have to do is open this sweet little novella and turn to the Dedication page. See?

Remind you of anyone?

In case you’re wondering – and even if you’re not – this isn’t really a photo of Yours Truly.  Naw. 

It’s actually a photo “In Loving memory of Demerri,” the author’s “Dear Departed Rescued Dog” and “The Best German Shephard I Ever Knew & Loved.”

It’s me!

 

Probably a cousin. So when it comes to The Great Tree, I’m kinda biased. In a canine sort of way, if ya know what I mean. Here’s the 4-1-1 on this Christmas novella:

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Smart & Sassy Romance Will Wing Its Way Into Your Holidays

A Wingman for Christmas

A Sweet Water Novella

By Barbara Barth

Gilbert Street Press, 2022

Via: Blog Tour

Genre: Fiction/Light Romance

Pages: 195

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

‘Tis the season “for miracles and love” in this smooth and sassy light romance.

The Basics

Cheryl Calloway is in a seasonal slump. Recently divorced, the last thing she needs is for her chain-smoking, Vodka-drinking, wise-cracking Mama to move in with her. But move in Mama does, along with Nigel, a loquacious Amazonian parrot who’s “the love of Mama’s life.”

Settling the gregarious, geriatric Mama into Cheryl’s tiny cottage is like trying to “settle” a runaway freight train. Mama may be elderly, but she’s still a force of nature.

Wild Rose Lane will never be the same.

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SPOTLIGHT: Half Notes From Berlin

“Well, dog-gone it!” says I, Kimber the Magnificent. In case you’re wondering – and even if you’re not – I’m fine, thanks. Fresh off a festive holiday weekend with food falling like rain off people’s dinner plates. Cuz once it hits the floor, it’s dog-gone!  (Don’t tell Mom. Let’s just keep that Thanksgiving Day coup our little secret, okay?)

“Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!”

Anyway, we were all set to post a review today of an historical fiction work, Half Notes From Berlin. It grabbed our attention when we received a blog tour invite for this title. We wanted to do a review. But the book did not arrive in time. (What can I say? We have standards. Deadlines. Sometimes we can bend. Sometimes we can’t. This was a “can’t.” Bummer.)

Where was I? Oh yeah. Historical fiction. Like a coming-of-age story set in Berlin 1933.

Even though this book didn’t make our cut-off for arrival, we’re still intrigued. And you know how we love good historical fiction. So we want to feature it with a “spotlight.” Cuz we’re really, really nice that way. What?

Here ya go:

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Why ‘My Mother’s Secret’ Will Melt Hearts

Hardcover My Mother's Secret: A Novel of the Jewish Autonomous Region BookMy Mother’s Secret: A Novel of the Jewish Autonomous Region

By Alina Adams

Publisher:  The Donohue Group, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance

Pages: 305

Via: Blog Tour

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

***

“Hope, my earthly compass

It’s luck, it’s a trophy for bravery…

We only need to learn how to wait

We must be calm and stubborn.”

Real estate lawyer and San Franciscan Lena Burns doesn’t understand why her mother is so aloof. Also:

  • Why is Mama Regina so impassive and ambivalent?
  • What happened in Regina Solomonova’s past, when she fled Moscow for a God-forsaken patch of ground in Eastern Russia called Birobidzhan, the world’s first Jewish Autonomous Region?
  • Why does Mama Regina not trust herself to make good decisions?
  • Did something happen to Regina before she married an American G.I. and left the USSR for San Francisco after World War II?
  • Why did Mama Regina leave her homeland, and who did she leave behind?
  • What did Lena’s father mean with his deathbed question: “You couldn’t’ tell, could you?”

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‘Daughters of Teutobod’: Hold the Braunschweiger

See the source imageDaughters of Teutobod

By Kurt Hansen

Kimber: You know that feeling you get when you order a nice, thick filet mignon and wind up with an under-cooked burger instead? That’s how we felt reading this book. I’ll let Her Grumpiness explain. But I’d buckle up ‘fize you. Cuz she’s on a roll today. And I don’t mean burger bun. Take it away, Mom!

Her Grumpiness: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour. Then we read it. And bowed out of the tour. Why? Simple. Blog tour coordinators typically want a glowing review on the order of the Parting of the Red Sea or the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Burger Buns.

Newsflash, Buttercup: We don’t do that here.

We bowed out of the tour so we could post an Honest Review instead. We’re just funny that way.

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Discover Rich Historical Fiction in ‘The River Remembers’

The River Remembers

By Linda Ulleseit

Published by: She Writes Press (Available June 2023)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 332

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

“The tears of nations run in the river, and the river remembers.”

Kimber: So, can we just cut to the chase here and recommend plopping down with this book and a hot cuppa – or maybe a nice rib eye steak? Huh? Huh? Can we? Can we?

Mom: Hang on a min, Kimmi! Let’s get to the review first.

Kimber: Here a min, there a min, everywhere a min, min…

Wait. Where were we? Oh yeah. The Michigan Territory. 1830s-ish. Three women. Three backgrounds, cultures, and stories. All yearn for freedom:

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4 Fines & Flubs for Fall

So there I was. Snoozing in the sunshine. Minding my own business. (It’s tough being Beautiful and Brilliant. But someone’s gotta do it.) Then She Who Must be Obeyed (sort of) skips in with, “Hey Kimmi! I’ve got a great idea!”

Another one?! Insert eye roll here.

“You know those last four books we read?” asks Her Momness, all bright-eyed and chipper. “Two were great. Two were like, Gag me with arugula.”

Yeah. I remember. I was there. (For the reading part. Not the arugula-gagging part.)

Continues Mom: “Instead of doing separate posts on each book, how ’bout we roll ’em all into one post? We can call it 4 Fines & Flubs for Fall! Whaddya think?”

 Don’t say I didn’t warn you, okay? I hate arugula.

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