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Best Reviewed Books — APRIL

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

 By Raj Arneja

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: Raj Arneja’s LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: A Mother’s Journey to Adoption is a well-written heart wrenching and captivating memoir about the journey to finding and nurturing family.

Read the full review here.

DECIDUOUS

By Michael Devendorf

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: Michael Devendorf’s DECIDUOUS manages to perfectly balance drama and mystery with touches of horror and fantasy in a book that suggests the skills of a veteran storyteller. 

Read the full review here.

CYBERJUTSU

By Ben McCarty

Genre: Gift/Holiday/ Specialty

IR Verdict: CYBERJUTSU is a very well researched and clearly organized book that uses Japanese history quite cleverly to illustrate modern cybersecurity problems, suggesting ways to counter technological invaders and hackers based on techniques used to defend castles against attacks by clever and resourceful ninja.

Read the full review here.

THE KING OF NIGHTMARE

By A. Rogers

Genre: Fantasy

IR Verdict: Underpinned by lush descriptive language that can convey quiet charm or abject horror at an epic scale, KING OF NIGHTMARE effectively balances the intimate and the alien.

Read the full review here.

THE TOPOGRAPHY OF HIDDEN STORIES

By Julia MacDonnell

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Julia MacDonnell uses her rich writing style to highlight her understanding of characterization and the complex nature of human relationships in every story featured in THE TOPOGRAPHY OF HIDDEN STORIES, a collection that will delight any reader who approaches life from a feminist perspective.

Read the full review here.

SHADOWS IN THE LIGHT

By Sophie Shepherd

Genre: Young Adult

IR Verdict: Author Sophie Shepherd’s fascinating and entertaining debut novel, SHADOWS IN THE LIGHT convincingly depicts a dystopian nation in which 16-year-old Rowan Cole goes rogue to find personal fulfillment and subdue the dark forces of a seemingly idyllic world.

Read the full review here.

ALEX SIX

 By Vince Taplin

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: Vince Taplin’s ALEX SIX is a true page-turner told at lightening fast speed. Chock full of twists and turns, its crazy ride includes insane characters. And as good as the story is, the writing is even better.

Read the full review here.

BEOWULF: A Verse Translation from the Anglo-Saxon

By Andrew B. F. Carnabuci

Genre: Poetry

IR Verdict: It takes some work to fully comprehend BEOWULF: A Verse Translation from the Anglo-Saxon, but readers will be rewarded with a translation that brings the poetry back to this archaic masterwork.

Read the full review here.

HITS, HEATHENS, AND HIPPOS

 By Marty Essen

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: With thought-provoking explorations into making peace with family members who adhere to differing religious values, tales of his time as a talent agent, and escapades with gigantic rainforest monitor lizards–there is much to enjoy in Marty Essen’s memoir HITS, HEATHENS, AND HIPPOS.

Read the full review here.

HORATIO’S PROMISE

By D. Clark Gill

Genre: Historical Fiction

IR Verdict: HORATIO’S PROMISE has a rich setting, an interesting and compelling protagonist, and layer upon layer of conflict, making it the perfect mystery novel for those who appreciate flawed characters and small town dramas.

Read the full review here.

KARIK’S FIRST BATTLE

By Evan Oliver

Genre: Fantasy

IR Verdict: In a short span of less than 90 pages, Evan Oliver’s KARIK’S FIRST BATTLE succeeds in creating a comprehensive fantasy world led by a worthy hero supported by a diverse cast of well-rounded characters; the book’s only flaw is that it ends too soon.

Read the full review here.

THE PATH OF THE TAPIR

By Michael Jarvis

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Michael Jarvis’s THE PATH OF THE TAPIR is a morally complex mystery-thriller with a laid-back tropical setting best served with a Piña Colada.

Read the full review here.

THROUGH A FOREST OF STARS

By David C. Jeffrey

Genre: Science Fiction

IR Verdict: David C. Jeffrey’s inventive, intricate plots and world creation in THROUGH A FOREST OF STARS are definitely worth exploration in this first series volume, as the characters and plots are both complex and fascinating.

Read the full review here.

LOST ON THE EDGE OF ETERNITY

By Jonathan Floyd

Genre: Young Adult

IR Verdict: Jonathan Floyd’s LOST ON THE EDGE OF ETERNITY, a story of regret laced with otherworldly vibes, is an enrapturing and playful piece of fiction that achieves a combination of wit and wisdom, along with enjoyable, easy-read charm.

Read the full review here.

LINES IN THE SAND

By F. Scott Service

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: LINES IN THE SAND is a profound, thought-provoking and cerebral chronicle of one man’s soul-destroying tour of duty in Iraq and how he managed to overcome its legacy of chaos.

Read the full review here.

ELLIPSIS

By Kristy McGinnis

Genres: Literary, Women’s Fiction

IR Verdict: Kristy McGinnis’ novel ELLIPSIS is in turns touching, suspenseful, and reflective as it moves through the highs and lows of a young woman’s unexpected journey into motherhood.

Read the full review here.

WADE

By J.A. Carter-Winward

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Part “Portnoy’s Complaint”, part “The Catcher in the Rye”, WADE follows its buttoned-up title character through a series eye-opening and heart-wrenching relationship mishaps in a brilliantly crafted, engaging and thought-provoking story of passion and need.

Read the full review here.

SACRED LIFE

By Bedri Cag Cetin Ph.D.

Genre: Self-Help

IR Verdict: Lucid, informative and user-friendly from the first page, SACRED LIFE by Bedri Cag Cetin Ph.D. is a nourishing and highly recommended spiritual self-help book.

Read the full review here.

BALCONY VIEW, a 9/11 Diary

By Julia Frey

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: BALCONY VIEW is a raw and honest account from Julia Frey of dealing with the aftermath of 9/11 in her Battery Park City apartment across the street from Ground Zero, and it brilliantly documents an inner strength and a willingness to fight adversity that she didn’t know she had before.

Read the full review here.
 

THE CONNUBIAL CORPSE

By Thomas J. Thorson

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: THE CONNUBIAL CORPSE is a mystery-as-entertainment, featuring a bizarre menagerie of human characters, an out-there crime, and lots of local color.

Read the full review here.

RAISING, AND LOSING, MY REMARKABLE TEENAGE MOTHER

By Stacey Aaronson

Genres: Memoir

IR Verdict:

Absorbing in its exploration of how people’s choices shape–not only their relationships, but also how their life journey unfolds–Stacey Aaronson’s RAISING, AND LOSING, MY REMARKABLE TEENAGE MOTHER is a memoir worth relishing.
 
Read the full review here.

THE SOLUNA’S WAY

By Anna Hodges Oginsky

Genre: Middle Grade

IR Verdict: A hopeful science fiction/fantasy adventure, THE SOLUNA’S WAY offers positive messages of compassion and kindness while tackling the nuances of grief and effective communication skills for middle grade readers.

Read the full review here.

FALL FROM GRACE

By Susan J Kraus

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: FALL FROM GRACE is an expertly written, psychological thriller that delivers a brilliantly tense and gripping read from beginning to end.

Read the full review here.

MY NAME IS NOT ROSLYN JAMES

By Kerri McLoone

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: A high-stakes quest set against the dreamy backdrop of Rome, MY NAME IS NOT ROSLYN JAMES delivers a powerful and emotionally searing magical battle that builds to a jaw-dropping final twist.

Read the full review here.

ENGAGE AT DAWN: Seize and Destroy

By Edward Hochsmann

Genre: Science Fiction

IR Verdict: The second book in Edward M. Hochsmann’s series charting the adventures of Ben Wyporek and the crew of the Kauai, ENGAGE AT DAWN: Seize and Destroy sees more high stakes encounters with extraterrestrials, and a dangerous mission to stop the aliens’ technology from falling into the wrong hands in engaging, original and imaginative story with a very cinematic feel. 

Read the full review here.

ARAYA

By E. Detorres

Genre: Fantasy

IR Verdict: E. Detorres builds an immersive and fantastical world in ARAYA, thrilling readers while also demonstrating the fragile nature of the human mind, the importance of emotional resilience.

Read the full review here.

MERMAID OF VENICE

By Jincey Lumpkin

Genre: Fantasy

IR Verdict: MERMAID OF VENICE is an electrifying series starter that immerses readers in a world filled with glamor, sex, murder, and mermaids.

Read the full review here.

OPEN ROAD

By TW Neal

Genre: Memoir

IR Verdict: With figurative language masterfully knitted into the prose, TW Neal’s memoir OPEN ROAD invites readers to engage in the writer’s personal journey and become enveloped in a compelling story of growth that has all the elements one might also expect to find in a good work of fiction.

Read the full review here.

THE IMPORTANCE OF NOW

By Paul Schumacher

Genre: Popular Fiction

IR Verdict: THE IMPORTANCE OF NOW, a story about overcoming the past and appreciating the present, is a heartwarming tale of redemption and forgiveness that is both emotional and emotionally charged. 

Read the full review here.

THE COLORLESS WOMB

By Kimberly Gowdy

Genre: Women’s Fiction

IR Verdict: THE COLORLESS WOMB by Kimberly Gowdy plumbs the depths of the emotional and physical complexities of infertility and how they are unexpectedly intensified by issues of race in a riveting story that will inspire hope in anyone struggling to have children.

Read the full review here.

THE BEST IS YET TO COME

By Tara R. Alemany

Genre: Inspirational/Spiritual

IR Verdict: THE BEST IS YET TO COME by Tara R. Alemany is a gloriously earnest, inspiring and hopeful story about trusting in God’s Love, even when human trials seem almost too great.

Read the full review here.

ELLIE AND HER EMOTIONAL DRAGONS

By Joseph Goodrich

Genre: Children’s (Early to intermediate readers)

IR Verdict: ELLIE’S EMOTIONAL DRAGONS: ELLIE’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL is a cute and colorful book that offers children a creative way to handle their emotions, both pleasant and uncomfortable.

Read the full review here.

CHLOE AFLOAT

By Geraldine Burrows

Genre: Young Adult

IR Verdict: CHLOE AFLOAT  is a spectacular and page-turning contemporary young adult novel with a fierce main character that meshes well with the author’s witty writing style and understanding of teenage conflicts and characterization. 

Read the full review here.

THE VOW THAT TWISTED FATE

By Katherine D. Graham

Genre: Fantasy

IR Verdict: With a refreshing new take on the witches and gnomes and days of future past genre, Katherine D. Graham’s THE VOW THAT TWISTED FATE provides a rousing narrative that itself provides the immersive escapism so treasured fans of the genre.

Read the full review here.

LOVE IS NEVER LOST

By Katy Regnery

Genre: Romance

IR Verdict: Katy Regnery’s LOVE IS NEVER LOST is a sweet, romantic slow-burn page-turner featuring an interesting fairytale twist.

Read the full review here.

THE FINDLINGS

By Joanne Wilshin

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Joanne Wilshin’s THE FINDLINGS is an emotional exploration of the impact of adoption on identity. Through its believable and struggling characters, readers are able to understand the complexity of family in all of its forms.

Read the full review here.