“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 […]

October Read of the Month: “Trouble in Action,” by Susan Y. Tanner

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Susan Y. Tanner’s Trouble in Action (KaliOka Press July 8, 2019), book ten of Familiar Legacy mystery series, is as captivating and well-written as her prior two entries in the series, Trouble in Summer Valley and Turning for Trouble. While holding on to the charms of her prior cozy mystery/romantic […]

September Read of the Month: “Moon Water,” by Pam Webber

Review by Philip K. Jason This tantalizing and sometimes frightening coming-of-age story centers on a strong-minded girl of sixteen, Nettie, and her battles with faith, sexuality, and a near-apocalyptic storm. Set in mountainous Central Virginia in 1969, the novel vividly captures the time and place with authority and respectful understanding. An intriguing extra ingredient is […]

August Read of the Month: “The Nickel Boys,” by Colson Whitehead

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Colson Whitehead once more proves the sheer power of his talent with The Nickel Boys (Doubleday, 2019), a heartbreaking, chilling story about an innocent black youth sent to a hellish reform school in North Florida during the Jim Crow days. While the book is fiction, what makes it so devastating […]

“The Leaf Does Not Believe It Will Fall,” By Marina Brown

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Marina Brown’s The Leaf Does Not Believe It Will Fall is, in a word, genuine. Written with heartfelt honesty and thoughtful insights, this collection of poetry is both eloquent and graceful. Brown’s poems find that delicate balance between exposure and restraint, leaving a touch of mystery. The craftsmanship is consistently […]

“Watermelons, Nooses, and Straight Razors: Stories from the Jim Crow Museum,” by David Pilgrim with a foreword by Debby Irving

Reviewed by Phyllis Wilson Moore Watermelons, Nooses, and Straight Razors: Stories from the Jim Crow Museum (PM Press, 2018), by sociologist, author, and lecturer Dr. David Pilgrim, is a ground-breaking scholarly work. In it he highlights and explores the impact that racist artifacts and demeaning images have on the maligned race as well as on […]