“The Shadows We Hide,” by Allen Eskens

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard Joe Talbert, Jr., returns in The Shadows We Hide, the sequel to The Life We Bury. Now an investigative reporter, he not only solves a small-town murder in Minnesota, but does so while solving the mystery of his own family’s past. Readers will be entertained by this multi-tier plot of murder, […]

“Mourning Dove,” by Claire Fullerton

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard The first sentence of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina states, “Happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” For an author to successfully pen a family saga, she must dig deep into the human psyche, creating a plot beyond simplistic cause-and-effect or peopled with clichéd heroes and villains. […]

“All That Matters,” by Diane Yates

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard John Steinbeck wrote in East of Eden, “Perhaps it takes courage to raise children.” Courage is personified by Clella Catherine Burch, mother of seven children, including author Diane Yates of All That Matters. Burch’s courage, born of a faith-filled family with a strong work ethic from the Missouri Ozarks, sustains her […]

May Read of the Month: “The Opposite of Everyone,” by Joshilyn Jackson

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard I was fortunate to hear Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, speak at the Spring 2018 Jambalaya Writers Conference hosted by the award-winning Terrebonne Parish Library of Houma, Louisiana.  Jackson is as impressive a speaker as she is a writer.  I instantly became a fan! Jackson’s The […]

March Read of the Month: “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” by Claire Fullerton

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard Hans Christian Anderson wrote, “To travel is to live.”  His words suggest the underlying theme of Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton.  Living, instead of existing, is exactly what protagonist Hailey Crossan does on the west coast of Ireland. Leaving the “soullessness of Los Angeles” and her job in […]

“Seven Wings to Glory,” by Kathleen M. Rodgers

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard Texas author Kathleen M. Rodgers weaves a tale of heartache and triumph for the multigenerational residents of Portion, Texas, in the masterful Seven Wings to Glory. Portion is a place where the past is the key to the present and strangers become family.  With empathy and a true sense of place, […]

“Sanctuary,” by T.M. Brown

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard T. M. Brown’s Sanctuary is a Southern tale of mystery with themes of redemption and the Christian belief of fulfilling one’s mission for Christ. Brown does an admirable job of character development with protagonist Theo Phillips, a retired publishing executive. Theo and his wife, Libby fulfill their retirement dream by moving to […]

“Lead me Home,” by Amy K. Sorrells

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard Lead me Home by Amy K. Sorrells hits the sweet spot between adult and YA Christian Fiction with its compelling tale of teenage angst, abandonment, and loss. Sorrells’s writing is often poetic, emotionally moving with vivid imagery of the setting and characters. However, she often relies on stereotypical characters and situations […]