“Sally St. Johns,” by Denise Heinze

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The voice of 43-year-old Sally St. Johns sparkles with intelligence and humor in Denise Heinze’s debut novel, which shares its title with the protagonist. As this eco-thriller opens, Sally calls to inform her mother she is in big trouble. She is in jail. Not for jaywalking either. The CIA wants to […]

“Seven Wings to Glory,” by Kathleen M. Rodgers

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard Texas author Kathleen M. Rodgers weaves a tale of heartache and triumph for the multigenerational residents of Portion, Texas, in the masterful Seven Wings to Glory. Portion is a place where the past is the key to the present and strangers become family.  With empathy and a true sense of place, […]

“Engineering Eden,” by Jordan Fisher Smith

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Engineering Eden, by Jordan Fisher Smith, is not for the squeamish. Its pages contain numerous accounts of human encounters with bears that end in death or injury, and as Smith points out, “There are two ways in which most people don’t wish to die: by being torn apart by a wild […]

“Sanctuary,” by T.M. Brown

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard T. M. Brown’s Sanctuary is a Southern tale of mystery with themes of redemption and the Christian belief of fulfilling one’s mission for Christ. Brown does an admirable job of character development with protagonist Theo Phillips, a retired publishing executive. Theo and his wife, Libby fulfill their retirement dream by moving to […]

“Marantha Road,” by Heather Bell Adams

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Marantha Road is an exquisite story with characters so real they could step off the pages into your living room. All the strengths and flaws of small town life are laid bare. The worry over how others will judge you. The importance of the church in the community. The complicated bonds […]

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 […]