Non-Fiction Review: Yigal Arkin’s “Monumental Money”

This book was published a year ago, and I am happy to finally have it on my shelf!

I can see using this book as I teach my children about money, or referring back to it again during our lessons on Presidential history. It will definitely give them a stronger sense of why they should care, what these pieces of linen and piles of coin really mean in value; to slow down and enjoy the richness of our heritage that we pass around so blithely in the consumer marketplace.

The breakdown of each section and chapter was very intuitive, and led seamlessly from one chunk of information to the next. Each part was well-researched, and provided not just the basics of each bill, but the history surrounding it, and the impact that currency had on our nation. I love the small details, the “behind-the-scenes” look in subjects I am passionate about, and Mr. Arkin’s work more than fulfilled my desire to know more about our money and our history. It is a lot of information to take in at once, but is written in a very clear way, so that I never felt overwhelmed during my reading.

I would recommend buying the actual paperback or hardback for your shelves, as the E-Book had some formatting issues that made several pages very hard to read. As a teaching tool, I do not recommend the e-book version.

I greatly enjoyed this read, and look forward to keeping it on my shelf to pull out again!

I received a review copy of this book through NetGalley.

Fiction Review: Patrick W. Carr’s “A Cast of Stones”

I’m in a conundrum.

I want to hand this book to my friends, telling them “Read this! Read this NOW.”

But I’m torn, for at the same time I want to keep it with me, so I can read through it again!

The way Mr. Carr describes his lands, the people from each nation, and the spirit entities that are at war reminded me of C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, specifically Perelandra.

I could see the land around me – I skittered across the Cripples, trailed down into the dungeon of the abbey, and followed the merchant’s caravan with Errol. I listened to the people bicker and laugh around me, and watched the passage of each land we travelled. It was total immersion, and it was done well.

It took me a while to get the image of a 19-year-old protagonist in my mind. The back cover synopsis, and the first few chapters where we get to meet Errol and get a sense of his life and his choices, at first give the impression of someone quite a bit older. Then, when the other characters call him “boy” and make references to how little he knows of the world and regular life, we get someone much younger. It distracted me a little, but I was too busy being pulled along by the plot and the world around me to give it more than a passing glance.

As this is fantasy, one must take on “suspension of disbelief” at the door, and thus, any nit-picking of details would be in poor form. What gives this story its strength is a plot which is woven well – no gaping holes or ragged edges.

It’s been a while since I have sat and read a novel from cover to cover, staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish, as I could not pull myself away. And it’s been even longer since I’ve had a book that upon completion, I wanted to turn back to page one and start again. It was refreshing, a true highlight of my day.

Mr. Carr, you have my attention. I am eagerly awaiting your next work!

I received a free copy of this book through the Bethany House Reviewer Program