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.

27 February, 2009

Winner's Drawn!

I drew the names for the five book giveaway a little earlier this morning, and just had to share who they are right away.

Congratulations! Look for an email from me shortly asking for where to send your book(s) to. If I don't hear back in a week, I will redraw names for that particular title.

So, on to the winner's list:

Near Death in the Arctic goes to Bison 61

The Thief Lord goes to FatalisFortuna

The Courtier’s Secret goes to Victoria

Inwards to the Bones goes to guru

Rusty Son of Tall Elk goes to Becky

Once again congratulations to the winners, there was a lot of competition for titles. I wish I had more copies of each to pass along.

I'll probably be doing another giveaway in March and another book box cleaning giveaway later this spring, as I had alot of fun writing these reviews and doing such a big drawing. So keep visiting, and happy reading!

14 February, 2009

Book Review: The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Two orphaned brothers, Bo and Prosper, have run away from their grandfather’s house and their aunt Esther after their mother’s death. Esther plans on splitting the boys up, keeping Bo with her and their uncle and sending Prosper away to boarding school. The boys go to the magical city their mother told them many stories about, Venice Italy. Once there, they join up with a group of children who are led by a mysterious boy Scipio, also known as the “Thief Lord”.

But unknown to the boys, their aunt Esther has followed them to Venice and hired a private detective to find the boys. Suddenly, they and their friends are having to find ways to avoid the persistent detective, while trying to plan their most daring and dangerous break-in yet. Plus, when Prosper and his friends find out a shocking secret about Scipio, the group falls apart due to their new mistrust of the Thief Lord. Will the children make up their differences and finish their planned theft? Or will Bo and Prosper be caught and taken back to their horrible Aunt Esther without resolving their problems with the friend who took them in when they first came to Venice?

I was exited when I first received this book. I had heard good things about Cornelia Funke’s writing in regards to Inkheart from other book reading friends. It took me a couple of tries to get into this book. The first two times I picked it up I read the first three or four pages and set it down again. However, this was one of the first books that I read in 2009, and I found myself quickly entranced by the story. I really enjoyed this story with its hints of magic in an otherwise normal world. Also its recurring theme about the strength of friendships, and how they can help overcome many problems was a nice message. I still have not read Inkheart, though I do have Dragon Rider Sitting in my to be read basket right now. I’m looking forwards to reading more of this author’s writing in the near future

Publisher: Scholastic
Publish Date: September 2003
Author's Web Page:

12 February, 2009

Book Giveaway: Five books for new homes!

I don't keep a lot of the books that I review. If a book really strikes my fancy, I'll shelve it in the pc, or buy a copy when the book comes out and pass along the ARC/review copy I read. I've done this for maybe ten books in the last four years. I usually prefer to share them with other readers. Most get labeled with bookcrossing labels and stuck in the bin of books to pass along. That poor bin holds books I plan on wild releasing in the future - Like some coffee table art books I plan on leaving in/around the Art Institute of Chicago at some point in the near future. As well as book I plan on passing along to other book reading friends.

My bin has gotten a bit packed recently, and as I am in the process of trying to get my to be read pile down in size (not an easy thing when there is a huge Borders and several really nice used book stores close to both my work, and home). I'm trying to pass along the older read books so I have room for the newer read books in the bin. I'm thinking of checking with a local hostel to see if they would take some book donations for their entertainment area, but I would love to pass on a few of the books I've reviewed here to someone who wants to read them.

To enter, leave a comment telling me which title you are interested in reading, and a way to contact you (can be an e-mail address, or a bookcrossing member name). I'll do a drawing on books that have multiple people interested in them and send them out to their new homes.

All of the books will be registered on, and while I would love to see what you think of the book when you read it, you are not obligated to visit the site, or to pass the book on when you finish it. If you end up loving it so much you want to keep it forever, feel free to do so!

The books are a mix of ARC's and regular published titles. All have been gently read, some show more wear than others as not all started their lives with me in pristine unread condition.

Here's the books I'm going to pass along. Click on the title, and it will take you to the review I wrote, or a bookcrossing page for the book.

1. Inward to the Bones: Georgia O'Keefe's Journey with Emily Carr by Kate Braid
2. Near Death in the Arctic by Cecil Kuhne
3. Rusty Son of Tall Elk by Charles H. Bertram
4. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
5. The Courtier's Secret By Donna Russo Morin

I'll close the acceptance of comments on the 26th, and will draw names and let folks know who gets which book by the 28th of February.

07 February, 2009

Book Review: Near Death in the Arctic: True Stories of Disaster and Survival Edited by Cecil Kuhne

Read and reviewed for Armchair Interviews

The Arctic. The very name pulls images of snowy landscapes, harsh weather, and intense travel conditions out of our imagination. Many men and women have raced against the elements to reach the North and South poles.

Near Death in the Arctic is a collection of writings concerning these journeys. Editor Cecil Kuhne has collected previous published writings by explorers such as Captain Roald Fram, Richard E. Byrd, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, David Lewis, and Robert Falcon Scott, as well as second hand writings of expeditions. This collection showcases both first hand experiences in exploring the North Pole, the race to reach the South Pole first, and exploration of the largely unknown continent of Antarctica.

Near Death in the Arctic, transports readers to a time where the world was not fully known, and exploration an important thing. We can learn more about the struggles these explorers faced from the weather, from lack of supplies, and unexpected situations such as their ships being frozen into the pack ice.

Reading this book during the recent extreme cold weather here in the Midwest gave me an appreciation for what these explorers went through. They braved the unknown to bring the world an idea of what was out there. They went to advance our knowledge of the geography of these harsh areas of the world. They went to advance scientific knowledge of the Arctic regions. They went for the glory of exploring. I really enjoyed reading this book because it expanded my knowledge of the explorers who looked for a Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. I had been aware of Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton’s trips to the Antarctic, but I had not known that Scott was the second team to the South Pole.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading about the exploration of the planet’s North and South Poles from the turn of the twentieth century onwards.