Category Archives: Reviews

Book of the Week: The Solution: Repairing Our Broken Political System by Michael M. Stockdell

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors around the world writing and producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers around the world), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick.

The Solution: Repairing Our Broken Political System


About Author

stockdellMichael M. Stockdell was born in Richmond, VA, and graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in English. He has worked as a systems analyst, data processing manager and management consultant, including three years in the federal government. Stockdell spent years researching politics and considering viewpoints from both sides of the political spectrum in order to write The Solution.

 


 

 

About BlueInk 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. 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 Marriage of Miss Jane Austen; Volume II by Collins Hemingway

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors around the world writing and producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers around the world), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick.


The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen: Volume II

 

About Author

collins-hemingwayCollins Hemingway notes that his approach to fiction is to “dive as deeply into a character’s heart and soul as possible, to address the root causes of their behavior rather than to describe superficial attitudes and beliefs.” He also notes that “his sentiment regarding the importance of literature is only slightly mellower than that of Jane Austen, who observed that the gentleman or lady who fails to find pleasure in a good novel must be ‘intolerably stupid.’” Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and has a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Oregon.


 

About BlueInk 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. 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: Hesterwine, Texas 1943 by Dot Ryan

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors around the world producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick.

Hesterwine, Texas 1943

About Author

dot-ryanDot Ryan is a fifth generation Texan. Her first novel, Corrigans’ Pool, was named a finalist in the prestigious Indie Book Awards, The International Book Awards and was the winner of Foreword Review’s 2011 Book of the Year,  judged by the American Library Association.

 


About BlueInk 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. 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: A Curious Host by Nanette L. Avery

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors around the world producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick, a novel by a Nashville-based writer, educator, and researcher.

A Curious Host

 

About Author

Nnanette-averyanette L. Avery lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is a writer, educator, and researcher. Her first novel, Orphans in America, was named a “Best Indie Book” by Kirkus and “A Reviewer’s Choice Indie Book” by Foreword Reviews.

 

 

 


About BlueInk 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. 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: Didn’t Get Frazzled by David Z. Hirsch

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors around the world producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick, a debut novel by a Maryland physician.

Didn’t Get Frazzled

About Author

frazzledDavid Z. Hirsch is a practicing physician in Maryland who uses a pen name; he notes that he prefers to keep his professional work and writing life separate and feels that there is  more freedom with writing anonymously. Didn’t Get Frazzled is his first novel.

 

 


About BlueInk 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. 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: A Pigeon’s Tale by S.A. Mahan

In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick.

A Pigeon’s Tale

About Author

s-s-mahan

 

S.A. Mahan writes children’s books and stories for young adult readers, gaining  her inspiration from hiking in the Rocky Mountains and her love of adventure. In addition to being an author, Mahan is a fiber artist, barista, and rancher. She lives in Colorado with her husband. This is her third book.


About BlueInk 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. 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: What Remains by Tracey Lee

In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers from around the world) and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week. This week’s pick is Tracey Lee’s novel What Remains.

What Remains

About Author

tracey-lee

Tracey Lee is a former schoolteacher from Southern Australia. After 32 years of teaching, she is now pursuing her love of writing fiction. Lee notes that she finds inspiration for her work from observing human behavior. Many of her stories relate to ordinary people and their response to extraordinary events.  The author received her Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Canberra, and is currently living in New South Wales with her husband.

 


About BlueInk 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. 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 Cannabis Revolution by Stephen Holt

In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick.

The Cannabis Revolution©

About Author

Stephen HoltStephen Holt, MD, has written over 25 books relating to medical issues such as aging, osteoporosis, weight loss, and sleep deprivation. He is the founder of Holt Institute of Medicine in New York and an emeritus professor.  Holt holds a medical degree from Liverpool University Medical School and is a board certified Internist and Sub Specialist in the US, UK, and Canada.

 


About BlueInk 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. 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.

 

Audiobook of the Week: The Short Reign of Pippin IV by John Steinbeck

Audiobooks are ebooks. Listening is learning. In an effort to raise awareness among readers and all who work with books about the versatility of digital literacy, NSR occasionally publishes audiobook reviews of titles of exceptional quality to draw attention to the subtle (but consistent) ways in which formats are blurring in digital environments.
This week’s pick is John Steinbeck’s The Short Reign of Pippin IV. In the words of NSR reviewer, “with current headlines, this political screwball comedy will be much appreciated.”

Z04217_image_148x230[1]Title: The Short Reign of Pippin IV
Author: John Steinbeck
Narrator: Jefferson Mays
Publisher: Recorded Books
Release Date: 2016

Duration: 4 hours

Reviewed for NSR by Michael Rogers (Babylon, New York)

 

John Steinbeck often tackles the affairs of the common man and the political climate that impacts him, but usually in a serious tone (The Grapes of Wrath isn’t exactly a barrel of laughs). This 1957 novel also incorporates those themes, but Steinbeck shows a different side of himself by presenting them in a wicked satire so biting that Jonathan Swift would be envious.

Protagonist Pippin Héristal is an amateur astronomer who spends most of his mundane existence listening to jazz and photographing the heavens through his telescope (he discovered the comet of ’51, you know!) in his Paris eighth-arrondissement home with little concern for the machinations of his fellow men. Allowing her husband his lackadaisical manner, wife Marie is a practical woman who maintains an orderly house, abhors waste, and keeps a firm grip on the family income provided by their property on which grapes producing a fine, much-desired wine are grown. Their daughter Clotilde is an anomaly—at 15 she wrote a novel that became a sensation and was morphed into a film. Instant fame paved the way for her to take to the stage and tour America. Clotilde does everything to the extreme. She is pretty but fat, a communist, clumsy and an American by osmosis. They live simply, quietly, and anonymously…or at least did.

It’s the year “19-blank” and France is in a funk; it’s greatness as a world leader has waned as its government increasingly is bogged down in never-ending bickering between the sundry ridiculous political parties—the Radical Conservatives and Conservative Radicals, the Right Centralists and the Left Centralists, the Christian Atheists, etc.—that disagree on everything to the point where leadership and progress are strangled.

The politicos decide that to reclaim France’s former glory the country must reinstate the monarchy, but who will wear the crown? Alas, poor Pippin is several generation descended from Charlemagne long rotting in the ground, and as he is a reasonable fellow, he retired to bed a commoner and awakens a king! While a king’s job is to rule, those who appointed him in reality only want the pomp and circumstance of a monarch (it makes good newspaper copy and brings in money from across the world) without actually having him in charge. Dragged off to live in Versailles (hot, dirty, full of freeloaders endlessly eating and drinking, bad plumbing, and snooty servants that bow and curtsy graciously and then completely ignore their orders) that life for Pippin becomes an astronomical pain in the ass. Marie endures with grace while Clotilde’s outrageous personality makes her a natural princess.

Pippin and Marie turn to their closest friends for council—for Pippin it’s his uncle Charlie, a shady art dealer who sells unsigned paintings that “might” be the work of a master (and might be cheap fakes) while Marie seeks solace from Sister Hyacinth, a former topless chorus girl who joined a religious order founded by the patron saint of feet!

Poor Pippin is so miserable and out of his depth that he begins taking kingly advice from Clotilde’s teenage boyfriend Tod Johnson, son of the American “Egg King of Petaluma,” whose dad built a multimillion dollar empire in chickens. Tod asserts that monarchs essentially are CEOs and that Pippin must run France like a corporation, including selling nobleman titles to rich Americans to generate bribe money. Everyone is making a quick buck of the new monarchy while the king himself has to sneak out in disguise and putt around the countryside on his scooter just to get a meal!

Steinbeck piles on the irony, sarcasm, and laughs—all the political parties claim to want what’s best for France when they really want what’s best for themselves and screw the other guy. Narrator Jefferson Mays delivers a perfect reading, breathing life into the characters and emphasizing the biting humor with just the right amount of a French accent when needed.

With current headlines, this political screwball comedy will be much appreciated.


Special thank you to Michael Rogers, former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal, for contributing this and other audio reviews to NSR. Publishers/producers interested in getting their (newly released) audiobooks reviewed on NSR should contact Michael directly at mermsr@optimum.net.

Book of the Week: Return of the Convict by William Alan Thomas

In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week.

Return of the Convict

About Author

William Alan ThomasWilliam Alan ThomasWilliam Alan Thomas took a BA in English at the University of Chicago in the 1960’s, and his first novel, Daddy’s Darling Daughter, was published in 1974. Life was to sweep him far from the world of books, as he fell in love with the seafood business, acquired an old fishing boat, and then became a Vancouver longshoreman. Presently a full time writer living in Chilliwack, B.C., he remains involved with Return of the Convict; there’s to be a prequel and two sequels.  He’s just finishing a rewrite of Dangerous Vision, a corporate espionage thriller published in 2005, when he was still working at the docks.


About BlueInk 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. 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.