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 Review Of The Day
 Chanting the Feminine Down
 Chanting the Feminine Down: A Psychological, Religious, and Historical Novel

By: James C. McCullagh
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: November 2017
ISBN: 978-1-979059909
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor

Readers begin in the Bronx...behind a curtain.  There is, however, far more in regards to the "scenery" than you would imagine if you're seeking a simple "girl in New York" tale. Which is exactly what would and should lead you to read on.

Her name is Colette McGovern and she is going through a time in life that is, by all rights, a choice, but a choice that she must live with for the end of time. She is also a graduate student in the field of Christian Theology. Her journey, so to speak, begins when Colette must choose a topic and put together her senior project for Professor Gleason. But the last thing Colette wants to do is really throw herself into the topic. As she, herself, states, she didn't care if her topic was about the man on the moon, just so long as it was unexciting and at a time in history that was so far back no one would care too much about it. In other words, get the grade and get out...of both school and the Bronx, which is exactly what Colette is yearning to do. Thus, she picks the Council of Trent as her theme, and even Gleason could care less, thinking that particular period to be nothing more than confused and boring.

Colette's mother's name is Patricia. She is what some in today's society would deem "a die-hard Catholic." She knows the Latin Mass by heart, attends it regularly, and likes to speak at home in Latin, feeling as if it brings her closer to Colette's father who has passed away. In addition, Mom also acts a bit like an Agatha Christie character, as if searching for clues to what her daughter's temptations and sins really are.

Colette's dreams at night are beginning to get highly haunting. One night she has a dream that truly confuses her and she decides to set up an appointment with the campus counselor, Mr. O'Connell, to see if he can offer any help. What Colette turns to more, however, is her dream journal; recordings made about what she sees and feels while sleeping. The scope of her visions include everything from negative feelings to historical time periods with a cavalcade of characters, and Collette (along with the reader) finds herself literally taking a trek through time.

Colette searches to better comprehend everything from the Council of Trent to Catholicism, to somehow reinstate or bring back her own spirituality which has dissipated. Utilizing everything from religious viewpoints to mythological beliefs, she strives to discover the feminine in Christianity. Only, she stumbles upon more questions as she attempts to gain the understanding she lacks in order to grow, mature, and live life to the fullest.

The writer has done an incredible job delving into subjects that are a bit hard to deal with. Through his character's eyes, he also allows for beauty and richness from the mystical/mythological world to enter into the text in order to keep the story fresh, introducing people like Boccaccio and the Renaissance crowd. Readers see the struggle that Colette faces in a male-dominated religious landscape, and watch her meet up with and revel in the feminists who, throughout the ages, became true heroes who stood up against patriarchal societies and the Church during their lifetimes.

The title is completely factual for this drama that states it to be a "psychological, religious and historical" novel. Because after reading about Colette and her "travels," you will completely see all three paths taken in order to create this extremely profound book.

Quill says: A well-done drama spotlighting provocative questions that still reside in the human consciousness today.

Author Feathered Quill Book Reviews  Added On Wed Aug 01st,2018
Rating (0)  Category Religion and Spirituality
 
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 Latest Reviews
 Kita and the Magic Paint
 

Kita and the Magic Paint


By: Laura Schaumer
Illustrated by: Pardeep Mehra
Publisher: Laura Schaumer Books
Publication Date: November 2020
ISBN: 978-1777453428
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: November 23, 2021


Two friends, a lot of paint, and loads of pretty, little daisies, combine to create a fun new children’s book that teaches children what happens when colors are mixed together.


Kita the raccoon and Bushy the squirrel are good friends who love to play together. Today, they have several cans of paint and lots of white daisies to paint. Kita decides to first paint a daisy blue while Bushy paints one red. But then Kita decides it’d be fun to add red to her daisy while Bushy adds blue to his red daisy. They both expect that the daisies will be half red and half blue. But wow! Surprise! Both daisies turn purple! It must be magic!


The two friends decide that they should try different colors and see what happens. Kita paints a daisy yellow while Bushy paints one blue. The “new” yellow and blue daisies look lovely so they decide to swap paint colors again and see what happens. And wow! Surprise! Both daisies turn green! It must be magic!


Soon, Kita and Bushy are joined by other friends and they all get excited about trying different color combinations. Each time, the result is unexpected. And when Annie the bunny hops her way onto the painted daisies, watch out!


Kita and the Magic Paint is a fun story that uses a delightful assortment of animal friends to teach young readers about the wonders of colors. The concept of mixing two colors to create an all-new color can be confusing for youngsters but debut author Laura Schaumer figured out a unique way to convey the “magic” that happens when you mix colors. To aid in understanding, the black text of the story is changed to another color when a specific color is mentioned (the word “blue” changes to blue text, “red” to red text, etc.). Children may be surprised by each color change and will likely try to guess the results of each mixing of colors as they turn the pages. When you then add in the vibrant, adorable illustrations by Pardeep Mehra, this will likely be a book your child will reach for again and again.


Quill says: What is better than having fun with paints and watching different colors combine to make all new colors? Kita and the Magic Paint uses a delightful array of forest animals to teach children what happens when you mix colors in a way that young readers can easily understand.


For more information on Kita and the Magic Paint, please visit the author's website at: lauraschaumerbooks.com

Author Feathered Quill Book Reviews  Added On Thu Nov 25th,2021
Rating (0)  Category Children
 The Extraordinarily Ordinary Life of Prince: Everybody’s Good at Something by Prince A. Sanders
 

Several things make a children’s book iconic, like addressing pressing social issues, speaking to adults and children alike, and the test of time. The only box that “The Extraordinarily Ordinary Life of Prince: Everybody’s Good at Something” has left to tick is the test of time. Freshly out of the press, Prince A. Sanders’ book continues building a magically creative universe.

This is the second piece of a puzzle that reflects the author’s childhood. The series is infused with a strongly personal note that immediately disarms the reader, leaving them open to the full magnitude of the experience. The short book is more than just a read; it is an experience of how the world of adults and children intersect.

Seven-year-old Prince is at an age driven by exploration. He spends many recesses chasing after the secrets and wonders of nature. It soon dawns on his classmates that Prince does not follow the script. While his older brother is a star athlete at the school, Prince fails to prevail at sports and live up to his brother’s reputation. Shortly, Prince starts feeling more of an outsider and, worst of all, a stranger to himself.

Prince grows to accept that his path is different from his brother’s and what others might expect of him. But he is yet unaware of where his own path will take him. The road ahead is cleared when he least expects it, at a ballet performance. When the whole family goes to watch a show, Prince becomes entranced by the organic movements of the performers and longs to be part of the magical universe.

While the path may be visible to him, not everybody shares his view. It is common for parents and other adults to build up certain expectations and lay out a life course for children. Yet, when they make their own decisions, it is essential to respect their validity and offer support to fulfill their dreams. The truth that Prince lays out in front of us is that one may see their own path clearer than anyone else. However, societal expectations and norms may cast a shadow, threatening the fulfillment of one’s dream and destiny.

The images that bring vibrant colors to the pages of the book deserve a special mention. The artist takes vivid snapshots of some of the more crucial moments in the life of Prince. It is certainly worth stopping at each picture to take in the events depicted. True to the mark of a genuine artist, these depictions don’t act as a distraction in the storyline but rather build on it, adding a new fun dimension.

Just like the previous book, “The Extraordinarily Ordinary Life of Prince: Everybody’s Good at Something” is accessible to early readers (ages 6 to 8) but it can be read to children of all ages. In fact, parents or any adults who are immersed in the world of children somehow could benefit from this moving story told by Prince A. Sanders. It is a wonderful tale that can inspire children to follow their dreams and adults to shelter the often-fragile dreams of childhood.

Author Timea Barabas  Added On Thu Nov 25th,2021
Rating (0)  Category Children
 Interview with Author Harry J. Karapalides
 
Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Barbara Bamberger Scott is talking with Harry J. Karapalides, author of A Promise of Remembrance.
FQ: Have you traveled to or maintained any personal ties to Greece; if so, how did that affect your composition of this book?
KARAPALIDES: Yes. I still have family in Greece, both in Athens, and in the area where the story takes place, Macedonia, Greece. I also travel the Greek islands. When I am there, I am inspired by seeing the Parthenon in Athens or the monument to King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, and to learn stories of the Ancient Greeks, but also the stories of the freedom fighters of the Greek Revolution of 1821, or the men and women that fought the Germans that parachuted into Crete during the Battle of Crete. Of course, just staring out into the deep blue Mediterranean Sea makes my mind race with a thousand stories. It all definitely inspires me.
FQ: A Promise of Remembrance is in many ways a positive story that shows how people can help others in times of need, directly and indirectly. Is that a theme that you will continue to pursue in future writing?
KARAPALIDES: Of course. I have written eight novels and novellas, in different genres, and this theme seems to be throughout them. My parents instilled in me the Ancient Greek concept of “Philotimo,” which is a Greek word hard to translate. The best translation of Philotimo is pride in self, pride in family, pride in community, and above all, pride in doing the right thing. Throughout my parents’ lives, especially during those horrible times of WWII and the Greek Civil War, they continued to live the concept of Philotimo, and how to live life. Unfortunately, my father passed away in September, 2021, at age 93 but my mother is still with us at age 91. They taught me Philotimo and how to live one’s life, and hopefully I have passed down the same to my children.
FQ: Does writing about the elimination of an oppressive regime give you a sense of hope in current times, or do you see bleak global scenarios developing now?
KARAPALIDES: “Oppressive regimes” are as old as Cain slaying Abel. Men and women throughout history have always sought to conquer and enslave others. Unfortunately, it is part of life ad of the world’s history. However, whenever someone tries to take your freedom away, there is always an individual who rises up and says “no!” When Europe fell to Hitler and Asia fell to the Japanese, the collective world said “no!” and tyranny was defeated. In my opinion, there will always be someone who says “no!”
FQ: Could you envision a feature length film or dramatic TV series based on this book?
KARAPALIDES: Yes. However, I have read thousands of books that I always think would make a great movie or TV show. Everyone has a story and these stories should be told, whether in printed form or up on the big screen (or on our little iPad screen!!). Someday I hope that fate will come by and choose this book or any other of my books to be made into a movie or TV series.
FQ: What is your favorite episode in this gripping story?
KARAPALIDES: The book is about a father and son and their struggle during the war, but the wives and mothers suffered just as much. In Paragraph 13, when Theodora (Vangeli’s mother) is stopped by the communist guerillas (known as “anadartes”), and they attempt to take her younger son Niko, as a recruit, she stands up to them. The Greek women of that time were tough. While their men were out fighting, it was the women that kept the family and the household together. They are the unsung heroes.
FQ: You’ve written quite a few books, many with an historical focus. Do you find historical fiction to be your “comfort genre,” meaning, it’s what you enjoy most?
KARAPALIDES: Yes. I am a student of history and history always sneaks into my writings. I feel the events of the past can be used today to show us where we should or should not be going.
FQ: You’ve written a few books about the American Revolution. What drew you to writing about this period? Also, I love the idea of your “Dates of the American Revolution” quick reference. This would be a perfect tool for schools. Have you had success getting it into the hands of students or are you marketing it differently?
KARAPALIDES: One of my most favorite periods in history is the American Revolution (and I do live near Philadelphia), and the person I admire the most in history is George Washington (close second is Alexander the Great). Obviously my first novel, Revolt, is a spy thriller based on the beginning of the American War of Independence. In researching the book, I would write down the dates of an event during the war, and I found myself with a long list! I got a calendar and wrote-in what happened on each day. The calendar started filling up. At that point I decided that since I had so many dates, I should just turn it into a book. The book did well. It is in many school libraries, cited in other research and text books. It was also cited as a research tool in Williamsburg, VA, and at archeological digs of a Revolutionary War fort in South Carolina. I have had several retired military officers comment on the book and recommending it to any student of history.
FQ: Your latest book, Go Tell the Mocha Man, is quite different from your other works. Would you tell our readers a bit about this newest tale?
KARAPALIDES: It’s aliens meet rock and roll! The main character, Homer Ulysses Jimi Hendrix Smith, is about to learn that the Universe is a very strange place, especially its love for Classic Rock! From escalators that travel through space to a classic car that is more than it seems, Go Tell The Mocha Man is a story that takes you from one world to another, with twists and turns as you your turn the pages of this science fiction adventure that is truly out of this world.
FQ: You’re a successful blogger at CosmosPhilly.com. How does having an active blog compare to the life of an author? Would you advise other authors to have their own blogs?
KARAPALIDES: YES!!! Write, write, write, and write some more! Whether you write short stories, the classic American novel, or just a blog, continue writing. For me, writing a blog and other articles exercised my mind and my imagination. If an athlete needs to exercise consistently to keep his or her muscles and body in shape, so does a writer need to consistently write to do the same thing for the writer’s mind and writing skills. And, one never knows; writing a blog may lead to bigger and better things!
Author Feathered Quill Book Reviews  Added On Tue Nov 23rd,2021
Rating (0)  Category Interviews
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