Posted in Religious Fiction, suspense, Texas on January 26, 2012

Aaron L might be a newcomer to the creation of Christian fiction but is not one when it comes to the arts and all things creative. Growing up spending a lot of his time drawing, Aaron always knew that his future lay in this field. With his first novel, Light Under the House, Aaron has chosen to focus his creative skills on the task of storytelling.

Donna Fawcett Dawsonis a multifaceted author.  She writes suspense novels, Christian fiction and has been singing since age 4.  She was brave enough to homeschool her kids (that is an admirable task by any parent!).  She has received several awards for her books.  Donna’s call to writing is centered around her purpose statement: To make a difference in the lives of many who would not see Christ but for words I write; to show his love and sacrifice in the pages of each book.

Synopsis from Smashwords:

Light Under the House is the saga of an American family—the Levis, a family of secrets. None greater than the secret of what lies under their house, a secret that could destroy them. A secret that an ancient evil will stop at nothing to uncover. The novel follows the Levi family line for a generation, exploring lives lived in the aftermath of the cultural rebellion of the late 1960’s.

Aaron was kind enough to answer a few questions for me despite his busy schedule!

SBR: What inspired you to write this story?
I feel very stongly about the breakdown of the family and fatherlessness and how there is much dysfunction and despair because of it. I wanted to tell a story to shed some light on the situations that many face and hopefully bring some type of reversal to the current dynamic in whatever small way I could. I wanted to challenge men, fathers especially, to be who they were created to be….its certainly a challenge I face myself daily. A challenge that I often fail at but keeping picking myself up to start again.

SBR: Did you model any of the characters after people you know?
I used many things to model the characters…people I know, other literary figures, actors, biblical characters, celebrities….the characters are a combination of all of these. I wanted them to be new and familiar at the same time, universal.

SBR: Why did you choose the Dallas/Ft Worth area as your primary setting?
First of all, the south has a certain reputation for is deep spiritual roots (bible belt and all). I patterned the book in part after Gone with the Wind (another book set in the south)…not in the sense of a love story but in the sense of “here is civilization that is about to cease to exist, come see it before its gone”. Dallas just seemed to have everything I needed to make the story work from both a symbolic and technical standpoint.

SBR: Do you have plans to write more books? 
I have an idea or two floating around…nothing concrete yet.

SBR: What sort of research did you do for the historical portions of your book? What did you like best about the research? The least?
My co-author and I researched deeply in ancient history for some aspects of the book….I learned alot of things….some things I’d rather forget but most of it was enlightening. What I liked best was that it comfirmed for me mostly what I already knew, there really is nothing new under the sun.

My thoughts:

 Any time a book is set in Texas I am intrigued to see how it compares to the actual setting.  Granted I didn’t realize it was set in Texas until I read the book so that was a bonus!  The novel starts off during biblical times and then moves forward in time to the 60’s to the present.  The storyline kept me riveted because I liked seeing good win over evil and there were even loose ties to other biblical stories that most everyone has heard.  Sometimes the storyline doesn’t seem possible, but it is a fiction and if we can’t suspend reality then what is the point of reading a novel?  Sometimes it was hard to keep track of the characters especially if they weren’t a prominent character in the storyline, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.  Overall I would give this book 3 1/2 stars.

All in all I really enjoyed this book and am happy to share it with all the readers of my blog.  Aaron has kindly sent me a copy of the book to giveaway to a lucky reader.  All you have to do is fill out the form below and one lucky winner will be chosen.

The contest will run until Sunday, February 5th.  One entry per person (duplicates will be deleted).

 Good Luck!

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Posted in Cozy, Tuesday on January 17, 2012

Today I’m going to give you two teasers….If you know me, you know I love Cozy mysteries.  They are light and usually a quick read for me.  One of my favorite authors is Elaine Viets who writes two different series.  The one I’m teasing you with today is from the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series.  The latest book is Death on a Platter.

This is from page 131:

She was almost inside her flat when one of the names hit her: Our Lady of the Sheets?  What kind of religious order was that? Was it a charity?  An order of sisters?

 

The second teaser is from a new series, the Cookie Cutter Shop Mysteries, by Virginia Lowell.  The second book in the series is A Cookie Before Dying.

 

This is from page 99:

While Spunky paced between the door and the window, Olivia closed her eyes.  She had done her duty, which ought to help her relax and fall asleep.  She envisioned wading into a chocolate lake dotted with pink and yellow sugar sprinkles.

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Posted in Las Vegas, Review, women on January 14, 2012

 

Today’s (way overdue) review is for A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis by Irene Woodbury.  This is Irene’s first novel and was inspired by her love to travel, especially to Las Vegas!  She came up with the idea for this novel in 2006 and after many years of research, A Slot Machine was born.  She said that writing this novel was her mid-life crisis…..I suppose there are worse things that writing a novel!

Synopsis from Irene’s website:

This darkly funny novel describes Wendy Sinclair’s spin-crazy life in Las Vegas after she impulsively decides to not return to Houston following a bizarre girls’ weekend in 2005.

The confused, unhappy 45-year-old newlywed soon rents a ramshackle apartment in a building filled with misfits; wallows in a blur of spas, malls and buffets, and, ultimately, becomes a designer of cocktail waitress uniforms and an Ann-Margret impersonator in a casino show with Elvis.

She also hangs with some pretty colorful characters.  Paula’s her bold, brassy glamazon BFF who’s looser than a Casino Royale slot.  Maxine’s her saucy former-Tropicana-showgirl boss.  Paige and Serena are two twenty-something blackjack dealers she shops, gambles, and clubs up a storm with.  Major crushes on a hunky pilot and sexy former rock star are also part of the mix.

And then there are the phone fights with Roger, Wendy’s workaholic husband waiting impatiently in Houston.  Their clashes are louder and more raucous than a hot craps table at Caesar’s!   Does she go back to him, or does her midlife crisis become a midlife makeover?

My Thoughts:

I will have to admit that I picked this book up and started reading it and had to put it back down.  I’m not sure if it was my frame of mind or the main character, Wendy, but I wanted to grab her by the arms and shake her and ask her what her problem was!  Who takes off for a long weekend in Vegas with a self-absorbed friend and then decides to not come back to a new marriage?  If this is a mid-life crisis it was definitely going to be a doozy!

The story got better as I went along but the ending was a bit of a surprise.  I won’t spoil it for you but it wasn’t what I expected that’s for sure.

Overall I would give this 3 stars.  It was good but I’ve read better and I’ve read worse.

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Posted in e-books, Free, Gemma Halliday, Kindle on January 13, 2012

Gemma Halliday is giving away FREE BOOKS all month long!

 

    
To kick off 2012, Gemma Halliday is giving her entire Hollywood Headlines series away for FREE on Amazon Kindle.

Here’s the schedule:

Free Jan 13th-Jan 17th: Hollywood Scandals
Free Jan 17th-Jan 26th: Hollywood Secrets
Free Jan 27th-Feb 5th: Hollywood Confessions

Just go to Amazon.com and search for the current free book’s title, download, and enjoy for FREE!

(If you don’t own a Kindle, you can still get the free books by downloading the free Kindle app for your MAC, PC, ipad, iphone, Blackberry, Android, or Windows Phone 7.)

Please feel free to post on your own Facebook, blog, or tweet this info! The more people who can take advantage of this free offer, the better!

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Posted in suspense, Tuesday on January 3, 2012

I’ll be posting a review for this book along with a giveaway, it was a really good book!

Light under the House by Aaron and Donna Dawson

“Sarai Ravensbrook has never known power. She has never been in control of anything in her world. She has lived in the shadow of her step father and uncle’s abuses to both her mind and body. All she has ever wanted was to have what was hers, to control her own destiny. But when a beautiful and mysterious woman comes into her life, Sarai is guided down a strange path….a path that will lead her to a queen from the ancient past and to a destiny that is finally her own….or is it?”

Sarai Ravensbrook, the sly John Quince, the wise Dr. Levi and Tanis. All are characters involved with the Levi family and the secret lying just beneath their house that could potentially ruin them. A secret that an ancient evil will stop at nothing to uncover. Light Under the House by Aaron L. and Donna Dawson, chronicles the lives of the Levi family for a generation, taking readers on an exciting and thought-provoking journey.

This page-turning story is set in the late 1960s during a period of cultural rebellion, with a flashback to Biblical times, as well as a flash-forward to the 1980s and the present (2005). The events of this allegoric novel are interwoven within several themes that create cohesion for the story. Messages of courage, forgiveness, faith, the power of consequence, and the hope of redemption are all found within the pages of Light Under the House

 

Teaser:

Trying to take her mind off of her present situation, she pawed through the bag and grasped hold of the small leather wallet her mother had given her for her thirteenth birthday.  She pulled it close to her chest  and let a new batch of tears fill her eyes.

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Posted in Cozy, mailbox on January 2, 2012

These are the books I received in the mail this past week….lots of good ones on my TBR shelf!

Death by the Dozen by Jenn McKinlay  3rd in the Cupcake Bakery series

Melanie and Angie are determined to win the Challenge to the Chef to promote their Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery. Mel’s mentor from culinary school, Vic Mazzotta, may be one of the judges, but Mel and Angie will have to win fair and square. But, when Vic’s dead body is found inside a freezer truck, Mel and Angie will need to use their best judgment to find the cold-blooded killer or they may lose more than the contest — they may lose their lives.

 

Death on a Platter by Elaine Viets – 7th in her Mystery Shopper series

Josie Marcus plans to savor sampling the local St. Louis cuisine for a City Eats food tour. But her appetite is ruined at Tillie’s Off the Hill Italian Restaurant when another customer is poisoned. Was the victim the real target-or is someone trying to ruin Tillie’s reputation? It’s up to Josie to find a killer who has no reservations about preparing a dish to die for…

 

Liver Let Die by Liz Lipperman – 1st in the new Clueless Cooks series

Jordan McAllister can’t cook her way out of a macaroni & cheese box, but filling in for the culinary reporter at The Ranchero Globe is better than writing personal ads. Her first assignment to review the new steakhouse in town is a disaster that ends with her waiter murdered outside her door — with her name and number in his pocket. Now Jordan is the prime suspect, as well as the main course on the murder menu

 

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