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 […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

“A Pure Heart,” by Rajia Hassib

Reviewed by Donna Meredith In Rajia Hassib’s A Pure Heart (Viking, 2019), characters present different versions of themselves, depending on where they are and whom they are with—as we all do. The result is multi-faceted characters with secrets kept even from closest friends and family. Hassib’s novel shines as one of the finest explorations of […]

July Read of the Month: “Privilege,” by Claire Matturro

Reviewed by Donna Meredith On the first page of Claire Matturro’s steamy mystery Privilege, 18-year-old Ruby asks criminal defense attorney Gardner Randolph if she can trust him. He leers at Ruby’s chest and already readers want to sound the warning: “No! Don’t trust him!” But she is young, homeless, in trouble with the law and […]

“You and I and Someone Else,” by Anna Schachner

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Perceptive insights and clever word plays highlight Anna Schachner’s debut novel You and I and Someone Else. Set in North Carolina, the story centers on several families coping with loss: a young wife’s loss of her husband, a woman who suffers a late-term miscarriage, a couple who lose a six-year-old son, […]