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.
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and discover many wonderful gems in the world of books.
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The Road to Transition
By: Bree Record
Publisher: Page Pubishing
Publication Date: September 2016
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: March 19, 2017
Come along with author Bree Record as she takes you on an eye-opening journey of her tumultuous life as a transgender person in the book The Road to Transition. While a critical aspect of this story may have taken forty days to create, it is the fifty five years of this author’s life, (a life that was often felt as mere existence, rather than truly being alive) that this book also focuses upon. These years were repeatedly filled with unbearable emotional torment that is descriptively written in such extreme detail that the reader can feel and understand what it is to be living in a body that was assigned one gender at birth, but which your mind thoroughly believes is inaccurate, and should be the opposite gender.
It is strongly advised to carefully read the author's prologue, and her first diary entry where she explains that this book is not just a memoir about a past life that was filled with crippling gender dysphoria. More importantly, the other part of her narrative is taken directly, and unedited, from journal entries that were created in the forty days prior to her gender reassignment surgery. The author openly admits that the wording of these journal entries are a bit awkward at times, and while it is true that mining passages directly from the source can indeed yield a plethora of raw emotion that may otherwise be missed if it were to be overly edited, this book could use a bit of fine tuning - particularly because The Road to Transition has such vividly descriptive details and moves from chapters discussing the author’s past starting from childhood all the way to the present day some five decades later interspersed with equally raw present day diary entries. Perhaps splitting this book into two separate sections starting with the author’s past living as a transgender person, and then moving onto the second part where the author embarks on her road to transition surgery by including her forty days of journal entries would make this good memoir clearer and even more impactful. Readers may also become a little bit confused at times when the author refers to her past selves as two different names, one being born as Sarah and the other being Steven. To clarify this, (and ultimately prove how disjointed the author’s life truly was most of her life) the author truly felt that she was born a female and named herself Sarah for the first twelve years of her life despite the fact that her parents named her Steven.
After reading The Road to Transition and looking back and ruminating upon the book’s cover one can truly empathize with the author embarking on a journey that will ultimately lead to transition. Readers will notice that the bottom of the picture depicts a desert road that is rocky and contains a broken road sign with the word “Transition” written on it. This is much like the broken and rocky life that the author led for most of her life. Proceeding up the road is a hazy greenish area in which the transition road leads directly into tall snow-capped mountains - perhaps this could be viewed as the unknown oasis in the future leading up to the better, more beautiful world that the author will be able to live in once the transition is complete.
Quill says: While The Road to Transition is a winding course filled with many bumps for both the author and the reader, it is filled with emotionally charged passages that makes it a good read for not only the LGBTQ community, but for anyone who wants to truly understand what it is like to be transgender.
By: Rev. Dr. Mushtaq H. Jaafri
Publication Date: February 2017
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: March 13, 2017
When it comes to the arena of self-help/inspirational books, there are far more than 84 of them. However, this actually helps you understand the “wheel of 84,” among other practices, and how to achieve a spiritual mindset.
What does this mean, exactly? It is a fact that in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi there is an object called a “lakh” that represents one hundred thousand units – this represents (or keeps track of) the 84 hundred thousand rounds of birth and death that a soul passes through. However, this particular book offers ‘inside information’ on how to best attain a life that allows you to bypass this constant wheel.
In this highly informative book, Rev. Dr. Jaafri begins with an introduction to what the soul really is and why we should acknowledge and understand the fact that a human being is not just a physical being or physical body. We are actually all souls or spirits that are not just a theory that is written about in religious texts: our souls are a reality.
It was this informed man who felt as if his own spirit was trying to communicate with him for quite some time during his life. He went through stages of feeling “odd,” perhaps even a little crazy – as we all do when we suggest to others a reality that they may not believe in or see a need for. Joining various spiritual organizations on his quest for the inner soul, Rev. Dr. Jaafri went on to learn more, communicate and actually “see” that inner spirit that made up a substantial part of him.
This book speaks about what a soul really is and how to identify with it. How we can attain a “quiet mind” that allows us to accept our souls which then allow us to “go with the flow” and accept who we are in reality. Readers learn about this man’s first look at America and how he went on to walk his own spiritual path – not with blind faith, mind you, but a path that an individual can test and “try on for size.” He speaks about having faith in daily experiences and how to know that you are on the right spiritual path. Educationally, he goes step-by-step through the mental exercises that can be done to monitor your thoughts, as well as offering answers to questions regarding the five parts of the human mind outlined in his book. He also delves into the human being’s three personalities: ego self, personal self and spiritual self.
In summary, this author offers up an easy-to-understand, and even easier way to practice and accept, how to allow your spirit to be a large part of your daily life and your daily adventures.
Quill says: Among the many titles on the market in this genre, this is one that is extremely deserving of a place on your bookshelf.
For more information on Go with the Flow! A Way to Blissful Living, please visit the book's website at: gowiththeflowstory.com
Mary's Song: Dream Horse Adventures
By: Susan Count
Illustrated by: Ruth Sanderson
Publisher: Hastings Creations Group
Publication Date: October 2016
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: March 7, 2017
Mary’s Song, Book One of the Dream Horse Adventures series, is a delightful story about a twelve-year-old girl who is wheelchair-bound, caused by a virus that attacked her muscles when she was four. She lives with her protective father who is away from home often either on business or in constant search of a cure for Mary’s condition. She often dreams of owning her own horse and being able to ride wild and free. Unfortunately, she spends her time at home with no friends, sitting quietly near a neighbor's fence sketching the horses she sees grazing next door. Mary feels a strong pull towards a particular foal, but thinks there might be something terribly wrong with the young horse because she has spotted it limping on a few occasions.
One day as Mary is busy practicing her cursive penmanship with her tutor and dreaming about warhorses, a horse and buggy comes down the road stopping at her house. A girl the same age as Mary gets out of the buggy and introduces herself as Laura from the farm next door. Despite having different experiences and upbringings, Mary and Laura quickly become friends sharing their love of horses and secret buggy rides.
Together the two girls learn that the young horse who Mary took a liking to, named Illusion, on Laura’s farm is destined to be put down because of a club foot. While Laura seems to accept this prognosis as a fact of life on the farm, Mary is devastated and cannot understand why Illusion isn’t being given a second chance. She tries to convince the farm manager and Laura’s father to help the horse, but they are hesitant to take on such a big endeavor. Finally, after much thought and convincing, Laura’s father agrees to keep the horse for six weeks with one catch. He states that either the foal will get better on her own, or he’ll allow the horse to get a surgery that may help fix her lameness, but he expects Laura and Mary to come up with the money to pay for the surgery. But where are the two friends who share a love of horses and second chances going to get enough money to pay for an expensive operation in time?
Mary’s Song is a wonderfully encouraging story especially for young readers primarily because it has a multitude of positive messages throughout. One such strong example is the theme of perseverance despite adversity. Not only does Mary struggle with her own physical limitations, but so does the horse she has fallen in love with, and together they face their challenges and work towards a positive resolution. Friendship, love, hope and faith are also gently weaved into the fabric of this story making it a great read for not just fans of horses, but animal lovers alike. The author expertly writes a story that not only flows well but has likable characters who you really want to root for. It is also an easy read recommended for middle school children because it is not overly bogged down with horse keeping terms, but explains things well enough to keep the story exciting and understandable.
Quill says: Mary's Song is a great story about love, friendship and tenacity all sweetly wrapped up in a tale about the love of a horse sure to please readers.
For more information on Mary's Song: Dream Horse Adventures, please visit the author's website at: www.susancount.com