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January 23, 2017

Welcome to our new roundup of the best-reviewed self-published titles from the past month. We kick things off with historical fiction, a fantasy adventure, a memoir of the AIDS epidemic, and a psychedelic tale about Abe Lincoln. 

★ Isabella and the Tale of the Unanswered Question

Linda Whittaker

Plot: This YA-style fantasy follows the adventures of 11-year-old Isabella as she ventures to a place where animals speak and dangers lurk.

PW’s Takeaway: Whittaker delivers wisdom with style in this brilliant examination of the consequences of choices, and readers may begin to question their own deepest secrets and dreams.

Comparable Titles: Chronicles of Narnia; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Sample Line: Long ago in a forgotten land and forgotten time lived a little girl in a forgotten village.

Read the review.

★ Forest Child

Heather Day Gilbert

Plot: In this second book in her Vikings of the New World Saga, Gilbert focuses on Freydis, the daughter of Eirik the Red, and the expedition she led with two Icelandic traders to Vinland.

PW’s Takeaway: Gilbert deftly fleshes out Freydis’s struggle while remaining true to the historical record.... Gilbert crafts an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.

Comparable Titles: The Far Traveler; Viking: The Green Land

Sample Line: But there will be no redemption for me. I will become the most unmerciful of murderers. I accept my fate.

Read the review.

The Sea Is Quiet Tonight

Michael H. Ward

Plot: An intimate memoir of the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

PW’s Takeaway: Ward never hesitates when peering into the abyss of this traumatic time.... A courageous and necessary addition to the canon of AIDS literature.

Comparable Titles: Borrowed Time; Body Counts

Read the review.

Abe Lincoln on Acid

Brian Anthony & Bill Walker

Plot: The immortal ex-president battles J. Edgar Hoover during the Summer of Love.

PW’s Takeaway: Readers will delight in this fun, frivolous indulgence.

Comparable Titles: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Read the review.

Painted Trillium

Robert Brandt

Plot: A portrait of the struggles of a young woman living in Union-occupied Tennessee during the Civil War.

PW’s Takeaway: Brandt explores the complexities of the Civil War, handling war, race, and gender with brutal honesty.

Comparable Titles: Cold Mountain; The March

Read the review.