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.

14 December, 2006

Book Review: The Tower of SHadows by Drew Bowling

Read and reviewed for armchair interviews

The Land of Ellenrie is under the threat of a great evil.

Roughly fifteen years before, the wizard Dale stopped the culmination of an evil sacrifice that would have opened a door between Ellenrie and the demon world. His flight through the nearby town brings him close to being attacked by the not quite human followers of the watchers, (the shadowy half summoned demons who can’t quite materialize in this world) who have been empowered by the completed portion of the sacrificial ceremony. His flight is joined by a former mercenary named Wren, Wren’s wife and a baby boy that she has saved from death at the hands of the attackers who killed his parents.

Currently, rumors of strange happenings have been circulating through Ellenrie. When Wren’s daughter Kayla witnesses the murder of the guardians of an ancient artifact, their life is changed forever. They are forced to flee Nautalia, the capitol, chased by a pair of cunning assassins. Finally they arrive at Dale’s lonely cottage, they find that he has disappeared. Eventually they join Dale’s former apprentice Adriel (now a full fledged wizard with little control of the magic he carries) who is in search of the boy Colin.

For the threat of evil to become reality, Colin’s life needs to be sacrificed by a mysterious mage living in a tower of shadows. Can the group find and keep Colin safe in time, or will a shadowy doom fall on Ellenrie?

Fantasy is a hard genre to break into. Especially the epic fantasy style of the genre. It is easy for new authors to fall back on the writing styles that have influenced them, resulting in stories that while good can be easily picked apart. However, the Tower of Shadows does not do this. Drew Bowling brings us a glimpse of a world with little magic left in it(and few people who can control it), that is being threatened by a very magical source. Also, I loved that everything strange seeming that showed up (people who are no longer quite human, foreign plant growth) are all shown to have a solid reason for happening. This epic tale is an extremely strong first novel, and I look forward to reading future works by the author.

ISBN: 0345486706
ISBN-13: 9780345486707
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: December 12, 2006
Binding: Hardcover

06 December, 2006

Book Review: Sentinel by D.M. Paul

Read and Reviewed for Frontstreet Reviews

Fox Strongbox was considered special from birth. From a very early age he has been in training to become one of the Elf King’s elite guardians known as Sentinels. His final test of his training takes him and his mentor Eldin out of the elf kingdom to a remote island to test his skill. On the return journey, an unplanned attack by an elder black dragon leaves fox and the sentinel’s bird mounts wounded, and Eldin possessed by the spirit of the dying dragon’s spirit.
Draco (as Eldin has now become), learns of the location of the key to unlock an ancient and powerful artifact through the elder sentinel’s memories. Draco becomes obsessed with obtaining the artifact and the power that it will grant him.

Along with the king’s high wizard, Fox sets off to Cloudville to stop Draco, and rescue his mentor from Draco’s evil control. Their quest is joined by the two agents from the Incantation Enforcement Agency as they search for the location of the artifact’s hiding spot (long forgotten where it was by almost everyone)and keep the hidden artifact as it was meant to be: buried away forever.

Sentinel is the second installation in the One Wizard Place series. Author D. M. Paul masterfully weaves together Fox’s story with events that took place during the first book (One Wizard Place). As a contrast to One Wizard Place, the reader is treated to a more in-depth exploration of the elf kingdom and the massive city of Cloudview. At the same time, though, plot and character development do not suffer. This book has cemented in my opinion that this is one of the best new young adult fantasy series that I have read this year.
ISBN-13: 9781598007954
Publication Date: September 2006
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Binding: Trade Paperback
Series: One Wizard Place Series, #2

04 December, 2006

LIGHTSPEED PAST THE KUIPER BELT NOW ON PODCAST AT DEEPLICIO.COM!! by Mambo Italiano, this is a new website for House music and dance music.I'm very exicted to have been invited to be a part of this project!

Please take a moment and click over there to listen to all the mixes presented.We are just getting started and your support is GREATLY APPRECIATED!THANK YOU THANK YOU!


This is non book related, but a fabulous thing to have happened to a great friend of mine. I hope this introduces some new people to the fantastic music she mixes up.

30 November, 2006

Book Review: A Day of Small Beginnings by Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum

Read and reviewed for armchair interviews

In 1906 Poland, Itzik Lieberman, - an overworked fourteen year old, stumbles across a Polish peasant whipping three young Jewish children on their way home from studying. He stops to help them, and in the process, accidentally kills the Pole. He flees the angry mob that comes looking for him, and hides in the Jewish cemetery. There, he falls on the newly uncovered grave of Friedl Alterman and prays to God for protection. His terrified and frantic prayers awake the spirit of Friedl, who comes to protect the scared boy. Itzik, who has been called faithless since his father left his family, can not hear Freidl’s spirit and does not realize the help he has been given. He eventually flees Poland for America, where he can be free from the horrible accident. Itzik raises a family and never talks about either Poland or the religion that he has cast aside for socialism. When his son and then his granddaughter return to Poland, after his death, the country they encounter is vastly different from the little they know of Itzik’s Poland.

Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum’s first novel explores the idea of the loss of family history once members make the journey to the new world. She bases her story on a tale she heard about her own family’s loss of heritage. She weaves a story that crosses four generations, two countries, and one religion. A Day of Small Beginnings examines what it means to be Jewish even when you don't practice the religion, and what happens when Jews-by-name begin to explore their heritage and the rich history of Judaism. Because this is such a plausible story, not just for Jews but for anyone with an immigrant background Rosenbaum's story engages readers across the spectrum and allows them to identify with the ill-fated Itzik and his reasons for running away from home.
ISBN-13: 9780316014519
Publish Date: November 2006
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Binding: Hardcover

02 November, 2006

Book Review: The Healthiest Kids in the Neighborhood : Ten Ways to Get Your Family on the Right Nutritional Track

Read and Reviewed for Frontstreet Reviews

Are your kids junk food kids?

Dr. William Sears, a well known pediatrician, has written a book with his wife and two sons (themselves doctors) about getting your kids to eat healthier. He admits that raising healthy kids is getting harder and harder to do. These days, there are fast food restaurants everywhere, school lunches frequently have junk food as a part of the meal, and there is an overabundance of trans-fats and high risk sweeteners in the snacks and foods targeted at children. More and more kids are being diagnosed with illnesses like A.D.D., diabetes, cholesterol imbalances, and being overweight at an early age. These are situations that can be linked directly to the foods that children are eating.

The book is broken down into chapters that first identify good foods and then explain how and why these choices can boost a person's immunity. Another chapter focuses on how to make changes that will result in your children craving healthy foods, not junk, and one that shouldn't be missed talks about how to go shopping with young children and still come home with healthy foods instead of attractively-packaged junk. There are also answers to many nutritional questions that parents may have and a section with kid friendly recipes.

This book is written in a tone that sounds helpful without being preachy. It helps parents learn how to plan meals and snacks that will instill healthy eating habits that will carry over into adulthood. Dr. Sears is able to share with his readers the knowledge and experience that his family has gained throughout the years, and his sons are proof that his methods work. He uses examples of real families throughout the book along with some very helpful advice for both parents and children.

I found the book to be a great reference guide to how different foods help or hinder our health. I especially loved the chapters that broke down the “grow foods” or super foods for kids. They show us why the super foods are super for our children (and us as well) and give us ways to include these foods in our daily eating to maximize their importance to growth and general heath. Most of what was explained should be common sense to the caring parent, however it was great to see Dr. Sears’ advice on what to look for when reading labels, and which vitamins are good to give your children in supplement form to enhance what they should be getting through food. The charts breaking down how much of a mineral you need each day (example iron, and calcium) and the best food sources for those minerals were extremely helpful. This is a book that will be helpful for those parents determined to raise their children as healthily as they can. Whether it is from their child’s first solid food stage, or as an older child that is slowly having his food choices changed from "junk food" to "pure food".

ISBN: 0316060127
ISBN-13: 9780316060127
Publication Date: September 2006
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Binding: Paperback

01 November, 2006

the books come marching two by two...

I have two new review books staring at me right now.

1. Sentinal by D.M. Paul came yesterday
2. The Tower of Shadow by Drew Bowling came today.

I have to restrain myself from diving into either until I turn in the one review for frontstreet, and seriously revamp the one I'm writing for Armchair interviews.

It's hard as I have been waiting for Sentinal to come out since I read and wrote the review for One Wizard Place. I figure once I turn in the other review I can start the book...

30 October, 2006

never enough time in the week

I've recently discovered that there is a Nextbook Book Discussion Group at the main branch of the Evanston Library that meets once a month. It's a shame that they meet on an evening that I am not free to attend. Their books chosen list for this fall/winter has some amazing looking books on it.

Well, it gives me some more books to add to the list for the next couple of library trips :)

I should keep an eye on the African-American Literature Discussion Group's book list page as well, but so far I've read a big chunk of the books on their list

Book Signing and Discusion in Chicago

This is going to make WoM very envious.

On November 10 from 6-8pm, Joann Sfar, Eisner-award winning author/artist of The Rabbi's Cat, Vampire Loves, Sardine in Outer Space, and the recently-released Klezmer will hold a book signing & discussion at Chicago Comics, located at 3244 N Clark. He will play banjo and talk about his methods of art & story-telling, his perspective on Jewish culture, & his passion for comics.

05 October, 2006

Book Review: Dusk Before the Dawn

Read and Reviewed for Frontstreet Reviews

What would the world be like if ninety percent of the world’s population suddenly fell asleep?

In the Tike National Park a group of Mayan shamans led by Julius, a Mayan villager who has been educated in the United States, sit on the top of a temple waiting for the important event predicted as part of a cycle change in the Tzollhin (the Mayan calendar) hundreds of years before to happen. At the same time, hundreds of miles away, Joseph Davis watches helpless, as his family fall asleep in a strange set of events before asking a stranger for help. Janet Grayson, PhD, a well known nanotechnology scientist, wakes up in a hospital to find that the last things she remembers having happened, did so several months ago and not the day before.

Welcome to a world gone wrong. Gerald Tooney, a scientist, has decided that nature needs saving over humanity and introduced a devastating, and in some cases deadly nano-virus into the worlds water supply. This is to prevent the mass extinctions that he has come to believe will happen if humanity continues on the path it has been taking. The survivors are either dependant on a temporary vaccine that keeps them awake, or practitioners of ancient techniques that have led them to enlightenment.

Dusk before the Dawn is the first book in the Enlightenment Cycle. Larry Ketchersid has created a world in conflict. The author weaves his tale together with scientific technologies and oriental mysticism to show the struggle between . Gerald Tooney, who made this life affecting world decision, and the growing resistance group working against him. These men and women are led by an enlightened Mayan scientist and his student Carlos and are trying to search out other survivors and find a way to re awaken the sleeping humans.

This is Larry Ketchersid’s first novel. It is an excellent work of fiction. I found the story slow to start, but soon it became engrossing, and ended leaving me wondering what was going to happen next. One of the things I enjoyed most was the attention to detail and the descriptions of the martial arts amd ancient practices that he show us in his story. I will be looking forwards to the next installment in the series.

ISBN: 0741430169
ISBN-13: 9780741430168
Publication Date: April 2006
Publisher: Publisher: Buy Books on the Web.Com
Series: The Enlightenment Trillogy #1
Binding: Paperback

03 October, 2006

The Love of Reading Online Book Fair - October 3-5,2006

Check them out Here, there are a ton of interviews, raffles (North America only unfortunately), and guest bloggers

27 September, 2006

Book Review: The Kindergarten Wars by Alan Eisenstock

Read and reviewed for armchair interviews

When you are looking into prospective schools for your children, do you know what sort of questions that you need to ask yours?

Do you know that your answers on the application to questions like “where did you go to college?” may be one of the most important answers you can give. Yes, to get your child into kindergarten.

In these days of public schools getting less and less funding, more parents are turning to private schools to educate their children. Combine that with the fact that it is becoming more and more fixed in people’s minds that in order to get a coveted education at a prestigious university, it helps to have attended the right schools as a child. Also, there are the other facts like more children entering school, and that siblings get first picks at class openings. Competition to get one of the few openings at a private school can be fierce as hundreds of parents compete for the prize of having their child be one of the elite that made it into the class.

Alan Eisenstock has written a narrative book that follows four families through the process of looking at choosing, and applying to enroll their child into the kindergarten of their choice. Each prospective family takes us through the process of visiting schools, applying to them, going through the interview process, and finally the waiting to hear back from the schools as to whether or not their child has gotten one of those few coveted openings. Alan Eisenstock has traveled. The country interviewing the heads of many private schools, he has followed and interviewed many families about the processes and questions that they debt with. His book follows fictional families in a city that could be any big city in the United States. However, he brings us the readers all of the knowledge that he has gleaned from his research to try and answer the one question that parents in the same situations as his families all have:

“How do you get in?”

ISBN: 044657774X
ISBN-13: 9780446577748
Publisher: Warner Books, Incorporated
Publication Date: September 18, 2006
Binding: Hardcover

20 September, 2006

housing work's 2nd annual fair to help homeless people living w/ AIDS

For any NYC readers who might be looking for a good book sale that supports a great cause:

Housing Works is very happy to announce its second annual Open Air book Fair, on Saturday, September 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Crosby St. (between Broadway and Lafayette) at Prince Street. With tens of thousands of books, records, CDs and DVDs marked down to a dollar or less. A sale you can't afford to miss!

Too much inventory, not enough space! Housing Works Bookstore is bulging with books, and so it's time again for a street sale, our biggest and best yet! Boxes and boxes of modern fiction and classics; art books, cook books, children's books and more! Music lovers come early—be the first to check out the thousands of records we've been saving for this special sale! Once you're bored with books go try on the exclusive merchandise from Housing Works Thrift Shops! They will be offering clothing on an "all-you-can-stuff" $20 a bag basis, as well as shoes, accessories and furniture! Music and food all day long, this promises to be 100 percent fun!

02 September, 2006

Buy a Friend a Book Week!

Another contest, this time for y'all to play in if you like.

My friend, the keeper of the West of Mars and the folks at Front Street Reviews are running hand in hand contests to help promote the good folks at Buy A Friend a Book Week. This contest combines my two favorites, books and music.

Firstly, check out West of Mars' contest then check out then Front Street's and win some books!

01 September, 2006


I do live. Just a note for those of you wondering why I have been so quiet.

I am working on writing a review and having a hard time wrapping my head around it, and working on reading another review book.

Plus I picked up a copy of a small press printed book off the leave a book, take a book shelf at the local coffee house and want to write a review of it as well. Since it seems to be a book that could use some exposure.

I think the biggest thing keeping me from concentrating very hard is the construction they are doing at the intersection right by our building. It is noisy, and they have guys working 24 hours so not much sleep had been getting had as our windows channel in their generator noises and the big Cla-Clank noise that happens after every car that drives over the inch thick steel plate covering a hole right where cars turn off or onto our street.

24 August, 2006

Another strange book banning attempt.

It's sad what people are protesting and trying to get pulled off of library bookshelves these day.

Mermaids afloat in Davis libraries despite protests

as someone who wishes she could draw fantasy images half as well as the artist being protested I'm glad that the descision that was made was that it should be up to the parentas discretion as to whether or not their kids could read this book. Illustrator James C. Christensen's work is amazingly well done, and I'm glad it is not getting pulled off of bookshelves.

21 August, 2006

Another viral blogging contest

I am participating in a blogging experiment hosted at To enter the contest, put up this blurb, image, and trackback and you are entered to win the following prize package.

  • $200 Amazon gift certificate

  • Signed copy of Slave to Sensation

  • New Zealand goodies chosen by Singh

  • ARC of Christine Feehan's October 31 release: Conspiracy Game

You can read about the experiment here and you can download the code that you need to participate here.


Nalini Singh

Berkley / September 2006

Slave to Sensation

Welcome to a future where emotion is a crime and powers of the mind clash brutally against those of the heart.

Sascha Duncan is one of the Psy, a psychic race that has cut off its emotions in an effort to prevent murderous insanity. Those who feel are punished by having their brains wiped clean, their personalities and memories destroyed.

Lucas Hunter is a Changeling, a shapeshifter who craves sensation, lives for touch. When their separate worlds collide in the serial murders of Changeling women, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities…or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.


17 August, 2006

Book Review: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Read and reviewed for armchair interviews

"To my dear and unfortunate successor,"

When a young girl finds a yellowing packet of letters all beginning with the same phrase, and an eerily almost blank book, containing only a woodcut of a dragon and the name Drakuyla on its inner pages, in her father's study little does she suspect the strange story that will be revealed to her.

When she questions her father Paul, a widowed diplomat, a tale begins to slowly unfold. He tells her of how of how he found the book as a graduate student. How he became obsessed with the book, and upon showing it to his friend and advisor, professor Rossi found out that his was not the only book like it. Professor Rossi found a similar book when he was a graduate student. The professor gave Paul a packet of documents only to mysteriously disappear that night.

What follows is the story of how Paul and Helen Rossi (professor Rossi's daughter) travel from their American university across Europe looking for clues that might help them find the missing man. Elizabeth Kostova intertwines the story of Paul and Helen’s past with that of the girl as she discovers of the past through both her father telling her the tale, and then through letters he wrote to her before disappearing himself. The girl's own story turns into one of discovery and travel, as she tries to catch up with her missing father.

Many cultures have folk tales about vampires, and folk remedies to keep one safe from those creatures of the night. Elizabeth Kostova has taken her fascination with the vampire myths and Stoker's Dracula and woven a highly entertaining tale of her own, a tale which takes her readers through Europe following three generations of vampire hunters. While the size of this book may be intimidating to some readers, it contains a well-crafted story that is both engrossing and informative. Elizabeth Kostova has crafted a wonderfully written story filled with historical fact, mystery, suspense, and vampire lore from many countries. Fans of both historical fiction and vampire lore will find much to enjoy in this book.

ISBN10: 0316154547
Biding Format: Paperback
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date: October 3, 2006

13 August, 2006

One Book meme

tagged by antheras to do this meme.

1.One book that changed your life

This is hard as there have been so many good books over the years. I would have to say the first time I read The Hobbit in the third grade. It introduced me to a type of complex fantasy fiction that I had never experienced before.

2. One book you have read more than once?

The Lord of the Rings trillogy – I read it about once a year

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

The Hyperion Cantos – though to be fair that’s a several volume collection

4. One book that made you cry?

The White Shaman by Clive Nicol I read this in high school and it moved me.

5. One book that made you laugh?

Confesions of a Shopoholic I was rolling on the floor laughing at each decision made that got her further and further in trouble.

6. One book you wish had been written?

I have to think on this one some more

7. One book you wish had never had been written?

Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler. Such a hatemongering book.

8. One book you are currently reading?

The Ragwitch by Garth Nix

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

Rhaeva by Linda Moore. It keeps staring at mefrom the to be read pile

10. Now tag five people

Not going to tag anyone in particular, but I would love to see any responses if any of y’all want to play in this meme

12 August, 2006

Happy Birthday to me

Today, this humble reviewer celebrates the day of her birth.

Let me tell you, 28 doesn't feel much different than 27 did so far.

I'm happy, I'm caught up on reviews to write, just editing the last one still unsubmitted. I have one book to read for a frontstreet review, but I have time to do that still. For once in the past month I can look at my pile of reachable "to be read" books (alot are still packed out of reach) and actually pick something to read and not have a deadline on it.

Currently I'm re-reading The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey. It's nice to revisit an old favorite.

For the friends who keep track of the books read list, you will be seeing an influx of science books and science based sci-fi as I start going through the books that I've collected for my mass themed release of bookcrossing books for UN World Space Week 2006 in October.

11 August, 2006

Book Review: Straight up and Dirty: A Memior by Stephanie Klein

Read and reviewed for armchair interviews

Stephanie Klein was living her dreams. Happily married to her husband Gabe, a medical student, she is several months pregnant, and is happily ignoring the problems with the relationship to keep this life that she loves. Never mind the fact that Gabe’s mother hates her (for not being good enough for her son, and other strongly implied reasons); that she and Gabe had to hide the fact that they eloped for three months because Gabe was afraid to tell his parents; and that he is increasingly gone from home. Suddenly Stephanie’s dream life spirals into her nightmare of being a divorcee shortly after discovering that Gabe had been cheating on her for several months with an older woman.

Straight Up and Dirty collects Stephanie’s recollections of that first year after her divorce. She struggles with jumping back into the dating scene much to soon after the divorce. We the readers are treated to her stories of trying to juggle “two dates and a spare” (on advice from her therapist), of being a small fish in the Manhattan dating scene at the ripe old age of “almost thirty”. Through her stories, we are witnesses to her triumphs and dramas as she learns to love herself for herself and not need to be in a relationship, grieves through her divorce, a breakup of a several month relationship (the first after her divorce), and the transformation from a woman who is afraid to love again to someone who is proud of herself and finding love unexpectedly.

Stephanie Klein shares the triumphs and lows she has experienced in her memoirs of becoming an older dater. In a market that is filled with memoirs of life before and after dating, this one stands out with its humor, honesty and attention grabbing stories. This book is a witty way to experience the dating scene in Manhattan, and take part in one woman's journey to find herself and true love. I found this to be a very engaging read and wondered where the time had gone when I finished the book.

ISBN10: 0060843276
Biding Format: Hardcover
Publisher: ReaganBooks
Publication Date: July 25, 2006
Author's Website: Greek Tragedy. Stories of my life

July 2006 armchair ezine

I don't always check the ezines as often as I should. However, I just noticed that my name made it into this month's ezine with a thank you from the author of The Price of Pride Donna MacQuigg.

Even though I had the email thanking me passed on earlier by the armchair crew, it made me smile to see it again in the ezine.

Now rubs hands together* to go finish these reviews I promised y'all were coming soon.

21 July, 2006

Book Review: One Wizard Place by D.M. Paul

Read and Reviewed for Frontstreet Reviews

One Wizard Place.

Behind the glass doors, guarded by stone statues of giant winged creatures, is the headquarters of numerous governmental offices. These include the Mythical Bureau of Investigation (MBI) and the Incantation Enforcement Agency (IEA). Justin Kasey Hobskin (known as Kace), works with his partner Murdox as an agent of the Counter-Curse division of the IEA. This is a position he took after a very nasty curse left his father turned into a wolf, and Murdox a talking wolf-dog(an unfixable condition that has left him very out of sorts). The counter curse department is a small one whose agents are in charge of righting magic that has gone wrong. It's a tough job to have. It is too bad that there are only the two of them doing it.

After returning back to the office after a long, tough job of clearing a house of a particularly nasty infestation of nixies, Kase and Murdox are given their next assignment. The elf king of Greylock has accidentally drunk a potion which is slowly turning him to stone. Upon visiting the king, the partners discover that in order to cure him they need a very rare and hard to get ingredient. They will have to travel far, find the needed ingredient, and get back to the king with only ten days before the spell becomes irreversible!

In this, his first novel, author D.M. Paul has created a wonderful world where technology and magic mix. He introduces us to city named Cloudview that is a hundred levels high, each level a city in its own right. Where its inhabitants travel around by slug system(what was once the bus system), the vertical train (between levels), and the horizontal tube(a one level train-like system) It is populated by a myriad of inhabitants who don't always seem to be what they are. This book, while written for younger readers, will enchant and delight adult fans of fantasy fiction as well. This is the first book in a three book series, Book two Sentinel will be released later in 2006.

Readers can read an excerpt for the new book, see color images by the illustrators, and keep up with news from the author at

ISBN10: 1598005952
Biding Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc
Publication Date: May 2006
Author's Website:

The Venus Fix

Y'all remember the post I put up a last week back about the dueling authors?

It seems my blog's post about the book The Venus Fix was chosen as this weeks winner of an autographed copy.

*blink blink blink*

Look for a review of it here when I get it and get it read :)

This was a surprise, definately.

17 July, 2006

Front Street Reviews

So one of the publishers that front street reviews deals with put this by their link to the website:

"We think Front Street Reviews is indeed “in front” when it comes to supporting small publishers and offering readers stimulating and innovative reading choices. Barb Radmore, the editor, is a visionary who is enabling the publishing industry to change, and for the better. She and her staff review everything from thrillers to poetry, interview authors, and even have a contest to win a free copy of a featured novel. There’s a real sense of appreciation for writers and small publishers on this website. If you love books that are more than just the cookie-cutter types, you’ll love this website!"


This is a great compliment. The reviewers on staff there have written some absolutly fantastic reviews over the last couple of months. I hope mine turn out half as well when I start submitting here.

Oh yeah, I forgot to say, that I had been approached to review for this review site not too long ago. I'm exited, and working on review #1 right now :D

14 July, 2006

It never rains but it pours...

I got two books for reviewing yesterday, and there is a third one on the way.


It wouldn't be such a big deal, but one is a very long book.

look for new reviews in the next couple of weeks :)

dueling charitable authors

Not review related, but I stole this from the West of Mars blog to post here as I think it is a fantastic idea.


Join THE VENUS FIX Summer Buzz Promotion + raise $ for a worthy cause!

How it works:

From now until August 15, author M.J. Rose will donate $5 to the winning charity for every blog that links to MJ Rose AND The new book! in a post.

Please send permalink to to be counted; every blogger who participates will also be entered in a weekly drawing for a signed, personalized copy of THE VENUS FIX!

M.J. will also pledge an additional $1 for every "Friend Request" that receives until 11:59pm on August 15. Please help us to reach our goal of a $2500 donation by M.J. Rose to the winning organization!

And once you've done this, be sure to check out JA Konrath's blog, where he ups the ante (and suggests a partylicious evening)

11 July, 2006

Book Review: Living Well with Back Pain by Robert B. Winter and Marilyn L. Bach

The Authors of Living Well with Back Pain have put together a very comprehensive book on back problems. I loved how early on they broke down the types of back pains and what causes them (complete with illustrations of the muscle systems and the spine). This book easily breaks down how to look up real information on the web, what sorts of questions to ask your doctor, physical therapist, or surgeon about everything from diagnosis to care to operations that may need to be done to your back to help the problems go away, and let you live back pain free. The section that I personally found the most helpful is the one that shows stretches and strengthening exercises to apply towards your back.

ISBN-13: 9780060792275
Publication Date: July 2006
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Binding: Paperback

30 June, 2006

Book Review: Tales of a Hollywood Gossip Queen by Mary Kennedy

Read and reviewed for armchair interviews

When Jessi Phillips is flown to L.A. to rerecord lines for the movie Reckless Summer the last thing she anticipates is staying longer than a few weeks. She, and her best friend Tracy get summer internships at a new gossip magazine about the stars called Juicy. Jessi is put in charge of the teen stars department, and her first interview is with rising star Jazz Holiday, another newcomer to “Tinsel Town”. However, she is thrust into the spotlight when her earlier romance with heartthrob Shane Rocket, who she met while co-starring with him in Reckless Summer, flames up into something serious. Suddenly life spirals out of control as she tries to balance life, work, and free time; and a jealous rival stealing and sabotaging Jessi’s stories. She still has to break the news of her new relationship to her on again-off again boyfriend Marc, and cope with not just dishing out the gossip, but being a subject of gossip herself. Jessi is discovering that her summer is turning out nothing like she had planned.

In this sequel to Confessions of an Almost Movie Star, Mary Kennedy has crafted a fun story that is filled with excitement, romance, and a healthy dose of celebrity gossip. Tales of a Hollywood Gossip Queen reintroduces characters from Confessions of an Almost Movie Star and lets readers learn more about their lives as the story develops. It is an extremely fun story that is perfect for summertime reading.

ISBN10: 0425209938
ISBN13: 9780425209936
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: July 2006

13 June, 2006

I woke up today to an email forwarded to me through the armchair crew from an author thanking me for the wonderful review.

I feel all squishy and keep grinning like crazy now.

12 June, 2006

Book Review: The Price of Pride by Donna MacQuigg

Read and reviewed for armchair interviews

In her third novel, Donna MacQuigg takes her readers to the wild west of New Mexico. It is 1892, New Mexico has recently become a state, and its capitol city of Santa Fe is trying to become a more civilized place than its surrounding towns.
U.S. Marshal Ira Ferrell has returned to Santa Fe from his posting in Carefree, Arizona after the death of his youngest brother Zachary and his fiancé Emily Brighton. He is also trying to find any info about the death of a fellow lawman, who had been working undercover to find and arrest people involved in a cattle smuggling ring rumored to be operating in the area. He thinks that perhaps the fire his brother died in may have not been accidental.

Ms Sarah Brighton is the sole surviving relative that Zachary's fiancé Emily had. She lives in St. Louis where she is a reporter. When she finds out about her cousin Emily's death. She gets on a train to SantaFe to find out more about the death, and to take care of her cousin's affairs. She arrives to find that in the time between being notified of the death. and arriving that her cousin has been buried alongside her fiancé Zachary out in the Ferrell family plot. It is while going through Emily's belongings that Sarah finds a strange button shaped like the head of a lion, which had been clutched in her cousin's hand when they found her and Zachary, and comes to the conclusion that maybe her cousin's death was not an accident.

What follows is a tale filled with mystery, suspense and romance. Ira and Sarah look through the clues left behind and find themselves digging up much more than they expected to find. They butt heads and lose their hearts to each other as they try to expose the murderer, bring the members of a cattle rustling ring to justice, and keep each other alive when the bullets start flying.

ISBN 10: 1594144648
ISBN-13: 9781594144646
Publisher: Thomson Gale
Publication Date: May 2006
Binding: Hardcover

10 June, 2006

07 June, 2006

Book Review: The Woman Who is Always Tan and Has a Flat Stomach (and Other Annoying People) by Lauren Allison and Lisa Perry

Read and reviewed for armchair interviews

Have you ever started a project and been so proud of it until you were annoyed by someone you know who did something similar, but five thousand times better? Did you ever make a mistake and have someone close say I told you so to you? Have you ever walked into the house of one of your children’s friends and asked yourself “Where am I? Who can keep their house so clean with kids running around?” Laren Allison and Lisa Perry use their expertise as public speakers to bring us a collection that gives us the readers a look at a few of their own personal annoyances. They tell us stories about their children, their husbands, what they have tried to do to keep up with their over enthusiastic and talented neighbors and acquaintances.

This book is a very humorous look at some of the annoying actions and habits that other people have. It gives us the readers a chance to laugh away our own stresses caused by annoying people we know by showing us some of the worlds other annoying people. I enjoyed the laughter it brought me and the lighthearted look at some of the things that can cause annoyances in this world

ISBN10: 0976657600
ISBN13: 9780976657606
Publisher: Castle Pines Publishers
Publication Date: March 2005

10 May, 2006

autographed book

The copy of The Price of Pride by Donna Macquigg that I will be reading and reviewing for armchair interviews came today. The author was a sweet-heart and autographed it to me.

That floored me. It's such a little thing, but it made me smile.

08 May, 2006

The Obsidian Key By Eldon Thompson

This is what I am going to be submitting to HarperCollins for their firstlook deadline. I will write a real review when finished with the book.

Eldon Thompson brings his readers back to a world full of conflict and unrest. This sequel to The Crimson Sword brings us back to the kingdom of Ansalon and its young king Torin. When Torin discovers that his actions in retrieving the crimson sword, in his earlier adventures, has brought about disaturous consequenses and a frigtning new enemy he sets off to right the wrong. Eldon Thompson has crafted a story with a wonderfully detailed world and plot.

ISBN10: 006074152X
ISBN13: 9780060741525
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: July 2006
Binding: Hardcover

05 May, 2006


My Drawing a Blank review has gotten posted to the armchair interview site

This is my first review published through them :)

Book recieved

I got a copy of The Woman Who is Always Tan And Has a Flat Stomach (and Other Annoying People) by Lauren Allison and Lisa Perry to read and review for armchair today.

This looks exactly like something I will enjoy after slogging through The Obsidian Key

I'm up to chapter thirteen finished in the book as of this moment. Only forty-three more to go. I am going to try like crazy to finish this in time for Monday's deadline, however the book might get a very short general review submitted to armchair this time and a more thought out one when I do finish the book.

I wish they hadn't taken so long for it to get to me, I'm enjoying this book immensly so far. However it's such a detail rich story that I am hating rushing through it like I have been.

Pauls Books

This is sad but sweet. I stumbled onto this bookcrossing bookshelf while reading the forums this morning. The original site that Pauls family put together after his death is very moving. It's sad that this boy died so young, but it is extremly moving how his friends and family have choosen to honor his memory.

When I was reading some of the entries in the books on his book shelf, I was getting snifley.

02 May, 2006

I'm going slightly mad

So, last week (exactly a week ago today) I received my ARC copy of The Obsidian Key to review through the HarperCollins FirstLook program. The due date for the review? The 8th of May. The date on the letter inside the book? The 12th of April...

Now normally this wouldn't be a problem, except that 1. The book is in the mid 500 page range and 2. It is a very fact intensive fantasy book. 3. I was struggling with the Drawing a Blank review until yesterday morning and finally 4. I got a spring fling box with books I would much rather be reading yesterday.

So now, I am two chapters in, the book is making my head hurt it has introduced so many characters already and I can't keep it open.

I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to send an "I really couldn't get into the book" comment off. I feel obligated to finish it and review it, but I just can't seem to keep my concentration on the book.

I really don't know what to do.


So, over the past year or so I have been fortunate enough to be picked to do some reader reviews for the HarperCollins Publishing company through their firstlook program. I recently got involved with the armchair interviews review group. I've decided to throw together this blog to give myself someplace where I can get my reviews together and put my thoughts about the books down before completing the reviews. Kind of a sounding board as it is.

I'm going to be uploading copies of the past reviews today :) (they are backdated now with the date they were written so are now found below this post)

01 May, 2006

Book Review: Drawing a Blank by Daniel Ehrenhaft, Illustrated by Trevor Ristow

Read and reviewed for armchair interviews

Told through the eyes of seventeen year old Carleton Duane (the IV), the story takes us from a boarding school in upstate Connecticut, to New York City, to Scotland. Carleton is a rather reserved teen, who has been sent to school at a ritzy boarding school. He is artistically bent, and spends much of his time in class doodling, and drawing his comics (which are printed in the local paper under his father’s name - Carleton Duanne III –whom he has led the editor to believe he is). Carleton’s life is thrown into chaos, when he receives a late night phone call from Scotland telling him that his father has been kidnapped, and the only way to free him is to bring the “Proof” of this age old feud between two Scottish clans. There is only one problem. Carleton has always believed his father was nuts, and the feud a made up event. He has no idea what the “proof” required is. What follows is a wacky tale of Carleton’s travels to try and rescue his father.

Carleton sneaks out of school to go back home, unknowingly setting off a panic about his disappearance. He arrives home in New York City to find his apartment ransacked by someone else looking for the “proof” his mysterious caller had mentioned, and a very strange last will and testament written by his father years earlier (which refers to the feud but does not explain it at all) in a drawer usually kept locked in his father’s desk. He flies to Scotland, and is almost run over by an unmarked big black van when he arrives. On top of all this, he is rescued by a girl who might not be what or whom she seems to be.

Author Daniel Ehrenhaft and artist Trevor Ristow have collaborated their talents to make an intently humorous story. Ehrenhaft’s delightful tale is punctuated with Ristow’s drawings that illustrate how Carleton looses himself in his drawing and uses his comics to explore his emotions at the time of drawing. While this is not a graphic novel, but fiction with inserted illustrated comic pages, the comic pages scattered throughout the book might interest fans of the graphic novel genre as well.

Armchair Interviews says: Readers of this book will have a fun time reading about Carleton’s travels, and finding out how he manages to solve the mystery of who has kidnapped his father, end a feud that has lasted generations, and find the time to meet the girl of his dreams.

ISBN10: 0060752521
ISBN13: 9780060752521
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 2006
Binding: Hardcover

24 February, 2006

Book Review: The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

In her First Book, The Madonnas of Leningrad, Debra Dean brings us a magical story. The main character, Marina serves as a bridge between the modern day and war torn Leningrad during World War II. The modern day Marina, is old. She lives in America, has raised a family, and is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. She has numerous problems with her short term memory. She keeps forgetting who her children and their families are, and comparing the things that she sees now to how she lived during the war. She is slowly retreating into her memories and becoming her younger self in thought. The younger Marina is a museum tour guide, is in love, lives through much hardship, and finds herself struggling to keep herself, her aunt and uncle and her unborn child alive during a time of very little food.

As an artist and a former art history student I was blown away by the descriptions of the Hermitage Museum, and of the paintings that are described as Marina builds herself a memory palace of the museum so it does not get lost after the war ends. This was a sweet and moving story of love and hardship both during World War II, and in the present day as Marina's husband and children struggle to cope with her moving away from them into the past.

ISBN10: 0060825308
ISBN13: 9780060825300
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 2006
Binding: Hardcover

01 January, 2006

Book Review: I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

In his first book, a fresh new memoir, author Josh Kilmer-Purcell weaves us a tale of his first two years living in Manhattan after migrating north from Atlanta. His life is a lather-rinse-repeat pattern of working late, going home and transforming himself from Josh to Aqua (a flamboyant drag queen) and spending the rest of the night drinking, dancing, and working the Manhattan gay club scene until going to work again the next day. His life has a repetitious quality to it until he meets Jack. Jack is a crack addicted male escort who after meeting Josh initiates an intense fast paced relationship. We witness Josh and Jack go from happily moving in together into Jack’s penthouse apartment to spiraling out of control and finally violently fracturing apart due to Jack’s addictions.

Reading this book drew me into a very unfamiliar world. However, the author weaves this tale of his past in a way that does not alienate those readers who are not familiar with it. It was a sadly hopeful tale that had some amazingly funny highs and some very intense lows.

ISBN10: 0060817321
ISBN13: 9780060817329
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: February 2006
Binding: Hardcover