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Best Reviewed Books of the Month – April 2020

THE GROWTH AND COLLAPSE OF ONE AMERICAN NATION

 By Donald J. Fraser

Genre: History

IR Verdict: THE GROWTH AND COLLAPSE OF ONE AMERICAN NATION is an erudite history of the country’s early development as a republic and author Donald J. Fraser traces the leaders, movements and events involved in building the American form of government and politics, and shaping its identity. Fraser’s readable style and scholarship give the volume its vigor.

Read the full review here.

STARGAZER

By David Scott

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: STARGAZER is a book worth reading about a dear bloke worth knowing, and a treasure chest of an autobiography for insights into 20th Century Australian culture and movie industry history.

Read the full review here.

RIPPED AWAY

 By S.D. Christopher

Genre: Science Fiction

IR Verdict: Author S.D. Christopher weaves a careful web of narratives with depth and emotion in RIPPED AWAY (Uncommon Senses #2) an action packed science fiction fantasy packing a wallop in intense suspense. 

Read the full review here.

A PERSONAL BOUNTY

By Markus Matthews

Genre: Fantasy

IR Verdict: A PERSONAL BOUNTY is a fine, satisfying addition to Markus Matthews’ growing contemporary fantasy Bounty series. Along with a lively plot, the greatest strength of this fun new volume lies in Matthews’ introduction of an enemy worthy of his heroic team.

Read the full review here.

TRAIL OF PYRES

By L. James Rice

Genre: Action/Adventure

IR Verdict: TRAIL OF PYRES is a vital part of a dramatic, sweeping fantasy saga set in a rich and beautifully-designed world, with compelling characters and an action-filled plot.

Read the full review here.

THE BLACK SUITCASE MYSTERY

By Gail Elliott Downs

Genre: History

IR Verdict: THE BLACK SUITCASE MYSTERY is not just the heartwarming and well-written true account of one soldier in a vast conflict. It’s a remembrance of them all, and of all that was sacrificed to bring an end to the Nazi regime and the evil it represented.

Read the full review here.

THE ATROPOS MAKER

 By N. J. Lujan

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: THE ATROPOS MAKER is a fast-paced and expertly plotted two-fisted political thriller focusing on corrupt international and domestic organizations, secret weapons, and conspiracies.

Read the full review here.

TALES OF WONDER THE SAGA OF STICKITVILLE

By Richard R. Wyly

Genre: Humor

IR Verdict: TALES OF WONDER THE SAGA OF STICKITVILLE is a hilarious farce set in a small town populated by a delightful cast of weirdos. Though its central mystery sometimes gets lost in the kerfuffle, the sheer absurdity will keep readers turning the pages.

Read the full review here.

A DREAM TO DIE FOR

 By Susan Z Ritz

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal

IR Verdict: In A DREAM TO DIE FOR, a uniquely imaginative debut, author Susan Z. Ritz delivers a wild psychological mystery brimming with intrigue, humor, and female empowerment.

Read the full review here.

WE’RE HERE FOR YOU MY GODDESS

 By Lynda Colucci

Genre: Romance

IR Verdict: Lynda Colucci effortlessly surmounts the thematic and textual challenges unique to the writing of a literary sequel, and with WE’RE HERE FOR YOU MY GODDESS, a strong second effort in Sharon’s story that sets the stage for what could be a multi-volume erotic franchise.

Read the full review here.

THE LONG LOST WAR

By Jeff Walker

Genre: Science Fiction

IR Verdict: Jeff Walker shoots for space opera with THE LONG LOST WAR, but scores something more meaningful than exploding starships by examining the endless march of war and the healing power of love in a simple tale, well told.

Read the full review here.

LOVE & LIES By Ann Hymes

Genre: Women’s Fiction

IR Verdict: LOVE & LIES, a gentle story of a woman who must choose between settling into the mistakes of the past or risking her family for a second chance, is a beautifully-written story of love and family that will charm readers with its appealing heroine and atmospheric setting.

Read the full review here.

PESTILENCE  By Pamela Taylor

Genre: Historical Fiction

IR Verdict: PESTILENCE (Second Son Chronicles Volume 3) by Pamela Taylor is the continuation of her historical fiction series and, on it’s own, a well-written and well thought out book filled with courtly intrigue and drama.

 
Read the full review here.

THE PINEBOX VENDETTA

By Jeff Bond

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict:

Jeff Bond’s lyrical prose, tight pacing, and memorable characters elevate THE PINEBOX VENDETTA, a tale of feuding political families, into a top-tier thriller.
 
Read the full review here.

MORE By Mariah McKenzie

Genre: Sexuality

IR Verdict: With great honesty and bravery, Mariah McKenzie details her life’s spiritual journey—a challenging and rewarding quest that was sparked by an extramarital affair.

Read the full review here.

THE SURVIVOR STORY OF ARNELLE

By Arnelle Cruz

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: Compelling and forceful, THE SURVIVOR STORY OF ARNELLE by Arnelle Cruz might well become essential reading for those interested in the kinds of ordeals other human beings have endured and survived.

Read the full review here.

SINS IN BLUE

By Brian Kaufman

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Brian Kaufman’s SINS IN BLUE demonstrates the power of music, friendship, and following one’s dreams whatever the odds with lively and humorous prose that animate a captivating and well-crafted story.

Read the full review here.

THE PRINCESS OF AENYA

By Nick Alimonos

Genre: Fantasy

IR Verdict: THE PRINCESS OF AENYA draws from fantasy and science fiction to create rich characters, impressive world building, and a multifaceted story, with elements both familiar and refreshingly unique to the avid fantasy reader.

Read the full review here.

 

TEN PAST NOON

By Tucker Lieberman

Genre: Biography

IR Verdict: TEN PAST NOON by Tucker Lieberman is not a book that everyone will necessarily like–or get. But this thoughtful, multi-layered biography might be just the ticket for readers looking to be taken on a journey unlike anything else.

Read the full review here.

THAYER’S RETURN

By HJ Koch

Genre: Poetry

IR Verdict: Part ghost story and part war history, author H.J. Koch intersperses bloody realities with fantastical elements via beautifully-written prose in four parts in THAYER’S RETURN.

Read the full review here.

CARSON CLARE’S TRAIL GUIDE TO AVOIDING DEATH

By Bruce McCandless III, Carson McCandless

Genre: Poetry

IR Verdict: CARSON CLARE’S TRAIL GUIDE TO AVOIDING DEATH is a fun, extraordinarily witty, poetry-based guide to avoiding some of life’s biggest pitfalls, for young and old alike.

Read the full review here.

HOW THE V IS FORMED

By James L. Hayhurst

Genre: Popular Fiction

IR Verdict: For some, HOW THE V IS FORMED will tread too close to the saccharine or twee, but if you’re comfortable with the sentimental, James L. Hayhurst weaves this politically charged yet tender fable of loss and recovery with aplomb.

Read the full review here.

A SINGLE DESPERATE PRAYER

By Ludmila Ritz

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: Although we don’t find out immediately what memoir author Ludmila Ritz’s single desperate prayer is—one of the defining moments of her young life—her gutsy, sensitive writing builds our curiosity until we get there.

Read the full review here.

 

BECOMING AMERICAN 

By Cary D. Lowe

Genre: Politics & Current Events

IR Verdict: Readers may not know Cary D. Lowe’s name, but the California lawyer and Democratic political activist weaves a fascinating and often poignant immigrant story.

Read the full review here.

THE GREEN HOUSE

By Dan Lawton 

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Dan Lawton has written a lovely mystery novel with THE GREEN HOUSE, about love, grief, and family secrets, packed with both surprises and poignant moments, along with a gorgeous crescendo.

Read the full review here.

DOES SHE THINK OF ME

By Cathy Williams-Thrun

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: DOES SHE THINK OF ME by Cathy Williams-Thrun is a resoundingly wonderful, touching, soulful look at the personal issues involved in adopted children and birth parents refinding each other. Keep tissues handy.

Read the full review here.

LEO GRAY AND THE LUNAR ECLIPSE

By K.J. Kruk

Genre: Science Fiction

IR Verdict: LEO GRAY AND THE LUNARY ECLIPSE brings a whimsical, inventive future to life through a young boy’s eyes and takes readers on his adventure to uncover a conspiracy and save the world.

Read the full review here.

Treasure of the Holy Quincunx

By E. T. Ellison

Genre: Science Fiction

IR Verdict: The first in a new series, TREASURE OF THE HOLY QUINCUNX feels rather like Neal Stephenson writing the Maltese Falcon – a funny, fast-paced, science fiction heist and a wild romp of a story!

Read the full review here.

I Will Write Loudly So You Can Hear Me

By Karyn M. Bruce

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: The poetry of I WILL WRITE LOUDLY SO YOU CAN HEAR ME by Karyn M. Bruce is simple but devastating; a lost childhood conveyed in small, lean images so vivid, readers will feel like they are experiencing Bruce’s life alongside her.

Read the full review here.