Welcome to Feathered Quill Book Reviews, a place for readers to find their next treasure.
Along with reviews of many well-known titles, this site also searches out unique books
from small, independent presses.
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The Enchantment of Emma Fletcher
By: L.D. Critchton
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: March 2017
Reviewed by: Diana Buss
Review Date: March 23, 2017
As her Volkswagen Beetle breaks down, we find Emma Fletcher back in her hometown of Stonefall - the place she spent her entire life trying to get away from. After growing up with an alcoholic mother and a past she would rather not remember, she returns only out of necessity - it's the only place she could go. After years of not returning home and every intention of leaving as soon as she can, an old childhood friend rides up on his motorcycle. Desperate to not be remembered, she pretends she does not know him and hesitates when he offers to send for a tow truck. Not only can she not afford it, but she knows it will be Tristan behind the wheel, Mateo’s best friend and by far the best looking man in their small town. Emma, too tired to argue anymore, finally relents and Mateo calls Tristan, telling him to hurry as it’s going to rain and he can’t leave a beautiful girl in the rain. Within ten minutes, Tristan arrives and sees Emma, and upon seeing her, old childhood memories of her flood back into his mind. If he thought the reunion was going to be a warm one, he was sadly mistaken, as she is carrying a secret far darker than he could have ever imagined.
Upon arriving at her mother’s house, she finds that her mother may have stopped drinking, much to her surprise, but Emma refuses to get her hopes up, as she has had them broken before. Not long after settling in, Emma's best friend, Marley drops in. Surprised to see her but not surprised Mateo told Marley she was home, Emma comes up with the excuse that she needed to take some time to settle in, and that she’s sorry she didn’t tell her she was coming home. There has been a lot she hasn’t told Marley, and she certainly doesn’t intend to now. After avoiding Marley and Stonefall for three years, when Marley asks her to go to a party with her, Emma is reluctant, but her guilt drives her to go. Mateo and Tristan are there, and Tristan is just as reluctant as Emma to be there. Tristan and Emma end up spending time there together, and this is when Tristan gets the first glimpse that something terrible has happened to Emma, and he wants to help her in any way he can - even though he has deep-rooted problems of his own past to deal with. Both not ready for a relationship or love, they come to find it and together, work through their past problems and tragedies in order to overcome and slay their own dragons, learning that the past can be let go and the present can be better than ever before.
Not only is The Enchantment of Emma Fletcher completely suspenseful and captivating, but it will leave you needing a second volume. This is the type of book that you could easily read a little at a time, but you will dread putting it down. Not only is it well-written and descriptive, but it also deals with all too relevant issues in a manner that is taken seriously and gives the reader hope for the future. The way the internal conflicts were handled and tied in with the other characters and the rest of the story was clearly and easily understood, while not sacrificing the serious material. The lessons that were taught in The Enchantment of Emma Fletcher were deep and thought-provoking, not preachy and cliche. It was refreshing to read a book with this subject matter and not feel awkward or as though it was too lightly discussed. It was taken as seriously as it should have been without going overboard and left you with the feeling that no matter what you have been through, no matter how it altered your life, you have the power to slay your dragons and control your future. This was a beautifully tied-together love story where the female conquered her demons thanks to taking control of her own story, not the man saving the damsel.
Quill says: The Enchantment of Emma Fletcher is a book you will want to spend the entire day devouring, as it’s impossible to put down.
The Road to Transition
By: Bree Record
Publisher: Page Pubishing
Publication Date: September 2016
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: March 19, 2017
Come along with author Bree Record as she takes you on an eye-opening journey of her tumultuous life as a transgender person in the book The Road to Transition. While a critical aspect of this story may have taken forty days to create, it is the fifty five years of this author’s life, (a life that was often felt as mere existence, rather than truly being alive) that this book also focuses upon. These years were repeatedly filled with unbearable emotional torment that is descriptively written in such extreme detail that the reader can feel and understand what it is to be living in a body that was assigned one gender at birth, but which your mind thoroughly believes is inaccurate, and should be the opposite gender.
It is strongly advised to carefully read the author's prologue, and her first diary entry where she explains that this book is not just a memoir about a past life that was filled with crippling gender dysphoria. More importantly, the other part of her narrative is taken directly, and unedited, from journal entries that were created in the forty days prior to her gender reassignment surgery. The author openly admits that the wording of these journal entries are a bit awkward at times, and while it is true that mining passages directly from the source can indeed yield a plethora of raw emotion that may otherwise be missed if it were to be overly edited, this book could use a bit of fine tuning - particularly because The Road to Transition has such vividly descriptive details and moves from chapters discussing the author’s past starting from childhood all the way to the present day some five decades later interspersed with equally raw present day diary entries. Perhaps splitting this book into two separate sections starting with the author’s past living as a transgender person, and then moving onto the second part where the author embarks on her road to transition surgery by including her forty days of journal entries would make this good memoir clearer and even more impactful. Readers may also become a little bit confused at times when the author refers to her past selves as two different names, one being born as Sarah and the other being Steven. To clarify this, (and ultimately prove how disjointed the author’s life truly was most of her life) the author truly felt that she was born a female and named herself Sarah for the first twelve years of her life despite the fact that her parents named her Steven.
After reading The Road to Transition and looking back and ruminating upon the book’s cover one can truly empathize with the author embarking on a journey that will ultimately lead to transition. Readers will notice that the bottom of the picture depicts a desert road that is rocky and contains a broken road sign with the word “Transition” written on it. This is much like the broken and rocky life that the author led for most of her life. Proceeding up the road is a hazy greenish area in which the transition road leads directly into tall snow-capped mountains - perhaps this could be viewed as the unknown oasis in the future leading up to the better, more beautiful world that the author will be able to live in once the transition is complete.
Quill says: While The Road to Transition is a winding course filled with many bumps for both the author and the reader, it is filled with emotionally charged passages that makes it a good read for not only the LGBTQ community, but for anyone who wants to truly understand what it is like to be transgender.
By: Rev. Dr. Mushtaq H. Jaafri
Publication Date: February 2017
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: March 13, 2017
When it comes to the arena of self-help/inspirational books, there are far more than 84 of them. However, this actually helps you understand the “wheel of 84,” among other practices, and how to achieve a spiritual mindset.
What does this mean, exactly? It is a fact that in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi there is an object called a “lakh” that represents one hundred thousand units – this represents (or keeps track of) the 84 hundred thousand rounds of birth and death that a soul passes through. However, this particular book offers ‘inside information’ on how to best attain a life that allows you to bypass this constant wheel.
In this highly informative book, Rev. Dr. Jaafri begins with an introduction to what the soul really is and why we should acknowledge and understand the fact that a human being is not just a physical being or physical body. We are actually all souls or spirits that are not just a theory that is written about in religious texts: our souls are a reality.
It was this informed man who felt as if his own spirit was trying to communicate with him for quite some time during his life. He went through stages of feeling “odd,” perhaps even a little crazy – as we all do when we suggest to others a reality that they may not believe in or see a need for. Joining various spiritual organizations on his quest for the inner soul, Rev. Dr. Jaafri went on to learn more, communicate and actually “see” that inner spirit that made up a substantial part of him.
This book speaks about what a soul really is and how to identify with it. How we can attain a “quiet mind” that allows us to accept our souls which then allow us to “go with the flow” and accept who we are in reality. Readers learn about this man’s first look at America and how he went on to walk his own spiritual path – not with blind faith, mind you, but a path that an individual can test and “try on for size.” He speaks about having faith in daily experiences and how to know that you are on the right spiritual path. Educationally, he goes step-by-step through the mental exercises that can be done to monitor your thoughts, as well as offering answers to questions regarding the five parts of the human mind outlined in his book. He also delves into the human being’s three personalities: ego self, personal self and spiritual self.
In summary, this author offers up an easy-to-understand, and even easier way to practice and accept, how to allow your spirit to be a large part of your daily life and your daily adventures.
Quill says: Among the many titles on the market in this genre, this is one that is extremely deserving of a place on your bookshelf.