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The One in a Million Boy | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

The One-In-A-Million Boy – Book Review

Book Description:

The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don’t they teach you anything at school?

So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who’s been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she’s confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.

One Saturday, the boy doesn’t show up. Ona starts to think he’s not so special after all, but then his father arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son’s good deed. The boy’s mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that the world can surprise us at any age, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find ourselves again.

Review:

I loved this book!  That is my review!  Loved it!  Everyone needs to read this!  Everyone!  Men.  Women.  Children.  Okay, maybe not children, but everyone else! And I kinda sorta lied, I am going to give you more of a review because I just love this book so much I have to share!

I am really bad about picking up books because of their cover, and if I would’ve seen this book in a bookstore I would’ve walked on by.  The cover is not the most appealing, but the reviews were so good that I just had to read it!  Do you listen to podcasts?  Well, I listen to What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel, aka Modern Mrs. Darcy, and she was recommending this book to everyone! She couldn’t sing it’s praises enough.  I had to have it!

Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall during someone else’s conversation? That is how I felt when the Boy was interviewing Ona for his school project.  It was so cute, because he didn’t want his voice on the tape recordings, but the way these interviews are written you can hear him.  It is so hard to explain, but believe me you can.  She answers his questions, and ends up confessing secrets to him that she hadn’t shared with anyone else.  He encouraged her! She grew because of him.  She is in the Guinness Book of World Records because of him!

I realize that I am writing about them like these characters are real life people.  I loved these characters so much that they became real in my mind.  I think they will for you too!

The One-in-a-Million Boy is a character study.  Each character grows in this beautifully written novel.  It is a hopeful story that reminds you to keep living; whether you are 11 years old, or 104 years old.  Keep living, learning, and setting goals to strive for.  It is a heartwarming, sweet story about life and friendship, that is easy to read.

Read this book!  I cannot stress this enough, you need this book in your life!

The One-in-a-Million Boy Book Cover The One-in-a-Million Boy
Monica Wood
Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction
Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
April 5, 2016 Reprint Edition
kindle edition
339

Big News - New Reviewer Lindsey Trammell | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews, Reviews, Reviews by Lindsey

Big News – There’s A New Reviewer Here

Big News!!

I have asked one of my best book buddies to write reviews here for all of us to enjoy!   Everyone meet Lindsey!

Lindsey Trammell

Hey! My name is Lindsey, wife to Anthony and mom to Kendall and dog Charlie. We are from and live in Oklahoma. I like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain…. Just kidding. I love to cook, listen to podcasts, read, and attend group fitness classes. I am just your average yoga pant wearing, nosy, coffee drinking soccer mom with a passion for discussing books.  Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorite genres. I’m always in search for books that will stick with me for a long time no matter the category.

Please give Lindsey a warm welcome!  Friend her on Goodreads. Stick around, she is reading some great books on her upcoming vacation, and I bet she has some reviews for us when she gets home.

So glad to have you contributing your reviews here on my little dot on the web.  Thank you!!

Into The Water: A Novel - Book Review | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews, Reviews by Lindsey

Into the Water – Book Review

Book Description:

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
 
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
 
With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.
 
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

Into The Water: A Novel

Review:

Jules’ older sister, Nel, spent most of their childhood terrifying Jules with local lore of the infamous Drowning Pool. The Drowning Pool is where troubled women go to be taken by the water. While Nel’s obsession grew around the notorious town of Beckford, where they spent their summers, Jules could not escape fast enough. Unexpectedly, Nel is the next victim of the Drowning Pool and Jules is forced to go back to Beckford to care for Nel’s teen daughter, Lena. Together they unsurface the secrets in the water.

Cracking open this brand new book and seeing the line “For all the Troublemakers” was the hook for me. The best part about this book is the theme of troublesome women and the men behind them. I enjoy a good mystery whether it is predictable or not. Hawkins has a way throwing in every twist she can. Every chapter had me wanting to read a bit further. If you want a good summer mystery; this one, for me, was a fun ride with a “who done it” air. I’ve seen a lot of reviews already mention there are too many characters. I do agree, but it’s worth sticking it out. I found myself a few times going back to make sure I understood who a character was. If you can’t look past that, I would say don’t bother. The book leaves you with a few loose ends that I wish the author would have cleaned up, but I do believe they were intentional. Maybe she left a few free mysteries for us to ponder on once we’ve finished the book. I give it a 3.6 on Goodreads.

 

Into the Water: A Novel Book Cover Into the Water: A Novel
Paula Hawkins
Women's Fiction, Literary, Suspense
Riverhead Books
May 2, 2017
Hardcover
400

Cooking With th Dead | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

Cooking with the Dead – Book Review

Book Description:

What do you do when there’s trouble brewing in the kitchen…?

Already pressed to solve one murder investigation to clear her name, Laura Howcroft is glad that her life has settled into a pleasant and predictable routine. Enjoying her new-found acceptance to the quaint village of Millerfield, Laura is grateful for the shared life with new friends. Even her tentative relationship with Dr. Lucas seems to be progressing nicely, a fact that makes Laura content to have things simply carry on.

But when she employs a contracted pastry-chef to mind the kitchens of The Woodend Cottage Hotel, Laura could never have guessed that it might cost him his life. With the newly-hired chief found murdered by his own pastry cloth and police suspecting that his death was directly linked to his acceptance of the position, Laura feels honor-bound to investigate the cause of his death. Wrapped up in a world of challenge rivalries, flaky franchises and crooked chefs, Laura, Howard and Monty once again find themselves on the trail of a killer. But this is no missing crumpets case and Laura is forced to realize that this time her meddling could cost her more than just her reputation… it could cost her life.

Can Laura clear her conscience of the dead pastry-chef?

Or will the killer track her down and silence her for good?

Review:

One of my favorite book genres is mystery, and cozy mysteries sound so, I don’t know…cozy.  Who doesn’t want to be cozy?  I know I do.

Laura has a cat named Monty that talks.  Okay, he doesn’t talk out loud, but they communicate through their thoughts.  This is where things just didn’t jive for me.  I love mysteries, and I really wanted to like this one.  The story line was good, but was poorly developed.  I am certainly not qualified to knock someone’s writing skills, but this book seemed to be lacking here.  I believe an editor should have caught at least some of the mistakes, and helped a little with the content.  There are several conversations between characters that really didn’t need to be there, and made it feel very elementary.  On a more positive note, I was guessing who the killer was up until the end.

I’ll say it again, I really wanted to like this book, and I tried I really did.  I don’t like writing bad reviews because well, authors work really hard on these books. They pour all their time and energy into them, and then we either like them or we don’t. I am in the minority, because Cooking with the Dead has a 4.2 rating on Amazon, and a 3.92 on goodreads.  It just wasn’t for me, and now I feel like I need to apologize.

I was given a free kindle edition of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Cooking with the Dead Book Cover Cooking with the Dead
A Millerfield Village Cozy Murder Mystery #2
Carrie Marsh
Women's Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Detective
Smiling House Publishing Co.
March 1, 2017
kindle edition
251

Deep Extraction by Diann Mills | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

Deep Extraction by Diann Mills – Book Review

Book Description:

A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution.

A bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional—the victim’s wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI’s prime suspects.

Clearing Sally’s name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer—and to each other—the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.

Review:

Let me tell you why I wanted to read this book before I tell you what I thought about it.  If you know me at all then you are aware of my sudden cardiac death the week before my 28th birthday.  If you don’t know me then you might want to read a little to catch up.  When I saw that the victim was killed by a someone hacking into his pacemaker and jacking with it.  It immediately peaked my curiosity since I have a defibrillator.  Actually, what the what is what went through my mind.

A Pacemaker Hacker? Is there really such a thing!?

Now, let’s get to my thoughts on this title.

Deep Extraction is the second book in the FBI Task Force series, and here again I have read the series out of order.  I do not know what has gotten into me.  But, I am glad to tel you that the first book in this series is Deadly Encounter and both can stand alone just fine.  You do not have to read these in the correct order.  Just be a rebel, like me. 🙂

I’m a sucker for police-type dramas, books and television, and the more action, details, suspense and twists, the better.  I am also a Christian, so the mention of prayer and God did not affect me at all.  The Christian aspect is minimal.  It is not distracting, in your face or pushy, at all.  It is approached very realistically.  Having a defibrillator (mine has a pacemaker function) and having gone through cancer, I felt I could really relate to this one.

After mentioning all of the above, I am happy to say that this book is all that I have already talked about.  Lots of action! Explosions, gun fights, heroes and heroines.  There are some feelings in this one as well.  It is a very well rounded book!  There are a few things that are a bit predictable; one being the little romance that blossoms.  I like my police-type dramas to be a little more realistic, and most of it is realistic, but in the real world, friends of a murder victim would not be able to be involved in the investigation. But, it was refreshing to read about friends taking a stand for the victims (their friends).  I think they did what many of us would try to do, and that is do whatever they had to do to find the killer.

Diann Mills is one author that I plan to read every book she comes out with.  I like her writing style that much!

Thank you to NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Deep Extraction
FBI Task Force
Diann Mills
Suspense, Christian Fiction, Fiction
Tyndale House Publishers
April 4, 2017
396

Before We Were Yours - Review & Release Day | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

Before We Were Yours: A Novel – Book Review

Book Description:

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize that the truth is much darker. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together—in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aitken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions—and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation . . . or redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

Review:

Have you ever had a novel hangover? Where you feel like you just can’t move on to another novel? Where you wonder what happens to the characters after you’ve finished the last page? Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate was this for me.  I loved this book!

As I read about the life Rill, her siblings, Queenie and Briny lived my heart went out to them.  I could visualize the shanty they lived on, and their surroundings.  Lisa Wingate writes in such a way that you find yourself right there on the river bank with them, locked in the basement of the orphanage with them, and then the mansions too.

The fast-moving plot ranges from magical to evil, and then lovely.  It is sad to say that many of the orphans that went to the Tennessee Children’s Home did not have the same results as little orphan Annie.  I read this whole book before realizing that it was partially a true story.  Georgia Tann was real, and real children were kidnapped and then basically sold to the highest bidder.

This novel would make a great Hallmark movie!  It has a little bit of everything… family secrets, a touch of romance, hope and a mystery.

This novel will be released June 6, 2017, so put this title on your to be read (TBR) list.  I will remind you when it is available.  But while you wait, you should also check out Lisa Wingate’s book, The Prayer BoxClick here for that review.

Thanks go out to Netgalley and publisher for providing me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

FYI: The little photo above my review is actually an affiliated link. Basically, if you would like to purchase this book and you click on that photo or any of the title links and it will send a few pennies my way.  I use those pennies to keep my blog going. (Actually, if you want to know the truth, I’ve never received enough pennies to pay for it, but it will help.) Thanks!

Before We Were Yours: A Novel
Lisa Wingate
Fiction, Historical, Literary, Women's Fiction
Ballantine Books
June 6, 2017
352

The Enemies of Versailles - Review | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

The Enemies of Versailles – Book Review

Book Description:

In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.

“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”

After decades of suffering the King’s endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.

Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.

Review:

Normally I am one of those people that has to read trilogies in the correct order, but here lately I’ve read two series out of order.  I don’t know what has come over me.  I will go back and read The Rivals of Versailles, really I will.

The Enemies of Versailles is a great blend of history and fiction, just like The Sisters of Versailles.  I love the way Sally Christie writes from the different characters viewpoints.  I especially liked Madame Adelaide’s.  It is interesting  that Louis XV’s daughters were allowed to stay unmarried, the wars they waged on his favorite mistresses, and the influence they had on Marie Antoinette.  At first, I found that du Barry was a much more compelling character than Adelaide.  Adelaide was very pompous about her nobility while du Barry was, at first, doing what she could to survive and eventually coming to love Louis.

When you open this book it is like entering a time machine, and being there to enjoy every aspect of Versailles…the food, jewels, attire. It is almost like you are there, which made me dread the book coming to an end.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

FYI: The little photo above my review is actually an affiliated link. Basically, if you would like to purchase this book and you click on that photo or any of the links and it will send a few pennies my way.  I use those pennies to keep my blog going. (Actually, if you want to know the truth, I’ve never received enough pennies to pay for it, but it will help.) Thanks!

The Enemies of Versailles
The Mistresses of Versailles
Sally Christie
Christian Fiction, Historical, Fiction, Religion
Atria Books
March 21, 2017
416