January’s Top Reviews of Self-Published Books from BlueInk Review

In Book Review by Edward Nawotka

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.”


Angel HairAngel Hair, by Margot Griffiths: This multi-layered tale of growing up and falling down in a Western Canadian suburb tells the story of a girl wise beyond her years and her often-dysfunctional family. As the author paints a landscape of schemes, betrayals and suffering, she never loses sight of the humanity of the many characters populating her fiction. With all their flaws, they remain profoundly real. Read review.

That Crazy Little Thing, by Kate Bracy: Single-mother Melanie has her hands full juggling a rebellious teenage daughter, a full-time job and her uneasy sense that the pain in her best friend’s abdomen is more than just normal medical issues. What she doesn’t know is how her love for her friend and her friend’s son will change her in significant ways – and that romantic love potentially awaits as well. Pitch-perfect character development, coupled with a story infused with confidence and humor, adds up to a breezy women’s read that also has heart and depth. Read review.

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


The Afternoon, by Elaine Colton: This tastefully sexy love story – billed as soft-core erotica – centers on a 70-year-old woman who decides to mentally revisit every relationship that shaped her life. As it traces her sexual awakening, the story’s focus on an older woman’s sexuality gives it depth and distinguishes it from other provocative romance novels. A particularly satisfying read for mature women. Read review.

Empire’s Passing: Imperium Secession Saga #1, by J.W. Morris: A fast-paced, futuristic story, this science fiction novel takes place in the year 2937, a time when Earth has been destroyed by the greedy Goth Alliance, which is now targeting New Meyer, a small but strategically important planet. It’s up to the Duke of New Meyer to protect his planet and perhaps the fate of the interstellar government called the Imperium. The Duke’s courageous, seat-of-his-pants response to interplanetary emergencies offers an action-packed adventure bound to satisfy space-saga fans. Read review.

999 B.C.: Eye-Witness Accounts of the Book of Jonah, by Bob Larimer: This comic collision of ancient and contemporary references, sent aloft by wiseass dialogue, results in an irresistibly amusing farce. Larimer, who has experience in New York musical theater, takes dead aim on the Biblical story of Jonah swallowed-by-the-whale, here updated to include cracks about child-labor laws, cheap bimbos and brunch at the home of retired prophets. Larimer has written a musical of the same name, and his entertaining story brings to mind Stephen Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Read review.


After the Rain, by Karen Calloway; illustrated by Luanne S. Wrenn: What happens after it rains? In this lovely picture book, Calloway answers that question. Her story is told through the eyes of a young girl in rain boots who meets a robin, minnows and other creatures while playing with her yellow ball and brings them the news that the rain has ended. As the story embraces nature and imagination, it delivers a charming, timeless read. Read review.


Fire From the Sky: A Diary Over Japan, by Ron Greer and Mike Wicks: This in-depth memoir chronicles the air war over Japan in WWII, as experienced by Staff Sergeant Herbert Greer, a 23-year-old, newly married, “frightened boy” who served as the radio operator on 28 bombing missions. Greer’s vivid recollections are relayed by his son Ron and co-author Wicks with considerable dramatic suspense. The book will hold great appeal not only for WWII veterans and their families, but general readers as well. Read review.

Make Room for God: The Spirituality of Awakening, by M. Germaine Hustedde: In short chapters, the author explores the tension of everyday living and the search for Self, touching on the differences between being and becoming, the search for identity in a material world often at odds with the inner world of the soul and much more. Along the way, Hustedde offers witty personal anecdotes that ground her musings. Poetic, thoughtful, and astute, this book is, in a word, a delight. Read review. 

The Veteran Next Door: Stories from World War II, Vol. 1, by Randall Baxter: Baxter wrote, produced and hosted a radio show of this name, whose mission was to share WWII soldiers’ personal experiences. This is a compendium of those interviews in which men tell tales of their involvement in battles ranging from invasions of Sicily and Okinawa to Pacific Ocean battles. Touching and informative, this book provides a moving, enriching and unique approach to preserving WWII memories and should appeal to a wide audience. Read review.

Yes’M, by J.M. Duke: Set in a small Virginia town in 1950, when blacks and whites lives were intertwined but separate, this slender, richly nuanced, coming-of-age tale centers on the relationship between a young white girl and her black caretaker. As the author surveys 20 years of this unforgettable friendship, Duke skillfully relays details of a tempestuous era. Read review.

BlueInk Review is 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

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.