Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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Do YOU Know ‘Net Galley’?

Kimber here. Asking what a ‘Top Reviewer’ is? It must be good, right? Cuz Mom’s doing her happy dance. (Why she does this, I dunno. But she also loves asparagus. Sometimes there’s just no accounting for taste.)

Anyway. Mom’s a Professional Reader with Net Galley. Do you know Net Galley?

Mom says Net Galley makes ARCs available to professional readers and helps promote new and upcoming titles. Professional readers–reviewers, media, journalists, bloggers, librarians, booksellers and educators–can join and use Net Galley at no cost.

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YA Fiction Plumbs Eternal Questions in ‘The Celestial Gate’

Cover Image: The Celestial Gate

The Celestial Gate (BooksGoSocial, August 2020)

By Avital Dicker

Three teens dodge bullets – both ideological and actual – from the world’s three major religions in this mystery thriller/sci fi fantasy set in Israel, “heaven,” and various fantasy locations (think ABC’s “Lost”). The kids who aren’t really kids are plunged into a world of intrigue, conflict, and a seemingly endless cycle of religious-based hate in this imaginative, creative read. Can they save themselves and their loved ones before it’s too late?

 

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ROCK Goes the 4th With These 25 U.S. Historical Fiction Books

Kimber here. Mom is busy rustling up some Independence Day eats. I’m not too sure about the potato salad and corn on the cob thing. But I’m all over the grilled burgers! Yeah, Lassie!

Well. The subject of “best U.S. historical fiction” came up the other night. We were watching videos of last year’s fireworks or somethin’. You know. The stupid Big Boom things. (Why do humans do this every Independence Day? I don’t get it.)

I was all ears. (For the book list. Not the Big Boom things. Mom got me a Thunder Shirt for that.)

Anyway, just in time for Independence day, Mom and I put together a list of the best historical fiction reads set in the U.S. Mom says we aren’t even going to try to cover books by decade, social movement, issue, or what not. That’d take us like, till the cat comes home. Gag me with Meow Mix!

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Ever Feel Alone? Why You Should Give New Lucado Book a Look

You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God's Presence and Power

You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God’s Presence and Power

(Thomas Nelson, September 2020)

By Max Lucado

 

 

Ever feel like no one’s listening? No one cares? Ever feel stuck? Like no one can help you, hear you, or heed your call? Then this book is for you.

Packed with parables of hope, grace, and healing, You Are Never Alone takes readers on a rousing ride through gospel of John. A fresh coat of joy, perspective, and personal polish is applied to Jesus’ miracles, from Cana to Capernaum. A storm in Galilee. A crowd listening to their tummies growl. A paralytic. A blind man. Two cemeteries. And an empty tomb.

The Heartbeat

The heartbeat of this book is this:

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Why a Good Book is Like Filet Mignon

File:Filet mignon with mushrooms and vegetables (1).jpg

Filet mignon with mushrooms and vegetables. Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

“Eureka!” says Mom the other day, coming home from the library (they’re doing “curbside” pick-ups these days.)

I have no idea why Mom says this. But she says it a lot. Especially when she’s lugging another truck load of “books” home from The Book Place.

 

The Book Place

Me, I’m not crazy about The Book Place. Ever since Mom pointed out the “guide dogs and service animals only” sign. What am I, chopped Salisbury steak with extra gravy? Tri-tip roast? A nice, thick burger sizzling merrily on the outdoor grill?

 

Wait. What was I saying?

 

Oh yeah. “Eureka” and The Book Place.

File:Omaha Steaks Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon.jpg

Omaha Steaks Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon. Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

 

“See what we have here?” Mom oohs and ahhs, pulling out one of those big square, reading thingies from a “book bag” big enough to choke a Brontosaurus. “Letters on pages,” she explains. “This is a book.” She fans the pages.

 

Can I Eat? Classics

I sniff said pages. Can I eat it? Something tells me no. As in, BIG N-O.

 

David Copperfield!” Mom announces.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn! Jane Eyre! Classics!”

 

I’m still sniffing. Am I supposed to be impressed?

 

“Wait! There’s more!” Mom crows, excavating deeper into the Bronto bag. She unearths more reading thingies. Like Pride and Prejudice. Raisin in the Sun. The Black Stallion Returns. Thunder Rolling the Mountains. Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds.

 

Still sniffing…

Filet mignon wrapped with bacon with assorted vegetables フィレミニョンのベーコン巻き 温野菜添え | by naotakem

Filet wrapped with bacon and assorted vegetables. Flickr. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Book Boon

Meanwhile, I’m beginning to wonder about these reading thingies she calls “books.” They don’t have any buttons. Blinking lights. Bonus levels. App updates. In fact, books really don’t have any sounds at all. And not much smell, either. (Dust, maybe. Or something that’s been sitting on a shelf since just after the discovery of fire.)

 

“Look,” crows Mom, cheerfully paging through something called Anchor in the Storm. You’d think she just discovered filet mignon, medium well.

 

Buried Treasure

“Finding a good book is like finding buried treasure!” Mom continues. “It’s like an adventure waiting to happen! Like biting into a nice, thick, juicy…”

I get the picture, okay? Salivating here royally.

File:Filet Mignon with Asparagus Spears.jpg

Filet mignon with asparagus spears. Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

She also tells me these reading thingies – “books” – can:

  • Take you on travels only you can imagine.
  • Guide you through forests thick with facts.
  • Discover whole galaxies dripping with starry fiction.
  • Introduce you to lifelong friends.
  • Keep you awake all night until The End.

 

Says Mom, “A book can be a friend if you just want to be by yourself in the highest status-update-free mountain.” Plus, the only “storage space” that runs out in a book is what’s in your own head.

Photo by Kasumi Loffler from Pexels.

Batteries Not Required

Also, a good book doesn’t run on batteries. Never needs a recharge. Or a power cord. Doesn’t have an off button. And you don’t need to remember a password to get inside.

 

A book won’t make you sick because it doesn’t catch viruses.

A book won’t unfriend you.

Ever.

 

Well. Why is a good book like a good filet mignon? Because both taste great!

 

At the end of the day, you can put down a book guilt-free. It won’t mind. And you won’t be missing out. Because, says Mom, a book will always be there, waiting for you to come back. Pick up where you left off. Like an old friend welcoming you home. Whether you’re a “service animal” or not.

 

Mom may be on to something. I just hope she hurries up with that steak.

 

For more of some of our “filet mignon” reading, check out Fine Wine Fridays. Ta!

 

What do you enjoy or appreciate most about reading and books?

 

 

 

Wedding table photo by Kasumi Loffler from Pexels


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‘Wrong Place, Right Time’ Hits the Mark

Wrong Place, Right Time

By E.B. Roshan

Anna Belko is your average twenty three year-old garment worker in the fictional country of Sevia. Her life in the uneasy city of Dor takes a sharp turn when a waiter at a sidewalk café accidently spills a pot of tea in her lap. Turns out the waiter’s cousin has been recently killed, an innocent casualty in the high stakes battle for control of the country. And Boris Merkovich isn’t sure he can live with the loss – or with his growing affection for Anna.

Story

Simmering tensions explode as Dor plunges into war in Wrong Place, Right Time. Rival gangs fight it out in the streets. Anna’s family decides to leave Dor for safety, but she chooses to stay behind and be with Boris. As Boris unexpectedly rebuffs her, feeling he’s unworthy, Anna wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake. Internal and external conflict soon crashes into Anna and Boris’s private world, threatening to up-end them both.

Boris and Anna have their flaws. But Wrong Place, Right Time shows readers why that doesn’t really matter, and why forgiveness is always a choice, even in the midst of a raging gang war.

Lithe and agile, this uplifting faith-based story features robust world building and sturdy writing. You can almost smell the smoke. Hear the gun fire. Taste the sugar-glazed cherry tarts.

Suspense

Meanwhile, suspense builds as personal and political antes are upped in this gentle romance. Will Anna and Boris’s love survive as Dor descends into chaos and internal war threatens to tear them apart?

Keep an Eye Out

A new author, E.B. Roshan writes like a seasoned pro. Keep an eye on this author. I’m already looking forward to the next Roshan book.

4.0


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BATTER UP! 10 Summer Hits & Misses

Woof-hoo! It’s summer time, summer time, sum-sum, summer time! Doo-whop, doo-whop.

Kimber here. Mom and I are celebrating the First Week of Summer with something a little special. I was lobbying for filet mignon. But nooooo! Mom decided on a quick run-down on recently read titles. To save you some time. So you can avoid the clunkers. And enjoy the goodies.

Public domain

And hey. What’s summer without baseball, right? So I suggested we categorize titles as either Hits and Misses or as Strike Outs and Home Runs. Brilliant huh? (Mom helped a little. But it was mostly me.)

So here are five kinds of each book. Five duds. As in, swing-from-the-heels strike-outs and don’t waste your time. Five awesome-dawsome, tail-wagging, bonafide home runs. (One is somewhere in the middle, depending on which bat you choose.)

So… batter up!

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‘No Place Too Far’ Brings Family Home

No Place Too Far

(Lake Union Publishing, September 1, 2020)
By Kay Bratt

A Maui-based book that begins with a shaggy dog named Woodrow? Count me in!

A highly engaging story with a smooth-as-silk plot, No Place Too Far is just plain fun. It snaps and crackles with energy throughout and is chockful of memorable characters like a precocious four year-old named Charlie, a scatter-brained but loveable veterinarian, Dr. Joe Starr, and a blue-haired dynamo named Juniper.

Setting

Lush tropical locations and a pitch-perfect pacing surf in and out of intrigue, danger, and triumph. Oh yeah. There’s this great dog and veterinary heroes, too. My kinda book!

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15 High Octane Novels With Superstar Heroines

Photo: NJFF.no

What’s a Superstar or a”Bad Ass Heroine?”

In our literary context, a “BAH” is a main female character who:

  • Doesn’t quit when the chips are down, but digs deep, discovering and drawing on resources she probably didn’t know she has.
  • Is a dynamic, three-dimensional character.
  • Overcomes adversity with valor, integrity, determination, and grit.
  • Isn’t perfect, but learns from her mistakes.
  • Is clever and courageous.
  • Keeps a clear eye, a keen ear, and a level head.
  • Possesses rapier wit. Bonus points for a decent sense of humor.
  • Turns Mama Grizzly in a nano-second if her loved ones are threatened.

Oh yeah. Having a titanium spine qualifies, too. So does not acting like an idiot. Additionally, …

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5 Reasons Why “The Edge of Nowhere” Will Keep You on the Edge of Your Seat

The Edge of Nowhere, 2nd edition

By C.H. Armstrong

Penner Publishing, 2015 (1st edition)

C.H. Armstrong’s The Edge of Nowhere is set in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl days of the “Dirty Thirties.” The protagonist is a no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners spitfire named Victoria Hastings Harrison Greene.

Victoria is a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks. Now elderly, she has a tumor on her pancreas. So the novel opens with a letter. It’s penned by Victoria and addressed to her grandchildren. Dated November 12, 1992, the epistle begins:

“I know you refer to me as ‘the meanest woman you’ve ever known.’”

The rest of the book – 261 pages – fills in the blanks. What emerges is the fictionalized story of a woman who refused to be a victim.

Here are 5 Reasons Why The Edge of Nowhere Will Keep You on the Edge of Your Seat:

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