Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of Sea Skins by Sophia Wilson

Wilson works every word with the precision of a linguist, drawing out the sounds of words, “The tick-tock knock of one hundred clocks” or “three shells cantering takka tak takka tak”. Alliteration, rhythm, rhyme, parataxis – the poems employ a range of techniques that make them aurally beautiful

A review of Smog Mother by John Wall Barger

The unsayable inevitably finds its way into Smog Mother, not just in fantastic dreams, but in the ugliness of life and death, in the rushing precipices we face and try not to. Barger takes the role of poet to the letter when he lets disaster unfold in his work. You can feel that he barely blinks in the face of this darkness, not because he is unfeeling, but to take it all in.

A review of Oh My Rapture by Gemma White

Hidden amongst all the coarseness and slang words there is gentleness and poignancy, as you read page by page you can feel it. There is a voice impregnated in the words of the poems that are like two forces, forces that propel and repel each other. 

A review of Dug-Up Gun Museum by Matt Donovan

Donovan’s poems, sensitive and unflinchingly brave, pull us through this grisly reality, showing our country’s stubborn and sick fascination with guns, and downright reverence. We are expected to bury our human dead, and accept that guns will be dug-up. Not as relics, but as emblems of American freedom. New guns will be manufactured and purchased every day. Made to do what guns do.

A review of Pipette by Kim Chinquee

According to the Oxford American Dictionary, a pipette is “a slender tube used in a lab for transferring or measuring small quantities of liquids.” In Kim Chinquee’s slim, debut novel Pipette, the author examines a large mixture of themes through the eyes of Elle, a part-time lab technician working in the early days of COVID.

A Taste of History: A review of A Place at the Nayarit by Dr. Natalia Molina

A talented oral historian, Molina describes how her grandmother, Doña Natalia Barraza, found a place in Echo Park, a diverse neighborhood located on the eastside of Los Angeles, to open her restaurant, The Nayarit. The Nayarit, of course, is also one of the states comprising the federated nation of Mexico and the regional cuisine local to the Nayarit was the driving force of the restaurant’s menu and eventual draw.

A review of I Have Decided to Remain Vertical by Gayelene Carbis

An old literature professor I once had used to say, regarding the writing of poetry, “Don’t use the I”, “Don’t talk about feelings”, “Don’t be personal”, “Don’t use dialogue in poetry”. In I Have Decided to Remain Vertical Carbis breaks every rule, and the result is magnificent.

A review of Kepler’s Son by Geoff Nelder

His worlds are full of anomalies that draw on real-life quantum quirks, cosmic paradoxes and biological anomalies, and his aliens are both delightfully bizarre and yet somehow plausible. He is a writer who knows his sci-fi tropes well enough to twist them into a Möbius strip and take them to new places while still providing plenty of easter eggs to keen readers of the genre.  

A review of Magician Among the Spirits by Charles Rammelkamp

In any biography of a great and celebrated figure, we’re always carried along by the climb to the top of their field.  And it’s the same here.  We applaud as Houdini goes from triumph to triumph, accompanied by his darling wife Bess, and even more by his first great love, his Mama.  Inevitably, the crash occurs, if not the fall from grace, then at least the consequences of advancing years.