“Don’t Tell ’em You’re Cold: A Memoir of Poverty and Resilience,” by Katherine P. Manley

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Many times while growing up, Kathy Manley experienced the shame of poverty. Shame that kept her from inviting friends to the family’s shabby house filled with dumpster-salvaged furniture. Shame when a teacher took up a collection from classmates so Kathy could attend a football game. The real shame, however, is that […]

November Read of the Month: “The Winter Sisters,” by Tim Westover

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Tim Westover’s newest book, The Winter Sisters (QW Publishers, 2019), is a mesmerizing gem of a novel. It’s a hard book to classify, though. The time frame makes it a historical novel, while the relationship between two of its main characters develops into an unusual love story. Yet the magical […]

“The Lightness of Water & Other Stories,” by Rhonda Browning White

Reviewed by by Phyllis Wilson Moore The settings in Rhonda Browning White’s The Lightness of Water & Other Stories take readers from Florida to West Virginia while introducing them to a broad cast of characters. The characters in these nine intriguing stories have dreams of what might have been or what might still be accomplished. […]

“Feral, North Carolina, 1965,” by June Sylvester Saraceno

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Feral, North Carolina, 1965 (Southern Fried Karma, 2019) is a powerful gem.  Told with wit and verve, the novel unfolds in vignettes that read like short stories, and in fact, many chapters were previously published as short stories. Feral captures a time and place with impeccable world building, astute observations, […]

“Blood Creek,” by Kimberly Collins

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Kimberly Collins deftly plants the vicious Paint-Creek/Cabin Creek coal wars at the heart of the first installment in her Mingo Chronicles historical series. The novel is titled Blood Creek (Blue Mingo Press, 2019). While the West Virginia and Kentucky mine wars have been the focus of both fiction and nonfiction, Collins […]

October Read of the Month: “Trouble in Action,” by Susan Y. Tanner

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Susan Y. Tanner’s Trouble in Action (KaliOka Press July 8, 2019), book ten of Familiar Legacy mystery series, is as captivating and well-written as her prior two entries in the series, Trouble in Summer Valley and Turning for Trouble. While holding on to the charms of her prior cozy mystery/romantic […]

September Read of the Month: “Moon Water,” by Pam Webber

Review by Philip K. Jason This tantalizing and sometimes frightening coming-of-age story centers on a strong-minded girl of sixteen, Nettie, and her battles with faith, sexuality, and a near-apocalyptic storm. Set in mountainous Central Virginia in 1969, the novel vividly captures the time and place with authority and respectful understanding. An intriguing extra ingredient is […]

August Read of the Month: “The Nickel Boys,” by Colson Whitehead

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Colson Whitehead once more proves the sheer power of his talent with The Nickel Boys (Doubleday, 2019), a heartbreaking, chilling story about an innocent black youth sent to a hellish reform school in North Florida during the Jim Crow days. While the book is fiction, what makes it so devastating […]