Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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‘Acts of Dreams’: Where ‘Impossible’ Doesn’t Get The Last Word

Acts of Dreams (March 2021)

Book 3 of The Inquisition Trilogy

By Martin Elsant

Historical Fiction

How far would you go for freedom? Would you contest a centuries-old law? Throw in with a notorious privateer? Sail across an ocean? Challenge the Queen of England?

These questions and more are at the heart of a fast-moving historical fiction novel by Martin Elsant. There is so much in this story to keep both history lovers and bibliophiles turning pages until the very end.

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GUEST POST: Interview With Intrepid World Travel Author Kaitlyn Jain

Kimber the Magnificent here. The other day Mom and I came up with another brilliant idea in the guest author department: revisiting a heartfelt and often hilarious travel tome we recently reviewed. (Well, okay. It was mostly me. Mom helped a little.)

Mom and The Kimster. (At least ONE of us is awake. Most of the time.)

Today we’re chatting with the author of an interesting, insightful, and often very funny travel-ish book, Passports and Pacifiers—Traveling the World, One Tantrum at a Time. Her name is Kaitlyn Jain. Let’s tune in and see what she has to say. You won’t want to miss this, if I do bark so myself! (For our full review of Passports and Pacifiers, click here.)

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Looking for Peter J.

One of the most inspirational “travel” books I’ve ever read is Peter Jenkins’ A Walk Across America (Harper Collins, 1979).

Do you remember?

Remember?

Disillusioned and cynical about society, newly minted college graduate Jenkins decides to hit the road with his faithful half Alaskan Malamute and “forever friend,” Cooper. (The book is even dedicated to Peter’s “forever friends: Cooper Half Malamute and Barbara Jo.”)

Together, Peter and Coop discover America. The resulting tome, A Walk Across America, is the compelling, uplifting account of the reawakening of Jenkins’ faith in himself and his country. It topped the New York Times Bestseller list for months and remains a beloved classic.

A Return

Weary of plowing through a mountain of mawkish drivel posing as “hiking memoir,” I recently decided to return to the Real Deal. The “Grand Daddy” of the genre and its trail-blazing author, Peter Jenkins.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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3 Surprising Packages of Hope

Kimber here. I bet you think Her Crankiness is… 100% cranky, right? So do I. (Don’t tell Mom, okay? Let’s just keep this our little secret.)

But every once in a while Mom surprises me. Not that I’m surprise-able. But …

Wait. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Mom and I read a trio of books recently that were … surprising. They were quite different from each other, too. Think dogs and cats. (Well, okay. Maybe not cats. But you get the picture.)

Anyway, the first book is a delightful new Christian romance from Kim Vogel Sawyer. The second is a non-fiction “travel tome with a twist” from Joseph F. Smith, M.D. There’s also an historical fiction novel by Kristin Hannah.

All get an Official Thumbs Up from Her Crankiness. Here’s why (short version):

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Going The Distance With ‘Shoeless Joe’

“Writing is different,” says Jerry. “Ordinary people don’t understand. Even other writers don’t understand.’” – Ray Kinsella, Shoeless Joe

This is one of many insights percolating through the book that inspired the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams. You know the movie. But have you ever read the book?

I did. Finally.

Shoeless Joe isn’t an easy read. Kinsella has a penchant for circuitous syntax, dense dialogue and bunny trails. He also hits similes and metaphors like – on a fastball. The result is a rambling, lumbering read. In fact, I was surprised at what a struggle finishing this book was. I didn’t expect that. But it also has its moments. And some key differences from the movie version.

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7 Skunkers & Clunkers

Ever get a whiff of skunk? You don’t need to get close. One whiff is Plenty. (Don’t ask how I know that.)

Mom and I, we read. A lot. Like, 300+ books a year on average. We know what we like. What we don’t. What works. What stinketh.

We try to approach every book with an open mind. Give it a chance. That being said, it doesn’t take us long to smell out a stinker. (We don’t look for this stuff. It finds us.)

When we can, we pass on our 100% unscientific, totally subjective “olfactory discoveries” to you. No extra charge. Consider it a Public Service Announcement.

So here’s our newest list of literary skunkers and clunkers. Four topped our most recent DNF (Did Not Finish) list. Here’s why:

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‘Book of Lost Friends’ Hits High Notes

The Book of Lost Friends (Ballantine Books, 2020)

By Lisa Wingate

Historical Fiction

“If there is magic in this world, it is contained in books.” – The Book of Lost Friends

You know one of us looooooves historical fiction. And I love anything Mom loves! Because, hey! It’s me. Kimber the Magnificent!

Anywho, our intrepid humans at The Book Place know Mom loves historical fiction too. They’ve piled her with tons of historical fiction set in World War II. But Mom got a teensy-weensy bit tired of HF set during WWII.

So someone suggested The Book of Lost Friends. Set in 1875-ish and 1987. I’ll let Mom tell you more. You know how Mom is. Take it away, Mom:

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Political Fantasy Takes A Novel Bite in ‘King Genghis I’

King Genghis I (2021)

By Jonathan Yolan

Fiction/Adventure

It’s a bad day in Brooklyn. Turan Mugayev has just lost his girlfriend and his job. Rudderless, he recalls an invitation to visit his boyhood home of Genghistan, formerly Kushtamenistan, issued by the king himself. Turan hops a flight to the Central Asian country, enters the city of Shpagatt, the government seat, and has an audience with the king.

Turan winds up running Genghistan’s PR and overseeing social media for the government’s Ministry of Information. Sort of. It would be a lot easier if the testy Minister of Information wasn’t so testy. Active, unblocked Internet access would be helpful, too. (Even if Turan is stuck with the boss from hell, he can still pass the time with a good book.)

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Buckle Up for The Lane Betrayal & High Octane Historical Fiction

The Lane Betrayal (February, 2020)

By John Heldt

Historical Fiction

If you could time travel back to April 1865 and foil the plans of John Wilkes Booth, would you do it? Should you?

Those are some of the questions raised in this delightful historical fiction novel by John Heldt. The U.S. Civil War comes alive in this captivating and clever high octane novel in a skillful blend of historical fiction, suspense, gentle romance, and what ifs?

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Check Out of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ With New Book by Jared Woods

Heartbreak Sucks!

How to Get Over Your Break-Up in 30 Days

By Jared Woods

Non-fiction

 

Elvis put it this way:

Well, since my baby left me
Well, I found a new place to dwell
Well, it’s down at the end of Lonely Street
At Heartbreak Hotel…

 

If you’re looking to check out of Heartbreak Hotel and exit Lonely Street, you may want to consider Heartbreak Sucks: How to Get Over Your Break-Up in 30 Days.

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