Book Reviews

Book Review: The Mason Dixon Line by Linda Morris

The Mason Dixon Line

The Mason Dixon Line

Linda Morris

Publication Date: January 30, 2014

3 Stars=Okay Page Turner

Carolyn Hart gets a wake up call in the Mason Dixon Line by Linda Morris. Carolyn has always made a point to look good and impress others but looks won’t get her through life. Carolyn’s funds are running low and with no suitors in sight, she must go back to the drawing board. This means Carolyn must take a new assignment from her boss, which Carolyn does not want to do. When her boss assigns her to write a children’s book for a fundraiser, Carolyn does not feel up to it. Carolyn then finds out that she is partnered with a cartoonist to get the job done. Carolyn knows she has to do a great job on this project but will she be able to survive working with a cartoonist?

Mason Dixon has had his fair share of trouble. So, when his aunt asks him to work on a book for her fundraiser, Mason agrees because he wants to help his aunt. This will also keep Mason out of trouble. When Mason meets Carolyn to start work on the project, Mason realizes that he has bitten off more than he can chew. Will Mason survive this business relationship?

The Mason Dixon Line is a contemporary novel with characters readers can relate to. I liked the development of Mason and Carolyn’s characters even though Carolyn seemed over the top. I enjoyed the story but lost track at times because of drifting in the story line. I do recommend The Mason Dixon Line to others.

This book was provided by the author for review purposes only.

Reviewed by Teresa Beasley

Book Features

Interview with Tanya Harris, Author of Supposedly Broken

tanya harris

Tanya Harris is a native of Memphis, Tennessee who currently resides in Snellville, Georgia. She has spent years writing poems and short stories for personal enjoyment and as a therapeutic means of ending her day.  She has a positive outlook on life and believes that life happens to us but we choose how we react to it.  It is this belief that gave birth to Supposedly Broken and allowed it to take on a life of its own.  Tanya is confident that her writing talent is a gift from God and that within this talent lies an opportunity for ministry. Her goal as an Author is to provide a creative means of entertainment that will have a positive impact on the lives of her readers.  The satisfaction felt from knowing that organized words on a page can influence the thoughts and/or actions of others is immeasurable. She loves writing period whether it is poetry, short stories, novels, etc. She has emotional ties to her work not because she can relate to the experiences expressed, but because of the emotions she hears from those who can.

 Get to know Tanya:

 Why do you write?

I write because I love to do it. It’s where my passion lies.  The ability to write is a seed planted in me by God that I’m obligated to cultivate it and help it grow.

At what age did you discover this passion?

I wrote my first two page short story at age 9 as the result of a fourth grade writing assignment.

If writing is your passion, what prevented you from pursuing it as a career?

Fear. Writing comes from a personal place.  It’s an honest expression of the emotions I feel when I hear about, read about or otherwise become aware of certain situations.  I put my heart into what I write and it’s a challenge for me to put my heart into the hands of my critic.

So now that you seemingly have conquered your fear, what can we expect to see from you in the future?

Currently, I am working on my second novel and I’ve begun an outline for a screenplay.  My third or fourth novel will be a book of poetry. . . Basically, I want to create anything that can be produced as a result of my pen hitting the pad.

What inspires you to write?

I’m inspired by people, music, art, nature . . . pretty much anything that can tell me a story.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I love to write in any place where I can plug in my ear buds and get lost into my music

Is Supposedly Broken a standalone novel or is it a part of a series?

I haven’t decided yet.

Find the author:

https://www.facebook.com/authortanya.harris

https://twitter.com/AuthorTanya

https://about.me/TanyaHarris

authortanya@gmail.com

About The Book

Supposedly Broken

The Turner cousins were damaged by tragic childhood experiences that no amount of time or therapy could erase. Zakia would always remember the feel of her stepfather’s breath against her skin, Marisa would remember the images of her mother’s bruised face that seemed to never heal and Randi will forever hear the sound of her parent’s rejection.  These embedded memories of pain became the foundation of the protective barriers that framed their adult lives.  It’s not until an unexpected death occurs that they realize that those barriers that were built to protect them from pain, also shielded them from happiness.  As you get to know them, you will sympathize and empathize with their pain, ignite your anger at its source and fall in love with the end results.

 

Excerpt  

“Hey, Sweetie . . . Kyle.” They are both crazy if they think I’m leaving. Kyla needs to stop tripping. She knows that if I leave now, she’s going to call me right back tonight, crying and begging me to take her back. Been there, done that and not doing it again. I’m just going to sit right here on her steps and finish eating my grapes.

“Keep your hands off of my sister, Marcus!”

“What? Was that supposed to scare me, Kyle? I’m supposed to be scared of you?”

“You don’t have to be scared, but you better not touch her!”

“Kyle, wait. This wasn’t a good idea. Let’s just go.”

What did I say? She doesn’t want me to go.

“You better listen to your sister, Kyle.”

“No, you better listen to me!”

“Or wha—” I KNOW this fool didn’t just sucker punch me.

“The next time you want to fight, pick a man, punk!”

Oh, I got your punk.

“The next time you want to call somebody a punk, make sure he’s not holding a gun.” Uh-huh. He ain’t got nothing to say now.“Yeah . . . big brother ain’t so big now.”

“MARCUS . . . What are you doing?”

Kyla’s scared. Good. Maybe she’ll stop putting other people in our business.

“What was it that I ‘better’ do, Big Brother?”

“You think that gun scares me?”

“SHUT UP, KYLE! Let him go, Marcus!”

“You don’t have to be scared, but you better not hit me again.”

“PLEASE, let him go. Kyle, go home!”

“I’m not leaving you here!”

“Then I guess you’re not leaving.”

“MARCUS, WAIT!”

Book Features

Interview with Johnny Shaw, Author of Plaster City

About the Author

Johnny Shaw

Johnny Shaw is the author of the novels Dove Season and Big Maria, which won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original Novel. He is also the editor of the online fiction quarterly Blood & Tacos. Johnny received his MFA in screenwriting from UCLA and over the course of his writing career has seen his screenplays optioned, sold, and produced. For the last dozen years, Johnny has taught screenwriting. He has lectured at both Santa Barbara City College and UC Santa Barbara. Johnny lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, artist Roxanne Patruznick.

 

Get To Know Johnny Shaw

Bobby is a hilarious character and an amazing friend. Where did you find the inspiration for him?

I’m not about to name names, but he’s a combination of a couple buddies of mine (I’ll let them argue amongst themselves about who they think it is). Not really who they are, but who they might have been. Writing is all about “what ifs.” So rather than literally base a character on someone, I think of alternative paths people I know may have taken. Some of the craziest, most violent guys I know are also the funniest. Genuinely funny. Not cruel, but hilarious. I wanted to capture that.

Plaster City falls under a variety of genres. Which do you think is the most prominent?

It’s why I call it a fiasco. It’s not really a mystery or a traditional thriller, while it may have elements of both. If I were to call it a comedy, that wouldn’t communicate the darker genre elements. It’s about two guys trying to do the right thing, who don’t know what they’re doing, and always end up making things worse. A fiasco.

Having grown up working class, I’m much more interested in that experience. There are only so many authors out there that grew up on sugar beet farms. So if working class fiction is a classification, I’ll take that one too.

Imperial Valley is an extremely tight knit community. Did you draw inspiration from anywhere or is it a place completely created by yourself?

I do my best to capture the Imperial Valley as it is.  Not just the real geography of the place, but the people and atmosphere. I take liberties all over the place, but if you head down there after reading the books, you’ll recognize it. Hell, I could take you to most of the locations.

I haven’t lived down there since I was 17, but that gives me a chance to be retrospective. While it’s no longer my home, it will always be my hometown. My experience growing up down there was a big part of me becoming who I am. I love it, but there are things that I don’t like at all. I try to portray the balance between those two things as honestly as I can.

Who is your favorite author and how do/did they impact your works?

I don’t have one favorite anything. It always ends up being lists. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the writers that have had a direct impact of my work. Probably more than any other, it’s the humorists that really stuck with me.

Not in the sense that my style is anything like theirs, but just the opposite. If you’re writing humor, it requires you to be original, to be iconoclastic. Humor is so individual, I wanted that irreverence and nonconformity in whatever I wrote. Writers like Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Anita Loos, Ring Lardner, Woody Allen, and Damon Runyon really affected me. The thought of making someone laugh out loud by just looking at words was too great a challenge to ignore.

What new project(s) are you working on?

I’m always writing. Working on a new novel, hopefully for next year. Not a Jimmy Veeder Fiasco, but something very different. Not to worry though, I have a new Fiasco stewing and will probably write that next. I’m also working on the Dove Season screenplay and a couple other projects.  I wish I had more time for short stories, but I’ll try to get some done this year. There never seems to be enough time, but I have no desire to write any faster. Nothing is improved by rushing, so I’ll continue to be the tortoise when it comes to writing and hope I win the race.

 How can your fans contact you?

You can visit my website at http://johnnyshaw.net/. Fans can also email me at doveseason@gmail.com.

 About The Book

PlasterCity

In PLASTER CITY (Thomas & Mercer, May 1, 2014), Shaw returns to California’s Imperial Valley for another raucous caper featuring Dove Season’s Jimmy Veeder and his best friend Bobby Maves.

Two years after he returned home to the desert, Jimmy has settled into a steady life as a farmer and family man, with occasional breaks to act as wingman during Bobby’s booze-fueled misadventures. When Bobby’s estranged teenage daughter Julie goes missing, there’s no question that Jimmy will be along for the rescue mission. But what begins as merely a bad situation soon turns into something else entirely. Jimmy, Bobby, and their ragtag cavalry find themselves – and Julie – caught up in the middle of a violent turf war between a fierce motorcycle gang and a powerful local crime lord, fighting it out on a desolate strip of desert known as Plaster City.

A bruising, boisterous, big-hearted escapade through the dusty landscape of the California-Mexico borderland, PLASTER CITY is a joyride worth joining from rising star Johnny Shaw.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Forced To Love by Sky Alexander

 

Forced to Love A

Forced to Love

Sky Alexander

Publication Date: April 9, 2014

5 Stars=Non Stop Page Turner

Secrets, Betrayal and Drama will have readers hooked on Forced To Love by Sky Alexander. The Morran’s have had their ups and downs especially since their father is always up to no good. Newton Morran has struck another deal and this time he is offering his young daughter, Hattie. Hattie Morran finds herself in the middle of those seeking power and control. Will Hattie be the one who comes out on top?

Abner Garland has been chosen to wed Hattie Morran and if he refuses, Abner knows the consequences he will face. Rebecca, Abner’s mother has made her wishes very clear and being the wealthy woman that she is will always get her way. However, Rebecca second guesses her son and the actions Abner takes to get revenge will have readers stunned.

Forced To Love was a unique story about a family and the fight for power. This book had an historical feel to it with a hint of forbidden romance, drama and suspense with well-developed characters and a consistent storyline that will draw readers in. It seems the Morrans and Garlands have more hidden secrets that I hope will be revealed in later books. I appreciate this author’s writing style and look forward to reading more of his work. I recommend Forced To Love to others.

This book was provided by the author for review purposes only.

Reviewed by Teresa Beasley