Madapple, the debut novel by Christina Meldrum, is a spellbinding exploration of the correlations among nature, religion, mythology and the human condition.  Meldrum weaves a complex story, full of mystery, about a sixteen-year-old girl, Aslaug. Raised in an isolated and restrictive environment by her eccentric Danish mother, Aslaug learns languages, botany, mythology and science, but very little about the outside world. When her mother dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances, Aslaug leaves home in search of her absent father, but instead finds her estranged aunt and cousins, who run a Pentecostal church in a nearby town. As dark family secrets are revealed, including the mystery of Aslaug’s birth, the tension inRead More →

If I Die In Juarez, Arizona author Stella Pope Duarte’s most recent novel is a compelling fictionalization of the grotesque and inhumane murders of young women in Juarez, Mexico.  The interwoven stories of three young women caught up in the gritty, desperately poor, and corrupt world of Juarez evoke feelings of helplessness, anger, and ultimately resignation in the reader.  I was captivated by the story because it felt so real. Forced out of the house by her alcoholic mother, 13-year-old Evita takes to the streets and struggles to survive, falling into prostitution and drug trafficking. Petra, Evita’s beautiful 19-year-old cousin, moves with her family from a mountainous region of MexicoRead More →