Friday, July 18, 2014

Books in for Review

It's certainly not slowing down here at Feathered Quill.  More books arriving every day for review.  Here's a sampling of what has just arrived.  Check them out and then stop by in a few weeks to read the reviews!





Surviving 26th Street by Carol June Stover The year is 1954, and Laura Justice's ambitious husband, Winton, makes a decision that shocks family and friends. He moves his Memphis family North, vowing to strike it rich on Madison Avenue and savor the pleasures of suburban life. This does not happen. The southern family is a poor fit in their New Jersey neighborhood, and loyal wife Laura feels ostracized. What's more, Winton's advertising agency soon fails, and he becomes depressed and combative. 1950s women are supposed to obey, but Laura Justice refuses to stay mute. She dares to complain when Winton launches a new business selling wire recorders (the very latest technology!) from their basement. Incensed at his uncooperative wife, Winton persists, bringing chaos to their family, including his strange parents, a creepy employee and a sexy neighbor, not to mention financial disaster. A tireless fixer, Laura tries to stem Winton's antics and stop the cash drain, to no avail. Meanwhile, the couple's children are caught in their parent's cross fire, drifting around the neighborhood and depending on neighbors for fun and attention. When 9-year old daughter Jane rises above the crisis to help police solve the crime, Laura is inspired to take action too. Defying 1950 taboos, she struggles to make a life-changing decision: Should she rein in husband Winton and his maddening life style...or at long last cut bait?

A Pinch of Ohh La La by Renee Swindle Abbey Ross, who runs her own bakery in Oakland, California, is known for her visually stunning wedding cakes. But lately, Abbey’s own love life has become stale. According to her best friend, Bendrix, Abbey’s not the spontaneous young woman she was when they were teenagers listening to the Cure and creating attention-grabbing graffiti. Of course, her failed relationship with a womanizing art forger might have something to do with that. Nevertheless, it’s time for Abbey to step out of the kitchen—and her comfort zone—and Bendrix has even handpicked a man for her to date. Samuel Howard is everything Abbey’s dreamed of: handsome, successful, and looking to raise a family. But a creamy icing might be needed to hide a problem or two. When Samuel complains about disrespect for the institution of marriage, Abbey’s reminded of her nontraditional family, with thirteen children from various mothers. And when Samuel rails about kids having kids, Abbey thinks of her twenty-year-old sister who’s recently revealed her pregnancy. Soon Abbey is facing one disaster after another and struggling to make sense of it all. Her search for love has led her down a bitter path, but with the help of her unique family and unwavering friends, she just might find the ooh la la that makes life sweet.

Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier. Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he'd fathered a son who is heading Tom's way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.

Discovery Snakeopedia: The Complete Guide to Everything Snakes--Plus Lizards and More Reptiles Snakeopedia tells the whole story of these amazing creatures. From the enormous Green Anaconda to the tiny Zootaxa, the book includes hundreds of snakes and all 12 families. You an learn about identifying features, habitats, their dangerous venom, how they can swallow such large prey, and unusual snake behaviours. Along the way, colourful callouts offer tons of cool facts. You can meet pythons that can survive as long as a year between meals, spitting cobras that can squirt venom eight feet away, and even flying snakes, which can sail from branch to branch to catch lizards! From vipers to rattlesnakes, boas to cobras, Discovery Channel Snakeopedia is the ultimate encyclopaedia for snake fans of all ages.

My Fingerpaint Masterpiece by Sherrill S. Cannon Have you ever seen a "work of art" worth millions, which looks like something your child just brought home from school? The dual perspective of "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder" and just a little bit of "The Emperor's New Clothes" is evident in this clever artwork story of a child who paints a fingerpaint print in class and then loses it in the wind on the way home. Illustrated from the point of view of a child, whose identity is left to the imagination of the reader since all of the illustrations are what the child sees, the fingerpaint print is interpreted by official "judges" as well as by bystanders. Should people be influenced by what others see, or use their own self-esteem to make their own judgments?

Murder on the Naval Base by Behcet Kaya Murder on the Naval Base begins with a blurry account of a cold-blooded shooting of a couple, singled out while having dinner at an Officer’s Club. The prime suspect is apprehended hours later while apparently attempting to flee the state. With over a dozen eye-witnesses collaborating the incident, little was left in the puzzle for the military investigators to piece together; especially once it was determined the two victims were in fact the perpetrator’s wife and the man she was having an on-going affair with. Transporting the reader into the supersonic fighter jet world of Naval Aviation, with aircraft carrier scenes, the novel brings the reader close to the egos and confidence of those commanders that fly our warplanes. Combined with a steamy undercurrent of lust, love, sexual fulfillment, jealousy and primordial desires of the protagonist, the human condition of married life versus the structure and demands of military careers are juxtaposed against the strength and will of personal upbringing and ethical behavior of the characters. Offering the reader a page-turner of excitement, legal intrigue, psychologically thrilling moments, steamy sex and military honor - complete with a surprise that is foreshadowed so brilliantly, even the most seasoned reader will raise an eyebrow at the end with humble acknowledgement of the literary mastery contained herein.  

The Second Coming: A Love Story by Scott Pinsker In "The Second Coming: A Love Story," the devilish new novel by Scott Pinsker, the culture war between Red America and Blue America turns shockingly real when two self-declared saviors appear on earth. The first “messiah” attracts legions of liberal and secular-progressive followers with his message of New Age brotherhood, quickly becoming the darling of the left. The second “messiah” preaches fire-and-brimstone traditional Christianity, gaining a grassroots army of conservative worshipers ready to battle to the death. It’s finally happened: Red America and Blue America are headed for Armageddon! Novelist Scott Pinsker is a Tampa Bay-based celebrity publicist who has also written for FOXNews.com as a marketing expert. As Pinsker tells it: “Late one night I had an unsettling thought: If the Devil truly wanted to con mankind, he wouldn’t have a pitchfork and horns. All those horror movies have it wrong; a pitchfork and horns are bad marketing. Instead, his smartest strategy for activating new followers would be to appear as a holy man – and claim the faith of his target audience. Because if I were Satan’s publicist, that’s what I’d recommend.” Scott Pinsker has worked with a long list of athletes and entertainers, ranging from scandal-plagued NFL stars to Saturday Night Live alums to Grammy-winning icons. While he insists that his story’s characters are wholly fictional, he freely admits that the Red America / Blue America political divide is directly ripped from the headlines: “We’ve become so polarized that we automatically assume the worst about our opposition. The most sinister explanation becomes the dominant narrative – and each side is skilled at exploitation. So in "The Second Coming: A Love Story," you have conservatives firing-up the Tea Partiers on talk-radio shows, and liberals decrying their ‘extremism’ and ‘lack of inclusion.’ You have evangelicals, businessmen and born again Christians waging a multimedia Holy War against secularists, urbanites and liberal activists – and neither side will cede an inch. Sadly, none of this was a stretch: Since we’re already predisposed to believe that the other side is evil, an all-out apocalypse is simply the natural progression.”  

Beetle Boy by Margaret Willey When his mother walked out on the family, seven-year-old Charlie comforted his inconsolable father by sharing the silly beetle boy stories his mother told him. Years later, these stolen stories still haunt Charlie's dreams.