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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By: Jane Tesh
Publisher: Silver Leaf Books
Publication Date: June 2015
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: November 23, 2015
A beautiful young woman, Kalida, had grown up with the destructive and conquering ways of her people down deep in a place called The Caverns, but one day she hears music and she is forever changed. Suddenly she feels as if she does not fit in her world and that she needs to be somewhere else, to start a new life. So, secretly she runs away from The Caverns and travels through to another world, our world called Earth. Instantly Kalida is transfixed on the amazing green color of the grass and the gold tint of the leaves for she has never seen colors like this, so vibrant and alive. This is where she decides to stay and makes a quiet life for herself away from prying eyes, quietly existing in the woods. However, one day there comes the sound of music like nothing Kalida has ever heard before and it calls to her, beckoning her to come out of the woods and come closer. Everything inside her pushes for Kalida to go find who is making this wonderful music and she finds that she does not want to resist.
Becoming a successful musician was becoming harder and harder for Des Fairweather as he was finding out that it was difficult to even get started. He had a few students who took lessons but that hardly paid the rent each month and he also had not composed any of his own pieces in months, as each time he sat at the piano the music would not come to him. As if things could not get any worse, Des’s friend Jake comes by to tell him that he needs his help to track down the latest story Jake is working on for The Galaxy, the newspaper he works for. The article is about a woman's garden that supposedly has talking flowers. Even though Des did not particularly enjoy these crazy trips with Jake he agrees to go as his music writing was going nowhere.
As they approach the woman’s house Jake comes up with a story that they are writers from City Gardens Magazine who have come to hear her talk about her garden. Surprisingly the lie works and they find out the woman’s name is Christine. As Jake asks her questions, Des notices that she has a beautiful piano sitting in her living room and without thinking he sits down to start playing. Amazingly a beautiful waltz melody comes easily to his mind as his hands slide over the keys effortlessly. Suddenly he looks over to the window and sees an overwhelmingly beautiful woman with long black hair standing there watching him. By the time Des stands up to get a better look, the woman has vanished. Des shakes his head thinking that he knew she was real, not just his mind playing tricks on him, and most importantly he must see her again.
This book did a wonderful job composing a story of two lives brought together by fate as two worlds cross. Author Jane Tesh creates two characters who I could not help but relate to as they both were having struggles in their own lives but together everything seemed to work out. It was so easy for me to picture in my mind the way music affected these two characters as Tesh puts such incredible detail in the emotions of her characters which made for a wonderful read.
Quill says: An incredible fantasy novel that had me swaying to the music along with the characters.
Christmas in America (Ellis the Elephant)
By: Callista Gingrich
Illustrated by: Susan Arciero
Publisher: Regnery Kids
Publication Date: October 2015
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 19, 2015
Ellis the Elephant smiled as he waved his flag and prepared to put on his skates. The tree at Rockefeller Center was really something with all those lights and big star at the very top. Ooops, there’s one skater down, but not to worry, she’ll get right back up and try again! “It was Ellis the Elephant’s favorite time of year, / full of wonderful stories he wanted to hear— / tales and traditions of Christmases long ago, / a cherished part of the America we know.” Ellis began to think back to those American Christmases in our nation’s history, Christmases that began even before the colonists set foot in Jamestown.
Ellis pictured himself at that rather sparse Christmas dinner on one of the three ships that had set sail for North America. Life was good and the men all said grace and “celebrated with what was on hand.” So many died of disease and starvation, but they were going to establish an English settlement in Jamestown. During the American Revolution, times were pretty tough as well. Ellis the Elephant soon found his thoughts wandering to the Delaware River. Is that Ellis sitting in front of George Washington in the bow of a boat? Why yes, it’s Ellis the Elephant!
There were small ice floes in the river, but the men continued to row. “He crossed the Delaware River late Christmas night, / with what remained of his army ready to fight. / In Trenton the Hessians were caught by surprise / and the Patriots’ victory began the British demise.” Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah! Ellis the Elephant continued on thinking about the history of the American Christmas in his mind’s eye. Did George Washington have a humpback camel at Mount Vernon? You’ll just have to read this book to find out!
This is a fun, fabulous journey with Ellis the Elephant as he journeys through historical American Christmases. What’s fascinating are the little odd facts that Ellis talks about as we see him celebrate an assortment of Christmases. Kid-friendly facts like Teddy Roosevelt’s Christmas carnival and that humpback camel are not only entertaining, but are forgotten vignettes in American history. These little facts could easily be stepping stones to a school report. In the back of the book are brief discussions of resources about places where Ellis the Elephant recreated Christmases.
Quill says: This is a fun story-in-rhyme about the American Christmas that children will love.
A Cluster of Cancers: A Simple Coping Guide for Patients
By: Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg
Publication Date: August 2015
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 10, 2015
The supposed downward spiral of one’s life can easily begin with a cancer diagnosis. The anger, the fear, and the angst often begin to upend lives in an instant. It’s a roller coaster of emotion when the diagnosis is made, but in cancer survivor Dr. Sherry Meinberg’s mind’s eye it’s “just one more bump in the road of your life.” If you have cancer and read a statement like that, you might just think she’s totally unrealistic, perhaps worse. What can she be thinking? She’s thinking positively and she wants the newly diagnosed to “make the subject of coping with cancer more easily understood and simplified.” You need to create your own plan of action and it all begins by checking out the facts.
There are literally hundreds of different kinds of cancer and only one you. It’s your life, your body and there’s no time to sit around feeling sorry for yourself. According to Dr. Robert Nagourney, “effective self-advocacy begins with information.” Dr. Meinberg began by checking things out on the online Mayo Clinic site, pondering them before heading to her urologist. She had plenty of questions, many of them answered by what she read prior to her appointment with her urologist, Dr. Brusky. Dr. Meinberg was self-advocating by becoming armed with all the information she could about her cancer. It was then she began to move forward, but the actual physical treatment wasn’t all there was to her self-imposed plan.
After the appointment, which was an overwhelming blur, Dr. Meinberg set out to work on that cancer. Perhaps the very outline of this book, one she shares with her readership, was her plan of action. According to Dr. Bernie Siegel, “Those who survive cancer are those who stay in charge.” Dr. Meinberg not only needed to communicate well, but also needed a physician who could communicate with her equally well. Admittedly, I had to chuckle a bit when she became angry and “fired” one who needed “a refresher course in Dealing with Patients 101.” Meshing with one’s oncologist or other specialist is obviously key to beginning ones journey to wellness. The basics of cancers from staging and grading to those stats and causes preface thirty-one topics that affect all cancer patients.
Dr. Meinberg once again quotes Dr. Bernie Siegel when he claims that “All patients must be accorded the conviction that they can get well, no matter what the odds.” An obvious eternal optimist (and cancer survivor), she launches into topics from self-care, coping strategies, emotional strategies, to things like learning to believe in yourself and coping with stress. I found myself immersed in the book, which doesn’t necessarily have to be for cancer patients, as Dr. Meinberg encouraged people to promote their well-being. The book is essentially a compilation of quotations and philosophies of some of the greats in the medical field. In the back of the book is an expansive bibliography from which these quotations were sourced as well as a comprehensive index. The book is infectiously uplifting and an excellent emotional resource for anyone journeying through cancer treatments.
Quill says: A Cluster of Cancers is an excellent book for cancer sufferers who need emotional guidance and encouragement after a cancer diagnosis.