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 […]

April Read of the Month: “Fixing Boo-Boo,” by Pat Stanford

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Ultimately a story of grace and transcendence, Fixing Boo Boo (Southern Yellow Pine Publishing, 2017) details a reluctant caregiver’s journey with her brain-damaged older sister, Barb. It gets messy along the way, and Barb is often her own worst enemy. But Pat Stanford tells the story with a deft and […]

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 […]

February Read of the Month: “Gradle Bird,” by J.C. Sasser

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Rodgers  Can a savior come in the form of a sixteen-year-old girl in a green prom dress and cat-eyed glasses? A phenomenal debut novel by gifted storyteller J. C. Sasser, Gradle Bird flips southern gothic fiction on its head and turns ghosts stories inside out. Forget everything you thought you knew […]

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 […]

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 […]