December 2014 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.”


Angelina's Secret Angelina’s Secret, by Diane Merrill Wigginton: Historical romance meets Stockholm Syndrome in this thrilling tale about Lady Angelina Stewart and her flirtations with Jude Deveraux, a pirate captain who has taken a ship on which she is travelling hostage. Although, Angelina, a refreshingly strong and independent heroine, eventually wins back her ship’s independence, she soon finds out that this is not the last she will see of her alluring captor. Wigginton combines vivid imagery, surprising plot development, and striking characters to create a rich and beautiful story. Author residence: Herald, California. Read review


The Stages of Grace, by Connie Ruben and Kate ONeill:  Alzheimer’s is a merciless disease, equally tragic for those forced to stand by and watch as it is for those who endure its symptoms. Ruben, a member of the former group, in collaboration with co-writer, ONeill, narrates her experiences caring for her mother-in-law, Grace, after she was diagnosed with the disease at 82. Ruben shares her story with intimacy, sensitivity, and honesty, offering a beautifully written narrative that is powerful in its small moments — at once tender, absorbing and enlightening. Author residence: Calgary, Canada. Read review


How Do You Spell Ruzevelt? A History of Spelling in America Yesterday and Today, by Marsha E. Ackermann:  Who knew spelling has been (and continues to be) such a compelling controversy in forging an American national identity? This quirky book follows the history of spelling in America, from the first Webster’s spelling guide published in 1783 to the texts, tweets, and autocorrect of today. Ackermann draws on the engaging arguments of prominent American figures such as Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, and President Theodore Roosevelt to explore how spelling practices reflect American social history. Teachers and parents especially will enjoy this erudite yet entertaining narrative. Author residence: Pinckney, Michigan. Read review


Becoming Female and Male: Our Extraordinary and Perilous Journey, by Ramon Piñon, Jr. PhD.: An Emeritus Professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego, Piñon offers a layperson’s adaptation of his college textbook on human reproduction. From eggs and sperm to birth defects and infertility, readers are brought through the entire procreative arc. He enhances the text with literary quotes, tongue-in-cheek subheadings, sexual controversies, bizarre reproductive research, illustrations, and other historical perspectives. The result is an entertaining and invaluable resource. Author residence: San Diego, California. Read review

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


I, Horatio, by Donald A. Tortorice:  Now a retired Philadelphia law professor and former U.S. Navy officer, Tortorice has spent 50 years immersing himself in the life and legacy of British naval hero Lord Horatio Nelson. Putting his research to good use, Tortorice offers a story that is smartly convincing and brimming with admiration. It is a worthy and compelling addition to the multitude of Nelsonian literature, yet also stands alone as an imagined first-person narrative, recreating the thunder of the deck guns and the pounding of one man’s heart. Author residence: Pinehurst, North Carolina. Read review


Blood, Sweat, and High Heels: A Memoir, by Cheryl Waiters, with Darnella Ford: In 1994, Waiters was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, highlighting her role as the only female electrician working on the construction of Cleveland’s Jacobs Field and the Gund Arena. This book describes how she arrived as this moment, detailing her growing-up years as she tagged along to jobs with her electrician uncle while other girls were learning homemaking skills. Ford captures Waiters’ sassy, smart voice so perfectly that one hopes there’s a sequel in the works. Author residence: Dallas, Texas. Read review


TIME with my UNCLE: An Undeniable Bond, by Lori K. Marchand; illustrations by Marvin Paracuelles: This simple rhyming picture book begins with an uncle’s visit to the hospital where his nephew has just been born and follows the uncle and boy over several years as they share common experiences and bond. One doesn’t often see a book that focuses on this particular relationship; this offering fills that gap with loving, warm-hearted results. Author residence: Austintown, Ohio. Read review


Giants, Crooks, and Jerks in Science, by Gordon K. Klintworth: A professor of pathology and ophthalmology, Klintworth delivers a measured analysis of the malfeasance perpetrated by researchers in a variety of scientific fields and examines how their misconduct derails the public’s belief in scientific study overall. The author aims to combat this erosion of faith by thoroughly exposing instances of misconduct, explaining their implications, and suggesting corrective measures, delivering an admirable exploration of the complicated crossroads at which science and ethics meet. Author residence: Durham, North Carolina. Read review


What Was I Thinking? The Subconscious in Decision-Making?, by C. Gates: Readers of Malcolm Gladwell’s work, especially Blink, will appreciate this boo focusing on how we make decisions. Gates explores decision-making that is intuitive versus that based on rational deliberation — concluding that objective, “statistical thinking does not come naturally.” Full of anecdotes and snippets from revealing scientific experiments, Gates’ work is an intriguing, thought-provoking read. Author residence: Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. 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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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.