Chanelle Benz on how her first novel ‘The Gone Dead’ expands on themes from her debut collection

Chanelle Benz on how her first novel ‘The Gone Dead’ expands on themes from her debut collection

Chanelle Benz‘s debut story collection, 2017’s The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead, was one of the best collections published that year. The 10 stories in it range in location and time, but always feature a strong voice. The diverse perspectives ranging from non-traditional Westerns to baroque style chorus narratives proved the author knew how to tell a gripping story.

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A Life of Books with Nicholas Mancusi, author of ‘A Philosophy of Ruin’

A Life of Books with Nicholas Mancusi, author of ‘A Philosophy of Ruin’

In A Philosophy of Ruin, the debut novel by Nicholas Mancusi, a philosophy professor questions his choices, what life is about, and reevaluates his own outlook on philosophy. The professor, named Oscar, is experiencing one of the roughest patches in his life. To add to everything, he is seduced by a student who gets him caught up in a drug ring that begins to upend everything he has worked for.

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De’Shawn Charles Winslow created one of the most memorable characters in fiction

De’Shawn Charles Winslow created one of the most memorable characters in fiction

Azelea “Knot” Centre, the main character in De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s debut In West Mills is easily one of the most memorable characters I’ve been introduced to recently. She is, excuse the cliche, a tour-de-force. Is she a saint? No, far from it. Her flaws make her as realistic as a character on page can be. If this book ever gets adapted in Hollywood (it should), whichever actress is lucky enough to play Knot will be stepping into an Oscar-worthy role due to how perfect Winslow wrote her.

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Getting personal and historical with ‘The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna’ author Juliet Grames

Getting personal and historical with ‘The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna’ author Juliet Grames

Juliet Grames has been thinking about Stella Fortuna for nearly her entire life. Well, sort of. The titular character of The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna bears parallel characteristics to her grandmother’s own life. Both emigrated from Southern Italy to America. Both had an accident that reshaped their personality and life.

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A Life of Books with Chia-Chia Lin, author of ‘The Unpassing’

A Life of Books with Chia-Chia Lin, author of ‘The Unpassing’

Chia-Chia Lin’s debut novel, The Unpassing, is a beautiful, bleak, and breathtaking story of a Taiwanese family in Alaska. As tragedy strikes the nation in the 1980s, their own home is struck by an unexpected death. The middle-child Gavin narrates the turmoil they navigate as Lin expertly crafts emotional passages and through-provoking moment.

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Joanne Ramos takes readers to ‘The Farm’ – an unintentional dystopian novel with relevant themes

Joanne Ramos takes readers to ‘The Farm’ – an unintentional dystopian novel with relevant themes

When The Farm first landed at my doorstep, I was easily intrigued by what Joanne Ramos pieced together. From pregnancy rights to immigration, her novel – tinged with dystopian undertones – felt urgent as political nominees began to announce their candidacy for 2020.

Even though I expected to love it, the novel knocked me out. In her debut, which isn’t about politics, but about human rights on a larger scale, Ramos created a must read page-turner that offered readers an insight to what is happening now as well as what can happen in the future.

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