Welcome to Feathered Quill Book Reviews, a place for readers to find their next treasure.
Along with reviews of many well-known titles, this site also searches out unique books
from small, independent presses.
Feathered Quill Book Reviews prides itself on giving the reader an honest, unbiased critique of each and every book on its website.
So slip off your shoes, pour yourself a cup of coffee, explore our pages,
and discover many wonderful gems in the world of books.
Named one of the best websites for independent authors by The Association of Independent Authors!
Amish Cooking Class: The Seekers
By: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Publication Date: April 2017
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: May 23, 2017
An Amish cooking class is the perfect recipe for each ‘seeker’s’ future in Wanda Brunstetter’s latest work of fiction, Amish Cooking Class: The Seekers.
Heidi Troyer is a good Amish wife. She loves her husband Lyle to the moon and back, but there is still a void in her life that may never be filled. They’ve been together for more than a handful of years and the only ‘child’ Heidi and Lyle share is their Brittany Spaniel Rusty. No matter how many times Heidi has broached the subject of adoption with Lyle, he won’t budge. His belief is: ‘...if it were God’s will for us to have children, you would have gotten pregnant by now...’ Heidi’s faith and belief is as strong as her husband’s, but lately she has her doubts. She needs something more than the household and garden chores to occupy her mind. Perhaps the cooking class she is about to start is the perfect distraction from that baby she fears she will never have.
With an eclectic group of students, the group assembles for the first day of class. Loretta Donnelly had the happily ever after until the passing of her husband, Rick. Left with two beautiful children, Abby and Conner, she is reminded daily that life must go on and perhaps Heidi’s cooking class is the comfort and distraction she needs to carry on. Charlene Higgins is young and in love. However, even though Len and she have a strong love for each other, perhaps a cooking class will find its way to his heart and the marriage proposal Charlene desperately seeks. Eli Miller is a kind and caring Amish gentleman, but he is lonely. There isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t pause and think about his beloved Mavis and wonder why she had to die. Kendra Perkins is young and in trouble. She is pregnant and her boyfriend, the baby’s father, is long gone. She is kicked out of her childhood home and faced with the reality of raising her unborn child alone. Maybe Heidi’s class will have the answers. Last but not least, there is the drifter Ron Hensley. Down on his luck for too many years and facing the future on a con and a prayer, he finds his way to the Troyer’s home for the next chapter in his life. Perhaps the gathering of the group was destiny but only time would deliver the answers they all so desperately sought to find.
Ms. Brunstetter is no stranger to the Amish way of life. As one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, it’s no wonder she would pen her next novel on such a topic. The story has a nice flow and balance with lots of believability infused throughout the story. The dialogue is rich and each character assumes a solid role in the part he or she plays as the story unfolds. There is no predictability toward the outcome and as a result, the reader will naturally continue to turn the pages and enjoy the journey from beginning to end. There is just enough fact about the Amish way of life sprinkled throughout the unfolding plot to intrigue a new comer to Ms. Brunstetter’s latest addition to her library of titles to entice the reader to perhaps take a step back and read another. Thank you for an enjoyable read Ms. Brunstetter.
Quill says: Amish Cooking Class: The Seekers has a solid plot and entertaining premise from beginning to end - certainly a story to pack along with you on that summer getaway this year.
Route 66 Adventure Handbook
By: Drew Knowles
Publisher: Santa Monica Press
Publication Date: May 2017
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: May 15, 2017
"Get Your Kicks on Route 66" was a popular song from the 40's, sung by Nat King Cole, that helped bring that long stretch of road - Route 66 - to fame. Now you can get your own kicks on Route 66 if you bring along the Route 66 Adventure Handbook, as it will lead you to many of the hidden, and not-so-hidden, gems along this road.
Route 66 was one of the first highways in the United States, with completion coming in 1926. It runs from Chicago to California, and travels through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, on its way to Santa Monica, California. In the 1950s, following President Eisenhower's signing of a bill which saw the creation of the "Interstate Highway system" and numerous major, "super highways" being built, many people assumed the famous road was all but dead. But while these new highways challenged the reign of Route 66 and as the author of the Route 66 Adventure Handbook notes, it seemed for a while that the famous road was fading into oblivion, thankfully, travelers eventually recognized the unique qualities of this famous route, and now it is enjoying a resurgence.
Now in its fifth edition, the Route 66 Adventure Handbook is divided into chapters by state, running southwest from Illinois to California. Each chapter includes multitudes of attractions, far more than I've seen in other travel books. And many of these attractions are spots that are missed by other books, places that are about as unique as Cadillac Ranch where car "art" shows real Cadillacs partially buried, "...which are said to be positioned at the same angle as the sides of the Great Pyramids of Egypt." (pg. 290) In addition, each chapter also includes a "Further Afield" section where attractions, just a short distance away from the famous route, can be found.
The Route 66 Adventure Handbook is written in an easy-to-read/follow style and the layout is easy on the eyes which makes this book perfect for picking up and referring to over and over. There is so much to choose from for your road-trip visits within its pages that you'll want to start searching through the book long before your trip begins. My top pick from the plethora of attractions in this book has to be "Big Brutus" - a giant, and I mean GIANT! ("the second-largest ever built") - power shovel in West Mineral, KS. A photograph of Brutus shows a car parked next to it which gives you a good idea of just how large Brutus is. And I must mention all the photographs because this book is chock full of them - almost every attraction mentioned is accompanied by a good, clear photo. To make it even easier to find, below each photo is the GPS location of the attraction. If you're planning a trip to explore Route 66, whether a quick escape along a portion of the road, or an adventure enjoying the full, 2,000-plus mile route, be sure to take the Route 66 Adventure Handbook with you so you won't miss a single attraction on this famous road.
Quill says: John Steinbeck called Route 66 "The Mother Road" in The Grapes of Wrath, and for good reason. Now, with the Route 66 Adventure Handbook, you can explore this fantastic stretch of asphalt and enjoy all the unique jewels it has to offer, jewels that others without the handbook may miss. Get the book, hop in your car, and start driving!
Henry Plageman finds himself waking up in a prison cell for disorderly conduct on one of the most important days of his entire year. A day that runs on schedules and routines, on never stopping and always fighting. This year would have been the sixteenth birthday of Henry and Marilyn’s son, Jack, who tragically died at the age of two. After being pushed away by his wife for two years after their loss and losing his job as a reverend - the only reason he and Marilyn moved to San Francisco - he met Lucy. Each Wednesday, Henry would work late, telling Marilyn he was taking care of the accounting when he was really seeing Lucy. In Lucy, he found comfort, love and an escape, and soon after, a daughter named Blue. The longer the affair goes on, the more painstaking it becomes to maintain their relationship. Hiding it from Marilyn isn’t too difficult, but keeping Lucy and Blue happy is near impossible. Blue is struggling to process the broken relationship between her father and mother, and Lucy is craving a relationship that doesn’t need to be held in secret. This year, there will be no more hiding.
Each year on this day, Henry’s plan is to spend the morning planting flowers at his son’s grave, with help from Lucy, while his wife is volunteering. And each year, the plan is for Henry to meet Marilyn at 2 o’clock to take her to see her son. By 2 o’clock, Lucy will be gone, gone long before anyone can find out about her, or about his daughter. This year, things will be drastically different. There will be no Lucy at the grave to help him, there will be no familiar routine, there will be no more secrets. On the day of Jack’s birth and death, the truth will be unearthed, and along with the truth, so might their son.
At first, The Half Wives is slow to start and difficult to keep up with. This is mostly because it takes some time for the characters and the story to be developed. Once the characters are all introduced and the story begins to get clearer, it becomes easier to understand and put yourself in their place. Blue is the most likeable character, as her childlike innocence and confusion about her life is easily understandable to the reader. The dysfunctional love triangle between Henry, Marilyn and Lucy, while it affects them all, affects Blue the most and it is easy to see this through her actions and behavior. It is easy to empathize with all of the characters because each of them has been affected in a different way. Henry, pushed away by his wife, strays to another woman who loves him madly and deeply. Lucy, desperate in her love for him stays around, though she needs more than he can give her. And Marilyn, hurt deeply by the loss of her son and the circumstances, blames her husband. The reader can't help but understand everyone's point of view and what led them to the path they are on, but it will also lead them to wonder just when enough is enough.
Quill says: Although The Half Wives is slow to start, it's more than worth sticking with. The stories of Henry, Marilyn, Lucy and Blue are real, relatable and expertly tied together.