Tag Archives: #RRBC

Book Reviews: My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons by Bette Stevens and A Soldier’s Children by Jan Sikes

My Two book reviews –  My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons by Stevens and A Soldier’s Children by Jan Sikes.

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My Maine

A Soldier's Children

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My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons by [Stevens, Bette]

My Review

In her poetry book My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons, Stevens showed the nature she experienced in the Pine State of Maine. The presentation of the book reminded me of attending a concert to watch the performance of the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi’s violin concerti “The Four Seasons.” In each season, Stevens opened the curtain and presented the sights and sounds in the nature. For the taste, a lobster dinner was in order. The performance of each season retreated toward the end and invited the next season to come in; and the audience gave a standing ovation.

“Spring Awakening” began with the ice slowly melted, rivers and streams sang, to the birds, animals blossoms awakened, and ended with:

Standing ovation
Awaiting next performance
Tulip petals bow

“Summer Songs” began with a bright sun high in the sky, the energy of prancing creatures, dancing flowers, flapping birds, to delicious lobster dinners and ended with:

Restless autumn leaves
Sit, swaying in the background
To summer’s last song

“Autumn Leaves” began with the radiant rustling leaves, flocks went on the southbound journey, folks heaped up firewood, to harvest time, family gathering, and ended with:

Radiant leaves—now
Memories in our scrapbooks
Seasons travel on

“Winter Tales” begins with the frozen polar winds, Christmas time for family and friends, children enjoyed the holidays, to neighbors helped each other shovel the snow and ended with:

Tale of winter’s end
Written in morning shadows
Crocus petals rise

It was a great pleasure to be in the audience of Stevens’ well composed concerti. I still can see the seasonal colors and hear the joyful sounds. The author included her own beautiful photography, the interesting facts and symbols of Maine. Readers will enjoy this poetry collection.

Amazon and Goodreads Rating

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Bette A. Stevens

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). The author is currently (2019) working on two poetry collections. MY MAINE: Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection (2019).

Stevens’s children’s book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO! was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012. AMAZING MATILDA, Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England in a family whose poverty and alcoholism mark him as a target for bullying by young and old alike. This short story is a prequel to Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP (KCT International Literary Award Top Finalist 2017). Stevens is currently working on two poetry collections. MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection/JUNE 2019).

Contact the Author

Website

Amazon

Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook

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A Soldier's Children by [Sikes, Jan]

My Review

The short story of A Soldier’s Children is a delightful and quick read. Jan Sikes depicted a fourteen-year-old Jenny who was assumed responsibility to run the household and care for her seven-year-old sister. Their mother abandoned them for more than six months. Their father was missing at war. Jenny worked part-time at an amusement park and took her little sister Emily along. Emily went missing and scared Jenny. The amusement park owner Mr. Park helped to locate Emily. Jenny learned to be careful making sure the safety of her little sister. After the summer, Jenny and Emily started school again. As Jenny watched other high school girls holding hands walking on campus, she wished to have lived a carefree life like those girls. The story came to a surprising ending.

I find this story and the characters believable. There are many children assumed responsibilities as adults due to the dysfunctional home with alcoholic or drug-addicted parents, or divorced parents. These children would be fortunate if they could beat the social system to keep their heads above the water or make a life of their own. This story is well written. Highly recommended.

Amazon  and Goodreads Rating

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Jan Sikes

About the Author

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.


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My Book Review of Letting Go into Perfect Love by Gwen Plano #RWISA #RRBC

My Book Review of Letting Go into Perfect Love by Gwen Plano #RWISA #RRBC

Gwen Plano Letting go

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Blurb:

Inspiring and unforgettable, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a riveting account of a journey through the terror of domestic violence to a faith that transforms all. As a college administrator, Gwendolyn M. Plano lived her professional life in a highly visible and accountable space–but as a wife and mother, behind closed doors, she and her family experienced unpredictable threat. The statistics are staggering–every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten–but to Gwen, this was her secret; it was her shame. When her husband eventually turned his brutality on her son, she knew she could no longer remain silent.

Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, this is a story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s uplifting account of learning how to forgive the unforgivable, recover her sense of self, bring healing into her family, and honor the journey home. Accompanied by glimpses of celestial beings, Gwen charts a path through sorrow to joy–and ultimately, writes of the one perfect love we all seek.  Continue reading……

 

My Review

In her book Letting Go, Gwen Plano recounted her two abusive marriages in honesty and courage. She married the first husband after he had a mental breakdown. The psychiatrist gave her hope that Bruce could recover. She married him intending to help him and saved him from being admitted. She couldn’t handle his outrage and filed a divorce. She married Ron six months after they met. There were signs of Ron’s disturbed behavior, but Gwen stated that she was in a fantasy world of young love. In the years to come, Ron uprooted the family on minutes of notice and moved across the country and even to Japan. After they came back to the US, he was getting more violent, demeaning and controlling.  He physically abused their young son when the baby was seven months old. When the daughter was sexually abused at age five by clergies and complained about that years later, Ron didn’t want to deal with it and wanted to move on.

During the twenty-five years of abuse, Gwen studied and taught. The workplace was her escape. The busyness kept them going for twenty-five years. At one point, she realized Ron made her feel “small.” In an abusive relationship, women kept the abuse in secret, fear the reporting results in more abuse. These women may fear of not being able to stand on their own feet.

The beginning of her book, Gwen conveyed her Catholic upbringing which demanded her obedience to the church rules and prevented her from divorce. Her family background formed her endurance of hardship without complaint. It was after her seeking spiritual advice and assurance to rid her fear that she filed for a divorce and was set free.

 

My Amazon and Goodreads Ratings

About the Author

Gwendolyn M. Plano, aka Gwen M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. Recently retired, she now lives in the Midwest with her husband and enjoys writing and travel.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir. In Letting Go into Perfect Love: Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse, Gwen bravely recounts a violent marriage and the faith that opened her heart to hope, to trust, and to awe. Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a powerful story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s inspiring account of learning how to forgive the unforgivable, recover her sense of self, open her heart, and honor the journey home.

Gwen’s second book, The Contract between Heaven and Earth, is the first of her thriller series and is co-authored by John W. Howell, published in June 2018. Author Jan Sikes wrote that “The Contract is the perfect blending between the physical and unseen world with unbreakable bonds between human and spirit.”

The Choice: unexpected heroes, the second in her thriller series, was published in June 2019 and continues the story.

 

Other books by Gwen Plano

The Contract: between heaven and earth     The Choice: the unexpected heroes

 

Contact Gwen Plano

Website: http://gwenmplano.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Gwendolyn-M.-Plano/e/B00I5TAJ04?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmplano

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GwendolynMPlano

 

 

Book Review – Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes #RRBC

Book Review – Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes #RRBC

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Flowers And Stone by [Sikes, Jan]

 

Blurb

The epic love story begins here!
A hot Texas summer, dim-lit honky-tonk bars, a young naïve fledgling go-go dancer and a wild rebel Texas musician set the stage for this story.
1970 in Abilene, Texas finds young Darlina Flowers trying to figure out how to fit into the world she is most attracted to – the nightlife, live music and go-go dancing. Luke Stone, a veteran Texas Musician believes he’s lost all reason to care about his music career, his health and most especially his heart. A chance meeting with Darlina changes everything. But, is it too late? Has fate already determined the outcome? Join Luke and Darlina on a passion-filled journey up and down Texas roads while Luke and his band entertain crowds along the way.

 

My Recommendation

Flowers and Stone is the first book of the series I read.  This fictional novel is based on the real lives of Jan and Rick Sikes portrayed as Darlina Flowers and Luke Stone. The story quickly revealed that the nineteen-year-old girl Darlina fell in love with the thirty-six-year-old country western singer Luke Stone the first time of meeting him. She soon found out he was married with children and seeing another woman, but it didn’t deter her love for him. Luke had drinking and other problems but fell that Darlina was the best thing happened in his life. Luke was in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, but Jan’s love was deep and strong and knew that he was the man she would love forever.

Jan’s excellent writing takes the readers to the scenes and shows the twists and turns of their journey. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

My Amazon and Goodreads Ratings 5.0 of 5 Stars

 

Jan Sikes

 

About the Author

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories 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.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

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, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

 

Contact the Author

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Website: http://www.jansikes.com

Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikes

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks

 

 

 

Miriam’s Book Review – Memoir of a Mad Woman by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Miriam’s Book Review – Memoir of a Mad Woman by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

Memoir of a Mad Woman by [Quiroz-Vega, Vashti]

What Amazon Says

A novelette from the award-winning author of The Fall of Lilith and Son of the Serpent, Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

Who can explain how madness begins?

This is the story of Emma. Reared by a religious fanatic, orphaned at a young age and sent to a mental institution and an orphanage. Molested and betrayed by the people who should be watching over her…

Who can say that madness has no logic?

During a fight, Emma’s best friend punched her in the abdomen. Since then, Emma has believed there’s something damaged inside of her.

Every month… she bleeds.
She tries to fight it all her life, but the pain and the blood return twenty-eight days later… and the cycle begins again.

But Emma, even in her madness, knows how to take care of herself.
She knows how to make things right…

You may not agree…
But, who can reason with insanity?

Read this tragic but fascinating tale and traverse the labyrinthine passages of madness.

My Recommendation

In Memoir of a Mad Woman, Vashti Quiroz-Vega writes about the horrible experiences Emma went through. After her father left and mother was burned to death, she was placed in an orphanage. There was a time when Emma had a crush on a male teacher, had a girlfriend and even wanted to plan a birthday party for a female teacher. Her mental stage didn’t indulge her good feeling for too long before the cruelty of an institution inflicted upon her. The physical, emotional and sexual abuse ripped her apart and her only friend betrayed her. She was the loneliest soul in the orphanage while the director, male nurse and other adult ignored each other’s crime done to her. To a fifteen years old poor girl with no friends and no adult guidance, the bursting impulse pushed her to the edge of vengeance.

Vega in this short story exposes the dark side of reality which doesn’t come to surface easily. It’s an engaging quick read provoking emotion. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys dark and horror stories.

My Amazon and Goodreads Rating:

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Vashti Quiroz-Vega

About the Author

Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of Fantasy, Horror, and Thriller. Since she was a kid she’s always had a passion for writing and telling stories. It has always been easier for her to express her thoughts on paper.

She enjoys reading almost as much as she loves to write. Some of her favorite authors are Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin.

She enjoys making people feel an array of emotions with her writing. She likes her audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that.

When she isn’t building extraordinary worlds and fleshing out fascinating characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband JC and her Pomeranian Scribbles who is also her writing buddy.

Contact the Author at:

Website: https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7122693.Vashti_Quiroz_Vega

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VashtiQV

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vashti-Q-Author-Page-396515670465852/

 

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