Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Review - The TOP 10 of Everything Sports

Sports Illustrated Kids: The TOP 10 of Everything in Sports

By: Editors of Sports Illustrated for Kids
Publisher: Sports Illustrated for Kids
Publication Date: October 2013
ISBN: 978-1618930798
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: November 1, 2013

I admit it – I look forward to each new book that Sports Illustrated for Kids publishes. The books are fun, educational, and usually spark a lot of conversation among sports fans, both young and old. I’m happy to report that their newest offering, The Top 10 of Everything in Sports is no exception.

This Top 10 book has a LOT of lists, 30 to be exact. The categories are wide-ranging, from the obvious – Championship Games, Fastest, and Greatest Athletes – to the unexpected or even funny – Sports Movies, Old Folks, and Mikes (as in athletes named Mike). It covers sports primarily in the United States, but also has a nice selection of international events and players.

For some of the categories, I tried guessing the top spots before turning the page to see the rankings. I’m happy to report that I agreed with the book on most of those lists. Top rivalry? It has to be the Red Sox vs. Yankees. Top sporting event? The Super Bowl of course! Can you guess the rest of the list? That’s where the fun begins!

I’m sure every fan thinks that their sport’s/club’s fans are THE best so I suspect that’s one list that you might disagree with. Did your club make the list of the top 10? You’ll have to read this book to find out.

While reading The Top 10 of Everything Sports, I became curious to learn how the lists were created. According to the accompanying press release, “Rankings were decided on through debates and brainstorms amongst a panel of Sports Illustrated Kids’ editors and staff.” Can you imagine the ruckus that must have occurred in that conference room? They did a great job coming up with the lists, added lots of interesting facts, and then included tons of vibrant photos for a book that is visually appealing and honestly, just a lot of fun to read. While you may not agree with every ranking (and why should you?), the best part of this book is that it will spark lively debate between you and your friends.

Quill says: If you love sports, check out this book and then see what kind of sports lists you can come up with – will your friends agree with your rankings?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Review - When I Grow Up

When I Grow Up I Want to the U.S. Army

By: Barron Ressler
Publisher: Wigu Publishing
Publishing Date: October 2013
ISBN: 978-1-9399-7305-4
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 31, 2013

For anyone who’s missed this amazing series from Wigu Publishing – now is the time to catch up and read them all. Both titles – with more to come – are told through the eyes of a young girl or boy who looks at their future and picks what they would absolutely love to ‘be when they grow up.’

In this latest book, Jake is the young man who is given an assignment by his teacher to put a project together; whether it be drawings, paintings, an essay, and/or dressing up in costume, the kids in class will all represent the career they want to have one day. Well, as with all young people – and very creative adults – a myriad of choices run through Jake’s mind. Does he want to be an astronaut? A rockstar, perhaps? There are so many things out there to be. But after speaking with his father about the project, Jake decides he wants to do what his dad and HIS dad before him both accomplished – being one of the ‘best of the best’ and most dedicated people to our country; Jake wants to be in the U.S. Army.

Dad is very proud and takes Jake down to a local Army surplus store to look around for a suitable outfit. With each question Jake asks - about the uniforms, ribbons, or medals – Dad tells him all about what they’re for and how you earn them. Along with Dad’s explanations comes a picture with extra information on the history of the Army, what the various medals stand for, and the specifics from foot soldier all the way up to General.

Right along with Jake, the reader and the reader’s children learn everything they need to know about the Army. Beginning with “The Soldier’s Creed” and ending with a short dictionary to explain various words (Artillery, Fatigues, etc.), the book allows children to be more educated on the topic.
This is a fantastic series that began with being a ‘teacher,’ with future books to come that will open up the world of firefighters as well as the U.S. Navy. Done in a very fun way that will make kids eager to learn about these careers, the illustrations and descriptions are perfect. Not only are they expressive and snappy learning tools, they are also great books for parents and kids to read together.

Quill says: Education, colorful pictures, fun dialogue, and a host of explanations that are easy to understand – these books will have kids learning how to dream and how to succeed in the future.

Book Review - The Christmas Tree Elf

The Christmas Tree Elf

By: Valentine D’arcy Sheldon
Illustrated by: Jeremiah Humphries & Valentine D’arcy Sheldon
Publisher: The Valentine Sheldon Company
Publishing Date: November 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9910383-0-5
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 31, 2013

Everyone loves the holiday season. And one of the biggest reasons why is the fact that Christmas is a time of magic. It’s a time when hope returns, smiles grow bigger, and even the most cynical still have that ‘feeling’ that Santa will fly over their home on Christmas Eve with his favorite reindeer leading the way. It’s a time of surprises...which is exactly what this story of ‘Blink’ offers to readers.

This inventive tale engages everyone the second they turn to page one and stare at the stunning illustration of Santa and Mrs. Claus out for a walk with their dog Blazer – enjoying the snow-covered Christmas Tree Forest with lights all around. You see, Mrs. Claus would very much like a tree to bring indoors because she wants to decorate it and be able to stare at its beauty all the time. Up to this point, there have been no indoor Christmas trees. So Santa, true to his oath, provides his loving wife with a tree the very next year and they decorate it together – Blazer helps too.

One thing that is a little tough, however, is the fact that Santa is unbelievably tired. He has so much work to do to prepare for Christmas, and so many toys to make – all by himself.

One evening, while he’s working late and Mrs. Claus is cooking his favorite dinner, Blazer barks as a spark from the fireplace lands in the very dry Christmas tree. Just like Superman (a very small Superman), Blink the Christmas Elf shows up to put out the fire and save the home. won’t believe what job Blink and all the other elves have. And not only will you learn all about fire safety, but you will also learn about the magical promise made long ago that turned Santa from an overworked individual to a big workshop owner.

This story touches on many points; fire safety, the love of Christmas, the true spirit of the Christmas Elves – everything is provided for the parent and child. This is so different from other Christmas stories, yet still keeps the wonder and spirit that has been associated with Christmas for a good, long time.

Quill says: The story is lovely; the illustrations are stunning; and the plot is extremely unique. This is one that should definitely be added to your Christmas reading list, so Blink the Christmas Elf can become a family tradition!

Books In For Review

Here's a sample of the books that have just come in for review.  Check them out and then stop by our site in a few weeks to read the reviews.  Enjoy!

Ashes to Ashes: The Scribing of Ishitar (Volume 2) by Carrie F. Shepherd Exiled from the Sixty Realms at the end of the Second Revolution, Iykva, one of the demons sent to propagate a new mortal race, longs for equality between his people and those of the exiled angels. Believing the key to this equality lies within the blood of his enemy, he strikes war on the first born of the race of the elves. Caught up in his parents' game to claim the ultimate power, Ishitar dismisses this mortal war as unimportant to his strategy of placing his own pawn upon his father's throne. Will the cost that he eventually pays for his ignorance be worth what little advantage he has gained on the kings' board?

The Holdout by Laurel Osterkamp Robin wanted to win The Holdout, a cutthroat reality TV show, so she gave it her all, challenge after challenge. Then she fell for Grant, with his irresistible eyes and heartbreaking life story. But Grant was only using Robin as they competed for a million dollars. Once home, Robin wants to hide from the humiliation as episodes of The Holdout are aired, and she worries her family was right all along; she's not a survivor. Or maybe she'll have the last laugh Besides, Robin now has jury duty. And as she forges ahead, confronting her demons about bravery, justice, and romance, Robin will come to decide which is more important: the courage to stand alone, or the strength to love again. Laurel Osterkamp's award winning novels have been hailed as funny, intelligent, snarky and poignant. She is the author of four novels and two novellas, including the November Surprise series, which, like The Holdout, features the Bricker family. Laurel was recently on a federal jury, and she loves watching Survivor.

One-Woman Farm: My Life Shared with Sheep, Pigs, Chickens, Goats, and a Fine Fiddle by Jenna Woginrich Jenna Woginrich’s inspiring journey from city cubicle to rural homestead has captivated readers of her blog and previous books. Now, in One-Woman Farm, Woginrich shares the joys, sorrows, trials, epiphanies, and blessings she discovers during a year spent farming on her own land, finding deep fulfillment in the practical tasks and timeless rituals of the agricultural life.

Death Overdue: Librarian Mystery series by Mary Lou Kirwin Ropes, revolvers, daggers, arsenic...They are the classic, go-to murder weapons, from Christie to Clue. But death by bookcase? With one good shove, a crafty killer can keep investigators guessing: did it fall or was it pushed? That’s what sassy Midwestern librarian Karen Nash must determine—and if so, who did the pushing—when an avalanche of books and splintered wood fatally flattens Sally Burroughs, the ex-girlfriend of Karen’s squeeze, London B&B proprietor Caldwell Perkins, who appears the most likely suspect for murder. In the library. With the bookcase. And maybe he has grounds? Just as he and his librarian love are making a go of opening their dream bookstore (that’s bookshop, in British English), Sally pops up years after abandoning him, to demand her share of the B&B’s sale. To Karen’s orderly mind, sorting her jumbled feelings about uprooting her life in Minnesota and taking a chance on Caldwell is much like sorting his four-thousand-three-hundred-and-twenty-four precious volumes: everything has its place. A little research reveals that more than one person may have had Sally issues, and Karen must prove that Caldwell is obsessed with books, not revenge. But will her hunt for a killer turn up too little, too late?

Murphy and the Magical Hat by Kate David When a rainy day threatens to spoil a little girl's plans to play outside, her disappointment quickly disappears when her Mother shares a magical hat with her. This magical hat has the power to whisk little Murphy away to where she most wants to go. Explore the power of imagination with Murphy as it turns her disappointment into joy!

A Very Fuddles Christmas by Frans Vischer The way Fuddles, the overly indulged feline, sees the world, it’s better to receive than give! And what better gift for Fuddles than Christmas? One winter day, he wakes up to the smells and sights of the holiday: a juicy turkey dinner, sweet gingerbread, and a tree decorated with shiny, glittering toys—all for him! But when Fuddles tries to climb the tree, his family chases him away. He runs outside to escape, smack into cold and ice and snow! Will Fuddles ever make it back home in time to celebrate the merriest time of the year?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Nominate Your Animal Book for an Award!

Are you the author of an animal book?  Are you looking for inexpensive ways to promote that book?  Book awards sell books!  Feathered Quill Book Awards is offering two categories for animal books - Best Animal - Children's and YA and Best Animal - Adult (both fiction and non-fiction).  We also have several children's/YA categories so you can enter more than one category.  AND, nominations for additional categories is just $35 per additional category!  The awards are many and we're here to help.  Check out our awards page to learn more.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review - Sets, Lights, & Lunacy

Sets, Lights, & Lunacy: A Stage Designer's Adventures on Broadway and in Opera

By: Lloyd Burlingame
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: September 2013
ISBN: 978-1489587527
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: October 28, 2013

Love Broadway? Love the opera? Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes? In his new book about his life as a stage designer, author Lloyd Burlingame gives the reader an inside look at the stars, directors, producers, investors, and just about everybody else involved in the business.

Burlingame begins his story sharing his love of the theatre with the reader, and explaining how his love of the stage began at a very early age. His first job, at the tender age of twelve, was to clean the horse stables on the ground floor of a summer theatre. Eventually it was time for college where he learned his trade, then off to the military, and then, more study in Italy on a Fulbright Scholarship. Back home in New York, Burlingame quickly found employment working as a staff designer for CBS. But his real love was Broadway and that's where he soon landed his dream job of working as an assistant for designer Jo Meilziner.

Burlingame chronicles his career from the early 60s, through the late 80s when a medical condition required that he slow down. (I suspect, however, that while Burlingame may have slowed down a bit, the theatre was in his blood so he never completely left.) During those decades, the author was able to realize his goals of creating scenery, lighting, and costumes for some of the most well-known plays on Broadway, and almost realizing all his goals for the opera, that of "designing all the mature Mozart operas."

Honored in 2012 with the Robert Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Design, Burlingame has built an amazing career within his two loves - Broadway and the opera. His talent was widely known and kept him very busy and thus there is a lot for him to tell in his book. Story upon story about the crazy, funny, odd, and sometimes heartwarming exploits of a stage designer's life, fill this book to the rafters. His dedication was proved early on while in the Army when he needed four days to finish the scenery for an off-Broadway play. When he learned that having a wisdom tooth pulled would get him a day off, and gosh, he had four of them, he talked to his dentist friend and viola, he had his needed four days. That's dedication! Indeed, there are so many stories within the pages of this memoir that it's hard to choose a few to mention. There's the lesson of what happens when dry ice used to simulate fog doesn't cooperate, how to make a theatre completely dark for a scene when there are two bright exit signs that cannot be removed keeping the room lit, discussing wardrobe with Roddy McDowall, or dealing with an actor whose thick Irish accent made it impossible for others to understand him. If you love the theatre, there's no doubt you'll enjoy Sets, Lights, & Lunacy.

Quill says: Often funny, sometimes sad or heartwarming, sets, Lights, & Lunacy is a not-to-be-missed read for those with a love for the theater.

Book Review - Dollface

Dollface: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties

By: Renee Rosen
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: November 2013
ISBN: 978-0451419200
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: October 28, 2013

Vera Abramowitz has just moved out of her mother’s house, anxious to be on her own. She moved from small-town Illinois to nearby Chicago, and with her beauty, youth, and desire to wear the latest fashion, she quickly becomes the ultimate flapper. Working long hours at two and sometimes three jobs, she barely earns enough to pay her rent. Still, she manages to spend some time at local Speakeasies where the jazz is cool, the booze flows freely, and gangsters plan their next job.

Vera soon catches the attention of two gangsters, Shep Green, who belongs to the North Side Gang run by Dion O’Banion, and Tony Liolli, a member of Al Capone’s South Side Gang. She falls for both men and soon is pregnant and needs to get married fast. Tony knows all about Vera’s relationship with Shep, but Shep knows nothing about there being another man in Vera’s life. The young woman decides that Shep would be a better choice as a husband and father and the two are soon married. While Vera may think her troubles have ended, the Chicago ‘Beer Wars’ have started heating up and with two men, each from opposite sides in the war, Vera is caught right in the middle.

Told in the first person by Vera, a.k.a. ‘Dollface,’ the story takes off at a fast pace. In the early stages, when we first meet Vera, she is a young woman out on her own for the first time. This, I believe, accounts for her naiveté and indecisiveness as regards men. While all those around her knew Shep and Tony were gangsters, it took Vera a while to figure it out. She also couldn’t choose between the more stable, somewhat family oriented Shep and the unreliable, out-for-a-good-time Tony, even when she had a young child to care for. As circumstances changed, however, Vera was forced to mature and this made her a more enjoyable protagonist. As for the other characters, they were well developed and it was such fun to read a 1920s gangster novel from the women’s point of view. While most books and movies of the roaring twenties concentrate on the gangsters, this novel took an interesting turn and made those men peripheral to the real story – the women behind the men. We meet many real, and some fictional, wives and gun molls of famous gangsters, and get a peek into what their lives were like. I loved this aspect of the story and it made for a very quick read.

Quill says: I loved, loved, loved this book. If you want to get lost in the world of 1920s gangsters, prohibition and jazz, don’t miss Dollface!

Book Review - Dare Me

Dare Me

By: Eric Devine
Publisher: Running Press Teens
Publication Date: October 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7624-5015-2
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: October 2013

Eric Divine’s latest novel, Dare Me, presents not-so-typical teenage antics among three high school seniors who take on the challenge of: Just how far will they take a dare once they are faced with the reality of whether they are man enough to accept the consequences?

Ben Candido and his friends, Ricky and John, are in their senior year of high school. Time is running out for them to change their respective images (and certainly peer perception) of the seemingly ‘nobody’s’ they have been all through high school. Things are about to change once Ricky makes a connection through Craigslist with mystery man ‘O.P.’ Ricky strikes the deal with O.P. that requires the three of them to perform ten outrageous dares throughout the school year. Ricky isn’t too concerned about buy-in from his buddies once they learn they’ll get paid for their high risk performances. He further sweetens the pot when he explains the money is endless based on the number of YouTube hits they’ll get once posted. The story opens with their first dare—car surfing in speeds in excess of 40 mph. The only job the ‘surfer dude’ on the roof of the car needs to do is stay atop the vehicle while in motion. To further enhance the dare-devilish acts, the three are contractually bound to do all stunts in disguise—an added bonus to the interest and intrigue.

The double-edged sword, however, is their rapid and unexpected virtual fame as the internet hits continue to rise in number. It’s all the buzz and rage at school. The adrenalin boost and instant celebrity the boys experience, even though their identities have been concealed, is the ultimate high. Their ‘almost famous’ status is well on its way to ‘famous’ and it seems the standings have changed overnight which also fuels their craving for greater risk and more dangerous stunts. O.P. is all about upping the ante and encourages the boys to keep going. While the rush fuels their fun and games, their bravado is somewhat stalled when one of them gets hurt. However, it’s too late to change their minds and that contract they signed doesn’t have a ‘back out’ clause…

Eric Divine demonstrates a strong voice and vision for his audience. After reading his biography (and learning he is a high school English teacher), it is abundantly clear he writes from (perhaps) personal experiences. The situations are fluid and credible throughout the story—situations that range from the dynamics of high school girl drama to the overly active testosterone of the boys and the awkward moments most kids this age navigate. Divine does a superb job of playing out the behaviors (particularly with high school boys) of the constant quest they are on as they vie for front and center stage among their peers. The story has a comfortable balance between actions and consequences, but doesn’t come off as preachy. Rather, Divine has struck a confident balance among choices, actions and consequences young adults face today and as a result, has accomplished writing an engaging body of work across the pages of Dare Me.

Quill says: Dare Me presents believable consequences a young adult must face as a result of the choices he or she has made.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Book Review - Life's a Witch

Life's a Witch

By: Brittany Geragotelis
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 2013
ISBN: 978-1442466555
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: October 27, 2013

Hadley Bishop is a young woman who has it all. Beauty, brains, a great entourage of friends, and she's even on the cheerleading squad at school. However, unlike other popular girls at school, she's also a witch. Yes, a real, live, honesty-to-goodness witch. The catch is, while witchcraft is great for styling your hair when you're late for school, it's tough when you can't tell your best friends.

Life's a Witch begins in June 1692. Bridget Bishop, who we later learn is the great-great-great-and-so-on grandmother of Hadley, lives in Salem, MA and has been sentenced to die for being a witch. When Reverend Samuel Parris comes to visit Bridget, the reader supposes it is just to say good-bye to his friend, but it soon becomes apparent that there is a lot more going on. Parris, it turns out, it also a witch and hungry for power, he has betrayed others of his coven, including Bridget. Unfortunately for Bridget, the chapter ends with her death, but rest assured, her powers haven't died with her.
Fast forward to the present day, where we meet Hadley Bishop, who has just woken up, rather violently, after having yet another dream of Bridget Bishop being hung. Hadley knows she's a direct descendant of Bridget, but she doesn't have time to dwell on the nightmare because she needs to get to school, and pronto.

At school, Hadley has a good group of friends and it quickly becomes apparent that Hadley is THE girl at school. It would be easy to hate such a popular girl, and indeed, I initially thought I wouldn't like her, but she definitely grows on you. She's smart, witty, and does have a nice dose of humility. After school, the young witch heads to a family friend's house where several young witches are meeting to practice their spells. Hadley, however, just can't seem to take it seriously. She's told repeatedly (especially by her mom) that they have to prepare in case the 'Parrishables,' an evil coven out to destroy all others, returns from the past. Hadley just can't worry about some long dead coven when she has cheerleading practice to think about. That, however, all changes when her mother, and the adult witches from their coven, meet and are all killed. Suddenly, Hadley is forced to grow up and lead her fellow 'twitches' (teen witches) in an all out battle to fight the Parrishables.

Life's a Witch originally appeared on Wattpad where it quickly gained a strong following and enjoyed over 19 million downloads. Now in book form, it's available for those of us who enjoy cuddling in bed with a good book. The story was an easy and VERY fun read, that focused on a group of teen witches, led by Hadley. The girl who never took her magic seriously must lead a group of frightened, untrained teens to battle a very demonic, seasoned coven, bent on destroying Hadley and her friends. Add to that a new love interest, Asher, who is more handsome than any boy has a right to be, and yet, may just be a spy for the Perrishables, and Hadley has her work cut out for her. The book has several unexpected twists, the characters are well developed, and you'll no doubt be asking when the next in the series will be out by the time you read that last page.

Quill says: Life's a Witch is the start of a magical series, perfect for tweens, adults and all the "twitches" who like a good, engrossing, don't-skip-a-page read.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Review - Jackpot: A Frank Renzi Mystery

Jackpot: A Frank Renzi Mystery

By: Susan Fleet
Publisher: Music and Mayhem Press
Publication Date: September 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9847235-5-3
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 25, 2013

For anyone who loves the gritty, the witty, and perfect descriptions that lure the reader in and make them feel as if they’re standing on-site literally being witness to a crime, Author Susan Fleet has continually given this ‘gift’ to thrill lovers with each novel. This time around, the magician has decided to lead readers back in time - offering a prequel to her Frank Renzi stories so that everyone can see how his transformation, love and hate of the job, and his pure dedication came about.

Feeling like a big screen movie, the curtains part and we begin with an elderly lady living in Chatham, Massachusetts. Her TV has just gone on the fritz and she’s waiting for the cable man to arrive. Sadly, her cable guy just happens to be a brutal killer with a strange mission - taking out winners of the Lottery.

Switching to Boston Homicide Detective Frank Renzi, readers get a look at Frank’s personal life. He’s not exactly in a marriage set in Paradise, seeing as Frank spends a great deal of time having an affair with Gina, a newspaper reporter who is also married.

Frank becomes the lead Detective on the ‘Lottery Killer’ case and is more than frustrated because no progress is being made; this is one killer who’s very hard to figure out.

Readers meet up with a new character, Nigel Heath. Nigel’s life is a bit frustrating; he’s desperately trying to land the job of conductor with the Boston Pops and wants nothing more than to impress Vicky -  the woman he loves. Unfortunately, his gambling addiction is his downfall. Buying a lottery ticket on the off chance he’ll become a millionaire, Nigel has more than a little luck that leads him straight into the path of an uncompromising killer.

Fleet has done another superb job of bringing her surroundings and her characters to life. In fact, there will be some readers who may never take a chance on the Lottery again. Characters you have fallen in love with open the doors to their past, where they’re not all that nice at times. The reader will want to help them, hurt them, and sometimes yell at them; but, in the end, they will come to terms with Renzi’s past and be eager for another Susan Fleet novel in their future.

Quill says: Prequel’s are risky in a tremendously great series, but Fleet (not a surprise) has pulled it off with style!

Book Review - Overcomer

Overcomer - The Journey (Book I of The MacDara Chronicles)

By: Judy Colella
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: May 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4791-6996-2
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 2013

There are a lot of things you can say about Connecticut. (As a native, I know of what I speak.) Snowy, cold, boring beyond belief...but in this fantasy the State takes on a whole new life.

Overcomer begins by telling the back-story of a young boy in Georgia thrust into a horrific experience when he’s placed with a foster family. In this family, the mother locks the boy in a basement and only lets him out when she needs something. The young lad is constantly put down and told he’s beyond ugly.

Spending seven years in that life, the young, very handsome man by the name of Cian MacDara arrives one day in Connecticut. Every female stops and stares at him. He’s beguiling with his Irish accent, but he’s a bit odd because he doesn’t understand present-day terms, such as what working out means.
One girl who’s more than slightly charmed comes from an Irish background as well, but she has her own difficulties. Her name is Celeste, and she has a way of zoning out from her world and seeing things from the ancient past. Her best friend is Katie (who’s a great sidekick readers will love), and Katie knows of her friend’s oddity. She also inherently knows that Cian and Celeste are walking down a fantastical path.

Cian knows that he’s looking for a young woman named Celeste to help him return home. You see, there’s a Door, and Celeste can help to open that Door, perhaps unleashing a battle of mythical proportions. Celeste is the one who can get Cian over his deep-seeded belief that he’s ugly and useless. He’s a hero and, like Athena, Celeste is a true hero’s companion.

When Celeste’s father brings home an odd harp with golden strings, Celeste is sent back to the past in her own mind, remembering a harper from long ago. With Katie and Cian by her side, the past and future come to light, and their journey is incredible.

The author has done a wonderful job mixing the past with the present. Cian is a character who will lure readers in with his style, much faster than a vampire named Edward did once upon a time. And Katie brings the wit and charm to the dramatic and romantic scenes.

Quill says: This is only Book I and you will definitely be left wondering what happens next! And...for us Yankees, Connecticut will take on a whole new charm!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Review - Broken


By: Elizabeth Pulford
Illustrated by: Angus Gomes
Publisher: Running Press Teens
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7624-5004-6
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: October 24, 2013

Elizabeth Pulford’s novel, Broken, begins with Zara Wilson’s thoughts as she lies motionless in a coma in the hospital after a tragic motorbike accident. Even though Zara is in a coma, she is still alive; which is better than the outcome for her brother Jem as a result of the accident.

Ms. Pulford dives right into a descriptive narrative using comatose Zara Wilson as her voice to depict what it might be like to be in a coma: “My head is full of bubbles. Strange floating words, bits of conversations, bits of people. Some I know. Some I don’t...” These are the random thoughts floating through Zara’s mind. While Pulford doesn’t specifically spell out what happened, the reader eventually pieces together a motorbike accident that occurs after Jem, Zara Wilson’s brother, caves to Zara’s relentless pleas to go for a ride along the beach—neither knowing a destiny that would change both their lives forever.

As Pulford develops her narrative, she shares deeper dynamics to Zara’s personality. The description assigned to Zara likens her to the girl next door. Conversely, her best friend Trace sounds Goth-like. No matter, she is Zara’s confidant and loyal friend who visits the hospital often. Zara is a complex child and there is no question she has an undying and unrequited hero worship toward her brother Jem. Even though family members and friends are encouraged to talk to Zara and utter words of encouragement in hopes of her awakening, Zara is deep within the bowels of her own subconscious fighting to surface. Jem had an immense affinity for comic books and was drawn to one series in particular, one with a villainous character. Zara is a gifted artist and while in her coma, as she struggles to surface, she imagines she is trapped inside the comic book series. She takes to her sketching to create and draw situations to place her one step closer to finding her brother Jem as she wanders the halls and recesses of her mind in search of him. She is convinced he has been taken by the comic book villain and only she will be able to find and rescue him. What she doesn’t realize in her search is that she seeks to find her own truth and face it—a truth of an egregious assault that happened to her many years before.

This story is complex with its added subplots working throughout. However, I give Ms. Pulford great props for knowing her characters and exercising beautiful patience as she guides the reader through the complexities. She has a carefully crafted step-by-step narrative that she spoon feeds the reader and orchestrates understandable conclusions to how all events unfold. This is a story that easily entices the reader to continue turning its pages. It was intriguing to listen to Ms. Pulford’s voice as she spelled out the wonder of what it must be like to be in a coma; yet hear life going on about you. At the same time, however, there is a frustration through the voice given to Zara because she desperately wants her visitors to know she can hear everything they are saying and doing; yet she is unable to emote this to them. Simply put, Ms. Pulford has demonstrated she was in command of her pen’s destiny from beginning to end in Broken. It was put together prolifically and I look forward to her next body of work.

Quill says: Broken is an intricate hypothesis of the inner works of the mind and what it might be like to exist in a comatose state.

Book Review - The Hero's Companion

The Hero’s Companion: Tallent & Lowery, Book Three

By: Amy Lignor
Publisher: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: October 2013
ISBN: 978-0615907161
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: October 18, 2013

Tallent and Lowery are at it again! In the third book in this fantastic series, Leah Tallent and Gareth Lowery must follow the clues to solve a new mystery in only seven days. If they fail, then Leah’s father David will surely die.

At the end of the second book in the Tallent & Lowery series, The Sapphire Storm, readers were given a glimpse into book three with a little tease of what David had discovered. The Hero’s Companion picks up the action immediately on the first page of the prologue when we learn that whatever David found has put him in serious danger, along with his friend Aaron (a character we met in book II). Enter Leah Tallent, the walking, talking, mystery-solving librarian with a card catalog brain and her fiancé Gareth Lowery, the calm, wonderfully rich, and lusciously hunky part of the duo. When we first meet up with them, they are rushing off to Leah’s parents’ home in Connecticut to talk to Leah’s mother Mary. Hopefully, Mary will be able to give some insight into what happened to her husband David.

Unfortunately, all Mary has for Leah are harsh words. She blames her daughter for reigniting David’s desire to search out artifacts, and offers no aid to her daughter other than to tell Leah that three men came and took her husband. Dumbfounded, Leah and Gareth don’t know where to start the search when they get an unexpected visitor. Anippe, another character we met in The Sapphire Storm, is a very unwelcome acquaintance who suffers from a severe case of snobbish attitude. When Anippe tells Leah that her beloved uncle Aaron was also kidnapped by three men, the women do their best to put their differences aside and work together to find David and Aaron.

With the help of a map that Leah finds taped to the underside of her father’s desk, the trio soon knows where to begin their journey – in Athens. Once the search is on, the reader is taken on an amazing trip that includes an opinionated little owl, some creepy, dank, caves and archeological digs, a variety of people offering aid (who can they trust?), as well as mythological and very real personalities from the past. Leah, Gareth, and Anippe do their best to work together to find David and Aaron, but with obstacles thrown in their way at every turn, emotions run high and bonds are tested.

The author’s knowledge of history, as well as her background in mythology is quite impressive. Combine that with her aptitude at creating some very cool fictional tales and her ability to intertwine all three, and you’ll find yourself wondering just what is real and what is fiction in The Hero’s Companion.

I’ve mentioned in my reviews of the other books in this series that one of the things I love is the dialogue, particularly between Leah and Gareth. It is so realistic and flows effortlessly, and really captures the essence of these two lovers. Quick witted, it is at times funny, at other times dead-pan serious, and always works perfectly. Add in the zinger that Leah discovers about herself at the end of The Hero’s Companion, and you’ll be begging the author to please hurry up and write book four!

Quill says: This series just keeps getting better and better. The Hero’s Companion is a definite nail-bitter that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end. When is the next book coming out? I can’t wait!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Books In For Review

A nice selection of books have just arrived for review.  Check them out and then stop by our site in a few weeks to read the reviews!

Life's A Witch by Brittany Geragotelis Hadley’s the envy of every girl—and the desire of every guy. But being at the top of the social pyramid has its drawbacks. Hadley’s always kept her frenemies close and her secrets closer—one big secret in particular. Her key to magically having it all is that she’s an actual witch. As a descendant of the first woman executed in the Salem Witch Trials, Hadley understands the consequences if her secret gets out. The only ones who know about her powers are members of her coven—other kids and parents who, like Hadley’s own family, have magic in their blood. But there’s no way to cover up an attack that causes every adult in the coven to vanish. All the evidence points to an age-old rival coven as the culprit. Now it’s up to Hadley to lead the young witches against the Parrishables and to rescue their missing parents. At the same time, she’s caught up in her feelings for a mysterious guy named Asher, who has plenty of secrets of his own. With everything at stake, can Hadley trust her magic—and her heart?  

The Heartbreak Killer by Pamela Proehl Rachel Carter is a twenty-eight year old school teacher who is haunted by troubling dreams of being murdered by the notorious Heartbreak Killer. Being psychic and having dreams that have resulted in deadly outcomes before, she is terrified of being the killer's next victim. Through the encouragement of her best friend, Heather Bankston, Rachel consults with another psychic who is world renowned for dream translation to determine if she is, in fact, envisioning her impending death. Will the Heartbreak Killer hunt her down and massacre her as part of his master plan or is her dream just a play of her own mind? Enter into the mind of a deranged not-so-ordinary killer who, driven by a force so uncharacteristic, leaves numerous beautiful women dead in his wake. His grisly slayings are triggered by a psyche so demented that he, himself, is slowly going mad. Travel through the unraveling of a mystery that takes you from murder, to love, to deception, and finally to a truth so shocking and a secret so unimaginable that it leaves all who are involved shaken to the core.  

Turning This Thing Around by Keith Maginn Turning This Thing Around is an inspiring memoir of overcoming personal struggles. This brutally honest, deeply personal account of redemption takes readers on a moving spiritual journey. Confronted with a myriad of obstacles–a debilitating arthritic disease, narcolepsy, anxiety and depression–the author was outwardly happy, but inwardly miserable. Pushed to the lowest point of his life, Maginn shares how he gradually turned things around and used his experiences to grow as a person. Supplemented by heartfelt poetry by the author and with quotes from Gandhi to Dr. Wayne Dyer to Eckhart Tolle, Turning This Thing Around has universal themes that speak to nearly everyone, as we all must face challenges as part of being human. It is a self-help memoir of sorts: the author discusses not only what he overcame, but also how he did so–and how others can, too. Unlike many popular memoirs on the market, this is a story that more people can relate to. Maginn was not raised in an eccentric family (Jeannette Walls in The Glass Castle, memoirs by Augusten Burroughs), nor did he travel to Italy, India and Indonesia, as Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love. Rather, Turning This Thing Around is a story of a normal young man’s resiliency when battling extraordinary circumstances.

The Sister Season by Jennifer Scott  It’s December 21, and the Yancey sisters have been called home. When the girls were young, holidays at their family farm meant a tinsel-garnished tree, the scent of simmering food, and laughter ringing through the house. But as the years unfolded, family bonds fractured, and the three sisters scattered and settled into separate lives. Until now. The Yancey sisters are coming to spend the holidays with their mother. They’re also coming to bury their father.

ABC Hanukkah Hunt by Tilda Balsley "It's Hanukkah from A to Z. An Alphabet of things to see!" A colorful, interactive, rhyming search for Hanukkah foods, gifts, and symbols.  

Rifka Takes A Bow by Betty Rosenberg Perlov Rifka’s parents are actors in the Yiddish Theater, and one day she finds herself center stage in a special role! A slice of immigrant life on New York’s Second Avenue.  

Sadie's Almost Marvelous Menorah by Jamie Korngold When Sadie runs to show her mother the Hanukkah menorah she made in school, she trips, the menorah shatters, and she is devastated. But she finds that the shammash candle is unbroken, and a new family tradition is born.  

Esther's Hanukkah Disaster by Jane Sutton It’s hard to pick the perfect gift, and Esther the Gorilla’s choices seem all wrong at first. But it all gets sorted out when she invites her animal friends to a joyful Hanukkah party.  

Don't Sneeze at the Wedding by Pamela Mayer Anna is excited to be the flower girl at her aunt’s wedding, but that morning she wakes up and ... achoo! “Don’t sneeze at the wedding!” everyone warns her, but will their remedies work?

Book Review - The Winter Warrior

The Winter Warrior: A Novel of Medieval England

By: James Wilde
Publisher: Pegasus
Publishing Date: November 2013
ISBN: 978-1-60598-484-1
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: October 23, 2013

In October of the year 1066, the one year that everyone seems to have read about, there was a battle called the Battle of Hastings. This battle devastated England because of the fact that King Harold, the King at the time, met his fate on the war torn fields. Duke William of Normandy then proceeded to savagely kill everything and everyone in his path in order to gain power and rule England with an iron fist. Duke William, aptly named William the Conqueror, was crowned King William I of England and continued his passion to decimate the country.

Fortunately for England, there is a man who is waiting to send the foreigner back to Normandy with his tail between his legs. This is the man who is the only hope for England’s future. He is called Hereward, the Winter Warrior.

Hereward is the son of a landowner. Using the ‘fen’ country, a land of swamps and darkness as his home base, he works on building an army of men who represent the outcasts of a variety of towns and villages that suffered when the new King took them over by force. The army is growing by leaps and bounds. These men, rejected by society, are ready, willing and able to kill and maim anyone who gets in their way. But King William I is not a pushover. William has a ruthless man in his command named Ivo Taillebois. This man, known as ‘The Butcher,’ is beyond gritty and angry, and will do whatever it takes to put an end to the rebellion.

As the reader goes in-depth into the rebellion that was pure blood and guts, they will become immersed by the schemes planned and the battles fought in order to bring about massive change to England.
This novel, The Winter Warrior, is the second book in a series by this author although it can definitely stand alone. There is much blood and gore in this story and it is full of misleading deceit among men. Hereward is a good main character and will be seen in the minds of readers as being the epitome of heroic, but he also can lose control. These are a group of really nasty individuals. The book tells us that Hereward may have been the model for Robin Hood. This is certainly believable, but Robin used his bow and arrows and hung out with far more ‘merry men’ than the ones who Hereward had to deal with.

Quill says: Readers who are history buffs will enjoy the battles, the action and the characters of this amazingly descriptive story.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Book Review - Tarnished Hero

Tarnished Hero

By: Jim Gilliam
Publisher: Abbott Press
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
ISBN: 978-1458208255
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: October 21, 2013

Tanner and Goodman got a slap on the wrist in comparison to what Tim Kelly was going to get from Gunderson. Kelly was a no fear guy and life had been throwing him a few curve balls recently. His father, James, had been brutally beaten in a mugging and died as a result of it. Not that they’d ever been close, but there was one person Kelly had hopes for. Brenda Conrad had come into his life and he wanted her to stay there. He wanted that kind of closeness, something he could count on, someone who would always be there for him, but it looked like that relationship would be on hold for a while. Gunderson was going to make sure of that, darn sure.

“Congratulations,” Gunderson snarled, “I am delighted to hear that you have volunteered for combat duty with Patrol Squadron One Division Twelve based out of Da Nang. In the sunny Republic of South Vietnam.” Except for missing Brenda, that XO had no idea he just made Kelly a happy man, a very happy man. Gunderson had no sense of humor and his payback for a little prank didn’t seem to even disconcert his target. Destination: Point Deception, a patrol boat where he could be an ET and stay out of trouble ... maybe. Kelly’s “first taste of combat,” definitely wouldn’t be his last, but could prove to be his undoing.

How the heck could anyone be awarded the Silver and Bronze Stars and get clunked out of the Coast Guard with a less than honorable discharge? Easy if your name is Tim Kelly. His middle name was trouble, but in spite of the disgrace he’d survive and start that life with Brenda in Texas. It was a place he could call home, a place where he had good friends like Deputy Sheriff Dave Holt, who was going to marry his mother. Wedding bells were going to ring for Tim and Brenda. That was until she was “caught up in a turf war between two damned drug cartels.”

Seeing Brenda in a coma brought the fight back out in Kelly who exclaimed, “I’m going undercover to bust the cartel, or die trying.” It was no ordinary cartel, but rather the Campeche Cartel, one Kelly had tenuous ties to. Rudolfo Guzman, the kingpin of the organization, was like a father to him. In fact, Guzman had saved his life a couple of times. Colonel Garret, public safety guru and head of the Texas Rangers, could rewrite that discharge, but would it matter if Brenda didn’t survive? Could he avenge her shooting and would he be able to betray the very man who cared for him the most?

This action-packed thriller moves quickly as dramatic scenes explode in every chapter. Everything from the threat of bio-terrorism to nuclear attack creep into its pages. Modern-day issues such as human trafficking and drug running are real threats that Kelly wants to put an end to, issues that have touched his life. At times the transitioning from one scene to another was a bit difficult to follow, but the twist at the end pulls the seemingly disorganized events back into perspective. The light hand of an editor would have helped tighten up the work. Tarnished Hero is a tale you’ll want to read quickly in order to not miss any of the action and keep the storyline moving in your mind’s eye.

Quill says: If you want a fast-paced, dramatic thriller that knows no bounds, Tarnished Hero should be on your list of must reads!

For more information on Tarnished Hero, please visit the author's website at:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Books In For Review

Here's a sample of the books that have just come in for review.  Check them out and then stop by our site, Feathered Quill Book Reviews, in a few weeks to read the reviews.

Owning Main Street: A Beginner's Guide to the Stock Market by Patrick Pappano This book empowers even the most intimidated investors to bypass Wall Street and put savings to work in the stock market. Investing in the common stocks of the world's great corporations is not an option, it is mandatory for anybody who hopes to educate their children and to retire some day.

Dollface: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties by Renee Rosen Vera Abramowitz is determined to leave her gritty childhood behind and live a more exciting life, one that her mother never dreamed of. Bobbing her hair and showing her knees, the lipsticked beauty dazzles, doing the Charleston in nightclubs and earning the nickname “Dollface.” As the ultimate flapper, Vera captures the attention of two high rollers, a handsome nightclub owner and a sexy gambler. On their arms, she gains entrée into a world filled with bootleg bourbon, wailing jazz, and money to burn. She thinks her biggest problem is choosing between them until the truth comes out. Her two lovers are really mobsters from rival gangs during Chicago’s infamous Beer Wars, a battle Al Capone refuses to lose. The heady life she’s living is an illusion resting on a bedrock of crime and violence unlike anything the country has ever seen before. When the good times come to an end, Vera becomes entangled in everything from bootlegging to murder. And as men from both gangs fall around her, Vera must put together the pieces of her shattered life, as Chicago hurtles toward one of the most infamous days in its history, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Overcomer - The Journey: Book I Of The MacDara Chronicles (Volume 1) by Judy Colella Cian MacDara, born in Donegal, Ireland in 537 a.d., has a destiny that will take him across time and continents. To fulfill it, he will need the help of Druids, angels, and the friends he will make in modern-day Connecticut. But before his ultimate purpose is achieved, he must survive this journey. To keep him from succeeding, the darkness that wants to destroy him uses its considerable powers to end his quest, and he is faced with a choice: either give in to the pain and despair, or overcome the odds and complete his destiny. The balance of Time itself awaits his decision.

The Winter Warrior: A Novel of Medieval England by James Wilde 1067. Following the devastating destruction of the Battle of Hastings, William the Bastard and his men have descended on England. Villages are torched; men, women and children are put to the sword as the Norman king attempts to impose his cruel will upon this unruly nation. But there is one who stands in the way of the invader's savagery. He is called Hereward. He is a warrior and master tactician and as adept at battle as the imposter who sits upon the throne. And he is England's last hope. In a Fenlands fortress of water and wild wood, Hereward's resistance is simmering. His army of outcasts grows by the day—a devil's army that emerges out of the mists and the night, leaving death in its wake. But William is not easily cowed. Under the command of his ruthless deputy, Ivo Taillebois—the man they call 'the Butcher'—the Norman forces will do whatever it takes to crush the rebels, even if it means razing England to the ground. Here then is the tale of the bloodiest rebellion England has ever known—the beginning of an epic struggle that will change England forever.

Sets, Lights, & Lunacy: A Stage Designer's Adventures on Broadway and in Opera by Lloyd Burlingame Sets, Lights, and Lunacy, A Stage Designer’s Adventures on Broadway and in Opera, chronicles the bright sunset of ‘The Great White Way.’ Focusing on the ‘sixties and seventies,’ it illuminates a unique link in the long chain of theatre history. As a Broadway stage designer during the great heyday of prolific producer, David Merrick, Burlingame enjoyed more than his share of the spectacular ups and downs, hilarities and epiphanies of a theatre career. Collaborating with a variety of directors, including Franco Zeffirelli, George Abbott, Peter Brook, George Roy Hill, and Peter Hall, made for a wide spectrum of experiences to share. When he moved from the world of theatre to the realm of opera, he had the rare opportunity to design new productions for divas Beverly Sills, Martina Arroyo, Joan Sutherland, and Leontyne Price. The reader is invited to join him backstage to meet a colorful cast of characters, and to experience the roller-coaster ride of a show business career.

Life's A Witch by Brittany Geragotelis Hadley’s the envy of every girl—and the desire of every guy. But being at the top of the social pyramid has its drawbacks. Hadley’s always kept her frenemies close and her secrets closer—one big secret in particular. Her key to magically having it all is that she’s an actual witch. As a descendant of the first woman executed in the Salem Witch Trials, Hadley understands the consequences if her secret gets out. The only ones who know about her powers are members of her coven—other kids and parents who, like Hadley’s own family, have magic in their blood. But there’s no way to cover up an attack that causes every adult in the coven to vanish. All the evidence points to an age-old rival coven as the culprit. Now it’s up to Hadley to lead the young witches against the Parrishables and to rescue their missing parents. At the same time, she’s caught up in her feelings for a mysterious guy named Asher, who has plenty of secrets of his own. With everything at stake, can Hadley trust her magic—and her heart?

Sports Illustrated Kids The TOP 10 of Everything in SPORTS Presented in the format of Top 10 lists, this book is a comprehensive yet fun look at the greatest aspects of Pro Sports. From the top athletes to the most popular teams in the world, SI Kids ranks a variety of topics covering every professional sport. Readers are guaranteed to love the big, exciting action photos from the Sports Illustrated collection and the insider knowledge of SI Kids. Filled with trivia and information, this dynamic book will be the definitive kids sports book.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Review - Roscoe Is a RAKster

Roscoe Is a RAKster: You Can Be One Too

By: Janice E. Clark
Illustrated by: Susan Shorter
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication Date: October 2010
ISBN: 978-1452092355
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: October 17, 2013

Roscoe Arthur Krueger is a very happy young man. He LOVES helping people, making them smile, and getting hugs. His nana is very proud of him for all the good things that he likes to do. Roscoe has a nickname too. Can you guess what it is? It’s RAK. You might think he got that nickname because those are his initials, but Nana says it is because he is always doing “random acts of kindness.” What a great nickname!

As the story opens, RAK is holding a park gate open for a mother who has a baby in a stroller. As the mother walks through the open gate, she smiles, waves to the youngster and thanks him. RAK picks up his notepad and puts a check beneath the words thank you and smile. He likes keeping a tally of his good deeds because it makes him feel good and he knows each RAK brings a smile to the receiver.
RAK has so many things to do, usually with his loving Nana by his side. They like to walk to the library (listen to the policeman so you can cross the street safely); at the library RAK reads a book quietly (you don’t want to bother others who are reading); and in the winter, he helps his dad shovel the snowflakes off the walk (Nana stays in the house for this one!). Every time RAK helps out, he brings a smile to somebody’s face.

While Roscoe is a RAK, the author explains that anybody can be a RAK. All it takes to hold this special honor is to help somebody else out. How simple is that? You can also keep a notepad like Roscoe and tally up all the smiles, hugs and thanks that you receive.

This sweet story is part text, part rhyme and the two blend perfectly to tell this story:

One summer day while walking in the park, RAK saw a turtle on its back. He hurried over to help it onto its feet.

Turtle, turtle, upside down,
let me help you flip around.
There you go, my little friend,
free to travel home again.

In this day and age, when so many children’s books are filled with “don’t do this,” “don’t do that,” or “be careful,” it is nice to read a book with a strong, positive message. The drawings are bright and lively and add a nice upbeat look to the entire book. Put it all together and you have a fun, charming book that will leave a smile on everybody’s face.

Quill says: A delightful book full of positive messages about helping others, and the wonderful rewards (hugs, smiles, thanks) that you get from all those RAKs!

Guest Post Book Review - Halloween Knights

Thanks to Allison Foster for this guest review. Please see Allison's bio at the bottom of the article.

Halloween Knights (Holidaze)

By: Ashley Naomisue
Print Length: 92 pages (Kindle Edition)
Reviewed by: Allison Foster
Review Date: October 17, 2013

Just in time for Halloween, this crime romance is unexpected to say the least. A short read, it nonetheless packs in a lot of story. From the revealing introduction of the female lead to the conflicted inner workings of the detective you are left feeling like every character is someone you already know.

When a woman is found locked in the basement of a criminal’s home, she may be more than meets the eye. The head detective on the case takes her under his wing and gets more than he bargained for. However, before their love can fully blossom a trio of bad guys threaten to end it all for good.

I won’t ruin the end of the story, but this violent romantic tale has twists and turns that will leave you guessing.

What I liked most about the story is the fact that the characters seemed to be real people. There was no ‘happily ever after’ or ‘true love’ or any of that cliché stuff. Instead the characters were conflicted, confused, and overwhelmed, just like we would be.

The supporting characters were also interesting and varied, offering a new dynamic every time they entered the scene. I enjoyed the casual relationship between the male and female police officers. Not every opposite sex team can work without sexual tension but they seemed to be partners and friends.

This is apparently the first book in a series and I am looking forward to reading more about the couple’s adventures and growth. However the book also stands on its own as a complete story, which is a big plus!

Blogging was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with She can be in touch through e-mail allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmail - rest you know.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Review - Mickey Price

Mickey Price: Journey to Oblivion

By: John P. Stanley
Publisher: Tanglewood Books
Publication Date: September 2013
ISBN: 978-1-933718-88-0
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 2013

This is a book that truly takes you back to the time before computers, cell phones, and virtual annoyances were discovered; a time when people looked up at the moon and wanted to go there, in person.

Orlando Home for Boys was the location where Mickey Price grew up. His best friends there were Taco and Big Linus, and they had a great deal of fun avoiding Sister Rinaldi (who ran the house). Mickey is all grown up in this book, sitting outside around a campfire telling his beloved son and daughter a tale they won’t soon forget.

He begins with Operation Breakout back in 1977, which is something he and his buddies did when they were at the Home, using a tire swing and extreme bravery to get out their window and head to Dairy Queen for an ice cream sundae. That day, that event, changed Mickey’s life forever.
He tells the tale of how he was offered a trip to a space camp. Men with golden sunglasses showed up at the Home - Major Austen and Major Jackson - and told Mickey that he would be going with them for a few weeks to the Kennedy Space Center to enjoy space camp.

Mickey is beyond excited and when he’s almost there he makes two more friends; a female go-kart racer extraordinaire by the name of Trace; and a science-fair whiz-kid by the name of Jonah. There’s something strange about this journey, however; Trace and Jonah tell their stories about how the same men with sunglasses appeared out of nowhere and said they were coming to space camp because a spot had opened. And they begin to wonder why NASA bigwigs would want children like them.

Well...turns out that there was a very secret time period between the well-known Apollo program and the space shuttle in the 1980’s, and these three kids - along with a slew of others - were needed to help solve a major problem that had been hidden during the America/Russian race to be the biggest and best of all time.

This story sparks the imagination of not only Mickey’s children, but also the imagination of the reader who remembers how exciting it was when there were real astronauts and real moon landings that are now historical footnotes for the next generation. The author has done a wonderful job of ditching the world of virtual reality and resurrecting a time of pure adventure, excitement and glory.

Quill says: A great, humorous tale that has some serious heart. Bravo!