Meet Our Reviewers
Originally a Hoosier, Addison’s love of the Indianapolis 500, corn, and real weather has withstood the test of time. After attending a French immersion school she journeyed to the far off land of Los Angeles, where she studied Screenwriting. In between reading the latest sci-fi/fantasy series and writing her first young adult novel, she obsesses over the latest Game of Thrones fan theories while shopping for fancy bow-ties for her Catahoula Leopard Dog.
Alexandra Larralde currently works as a marketing manager for a Portland-based tech company. She has a Creative Writing degree from Florida State University, and a M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications. When she’s not at work, she’s reading, penning her own fiction, dancing, golfing or watching HBO. She believes that wedding planning is a special kind of torture, and that Halloween is the best holiday of the year. She lives in SE Portland with her tattooer husband, Harry-Potter-obsessed stepson, and her two dog-children, Lily and Max.
Andrew was born in the wilds of Alaska and attended an elite educational institution called Home Schooling, leaving him plenty of time to read. He spent hours in the library reading everything he could get his hands on. One day was Shakespeare, the next fairy tales, then church history. He now lives in Washington and continues to read in excess, and has finally started putting his own stories down on paper. Check out his short stories and contact him at www.andrewkeyser.com.
Andrew Smyth graduated from the small but indomitable Pitzer College with a degree in English and World Literature and an emphasis in creative writing. As a ghostwriter, reviewer, and blogger he has traversed the online writing life for the past decade, and found it vast, serendipitous, and frequently bizarre. Presently he finds himself surrounded by women (namely his wife and young daughter) and music, as part of his grand plan to become an internationally known DJ.
Annie Hicks is a native Oregonian, originally from Baker City, who left for college and earned a BA in Political Science degree from Saint Martin’s University, in Lacey, WA. GO SAINTS!! After college, she became a CNA and worked various jobs but found her calling in community behavior mental health. While not at work, she volunteers her time with both SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) and Wordstock, enjoying a local book club, and helping out with her local church. Also, she's a card carrying member of three different libraries. She usually has her nose in at least two different books at a time with many more awaiting her eyes. She mostly enjoys fiction, but does enjoy non-fiction and biographies. She loves checking out the local book scene. And now she calls Salem home.
Ashley McCall is a reviewer supreme, the kind of reviewer that comes once in a lifetime—at least, once in her own lifetime. An MFA graduate with a degree in creative writing (emphasis in screenwriting) who now spends her days working near the very top of a downtown skyscraper, she enjoys books of all genres, preferring the beauty of language to explosive plots, but harboring a not-so-secret love for smart, well-written detective and crime novels. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she currently resides in Los Angeles, where, despite her graduate degree, she does NOT possess a secret desire to break into the entertainment industry. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants and breweries, travel, long romantic walks on the beach, and writing intentionally bad poetry to submit for publication.
An irredeemable farm girl, writer, and reviewer, Axie Barclay regularly neglects her children and loved ones to care for needy cows and herd incorrigible poultry with a cowardly dog. Her frequent pastimes include trying to can and find uses for inedible garden produce, such as green tomatoes and kohlrabi, and wasting time gazing lovingly at her significant other. She wanted to write more today, but the cat threw up, the toddler is coloring on the walls, there’s an ant infestation around the sink, and it looks like there’s a cow out.
Barbara Cothern lives near Portland with her husband and three cats. She is most often found with a book in her hand and several back-ups in her bag. She loves that her day job allows time for reading between projects. She has been passionate about books and a fan of the fantasy genre since her mom read The Chronicles of Narnia to her when she was five. When not reading, Barbara enjoys spending time with her husband, watching movies, going to concerts, cooking, knitting and playing video games. Her favorite part about reviewing books is introducing people to wonderful but less publicized books.
Benjamin Collinsworth is, despite consistent evidence to the contrary, a grown man. He began his picture book obsession as a bookshop story time reader and now gets his fix as an Early Childhood Literacy Educator. Benjamin lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife and many pets.
Brandon Allwardt was born in the Midwest, but has spent the majority of his life in Oregon. After graduating high school he studied writing, publishing, and history at both Oregon State and Portland State. Aside from his stimulating work, he spends his time on his hobbies: binge-watching shows, playing some of his favorite games, studying wine, history, and more, and of course books, books, and more books. (Did he mention books?) He likes a wide variety of books ranging from genre to middle grade and YA. He names his pets after Greek gods and thus far has owned Persephone, Hades, Demeter, Apollo, and Artemis.
Diana Jennifer is a native Tucsonan with a passion for Netflix and for staying indoors as often as possible. She has no degree, but she’s pretty good at reading and sometimes she remembers how to write. Some of her favorite genres to read are fantasy, horror, and science-fiction. She is an unabashed lover of Daryl Hall and John Oates (yes, she can go for that). She works as a banker for a local call center and is always looking for ways to make the perfect cup of coffee. Her biggest goals in life are to keep the tank of gas in her car filled up and win the war against the bugs.
Dick Weissman is a musician, composer, songwriter, record producer, performing and studio musician. He has played on hundreds of recording sessions, and has eight solo albums of his own music. His music has been used on NBC, BBC-TV, and on the Biography Channel. He is the author or co-author of twenty published books about music and the music business, and numerous music instructional folios.
Don Messerschmidt is an anthropologist and writer, with long experience as a book author, magazine editor and writers’ mentor. He was raised in Alaska, has lived and worked for several decades in the Himalayas (he first went to Nepal as a Peace Corps Volunteer), but now resides in Vancouver, Washington, when not off traveling or leading a Himalayan tour. He is the author of the award winning Big Dogs of Tibet and the Himalayas: A Personal Journey (Orchid Press, Bangkok, 2010/11); Against the Current: The Life of Lain Singh Bangdel–Writer, Painter and Art Historian of Nepal (Orchid Press, 2004); and Fr Moran of Kathmandu: Pioneer Priest, Educator and Ham Radio Voice of the Himalayas (2nd ed., Orchid Press, 2011). When he's not writing another book, he reads good mysteries and historical novels, and keeps a large shelf of books on birds and another on dogs, as well as on the Himalayas where he has spent much of his life.
Emily York is a literary addict born and raised in New Jersey, balancing late-night reading with the tortures of high school. After reading Treasure Island in first grade, Emily developed a love for the classics, spanning from Tolstoy to Dumas, Shakespeare to Virgil, Bronte to Austen, and many others. Along with a passion for reading, she is an avid musician, playing the piano, viola, violin, cello, and the guitar, as well as being a fencer on her high school team.
Eric Barber-Isaac is probably most kindly described using words such as "unusual" and "silly," though a few of his coworkers employ phrases like "wizard-looking" (high praise indeed, or so he claims). He spends his professional life buying and selling electronics at a used bookstore (you read that correctly), and spends as much of his free time as he can get away with in worlds other than the one he actually lives in. His means of accomplishing this has traditionally been books of one type or another, and while his consumption thereof has in recent years been almost exclusively of the audio variety, this is largely a practical consideration, and should in no way be construed as a judgment on his part concerning the Bound Book. He currently lives in a city in the desert (although he still sometimes has trouble understanding why anyone would put something like a city in someplace like a desert...) with his beloved wife (regarding whom words often fail him) and two savage and adorable children (a word he usually spells "d-o-g-s").
Erin Treat is a dramaturg, teacher, audience engagement specialist, and digital marketing maven out of Tucson, Arizona. She has an MFA in Dramaturgy from SUNY Stony Brook, and a BFA in Dramaturgy and BA in English from the University of Arizona. She is obnoxiously enthusiastic about her favorite topics, which include musical theatre history (really, all theatre history); television criticism; classic and literary fiction; and anything to do with tea, crochet, or cats. Favorite authors/playwrights (in no particular order) include: Jane Austen, Harold Pinter, Athol Fugard, Yasmina Reza, David Sedaris, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and John Fowles.
Frank Gee has been an avid reader for more than four decades – enjoying every genre of reading, from autobiographical essays to zombie apocalypse cliffhangers. His work as an IT consultant has contributed to his world travels and piqued his interest in diverse cultures, values and ideas. When not engaged in battle with invasive species in his Portland, Oregon greenscape, preparing meals sourced fresh from his garden, or imbibing in a northwest micro-brew beverage (or three), he likes to check out the works of new authors, whose efforts are generally more intriguing then the technical arcana he reads and implements in his current role at a nuclear power generating station.
Along with walking, reading was always Galina’s favorite way of spending time. This love has eventually brought her to Portland State University, where she has obtained a B.A. in English Literature and M.A. in Professional and Technical Writing. She considers reading and writing reviews for PBR as a great opportunity for practicing and enriching her English skills, since it isn’t her native language, and she really enjoys this combination of leisure and pleasure.
George Erdosh is a culinary scientist, food writer, and certified cooking teacher with a strong science and research background (Ph.D., McGill University, Montreal). He is the author of 10 published food-related books: a six-book series for young readers Cooking Throughout American History and The African-American Kitchen; Start and Run a Catering Business (in its 4th edition, translated into five languages), Tried and True Recipes from a Caterer’s Kitchen and What Recipes Don’t Tell You, as well as numerous articles and magazines and newspapers. Originally an exploration geologist, he switched career to be a high-end caterer, a business he ran for more than 10 years, before switching to food writing and running cooking classes.
Grant Gerald Miller was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He currently teaches creative writing at The Independent Publishing Resource Center and Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared or is set to appear in various journals including Hobart, Qu Magazine, Bartleby Snopes, Drunk Monkeys, and Fish Magazine‘s 2014 Anthology. You can find him most places @grantgeraldmiller.
Heather Vee lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she is a media buyer with a fondness for Alexandre Dumas, bourbon, post-punk and shoegaze and gothic Americana music, and OPI’s Russian Navy nail polish. She is also co-editor (with Red and Leah Wilson) of A Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls: Your Favorite Authors on The Vampire Diaries (Smart Pop Books), and co-author (with Crissy Calhoun) of Love You to Death – Season 4 and Love You to Death – Season 5: The Unofficial Companion to The Vampire Diaries (ECW Press). When not occupied with all of the above, she freelances for Alloy Entertainment, reads, writes, and waits for The Winds of Winter. She can be found online at loveyoutodeathtvd.com, heathervee.com, and on GoodReads.
Dr. Jennie A. Harrop is a professor at George Fox University, where she teaches writing and Christian apologetics. She has written book reviews for more than a decade for publications that range from major daily newspapers such as the Denver Rocky Mountain News to literary magazines such as Western American Literature and Colorado Review. With a PhD in English from the University of Denver, an MFA in creative writing from Colorado State University, and a BA in journalism from Pacific Lutheran University, she is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree through George Fox Evangelical Seminary. After several years as a news reporter in the 1980s and 1990s for such newspapers as The Oregonian, the Chicago Tribune, and The Tacoma News Tribune, Dr. Harrop returned to academia to focus on teaching. Since that time, she has taught English and writing courses at five colleges and universities, and she has published a variety of books, essays, book reviews, and short stories, including three children’s books for Oxford University Press and the critical book titled Angling for Repose: Wallace Stegner and the De-Mythologizing of the American West. A fifth-generation Oregonian, she lives in Sherwood with her husband, Karl, and their five children.
Jess is an artist and almost-librarian working in Tucson, Arizona. Her life revolves around the internet and her dog.
Jim Stewart has published poetry and short fiction in several journals, including: The Alembic, Mostly Maine, Orange Willow Review, Orion Magazine, Rattapallax, The Blue Hour, and Tulane Review. His debut novel, Ochoco Reach, was released by Word Hermit Press in January of 2016. Jim has also spent his life as a musician and has been featured in the films Dancing on the Edge and Pacific Vibrations. He has done other musical work as well, including live performance and working with producers and stage directors. Currently, he is working on the sequel to Ochoco Reach.
Jon Sanetel has lived in Oregon for close to 25 years and earned his Master’s degree in Writing with a focus on Book Publishing from Portland State University in 2007. He likes reading fantasy, science fiction, short story collections, histories, biographies, historical fiction, classics, and anything that grabs his interest. When not working on book reviews or at his job, Jon loves hiking and exploring the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest as well as discovering cultural points of interest. He’s excited by the experiences he’s had so far with Portland Book Review and looks forward to what the future has to offer.
In 1992, writer and marketer Jonathan Stark‘s airship crash landed in the middle of Portland, Oregon; in an incident that he had no control over and is legally obligated not to discuss any further. He’s been meaning to fix the ship ever since, but keeps getting distracted. One of these distractions was graduate school, where he received a dual master’s degree, the first in adult education, and the second in writing and publishing. Jonathan spends his days in the company of friends, reading fantasy novels, and drinking Portland’s beer, which has stymied his efforts somewhat to return to the sky but which has brought him one step closer to discovering the secret source of the world’s moxie (he suspects squirrels).
Julia Gaskill is a graduate of Southern Oregon University, with a double major in Creative Writing and Theatre Arts. Upon graduation, she spent a year abroad traveling throughout New Zealand. Now that she’s back in Portland, Julia hopes to expand her writing career. Outside of Portland Book Reviews, she’s a frequent writer for Tough Pigs (as well as Buzz Patrol and Cool Gizmo Toys in the past), performs her original pieces at the Portland Poetry Slam on a monthly basis, and maintains several of her own blogs. Her dream is to write novels, screenplays, and poetry on a more professional level. When not writing, Julia can be found ranting about Muppets, eating hamburgers, or walking neighborhood dogs. You can find out more about Julia at her primary blog, Geek Girl Grown Up, or follow her tumblr to read some of her poetry.
Katie Richards is a lifelong reader and story-lover. She formalized this love with master’s degrees in art history and English. In addition to her work with the Portland Book Review, she works as an adjunct instructor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She lives outside of Denver, Colorado with her partner and four spoiled cats. In her free time she also enjoys knitting, sewing, and the beautiful outdoor scenery of Colorado.
Kelly Kobayashi is an independent author, editor, and reviewer of inclusive fiction. Growing up on the out-out-outskirts of her peers’ society, she shielded herself with books and found confidence in stories similar to her own. To this day, she prefers books that feature protagonists challenged by physical/health limitations, cultural expectations, or social prejudices. Her bicultural/bilingual marriage throws daily communication curveballs her way, and she actively injects these observations and experiences into her own writing. She enjoys translated international works, classics, biographies, epic fantasy, and speculative fiction, but can most often be found re-re-reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Her professional services are available at Kobayashikelly.wix.com.
Kenyon Ellefson "was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. And that was all his patrimony." From an early age he dreamed of spaceships and goblins, gods and paupers, adventure and tragedy, murder and revenge. A resident of a cerebral Neverland, he never grew up, never lost the taste for new worlds or a newly minted turn of phrase. He has a B.A. in Classics from the University of Arizona and M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College (Santa Fe). His interest resides chiefly in the realm of the classics of world literature; nevertheless, he adores a thoughtful work of fantasy or science fiction.
Kristin D. Urban is a proud Florida native, but now calls the Portland area home. A travel and nature photographer, she has always had a love affair with the literary world and is getting her toes wet in the literary industry. Besides reading with a cup of tea in tow, she loves spending time with her dog and visiting the coast.
L Ruby Hannigan was born in Maryland and now resides in Arizona. She relaxes by working in her garden and reading good books in her backyard. She enjoys traveling!
Laura Di Giovine is originally from Portland and now lives outside of Philadelphia and works in the publishing industry. An avid reader, she enjoys writing book reviews of mysteries, literary, historical and fantasy fiction. In her spare time, Laura loves writing, traveling and spending time with her husband and two young sons. She is also a freelance editor and writer and can be found on the web at www.lauradigiovine.com.
Laura Novak lives in the hot, desert epicenter of Arizona. As a published artist, poet, and children’s author, she now spends her time studying and pursuing a degree in molecular, cellular and microbiology as well as writing extensive scientific essays. Her love for forensics brews her passion for reading mystery/crime thrillers. Her son and her own inner-child fuel her need to continue reading children’s novels, comics, and anything else with pictures regardless of her social expectation to be a responsible adult. On her off time you can find her loving life, being goofy and hanging with family, or nose deep in a book.
Lisa Ard is a children’s book author and avid reader, stay-at-home mom, part-time business consultant, school volunteer, former library board president, Sunday school teacher, book club member, chauffeur, wife and mom – not necessarily in that order.
Lori A. May is an avid road-tripper, obsessive coffee drinker, and voracious reader of fiction, memoir, and everything in between. Her essays and reviews may be found online with publications such as Passages North, Hippocampus Magazine, Brevity, and the Los Angeles Review. Canadian by birth and disposition, she now lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. Visit her at www.loriamay.com.
M. Chris Johnson has been a book reviewer for Sacramento Book Review, San Francisco Book Review, and now Portland Book Review, for over six years. A voracious reader and wannabe writer, Chris is a published editor and currently working on several other publishing opportunities. She’s living her life’s dream with Portland Book Review and loves sharing all that joy with friends and family.
Maddie King graduated from Portland State University with a double major in English and German, after spending her last year living in Germany and leaving a piece of her heart there. An Oklahoma native, she made the pilgrimage to Portland in 2008. She travels whenever possible, plays and writes music, enjoys photography, and delights in both board and video games, always with a book and coffee close at hand. Favorite book topics range from genre fiction and literature to travel writing, science, and technology. She is rather fond of mid century modern design, exploring international cuisine, and the power of books to change a person’s life.
Maria grew up in town outside of Boston, having memorized her library card at an early age, she was surprisingly mocked by town librarians until she left for college. She attended Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts where she continued her love of reading in the form of an English degree and once she graduated, moved to NYC to work in publishing. Now she works in publicity for a small independent press and spends her time reading for work and reading for pleasure. She can be found at local bars in Brooklyn reading and not interacting with others.
Mary-Lynne loves adventure in her books and in her life. As a born daydream believer and gypsy, travel is a particularly strong passion in her life. She's traveled the United States from Maine to Louisiana to Washington, wandering occasionally into Canada. She's lived in places as wild as Chicago, Illinois and Cairo, Egypt. She is an educator, healer, writer, photographer, and all around spiritual practitioner. Her favorite photography subject is the Moon - and she has thousands of pictures of it as proof which she'll gladly share with anyone who asks! Follow her blog at unfoldingmyths.blogspot.com.
McKenzie Workman is an Oregon native and true West Coast loyalist. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, and a Master’s in Book Publishing from Portland State University. During football season, she pays for cable and spends her weekends glued to the couch, reading or knitting during halftime and commercial breaks. The rest of the year, she reads romance novels by the armful, with an occasional space opera or fantasy adventure thrown in for good taste.
Bienvenidos a Mi Mundo! My name is Megan and I’m a problem solving, decision making, left brain leader by day, simmering right brain artist with crafting ideas waiting to spill over at almost all other times, and a lover making and eating good food and devouring good books. At home I am the mother of 6 hens, a backyard apiary and a one-eyed rescue dog, and the newest edition – a beautiful boy, with who I am absolutely smitten. I have a lifelong love of reading and passion for childhood literacy. I have set this tone with my family through daily reading, special topics and engaging them and those around me in philanthropy focused on fostering reading between parents and children.
Megan Stevens is a freelance photographer, writer, media specialist and recent college graduate from a small town in Connecticut. She has been published for both her writing and photography in local newspapers and has been displayed in numerous art shows and upscale restaurants for her photography. She is in the process of writing a young adult fantasy trilogy. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, hiking, traveling for great photographic discoveries, playing video games, watching movies and television shows. Halloween is her favorite day of the year, which she normally spends with her black and white cat.
Melanie Cutietta loves to read and loves to be outside. Ironically, however, she does not like to read while outside, as it is never as comfortable as she thinks it will be. She currently lives in Huron, Ohio and works in the library at Oberlin College and Conservatory while simultaneously working on her Masters degree in Library and Information Science through San Jose State University. Aside from reading she is passionate about conservation and loves to hike, ski and listen to the sounds of nature. Other interests of hers include archaeology, music, fitness and all things concerning Disney theme parks.
Melissa Beck has the pleasure of teaching Latin and Ancient Greek to high school students as her day job. She is also a blogger and enjoys reading and reviewing books on her site The Book Binder’s Daughter. She also has her own byline in the Midwest Book Review. She enjoys reading and reviewing books in various genres, but especially literary fiction, historical fiction, classics, short stories, and travel writing. Her other favorite pastimes include watching the N.Y. Giants and listening to the music of Rush (as in Canadian prog rock band).
Michael Barton is a Portland-based writer and blogger. He received his Masters in History from Montana State University in Bozeman in 2010, focusing on the history of science, and then moved to Portland. Michael loves reading about science and its history and posting about new books on the topic on his blog The Dispersal of Darwin. He is also passionate about nature education, and gets outside into nature with his 9-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter as much as possible (and blogs about that at Exploring Portland’s Natural Areas). His wife Catherine is a librarian and has also previously reviewed books for PBR. They recently started a small business selling street signs that encourage outdoor play in nature for kids (natureplaysign.com)
Michael Julian is a writer, poet, and editor. He is currently working toward a MFA in Writing at Pacific University. He enjoys reading poetry, literary fiction, history, science fiction and fantasy. He lives in northern California.
MJ Barber-Isaac's earliest memory is of her two-year-old self's triumphant solo reading of a book about shapes and colors. From that day forth she has been a vicious book addict. Devouring textbooks and fantasy epics, hunting down graphic novels and poetry collections, mauling science fiction and crime noir, she has tracked her various prey across the country and even overseas. Accompanied by her husband and unnervingly clever dogs she will continue stalking books without shame.
Nathanial Garrod was born on the Saturday of a holiday weekend and has pretty much maintained that attitude since then. He earned his Bachelor of Art in English (with a concentration in Creative Writing) from Sonoma State University in 2011, and went on to earn a Master of Science in Educational Leadership (with a concentration in College Student Development) from Oklahoma State University in Spring 2013. He now lives in Portland, where he is chasing the American Dream, blogging, and writing a book or five. Some legends say that he does not believe cake exists, but eyewitnesses have seen him consuming the food.
Nicole McGillagreen received her BA in Creative Writing and has since kept up her love/hate relationship with the craft. She is currently working on her first novel, she keeps busy blogging, and reads obsessively. When not writing, she can be found reading and when not reading, she can be found cuddling her two dogs: Panda and Boaz. Nicole works as a Hospice Volunteer for Adventist Health and as a new recruit for Multnomah County Search and Rescue. She tries to blog weekly at nikmariegreen.wordpress.com.
Norman West has been retired for almost five years and is loving it. He lives in Keizer, Oregon with two rotten Labradors, Bella (little wart) and B (for big, or black wart), a granddaughter, and a great-granddaughter. The dogs are so bad, he has to leave the house to read and review books. He considers himself an “idea” guy, so concentrates mostly on current events, science and religion. That last is a little problematic since he's an atheist, but he really does try to be fair and judge the work on its merits, not just on its truth claims.
Paul Vicary is from Nebraska where he obtained his B.A. and M.A. in Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He then moved to Miami, Florida, to begin a Ph.D. in International Relations at Florida International University before he went to Gainesville, Florida, to obtain a law degree at the University of Florida. While in law school he was and editor on the Florida Law Review and Editor-in-Chief of the Florida Journal of International Law. He has been an attorney for ten years. He is also a publisher for a small publishing company and, when the muses grace him with their presence, fancies himself a bard in the beat tradition. When he is not on the beach or travelling hither and thither with his lovely wife, he can be found ensconced in his home library, reading his way through stacks of books, with strong coffee never far away.
Philip Rafferty is a teacher in Portland Oregon where he lives with his wife, the writer, Summer Neville and their daughter Ocean. Philip's poems, stories, and criticism have appeared in various online and print publications such as "Beatdom," "Black Heart Magazine," "Typehouse Literary Magazine," "Cacti Fur," and "Montage."
Rachel Richards is a Minnesota native, but traded the snow in and moved to the west coast. After college, she moved to Denver to achieve her Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology. In addition to her education, she spends her free time outdoors, as all Coloradans should. Camping, hiking, cycling, and skiing are particular favorites. Other hobbies include artistic pursuits, reading, writing, and chalk art. Her personal philosophy is “Yay! the art of spreading joy.”
Rachelle Barrett has been writing since she could hold a pen and reading before that. The reason her purse is often so heavy has less to do with the two kids she and her husband are raising and more to do with the need for space to hold the book she is currently reading, and the back up in case she finishes the first one. Reading is a passion she feels should be shared, and book reviews help inspire choices readers may not have made if left to their own devices. She currently resides in Salem, Oregon with her husband, daughter and son.
A native Texan, Rebecca Parsons relocated to Seattle, WA, in 2005 with her husband and dog. An avid reader, she loves grammar, sentence structure, and parallelism in writing. She’s been a member of the Still Life Stories writing group in Seattle since 2006, writing humorous creative non-fiction stories based on her life — from relaying the history of her hairstyles (remember, she grew up in the South) to exploring the ridiculous realities of Corporate America (for which she is a slave). When her nose isn’t buried in a memoir, collection of essays, or a novel, Rebecca enjoys spending time hiking, biking, or exploring parks with her husband.
Riley Kennysmith moved to Portland for grad school, partly basing that decision on her fondness for rain and clouds. In her opinion, the city's weather is falsely advertised and is sunny far too frequently. She struggles to appreciate the Portland sunshine, and primarily does so by reading in a dark corner and letting her cat Tesla enjoy the window instead.
Roberta received her Master's in Book Editing and Publishing from Portland State after getting her Bachelor's in English from Pacific University. She spends most of her time reading, but can often be found playing silly computer games and watching soccer. Roberta also spends a lot of time watching nerdy TV shows and arguing about the value of Jane Austen's works. She is also a freelance editor and enjoys to read in most genres. Her favorite authors include Jane Austen, Tom Robbins, and Margaret Atwood.
Sarah Hutchins is an English Instructor and freelance writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She earned a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University and a Bachelors of Arts in English from Portland State University. Her sagging bookshelves suffer from a peculiar fate: for each book read and removed, three or four magically appear in its stead. The books that find a permanent home on these same shelves are typically classics, French literature, philosophical novels and essays, and magic realism.
Seniye Groff, MEd is the owner of Groff Solutions, a consulting practice focused on human resources, training, management coaching and organizational development initiatives. She has authored articles and spoken at national conferences on best practices for effective training. Seniye has volunteered with Dress for Success since 1999. She has found her experience with Dress for Success particularly rewarding because she is able to help women make long lasting changes in their own lives. You will find Seniye at the gym six days a week. She also spends time with her daughters. She is an avid cook (hence the gym) and reader. Seniye is also a reviewer for Elle Magazine.
Stephen Febick is a practicing writer currently residing in Portland, Oregon. He has lived in Portland for several years but grew up in New Jersey, graduating from William Paterson University in 2012. Since then his focus has been writing book reviews, poetry, and fiction; drawing his inspiration from writers such as Roberto Bolano, Haruki Murakami, Cormac McCarthy, and Anne Sexton. He considers himself a reader's writer and strives for authenticity and uniqueness - the ability to draw readers in through word choice, story, and character while taking risks in concepts and style. Some of his favorite novels include Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove" and Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables."
Sydney Finn is a Los Angeles born writer and restauranteur – now living and attending school in downtown Portland. Uncompromising in her cardiovascular training regimen, her spare time is spent in the gym, on the track, and hitting hard in the semi-professional softball circuit; she’s a southpaw and isn’t afraid to steal base. When at home in her run-down 4th floor apartment, she reads (obviously), listens to NPR, and makes her kitty-kat behave. This animal, Maynard, is her breath of fresh air, the bearer of her secrets, and the wind beneath her wings. Sydney has a soft spot for things that are hidden, men fresh out of messy breakups, and White Zinfandel. Her guilty pleasure is chocolate bon-bons drizzled with raspberry syrup. Her dream, after finishing school, is to write fan fiction professionally and to publish an unauthorized tell-all on Tom Selleck titled Dismounting the Black Mustache – a memoire.
Wendy Stevens is a mother of two home-schooled children and wife of a Navy Submariner. Originally from the Midwest, Wendy grew up in a family who learned home is where the family is, not your address. Wendy is part of a diverse and widespread family and enjoys local trips to visit, or cross-country journeys just to see something new. A favorite way to spend time is reading while enjoying scenes of the ocean and having her feet buried in the sand. Wendy has a degree in Early Childhood Education, which she puts to great use while creating home school education plans for her girls and instills late night reading to avoid bedtimes.
Whitney Morton Woodcock is an artist, graphic designer, and a maybe-someday children’s book illustrator. She has a BFA in Illustration from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, and currently resides in Tucson, Arizona with her husband Brian and a few human and dog children. When she’s not reading (which takes up a lot of time!), she also enjoys cooking, yoga, painting anything that stands still long enough, and planning vacations she usually doesn’t end up taking. Her artwork can be found at WhitneyMorton.com and her pet portraiture business is at MaxfieldAndMadison.com.
Whitney Smyth received a Master’s in Book Publishing and Technical Writing at Portland State University, following a Bachelor’s in English at the University of Arizona. She took over ownership of Portland Book Review in December of 2014. She also works as a freelance editor and can be commissioned at Smyth Editorial Services and spends what little free time she has on her own writing. Coming from a family of readers she devours an average of one hundred books a year, in a variety of genres. Her favorite authors are far too numerous to list, but include Alexandre Dumas, Mary Shelley, Jim Butcher, and John Green.