April Read of the Month: “To the Bones,” by Valerie Nieman

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Edgy suspense, Scottish paranormal legend, and a beautiful river transformed into a wicked orange brew—these ingredients in the skilled hands of journalist Valerie Nieman create a whip-smart novel, To the Bones (West Virginia University Press, 2019). The story presents a classic hero’s quest in which an ordinary person discovers new strengths […]

March Read of the Month: “A Spy in the House of Anais Nin,” by Kim Krizan

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Confession: I have only read one volume by Anais Nin. That was decades ago when I was in college and I don’t recall the title. The stories provoked a wide range of emotions. I was alternately shocked, titillated, appalled, and aroused by the content. Although I admired Nin’s storytelling ability and […]

February Read of the Month: “Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel,” by James Markert

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Lush, mystical, and complex, Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel by Kentucky author James Markert is a stunning book. It begins with a foundling child abandoned at an orphanage in Florence, Italy, 1866, and ends on a California cliff in modern times—but oh what a journey the author takes his readers […]

January Read of the Month: “The Moonshiner’s Daughter,” by Donna Everhart

Reviewed by Philip K. Jason It’s 1960 in Wilke’s County, North Carolina and sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser has a problem. In fact, she has several problems. One is an awkward and demeaning relationship with her father. He seems remote and silently critical. Jessie has asked him over and over to explain the death of her mother, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]