RaveLone Star Literary LifeSwann possesses a distinctive voice ... Olympus is fictional but only in the sense that you can’t locate it on a map. Everyone who grew up in or currently lives in small-town Texas (small-town anywhere) will recognize it viscerally ... Tucked inside the action of each day, interspersed between numbered chapters of present action, are origin stories (a Greek chorus, if you will)—of rage and broken hearts and mistakes and youthful promises impossible to keep—offering explanations for the now-fraught relationships that lend much to the richness of these characters ... Swann is skillful at foreshadowing unseemly mysteries, laugh-out-loud dialogue, and extracting maximum texture from analogies without being wordy ... feels a bit old fashioned and traditional, but then our foundational myths would be. This debut novel is a great combination of rollicking entertainment and timeless philosophical questions—a big, messy family saga about home and love and how we mere mortals fail each but try, try again.
S. Kirk Walsh
RaveLone Star Literary Life... a beguiling and compelling story of historical fiction ... Walsh’s research pays dividends for the reader as the sights, sounds, and smells of Belfast rise in the imagination ... Walsh’s steady pacing accelerates, never faltering as it hurtles into waking nightmare. The author has invented a large cast of characters, but the company isn’t unwieldy, each skillfully drawn personality proving original and filling their niche to propel the action. Walsh deftly weaves her subplots into the main narrative ... a heartfelt and heartbreaking, ultimately inspiring and uplifting, tale of coming-of-age in extraordinary circumstances.
RaveLone Star Literary Life All God\'s Children is about human beings, Americans in all their terrible and transcendent individuality, bravely insisting upon pursuing happiness, expanding the meaning of that term in the philosophical, eighteenth-century Enlightenment sense. Duncan and Cecelia are richly, distinctively drawn ... Chronological, parallel narratives, set in some of the most formative and transformative years of two young republics, eventually bring Duncan and Cecelia together, surrounded with the supporting cast they deserve. Gwyn provides complex backstories that inform his characters motivations and actions, though in the process he indulges in an unnecessarily lengthy exposition on the origins of Duncan’s compatriots in his ranging company. This is the only falter in the otherwise quick, smooth, steady pacing ... Gwyn possesses a distinctive voice that is, nevertheless, a recognizably Western rhythm ... His language is equal parts sophisticated imagery, evocative simile, and folksy. Dialogue is enriched with a smart, wholly unexpected humor that you will learn to look forward to with bright anticipation.
RaveLone Star Literary LifeIn this comedy of manners, White immediately subsumes the reader in time and place, his distinctive voice claiming us from the first page, leaving me chuckling, shaking my head in admiration ... While White’s novel is a comedy of manners—the multiple, ongoing culture clashes are laugh-aloud funny—it is also a deep dive into character. The twins are complete in their rendering on the page, and their development is simultaneously a joy and a calamity ... Yvonne’s often bawdy voice belies a lifelong battle between the superficial and creeping self-awareness, which White balances exquisitely; while Yvette’s crucible and abnegation are rooted in tragedy, a guilt not her own ... Despite the page count, A Saint from Texas is not a quick read, due to extensive blocks of exposition, but it flows evenly and almost flawlessly as Yvonne’s effort to set the record straight and obtain a form of justice for Yvette. I have a quibble involving Texas geography. Ranger is not in East Texas. This would be a small thing, but it arises throughout, Yvonne’s accent repeatedly referred to as an \'East Texas twang.\' Her accent is a Texas accent, a twangy accent, but it is not an East Texas accent—there, I feel better now.
RaveLone Star Literary LifeI recommend reading the dialogue aloud to approximate the effect of the lyrical rhythms of speech. As the days and weeks of escape drag on, Moore employs an effective technique for conveying the monotony of boredom—and terror—with epic run-on sentences, stretching for pages ... The sense of immediacy, even after so many years, is visceral. In the last quarter of the book, Mam’s first-person narrative relates the other side of this story, a thrilling surprise, a tale of courage, daring, and serendipity.
Young Moon Jung
PositiveLone Star Literary LifeIn his trademark stream-of-consciousness style, Moon admirably grapples with himself and the peculiarities and paradoxes of twenty-first-century Texas, while questioning what has meaning and what doesn’t, who gets to decide, and the nature of the novel as a literary form ... The melancholy is such that I was startled when Moon visits a farm and notes \'a very cute donkey\' ... Moon crafts page-long sentences that do not meander; his musing is focused—hats off to translator Yewon Jung. Moon also exhibits a joy in words ... His repetition of certain words lends a meter to his prose, as if he might be a poet ... Moon has a droll, dry wit that reminds me of Steven Wright and had me chuckling aloud.
RaveLone Star Literary LifeRule of Capture is the first in a planned series of legal thrillers, and if this first installment is any indication, I will buy the others the day they appear on shelves, mute my phone, and cancel all appointments for the next couple of days. Rule of Capture is part 1984, part Brave New World, part ripped from the Mueller report, though it transcends the current occupant of the White House. Brown has taken all the dissonant noise and distilled it, then extrapolated to a possible logical endpoint ... Rule of Capture is also very funny ... Brown’s use of language is clever and smart, while instances of purple prose and pedantic speeches, which would be so easy to do given the material, are few ... Brown grabs us with the first sentence ... And he never lets go, intricately plotting and carefully crafting a just-one-more-chapter page-turner about a future that is all too plausible
RaveLone Star ReviewKibler’s new book is mostly historical fiction, so it seems odd to call it \'timely,\' but it is. Artfully woven of the ills currently roiling our country, resonating in the era of #MeToo and Jeffrey Epstein and the list is too long to name them all, the issues of Home for Erring and Outcast Girls are age-old. Powerful men protect other powerful men, often with the collusion of wives, and countless women and girls are collateral damage ... Kibler’s research is impeccable ... The pace is quick and steady; action moves fluidly back and forth between the present and the early twentieth century. Kibler is skilled at foreshadowing and organically solving the mysteries, only marred by melodrama in a fleeting few instances. She writes gripping, heart-pounding scenes, then lulls you into a tender scene, which will tug your heartstrings out and tie them into knots. The experience is painful but rewarding ... One of the many joys is the depth of these characters, richly drawn and quite fully human ... deserves to be addressed as an accessible and profound work on the ill treatment of women and girls in this society.
RaveLone Star Literary LifeKing of the Mississippi...heralds a maturation of Freedman’s talent ... a biting send-up of corporate America, traditional ideas of masculinity, and flag-on-your-lapel patriotism. Freedman’s two main characters are sharply drawn, though they begin as caricatures ... The narrative...is generally fast paced. The middle third lags, though it does include a hilarious set-piece ... The final third...recovers from the second and surpasses the first, getting the epilogue just right ... King of the Mississippi is a novel for our time.
RaveLone Star Literary LifeWe’ve waited ten years for the next book from Cásares, and Where We Come From is a worthy and timely progression ... Where We Come From is not a dramatic story in the way of action scenes, thrills and chills, or edge-of-your-seat suspense. Instead this quiet, nuanced drama reflects everyday occurrences in the liminal spaces between the Rio Grande and the inland Border Patrol checkpoints ... Cásares’s characters are finely wrought, the adults sharp and distinct, the boys a little fuzzy around the edges, not done developing ... I was steadily drawn into Where We Come From by Cásares’s skillful reeling of the line.
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
RaveLone Star ReviewA work of remarkable imagination, House of Stone is quickly and evenly paced until it begins coursing toward the denouement, flinging jaw-dropping twists amidst the factional, fractional, bloody birth of Zimbabwe, with mordant wit and keen characterization ... The cadences of Tshuma’s prose are most assertive when she’s toing and froing in time, often from one paragraph to the next, the singsong give-and-take ... Tshuma presents us with a history lesson in the form of these individual lives, demonstrating the folly of denying that the personal is political.