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.
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By: Michelle Muriel
Publisher: Little Cabin Books
Publication Date: March 2015
Reviewed by: Charline Ratcliff
Date: May 24, 2015
I have finished my reading of Essie’s Roses and all I can say is – wow, what an amazing read. What a well-written, completely believable and insightful book. Essie’s Roses is a ‘fictional’ novel, yet it encompasses the same importance of message, and will certainly remind readers of their intrinsic knowledge of right versus wrong with the same quiet strength of conviction that Harriet Beecher Stowe provided to her readers when she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Additionally though, this book is much more than just that. Essie’s Roses is the beautifully poignant tale of two girls; one white, the other colored – who grow up together (but still separate) during the mid-1800s. This is the story of their heartfelt and true love for one another. An accounting showing how they are each able to overcome the odds of the lives they have been born into. For even though slavery (the subjugation of an entire race due only to the ‘infraction’ of being born a different color) was commonly accepted as ‘right’ during our country’s younger years; this book will force the reader to look even further beyond that misconception – in order to acknowledge that there are many additional forms of slavery; and that they each stem from cruelty, coupled with a complete and utter disregard for the pricelessness of another human’s soul.
In Essie’s Roses, the reader will begin his, or her, literary journey with a very poignant show of love – as a young colored girl named Essie Mae seeks to save the life of her (white) best-friend, Evie Winthrop. Essie Mae also understands that to be caught would result in the loss of her own life, but she cannot – more importantly will not; leave her best friend to suffer alone.
From here, the story continues – providing the reader with a brief glimpse into the lives of the mothers who birthed these two girls, before the story again moves forward and focuses on each one of the two very different, yet very similar, lives of Essie Mae and Evie.
While I could provide the potential reader with additional information about this amazing and riveting novel – I choose not to. The power of the words and the story found within Essie’s Roses needs to be discovered by the reader for her or himself.
Quill says: Michelle Muriel has penned a wonderfully moving work of fiction – and one that will leave no reader with a dry eye. I fully expect to see Essie’s Roses on the silver screen someday, but until then I will simply look forward to reading future works by this author. Five Stars (and then add some more)!
By: Linda Gould
Publisher: iUniverse LLC
Publication Date: October 2014
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: May 14, 2015
Linda Gould resurrects the late ‘60s with a little bit of rock and roll and a whole lot of adventure in her novel Handmaidens of Rock.
It all started in the gymnasium of a suburban Maryland high school. The band Homegrown is on its upward trajectory and nothing will stop Preston, Neal, Brad and their three girls (Hope, Candy and Theda) from following them on their journey toward coveted stardom. Now that the band of merries (no pun intended) have achieved their first educational hurdle of high school, the stateside college scene isn’t near the exposure the band seeks in order to land the quintessential recording contract. Convinced they need to broaden their horizons (and avoid the draft), it’s time to cross the Atlantic and see what London has to offer.
The band decides to embrace opportunity and take a month-long study opportunity abroad. The groupies have no problem tagging along. Once underway, the life of aspiring rock stars and faithful groupies isn’t quite as glamorous as they once thought it would be. Fortunately band member and drummer, Neal, happens to have a cousin who lives in Scotland. How perfect he happens to own and operate a commune for those who truly are in search of the answers one seeks when finding oneself. ‘Swami’ appears to be the real deal when it comes to ‘peace, love and happiness’ until reality hits and the band has a lucid moment. Funds are running low and the fact that Swami’s Utopia is little more than a safe haven for draft dodgers certainly doesn't help. Friction becomes the operative to motivate Homegrown and its loyal groupies to go on the move once more. It’s time to head back to their native America, but not quite Maryland. The next stop is L.A. and their mission is a last ditch effort to make their legacy a reality. With big dreams complemented by sex and drugs, the only take away left is coveted rock and roll infamy.
Linda Gould delivers a grounded tale of what it must have been like to not only be a struggling musician in the ‘flower power’ era of the 60s, but to also be the groupie hanging onto the other end of the spectrum and chasing the dreams of rock star trail blazers. The dialogue isn’t too over the top ‘groovy’ and the situations are credible in that most of what I know (mostly read) about this particular period often has undertones of a perpetual cloud of weed and the insistent purpose of those who smoked it to pontificate righteousness. Gould does a credible job of establishing her six characters (3 guys and 3 gals) and creates a distinct persona for each while blending their natural connection as a whole.
Quill says: Handmaidens of Rock is a story that will appeal to those heroes of yesteryear who truly believed they would change the world with a whole lot of rock and roll and some sex and drugs to balance the blend.
For more information on Handmaidens of Rock, please visit the publisher's website at: iuniverse.com
One Good Life: My Tips, My Wisdom, My Story
By: Jill Nystul
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: May 2015
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: May 6, 2015
For me the journey began with a green couch, for Jill it began in an overstuffed green chair. I didn't quite know how to clean a microfiber couch and Jill didn't quite know how to clean up her act. I purchased some rubbing alcohol and began the task of revitalizing a piece of furniture, one that was soon becoming a total embarrassment. The blog I subscribed to, "One Good Thing by Jillie," was bright, encouraging, and full of life I needed to come into my own. During sleepless, fretful nights I would often hear a little ping from my iPad. It was one good thing coming from Jillie, who was finishing up her day in that green chair.
I was clueless, remarkably so. Even though I had subscribed to Jill's blog I had no idea that she had been in the Ark, a rehab that was a "blend of tough-love boot camp and comforting nurture." Ignorance is bliss and I felt blessed as I followed her journey. The start of this combination memoir and I-want-to-help-you-fix-it book, began in a slow, tentative manner. It was as if Jill didn't quite know how, or perhaps was a bit anxious, to admit to the reader that she wasn't as infallible as she appeared to be. In fact, perhaps the most painful (yet helpful) thing her beloved father could have done was tell her she was little more that a drunk.
It's easy to talk about the beginnings of love, the arrival of children. Joyous occasions are part of the fairy tale existence Jill wanted to have. Don't we all? In the latter part of the book I heard her remark there was no such thing as a fairy tale life, but I could have told her that. The exuberance of youthful experiences made me smile. Jill's conversational style of writing could have been expressed to me in a phone call or two, but it's her story and I won't repeat it. The angst of Kell's life-threatening illness found me biting my fingernails, but then the recipe for "homemade bath bombs for stressed moms" appeared.
No great American novel here, but a great American tale, one that we've all heard before. Drunk. The madness had begun and the downward spiral was shocking. It was here, when Jill began to describe her descent into madness that she hit her stride. "There, it's out and they all know," it seemed to shout. The journey in that overstuffed green chair was a start to the recovery of one woman and her family. Jillie was "determined to sit down in that green chair each night and write something good at the end of the day." The book slowly began to come alive, as did Jillie, as the hints flowed and a life began anew. I always wanted to know how to unshrink my clothes and now I do.
Quill says: A marvelous book and for me, a blessing in disguise.