January Read of the Month: “Second Bloom,” by Anya Krugovoy Silver

Reviewed by Susana H. Case Here are poems about happiness, love, spirituality, and yes, metastatic cancer as well. And here is an aesthetics of integration of the transcendental with the all-too-corporeal requirements of life with a fatal illness. Anya Krugovoy Silver is a “metastatic breast cancer thriver,” she says in her back-cover bio by way of […]

“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 […]

“Naming the Silence: New & Selected Poems,” by Michael David Blanchard

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro When by his own admission Michael David Blanchard was a sensitive, introspective teenager, he began writing poetry as a student at Baton Rouge High in Louisiana. He continued composing in college and twice won the University (of Virginia) Union Fine Arts Award for Poetry. In his professional days after earning […]

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 […]

“Messenger from Mystery,” by Deno Trakas

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Messenger from Mystery is Dr. Deno Trakas’s first novel, but he’s not unknown to upstate South Carolina readers. He holds the Laura and Winston Hoy Chair in English at Wofford and has published both fiction and poetry in journals and anthologies. The novel harks back to the latter years of […]

“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 […]

November Read of the Month: “Weary Kingdom,” by DéLana R. A. Dameron

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl We have moved from Michigan to South Carolina, which is not unlike a sailing ship lifting anchor. If I read DéLana R. A. Dameron’s Weary Kingdom properly, there’s some similarity, a movement from the familiarity of a home in South Carolina to a different world, Harlem and Brooklyn, where she […]