Friday, March 24, 2017

#BookReview - Barn Shadows

Barn Shadows: Dark Horse Book 2

By: Laura Wolfe
Illustrated By: Caroline Andrus
Publisher: Fire and Ice YA
Publication Date: March 2017
ISBN: 978-1-68046-417-7
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: March 23, 2017

After breaking nearly every rule last summer during her time at Foxwoode’s Riding Academy, Brynlei was not sure that she would even be able to make it back for another year but fortunately she was welcomed back. For besides the fact that she broke several significant rules she did solve the mystery of Caroline’s disappearance and now Caroline is actually a Foxwoode instructor. So, even though last year was a rough three weeks for everyone involved, Brynlei is extremely thankful that she has been given another chance to ride at this prestigious camp.

This year the only thing that Brynlei is going to focus all her attention on is winning the top rider award. She is determined to not let her thoughts wander to anything besides perfecting her riding skills and expanding her horsemanship talents. Luckily her good friend Anna from last year has returned but also the spoiled rider Alyssa has returned with her amazing horse Bentley. Brynlei, however, is intent that not even Alyssa will foil her goal of achieving the top rider status.
When Brynlei arrives at Foxwoode she first notices that construction is going on outside of the current riding arena, and she is quickly informed that a brand new indoor arena and barn are being added to Foxwoode. Excited about the potential for a new barn but worried that the extra noise may cause her distraction, Brynlei silently hopes that she doesn’t let this affect her riding. To her relief Brynlei is paired with Jett, the same horse she fell in love with last year and she begins to settle into her lessons. However, despite her efforts to focus only on her riding, strange things start happening that eventually Brynlei cannot ignore.

The strange happenings begin after Brynlei finds an old fashioned doll at the edge of the construction site covered half way up with dirt. Even though this doll in an inanimate object Brynlei has a distinct feeling that through her blue eyes this doll is trying to tell her something very important. This is when the unnerving events start to happen, for Brynlei begins to notice that her bathroom supplies keep being dumped all over the floor, someone is changing the time on the clocks, and she sees strange sightings in the woods of a young girl in a cotton dress. Then to top off the strangeness Brynlei discovers a picture in the tack room of a little girl holding the same doll that Brynlei found at the construction site, but this picture is dated in the year 1965. Even though Brynlei wanted nothing to worry about besides riding she is not sure how long she can ignore the creepy things happening around the camp before they overtake her attention.

After reading Laura Wolfe’s first book in this series, Trail of Secrets, I was excited to get the chance to check out this next installment because the first one was so fun to read. The storyline for this book was actually even better for me than the first, as the supernatural aspects were more prominent for this second novel. In the first book there was a realistic answer to all of the mysterious things that happened, but for this one there is some wonderfully intriguing supernatural characters - which really added a delightful aspect to the story.

Quill says: Another great installment in the Dark Horse series that was exciting to read.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

#BookReview - The Road to Transition

The Road to Transition

By: Bree Record
Publisher: Page Pubishing
Publication Date: September 2016
ISBN: 978-1684092390
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.

For more information on Road to Transition, please visit the publisher's website at:

#BookReview - The Enchantment of Emma Fletcher

The Enchantment of Emma Fletcher

By: L.D. Critchton
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: March 2017
ISBN: 978-1501152313
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.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fixing Dead Links

I just spent the last few hours checking all the links on our testimonial page and removing all the dead links.  There are a lot of author/publisher website links on that page so it took a while.  If you're an author who has provided a testimonial in the past, please stop by the page and check your link(s).  I'm happy to update/change as needed.  Of course, if you've used our services and have not added your comments to that page but would like to,  we're happy to post it - along with links to your review and website.  Here's the testimonial page link:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Check Out the Ads for Award-Winning Books!

More ads for books that won in our annual award program have been posted to our main page. This is one of the perks for winners - a free two-week ad on our main page. These are great books - well worth checking out. Go to our page to check them out. Just click on any ad and it will take you to either the Amazon buy page for that book or the author's/book's website:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Interview with Author Diana Rowe

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Ellen Feld is talking with Diana Rowe, author of Born to Die in My Place: A Story of Unconditional Love

FQ: It is obvious that you have a deep love for our Lord and Savior. Would you share with our readers a bit about how he came into your life? Was it through your parents’ love? A special teacher? Or ???

ROWE: I must admit that I do love the Lord. My dear mother introduced me to Him when I was a young child. Every morning we had worship at home before leaving for school and my mother always reminded us (my siblings and I) to “make Jesus your best friend and you will have a friend for life.” Fortunately for me, I took her words literally. So, although Jesus is my Savior and so much more ultimately, He is my friend. Additionally, I attended Christian schools so the Christian values I was taught at home were reinforced in school each day. Consequently, as I grew older, I learned to love Him more. In my early childhood, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and was baptized. It has been an amazing journey walking through this life with Him.

FQ: When did you start working with children to grow their faith? What was your initial reaction to what they knew and what they wanted to learn?

ROWE: I started working with children to grow their faith when I was a teenager helping out in Sunday School classes. One of the many questions I was asked was “Does Jesus really listen to little children?” The same child wanted to know “How can I get Jesus to stay in my heart? I was thrilled to learn what was going on in their little mind. I did my best to share my childhood conversations that I had with Jesus and He listened to me. So I assured the children that Jesus will listen to them and that He will also speak to them because He loves children. I shared the words of Luke 18:16 where Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” I wanted the children to understand that Jesus wants them close to Him even in His kingdom. Also, I shared with them that all they had to do was ask Jesus to come into their hearts and He would. When they learned how much He loved and wanted them close to Him, they were very receptive to Him.

FQ: You clearly want to share your love for Jesus with others, particularly children. Have you always wanted to write books for youngsters to help them get closer to Jesus?

ROWE: Yes, I have always wanted to write books to help youngsters get closer to Jesus. It is amazing how so many children and young people that I have worked with believe that Jesus does not view them as significant. Thus, I wanted to do something about that. I wanted them to see Jesus as a person and also as a God who loves them and has the patience to deal with all their issues without condemning them. My books allowed me to share that message with youngsters and adults alike.

FQ: It was nice to re-connect with Anna and her grandmother. Are they based on anybody you know?

ROWE: Yes, indeed. The character of Grandma reminds me of my mother. My mother is everyone else’s mother because she embraces my friends as well as the strangers around. I also remember sitting at my mother’s feet listening to stories and testimonies of how God cared for her over the years. Anna is reminiscence of me. I always had a lot of questions as a child and absolutely loved learning about Jesus and sharing His love with others. There is something powerfully heart-warming about an older person pouring out the love of God into the next generation. That is a tremendous blessing.

FQ: The questions that Luke asks Anna’s grandmother – are these questions that children have asked you? What is the most frequent question you get from youngsters?

ROWE: Some of the questions have been asked by different youngsters over the years. Others were some that I asked growing up (as I was reminded by family members). Overall, the questions are in the minds of many children who might feel a bit shy to ask and there are adults who struggle with some of those questions as well.

One of the most frequent question asked by both children and adults, “Is Jesus really God?” This is why I took the time to answer that in details in my second book, “Born to Die in My Place: A Story of Unconditional Love.” I wanted all my readers (children and adults) to understand how Jesus is both human and God at the same time.

FQ: Luke asks “What is Sabbath” and Grandmother’s response is “...God created [it] for people to stop working and rest while worshiping...” These days, however, stores stay open, kids sports games are held, and people seem to ignore the Sabbath. How do you think we can bring people back to church and Christ?

ROWE: I think we can bring people back to church and Christ by helping them to understand that the Sabbath was made for humans. Our world is fast paced and that can add stress to the daily life. People are moving 24 hours 7 days per week and that is not healthy. So, God in His wisdom created the Sabbath Day as noted in Genesis 2:2, 3. Therefore, He wants all people to pause and rest their body, mind, and spirit for their own health and wellness.

Demonstrating the love of God in the way we treat others can also help them to come to Christ and church. If someone is overwhelmed, we can help them by sharing a meal or volunteer to watch the children or help in the area of their needs. People don’t always need a verbal invitation to come to Christ and church, they simply need to see His love in action as in the story of the “Good Samaritan.”

FQ: You frequently quote from scripture in the story. How do you decide what quotes to use?

ROWE: The scriptures in the story came as a result of studying the Bible and asking the Lord what He wants me to write and how because I want everything to revolve around Him and who He is. I also want my readers to search the scriptures for themselves and see how it inspired the story.

FQ: I mentioned the lovely illustrations in my review. Are you the illustrator? If so, would you tell us a bit about your process? If you hire an illustrator, would you tell our readers how you go about working with her/him? Do you discuss each drawing in detail? What colors you want, what you want shown in the picture, etc.?

ROWE: I do rough sketches and some drawings, but I do not consider myself an illustrator. However, the illustrations are very vivid in my mind so I am able to write in details what each picture should look like. While I write my story, I envisioned the characters and the settings with all the details. Then, I describe in details (pages) all of the colors, all the shapes of every object, all the characters, their clothing, and facial expressions, and the different settings. I wrote more details for the illustrations than the length of the story because the person I hired did not know what I wanted and was not familiar with the Bible stories. It was a tedious process and I often had to break down my explanations again after the first draft and provide more ideas of examples of what I want.

FQ: Grandmother tells the children about how we sometimes have to work to pay our bills, but other times we should work for the joy of helping our neighbors without the promise of payment. This is so important and a hard lesson for children to learn. Do you have any suggestions to help parents teach this lesson to their children?

ROWE: Volunteering is a great way to show others that we care about them. Parents can teach their children this lesson by helping them to see the joy in serving others at home and around the community. Also, parents may want to explain the difference between their careers that has an income attached to it and the many things they do for others with no payments attached. It is good to remind children that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). In the act of giving, there is a blessing for the giver.

Also, compassion must be understood as more than a feeling; it must also be expressed in literal kindness to others. This will give parents the opportunity to get the children involved in small family projects centered on helping a person or a group. Whenever I want to start one of these projects, I would ask the child/children to find someone or think of someone that we can help in the upcoming days, weeks, or months and let them take ownership of the steps to accomplish the goal of helping.

FQ: I enjoyed the section where you talked about Jesus loving nature and how he would go for walks to enjoy the plants and animals that God had created. What made you decide to include this in the story?

ROWE: Whenever I consider the works of creation that God made, I know that He loves nature. The intricate details of the plants and animals that we try so hard to understand had to be created by a God who is a master designer of originals. I want my readers to know that God loves His entire creation. When He sent His Son (Jesus) naturally, Jesus would take time to walk among the trees and relax for a moment. Jesus came to this earth and lived as a human being, I know for sure that He would enjoy the animals and plants just like we do. In fact, that is a lesson for us to enjoy the beauty we see in nature because it is a good way to de-stress. As noted in my book “Born to Die in My Place: A Story of Unconditional Love,” “Jesus was really human” and His life and work is an example for us to follow.

To learn more about Born to Die in My Place: A Story of Unconditional Love please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Interview with Author Rev. Dr. Mushtaq H. Jaafri

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor is talking with Rev. Dr. Mushtaq H. Jaafri, author of Go with the Flow! A Way to Blissful Living

FQ: You are the head of the International Mind-Conditioning Society. Could you tell readers a bit about this organization and what it does for people to alter their lives in a positive?

JAAFRI: I believe that you are referring to what I mention on page 40 of this book. In an effort to establish this cultural innovation, I founded the International Mind-Conditioning Society) IMS for short).

It is devoted to the teachings of the working principle of the human mind. How many spiritual teachings do you know of that openly declare that mind is your enemy or attempt to reveal the five parts of the mind that we must bypass to free the Soul . The human mind will go against you in your spiritual pursuits.

The only sure way for people wishing to alter their lives in a positive manner is to come into alignment with the Spirit and this book will assist you in converging your Spirit back into alignment.
Lastly, I am currently looking for a few select like-minded people to join me in the capacity of the board of directors in this California based organization. Will love to hear from them. Email:

FQ: How do you feel about the ever-increasing world of science and technology? Do you feel it hinders the spiritual paths of people in 2017? If so, in what ways?

JAAFRI: Amy, this is an excellent question and does go right back into the core components of what hinders the spiritual paths of people in 2017. It refers to what I talked about on page 24 of the book about a highly educated director of one of the world’s largest healthcare organizations in California.
Here’s a direct quote from this highly intelligent and intellectual professional.

“There is no profit in curing the body if in the process we destroy the Soul.” I asked myself, "How can you destroy something that is eternal and God loves?"

As I mention in this book, Souls exist because loves them! They are as real as the air we breathe into live on earth. Many of us are not still aware of the fact that making souls an everyday reality is a spiritual purpose we all need to fulfill. There is this thing inside of us that stops us from knowing what is going on in life or who we really are?

The point I’m trying to convey here is that no matter how intelligent or how intellectual you maybe, you may not have a clue as to who you are or why you were born in this physical body.

With the ever-increasing world of science and technology, we are still doing the same destructive things that we did in the Adam and Eve days. But, as notice in the message that there is hope, because science and technology are at least confirming the existing Soul.

You see, the director of this world’s largest healthcare organization is a ‘man-of science’ and not a ‘man-of religion’. For him to even say the ‘word’ Soul—is a clear science that Science and technology and spirit will embrace spirituality soon.

FQ: When it comes to the “wheel of 84,” are there any key elements you could suggest to those who wish to find a way to stop that process earlier?

Author Rev. Dr. Mushtaq H. Jaafri
JAAFRI: Amy, this is another wonderful question you have asked. Like most of us, I used to believe that when we die, that’s it. One life, one time, and then heaven and hell. Genius people and people with disability were the quick examples of the influence of the wheel of 84.

You ask for the key elements that anyone can use to find a way to stop the wheel of 84 earlier, but I can only suggest what has worked for me. So—here are the five key elements that helped me stop the process.
  1. Recognize the fact, that we are all here because we did something the way we were not suppose to do.
  2. We did not attempt to learn the awakening process which is the separation of thinking and awareness. Thinking of the mind, and our awareness of of it.
  3. Take the Thirty-Day Mind-Theory Challenge. With practice and persistence, you’ll soon open-up sort of a passageway between the soul and the third-eye.
  4. Just observe the mind-activity until subsides and eventually leave the mind. The moment you become aware of yourself as soul , not in just theory but a reality in your daily life, you have learned to stop the wheel of 84.
  5. But, the best element to stop the wheel of 84 for me has been to seek God in every moment of my life. I call this process ‘stalking the Spirit.’
As I go about my daily business I show love for God by constantly repeating this affirmation to myself: THANK YOU GOD. I also stalk death by rehearsing my last words: “I did the best, God.”

FQ: You are involved in the teachings/seminars of various churches. Can you explain a bit what you teach in regards to transcendence?

JAAFRI: Amy, you have asked a question that is very dear to my heart. As I mention in the introduction of this book that for most of my adult life, I’ve sensed a part of me was non-physical and longs to communicate with me, but I didn’t understand it. I thought I was going crazy.

I remember once I told about my condition to the head of my graduate study college, he said I needed to see a ‘head-shrink’ (whatever that means). You can see how much the most educated people know about spirituality.

He had no clue as to what in the heck I was talking about. The funny is that he was the head of one of the largest vocational colleges in California. He was highly intelligent and intellectual book knowledge, but spiritually, you know what I mean.

It wasn’t until I joined an organization called the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA), and became a student of its teachings that I began to learn that beyond your mind, body and emotion there is the Soul.

Soul transcendence is a journey of traveling into and above the consciousness of Soul—and into oneness with God—where you see things in perspective, attune to Spirit and releases karma. Soul transcendence is an active process and a positive state-of-being. It lights up a path for you to become established in Soul consciousness and beyond, where you are freed from creating more karma, and can stop the wheel of 84.

(The following is a direct excerpt from the MSIA. Please log on to

FQ: Turning to more negative side, perhaps, when it comes to “going with the flow,” have you found those who cannot find that “quiet mind” or simply don’t believe in it? If so, what do you do or suggest?

JAAFRI: As you well know, it’s very common to fear the unknown. People would say, is it natural to control your own mind? Could it be dangerous to stop the mind? What if you die when you stop thinking?

For me, it began back in the fall of 1977 during my first major turning-point in my life. I stumbled upon the secret a ‘quiet mind” by reading the world famous book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Napoleon Hill said that I could control my own mind simply by controlling my own thinking. I believed him and devoted 39+ years trying to prove him wrong but I could not because it was one of our God-given power and the privilege of being able to control the mind and direct to whatever end we choose. Just think of it!

That is when I stumbled upon the concept of a mind without thought. That is when I coined the phrase go with the flow to express a state-of-mind known as blissful living. So—to answer your question about people who cannot find that “quiet mind” or simply don’t believe it?

It reminds me what my daddy used to say: “You can lead a horse to water but, you cannot make him drink.” In all honesty, that is one of the main reasons for establishing the International Mind-Conditioning Society (IMS) where people like you and me can start a ‘shift’ in human consciousness about this new awakening through a process I explain on page 39 on this book.
If one hundred monkeys can do it, surely, one hundred human can do it too.

FQ: This country has hit a turbulent time in the world of politics. Do you have an opinion on how, perhaps, people could be helped and calmed by spiritual teachings?

JAAFRI: As I read this question, suddenly, a famous quote by a world’s famous poet by the name RUMI, flashed into my mind. He said: “This too shall pass.” In the Bible we read “Let God make perfect in you.”

It’s very true, this country has hit a turbulent time in the world. The worse I’ve seen during the pass half a century I’ve been here. The whole world used to look up to this country. In my humble opinion, the only way it could be helped and clamed is the way we learn to stop the wheel of 84.
Here is a direct quote from the MSIA founder John-Roger, DDS that could help in this country’s turbulent time and help calm by keeping in mind these three things as we go through life, and they are our guidelines:

  1. Don’t hurt yourself and don’t hurt others.
  2. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.
  3. Use everything for your uplifting, growth, and learning.
  4. (Fulfilling Your Spiritual Promise by MSIA founder John-Roger).

FQ: You mentioned Emerson in your dedication. One of the questions readers like to have answered by an author is: If there was one person (historical or president-day) you could sit and have lunch with and discuss everything from writing to the spiritual, who would it be and why? Is there one specific question you would like to ask them?

JAAFRI: The name that comes to my mind right now is Dr. Paul Kaye, DSS, the President of MSIA who encouraged me to train for becoming the MSIA Seminars Leader hosting the Soul Awareness Seminar in my local community to teach people in regard to Soul transcendence.

Dr. Kaye took John-Roger’s lecture and skillfully recognized the book: Spiritual Warrior—The Art of Spiritual Living. The funny thing is that for thirty-nine plus years, I’ve been living the Spiritual Warrior life-style and wrote my new book.

To learn more about Go with the Flow! A Way to Blissful Living please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.