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.

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.

A Predictable “Accident”

The Accident by Chris Pavone was an exciting but predictable story. A revealing manuscript is in the possession of a literary agent who must stay one step ahead of killers who want to destroy the manuscript as well as anyone who has seen it. (Why not just make 100 copies of this thing and mail them?)There is plenty of action that sweeps the reader through a single day of heart thumping car chases and revealing secrets.This bookworm was drawn in to the tale to see who would survive. However, the “twist” presented in the climax was obvious throughout the story. It was a well written adventure that kept the reader’s attention and yet never swayed from the formula so common to bestsellers.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

Biggest Surprise of 2014

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs was the most unexpected pleasure to read this year. I know what you’re thinking. You have heard the story many times. The movies depict Tarzan as the gentle muscle-man that rules the jungle like an extraordinary zookeeper. If that is what you are thinking then you are in for a great surprise too. The original story portrays Tarzan as the beast that he is. He was raised as an ape and acts like an ape. His amazing strength and agility would make any woman swoon. However, when he eats raw meat with blood dripping from his mouth most women would turn away in revulsion.
This tale reveals the conflict of a man raised as a beast reaching for a destiny that is not meant for him. Burroughs’s masterful writing captures Tarzan’s gradual realization that he is meant to be something beyond an ape. Yet, Tarzan still yearns for the jungle life. He craves the closeness of the family of apes. Gradually, he discovers his true self and begins the adventures worthy of the Lord of Greystoke.