“Never Have I Ever,” by Joshilyn Jackson

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro With her debut novel some fourteen years ago, Joshilyn Jackson established herself as a phenomenal author. In that debut, gods in Alabama (Warner Books, 2005), pathos, suspense, and humor were well balanced in a story about a young woman gone north, only to return home to Alabama to confront the […]

December Read of the Month: “The Alexandria You Are Losing,” by Yasser El-Sayed

Reviewed by David Madsen Yasser El-Sayed, the author of this unique collection of stories, is well traveled, with a stack of hometowns in his carry-on, which he pulls out with nuance, humor and psychological precision, as he explores the landscapes and emotional terrain of immigrants and emigrants, travelers and settlers. We humans are a seeking […]

“Their Houses,” by Meredith Sue Willis

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The richly drawn characters in Meredith Sue Willis’s latest novel, Their Houses, are stumbling about in an effort to meet one of the most basic needs Maslow identifies in his famous hierarchy, a need which must be met before people can move on to find love, esteem, and self actualization. They […]

“Don’t Tell ’em You’re Cold: A Memoir of Poverty and Resilience,” by Katherine P. Manley

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Many times while growing up, Kathy Manley experienced the shame of poverty. Shame that kept her from inviting friends to the family’s shabby house filled with dumpster-salvaged furniture. Shame when a teacher took up a collection from classmates so Kathy could attend a football game. The real shame, however, is that […]

November Read of the Month: “The Winter Sisters,” by Tim Westover

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Tim Westover’s newest book, The Winter Sisters (QW Publishers, 2019), is a mesmerizing gem of a novel. It’s a hard book to classify, though. The time frame makes it a historical novel, while the relationship between two of its main characters develops into an unusual love story. Yet the magical […]

“The Lightness of Water & Other Stories,” by Rhonda Browning White

Reviewed by by Phyllis Wilson Moore The settings in Rhonda Browning White’s The Lightness of Water & Other Stories take readers from Florida to West Virginia while introducing them to a broad cast of characters. The characters in these nine intriguing stories have dreams of what might have been or what might still be accomplished. […]

“Feral, North Carolina, 1965,” by June Sylvester Saraceno

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Feral, North Carolina, 1965 (Southern Fried Karma, 2019) is a powerful gem.  Told with wit and verve, the novel unfolds in vignettes that read like short stories, and in fact, many chapters were previously published as short stories. Feral captures a time and place with impeccable world building, astute observations, […]

“Blood Creek,” by Kimberly Collins

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Kimberly Collins deftly plants the vicious Paint-Creek/Cabin Creek coal wars at the heart of the first installment in her Mingo Chronicles historical series. The novel is titled Blood Creek (Blue Mingo Press, 2019). While the West Virginia and Kentucky mine wars have been the focus of both fiction and nonfiction, Collins […]