OTHER BIRDS – Sarah Addison Allen

“Maybe I thought that if I just collected enough words, I could totally rewrite myself one day.” “Stories aren’t fiction. Stories are fabric. They’re the white sheets we drape over our ghosts so we can see them.” Sarah Addison Allen’s Other Birds (St. Martin’s Press 2022) is full of whimsy and the best kind ofContinue reading “OTHER BIRDS – Sarah Addison Allen”


Heather Webber’s Midnight at the Blackbird Café (Tor-Forge 2019) is Southern magical realism novel of family and second chances that is as sweet as tea should be.  If you liked The Book Charmer (Karen Hawkins, Dove Pond series), you’ll love this.  It’s that same type of candy read, set in a sleepy Southern town withContinue reading “MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFE – Heather Webber”

TAKE MY HAND – Dolen Perkins-Valdez

In 1973 Montgomery, Alabama, Minnie Lee and Mary Alice Relf, sisters both under the age of fifteen, were sterilized without their consent. The procedure was ordered and performed by a federally funded agency. Their social worker reported it to a local attorney, who filed a lawsuit.  Relf v. Weinberger brought to light the thousands ofContinue reading “TAKE MY HAND – Dolen Perkins-Valdez”

PROOF OF ME & OTHER STORIES – Erica Plouffe Lazure

Erica Plouffe Lazure’s Proof of Me & Other Stories (New American Press 2022) cements her rightful place as one of my favorite southern contemporary short story authors. We studied at ECU together and I’ve been a fan since that first story we workshopped.  I’ve previously compared her work to Bobbie Ann Mason and Flannery O’Connor,Continue reading “PROOF OF ME & OTHER STORIES – Erica Plouffe Lazure”

THE BOOK CHARMER – Karen Hawkins

Practical Magic meets Hart of Dixie but set in North Carolina?  Don’t mind if I do. Karen Hawkins’s The Book Charmer (Gallery Books 2019) is a charmer of a candy read.  It’s a sweet, slow burn set in a magical, lazy southern town in NC.  The first of the Dove Pond series, The Book CharmerContinue reading “THE BOOK CHARMER – Karen Hawkins”


Nathan Harris’s debut The Sweetness of Water (Little, Brown and Company 2021) was a highly anticipated novel that was immediately met with applause.  An instant bestseller, it is an Oprah’s Book Club Pick and it made President Obama’s summer reading list.  Additionally, it was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.  Everyone loves this book. EveryoneContinue reading “THE SWEETNESS OF WATER – Nathan Harris”

MEN AND DOGS – Katie Crouch

Katie Crouch’s Men and Dogs (2010) drew my attention because of the title and the cover. While the cover meets the aesthetic of Crouch’s first novel, Girls in Trucks, (which I have not read) neither it nor the title suit this novel and I’ve been trying to reconcile the disconnect since reading the first chapter.Continue reading “MEN AND DOGS – Katie Crouch”

WEDDING BELLES – Haywood Smith

Let me start by saying that I love Southern fiction.  There are charming books set in the South, with charming women you want to go have brunch with.  WEDDING BELLES by Haywood Smith (2008) is not that book.  Georgia, Linda, Diane, Teeny, and Pru are notthose women.  To be fair, I’ve never read anything byContinue reading “WEDDING BELLES – Haywood Smith”