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book reviews

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!!

The Dog Who Was There - Book Review | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

The Dog Who Was There – Review

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!

 

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

Book Reviews, Read Eat & Be Yappy book club

What I’ve Read Lately – Summer 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

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. This basically means that it is a short cut for you to go directly to an item on Amazon.  It doesn’t cost you a thing, and it helps me earn a few pennies (literally, just a few) if you use these links. I repeat, it doesn’t cost you a thing. Happy Clicking!

Redemption Road by John Hart Book Review | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

Redemption Road by John Hart (Review)

Redemption Road: A Novel
John Hart
Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense
Thomas Dunne Books
May 3, 2016
Hardcover
432

Book Description:

Imagine:

A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.

A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.

After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen…

This is a town on the brink.

This is Redemption Road.

My Review:

First of all, I have to say that I am super bummed! I wrote a pretty killer review for this book and when I went to save it *poof* it was gone! Bum-mer! So, here we go again!

This has been the best book I have read this year! Just sayin', so I will try my best not to spoil it for anyone.

Redemption Road is full of tension, twists, secrets and is so realistic! Seriously, this could be a Criminal Minds or Dateline episode.

John Hart is known for his great writing, and this novel doesn't disappoint in that arena. He was able to pack so much into this story and keep me guessing the whole time. I am one of those readers that likes to figure out "whodunit" before the main character in the book has it figured out. Not this time. I was wrong, and I was wrong more than once. I'm telling ya, there are twists galore!! And I loved it!

If you like a good crime thriller, as much as I do, then you will not be able to put this book down. I'm not saying I carried it to the bathroom with me more than once, but I might have.

I really hope someone reads this so we can chat about it.

Buy, borrow or steal this book! (Okay, don't steal it. But honestly, it's that good!)

Redemption Road on Amazon

 

 

Book Reviews

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica – Review

PrettyBabyA chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica (taken from book description)

How is it possible to like and dislike a book at the same time? That is really how I feel about this one. I will do my best to describe this one to you, but it won’t be easy to describe without giving it all away. I will try my best!

Setting

Chicago.  Picture cold, and rainy.

Characters 

Heidi. Wife to Chris. Mom to Zoe. Bleeding heart kind of soul who works for an adult-literacy charity.

Chris. Husband to Heidi. Dad to Zoe. Investment banker. Pretty boy. I admired this guy.

Zoe. Typical pre-teen. Hates everything. Vegetarian.

Willow. Says she is 18. Homeless with a baby. Loves Anne of Green Gables and the library. After her parents passed, she was placed in a foster home. Has lots of secrets that are revealed up until the very end of the book.

Like I said before, it would be very difficult to describe this one without spoilers.

It is told from multi-character point of view – Heidi, Willow & Chris.

Heidi keeps seeing the same girl at the train station wearing an army green jacket, carrying a worn leather suitcase, and a baby, named Ruby. One day she approaches her, and asks if she can buy her dinner. Willow says no. But Heidi doesn’t give up. This becomes a theme in the book. She tells Willow how to calm the colicky baby, and that she will be diner if she changes her mind. And she does! Willow and her baby show up. Heidi has given Willow her raincoat to wrap the baby in, and her business card.

Obviously, Willow calls her because Heidi ends up bringing Willow and Ruby home to a horrified husband and daughter. She tells her husband that it is only for one night, but one night turned to two, and two to three, and so on.

This act of kindness on Heidi’s part became something more twisted.

You will learn:

Where Willow and Ruby came from.

What happens next!

 

Why this title is in the mystery-thriller genre.

But, you will have to learn all of this for yourself, because if I continue telling you about it there will be lots of spoilers. And I’m not spilling the beans.

For me, this book was most definitely a page-turner. I read devoured it in 2.75 days. Are you wondering how I could like and dislike it at the same time if I devoured it like that?  Well, I didn’t like the way it ended. Let me clarify. It isn’t a bad ending, but it really wasn’t a good ending. It was abrupt. Make sense? In my opinion, I felt like the author could have taken a little more time on the ending.

Would I recommend this book? I don’t know. I did recommend this book to one friend before I finished it. Then I finished it, and kind of changed my mind. Here is what I am going to say to anyone that asks about this book.  There are lots of mixed reviews, and maybe you should check those out before you commit to reading this one.

There is so much more I want to say about this one. If you read it, or have already read it and still want to chat about it – email me! I’d say comment below, but then it would spoil it for everyone else.

anotherchanceranch at gmail dot com

Special thanks to Harlequin and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Reviews

Lifted from Darkness by Alexa M. Foster – Review

Lifted from Darkness | juliekmccomas.com

Lifted from Darkness on Amazon

Book Description:

On the outside, Alexa lived the life of a cheerful married woman whose entire life seemed poised for greatness. On the inside, she continued to hide the shadowy secret of a splintered world of torture that she endured for ten years at the hands of the man whose lies she believed.

When she first met Jim, she was nineteen years old. Immediately captured by his charming personality, Alexa began an ardent love affair with him. What originated as controlling emotional abuse developed into a traumatic depiction of physical and psychological violence, illustrating the intense complexities of love and fury, passion and brutality.

In this touching work of inspiration, Alexa reveals the entangled suffering and sadistic manipulation experienced by living with an abuser, and carries you with her through the shocking events that led to her escape from the chasm of fear and intimidation. Along the way, Alexa exposes the heartbreaking effects domestic violence played on her identity as she moved toward true healing and a life of personal fulfillment and success with a faithful trust in God.

Review:

Recently, I was given the opportunity to read and review this book from Booklook Bloggers. The book description you see above is not the description I read when trying to choose my next title. Here is the description I read:

Lifted From Darkness picks you up and slams you into the unbelievable, but true story of a naive young woman’s spiritual and physical battle to escape a 10-year sentence, trapped as a prisoner of domestic violence. Live the horror and celebrate the harrowing escape as Alexa rebuilds her life and rises through the corporate world, achieving national recognition as the president and CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation.

Now, let me tell you, Chapter 1, page 1 grabs your attention and doesn’t let go until the very last page. The blurb that I read while trying to choose my next book hit the nail on the head! Dead on! It does pick you up and slam you into the unbelievable!

This was a difficult read.  Let me explain.

This isn’t a fictional character living in an abusive marriage. This is a real life woman facing emotional and physical abuse. It was hard to read about knowing that all of these things happened in real life, and happen all the time in the real world.

I only put this book down a few times, because I had to find out what happened to Alexa. I’m happy to say that it has a happy ending, and you will be blown away.

One last thing, if you read this book and you walk away from it without trying to see how God is working in your own life, then you need to read it again. That is huge in this book!

Book Reviews

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker – Book Review

ForthLoveBook Description:

The popular writer, blogger, and television personality reveals with humor and style how Jesus' extravagant grace is the key to dealing with life's biggest challenge: people.

The majority of our joys, struggles, thrills, and heartbreaks relate to people, beginning first with ourselves and then the people we came from, married, birthed, live by, live for, go to church with, don't like, don't understand, fear, struggle with, compare ourselves to, and judge. People are the best and worst thing about the human life.

Jen Hatmaker knows this all too well, and so she reveals how to practice kindness, grace, truthfulness, vision, and love to ourselves and those around us. By doing this, "For the Love "leads our generation to reimagine Jesus' grace as a way of life, and it does it in a funny yet profound manner that Christian readers will love. Along the way, Hatmaker shows readers how to reclaim their prophetic voices and become Good News again to a hurting, polarized world.

Review:

Oh where do I start?!

"Live long enough and it becomes clear that stuff is not the stuff of life. People are." This is just one quote. I'd like to quote the whole stinkin' thing!!

Great book! Love this book! You have to read this book!! Seriously!

Have you ever liked something so much before that you can't even find the words to describe how it made you feel? That is exactly where I am today!

For the Love is written in such a way that you feel like Jen Hatmaker is sitting there with you, chatting like you were best of friends. You feel like you are laughing with her, crying with her, and learning more about grace with her. If you are familiar with her voice, as I am, then you hear her speaking each word you read. She's my new BFF (she just doesn't know it yet)!

There is humor out there in the real world we live in, and Jen points it out. She doesn't sugar coat things, so don't dig into this book expecting it to be all hilarious. There are some jagged points in there too. Maybe it is different for everyone. It will all depend on you, and what you need to get out of her writing.  Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of humor in there especially in the Thank You Notes. I found myself making thank you notes to people in traffic, in line at the grocery store, and even in church. Wouldn't you like to know what they are!?

This book has challenged me to live life with more humor and integrity. Jesus' extravagant grace IS the key to dealing with people. I will re-read this For the Love again, and again because I need a little bit of her wisdom each and every day!

P.S. Have tissues for Chapter 11, and be ready to laugh out loud in Chapter 12! I can't say too much about this book without giving it all away!

Jen Hatmaker, I sure wish there was a devotional book to pair with this title. 🙂 Signed, Your new BFF!

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced reader ecopy of this book!