Book Review Tuesday: Brazos Wind, Brother’s Keeper @JanSikes3, What She Found by Emerald O’Brien

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

Welcome to another Book Review Tuesday. I have two short reads and one novel for you today. As of now, I am officially caught up with all the books I read during lockdown, plus my most current reads–with the exception of an urban fantasy series which has held me enthralled since May. More of that in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these reviews.

Brazos Wind
by Jane Sikes

Two damaged souls cross paths in this short story set in the American West years after the Civil War.

Jack McClean is a drifter who has still carries scars from the War Between the States. When he saves widow, Savannah Logan, from her burning homestead he discovers purpose in helping her find a reason to live. Savannah has been grieving the loss of her husband and children from illness for over a year and can’t find the strength to continue. But when Jack saves her, he does more than save her from physical harm—restoring not only her life, but his own in the process. The realization that dawns for both of them brings the story full circle.

A sweet tale, with well-drawn characters, Brazos Wind will warm your heart. Although short, the message is strong, and even secondary character, Molly, shines in this charmer!

5 Stars

Genre: Western Short Skip > One Hour Short Reads

Brother’s Keeper
by Jan Sikes

Stories about families, particularly brothers always intrigue me. In this case, older brother Quentin has been made to feel responsible for his younger brother, Rowdy, throughout their lives. Quentin has saved Rowdy from one scrape after another, as Rowdy continues to make wrong choices and their mother coddles him. Only this time, the mess Rowdy finds himself in is one that carries a potential jail sentence.

The author did a great job of making me sympathetic for Quentin, and highly ticked at both Rowdy and his mother. I was surprised how the story went in the end. It certainly held me captive to the way the plot unfolded. A surprising and intriguing look at human nature.

5 Stars

Genre: 45 Minute Mystery Short Read

What She Found
by Emerald O’Brien

A group of friends get together for a weekend party at an isolated house. With a plot like that, I was immediately drawn to this story. Add the fact that a mysterious stranger (a woman) shows up after a car accident, then disappears, and the foundation of the book is strong. I couldn’t wait to dive in! The night of the party everyone is drinking, and no one has a clear memory of what happened the next morning. There are conflicting stories about what took place, and soon the police are involved, along with whispers of murder.

I wanted to love this book, but I had problems with how most of the characters behaved, especially how easily they believed lies that were put forth about other members of their group. I just couldn’t believe friends would behave that way–turning on each other so quickly, after knowing one another for years. Maybe one or two people in the group, but the majority, if not all?

Pretty much no one (with the exception of Tabitha, the narrator, who is going through a divorce) is who they seem. Each has an agenda, many are up to their necks in lies or coverups. Admittedly, there were several places where I couldn’t read fast enough to discover what happened. The book is well-written, but when the ending arrived, I found the plot too far-fetched and the behavior of the characters unrealistic. I’m sure many other readers will enjoy this story. I would read this author again, this story just wasn’t quite right for me.

3.5 Stars

Genre: Psychological Fiction > Psychological Thrillers

Whatever book you have your nose buried in this week, I wish you happy reading, my friends!

53 thoughts on “Book Review Tuesday: Brazos Wind, Brother’s Keeper @JanSikes3, What She Found by Emerald O’Brien

  1. I started to post my reviews of Jan’s book today, but since she was a guest on my blog a couple of weeks ago, I decided to wait until next week.

    The other book does sound promising but after reading your review I’ll probably skip it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brother’s Keeper sounds interesting. I love books about human nature and what they uncover. It’s a shame the psychological thriller wasn’t better. You know how I love psychological thrillers 😍 Great reviews!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m going to mention Jan’s short story to my dad – he’s a huge western fan. Great reviews of both her books. Too bad What She Found didn’t work as well, but I agree with what you said. Hard to believe friends would turn on each other so fast. I’ve had books by authors I regularly read and enjoy that just didn’t work for me, even though I loved their other books. Won’t stop me from picking up their next book.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you SO much, Mae, for your reviews of both of my new short stories. I love that you picked up on the strength of Molly’s character. She surprised me and made me want to write a story about her. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, Judi. I probably always overthink beginnings and endings, but as you said, they’re both crucial and difficult to write. I liked enough of Emerald’s book, that I would give a different story by her a try. And I’m glad you enjoy my reviews. Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have both Jan’s works waiting impatiently on my TBR, and I can’t wait to get to them. These are awesome reviews.
    As for ‘What She Found” It’s such a shame when a book’s ending leaves us feeling flat. Like yourself and many others, I will read the author again if the book showed promise but didn’t quite deliver. Enjoy your week, Mae. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re sure to enjoy Jan’s latest shorts, Soooz. They were both well done.
      I just couldn’t embrace the ending of What She Found, but there was plenty in the book to make we want to try the author again. I realize not every writer can nail it every time. I’ve even had some of my “auto buy” authors strike out now and again, but I stay a faithful fan 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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