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 – HISTORICAL
Winds of the Marquesas, by E.C. Olson: In the grand style of James Michener, this lengthy drama is built around true events that occurred during and after WWII, when shadowy traitorous war profiteers colluded to rule the post-war world. Historian Olson spent 27 years conducting deep research to effectively interweave fiction with fact in this saga of two standup families swept up in a global conspiracy involving prominent industrialists, crooked politicians, the Mafia and the Nazis. A standout novel, this should hold wide appeal among those who savor sweeping sagas. Author residence: West Palm Beach, FL. Read review
Salmon River Kid, by Joseph Dorris: In this third book in a series, readers once again join Samuel Chambers, now 15, in the Old West while he and his father Charles aim to strike it rich in the Gold Rush. As he transitions from boy to man, even falling in love with a young girl on a nearby ranch, Samuel begins to weigh his dream of chasing gold against his longing to see his mother again. Dorris successfully combines history, science, and teenage angst to create a compelling series—one that would enrich any school curriculum focusing on the history of the Western United States. Author residence: Colorado Springs, CO. Read review
NONFICTION – MEMOIR
Brewing Beneath the Perk: My Journey Through a Coffee Shop Business…to Me, by Terri Meehan: This lively, humorous, and intimate tale chronicles the opening and eventual success of the author’s café, Wash Perk, detailing its patrons, employees, trials, and triumphs. The story is moving yet also chockfull of helpful hints on how to lead from the heart. Just as booksellers fell in love with The King’s English for its evocation of the job and its trappings, this book will be a true caffeine fix for baristas and anyone who has ever dreamed of owning their own café. Author residence: Denver, CO. Read review
Goat Lips, by Matthew Taylor. A storyteller, humorist and actor, Taylor offers 27 short autobiographical stories that are, by turns, witty, deeply poignant, and highly entertaining. The title story, illustrating the author’s amusement at life’s absurdities, concerns Taylor auditioning to play the part of the lips of a goat for a national Miller Light commercial, competing against 70 others. There are no missteps among these well-written stories that zigzag between amusing tales of youthful indiscretion and touching slices of life that will move readers in unexpected ways. Author residence: Denver, CO. Read review
NONFICTION – PHILOSOPHY
Tolerance of Uncertainty, by John Bancroft: A medical doctor and psychiatrist, Bancroft compiles his extensive research into gender, sexuality, spirituality, and morality in this intriguing argument against intolerance for uncertainty. He asserts that scientific, historical, socio-cultural, and philosophic investigation has its limits, and a toleration of those limits and the uncertainty they provoke will lead to more useful conclusions in these realms of study. Those who enjoy these disciplines will particularly appreciate the theories, body of evidence and conclusions the author lays out in this intriguing book. Author residence: Oxford, England. Read review
NONFICTION – RELIGION
A Place to Hide a Place to Seek: Refuge in the Time of Storms, by Thelma Mabry: In this passionate, well-researched Bible study, Mabry describes her own struggles with finances, health, and parenthood and explores how she found refuge in religion. She then analogizes her own examples to specific Scripture, particularly seven “cities” referred to in the Old Testament: praise, perseverance, prayer, promise, peace, prosperity, and power. With its introspective study, this book will be welcomed by a wide audience of Christians and help readers face life with God’s power. Author residence: Riverdale, GA. Read review
The following books did not receive Stars but were highly praised by our critics.
FICTON – GENERAL
Twenty-Six Minutes Plus Two, by Eugene W. Carr: In this unique presentation, Jim, a Denver air traffic controller, is central to three interlinking storylines. As the title indicates, each story spans the 26 minutes Jim spends helping a 13- year-old girl land her father’s plane after he has a stroke in the air. The details of each story are essentially the same, save the final two minutes, which prove life altering for all involved. With a theme reminiscent of the beloved movie It’s A Wonderful Life, this is a perfect book club choice and will surely inspire anyone who has ever questioned whether the actions we take in life truly matter. Author residence: Casa Grande, AZ. Read review
FICTON – HISTORICAL
An Inconvenient War, by J.F. Cronin: Retired Major General J.F. Cronin has written a novel that rings disturbingly true. While the story focuses on one Marine Expeditionary Unit’s assault on Kandahar during the Afghan War, it also chillingly exposes neo-con politicians manipulating Americans into supporting an unnecessary war and corrupt generals more concerned with money and career advancement then their soldiers’ lives. This page-turner will have readers wondering just how much of Cronin’s recap of the events of 2001 are actually fiction. Author residence: Naalehu, Hawaii. Read review
FICTON – MYSTERY/SUSPENSE
Headcase, by Marc Rosenberg: Rosenberg couples an exceptional ear for compelling dialogue with a refined visual sense in this tale that revolves around Ash Aiken, a PI with some unsightly skeletons in his closet. As Aiken begins tracking a serial killer, a slew of characters make that task something just short of a Herculean effort. Readers who like their thrillers jam-packed with colorful personalities and mystery lovers who appreciate an unpredictable plot won’t be disappointed. Author residence: New York, NY. Read review
The Stranger Box, by Pamela Cuming: Psychological horror meets coming-of-age in this courageous tale. Born and raised in New York City, teenager Eden has survived a tragic childhood plagued by abandonment, abuse, and neglect. When Eden sets out to discover the biological mother she never knew, she is kidnapped by a delusional psychopath. What follows is page-turning and completely unpredictable, written with intelligence, insight, and intimacy. Author residence: Bellingham, WA. 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.