Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Books In For Review

Here's a quick peek at some of the books that have just arrived for review.  Check them out!

The Calories In, Calories Out Cookbook: 200 Everyday Recipes That Take the Guesswork Out of Counting Calories - Plus, the Exercise It Takes to Burn Them Off by Catherine Jones You know that balancing the calories you take in and burn off is the foundation of weight control. But actually achieving that balance between eating and exercise is a daily challenge for most of us. Now, The Calories In, Calories Out Cookbook provides a fresh, sane approach for everyone seeking good health—and great food. Here is an essential repertoire of 200 smart recipes—nutrient-rich, delicious, foolproof, and ideal for busy individuals and families. Every recipe tells you its calorie count—and also tells you how many minutes of walking or jogging it takes for a woman or man to burn those calories off, so you’ll be able to visualize what calories mean as never before. All the recipes are below 400 calories per serving—and most are below 200!  

Chuck It by Knut Hansen A dark and humorous anti-hero novel spanning an approximately 380 pages, magnifying the mythical otherness across the Atlantic, one way or the other, and exploring juvenile exuberance elongated by past and future dreams of those who've set sails and those who yet haven't.  

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson Maud Heighton came to Lafond's famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris, she quickly realizes, is no place for a light purse. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling decadence of the Belle Epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, she stumbles upon an opportunity when Christian Morel engages her as a live-in companion to his beautiful young sister, Sylvie. Maud is overjoyed by her good fortune. With a clean room, hot meals, and an umbrella to keep her dry, she is able to hold her head high as she strolls the streets of Montmartre. No longer hostage to poverty and hunger, Maud can at last devote herself to her art. But all is not as it seems. Christian and Sylvie, Maud soon discovers, are not quite the darlings they pretend to be. Sylvie has a secret addiction to opium and Christian has an ominous air of intrigue. As this dark and powerful tale progresses, Maud is drawn further into the Morels' world of elegant deception. Their secrets become hers, and soon she is caught in a scheme of betrayal and revenge that will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.  

Finding Flipper Frank by Patrick M. Garry Walt Honerman has just about given up on life. He is thirty-eight years old and lives in a small apartment above a hardware store in Billings, Montana. But because of a promise made to a dying uncle, Walt embarks on a cross-country driving trip with two passengers : Moira Kelly, a young woman who had befriended Walt's uncle during his recent hospitalization; and 76-year old Izzy Dunleavy, a loquacious nursing home resident who wishes to return to his hometown of Crawfish Bay, Maryland. During their trip, Izzy entertains Walt and Moira with elaborate tales of the grand resort that he once owned in Crawfish Bay-a resort with a mythical reputation for being a place of good luck. But when they arrive in Crawfish Bay, a suddenly confused Izzy is arrested on a decades-old embezzlement charge. After Moira insists on staying to help Izzy, she and Walt discover that most of Izzy's stories are pure fiction. More discoveries occur when they meet Felix, Izzy's former business partner, and Emily, a singe mother who worked at the nursing home in Billings and who came to Crawfish Bay because of Izzy's promise of a job at his fictional resort. This mismatched group, thrown together as much by anger as by nostalgic affection, begins investigating the money Izzy supposedly embezzled when he disappeared from Crawfish Bay years ago. And despite his retreat from life, brought on by a past tragedy, Walt gets pulled into the wake of wild dreamers.  

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, divide up the profits, and live happily ever after. But as Trevor explores the house’s secret stairways and hidden rooms, he discovers a spirit lingering in Riddell House whose agenda is at odds with the family plan. Only Trevor’s willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family’s future.  

What the Lady Wants: A Novel of Marshall Field and the Gilded Age by Renée Rosen The night of the Great Fire, as seventeen-year-old Delia watches the flames rise and consume what was the pioneer town of Chicago, she can’t imagine how much her life, her city, and her whole world are about to change. Nor can she guess that the agent of that change will not simply be the fire, but more so the man she meets that night. Leading the way in rebuilding after the fire, Marshall Field reopens his well-known dry goods store and transforms it into something the world has never seen before: a glamorous palace of a department store. He and his powerhouse coterie—including Potter Palmer and George Pullman—usher in the age of robber barons, the American royalty of their generation. But behind the opulence, their private lives are riddled with scandal and heartbreak. Delia and Marshall first turn to each other out of loneliness, but as their love deepens, they will stand together despite disgrace and ostracism, through an age of devastation and opportunity, when an adolescent Chicago is transformed into the gleaming White City of the Chicago’s World’s Fair of 1893.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review - Keeping Fit from A to Z

Keeping Fit from A to Z: Mantente en forma de la A a la Z

Editor: Stephanie Maze
Published by: Moonstone Press
Publication Date: September 2014
ISBN: 978-0983498353
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 30, 2014

Can you twist and turn like an acrobat? No, but perhaps you juega al béisbol or play croquet. Any way or language you express yourself in, there’s one thing for sure, that if you exercise / ejercicio, you’re sure to keep fit. This is not your ordinary A to Z book, but rather one that will keep you hopping though its pages. Maybe jump a little too and you’ll have a little chance to learn some new words in either English or en Español. Are you ready? Let’s take a little look at some of the super duper (or is that espléndido?) pages in this book!

All right, do you have a favorite letter? Maybe not, but perhaps you have a favorite sport – maybe you love mixed martial arts. Some people can do a karate kick / da una parada de kárate. Watch those boys as they practice their front kick. Very nice, very nice! There are ways to keep fit even if you aren’t in an organized sport. If you love snow you can hazel angel en la nieve (make a snow angel.) Ooooh, a little chilly, but watch those arms go up and down. H is for hazel, but V is for voltereta. No doubt many people have done one, but can you guess what voltereta means? Of course if you are Spanish, you know that it means ‘somersault.’

If you’re into reading you’ll whiz right through this book. Those letters will pop right out at you and you’ll learn all kinds of new words while you’re at it. Acampar, boxea, croquet (ah, you know that one!), danza, and more. Some like ‘croquet’ might be easy to figure out because it’s the same in both languages, but if you take a look at the photographs, you’ll probably be able to figure out what several other words mean. Of course each word in this book is one that has a lot to do with mantente en forma. Did you know that even the smallest things like playing hide and seek can help you keep fit? They can indeed.

This is a very unique A to Z book that, unlike many I’ve seen, is a bilingual one. The theme, “keeping fit,” is an excellent one that will translate and resonate with many homeschool and classroom teachers. Each page pops with exciting photographs of children enjoying life as they find ways to keep fit. Some of the activities are quiet ones while others are more dynamic and vibrant, however all espouse the fact that keeping fit is important. Children can plant flowers / planta flores or they can really move if they juega al fútbol (play soccer). Each page has a capitalized and lower case letter with a larger centralized activity and other smaller ones circling it. In the back of the book are “Other Activities You Can Try / Otras actividades que puedes probar,” “Games You Can Play / Juegos en los que puedes participar,” and an informative “Parents, Did you Know ...? / Padres, ¿sabian qué ...?” section to explore.

Quill says: Keeping Fit from A to Z / Mantente en forma de la A a la Z is a dynamic new A to Z alphabet book that is sure to find its way into small hands, hands that are eager to learn how to stay fit!

For more information on Keeping Fit from A to Z / Mantente en forma de la A a la Z, please visit the publisher's website at: www.moonstonepress.net

Book Review - A Cookie for Santa

A Cookie for Santa

By: Stephanie Shaw
Illustrated by: Bruno Robert
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: June 2014
ISBN: 978-1585368839
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 30, 2014

It was Christmas Eve and a Gingerbread Boy was all alone on a plate full of sugar cookies. The glass of milk was there too, just waiting for Santa to arrive that night. The children had baked those cookies because “They knew that St. Nick, / With his overstuffed pack, / Would be sorely in need / Of a fine midnight snack.” The tree was all set with sparkling decorations, that snack was set out, and there was even a bit of holly here and there. Only one problem…what would the little Gingerbread Boy do when Santa nibbled him up as he chugged down that glass of milk? Oh, my! He put his little gingerbread hands alongside his cheeks and put on his thinking cap.

Before the Gingerbread Boy could get too riled up, two pups came bursting into the room and tugged at the tablecloth. Oops! There went the milk and he almost went with it. Rascal and Rowdy were making a mess and the Gingerbread Boy had to become a “Doggie Distraction.” The tree decorations had already hit the floor and that blue vase was really no more. The pups settled down, but soon hid out of sight when Santa and his reindeer landed on the roof. “Would Santa Claus start / With his legs or his head? / Would he nibble his arms / Or his buttons instead?” The room was a mess, but was there going to be even more trouble for the little Gingerbread Boy when Santa wanted his snack?

This is a fun, rambunctious story of the little Gingerbread Boy and his Christmas Eve misadventure. This story in rhyme was certainly a lively one as the little Gingerbread Boy awaited his fate. Of course it’s a slightly different Christmas Eve tale as we seldom hear about the holiday from a cookie’s point of view. The rhyming scheme was rollicking and those puppies will charm little children as they race around demolishing the room. The artwork is very captivating and delectably sweet. This is yet another book that will be a perfect addition to everyone’s Christmas book collection.

Quill says: If you want a charming new Christmas Eve tale that's sweet and has loads of action, A Cookie for Santa will be just the one!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Interview with Author David Tienter

Today we're talking with David Tienter, author of Playing With Fire

FQ: The first chapter describes an escape of a prisoner of war, was this inspired by personal experience?

TIENTER: The first chapter was inspired by my experiences as a Corpsman attached to the Marines in Vietnam. I served three tours in country and my description of the land and animals was acquired first hand. The escape as a prisoner of war was drawn from the story of a friend who went down behind enemy lines and it took several months for him to return to friendly lines. I found Vietnam to be a place where every plant has a thorn and everything else bites. The Vietnamese have to be very tough just to live there.

FQ: Was it planned from the beginning to write the story from many perspectives and do you think something is gained by using different perspectives as compared to just one?

TIENTER: Yes, I planned on using the perspective of several characters right from the start of the book. I wanted to explore what would cause a ‘normal’ man turn into a monster and why an average man would pursue him. By seeing the thought processes of both, the pursued and the pursuer, I think the reader has a better grasp of the actions of both.

Author David Tienter

FQ: In a book centered on gruesome murders, how do you decide what to include and what not to?

TIENTER: A difficult line has to be walked in writing about the crimes. Almost everything is too violent for many readers and for some it can’t be violent enough. I try to make my crimes heinous enough to justify the use of force in capturing the bad guys but still I am not writing to gross someone out. I certainly don’t want to put anything in my books that would make some sick dude think about copying the crimes I write about. My victim is a strong character and maintains her pride.

FQ: The character of Harry, a psychotic serial killer, has some intense scenes. Was it difficult to write about these?

TIENTER: Once I pull the mantle of the monster over me, I find it easy to describe what I believe his actions would be. Since a monster can do anything, it’s fun and easy to write. He just has to be twisted enough to take advantage of others. After reading my books, several of my wife’s friends have asked her if she is worried about sleeping with me. She tells them she keeps the big dog, who doesn’t like me, sleeping between us and has a gun under her pillow.

The author with his dogs

FQ: How do you develop the story so that each event or clue leads to the next one?

TIENTER: At times, I feel like a juggler keeping six or eight characters suspended in mid-air while I shift the story to work in the right actions and the right place for each character to advance. When I get done with a day’s writing, I always read it over again to find out if my jigsaw puzzle has all the right pieces in the right places and to make sure the story is moving in the right direction. I make sure the monster is hidden under a bed while the hero is polishing his halo.

FQ: What research did you have to do about the Appalachian Trail for this book?

TIENTER: The Appalachian Trail is such an awe inspiring part of America, I’m always surprised that more books are not written with it in the background. It’s a vast wilderness area close to the major population areas of the country, totally wild and free. It speaks to the American Spirit that we have this resource free and accessible. I think it keeps us connected to our history and our inner nature. I have always been fascinated by it.

The author with his wife Anne in Alaska

I wanted to hike it, but lost a knee in Vietnam and knew I could never make a through hike. When writing Playing with Fire, I drove to the Headquarters of the Smokey Mountain National Forest in Fayetteville, and hiked up to the Trail. I spent three days hiking and sleeping on ground, so when I talk about the rocks, trees, plants, and the Trail, itself, I’m talking from experience. By the way, mountains are made out of rock, a rather hard bed. For me, at least, three nights were plenty.

FQ: Without giving anything away, was the ending planned from the beginning or did it develop as you were writing?

TIENTER: The ending developed as I wrote the story out. Teddie was too strong a character and needed to be developed. That demanded that more story was needed after the bad guys death. Plus, I wanted to show that even monsters have people who love them and that heroes are not loved by everyone. I’m sure there are people who grieved Ted Bundy, thinking he was just misunderstood and surely innocent. Matt and Harry could have easily been friends in slightly different circumstances.

To learn more about Playing With Fire please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Giveaway!

Have you entered this month's book giveaway yet??? It's simple and the winner gets a copy of "Survival Colony 9" by Joshua David Bellin. Entry is simple and takes just seconds. There's also a link to the book's review on the submission page. Check it out!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Review - Dreamer's Pool

Dreamer’s Pool: A Blackthorn & Grim Novel

By: Juliet Marillier
Publisher: Roc Hardcover
Publication Date: November 2014
ISBN: 978-0451466990
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: September 24, 2014

During her time in prison, Blackthorn didn’t want to remember her old name, for it reminded her of everything she had lost. The only thing that kept her alive in that wretched prison was her thirst for vengeance. When a mysterious stranger comes and offers her freedom with conditions Blackthorn thinks to herself, this may be her only hope of getting revenge. However, these conditions command that she serves as a healer for a period of seven years and help anyone who asks for it. If she refuses to help then a year will be added on to her sentence. After being in prison so long the one thing Blackthorn despises doing more than anything else is talking with people, something that is required of her all the time as a healer. The only person she can stand being around is a giant of a man named Grim who insisted on following her when they escaped from prison. Blackthorn knows the only reason she is alive is this chance she was given by a stranger but has she just switched one prison sentence for another?

On the other side of the kingdom young Prince Oran is under constant pressure from his parents to take on his royal responsibilities and find a suitable bride and produce an heir. There had been numerous times his parents suggested an arranged marriage with a princess from a neighboring kingdom but the thought of an arranged marriage did not sit well with Oran. He was a dreamer, a poet, and longed for the type of marriage that was based on true love and affection. As time went by however, Oran realized that he could not avoid his responsibilities forever. He finally agrees to consider a marriage with a woman named Flidais, the daughter of a respected King and ally of Oran’s family. After receiving a portrait of his bride-to-be Oran is completely transfixed as he sees the eyes of a woman who looks at the world as he does and after exchanging personal letters Oran is certain this is the woman he is meant to marry. As the wedding day approaches and Oran is able to spend time with his bride he becomes increasingly worried as the woman in front of him does not seem at all to be the woman from the letters he received. Oran quickly begins to wonder what the consequences will be if he marries Flidais and makes a terrible mistake.

I applaud Juliet Marillier for crafting an absolutely amazing fantasy tale with intriguing characters. Every chapter had me glued to this book as I curled up on the couch and did not stop reading until I was finished. Telling the story from the eyes of three different characters held additional intrigue as the reader is given an inside look at how each character views the other and in turn how that effects the direction of the story. There are many times when I am reading a book that I can guess what is coming next or find clues that start to give away the ending but with this book I was completely surprised with the conclusion and I loved it! Marillier wrote with such wonderful intricacy and subtleness that the ending was unexpected and did not disappoint one bit.

Quill says: An unbelievably and expertly written story that weaves magic, danger, love, and strong characters all into one fantastic story!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Review - Playing With Fire

Playing With Fire

By: David Tienter
Publisher: Enigma Press
Publication Date: August 2014
ISBN: 978-0692262047
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: September 23, 2014

After surviving and escaping a prison of war camp in Vietnam, the protagonist in Playing With Fire, Matt, knows he has developed a particular set of skills that allows him to get into the minds of criminals on the run. This has already been proven once when he helped a friend, Frank, track down the man who murdered his wife. Now, Frank is asking for help once again when Frank’s brother Chuck goes missing after a few days hiking the Appalachian Trail. Frank explains to Matt that Chuck is in extremely good shape as he frequently runs marathons and has even competed in triathlons so it is disturbing that no one has heard from him in nearly two weeks. Immediately wanting to help his dear friend, Matt agrees to go searching for his brother and gathers the gear he will need to go on his own hike down the Appalachian Trail.

During his search for Chuck, Matt comes across an odd pile of leaves that is sure to be the work of some human and as he begins to move this pile he discovers the remains of a human boy. Matt has unknowingly stumbled onto the site of a heinous murder in which the victim appears to have been burned alive. Knowing that Chuck could still be out there with a psychotic killer running loose increases the intensity of the search but now Matt vows not only to find Chuck but to also find this killer as well and put an end to him.

It does not take long for Matt to realize that he is chasing after a downright dangerous and unpredictable man who would probably not hesitate to kill him if given the chance. It is clear after the remains of the boy were found that the killer fled from the Appalachian Trail and Matt will have to try to get inside this killer’s head if he wants to figure out which way he went. Following his instincts, Matt sets out to track down this monster, having no way to know just how dangerous a quest he is accepting.

There is only one way I would describe this book and that is extremely intense. This was a thrilling mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat, especially toward the conclusion as it held a twist I in no way saw coming. Note, however, that this is not a story for the faint-hearted/cozy mystery reader! The story centers on a gruesome killer who turned my stomach each time he was mentioned. To be quite honest there were times where the story was written from the killer’s perspective and I had a difficult time reading it as the descriptions were very detailed. Even though I did find myself applauding the character of Matt for going after the killer, there was not much left to the imagination when the murders were taking place.

Quill says: A thrilling mystery that takes the reader on an intense ride.

For more information on Playing With Fire, please visit the author's website at: www.DavidTienter.com

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Review - As You Wish

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

By: Cary Elwes
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication Date: October 2014
ISBN: 978-1476764023
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: September 19, 2014

With the 25th anniversary of The Princess Bride upon us, actor Cary Elwes, who brought the character of Westley to life, has penned a memoir about the making of the family classic that fans of the movie should not miss. Interesting, funny, with lots of insight from various cast members, this book is a delight to read.

As You Wish begins with Cary Elwes recalling a note his agent sent him marked only with the word ‘Important.’ Upon calling her, Elwes learned that he was being considered for a role that would eventually change not just his career, but really, his entire life. Producing partners Rob Reiner and Andy Scheinman were interested in meeting Elwes to see if he was the right man to play one of the leads in their upcoming movie.

From the first meeting with Reiner and Scheinman to being introduced to Robin Wright and the other cast members, dealing with the R.O.U.S. (Rodents Of Unusual Size), and preparing for ‘The Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times,’ it’s all here. The book reads like a group project because there are so many sidebars from all the major players (actors, producers, etc.) that add a real family feel to the story (Elwes mentions several times how the cast and crew became very close and it certainly shows here). There are a lot of personal stories, and insights into various cast members (I particularly enjoyed the stories about André the Giant). Plenty of events from the filming are included too and I plan on re-watching the movie this weekend to see if I can spot that broken toe...

When The Princess Bride hit movie screens, it received good reviews although viewers didn’t flock to it in droves. While not a major hit, as soon as the home video market caught on, so too did The Princess Bride. Today, it is considered a classic, a movie that the whole family can enjoy. So too, is As You Wish - thank you, Mr. Elwes, for bringing the back-story of The Princess Bride to life in a book fans will love.

Quill says: A quick, fun read about a wonderful movie. If you enjoyed The Princess Bride, you’ll love this book.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TIME-LIFE Mysteries of the Unknown: Inside the World of the Strange and Unexplained

Publisher: TIME-LIFE
Publication Date: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1618933522
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: September 17, 2014

Time-Life Books has tackled some interesting topics in the past, and this book is certainly no exception to their quest to bring to light the strange and unusual. From ghosts to secret societies, this book offers a plethora of unexplained phenomena.

There are fifteen chapters in this book, tackling everything from “Psychics and Mediums,” “Curses,” “Vampires and Zombies” to “Witchery.” Did you know that “The father of Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula, was Dracul. Dracula means son of Dracul, or little devil”? How about the belief that salt is “said to ward off demonic forces”? Ever hear why the dragon was associated with the devil in the Middle Ages? You’ll read about these varied topics in Mysteries of the Unknown as well as so many more.

Along with stories of ghosts, zombies and mythical creatures are accounts of real events and occurrences that you may not know about, or understand the underlying causes of – until now. Did you know that there is actually a “Quiet Zone” of 13,000 square-miles in West Virginia where no cell phone works, there’s no Wi-Fi and very little else. Sound eerie? Actually, the explanation is simple – the Government established this zone to keep the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope free of interference as it searches the cosmos.

The back cover of Mysteries of the Unknown asks, “We are alone in the universe. Or Are we?” and states that with these series of books (which include World War II in 500 Photographs and Everything You Need to Know About the Bible), you will “Discover Something New; Know It Fast; See the Story for Yourself” and yes, this book delivers on all points. Each topic is presented quickly (note that doesn’t mean hastily and lacking information), with typically a two-page spread for each one, and plenty of full-color photographs. The stories are interesting, well-written, without fluff that would add pages but no useful information. In short, this is an easy reading, fun, informational book on all sorts of mysteries.

Quill says: With short, concise presentations on all sorts of “strange and unexplained” phenomena, this book is a great addition to the libraries of those who like to know the inside scoop on all sorts of mysteries.

Book Review - What Would Mary Ann Do?

What Would Mary Ann Do?: A Guide to Life

By: Dawn Wells
Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
Publication Date: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1630760281
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: September 17, 2014

For those of a ‘certain age,’ memories of Gilligan’s Island are filled with fond remembrances of happy times. Among many topics of discussion, boys argued about whether they’d like to date Mary Ann or Ginger, while the girls all discussed if they were more of a Ginger or Mary Ann. Now, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of show, one of only two surviving cast members, Dawn Wells (a.k.a. Mary Ann), has penned a new book with the catchy title, What Would Mary Ann Do?

Part memoir, part Gilligan’s Island trivia, with the bulk of the book filled with tips on everything from manners to men, the book is based on the premise of ‘what would Mary Ann do if she found herself in X situation’ with those situations ranging from how Mary Ann would handle today’s culture to how she’d deal with modern men.

There are over a dozen chapters in this guide, from “Please pass the manners” to “So you want to be in show business.” Many offer sage advice such as the chapter on “If at first you don’t succeed, fail, fail again” that, contrary to so many advice books today that say YOU are special, Ms. Wells contends that “Deep breath here. This might sting a little. Okay. Nobody is born special. This includes you.” (pg. 43). She goes on to say that “special is earned,” and lays out a plan on “how you become special.” This advice may seem a bit too old fashioned for some, but for many of us, it’s what people need to hear – they need to earn various things in life, milestones are not a given. Wells then uses examples from her own life (and of experiences from Gilligan’s Island) to bring home her point. Perhaps the best advice in the book (in my humble opinion, particularly important for young girls reading the book) came in the chapter, “The allure of being alluring,” where the author shares Mary Ann’s style points and the best advice of all, “Your looks are not worth your health.” Ladies, are you listening?

There are some nice stories here for fans of Gilligan’s Island but for those wanting a book purely of fan lore and stories of the show, this is not that book. Tidbits are shared throughout, with some nice sidebars on the various actors and what they were like, but again, it is not the main focus of the book. If, however, you’re looking for some down-home, honest, useful advice, take a look at this book.

Quill says: Dawn Wells does a lovely job of sharing advice about all aspects of life with a little help from Mary Ann.

Book Review - The Best Part of the Day

The Best Part of the Day

By: Sarah Ban Breathnach
Illustrated by: Wendy Edelson
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Publication Date: August 2014
ISBN: 978-1-62157-252-7
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: September 17, 2014

It is so nice—especially in the times we live in now where a computer screen offers up the next new story—to be able to enjoy and get lost in a book composed of beauty, finesse, and the absolute perfect combination of lovely writing and amazing illustrations.

This new children’s book proves itself to be one of those books; the books that are stuck in our memories because they were our favorites to hear and see when we were growing up. This is not an exaggeration, either. This story is all about seeing the world and being thankful for it. From outside the window, looking into the great expanse of the night, all of the cool creatures and stunning wildlife are at rest...settling down with their own families for a good night’s sleep.

From there, the book explores the enchanting moments that happen during each season. It brings children through autumn, seeing the creatures ‘stock up’ for when the winter snow starts to blow. Heading onto the bus for the first day of school, raking leaves – everything the lover of crisp, clean fall days enjoys most. Then, on to winter and the inevitable snowman; the creatures at rest while the warm fireplace burns. When spring comes to town, the wildlife once again peek their heads out to hear the enjoyment of the kids as they race back outside to have fun. Family loves the summertime, as well. Enjoying a picnic or fireworks with friends...every season is represented to a point where you wish it would never end, and staying a child forever could be a choice.

There is new life from a family friend, there is cuddling with sheep and learning, while still young enough to be excited by the world, that life is most definitely something to treasure.

For all readers, this will become a cherished book. This is one tale that, no matter how bad reality has intruded upon your day, will automatically uplift and excite. And when you curl up with the ones you love to read this story every evening, you will remember that the best part of your day is happening right then and there.

Great writing, incredible pictures, and a way to look at the world that we should all try to do at least once a day!

Quill Says: Enchanting.

Books In For Review

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

Keeping Fit from A to Z: Mantente en forma de la A a la Z by Stephanie Maze Designed to inspire children to stay active and healthy while introducing them to new vocabulary in two languages, this bilingual English/Spanish alphabet picture book features more than 200 colorful photographs with descriptive text of a variety of physical activities, sports, children's games, and problem-solving classroom exercises, as well as a glossary of health benefits for adults. Whether it's jumping with joy on a trampoline, flying kites on a breezy day, racing with friends in sleeping bags, rafting down rapids with family, or practicing karate kicks in class, exercise is key to one's health and well-being. Children and their parents will learn about the vast array of physical activities in the world today, as well as the importance of being active.

Playing With Fire by David Tienter An older ex-special forces Marine is asked to find a lost hiker on the Appalachian Trail. He discovers evidence of a heinous murder and the hunt is on for the Monster who would commit such a terrible crime. The fast pace action races down the east coast to the Florida Keys and back to the Trail. Exciting and surprising, this is a story that is a must read. A hero for all, especially those over 50.

Doghouse (A Gin & Tonic Mystery) by L. A. KornetskyEven though she’s unlicensed as an investigator, the infamously nosy Ginny Mallard has begun to make a name for herself as an unofficial champion of the tongue-tied. When a mysterious stranger comes to her with landlord trouble, she convinces her bartender friend Teddy Tonica to help her once more. Soon, they realize they might have got themselves tied up in an underground dogfighting ring. With the help of Ginny’s pet shar-pei puppy and Tonica’s tabby cat, they have to figure out what’s going on before someone else gets hurt. Will twelve legs really be better than four?

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner. The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come. Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.

Chuck It by Knut Hansen A dark and humorous anti-hero novel spanning an appromxiate 380 pages, magnifying the mythical otherness across the Atlantic, one way or the other, and exploring juvenile exuberance elongated by past and future dreams of those who've set sails and those who yet haven't.

Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread (Jane Austen Takes the South)by Mary Jane Hathaway Lucy Crawford is part of a wealthy, well-respected Southern family with a long local history. But since Lucy’s mother passed away, the family home, a gorgeous antebellum mansion, has fallen into disrepair and the depth of her father’s debts is only starting to be understood. Selling the family home may be the only option—until her Aunt Olympia floats the idea of using Crawford house to hold the local free medical clinic, which has just lost its space. As if turning the plantation home into a clinic isn’t bad enough, Lucy is shocked and dismayed to see that the doctor who will be manning the clinic is none other than Jeremiah Chevy—her first love. Lucy and Jeremiah were high school sweethearts, but Jeremiah was from the wrong side of the tracks. His family was redneck and proud, and Lucy was persuaded to dump him. He eventually left town on a scholarship, and now, ten years later, he’s returned as part of the rural physician program. And suddenly, their paths cross once again. While Lucy’s family still sees Jeremiah as trash, she sees something else in him—as do several of the other eligible ladies in town. Will he be able to forgive the past? Can she be persuaded to give love a chance this time around?

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson Maud Heighton came to Lafond's famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris, she quickly realizes, is no place for a light purse. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling decadence of the Belle Epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, she stumbles upon an opportunity when Christian Morel engages her as a live-in companion to his beautiful young sister, Sylvie. Maud is overjoyed by her good fortune. With a clean room, hot meals, and an umbrella to keep her dry, she is able to hold her head high as she strolls the streets of Montmartre. No longer hostage to poverty and hunger, Maud can at last devote herself to her art. But all is not as it seems. Christian and Sylvie, Maud soon discovers, are not quite the darlings they pretend to be. Sylvie has a secret addiction to opium and Christian has an ominous air of intrigue. As this dark and powerful tale progresses, Maud is drawn further into the Morels' world of elegant deception. Their secrets become hers, and soon she is caught in a scheme of betrayal and revenge that will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.

The Turning Season (A Shifting Circle Novel)by Sharon Shinn For Karadel, being a shape-shifter has always been a reality she couldn’t escape. Even though she’s built a safe life as a rural veterinarian, with a close-knit network of shifter and human friends who would do anything for her—and for each other—she can’t help but wish for a chance at being normal. When she’s not dealing with her shifts or caring for her animal patients, she attempts to develop a drug that will help shifters control their changes—a drug that might even allow them to remain human forever. But her comfortable life is threatened by two events: She meets an ordinary man who touches her heart, and her best friend is forced to shift publicly with deadly consequences. Now Karadel must decide whom to trust: her old friends or her new love.

Christmas Desserts: Sweets of the Season 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.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Review - Keepers of the Runes and the Tower of Shadows

Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows (Volume 1)

By: Andrew D. Cratsley
Illustrated By: Tony Foti
Publisher: Andrew D. Cratsley
Publication Date: May 2014
ISBN: 978-1494365530
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: September 11, 2014

After years of training, a young elf named Corinth is finally deemed worthy to be a sage knight by his teacher Tessius and is eager to serve his country of Enzlintine well. However, his first assignment sends him way beyond the forest that he knows and on top of everything else he realizes he will have to work with beings other than elves. For years he had been under the impression that elves were superior to every other race, especially humans who seemed to corrupt anything good with their greedy ways. Feeling discouraged at the prospect of working with humans, Corinth tries to convince Tessius that he can handle any assignment better if he is able to work alone. In the end, however, it is shown that Corinth will not have any choice in the matter. His own opinions will be tested as through the upcoming struggles he realizes that there are times where elves are not the superior beings.

Soon Corinth finds himself in the company of two humans; Aventis who has expansive knowledge of tracking and hunting, and Nadine who claims that she can infiltrate any place in any town. Of course Corinth does not think much of his human partners initially and insists that he would do just fine without either of their help. This causes numerous arguments between these three traveling companions but soon it is proven that they actually need each other more than ever as none will survive if they do not learn to trust one another. For the evil that they will have to face is more powerful than any of them imagined and without someone there to stop it, will sweep across every land leaving only death behind.

As soon as I read that this was a fantasy book I immediately wanted to start reading, as this genre is one I truly love. This book did not disappoint at all as from the very first page I was consumed by the amazing elements and characters that come from a great fantasy story. Author Andrew D. Cratsley took a little different approach to the relationship between elves and humans as he was able to show that growth in the character Corinth throughout the story as the adventures these characters go through bring about a definite respect and friendship. In addition to action, adventure, and suspense, I love when a book also brings to light the relationships that are growing and developing in the midst of the story. For me that is what relates a reader to the words they are reading and takes them to another place. This book did exactly that as I found myself worrying when a character was injured, or fighting when this group met an enemy and that made for a fantastic read.

Quill says: A book that brings together all of the amazing elements of a great fantasy adventure!

Book Review - Time For Kids All Access: Your Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Coolest People, Places and Things!

Time For Kids All Access: Your Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Coolest People, Places and Things!

By: Editors of the Time for Kids Magazine
Publisher: Time for Kids
Publication Date: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1618931054
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 11, 2014

Swat! Don’t like flies? Well, not too many people do, but there are lots of times we’d all like to be a fly on the wall. It would be kind of fun to take a look at all kinds of things, including people. Not that anyone wants to spy, but wouldn’t it be fun to check out the cast of the Hobbit? It would be kind of cool to know just what Bombur really looks like under all that reddish hair and mustache. Did you know that “it took about 8,800 pounds of silicone rubber to produce the facial prosthetics for the films?’’ Now you do and you’ll know what Nori, Fili, Dori, Bofu, Gloin, Dwain, Thorin, Balin, Oin, Bombur, Bifure, Ori, and Kili look like in real life when you flip that Lift-And-Look page. How cool can it get?

Take that fly mentality and head over to some real walls, walls in the White House. You can’t look at everything because that’s super-secret (and kind of nosy), but if you flip that Lift-And-Look page you can check out a cross-section of the White House! It’s actually a model of the house in Clermont, Florida, but it’s very realistic. John Zweifel “spent 50 years creating a miniature replica of the famous house.” It’s amazingly cool and so realistic you’ll think you’re looking at the real thing. You can see the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the furniture, paintings, rugs, and even a miniature version of Bo. In case you didn’t know, Bo is Malia and Sasha Obama’s dog.

Every now and then you probably get some big bucks for your birthday. Maybe you’ve even gotten one of those new $100 bills if you’re lucky. They look a lot different than they used to, but how can you tell the difference? That bill doesn’t even look anywhere near like it did more than a hundred years ago and you can check out how it changed over the years. There are a lot of new features. For example, if you “hold the bill up to the light, you’ll find a smaller simplified portrait of Franklin staring right back at you.” There’s some really interesting security features on this bill and you can impress your classmates by your new-found knowledge. Do you know what “color-shifting ink” is? You’ll know once you read this book!

This is a fun, fascinating look at some really cool people, places, and things. Many of these interesting facts have those Lift-And-Look pages that make it infinitely more interesting to read and browse. I had a lot of fun flipping pages back and forth trying to discover things like the hidden creatures in an Amazon forest. A forest is a forest until I turned the page and began to check out numerous critters staring right back at me. The book is divided into sections: People, Places, and Things. The layout pops with action and full-size, full color photographs. Sidebars and photograph captions add a lot to the text (and the fun). Admittedly, those sections with the Lift-And-Look tabs were the most fun, but no doubt, this book is definitely kid-friendly and has that wow factor that will lure in even the most reluctant readers!

Quill says: This will be one book that will be mighty hard to put down once you start flipping those pages!

Book Review - Sports Illustrated Kids All NEW Access: Your Behind-the-Scenes Pass to the Coolest Things in Sports

Sports Illustrated Kids All NEW Access: Your Behind-the-Scenes Pass to the Coolest Things in Sports

By: The Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids
Publisher: Sports Illustrated
Publication Date: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1618930491
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 11, 2014

Do you like Legos? If you’re a Carolina Panthers fan and think Cam Newton is the best thing since sliced bread you’re in for a real treat. Mix Legos and Newton and you’ll find that 24,360 Lego bricks later you’ll discover a very interesting model. Master builder Erik Varszegi built a way cool bust of Cam that actually looks like him. Maybe you’ve built that DeLorean Time Machine or even a Super Hero out of Legos, but building a bust of a real live hero is quite another thing. You’ll learn all of Varszegi’s little secrets and will learn just how he accomplished that amazing feat with Lego bricks. There’s a Lift-And-Look page for you to flip back and forth as you marvel over that amazing bust.

Everyone has their own special hideaway, but just where does CC Sabathia hang out? Well, this New York Yankees pitcher has his own idea of what a man cave, or should I say Fan Cave, should look like. He’s got a couch in one room. No big deal you may say, but do you have “a wall of 15 46-inch HD televisions” near yours? He doesn’t want to miss out on any games so fifteen it is. Sabathia has all kinds of other cool things in his Fan cave. He’s got a Home Run Slide, a Nonopus, and even a photo booth. If you don’t have a clue as to what a Nonopus is, you’ll just have to read this book to find out!

Maybe you’re a hockey fan. Unless you have hockey cards, you just might not know what Martin Brodeur looks like when he’s not suited up. Well, wait a minute, many of them show him in full gear “protecting the net for the New Jersey Devils.” He’s got on his mask, catcher glove, leg pads, he’s holding his stick, and there’s that blocker on his right hand. Flip that Lift-And-Look page and there is Brodeur standing on the ice with nothing on! Well, he does have on a Devils Hockey shirt and his leggings. You’ll find out a few interesting things about those leggings as well.

This is a fascinating look behind the scenes of some very interesting sports-oriented facts. Many of these interesting facts have those Lift-And-Look pages that make it infinitely more interesting to read and browse. Even I was interested in flipping these pages back and forth learning about such oddities as the biggest shoe size in the NBA. Youngsters can even put their foot on a full-scale shoe to see how they measure up. The book is divided into sections: Athletes, Places, and Gear. The layout pops with action and full-size, full color photographs. Sidebars and photograph captions add a lot to the text (and the fun). Admittedly, those sections with the Lift-And-Look pieces were the most fun, but no doubt, this book is definitely kid-friendly and has that wow factor that will lure in even the most reluctant readers!

Quill says: If you have a youngster who is a sports fan, this is one cool book to add to your list!

Book Review - Memoirs of an Elf

Memoirs of an Elf

By: Devin Scillian
Illustrated by: Tim Bowers
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1585369102
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 11, 2014

Spark Elf was all excited because it was Christmas Eve. Yeah! He was feeling extra short and extra excited so he stood beside Santa’s sleigh and took an elfie with Bobbin and Nutshell. Click, click! They were looking good. It was only an hour before they’d take off and the reindeer were all harnessed and ready to go. It was time to text Santa “Time to fly, big guy!” It wasn’t long before Santa was in the doorway kissing Momma Claus. Kiss, kiss! The sack of toys was in the back of the sleigh and Bobbin was making sure it was tied tightly while Nutshell was checking that list and checking it twice.

A “crack of the whip” and they were off. Spark started the timer. They only had 24 hours to deliver all those toys. Would they make it? The sleigh floated above the clouds with Santa at the reins. Guam and Figi were behind them and they moved right along, but there was a little problem. The fact that “Santa always wants to stop and pet EVERY dog” was slowing them down. Tugboat was awfully cute, but Spark shouted, “Santa, we gotta go!” Ho, ho, ho! There was only “18 hours to go.” The dogs, the cookies (yum!), and playing with all those toys was holding them up. Just when they thought they were all done, there was one little extra in the toy bag. It was Tugboat! Was someone’s Christmas going to be ruined or could they get him back in time?

This is a delightfully hilarious Christmas tale that children will love. This is a modern-day twist on Santa and his elves’ big night. It is one tale that little ones will relate to as Spark texts, snaps elfies (selfies), and keeps time on his smart phone. The tale is the perfect blend between the classic Christmas tale and the high-tech world young children see around them. There are several little-known facts about Santa scattered throughout the book. For example, “When Santa is serious about something, he bets you a candy cane.” The artwork sparks with excitement and is wonderfully appealing. This is definitely one tale that should be added to the list of Christmas classics!

Quill says: If you're interested in a modern-day Christmas classic, this is a perfect choice!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Review - Getting Even

Getting Even

By: Sarah Rayner
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1-250-058-737
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: September 9, 2014

Sarah Rayner takes revenge to a whole new level in her latest novel, Getting Even.
Ivy and Orianna are the best of friends. They are Green Integrated’s dynamic duo at the prestigious London ad agency. Little did either know the fierce energies they brought to the table for That Sunshine Feeling campaign would be the beginning and unraveling of their friendship. It may be the last job they work together as a harmonious team. Orianna ignores the lessons learned from her last romantic involvement with a colleague and is drawn to dreamy and handsome head of production, Dan. She convinces herself that this time would be different. Ivy, on the other hand, has no intentions of telling anyone about her proclivities in the workplace; especially since both she and her extracurricular love interest at the firm are both married. Unbeknownst to all three, personal trainer Rob would be the link to the destruction of their once perfect little universes.

Convinced it is time to make their union known among office peers, Dan and Orianna come out. Sadly, Ivy was the one person Orianna wanted to break the news to first but trainer Rob beats her to the punch. It’s no secret Ivy is offended, but she manages to forgive Orianna for keeping such an important secret from her. With feelings mended and back to business as usual, life goes on at Green Integrated. What is completely unforgivable and certainly a permanent fracture on the two apparently inseparable workmates is when Ivy inadvertently learns that Creative Director Neil is leaving the firm and bestie Orianna has been graced with the coveted role of backfilling his lofty role. As far as Ivy is concerned, this is the last, deceitful straw she will be dealt. It’s game on and Ivy’s new mission in life is to do anything and everything in her power to bring down Orianna—no longer a friend, but most certainly a foe.

Sarah Rayner is specific with the development of each character’s persona (and as a group) which solidifies the tone of her story in the opening pages of Getting Even. Her winning formula of placing the focus on perfecting the ambiance of electrifying competitiveness among her characters is existent in the fast-past environment of an advertising agency. Her dialogue is crisp and believable and because of this, the reader is able to assume an immediate connection to the goings on in the plot. Ms. Rayner doesn’t over-embellish her scenes with unnecessary ‘telling.’ Rather, she plants sublime suggestions for the reader to willingly embrace which allows the reader to see the plot unfold while actively engaging in the story line. Ms. Rayner tempers the drama between the two main characters (Ivy and Orianna) which is a skill that makes the writing solid and the story believable. I personally have worked in a corporate environment for many years and could relate to the (sometimes) ‘bitchy’ competition between women who vie for that one role they both covet, but only one will receive. Indeed, when the challenge is on, women can be a force to reckon with. Ms. Raynor has done an excellent job of portraying this premise. I look forward to her next body of work.

Quill says: Getting Even is an engaging read of ‘be careful what you wish for’ with a whole lot of revenge sprinkled across its pages.

Book Review - Digger and Daisy Go to the Doctor

Digger and Daisy go to the Doctor

By: Judy Young
Illustrated by: Dana Sullivan
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: September 2014
ISBN: 1585368458
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 9, 2014

It was time to get up, but no way was Digger planning on it. Ugh! That baseball cap wasn’t going on his head because that miserable head was resting on his pillow. Daisy had a mouthful of toothpaste as she stepped into Digger’s room to look at him. “Get up, Digger,” says Daisy / “I do not want to,” Digger says. / “I do not feel good.” Ugh! Digger covered his head with his pillow, but his sister, Daisy, had to take a good look at him. She checked his nose (ouch!) and made him open his mouth so she could check his tongue. Ugh! It did not look good and Digger would have to go to the doctor.

Daisy put Digger in his little red wagon and took him off to the doctor’s office. “I do not want do go,” he exclaimed, “I will get a shot.” Daisy would be right there with him and told him he’d be just fine. Up on the examining table. No! Once Daisy jumped up it wasn’t as scary. “Let me look in your eyes,” said the doctor. No! Daisy let the doctor look in her eyes. On and on they went and each time Daisy would encourage him to be brave. “See, Digger. It does not hurt.” No! Digger was really trying to be brave, but something was going to happen to Daisy. Was she going to be brave or would Digger have to encourage her too?

This is a fun, humorous tale of Digger and his reluctant doctor visit young readers will love. Daisy, a loving supporting sister, tries to help the frightened Digger through his doctor’s exam. She tries to be chipper and very encouraging until the tide is turned. There’s an adorable twist at the end of the book that will make young readers chuckle at Daisy this time instead of Digger. The artwork it bright, colorful, and has that now familiar Digger ‘n Daisy pizzazz I saw in the first book in the series. Digger and Daisy are a brother and sister team that will definitely be a hit series for beginning readers.

Grades K - 1

Quill says: This is a delightful beginning reader series with a touch of humor young readers will love!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Review - Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky

By: Sandra Dallas
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: September 2014
ISBN: 978-1585369065
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 5, 2014

Tomi Itano was an American, or so she thought. “Go on, kids. Scram. Can’t you read the sign?” Mr. Akron had always been nice to them until now. Tomi and her brother Hiro were just going to get some candy, but something was terribly wrong and they weren’t going to be getting any. Osamu, Sam, her father, and her mother Sumiko had come from Japan and were Issei, first generation Americans. It didn’t make a lot of sense that they were all of a sudden not American. One thing the Itanos knew how to do was raise the stars and stripes before they began working on their strawberry farm in the morning.

The strange men started asking Tomi about Pop. “Does your father use the radio late at night?” Didn’t everyone? Her father wasn’t welcome in America any more either. The FBI was sending Pop to New Mexico. Mom, Tomi, and her brothers Hiro and Roy would be staying behind in California, or so they thought. “Shikata ga nai,” Mom exclaimed. It couldn’t be helped and neither could the Itano family. Heck, twelve-year-old Tomi couldn’t even speak Japanese, but when Mrs. Malkin told her she was out of the Girl Scouts she understood that.

The furniture was sold for pennies on the dollar, but no way was Mom going to sell her washing machine for twenty-five cents. Breaking it was better than selling it for two bits and so she did just that. Executive Order 9066 was a piece of paper that turned Tomi Itano into an evacuee. First stop was Santa Anita where there was a ”high barbed-wire fence” and men with guns. The Itanos crowded into a horse stall in “horse-stall hotel.” Mom would make it into a home, but soon they would be heading to Tallgrass, Colorado. “Go on back to where you came from?” Yeah, but where did Tomi belong if it wasn’t in America?

This is a poignant story of Tomi Itano, a young American, who had no home. An ugly chapter in American history is once again brought to life for young readers with “Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky. For many it will be difficult to believe that there would be anything like a “No Japs Allowed” sign in a store, let alone relocation camps. Tomi is a very likeable character, a young girl that many will be able to relate to. We meet many other children in the camps and learn about the stoic bravery of many of the people interned there. This is a marvelous tale that’s not just for young readers, but everyone.

Quill says: This is a period in American history few will forget, a period that young people need to be made aware of.

Books In For Review

Here's a peek at some of the books that have recently arrived for review.  Check them out and then stop by our site in a few weeks to read the reviews!

To Have and To Hold by Trae Stratton The date is set. Colin MacLann is getting married. Growing up in the suburbs of New York City at a time when kids could still be kids and sometimes were for too long, Colin looked like he had it all: he was smart, athletic, had a voice for rock 'n' roll, and lots of luck. There were girlfriends too, five of them: Cindy, Haley, Cara, Monique and Tessa. Each of them burst into his life at different times to inspire him in their own unique way, and more often than not, broke his heart too. Still, fate has chosen one of them to be his soul mate. Will Colin grow up in time to earn a place at the altar beside her? Or must destiny deliver someone else?  

TIME-LIFE Mysteries of the Unknown: Inside the World of the Strange and Unexplained Time For Kids All Access: Your Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Coolest People, Places and Things! In TIME FOR KIDS' All Access, the editors of TFK give readers a thrilling behind-the-scenes look at some of the coolest places in the world. From historic artifacts (such as King Tut's tomb) to modern-day locations (like on set of a CGI movie), All Access will span time and place. This book provides a fun mix of entertainment, history, geography and science, written with the insider knowledge and trusted voice of TIME FOR KIDS. With seven lift-and-look pages, each spread is guaranteed to engross kids of all ages with illustrations of never-before-seen objects and places.  

Sports Illustrated Kids All NEW Access: Your Behind-the-Scenes Pass to the Coolest Things in Sports Sports Illustrated Kids reveals the coolest and most rarely seen parts of the sports world in ALL ACCESS. Kids get an inside look at state-of-the-art locker rooms, star athletes' houses, and their amazing collections. Readers will be awed by how a stadium transforms from a baseball diamond to an ice rink, as well as how a football starts as a piece of hide to becoming game-ready. Sports fans of all ages will love the lift-and-look features that allow them to literally peel back the layers for behind-the-scenes access that only SI Kids can provide.  

Marvel Avengers Assemble in Action Poster-A-Page (Marvel Poster-a-Page) United to battle foes no single hero could withstand, The Avengers are the most powerful Super Hero team in the world! Including Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man,and the Black Widow, this book as all of the favorite Marvel characters. Poster-A-Page delivers children's most popular characters, stories, and memorable moments to them in a unique visual format. With every page a poster, plus 9 supersize fold-out posters inside, this series offers kids ages 4-12 the opportunity to bring their favorite friends and stories into their homes, onto their walls, and become part of their world.  

Disney Frozen: Magical Moments Poster-A-Page (Disney Frozen Poster-a-Page) Frozen is the story of fearless optimist Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) sets off on an epic journey-teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven-to find her sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. Poster-A-Page delivers children's most popular characters, stories, and memorable moments to them in a unique visual format. With every page a poster, plus 9 supersize fold-out posters inside, this series offers kids ages 4-12 the opportunity to bring their favorite friends and stories into their homes, onto their walls, and become part of their world.  

Dreamer's Pool: A Blackthorn & Grim Novel by Juliet Marillier In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help. Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters. With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

Of Bone and Thunder by Chris Evans Channeling the turbulent period of the Vietnam War and its ruthless pitting of ideologies, cultures, generations, and races against each other, military historian and acclaimed fantasy writer Chris Evans takes a daring new approach to the traditional world of sword and sorcery by thrusting it into a maelstrom of racial animus, drug use, rebellion, and a growing war that seems at once unwinnable and with no end in sight. In this thrilling epic, right and wrong, country and honor, freedom and sacrifice are all put to the ultimate test in the heart of a dark, bloody, otherworldly jungle. In this strange, new world deep among the shadows under a triple-canopy jungle and plagued by dangers real and imagined, soldiers strive to fulfill a mission they don’t understand and are ill-equipped to carry out. And high above them, the heavy rush of wings slashing through the humid air herald a coming wave of death and destruction, and just possibly, salvation.

Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows (Volume 1) by Andrew D Cratsley Haunted by his sordid past, Corinth emerges from his solitude within the eternal forest around Enzlintine. Eager to serve, he is sent away under the ruse of a mercenary to quell the troubled region plagued by Khalid, the Lord of Conquest. Unsure of his companions, he discovers a world unlike the one imparted by his vain race. The trail of deadly contracts leads them to a mysterious tower inhabited by an unforeseen evil. It forces them into greater dangers to retrieve an unknown object, under the escort a young girl it claims as his ward. Offering her assistance to flee in exchange for her safety, her charm and peculiar lineage forces the noble soldier of fortune to question his precious ideals while seeking refuge. They race towards a frigid wasteland to find the bane of the evil that stalks them, while battling assassins, ominous creatures, and the forces of Khalid.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Submissions for Feathered Quill's Book Awards

Things are heating up here for our annual awards program. Here's just one day's submissions. Competition will be stiff - will your book be among the winners???

Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Review - The Garden of Letters

The Garden of Letters

By: Alyson Richman
Publisher: The Berkley Publishing Group
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 978-0-425-26625-0
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: September 2, 2014

Using the backdrop of World War II Italy, Alyson Richmon delivers an engaging story in her latest novel, The Garden of Letters.

The story opens with the introduction of Elodie Bertolotti, an accomplished cello prodigy. She lives in Verona, Italy and was blessed at birth with her father’s gift of music and her mother’s hypnotic beauty. War is the furthest thing from Elodie’s world until Mussolini’s Fascist regime is on her family’s doorstep. Elodie has no intentions of being drawn into the resistance movement until she meets Luca—a young man with a passion for his books. With the Occupation looming on Verona’s horizon, Elodie realizes her musical talent can contribute more than a lull of listening enjoyment and save lives from the devastation and ravages of war. Perhaps this is the reason Elodie was graced with her gift of music.

War is not selective in those it scars. Alone and frightened, Elodie’s journey takes her to Portofino. She is a stranger in a strange place as she steps off the boat. It would not have come to this had she not forgotten the secret code she was supposed to play on her cello for the Wolf that night. The Verona she barely escaped is now a sad memory and her reality is that it is a place she can never return to. Fortunately for Elodie, young doctor Angelo Roselli is at the docks and what she doesn’t know is he will be her sanctuary. Angelo is weighted down by his own burden of battle wounds in the form of guilt and remorse. Destiny has placed these two strangers in this moment with little more than a glimmer of hope and the prospect of new beginnings.

Alyson Richman accomplishes a heartfelt connection for the reader with her rendition of what it must have been like to survive one of the most iconic wars of our time. Her style lends a tangible ‘in the moment’ sense of being right beside the characters during the Occupation in Italy during World War II. Richman lends her distinct voice to her main character, Elodie Bertolotti, enabling the reader to feel the depth of her tragic experiences and loss. Yet, the sublime thread of hope Richman has woven throughout the story provides a comfortable cadence for the reader’s use in turning each page. Richman breathes life into each character and uses the premise of the importance of Elodie’s cello playing that reaches beyond music to one’s ears as the substance to establish a strong pace in moving the story eventually to its ending. This story is full of heart and this is the very essence of what a solid story is intended to be: the ‘perfect escape.’

Quill says: The Garden of Letters is a moving account of endurance and perseverance and Ms. Richman deserves praise for its delivery.