“Marantha Road,” by Heather Bell Adams

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Marantha Road is an exquisite story with characters so real they could step off the pages into your living room. All the strengths and flaws of small town life are laid bare. The worry over how others will judge you. The importance of the church in the community. The complicated bonds […]

“Place of Peace and Crickets,” by Tricia Booker

Reviewed by Donna Meredith In Tricia Booker’s engaging memoir, Place of Peace and Crickets, readers meet a family with enormous heart—and an equally large dose of heartache. The story opens with Booker deciding to start a garden, but soon her plants droop. As they struggle to survive, she whispers to them that she won’t let […]

“Our Love Affair With Murder”: Donna Meredith Reviews Five Mysteries

Reviews by Donna Meredith Sex sells, but crime pays too—at least for writers. Mystery and crime stories earn upwards of $730 million a year in book sales. That’s a lot of love for dead bodies, sales figures topped only slightly by the live bodies found in the romance genre. From the earliest mysteries penned by […]

December Read of the Month: “Perennials,” by Julie Cantrell

Reviewed by Donna Meredith If you’re looking for a heart-warming novel to put under someone’s tree this holiday season, Julie Cantrell’s Perennials should top your list—but of course snag a copy for yourself first. This first-rate tale of love and loss, betrayal and forgiveness, weakness and strength, is Cantrell’s fourth novel. From book clubs to […]

“Riding on Comets,” by Cat Pleska

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Though her family was hardly perfect, Cat Pleska leaves readers feeling uplifted rather than grungy from being dragged through the dirty laundry in her memoir, Riding on Comets. In part, the warm tone results because she never doubted that her parents wanted the best for her. Without words, they implied that she […]

“Crum,” by Lee Maynard

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Even though the West Virginia town I grew up in is nothing—nothing—like the town of 219 residents Lee Maynard describes in his 1988 novel Crum, I related strongly to this coming-of-age story. The novel is now, deservedly, in its third printing through Vandalia/WVU Press. It is the first volume of a […]

July Read of the Month: “Parade of Horribles,” by Rhett DeVane

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Once again, Rhett DeVane captures the essence of life in a small southern town in Parade of Horribles, the seventh installment in her beloved Chattahoochee series. DeVane mines the debilitating nature of fear and the need to forgive in this deeply appealing novel. Jake Witherspoon, familiar to readers of DeVane’s earlier […]

“Brutal Silence,” by Margaret Dardess

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Hidden in plain sight, human trafficking occurs in American neighborhoods where few expect that such a crime could exist, in the world of shopping malls and classy restaurants. But someone—a banker, a motel owner, a health care worker—surely suspects what is happening and fails to speak out. Margaret Dardess gives voice […]