I lost that loving feeling…

I’ve loved to write since… well, I can’t remember a time I didn’t like to write.  Even during periods of time when I didn’t have the time, or was just so down on myself that I figured “why bother,” the stories would run through my head as if I was typing them at a typewriter (without all the messy corrections).

Characters and places haunted me and I found myself lost in conversations as I tried to listen to what they wanted to tell me.  As a teenager, it was typical for me to sit in class or at a party or even watching TV, but be visiting my fictional world in my mind.  (Go figure I wasn’t valedictorian.)

But one day, it just stopped.  I quit trying to remember my characters and their worlds, quit telling myself that one day I’d write out their adventures and read them when I’m old.  I’d lost my first love.  It just went away.

And I didn’t care.

I didn’t ask myself why.

I’m not even sure I noticed…

Until I took a week long road trip with my daughter.

Now I can’t get the silly little goblins in my head to be quiet! And my poor husband has had more one-sided conversations with me than he’s probably had the whole time we’ve been together.  (I’m incredibly lucky he understands and just laughs.)

I’m pretty sure it was stress and just general busyness that stole my stories away, but it doesn’t really matter.

They’re back now.  And the typewriter in my mind is steadily typing away.

We ARE our own worst enemies.

dark matter

Are you your own worst enemy?

In the book Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, being your own worst enemy isn’t just figurative.

This was the first book of Blake Crouch’s I’ve read, and it was amazing!  Jason Dessen is abducted and wakes up in a world very similar to our own, but with major differences.

In the new world, he’s a brilliant scientist with no limits on his potential (or money).  In his “real” world, he’s an ordinary guy who teaches physics at the local college.

He basically has the life and everything he ever dreamed of except for two very important things…  his wife and son.  To get back to his own world, he has to answer some very hard questions and somehow manage to keep his sanity as he goes from world to world where he’s himself, but there’s a “him” already there.  And his wife is his wife in some worlds, but doesn’t even know him in others.  And what about their son?

This book was almost impossible to put down once I got started reading.  It made me ask questions about how well I really know myself and what I would do if put in the same situation.  I felt like I was right there with Jason…  I laughed with him, cried with him, and even had to stop to catch my breath as I ran with him!

Need a new book?  I definitely recommend this one!

Thanks so much to the  Blogging for Books program for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for this review.

Upcoming reviews:

The Little Paragons by Madi Uram

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis.

We all have secrets we’d rather not tell…

Does anyone make it through their teenage years without doing at least one thing they regret?  Not the kind of regret from forgetting to turn in a homework assignment, I’m talking about the kind of thing you want to keep hidden from the rest of the world.

If you’re lucky, the mistakes you made didn’t have lasting consequences…

But for everyone of us that screwed up royally and then got to move on like nothing ever happened (hopefully after learning a lesson to avoid repeating the mistake), there’s another of us who is haunted by our choice(s).  Life has been changed forever.  There is no escape.  You can move away for a fresh start, but the secret life left behind will never really let you go.

Tapestry of Secrets

That’s what happened to Perla in A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas.

After keeping her secret for sixty years, “Perla knew she’d been forgiven and redeemed long ago and had thought there would never be a need to revisit her shame,” but she’s worried about her granddaughter, Ella, and realizes that telling what happened back then could help her.

Sounds simple enough.  Just call up Ella, spill the beans, and life is all peaches and roses, right?

Not quite…

Perla suffers a stroke that robs her of speech before she’s able to tell Ella anything.   It’s especially frustrating because Ella decides to stay in West Virginia to take care of her grandmother while she recovers.

Slowly, her ability to talk improves and she’s actually excited to share her secret, but another stroke causes even more problems.

While Perla’s unable to speak, she’s still sharp as a tack!  When a developer comes to town buying up the property all around the church, many members of the small congregation, including Ella, are determined to not let the church go.  But, Perla sees it as a good thing.  After all, “sometimes a good dose of trouble was exactly what folks needed.”

When I started reading the book, I had no idea that it’s actually the third book in the Appalachian Blessings series.  Thankfully, the book easily stands alone and doesn’t seem like a series book at all!

I love the strong female characters in the story and the way there’s constantly something to keep you interested and needing to know what’s going to happen next.  I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for an encouraging story of love and forgiveness.

I received a free copy of this book from the Bethany House Blogger Review Program.

I’m a whole year old!!!

Well, I wasn’t sure what I was going to post about today.  All I knew was, I really needed to post something…

I figured it’d probably be an update on my Anger Management Experiment.  That seemed pretty boring though since it’s been two weeks and my husband has yet to make me want to yell at him… I’m not complaining, just doesn’t make for a very interesting blog post…

Then I thought to myself… Self, we may have to check out The Daily Post and see if it’s got a good writing prompt for the day.  Hey, I’m dramatic.  That would’ve been an awesome post for me!pexels-photo-104963

But, I ultimately decided to celebrate with you guys instead.  Because when I logged in to start typing away I discovered…  My blog is a year old!!!

One year ago today I started this whole crazy blogging experience thing!

I looked back at my first blog post.  My husband did get laid off not too long after posting that and I did go back to working outside the home for a while.  It didn’t take him long to get back to work though (praise God)!  Now I’m doing transcription part-time from our house and still spending tons of time with my babies.

One thing that I said in that post that I completely forgot about was that simply realizing my dream of finishing my first novel was enough.  Obviously, I was a little naive when I said that.   Finishing writing a first draft was pretty simple… perfecting it is a whole other bag of worms all together!

Sure, technically I “finished” writing a novel.  (Technically I’ve got 1 1/2 novels written at this point and way too many short stories to count.)  But I had no idea how hard it was going to be to get it to a point where I feel like I can say it’s done.  I’m actually starting to wonder if I’ll be able to make it as great as I want it to be…

But I am incredibly proud of myself for writing it at all… I did realize the dream (even if the dream is currently in something like its 6th draft stage and has had almost every word changed at some point.)

And here I am, a year from starting this blog and I’ve met so many great people!  I’ve been introduced to some awesome authors and my to be read list just keeps growing.  I’m really looking forward to what the next year on jesscombs.com will bring.

Another amazing experience blogging has opened up to me is the wonderful world of book reviewing!  I had no idea that you can get free books in exchange for writing an honest review.  This is something I just started and I’m looking forward to sharing lots of reviews with you all!  KIMG0002

(Please still use the contact me form to suggest books for me to read!  I plan on posting reviews on books from my blogging peeps over the next year as well and if my husband doesn’t have to buy me books anymore, I’ll have to come up with something else to write on the I love you because board…)

I hope those of you who have followed jesscombs.com over it’s first year have enjoyed it as much as I have (although, admittedly, posts were few and far between there for a while).   And I look forward to another year with all my new blogging friends as well… Let me know what you think and if you’ve got any suggestions for the next year.

Happy Birthday to ME!!!  🙂

What if it were YOUR time to pay up?

Have you ever settled on a book?  You know, your buddy suggests this awesome book that you just HAVE to read, but when you read the jacket you’re like, “Dude, you’ve GOT to be kidding me?”9781101905142

That’s about what happened when I chose The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson.  I browsed through my choices, saw other books that seemed right up my alley, but ultimately settled on The Invoice entirely based upon the fact that it had the best reviews.

Apparently, it’s okay to “settle” sometimes…

I knew I was going to enjoy this book by the second page, loved it by page 50, and it took me all of two days to read it’s 204 pages. (That’s impressive when you’ve got a job, two dogs and a clingy teenager who’s been gone for a week demanding that you put down the book and watch Supernatural with her.)

You’re never told the narrator’s name (which I honestly didn’t realize until I started writing this post), but his life is thrown into a complete loop when he receives an invoice from a company he’s never heard of for an amount he could never pay.  After all, he works part-time in a video shop where he apparently doesn’t bother to put out the open side until after lunch.

He later learns that the government (every government, really) has begun charging for happiness and that the mistake he assumed was made in his amount wasn’t in his favor!  As he argues the case for how much of a loser he really is, his happiness score only goes up (along with the amount due).

While you gotta feel for the guy, it’s hard not to laugh at his continued misfortune.

While I loved the narrator, what really kept me from being able to tear myself away from the story was the way it constantly kept me asking what was going to happen next.   Once I would get the answer to one question, I had about three more that needed answering (like what they can do to stop your experiences if they’re not going to kill you)!

This book forces you to ask the question, what would happen if you had to pay for your Experienced Happiness… and what if you were too happy to be able to pay?

What really got to me was that I can totally relate to the guy’s E.H. type.  While I’ve definitely had my ups and downs (as we all have) I tend to be happy with relatively little.  I work part-time, watch television when I can and if you give me a good book and some time to write I’m pretty much ecstatic.

It does have a few “naughty” words in it, but I’d recommend The Invoice for anyone age 15+.  About the only negative I can possibly say about this novel is that I wish it had been longer.  I was actually sad when it ended and I had to put it down (please see that this is deducted from my E.H. score).

 

Thanks so much to the  Blogging for Books program for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for this review.