Thursday, August 9, 2018

#BookReview - Ghosted @TheRosieWalsh


By: Rosie Walsh
Publisher:  Pamela Dorman Books/Viking
Publication Date:  July 2018
ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: August 2018
What happens when girl meets boy and the chemistry is spot on; yet the universe steps in and throws a devastating curve ball to the budding romance? Rosie Walsh takes on such a premise and treats her audience to an intriguing tale in her debut novel, Ghosted.
Sarah Mackey is back in England. It’s the anniversary of the life-changing and tragic occurrence from nineteen years earlier. It was a blistery, hot day in the English countryside. Sarah began to wander down that familiar path toward the village. Children played in the yard of the primary school and their innocent sounds were interrupted by the bleating sheep who’d lost its way. What caught her attention was the response from a male—a strong and certain ‘…BAAA, it shouted. BAAA!’ followed by laughter.
It was the laughter of Eddie David that captured Sarah’s interest. He was sitting with his back to Sarah and by the time she reached the green, it appeared man and beast were having a proper conversation with each other. She approached the stranger and gambled a simple ‘hello.’ After learning the sheep had performed a near-perfect escape from its rightful pasture, Eddie informed Sarah he knew from whence the sheep had come. It would be nearly an hour before his rightful owner would come to collect him. In all truth, Sarah had no plans of wandering down the hill let alone join this stranger for lunch at the pub. Yet, there was something in the way he smiled—his laugh; so charismatic. For the next six days, the two became inseparable. They were cocooned together with a solid connection and there was no coincidence that they were meant to be together forever. However, on the seventh day they would part ways due to a previous holiday Eddie had planned long before he met Sarah. Perhaps coincidence wasn’t the cupid that had connected the two. In the days following their separation, Eddie vanishes. Sarah cannot let it go and her friends are insistent she do just that. Was it as simple as Sarah being Ghosted or was there something deeper Sarah needed to explore before she could let go?
Rosie Walsh pens a novel that is far from predictable in the notion of girl meets boy and they live happily ever after. She continues to fold and build a plot with a multitude of twists and turns that entices her audience to continue to turn the pages. This is not a simple tale of a woman being dumped by a man who she thought was ‘the one.’ Rather, there is a solid plot of wonder and intrigue that builds on a premise of uncovering a painful truth and the challenge of the truth either setting one free or laying a foundation of what can be once the truth is uncovered. Walsh has a gift toward laying beautiful prose and narrative and complements both with descriptive scenery and credible dialogue. She nails the concept of being ‘dumped’ perfectly. Yet, she consistently goads the reader on with a sublime notion of: ‘maybe this isn’t how this love story is supposed to end after all.’ This was a captivating read and I applaud Ms. Walsh for her ability to hook her audience on the very first page and refuse to let them go until she decides it’s time to do so. Well done Ms. Walsh! I am a fan and look forward to your next book.
Quill says: Ghosted is a testament to seeking the truth no matter how painful the journey may be.

Friday, August 3, 2018

#BookReview - Bully


Written and Illustrated by: Jennifer Sattler
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: July 2018
ISBN: 978-1585364169
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 3, 2018
Bully is a big green bullfrog who lives in a lily pond. In fact, there are lilies everywhere in this pond and Bully just loves splashing around in the water and enjoying the lilies. But so do many other creatures. Unfortunately, Bully doesn't like to share.
Bully loves spending his days eating the lilies in the pond, enjoying their wonderful smell, and sitting on them! One day, while Bully is enjoying "his" lilies, a happy little snail comes along and starts eating one of the lilies. Bully was NOT happy because "...he wanted the lilies all to himself." Bully made it very clear that he wasn't about to share the lilies and he demanded that the snail leave the pond. Sadly, the snail left.
Next a dragonfly flew to the pond to enjoy the fine smelling lilies. Bully would have none of that as he shouted, "Hey, you! Get out of my pond!" In fact, every animal that came to the pond was quickly told to leave by Bully.
Once everybody left the pond, Bully was able to enjoy the lilies and he didn't have to share. But he ate so many of the lilies, and sat on so many, that soon, there was only one lily left. When a bee flies by, a bee that Bully had already told to leave, and sees what has happened to the lilies, he knows something must be done. But what? He soon comes up with a plan that will require the help of all the other animals Bully had chased from the pond. Would it work?
Bully tackles the ever-present issue of bullying in a non-threatening way that young children will be able to relate to and use. Instead of confronting the Bully one-to-one, the author/illustrator, Jennifer Sattler, instead has her animals work together to confront the bully. This will give children an option of dealing with bullying that they may not have thought about before. On the last page is "A Note about Kindness" with ideas on how to treat others. Add in the sweet, expressive illustrations (love the eyes!) and this becomes an excellent resource to help deal with bullying.
Quill says: Bully is a good story to teach both bullies and those who have been victimized by bullies how to work together to end the practice.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

#IFASummerChallenge - Attn: Indie Fantasy Addicts

#IFASummerChallenge Details:

The purpose of this is just to have fun and discover more amazing indie fantasy authors! We are going to make this simple. There is no set reading list. Audiobooks also apply. Read whatever you want as long as it’s indie fantasy. 

All you have to do is post what you're reading and your thoughts on the book (without spoilers!) so the rest of us can discover more amazing adventures! 

The Challenge will go until September 20, 2018—last day of summer! We will be doing a tiered winning system since not all readers read at the same rate. Eg. A tier for the winner for whoever reads the most indie fantasy books, and a couple tiers for those who read eg. 0-3 and 4-7. 
Draws will be done to choose winners from the two lower tiers. 

Grand Prize: Multiple signed books and swag
Tier Two: Chance to win a signed book
Tier Three: Chance to win ebooks from some amazing authors. 

Let the adventures begin!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

#AuthorInterview with Adam Siddiq @AdamMSiddiq

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Lynette Latzko is talking with Adam Siddiq, author of Shackled: A Journey From Political Imprisonment to Freedom.
FQ:  After reading such a vivid account of your grandfather’s life, I feel a bit of closeness to him, so I’m wondering, how is he doing?
Adam Siddiq's Grandfather Khaled Siddiq
SIDDIQ: My grandpa was recently in between the hospital and medical rehab for nearly 6 weeks, struggling with pneumonia. He overcame his health challenges and is doing much better at his home now, where he's been recording the last 60 pages of his memoir in Farsi.
FQ: There are many ups and downs in the writing process; what was your favorite and most difficult aspect of embarking upon such a grand and honored task as writing your grandfather’s memoir?
SIDDIQ: My favorite part of writing Shackled was bonding with my grandpa and getting to know my ancestors. It was a very special experience to get to know the people behind so many of the pictures in the book. Also, as I mentioned in the author's note at the beginning of the book, I felt the presences of my ancestors as I'd write into the late hours of the night. This wasn't something that happened once, twice or even twenty times. This was something I experienced over the course of bringing this book to life. Experiencing that was sacred for me.
The most difficult aspect of writing this book...well, I'd say there were two difficult aspects. For one, it was challenging at times for my grandpa to open up with depth and detail about the tragic things he witnessed and experienced. This often took days, even weeks at times, for him to remember and share. I also had to be cautious of when I'd ask him such questions. I lived in his home for about a year during the majority of the writing process and the nights that I'd ask him questions about tragic events, I'd hear him have troubles sleeping as if he was remembering and experiencing those events as nightmares. So, I learned to ask those kinds of questions only in the mornings and to be very patient with his answering. The other difficult aspect of writing this book was acknowledging that this happened to my grandpa and our family.
Adam Siddiq with his grandfather
FQ: What motivated you to write his memoir?
SIDDIQ: Many things motivated me to write this memoir. The biggest thing of all is I felt I was guided to write this memoir, and I feel it's evident for others when they look at the facts in hindsight. For instance, it was a month after my sixth birthday that I first learned what happened to my grandpa and the entire family. It was a month after my grandpa's sixth birthday that the imprisonment began. It was about four months after my 25th birthday that Shackled was published. It was about four months after my grandpa's 25th birthday that he was released from imprisonment. My grandpa named me. My grandpa has written an abundance of poems and composed songs that have been sung by the most famous Afghan and Persian singers in the world. I was inspired by my grandpa to write books and poetry since I was a young kid and had been writing ever since. It's evident there's a bond beyond what I can imagine with my grandpa and me. It was after my grandma passed away that I knew I had to spend more time with my grandpa and to learn more about what my family went through, but based on the above facts, one can see how it was set in motion for me to collaborate with my grandpa on this project from very early on.
FQ: How did your family react to your decision to write about your grandfather’s past? Did they ever have any concerns about bringing up his past in his senior years?
SIDDIQ: My father's side of the family was very supportive of it. The main concerns they had were related to asking questions that elicited raw emotion and telling the stories of the tragedies he witnessed and experienced, given my grandpa's age and out of concern for his health.
FQ: In the book it mentions your grandfather eventually moved to California to be closer to his family. Did he face any challenges in his move from Germany to the United States?
SIDDIQ: No, my grandpa didn't face any challenges moving to the United States. If anything, it would be that he really loved life in Germany. He still misses it to this day. He's also natively fluent in German, where he's conversationally fluent in English, so it's easier for him to read, write, speak in German.
FQ: Shackled is divided up into parts I to IV and each one begins with an excerpt from one of your grandfather’s writings. I was especially interested in Part II entitled, “Open Your Intuitive Eyes.” Could you briefly tell readers more about your grandfather’s other writings? 
SIDDIQ: Absolutely! My grandfather is a poet, song composer, and author of several books, including the most comprehensive history book on Afghanistan over the past two centuries. Each part of Shackled contains a few verses from different poems my grandpa has published. My grandpa has also written a book about philosophy and mystic wisdom, covering all the great philosophers, mystics, and poets he's studied over the years with core lessons and teachings they provide.
The author with his grandfather
FQ: I read on your Facebook page that you started a group entitled, “Humanity is My Family.” Can you explain to readers what this is, and why you decided to create the group?
SIDDIQ: I started the "Humanity Is My Family" group because I want to inspire more humanity in the world. I made two videos that showcased this message and went viral on social media. One was of me showcasing my DNA test results and it ends with my stating that humanity is my family, and then crossing out the word "my" and writing "our" above it. People all around the world loved this message so much that they've been using it in silent protests for human rights, transforming perspectives from hate to love and acceptance, and bringing their own humanity into the world. As far as from where I gained a strong sense of human rights, it's been something in my family lineage. The group has been steadily growing with people from around the world sharing their own personal stories.
FQ: Do you have any plans for future writings that readers can look forward to seeing?
SIDDIQ: Yes! I have several books in the works right now, including a fiction series! Of the non-fiction books I've been writing, one of them goes in depth with the theme of my podcast: living a soulfully optimized life (a life guided by purpose, contribution, and creating a profound impact for life). Another non-fiction book I've been developing is about modern-day interpretations and meanings from Rumi's poems, and how we can apply them to live a more love-inspired, magical life. As for the fiction series, all I can share for now is that the inspirations behind what I've been writing include Paulo Coelho, Khaled Hosseini, and J.K. Rowling.

Meet Author Adam Siddiq

Meet Author Adam Siddiq - author of Shackled

Check out his new author page on Feathered Quill 

#BookReview - Shackled @adammsiddiq

Shackled: A Journey From Political Imprisonment to Freedom

By: Adam Siddiq
Publisher: Lineage Publishing
Publication Date: December 2017
ISBN: 978-1946852007
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: July 30, 2018
In the latter part of the 19th century, Commander-In-Chief Ghulam Haidar Khan Charki became a national hero with his successful efforts to peacefully unite all of Afghanistan. His four sons also became critical government figures, and together with the soon-to-be King, Prince Amanullah, they worked diligently on the arduous task of modernizing the outdated country of Afghanistan. These changes included such things as building relationships with Europe, abolishing slavery, and creating freedom and equality for women. Unfortunately, not everyone believed that King Amanullah’s plans were in the best interest of the country, and while he was overseas in 1929, a coup was developed and successfully forged against him. This led to thousands of people, many loyal to the original King, including the Charki family, to become political prisoners.
Author Adam Siddiq, Khaled Siddiq’s grandson composes a beautifully intense (often leaving this reader teary eyed) and inspiring true account of Khaled’s life that includes many touching family photos, and a solid account of Afghanistan’s turbulent history. The journey begins in 1932, when Khaled is a mere boy of six. His father, Ghulam Siddiq Khan Charki (son of Ghulam Haidar Khan Charki) is exiled, some of his uncles are executed, and his family is imprisoned in Kabul. Forced to barely survive in wretched conditions, Khaled and his family suffer from (and some succumb to) various preventable illnesses. However, instead of languishing in their misery and giving up hope for freedom, Khaled’s family, with the help of his aunt, decide to make the best of their situations by educating the young children. Over the decades of his imprisonment, Khaled was able to learn to speak fluently in several languages, and most importantly he was able to develop the patience, optimism, kindness and fortitude that would serve him immensely throughout the decades of his imprisonment, home confinement, and further struggles with the new Afghanistan government.
A few decades ago, I was a student nearing the end of my studies where our teacher was discussing the critical importance and utmost value of education. The teacher made a profound statement that really left a mark in my memories - he said, “They may take your cars and your possessions. They may foreclose on your home. The world may even do the unthinkable by taking away your family and loved ones, but what no one will ever be able to take away from you is your education. Once you have it, it is yours forever. No one can take that away from you.”
I thought about it, and eventually forgot about what was said that day. Fortunately, over the years, I never had to personally experience repeated and devastating loss, so my teacher’s profundity never truly struck home with me until many years later when I was deep into reading this memoir. Khaled Siddiq experienced substantial loss of his family, his family home and their possessions (and their trusted positions in the government) and most importantly his own freedom at the tender age of six. Yet through all this repeated devastation, he quickly learned the extreme value of education and was ultimately able to withstand years of abuse to, in essence, conquer an entire nation that was against him and his family, and win his complete freedom.
Quill says:  Shackled: A Journey From Political Imprisonment to Freedom, is a powerful true story of one man’s life in Afghanistan filled with raw emotion that is an inspiring must-read for all humankind.
For more information on Shackled: A Journey From Political Imprisonment to Freedom please visit the author's website at:

Meet the Author - James C. McCullagh @ChuckMcCullagh

Meet Author James C. McCullagh, author of Chanting the Feminine Down -