July Read of the Month: “A Tree Born Crooked,” by Steph Post

Reviewed by Phil Jason I almost missed this one, which is among the most original and striking Florida novels I’ve encountered in my almost nine years of walking this beat. No gorgeously hued Sunshine State here. This is the Florida of grit and grime state: the North Florida that is really Southern, rather than the […]

“Heart of Palm,” by Laura Lee Smith

Reviewed by Phil Jason Reprinted, with permission, from Florida Weekly. This is the one I’ve been waiting for. The big surprise. A debut novel set in Florida that has it all: family, community, dreams, secrets, the best kind of local color, tragedy, humor, hatred, compassion, love, change. It’s 2008. Arla Bolton Bravo, of the fashionable […]

April Read of the Month: “March with Me,” by Rosalie T. Turner

Reviewed by Philip K. Jason This novel portrays the outer and inner worlds of two young women growing up in Birmingham, Alabama when it became the flashpoint of the Civil Rights Movement. The chapters contain subsections that alternate the consciousnesses of Letitia and Martha Ann, one black, one white, as they process the momentous changes […]

“Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society,” by Amy Hill Hearth

Reviewed by Phil Jason This review also appears in Florida Weekly. One can feel the immense joy of Amy Hill Hearth’s engagement in her first novel. It radiates through every scene and through every page. Sometimes, an exceptional writer finds an exceptional premise, and the result is a truly exceptional book. Such is the case with […]