Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – February 19, 2020

So I basically feel like something my dog pooped out this morning. Which is actually better than I felt yesterday, so my week’s getting better! I haven’t felt like writing since this stupid illness kicked my butt, but I figured… it’s Wednesday. And it doesn’t take much to post a WWW post and well, I love these things! I look back at them throughout the year and it’s sort of like a little timeline of my year in books. I love Goodreads and everything, but these are more personal. So here I am, sitting at my computer, coughing up a lung, sharing my WWW Wednesday post for February 19, 2020.

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?

So let’s dive right in, shall we?

What I’m currently reading:

Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790 (The Poldark Saga #2)​​ by Winston Graham. This one was on my WWW list under currently reading last week too. I thought I’d finish it up that day, but I actually ended up not reading more than ONE PAGE the entire week from here! I still love it, I just had other things I had to read first.


The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler. This is another one from my list last week that I didn’t actually get to read. I guess this week’s “books I’m reading” is really just a repeat. Oh well.


The Things We Cannot Say​​ by Kelly Rimmer. I’ve actually been able to listen to this one on audiobook and am​​ still really enjoying it! I’ll be done with it today and I can already tell I’m going to be so upset when it ends! That’s the thing about good books… I wish the story could just go on forever!


What Have I Recently Finished?

Siege of Eden by C.D. Baker. I enjoyed this book more than I expected to If I’m being completely honest. It wasn’t quite what I thought it’d be and was a bit confusing at first, but once I got into it a bit, it was really good. I’ll be posting the full review once I’m feeling better!


Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. This was the opposite of Siege of Eden for me. Where that one was better than expected, this one wasn’t as good as I thought it’d be. I think my hopes too high to I was expecting something different, maybe? I still liked it, I just didn’t love it.


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This is a re-read for about the billionth time, but one of the kids asked me to read it to them so this is what we’re reading now. Thankfully, it’s like Harry Potter or anything by R.A. Salvatore… no matter how many times you read it, it never gets old!


What I’ll be reading next:

So there we are. My WWW Wednesday for the week! Please feel free to share yours in the comments below or leave me a link! Reading WWW posts are some of my favorites all week because I love seeing what everyone else is reading.

Hopefully, I’ll be back soon with the reviews I’d planned on writing for this week! Until then, happy reading and thanks for stopping by everyone!!! 🙂

Posted in First Lines Fridays

First Lines Friday – February 14, 2020

Thanks for stopping by my little space here on the internet for First Lines Friday!

It feels like I’ve missed a bit in the online world due to an unexpected blogging/social media break the past couple weeks, but after this week, I feel I’ve got things back on track. And I’m so thankful this week has been much less hectic!!

I actually started this particular First Lines Fridays post two Fridays ago and so from here on out you’re reading what I wrote two weeks ago…I almost feel like we’ve traveled back in time, don’t you? (NO? That’s just me? Oh, well. There are worse things than having an overactive imagination.🤷‍♀️ )

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!
Here we go…


 “He’s a perv!” I yelled. I fixed my seat belt while switching the car radio to a grime station. I knew she hated that. “Why don’t you believe me?”


Can you guess what book this is from???

Read on to find out…

First Lines Fridays

 Home Girl by Alex Wheatle

Blurb:

‘This isn’t my home. Haven’t had a proper home since…This is just somewhere I’ll be resting my bones for a week and maybe a bit. This time next year you’ll forget who I am. I haven’t got a diddly where I’ll be by then. But I’m used to it’

New from the winner of the Guardian Children’s Book Award: Home Girl is the story of Naomi, a teenage girl growing up fast in the care system. It is a wholly modern story which sheds a much needed light on what can be an unsettling life – and the consequences that can follow when children are treated like pawns on a family chessboard.

Home Girl is fast-paced and funny, tender, tragic and full of courage – just like Naomi. It is award-winning author Alex Wheatle’s most moving and personal novel to date.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading this book. Naomi wasn’t always the most likable character, but it was still a good read. Be sure to check back for my review on Home Girl later!

Posted in Release Day

RELEASE DAY: Murder Bytes (Peri Minneopa Book #5)

Today marks the release of book #5 in Gayle Carline’s “Peri Minneopa” series. This mystery series features a female P.I. (Peri Minneopa), and the stories are set in and around Orange County and Southern California.

Blurb:

In Murder Bytes, 50-year-old private investigator, Peri Minneopa has had enough. She’s closing her business, marrying her detective boyfriend, and settling down to a life of ease–until her brother shows up, accused of a murder he swears he didn’t commit. Now she’s back in the thick of things, investigating the death of an engineer who may have been stealing techno-secrets from other companies. Her relationship with her brother is an icy one, at best, and she struggles with her ambivalence, as well as her desire to leave investigative work behind. Digging around in people’s lives is reasonably easy, but when the bullets start flying, will Peri be able to keep her promise?

Book Life calls Murder Bytes an “entertaining mystery … perfect for readers who appreciate a funny and courageous heroine” and finds it “great for fans of Anne George’s Southern Sisters series and Sue Grafton.” 

Q & A with Gayle Carline:

  1. Murder Bytes is your fifth Peri Minneopa mystery. What can you tell us about Peri, and how does this book continue the traditions established by the other novels in the series?

“In the last book, A More Deadly Union, Peri was left traumatized after solving the case. In the latest story, she just wants to stop investigating crime, settle down, and marry her longtime boyfriend. Unfortunately, that’s not the way her life works. Her brother needs her help, to prove he did not commit murder. She is reluctant to help him, both because she is still feeling the trauma of the last case and because her brother does not want any kind of relationship with her—he is only using her to get out of trouble. To me, it is a classic question of the thickness of blood and water, and how much you are willing to go to bat for ‘that relative.’”

  1. In Murder Bytes, Peri re-opens her practice to help her estranged brother. What keeps Peri from simply referring him to another qualified detective?

At the end of the day, Dev is her big brother. She wants to believe that he considers her his little sister, that someday, somehow, he will realize his familial love for her. There’s a piece of advice, to ‘raise the child you have and not the one you want.’ In Peri’s case, she wants the brother who wants to be close to her, and has a hard time accepting the brother that he is.”

3. Peri’s boyfriend, Detective Skip Carlton, is now her official fiancé. They have bought a home together, and are selling their houses. Because Peri’s house sold and Skip’s is still on the market, she is living in the new place while it’s being remodeled. How is this affecting their relationship?

“The continual stream of workers and noise in their house has Peri’s stress dialed up to 11, on top of her PTSD. It creates conflict for them, in that he wants to defer remodeling decisions to her, so that she will be happy, and she would like him more involved, to take the pressure off. In addition, he wants to help her with her brother’s problem, but would like her to just sit on the sidelines and watch—something she’s never been good at.”

  1. There are a number of familiar characters in Murder Bytes that readers will recognize from the earlier novels in the series. Who are your personal favorites, and what happens to them in this particular story?

“I like them all, for individual reasons. Blanche is always Peri’s rock as her BFF, and I appreciate her good advice. I admire Police Chief Fletcher—he is the right man for the job. Of course, Benny Needles will always be my favorite. In this book, he gets his own chapters, and even has a ‘special friend.’ He and Peri have a lot of warm, connecting moments, and I’m very pleased with his growth.”

  1. Murder Bytes takes place in Southern California, in the Orange County area. How integral is this setting to the Peri Minneopa mysteries, and why did you place the series in this environment?

“When I started this series, I wanted a small town feel, but not so small that I wouldn’t kill off all the residents! They say to write what you know, and I know Southern California. My hometown of Placentia has a very small-town feel, even though it is locked into the vast Orange County. That made it perfect—nonresidents are constantly coming in and out of town, giving my stories lots of victims. Plus, I’m very proud to live in Placentia (we sometimes call it P-Town). I might as well do my part to put it on the map.”

  1. Are you working on another Peri Minneopa mystery? If so, what can you tell us about it?

“I am advertising this as the fifth and final installment of Peri Minneopa Mysteries. I think I’ve taken her to a place where the next book would be such a completely different flavor, it will have to be a new series of mysteries. Don’t worry—I’ll start writing them! In the meantime, I have a sequel to my romantic suspense, Murder on the Hoof, to write.”

About the Author:

Gayle Carline is a typical Californian, meaning that she was born somewhere else. She moved to Orange County from Illinois in 1978 and landed in Placentia a few years later. Carline began writing journalistic pieces for California Riding Magazine, then quickly added the title “humor columnist” to her resume with a weekly column in her local newspaper, the Placentia News-Times. What she really wanted to do was write mysteries, however, so in 2009 she crossed that off her list with the first of her Peri Minneopa mysteries. In her spare time, Carline likes to sit down with friends and laugh over a glass of wine. And maybe plan a little murder and mayhem for the next novel.
For more information on the author or Murder Bytes, please visit www.gaylecarline.com

Buy Murder Bytes on Amazon: Paperback | Kindle

Posted in Free Friday

FREEBIE FRIDAY – Get Free Audiobooks

Happy Friday Everyone! Welcome to “Freebie Friday” here at Combing Through the Pages.

In case you don’t already know, I started narrating audiobooks last year. I get promo codes from Amazon for the books I narrate. I tried to set up a page on here where anyone could request these codes but, sadly, my blogging skills just weren’t quite expert enough to pull that off. And, I’m lazy. As a book blogger, I know a lot of book lovers who might be interested, but I don’t have the time or energy to send out requests… So here we are at my solution – Freebie Fridays.

Every Friday, I’ll share the audiobooks I still have promo codes available for, along with a short blurb about the book. You can request a promo code by using my Contact Form or sending me an email to jessica@jesscombs.com. Just be sure to include your name, the title of the book or books you’d like a code for, and whether you use Audible-US or Audible UK. (Sorry, but I’m only given promo codes for Audible US and UK.)

Just to be clear… these are commitment-free promo codes! I’m not asking for reviews or anything in exchange (although if you enjoy the book, a review would obviously be nice).  My little space on the internet isn’t all that large and I’m pretty much just saying “Thank you for being here and supporting me. Here’s a free book.”

Available Audiobooks:

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.


The first book, The Rose Diary, is a roller-coaster of suspense, and this one will take you on an even wilder ride.

In book one, we learn that Jacky’s sister, Sandra, has been murdered by poison. A series of paranormal experiences lead to the arrest of someone Jacky has never really been fond of. But is that the real murderer?

This exciting second book takes you through twist after twist and keeps you guessing. A ghost story, murder mystery, and courtroom drama, this audiobook is fantastically fun.


Searching for answers is the main thing on Tabitha’s mind. But when an exchange of black market magic goes wrong, she finds herself entangled with a member of the High Council.

With her mate by her side, Tabitha finally finds what she’s looking for, only to discover it could change the balance of power in necromancer society…and not for the better.

Blood and Deceit is a standalone story set in the Paranormal Council Universe.


Push, Tumble, & Fall is the Paris Book Festival First Place, Winner.

New Orlean’s Myla Blackbird has a gift some would consider a curse. She can heal the broken and the dammed, and all for the small price of their sanity. But when her boyfriend leaves her abruptly, she herself begins to fall apart. Everybody tells her she’s crazy, to forget him, that it was all nothing but a dream. But Myla can’t forget. She can fix everyone else, but will she be able to fix herself?

Push, Tumble, & Fall is a stand-alone novel part of The Lunatics series.


Peter (2 Peter 3:11) asks us to consider what kind of people we ought to be in light of the fact that the Lord will return for His people at any time, that this world as we know it will then disappear, and that we need to be prepared every day for this anticipated event. This book delves into those things the Lord expects us to be doing and ways we are to prepare. There are four emphases: loving, readied, holy, and growing. Each chapter ends with prayer and includes a “Reflect” section with probing questions.


Again, just fill out the contact me form or email me and include your name, title of the book or books you’d like to listen to, and whether you need an Audible-US or an Audible-UK code. Thanks for your support!!

Posted in book reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Man She Married by Alison James

BOOK REVIEW: The Man She Married by Alison JamesThe Man She Married by Alison James
Published by Bookouture on January 13, 2020
Source: NetGalley, Bookouture
Goodreads
two-half-stars
Synopsis

How well do you know your husband?
Since Alice’s fiancé walked out on her, she never thought she’d meet ‘The One’. But all that changes when she meets Dominic. Handsome, charming and kind, Alice can’t believe her luck when he proposes a few months later and moves into her West London home.
Three years on, Alice’s catering business is thriving and she is married to a man she adores. So when she sees that little blue line, it should be the happiest moment of her life: they’re going to have a baby. But then the police knock on her door and Alice’s whole world is turned upside down… Dominic is dead.
Distraught, Alice goes to identify the body. There’s no doubt that it’s her husband. Yet when his estranged brother comes to view the coffin, he insists the man lying there is not Dominic. Alice refuses to believe it at first, but when confronted with irrefutable proof, she finally has to face the truth:
The man she married is not the person he said he was. And if he lied about that, what else was he hiding from her?


I received this book for free from NetGalley, Bookouture. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I just want to begin this review by saying it’s entirely possible I’m missing something. At the time I began writing this review, the average rating for The Man She Married was 4.3 stars.

Unfortunately, it was a 2.5 star read for me.

I think I’m a pretty liberal reviewer. Most of the books I read get at least 3 stars for being “okay.” I don’t think that’s a bad rating. In my reviews, an okay/3-star book means it’s worth the read but it probably isn’t gonna knock your socks off. 4 stars means I loved it but that I found a few nit-picky things to knock a star off for…because I’m stingy with the 5 stars. So if I give something 5 stars, that’s because it blew me away and I either couldn’t find a bad thing to say about it or whatever bad I could say wasn’t bad enough to take even half a star from the book.

Not everyone is going to agree with me. Reviews are opinions and highly subjective. The Man She Married is apparently a great example of people not agreeing with me.

The Story:

Okay. I’m not normally one to keep reading a book I’m not enjoying. So obviously not awful.

I enjoyed the writing itself and my attention was held enough to get me through the book. And seriously… I absolutely loved this opening! It gave me chills!

“As I draw closer, I glimpse the tip of his nose against the pleated white satin of the coffin lining. The sight is so odd and other-worldly, it makes my head swim and the carpeted floor feel unsteady under my feet. My heart is pounding as I get close enough to see him; all of him.

I have no idea who gave the undertaker the suit and tie he’s wearing; I only know it wasn’t me. I take in the curve of his mouth, the sweep of hair from his forehead, the angles of his profile. On his left hand is a wedding ring. I remove my own wedding ring and drop it into the coffin.

The only thought in my mind is how this is like one of those riddles you find inside a Christmas cracker. Because the man lying inside my husband’s coffin is not my husband.

He’s a total stranger.”

So I went into this expecting to love it! But I didn’t really enjoy it until I was 88% done. I know this because I made a note that said “Okay now it’s getting good…here? At Part Three???? What the… “

I felt cheated.

Because the author can write. And she can tell a story. But this story didn’t work for me. It’s too unbelievable and predictable. I know that you go into the story knowing that Alice’s husband wasn’t who he claimed to be – it’s inferred in the title, it’s spelled out in the book description, and it’s literally on the first page. But did everything have to be so easy to see coming?

I really want to give examples, but I’m keeping this spoiler-free. That’s the really hard thing about thriller/mystery/suspense reviews – almost everything is a spoiler!

The Characters:

Ugh. Alice has got to be one of the most naive women to ever have not existed. There were about a billion warning signs about her husband that she flat out ignored. And it’s not because she’s led a totally sheltered life. She just ignores the obvious right in front of her. It’s not just with her husband, it’s with everything! I just couldn’t relate to her at all.

My favorite character was Alice’s best friend, JoJo. She may have saved this book for me. I just wish she’d have shown up on the page more often. She’s smart, funny, independent and wildly loyal and loving despite Alice’s oblivious-ness.

I wanted to murder-kill Alice’s husband, Dominic. Or at least smack him a few hundred times? Which is probably how I was supposed to feel so he’s a good villain.

Conclusion/Overall Impression:

Obviously, there are plenty of people who liked this book. But it’s just wasn’t a great read for me. The writing itself is good and I’d read another Alison James book but the characters killed this one for me. The last part of the book was enjoyable though.

What do you think? Have you read The Man She Married? Leave me a comment below!

two-half-stars
Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – February 12, 2020

Happy Wednesday Everyone! 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?

So let’s get started, shall we?

What am I currently reading?

Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790 (The Poldark Saga #2)​​ by Winston Graham. I’m basically obsessed with the Poldark television series.​​ Every since I saw the first episode, my husband has had to hear me lament that I do not have the books and have not read them. So for Christmas, he gave me the entire set!! I blew through Book 1 in about 2 days (only because the kids required attention)​​ and I’m loving Book #2 just as much, although I haven’t been able to devote as much time to it as I wish. I’ll probably finish it up tomorrow though.

The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler. I have no idea about this one yet. I just started it this morning so you’ll have to check in later to find out how it goes. It’s about a woman who’s husband has disappeared and the police don’t believe her story when she reports him missing. I’ve been in a bit of a suspense/thriller mood lately apparently and this is right in line with that. I just hope it’s not as big a let down as most of the genre has been for me recently!

The Things We Cannot Say​​ by Kelly Rimmer. I’ve been listening to this one on audiobook and am​​ really enjoying it! I had to take a break from it though while I finished up​​ Code Name Hélène​​ by Ariel Lawhon. I never really thought I was much of a historical fiction junkie… okay, at least not historical fiction set during WWII… but lately I’ve really been getting into books set in this time period. It’s a big jump to this from the Tudor era historical novels I usually read. I’m super happy I took a chance and have found another time period that absolutely intrigues me like these are!

The Power of a Praying Parent​​ by Stormie Omartian. We’re going through this book in our women’s weekly bible talk on Wednesdays. For the most part, I’m liking it, but there are also some things I found completely upsetting and I just don’t agree with so I’ve gone back and forth on it. I might write a post after our group has finished the book just going through why I definitely wouldn’t recommend this book to another parent without a warning!​​ 

What did I recently finish reading?

Code Name Hélène​​ by Ariel Lawhon. Oh I cannot wait to share the review of this book with all of you! Just as soon as I can figure out the words to describe and gush about it,​​ I’ll be screaming to all of the universe about how absolutely amazing Nancy Grace Augusta Wake aka Madame Andree aka Lucienne Carlier aka Helene aka The White Mouse is!!!! I wish I could get everyone to read this book. I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED IT EVEN THOUGH IT BROKE MY HEART IN ABOUT A MILLION LITTLE PIECES MORE THAN ONCE!

What I’ll be reading next:

Siege of Eden

​​