April’s Top Reviews of Self-published Books from BlueInk Review

In Book Review by Guest Contributor

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

YOUNG ADULT

BorderlineBorderline: A Zak Taggart Mystery, by Jim Vander May: When 13-year-old Zak’s family moves from Savannah, Georgia, to his grandfather’s farm in rural Washington State, Zak struggles to cope with the emotional fallout of the move, a school bully and his need to regain the trust of his parents after being caught lying. As if this weren’t enough, he also finds himself investigating strange happenings on the nearby Canadian border, where drug trafficking is rampant. Vander May delivers excellent insight into the mindset of a young boy and an utterly engaging read. Read review.

Heist School Freshmen, by Alan Gallauresi:  Immensely entertaining and perfectly geared toward a middle-teen audience, this novel follows a motley group of students trying to uncover nearly $20,000 in dirty money hidden on their high school campus. Pitch-perfect first-person narration coupled with skillful character development and suspense makes for a satisfying – and sequel-ready – experience sure to please even reluctant teen readers.  Read review.

MYSTERY/SUSPENSE

The Killer’s Handbook, by Robert P. Maroney: A mystery for the Internet age, this latest installment of the Detective Nicholas Pearce series puts Pearce on the track of killers who are dumping girls’ bodies in a river. But someone else is also working this case:  a man known only by his online handle, Reaper. In this tale, old-fashioned clues such as tire tracks and footprints are convincingly replaced by chat room transcripts and trails of IP addresses. Add affectionate banter, a believable setting and an aging detective’s inner musings and you have a well-balanced novel as well as riveting mystery. Read review.

Looking Glass Killer: Volume II: The Matthew-Matt Trilogy, by Floyd Merrell: When a 73-year-old, well-liked widow is found shot outside her home, the only evidence found is a blank brass key and a crazy note that reads: “Drealorless grue coms retuously impest.” In her effort to solve the crime, lead detective Lucia Vieira must consider the Jabberwocky, chaos theory, geometry and much more. This original, intriguing, intelligent mystery is a joy to read. Read review.

GENERAL

Light of the Desert, by Lucette Walters:  This page-turning, romantic adventure novel takes readers to the Middle East, where “honor killings” are still accepted. When it appears that Noora has shamed her rich and powerful family, her father feels he has no choice but to drown her. Noora’s escape and subsequent discovery of her own strengths — all while tragically separated from her true love — will keep readers firmly on her side and riveted to every step of her journey. Read review.

NONFICTION

Scholarly WorldScholarly World, Private Worlds: Thinking Critically About Science, Religion, and Your Private Beliefs, by Karl D. Fezer:  Nothing less than a tour de force of informal logic, this important book investigates the methods by which we derive our beliefs and under what conditions these beliefs are warranted. While the author aims to fill a void in university arts curricula, his book is written in crisp, readable prose that will help readers of all kinds challenge their convictions in a non-threatening and highly impressive manner. Read review.

Blueprint for a Literate Nation: How You Can Help, by Cinthia Coletti:  In addition to sharing her experience as a mother of two bright children who nonetheless struggled with reading in school, the author offers her plan for a grassroots effort to achieve full literacy in our country. As it raises fundamental questions about the state of reading literacy, this eye-opening and practical guide also supplies detailed, elaborate answers. Read review.

Well Child Care in Infancy, edited by William B. Pittard III: When Medicaid-insured children receive more frequent well child care, it increases their school readiness and also leads to more cost-efficient health care. This collaboration of several experienced child-care specialists offers the data to prove this and is aimed at encouraging stronger policies for improved care. Well-researched and documented, it is written in an easy-to-read format even though academic in nature. Read review.

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

FICTION

YOUNG ADULT

Princess School, by Bobby Cinema: This modernized, male version of Cinderella brings to mind The Princess Diaries as Everyboy Billy is whisked from his middle-class home in California to the Netherlands at the request of a cyberspace friend he has never met in person. Thinking the invitation to attend Princess School is an elaborate prank, he is surprised when he steps into the palace of a foreign king and is mistaken for a prince attending a special crash course in royal duties.  As romance ensues, the author delivers a well written, and charming tale. Read review.

NONFICTION

MEMOIR

Moments in Time, by Amit Sarkar: Sarkar offers a memoir of his life against the backdrop of WWII and the division of India and Pakistan. Rather than tell his story in linear fashion, he creates snapshots in time, such as the details of his first solo train trip to Calcutta or his grandmother’s arranged marriage, a blend of opulent beauty contrasted with his grandmother’s growing realization that her life had been decided for her without consent or consultation. Together, such vignettes create a vivid portrait of life in India at a time of great change. Read review.

COFFEE-TABLE

The Dead Do Speak to Us…of Love, Life & Death, by Dayton Foster: This intriguing and often poignant book pairs photographs of gravesites, stones and other memorials with epitaphs, poems and brief quotes from eulogies. The photos range from fanciful angel-topped crypts to humble planks printed only with a name and date; the words offer sentiments spanning from the profound to the mischievous. Whether readers consider it a coffee-table book or a thought-provoking look at grief, love and memory, it’s well worth a look. 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.

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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.