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.

21 January, 2009

Book Review: Amelia's War by Ann Rinaldi

Another book set in the American Civil War. I'm loving the fact that my "to be read soon" basket had a second book from the same time-frame as the Halifax Connection (which I reviewed last week) from another viewpoint of the war, in a totally different setting. I was wanting to read more historical fiction from this era of history after finishing The Halifax Connection

Scholastic Press
Publish Date 1999

Amelia Grafton’s life is changing in ways she didn’t expect. She and her family live in the Pro-Union state of Maryland. Her family supports the Union. But as the Civil War progresses and comes closer to her hometown it seems like everyone is slowly choosing sides with the Union or the Confederates. Everyone, it seems except her good friend Josh. Who is determined to keep a neutral outlook on the war in order to write well informed and truthful stories about the battles being fought around them for his father’s paper the Hagerstown Mail.

The War moves closer, with Lee’s forces invading Hagerstown three times. The final time there is even fighting in the town square! Amelia and her family struggle to keep their lives going as they had before the war. Her older brother Wes runs off to join the Union forces and Amelia is faced with the fact that he may not survive the battles being fought. Through it all, Amelia must decide how she can stay true to her own belief’s and figure out what she can do to help the war effort when the right time comes.

Amelia’s War is written by Ann Rinaldi, who has written many historical fiction stories. She based her story on the ransom of Hagerstown, Maryland, which happened the first week of July in 1864. She writes an informative story that sets a fictitious family into a well documented part of the American Civil War. This is the second book written by Ann Rinaldi that I have read, and I enjoyed it a lot. She has a way of writing that puts the reader right into the lives of her characters. I enjoyed seeing the war through the eyes of a young girl. It gave me a different insight to what was happening during that time frame. This is a fantastic look into how the Civil War affected the everyday life of the people who lived in the areas being fought on. I would recommend this book for any older child who is wanting to learn about the American Civil War.

15 January, 2009

Book Review: The Halifax Connection by Marie Jakober

Publishe: andom House Canada
Publish Date: 2007

Canada in 1862 was not the proud country we know today. It was still collection of colonies run by the British crown. To the south of Canada in the United States, the Civil War is becoming more volatile. As the fighting gets hotter, people from both sides, Yankee and Confederate alike cross the border into the British Colonies for many reasons. Among the southern gentry flooding into the cities of Halifax and Montreal, there are many spies and military personages. These men and women have ulterior motives to put into action secret plans against the Yankees. Secret plans that may or may not start a war between England and the United States. If a war is started between the two countries, the Confederacy would have an ally in fighting against the Yankees.

Former theater manager and ex-British aristocrat Erryn Shaw finds himself recruited as a spy for the British crown. His job is to befriend the Southern rebels and learn their secret plans. While on a mission to Montreal, he hears about an exceptionally sinister plot being planned by the Confederates. A plan, which the men in charge believe with all their hearts will win them the war.

While in Montreal, Erryn meets and courts a woman he finds intriguing and charming named Sylvie Bowen. Sylvie has recently emigrated to Canada, escaping life of drudgery working in the cotton mills of England. Sylvie also stands firm in her hatred of the Southern rebels. Because of their piracy, she and her aunt Franny were forced to land on Nassau. Only Sylvie would then travel onto Halifax. Her aunt left behind to be buried in a mass grave, for the victims of a Yellow Fever epidemic that was raging through the island when the women were forced ashore by the sinking of the English trader they were traveling on by the confederate ship the Alabama.

Erryn finds himself drawn deeper into the intrigue surrounding the plot he has uncovered. Meanwhile his feelings for Sylvie deepen as he spends more time with her. He finds himself in a race against time. Can Erryn Shaw find a way to stop the Rebel’s plans and keep England from starting a war with the United States? Can he do so and pull out of the spy game before his beloved Sylvie discovers he is a “Grey Tory” siding with those she despises? Or will he run out of time and loose both Sylvie and the hope of defeating the plan that the Rebels believe will end the war.

The Halifax Connection draws its story from actual events in Canada’s history. I was fascinated by the story, as much of my Civil War knowledge had ended with Canada being one of the end points of the underground railroad. This book is a fantastic example of historical fiction. It is superbly written and transports readers back in time to an exiting time in Canada’s colonial history. Author Marie Jakober takes us into the ballrooms and parlors of the bustling city of Montreal to the dirty, military garrisoned port town of Halifax. I originally won this book as a part of the first Hidden Treasures contest held by West of Mars back in the summer of 2007. I’m finding myself sorry for letting this book languish for so long in my “to be read soon" basket. This is one of the best examples of fiction set during the Civil War that I have read in a very long time. Author Marie Jakober has a love and passion for the Civil War and her own country’s involvement in it. This passion shows through in an extremely well crafted and exiting adventure of a story.

06 January, 2009

Poem: Rainy Night by Dorthy Parker

I stumbled across this saved in another place, and remembered how much I loved the poem. I first stumbled onto it in a fiction book, and was inspired to find out what the whole poem was from the two stanza's that were there in the book.


Ghosts of all my lovely sins,
Who attend too well my pillow,
Gay the wanton rain begins;
Hide the limp and tearful willow.

Turn aside your eyes and ears,
Trail away your robes of sorrow,
You shall have my further years-
You shall walk with me tomorrow.

I am sister to the rain;
Fey and sudden and unholy,
Petulant at the windowpane,
Quickly lost, remembered slowly.

I have lived with shades, a shade;
I am hung with graveyard flowers.
Let me be tonight arrayed
In the silver of the showers.

Every fragile thing shall rust;
When another April passes
I may be a furry dust,
Sifting through the brittle grasses.

All sweet sins shall be forgot;
Who will live to tell their siring?
Hear me now, nor let me rot
Wistful still, and still aspiring.

Ghosts of dear temptations, heed;
I am frail, be you forgiving.
See you not that I have need
To be living with the living?

Sail, tonight, the Styx's breast;
Glide among the dim processions
Of the exquisite unblest,
Spirits of my shared transgressions,

Roam with young Persephone.
Plucking poppies for your slumber . . .
With the morrow, there shall be
One more wraith among your number.

04 January, 2009

Book Review: Inward to the Bones by Kate Braid

I received this book from bookcrosser NWPassage last summer. Over the past few months, I've picked this book up and set it down without reading it several times - not being in a poetry mood. However New Year's Day was spent just relaxing and I found myself curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea, a blanket and this book. I'm glad that I finally got into the right head space to read this collection.

Poet Kate Braid found her inspiration to write this collection from a brief meeting of the two painters Georgia O'Keefe and Emily Carr in February 1930 at a showing of O'Keefe's paintings in New York. It was a brief meeting, Emily Carr spent more time describing one of the painting in her journal than the actual meeting. However Kate Braid used this meeting as an inspiration to expand it into what would have happened had the two women become friends. What would happen if they were to visit each other's place of living and areas of inspiration for their paintings. O'Keefe in her New Mexican Desert, and Carr in her British Columbian forests.

The poems are told in the voice of Georgia O'Keefe, and explore the relationships an artist has with the land they paint The struggle they have with making their art, and the tenuous and often unpredicted power of friendship.

I'm a fan of O'Keefe's paintings, and have been since I was very young. One of the things I loved best about this collection was the fact that the author interspersed her poems with found poems gleaned from O'Keefe's own letters. These helped build a layer of depth on top of the wonderfully written poems to create an extremely powerful and moving collection of poetry.

There are two poems I want to save here to remeber once I share the book with someone else.


Last night I dreamed the blood
ran in my veins like skeins of thread
each thread a different colour
as my heart beat scarlet
chartreuse, cerulean blue.

I awoke knowing that when I am an old woman
I shall live on cactus and thread.


Bone to bone
I am embedded now
in this land

deep as a tick on a mangy old dog.
No matter how hard you scratch

You can't budge me now.
I shall die here, hot

and clean, finally
the faraway nearby.


Publication Date: January 2000
Publisher: Polestar Book Publishers
Binding: paperback

03 January, 2009

Book Review: The Courtier's Secret by Donna Russo Morin

This was the last book I read in 2008. I read and reviewed this book for Armchair Interviews.

In the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King, courtier’s flock to Versailles for many varying reasons. For many it is the prestige and power gained by being a participating member of the court, for other’s it is for their love of the King and his Queen, for many it is a paradise. But for some courtiers like Jeanne Mas du Bois, life in the court is a pretty but unpleasant prison.

Jeanne, is recently returned to life at court after living in a convent for the past ten years. An independent and spirited young woman, Jeanne has a love for history and chafes at the restrictions placed upon her sex. Her uneasiness with her life chafes her spirit, and more than once she finds herself facing her father’s wrath over imagined and real slights to his image of noble courtier. However Jeanne’s cherished uncle, Jules Du Mas, one of the king’s fencing partner’s, encourages her spirited independence while secretly teaching her how to fence

It is during one of these secret lessons, that Jeanne and her uncle save the lives of two musketeers. Jeanne, mistaken for male, is admitted into the circle of friends who are all members of the King’s Musketeers. It is in their company, disguised as the young man Jean-Luc that Jeanne learns of a plot to kill the Queen. Jeanne soon finds herself in a precarious position as she tries to navigate the tangled web of court intrigue. As Jean-Luc she has the freedom that she yearns for, and the honor and respect of the four musketeers. But as Jeanne, female courtier, she is plagued with an impending forced marriage to a boy she care nothing for, a growing love for the musketeer Henri, and the trials of trying to help put an end to the villains trying to kill her beloved queen.

The Courtier’s Secret is Donna Russo Morin’s debut book, and it is a wonderfully spun gem of a story. I found myself transported back to 17th century France, and life in Versailles. I find myself looking forward to reading this author’s books in the future.

02 January, 2009

Winners for Resurrecting Randi Give Away!

I would like to congratulate the following people for winning a copy each of Resurrecting Randi by David P. Shephard. Watch your inbox for an e-mail/PM from me asking where to send your copy.

Amanda Sue

Happy New Year! May you have many good books come your way in 2009.

2009 Goals for Confesions of a Literary Persuasion

First of all, Happy New Year to everyone reading this.

I'm setting a few goals for the next year. I read a lot, as I am dependent on public transportation to get to and from work and school. This means I have anywhere from a 20 - 45 minute ride each way. So I read when I can, and listen to audio books when I can't (I get motion sick on some of the low ride buses because of the seat positioning, and lower windows on the bus sides). In the past, I've used this blog to post reviews and reviews in progress for the few review sites that I read & review for.

However, there have been some extremely good books that I have read over the last two years that were not new ones. my goal is to try and include reviews of the older books I read.

I'm not going to do reviews for all of them, as I also have school work to look forward to, and have been reading massive long fantasy series which I have a hard time doing reviews for. But if something really catches my attention I'll try and put up a post about it.

I've got this laundry basket of books here that I've collected over the six years that I have been a bookcrossing member (as well as about 20 that got mixed in with the books in storage), and I'm trying to set a goal to get more books read and out of the house this year as we are faced with a move in 2009. I know how many books Elengil and I have combined in our permanent collection. I'm hoping to reduce the amount on my tbr pile before we start packing.

Finally, I was updating my Goodreads list, and it looks like I read 146 books in 2008. 20 of those were review books. 18 were audio books. 102 had bookcrossing BCID's (Either mine or from another bookcrossing member), and of the bookcrossing books, 34 were wild released and 47 were controlled released to friends, bookcrossing members, and blog readers.

01 January, 2009

Winners for Signature Give Away!

I would like to congratulate the following people for winning a copy each of Signature by Ron Sanders. Watch your inbox for an email from me asking where to send your copy.

The Giveaway Diva

I will post the winners of Resurrecting Randi tomorrow, 2 January 2009. This way there is more cheer to give in the new year.

Happy New Year! May you have many good books come your way in 2009.