“How We Came To Be,” by Johnnie Bernhard

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Forget the Father Knows Best clichés of the 1950s—they are so yesterday. Set in contemporary Houston and Austin, How We Came To Be (Texas Review Press, 2018) is a witty, insightful study of the forging of a twenty-first century family. A finalist in the 2017 International Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, the novel was […]

“The Shadows We Hide,” by Allen Eskens

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard Joe Talbert, Jr., returns in The Shadows We Hide, the sequel to The Life We Bury. Now an investigative reporter, he not only solves a small-town murder in Minnesota, but does so while solving the mystery of his own family’s past. Readers will be entertained by this multi-tier plot of murder, […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Johnnie Bernhard, Author of “How We Came to Be”

AM:  Thanks for the interview, Johnnie.  It hasn’t even been a year since our last interview about A Good Girl, and here we are discussing a new novel, How We Came to Be.  How did How We Came to Be come to be? JB:  I had been exploring the characters of Karen and Leona for […]

“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. […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“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, […]