Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Rating System & Submission Guidelines

We are CLOSED to new book review requests as we try to catch up on our backlog.

Please revisit in July 2023.

Please note: We typically accept less than half of the review requests that come our way. You can improve your chances of getting accepted if you take the time to carefully review the guidelines below before inquiring about a review. Thank you.

First things first.

We review fiction and nonfiction books rated G to PG-13. We don’t have the time or interest in anything else. (Occasional exceptions may be made on the basis of artistic merit. But that is rare.)

Everyone Has an Opinion

We’ve read “bestsellers” we thought were atrocious. How’d this waste of ink ever break into print? We’ve also read books panned by The Critics – who are these people? – that we thought were marvelous and luminescent. Which is all to say: Book reviews are highly subjective.

Note: We reserve the right to accept or decline any request for a book review, for any reason, without explanation. Period.

That being said, here’s our Rating System. (Submission guidelines below.)

Rating System

The Official Mom and Kimber Rating System is one to five stars. Like this:

  1. Poor. What a slog. A lousy book with crummy writing. Dull, dim-witted, and pointless. Don’t waste your time. (We’ve plastered this rating on some award winners. Just sayin’.)
  2. Fair. Okay-ish. But wouldn’t necessarily recommend unless you’re house-sitting the neighbor’s cat.
  3. Good. Proficient writing with an interesting, engaging plot. Fun. But nothing that’s going to set the literary world ablaze.
  4. Very Good. Books that garner this rating are a cut above, with rich, robust writing and a superlative story that sticks with you.
  5. Superb. Our highest rating. Better than bacon! A remarkable achievement. Must have a transcendent theme. Rings heart bells. May qualify as life-changing. Would read over and over and over.


  • We may issue “half point” ratings, as in 3.5 or 4.5, for books that are better than the lower number but don’t quite make it into the higher rating.
  • Ratings of 1 and 5 are rare. Although every now and then we hand out a “zero” to a real stinker. Because it earned it.
  • We don’t necessarily rate every book we read.

2 Easy Ways to Get On Our Losers List:

  1. Rely on the repeated use of gratuitous profanity. Don’t give me that “authenticity” nonsense. If repeated, gratuitous profanity is the best you can do as an author, you’re either lazy, have a limited vocabulary, or suffer from a deplorable lack of imagination. Additionally, we don’t care how rich or famous you are, author pal. If your characters can’t or won’t express themselves without stooping to four-letter words every time they open their mouths, you need to dig them up a mommy. Fast.
  2. Use fiction to deliver Pecksniffian political polemics or champion your pet social issue. No thank you.

Finally, books and mom have been fast friends for over fifty years. She typically reads 300+ books a year. She has a degree in Communications/Print Media. Has been writing professionally since the 1980s. Spends so much time in the library, they’re thinking of charging her rent (just kidding. Sort of.)

So Mom knows what she likes and why. Perhaps more importantly, she knows what she doesn’t like and why. You may disagree. That’s fine. But once our minds are made up on a book, they’re unlikely to change unless you’re ready to prove up your case with a really, really solid argument. Or bacon. Extra bacon works.

Submission Guidelines

Please realize that we get zillions of requests for book reviews. We accept less than half. So before contacting us for a potential review of your book, please read the following guidelines. They will help you determine whether or not your work is a good fit for our site, saving both of us time and effort. (Helpful hint: Tips for Contacting Book Reviewers.)

  1. We review both fiction and nonfiction titles in which we have an interest, rated G to PG-13. We do not have the time or interest in reading books with other ratings.
  2. We reserve the right to accept or decline any request for a review for any reason, without explanation. Our blog. Our rules. Period.
  3. Hard copy (print version) is our first choice for ARCs.
  4. We are open to Kindle-friendly PDFs. If you ask Real Nice.
  5. We no longer accept memoirs about childhood trauma or abuse.
  6. Don’t push or nag. Our TBR/reviewed list is a mile long. If Mom says she’ll get to your book, she’ll get to your book. Unless you tick her off by nagging. In that case, your book will most likely wind up in the kitty litter box. At the bottom. So please be patient.
  7. Our review of your book/ARC may or may not be featured as a stand-alone post. Sometimes we combine. No special reasons. Just easier that way.
  8. We do honest reviews here. We don’t and won’t promise a positive review. We’ve panned Pulitzer Prize winners and heaped praise on unknown indie authors. You just never know. So don’t say we didn’t warn you, okay? (And don’t gripe about a negative review. Authors who do this sound like the Wah-Wah “adult” in Peanuts.)
  9. Posts are usually written and scheduled for auto-launch on a future date, sometimes far in advance. Like weeks. Or more. Mom will let you know the date our review of your book will go live. We expect you to keep track of the date yourself. We do not send links. So please don’t ask.
  10. Please be sure your manuscript pages are numbered.
  11. You may include an author’s bio of 100 words or less along with links to your author or book site if your review request is accepted. An author’s head shot is also okay. Relevant guest posts by authors whose work has been accepted for review are an option, but not a promise.
  12. Author Interviews/Guest Posts: Word limit is 900 words.
  13. We do not accept books that attack or malign any faith, especially authentic Christian faith. Additionally, we aren’t crazy about “self help” books unless they are anchored in a biblical worldview.
  14. Please” and “thank you” go a long way. Just sayin’.
  15. For more, see our Sample Review Request.

Review requests may be sent to: Please put “Review Request” in the subject line so we don’t miss it. Thanks!