In accordance to the FTC guidelines, I must state that I make no monetary gains from my reviews or endorsements here on Confessions of a Literary Persuasion. All books I review are either borrowed, purchased by me, given as a gift, won, or received in exchange for my honest review of the book in question.

04 February, 2015

Book Review: The Supernaturalists by Patrick Neighly and Jorge Heufemann (Illustrator)

Slinky vampire horror in the Roaring Twenties! Human detective Edgar Drake races to solve an impossible murder in 1926 Manhattan. The bodies all bear the same wound - two puncture holes in the neck and lots of blood around the body. However, when Drake meets Esme an undead flapper, he learns that that evidence is not what a vampire's bite would look like. As Drake and Esme work together to find the real killer, all signs point to a conspiracy that cuts close to home.

I wanted to love this this book, instead I found I enjoyed it but felt it could be better.

The story was interesting. Set during the roaring 20's with its speakeasies and secret societies there is a serial killer on the loose. The identifying mark of the victims are a two holes in the neck, and a copious amount of blood. We follow the detective investigating the cases through different areas of Manhattan, and different levels of society. 


However, I did not care for the artwork in this graphic novel at all. The black and white style is done in a way that feels like it is supposed to capture a noir feeling. However, especially at the beginning I found it hard to keep characters separated. After the gorgeous colors used in Subatomic I was let down by this book.

02 February, 2015

Book Review: Flowers for Mei-Ling by Lorraine Lachs

The copy of Flowers for Mei-Ling was an advanced readers copy passed to me by a relative who thought that I would enjoy it because of my interest in historical fiction. It has been buried underneath other books on my to be read pile for more years than I want to admit. I have made a goal for this year to try and get the books from 2013 and earlier read and either shelved with my PC, or passed on through a local Little Free Library or the take one/leave one book exchange at a local coffee shop. This is my first of the 50 book goal I have set for myself to be read in 2015.

Mei-Ling, has had a very turbulent life. Born to a Chinese father, and an English mother who met in England, then went to China to help with the Communist revolution led by chairman Mao. During the Red Army movement in the 1960's, teenage  Mei-Ling watches her father  get taken and beaten for being an intellectual, is separated from her mother as both are sent to the country to learn from the peasants. Mei-Ling survives a rape, while her mother survives a serious injury to her leg. They both manage to find their way back to their home and each other and escape to Hong Kong. There she and her mother are befriended by a Dutch businessman. He gives her mother a job, and both of them a place to live.

In Hong Kong, her life changes. Mei-Ling is a Chinese girl in an English ruled country. She is enrolled in school to finish her education which was halted when she joined the Red Army movement. She also becomes the lover of the Dutch benefactor who has helped her and her mother survive as refugees in Hong Kong. Upon becoming pregnant Mei-Ling and her mother find their lives moved to Amsterdam. Mei-Ling is married to a reluctant and much older man. When she has a daughter rather than a son, she becomes less desirable to him as a companion. Her husband starts an escort business and makes Mei-Ling his partner and sometimes host for wealthy businessmen visiting Amsterdam.

When her husband dies, followed quickly by her mother's death Mei-Ling finds her life changing again. She sells her dead husband's business and she her daughter immigrate to Canada. There in her early thirties, she becomes a student and meets and marries professor Jack Levy. She makes a life with Jack, earns a degree in art history opens a gallery and then separates from Jack after he is unable to accept the choices made that formed her past. Her daughter Julia graduates from Harvard University and moves to Hong Kong to work. Mei-Ling  and Jack travel to Hong Kong together in 1997 to visit when China takes over Hong Kong from the British. While there Mei-Ling is forced to face the demons of her past.

Flowers for Mei-ling is superbly written. It follows Mei-Lings life through fifty years. We see her and the events that take place in her life through her eyes, and the eyes of three different men who loved her as well as through her mother's eyes.  The author weaves together the chaotic events of the communist movement in China, with the anti-war movement in America and the riots in Chicago during the 1969 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Mei-Ling changes from a naive and passionate teenager, to a young mother trapped in a loveless marriage, to a wealthy business woman.

This is a book that has been sitting on my to be read pile for years and one that I finished and though "Why didn't I read this earlier?"

01 February, 2015

Bingo Challenge Update:




Read in January:

A Book you Read as a TeenagerDragondrums I devoured every book I could get my hands on written by Anne McCaffrey when I was in High School. I ended 2014 and started 2015 by revisiting the Pern series, focusing on the books in the ninth Pass time frame. Finished 1/2/2015.







A Book that was Given to you as a Present: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. I received this during an EME swap on the bookobsessed boards (I also received book 3 as a gift). This series was started after picking up book 1 in a Chicago area Little Free Library. Finished 1/12/2015






An Audio Book – I personally listen to quite a few audio books during the year. The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss is also read by the author. This was an incredibly sweet novella that delves into the life of one of the side characters from The Name of the Wind Auri. finished 1/19/2015







An Award Winning Book:  Black Wine by Candas Jane Dorsey won both the AFA William L. Crawford Fantasy Award, and the  James Tiptree Jr. Award in 1997. Finished 1/21/2015.









A Book With a Red Cover: Flowers for Mei-Ling by 





Final tally: 1/4  of the Bingo card filled.



23 January, 2015

new Bingo Challange

2015 Bingo Reading Challenge. Like last year I am going to try for a complete card bingo :)


31 December, 2014

2014 Reading Bingo Challange

I was trying to fill the whole card, and fell a few books short:


summary:

A book with More than 500 Pages - Ashes of Victory by David Webber 672 pages finished 1/5/2014
A Forgotten Classic -
A Book that Became a Movie -
A Book Published this year - Skin Game by Jim Butcher finished 6/10/2014
A book with a Number in the title - Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card finished 6/7/2014
A Book written by someone under 30
A book with non-human characters - Night of the Wolf by Alice Borchardt finished 5/4/2014
A Funny Book - Redshirts by John Scalzi finished on 1/7/2014
A Book by a Female Author- Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang by Katie MacAlister finished on 1/10/2014
A Book with a Mystery - Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear finished on 1/9/2014
A book with a one word title - Shattered by Kevin Hearne finished 6/20/2014
A Book of Short Stories - Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black (Editor), Ellen Kushner (Editor) finished on 6/5/2014
A Book set on a different Continent - Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch set in th United Kingdom finished on 11/26/2014
A Book of nonfiction - Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox finished on 10/28/2014
The First Book by a favorite Author - The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs finished on 2/21/2014
A book you heard about online - The People's Act of Love by James Meek recomended by bookcrosser Azuki on 2011 finished on 1/27/2014
A Best selling book - The Broken Eye by Brent weeks 8/31/2014
A book Based on a true story -
A book at the bottom of your to be read pile - Himalayan Dhaba by  Craig Joseph Danner on my TBR pile since 2007 finished on 1/31/2014
A book your friend loves - Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett finished on 3/15/2014
A Book that scares you - Carry Me Down by  M.J. Hyland very creepy story. finished on 1/30/2014
A book that's more than 10 years old - Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett originally published in 1998 finished on 11/17/2014
The Second book in a series - Freedom's Choice by Anne McCaffrey Catteni series #2 finished on 3/20/2014
A book with a blue cover - The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore finished on 4/27/2014


23 August, 2014

Bout of Books day 5 progress

Bout of Books

Books in progress:
  1. Baghdad Without a Map and other misadventures in Arabia by Tony Horwitz from nickel27 in 2013
  2. Dimension of Miracles by Robert Sheckley (audio book listening with Elengil)
Books  Finished:

None finished

21 August, 2014

Bout of Books Day 4 progress and Challenges

Bout of Books


 “If you liked, 

 you should try 

because the stories included continue the adventures of the crew of the Firefly class ship Serenity and set up what events after the film ends
(I would recommend all 3 of the graphic novels out so far I'm looking forward to the current comic run coming out in book format soon)

Books Finished:
  1. Old Shirts & New Skins by 

Books in Progress:
  1. Baghdad Without a Map and other misadventures in Arabia by Tony Horwitz from nickel27 in 2013
  2. Dimension of Miracles by Robert Sheckley (audio book listening with Elengil)
Thoughts on what I have read today:

  1. Old Shirts & New Skins: very powerful imagery used in the poems in this collection. I loved these early works by Native American poet Sherman Alexie.