Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


The Best Book We’ve Read All Year?

Wonder Dogs

True Stories of Extraordinary Assistance Dogs

By Maureen Maurer with Jenna Benton

Publisher: Revell, 2021

Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspirational, Dogs

Pages: 229

Via: Author Request

“Mom! Mom!” hollers I, Kimber the Magnificent. “Can I invite some friends over for a sleepover??!! They’re these Seriously PAWsome dogs from Assistance Dogs of Hawaii. They’re my new BFFs! There’s only a couple hundred or so. Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Um… Mom…?”

“She’s keeled over. So maybe I better tell you about how I met my new BFFs. Like when Mom and I recently read Wonder Dogs: True Stories of Extraordinary Assistance Dogs.”

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‘Independent Woman’ Memoir Opens Window into Yugoslavia

An Independent Woman in Yugoslavia: A Memoir

By Iris Novak

Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir

Pages: 327

Via: Author Request

Kimber the Magnificent here asking “What’s an “irregular declension”? Can I eat it? I’m only asking cuz it showed up in a book Her Momness recently read, An Independent Woman in Yugoslavia.

“You do not see me. I am Kimber the Invisible!”

First thing I had to do was look up the location of Yugoslavia. (One of us knew it was in Southern/Central Europe. And about Tito. One of us is also old enough to remember Kosovo. So don’t laugh. Bet you had to look it up, too. So here ya go. You’re welcome.)

Knowing a bit about Yugoslavia is kind of important. Cuz this memoir is about  how the 20th century moved into the 21st century in that part of the world as seen through the eyes of author Iris Novak. Mom will pick it up from here:

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‘How-To’ Book on Presentation Prep Packs a Punch

Simple Preaching Prep: A guide to finish your first sermon and flourish beyond. by [Mark Messmore]Simple Preaching Prep

A guide to finish your first sermon and flourish beyond

By Mark Messmore, 2022



“I don’t know about this one, Kimmi girl,” chirps Her Momness the other day. “Does this book look like a good fit for Pages and Paws?”

“Mom,” says I, Kimber the Magnificent.Of course it’s a good fit. Cuz I’m a World Champion Reacher! I reach for unattended New York steaks. Burgers on the counter. A thick, juicy T-bone. (I might even reach for a stray Brussel sprout or two. But let’s get carried away here, okay?”) So, ya see, Mom. I’m an awesome “Reacher!! Right up my kennel!”

“That’s preacher, Kimmi,” says Mom.  Insert eye roll here. Mom says we don’t do pulpit supply – whatever that is – and we’re not big into parsing Greek verbs. Whatever that means. So I dunno about reviewing this book, said one of us.

Which just goes to show you what Mom knows.

Maybe you’re thinking the same thing. Maybe you’re thinking a book on preaching prep isn’t your cuppa. That’s okay. Cuz while Simple Preaching Prep is geared toward Jesus followers, its principles and practical advice will help anyone looking to sharpen their presentation skills, organize their thoughts, and connect with their audience, be that in a church, business, club, discussion group, classroom, or other context.

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Why ‘Eyes Up’ is One to Watch

Eyes Up: How to Trust God's Heart by Tracing His Hand  -     By: Alexandra V. Hoover
Eyes Up: How to Trust God’s Heart by Tracing His Hand

By Alexandra V. Hoover

B&H Publishing Group, 2022

Genre: Christian Nonfiction, Inspirational

Via: NetGalley ARC

This book releases on May 24, 2022

Ever felt lost? Scared? Disoriented or discouraged? Overlooked or confused? Then Eyes Up is for you. Articulate and eloquent, this book is firmly anchored in a biblical worldview that’s marinated in grace. Drenched in hope and saturated in truth, it’s simply extraordinary.

The book’s main premise comes from a paraphrased quote by Charles H. Spurgeon:

“God is too good to be unkind and He’s too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”

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‘DAWGS’: Inspiring True Story of Animal Sanctuary


A True Story of Lost Animals and The Kids Who Rescued Them

By Diane Trull With Meredith Wargo

Citadel Press/Kensington Publishing Corp., 2020


“There’s no way we’re going to let anything bad happen to any of the dogs we save.”

That’s an admirable objective coming from an adult. It may be even better coming from a fourth grader. And it did, as we discover in the uplifting and inspirational story of how everyone can make a difference, DAWGS: A True Story of Lost Animals and the Kids Who Rescued Them.

A cardboard box overflowing with homeless puppies is the impetus for the creation of the Dalhart Animal Wellness Group and Sanctuary in Dalhart, Texas.  When students in Diane Trull’s fourth grade class ask what’ll happen to the puppies if no one takes them, Trull faces a dilemma: Gloss things over or tell them the truth.

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‘Walking Home’ Charts An Unforgettable Trip On The PCT

Walking Home: Common Sense and Other Misadventures on the Pacific Crest Trail

By Rick Rogers, 2021


Genre: Non-fiction/Humor/Outdoors/Adventure

“I finally went to find out.”

One of us was planning to plop down with this book and knock out a coupla quick chapters during lunch the other day. (Hi, Mom.) You know. Just an appetizer nibble. After all, our schedule was packed. Next thing ya know, we’re 20+ chapters in and going for broke!

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“All Sides Now” Falls Flat

“Well. That’s two hours out of my life I’ll never be able to get back” grumps Her Grumpiness. “What a hunka junk! And to think I coulda been playing Canasta! Or watching cheese grow mold!”


Mom has just finished reading a real dud. It’s called All Sides Now. You might want to grab the nearest flak jacket. Cuz…. Incoming! I’ll let her explain:

Remember that iconic Joni Mitchell folk tune from yesteryear, Both Sides Now? Sung by Judy Collins, the song’s “bittersweet lyrics” portray “the duality of human experience.” Along the same lines, All Sides Now seeks to describe a life “steeped in duality and balance” via a mildly interesting collection of personal essays on a wide variety of topics.

What Mom Really Thinks

That’s what I said in my Reedsy/Discovery review. Here’s what I really think:

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Incredibull Stella’s Story Warms Hearts

Incredibull Stella: How the Love of a Pit Bull Rescued a Family

By Marika Meeks

Citadel Press – Kensington Publishing, 2019

Genre: Non-Fiction

Via: Publisher Request

Her Grumpiness speaks:

I had two distinct reactions to this book. It’s the true story of a pit bull puppy left to die on the side of a road in winter and the woman who adopted the dog while recovering from stage three breast cancer.

On the one hand, Incredibull Stella is an uplifting, heartwarming read about the power of love and second chances. Robust and engaging, it’s told with great honesty and empathy.

On the other, it too often reads like an overlong soap opera, careening from one cataclysmic, heart-rending event to the next with nary a dog’s whisker in between. Think Lassie meets As The World Turns.

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How a Rescue Dog Saves Her Human Told in “Gabby”

Gabby: The Little Dog That Had to Learn to Bark

By Barby Keel

Citadel Press  – Kensington Publishing Corp., 2020

Genre: Biography/Autobiography/Animals

The true story of the unbreakable bond of love and loyalty between a woman and the little rescue dog who rescued her.

“Sometimes, a human and a dog find each other and fit together like two jigsaw pieces…”

The founder and director of the Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary in Sussex, England, Barby Keel makes the observation when she finds a Yorkie terrier mix cowering on the floor of a car as Gabby’s dropped off at the sanctuary. Continue reading