Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Dana Stabenow


Shocked by a series of brutal, unexplainable murders, Alaska State Trooper Liam Campbell embarks on a desperate journey into the heart of the Alaskan Bush country — in search of the terrible, earth-shattering truth…

Nothing Gold Can Stay is my first novel by Dana Stabenow and I enjoyed it. This is another audio book I picked up from the library and it seemed like the perfect winter mystery for my current reading mood. Stabenow didn’t let me down!

Wy’s kick butt flying is the best part of Nothing Gold Can Stay! She obviously did her research because Stabenow nailed the aerial descriptions. It was great reading about good flying and I always appreciate the adventures of a fellow kick butt female pilot!! ūüėú

Other than that, I enjoyed Stabenow’s format style. I liked that readers get the backstory for each character and I enjoyed how different each individual was. I liked reading about Tim adjusting to his knew home, Wy’s struggle to maintain order in her life, and Liam’s dogged determination to fix everything. Moses was definitely one of my favorite characters and Prince was the least. Stabenow’s descriptive language left me feeling as if I had know these people all my life. I felt bad for them, I cheered for them, and I hoped the best for them. That alone makes it an enjoyable read; the flying kept me smiling the whole time!

I like the mystery and the way it was handled but I must warn you that abuse is a primary topic in Nothing Gold Can Stay. This includes child abuse, marital abuse, and sexual abuse. Stabenow is focused on the positive recovery aspects of abuse but you should know that it’s there before picking up this novel. 

My only complaint is there was just too much sex for my taste. And yes I can hear all you romance readers gasp in shock at that statement. I understand the Stabenow utilized the interactions for character develop but every character had sex, or their sex life discussed, at some point in the book. It was just constant and actually took away from the mystery a couple of times. 

Nothing Gold Can Stay is the third book in the Liam Campbell series (I’m kinda ashamed I started in the middle) and I’m pretty sure I’ll be reading the rest of them! Anyone else a fan of Dana Stabenow?


Ice Dogs

Ice Dogs

by Terry Lynn Johnson


Victoria Secord, a 14-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer, loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival, and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods, is entirely up to her.

Author Terry Lynn Johnson is a musher herself and her crackling writing puts readers at the reins as Victoria and Chris experience setbacks, mistakes, and small triumphs in their wilderness adventure.

I found Ice Dogs for my Nook during this time last year when I was actively following the Yukon Quest dog sled race. I never got around to reading it for some odd reason, and decided that now was a great time to pick it up with the 2016 race starting in less than two weeks.

Ice Dogs is a Middle Grade/Young Adult novel about two teenagers and their struggle to survive in the Alaskan wilderness. Victoria Secord is out on a run with her dogs when she comes across a boy laying across the trail and bleeding from a head wound. Chris, new to Alaska, has wrecked his snowmobile and its up to Vicky and her dog team to get him home. But nothing seems to go right for the two. Chris leads them in the wrong direction and a brutal storm forces them to spend the night out in the wild. And then one night leads to another and another; soon the teenagers are desperately struggling to survive the winter wilderness.

I read Ice Dogs in one sitting. Johnson does a wonderful job pulling readers in with detailed descriptions of the beautiful and deadly terrain and I loved how she showed the joy of running a dog sled. She points out how dog sled racing is a passion and that despite the dangers, is something Victoria Secord will always have to do. Johnson spends plenty of time introducing us to the dogs and includes a variety of personality traits, much like I would expect to find on an actual team. She also makes the drive and passion for the sport easy to understand for those of us who have never raced through the snow behind a team of happy dogs.

I even enjoyed how she handled the two teenagers. There is no insta-love between them, which is quite realistic as the two are left starving throughout most of the novel. But that doesn’t mean there is a lack of chemistry because there is, of course, attraction and plenty of awkwardness between Vicky and Chris. A number of reviewers have complained about the awkward interaction between the characters but I think Johnson did a spot on job describing how¬†a 14 year old and 15 year old would handle having to share the same sleeping bag not to mention the struggle to survive.

With that said, I felt like some of their personality traits were a tad too convenient. Chris knowing how to sew being the main item. I get that he likes to create things but there needed to be more back story for that detail. The same goes with Victoria coming to the realization that she’s been too hard on her mother after the death of her father. The novel should have been at least 50 pages longer to give the author more time to hash out Victoria’s personal growth. And I’m happy that Victoria came around in the end (definitely not a spoiler because it’s pretty obvious) because I wasn’t up to reading the book with her being the spoiled rotten brat that she is for the first third of the novel.

Ice Dogs is a short novel and would probably be considered Middle Grade, but I think it’s perfect for readers of Young Adult in need of a break from the insta-love, dystopian, vampire fantasy stuff flooding the markets. And it was the perfect way to spend a lazy Friday night! Has anyone else checked out Ice Dogs?


What to Expect: January


Happy 2016 fellow readers!

Those who read my other site, LBoitnott, will know that 2015 was just an ok year for me. Now, I’m not being ungrateful or whiny, because 2015 had a few wonderful moments, but, certain events left me with less time than desired for my passions. I had precious little time and energy for reading and providing reviews. Proof is in the numbers!

May – December 2014: 57 books reviewed

January – December 2015: 47 books reviewed

Ideally, the numbers should have been reversed. I still begin 2016 with 104 books and short stories reviewed on Sand Between the Pages! I started this site in May 2014 because I desperately needed to escape the stress of grad school and regain my love for reading. Sand Between the Pages has helped me do just that, and so much more. It has pushed me to read more, enhanced my writing and editing skills, and introduced me to so many wonderful people!

I do have goals for the coming year and feel free to read about them here. Just know that I plan to once again embrace my passion for reading and reviews in 2016. So many books and so little time! I can’t wait to share them all!

It is finally starting to feel like winter in Florida, so you can look forward to some wintery thrillers and mysteries this month. We all know how much I love my arctic survival stories! (though I have no idea why. I am such a wheeny when it comes to real snow) Plus, you may hear a bit about the upcoming Alaskan dog sled races ūüėõ

Happy 2016 everyone! And happy reading friends!


Yukon Quest

You may have noticed that it has been a while since I posted a review.  This delay is a result of three things:

1. I’ve been sick as a dog for the past three days.¬† Make up your mind Florida!¬† Either Winter or Spring; you can’t continue to have both every week.

2. I beta read a novel for a sweet friend, and I can’t wait for her novel to eventually hit the shelves.

3. And lastly, I have been glued to my Twitter and Facebook watching the running of the Yukon Quest!

So for those who do not know, and haven’t had to listen to me gush about my new interest like poor Mike, the Yukon Quest is an international dog sled race that is run from Whitehorse, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska.¬† The website¬†provides this description,¬†“The Yukon Quest Trail follows historical Gold Rush and mail delivery dog sled routes from the turn of the 20th Century. Once the transportation ‚Äúhighways‚ÄĚ of the Northern frontier, the Yukon Quest Trail now comes alive each February with the frosty breath and haunting howls of hundreds of sled dogs.¬†Up to 50 dog teams consisting of one human ‘musher’ and 14 canine athletes tread across some of the last pristine wilderness remaining in North America.”

Ryne Olson arriving at Dusk in Circle.

My interest in dog sledding was sparked years ago by Sue Henry’s Murder on the Yukon Quest, and I decided to follow the race this year.¬† It started on February 7th and the winner, Brent Sass,¬†crossed the finish line in Fairbanks on February 15th.¬† I am amazed that these mushers choose to live in the extreme cold, it was -50 degrees at the start of the race, and that they seem to enjoy every minute spent traversing¬†the snowy landscape between checkpoints with their dogs.¬† I did my best to immerse myself in the race culture from my couch in Florida, and I would be jumping to participate next year if I wasn’t such a weeny when it comes to the cold!¬† The finish between Brent Sass and Allen Moore was a close one and I was one of many glued to the live tracker feed in the late hours on Monday.

Ed Hopkins’ dog at a checkpoint rest.

But my new found appreciation of dog sled racing is more than just the thrill of the race.  I am impressed by the community.  I like how friendly everyone seems, how so many people volunteer their time at the checkpoints, and how these people truly love what they do.  They adore their dogs and everyone, including the pups, are all smiles upon arriving at a checkpoint.  It is just refreshing in our world of professional athletes worth millions to find athletes who do something just because they love it.  Yes these mushers race with the best sleds available, and yes many run large dog kennels, but these people really love what they do.  Take some time  and browse the links below.  Watch some videos and listen to their encounters with wild life, watch them interact with their pups, and sing and dance!

Brent Sass at the finish line with two of his lead dogs!




Brent Sass may have crossed the finish line but the race is still going!  Take the time to check out the mushers and look forward to more posts coming in the next month about the Iditarod.  (All photos are from the Yukon Quest Facebook page)