In our quest to find wonderful material in the vast pool of self-published books, we have uncovered several titles we feel merit your attention. The following books have all received starred reviews rom our critics, meaning they are of exceptional quality and particularly worthy of your attention.
<em>Fourteen Days, by Mayet Ligad Yuhico: This page-turning contemporary romance involves a woman who has lost most of her memories as a result of an accident in young adulthood. Later, as an accomplished actress, she is presented with a choice prompted by her mother’s dying wish: Read a box of letters from her lost past or face the destruction of a favorite painting. With a love story at its heart, this excellent novel offers believable characters and a pace that sweeps readers effortlessly along to the final page. Author residence: Singapore. Read review.
Sheppard of the Argonne: Alternative History Naval Battles of WWII, by G. William Weatherly: This alternative history novel is based on a question: What if the Great Powers had failed to halt the naval arms race in the 1920’s and “warships grew ever larger, remaining immune to the weapons of all but their own breed”? As Weatherly imagines an answer, he treats readers to a riveting tale revolving around a Navy captain battling internal demons as he tries to intercept a German battle cruiser and carrier force that aims to choke off England’s supply lines and force a British surrender. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable, volatile — and supremely authentic — journey into the fog of war. Author residence: Salem, Conn. Read review.
Courage and Devotion, by Bruce R. Kindig: This story of the Civil War’s First Tennessee Artillery Regiment Battery B goes well beyond the parochial histories written by amateur historians that are common of late. Kindig is as well grounded in Civil War literature as any trained scholar and sets Battery B into an admirable context, offering not only information on where the battery fought, but careful details about the time and place. Kindig writes with a wonderful flair, delivering a thought-provoking, often exciting, and highly recommended book. Author residence: Davenport, Iowa. Read review.
The following books did not receive Stars but were highly praised by our critics.
Night Crossing, by Mary E. Martin: Combining elements of romance, adventure and mystery, this novel revolves around prominent British landscape artist Alexander Wainwright, a man who cannot escape the hold that an ephemeral vision of a jewel-encrusted orb has on him. When a friend shows him an unsigned painting featuring the same image, Wainwright sets out on a quest to find the artist — and spiritual fulfillment as well. The result is an intriguing foray into the artistic soul. This is the final installment of Martin’s The Trilogy of Remembrance series, but also works as a standalone novel. Author residence: Toronto, Canada. Read review.
Madolix, by Justice Burnaugh: This post-apocalyptic novel concerns teenager Allan Brandt and his mother, who have relocated to Westcliff, Colo., from Georgia after the tragic death of Brandt’s grandfather. Soon, a mysterious army in a “fleet of sleek airships” arrives and rounds up scores of the town’s citizens, including Brandt’s mother. Intent on rescuing her, Brandt stows away on one of the ships, only to discover a startling reality. Combining elements of science fiction, fantasy and gritty realism, Burnaugh mines the prospect of a civilization-ending crisis to its fullest dramatic potential. Author residence: Florissant, Colo. Read review.
Navy Blue, by J.M. Stenfors: When a motley crew of four young ladies volunteer to join the WAVES in 1943, they grow from bunkmates to soul mates despite their differences. The cast includes a spicy, mischievous Texan; a haughty NYC socialite; a lovelorn woman; and a former employee of an LA architectural firm. As the women’s separate family dysfunctions and personal disappointments are revealed, the book offers just the right touch of romance, snappy, credible dialogue and a vivid portrait of women sailing the stormy seas of wartime America. Author residence: Beaverton, Ore. Read review.
Bridal Veil, by Monica Wright: A warm, hopeful and unique, time-traveling romance, this novel tells the story of Charly Ellington, a woman who is pressed into marrying a man she doesn’t love to boost her father’s run for the presidency. At the 11th hour, though, she falls through a hotel room mirror and into the room of her great-great-great-grandmother in the year 1885, changing the course of the future. Punctuated by genuine dialogue, honest emotion, touches of humor and colorful and multi-dimensional characters, this clever romance is enjoyable from the beginning to the surprising, but satisfying end. Author residence: Aurora, Colo. Read review.
Shadow of Turning, by Clayton Carpenter: In this entertaining and well-plotted modern-day mystery, an accomplished Texas high school counselor is force out of his job and his reputation maligned by conniving, criminally minded school administrators. As he devises a plan to turn the tables, with violent intent, the story offers colorful and engaging characters, well-drawn flashbacks and an overall inventive escapist read that delights with its nimble narrative. Author residence: Biloxi, Miss. Read review.
Journey Into Darkness: A Story in Four Parts, by J. Arthur Moore: Originally published in four volumes, this story chronicles the journey of 10-year-old Duane Kinkade as he searches for his father, who has enlisted in the Confederate army. Duane’s quest takes him into battle at Shiloh, where he’s wounded then rescued by a Union doctor. As the story continues, Duane suffers further tragedy on both sides of the conflict, and the story poignantly drives home the human cost of war. This novel is especially appropriate for middle-school readers and could serve as a valuable supplement to their history classes. Author residence: Narvon, Penn. Read review.
44 Years On the Front Line of Medicine, by Dan Andrews, M.D. In his more than four decades in medicine, Andrews has seen it all, from slippery newborns to tattooed private parts, drug overdoses, psychiatric meltdowns and more. In this memoir, he renders his tales with great detail, juxtaposing grim, sober moments with humorous ones. Sympathetic without being sentimental, humorous without being silly, these tales offer a revealing perspective that patients don’t often experience. Author residence: Gatesville, Texas. Read review.