Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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The Dog Days & Children’s Classics

What?

Hello Friends and Happy August!

If you’ve been following Pages and Paws for any length of time – say, 20 minutes or so – you know that Her Momness sometimes says weird stuff about books. (Don’t tell her I said that, okay?)

Sometimes Mom’ll read a “best-seller” that’s topping the charts and go, “Aaaarg! Barf-o-rama and gag me with Meow Mix! Bleeeech and double bleech!!” And sometimes she’ll read an obscure-ish book by an unknown indie author and chirp, “Why isn’t this magnum opus in every library, on every shelf, and in every bookstore in America and the whole world included?! Cuz it’s Seriously Awesome!”

The Children’s Section

Well. You know Mom. (Insert eye roll here.)

She also thinks some of the best writing and coolest stories around can be found in the Children’s Section of the local library. (Not sure what that says about Mom. Can I get back to you on that?)

Pop Quiz!

Anywho, Mom was lumbering back from The Book Place the other day with her usual truckload of To Be Reads. All from the Children’s Section. I’m not making this up. Then she decides it’s time for a Pop Quiz. Like this:

“Okay, Kimmi. What children’s classic opens with these lines”:

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‘Love Ever Lasting’: Austen-esque Historical Fiction With Heart

Love Ever Lasting

By Michelle Helen Fritz & E.A. Shanniak

Bramley Hall Regency Romance, Book 3

Publication Date: July 14, 2022

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Pages: 

Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Isn’t this a cool cover? We almost expect to see Pemberley come into view over the next hill. Or maybe Combe Magna.

Wait. Where were we? Oh yeah. Love Ever Lasting. It’s a newly released historical romance from Bramley Hall Regency Romance.

Here’s the basic plot:

Grace Buchanan is 19 years old and has given up any hope of marrying. She’s been too occupied raising her younger siblings while her widowed father drinks away his wages as the town blacksmith. All Grace wants is an everlasting love. But her family dynamics make that unlikely.

When the much-loved Parson of Bramley Hall dies, his son, Matthew Morten, takes on his father’s mantle and becomes the new parson. Matthew has barely settled in to his new role when a deadly plague sweeps through the town. Grace’s younger brother is afflicted.

Matthew and Grace are suddenly thrown together as they fight for the town’s survival and the survival of their loved ones. How will Grace care for her siblings after her father’s death? Will Matthew’s meddlesome mother and Grace’s mischievous siblings doom their romance before it even gets off the ground? And what about other contenders vying for Grace’s hand? Will the spark between Matthew and Grace kindle and grow, or will responsibilities and family drama snuff it out? And where else will you find a carriage horse named “Obediah”?

Review

Love Ever Lasting is a sweet, gentle read. Period-correct writing, vivid descriptions and historical settings combine with solid writing and rich, full-bodied characterizations to create a story with heaps of heart and wagons of warmth.

Portions of the plot seem a bit contrived, like Grace’s over-the-top response to the bee thing. It seems to have been written for the sole purpose of casting Matthew as a knight gallant. A little thin. 

This isn’t exactly a barn burner. It moves like molasses in January in places. But if you enjoy inspiring historical romances with an Austen-esque flavor, Love Ever Lasting will make a pleasant addition to your summer TBR – or anytime.

Love Ever Lasting is a clean Regency Romance and the third book in a three-story series. Each book can be read as a stand alone, but is best read in release order.

About the Authors

Michelle Helen Fritz was born and raised in Maryland and Arizona with lots of traveling throughout the States. She began her literary career as a personal assistant to Indie authors and loves to see the process of an idea turn into a finished book.

Michelle loves to write about dashing heroes, and the compelling women that tempt them, with a dash of intrigue, an abundant amount of romance, and scenes that hopefully make her readers swoon. She is the mother of four children whom she homeschools and currently resides in Maryland with her own jaunty hero who makes all of her dreams come true.

AUTHOR FACEBOOK PAGE * TWITTER * INSTAGRAM

E.A. (Ericka Ashlee) Shanniak is the author of the successful fantasy romance series A Castre World Novel. She is hobbit-sized, barely reaching over five feet tall on a good day.

When she wears her Georgia Romeoa’s not only does she gain an inch, but she is also able to reach the kitchen cabinets. Ericka loves to write at her desk that her daughter’s cat destroyed. Fortunately for everyone, she can see over it.

 

Ericka resides in the small town of Coldwater, Kansas with her husband, two kids, two dogs and two grumpy cats. The cats were her kids’ idea.

AUTHOR FACEBOOK PAGEINSTAGRAM

 

Our Rating: 3.5


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Dystopian Novel ‘Reverence’ Clears High Bar

Reverence

Book One of the Reverence Trilogy

By Raena Rood

One Foundation Publishing, 2022

Genre: Fiction/Dystopian/Apocalyptic/Christian Fiction

Pages: 305

Via: Author Request

Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“Well, doggone it!” says I, Kimber the Magnificent. “You’d think one of us would learn. Never start a Raena Rood novel at night. If you do, you’ll be up till the wee hours finishing it. Cuz you can’t put it down! But you know Mom!” – Insert eye roll here. –

You know we loved Rood’s Subversives trilogy, right? Well, we did. Think nice, thick, juicy New York steak. With a T-bone chaser. And sirloin steak on the side. We didn’t know how this next trilogy would stack up. Which just shows you what we know.

Here’s the 4-1-1:

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‘The Nurse’s Secret’: Compelling Historical Fiction

The Nurse’s Secret

By Amanda Skenandore

Published by: Kensington Books, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 352

Via: Book Blog Tour

Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Una Kelly has been living by her wits and her sticky fingers since she was a child. A grifter in the mean streets of 19th century New York City’s slums, Una is on the run from the “coppers” for a murder she didn’t commit. She lies her way into an unlikely refuge: the Bellevue Hospital Training School for Nurses. Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. But for Una, it’s a place to hide.

An Expert Blend

Then an inebriated ex-friend shows up at Bellevue and threatens to expose Una’s secret past. Una caves to Deidre’s extortion scheme. But when Deidre winds up dead in the hospital’s alcoholic’s ward where she’s drying out, Una gets suspicious. Did Deidre die from an overdose of laudanum, or was she murdered? A certain tall, handsome young doctor also enters the picture in this expert blend of historical fiction, whodunit, romance, and murder mystery.

Gripping & Intense

Emotionally gripping and intense, The Nurse’s Secret is propelled by masterful story-telling, an engrossing plot and lively, three-dimensional characters within a unique historical setting. Think A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Oliver Twist meet Florence Nightingale and The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

A Second Chance

We almost missed this book. It arrived well past our deadline for a review. We just don’t have time for late arrivals. So we were inclined to put it aside. But one us – the four-legged one- said, “C’mon Mom! Let’s shoehorn this puppy into our calendar! I’ll help!”

So we gave it another chance. Glad we did. Cuz The Nurse’s Secret is a winner.

Our Rating: 4.0


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TEASER TUESDAY: ‘Black Ice’

Welcome to another edition of TEASER TUESDAY!

Mom and I decided we don’t like the usual rules for Teaser Tuesday. You’re supposed to “grab your current read, open to a random page” and “share “two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page that are spoiler free.”

Too restrictive, we decided. (Well, it was mostly me. But Mom helped. A little. You know how Moms are.)

Anyway, some books/plots just don’t lend themselves to “two sentences.” Sometimes a really compelling thought or plot element can be conveyed in three words. Sometimes it takes three or four or five sentences for same. Sometimes several brief, pithy sentences can fill the bill. But they have to be strung together in context to make sense.

So we’re making up our own rules today. Basically, we’re adding some flexibility regarding the number of sentences used to convey an idea or plot element. We’re keeping the rest.

Ready? Great! Let’s move on to today’s TT feature: Black Ice, by Brad Thor.

 

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Flat and Fine: 2 Novels by Popular Authors Contrasted

Kimber: Jackpot! It’s a beautiful July day. The sun is shining. The sky is a perfect bowl of blue. The neighbor’s cat is visiting relatives elsewhere. And  Her Grumpiness  is only half as grumpy as usual.

What a deal!

Speaking of “deals,” I’ve got a two-fer for you today. Sort of. One’s a  “repeat surprise.” I’ll let Her Grumpiness tell us about that in a min. So kindly keep your shirt on, okay? The other is a Second Sigh. As in, we loved the author’s first book but this second one is a stinker. Which is why Her Grumpiness is only half as grumpy as…

Well, wait. Here she is now. Mom, is that the second or third bowl of cookies ’n cream ice cream? “Mind your own beeswax;” Mom chirps.

So I’ll let her fill you in on these two books:

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TEASER TUESDAY: ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’

Welcome to another edition of one of our most popular features, TEASER TUESDAY! We’re pretty excited about today’s feature. It’s a twist on one of our favorite authors/novels. Read on for more!

Here are the rules for Teaser Tuesday:

1: Grab your current read 2: Open to a random page 3: Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page that are SPOILER FREE.

Today’s Teaser Tuesday features Death Comes to Pemberley. By P.D. James. Jane Austen fans, unite! Like this: Continue reading


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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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‘Radio Ha Ha’ is on The Air

Radio Ha Ha: The most sparkling and heartwarming romcom you will read this year by [Kiltie  Jackson ]Radio Ha Ha

By Kiltie Jackson

We’ve been asked to “spotlight” this book. So here ya go:

About the Book

Will a blind date on the radio blossom into romance on the airwaves?

DJ Marky Sparks is hanging onto his career by a thread – he needs a miracle.
Steven Byrne has an invite to his brother’s “Couples Only” party – he needs a date.
Matilda ‘Mats’ Davidson has dumped her cheating boyfriend – she doesn’t need anything.

A drunken email brings these three strangers together and changes their lives in ways they couldn’t have foreseen.

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7 Summer Hits & Misses

Kimber the Magnificent: It’s summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime! Finally!!

The weekend forecast is for boatloads of sun and temperatures skimming the upper 80s/low 90s. That’s unusual here in the soggy pacific Northwest. But after months and months of drooling skies and overcast, Mom and I are ready for sunshine and warmer temps! Yea, Lassie!

One of us is so excited about summer that she’s been slacking on posting (Hi, Mom). So we’re gonna take care of that today, catching you up on what we’ve been reading.

We’re gonna include some Seriously Pawsome Reads and some Kitty Litter Box candidates. Seven in all. In no particular order.

Ready? Set? Let’s go!

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