December 2015: Top Reviews of Self-Published Books from BlueInk Review

In Book Review by Guest Contributor

Our monthly selection of reviews from BlueInk Review, a service which reviews self-published books.

In our effort to help facilitate the discovery of new titles that might interest overseas publishers for rights deals, we offer the occasional selection of “starred” reviews from BlueInk Review, a service which reviews self-published books.

These are all books that BlueInk Review feels “merit your attention,” and “are of exceptional quality and particularly worthy of representation.

FICTION – GENERAL

Just Another TripJust Another Trip by Martin Whittle: This novel concerns the crew of a Lancaster bomber, dubbed M-Mother, during the ill-fated, controversial, British Bomber Command campaign to destroy Berlin from the air. In a narrative told mostly from pilot Matt White’s viewpoint, the story explores what this mission does to their bodies, minds and spirits. As the story evolves, readers are slowly drawn in, wondering who will crack up, who will die, who will survive. Subtle, incisive and psychologically oriented, this fine novel will be enjoyed by WWII buffs — or anyone else who appreciates an engrossing story. Author’s current residence: Great Britain. Read review.

FICTION – ROMANCE

Molly Takes the Cake by the Taylor Sisters: This delightfully charming romance revolves around Molly, the proprietor of Molly’s Sunshine Bakery. Molly has been waiting patiently for long-distance love Jared to marry her and move to her small town, but when Phil, one of Molly’s regular customers, needs a date to a wedding and Molly agrees to go and pose as his girlfriend, the story takes a different turn. The novel then follows Phil and Molly’s sometimes hilarious, often touching misadventures as they navigate the tricky waters of love. Wonderfully expressive writing, captivating characters, and a richly constructed story make this perfect for any romance fan. Author’s current residence: Roseville, CA. Read review.

FICTION – THRILLER

The Paris Protection by Bryan Devore: In Devore’s third thriller, U.S. President Abigail Clarke has arrived in Paris for a public summit — only to come up against terrorist Maximilian Wolff, a former Israeli security officer who has turned his back on Western governments after witnessing the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. As Wolff and his Muslim lieutenant set their sights on killing Clarke, the story becomes an exhilarating, running gunfight through the President’s hotel and the catacombs below Paris. A superb writer, Devore has clearly done his research into the inner workings of the Secret Service. Those who enjoyed Air Force One will find almost identical cinematic thrills in this novel that plays out just like a big-screen blockbuster. Author’s current residence: Denver, CO. Read review.

NONFICTION – BUSINESS

Please God Send Me a HusbandSocial Media Survivor by Don Beck: Beck was a well-respected veteran of the high tech industry when approached to become CEO of Involver, a fast-growing social media marketing company. In this book, he takes readers behind the scenes of his venture, detailing his consideration of the offer, the vetting process, unsuccessful attempts to obtain venture capital funding for the company and, finally, his decision to sell Involver to Oracle. Throughout, readers encounter both an engaging narrative arc and practical business knowledge. This is a highly readable case study that delivers guidance to both first-time and experienced CEOs. Author’s current residence: Castle Rock, CO. Read review .

CHRISTIAN SELF-HELP

Please God Send Me a Husband by Monique Rainford-Bourne: In this handy book, successful obstetrician and gynecologist Rainford-Bourne shares biblical advice on finding the right husband and building healthy relationships. Rainford-Bourne interviewed more than 50 single, married, and divorced women across cultures, races, and religions, and includes anecdotes from their relationships, as well as her own. Short and breezy, the book addresses such topics as searching for Mr. Right, knowing when you’ve found him, discussions to have before the wedding, and ways to make a marriage last. While Rainford-Bourne’s advice is from the Christian viewpoint, the book is never dogmatic and offers smart, insightful advice for those seeking meaningful relationships leading to marriage. Author’s current residence: Laurel, Maryland. Read review.

MISCELLANY

A Year of Learning, Laughter, and Life: 365 Motivational Parables by Jaishen Rajah: Rajah’s stellar collection of 365 motivational parables—one for each day of the year— features witty, entertaining and thought-provoking anecdotes and stories that the author spent 20 years gathering. Arranged under different themes for each month — “Philosophy and Wisdom,” “Children and Family,” “Spirituality” and so on — each parable is generally little more than a page and can be read in just a few minutes. Well-organized and user friendly, the book gently urges readers to approach life with humor, thought and care, providing an utterly charming read that would also be a welcome gift book for friends and family. Author’s current residence: Abu Dhabi. Read review.

Book of Decamot by Stanley Jackson: Those who love wordplay will revel in this book about a game that began as a family’s holiday pastime and evolved into a creative writing method. Decamot’s rules are simple: A group agrees on ten random words, and each player writes a story using them all; then the stories are read aloud and a winner is determined. The book features finished stories illustrating how authors can create completely different scenarios from the same words, and includes one winning tale that the author’s family turned into a screenplay. Anyone who loves the craft will treasure this witty, addictive book about a game that’s both intelligent and immensely fun. Author’s current residence: London, England. Read review.

***

The following books did not receive Stars but were highly praised by our critics.

FICTION –  SHORT STORIES

The Ice Child and Other Stories by Leon Arden: This story collection delivers evocative, carefully written pieces that plumb the ambiguities of adult life, addressing subjects such as the uncertainties of love, the varieties of childhood wonder and the mixed blessings of aging. Surprises abound. In one gentle farce called “A Pre-Existing Condition,” a loving son walks into a hospital with a gun and demands heart surgery for his sick father. In “The Book Collector,” a hoarder whose apartment is hilariously overstuffed turns out to be a Jewish immigrant suffering from “fear of deprivation. It went where he went like lumbago.” As observant as he is witty, Arden writes imaginatively with an eye for both tragedy and comedy. His grace and comic wisdom shine through. Author’s current residence: London, England. Read review.

FICTION – CRIME

Kings of Brighton Beach, Episodes #1, 2 and 3 Part 1: Gangsters with Guns by D.B. Shuster: Shuster’s crime saga is centered on the Koslovskys, a family of shadowy Russian immigrants who are kingpins of the Russian-Jewish neighborhood of Brighton Beach, New York. In this three-episode series, readers meet family patriarch Artur, a ruthless player in the high stakes world of organized crime, and Vlad, his newly hired henchman who has returned to the neighborhood after a long absence and begins questioning everything he believed about the past he tried to outrun. The characters are vivid and the action peppered with authentic Russian dialogue, making for an exciting read full of jealousy, revenge, retribution, redemption and love. Author’s current residence: New York, NY. Read review.

FICTION – EROTIC ROMANCE

Way to a Stranger’s Heart by Margy Millet: A charming erotic romance, this story begins as Joanna, an environmental researcher in the Australian Outback, and her fellow workers are tracked down by Jason and his security team, which is scouring remote villages for a missing flash drive that someone on Joanna’s team possesses. Jason discovers Joanna as she bathes in a nearby river, unaware she is part of the research team. Experiencing instant chemistry, the couple returns to the river each evening for sizzling, erotic encounters— until their secrets threaten to tear them apart. Romantic, sensual sex scenes provide heat, and an engaging cast of secondary characters add depth to this novel that is perfect for erotic romance fans who enjoy a fast-paced story with a heart-warming conclusion. Author’s current residence: Worcester, MA. Read review.

***

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. We offer serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Our reviews are penned by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses.

Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine, a highly respected review publication that reaches 60,000 librarians.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. We offer serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Our reviews are penned by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. 

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About the Author

Guest Contributor

Guest contributors to Publishing Perspectives have diverse backgrounds in publishing, media and technology. They live across the globe and bring unique, first-hand experience to their writing.