August Read of the Month: “Punch,” by Ray McManus

Reviewed by William Bernhardt I should have seen it coming. The book opens with an epigraph from Philip Levine that provides fair warning: “You’ve never done something simple, so obvious…because you don’t know what work is.” That quote is a clear indicator of the informative and enlightening pleasures to be found in Ray McManus’s fascinating […]

July Read of the Month: “Noah’s Wife,” by Lindsay Starck

Reviewed by Sean Ennis Lindsay Starck’s debut novel, Noah’s Wife, centers on a town inexplicably inundated with a soaking, seemingly never-ending rain. The subsequent flooding threatens the local economy and tests the faith of the community in terms of whether to see the storm through (the rain must end sometime, right?) or abandon the town […]

June Read of the Month: “Damn Yankees,” by George C. Rable

Reviewed by Joshua S. Fullman From cinematic accounts alone, one might be tempted to conclude that the American Civil War brought out the better angels of our nature instead of our devils. Indeed, one does not need to go all the way back to Selznick’s Gone With the Wind to find romantic portraits of nineteenth-century […]

May Read of the Month: “Fraccidental Death,” by Donna Meredith

  Reviewed by Pat Spears Fraccidental Death, the second in Donna Meredith’s Water Warriors series, is part murder mystery and part cautionary tale about the country’s insatiable appetite for cheap fossil fuel, with keen observations about broken relationships adding complexity to the narrative. Fans of the first Water Warriors book, Wet Work, will have met […]

April Read of the Month: “The Feathered Bone,” by Julie Cantrell

Reviewed by Adele Annesi The Feathered Bone, by New York Times bestselling author Julie Cantrell, fuses poetic voice and unwavering honesty in a haunting tale of worst fears come true, best intentions gone horribly wrong, and a freedom that brings hope beyond this life. Set in New Orleans and rural Louisiana in the years involving […]

March Read of the Month: “Driftwood Tides,” by Gina Holmes

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl The American poet Hart Crane wrote in a late letter that “[t]here is constantly an inward struggle.”   More often than not such is the case with any artist, novelist, poet, sculptor, or wood-worker.  Inside the soul, inside the imagination, there’s a stirring, a warring, contradictions of personality, affirmation, enthusiasm, skepticism […]

February Read of the Month: “The Secret to Hummingbird Cake,” by Celeste Fletcher McHale

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro The Secret to Hummingbird Cake (Thomas Nelson, 2016) by emerging Southern author Celeste Fletcher McHale manages to do a very difficult thing: It spins a loving tale about enduring female friendships in a small town in the Deep South without engaging in stereotypes or sentimentality. Replete with the poignancy of […]

January Read of the Month: “Casey’s Last Chance,” by Joseph B. Atkins

Reviewed by Philip K. Jason “Last chance for what?” the eager reader might ask. To make it to the majors? To score big at anything? In this debut novel, it’s this sorry fellow’s last chance to get out from under the debts incurred over a decade or two of minor league hustling and losing. Not […]