Moved by Reviews
by Vicki Wilkerson, author of Bikers and Pearls
I never thought that I would be moved by reading reviews of my book, Bikers and Pearls, but I am. In fact, I’ve already cried several times, and tears have filled my eyes many more times—the good kind of tears. You could have never told me that fact and made me believe that a few months ago. I was prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly…but not the tears.
You see, for many years now I have reviewed books for local and regional newspapers, and I’ve had an amazing time reading novels and writing evaluations. I’ve also read many reviews others have written, so I thought that I’d seen it all, but never have I been personally moved by a review. Well, almost never. I love reading Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons so much that when I finished her review, I got a little emotional—but not teary.
Anyway, upon being stirred by the recent beautiful reviews of Bikers and Pearls, I began to reflect upon my own career as a reviewer, and you know what? I’m darn proud of the job I did and how I handled my reviews and the authors I read. You see, I never wrote an “I Hate It” review—ever. And there were reasons for that. I worked closely with my editor, so he knew which genres of books I would consider appraising and which I would not. Yes, that’s right. I would not review certain genres of books—simply because I was not knowledgeable about the genre and because I wanted to give the book an honest, informed evaluation so that the readers who might be interested in it would be able to make reasonable decisions about purchasing the books.
It didn’t make sense to me to review an historical, Civil War novel since I wasn’t knowledgeable about the Civil War or the history surrounding it—any more than any other Southerner on the street. I was sure, for example, that an author of such a book would have put tons of research into his project, and if something was incorrect or absolutely spectacularly insightful, I wouldn’t be able to recognize either. Thus, my decision for NOT reviewing genres in which I was not an expert—or a fan.
It’s like that with romance, as well. Not all romance is created equally, and if someone is looking for a hot, steamy read and ends up with something sweet and heart-warming, like Bikers and Pearls, well, they will not be happy and may give it a poor or an uninformed review because it was not their cup of tea. Reviewers are—many times—very busy people, and they need to enjoy what they read because everyone should enjoy their jobs, right? Imagine working at a job you didn’t like. Well, imagine being made to review something you’d never enjoy because you didn’t enjoy the genre. That would be torture, and the review would reflect that.
Now that I am on the receiving end of the reviews, I’m so glad that I approached reviewing in the way I did—independently, knowledgably and paired appropriately with the books. And I’m so appreciative of the wonderful reviewers who’ve approached evaluating Bikers and Pearls in the same way—with integrity. They have treated my hard work with respect. I wish that everyone could experience that kind of praise for something they worked terribly hard on from someone completely independent and knowledgeable about the work that went into it. It is the best feeling—the best reward. I thought that when it came to reviews that I was seasoned, experienced, prepared . I was not, however, prepared to be moved.
Who said tempting a sweet Southern belle would be easy?
When rebel biker Bullworth Clayton gets tangled up with pastel-and-pearls-clad April Church, sparks fly. Sure, April would clearly rather work with anyone else, but if teaming up with Bull means a successful charity event for a sick little boy they both care about, then so be it.
April is baffled at how drawn she is to the leather-wearing, tattooed Bull—he just doesn’t fit with her simple, safe, country-club life. And as much as the handsomely rugged man tempts her, she still can’t shake the images of the tragic motorcycle accident from her past, which left her scarred and her father broken.
Bull tempts her to don a pair of leather pants and go for a ride with him, while April desperately tries to resist her attraction to the wild side and keep her exploits hidden from her small town. Will they be able to navigate their differences and find a middle road to love?
Vicki is a native of the Charleston, South Carolina, Lowcountry and loves to share her enchantment with the area with readers through her writing. Even in childhood, she enjoyed penning stories and poems—no doubt fueled by her grandfather's enthusiasm for telling tales himself. Where else—but in the South—could one find the interesting blend of salt water, eerie swamps, unwritten traditions and unique characters? In her spare time, she loves traveling, spending weekends at her family's lake house, playing golf and cooking (with lots of wine). Visit Vicki at http://www.vickiwilkerson.com .
(When April first met Bullworth):
April backed up against the wall to better hide the crooked chrome she held. Of all the stupid things that could happen.
With her free hand, she brushed at the pleats on her skirt to straighten them. Then she switched the mirror into her right hand and smoothed out the other side. Everything was under control.
“What do you have there?” inquired a low, masculine voice from above her head.
She snapped to attention like she was about to undergo a military inspection.
A handsome, muscular man in a black bomber jacket towered above her, larger than life. His shoulder-length hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail. Golden streaks highlighted his nut-brown mane. His indigo-colored eyes perused her face. “Is something wrong?”
She twisted the strand of pearls that draped from her neck between her fingers with her free hand. “No. Everything’s fine,” she said. It would be as soon as she could meet up with Mr. Morrow or some of the other members from the civic organizations.
“Then what are you hiding behind your back?”
He had seen. Oh, no. He had seen.
“Just a little mishap. I’m going to take care of it.”
“You ride?” The left corner of his mouth curled up. “In a skirt?”
“No.” She hoped her voice didn’t sound strained. “No, I’ve never ridden on a motorcycle before,” she said calmly.
He narrowed his eyes. “Then why are you walking around with a Harley dome billit mirror?”
That was a good question. Why was she? She held out the broken piece of the bike in front of her. “I don’t know how it happened. I was opening my car door, and then—”
He took it from her, examined it, and gave it back. “Let me guess. It just fell.” He tilted his head, exposing a strong, angular jawline. “All by itself.”
“That’s right. It really did happen that way. Exactly.” He probably didn’t believe a word she said. And she couldn’t blame him. She heard unlikely stories like hers from claimants at the insurance company all the time.
“Ahhh, I see. Sure it did,” he said. But the left side of his grin inched upward again
Praise for Bikers and Pearls:
“A sweetly Southern story with a deep heart.” –Deborah Smith, New York Times bestselling author of A Place to Call Home
“…I was drawn in by the rebel biker Bullworth "Bull" Clayton meeting demure pearls and skirts wearing April Church but the sweetness between them unfolded and I was hooked.” -Sarah Tolinger, Vine Voice
“This lovely book is a romantic journey of self-discovery, acceptance and understanding. With wonderful characters and a captivating story, it has a perfect combination of moments that are heartwarming and touching, those which make your heart ache and humour at which I laughed out loud.” -Review from Amazon and Goodreads
“There is no hanky-panky in this book. I repeat: there is NO hanky-panky in this book! And you know what?! I LOVED IT! It made their relationship all that much more real, for me. The chemistry is TOTALLY obvious, and they didn't need to sleep together to prove it. (Ya'll know how much I love me some steamy romances, but this is perfect just the way it is.)” –Ashley Bodette at Book Junkie
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