Davina started BookBrowse while a stay at home mother of two small children who wouldn't stay still long enough for her to visit a bookstore. As a very young child, her favorite books were The Just So Stories and anything by A.A. Milne. Later she was passionate about all things Paul Gallico, particularly the Mrs Harris stories and The Man Who Was Magic. Close seconds were J.P. Martin's Uncle books, The Phantom Tollbooth, Giovannino Guareschi's Don Camillo stories and Gozney and Uderzo's Asterix. Before children she held a variety of advertising and marketing roles for products including chocolate bars, bottled water, dog food, banks and cheese. She is delighted to spend her days talking about books (although talking about cheese and chocolate wasn't all bad) These days she oversees the editorial and marketing sides of BookBrowse.
Poornima is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and an award-winning journalist who lives in the greater Boston area. Trained as an engineer, she gradually made the shift to journalism after a brief stint as a technical writer. She loves to read and review literary fiction and narrative non-fiction and is most comfortable when her bedside stash of books looks like a Jenga pile. In addition to her editing responsibilities, she reviews for BookBrowse and publishes snappy 100-word-critiques of most of the books she reads on her blog, booksnfreshair.blogspot.com.
Tamara is a children's book writer who lives in Vermont. When she is not writing or being mom to her four kids, she can be found running on the river trails with her dog. Tamara is an editor for BookBrowse, where she loves connecting with wonderful books and even more wonderful people. She is also a narrative writer for Reading Plus, a silent reading intervention program. She received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her middle grade novel, Another Kind of Hurricane was published by Schwartz & Wade/Random House in July 2015, and she is currently at work on her second novel. She also reviews for BookBrowse and can be found online at tamaraellissmith.com and www.smithwright.blogspot.com.
Each month, USA based BookBrowse members have the opportunity to review books through our First Impressions program. Books that our member-reviewers rate particularly highly are featured as "Editor's Choice" selections and are listed below. All books recently reviewed for First Impressions can be seen here.
Photo © Davida Chazan
Davida is a published poet, amateur baker, average bowler and a chocolate gourmet (not an addict) who studied creative writing and journalism. She has been a professional resource development writer for the non-profit sector for the past 25 years, and has a passion for reading (despite her mild dyslexia) and writing book reviews, which she has been publishing online for over 15 years. She blogs at The Times of Israel and her personal blog drchazan.blogspot.com
Photo © Kim Kovacs
Kim Kovacs is an avid reader in the Pacific Northwest. All those rainy days give her the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of books that span many genres.
Photo © Rebecca Foster
An American transplant to Reading, England, Rebecca is a former library assistant and full-time freelance writer and editor. She reviews books for a myriad of print and online publications in the US and UK, including at her blog, Bookish Beck.
Photo © Kate Braithwaite
Kate is originally from Edinburgh but now lives in Pennsylvania. She loves literary fiction, historical fiction and thrillers and she also writes and reviews for the Historical Novel Society. She is the author of Charlatan, a novel of poison and intrigue at the court of Louis XIV, due to be published by Fireship Press in 2016. Her website is www.kate-braithwaite.com
Photo © Maddy Broderick
James Broderick teaches English and Journalism at New Jersey City University. A former reporter and editor, he writes both non-fiction and fiction.
Photo © Bradley Sides
Bradley Sides is a writer and English instructor. He is a regular contributor to BookBrowse. His work appears in Electric Literature, Fiction Southeast, The Lit Pub, Literary Orphans, The Rumpus, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is working on his first collection of short stories.
Photo © Gary Presley
Gary Presley's essays have appeared in The New York Times, Salon, and many other regional and national publications. His memoir, Seven Wheelchairs: A Life beyond Polio, was published by The University of Iowa Press. Find him at garypresley.com or on Facebook.
Photo © Donna Chavez
Donna Chavez, a member of the National Book Critics Circle, also reviews books for Publishers Weekly and the American Library Association's Booklist. She is also a freelance writer with numerous publishing credits, including the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times, and is a writing coach.
Norah Piehl is a former bookseller who has also worked for several publishing companies. Currently a freelance writer and permissions editor, Norah reviews books for a number of print and online publications. She also teaches an adult education course, "Intro to Book Reviewing."
Photo © Darcie R.J. Abbene
Currently, Darcie Abbene works as a consultant and writing coach for the Young Writers Project based out of Burlington, Vermont. Prior to that she spent several years working as a high school English teacher in first New Hampshire and later in Vermont. Although she spends much of her free time playing with her husband and daughters, she occasionally pens a blog called I Know Where the Leeks Are that uses the topic of food to explore the stories of people and place. Occasionally, she writes freelance articles for her local weekly paper.
Photo © Rory L. Aronsky
Rory L. Aronsky, co-author of BearManor Media’s What If They Lived?, with Phil Hall, used to want to be a full-time film critic while writing well over 10 years of movie and DVD reviews, but eventually grew tired of the hamster-wheel feeling of it, realizing once and for all that his true love has always been books. He constantly haunts the websites and Facebook pages of Stacey Ballis, Sarah Pekkanen, and Barbara O’Neal, impatiently waiting for their newest novels, and is hugely interested in presidential history. When he’s not reading, he works as a library aide at a Henderson elementary school in the Clark County School District of Southern Nevada, and he’s at work on his next nonfiction book, his first novel, and a possible play.
Photo © Sharry Wright
Sharry Wright earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in their Writing For Children and Young Adults program. She lives and writes in San Francisco, where she co-founded Inkspell Writers, offering classes, workshops and manuscript critiques for Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction. Sharry has organized a number of writing retreats and conferences and works as a moderator for mother daughter book clubs. She is represented by Erzsi Deak of Hen & Ink Literary and blogs at Kissing The Earth.
Photo © Mollie Smith Waters
Mollie Smith Waters is a teacher of humanities at a rural community college in Alabama. She has written book reviews for Bookkaholic, The Montgomery Advertiser, Southern Literary Review, Alabama Writers' Forum, and Camellia Magazine. Mollie enjoys a good mystery, crime, or thriller, but she is also a fan of historical fiction, Southern literature, and American classics. When she is not reading or teaching, she is involved in her community's theater group, which she helped create, or traveling the world.
Originally from New Zealand, Claire lives in Aix-en-Provence, teaching English at the Université d'Aix Marseille and working as a professional Aromatherapist. She has written reviews for The Guardian and FWSA (Feminist and Women’s Studies Association) and writes regularly at Word by Word. Claire likes to read cross cultural fiction and non-fiction, works that take us out of our own cultural experience into another, or that give us an alternative perspective on how we appear to the outsider. A third of the books she reads are translated. Raised on a 1600 acre sheep farm that was a location for The Lord of the Rings, she appreciates a hint of magic realism, nature writing and memoir. You can find her at clairemca.wordpress.com and flairesse.com
Sinéad (pronounced shi-naid) is an Irish author based in the historic English town of Windsor. Having trained as an economist, she first embarked on a career in finance. However, when it became evident that she secretly harboured a preference for words over numbers, she decided on a career change. Sinéad now writes for the bestselling ‘History In An Hour’ series, published by HarperPress in the UK. When she is not writing her own books, she spends her time reviewing both fiction and non-fiction for various online publications. She also contributes articles to various magazines and blogs; most notably, she has written about the Romantic poets’ involvement in revolutionary politics for The Wordsworth Trust.
Photo © Lisa Butts
Lisa Butts is a poet and freelance critic living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She studied Creative Writing at The New School and Sarah-Lawrence College and, in addition to writing for BookBrowse, writes regularly for Publishers Weekly and IndieReader, among others.
Photo © Kendra Wright-Winchester
Kendra Wright-Winchester’s passion for books led her to earn a B.A. in writing and a M.A. in English literature. When she’s not reading books, she’s helping create them, working as an editor and collaborative writer for a small, indie publisher based in Greenville, South Carolina. Find out more about Kendra and her book obsession at kdwinchester.com
Sarah Tomp lives, reads and writes in San Diego, California. She is the author of a picture book, Red White and Blue Goodbye and has a MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a co-author of the blog, Writing on the Sidewalk. Her first young adult novel, My Best Everything, was published by Little Brown in March 2015.
Photo © Jennifer G Wilder
Jennifer G. Wilder is a freelance writer based in upstate New York. She holds an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Berkeley and a B.A. from Yale. Her current project is a novel about nineteenth-century feminist Marietta Holley. She blogs at pulaskibrickhouse.blogspot.com
Photo © Linda Hitchcock
Linda Hitchcock is an avid reader, book reviewer, freelance writer and member of the National Book Critics Circle. This Georgetown University educated former urbanite resides on a rocky, fossil strewn hilltop in rural south central Kentucky with her beloved husband John and one beautiful but intellectually challenged Russian Blue cat. She serves as a board member of Friends of Kentucky Libraries and is involved in many community activities including Glasgow Musicale, various genealogical societies, Friends of Warren County Public Library and volunteers at the historic Plaza Theatre.
Photo © Naomi Benaron
Naomi Benaron is the author of Running The Rift (2012), winner of the 2010 Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, and Love Letters from a Fat Man, winner of the 2006 G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. She earned an MFA from Antioch University and an MS in earth sciences from Scripps Institute of Oceanography. She teaches at UCLA Writers Extension and online through the Afghan Women's Writing Project. An advocate for African refugees in her community, she has worked extensively with genocide survivor groups in Rwanda. She is also an Ironman triathlete.
Photo © Elena Spagnolie
Elena Spagnolie received her Master’s degree in creative writing and Magical Realist studies from New York University, focusing specifically on the relationship between culture and authorial voice, and the Jungian interpretation of archetypal symbols found in Magical Realist works. Outside of academia, she has worked at Prentice Hall Publishing, contributed numerous articles to Travelhost Magazine and currently writes short stories and poetry.
Photo © Megan Shaffer
Freelance writer Megan Shaffer has both her Bachelor and Master degrees in Education. She is currently the Media Center Specialist at St. Regis School and Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where she shares her love of literature. When Megan is not in the classroom, she is actively involved in the local literary scene and sits on the Michigan Notable Book Committee. You can find Megan at her Michigan-based literary blog site, Night Light Revue.
Photo © Alta Ifland
Alta Ifland grew up in Romania and currently lives in Northern California. A former French lecturer, she is now a writer and book reviewer. Her reviews have appeared in The Quarterly Conversation, Words without Borders, Three Percent, Rain Taxi, The Women’s Review of Books, The American Book Review and many other publications. She is the author of four books of short fiction, including Elegy for a Fabulous World (2010 finalist for the Northern California Book Award in Fiction) and Death-in-a-Box (2011 Subito Press Prize). More about her at www.altaifland.com.
Morgan is a reader and writer living in Los Angeles. She reviews fiction online, writes for Book Riot and The Paris Review, and is an Associate Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books. She blogs at Reading in LA, and plans to open a bookstore called Dead or Alive. She figures that Donna Tartt probably owes her about $1,000 in royalties by now, due to her ceaseless recommending of The Secret History to pretty much everyone she meets.
Suzanne Reeder's short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in descant, Midwestern Gothic, and The MacGuffin. Her nonfiction has been published in national and regional magazines, including Colonial Homes, Alternative Medicine, Arts Indiana, Indianapolis Monthly, and Connecticut Magazine. Previously, she worked as a newspaper reporter.
Sarah Sacha Dollacker is a writer in Atlanta, Georgia. She can also be found at redroomlibrary.com
Photo © Lucy Rock
Lucy Rock is a book blogger and writer based in the sunny North of England. Eschewing a career as a cheese-monger to study modern languages and run the Manchester Book Club, Lucy writes at Literary Relish, the Manchester Literature Festival and discusses feminist business and reviews at For Books' Sake.
Judi Sauerbrey has retired from 35+ years teaching HS and college literature. She was director of women's studies at a Midwestern college for a number of years. She now lives in SE Indiana with her husband and three canine companions. She presently teaches in a continuing education program for adults, continues the quilting she's done for years, is a fan of any kind of mystery but especially cozies, and is revising manuscripts of her own novels in a number of genres.
Photo © Elizabeth Whitmore Funk
Elizabeth Whitmore Funk is a writer, editor, critic, and professor based in Washington, DC. As a former editor in New York City and London, she currently serves on the English faculty of Marymount University.
Bob Sauerbrey and his wife live in SE Indiana. He was a high school and college teacher for 43 years and is presently teaching in continuing adult education at the University of Cincinnati. He has passion for both ancient and contemporary literature, classical music, philosophy, theology, nature and dogs, especially rescue dogs.
Photo © Heather A Phillips
Heather A. Phillips is a law librarian in San Diego, where she lives with her husband, cat, and far, far too many books. She holds a J.D. from the College of William & Mary, and an M.A. in library and information science from the University of Arizona. She previously reviewed books for the Law Library Resource Exchange.
Photo © Stacey Brownlie
Stacey Brownlie is a reference instruction librarian at Harrisburg Area Community College. She has a B.A. in English and a Master's degree in Library Science. She also reviews books for Library Journal and is a freelance writer and proofreader.
Karen Rigby is the author of Chinoiserie (Ahsahta Press, 2012), which received the 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize. Her website is karenrigby.com
Judy has been an avid reader since the age of six. She works part time as a bookseller at her local independent bookstore, participates in five reading groups and is at work on a memoir of her life in reading. You can visit her blog at keepthewisdom.blogspot.com.
Lisa Guidarini is a Reference Librarian, Professional Media/Literature reviewer for Library Journal (and BookBrowse of course), and a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can visit her at her blog: bluestalking.typepad.com
Amy Reading holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. She is the author of The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con, published by Knopf (March 2012). She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.
Photo © Jennifer Dawson Oakes
Jennifer Dawson Oakes works as a freelance writer and has many publishing credits, including The Globe and Mail, to her name. She is an avid reader and book-lover who has been reviewing books for publishers since May of 2010. She has her own blog, "Literal Life", dedicated to sharing her love of reading. As well, Jennifer co-moderates an on-line book group (at GoodReads) called "Bookish" where all things literary, both fiction and nonfiction, are discussed, ideas exchanged and quality reading is highly valued. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Jennifer hopes to one day finish writing her "great novel" which she will then recommend to everyone.
The Kopp Sisters Return!
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