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

In Book Review by Siobhan O'Leary

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.”


The darkest side of SaturnThe Darkest Side of Saturn, by Tony Taylor: This extraordinarily well-crafted, thought-provoking novel revolves around engineer Harris Mitchel and his coworker Diana Muse-Jones. When Mitchel detects a massive asteroid that he calculates could collide with Earth in 16 years, he goes public in an attempt to avert the disaster, only to be met with contempt and disbelief by a dangerously fanatical preacher, a loudmouth radio personality and the president of the United States himself. The result is an apocalyptic thriller, a powerful romance, a cautionary tale about religious fanaticism and, above all else, an insightful self-examination of humankind and our apparent decline into a society powered by apathy, ignorance and intolerance. Read review.


Conquering Concussion: Healing TBI Symptoms With Neurofeedback and Without Drugs, by Lee Esty, Ph.D. and C.M. Shifflett:  As a health psychologist and licensed clinical social worker, Esty has worked extensively with patients with brain issues. Here, she advocates treatment of traumatic brain injury through biofeedback therapy with a thorough yet highly readable text rich with explanatory and well-documented details and a wealth of powerful case histories.  Read review.

Official State Flowers And Trees: Their Unique Stories, by Glynda Joy Nord: This botanical anthology offers an insightful, entertaining excursion into the history of how the 50 states selected the flowers and trees they display on their emblems. Nord recounts entertaining anecdotes of how politicians, school children and private interests played a role in selecting their state’s botanical representations, detailing everything from President Reagan’s proclamation certifying the rose as the national flower, to Hawaii’s symbol of royalty, the hibiscus. Read review.

Walking Into the Wind: Being Healthy with a Chronic Disease, by Barbra Goodyear Minar: In journal entries written over 13 years, Minar shares the challenges and triumphs of her struggle with the autoimmune disease lupus. Although Minar is Christian, her insights are never preachy, but thought-provoking and comforting. She adeptly expresses her feelings of sadness and loss but also gratitude and joy, delivering a book full of prayer, humor and emotional depth. Read review.

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



Climbing the Coliseum, by Bill Percy: In this engaging novel, psychologist Ed Northrup struggles to cope with depression, his so-called “black dog.” But when his ex-wife abandons her surly 14-year-old daughter from another marriage into his care and Ed turns for help to the new deputy sheriff, Andi Pelton, he finds these two relationships growing and his depression finally tamed. Percy’s story  offers spot-on dialogue, interesting and amusing characters and a wonderful depiction of life in a small town. Read review.


Death Song, by Jeff W. Manship: Set in the rugged West of the late 19th century, this compelling historical novel tells the story of a Mormon man driven west by the hostility of nonbelievers and an Indian orphan adopted by Apaches who is awaiting execution for the murder of a white family and abduction of the Mormon’s daughter and two nephews. As their paths converge, the novel illustrates how two people driven into conflict can be struggling against similar demons. The result is a story of depth and scope that presents a riveting portrait of a stressful time in the settlement of the American West. Read review.


The Adventures of Deacon Coombs: The Case of the Vanishing Vespers,  by Ambit Welder: Audaciously fusing science fiction and mystery a la classics such as Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel and Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, this novel is set in the year 3533 when Earth has recently joined a coalition of the four star systems. As two members of this alliance’s High Council meet suspicious deaths, human detective Deacon Coombs is called into action. What he ultimately finds is a conspiracy so grand and an entity so evil that even the legendary Coombs may not be able to defeat it. With strong science fiction elements and a sleuth-powered storyline, this novel is sure to appeal to fans of both genres. Read review.


Passionwalk: Don’t Let Your Blessing Slip Away, by S.L. Plummer: This erotic romance that blends sensuality, spirituality and mysticism, recounts the way protagonists Nehemiah and Saundra are drawn together following a dream of Nehemiah’s Auntie, in which she sees a couple reunite after a long absence and recognizes the man in the dream as Nehemiah. Despite the pair’s obvious sexual chemistry (and plenty of well written, original, explicit and sensual scenes), there are many bumps along their path to happiness. Original, sexy and well-penned, this is a pleasing choice for fans of erotic romance. Read review.


Jasper is a Hero, by Lily; illustrations by Joel Ray Pellerin:  Introduced in the author’s previous book Jasper Saves the Day, Jasper is a young duck who lost a foot but has valiantly overcome his disability. In this sequel, Jasper is asked to teach ducks from other flocks how to spot hunters. As Jasper grows older, though, he forgets to follow his instincts and is ultimately shot by a hunter. This is a brave, notable book for the way it provides an air of scope and purpose to Jasper’s life. Though Jasper’s death might be upsetting to very young readers, most elementary school children will appreciate the book’s honesty and depth. Read review.



Warfare: The Things They Never Tell You About, Part 1, by Maria M. Bowe: When Bowe encountered birdlike manifestations of evil spirits and then suffered chronic illnesses that baffled doctors, she found herself in a spiritual battle for her life and became aware of the need to move from being a “religious” person to having a truer relationship with God. She addresses that concept here, explaining how readers can receive deliverance from spiritual attacks by repenting of sin, being obedient and seeking God through prayer and His word. Well-organized and content rich, the book offers an effective blend of Bowe’s story, scriptural teaching and personal application. 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

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.