RaveHouston PressNatalie Zina Walschots’ debut novel Hench is both a razor-sharp deconstruction of the superhero genre as well as the best example of prose writing on the subject since Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible ... compelling ... Anna is every one of us that has pushed down our principles to pay the rent in a world that increasingly does not play fair ... Walschots is a marvel, having brought new life into the superhero genre right as the lack of summer blockbusters gives us a little time to pause and consider the medium ... a wonderful allegory.
RaveThe Houston Chronicle... both dream and nightmare at the same time ... Wetmore applies this narrative technique effectively, and the story is made better by her exceptional use of language ... Amid the harshness, Wetmore also crafts amazing beauty in the book ... feels like a flower growing out of pavement ... becomes a difficult read because the inevitability of the outcomes is so depressingly predictable. Wetmore, like Harper Lee before her, has little interest in preserving the illusions of people who believe that justice and love will always prevail ... simply will not let a reader escape horrors no matter how many idyllic scenes and remembrances they stumble upon as they explore the book. It’s an incredibly moving and emotionally devastating piece of work that heralds great things from Wetmore. There’s nothing in the pages but the world we Texans have built. If the mirror makes you uncomfortable, well, change the person in it.
PositiveThe San Francisco ChronicleFull of unhappy endings and an unflinching look at society, Hill calls to mind Harlan Ellison at his absolute best, with a penchant for cruel characters learning hard truths ... Hill’s monsters are often human, even when a true monster does (or maybe doesn’t) show up, and Hill shows his tight grasp of what makes people into banal but dangerous madmen.
RaveHouston ChronicleI was halfway through Texas author Shaun Hamill’s debut novel A Cosmology of Monsters before I could tell you what it was about, but I was loving every second of it all the same ... The book is a mesmerizing, meandering, dark tale of growing up and finding monsters all around you ... What makes Cosmology of Monsters both fun and awful to read is how expertly Hamill threads the line between normalcy and atrocity. He leads a reader very slowly from general unease and a few cheap scares to a mind-blowing realization about the truth behind all our fears. It’s, well, just like a haunted attraction. It’s uncomfortable but brilliant. By the time you reach the end, you’re willing to believe anything ... Hamill has crafted something truly remarkable, and if you have to sprint through it so that the gaudy demons can’t grab you, that’s intentional.
PositiveThe Houston Chronicle... a book that could have come across as terribly elitist, as if Guendelsberger were an anthropologist studying the lower classes like Jane Goodall studied the chimps ... What makes On the Clock work is how careful she is to never fall into that mindset. In fact, she goes out of her way to highlight those who have contributed to the grueling plight of the wage worker and their lack of empathy or basic consideration toward workers ... the sort of exposé Upton Sinclair would have been proud of ... With luck, maybe On the Clock can help spark a change.
Margaret Leslie Davis
RaveHouston ChronicleIt’s an addictive and engaging look at the \'competitive, catty and slightly angst-ridden\' heart of the world of book collecting ... The Lost Gutenberg reads like a comedy of manners starring the cast of an Ayn Rand novel ... It’s improbable and riveting. You learn a lot about the world when you see what it takes to both make and own something as precious as a Gutenberg Bible ... Davis has an extremely wry hand, often sliding in jokes so subtly you don’t even notice they’re there until you’re done laughing. By far, she has the poshest toilet pun I’ve ever read. My only complaint in her writing is a confusing mixture of past and present tenses that sometimes makes the scattered chronology of the book hard to follow, especially as it begins in the middle of the story. Beyond that, the journey of one of the most important books in human history is daring and endearing, a fitting period on the sentence Gutenberg himself began with his world-changing invention.
PositiveHouston Chronicle\"On the surface, it’s pretty typical adventure stuff, but the bones of the plot do not in any way capture the strange wonder that is Black Leopard ... Where James is truly brilliant as an author is how he crafts this dreamlike world where fantasy is both mad and mundane ... It takes some getting used to, but you find yourself, like Tracker, accepting children made of smoke, fish you can ride on and demons that walk the ceiling as they hunt blood. There’s no awe to the phantasmagoria. James allows his characters to show contempt for the uncanny, treating them as products of his tainted kingdoms rather than legends. It adds to oft-time nightmarish tone of the book.\
RaveHouston ChronicleWalrath’s Glimmerglass Girl is an intense collection of poetry that speaks out from the first page. Not for the faint of heart, it’s open, but sharp as Walrath doesn’t shy away from letting her readers see the blood, even if she lets it drip across flowers and suburban kitchen countertops ... This collection...is a deep look into an archetypal modern soul, and the sheer exhibitionism of it lends strength to each poem. Have you ever lost an argument because someone pointed out the painfully obvious and emotionally damaging mistake that was right in front of your face? Glimmerglass Girl is an entire book of exactly that. You feel bad reading it, and worse you didn’t read it sooner.