November 1, 2022

Place of Cool Waters

In Ndirangu Githaiga’s novel, Place of Cool Waters, a young man on a trip is imperiled, but also learns surprising information about his past.

Jude Wilson was adopted as a baby and raised in a small town in Washington state. His adoptive father was a Boy Scout troop leader, and they spent many happy weekends […]

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October 3, 2022

Heartbreak Epiphanies and Justified Lust

In Heartbreak Epiphanies and Justified Lust, John Kruxhammer (a pseudonym) offers a strange, chaotic, confusing, but somehow engaging novel.

The story opens in a brothel. There the client, a john named John, requests, instead of sex, to be read aloud from his own manuscript. “We’re not here for that,” says the first girl who refuses […]

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September 19, 2022

Visions of Johanna

Peter Sarno’s Visions of Johanna is a beautifully written literary novel about an unlikely pairing.

Matt, the story’s first-person narrator, is a young, freelance music critic during the 1980’s. His life is changed when Johanna, a flamboyant feminist and artist seven years his senior, picks him out at a Bob Dylan concert and they fall […]

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July 4, 2022

Nebrodi Mountains: The Billionaire and the Mafia

Set against a picture-postcard landscape in the northeastern region of Sicily, Nebrodi Mountains sheds light on individuals’ abilities to choose their own moral compass.

The storyline intertwines multiple characters and subplots. Early on, the story introduces new billionaire in town, Jerry Johnson, and his wife, along with their budding friendship with a neighboring couple who […]

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June 27, 2022

The Escalator

In this tale, members of an English family consider life as it pivots around their mentally unstable husband and father.

The story begins as retired couple William and Cas enjoy a cruise from Genoa to Shanghai. The ocean liner represents a metaphor of sorts for William as he reflects on his recovery from “insanity.” Following […]

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June 7, 2022

And Go to Innisfree: Three Novellas and Two Stories

Don Eron’s well-crafted, character-driven collection of three novellas and two stories draws readers into the daily lives of its protagonists, each unique, yet all struggling to find their place in the world.

In the short opening tale “Giselle’s Tears,” a young man recalls the heartfelt experience of first love and the tragedy of loss. Two […]

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May 30, 2022

Pretend Plumber

Stephanie Barbé Hammer’s entertaining young adult novel focuses on a smart, sassy, bi-curious Jewish teenage girl.

As usual, Sarassine’s parents aren’t there to help when a major plumbing problem erupts at their house. She decides to run to her grandfather’s condo, but not before her cranky, ever-suspicious grandmother arrives and accuses Sarassine of causing the […]

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April 25, 2022

The Deep Translucent Pond

In James Shelley’s novel, The Deep Translucent Pond, two aspiring poets experience the unconventional tutelage of a fading literary luminary.

Jerome, a buttoned-down lawyer, nurses lingering wounds from a broken marriage. He’s guarded, skeptical, and emotionally numb, which may be both the cause and effect of his relationship troubles. Natalija is his complementary opposite. A […]

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February 14, 2022

Contemplations

Robert O. Doverspike’s book, Contemplations, is a mixture of biographical material and essays concerning his and, by extension, everyman’s, relationship to the world.

“It is clear that the end of my life is drawing near,” he states near the beginning of the book, and “It is time for me to finish up my musings and […]

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January 3, 2022

A Matchbox Full of Pearls

Kamille Roach’s novel, A Matchbox Full of Pearls, is a fascinating, hypnotic tale of survival, love, and finding home, set in the harshly gorgeous landscape of Western Australia.

When her foster mother Blossom dies, 20-year-old Lola Harris returns from Melbourne to York and collides with the delicious-but-footloose Walshy, her childhood protector and first love, who […]

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