Blog Tour: The Thing with Feathers review and giveaway

Kulju-The Thing With Feathers-Final Cover.inddBy Anne Sweazy Kulju

Genre – Historical Fiction/Saga

Publisher – Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC

Release Date – 9-11-2012

Purchase: Amazon | Smashwords |Library Thing


It was the ugliest photo he had ever seen.

And nothing would be the same again.

     As the inhabitants of Cloverdale, Oregon, welcomed in the twentieth century, they were not unaccustomed to hard times and thorny situations. Small communities banded together for protection and hope. Heroes and villains were often difficult to decipher.

     When an itinerate Baptist preacher arrived with his baby daughter and a wife lost on the trail, there was no one prepared to suspect what lurid secrets and heartbreak he might be concealing. As the preacher sets his sights against those who might oppose him, the names and the lives of the good people of Cloverdale may not be spared.

     Yet in the midst of the machinations of a mad man, virtue and valor can persist. The Thing with Feathers is known to fly through wars, depressions, and natural disasters. Will the Marshall clan and the good people of Cloverdale find it in time?


The introduction of the book was confusing at first. As the part of the book, it indeed introduced some history for the story. I found myself bombarded with descriptions and retelling for an introduction. It wasn’t actually bad though it wasn’t that good either. I think if some parts were cut, it could help maintaining the attention of the readers. Honestly, I was tempted to put the book down because I felt a bit dizzy reading those in my e-reader. However, I also understand that as intro, some stories need to be told so as to be foundation of what are to come in the later part of the story.

I am a Roman Catholic, but I respect other religions. No matter how devoted, I am aware of some negative acts made by others who are actively linked in religion. In this book, one of the main characters was portrayed as a man of church. However, it was ironic that this character is also the antagonist of the story. He was described as a fake missionary – someone who was a self-proclaimed man of God. He took it upon himself to understand and interpret the words of God and apply it according to his understanding and liking. It was too much.

Living in a Catholic country in Asia, I don’t doubt this would be a controversial topic in my place. Even there was no association of Catholicism in the book it was still based on a Christian belief. I have read some news where leaders of the Church (pastors, ministers, and even priests) were guilty of violating the Canon law. Some got involved in very nasty situation, but I feel there could be nothing compared to pastor featured in this book named Julius Bowman. He was portrayed as a living nightmare for those believers of the religion. I won’t be explicit about what he did, but I consider them the worst things a man of God can do.

More of the physical and spiritual brutality? I am not sure if it was the author’s intention, but I found some similarity between the main characters’ family and the Holy family. The husband, upon receiving the divine “message” decided to take the woman as his wife even though she’s carrying a child whose father is not him. However, it was tinged with evil stories that I found too harsh to be real. In fact, I was surprised and unable to believe that a person could turn out to be evil personified in his lifetime.

I also notice that there were a lot of deaths in the story. A novel can be tragic without getting everyone killed in the process. Almost all of the characters introduced in the earlier parts of the story died. It may be to gain sympathy and some form of emotional attachment to the readers, but it worked for me. I might be a bit disgusted with the brutality of how some characters died, but it sure made me feel vengeful, too. I got carried away in the story that I almost didn’t mind the abrupt cutting of scenes in the story.

In spite of the things I didn’t like, there were some points which made the author and her writing commendable. For one, I like the way she inserted facts, digits, and history in the scenes. She connected the years and events to actual phenomenon like the Great Depression. The scenes felt real and true to the time it happened. Even the accent and personality of the locals during that time were also beautifully exposed in the story.

The characters, when they were still alive, were also depicted as real humans – with flaws. I hate to read books which made the heroes and heroines a paragon of sweet, beautiful and everything nice. Instead of doing just that, the author gave her characters strong flaws which were also one of the driving forces of the story.

Even though there were lots of deaths and evil-doings in the novel, the title itself stood out. The thing with feathers. For those of you who are fan of Emily Dickinson, this might sound familiar to you. The title was derived from one of Dickinson’s poems. In fact, the poem itself was present in the story. It was hope – the thing that made everything still alive even if everything seems stained with darkness. It was something mentioned and displayed in the novel which affected me much. It’s like the light is seeping out of the story and going to my heart. It made me feel hopeful, too.

Overall, the story is okay with things to be liked and others to be improved upon. I share this to people to give them hope:

Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

*This review is also posted in Goodreads and Amazon.

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of The Virtual Book Tour Cafe’ and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by The Virtual Book Tour Cafe’, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review nor was there an obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book’s publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.**

About the Author:

Anne Sweazy Kulju

ANNE SWEAZY KULJU has won awards for editorials and honors for short stories, but now she writes historical fiction adventures, exclusively. Her debut novel, “the thing with feathers,” was released by Tate Publishing in September 2012. Her book, “Bodie,” a total thrill ride, is expected to release in early 2013, and she is currently busy on her next book, “Grog Wars,” set in 1850’s Portland, Oregon, the Shanghai capital of the world. Anne lives near Pacific City, Oregon, and divides her free time between the beach and Mount Bachelor. Readers may learn more about Anne and correspond with her on her website at .

Contact the Author:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Scribd | Linkedin | RedRoom |


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43 thoughts on “Blog Tour: The Thing with Feathers review and giveaway

  1. Thank you, Monica, for your very thoughtful review. I appreciate your time, consideration, and especially your comments–all of ’em. Regarding my prologue, yeah, I know it’s rough. It’s actually designed to be that way. I usually warn folks who buy my books at appearances that the stuff in the prologue is historically-but-brutally honest, and a bit raw. But it’s just back-story, so I also tell them they can either ignore that part of the book, or they can read it and gain insights into Bowman–see what makes him tick. Specifically, the prologue details awful experiences, but they are ones that made the self-proclaimed preacher the man he was. I knew going in that not everyone was going to like reading that stuff. Even though you had no warning, I do appreciate your plowing through it, and acknowledging its purpose.

    One thing in your review really stood out for me. You said my book made you feel hopeful. Girl, that is EXACTLY what I was going for. Thank you so much for that, and again, thank you for your honest review. You have a lovely website! Anne Sweazy-Kulju

    1. Hi, Anna. Thank you for dropping by and explaining about the prologue. What you said are all correct and I am glad that I have stayed and continued reading it. Even though the story is dark, the central lesson is to believe and hope. Feeling and receiving what your intentional message to a reader is, I am sure you have made a success in creating The Thing with Feathers.

  2. Wonderful, engaging review, Monica. I’ve not heard of the book until now, but I’m definitely going to check it out!
    As to what era I’d land in.. Oh geez. Without a doubt, the Victorian Era! Yep, it’s true. I seem to love everything Victorian, I do want a Victorian-style house (the financial parts of that give me a headache -.-), etc. While I’m not much of a romantic in my personal life, I do believe in true love, and I do enjoy a good love story—if it’s done right.
    Before I can start rambling, I’ll stop lol.
    Thanks for the lovely review and the giveaway!

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Catherine. I am glad that you found the book interesting. Hopefully you’ll be able to read it too and share the same opinion I have in this review.

      I love Victorian era, too! Though the dresses are what I am after 🙂 Good luck in the giveaway!

  3. First of all, the book cover is beautiful!. Intriguing summary. Kudos to you for doing such an honest review. I love how you keep it real and never fake anything. Believe me, no one can better review a book than you, Nica… Was lovely reading the post. The giveaway is very generous. I actually didn’t know what a Nook Book glowlight was. But once I knew, I really wish to have it. Hehe. Gonna enter it now. Love how you have been doing so many international giveaways recently!

    If I could go back in time and land in a different era, I would wish it to be the 60’s. The hairstyle back then was very nice..

    1. Thank you, Naz! You are so loyal to me that your words are always so nice. I am blessed to have a friend like you! 😀 Thank you for the compliment, but I think I am far from being the best reviewer hehe.

      Yes, they are generous to offer such wonderful gifts to readers and I am glad to be an instrument to share this. Haha I never though you are fan of 60’s hairstyles.

      1. You are welcome always, Nica :)… Seriously you have a way of reviewing!.. Its cool… Actually going back, the 70s and 80s didn’t look good.. So what’s only left is 60s 🙂

        1. Sweet! Hmm. Perhaps you can do a hairstyle review in your future posts. It could be a weekly meme titled: Naznin in Time. then you’ll feature fashion and hairstyles in different time periods. Of course, with photos of you. I can imagine it. Too lovely!

  4. I love your writing, but you already knew that, you have a very unique style and your honesty does you credit. You always make me want to read more books, which makes me one happy reader of your blog. I enjoy our book recommending. It’s like throwing books to each other from halfway around the world and I hope it never stops.

    1. Thanks for being loyal to my writings, Steve. I am happy to continue reading your praises on how I beautifully messed up with my reviews. Haha. I also enjoy our book recommending, but throwing books at each other? I hope you didn’t mean literally. I have a slow reaction time and your books (hardbound?) will sure hit me.

      1. How about I throw those soft fabric babies books at you then at lesat they won’t hurt but it will allow my fiercely competitive side to feel happy in my victory over you.

          1. Ah! A tactic i always fall for as well, never fails to beat me when I feel the need to come to a ladies aid. If you do take advantage of this kindness then I shall have no alternative than to call you a…….meanie!

              1. My upbringing means I am to polite to come over to your house and steal your shoes, but I am capable of such an appalling act. Then we will see how much of loser I am, lol.

                    1. He has a funky hat and that would make me happy. If you dream of me, I shall be immensely pleased to know that I am in your thoughts even when you are asleep, sort of like an accidental stalker.

                    2. Oh dear, then I hope not to dream about you. I do not want to be labelled a stalker forever. Haha. But I think I don’t have to worry. It’s as if I am someone who dreams about faceless bloggers 🙂

                    3. Ah! That is true, having said that, I have your photos on your Gravatar pic, maybe if I try really hard and sync my sleep patterns to yours, I can hijack your dream and have a cup of tea with you. Imagine that dream tea with your best mate Ste J!

                    4. well this is the internet, all these strange people from England can come give you a virtual wave on your blog. I love a bit of sci-fi, I like to think I can run up walls and wear a long coat, only one of those is true though.

  5. Years ago I read a collection of essays by Woody Allen, whose title “Without Feathers” was a reference to “The Thing With Feathers.” Now that’s a funny title (Woody’s). Sharon Love Cook

Share your thoughts, I would love to read them!