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:  […]

“Mourning Dove,” by Claire Fullerton

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard The first sentence of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina states, “Happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” For an author to successfully pen a family saga, she must dig deep into the human psyche, creating a plot beyond simplistic cause-and-effect or peopled with clichéd heroes and villains. […]

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 […]

“All That Matters,” by Diane Yates

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard John Steinbeck wrote in East of Eden, “Perhaps it takes courage to raise children.” Courage is personified by Clella Catherine Burch, mother of seven children, including author Diane Yates of All That Matters. Burch’s courage, born of a faith-filled family with a strong work ethic from the Missouri Ozarks, sustains her […]

“New Approaches to Gone with the Wind,” edited by James A. Crank

Reviewed by Angela Eib Kraus New Approaches to Gone with the Wind is an intriguing compilation of nine essays by scholars of Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Gone with the Wind (GWTW). It examines not only GWTG, the book and the film, but also the subsequent works it has inspired in others, be they admirers, detractors, or others who acknowledge GWTW‘s historical […]

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 […]

Drive-Through Review of Three Mysteries

Reviewed by Donna Meredith For Better or Hearse by Laura Durham It’s not every day you find a mystery with a wedding planner as the protagonist. Laura Durham’s Annabelle Archer series is fun-filled—as long as you aren’t the bride and groom who have their special day disrupted by murder and mayhem. Humor begins in the title […]

“Specter of Seduction,” by Carolyn Haines

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro In Specter of Seduction (KaliOka Press, November 2017),” the third book in Carolyn Haines’s Pluto Snitch series, human villains, living and dead, and a demon from another sphere collide with force and sparks. At the center of the storm, a talented young girl child appears to be possessed, or merely […]