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.”
Donor 23, by Cate Campbell Beatty: Recalling the Divergent trilogy and The Hunger Games saga, this story revolves around teen Joan Lion, who lives in a future totalitarian society in which some inhabitants are “donors,” legally obligated to give up any organ or body part to their personal benefactors upon request. When Joan finds out she will soon be required to donate her heart and lungs, she runs for her life. Paced at breakneck speed, this novel is every bit as good as the aforementioned blockbusters. Read review.
The Cooktown Grave, by Carney Vaughan: After David Brannigan is wrongly convicted of his twin brother’s murder, he escapes prison, only to suffer a brutal beating in a back alley that brings him to the attention of authorities – and his brother’s real killers. Meanwhile, prostitutes are being slaughtered in the Australian town where David is hospitalized – and an intelligent, compassionate and tenacious detective is on the case. A deliciously satisfying conclusion ties up all the threads of this skillfully executed story with a believable and meaty plot. Read review.
The following books did not receive Stars but were highly praised by our critics.
If I Never Went Home, by Ingrid Persaud: This superbly written story details what happens when two lives intersect – that of Bea Clark, a woman who suffered a difficult childhood on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tina Ramlogan, also of Trinidad, the only child of a single, working mother, who grows up determined to discover her father’s identity. This uplifting story reminds readers that there’s always a light called hope at tunnel’s end. Read review.
Lost Soul, by Adam Rabinowitz: In Italy in 1012, a young woman is discovered to be a Pure Soul – an angelic entity that offers immortality to anyone evil enough to suck out her soul. Hounded by evil forces, the woman hides her soul in a crystal and jumps off a cliff to her death. Fast-forward to the present, when those same evil forces resurface as college student Cassandra, on holiday in Italy, is identified as the next Pure Soul and her holiday takes an ominous turn. An original, intriguing fantasy with captivating characters and a satisfying ending that leaves a welcome opening for sequels. Read review.
Starlet’s Run, by Carla J. Hanna: In this second in a YA series featuring teen actress Liana Marie Michael, Liana is in the hospital battling health problems caused by drugs her mother slipped her to halt her aging process and prolong her career. Meanwhile, she’s desperate to settle down with her fiancé Manuel and find the stability she never had as a child. Newcomers to the story will have no trouble understanding the nuances and complexities of Liana’s life – and YA fans will find a new heroine to root for in the flawed but sympathetic Liana. Read review.
Starlet’s Light, by Carla J. Hanna: The third in the series described above, this story continues the plotline as teen actress Liana Marie Michael now battles cancer and congestive heart failure. Realizing that she is dying, she ends her relationship with her fiancée to spare him emotional pain. Readers will sympathize with her situation and tear through this book, eagerly anticipating the promised conclusion to the series. Read review.
Defining Intelligence, by Dr. Pat Keogh: An educator with a background in philosophy, the author writes about the nature of intelligence and how it is measured, making a compelling argument that educators should encourage creativity in the arts and sciences, rather than relying on a system that assumes intelligence can be reduced to an IQ or any other test score. Read review.
Fella, by Danny K. Gilchrist: This irresistible volume collects large animal veterinarian Gilchrist’s stories from a lifetime of driving the back roads of upstate New York, tending to dairy cows, sheep, and just as often the farmers who relied on them for a livelihood. Thoroughly engrossing, the book reminds readers of the trust animals place in us to be their friends and guardians, and the author sets an example few of us could equal. Read review.
The Fraternity Revolution, by Richard Valton: The author hails a movement to promote a fairer and happier society that values respect for the individual and the environment, non-violence and solidarity. With its cogent arguments, this small book won’t change the world, but it just might give readers a good place to start. Read review.
The Puzzle of Life and the Missing Peace: Dialogue With a Master Resolving Religions Judgments, by Oliver Morgen: Is organized religion a force for good or a means to control the masses? How can it promote peace yet justify war? Through a series of dialogues between a student and Master, the author analyzes faith and its paradoxical nature. Readers who like probing the big questions about life and our place in the universe will find this a provocative and challenging book. 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.