Saturday, April 18, 2015

Book Review - Dragon Guardian: Fire (Volume 1)


Dragon Guardian: Fire (Volume 1)

By: Aida Jacobs
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: January 2014
ISBN: 9781493557189
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: April 2015

In a kingdom called Primordya peace between elves, dwarves, and man reigned for many years as they allied themselves together against a brutal common enemy, the dark elves that dwelled underground and thrived in the shadows of the underworld. However, this peace was shattered when under the rule of their absolutely ruthless Queen Nahga, this dark army wiped through the land enslaving the dwarves and breaking ties between the elves and humans. All hope seems to be lost when the family of the Ever King is believed to be murdered as they were the sole heirs to this throne. They were also the only ones who could have possibly defeated Nahga.

Fortunately, one daughter named Marin did escape the clutches of Nahga because her family insisted that she needed to be the one to survive while they selflessly sacrificed themselves to ensure that. With no idea where to go or who to trust, Marin runs further and further into the forest as she is pursued by a group of dark elves. Just as she thinks that her legs can carry her no further she plunges into a river to hopefully lose her pursuers but the next thing she remembers is waking up in a house belonging to a mage named Nicodemus. As she takes in her surroundings she is embraced by the Ever King, Alfrede Evenwood, who tells Marin he is in fact her grandfather, which makes her the next heir to the throne of Primordya.

Suddenly, it becomes clear why Marin and her family had been living in hiding all those years and why Nahga is now pursuing her so maliciously. Not only was she a future Queen but Marin also bears the mark of a Dragon Guardian so if she is able to prove herself to the Elemental Dragons she will be given access to their power. This power will be needed in order to defeat Nagha and her army. Even though all of this information takes Marin a while to process, the thought of her departed family fuels her need for justice and she decides then and there that she will do whatever it takes to defeat Nagha, avenge her family, and bring the kingdom back together.

It did not take me long at all to become hooked on this book as I am always in the mood for an adventure story filled with danger, magic, and fantasy and this novel definitely fit the bill. One of the best things Aida Jacobs did in my mind was establish a quest right from the beginning as she wasted no time in establishing the mission that Marin was about to embark on and that set the stage wonderfully for the remainder of this exciting story. In addition, the evil villain portrayed in the book is vicious to the core and I always applaud authors who can bring to life both a hero and villain as a story needs both elements to be great and Jacobs did that.

Quill says: A thrilling adventure that had me intrigued with every chapter.





Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review - Nap Time Fairies


Nap Time Fairies

By: Jenifer Johnson
Publisher: Aztec Printing and Design
Publication Date: November 2014
ISBN: 978-0988359925
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 16, 2015

The cat nestled next to the bed, as if he were going to be the nap time guardian over the boy. The boy lifted one foot, poised to jump up into his bed, but wait! Perhaps this time in his dreams the locomotive would come to him. He could just imagine it and could almost envision the smoke stack billowing out those clouds of smoke, the drivers and cranks that would move the train forward, and even the pilot who would push a wayward cow out of the way. Whooo! Whooo!

Yes, perhaps that train would visit him “as he snuggles in blankets so warm and cozy, as he listens to what he loves best.” Whooo! Whooo! A waning crescent moon, Saturn, and the twinkling stars surrounded his bed as the cat kept watch. The train had arrived to visit him as he slept. Whooo! Whooo! Not yet quite asleep, his favorite train began to enter the silent window of his dream world announcing its arrival. The smoke stack billowed out big clouds of smoke as it moved down the track and into his dreams.

The stars are now twinkling quietly. “As he snuggles deeply / he listens once more / for the sounds of the train / that he knows is quite near / Nap time, nap time, nap time.” The train has passed, but perhaps he will hear yet something more. A fairy overlooks his bed, but will he hear the fairies as they begin to dance? The cat continues to keep watch and even his rocking horse awaits the arrival of the fairies. They are waiting, soon to send their “sweet messages of love” when a little boy finally falls fast asleep. What else would the "Nap Time Fairies" have in store for him?

Of course the Nap Time Fairies keep watch over the sleeping boy, much as the cat sitting beside the bed does. Their arrival is symbolic of the author’s wish that they too would keep watch over her own child, Noah. The prose is lyrical and soothing, something to coax a little one into the dream world of nap time. I could almost hear that train arrive and anxiously awaited the Nap Time Fairies to see what they would bring to the little boy. The artwork is stunningly beautiful, meshing perfectly with the soft soothing tale. I was transported back in time to the world of John Tenniel and a time gone by with this wondrous work. This is definitely a book well worth placing on a little boy or girl’s nightstand.
Quill says: This is the perfect nap time tale that will transport any little one into slumber-land with the help of the Nap Time Fairies!

For more information on Nap Time Fairies, please visit the website: www.pocketwatchtales.com






Book Review - The Curse of Anne Boleyn


The Curse of Anne Boleyn

By: C.C. Humphreys
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Publication Date: May 2015
ISBN: 978-1402282300
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: April 16, 2015

C.C. Humphreys stays true to his adventurous style and flair and treats his audience to yet another great read in his latest book: The Curse of Anne Boleyn.
Almost twenty years have passed since Anne Boleyn died. Jean Rombaud’s sole desire is to put his sword to rest, the slaying behind him and live the balance of his days with his family. It is 1555 and the Tower of London is the place. Sadly, Rombaud will not get his wish, nor will the bones of Anne Boleyn remain in what was intended to be her final resting place.

Siena is about to fall and the grasp of holy grace upon the community will change forevermore. The quest for the hand of Anne Boleyn has different meanings for those who seek to recover it—one to resurrect the necessary Catholic shroud of religious bliss and governance over a society of people who bow to their Lord and Maker—the other to rid evil and rest the constant wars among peoples. The common link between the opposing forces, however, is the goal to be the first to acquire the mysterious, six-fingered hand of Anne Boleyn. Continents will be traveled, a mass ocean crossed to the new land and along the formidable journey, blood will be spilled. In the end, fate will be delivered to the one worthy of the coveted hand of Anne Boleyn.

C.C. Humphreys has done it again as he enlists his swashbuckler’s flair with pen and medieval tone of word choice. Having read a previous title by Humphreys (Jack Absolute), I had an instant connection with his “off to the races style” from the onset of the story. He is masterful in securing the necessary real estate within the first handful of pages to lay sound and solid plot. There is a steady and methodical introduction of key characters who easily carry the reader along a fantastical journey of adventurous storytelling. There are few authors I have read over the years who are able to consistently fold one new character after the next into the plot with confident writing that portrays the vital importance of each character to the story. Humphreys does this to the ‘inth’ of perfection. It is clear his passion and flair for writing in the Renaissance period is where he is most comfortable. Not only are the scenes leading to the action credible, but the dialogue is spot on to the period of time. What a treat to read yet another engaging adventure penned by the likes of Mr. Humphreys. As stated before, I am a fan and do welcome the future opportunity to critique yet another of his delightful adventures.

Quill says: Mix religion, history, adventure and intrigue in a large bowl and bake at 325 degrees for 414 pages. The finished product is one, delicious read: The Curse of Anne Boleyn.





Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Review - Harmonology


Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music

By: Stephen O’Connor
Publisher: Harmonology
Publication Date: December 2014
ISBN: 978-0-6923-3642-7
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Date: April 13, 2015

As everyone knows, there are many guides on the literary scene that focus on saving or keeping a healthy relationship. They break down the right things to do when it comes to difficult times, stressful times, and the basic issues that come with everyday living that can ruin a relationship completely. And the answers given when it comes to keeping a relationship healthy in most of these guides make it seem as if that goal is not only unlikely – but impossible. Even the statistic of “over 50% of marriages...” is still used in everything from books to movies. But this new, path, shall we say, actually steps outside the box, bringing in the realm of music to help people through the tough times in order to stay happy, keep together and live a good life.

The cover and the actual “plan” will remind those out there of the astrological chart/the 12-months out of the year. Using the calendar, the author comes up with a theory based on the 12 note musical scale, and its direct relation to the month you were born. This is a theory that actually makes a great deal of sense and is riveting to read. But you MUST make sure you study, because this is not something that just pats you on the head and recites old “feel good” mantras; this is one that can make a difference.

Beginning easily, it is crystal clear to all of us that there are certain songs that “mark” an event in our lives. Our minds keep that particular music. And when certain songs appear on the radio, in a restaurant, etcetera, that immediate feeling – whether it be elation or absolute heartbreak – is directly tied to those moments we will remember forever. To be even clearer, the author makes a mention of the movie Jaws. All anyone needs to hear are the first two drumbeats from that song and you’re frightened. This will always relate to a horror show, causing fear and thrills down to your toes. This works with all music that your mind pieces together with a specific event.

Now...how does this work in regards to the month you were born? In a very interesting way, Harmonology shows the reader what “type” of relationship they will form with someone born...say, the same month they were as opposed to someone born exactly six months apart. Each relationship (and this stands for friends, children and parents, etc.), can work well and function successfully depending on the “harmonology” of that union. And on the dark side, the author can show you what went wrong with a broken relationship and why no harmony was attained.

The laws of actual nature and the laws of music are the same laws – which means they run in perfect harmony with each other. So as you read the examples given of relationships that this writer talks about, you get a better understanding of how you and the other person in your relationship (two notes, so to speak) can, will and/or won’t create a harmony...and why.

Although in the beginning the concept is ‘easy’ and highly interesting, Harmonology is not something you can completely and utterly understand on the first read. This is a true study guide and, yes, those with an understanding of music terminology will have an easier time with it.

Quill says: A fresh approach to educating people about the creation and maintenance of a relationship.

For more information on Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music, please visit the book's website at: www.harmonology.mx








Monday, April 13, 2015

Interview with Author Stephen O'Connor

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor is talking with Stephen O'Connor, author of Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music

FQ: Could you tell our readers a bit about your background? Being a jazz guitarist, composer, with a list of accolades, how did the concept of Harmonology first come about?

O'CONNOR: I was born and raised in San Diego, California. I didn’t start my musical career until around the age of 16, when I started playing bass in a surf band. Soon after college, I gained a strong interest in jazz, and I began to investigate the guitar.

In my early 20’s I won the prestigious Downbeat Magazine Scholarship for performance and composition, to the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Upon my return to Southern California I not only played jazz with talented Southern California artists, but also entered the recording studios as a session player. Soon, I found myself writing and composing for Sea World, Toyota, Jeep, Folder’s Coffee, TV, film and documentaries.

My writing career brought me to write for Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Disney, The Republic of China, The Seville World’s Fair, The Olympics, NASA Space & Rocket Center and many others. I was fortunate to receive a commission to compose a suite for the San Diego Symphony and a commission to write a work for violin, jazz piano and jazz bass, which I talk about on my first book, Counterpoint to Reality.

Throughout that time I also had a very deep curiosity about who I was and why I was here. I read and studied intensely for years, mainly in the Western Esoteric Tradition. Ultimately, I was initiated into various occult and secret Orders such as The Knights Templars, The Rosicrucian Order, The Order of Pythagoras, The Order of Melchizedek and The Martinist Order. Through those experiences I was able to investigate the power of sound through vowel intonation and the nature of vibration. Harmonology is the logical result of that research and study.

Author Stephen O'Connor

FQ: Your novel, Counterpoint to Reality, was focused on your spiritual journey. Do you feel that journey is parallel or linked to your quest to Harmonology and being more open in regards to finding and keeping successful relationships?

O'CONNOR: Counterpoint to Reality was a memoir. It chronicled my Path to understanding and helped me “lay it out on the table,” if you will. During those years of deep investigation, I became acutely aware of energy and vibration as being the essence of all creation. Music is just that – energy and vibration. It wasn’t until later that I realized that since we, ourselves are vibrational, we must create sympathetic bond with those vibrating around us, like two notes played together on the guitar. That’s when it all began for me. It all started to come together––music and relationships.

FQ: Did you, yourself, attain music therapy during your lifetime? And is there a person or persons who have had an effect on your writing?

O'CONNOR: As I mentioned earlier, I spent a large amount of time investigating sound, not only for creating resonance and spiritual alignment, but also for assisting the chakras to open and begin their vibratory entrainment with each other. In a very tangible sense, I was dealing with sound therapy in a way that was just opening up to exploration at the time, at least in the West.

FQ: What can readers look forward to in the future? Will Harmonology be a subject that you feel you will write about again? Or will you be exploring other paths?

O'CONNOR: I am amazed at how Harmonology just keeps opening up and expanding. I know I have only scratched the surface on this subject. I hope to eventually interest someone in the scientific field to put the concept to the test.




I’m now curious as to the multi-ethnic ramifications such as how the idea plays out in other cultures, especially those, for example, that are more “macho” or male dominated, and those that do not use the 12 note musical scale.

FQ: You have had so many unbelievable accomplishments in your career. Can you speak about a few that perhaps included Harmonology? For example: is there a certain piece of music that is linked with a certain event of yours that remains in the forefront of your mind?

O'CONNOR: Being a musician and composer who has spent his entire adult life immersed in sound, I can’t say I have any one piece of music that surfaces on my conscious mind. Perhaps, Adagio for Strings, by Samuel Barber, or The Gentle Side of Coltrane, bring back the deepest memories, complete with emotional attachments. I was fortunate to have been given a special gift in both music and the Spiritual mysteries. Most of my major accomplishments have come through visions or dreams. Where those come from is out of my understanding. Harmonology is most definitely one of those. I feel it’s a gift--to be given at a time that it is needed.

FQ: Although this may sound like a “political” question, I assure you it’s not. From your point of view, believing in universal harmony, do you feel that areas in our world that are failing consistently (whether environmentally, education, etc.) could be fixed with Harmonology?

O'CONNOR: That is a deep and highly interesting question. The thought that large masses of humanity, say an ethnic or regional group of people, or even a country, can contain a singular vibratory pattern and then interact with another is very compelling. Could, for example, the Catholics and the Protestants in Ireland form a flat 5th or flat 2nd interval? If that could be proven, even to a small degree, it would take our understanding to a new level, perhaps even allowing healing and acceptance to happen.

FQ: Do you believe in astrology? You work with the 12-month calendar and music for this book, but do you have any belief or interest in how that part of science works upon relationships?

O'CONNOR: I think it’s all the same. The reason I did not include astrology in my book is that I wanted to stay neutral and open. Harmonology is unique enough to stand on its own. I also purposefully tried to avoid the label of “New Age,” though whether I accomplished that is up for further discussion. Again, it’s all vibrations. Astrology makes a fine case for understanding the “Matrix,” as I call it. So do many other disciplines, such as the Kaballah, the I-Ching and others.

FQ: Is there one thing you wish the reader to take away from this book?

O'CONNOR: Most definitely. I know that we, as a species, are, as they say in Star Trek, at the edge of a new frontier. The old paradigm is crumbling, and rightly so. In order to survive and prosper, we all need to clean up our act. Now is the time to tap into our higher power, take control of our lives and become, as I wrote in Counterpoint, a true being--to walk upright. In the Church of Santo Daime, where I experienced ayahuasca, they held to the belief of the “Second Coming of the Christ.” That’s when you meld with your Inner Presence and raise it to the level of Master. In the Knights Templar, it was called “Slaying the Dragon.” I am not religious, but that symbolism rings strong with me. Our relationships are a good place to begin that process.

Harmonology has the potential to give many the tools to heal their relationship wounds and live in a much more positive and healthy, happy way.

To learn more about Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.




















Book Review - War Bonds


War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation

By: Cindy Hval
Publisher: Casemate
Publishing Date: February 2015
ISBN: 978-1-61200-290-3
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: April 14, 2015

War Bonds is a refreshing change from most of the anthologies of today. The love stories of the couples featured in this book have stood the test of time , under the most difficult situations, leaving the reader spellbound. These stories brought to the fore by Cindy Hval, are true stories of how some extremely brave and loving couples, who were married at the onset of World War II, will help us to remember the lives of our parents or grandparents during that time when you never knew whether this would be the last time you ever saw some of your loved ones.

The author tells the stories of thirty-six couples in the Northwest part of our country, relating real difficult moments in battle that took place during the marriages and the fact that none of the couples ever gave up, sticking to the vows that they made to their spouses during these difficult times. Each story was told with both humor and joy and sometimes sadness, telling of each couples’ situations and their personal times together.

The writer of this wonderful book, Cindy Hval, wrote many articles in a series of features about couples who met and married during World War II. Her stories covered couples who met before the war started, during the war and some after the war was over. Making the decision to put these articles together in one book was an astute decision. Readers will be delighted to read these stories, whether they know people from that era or not.

The most impressive things about all these stories are that the folks stayed together through thick and thin. There are not a lot of folks from the Greatest Generation still with us, but these stories are so full of the lives of these folks in these stories, it will make us all remember their love and determination to their homes and each other.

Quill says: This is a wonderful history lesson for us.





Sunday, April 12, 2015

Book Review - Road to Siran: Erin's Story


Road to Siran: Erin’s Story

By: Behcet Kaya
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: February 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4954-8464-3
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Date: April 2015

For those who are unaware, this is the sequel to the outstanding book Voice of Conscience, which first introduced this family to the literary world. And although there is a lot in regards to getting back to one’s roots in Erin’s Story, the author also offers up a full package of romance, drama and suspense.

Erin is a young woman who is headed – for the first time – to her father’s birthplace. But she is not only going there in order to take a look around; she is also going there because her father has a true mystery in his background that she wishes to investigate. Not only will she end up learning far more about him, but she will also learn about her own background and the way life exists far away from what she knows and understands.

We begin right away with Erin on the plane headed to Turkey, to her eventual arrival at the small village where her father, Ramzi Ozcomert, Jr., came from. Atamkoy is the village; however, in this village, Erin is more than a bit anxious to uncover the stories and perhaps truths about her father that have been kept quiet. She doesn’t know much regarding these mysteries. What she does know is the fact that people have said her father actually witnessed the violent murder of his own family members in his past. But those are doors that also open on the power of revenge, with a true family unit using vengeance in order to bring about justice.

The world Erin lands in is almost too amazing to behold. This is a girl who has graduated from UCLA, so seeing a mad rush is not exactly a big thing for her; L.A. is certainly no small town in Maine. But her first impression when landing in Turkey is total chaos. Side streets are filled with market stalls and people walk the streets dressed in some of the brightest and most beautiful wardrobes possible. Modern day Turkey certainly offers her modern amenities, but Erin finds it incredible (as will the reader) to note that she’s standing in a place where the most important civilizations of all time (Greeks, Romans, the Ottoman Empire and more), played a very important role.

The author delves a bit into modern-day politics and life there, but the true thrill is when Erin faces such a new climate. And when she receives the diary/journal of her grandmother, the old “ways” and the traditions (some good, others bad), come to light. Stumbling across one of her very own professors in Turkey (one she truly finds dreamy), Erin gets wrapped up in a love that she hopes will grow. But as Erin discovers more and more about the tragedies and mysteries in her father’s past, she soon learns of the fact that this archaeology professor may somehow be intertwined in the whole mystery.

With each step, Erin is led into a world she most definitely does not understand, and as she puts pieces together regarding the past, the story becomes one that grips the reader and will not let go.
Quill says: The beauty of the scenery, the darkness of the past, and the mystery tied up with the romance…all of these facets come together to create an unforgettable read.

For more information on Road to Siran: Erin’s Story, please visit the author's website at: www.behcetkaya.com