Readers’ Raves

Readers raves from The Horse That Haunts My Heart, are below.

To read the raves from Humanus Astrologicus, click here.

Spiritual connection with animals

I could totally relate to the details of growing up at this time period. Although not a horse person, I have long felt that same type of connection with dogs and the lessons they taught me. To have this great story told with a back drop of moving through adolescence and the beautiful Rocky Mountains was a real treat. The story and the look back at the lessons learned from this experience with her horse were truly touching. I loved it!

Nancy Maples

This horse will haunt my heart, too

A story that covers the gamut from learning about horse ranching in the west in the’50s, to experiencing the deep love that can grow between horse and rider, to the mature perspective touching a deep chord of spiritual connection. I can’t say I couldn’t put it down, because I found I needed to stop periodically and allow it all to sink deep into my soul. I like books like that. The ones that resonate so deeply you need to let them steep into your bones.

This book nourished the part of me (part of us all) that sometimes sees the dark night of the soul and needs to reconnect with the greater light of being. Not your soupy, gauzy-eyed, tie-dyed spirituality, either. This is meat and potatoes ranch stew served up cowboy style to stick to your ribs. The girls wear lipstick, (and you’ll learn a trick to that one in the book) but they also sometimes wear 3 days of trail dirt. And the horses aren’t dainty critters that are delivered in a courtly manner by a butler – the girls work hard for and with their horses, often with unexpected results.

I loved the blend this book offered me – having grown up watching old “Spin and Marty” Mickey Mouse club sketches, I wondered what life on a ranch might be like. I have a clearer image in my mind now. I’ve also always fantasized about the deep connection a cowboy has with his/her horse – and feel like I’ve touched that briefly.

I’ve ridden a horse once in my life, when my little brother and his girlfriend took me to a rental place. 10 minutes of bumping up and down on my horse trying to keep up with the two of them blithely jaunting ahead gave me a new respect for the skill involved. Reading this book makes me want to take another stab at it (just don’t know how advisable that is at 52 years of age!)

Jim Hennum

This book is alive with adventure and excitement.

I did not expect to be drawn into The Horse that Haunts My Heart. The photo on the book cover shows a teenage girl standing shoulder to shoulder with the horse she called Tank. I grew up in poverty, struggling with biracial identity in neighborhoods rife with gangs, drugs, and alcohol. In my world teens were haunted not by horses but by abandonment and violence, humiliation and hopelessness. I carry nine scars on my body and have buried six brothers all with their own wounds. I could hardly imagine relating to a story of a white girl from a comfortable, middle class Wisconsin home in the 1950s. I was wrong!

A masterful story teller with an impressive command of language and graphic detail, Deborah Smith Parker shares a compelling and meaningful account of a smart, gutsy teenage girl and a powerful yet gentle beast full of strength and surprises. In the majestic landscape of the West, the world of horses, ranch life, rodeos, and a successful enterprise where a strong guide offered young girls great adventures — all these became mine in a wonderful story full of humor, mystery, drama, discovery, some heartbreak, and even betrayal.

This book is alive with adventure and excitement. The emotions are real, even if, as the author tells us early in the book, the names of people, places and even horses have been changed to protect the innocent… and the guilty. Over three summers of adventure at a horse ranch, a girl and her horse find ways to communicate with each other and cement a bond between them that haunts the author’s heart for the rest of her life.

Together she and Tank explore the rugged terrain of the West, show off, and ultimately confront danger. Death visits three times. Real and menacing, it is cheated in mysterious ways as the author and her clever horse use courage and instinct to avoid disaster.

There is heartbreak — not just typical teen frustrations but the most potent emotions that engage us all deeply. Every human being faces challenges. None of us has a monopoly on suffering. What we can share is our individual courage in the face of danger and our ability to learn from one another. The young “Debbie” is at her best, when in the face of betrayal, she confronts power with truth. Courage always demands a price. For her it meant . . . well, you have to read the book to know that.

Maya Angelou says in her poem: “The Human Family”: In minor ways we differ; in major ways we are the same. This wonderfully written story beautifully illustrates that great truth.

Dr. Samuel Betances, author of Winning the Future through Education: One Step at a Time, and Ten Steps to the Head of the Class: A Challenge to Students, Chicago, 2014.

A thoroughly satisfying book

Some books enable you to step out of your skin and enter the world the author creates. This is one of those books.
Deborah Parker’s writing pulled me into her adventures with her horse, adventures not only longed for but was prevented from doing in my life. The Horse That Haunts My Dreams let me live that life.

EP a life long horse lover

Ethel Parker

The Horse That Haunts My Heart!

I was immediately hooked by this story that lives within every person, a coming of age complete with all of its romance, fears, pains, joys & laughter. Deborah writes with sensory perception that transported me into the book, I heard the squeak of the saddles, I could smell the horses, the sage, the fresh air, I felt the pain and joy. I didn’t want the story to end. Beautiful. I was astounded.

J. Estensen

Captivating tale

This is a heart-warming story of growing up and finding true love and a best buddy in a horse. Full of escapades and adventures – some of the white-knuckle variety – it’s a gripping tale that takes place in the wild mountains of the West. There’s a disturbing and surprising development at the end, but throughout it’s a captivating read that I highly recommend.


This is a wonderful book for all ages

What a joy to read this fine book. It’s an autobiographical story of the author’s teenage summers spent on a girls’ horse ranch in the Rocky Mountains in the 1950’s. Every time I’ve asked cowboys for clues about how to understand horses and riding them, their replies have always been in the range of “you just get on them and go” or “if you don’t know, don’t do it”. Deborah answers my question wonderfully, telling us the details of her own history of getting to know her own horse those many years ago. The book will engage teenagers or anyone of any age who is interested in horses. But the bonus from this author is that she also includes her own tales of human maturation that resulted from her summers on the western ranch and how those many experiences influenced her life as she grew up and onward through her adult life. Deborah Smith Parker ends up leading us through the fields of spiritual understanding that emerged later in her life as a result of her close friendship with her special horse. This is a wonderful book, well written, easy to read, and with lots of heart. This is a rare unveiling of a complete life, ranging from material and emotional levels through heartful love and nonreligious spirituality. I recommend this book. It’s a real gem.

Gringo on Earth ‘Gringo’

I thought that it took off a little slow. Having no memory or image/picture of a girl’s horse camp, I had questions about the site, the author, the activities. And then I forgot about all that and read almost non-stop to the end.

I realized in the end that the entire book was perfectly presented to give the reader the best possible experience. You can’t imagine how many times I re-read that last chapter. HAUNTING.


Humanus Astrologicus Raves

Reading Humanus Astrologicus moved me from my normal skepticism to believing astrology has a deeper basis in reality than I suspected. Written with wit, style and great psychological insight, and in verse at that, Humanus Astrologicus helped explain me to myself (and who not to marry next time around).

Bill Manville
The New York Daily News
Faculty, Temple University

Whether you are well-versed in astrology or do not know your sun sign from your rising sign, Humanus Astrologicus offers fresh insight into how the heavens influence us. Through clever and delightfully surprising verse, Deborah Smith Parker weaves myth and meaning into word portraits of each of the astrological alignments of sun, moon, planets and constellations. The easy-to-use charts at the back of the book guide readers in creating their own unique and individual astrological profile. This is a wonderful compendium for those seeking self-understanding or for curious explorers of human behavior.

Judy Reeves

Amazing! For anyone who has ever wondered about the personality portraits of those in their family, work and social relationships, this book is a lot of information in the disguise of fun.

PH Miller, reader

Deborah Parker’s Humanus Astrologicus is delightfully educational. The accuracy of her poetic depictions of the Sun, Moon & Ascendant in each of the signs is fantastic. When I read a chart for a client, I pick up Humanus Astrologicus to get a humorous and in-depth sense of my client.

Jill Estensen, counselor.

As a practicing astrologer, I enjoy the pearls of wisdom that spring up every time I open the book. As a reader, I love the flow of the verse and the way it tickles my mind with clever turns and pithy takes. Deborah Smith Parker has taken the art of astrology and restored the “art” to it. Her witty verse delivers a sparkle of fun which catches you off-guard and delights you with rhyme like you remember from childhood, and then you realize the depth of insight that is tucked away inside each line.

Jim Hennum, astrologer

This book is a “must” for anyone with even a passing interest in astrology. In my case, as a professional astrologer, it is fast becoming a great tool for getting points across to clients. The work of Ms. Parker is a brilliant and user-friendly introduction to astrology.

Anne Beversdorf, astrologer