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.

30 December, 2007

Book Review: Sidhe by D.M. Paul

Read & reviewed for Front Street Reviews

An elderly archeologist has found a rare cache of artifacts in the area thought to be where the Sidhe, otherwise known as the faerie race, where thought to have originated. The most intriguing of the finds is a staff. It is considered to possibly be one of the two legendary great staves of power. The artifacts have been taken to the multi-leveled city of Cloudview, to be authenticated by the Cloudview Museum of Natural History. Unfortunately, before the exhibit opens and the artifacts examined closely, the staff is stolen.

The thieves, Agents of the Sidhe queen, disappear with their stolen treasure into the wilds of the Park that composes the entire thirteenth level of the massive city.

Deep in the Park’s forests, elf scout Kestrel Greenleaf has discovered that something amiss. After discovering a trail of magic, she follows it to try and determine its source. Her travels take her to the realm of the Sidhe. The Faerie queen’s enchantment has assembled an army horde of enthralled monsters. Along with triggering the growth of the seed contained in the ancient staff. The staff, unknown to all but the Faerie queen housed a seed from the legendary First Tree. This is the magical tree that all life came from according to legend.

Kestrel returns to inform her elders of her findings. She finds herself being thrown together in a dangerous mission with Enob the High Wizard from Graylok, the sentinel Fox, and two agents from the Incantation Enforcement Agency Kase and Murdodox. Their mission is to obtain a branch from the poison trees in the heart of a vile bog, fashion it into an enchanted arrow, and pierce the young First Tree seedling before its roots take hold of the soil beneath the massive city.

Can the intrepid group get the arrow made and make it past the Fairie Queen’s army in time to save the city of Cloudview?

Sidhe is author D.M. Paul’s third installation in the One Wizard Place series. He does a wonderful job of bringing characters we have been introduced to in the previous stories and introducing new ones to bring about a full fledged and strong group trying to save the city of Cloudview. Like the past two books Sidhe has a strong fantasy setting and a well written story. I enjoyed the chance to explore the magic enhanced Park level of Cloudview, which was only briefly mentioned in past books. The book was a nicely paced fantasy setting that both younger readers and older fans of the genre will enjoy reading.

17 December, 2007

Book Review: Mind Made by Amy Lignor

Read and reviewed for Front Street Reviews

Annie, is a writer and a single mother trying to raise her daughter in a world that is becoming increasingly full of heartbreak and despair of bad news from a war that has found its way into the homes of America via the nightly news. She is living in a small Hamlet in Connecticut , and spends her evenings writing after her daughter Shelby is asleep. One cold winter night, while working, she drifts off to sleep and wakes in a totally unknown place.

Annie finds herself brought together with three others, who are also as confused at being there as she is. Matthew, Dean, and Annie’s good friend Julie. They are confronted by a horrific apparition made of mist which tells the four that they have been brought into it’s world for a purpose. The four of them had been torn from their world to play a game and prove that humanity has a right to live. To win, they must help each other through four tests. The tests will all stem from the deepest fears of each of the four being tested.

As time passes, the four strangers find the bonds of friendship and love forming between each other. As they face the harrowing trials set for each of them by their captor, these bonds give each person the strength to face their fears, and to help the others face their own trials. The combined strengths that each person brings to the group, along with their individual differences Annie, Dean, Max, and Julie are able to push themselves beyond physical and mental limits to travel the harrowing road set before them.

With love, the four can find the secret to saving mankind from the evil imprisoning them, and change their lives in the process. Will they be able to face their personal demons and accept the prize offered, or will evil triumph and bring about the doom of mankind?

Mind made is a thought provoking look into a realm where nothing is what it seems. Author Amy Lignor brings her readers a fast paced thrilling story of self development, and survival. I personally enjoyed seeing the development of the group from strangers to friends, and the tentative love that flowers between the two couples. The book made me want to know what happens next, and left me with a feeling of “what’s next?” as it came to its conclusion. This is the second book I’ve read by the author that I’ve enjoyed reading. I look forwards to seeing more from her in the future.

12 December, 2007

Book Review: Prophecy: a novel by Paul Mark Tag

Read and reviewed for Front Street Reviews

In 1889, a poorly maintained dam failed, letting the waters of Lake Conemaugh rush across Johnstown, Pennsylvania and destroying the town. It was, one of the worse environmental disasters to befall the United States, and 2,200 people died in the flood.

Moments before the dam burst, a young woman entered the Trinity Lutheran Church in Johnstown, and put a bottle containing an extraordinary letter into the church’s safe. This letter reveals that the writer knew of the impending flood.

In 2009, a United States scientist has found the gene that could scientifically explain clairvoyant powers. In Russia, laboratory experiments done by their own scientists have also found this genetic mutation, the “prophecy gene” as it is dubbed. This gene, if made into a synthetic replacement could turn the world into upheaval. Letting powerful men and women buy the ability to see the future and manipulate it to their own advantages.

When the American scientist disappears, his friend Dr. Victor Mark Silverstein is thrown into a cyclone of intrigue after receiving a strange text message concerning the kidnapping. While trying to track down his friend Dr. Silverstein and his assistant Linda Kipling find themselves tangling in the spider web grasp of greedy and corrupt US senators, the CIA, and a Middle Eastern terrorist organization. All of whom are trying to find a present day carrier of the gene who can confirm that the gene exists outside of laboratory experiments. When the safe containing the letter written before the Johnstown flood is unearthed, it accelerates the race to control the “prophecy gene”.

The gene, if found could prove the right or wrong hands the ability to control the planet, and throw the worlds religions into chaos.

Paul Mark Tag’s second novel is a fast paced thrill ride of an adventure. The author makes use of his experience as a meteorologist with the Navel Research Laboratory to bring his readers an exiting story that takes a look into theoretical science and the consequences it can have on the world. I really enjoyed the realism and development of Prophecy’s plot and found myself savoring the book and trying to make it last longer. One thing I enjoyed was the fact that Silverstein and Kipling’s relationship as coworkers and friends is so developed. The author also does a wonderful job of bringing in the story elements that have been carried over from his first book Category 5 and explaining them in a way that doesn’t leave new readers confused, and also doesn’t bog down the plot.

Prophecy was a wonderful introduction to a new author for me. I look forward to reading Category 5, and future books by the author.

Author’s web site

01 December, 2007

Book Review: Tinna's Promise by Miranda Mayer

Read and reviewed for front street reviews

Tinna, a half-blood Thran from the south, has been following a wanderlust brought on, she believes, by the Gypsy blood running through her veins. Her travels have taken her through much of the empire, from the great plain to many of the great cities and now to the forested regions that are home to the horse loving Arak. Tinna finds a home in the village of Thamatock, and a friend in its young Wiseman Taneth.

When Tinna makes a promise to go get a new puppy for a young mistreated boy in the village, her travels take herself and Rhoa, a young woman she has befriended, from the small village of Thamatock to the larger city surrounding Hildercross Academy. There, they find a puppy and the next morning start their travels home. On their way, they witness the destruction of Hildercross by an attack of dragons. Tinna and Rhoa find themselves captured by those same dragons along with a Nimru, and the landlord of the destroyed town.

Tinna and Rhoa’s journey back to Thamatock becomes complicated when they discover the reason behind the dragon’s attack. Rhoa pairs up with the tree dwelling Nimru, Draphen and continues the journey home while Tinna travels to the city of Alterat to seek help from friends in finding the person behind the dragons and stopping them before every major city aligned with the high throne is destroyed. Will Rhoa and Draphen be able to safely navigate the tree paths of the Nimru and make it home? Can Tinna find the blackmailer that is causing all the mayhem and destruction, and stop him before he uses his power over the dragons to focus on the smaller towns and villages left alone on the continent? Finally, can Tinna keep her promise, and get the puppy back to Thamatock and both the boy who she made her promise to, and the Wiseman that she has realized she has come to love?

I was very surprised by this story. The premise behind the plot is a very simple one; a promise has been made, can it be kept even in the upheaval and turmoil facing Tinna. However, the story itself is full of adventure, and action, and friendship as Rhoa and Tinna travel across a strange and turmoil filled land. I really enjoyed being introduced to the empire that the story is set in, and wished there was a little more information about the rule of the land. The setting of the story was in my opinion the best part of the story. The descriptions of the cities and places Tinna and Rhoa pass through capture the imagination and made me feel like I was right there with the women. I loved the complexity of the world we are introduced to as the women travel across the country to get back to their home.