Posted in book reviews

Ultimate Blog Tour – Chasing Graves by Ben Galley

Hello, everyone!!! It’s my birthday AND Day 2 of the second ever Ultimate Blog Tour hosted by The Write Reads. This time around, the tour is even bigger and it’s spotlighting author Ben Galley. I chose to review the first book in his Chasing Graves Trilogy and I’m so excited to share this review as my birthday post with all of you!!!

Ultimate Blog Tour – Chasing Graves by Ben GalleyChasing Graves (The Chasing Graves Trilogy, #1) by Ben Galley
Published by BenGalley.com on December 7, 2018
Pages: 300
Source: The Write Reads
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Synopsis

Welcome to Araxes, where getting murdered is just the start of your problems.

"To say that the concept of Chasing Graves is grimdark would be an understatement... The world building is fantastic and reminiscent of Michael Moorcock’s Elric series.”– Grimdark Magazine

“Chasing Graves might well be one of the best releases not only for December but for the entirety of 2018.”– BookNest

“Galley has created a fascinating world that feels rife with stories… its history is rich with detail and there’s so many avenues to be explored.”– Adam Weller, Fantasy Book Review

“Dark, tense and surprisingly hilarious.”– Laura M. Hughes, Author of Danse Macabre

"With detailed characters, a twisting plot, and a heavy dose of gory darkness, Ben Galley has once again produced a fantasy you can sink your teeth into.”– The Grimmedian

“There’s serious grounds here for building something spectacular.”— Emma Davis, Fantasy Book Review

“A great first book to a series I sincerely can’t wait to complete.”– Novel Notions

————

Meet Caltro Basalt. He’s a master locksmith, a selfish bastard, and as of his first night in Araxes, stone cold dead.

They call it the City of Countless Souls, the colossal jewel of the Arctian Empire, and all it takes to be its ruler is to own more ghosts than any other. For in Araxes, the dead do not rest in peace in the afterlife, but live on as slaves for the rich.

While Caltro struggles to survive, those around him strive for the emperor’s throne in Araxes’ cutthroat game of power. The dead gods whisper from corpses, a soulstealer seeks to make a name for himself with the help of an ancient cult, a princess plots to purge the emperor from his armoured Sanctuary, and a murderer drags a body across the desert, intent on reaching Araxes no matter the cost.

Only one thing is certain in Araxes: death is just the beginning.

————

From award-winning author Ben Galley comes a new dark fantasy trilogy. Inspired by Egyptian mythology and packed with dark humour, action, and intrigue, the Chasing Graves Trilogy is perfect for fans of Michael Moorcock, Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie.

————

“Chasing Graves is a dark, compelling entry into a trilogy.”– RockStarlit Book Asylum

“I enjoyed this book immensely, there rarely ever being a moment when I felt ready to put it down before I finished it.”— Diogo Capelo, Goodreads Reviewer

"Chasing Graves, with its well paced and tight plot is complex, intricate and rewarding. I can’t wait to put my hands on the sequel.”– Lukasz P, Goodreads Reviewer

“The characters are fantastic, colourful and well-rounded.”– Al Burke

I received this book for free from The Write Reads. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m used to stories where being among the undead is a good thing…like centuries old vampires. And I’m not really into zombie tales, but that chick in iZombie seemed to be alright.

But in chasing graves, the undead are basically slaves to the living in a city where the only way to get ahead is to kill or be killed so your murderer can claim not just your property, but your soul!

Basically, this is a totally different kind of undead story…

Your thrust into this world where a wife is crossing the desert with her dead husband’s ghost in order to bind him to her and claim his property. The woman’s name is Nilith and I absolutely loved her! (Actually, there weren’t many characters I didn’t love) I spent almost the entire book thinking what does this woman and her dead husband have to do with the rest of this story and when I got to the part where it told me I literally screamed out loud! I shouldn’t have questioned it though, because literally everything is tied together somehow in this book!

After the intro where you meet Nilith, you’re introduced to a thief who’s been lured to Araxes (the City of Countless Souls) with the promise of silver only to be murdered shortly after arriving. Caltro manages to get himself into all kinds of not so great situations with the living, the dead, and even some dead gods…

The world building in Chasing Graves is probably some of the best I’ve read in fantasy lately. There are even short snippets of history thrown in at the beginning of every chapter and I felt as though as I was reading about a real place.

There is SO much I want to talk about this book, but I have no idea how to say anything else without spoilers, so I’m just going to say I definitely recommend picking it up and giving it a read!

four-half-stars
Posted in Giveaway

Summertime Giveaway – WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT

Hello, everyone! The Summertime Giveaway, the first ever giveaway on Combing Through the Pages, officially ended last week and today I get to announce the winner!!!

Congratulations to SANDRA!!! Check you’re e-mail because you’ve won your choice of book from Book Depository!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to everyone who participated!! This was a lot of fun for me to do and I’m already looking forward to running another giveaway soon.

Posted in Weekly Update

Studio Under the Stairs – Update #2

Well, my plan to write a weekly audiobook update already failed. I totally forgot to post one last week! So I guess this will be just like everything else on this site – I’ll post seemingly random, yet with some sort of vague sense of an organizational schedule…

Currently Recording:

I finished recording What Kind of People Ought We to Be: Preparation for the day of the Lord by Patsy Scott last week. This week, I’ll be finishing up The Rose Diary by Curtis Maynard.

I’m really loving this story and I’m really hoping everyone enjoys the final product as much as I’m enjoying recording it!! Here’s the deets from Goodreads:

Studio Under the Stairs – Update #2The Rose Diary by Curtis Maynard
on March 26, 2019
Pages: 201
Goodreads
Synopsis

A young girl dies mysteriously from what can only be explained as a rare illness. Her younger sister finds a diary in her room that has never been written in. Day by day the book reveals a new writing that urges the young girl to investigate the death. From encounters to the writings, there is a story to be heard, a mystery to be solved.

I’ll have some Audible-US and Audible-UK promo copies available once The Rose Diary goes on sale, so if you’re a book blogger interested in a review copy, let me know! (Please specify whether you’ll be needing a US or UK code in your message.)

Currently Available:

The following titles are currently available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes:

Blood and Deceit by Laura Greenwood (I still have some promo codes available for this title. Contact Me if interested in obtaining a review copy.)

Bible Made Easy by Sarah O. Annie

Ghost Stalker by Isabella Bailey

Pearl Port Singer by Natashiah Jansen

Posted in book reviews

WWW Wednesday – June 12, 2019

So… Happy Wednesday!!!  It’s time once again for WWW Wednesday ! WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.
Don’t know what WWW Wendesday is or how to participate??? All you need to do is answer the following three questions and link back to Taking on a World of Words, or you can put your answers in the comments on her blog! (You can also leave your link in my comments to be sure I don’t miss your post!)

The three WWW questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019

I didn’t manage to finish The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin last week, but should finish it up this week and then I’ll be moving on to the next book on the Harvard Classics list!

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019

I finished up Hillbilly Elegy and now I’m beginning Appalachian Reckoning. I just started it so I’m not gonna say much here other than… I’m currently reading it.

Recently Finished:

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019

The only book I managed to finish up reading this past week was Hillbilly Elegy. Pretty much my entire household has been sick and so that’s about all I had time for. I’m hoping this next week’s reading goes better!

Hillbilly Elegy really got to me though… I guess you could say it hit home a little too hard.

Reading Next:

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019

Half Finished by Lauraine Snelling
Published byFaithWords on March 26, 2019 
ISBN: 1478920076 
Pages: 324 
Goodreads

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019

The LunaticsPublished byCreatespace Independent Publishing Platformon April 17, 2012 
ISBN: 1475183399 
Pages: 234 
Goodreads

Posted in Thing 1 Rants

Thing 1 Introduces a (hopefully) Semi-regular New Segment: Thing 1’s Thoughts and Rants

Hello readers of Combing Through the Pages, it is I, Thing 1, the eldest of my mother’s children.

Wow. That was more dramatic than I thought it would be.

Anyway… I’m here to introduce a new segment of posts that I will be doing this summer that are just going to be me ranting about things that I feel strongly about or about some random thought that I recently had.

These posts will hopefully be posted on a semi-regular basis on Friday. I make no promises on that though cause I’m a procrastinator at heart and it’s hard to keep that in check when it’s summer. So apologies in advance if this segment ends up not happening that often, but I will try my best.

I do hope that you all will enjoy the rants and thoughts that I do end up posting about. And I hope that you’ll find them as entertaining as me and my mom do.

Posted in faith, foster care

What Jesus Feeding the 5,000 Taught Me About Fostering

We haven’t been fostering for very long. Our first placement came to stay with us in December 2017 and left the following November.

Of course, that’s the goal of foster care – to help keep families together by providing the guidance and resources necessary to make that happen…

But it doesn’t make life any easier or hurt any less when the children who’ve become a part of your family are no longer there. It almost killed me to say goodbye.

Time to grieve.

We decided to take some time to heal and mourn our loss after that first placement left.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop workers from contacting us to take in another placement. I couldn’t get upset or blame them. In our state (and many others) there is a severe shortage of foster families willing to take in foster children.

As hard as it was to say no, we just couldn’t open up our hearts and our home to another set of kids. We were still too broken.

The emotional roller coaster I went through during that time is incredibly hard to describe…

I deeply desired to take in every child they asked us about.

I missed having a house full of children running around all the time. It was way too quiet and the silence sometimes felt as if it would swallow me whole. I’d heard that phrase before, but it was the first time I actually understood it.

At the same time, I couldn’t imagine other children sleeping in the kids’ beds, playing with their toys, wearing the clothes they’d outgrown. And I knew I’d be comparing the “new” kids to the “old” ones, which wouldn’t be fair to any of us.

So we continued to turn down placements, convinced we were “doing the right thing.” And that saying no was “for the best.”

WWJD?

Our logic seemed infallible.

But as I sat alone one day, having my quiet time and reading the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in Matthew, something changed. I saw something there I’d never noticed before…

If you’re not familiar with the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, it goes as follows:

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:13-21
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® 

I’ve read this story more times than I can count. I’ve heard it preached on Sunday mornings, listened to podcasts, and watched videos on it.

To be honest, I’ve read and heard it so much I tend to gloss over the miracle part of it. Like, yeah, Jesus fed a bunch of people with just a little bit of food… it’s Jesus. He could do things like that.

But this story has never really hit me in a way that I could relate to. As a disciple, it’s not one I’ve drawn strength from or looked to for guidance — at least, not until now.

If you notice, the beginning of this story starts with “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” That’s important as to what took place in my heart that day reading this story and having it hit me like it was the first time I’d ever heard it…

What was it Jesus had heard happened? John the Baptist had just been killed. He was Jesus’ cousin and friend. He was the one who’d baptized him! Jesus loved him deeply and fiercely.

Jesus was in mourning.

He took a short time to grieve and pray, but he didn’t shut down or shut people out. He could’ve turned the crowd away. Everyone would’ve understood if he had.

But he didn’t.

He took care if them, providing for their physical and spiritual needs despite his grief. If it was me, I wouldn’t have had any desire to care for the twelve apostles, much less some huge crowd I knew was gonna turn on me soon!

I wasn’t doing the same. I was wallowing in my own pain and grief and not willing to be Jesus’s hands and feet here on earth in the way He called me to be.

But were we “ready”?

I was already feeling the urge to take in more kids despite my heartache by this time. I felt a little lost and incomplete. Fostering is the one thing I’ve known, without doubt, that God has called me to. I felt selfish taking a break before my “WWJD” revelation.

But my husband didn’t feel the same. Neither did our kids.

Each time a call or text would come through, I’d start preparing in my head for new arrivals. Then I’d talk with the rest of the family about it and realize…it’s just too soon. Not only were we still dealing with loss, we had other issues we were also dealing with and taking in more kids during this time just didn’t make sense.

I think there are certain moments that the Lord just puts everything in place and softens hearts to bring him glory. The day I had the above heart change, He did just that.

I talked to my husband when he got home from work about accepting the next foster placement…and he agreed! This might not sound significant to you, but believe me, it was!!!

And the rest, as they say, is history.

We’re currently blessed with a new foster child in our home. She’s been here for about 3 months now and we’re enjoying every minute of having her here (even during the late night screaming parties).

I wanted to share this because I found it funny when I thought about it later. Jesus providing for 5,000 over 2,000 years ago led me to see past my own pain and provide for someone in need now. And out of all the passages in the bible about caring for orphans, widows, the least of these, etc., the one that pierced my heart never mentions them.

What do you think? Have you ever been surprised by what you’ve gotten from a seemingly random piece of scripture? Let me know your thoughts below!