Terry D. (tmdaviss) - , - Reviews

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90 Minutes In Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life
90 Minutes In Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life
Author: Don Piper, Cecil Murphey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 872
Review Date: 1/16/2011


A very fascinating story. No matter how you imagine heaven might be, you will find this account intriguing. Much of the book is given over to his medical situation and recovery, but you will find that you are empathetic and rooting for him along the way.

This book is short, but not necessarily a quick read.


Act of Treason (Mitch Rapp, Bk 9)
Act of Treason (Mitch Rapp, Bk 9)
Author: Vince Flynn
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 118
Review Date: 1/12/2014


Mitch Rapp, CIA assassin, is a character who has undergone many changes throughout his development in this series of books by Vince Flynn. In Act of Treason Mitch remains a main character, but unlike some other books in the series, this time the world does not revolve around him.

This is a well conceived story, plausible today, with political players who are unlikely to change any time soon. This book shows that Vince Flynn is learning to add more political intrigue into a story line that still includes plenty of action.

I recommend this book as a comfortable and easy reading action/thriller.


American Assassin (Mitch Rapp, Bk 1)
American Assassin (Mitch Rapp, Bk 1)
Author: Vince Flynn
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 134
Review Date: 1/7/2013


Not having read a book by Vince Flynn, this turned out to be a great place to start. American Assassin is the back story behind the CIA black ops assassin, Mitch Rapp. The story is designed to put you inside Mitch's head, to understand his reasons for "being there", his motivations for "toughing it out", and the reasons for the complex relationship between he and Stan Hurley.

If you like this genre, choose this book to start your relationship with Vince Flynn, and Mitch Rapp.


Area 7
Area 7
Author: Matthew Reilly
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 9/21/2014


Shane Schofield is back. Now a Marine Captain, "Scarecrow" has been assigned to Marine One, the President's helicopter protection unit. But it is also to protect him from the intense Press scrutiny after the fallout from the "Ice Station" conclusion. This book covers a day where protection of the President is everything...

After reading Ice Station, I had looked for more Matt Reilly stories about Scarecrow. I was pleasantly surprised to find Matt was now Matthew Reilly, and the were more stories to read. This book is fast paced, full of action and a lot of dead bodies. Schofield has talents and toughness; but not as unrealistic as many stories of this genre. This is the type of story the television show '24' was created to emulate. For those who like action or military stories, this book should keep you happy.

Published in 2002, the technology here is still realistic and the topic current. At 400 pages it is a moderate read and builds on some character development from his first book. I highly recommend this book.


The Athena Project (Athena Project, Bk 1)
The Athena Project (Athena Project, Bk 1)
Author: Brad Thor
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 53
Review Date: 3/21/2013


"In addition to the night vision goggles, or NVGs as they were known, Vleck had provided them with .40 caliber CZ Rami pistols and extras magazines, as well as encrypted radios and a few other items Hutton had asked for."

This book is the first in the 'Athena Project' series, by Brad Thor. The 4 woman team of Delta operatives, introduced in the book Foreign Influence, in the 'Scot Harvath' series are a highly trained team of infiltration operatives. This book introduces the girls, their backgrounds, skills and attitudes.

This series is good in concept, and includes a pleasant balance of action, technical details, and plot twists. However Brad Thor has reproduced the TV show 'Charlies Angels' in book form, including the girls office style banter, much about sexual appetites and personal foibles. Hearing this snark in my head made me want to run into my virtual office and shut the door. Another drawback was the author's use of a girl's first name, last name and nickname all in the same scene. Multiply this tendency by several characters and one finds themselves re-reading passages for clarity.

Even with the above drawbacks, the book was well paced and easy to follow. If you enjoy this genre you should try this as the first book in the series and see if you can make friends with the girls.


The Aviator's Wife: A Novel
The Aviator's Wife: A Novel
Author: Melanie Benjamin
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 41
Review Date: 5/12/2016


Anne Morrow, middle daughter, smart, literate, reserved but not shy, always overshadowed by her first-born sister and not pampered like the youngest. These are the traits that made her attractive to America's number one hero of the early 20th century; Charles Lindbergh.

While Anne believed he was out of her league, he was concerned that she might be out of his league too. But to everyone's surprise he asked her to be his wife and share his lonely hours in the air. He was to overwhelm her with his manner and expectations at the beginning. But this would allow her to have huge accomplishments of her own, including setting many world records with him, and being the first woman to solo in a glider. Later she would be a best-selling author, as well as mother of 6.

This is a terrific book, a work of historical fiction, written as though by Anne herself. While Melanie Benjamin has taken such license and portrayed emotions and reactions no one can truly verify, she has done much research and has based the facts of the book on diaries, biographies, and other published works. But be careful not to get lost in thinking this is truly Anne's voice. This well written story will do just that.

Even if the only things you know about the Lindbergh's are that first solo transAtlantic flight and that their first child was sensationally kidnapped and murdered, this book will draw you in and make you wish you had known these people. I highly recommend this book.


The Bear and the Dragon (Jack Ryan, Bk 9)
The Bear and the Dragon (Jack Ryan, Bk 9)
Author: Tom Clancy
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 96
Review Date: 9/8/2014


Jack Ryan was always a man of the people. In The Bear and The Dragon, Jack is working through his 1st elected term as President of the United States, and he isn't sure he likes the job. He is trying to steer the country in straightforward ways. However, the policies the U.S. find to be fair are yet another reason for Minister Zhang, of the Peoples Republic of China to begin a war in an attempt to wrest Siberia from the Russians.

Published in 2000, this book is showing a small amount of age, as it cannot foresee the world events we have lived through in the past decade or so. It is, however, reflective of how China still does business with the U.S. The country that seems out of step in this book is a Russia without Mr. Putin trying to re-establish the glory days of the USSR. Otherwise, strategies and intrigues still ring true here; while technology has begun to lag.

This is a classic Clancy styled book, not coauthored, and with never-ending paragraphs, repetitious review of character's thoughts, and dialog out of the 1970's. Tom Clancy always had a well planned outline but took twice as long as necessary to bring you from one step to the next.

Clancy fans will still enjoy this story, but it will never be a classic. Out of his many books I believe Patriot Games will remain the best story he published.


Beaucoup Arlo & Janis
Beaucoup Arlo & Janis
Author: Jimmy Johnson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 10/14/2015


Arlo & Janis... Just thinking about this comic strip makes me smile. While the early versions of these 2 were childish and not so love-able, they have developed into characters that I cannot wait to spend time with.

I discovered Arlo & Janis around the time of Hurricane Katrina and experienced regular blog updates by author Jimmy Johnson about the devastation in Pass Christian, MS where he lives. The strip was already in its present day form with grown-up characters who take you along with them. But the A&J blog also showed glimpses of J.J., his background, and where his inspiration was coming from. Never too much, just glimpses.

So Beaucoup Arlo & Janis picks up on this blog and fills in all of the missing background. Jimmy shares his family history, childhood memories, and changes in his professional life. Along the way we learn how the strip came to be. How it developed over time. And perhaps some glimpses into it's future.

The book itself it laid out comfortably, alternating between the sections of text (story-telling) and strips (story-lines), and moves us through the various periods of Arlo & Janis' marriage; as well as the different approaches Mr. Johnson has tried through these years.

Overall the book is a "gotta have" for fans of the strip, and a biography to-date for both the author and the strip itself. This is one that will stay on my shelf for a long time.


Black List (Scot Harvath, Bk 11) (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 4/22/2017


The Scot Harvath stories have tended to range up and down in story quality as Brad Thor endevors to share with us, the readers, a man who is living both the thrills and frustrations of a life committed to his work first. These stories have always drawn us in and bonded us to the character, if not the man he represents. But this time is different...

While not as detailed and wordy as a novel that had been written by Tom Clancy, we finally have content that is worthy of our consideration, not just the storytelling. In Black List it seems that Brad Thor has finally begun to transcend writing for the sake of the story and move into the realm of stories where the main character is dealing with issues that are real world. Still fast-paced and full of action and danger, this story has elements that begin to draw the reader in as though the knowledge is being shared for our planning and preparation.

The story starts out with a twist, and an unexpected change for Harvath and his future expectations. But this will also help the story line from becoming stale and repetitive to the reader of future books in the series.

Overall, this is one of the best efforts Brad Thor has put into the Scot Harvath series. And though Brad still longs to draw in the ladies of his 'Charlie's Angels-like' Athena Project, I hope he will stay on the high road and give us more of this indepth writing.

High marks for Black List...


The Blue Zone
The Blue Zone
Author: Andrew Gross
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 129
Review Date: 12/12/2013


What is it like to just be into beginning adulthood when your entire support system, your family is pulled out from under you? And worse, yet, you begin to be followed... and worse. This is the ever-changing situation where "Kate" finds herself in this thriller by Andrew Gross.

This was my first time reading a story written by Andrew Gross, and it was a good one to begin with. His styling is much like James Patterson; short, fast chapters, compact descriptions telling us just enough, quick changes of scenery moving rapidly through time. Gross' writing allows you to see through some, but not all, of his plot twists and turns, drawing you into the story over and over again.

This book is a quick, easy read, and lets you become his characters just long enough to try them on for size. What characters will YOU trust? It is difficult to choose sides. Try this book and make up your own mind.


The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard
The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard
Author: Gregory Rogers
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/25/2016


From a boy playing dress-up to Elizabethan England, and back again, this story will show you circumstances and friendships both fanciful and circumstantial. The dozens of pictures are each an opportunity for an exploration or discussion.

I have seldom had reason to review a book found in the bargain bin of a used book store, and I have never reviewed a book without words... until now. The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard is a graphic novel, a complete story, but not a comic book. While framed in a package designed and geared toward children 4 - 8 years old, it is a story that is unafraid to show life both whimsical and brutal through dozens of pictures that can lead to many discussions with the child who shares this book.

The drawings inside are both fun and full of detail that has been well researched and captured in historical detail. Apparently Gregory Rogers had a great first outings with this effort, garnering Book of the Year from the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. I hope you can enjoy this story with a child you love.


The Camel Club (Camel Club, Bk 1) (Audio CD) (Abridged)
Review Date: 3/7/2015


Welcome to Washington D.C. Here is a chance to get a look at it's crime and political intrigue from an 'outsiders' point of view. Not only is Oliver Stone living in a tent 'outside' the Whitehouse, but he is considered to be dead by his previous employer... the CIA.

No, this isn't a vampire novel, but the first of a series of crime and mystery solving novels by David Baldacci, that feature an odd cast of misfits and outcasts from the Washington D.C. establishment. In this first story you will learn who these characters are, solve a murder, and protect the world from a future terrorist.

In Audio form this is an easy book to hear. Paint the characters in your mind as you take it with you on a trip, or your daily commute, and unravel this first tale. And don't worry... the next book is already out there waiting for you as well.


Cape Cod Bear
Cape Cod Bear
Author: Kathleen Dayan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/10/2016


The Cape Cod Bear is a book for Primary School aged children that I rescued from a used book store. Before passing it along, of course I read it.

The story of "Barney" truly occurred during 2012, and is followed in the book based on true sightings of the bear as it moved around Cape Cod, and eventually was relocated to the woods on the mainland.

The story, written by Kathleen Ready Dayan, was well written and will encourage a preteen reader to explore some new words and follow his progress on the illustrated map. The illustrations by Kate Walls are crisp and detailed, but uncluttered by unnecessary extras.

I have never wanted to visit Cape Cod before, but now I will have to add it to the list.


The Chase (Isaac Bell, Bk 1)
The Chase (Isaac Bell, Bk 1)
Author: Clive Cussler
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 118
Review Date: 2/24/2015


Isaac Bell, the lead investigator for the Van Dorn Agency is hot on the trail of the Butcher Bandit, a notorious bank robber who seems to evaporate after each bank heist. This book includes wide ranging travels across the Western United States of 100 years ago, with a significant portion unfolding in turn of the century San Francisco.

This book is a detective story, a love story, includes major chases with automobile and steam locomotives, and much more. Isaac Bell is a confident man's man who takes his mistakes hard and works hard to make good for them.

I have received these stories in reverse order, having first reviewed "The Spy" which is Book 3 of the Isaac Bell series. While each book easily stands on its own, this book gives some background to things learned during The Spy.

Whether you are reading the novel or listening to the reading, you will find the story to move quickly in most sections, keeping you involved. Kudos to Clive Cussler and to Justin Scott for this volume in the series.


Choosers of the Slain
Choosers of the Slain
Author: James H. Cobb
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 4/2/2014


Commander Amanda Lee Garrett, USN. Mandy to her father, but Captain to all of those men and women serving on the Stealth Destroyer USS Cunningham. Quick witted, conscientious, strong, compassionate, and pretty; the traits she portrays draws her subordinates to her and brings out their best.

Their best is what is needed as the USS Cunningham is the first ship on station to prevent the Argentines from completing a land grab on the northern coast of Antarctica. Learning to defend her ship, stretch her crew and stores, AND keep the blockade in place until the fleet arrives is the first test of the Captain and her first in class stealth warship.

Having read the books James Cobb wrote about Amanda Garrett several years ago, I wondered if a re-read of book 1 would stand up to my memory. The result? This story rings true, while remaining wholly fiction. Even the technology stands up over the intervening years.

I will look to read the 3 other books James Cobb wrote in the series, and continue to wonder why he stopped. I recommend you take time to try this book.


Choosers of the Slain
Choosers of the Slain
Author: James H. Cobb
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 12/31/2013


Commander Amanda Lee Garrett, USN. Mandy to her father, but Captain to all of those men and women serving on the Stealth Destroyer USS Cunningham. Quick witted, conscientious, strong, compassionate, and pretty; the traits she portrays draws her subordinates to her and brings out their best.

Their best is what is needed as the USS Cunningham is the first ship on station to prevent the Argentines from completing a land grab on the northern coast of Antarctica. Learning to defend her ship, stretch her crew and stores, AND keep the blockade in place until the fleet arrives is the first test of the Captain and her first in class stealth warship.

Having read the books James Cobb wrote about Amanda Garrett several years ago, I wondered if a re-read of book 1 would stand up to my memory. The result? This story rings true, while remaining wholly fiction. Even the technology stands up over the intervening years.

I will look to read the 3 other books James Cobb wrote in the series, and continue to wonder why he stopped. I recommend you take time to try this book.


The Cobra (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
The Cobra (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Author: Jonathan Davis (Narrator), Frederick Forsyth
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 7/22/2015


Covert operations, political maneuvering, technology in action, violence and plot twists. This story has a lot going for it. Frederick Forsyth shows strong plot skills, and a well reasoned "War on Cocain". At the same time, he limits the dialog to what is reasonable and moves the story along using a succinct style of narration.

As a review of the CD version, you will want to know that Jonathon Davis does a good job in pronouncing the many foreign names and places, along with some non-english dialog in a few spots. His pacing is good, and the few stumbles did not detract from focusing on the story.

At 13 hours, you may want to enjoy this during a car trip or a rainy weekend at home. But don't shy away from this story; it will suck you in and you will sail through the discs in seemingly no time.


Command Authority
Command Authority
Author: Tom Clancy
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 1/5/2016


The hallmarks of a Jack Ryan novel are: international political intrigue, war or the threat of war, spycraft, weapons and tactics. This book has all of that and more.

In some ways this is 2 stories in one. Entire chapters of this book are given over to following a young Jack Ryan, Sr. through an assignment 30 years prior to the 'Present Day' story. There are parallel threads between the 2 stories that take you back to and through past events instead of depending on the present day story to fill in the gaps. This works well for the sharing of action between the 2 Jack Ryan's.

Command Authority was written prior to Tom Clancy's death in October 2013, but released that December. The were more books in the pipeline including one yet to be released in June 2016, but this is the last book where Clancy was involved in the entire process. Writing credits are shared with Mark Greaney who is listed as the author on many of the following Tom Clancy novels.

The placement of this book in the historical context of the Ryan novels is as follows:

Jack Ryan, Sr. - 2nd Term President of USA
Jack Ryan, Jr. - Post Hendley Assoc., Financial Analyst working in London
Hendley Associates - Currently in limbo seeking new facilities following the attack on the firm by the Chinese in the previous novel
World Events: Russian President (pretend Putin) invades Ukraine Crimean Peninsula

My conclusion is that this novel rings true to current world events; more so than the previous novel in the series. The story has moved outside the formulaic confines of Hendley Associates and the restraints of a sitting US President, which allows the story more latitude and is more interesting. The dual storyline works in the context it is presented and slowly draws you in to the parallel story.

You will enjoy this novel more than many of the previous Jack Ryan and Jack, Jr. tales.


Day of Confession
Day of Confession
Author: Allan Folsom
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 10/26/2011


This story of political intrigue and murder has a plot of medium complexity. Short chapters make it easy to pick up and read during short periods of time. Set in Italy and the Vatican it contains a smattering of Italian and a chance to follow the action around this country.

I found the story enjoyable and will rate it 3 stars.


Dead Town (Frankenstein, Bk 5) (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 3/20/2014


Dr. Fankenstein? Still around after more than 200 years?? And his creation???

When this audio book fell into my hands I had not expected to like it. I enjoy Science Fiction, Fantasy, Political Thrillers, but never Horror. But when a car trip loomed I decided to try it out. And it was a pleasant surprise; a bit of a mix of the genres I normally read, not horror as one typically thinks of it.

Dean Koontz has leveraged a classic tale and brought it to life in a modern setting and with updated methods. The horror is the drive to exterminate the world. The twist is that his original monster is now "a good guy".

As narrator, Christopher Lane has done an excellent job; good pacing, a whole bag of voices to separate the characters, and easy to understand throughout.

I can see why there is a waiting list for this Audio Book, and can say that there is no reason anyone could not enjoy it without having read the others in the series.


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