Category Archives: Reviews

Book of the week: Lettuce! (Diana Kizlauskas)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick: Lettuce! by Diana Kizlauskas.

Diana Kizlauskas is a Chicago area artist whose children’s illustrations have been published by nationally and internationally known companies including Harcourt Achieve; Macmillan McGraw-Hill; Pearson Education/Scott Foresman; Compass/Seed Media; Pauline Books and Media; EDCO/Ireland and others. Most recently, she has both written and illustrated LETTUCE! and Christmas Best, published independently under the imprint of Bright Bear Books. She is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

 

Book of the week: The Election (Landon Wallace)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

The Election

Landon Wallace is a native Texan and trial attorney who can tell a story both in and outside the courtroom. He lives in the shadows of Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and family.  He is currently at work on a new novel — The Next Election

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Would the world be better off without book reviews and ratings?

Q: What is your ideal kind of online library and book store? 
A: The kind without comments, reviews and ratings. The kind that only gives useful descriptions and context.

Someone asked me recently to describe an ideal app for reading (inside the app: a mix of ebooks, magazines and newspapers), and I found myself describing a very quiet virtual place, full of knowledge and information, without all the white noise. No Comments section. No opinions. No venom.

This led to another question: So you would not allow readers to express their thoughts online? My answer: I want readers to write and express their own original thoughts by publishing their own works (if they so choose), after being inspired or motivated by reading the thoughts of others. But I would like us all to say and write less about other people’s creation, especially since our inherent need (clearly) is to dislike it at least as much as to praise it. It’s become a nasty race. Everything revolves around liking, rating, heart-ing books online. And we must realize it’s hurting more than helping a large number of writers out there.

The value (and the point) of what we create (whether for entertainment or education) is that it will not appeal to every person at every given moment. The writer owes the reader nothing (I’m referring here only to the process of reading). It isn’t the writer’s responsibility to please every reader’s imagination and taste. It is the reader’s responsibility, however, to remain aware of that. Somewhere along the way, it seems, we’ve forgotten to be respectful of each other’s personal journeys of discovery and ways in which we express ourselves (as any writer can attest, this, too, evolves over time). It simply isn’t enough to ‘walk away’ from something we don’t care to read or that we’ve read and disliked. We must leave our mark. We must ‘warn’ others not to like what we didn’t like. Continue reading Would the world be better off without book reviews and ratings?

Book of the week: Freeda the Cheetah (JTK Belle)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Freeda the Cheetah

J.T.K. Belle is Jeff, Tommy and Katie Belle.  Jeff Bell is Vice President at Amazon Publishing.  Tommy and Katie are his children.  They live in the greater Seattle area.

 

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Book of the week: Dragonfruit (Malia Mattoch McManus)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Dragonfruit

Malia Mattoch McManus was born and raised in Kailua, Hawai’i. After a decade reporting and anchoring local news in Honolulu, Malia began researching Dragonfruit. Parts of her own family arrived in Hawai’i in the 1800’s as both ship captains and sugar plantation workers. Dragonfruit is Malia’s second published book but first novel. She also wrote The Hawaiian House Now and continues to write and report for Hawai’i publications. She lives on O’ahu with her family.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Book of the week: No Big Thing (Wm. Stage)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

No Big Thing

In a checkered life, Wm. Stage has been a tree trimmer, ambulance driver, public health officer, process server and newspaper columnist. He has taught feature writing at the Defense Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana; and photojournalism at Saint Louis University School for Professional Studies. Presently his commentaries may be heard occasionally on KWMU-FM, the NPR affiliate in St. Louis.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Book of the week: All the Wisdom and None of the Junk (Katy Craig and Katie Kramer)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

All the Wisdom and None of the Junk: Secrets of Applying for College Admission and Scholarships

Boettcher Foundation. April 9, 2015. Photo by Ellen Jaskol.

As the Boettcher Foundation’s first leadership coach and content developer, Katy Craig focuses on leadership development for participants in the Boettcher Scholarship and Webb-Waring Biomedical Research programs.

 

 

Boettcher Foundation. April 9, 2015. Photo by Ellen Jaskol.

Katie Kramer is president and CEO of the Boettcher Foundation and is responsible for all aspects of the $300+ million Colorado-based philanthropic foundation. Her extensive community involvement has included leadership positions on many national and local boards including serving as past-president of the National Scholarship Providers Association.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Book of the Week: The 401(k) Owner’s Manual (Scott Everhart and Brian Hanna)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

The 401(k) Owner’s Manual: A Blueprint for Building and Maintaining an Elite 401(k) Plan For Your Employees

Scott Everhart, President and founding firm member of Everhart Advisors, located in Dublin, Ohio, is a nationally recognized plan advisor and speaks with authority on the topics of fee transparency, revenue sharing, and cost control. Scott has been named as one of the nation’s “300 Most Influential Advisors in Defined Contribution” by 401kWire.com, and “20 Rising Stars of Retirement Plan Advisors” by Institutional Investor News. Scott earned his Certified Financial Planner designation in 1998.

Brian Hanna is a Senior Plan Consultant at Everhart Advisors and joined the firm in 1997. Brian has received formal training in fiduciary responsibility and due diligence, along with extensive experience in plan design, investment selection, and cost control. He has been a guest lecturer at workshops presented with the U.S. Department of Labor, Ohio Society of CPAs, Columbus Bar Association, and the Center for Due Diligence. 

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Book of the Week: Sanction (William Hunter)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Sanction

William Hunter grew up on a farm in South Carolina.  After college he eloped and traveled with his wife around Europe for several years before re-enrolling in school at the University of Cambridge where he earned a Ph.D in history.  He taught American and Revolutionary War history at several universities before returning to North Carolina where he now writes full-time.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

 

Book of the Week: Unloved: A Love Story (Katy Regnery)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

UNLOVED: a love story

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013. Thirty books later, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled, New York Times and USA Today Blueberry Lane Series; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern fairytale~ series; and several other standalone novels and novellas. She lives in northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, with her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten..

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

 

Book of the Week: Gynecologist Reflections (Robert A. Siegel, M.D.)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Gynecologist Reflections

Dr. Siegel was born and raised in New York City.  He received his BS from Howard University and his M.D. from The University of Guadalajara.  He earned the Physician’s recognition Award from the American Medical Association and the New Jersey Medical Society for his participation in continuing medical education.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

 

Book of the Week: Eagles and Hawks and Also People as Well (Frank Marcopolos)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Eagles and Hawks and Also People as Well

A young man with the weight of the world resting on his shoulders is the focus of the excellent novel Eagles and Hawks and Also People as Well by veteran author Frank Marcopolos.

Enzo Prinziatta’s father has died unexpectedly, his girlfriend is pregnant, and he’s trying to decide whether to pursue his dream of playing major league baseball or to settle down and quietly raise his new family in his home town of New Paltz, New York. Continue reading Book of the Week: Eagles and Hawks and Also People as Well (Frank Marcopolos)

Book of the Week: Detached (Tanner Lutheran)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Detached

Though his stories are fictional, Lutheran tends to use pivotal real-life experiences as cornerstones in his work. In his newest piece, Detached, he writes as if the roles were reversed and he is no longer the victim of an accidental tragedy from his childhood, but rather the culprit. Lutheran grew up on the coast of North Carolina, where he became passionate about writing at a young age in his seventh-grade creative writing class.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Book of the Week: The Trumpets of Jericho (J. Michael Dolan)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

The Trumpets of Jericho: A Novel

“If any four things could be said to characterize not only my outlook on life but my writing, they’d be my hatred of hypocrisy, meanness for meanness’ sake, blind obedience to authority, and cowardice in the face of injustice. I like to think of my novel, The Trumpets of Jericho, as a story so larger than life, so human, that once read it will become a permanent part of you. I live by myself just east of Austin, Texas, a magnet of a city for the freethinking young, or in my case, the young at heart.”

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Book of the Week: Starswept (Mary Fan)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Starswept (Mary Fan)

Although partially nodding to Brave New World, Logan’s Run and The Hunger Games trilogy, the science-fiction dystopian YA novel Starswept is its own blazingly unique creation. Prolific author Mary Fan (12 books published to date) spins a riveting tale against a backdrop of intergalactic human trafficking, brainwashing, corporate greed, freedom fighters, and the backstabbing culture of an exclusive performing arts academy.

In the year 2268, everything has been working well with the trade deal that Earth and humanoid alien planet Adrye established in 2157. Adrye shares its technology with Earth; Earth reciprocates by offering up its best/brightest young performing artists.

Read the full review here.


About the Author

Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series.In addition, she is the co-editor (along with fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels) of Brave New Girls young adult sci-fi anthologies, which feature tales about girls in STEM. Revenues from sales are donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.  Mary graduated Magna cum Laude from Princeton University in 2010 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Music, specializing in composition. Although she is currently focusing on writing, music is still her first love, and so in her spare time she composes songs and soundtracks.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Book of the Week: The Moonshine Wars (Daniel Micko)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

The Moonshine Wars: Or My Life In Kincaid, Georgia, by Terry Lee Kincaid III

Daniel Micko is biracial male born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelors of arts degree, majoring in film and minoring in English. After that, he graduated from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, California, with a master of fine arts in filmmaking. He resides in the Bay Area, working on projects and writing in his spare time.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Chapters – Interactive Stories, an innovative new app that introduces gamified fiction

Mobile gaming has exploded in recent years, climbing from $17.5 billion in revenue in 2013 to $36.9 billion in 2016. This represents almost 40 percent of the gaming industry’s entire market and reveals that games designed specifically for smart phones and tablets are rapidly outperforming PC and console games.

A Novel Concept

Entering this infinitely expanding galaxy of mobile gaming apps is one that involves a novel concept: gamified fiction. Chapters – Interactive Stories—created by San Francisco-based Crazy Maple Studios, an iOS/Adroid app developer owned by ChineseAll USA Corporation and known for their game Tap Knights – Idle RPG—is “transform[ing] fiction stories into sustainable mobile games.” Launched in September 2017, Chapters was downloaded 250,000 times worldwide within the first month, and double that amount is projected to occur by mid-2018 as its catalog of game-adapted literature grows. Because the app is exclusively in English, 50 percent of the initial quarter-million downloads have been USA-based, while the remainder have been divided between the UK, India, Australia, Canada, and Brazil.

Available in GooglePlay and iStore, Chapters can be download for free. Once open, the homepage offers an array of genre fiction, with romance, horror, fantasy, and young adult selections principal among them. Supplementary chapters to existing titles become available each week. Currently, the app’s catalog of works includes titles by popular self-published authors, like Yuriko Hime, Gabriela Cabezut, and Jerilee Kaye, each of whom already has a significant following online and has previously released novels in either Kindle format or via the online storytelling community Wattpad. In the Chapters app, new gamified stories from other authors are now in production, a process that takes approximately three months, and these will be added throughout the end of the year. The application’s developers are also looking to significantly expand the scope of their catalog to include not only genre fiction, but literary fiction as well.

Continue reading Chapters – Interactive Stories, an innovative new app that introduces gamified fiction

Book of the Week: The Adventures of Willy Nilly and Thumper (Jim Henry)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

The Adventures of Willy Nilly and Thumper: Charlie the Cross-Eyed Crocodile

Well known as a successful businessman, Jim Henry has a creative imagination and a love of family that is greater than any business he’s ever built. Willy Nilly stories were passed down from Jim’s father, who told them to Jim when he was a child. Jim continued the tradition by telling bedtime stories (a different one each night) about Willy Nilly, first to his three children and then to his eleven grandchildren. One night, as Jim was making up a new story, he created the character of Thumper. With this single creative burst, the dynamic combination of Willy Nilly & Thumper was born!

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Book of the Week: One More Last Dance (Jerry Antil)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

One More Last Dance

Jerome Mark Antil was born in Cortland, New York in 1941. The seventh child of a seventh son of a seventh son, Michael Charles Antil Sr., and Mary Rowe Holman Antil. His career has been “writing” and “marketing” in the business world. He wrote marketing plans, sales and training movies and commercials. He has lectured at Cornell University; The Johnson School; St. Edwards University; and Southern Methodist University. Jerome was inspired to begin the career he always wanted, at the behest of his daughter, Worley Antil Coco and has spent twelve years researching for several books he is now working on.  His favorite authors are John Steinbeck; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; and Mark Twain.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Book of the Week: The Surrender Prayer (Kristian Lynch, LCSW)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

The Surrender Prayer: Where We End and God Begins

As seen on a Sussex Directories Inc site

A native of Harlem, New York, Kristian Lynch spent the first years of his career as an attorney. His desire to live a fulfilling life led him to quit the legal profession and attend the Rutgers University School of Social Work where he received his Master’s degree. With a focus on individual and group therapy, he has worked in both Christian and secular non-profit agencies in New Jersey. He works with adolescents, adults and families, and has developed a unique approach to helping his clients discover how to identify, face and heal their wounds by relying upon the transformative power of God’s love and acceptance. Kristian is a graduate of Brown University, Fordham University School of Law and Rutgers University School of Social Work.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.