December Read of the Month: “Like Headlines,” by Nancy Dillingham

Reviewed by Fred Chappell Ezra Pound, that cranky ringmaster of twentieth century American poetry, offered this definition:  “Poetry is news that stays news.”  His point, that strong poetry is always important, fresh, and urgent, would be soberly received by many an earnest striver in the art, even those who had never heard of Pound.  Some […]

November Read of the Month: “Christian Bend,” by Karen Spears Zacharias

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Karen Spears Zacharias writes with remarkable sensitivity and insight. She is so profoundly in touch with her fictional people that she can present a tale from multiple points of view with an acuity and heart-felt honesty that soon makes her characters feel like close friends to the reader. Because of […]

October Read of the Month: “Finding Joe,” by Rebecca Hunn

Reviewed by Donna Meredith If you’re looking for an entertaining mystery crafted around a strong setting and unusual characters, check out Finding Joe, Rebecca Hunn’s debut novel. The protagonist Donna Cain is “an oil and gas leasing agent—part sleuth, part genealogist, part salesperson,” who believes she has “the best job in the world.” She lives […]

September Read of the Month: “When Nighttime Shadows Fall,” by Diane Michael Cantor

Reviewed by Brandy Renee McCann  As a social scientist and native to southern Appalachia, I picked up Diane Michael Cantor’s novel, When Nighttime Shadows Fall (University of South Carolina Press, 2017), with interest. Similar to the characters in the novel, in 1976 my eighteen-year-old mother was pregnant with me. My folks were married at the time […]

August Read of the Month: “To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts,” by Caitlin Hamilton Summie

Reviewed by Adele Annesi It’s been said we can’t go home again, but home is a stubborn traveler that tags along in our prickliest family and friends, the people we are and become, the places that fill the heart as no one person can. To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts, by Caitlin Hamilton Summie, is […]

July Read of the Month: “The Disappearing Act,” by Sara Pirkle Hughes

Reviewed by Anya Krugovoy Silver In her consistently outstanding debut volume of poetry, The Disappearing Act, Sara Pirkle Hughes demonstrates her facility with beginnings and endings.  Poems about childhood, family relationships, and the fleeting, fraught nature of sexual desire detail life’s complexities while resisting answers to its mysteries. Hughes writes masterful first and last lines:  […]

June Read of the Month: “The Last Trial,” by Robert Bailey

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro In a literary landscape increasingly littered with mediocre (or worse) legal thrillers, Alabama attorney Robert Bailey did something impressive: He wrote an excellent, classic legal thriller with The Last Trial (Thomas and Mercer, May 2018). Its brilliantly complex plot portrays compelling, intriguing characters, pretrial murder and mayhem, courtroom drama, edge-of-your-chair […]

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 […]