ADMIN: The difficulty of decisions

I think, as a species, we are reluctant when it comes to facing change. Perhaps we don’t mind taking on something new, but letting go of something is a whole different animal. But there comes a time when we have to reluctantly admit that change is needed.

Between now and the end of the year, I will not be accepting any new book review assignments. I have a couple of commitments, but that’s it.

Here’s my situation:

  1. I love my work and, after over two years, it’s finally taking off. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Partner with a Fair Trade Direct Sales business. We work with artisan groups in 17 different countries, and it’s a joy to know I’m making a difference in the life of someone else. Between now and October, I have seven parties and two events scheduled and I’m hoping to do more. Each date requires preparation work. I also want to read more books connected with what I do. But I’m so busy reading and reviewing that I don’t have time.
  2. Following on from that, I have over 700 books in my home library that I’ve not been able to read. The majority of them do not fit into my review categories. I’d like to start reading for pleasure again.
  3. We have a family member with a serious health issue. They live in Florida, we live in New York, and we’ve already made two trips to visit with them. One was at extremely short notice. Each time, I’ve then scrambled to ensure my review commitment was fulfilled.

I’ll review the situation in January 2020.

In the meantime, you can catch me on:



My Trades of Hope business

And my other blog, which has sadly too often been neglected, McCombsonMain

Thank you to the publishers and authors for the privilege of reviewing, and to you for reading and supporting me. It’s been a blast.


The Noble Guardian, by Michelle Griep

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

A Cross-Country Trip through Regency England Brings Intrigue, Rogues, and High Adventure

The must-read conclusion to Michelle Griep’s Bow Street Runners Trilogy: Life couldn’t be better for Abigail Gilbert—but it’s been a long time coming. Having lived with a family who hated her, love is finally within reach. Abby sets off on a journey across England to marry one of the most prestigious gentleman bachelors in the land—until highwaymen upset her plans and threaten her life.

Horse patrol captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby. But to him she’s simply another victim in a job he’s come to despise. Tired of the dark side of humanity, he intends to buy land and retire.

Abby pleads with him to escort her on the rest of her journey. He refuses until she offers him the thing he desperately needs to achieve his goal: money. Delivering her safely will earn him more than enough to settle into a quiet life.

So begins an impossible trek for the cynical lawman and the proper lady. Each will be indelibly changed by the time they reach her betrothed, if they don’t kill one another first—or fall in love.

The Formal Stuff:

Thank you to Barbour Publishing for my complimentary Advanced Reader Copy of The Noble Guardian.

First Thoughts:

If I’ve read the first two books of a trilogy, I like to read the final book. It just makes sense. Unless I really didn’t like those first two books… but that’s not the case here. Continue reading

A Week in the Life of a Slave, by John Byron

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

“I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.”

These words, written by the apostle Paul to a first-century Christian named Philemon, are tantalizingly brief. Indeed, Paul’s epistle to Philemon is one of the shortest books in the entire Bible. While it’s direct enough in its way, it certainly leaves plenty to the imagination.

A Week in the Life of a Slave is a vivid imagining of that story. From the pen of an accomplished New Testament scholar, the narrative follows the slave Onesimus from his arrival in Ephesus, where the apostle Paul is imprisoned, and fleshes out the lived context of that time and place, supplemented by numerous sidebars and historical images. John Byron’s historical fiction is at once a social and theological critique of slavery in the Roman Empire and a gripping adventure story, set against the exotic backdrop of first-century Ephesus.

The Formal Stuff: 

Thank you to IVP for my complimentary electronic copy of A Week in the Life of a Slave.

First Thoughts:

After a review of a previous book in the series, in which I commented about problematic formatting, IVP offered me an electronic copy of the next title. Continue reading