Browsing Tag

book review

19 Souls - Book Review | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

19 Souls – Book Review

Book Description:

Private Investigator Jim Bean is a straightforward, to-the-point man. When his latest client, Sophie Evers, asks him to find her brother Daniel, Jim has no idea how complicated his life is about to become.

Daniel is not Sophie’s brother. He is her most coveted prey. Clinging to the belief that they belong together, Sophie kills Daniel’s real sister to manipulate Jim into flushing Daniel out of hiding. She will create the “perfect life” for the only man she’s ever loved, no matter how many people she must kill along the way.

When Jim discovers the truth about Sophie, he’s driven to set things right before her delusional plan claims even more souls.

Review:

Do you like television shows like Criminal Minds, Law & Order, NCIS, or Homicide Hunter? Those are some of our favorite show, and I think that is part of the reason I devoured this book and loved every bit of it.  If you like these types of shows, I am sure you will like this one too!

Oh, hi my name is Julie and I judge books by their covers. The cover of this one is what drew my attention to it, but I was hooked before I even finished the first chapter.  J.D. Allen really kicked it in high gear from the very beginning.  This story is full of non-stop action, and you don’t want to stop reading until you get to the very end. There were times that I just wanted to let Jim have it, even though I developed a soft spot for him.  But Sophie, on the other hand, was so easy to just loathe with every fiber of my being.  A couple of things were a little predictable, but it wasn’t enough to mess with the story.

I’m sorry to say that this book will not be released until February of next year, but really that is just around the corner.  I will be posting a reminder for you because I would really hate for you to miss out on this one.

19 Souls Book Cover 19 Souls
Sin City Investigation #1
J.D. Allen
Thriller, Crime, Detective
Midnight Ink
February 8, 2018
eARC
360
Received an advanced eARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Anchored In - Book Review | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

Anchored In – Book Review

Book Description:

Problems can make you feel like God is far away, but they can also be the very things that bring you closer to him.

Anchored In isn’t a book of Christian cliche’s or sweet stories to warm the heart but rather an authentic look at the hard parts of life. It challenges us to stop running from and clinging to the past, and to grasp tightly to the only unshakable Anchor that is able to sustain our souls through the storms of life.

Micah shares personal stories, such as her father’s abandonment of her family, and couples them with biblical application to offer real-life glimpses of God at work. She offers inspiration to live a life full of God’s power rather than one that causes us to turn away and be paralyzed by problems.

Living anchored in God’s presence is a beautiful gift that few truly experience simply because they do not understand the key to God’s power – surrender. Or if they know to surrender, they do not know how to let go of the problems that consume their lives. Through simple, tangible steps learn to surrender in every season of life.

Hearing from God is not reserved for a chosen few, but rather promised to those who believe. If you are longing to experience God’s power in a deeper way, this is a journey for you.

Review:

We have all been through trials of some kind, and some are worse than others.  When we go through these trials we need to be reminded that we are not the only ones that have problems, and that we will get through them.  Anchored In is just that! It is full of encouragement that we all need as we struggle, and a gentle but oh so truthful reminder that we need to stay Anchored In to our faith.

One of my favorite quotes from Micah is “God’s power is present to people who pursue it.”

How true!! How true!! How true!!

Seriously, how have I missed this all this time?

This is a honestly written story of Micah’s journey, and how she found an anchor.  It is perfectly blended with stories and scriptures, and each chapter ends with questions just for you and a prayer too.

Anchored In: Experience a Power-full Life in a Problem-Filled World Book Cover Anchored In: Experience a Power-full Life in a Problem-Filled World
Micah Maddox
Personal Growth, Religion & Spirituality
Abingdon Press
September 5, 2017
eARC
240
Received an advanced eARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Crying Bird - Book Review | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

The Crying Bird – Book Review

Book Description:

May Johnson used to be an ordinary wife and mother. Now, she’s a middle-aged millionaire, grieving the loss of her family. The only living relative she has left is her smothering younger sister. May’s sanity is already threatened when tensions rise, so she sets out to find solitude in Florida. However, life has other plans for her.

Animal encounters, unlikely friendships, sisterly squabbles and hilarious scenarios take May on an unforgettable journey from the depths of grief to a new life. But, will she embrace it?

Review:

Funny books are so hard to come by these days.  Wait, let me rephrase that.  Good, clean, funny, PG books are hard to come by these days.  Every once in a while I will read a book with a funny part, and it is refreshing.  This book fits that bill.  Sure, it’s about a woman that has lost her family, and that is sad, but it doesn’t dwell on it.  Isn’t that how it is in real life?  Don’t we deal with death, and then keep living?  Or that is how it’s supposed to work.  The main character, May Johnson, does exactly what we all want to do when we lose someone close to us.  She shuts down.  When she finally gets enough of her little sister trying to help her, she runs away.  Again, wouldn’t we all like to do that sometimes?

This is a story that many of us can relate to. It is a little sad, but it is also, fast-paced, witty and heartwarming!  You not only get May Johnson’s point of view as the griever, but you also get the point of view of her sister, as the caregiver.  There are unlikely friendships, good deeds, and conversations with a bird.  Please tell me that you talk to animals too.

This is E.J. Stillings debut novel, and it is a winner! I absolutely love this book!  I will be suggesting this book to my IRL book club, and I just know they will love it!

My Bird Story

Now, let me tell you about what happened here the same day I finished this book.

the pigeon | juliekmccomas.com

It was a Sunday afternoon, I was settling in to read a little and nap a lot.  I had just finished this book, The Crying Bird by E.J. Stillings, and decided that I would get a drink of water before I fell asleep.  I went to the kitchen sink, and sitting in front of the kitchen window was a pigeon.  I couldn’t believe it.  I grabbed my phone and started snapping pictures.  We live in the middle of nowhere, seriously, and I’ve never seen a pigeon out here.  They are all in town.  I don’t know why, but they are.  I noticed that there was a band on it’s little leg, so I started trying to get all the number off it.  That is harder than it sounds.  Several pictures later I got it.  I got some bird feed and some water and set out to make friends with this pigeon that I started calling Pete.  Pete the Pigeon.  Anywhoo, he wouldn’t eat or drink unless I was holding the plate.  I knew he had to belong to someone.  I took the number and got online.  Believe it or not, I found the owner!  Through Facebook and text messaging, he told me that it is a homing pigeon (I had figured that out) and they had had a trial run of the homing pigeon race.  You can’t make this stuff up.  I never knew they raced.  I ended up catching him, who ended up being a her, put her in a pet carrier, and returned her to her rightful owner. I thought it was funny that I had just finished reading this book, and then had an encounter with a bird that very same day.

Get this book! You won’t regret it!

The Crying Bird Book Cover The Crying Bird
E.J. Stillings
Women's Fiction, Contemporary
Emily Jordan Stillings
January 7, 2017
eBook
216
Received a free copy from E.J. Stillings in exchange for my honest review. Thank you, E.J..

Church of the Small Things | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

Church of the Small Things – Book Review

Book Description:

Is my ordinary, everyday life actually significant? Is it okay to be fulfilled by the simple acts of raising kids, working in an office, and cooking chicken for dinner?

It’s been said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” The pressure of that can be staggering as we spend our days looking for that big thing that promises to take our breath away. Meanwhile, we lose sight of the small significance of fully living with every breath we take.

Melanie Shankle, New York Times bestselling author and writer at The Big Mama Blog tackles these questions head on in her fourth book, Church of the Small Things. Easygoing and relatable, she speaks directly to the heart of women of all ages who are longing to find significance and meaning in the normal, sometimes mundane world of driving carpool to soccer practice, attending class on their college campus, cooking meals for their family, or taking care of a sick loved one.

The million little pieces that make a life aren’t necessarily glamorous or far-reaching. But God uses some of the smallest, most ordinary acts of faithfulness—and sometimes they look a whole lot like packing lunch. 

Through humorous stories told in her signature style, full of Frito pie, best friends, the love of her Me-Ma and Pa-Pa, the unexpected grace that comes when we quit trying to measure up, and a little of the best TV has to offer, Melanie helps women embrace what it means to live a simple, yet incredibly meaningful life and how to find all the beauty and laughter that lies right beneath the surface of every moment.

Review:

Pick up this book!  Seriously, I felt like I was spending time with a good friend listening (or reading) her stories about everyday life.  The simple acts, she calls them, of life are actually significant.  I love reading a book where the author doesn’t try to sugar coat things, and Melanie certainly doesn’t sugar coat things.  I felt like I could really relate to everything in the Small Things I Wish I’d Known in High School chapter since I am approximately, if not, the same age as Melanie.  One of the small things is “Tucking your jeans into your socks just makes you look like an ice cream cone. An ice cream cone with a big, crispy perm on top.”  Oh good grief, I think I have photos of myself impersonating an ice cream cone!

There are so many funny things in this book.  If you don’t laugh reading the Bangs, Bangs You’re Dead chapter then you might need to check your pulse!

What is great about this book is that every woman will be able to relate to something.  Church of the Small Things is written like a memoir, and Melanie shares memories from childhood to present day.  There are memories with her grandparents, sister, dogs, friends and family.  This is why I feel like every woman will be able to relate to this book in some form or fashion.

The small things sometimes turn out to be bigger than we thought, and they are significant.  You’ll find this lovely, reflective, funny memoir hard to finish.  Why?  Because it is so lovely you won’t want it to end.  After reading this I have determined to pay attention to the small things a little more.  I hope you will get this book, read it, and learn to look for the small things too.

Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life is available for pre-order at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, Barnes&Noble, etc.

Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up A Life Book Cover Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up A Life
Melanie Shankle
Christian Living, Humor, Religion
Zondervan
October 3, 2017
eARC
224
Received an advanced eARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough - Book Review juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – Review

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!

 

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

Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth (Book Review)

Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth
Guinnevere Shuster
Pets & Animal Care, Cats, Dogs & Animals
Andrew McMeel Publishing
May 3, 2016
Hardcover
128

Book Description:

Man's best friend! What better way to showcase adoptable dogs than by letting their true personalities shine in a photo booth! In the tradition of the best-selling dog photography book, Underwater Dogs, Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth wins the heart of all dog lovers.

Often seen as sad, rejected, and behind cold metal bars, it's no wonder people would avoid images of shelter dogs awaiting forever homes. From talented photographer (and now public figure and adoption champion) Guinnivere Shuster comes Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth, a guaranteed-to-make-you-smile photo book featuring shelter dogs in a brand-new light. Get ready to see the cutest canine portraits you’ve ever seen! Guinnevere’s fantastic photos went viral  and have been featured on websites, in magazines, and on television programs all over the world: Good Morning America, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, The Huffington Post, Time, The Daily Mail . . . even celebrities have gotten in on the action: Amy Poehler, Cesar Millan, and Zooey Deschanel have made statements and posts declaring their love of Guinnevere’s work. After the adorable and up-for-adoption photos of these furry friends were seen and enjoyed by millions, adoption rates at Utah's Humane Society skyrocketed.

The book features 100 dog photo booth style photographs, each accompanied by a short story about the dog's personality, how the dog ended up in the shelter, and the adoption date. A follow-up will conclude the book, with photos of some of them with their new families.

A portion of the proceeds of this book will benefit the Humane Society of Utah and Best Friends Animal Society.

My Review:

BUY THIS BOOK!

This book is super-duper cute! I know that when I first saw the title of this book I thought of the ASPCA commercials on television. Seriously, some of those are the most depressing commercials...the photos and the songs they pair them with...oh my!

Back to this book.

Have you ever tried to take a photo of your dogs? I feel like these are the types of photos I end up with myself. The dogs personalities really shine through the photos.

If you are a dog lover, or just want a little pick me up kind of picture book then this is for you. You will not be able to help but smile. You might even laugh at some of the cuties. I plan on getting this one for a few of my peeps for Christmas.

When you BUY THIS BOOK you not only get a great book that never gets old (you can read it over and over), but you also contribute to great organizations, Humane Society of Utah and Best Friends Animal Society.

Book Reviews, Confessions

Sisterhood of the Traveling Book

Have you ever heard of the book Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?

Well, that is what the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book is like, except it is something you read instead of something you wear. At our age, we probably couldn’t find a pair of jeans to fit each of us in our group. I can’t find a pair of jeans to fit me period, but that is a completely different post just waiting to happen.

To be honest, I really don’t remember how I got involved in the Traveling Book group on goodreads. The first group was supposed to read Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall. It started out great, but after the second or third person read it the book just disappeared. It happens. So, we started another group.

We are reading The Time In Between by Maria Duenas, journaling our thoughts about the book, and sending the book and journal along to the next gal on the list.

I will tell you now that I was not looking forward to reading this book.  First of all, it is 615 pages long. Not short, long.  Here’s the book description:

The Time In Between is a word-of-mouth phenomenon that catapulted María Dueñas, a debut author, to the top of Spain’s bestseller lists.

The Time in Between

This sweeping novel, which combines the storytelling power of The Shadow of the Wind with the irresistible romance of Casablanca, moves at an unstoppable pace. Suddenly left abandoned and penniless in Morocco by her lover, Sira Quiroga forges a new identity. Against all odds she becomes the most sought-after couture designer for the socialite wives of German Nazi officers. But she is soon embroiled in a dangerous political conspiracy as she passes information to the British Secret Service through a code stitched into the hems of her dresses.

I’m sorry, but this just didn’t peak my interest at the time. BUT! I loved this book! I read the 615 pages in two days. (We won’t discuss the fact our electric was out due to an ice storm, so I had a lot more free time to read.) Two days!

Here’s what I know. I do like historical fiction, mystery, Secret Service, spy like and all that jazz. (I do like Jazz, too.) I do not care for romance. Why can’t people leave all the kissy kissy, smoochy smoochy stuff out of there? A little bit is okay, but seriously get a room. Keep it private. And as for the other details, we know that in real life the sex scenes are nothing like those written in novels or movies. It’s just not my thing. Kapeesh?  I have read books with “those” scenes in them, and I’ll just tell it to you straight…I skip those parts! Ah, I digress.

This book IS historical fiction. This book HAS spies and secret service. This book HAS mystery! Okay, it has a little smoochy smoochy, but it could be worse. There’s a nice little love story, victory, and a satisfying ending. Although, I could have kept reading. I actually missed the characters when it was over. I wish they could make it into a movie.  I wish the synopsis weren’t so, dare I say, boring. Give this book a chance. I’m pretty sure you will enjoy it.  Then come back and tell me who you think should play Sira if they made it into a movie.  I’m thinking Anne Hathaway.

(Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links; shopping through them makes me a little money and makes you even brighter than you already are. At no extra cost to you.)

Happy Reading!!

Julie K. McComas