Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


2 Comments

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:

Continue reading


2 Comments

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?”

Continue reading


4 Comments

‘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.

Continue reading


2 Comments

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:

Continue reading


2 Comments

‘When the Day Comes’: Better Than Bacon?

When the Day Comes

By Gabrielle Meyer

Publisher: Bethany House, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian Fiction/Romance

Pages: 364

Via: Author Request

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

When’s the last time you finished a book and just wanted to go, “Ahhhh”? Or in one furry case, decided the tome is almost better than bacon? Almost. (Hi, Kimber.)

Well. Gabrielle Meyer’s When the Day Comes is that kind of book. Here’s why:

Continue reading


2 Comments

Pride & Prejudice Revisited in ‘Miriam’

Miriam*

By Linda O’Bryne

Page Count: TBC pages 

Genre : Historical

Today we’re doing a spotlight of this Jane Austen-ish book by British author Linda O’Bryne:

About the Book

Many years have passed since the dramatic events of Pride and Prejudice.  In The Cousins of Pemberley series we follow a new generation of heroines – cousins with lives as different and interesting as those enjoyed by their mothers.
 
Mary Bennet – overlooked, laughed at, despised – married a missionary and vanished into a life of service out in Africa.  
 
But now Miriam, her daughter, is coming to England, disliking everything she has been told about her family.  
 
Her aunts and cousins are expecting someone quiet, dull and bookish, just like her mother, not the quick-tempered, impulsive girl who arrives.  
 
How can this adventurous girl with her desire for freedom possibly fit into their well ordered world?  
 
And what havoc will she cause as she tries?  
 
Miriam is the third book in the Cousins of Pemberley series,

About The Author

Fiction has always been my go-to world, a place of entertainment, excitement and imagination – I am told that I wrote my first story when I was four about a lady who had twenty children! Sadly it has been lost for posterity.

I have been writing all my life in the time I could spare from having a “proper job”, mostly for children under the name of Linda Blake, stories of ballet dancers, pony riding and talking animals! Not all in the same book!

But my love of romance, a great tendency to say “What if..?” and the endearing characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice have now resulted in a series of books that will take the reader forward to the next generation of heroines. 

I am retired, live in Kent and am a keen member of my local drama group.  Directing and acting take up a lot of my time – I have been given the onerous task of writing the Christmas pantomimes – but I still need to cope with a large garden, doing daily battle with the heron who thinks my pond is his own breakfast buffet and keeping in touch with friends and family scattered all over the world.  

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Instagram

 

Note: We did not receive this book in time to read and review. So we’ll leave that to you. *Also, the cover for this book was “under wraps” when we were wrote this post, hence its absence. 


4 Comments

‘The Nurse’s Secret’: Compelling Historical Fiction

The Nurse’s Secret

By Amanda Skenandore

Published by: Kensington Books, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 352

Via: Book Blog Tour

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

Una Kelly has been living by her wits and her sticky fingers since she was a child. A grifter in the mean streets of 19th century New York City’s slums, Una is on the run from the “coppers” for a murder she didn’t commit. She lies her way into an unlikely refuge: the Bellevue Hospital Training School for Nurses. Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. But for Una, it’s a place to hide.

An Expert Blend

Then an inebriated ex-friend shows up at Bellevue and threatens to expose Una’s secret past. Una caves to Deidre’s extortion scheme. But when Deidre winds up dead in the hospital’s alcoholic’s ward where she’s drying out, Una gets suspicious. Did Deidre die from an overdose of laudanum, or was she murdered? A certain tall, handsome young doctor also enters the picture in this expert blend of historical fiction, whodunit, romance, and murder mystery.

Gripping & Intense

Emotionally gripping and intense, The Nurse’s Secret is propelled by masterful story-telling, an engrossing plot and lively, three-dimensional characters within a unique historical setting. Think A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Oliver Twist meet Florence Nightingale and The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

A Second Chance

We almost missed this book. It arrived well past our deadline for a review. We just don’t have time for late arrivals. So we were inclined to put it aside. But one us – the four-legged one- said, “C’mon Mom! Let’s shoehorn this puppy into our calendar! I’ll help!”

So we gave it another chance. Glad we did. Cuz The Nurse’s Secret is a winner.

Our Rating: 4.0


2 Comments

‘Potiphar’s Wife’: Fresh Take on an Old Story

ImagePotiphar’s Wife

A novel

By Mesu Andrews

Genre: Fiction/General Fiction/Historical Fiction/Biblical Fiction

Part of The Egyptian Chronicles

Published by: WaterBrook & Multnomah

Release Date: May 24, 2022

416 pages

Via: Book Launch Team

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

Streams of mercy, never ceasing…

Step back into ancient Egypt and the palace of a mighty pharaoh in this beautifully crafted, meticulously researched historical novel where the writing is as elaborate as Potiphar’s apparel and the story is as exquisite as his bride’s finest crystal vase.

Who Was She?

Most people know her as one of the Bible’s most notorious women. But who was Potiphar’s wife? What was her background? Her name? Who was she? How, where and why did she meet the powerful Potiphar? Even a cursory reading of the Old Testament story indicates that she was unhappy with her marriage and husband. But why?

These themes and more are explored in a captivating faith-based novel from the award-winning author of Isaiah’s Legacy.

A Brief Overview (without giving too much away):

Continue reading


2 Comments

PAWsome or Over-Rated? 7 Popular HF Titles Reviewed

Kimber here. You know Mom and I read a lot of historical fiction, right? Well. We’ve read so much historical fiction lately, we’re almost ready to produce our own Encyclopedia Historica. Almost.

Best of HF?

Anywho, we’re in the process of reading our way through some “Best Of” historical fiction lists found elsewhere. We wanted to see for ourselves what titles are worth the time and what belongs in the kitty litter box. Cuz ya know, just because a book or author is a popular “best seller” doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll pass Kimber and Mom Muster.

Yea, verily. No one wants to waste their time on lousy snoozers with stale, brittle plots that are as predictable as tomorrow’s sunrise. Or populated with one-dimensional, cardboard characters we don’t know, don’t want to know, and could care less about, no matter how many accolades they get elsewhere. Cuz we’re like, picky.

The List

So here’s our Totally Unscientific, 100% Subjective take on a few recently read historical-fiction titles. Plus one plain fiction title we’re throwin’ in for free. Cuz we can. (You may want to buckle up. Just sayin’). Ready? Set? Let’s GO!

Continue reading


6 Comments

Kernels of Consummate in ‘The Coronation’?

The Coronation

By Justin Newland

Matador, 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Via: ZooLoo’s Book Tours

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

Step into 18th century Prussia and meet a land-owning family, its matriarch, and their community as they navigate politics, faith, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, treachery, and romance as the Seven Years’ War with Russia and Austria rages.

Select Characters:

Countess Marion von Adler of East Prussia.

The Countess could really use some Excedrin Migraine or a CAT SCAN. Her hubby Gottfried is off fighting the war, leaving Marion to run the estate – when she’s not down with a splitting headache. And what’s up with her visions of eagles?

Continue reading