Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


TTT: One Word Reviews for the Last 10 Books I Read

“Mom is gonna love this weeks’s Top Ten Tuesday Topic!” spake I, Kimber the Magnificent and Bookish Border Collie Extraordinaire. You know this is so because I say it is.

Anyway, this week’s topic is One Word Review for the Last 10 Books I (We) Read. Sounds easy, no? But when one of us sat down to actually come up with a list of same, we discovered three things:

  1. It’s a lot harder than it sounds.
  2. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. (That’s not a redundant typo, okay?)
  3. Once Her Momness finally got the lead out and got rolling, it was hard to limit the list to just ten. It was easier to limit the list to the last 10-ish good or at least reasonably decent books we read. (We left out the real stinkers. You’re welcome.)

So here ya go:

Continue reading


TTT: Books With THIS Award on the Cover

Don’t look now, but this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Books With ___ on the Cover. (Pick a thing, a color, an item, a place, an animal, person, etc. and share books that have that thing on the cover.)

Children’s Literature has long been a favorite genre. So we’re highlighting Books With Newbery Medals on the Cover

100th Anniversary!

Besides. The first Newbery Medal was awarded in 1922. So This year, 2022, marks the award’s 100th anniversary.

What is a Newbery Medal, aka: a Newbery Award? Since 1922, the Newberry medal has been awarded annually by the American Library Association for “The most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”.” The Newbery Medal is the oldest and most prestigious children’s book award given in the United States. (For more info. About the Newbery Award, click here.  For a complete list of Newbery Medal winners, click here.)

It was really hard to narrow down our list to just a handful of awardees. But here, in no particular order, are some of our favorites. How many of these have you read?

Continue reading


TTT: Why ‘Shadow’ is Like a Warm Breath of Spring


By Michael Morpurgo

U.S.: Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan

Great Britain: HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2010

Genre: Historical Fiction

Via: Library

A silver star badge. A little red train.  A cave in Afghanistan. A “sniffer dog” named Shadow. An incredible story of escape, adversity, courage, and love. The kind that never gives in and never gives up.

It’s perfect for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, which is a “Freebie.”

“We want you back.”

Kimber here, ready to introduce you to my new BFF: Shadow the springer spaniel. Aka: “Polly.” She’s a special bomb-sniffing dog. (Okay, she’s not quite as special as I am. But let’s not get picky here, okay?)

Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. Shadow. She gets lost in Afghanistan during the war and is finally reunited with her old unit from the U.K. But not before finding her way into the heart of young Aman.

Continue reading


TTT: 10-ish Books With an Adjective in the Title

Kimber: “Are we ever gonna have fun with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday Topic! It’s Books with an adjective in the title. Mom, what’s an adjective?”

Mom: “It’s a word that modifies a noun or noun phrase. A describing word.”

Kimber: “As in, Grand, elegant, splendid? Extremely fine and impressive in size or beauty. You know. Like me?”  

Insert eye roll here.

In Unison: Anyway, this was harder than it sounds. But Mom and I joined hand to paw and came up with Ten-ish Books With An Adjective in the Title. Several were favorite read-alouds when the young’un’s were younger. Some are fiction. Some are non. All are “Kimber-tested, Mom approved.” (“Kimber the Magnificent” not included.)

How many do you recognize?

Continue reading


TTT: Dynamic Duos


It’ time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is “dynamic duos.” If you’re thinking Aragorn and Arwen, Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, or Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, think again.

Because this week we’re featuring one of the most Dynamic Duos we’ve ever read: Barby Keel and Bailey.

Who? You’re saying. I’d be saying that too if I hadn’t recently read Barby Keel’s Will You Love Me? The Rescue Dog That Rescued Me.

Barby is the author of the Foster Tails series. She’s also the founder and head honcho at the Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary in Sussex, U.K.

“Bailey” is a horribly abused and mistreated greyhound who’s dumped at the sanctuary’s gate on a sodden, freezing night. The poor dog is so far gone, he isn’t expected to last the night.

Against all odds, Bailey rallies.

Continue reading


TTT: Books With Character Names in the Titles

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Today’s topic is Books With Character Names in the Titles. This is harder than it sounds. But once we sat down and put on our thinking caps, we came up with 20+. That we’ve actually read. Could’ve included more, but this is for starters. How many have you read?

22 Books With Character Names in the Titles (in no particular order):

1. Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt

Is eternal life a blessing or a curse? That’s what young Winnie Foster must decide when she discovers a spring on her family’s property whose waters grant immortality. Members of the Tuck family, having drunk from the spring, tell Winnie of their experiences watching life go by and never growing older.

But then Winnie must decide whether or not to keep the Tucks’ secret―and whether or not to join them on their never-ending journey.

2. Gabby: The Little Dog That Had to Learn to Bark – Barby Keel

Gabby has spent all eight years of her life indoors. She has no idea how to play, chew a treat, or interact with other animals. She’s never dug in the dirt or rolled happily in the grass. Strangest of all, Gabby does not know how to bark. In short, Gabby doesn’t know how to be a dog.

Barby can tell that the little golden-haired dog is bright and curious beneath her paralyzing fear, but coaxing out Gabby’s true spirit will be a daunting task. Along the way, both human and canine find much more in each other…

Review forthcoming.

3. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell

A jet-black young colt, Black Beauty, spends his early years in a cozy meadow growing up with a gentle master, a strong mother and an ideal upbringing. Through the years, he changes hands with different masters. Some rough. Some kind. Some total jerks. Black Beauty’s experiences provide life lessons on real friendship, loss, hardship, and human nature.

4. Because of Winn-Dixie – Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie

When ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for groceries, she comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it’s because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie. 

5. The Diary of Anne Frank  – Anne Frank

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. 

6. Julie of the Wolves – Jean Craighead George

Julie of the Wolves

When Miyax walks out onto the frozen Alaskan tundra, she hopes she is leaving problems at home far behind. Raised in the ancient Eskimo ways, Miyax knows how to take care of herself. But as bitter Arctic winds efface the surface of food, she begins to fear for her life and turns to a pack of wild wolves for help.

Amaroq, the pack leader, eventually accepts Miyax as one of his own, protecting and providing for her. But as Miyax nears civilization, her life with the wolves and all she has come to learn about herself are challenged as never before.

7. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The first published novel from the Nobel Prize winning Russian author of The Gulag Archipelago.

In the madness of WWII, a dutiful Russian soldier is wrongfully convicted of treason and sentenced to ten years in a Siberian labor camp. So begins this masterpiece of modern Russian fiction, a harrowing account of a man who has conceded to all things evil with dignity and strength.

8. Mary Poppins – P.L. Travers

From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed. Mary becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane and Michael. And who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, host tea parties on the ceiling, or pop in and out of chalk sidewalk drawings?

9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. Charlie Bucket, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, is among them. And he’s ready for the wildest time of his life!

10. A River Runs Through It – Norman Maclean

Set in the early 20th century in Missoula, MT, this classic coming-of-age tale about two brothers just wouldn’t be the same without its central “character”: The Big Blackfoot River.

11. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum

Don’t make me explain this.

12. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

Often considered one of the best Russian novels ever written, Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and thereby exposes herself to the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of 19th century Russia.

13. My Antonia – Willa Cather

Widely recognized as Willa Cather’s finest book and one of the outstanding novels of American literature, My Antonia details of the life of early American pioneers in Nebraska.

14. Cinder – Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl, a gifted mechanic, Cinder, who’s also a cyborg.

15. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D’Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her ‘cousin’ Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.

16. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

An orphan and an outcast her whole life, Jane Eyre’s courage is tested when she is hired as a governess at Thornfield Hall, the home of the brooding Edward Rochester. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard. But Mr. Rochester has a terrible secret…

17. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

The story of a young man’s adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Dickens’s autobiographical novel.

18. Silas Marner – George Eliot

Silas Marner: Bring the Classics to Life

Silas Marner, a weaver, is a good man. But he’s mistaken for a thief who stole donations at his church. He moves to the city and begins his new life weaving and saving gold, which is then stolen. All seems lost and lonely until a forlorn child comes into his life…

19. The Runaway Bunny – Margaret Wise Brown

A little bunny keeps running away from his mother in this imaginary game of hide-and-seek. Children will be profoundly comforted by this lovingly steadfast mother who finds her child every time. First published in 1942 and never out of print.

20. The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo

The classic, tragic story of Quasimodo, bell ringer of Notre Dame, who falls in love with the Gypsy girl, Esmeralda.

21. Heidi – Johanna Spyri


This novel is about the events in the life of a 5-year-old girl in her paternal grandfather’s care in the Swiss Alps. It was written as a book “for children and those who love children.” Heidi is one of the best-selling books ever written and is among the best-known works of Swiss literature.

22. Peter Pan – by J.M. Barrie

“All children, except one, grow up…”


What would you add?


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This original feature/weekly meme is now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl .


TTT: Recent Additions to My Book Collection

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is Recent Additions to My Book Collection. There’s a little bit of everything here: Fiction. Memoir/Biography. Young Adult. Fantasy. Historical fiction. And so on. (Several these titles can be found at Reedsy/Discovery.)

Think of it as a bookish smorgasborg. So grab the nearest knife and fork and dig in:

  1. Sitting on Top of the World (December 2021)

By Cheryl King

Young Adult/Historical Fiction


A rich and robust read sure to warm your heart and brighten your winter – or any season.

Set in rural Tennessee in the 1930s, this is the powerful and poignant story of a close-knit family struggling to survive after the Stock Market crash.

With ailing parents and an injured big brother, fourteen year-old June Baker is a “girl with gumption.” She has to be when she decides to “ride the rails” in search of work to help keep the farm from going under. The outlook is grim. And the family has lost almost everything. Will they lose each other, too?

A thoroughly enjoyable read with a strong female protagonist.

  1. Aslan: Running Joy

    (June 2021)

By Kristin Kaldahl

Christian Fiction/YA

Recovering from a kidney transplant, Krissy’s health is delicate. She’s always been about horses and dogs. The 14 year-old Oklahoman sold her mare cuz she’s afraid she’ll get hurt riding. But Krissy’s more afraid of dreaming and failing. Again.

Horseless, Krissy sets her sights on dog agility competition. Are Krissy and her “totally-wrong-for-agility runt,” Aslan the Shetland Shepherd dog (Sheltie), up to the challenge?

Clever, captivating, and 100% delightful!

3.The Whitney Chronicles, Book 4: No Greater Love (December 2021)

By Larry Lawrence

Christian Fiction

A heart-pumping plot, expert writing, and plenty of action tackle a potentially divisive topic without being divisive.

A deep dive into human trafficking and the criminal activity of those smuggling “unauthorized” people across the border and the plight of those caught between ruthless, rapacious “coyotes” and their longing for a better life in America.

  1. Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good

    (August 2015)

By Jan Karon


After five hectic years of retirement from Lord’s Chapel, Father Tim Kavanagh returns with his wife, Cynthia, from the land of his Irish ancestors. While he’s glad to be at home in Mitford, something is definitely missing from his life: a pulpit. But when he’s offered one, he decides he doesn’t want it.

Uplifting. Delightful. A warm and wonderful read!

  1. Fishing For More: A Memoir

    (January 2022)

By Brett Bloemendaal


And a river runs through it…

Laced with gentle self-deprecating humor, keen insight, and skillfully painted word pictures of life both on and off the water, Fishing for More emerges as a Norman Mclean-ish account of how fishing can help heal body, mind, and soul. (That being said, it could use a Language Clean-up on Aisle All.)

  1. Heartless Hette


By M.L. Farb


An unlikely trio sets out on an epic quest to not only find and restore Princess Hette’s lost heart, but to also find the true meaning of friendship in this delightful blend of fairytale and fantasy.



  1. Children of Little Might (December 2021)

By Peter D’Hollander

Young Adult/Fantasy

Action and intrigue abound in this nimble, eminently engaging fantasy with an unusual hero.

Fresh and original, this absorbing fantasy focuses on Montague “Monty” Glupie, an autistic sixteen year-old with a gift for translation and language.

With magic, an enchanted kingdom, “palace intrigue” and a kingdom under siege, there’s plenty of action in this quick-moving fantasy.

  1. Mystery in the Hill

    (March 2021)

By Aaron Qualio


A small Wisconsin town is shaken to its core when four high school boys make an unexpected discovery. As past and present secrets are exposed, more unsolved mysteries are revealed, leading to more danger than anyone could have ever imagined.

This one was a big surprise. Almost bailed during the first few chapters. Turned out to be quite the read.

9. From This Moment ( 2021)

By Kim Vogel Sawyer


Raised in the foster care system, Jase Edgar has recently moved to Kansas from San Antonio. But the newly minted youth pastor faces a crisis of faith related to the loss of his fiancé. Rachel’s life – and their plans to minister together as church planters – was cut short by a drunk driver. And Jase can’t make sense of something that doesn’t make sense.

Strong writing, rich, robust characters, and a lithe, agile plot undergird this highly engaging story. More than a few surprises and unexpected plot twists will keep you turning pages until the end. No ferhoodling!

If your hope tank is running on empty, From This Moment is for you!

10. A Breath of Fresh God (August 2021)

Charissa Fryberger


It is easy for us to “underlook” God, yet even when we forget to notice Him, He hasn’t turned His attention from us.

Charissa Fryberger finds wonder in the many ways God taps us on the shoulder, making us catch our breath in sudden remembrance that He is right here with us.


Beautifully written without being preachy. One of my top reads of 2021! Read my review here.

What’s your latest book add?

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish,
Now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl


TTT: Top 20 Heroes & Heroines From 2021


Kimber here. Nestled all snug in my bed,
While visions of bacon strips dance in my head;
And Mom in her …

Wait. What?

“Wake up, Kimster” chirps She Who Shall Remain Nameless.

Can’t she see I’ve just settled down for a long winter’s nap?

“C’mon! We need to come up with a snappy Top Ten Tuesday post. Today’s theme is Best Books I Read in 2021.”

That’s like asking me which puppy I like best. So Mom and I?  We’re doing Top 20 Literary Heroes and Heroines instead. (Well, it was mostly me. Mom helped. A little.)

To make the list, characters must be a cut above. As in, they’re memorable. Radiate personality like a neon sign. Have a splash of sass and spunk. They’re also fresh. As in, not recycled cardboard cut-outs. 

So here, in no particular order, are our Top 20 Literary Heroes & Heroines from 2021. (They may or may not be main characters. See above.) How many do you recognize?

Continue reading


Books I Hope Santa Brings (sort of)

Pssst! Kimber here. I’m makin’ a list. Checkin’ it twice. For Her Momness. Cuz today’s Top Ten Tuesday is Books I Hope Santa Brings.

The things I do for Mom. Sheesh!

You probably already guessed that Mom’s Book Wish List is a mile long. I tried paring it down. It’s still the list equivalent of War and Peace. (You know Mom!)

So I decided to focus on authors instead. Pretty much anything by these authors is gonna be a winner in our house. I’ll probably get extra bacon. So here goes. Any author on this list ranks high on our Wish List:

See the source image

Continue reading


17 Books To Cozy Up With This Winter

Mom is at the window, looking outside. Temperatures are dropping. Not low enough for Snowmaggedon. Here on the Olympic Peninsula, we have mostly rain. And rain. And more rain. Think Noah.

Weather like this, Mom insists on dragging out The Dreaded Orange Raincoat. Why does she do this? Is she averse to getting soaked to the collar, crashing through every puddle in sight, or galumphing around town up to her nose in rain water?

Me, I’m fine with all of the above. (I am part Lab, you know. As in water dog.)

Anyway, Mom says, “When the weather outside is frightful, the fire is even more delightful when it’s paired with a good book!” I don’t know what that means. But if it gets me out of wearing The Dreaded Orange Raincoat, I’m good!



For today’s Top Ten Tuesday, here are 17 Books To Cozy Up With This Winter. Each title has something to say about Christmas, snow, winter adventures or settings, or all of the above. (As long as we lose the raincoat, okay?)

Continue reading