Best Reviewed Books of December

 

THE ASTONISHED EARTH by Christopher Beck

Genre: Historical Fiction

IR Verdict: THE ASTONISHED EARTH is fact-based fiction that takes on the events of the early 20th Century. Its emotionally-laden, transformatively realistic, heavily researched, and almost nonchalantly transporting.  If historical fiction with a strong factual base is your thing, they don’t come much better than this. 

Read the full review here.

THE CURING ROOM by Michael Winn

Genre: Historical Fiction

IR Verdict: THE CURING ROOM is an intelligent psychological thriller expertly crafted and brilliantly told.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

ORBIT by Leigh Hellman

Genre: Science Fiction

IR Verdict: Mystery and intrigue meet politically social science fiction in ORBIT, a novel rich in ideas and believable characters. Ciann is a hero you can root for, and Hellman a writer to watch!

Read the full review here.

 

 

THE STORM OVER PARIS by William Ian Grubman

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: THE STORM OVER PARIS paints a taut and vivid portrait of life in Paris for a Jewish art dealer and his family during the Nazi occupation. The family executes a daring plan to protect priceless works of art while realizing that their freedom and their lives may be taken from them at any time.

Read the full review here.

 

FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR GLOBAL LIVING by Jennifer A. Patterson

Genres: Business, Self-Help

IR Verdict: FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR GLOBAL LIVING is full of solid advice for living and working all across the world while minimizing stress and anxiety. Readers wanting to work or live overseas will find it a highly useful handbook for making the most of life in today’s global village.

Read the full review here.

 

THE WOLF AND THE RAIN by Tanya Lee

Genre: Young Adult

IR Verdict: Tanya Lee’s debut novel is a page-turner, with settings so richly detailed that you can practically smell the disinfectant in Sam’s childhood dorm and the garbage lining Barrow’s muddy lanes.

Read the full review here.

 

 

BUTTERFLY HILL by Brendan Le Grange

Genre: Action/Adventure

IR Verdict: BUTTERFLY HILL is the second novel in Brendan le Grange’s Matthys Rossouw Pursuit series. While some of Hiko’s emotional stakes no doubt rely on the previous novel in the series, BUTTERFLY HILL is easy to understand and can be read and enjoyed as a standalone book by any reader looking for a fun, culturally rich action adventure story.

Read the full review here.

 

TWO YEARS OF WONDER by Ted Neill

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: TWO YEARS OF WONDER, Ted Neil’s part-memoir, part-spotlight on AIDS-plagued Kenyan kids is powerful, enlightening and nuanced, strongest when it’s focused on memorably resilient characters and weakest when it exposes its own artifice.

Read the full review here.

 

 

JAMHURI, NJAMBI, AND FIGHTING ZOMBIES by Ted Neill

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

IR Verdict: JAMHURI, NJAMBI, AND FIGHTING ZOMBIES is an exceptional genre-bending read, featuring stylized tales rooted in African storytelling traditions.

Read the full review here.

 

 

KING OF THE BLIND by Caiseal Mor

Genre: Fantasy

IR Verdict: KING OF THE BLIND is a highly entertaining tale–part memoir, part historical fantasy–which welcomes readers into a bygone era of music and magic, a world of good friends and whiskey, where the loss of sight becomes the gain of so much more.

Read the full review here.

 

 

DEAR JANE by Marina DelVecchio

Genre: Young Adult

IR Verdict: DEAR JANE’s subject matter is dark and troubling, but it’s artfully written by Marina DelVecchio, and its protagonist’s connection to literature rescues it from being depressing.

Read the full review here.

 

 

LESSONS IN PRINTING by Klancy Clark de Nevers

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: Klancy Clark de Nevers has written a fascinating book about both early-to-mid 20th century life and a daughter’s struggle with her father’s mental illness and is recommended for tackling serious subjects in a compelling way that keeps the pages turning.

Read the full review here.

 

THE DREAM STITCHER by Deborah Gaal

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Briskly paced with memorable characters, THE DREAM STITCHER is well-crafted and wonderfully satisfying novel and the characters, events, and themes will stay with readers long after they’ve read the final page.

Read the full review here.

 

 

WINSTON VAN DOOZLE AND THE CHRISTMAS TARTOOZLE by Written by Jared E. Parsons, Illustrated by Ivan Marecic

Genre: Children’s (Early to intermediate readers)

IR Verdict: WINSTON VAN DOOZLE AND THE CHRISTMAS TARTOOZLE is a delightful holiday treat that celebrates the joys of sharing and togetherness.

Read the full review here.

 

THE SOJOURNERS by T. L. Hughes

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: THE SOJOURNERS is a joyous and entertaining trip through 1980s Europe, as seen through the eyes of a naive but thoughtful young man with a gift for words.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

MUDDIED WATERS by Theo Clarkson

Genre: Historical Fiction

IR Verdict: Visceral and at times brutal, MUDDIED WATERS is an educated and historically realistic rendering of piracy on the high seas in the Middles Ages. 

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

FRECKLED: A Memoir of Growing Up Wild in Hawaii by TW Neal

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: Personal memoirs can be written for cathartic, transformational value, even if readers are few. But in the case of FRECKLED, a complex and compelling story of family, love, race relations, Hawaii and personal growth, the audience could and should be many.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

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