The Dog Who Was There – Review

by Thursday, February 9, 2017
The Dog Who Was There
Ron Marasco
Christian Fiction, Historical, Fiction, Religion
Thomas Nelson
January 31, 2017
Paperback
262

The Dog Who Was There
by Ron Marasco

Book Description

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.

Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman occupied Judea.

On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

Review

If you’ve read my blog at all, looked at my photos, or know me then you know that I am a dog lover.  I believe this is why this book intrigued me.  First, I was drawn in by the cover.  Yes, I am one of those people. Second, the blurb or book description was just the bait needed to hook me.  I am a sucker for dogs and Jesus!

Marasco has put such love into this simply written yet powerful novel.  He was able to send me back to the days of Jesus Christ.  I felt the love Barley felt for his friends and masters, the dust on my feet from him walking down the road, the fear he felt when he was left all alone, and the hope he felt when he found Samid and the Kind Man.  Witnessing Christ’s last days through Barley’s eyes struck me in a completely different way.  Seeing the crucifixion had to be the worst thing anyone could see, and being the visual person that I am, I felt like I could see what Barley saw.

I feel like I would not give an honest review if I didn’t tell you that there are parts of this book that are difficult to read for both dog lovers, and Jesus lovers alike.  I was so glad I pushed through and finished this book.  It has stuck with me for months, and I expect it to stay with me for much longer.  I recommend this book for everyone!

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson 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 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!

 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – Review

by Saturday, January 28, 2017
Behind Her Eyes
Sarah Pinborough
Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense
Flatiron Books
1/31/2017
Hardcover
320
Macmillan

Book Description:

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.

David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

In Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough has written a novel that takes the modern day love triangle and not only turns it on its head, but completely reinvents it in a way that will leave readers reeling.

Review:

Wow! Just WOW!

I’m just dying for someone I know to read this so we can discuss it!

When I agreed to read and review this book for Macmillan/Flatiron Books I had no idea how difficult it was going to be for me to actually write a review.  I didn’t really know what to expect.  I’d never heard of Sarah Pinborough, and now I’m searching for anything and everything she has ever written.  This chick is good!  So, I will apologize now if this seems a bit rambly or repetitive. It is just so, so hard to review this particular book without giving anything away.

Behind Her Eyes completely consumed me.  Gripping is a good word for it!  I love a good page turner, and this is one heck of a page turner.  I carried this book with me every where I went, and I mean every where.  If I had to wait in line at the grocery store, then I had this book in my hands.  I even sent my husband into the post office so I could read a page or two while I waited.

There is a little bit of a supernatural twist to the story, but not so much that I wanted to put the book down.  That just isn’t something I typically read.  Something else that I don’t typically read is love triangle stories.  Behind Her Eyes is written from the viewpoint of Adele and Louise.  It does go back and forth between them, and at times I found myself having to really think about which one was which.  That is the only thing that slowed me down a teensy tiny bit.  It is so well written with twists when you aren’t expecting them, characters that you can’t figure out who to trust, and a deranged mind-blowing ending.  I am not blindsided by book ending very often, but this one got me good!  In fact, one of the hashtags for this book is #WTFending, and I am not a WTF kind of girl, but it is certainly that kind of ending.

I’ve given this book 5 blooms.  I have gone back and forth on whether to give it 4 or 5, but I settled on 5 because it is just so good.  You’ve got to read this!

Many thanks to Macmillan for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, also for introducing me to a new-to-me author.  Thank you to Sarah Pinborough for such gripping novel!

 

Welcome to 2017 Here at JulieKMcComas.com

by Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Welcome to 2017 at juliekmccomas.com

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!

In the next few weeks, I am going to share with you a few things to wrap up last years activities.  I will tie them up with a nice red bow, and get started on our current year, 2017.

Some of the things I will be sharing with you are photos from the 3-Day 60 mile Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure; how my one word for 2016, Purpose, worked out for me; some Pinterest Pins I tried books I read; and my one word for this year.

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and brought in the New Year with a Bang!  My big bang was the dogs wanting out right at midnight, and of course they had to wake me up!

I’m looking forward to spending some more time here on the little ol’ blog.  Hope you are too!

Hope in Our Stories {Guest Post by Joan Gallagher}

by Friday, December 2, 2016

hope markers by Joan Gallagher

Melissa sat with downcast eyes as she stirred her coffee. Her beautiful brown hair hung loosely as if she hadn’t the inclination to do much with it that day. She considered herself blessed with a good marriage and beautiful family. Her life was full of activity as she ran from one event after another with her children and enjoyed a busy church life. I admired the Christian “Super Woman” I saw sitting before me. So why so downcast?

Her next words would be the catalyst to light a passion in my heart to know and share what God says about who we are:

“I am thankful to be a mom and a wife, it’s the place God called me to be at this time. But my kids will be out of the house soon so what then? I’m an ordinary mom with no special talents. I didn’t go to college so I’m not sure if I would be able to even get a job. And honestly, if people really knew my past…” her voice trailed off.

Unknowingly, Melissa had let the false words that she had an inconsequential life infiltrate her heart. At best she was a good mom and wife, and at her worst, well she had dark secrets that kept her paralyzed in fear of someone finding out.

I did my best that day to encourage her about how much she means to God and how loved she is by many. She feigned a smile as we parted that day. When I walked away I felt grieved for her, and disappointed in myself that I couldn’t better support her. As I prayed for her, God reminded me that Melissa was not the only woman I knew with a similar story: feelings of being inconsequential in a success driven world with too much “ugly” in her past to truly be used by God. I finally was able to admit that’s me too. Sure, I worked in positions of leadership and had success in several different vocations but I felt ill-equipped and, well, like a charlatan – if people really knew me, they would turn away.

This confession was the inspiration for my book Hope-Markers and stirred a passion for women to see themselves as God sees them:

Sunset Woman

I was on a quest to know God’s true purpose for us and what I found rocked my world. The strange part, at this point I had been a believer for several decades and even mentored others in their walk with God. But He showed me that I had not truly embraced this truth for myself and it was time. Why? Because He loves me and wants me to share this message with others. I went to conferences, I talked with friends, women I had mentored, and those who had mentored me and found this feeling of being inconsequential, (and there are endless reasons why women feel this way) was deeply hidden in many women’s hearts and they were too fearful to tell anyone.

Hope-Markers is the culmination of all that God has taught me over the last few years. I’m still walking the journey with Him, and that’s okay. He loves me and my story matters to Him, and so does yours.

What are Hope-Markers? They are people and events that have an impact in our lives. They either inspire us to be all that God has called us to be or they serve as warnings to what God doesn’t want for his beloved daughters. One of the greatest gifts God gives us is each other. He desires to have us journey with each other in expectation of all He has for us.

Below are a few quotes that give you an idea of all you will find in Hope-Markers. My prayer is that it will help you embrace your story to live out the celebrated life God has for you so you can then be a part of the journey of another fellow journey-woman. The book includes a study guide so grab a few friends, some good coffee and dig in. The book will be available on Amazon on December 1. Please visit my website: www.joangallagher.net I would love to know your story, I know it is beautiful.

hopemarkers

joangallaghernowo.com

What I’ve Read Lately – Summer 2016

by Friday, September 16, 2016

This summer I have read a lot of books, and listened to some. Here is a quick update on what I’ve been reading and a few thoughts about each title.

orphan train

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline on Amazon

In June, I read Orphan Train for one of our book club reads. I really enjoyed it, and loved the fact that a couple of people in our book club either knew of someone that had been on an orphan train, or a family member had been on one. It was such an interesting discussion time. I really liked the story of Molly and Vivian coming together, and the similarities in each of their stories. Great book!  5 Blooms Review | juliekmccomas.com

the lunar chronicles  Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress by Marissa Meyer on Amazon

Here’s another book club read.  Our book club Read, Eat & Be Yappy, read this whole series. Or some of us did. I think there was a little miscommunication, or just some really anxious readers in our little book club. One month we decided to check the book based on a fairy tale off of our list, and we decided to read Cinder. Here’s the thing, we knew it was a series, but we didn’t know that you wouldn’t know what happened to Cinder and Kai unless you read the whole stinkin’ series. Yep, you read that right! You have to read four books to find out the ending of the story.  The next month we decided that we were going to read the next two books, Scarlet and Cress. And finally the following month we would read the last book in the series, Winter. Well, I missed the memo where everyone was reading all three of the books that next month, and I just read three of them. One day I will read Winter, but probably not anytime soon. I did like the books, not as much as some of the other club members, but I did enjoy them. The first book bleeds into the second, the second bleeds into the third, the third bleeds into the fourth and finally all the stories are tied up into a neat little bow. Or so I gathered in our discussion.

3 blooms review | juliekmccomas.com

I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith on Amazon

Okay, so I kinda sorta love a podcast called Sorta Awesome, and Sorta Awesome has a Sorta Awesome group on Facebook that has Sorta Awesome subgroups (for lack of a better word), and in the Sorta Awesome subgroup SortaLiterary we have started a Sorta Literary Traveling Book Club. (Yes, I wrote the name of the podcast five times on purpose! They say if you say something five times then you will remember it. There you go, you are welcome.) The first book I received was I Capture the Castle, and it was quite a bit different than the books I normally choose for myself. It was an easy read. It was basically written as a journal, and we were invited to read this girl’s private thoughts. I enjoyed it, but it isn’t one that I will rave about.

3 blooms review | juliekmccomas.com

The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware on Amazon

This past weekend my husband had a business trip in Austin, Texas and I was able to tag along. We typically drive to these meetings if it is twelve hours away or less, so we drove. Our oldest granddaughter had asked for this book, and we had given it to her. I read the synopsis to him and we agreed that it sounded pretty good. I also wanted to “read” it before our granddaughter did to see if it was appropriate for a teenager. It has a lot of f-bombs, but other than that, there is nothing in it that they wouldn’t see on television. (I for one can’t believe what they will show on tv these days. I’m either old or old-fashioned.) We downloaded it from Audible, and y’all, it was so slow! I kept hoping it would get better because I just knew we would be looking for a new book soon if it didn’t. We took a break from it at chapter 5, and then tried it again later. Finally, in chapter 7 things began to pick up. Finally! So glad we gave it another try. We were guessing until the very end. One of us would stop the book to say what they thought was happening, or whodunit, and then two chapters later the other one would do the same thing. This happened over and over. I highly recommend this book, but it only gets four blooms because it was so slow in the beginning.

4 Blooms Review | juliekmccomas.com

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