Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019

Wow! It’s been a super long time since I’ve done one of these posts! Excited to get back into the swing of things though.

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?

What I’m currently reading:

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
Published by Chartwell Books on November 26, 2015
ISBN: 0785833501
Pages: 202
Goodreads
Synopsis

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the unfinished record of Benjamin Franklinâ??s life written by Franklin himself and is one of the most influential examples of an autobiography ever written. Franklinâ??s account of his life is divided into four parts, reflecting the different periods at which he wrote them.

The first publication of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Part One, was published in Paris, in French in 1791. It wasn't until 1818 that the full version of Franklinâ??s autobiography was published by his grandson, William Temple Franklin, who did not include Part Four because he has previously traded away the original holograph of the Autobiography for a copy that contained only the first three parts. In addition, Franklinâ??s grandson felt free to make stylistic revisions to his grandfatherâ??s autobiography. W.T. Franklin's text was the standard version of the Autobiography for half a century, until John Bigelow purchased the original manuscript in France and in 1868 published the most reliable text that had yet appeared, including the first English publication of Part Four.

This edition of Autobiography of Ben Franklin comes from the original manuscript of Ben Franklinâ??s Memoirs and is presented in its entirety for enjoyment by all English speakers.

I’ve finally started reading through the Harvard Classics, which was a part of my 2019 reading goals. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the first book on the list. I’ve actually read this one a few times now, but taking the opportunity to read it again 1) because I love it so much and 2) because I feel like not reading it is cheating on my personal challenge to read all the Harvard Classics.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
Published by Harper on June 28, 2016
ISBN: 0062300547
Pages: 257
Goodreads
Synopsis

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.

But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

I received an ARC of Appalachian Reckoning from WVU Press, but I’ve never read Hillbilly Elegy before. I figured to be fair, I should read this first. So far, I have very mixed feelings about it.

What I recently finished reading:

Reviews will be posted soon for most of these so I won’t be saying much here.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Healer (Truth Seer Trilogy) by Kay L Moody
on January 7, 2019
ISBN: 1792918283
Goodreads
Synopsis

Cairo 2121. The city is failing.

To save it, all they need is a list.

A list that has the names needed to take down the slave cartel that targets orphans. A list that’s impossible to find.

In an unfamiliar city, Imara attempts to secure the list, but her efforts are thwarted again and again by a man who grips Cairo with terror and control.

She joins a security team, hoping to save Cairo and her new boyfriend’s business all at the same time. With the team’s numbers dwindling more each day, they prepare for an upcoming event to attract new recruits to help them hunt down the list and stop the terror for good.

But then, their efforts get hijacked by an old threat and their problems multiply. Now, Imara faces a man who enslaves orphans and a woman who craves revenge. As the fight progresses, she’s forced to make an impossible choice:

Fix the mistakes of her past… or save the city?

Healer is the 2nd book in the Truth Seer Trilogy.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Breakthrough: The Miraculous True Story of a Mother's Faith and Her Child's Resurrection by Joyce Smith, Ginger Kolbaba
Published by FaithWords on March 12, 2019
ISBN: 1546010602
Pages: 256
Goodreads
Synopsis

The impossible true story about the powerful impact of prayer that inspired the major motion picture starring Chrissy Metz, Topher Grace, Dennis Haysbert, and Josh Lucas.
Through the years and the struggles, when life seemed more about hurt and loss than hope and mercy, God was positioning the Smiths for something extraordinary--the death and resurrection of their son.

When Joyce Smith's fourteen-year-old son John fell through an icy Missouri lake one winter morning, she and her family had seemingly lost everything. At the hospital, John lay lifeless for more than sixty minutes. But Joyce was not ready to give up on her son. She mustered all her faith and strength into one force and cried out to God in a loud voice to save him.

Miraculously, her son's heart immediately started beating again.

In the coming days, John would defy every expert, every case history, and every scientific prediction. Sixteen days after falling through the ice and being clinically dead for an hour, he walked out of the hospital under his own power, completely healed.

Breakthrough is about a profound truth: prayer really does work. God uses it to remind us that He is always with us, and when we combine it with unshakable faith, nothing is impossible.

Previously published as The Impossible.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Blood on Fire (Blood Arcana #1) by Monica P. DePaul
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on July 22, 2012
ISBN: 1478277416
Pages: 260
Goodreads
Synopsis

My name is Amy Able. I used to be just a scrawny geek...until that morning. I was in a daze, with no memory of recent events. Sunlight burned, I had fangs, and I hungered for blood. What happened? Why did I turn into a vampire?Then I got that call from my worried friends and the invite to go see the Lupia concert with them. I cautiously accepted, but it turned sour when I uncontrollably bit my best friend and a strange enemy, representing a group under the command of someone called "The Fool," attacked Lupia.By mastering my newfound strength and power over fire, I can fight back. I also have my uniquely talented friends-modern warlock Will Jadis and lovely sharpshooter Amelia Valentine-and together we can defend Lupia and our hometown from these vicious vampires, one of whom is that hulking beast from my past.To complicate matters further, mom and dad are missing, those jerk journalists won't leave me alone, and I still have to survive school, where I must now brave deadly sunlight and the continued stares of my classmates. What did I do to deserve this?

Because Blood on Fire is a book I’m currently working on for audiobook, I’ll be talking about it more later but won’t be writing an actual review. (However, if you’re interested in receiving a review copy of the audiobook, once available, then please contact me.)

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019The 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.

Because The Rose Diary is a book I’m currently working on for audiobook, I’ll be talking about it more later but won’t be writing an actual review. (However, if you’re interested in receiving a review copy of the audiobook, once available, then please contact me.)

What I’m reading next:

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy by Anthony Harkins, Meredith McCarroll
Published by West Virginia University Press on February 13, 2019
ISBN: 1946684791
Pages: 432
Goodreads
Synopsis

With hundreds of thousands of copies sold, a Ron Howard movie in the works, and the rise of its author as a media personality, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has defined Appalachia for much of the nation. What about Hillbilly Elegy accounts for this explosion of interest during this period of political turmoil? Why have its ideas raised so much controversy? And how can debates about the book catalyze new, more inclusive political agendas for the region’s future?

Appalachian Reckoning is a retort, at turns rigorous, critical, angry, and hopeful, to the long shadow Hillbilly Elegy has cast over the region and its imagining. But it also moves beyond Hillbilly Elegy to allow Appalachians from varied backgrounds to tell their own diverse and complex stories through an imaginative blend of scholarship, prose, poetry, and photography. The essays and creative work collected in Appalachian Reckoning provide a deeply personal portrait of a place that is at once culturally rich and economically distressed, unique and typically American. Complicating simplistic visions that associate the region almost exclusively with death and decay, Appalachian Reckoning makes clear Appalachia’s intellectual vitality, spiritual richness, and progressive possibilities.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Half Finished by Lauraine Snelling
Published by FaithWords on March 26, 2019
ISBN: 1478920076
Pages: 324
Goodreads
Synopsis

In bestselling author Lauraine Snelling's new novel, a group of women realize that life is full of half-finished relationships and projects. However, they discover that the outcome is not as important as the journey.

Recognizing how common it is for crafters to start many projects and finish few, a group of women join together to form a guild--Unfinished Projects Anonymous to keep each other on track and accountable. Three friends are tasked with the job of home visits for their guild. They are laughingly called the Cartel as they do visits to snoop around craft rooms and knitting baskets to report on progress for the members. The guild has even expanded to checking on half-trained dogs and half-weeded gardens.

Over the course of the story, this ensemble of women discover that much of life is half-finished--relationships, the raising of children, even our very relationship with the Lord. And that may be perfectly fine.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019The Lunatics Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on April 17, 2012
ISBN: 1475183399
Pages: 234
Goodreads
Synopsis

Another blackout night...Myla drank too much. Again.Then she notices the bloody scratches on her leg.Panic sets in as scattered memories from the evening surface. The Persian guy, the Junkie girl. The streets of San Francisco are not friendly to teens with fake ID's. And especially harsh to arrogant girls like Myla, whose pastime consists of chasing complete abandon.Instantly, she knows something is wrong. Fatally, and irreversibly wrong. Nothing would ever be the same again....not after the wrath of The Lunatics.You'll love this Magic Realism adventure novel because everyone loves the freedom of breaking all the rules.Get it now.Seven N Blue is the winner of the Paris Book Festival for the Young Adult Fiction category. The Lunatics is book one of the series.Amazon Verified 5 Star ReviewHere's the deal with me... I buy a lot of books, read the first few chapters, ... and that's about it. To put it plain and simply, I get bored, really bored, really fast. Twilight, Hunger Games, The Notebook, to name a few. I truly thought I just didn't like reading.The Lunatics proved that to be wrong!!! I could not put it down!! I am a mother and wife, ... so that makes me pretty busy, but every "free" moment I had, I was reading The Lunatics on my little iPhone!!It is exciting from BEGINNING TO END!!! Otherwise, I wouldn't have finished it!!!!!Amazon Verified 5 Star Review: This is a world I wish I could inhabit. Myla is a free spirit with a highly creative imagination. I was totally taken with her in the first five pages when she "went off" at Christian Luna when he appeared to becoming on to her while a supposed girlfriend was standing nearby. Love the spunk.At the same time, there is a deep humanity of Myla that was very real. Her life was complicated, but you hang in with her and root for her to succeed, and triumph. A refreshing talent and a great read. Will look forward to more work from Seven N Blue.Amazon Verified 5 Star Review: While other YA books deliver a heaping serving of vampires, witches and warlocks - Blue has given us the answer to the age old question "how do crazy people lose their mind" Bravo! A page turning novel with characters that will leave you wanting for more. A little dark, sexy, w/ a side order of the SURREAL. Does anyone know if this is a series?Amazon Verified 5 Star Review: Vertigo spirals, alternate lives, a touch of magic, characters you wish you could meet in person! I've read a lot of YA, and i have to say that this is a fresh outlook on the "villan." Forget vampires, witches and warlocks. The grim reaper's got competition. Hooray for the Lunatics

Posted in Weekly Update

Studio Under the Stairs – Weekly Update #1

Happy Monday!

I hope you’re rested better than I am by the weekend and ready to face the upcoming week! As I’m writing this post, it’s currently 3:45 a.m. and it doesn’t seem my dear little one will be letting me get back to sleep anytime soon. Thankfully, the cuteness factor makes the exhaustion worth it! Plus, I can use this time to write my first weekly update, sharing what I’ll be working on in my studio this week and what books are now available for sale.

Currently Recording:

This week, I’ll be in my studio under the stairs finishing up narrating and producing What Kind of People Ought We to Be by Patsy Scott.

Studio Under the Stairs – Weekly Update #1What Kind of People Ought We Be?: Preparation for the Day of the Lord by Patsy Scott
Published by Independently Published on November 15, 2018
ISBN: 1724028863
Pages: 206
Goodreads
Synopsis

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 well, readied, holy and growing, Each chapter ends with prayer and includes a "Reflect" section with probing questions. Excellent for individual or group study.

On Sale Now:

In addition to the short stories you can find on audible, the following are now available:

Studio Under the Stairs – Weekly Update #1Bible Made Easy: The Starting Guide for Beginners Getting to Know Jesus Christ by Sarah O. Annie
Published by Independently Published on April 8, 2019
ISBN: 109323007X
Pages: 72
Goodreads
Synopsis

Is God Calling For You?Ever wanted to explore Christianity but not sure where to start?Is the bible too complex for you to pick up?Want a change in your life?Understanding Jesus doesn't have to be that complicated. It can be as SIMPLE as sending a text message.8 Out of 10 people do not even know who or what they are praying to while in the church.Why not...Discover the basics of the Bible?If you're a new Christian and want to learn the significance behind both the new and old testaments, you are in the right place. If you want help looking up verses or finding popular stories, we can help. If you'd simply like to learn more about God, how to be closer to him, and how to pray to him, we are here for you.We know the Bible, and we want to help you know it as well. We want to help you understand what the Bible is and how to use it as a tool in your daily life. We want to show you powerful stories and verses and teach you to find them on their own. We want to show you what words God has given us through the gift of the Bible.Inside this book you will find: History of the bibleStories in the bibleThe Ten CommandmentsThe journey of JesusUseful bible verses

Attention! This book is NOT for everyone!This book is not for people: -Who are atheistic-Who doesn't want to have a better relationship with God.-Who doesn't believe in afterlifeIf you are ready to learn about Jesus and Christianity, Scroll Up And Click On The "BUY NOW" Button Now!

Bible Made Easy Purchase links: Audible US, Audible UK, Audible FR, Audible DE

Posted in Giveaway

Summertime Giveaway!

This year has been filled with lots of exciting and unexpected events and opportunities, for which I’m super grateful! At the same time, it’s flying by at a speed I feel incapable of keeping up with.

And now, here we are, on the brink of summer and I haven’t managed to keep one single 2019 Blogging Goal:

I haven’t started reading through the Harvard Classics.

I haven’t managed to consistently blog once a week, let alone four days a week!

And I haven’t run a single giveaway… UNTIL NOW! I’m finally starting to catch up and my first order of business is a summertime giveaway!

I’ll be giving away one book of the winner’s choice (up to $30) from Book Depository*. The winner will be chosen and announced on Friday, June 21 and you have until June 15 to enter! Entry form is below.

Quick note: This is my first time doing a giveaway and using Rafflecopter, so please excuse any hiccups in the process, and feel free to give feedback and suggestions for future giveaways! Thanks and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Book Depository must deliver to your location in order to win. Winner will be contacted via e-mail and announced on Combing Through the Pages and Twitter.

Posted in book reviews

Be back June 1!

Hey guys! Just a quick post to let everyone know I’m not gone forever, just until June 1. And… I’ll have a new sidekick joining me when I return!

Till then, happy reading everyone!

~Jess

Posted in book reviews

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonaldThe Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
Published by Gallery Books on February 5, 2019
ISBN: 1501184008
Genres: General (Adult) Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Synopsis

In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.

A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?

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

Buy on AmazonBuy on Book Depository

My Thoughts on The Night Olivia Fell:

The love I have for my daughters exceeds anything else found on this earth. If you ask Thing 1, she’d tell you I love my children more than most other parents love theirs… to the point that it gets annoying and suffocating at times!

Thing 1 and I are especially close and she knows my biggest fear is to get “the call.” Even if you’re the type of parent that spends 20 hours of your 24 hour day complaining about your teenager, you know and fear “the call.” It’s the one that causes your stomach to drop before you even pick up the line, the one that changes your life forever, the one where a complete stranger tells you your child is seriously injured — or dead.

It’s every parent’s worst fear.

Thanks to some past events in my life, I suffer from PTSD. My particular trauma involves harm to my children and so this fear is even more magnified for me (probably why I get all suffocate-y sometimes).

It’s probably also why The Night Olivia Fell was such an emotionally gut-wrenching, roller-coaster ride of a story for me!

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it… But it was hard to get through. I saw so many similarities between Olivia and Abi’s relationship to my relationship with Thing 1 that it all felt way too personal and real!

Abi and her daughter are obviously super close and Abi loves Olivia fiercely. But then comes the night Olivia falls… suddenly, Abi has to come to terms with the fact that maybe she didn’t really know her daughter at all.

Not only does she have to keep processing that bit of life-altering, earth-shattering news, but her daughter’s pregnant, the police refuse to believe the fall wasn’t an accident, and Abi’s life is just all around spinning out of control! She’s built her entire adult life around Olivia and now she’s gone. Even if she does find out what happened that night, how does she go on???

Final Thoughts:

I’ve got to tell you, this book gave me chills! (And nightmares.) I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a good suspense novel featuring relatable characters and a totally believable plot!

What do you think? Have you read The Night Olivia Fell? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!

four-half-stars
Posted in Adventures in Audiobooks

Adventures in Audiobooks

Well guys and gals, I’m finally ready to announce what the heck has been taking up so much of my time and keeping me from all you lovely people (and totally screwing up my original 2019 blogging goals).

I’ve been incredibly blessed since I started book blogging at the end of last summer. I’ve met some amazing bloggers, authors, editors, etc. It sometimes feels as if my bookish dreams are being granted by a fairy godmother…

Bookish Dream #1 – Free Books to Share the Book Love

My love for books has always exceeded my bank account.

Before discovering the amazing world of book blogging, I had no idea what an ARC (“Advanced Review Copy”) was, let alone how to get my hands on one.

I did love sharing my thoughts on everything I read though. Nothing makes me happier than helping someone discover their next great read… except maybe keeping them from picking up the next horrible one!

Enter Twitter and it’s amazing bookish community! I posted a review of a book last year and shared the post to Twitter. I had no idea how that one post would change me and this blog…

After that post went live, I started getting followed on Twitter by some book bloggers. From checking out their sites and reviews, I learned SO MUCH! I discovered NetGalley, started getting approached by authors looking for reviewers, and my TBR pile grew taller than my 5 feet 4.5 inches without me spending a single dime. But the best part…

I got to share my love of the books I was reading with other people who actually cared what I had to say!!!

Before book blogging, I pretty much shared my love of books with anyone who would listen (whether they wanted to hear it or not). Now, I have actual bookish people to talk to and share my passion with.

Bookish Dream #2 – Getting Paid to Read to People

As a book lover, I’ve always secretly dreamed of getting hired to do nothing but read to people.

I didn’t even care who the people were… kids, adults, iguanas?? Who cares as long as their listening to the story!

And after a lot of second thoughts, training, construction, and even some tears, I finally feel comfortable sharing with you all that this dream is coming true!!! I’ve embarked on a new adventure and I am now an audiobook narrator!!!

By the end of this summer, you’ll be able to find at least 6 books on Amazon, Audible and iTunes narrated by yours truly!! So far, genres I’ve been involved in are suspense, short stories, science fiction & fantasy, and Christian non-fiction. I’ll be sharing titles as they come available and I can’t wait to hear what you all think!

(To that end, if you’re a book blogger who reviews audiobooks and would like the opportunity to receive review copies, please send me a message through the Contact Me page or an e-mail to reviewrequest@jesscombs.com and I’ll add you to my list of potential reviewers and let you know when promo copies are available. And if you’re a rights holder interested in having your book(s) narrated and produced, please message me through the Contact Me page or e-mail to jessica@jesscombs.com.)

I really cannot put into words how incredibly excited and happy I am for this new adventure! But not only that, I’m so thrilled that I’ve met so many people online who I know are going to be just as excited as I am for me and I thank you all for your support and encouragement. The book blogging community is so awesome and I’m proud to be a small part of it!

Thanks for sharing in this dream with me!