Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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‘Stable Weight’ Balances the Scales

Stable Weight: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope (Hopewell Publications, 2021)

By Lisa Whalen

Biography/Memoir/Health, Mind & Body

Ever gingerly opened a book, unsure where it may head, or how?

Stable Weight was one of those books. When Mom and I sat down to read it, she let me in on a secret. I’ll explain at the end of this review. So stay tuned. And don’t tell Mom. Let’s just keep this our little secret, okay? Meanwhile, on to the review:

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Set Sail for ‘Hope’ With Rousing Historical Ficiton

Acts of Hope (2020)

BookLife

By Martin Elsant

Historical Fiction

Perditus qui haesitat.

Acts of Hope is a prodigious tome of epic proportions. Set in the 16th century, the story adeptly navigates the serpentine coils of political, cultural and ecclesiastical clashes in multiple countries from England to the Holy Land. Also pirates. Forgeries. Narrow escapes. Double-crosses and desperate battles. Revenge and forgiveness. Steadfast courage and stalwart faith in the face of overwhelming odds. True love. And hope.

An enjoyable historical novel, this book features study characters, exotic settings, and a solid, engaging plot.

The story opens off the Portuguese coast as Diego Lopes and his daughter Maria flee the Inquisition. Their ship is bound for Diego’s estate in Bristol, England. When Maria’s father dies later as a result of wounds suffered during his arrest per the Inquisition, Maria takes over his substantial shipping business, becoming one of the wealthiest women in the world.

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GUEST POST: How to Fail at Blogging or Succeed With Reverse Psychology

Gang way! Dog on a mission!

Mom and I have a mission here. We do honest book reviews. They’re not everyone’s bowl of kibble. Fine. If you’re reading along, you probably already know that.

But what you may not know is that we just bowed out of a book blog tour because the tour organizer wanted rainbows and roses, sunshine and unicorns only regarding the book in question. We don’t roll that way. We do For Real here. (More on that later.)

So when this honest, down-to-earth guest post by one of our new favorite writers, D.L. Kennedy, came along, it resonated. (D.L. Kennedy is the author of Thirteen Miracles. Read our full review here.) If you’re a discouraged blogger or a struggling blogger, this one’s for you. Take it away, D.L.:

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5 Simple Strategies to Build Your Blog

 

Does this sound familiar:

Are you are blogger? Would you like to control your own schedule? Do you want and make money at it? How about making enough money from your blog to be able to quit your job and blog full time? Let me show you how to build a money making blog!

 

Just enroll in my specially-discounted razzle-dazzle on-line course and you can make money with your blog, too!

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‘Blood Countess’ Poses Strange Dichotomy

Blood Countess

Blood Countess (Lady Slayers)

Barnes & Noble

(Amulet Books, 2020)

By Lana Popovic

Historical Fiction/YA

“Sick puppy,” says I, Kimber the Magnificent.

“No kidding,” Mom rejoins. “Seriously off her rocker.”

I’m not sure what a “rocker” is. But the antagonist in this book, Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary, is off it by about a mile and a half.

This is a weird book to peg or review. Mom started it the other night. She kept me up until one in the morning finishing it. Ugh!

It’s a gripping read. For sure.

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Finding Treasure in ‘The Lost Jewels’

The Lost Jewels

The Lost Jewels: A Novel

Barnes & Noble

(Harper Collins, 2020)

By Kristy Manning

Historical fiction

 

How can a heart be full of both sorrow and joy?

 

That’s the salient question at the core of this finely crafted historical novel by Kristy Manning. An ambitious undertaking, The Lost Jewels spans some four hundred years between 17th century London and modern day Boston. It features two strong female characters, Essie Murphy in the early 19th century, and Kate Kirby, present day jewelry historian.

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10+ Bark-Worthy Books Set in Exotic-ish Locales

You don’t have to say it. I know I’m beautiful. Also shy, modest, and retiring.

Kimber here with another edition of Fine Wine Fridays. (I was holding out for Excellently Scrumptious and Splendiferous Book Lists That Are So Delicious, They’re Even Better Than My Fave Dog Chow or Squeaky Toy. Mom nixed that. Ugh.)

Anyway, today we’re highlighting books set in exotic locales or other continents. So if you liked Peter Pan or Narnia, you may like… Oh, wait. Scratch that. These are set in real places, not Neverland or Aslan’s Country (Mom, you are no fun!)

Squirrel!

Wait. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Fun, interesting, engaging reads in other settings. Some titles are old. Some are new. They may be even better than my squeaky toy. (But I’m still holding on to it. Just in case.) So here, in no particular order, are:

10+ bark-worthy books set in exotic-ish locales:

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Why Did The Chicken Bus Cross the Road?

Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey Through Central America (Resource Publications, 2019)

 

By Janet LoSole

Non-fiction
hi res ABCB.jpg

When the author first reached out to me requesting a review, I didn’t know what to think about this book. As in, What’s a ‘chicken bus’?* (Kimber: “Can I eat it?”) I was dangling on the rim edge of Not Interested. As a veteran homeschooler myself, however, I decided to give it a chance.

What a ride.

 

Adventure by Chicken Bus is a thoroughly entertaining, fascinating ride along with a family of four as they travel through Central America over the course of roughly a year and a half. With two little girls in tow, ages then-five and eight, the LoSoles roam all over the region, including the Caribbean coast, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico.

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‘Invisible’ & ‘Unbroken’: Two Remarkable WWII Reads

Combining history and biography can be a challenge, especially when the setting is a world war. But two recently read books do that and more, offering compelling reads that shouldn’t be missed. Both are set in WWII.

Here they are:

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10 Fabulous Reads for FALL!

“Fall is in the air!” Mom announced the other day. I’m not sure what that means. But Mom is skipping merrily around the house, chirping about “fall colors,” “sweater weather” and “hot chocolate.” I’d be just as happy with a nice, thick New York steak. Whatever.

I figure it’s only a matter of time until Mom breaks out that stupid bright orange thingy she hauls me into whenever we go out in cold weather. Pay off: Coming home to a cozy spot in front of a nice, warm fireplace.

Anyway, Mom says fall is a great time to grab a hot cuppa whatever and curl up next to a roaring fire with a good book! She’s got a list. Checked it twice. (I helped. The first list didn’t smell right.)

Here are some of Mom’s top picks for the season. Some are old. Some are new. All are worthy reads. In no particular order:

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