May Read of the Month: “In the Lonely Backwater,” by Valerie Nieman

Reviewed by Donna Meredith In the Lonely Backwater (Regal House Publishing, 2022) would be a grand read if it were only a clever psychological mystery or simply a unique coming-of-age story, but Valerie Nieman achieves so much more than that. With gorgeous description and elegant prose, Nieman transforms a North Carolina village and marina into […]

April Read of the Month: “Family Law,” by Gin Phillips

  Reviewed by Adele Annesi Family Law, by novelist Gin Phillips, is a work of historical fiction set in Montgomery, Alabama, from 1979 through 1981. Told from the perspectives of young attorney Lucia Gilbert and budding teen Rachel Morris, Family Law explores the course of two female alter egos on the cusp of change and […]

March Read of the Month: “Old Country Fiddle,” by Heath Dollar

Reviewed by Adam Van Winkle Old Country Fiddle is certainly an appropriate title for Heath Dollar’s new short story collection from Red Dirt Press.  Though, those familiar with some of Dollar’s previous stories will recognize the setting, fictional Waylon County, out in the land of the accordion, Texas Hill Country. Those familiar with the Texas […]

February Read of the Month: “Take a Left at Tomorrow,” by Renee Anduze

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The wild rebellion against authority that characterized the Sixties burns through the pages of Renee Anduze’s coming-of-age novel, Take a Left at Tomorrow (Twisted Road 2021). Those who lived through the decade’s changes will appreciate how expertly Anduze paints the mood of the time. Those born later will experience the upheavals […]

December Read of the Month: “Wild Spectacle,” by Janisse Ray

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Janisse Ray’s writing has always been robust and rich with that magical, evocative touch that pulls her readers into a scene, a thought, an emotion, or an insight. Just as in her acclaimed Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Ray’s insightful, eloquent writing shines in Wild Spectacle: Seeking Wonders in a […]

November Read of the Month: “When Women Danced With Trees—35 Unexpected Stories,” by Marina Brown

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Versatile, talented Marina Brown once more has written a stunning gem of a book with her collection of short stories in When Women Danced with Trees—35 Unexpected Stories (Gilberte Press 2021). Here, the extraordinary and the unexpected collide with the ordinary and the everyday. With the occasional appearance of magical […]

October Read of the Month: “N.O.K.,” by Bruce Ballister

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro North Florida author Bruce Ballister takes his readers on a scenic, suspense-filled fast ride through the Forgotten Coast of north Florida, in N.O.K (May 2021). Myriad things about the state make it a perfect setting for crime novels, and Ballister deftly makes use of most of these: the heat, the […]

September Read of the Month: “The Committee,” by Sterling Watson

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro With eight books to his credit, Sterling Watson has long been a powerful author, but he raises the bar considerably in The Committee (Akashic Books 2020), a compelling historical novel about the havoc the so-called Johns Committee wreaked on the University of Florida in the late 1950s. With impeccable accuracy […]