#BookReview: Brother’s Keeper by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3

Hi everyone. Today, I have a book review for an author I’ve known and loved for a long time, Jan Sikes, with her short story, Brother’s Keeper. Jan always comes up with some wonderful story premises that truly put her characters through the tough stuff >>>

About the Book:

Brother's Keeper by Jan Sikes book cover ... prison barbed wire and gun with blood dropping out of endQuentin Marks’ mother can only love one son, and from the day Rowdy was born, she makes Quentin, his little brother’s keeper.

She demands that Quentin fix every problem for Rowdy and that he also protect him. The truth is, after a deadly snakebite, Quentin owes his very life to his little brother, a debt that will never be paid in full. Only now a man is dead, and once again, their mother calls on Quentin to make the problem go away and save Rowdy from prison.

When is enough enough, and how much of his own life will Quentin Marks have to sacrifice?



My Review:

Four Stars

‘Quentin Marks covered the length of the eight-by-ten jail cell stopping now and then to punch the concrete walls that held him.’ From this opening line, we are taken back a short way to how and why Quentin ended up in the jail.

Brother’s keeper is a quick and easy read, and I really felt for the older brother. Although, I did get annoyed at him for always putting his brother first no matter what. I won’t say more on what happens as I don’t want to put in spoilers.

Some technical issues let down the narrative, such as overly descriptive dialogue tags: ‘Rowdy whined.’ and ‘Quentin snarled.’ etc. Also, split infnitives snuck in there in a few places. Otherwise, the characterisations were done well enough to engage me and make me care.

The ending could have brought more fizz and resolved more regarding the main character’s dilemna, and on the whole, it left a bitter taste.

In summary, an enjoyable and fast read, which with a bit of polishing would get a solid 4 stars. As it stands, I give it a rating of 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 for rating purposes) because it falls somewhere between ‘an okay reaad’ and a ‘go read this book’. See my notes on ratings below.



NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …

UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/


34 Comments on “#BookReview: Brother’s Keeper by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3

    • Sorry, I wasn’t done with my comment. I wanted to say, I think we all are constantly growing and learning as authors with every release

      • Mae, I agree with you. There’d be something wrong if we weren’t!
        How do you, and Harmony, feel about an article I read earlier that recommended re-releasing dated books after editing them? Part of it was researching any changes in places, fashion, or the law.

        • Hi, Sarah. Great question.
          For me, personally, I wouldn’t want to go there. It runs the risk of culture cancelling as it erases the way things were when the book was penned and published.
          Times change, and part of a book’s role is to preserve and record. Only by remembering and being aware can we avoid repeating any mistakes in former times. Though some points are only fashion and changing laws, they happened. I mean, sheesh, I wouldn’t want to forget how horrific I looked in the 80s with crimped hair and RaRa skirts! Lols!😂 No, keep any pictures and books as a warning to future adolescents! 🤣 🙂💕

      • For sure, Mae. I know I am. And I wouldn’t be here today without helpful reviews and feedback from authors who knew more than I did at the time. Jan’s book has a great premise, and she sure made me feel for the brother. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  1. Because I’m an editor, I try not to let technical issues I see cloud my opinions of books. (It’s impossible for me to turn off my inner editor, and every book has something that slips through. Unless I can’t read the book because the errors are too distracting, I try to focus only on the content.) But I know that’s part of the quality of a book, and I appreciate you including that in your review.

    All that said, I haven’t yet read this one of Jan’s, but it sounds interesting. Family dramas are always compelling. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Thanks, Staci. That’s one reason I don’t mention issues in a review unless they occur frequently 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment, Staci. I am not an editor. Nor do I wish to be. 🙂 But, like you, if I read a book with too many errors to ignore, I put it down and move on.

  2. I read this one last August, Harmony, and gave it five stars. I could see where Jan was coming from with it, so I stand by that. 🙂

    • That’s the beauty of the differences between us all. For me, I’m more of a technical reader than not. Glad you enjoyed the book last August, Sarah. As I say, Jan sure does come up with some wonderful story premises 🙂

      • As authors, none of us can please everybody.
        We started off as “worst enemies” because you rated my first book 4 star and criticised it in detail. You were absolutely right. I did a lot of work on it before I submitted it for an award; if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t have got one. 🙂

        • Sarah, Harmony has a great eye for critical details in a story. It was because of her review of “Flowers and Stone” that I pulled it down and re-edited it. Is it perfect now? No, but it’s definitely much better. So, thank you, Harmony, for always keeping it real!!

  3. I enjoyed your detailed review, Harmony. I read this and felt for the brother.

    • Thank you for stopping by, Denise. I wanted to raise sympathy for Quentin. He’d been handed a raw deal all the way around.

  4. Thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts on this short story, Harmony! I appreciate your comments!

    • Jan, you are SO welcome. And I’m so pleased you appreciate the comments! I confess, I was a bit nervous about this review going out. Hugs xx 🙂

    • I find that the breakdown helps people see why I’ve rated how I have and that even three stars is a good read. Thanks, Yvi 🙂

    • Thank you for stopping by, Yvette. I agree about the breakdown of the star ratings from Harmony!

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful review, Harmony. I’ve not read Brother’s Keeper yet, but you’ve piqued my interest. Congratulations, Jan! 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment, Gwen. I hope you enjoy “Brother’s Keeper” when you read it!