The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn (review)

Davis Bunn is a prolific author with several bestsellers.  This book deserves to be added to his list of accomplishments. The story begins with a peek into the world of risk analysis in a large bank.  The protagonist is a brilliant young woman named Esther who leads her own team in analyzing the risk factors of their bank’s investment decisions. She is also analyzing risks in her personal life. A troublesome childhood has made it difficult to forge friendships and her hospitalized  brother depends on her for support. When Esther realizes that several banks are making foolhardy financial decisions she resolves to expose “the domino effect” that may cripple the world economy. This exposure could also cause the same effect in her own life. Esther’s risks cross the line from computer readouts to dangerous consequences.

Esther’s warnings are so clear the reader will wonder which parts of the book are  fiction.

This book was provided by Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.


The Gap of Time- A Disappointing Tale

    The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson is a retelling of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.  I was intrigued by the idea of a modern recreation of this classic story.  It was an unfortunate choice of literature.  The Gap of Time uses the cookie cutter ideas of current bestseller drivel encased in simplistic vocabulary.
Repeated use of obscenity and salacious lifestyles are two of the hot buttons that drive today’s fiction market. Add an ineffective psychologist to the mix and you have the perfect recipe for today’s publisher to snap to attention. The only thing lacking was a zombie or two.
It was an utter disappointment.
I received this book from Blogging for books in exchange for this review.


King’s Folly by Jill Williamson (a review)

Fantasy novels follow  cliche patterns of monarchies, prophecies, and a society filled with doom.  This tale is no exception.  However, Jill Williamson manages to entice the reader to give fantasy another perusal. She creates excitement with chilling scenes of witchcraft and child sacrifice. The characters are imperfect heroes living in a world that is literally crumbling away.  Some believe prophecies that explain how to escape while others choose to ignore the warning signs of peril.

King’s Folly is Book One of a planned trilogy called The Kinsman Chronicles. Ebooks are also available for the Kindle crowd.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review.


Review- The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

As an antithesis of the beauty of Alaskan terrain, this tale makes a good winter read with its descriptions of deep cold and a relentless dark in bold silence. It is a winter night that seems to have no end.
A young deaf girl and her mother travel through these elements in search of the girl’s father who must certainly be dead. Of course, things are not as they seem. A villain pursues them through an avalanche, storms, and icy river in much the same way that a monster plods behind a running heroine in an old movie.
One of the disappointments of the book is the constant switching of the point of view. More than one main character was given a turn to tell their piece of the action. The tale would have been more captivating if the child had told the entire story.
Another disappointment was the treatment of the subject of fracking. The dangers of fracking are real. All types of energy production has its dangers. A fictional tale of a stereotypical tyrant will not succeed in convincing a reader to reject fracking as a resource.
This novel is an enticing tale that never quite crosses the threshold of the believable.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.

Tarzan and the Foreign Legion- a GUEST REVIEW by Keith Mecklem

Tarzan and the Foreign Legion is the last of the original Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The story was classic Tarzan except for some celebrity schmoozing by the author.

Written and released in post-World War 1946, the plot has Colonel Clayton of the Royal Air Force fighting “Japs” on a south Pacific island after his plane crash lands. If the term “Japs” offends you, remember it reflects the attitude of the entire country in 1946. Japanese methods of fighting and brutal treatment of POWs led to extreme hate for all things Japan.

The author continuously drops Hollywood names, even having a main character comment that Tarzan looks like Johnny Weissmuller. None of the characters can believe it really is the Tarzan of stories from their youth. Tarzan, who fought Germans in WWI, tells them of an episode in Tarzan’s Quest that might account for his long life.

The cover is interesting because Tarzan never fights a shark until the 3rd from the last page of the book. The fight is less than a paragraph. The artist must have flipped a few pages and drew the first action he found. That was common with these early paperback editions.

I enjoyed the story on its own merits. Short, snappy chapters. Cliff-hangers. Lots of action. Bad guys who get what’s coming to them. Heroic American airmen. Strong and beautiful women. South Seas island. What more could a reader want?

Keith Mecklem's photo.

The Time Garden- a review

The Time Garden by Daria Song is a whimsical picture story. A child discovers a cuckoo clock. Fascinated, the girl spies a fairy winding the clock.  When the fairy sprints away, the child follows her through visions of a surreal world. The pages are large and extra thick intended for coloring. Of course, one can also enjoy this beautifully illustrated tale in black and white. Observing that this work was originally published in Korean makes it even more interesting. Be sure to look for the owl that peeks into the story from time to time.

I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

A Warrior’s Memoir- Shadow on the Mountain

Shadow of the Mountain by Cliff Graham is the retelling of sections of the Book of Exodus by the biblical Caleb. He is an old man who leads his men into battle even as his body is beginning to break down. The story is written as Caleb relates his life tales to his nephew.
The most obvious difficulty with this kind of novel is telling a story that most people already know. It is inherently predictable. Graham solves this problem in 2 ways. He uses Caleb’s pre-Exodus memories to give Caleb a background that the reader learns along with Caleb’s nephew and he describes battle scenes with breathtaking action. As part of Caleb’s life before he met Moses, he lived in Egypt and developed relationships with the people there. He was devastated by the events of the plagues and also harassed by the Anakim.
Graham is a very convincing storyteller who uses his own experiences as a former soldier to paint an effective life account of a biblical warrior.
My favorite quote is on the back cover:”May it be written that my woman loved me, my children admired me, and the enemy feared me.”
I received this book for free from Baker Publishing House in exchange for an honest review.