November Read of the Month: “Tampa Bay Noir,” edited by Colette Bancroft

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Akashic Books has long made a name for itself with an impressive string of award-winning original noir anthologies; thus, it is no surprise that its latest, Tampa Bay Noir, continues in that edgy, first-rate, compellingly dark tradition. Edited by Tampa Bay Times Book Critic Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Noir contains […]

“The Red Dirt Hymnbook,” by Roxie Faulkner Kirk

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro The Red Dirt Hymnbook (Fine Dog Press 2019), by emerging author Roxie Faulkner Kirk, is a chilling story of an innocent young woman tangled in a snare of religiosity, domestic abuse, and her own claustrophobic fears. The writing and perceptions in this book are bold, tasteful, and exceptionally well done. […]

“Even As We Breathe,” by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Infused with Cherokee myth and the history of North Carolina’s famous Grove Park Inn, Even As We Breathe is a stunningly beautiful coming-of-age novel. With its publication, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle joins Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, N. Scott Momaday, and Leslie Marmon Silko as a new and important voice in Native American […]

“Gone This Long,” by Jeffrey Alfier

Reviewed by Bruce Craven Gone This Long: Southern Poems, a new chapbook by prolific poet Jeffery Alfier, captures the intense beauty of a natural land impacted by the hopes, joys, and sorrows of humanity, Alfier, who holds an MA in Humanities from California State University at Dominguez Hills and is an Air Force veteran, lives […]

“The Other Morgans,” by Carter Taylor Seaton

Reviewed by Donna Meredith When readers first encounter AJ Porter in Carter Taylor Seaton’s novel The Other Morgans, they would be forgiven for judging AJ with a critical eye. The college dropout lives in a rural region of southern West Virginia, can’t pay her taxes, and uses grammar certain to make every teacher flinch. At […]

“The Summer House,” by Lauren Denton

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro On one hand, The Summer House (Thomas Nelson, June 2020) has a simple plot—an unlikely friendship between two women sparks a second chance at happiness for both. On the other the hand, the plot is as complex as human emotions. And that is where the richness of The Summer House […]

“A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen,” by Kari Gunter-Seymour

Reviewed by Donna Meredith One minute it soars. The next it dives. It drives tacks into your heart and then warms your feet like a cozy pair of socks. The language and imagery in Kari Gunter-Seymour’s poetry collection, A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, is all that we expect from a […]

October Read of the Month: “Second Blooming,” edited by Susan Cushman

Reviewed by Robert Kostuck “I was given a second chance, as were others in this anthology. Some of their lives were changed by trauma, some by incarceration, some by the loss of a loved one, some by marriages gone wrong or by new careers gone right.” —Susan Cushman “The explorer who will not come back […]