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.

31 December, 2011

2011 wrap up

In 2011 I read 164 books. This count includes all paper, audio book, ebooks, graphic novels, and children's books I read over the year (though I don't keep track of the books I read with the kids at work). The breakdown includes:

164 books read
71 audiobooks
13 ebooks
12 graphic novels
55 bookcrossing books

If you are interested in seeing what I read this past year my 2011 Goodreads shelf

02 December, 2011

Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield

When amateur biographer Margaret Lea receives a letter from reclusive author Vida Winter offering her a job she is stumped as to why she has been chosen. A lover of nineteenth century literature, Margret has never even read one of the contemporary author’s books. However, when Margaret picks up one of the authors well loved books she finds herself drawn into its prose. The book , one that she has found tucked safely in the safe in her father’s rare and antique book store, is a rare copy titled Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. This is a collection of short stories by the author that is missing a tale, only having twelve tales rather than the thirteen proclaimed in the title. A fact that causes the early editions to be recalled from bookshops. Leaving readers worldwide to speculate ‘What is the thirteenth tale?

Margaret travels to Vita Winter’s home and finds the woman ill, and facing death. She wants to tell someone the tale of her life before she became Vita Winter the author. Margaret who has her own secret from birth finds herself drawn to parallels in Vita’s story to her own life. As the story unfolds, Margaret finds herself drawn into the history of the Angelfield family. From the beautiful Isabelle, her feral twin daughters Emmaline and Adeline, a ghost, and the governess who comes into the house and changes everything for the girls, Margaret finds the details as gothic and strange as those of her well loved Jane Eyre. But as the tale unfolds, and Margaret researches the facts shared with her, she begins to wonder. What are these ghosts that torment Vita Winters? What happened the night of the fire that disfigured her hand? How did Adeline Angelfield become transformed from a feral and violent girl to the Well loved literary figure of Vita Winter?

I found this story engrossing, and finished it in several days. The mystery of Vita Winter’s past drew me in. I’m extremely glad that I stumbled across it in my TBR pile.

09 November, 2011

Book Review: The Shepherd's Tale (Serenity, #3) by Zack Whedon, Joss Whedon, Chris Samnee, Dave Stewart (Artist), Steve Morris (Artist)

One of the big storyline mysteries that never got answered due to the show Firefly being canceled was “Who is Sheppard Book?” We are given hints that he is more than he seems throughout the short series. He is a man of great faith, with a shadowed and secret past. In the graphic novel The Shepherd’s Tale, we are shown who this mystery preacher really is, and how he ended up on the firefly captained by Mal, Serenity.

One thing I enjoyed about the book was the fact that it starts at the end of Shepherd Book’s life and goes back down to him being a young man living life on the streets. It peels back the layers composing Book’s past. However, this was short . Zack Whedon stated in the foreword that this was based off of notes/timeline written by Joss Whedon. It feels like that at times when reading. The story is presented in a very bare bones way that while answering the question of who is shepherd Book leaves the reader wondering more about Book himself. While answering the question of his past, the vignettes of his history don’t always feel like they are fleshing out the character. My favorite portion of the story is when Book finds faith in a bowl of soup…

I’ve seen many comments in negative regards as to the artist chosen for this graphic novel. I will say now that I absolutely enjoyed artist Chris Samnee’s interpretation of the Firefly universe. Dark and gritty at times, the images capture the story fantastically. The complaints that I read, where mainly centered around the fact that the few images of the crew of Serenity don’t look exactly like the show. But, I thought the artist captured Book with great depth. The thing I love about graphic novels is that you get to see what the story looks like through the imagination of the artist. While this book does not match the earlier graphic novels it stands on its own for it’s own style of drawing involved in it.

As a fan of the series, I was excitedly waiting for the release of this graphic novel. Despite the reservations I had regarding the story I found myself drawn in to it. I miss this fictional universe, quite a lot, so being able to visit it again was fantastic. This is definitely a book for the fans, and I am looking forward to more comic/graphic novel forays into it in the future from Joss & Zack Whedon.

15 August, 2011

UBS review: Shake Rattle & Read Book Box

I'm actually taking a cue from one of Morsie's recent posts over on Morsie Reads. She posted about one of the used book stores that she and her husband visited recently. I just found some gems at the used book store by my work and thought that I too would post something about it.

Name of Store: Shake Rattle & Read Book Box.
Location: 4812 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 334-5311
Hours: Mon-Sat 12 pm - 6 pm
Sun 12 pm - 5 pm

This store is a small storefront located next to the sadly closed Uptown Theater in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. The store carries music in the forms of LP's, CD's, and even cassette tapes. There is a small selection of used DVDs, and vintage magazines of all sort of subjects. Then there are the books...

The store is narrow but deep with shelves running up to the ceiling. Books are organized by section, and range from hardcovers to battered and well loved paperbacks. Each section is loosely organized alphabetically, but sometimes books are not where you think they might be. So, it is a browser's heaven of a store.

I've rarely gone in and not left with out a book. The stock rotates rather quickly getting new books on the shelves weekly, and the owner has recently added a new to the store table at the front with the newest selections stacked for people to browse through. The owner is really laid back, enjoys talking to the customers and openly invites patrons to e-mail him if there are particular titles that they are looking for.

Prices for books range from the $1 shelf to half off the cover price. Books in better condition, or some older books are bagged and priced. Sometimes this works out to the half the cover price, but in some cases (usually trade paperbacks or more collectible books) the price is a set one a slight bit higher than that half cover price. The owner also puts a free box outside most days, and I have found some great science fiction and fantasy books in there recently.

Shake Rattle & Read is a store I go to first when looking for more obscure authors. I've found some gems there and have had fantastic luck picking up hardcovers of series such as the Diskworld books for reasonable prices. If you happen to be in the uptown area when they are open and have time to look around I highly suggest it.

It isn't a store that invites sitting and reading, but it is a great place to browse. The shelves are packed with books in a range of subjects and genres.

There is a lovely interview with the owner over at The Gaper's Block from earlier this year.

26 May, 2011

Welcome to Bordertown

So I'm anxiously awaiting a book I pre-ordered. It's official release date was Tuesday 5/24/2011. If I had waited and bought it at a store I could be reading it right now. But since I picked up two books which I haven't found copies of at the local new book mega store (The several Barnes & Noble's near me have a varying selection when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy), so now I'm looking at the tracking number hoping my books get here tomorrow rather than Saturday.

The book in question? Welcome to Bordertown Edited by Ellen Kusner and Holly Black

I haven't been this exited about a new release in a looong time. You see, when I was pre-teen I stumbled across the original Borderland book. It was a beat up paperback sitting in the fantasy rack. I was drawn to it because of the cover, and the back blurb made me wonder what it had to share. I found an amazing colaberation of short stories set in a shared universe. The premise: The elflands have returned and people (mostly teens) are flocking to see the magic themselves. The stories take place in and around Bordertown, the town that has sprung up on the border between the human and elven realms.

This battered book was my introduction to urban fantasy. I fell in love with the setting and borrowed the three Borderland books frequently from the library. When Borderland and Bordertown were reprinted in the mid 90's I bought copies (which are sadly in storage so I haven't been able to reread the stories while I wait) The bands that were suggested as music that would find it's home in Bordertown were in fact many of the bads I had been introduced to through my father. Bands such as Cat's Laughing, Dead Can Dance, Boiled in Lead. Bands I still listen to regularly.

Here's hoping my books get here tomorrow. fingers are crossed...

Interested in learning more about the series? Visit and explore the site.

06 May, 2011

small break

I feel so silly posting this as my last two posts were almost one year apart. However, I have some reviews to finish writing, and sharing. But it's that crazy time of the semester known as the last week of classes. so, I shall be diving into my written exams and practicing equations. Hopefully I'll be up to sharing thoughts on what I've read sometime next week-ish :)

23 April, 2011

Book Review: Son of Darkness by Josepha Shermaan

Curator Denise Sheridan loves her job. She works as head of the Mesopotamian Art and Archeology department of the American Museum of Art, in New York City. Denise Sheridan tries to find ways to showcase the artifacts found from the cradle of civilization and an era of the birth of mankind in a way that honors the civilizations the artifacts have come from. But not everyone agrees with the way she does her job. Her boss wants flashier more dramatic exhibits that will pull in more visitors. She has also been receiving threatening letters from a group called the “Children of Summer”. Unknown to her, the leader of this group has started following her around with fanatical intentions towards her.
Ilarion Highborn is more than he seems. The owner of the Highborn Gallery, he sells ancient and modern day artworks to collectors in the city. However, the man’s impeccable senses of dress including sunglasses at all times hide the fact that he is not human. He is a self exiled noble from the dark side of Fairy. He has abandoned the rule he was born to take having become disgusted with the excessive cruelty performed daily by his people. He has made himself a home here in this dimension, despite the crippling effects on him by sunlight, and the iron used to construct much of the city. He has just been visited by a being from his own dimension. He suspects that this will bring his enemy Kerezar to this dimension in confrontation.
Ilarion is correct, Kerezar crosses into this dimension, allying himself with the ancient demon Lamashtu. Freeing her to walk the city, this ancient demon of plague finds herself in a world full of promise. She is urged to kill Denise Sheridan by the leader of the Children of Summer whose body she inhabits. Denise and Ilarion find themselves thrown together to fight not one, but two evils trying to take control of the city. With Denise’s knowledge of ancient Mesopotamian lore, and Ilarion’s knowledge of magic can they save the city and the world from evil overtaking everything they know and find pleasurable in life?
This is an older fantasy book. Published in 1998, it was written by author Josepha Sherman, national bestselling author known for the book Vulcan’s Forge. It is also a book that I had never stumbled across as a teenager who haunted the library looking for more fantasy books every weekly visit. I was given this book in a batch of books to pass along by a fellow bookcrosser who knows I enjoy wild releasing books into the world, who needed to clear books from her own bookshelves. I was immediately grabbed by the cover art of the book. The two figures dressed in corporate looking suits towered over by a winged lion grabbed my interest. I found a story that pulled me into its plot. It was a little pulpy feeling in parts, but it had a really nice mix of magic and technology. I especially liked the version of New York City that the book was set in. It was nice to be able to imagine the settings as I had seen a few of the places mentioned on my own visit to New York City and I enjoyed placing the fictional museum and gallery into the surroundings I had enjoyed on my visit. This is definately an author whose other works I plan on tracking down to read in the near future.

First line: The shabby little man in the worn brown suit paused nervously on the corner of Madison Avenue and Seventy-Eigth street, glancing about him in the early morning sunlight.