Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review - Double Cover


Double Cover

By: Sherban Young
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: July 2011
ISBN: 978-1463724849
Review Date: November 2014
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld

Murder, mayhem, and comedy, all nicely wrapped up and contained on a small island resort in Connecticut, are the backdrops for a book that takes two minor characters from another of the author’s series, throws them together and produces hysterical results.

Thomas Redding, a rather unpleasant but fairly wealthy tycoon, has called a corporate retreat at the Berwald Island Inn, a charming hotel tucked away on the small island community of Berwald Island, CT. Complete with a really annoying motivational speaker, Redding expects attitudes to improve and sales to climb after the extended meetings. Unfortunately, as the story opens, we meet Redding, er, actually it would be more accurate to say, we learn of his early demise. It seems he’s been whacked by one of his antique golf clubs.

Redding must have known that he wasn’t a popular guy because prior to being murdered, he had hired a bodyguard. Handsome, buff Warren Kingsley might call himself a bodyguard, but it seems most of his clients end up dead, including Redding. Now certain that the killer is after him, Kingsley hires his own bodyguard, Borodin Mahrute. Together, the two bodyguards work to solve the crime and get sidetracked by other, more pressing things, such as making soup!

Kingsley makes fun of the local inhabitants, including Sheriff Ernest Ballard, although Kingsley seems to have mastered the art of ‘bumbling’ all by himself. Forced to stay on the island until the murder is solved, Kingsley and the other guests at the hotel quickly become bored. Together with his bodyguard Mahrute, and another employee of Redding’s, Harvard Blake, Kingsley stumbles upon clues and manages to get attacked by a masked thug, shot at, and pursued by a woman who has love on her mind (or could it be murder?).

I absolutely loved this murder mystery, and read it in one sitting. More than just a fun story, this book is about the odd mix of people staying at the inn and those living in the close-knit community of Berwald Island. The author has a real talent for bringing his characters to life and this goes well beyond the main characters of Kingsley and Mahrute. Judy the motivational speaker, Vanessa the seductress from somewhere overseas (Romania? Bulgaria? Kingsley just can’t place that accent…), and Trevor, the handyman who can’t change a light bulb to save his life, all play intertwined and comedic roles in the story. The dialogue is snappy, clever, and there’s at least one laugh per page. The murder seems to be solved about three-quarters of the way through the book, but don’t assume you know everything till that last chapter. Overall, a very satisfying way to spend several hours cuddled up on your sofa.

Quill says: Meet Kingsley and Mahrute, the new dynamic duo of comedic murder mysteries. See how they got started and I guarantee you’ll be laughing all the way to the last page.

For more information on Double Cover, please visit the author's website at: www.sherbanyoung.com







Book Giveaway Ends Soon

Time is running out to enter this month's book giveaway contest! It takes just a few seconds to enter, and there's no catch - no fees, no collection of email addresses, nothing, nope, nada. Enter here:

http://www.featheredquill.com/free_book.shtml


Book Review - Cattle Kate


Cattle Kate

By: Jana Bommersbach
Illustrated By: Patrick Cheung
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: October 2014
ISBN: 9781464203022
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: November 26, 2014

There are countless tales and stories pertaining to the settling of the American West that bring to life the exciting adventures of chasing outlaws and bringing them to justice. One such tale was of 'Cattle Kate.' In newspapers the tale of Cattle Kate was one that presented her as a notoriously terrible woman who rustled cattle from the neighboring ranches but the true story was all together different. In this novel, Cattle Kate by Jana Bommersbach, a completely different view is told and unfortunately in this story there is no sign of justice.

The girl who was known after her death as Cattle Kate was born Ellen Watson in Canada and was the first born in a long line of children for the Watson family. For many years Ellen’s mother and father debated about moving into Kansas where the United States government was offering homesteads to families if they lived on the land for five years and made improvements during that time. Ellen’s father was for the idea but her mother continued to believe that Kansas was no place to raise a family as she had heard about the threat of Indians and the uncivilized behavior that ran rampant. However, the decision was finally made to move to Kansas and Ellen could not have been more excited to start this new journey with her family. While in Kansas Ellen married a man named William Pickell and thought all was well until he became abusive. It did not take long before Ellen knew she could not stay with this man. She left him behind and decided that she would start over by changing her name to Ella and moving to Wyoming.

In Wyoming Ella had the dream to own her own homestead and her own cows but she quickly learned that being a woman made that extremely difficult. One man, who was particularly difficult was a prominent rancher in the area named A.J. Bothwell. He consistently harassed Ella, trying to run her off her land in any way he could. However, Ella was determined to stay for she had earned this homestead honestly and she was not about to let some power hungry rancher take it away from her. Unfortunately she did not realize how far one man will go to get what he wants especially a terrible man like A.J. Bothwell.

As soon as I heard the title of this book I wanted to read it because I knew that it would be related to cattle and ranching and both of those things are something I hold dear. Throughout this book I was easily able to relate to Ellen/Ella Watson as that independent, determined spirit - something I greatly respect. I enjoyed every bit of this story as Jana Bommersbach brought to life not only the history but the emotion of Ella as she tried to make it in an untamed land. In addition, the historical facts at the end of the novel were great as they helped to tie everything together.

Quill says: A wonderfully written story that uncovers a dark tale of the American West.





Monday, November 24, 2014

Nominate YOUR Book!


Awards Sell Books!  Wouldn't you like to put this award seal on your book?  Time is running out for this year's nominations.  Learn more here: http://www.featheredquill.com/awardprogram.shtml

We also offer numerous special awards such as the Feathered Quill's "We Love Animals!" Award - Two winners will be selected for this award - the top placing books in categories 19 and 20, Best Animal - Children's and YA; Best Animal - Adult (both fiction and non-fiction). Each winner will receive a Spotlight (front page) review and author interview with links to the book's (or author's) website. Review and interview will also be posted to our blog, twitter account, Facebook page, Book-Views.com and Book-Critique.com. In addition, the review will be posted to Barnes&Noble.com and Google Books (if the book is listed on those sites). If the book has already received a review from Feathered Quill, we will move that review to our main page for not less than two weeks. - $125 value

and the 

BestsellersWorld Award for Best Romance - This award includes an author page on the site and the book and synopsis added to the Featured Books page for 10 days. - $125 value


and how about the

Polka Dot Banner Award for Best Self-Help - The Polka Dot Banner, the book visibility site, will provide the winner of this category with a one-year Pro-Promoter profile that includes: a front page book cover ad, top-of-the-page banner, Featured Author interview, book cover ad, a top-of-every-page mini book icon, Platinum Authors highlight page placement, special easy-access browse tab to your book, and access to all available profile tabs. (See site for complete details of this option.) - $169 value

There's no additional charge for these special awards.  Learn more at: http://www.featheredquill.com/awardprogram.shtml

Book Review - Tending Fences


Tending Fences: Building Safe and Healthy Relationship Boundaries; The Parables of Avery Soul

By: Terry Barnett-Martin
Publisher: True Purpose Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9910727-6-7
Published: May 2014
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: November 25, 2014

Terry Barnett-Martin’s Tending Fences is a body of work that places the focus on relationship boundaries. She enlisted the talents of Sue Eberhardt’s whimsical sketches throughout the book and introduces Avery Soul, her character ‘sage.’ Through a series of chapters devoted to a multitude of circumstances for the reader to consider, Martin imparts Avery’s wisdom and knowledge of navigating life’s waters and the necessity and importance of establishing boundaries along the way.

Before getting into the meat of the matter, Ms. Martin presents a definition of fences and how her interpretation equates to the concept of boundaries we humans establish: “A fence is defined as a 'barrier that encloses,' with synonyms that include: to protect, fortify, and secure. Fences also represent connectors that provide healthy conjunctions and most importantly, a sense of security. Built with self-respect and regard for self and others, fences are the cornerstones to healthy relationships and deep peace of mind...” Without further adieu, Martin opens with her first chapter titled “The Roof.”

In the first chapter, the author takes the reader through Avery Soul’s dilemma of living in a home that has a roof in extreme disrepair. He’s all but run out of buckets to catch the water that leaks from every orifice of his roof. The greater concern is if he doesn’t come up with a solution, the interior of his humble abode will be ruined by the constant deluge of falling rain. Avery attempts repairs on his own to no avail. When his neighbor calls out to him he is startled and nearly falls to a catastrophic landing. It would seem his neighbor has a solution for Avery. She hands him Theo Sage’s business card-a man experienced in roof repairs and general construction. Avery gratefully accepts the offer and between the two, not only does he learn the intricacies of roof repair, but the skills needed to repair the interior damage sustained from the faulty roof. The greater lesson he has learned, however, is the concept of accepting help when it is offered. As the series of chapters unfold, Martin guides the reader through a myriad of situations ranging from coping with opinionated people to accepting unexpected tragedy. There are lessons to be learned in each chapter, but not in a preachy fashion.

Terry Barnette-Martin’s approach is a simple and logic-based body of work. She sets up each chapter with a situation her character, Avery Soul, must not only face head-on, but he must also engage his mind and senses to navigate the challenge in order to arrive at the solution. With each problem Martin presents, her voice is established as one that is nurturing and encouraging; willing the reader to process alternatives and possible solutions to arrive at a place where he or she is content and able to move on to the next ‘test’ in life. Martin’s tone affirms the premise we live in a time when humans are faced with either conflict or challenge at every juncture in his or her life. Her astute training in relationship counseling and intuition resonates throughout this body of work. She provides sublime assurances to her audience with a plethora of useful tools and suggestions to use in order to navigate the complexities and demands day-to-day life is capable of presenting.

Quill says: Tending Fences is a quick read filled with guidance and tools to use in building healthy fences that can provide a lifetime of balance and inner strength.

For more information on Tending Fences: Building Safe and Healthy Relationship Boundaries; The Parables of Avery Soul, please visit the book's website at: www.tendingfences.com






Sunday, November 23, 2014

Books In For Review

Here's this week's look at some of the books that have come in for review.  Check them out!



Double Cover: A Warren Kingsley Mystery by Sherban Young Corporate tycoon Thomas Redding is dead, murdered by way of antique golf club during his firm's company retreat. His bodyguard, Warren Kingsley, is certain the killer is gunning for him now. With a list of suspects as long as a corporate tax return, and a small town sheriff well over his head in the investigation, Warren knows he has only one option to keep from ending up like his late client: hire his own bodyguard. Together the pair will sift through the evidence - dodging femme fatales, murderous impostors and motivational speakers - eventually uncovering a devious killer; not to mention stumbling on the recipe for the perfect bowl of chowder.  

Love, Regret and Accidental Nudity: My True Stories, Unusual Circumstances, Unpredictable Outcomes by Mariana Williams Why do I suppose my life is fascinating enough to write about? Love? Hmm, between my mom, dad and myself, we’ve racked up thirteen marriages—if not romantic, certainly optimistic. Regret? Well, if embarrassing, eye-squinting, throat closing, breathless, cringing describes it…I’ve got a few tales to tell, like budget plastic surgery and herding roaches at a party. Accidental nudity? My nudity is about as spontaneous as a space shuttle launch—even so, there’s still the unexpected.

Christmas Desserts by Laura Powell Sweeten up your holidays with Christmas Desserts! With this delicious collection of 20 seasonal recipes, you'll enjoy treats like Gingerbread Cheesecake Squares, Chewy Popcorn Balls, Eggnog Cookies, and more! Not only does this affordable, full-color pamphlet make the perfect gift for neighbors, coworkers, and friends, but these festively flavored recipes will soon become family favorites.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review - Herald of the Flame


Herald of the Flame: Book Two of the Rising Flame Series 

By: Sylvia Engdahl
Publisher: Ad Stellae Books
Publication Date: October 2014
ISBN: 978-0692293768
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: November 2014

“I’m not some sort of superman...I’m merely a star pilot who happens to have some uncommon mind skills…” explains Terry Steward to some new friends mid-way through Herald of the Flame. As the reader will have already learned, however, Terry is selling himself short - he just might be the savior of the human race.

As the story opens, we meet Terry Radnor who is using the name Terry Steward to protect himself from his many enemies. The reader is given the backstory on Terry, once a respected Fleet officer, who was gifted with extraordinary psi skills and had been trained on the planet of Maclairn, where a secret colony of people existed who encouraged psi skills. He was imprisoned on Ciencia for encouraging people to hope, hope for ending the repressive government rule that they lived under, to change the censorship laws, to live freely and develop their own psi skills. He had been arrested, jailed, escaped and while on his way back to Maclairn, had discovered that his passengers were terrorists bent on destroying that secret colony. With no real options, he crashed his ship, killing all the passengers and almost perishing himself. The Elders, aliens unknown to all but Terry, had saved his life and now he was free to travel in his spaceship Estel.
Now, before Terry makes his permanent escape from the dreary, always overcast planet of Ciencia, he seeks out Alison Willard, the woman he loves. Together with Jon Darrow, a top-notch pilot, and Gwen Morrell, a maintenance engineer, they take flight to spread hope to other planets. The problem is, some people, particularly those in power, will do whatever they can to stop Terry. It doesn’t help that Terry broadcasts a message throughout Ciencia as they fly away to encourage dissent against the tyrannical government.

Faking an accident in the hopes that their pursuers will think they all died, the small crew destroys the Bonanza, their temporary ship, board the Estel, and head into deep space. Using smuggling as their cover, Terry and the others visit various worlds to bring the future he foresaw to all humankind. That future? A time where the powers of the human mind are accepted by all, where once those abilities are fully developed by everybody, the oppressors will no longer be able to maintain their control.

Herald of the Flame follows Terry as he travels to various planets, smuggling some interesting cargo, while he and the others hack the ‘net’ on these worlds to bring their message to the people. Messages soon go viral which is, of course, what they want, but it also brings out the government agents who will do anything to maintain power. Danger is in abundance, with many close escapes as well as tragedy for the crew.
Having not read the first book in this series, Defender of the Flame, I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get caught up in the story. Actually, the prologue had me intrigued and I was hooked within a few pages. There was a bit of a lull in the action while Terry explained to Alison and Jon (and by default, the reader) what had happened to him prior to their meeting (book 1) but once that’s done, the book takes off and gives the reader a very satisfying ride. There were some very clever (or more accurate - cool!) events such as Terry getting caught via a force field that allows people to enter but not exit, the colony world of New Afrika which was settled by emigrants from Africa, and how Terry could use his psi to help ease a person’s pain level, all of which kept me intrigued and wanting to find out what else was in store.

Although the ‘cool’ concepts were fun, the real draw of this novel were the parallels it drew to today’s society. The whole idea of an oppressive government taking control seems all too real. At one point, Terry noted, “People sometimes vote away their own freedom...and I see nothing wrong in attempts to make them aware of that...people being harassed, even killed, because they believe unorthodox ideas…” (pg. 185) We also meet an ‘evolved’ Ku Klux Klan that has brought hate to a whole new level. What has happened through people’s complacency, and how Terry and his friends fight to right it, will have you turning pages quickly.

Quill says: A futuristic ride that has many parallels in today’s society. This is a ‘thinking man’s’ science fiction book – the type we need more of today!