Flowers And Stone – Book Review

I want to offer a HUGE “Thank You” to Rox Burkey for this incredibly poignant review of “Flowers and Stone!”

Honestly, I have known this author for a long time. I’ve listened to her play guitar, heard the sadness when she shared some details of her life and love of Rick Sikes, and cheered loudly at her achievements and awards. I had only read a few of her poems and a short story, until she suggested I consider Flowers and Stone.  

After book one of this first series, I am truly hooked on her writing. In this debut novel, Jan Sikes creates the scenes in a way that makes you feel you are a part of the story. I could hear the music, see characters with their smiles and tears, and more than once had to dry my eyes as emotions coursed through me at different places in this story.

This complex love story centers around Luke Stone and Darlina Flowers, an unlikely couple at first glance. Luke, an experienced musician and older man, and Darlina a young inexperienced woman, learn many lessons from each other. I like how Luke, smitten early on for this special girl, goes to extraordinary lengths to find out if he should be serious. Ms. Sikes details the steps leading up to this meeting, though this meeting touched a chord of sweetness in my heart and kept me until the end of this book.

“             The bell rang, announcing someone’s arrival.  She half turned. “May I…” She paused in mid-question, shocked to see Luke standing there with the trademark crooked grin on his face. “…Help you?” she finished.

               “That is exactly what I’ve been asking myself,” Luke replied.

               “What are you doing here?”

               “I came to see if you were for real or a figment of my imagination.”

               “For real?”

               Luke’s smile widened, “Yes, for real. You see, I thought maybe I just made you up so had to come and see.”

               Darlina didn’t reply, and Luke quickly continued, I brought you a little something.”

               She stood and walked to the open window that separated her and Luke. “Okay, what did you bring me and more importantly, why? After all, you barely know me.”

               She wondered what kind of strings might be attached to any gift from Luke Stone.

               Luke fished the small box out of his pocked and handed it to her. Their hands briefly touched, and an electrical current passed between them. She looked up at Luke, then down at the box.

               “Open it,” Luke encouraged.

               Darlina gasped as she opened the box to find the delicate gold heart necklace. “Oh, Luke, how beautiful. I’m not sure what to say.”

               “Well, you could say thank you, and you could say that you’ll have dinner with me, just me, and you could say that you’ll give a chance to redeem myself.”

From this point forward I was drawn into the story as these people travel down the road of growing up, growing together, and realizing their differences are key to their magic. In many ways he is a rogue and she is naïve, but in the 70s the music and freedom was what they both wanted and needed. Its easy to recommend this love story to college age and above. There is more to the story and thankfully more books in the series.

About the author

Author Jan Sikes

Multi-Award-Winning author, Jan Sikes, has been called a wordsmith by her peers. Jan openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author, but she had a story to tell.  Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation.

She published four biographical fiction books about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love. True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

Jan also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has published a book of poetry and art and nine short stories.

Author Jan Sikes is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, and the Executive Council at Rave Writers’ Int’l Society of Authors. She is also a member of the Writer’s League of Texas and Authors Marketing Guild.

Connect through Jan’s website: http://www.jansikes.com
Follow Jan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks
Follow Jan on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks
Follow Jan’s Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com    

I want to invite you to visit Rox Burkey’s blog site and if it interests you, please follow her! She is an avid book reviewer!

New Look! #RRBC

Happy New Year to all my wonderful followers!

I’d like to invite you to visit the ALL-NEW RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB at our new location RaveReviewsBookClub.wordpress.com.

This international book club of which I am a proud member, has a new home, new URL and new look!

But, it’s still the same organization with the same mission: {The Mission and Goal of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB are to Profile, Promote & Propel the careers of Indie authors.   The only way that we can do that, is by supporting each of our authors with book sales and HONEST reviews. 

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is a not just an organization, it’s a community. Our mantra at RRBC is those that are most supportive here, are the ones who are most supported here.  Those who are expecting to add their name to our roster and then just disappear without making any connections within the club, or without supporting any of their fellow members, probably won’t get out of it what they are expecting.  What you put in, is what you’ll get out.

So, while the premise, mission and guidelines for RRBC haven’t changed, if you take a look, you’ll find lots of new and amazing opportunities within the club such as a LITERARY SESSIONS LIBRARY AUTHOR PAGESRRBC CIRCLE OF BOOKSRRBC FREE TO REVIEW!

RRBC has a huge catalog of all genres! RRBC CATALOG I read at least 80% from this catalog and I’d love to find your book listed!

You will not find an organization anywhere in the world that offers what the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB does! If you are an Indie Author struggling to keep your boat afloat in a huge sea of other books and authors, take a look at this club and see if it possibly fits your needs. But, I want to stress again that TO BE SUPPORTED, YOU MUST GIVE SUPPORT TO OTHERS! That’s how it works.

Want to know more?

FAQ

HOW RRBC PROFILES, PROMOTES, PROPELS

JOIN

If this interests you, as an Indie or Traditionally published author, and you decide to join, please give my name as the person who referred you! I’d be honored!

#Book Share! @virgilante @MarieDrake72 @maeclair1

I think this is the perfect way to start off a new year of blogging!

It had been a while since I picked up a book that I absolutely could not put down! But, then I got three in a row. So, I had to share!

The first is THREE RULES by Marie Drake.

MY REVIEW:

It has been a long time since I picked up a book that I could not put down. I ignored housework, ate snacks and read until I reached the end. The author’s writing style reminded me of V.C. Andrews. The subject of this book is sexual abuse and I did not know until the end of the book when I read about the author that she is a survivor of abuse. The writing comes from someone who has experienced the pain, the horror, the guilt and trauma that sexual abuse brings. The author did a great job of concealing the true identity of the abuser until the very end of the book. I was shocked. She gets deep into the psyche of the victim. The nightmares, panic attacks and paranoia are depicted in a raw and honest way. This book is not for the squeamish, but it is a well-written compelling story that I hope will encourage victims of sexual abuse to speak up and break the awful silence! And never forget the three rules! I highly recommend this book.

Marie Drake is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

The next one is SERANG by C.S. Boyack

MY REVIEW:

This story was one that I couldn’t put down! I was intrigued by Serang’s character when she was introduced in The Voyage of The Lanternfish and it was great to learn her backstory. To say she faced hardships and trials would be putting it very mildly. At a very young age, after her father died, Serang’s mother left her on the steps of a monastery as she could no longer care for her. But after a few years, the new Emperor hellbent on destroying all of the temples sent soldiers to kill everyone and burn the temple. Rescued by a traveling monk, she came of age under the teachings of Master Yong. She learned to become a fierce warrior and her intuition grew. The way she received her master weapon, the Guandao was fascinating. Her journey to the Temple of the Wind and then through the caves was heart stopping. I also have to say there was humor scattered throughout the book, even though the overall theme was most serious. This book is fantasy at its best! I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good story and fabulous world-building!

I know the holidays are over, but this Christmas Holiday Novella would be a treat anytime of the year! Food For Poe was both entertaining and easy to read but be prepared for unexpected twists and events! I am a huge fan of this author, Mae Clair, and have read most everything she has written!

MY REVIEW:

I absolutely loved this novella! It started out as a sweet romance, but typical of this author, there was soon a ghost, a mystifying myth, and jaw-dropping magic. It is well-written and I read it in one sitting. I loved how the author wove these character’s lives together in a few short pages. But the twist came when a Changeling also appeared and some nail-biting pages followed. I won’t give the story away, I’ll just say how much I enjoyed it with all the twists and surprises. If you are looking for a romance with lots of added side plots, I highly recommend this novella!

I hope that if you haven’t read these books, you’ll pick them up if they appeal to you! Click on the book title to purchase!

TIL DEATH DO US PART – A REVIEW BY @dlfinnauthor

When someone reads and leaves a review for one of my books, I am always moved. But, this review from D.L. Finn made my eyes misty.

Here is her review on Amazon:

“This is the final book in the fictionalized true-story of Luke and Darlina Stone. The story continues where it left off in “Home at Last” for Luke and Darlina. The remarkable journey of this couple comes full circle when music reenters their lives. I loved that Darlina (and their daughter) joined Luke on stage. It was beautiful to read the process of this couple creating music together. I felt every emotion reading “’Til Death Do Us Part”, especially knowing it’s the real story of the author– and it was the last book. I was heartbroken watching the decline of Luke’s health, but was amazed, again, at how strong their love was. When I hear an owl hoot at night it will always remind me of this couple’s unwavering love. A beautifully written series I highly recommend.”

Thank you to D.L. for the kind words! Please visit the original post on her BLOG.

Christmas is coming! If you’d like an autographed copy of TIL DEATH DO US PART, visit my website.

And, of course, this book can be purchased on Amazon

You can find out more about all of my books on my website

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#RRBC Slivers of Life – A Book Review

5 star

Slivers of Life could not be a more appropriate title for this compilation of short stories from Author, Beem Weeks.

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Each is like a slice of pie from the whole or pages ripped from someone’s book. I thought I had found my favorite tale with “Medal Detector,” but the next chapter, “Forget Me (Not Fade Away)” had me in tears.

Exquisite emotion drips from the words Beem weaves together to create a story. Each writer has his/her own voice and that is what makes them unique. Beem is a master at ‘Show Don’t Tell.’ I’m going to share a few lines with you from various stories in the book to “show” examples of descriptive writing as only Beem Weeks can do. 

“Urgency filled the air with a thick acrid smell.”

“It starts with that gnawing feeling, like a rat trying to chew its way through my stomach, making a meal of my guts as it escapes.”

“She backed off my front porch, set her black flats onto the cement walk, and eyed me like maybe she’d entertained notions of killing me there on the spot.”

“My feet slap the hard dirt in the field between our neighborhood and Wendell High school, carrying me quickly toward Chad and his paint cans.”

“The old timer’s shelter leaned like a well-oiled lush against a stand of ancient maple trees sipping life from Maryland soil a mile up the road.”

“Her feet found solid ground outside of the car. A quick spring breeze swirled around her like a cleansing devil, blowing away winter’s heavy sediment.”

He covers the gauntlet with stories about old folks to teenagers experimenting with forbidden and dangerous situations to the Bigfoot myth. If you are a lover of emotionally driven ‘too-human’ stories, this book is for you. It’s easy to read, but the stories linger long after you’ve turned the last page. I highly recommend this book! 

Order is NOW on AMAZON

Beem Weeks is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. For more information about this unique organization click on the link above.

Beem

RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB

I have posted this before, but today is Recruitment Day at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and I can’t say it any better than this!! If you’re an author looking for a community where you truly belong, are supported and become like family, this is the place for you. 

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I know you hear me refer to The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB a lot, but when I find something that is exciting and rewarding, I like to talk about it.

I first became a member of #RRBC in August, 2014. I didn’t get involved much – read my required number of books to remain active in the club, tweeted now and then, caught a RAVE WAVES Blog Talk radio show now and then and skimmed through the WEEKLY CLUB UPDATES.

I didn’t see a whole lot of benefits at the time, except that immediately, when I listed on my Profile that I was a member of the club, my Twitter followers increased substantially. Well, that was good. I now had other authors interacting on a consistent level and more opportunities to spread the word about my books.

Then, in November 2014, I received the honor of a #PUSHTUESDAY spot that showcased The Convict and the Rose. I saw an immediate spike in sales on Amazon. At the time the book was spotlighted, I had ten reviews. That number went to 25 within a few short months. Hmmmm, I thought to myself. Maybe I need to get more involved with this club because it seems to make things happen!

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Long story short, I got more involved. I began supporting other members, following their blogs and helping spread the word about their books. Again, I saw a huge spike in followers of my own blog. Wow! Now that meant I had to consistently start blogging and provide interesting and interactive content.

Two more examples -I earned a spot in April 2016 on a RAVE WAVES Blog Talk Radio show where I had the opportunity to discuss and answer questions about my books and again the support I received was overwhelming.

When the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB  chose my third book, Home At Last as a featured book of the month in July 2016, even more miraculous things began to happen.  Up until that date, I had only eight reviews. And even though it’s not a huge number, I now have twenty.

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I’ve participated in a virtual Writer’s Conference with the club, gone on numerous Block Party Blog Tours and read some absolutely amazing books by talented indie authors. In fact, at the end of 2016, I decided to put together a TOP TEN list for the books I enjoyed the most during the year. Out of the 10 books, 8 of them were #RRBC Authors! Check them out here!

All I’m saying, is that if you’re looking for a community of like-minded people to support, uplift, encourage and propel you to greater heights as an author, you might want to take a look at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.  Go to the FAQ page for the answers to any question you might have.

Membership fees are VERY affordable and the results (IF YOU PARTICIPATE) are amazing!

This group of supportive authors and readers have POWER!

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OH YES, AND ONE FINAL THING.  WHEN YOU JOIN, PLEASE TELL THEM I SENT YOU! 

Reviewers #RRBC

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As an author, there is nothing more encouraging than receiving a rave review for one of your books.

But, reviewers must maintain credibility. And that is my topic today.

I am an avid reader. I love nothing more than to sink my teeth into a good story. And, I never hesitate to leave a review once I finish.

However, what happens when a reader picks up a book that leaves him lacking? Does that reviewer leave a false review to make the author feel better or tell the truth?

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I think the answer to that should be crystal clear. First of all, you are doing that author no favors by saying the book is better than it was. An honest but KIND review can help the author grow and get better at his craft.

We never stretch or reach for more, when we think we already have it. 

So, I call to ALL reviewers – authors and readers – to stay true to yourself when it comes to writing reviews. If there are 20 five star reviews on Amazon for the book and you only feel like it deserves four stars, give it four stars!

If you stay true to yourself, then you build credibility as an honest reviewer. That being said, the word KIND must stay in your vocabulary. You only want to offer constructive not destructive criticism.

Read away! Review away! Be honest!

Author, Beem Weeks, who is in charge of the Review Department with the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB offers a short concise guide to “Writing the (Almost) Perfect Review.” Click HERE to watch.

Indie Authors, Need a place to call home? #RRBC

It is not often in life that I find a group or organization which actually does what it proclaims to. In fact, as an Indie Author seeking ways to help promote my books, I have been ripped off more than once. (I’m sure you can all agree with that.)

So, when I stumbled up on the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, I had my doubts. Words like “promote, propel and uplift,” caught my eye, but didn’t convince me. But, hoping for more reviews for my first two books, I joined.

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I must say that for the first year, I didn’t participate much. I read the required four books and wrote reviews. I tweeted and re-tweeted. I read the Weekly Club Updates and pretty much sat on the sidelines.

Then, as I watched other members of the club begin to garner the kind of recognition and promotion that led to more reviews for their books, I decided to get off the fence and jump on in.

Results? Amazing! I got a guest spot on one of the RAVE WAVES Blog Talk Radio shows, my third book, Home At Last, was chosen as a Book of the Month and things really took off. Sales jumped. I got more reviews, I had people start following my blog and I moved up the rankings both on Google and Amazon. And that was with only one book spotlight.

Since then, I’ve been a #PUSHTUESDAY winner, participated in a large number of blog tours, attended an amazing virtual RRBC Writer’s Conference and Book Expo, won multiple awards, am now co-hosting a RAVE WAVES blog talk radio show and have more followers than ever before.

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And I have been accepted into the RAVE WRITER’S – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS which was founded for the sole purpose of introducing the world to some of the TOP Indie Authors!

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The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is a community of authors, editors, publishers and readers who have one goal and passion in life and that is to lift others. The President of RRBC, Nonnie Jules, says that you can only rise as high as you are willing to lift someone else. It seems like reverse psychology, doesn’t it? But, I do know it works. By promoting other authors, you are in turn, promoted. What a philosophy!! And I have found that it bleeds over into every day life.

Rise by lifting others

So, if you are an Indie Author struggling to float the river alone, I invite you to join the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and let others help you. BUT, you must do your part or else you’ll see no results. It is NOT a place to simply list your books and sit back to wait for the reviews to come rolling it. You must GIVE to GET!

If you think this is a fit for you, take a look. You have to list the person who referred you to the club and that would be me, Jan Sikes. 🙂 See you in #RRBC land!!

 

Profound and Inspiring #RRBC Book Review

LETTING GO INTO PERFECT LOVE By Gwen Plano

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This memoir is one of heartbreak, discovery and inspiration. Gwen Plano takes us with her on a journey back to her childhood and the tragedies that struck the family on to her search for love and a family of her own. Little did she know the abuse that she’d suffer before she found redemption.

Redemption through unorthodox ways and sheer determination brought her through. I loved taking this journey with Gwen and related on so many different levels. From following her husband to Japan in search of truth and enlightenment to the dark depths of abuse that no human should have to tolerate, she had me captured. I cried with her when the abuse reached her children. I cheered for her when she found the strength to walk away.

This is a story that will give anyone on their journey through life something inspiring, something to believe in and something to carry with them. There are so many lines throughout the book that stayed with me. This is only one example of the depth and insight Gwen Plano shares through her own experiences. “Deep within each of us, there is a well of love ­­― a place of wholeness, a place of completeness. This sacred well is alive with wisdom and tenderness.”

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is seeking truth, love and wholeness.

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Gwen is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and a RAVE WAVES Blog Talk Radio host.

Follow Gwen:

Website

Twitter

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A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair

BOOK REVIEW

5 STARS!

Eve Parrish has no idea what she will find when she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Fifteen years earlier, as a young child, she’d experienced a tragedy that changed everyone’s lives forever. A bridge that connected Point Pleasant to the rest of the world collapsed, killing many of the town’s residents, including Eve’s father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn. To escape the nightmare of the tragedy, Eve’s mother moved the family away. Upon her return to Point Pleasant, she finds her aunt’s house ransacked. What was someone looking for?

Caden Flynn survived the bridge collapse, but with the help of who or what? He carries insurmountable guilt that he’d coerced his little sister to go out that day and  hadn’t been able to save her when she plunged into the icy water below.

The legend of a mythical creature, The Mothman, has haunted the little town for decades and occasional sightings has kept the tourists coming, although with the collapse of the bridge, fewer come hoping for a sighting. The town of Point Pleasant is only a shadow of what it had been in its prime.

But, a sinister undercurrent to this story involves an unlikely murderer in the small community who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

When Caden and Eve not only renew a friendship, but become romantically involved, they find themselves in the murderer’s cross hairs. Information provided by the ghosts of Eve’s aunt and her friend, Maggie, prove to be invaluable in solving the many mysteries surrounding Point Pleasant.

Mae Clair has done a superb job of weaving this tale of UFOs, the mythical Mothman, murder and romance together in the first book of her Point Pleasant series.

If you like a well-written book with tons of suspense and plot twists, you’ll love A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair!

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Author Mae Clair is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

You can order A Thousand Yesteryears TODAY for only 0.99 on AMAZON

For more information on Mae Clair, visit her WEBSITE

Follow her on TWITTER