Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review - Saint Odd

Saint Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel

By: Dean Koontz
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: January 2015
ISBN: 978-0-34554587-9
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: January 24, 2015

There are moments in time when every fan of some writer out there falls into a depression when they know that their absolute favorite character will never be heard from again. There was a line in this novel that spoke of how this one young man had made so many friends in his short life – a line that could not better fit the character of Odd Thomas. This is it. After a long run, one of the greatest authors out there has offered an action-packed, thrilling, deeply-emotional and frightening journey to provide Odd Thomas with a first-class send-off.

Pico Mundo, the original spot where it all began, is where readers are brought back to. Odd must get there; he is being followed by members of the desert cult that truly want to take him out. In the last novel, Odd saved children from these vicious individuals, and now all they want to do is get even.
When Odd arrives back home, he heads to the Green Moon Mall, and readers almost feel as if they are walking through that devastating scene right beside him. Odd looks back on the day when Stormy, his beloved, was taken away from him in a burst of gunfire. He knows he has become the prey and the predators are closing in swiftly, giving him less than twenty-four hours to save the town. So with the help of old friends, and characters that readers have fallen in love with, Odd heads to a safe house where a sweet married couple who have the ability to shoot are waiting to help him. As the action grows, wolves appear, dynamite is stolen, and police officers cringe as they wait to see what comes next.

Pico Mundo is the host of a carnival this time out, bringing back the same old Gypsy that’d once promised two kids they would be together forever. Psychic midgets dressed like bears, face painting by females who are immersed in dreams, and an ogre that instills fear at the Fun House: all of these things and more are in Odd’s path to help him or harm him, as he faces the impossible challenge of stopping death…and discovering his own life.

The ultimate battle, Dead Koontz has saved the best for last. He is the owner of the brilliant mind that continues to grace the literary world with an illumination that can’t be found anywhere else. And although I am grateful Koontz will gift me with the next unbelievable tale very soon, I feel the heartache saying goodbye to one of the best characters written. Odd Thomas will be sorely missed.

Quill says: A fantastic tale from start to finish. Readers will want to go back to the beginning and follow Odd once again.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Editor Needed - Ouch!

Like all good authors, I'm always on the search for places to promote my books.  I have horse books so, of course, horse related sites work well.  I came across one today that offered different advertising packages, including this one:

Full Year

Online for a hole year!
Full year ads are useful when listing your stallion at stud or advertising your service. Full Year ads are equipped with Premium Photo Ads with a duration of 365 days!
Hmmmm..... anybody know what a 'hole year' is???

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Books In For Review

Here's a look at some of the books that have just arrived for review!

Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point by Jodi Auborn Ten-year-old Dylan is excited when his father inherits an old lighthouse and cottage in Maine. Dylan and his family get to live there all summer! He goes sailing on the bay, explores the small town down the road, and searches for a legendary pirate treasure that was said to be buried nearby. After mysterious things start happening at the cottage, Dylan meets Matthias, a gruff lighthouse keeper who had died in a storm one hundred years before. A ghost! Dylan is startled to find Matthias living in his bedroom, but he is glad when they become friends. It’s the best summer ever! Things change when they learn that the lighthouse is threatened by a greedy treasure hunter who also knows about the pirate legend. He will do whatever it takes to find the treasure…even kidnapping! As Dylan and Matthias team up to protect their home, they begin an adventure that changes Dylan’s life forever.  

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late. In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.  

The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell Readers first met Emma of Normandy in Patricia Bracewell’s gripping debut novel, Shadow on the Crown. Unwillingly thrust into marriage to England’s King Æthelred, Emma has given the king a son and heir, but theirs has never been a happy marriage. In The Price of Blood, Bracewell returns to 1006 when a beleaguered Æthelred, still haunted by his brother’s ghost, governs with an iron fist and a royal policy that embraces murder. As tensions escalate and enmities solidify, Emma forges alliances to protect her young son from ambitious men—even from the man she loves. In the north there is treachery brewing, and when Viking armies ravage England, loyalties are shattered and no one is safe from the sword.

Love by The Book by Melissa Pimentel Love by the Book charts a year in the life of Lauren Cunningham, a beautiful, intelligent, and unlucky-in-love twenty-eight-year-old American. Feeling old before her time, Lauren moves to London in search of the fab single life replete with sexy Englishmen. But why can’t she convince the men she’s seeing that she really isn’t after anything more serious than seriously good sex? Determined to break the curse, Lauren turns her love life into an experiment: each month she will follow a different dating guide until she discovers the science behind being a siren. Lauren will follow The Rules, she’ll play The Game, and along the way she’ll journal her (mis)adventures and maybe even find someone worth holding on to. Witty, gritty, and very true to life, Love by the Book will have you in stitches.

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur As a college freshman, Erik Fiskare is drawn to the world of theater but prefers backstage to center stage. The moment he lays eyes on a beautiful, accomplished dancer named Daisy Bianco, his atoms rearrange themselves and he is drawn into a romance both youthfully passionate and maturely soulful. Their love story thrives within a tight-knit circle of friends, all bound by creativity and artistry. A newcomer arrives--a brilliant but erratic dancer with an unquenchable thirst for connection. And when this disturbed friend brings a gun into the theater, the story is forever changed. Daisy is shot and left seriously injured. And Erik finds himself alone in the aisle, looking down the muzzle of a pistol and trying to stop the madness. He succeeds, but with tremendous repercussions to his well-being and that of his loved ones. Traumatized by the experience, Erik and Daisy spiral into depression and drug use until a shocking act of betrayal destroys their relationship. To survive, Erik must leave school and disconnect from all he loves. He buries his heartbreak and puts the past behind. Or so he believes. As he moves into adulthood, Erik comes to grips with his role in the shooting, and slowly heals the most wounded parts of his soul. But the unresolved grief for Daisy continues to shape his dreams at night. Once those dreams were haunted by blood and gunfire. Now they are haunted by the refrain of a Gershwin song and a single question: is leaving always the end of loving? Spanning fifteen years, The Man I Love explores themes of love and sexuality, trauma--physical and mental--and its long-lasting effects, the burden of unfinished business and the power of reconciliation. Through Erik's experience we reflect on what it means to be a man, a son and a leader. A soul mate, a partner and a lover. What it means to live the truth of who you are and what you feel. What it means to fight for what you love.

The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown High in the hills of Valencia, a forgotten house guards its secrets. Untouched since Franco’s forces tore through Spain in 1936, the whitewashed walls have crumbled, and the garden, laden with orange blossom, grows wild. Emma Temple is the first to unlock its doors in seventy years. Emma is London’s leading perfumier, but her blessed life has taken a difficult turn. Her free-spirited mother, Liberty, who taught her the art of fragrance making, has just passed away. At the same time, she broke up with her long-time lover and business partner, Joe, whose baby she happens to be carrying. While Joe is in New York trying to sell his majority share in their company, Emma, guided by a series of letters and a key bequeathed to her in Liberty’s will, decides to leave her job and travel to Valencia, where she will give birth in the house her mother mysteriously purchased just before her death. The villa is a perfect retreat: redolent with the exotic scents of orange blossom and neroli, dappled with light and with the rich colors of a forgotten time. Emma makes it her mission to restore the place to its former glory. But for her aging grandmother, Freya, a British nurse who stayed in Valencia during Spain’s devastating civil war, Emma’s new home evokes memories of a terrible secret, a part of her family’s past that until now has managed to stay hidden.

Wall, Watchtower, and Pencil Stub: Writing During World War II by John Carpenter Even as World War II raged on, contemporary writers were riveted by its every twist and turn. One of the war’s most fascinating features was that it was subject to constant change, surprises, and fate reversal. It ensured that wartime writers, who did not yet know of its outcome, adopted points of view that were entirely spontaneous, rather than based on historical hindsight. This remarkable book presents the war in its entirety, with all its force, suspense, and drama. With exceptional clarity it shows how the extreme events of war challenged writers, inspired their art, and in turn produced a modern legacy of literature.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Score Sheets are Coming In!

It's an exciting time here at Feathered Quill.  Our judges have been busy reading/scoring the books nominated for our annual awards program.  With 22 categories, there are a LOT of books to read.  Score sheets have started arriving here at our main office and we've been going through them, organizing, comparing and placing books.  There were some HUGE categories this year with just a few points separating the top books.  We can't wait to share the results with our readers, authors, publicists, publishers and YOU!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review - High Stakes

High Stakes: A Jack Doyle Mystery

By: John McEvoy
Illustrated By: Charles Shockley
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: December 2014
ISBN: 9781464202742
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: January 19, 2015

There is no doubt that the world of Thoroughbred race horses can be exciting and glamorous but where there is money, corruption seems to follow. That is a fact that Jack Doyle has come to terms with as lately he has done well exposing some dark secrets in the world of horse racing and now the FBI has asked him for help on a new case involving horse killings. Apparently the killer finds Thoroughbred horses that have been donated to colleges and universities and injects them with a lethal substance causing them to die almost instantly. Then after the terrible deed is done the killer leaves a note with the letters ALWD standing for Animal Life With Dignity and a message reading, “No More Exploitation For This One Of God's Creatures.”

Of course this seems to be the act of a crazy animal rights activist to Jack but with no real leads to go on he knows the only way to gain any information is to hang around the track and see if any talk around there could lead to some clues. Using all of the contacts he has made working around the track Jack talks to trainers, jockeys, owners, and a veterinarian named Ingrid but no one seems to know anything that could be of help. The FBI agents become even more desperate when these killings continue and constantly harp on Jack to provide some answers but of course there is only so much that can be done with so little information.

In the meantime Jack receives a call from a friend from Ireland asking if he would come to an awards banquet for a former jockey he was an agent for. While enjoying the trip to Ireland Jack gets a message from a friend’s wife saying she is concerned there may be someone out to harm her husband but he just keeps blowing it off. So, suddenly on top of attempting to solve the horse killings in the U.S., Jack is trying to help a friend who is across an ocean to stay safe from whoever might be trying to hurt him. In addition, there is a plot brewing unknown to Jack that centers on an attempt of his own life.

With my interest in horses this was an easy book choice for me as I loved reading a mystery in the midst of the horse racing world. Even though I have not read any of John McEvoy's other books I instantly connected with the character of Jack Doyle and enjoyed every chapter of this story. Especially towards the ends I could not bring myself to put this book down until I reached the conclusion and I love when books keep me holding on like that. The plot created in this book was quite intricate but McEvoy ties everything together so well that I was able to keep up with the story and not once did I get lost in what was happening.

Quill says: An absolutely intriguing mystery with a perfect setting!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Feathered Quill Reviewer Receives Amazing News

Long time Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor recently received some amazing news.  Amy, who splits her time between reading/reviewing and writing some fantastic books including the Tallent & Lowery mystery/adventure series, learned that Amazon would be re-releasing her books via AmazonEncore.  Go Amy!!!!!!!!  We are SOOOOOO happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The “Tallent & Lowery Adventures” (Titles: “13”, “The Sapphire Storm”, “The Hero’s Companion”, and “The Charlatan’s Crown”) have been picked up by AmazonEncore and will be re-released on January 13, 2015. Amazon chose this series (published by Suspense Publishing) for their Encore imprint which, “helps readers discover extraordinary, previously-published, or overlooked books from emerging authors,” in order to expand and deliver this series to readers everywhere!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Review - Prince Lestat

Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles

By: Anne Rice
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: October 2014
ISBN: 978-0307962522
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: January 2015

It's been a long time, over ten years in fact, since one of, if not THE most popular vampires of all time last appeared in print. Now, Lestat is back in all his glorious glory and the book is soaring up the charts as fans of Anne Rice grab their copies of Prince Lestat.

The book opens with a brief "Blood Genesis" that gives the reader an overview of the history of vampires, and then a "Blood Argot" that is basically a list of terms you need to know if you are to understand the story. At the back of the book are two appendices, with a 'cast of characters' and a guide to the other Vampire Chronicles books. I mention this first because, while fans of Ms. Rice will know all of this already, if you haven't read any of the previous books in the Vampire Chronicles series, you will need to read these sections first if you hope to follow the story! Alas, even with those, you may find yourself lost.

Now on to the story - sort of. Part 1 (of four parts) of Prince Lestat runs over 70 pages and is, again, basically an overview - an overview of the history of Lestat and others who have played major roles in the other books. There's a bit of action with a 'vampire doctor' who helps Lestat, um, procreate with a human but otherwise, it takes over 100 pages for the real story to start.

The basic premise of Prince Lestat is that there is a 'Voice' that has a nasty way of getting into the minds of vampires and speaking to them. The Voice is manipulating 'ancients' (the old vampires) to kill the young ones. Vampires are dying all over the world, courtesy of the Voice. If the vampire world is to survive, the Voice must be stopped.

Interrupting the plot of who/what the Voice is and will it/he/she be stopped, are a myriad of characters and their backstories. Some of these are interesting, some are slow and dry, and they all pretty much bring the plot to a halt. At times it's easy to forget all about the Voice as yet another character is introduced. The writing, and pacing, is all over the place, with some of it fast and tight, and other sections rambling and confusing. I suspect that rabid fans of Anne Rice will devour Prince Lestat, but for those who have either not read the books, or read a few in passing and enjoyed but were not consumed by them, you might want to give this one a pass.

Quill says: Not an easy read for those who have not read the previous 'Vampire Chronicles' books, but for those who can't get enough of Prince Lestat and Anne Rice, the book may prove an enjoyable read.