“Apothecary 709” by Cristen E. Rose

If you are seeking a delicious escape from disheartening news about elections and climate change, you won’t find a better one than the utterly enchanting novel Apothecary 709 (Happy Cat Press 2023). In her debut novel, Cristen E. Rose builds an amazingly detailed, gorgeous story world with fairies, shadows and changelings. This gaslamp fantasy opens […]

 “Key West Sketches: Writers at Mile Zero” edited by Carey Winfrey

Key West Sketches: Writers at Mile Zero (Blair 2023), edited by Carey Winfrey, is an engaging, well written collection of short stories, poetry, and fiction by some well-known writers as well as lesser known but still outstanding ones—all with connections to Key West. Even though there are some familiar names, some materials in this anthology […]

“A Rose in Little Five Points” by Deidre Ann DeLaughter

Set in Atlanta, Deidre Ann DeLaughter’s engaging second novel, A Rose in Little Five Points, sprawls across the 70s and 80s, examining widely divergent themes like immigration, the AIDS epidemic, and women’s roles in both the family and the workplace. Protagonist Meredith Fields struggles with self-esteem issues, or what she calls “the three-headed FearGuiltShame self-recrimination […]

“Small Town Big Secrets” by Dee Harris

While it might sound like Small Town Big Secrets (Atlantic Publishing 2022) is a breezy summer read, there’s a lot going on in Dee Harris’s novel. When Ora Collins misses church (“the first time in fourteen years”), everyone who has ever lived in a small town will know that something is greatly amiss. This time […]

“Fish Streets before Dawn: Poems” by Rick Campbell

In a new collection by accomplished poet Rick Campbell, Fish Streets before Dawn: Poems (Press53 2024), evocative settings underscore themes of aging, the fragility of life, and inevitability of change and death. The first section is titled “Alligator Point” after the Florida gulf front community where Campbell lives. “The Wild Lament of Saint Teresa” describes […]

 Read of the Month: “All We Were Promised” by Ashton Lattimore

All We Were Promised (Ballentine Books 2024) by Ashton Lattimore is a literary historical novel set in 1837 in which the author accomplishes exactly what an excellent historical novel should—that is, she blends well-researched, accurate historical facts into a fictional plot to create a fascinating, eminently readable, and suspenseful story. Readers will learn true history […]