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.

23 February, 2007

Book Review: Heart of a Legend by Amy Lignor

Read and Reviewed for Frontstreet Reviews

When Paulita Maxwell started her journey from Texas into the wild New Mexico Territory in 1877, with her brother Pete, her thoughts were on nothing more than being reunited with her family in Fort Sumner. While crossing New Mexico to get to their home, Paulita and Pete were attacked by a lone angry Indian. Help came in the form of a bullet shot by one William H Bonney, the man who world soon be known to the rest of the world as outlaw “Billy the Kid”. Billy’s heroic actions, in saving the Maxwell siblings, are the start of a friendship between him and both Paulita and her brother.

As politics in Lincoln County spiral into an all out land war, Paulita finds her life becoming more and more intertwined with Billy’s She is helplessly in love with the outlaw Billy has become; she believes he is nothing more than the scapegoat.. Paulita is faced with the heartbreak her love will cause her family, as her brother has cast aside his friendship with Billy due to Billy’s criminal behavior. We witness Paulita grow from a young teen fresh out of finishing school into a strong woman in love and wife to an outlaw.

Billy the Kid is one of the Wild West’s legendary outlaws whose life is still hotly debated about in modern times. His past is shrouded in mystery; and people still do not know for sure why he never left New Mexico for any long periods of time. Author Amy Lignor has taken the history of Paulita Maxwell, a women who was named as Billy’s girl in newspapers of the time, and written a story that gives a reason for some of Billy’s actions.

I was excited to receive this book; as the wild-west, full of legendary figures, is a time of American history that I have loved since small. I didn’t think I knew much about Billy the Kid, and was pleasantly surprised at what I found I did know while reading the book. It was easy to see the amount of research that went into this tale even before the extremely helpful afterword provided by the author. Her story includes many of the real men who were involved in the Lincoln County Wars, making this part of history step alive off the pages. The Heart of a Legend is a strong first novel; that shows readers a bit of history that has been glossed over due to the legendary status achieved by Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County land wars.

22 February, 2007

Book Review: Rags and Old Iron by Lorelei Shannon

Read and Reviewed for Frontstreet Reviews

College student Amy Sullivan is living a fairly normal, boring life. She spends her time attending classes and daydreaming about romance with handsome pirate captains and a dark and brooding lord of the manor. However, her life takes a turn when her nightly dreams start turning into nightmares, and hallucinations start creeping into her daily life. Amy’s friends express concern as she starts unraveling both physically and mentally.

A conversation with her friend Xavier, a Yaquai mystic, brings forth the idea that maybe Amy’s dreams are in fact memories that Amy repressed during her childhood. When Amy is rescued from being sexually assaulted by a familiar figure, her whole reality is thrown into turmoil. Her rescuer is Rags, a swamp demon, that Amy befriended as a six year old while visiting her grandparents in Florida. To her six-year old self, Rags was her Peter Pan. He was an elfin boy with the power to transform his flesh and control things with his thoughts. However, to Amy’s nineteen-year old self, Rags is a malevolent presence. His declarations of love and intentions of possessing Amy are disturbing to her, as is the very evilness of his nature. Amy and her friends are joined by Louis, a voodoo priest, and another friend of six year old Amy. His power combined with the protective powers of Xavier can help Amy in her quest to free herself of Rags’ presence. But is the power and love of her friends enough to save her from the evil thing that loves her as well?

Rags and Old Iron is a recent offering by Juno Books, a new imprint of Wildside Press specializing in paranormal romances. Rags and Old Iron takes readers on a journey from Arizona to Florida, and pulls the mystical and magical into modern life. I was impressed with how full the plot was without being overwhelming. The story resonates with magic, romance, and a sense of impossible things come to life.

Lorelei Shannon is the author of Vermifuge and Other Toxic Cocktails. A collection of dark fantasy and horror short stories published by Wildside Press. She lives outside of Seattle and spends her time when not writing being a goth mamma to her two boys and restoring her 1947 Cadillac hearse, Annabelle Lee

16 February, 2007

Book Review: Flight of the Goose: A Story of the Far North by Lesley Thomas

Read and Reviewed for Armchair Interviews

It is the summer of 1971. The war in Vietnam is raging, and the draft has not yet been repealed. Hippies and protesters are treated badly everywhere. The oil companies are looking to expand into previously untapped oil reserves in Alaska. It is a time of change for the country. In Alaska, the Inupiat community is learning to survive by incorporating their traditional hunting and gathering lifestyle with more modern accessories, and tourism

Kayuqtuq is an orphan who has been raised in a traditional Inupiat village. Her traumatic past haunts her everyday life. She falls in love with the old stories told of life before the missionaries came to the North. Because of these tales of times with different powers for people, she has decided that the only way for her to gain the respect she deserves from the village is to become a shaman, a path that has been outlawed in modern Inupiat society.

Leif Trygvesen is a university student who has come north to do research on the effects of oil spills on the salt marshes and to find evidence of the rare Tallinn 's goose, an endangered species of goose he hopes to keep from being declared extinct. Leif, a pacifist from Seattle, is trying to do some good while evading the draft. While his scholastic exemption has kept him safe, his family has been torn apart by the recent death of his brother who did go to fight.

Kayuqtuq and Leif find their paths intertwined as the summer progresses. What starts as curiosity about the other's lifestyle, develops into attraction and love. As both Leif and Kayuqtuq work their way through cultural conflicts, spiritual awakenings and discovering and developing their love in a time of turmoil--they begin to realize that the time they have together may be short.

Author Lesley Thomas brings her first-hand knowledge of growing up in the Arctic forward into a haunting story The alternating viewpoints of both Leif and Kayuqtuq's took some time to become familiar. However, once adjusted, I quickly devoured the fantastically told tale in this book.

14 February, 2007

some neat Author news - Peter S. Beagle

Peter S. Beagle was never paid for his work for the adaptation of The Last Unicorn.
Certainly, he was never paid for that claptrap crummy dvd that came out a few years back.

So now that a beautifully, carefully done dvd has been released, the small press with which he is associated decided to invest in a shipment and retail sell autographed copies.
They were hoping to sell a few hundred and make Mr.Beagle, who lives as hand to mouth as many less popular writers, a little money off his own work.

Within the first week they had over 1,600 orders.

Conlan Press is still taking orders, with apologizes for the delay in shipping-- Mr.Beagle's hand has been getting tired.

If you do feel like ordering a copy of the dvd for your collection I would suggest buying it through Conlan Press for either an autographed or non autographed version since the author actually sees some money from the sale.

13 February, 2007

Debut a Debut

Don't forget thay this week is the Debut a Debut week over at the West of Mars blog. I had hoped to have more than one new review of a debut book to post this week, but it looks like yesterday's entry for The Last Templar will be the only debut book review to go up. I was unable to actually get my hands on a copy of any of the others that I thought were interesting.

Have fun posting your reviews, and I'd love to see links to them left here in the comments section if y'all are willing to share.

12 February, 2007

Book Review: The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury

Read and Reviewed for Frontstreet Reviews

Martin of Carmaux, a young Templar knight, flees the city of Acre after the Muslims take the last city held by the Christian knights in 1291. He joins his mentor Aimard of Villiers on a mission to deliver a chest for the dying Grand Master of the Templar’s order. Their ship, the Falcon Temple, is lost in a massive storm, and the mysterious chest never delivered.

In current day New York City, Hundreds of attendees are attending the opening, of an exhibit of art on loan from the Vatican, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Those attendees become witnesses to four men dressed in knight garb ride horses into the museum and rob the exhibit. Archeologist Tess happened to be close enough to witness one of the horseman steal a strange mechanical device, and hear the reverent Latin phrase that the horseman uttered as he picked it up. Tess brings up the connection between the garb the horsemen were wearing and the phrase the one horseman uttered with the Templar Order from the 14th century to the FBI team investigating the theft.

Sean Reilly is an FBI agent working on the case. He is joined by his partner Nick Aparo, and an envoy from the Vatican, Monsignor De Anglais. As three of the horsemen turn up dead, it becomes apparent how important the stolen device is Tess becomes more than just a witness as her experience as both a research and field archeologist becomes a helpful addition to the search team. Tess and Reilly are drawn out on a chase that takes them through parts of New York City, into the desolate mountains of Turkey, and remote islands of Greece. Will they be able to catch up with the fourth horseman, and find the mysterious lost treasure of the Templar?

Raymond Khoury’s first novel, The Last Templar is an action packed thriller. He successfully pulls off the telling of two tales, the current day treasure chase and the interspersed tale of the knight Martin as he struggles to escape Acre and make his way to France. I was impressed with the complexity of the plot, and the thought provoking look that it gave towards faith’s role in the modern world and faith versus historical fact. I was a bit leery going into The Last Templar as I had heard it compared to The Da Vince code, which I disliked intensely when I read it last year. However, I was surprised by a thought invoking tale with characters that popped off of the pages and into my imagination. I will be waiting eagerly for Khoury’s next novel to be released later this year.