Review of Jewel, written by Jan Sikes

The Blurb:

For almost eighteen years, Jewel has known little beyond hopelessness and hunger. Barely existing in a ramshackle cabin, on the edge of a Louisiana swamp with her little sister and their mother, she sees no way to stop the downward spiral. When her mother falls gravely ill, Jewel learns that her life is about to take a drastic turn. But will it lead to joy or more devastation?
Take a heart-warming journey with Jewel as she struggles to rise from the clutches of poverty and shame.

My Thoughts: 

A poignant tale that has, without a doubt, played out too many times in reality. An impoverished family that consists of a sickly mother and her two daughters, must come to terms with their reality.

In those days, before the safety net of social assistance, the painful choice was made by Jewel’s mother to send her daughters away, in hopes of a better life.

Jewel was ushered into an alien world of lavish parties and magnificent homes, but everything comes at a price. It’s impossible not to sympathize with this young woman because of her tragic circumstances, and youthful innocence.

An emotional connection with characters is the mark of an excellent book. No issues with that in Jewel. It’s a quick read that wraps up neatly, though it left me with the desire to learn one unanswered question.

I recommend Jewel for the reader who enjoys a short tale of dire straits, desperate measures, and uncertain endings.

Five Stars!

Jewel by Jan Sikes

Meet Jan: 

Jansikesround

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, has been called a wordsmith by her peers.

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.

She 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.

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

She 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 with Jan and purchase her books: 

Amazon.com

Website

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She is also a member of Rave Reviews Book Club

 

Review of Silent Heroes, by Patricia Furstenberg

The Blurb:

How far would you go to save strangers in need? And who really are Marines’ most trusted allies?
Military Dogs would risk their lives for their humans in a heartbeat, but can soldiers do the same when personal struggles and global affairs defy humanity?

My Thoughts:

Patricia has certainly done her homework when it comes to research. Silent Heroes sheds light on the plight of the Afghan people, far better than any newscast. This ‘in your face’ tale may be fictional, but the vicarious journey into the depths of earthly hell cannot be underestimated. I was schooled on the true collateral damage, and that is the personal trauma of all who are dragged into war.

The desperation of a father who seeks his lost children, the terror of a village constantly under threat, and the bond between canine and soldier, are skillfully portrayed. The fact that Silent Heroes broached the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was a refreshing change from the usual, ‘good guy shoots bad guy and remains unaffected.’

What impressed me the most was Patricia’s attention to detail in her explanation of Afghanistan’s history and how the Taliban rose to power. I’d been completely unaware of these facts, despite years of watching news footage. I finished the book better educated and with a greater sympathy for all involved.

There were some areas where past and present tense were used interchangeably, and character perspectives changed suddenly, more clarity could have been given.

Silent Heroes is an intense and action-packed read that anyone with an interest in culture, foreign affairs, and the personal cost of war would find appealing.

Four Stars for Silent Heroes.

silentheroes

Meet Patricia:

Patsmall

Patricia Furstenberg is a skilled, multi-genre author, poetess and mother, known for her uplifting, thought-provoking themes and her appealing characters. With a medical degree behind her, Patricia is passionate about mind, brain and education and the psychology behind it. Her writing echoes the realities of life and is accented by ‘creativity and vivid imagery.’ She knows how to ‘capture the reader’s imagination.’ Her prolific writing is described as: positive, diverse, crisp, joyful and uplifting. As a winner of the Write Your Own Christie Competition, the Judges ‘were impressed by her thorough investigation and admired the strength of her narrative; they were impressed by her style’. The judges thought Patricia’s writing style is ‘well structured, with a great sense of tension and suspense’, ‘confident and intriguing’. The Judges were Mathew Prichard, David Brawn from Harper Collins UK and Daniel Mallory from Harper Collins US. She lives happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.

Connect with Patricia and purchase a book: 

Amazon.com

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Pintrest

Email

LinkedIn

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Review of Eventide, (A Hode’s Hill Novel Book 3), by Mae Clair

The Blurb:

The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

eventidecover

My Thoughts:

I must confess to not reading the first two books in this series, namely Cusp of Night (Book 1), and End of Day (Book 2). However, my experience with Eventide has left me wanting more!

Mae is a master at creating imagery and the book is peppered with unique descriptive language.

The plot runs in dual timelines that flow together and coincide to unravel the mystery, not only of the old Stewart House, but also the tumultuous personal life of Madison Hewitt.

This is a story for those who enjoy supernatural thrillers, historical fiction, and a hint of romance.

It gets a ‘highly recommended’ Five Stars from me.

About Mae Clair:

 

Maeclair

Purchase Your Copy of Eventide, or another of her works:

Amazon.com

Maeclair.com    (website)

Twitter

Blog

 

Saving the world, one coffee cup at a time!

So, we’re into another week of COVID craziness here and the kiddos are looking at extended time off. It’s a fortunate thing that our wonderful school had the foresight to create some online learning videos, paired with the opportunity for messaging their teachers with questions, during certain times of the day. That being said, by the end of last week, cabin fever had set in and the isolation of social distancing was beginning to wear on this family.

The recent thaw of winter revealed humanity’s “best” behavior in the form of trash in the ditches. If you’d read my previous post, you’re aware that we don’t live in town and that we get some strange items dumped close to our doorsteps.

Wheelchairs aren’t the only thing that turn up on our beautiful countryside. In my nearly sixteen years here, I’ve seen countless beer bottles, coffee cups, flooring, an air conditioner, tires, televisions, a FULL- sized refrigerator, and once, a large, black plastic garbage bag that every crime show said I should NOT touch. Of course, I opened it. The contents, hold your breath, was potting soil. No, buddy just couldn’t dump out that “toxic” stuff and keep the bag. It’s a sad statement that people feel the need to use our neighborhood as a garbage dump.

This is not a rant, well, not all of it anyways, this is a post about teaching my kids social and environmental responsibility. Yes, this past weekend I took my offspring on a mission to clean up those ditches, I bought them each a ‘grabby-thing’ and they cheerfully went to town bagging recycling and garbage alike. When we were through, and after getting several compliments and thumbs up from neighbors and strangers driving by, there was a sense of pride and accomplishment among our trio.

My youngest, surprised and concerned, commented on just how much some people litter. I’m hoping that this experience has left an indelible impression on the value of good stewardship on their young minds. Here’s hoping for a more environmentally responsible generation. Below are just a few pics from our day.

 

triogarbage

Saving the world, one coffee cup at a time!

 

Isabelstream

Braving the “fast flowing” depths of ‘Ditch Canyon’ to get that piece of plastic and check out the baby minnows.

 

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Man Verses Nature, a discarded tire next to a beaver dam.

 

shingles

Hey folks, shingles belong on the roof, not in a marshland.

I’m sure that all of my readers are environmentally conscious, but if you know of anyone who considers the countryside as their personal landfill, please remind them that this world is ‘Borrowed from our children.’

 

The Scum of the Underbelly.

wheelchair

Well, today is more of a short rant. As you can see by the photo, we had a very unusual situation out here.

This photo was taken on Monday, March 16th. This chair was eerily left abandoned on the corners of two rural roads, not far from home. I called the police who informed me that I was the second to report this.

My hunch proved correct when the local news station reported that authorities were looking for the owner of this stolen wheelchair. I mean, what kind of subspecies steals a wheelchair?