JTRB’s Independent Author Poll

About the Podcast & Poll

For enthusiastic and engaged readers, Just the Right Book is a podcast hosted by Roxanne Coady, owner of famous independent bookstore RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, CT. It will help you discover new books and your next read in all genres, give you unique insights into your favorite authors, and bring you up to date with what’s happening in the literary world. Roxanne’s opinions are respected and sought by top authors, publishers, and readers.

For two weeks in November, we let independent authors submit one of their books to us with descriptions (see below.) Now in December, we want our listeners to vote for their favorite book and author. On December 15th, whichever book receives the most votes will get generous exposure in an upcoming episode of our podcast. Authors, you’re encouraged to share the poll with your readers to boost your count!

Please like us on Facebook or subscribe to the show so we can continue to support independent authors in the future. Get a taste for what Just the Right Book is all about with this episode of our expert picks for the holidays.

About the Nominated Books

“The American St. Nick tells the remarkable true story of a handful of American soldiers who during the chaos of war, help bring Christmas back a small Luxembourg town, and unknowingly create a holiday tradition that continues to this very day!”

Buy at RJ Julia

“At dawn, on the day of his execution, Joseph Bateman finds himself reflecting on his life, one filled with poor decisions and evil people. Even his lifelong best friend played a pivotal role in earning Joseph his seat on death row.

A phenomenon occurs as the electricity meant to kill Joseph is sent through him, and his essence is ripped from the body he has known his entire life and thrown into a new one. Only the body he now inhabits isn’t new at all; it is the body of a person who lived over a hundred years before Joseph’s birth.

Now living in an unfamiliar era of history and trapped inside a foreign body, Joseph learns he has been sent back for a reason: to earn redemption for his damned soul and to find a sense of peace he has never known. All he needs to do to get there is to prevent one of history’s most infamous murders.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“When a disgraced businessman is nearly decapitated in a seedy restaurant, the blood trail leads reporter Luke Murphy to a series of dark secrets, concealed for decades in the New Mexico desert.

Luke Murphy returned to Farmington, New Mexico to care for his ailing father, but a year later, his old man is dead, and Luke has stuck around. Working for the local newspaper, he’s quickly learning that reporting the news in his old hometown often means reading between the lines of what people are willing to share with him on the record and off. But there’s nothing like a murder to get people talking…

While covering a crime scene on the outskirts of town, Luke unwittingly stumbles onto a story forty years in the making. Whispered secrets suggest a cover-up spearheaded by the town’s former mayor, a conspiracy involving a hometown hero, and a growing scandal known to just a handful of people – including Luke’s late father. The farther Luke drills down, the harder the town’s power-players fight to conceal the truth. It’s a story as old as print, a tale of politics, greed, and murder, simmering under the hot sun in the American Southwest.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.

Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.

As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“Undercover and using moves she didn’t learn at the Detroit Police Academy, Harlee O’Conner races to identify the cold case murderer who has struck again. In this Stephanie Plum meets Columbo humorous mystery, Harlee secures a job at the gentlemen’s club where the victim worked. Now a secret agent (and loving how cool that sounds), she quickly befriends her new boss and co-workers in a clandestine attempt to interrogate them. Assuming they’re all unaware she’s an undercover detective, Harlee begins socializing with the suspects outside of work… until the killer learns of her double identity.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“Sworn to protect the secrets of their race, marshals are trained to police Weeia hiding among humans. After completing her advanced marshal training, Danni is blown away by her new plum assignment to Paris. But, all is not well in the City of Lights; the offices are a shambles, her boss is apathetic, and her predecessors died under mysterious circumstances; it’s almost like somebody doesn’t want the law there. Despite that she risks her life in the seedy underworld of gypsies and tramps to search for a missing Weeia man.”

“Jonathan is headed to sixth grade but without his best friend. His big brother has armed him with a warning of what to expect, but it’s not enough to protect him from the bullies and labels. When CORE requires Jonathan to come up with a social project to help the school, he tries to pull out all of the stops to motivate the kids to let go of labels. It’s a big plan that backfires in a big way.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“Take a journey… into the disjointed world of Betts Keating as she tells her story from the set to her Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel. From the height of her sensational arrival in New York City, to her painful fall into a grief induced darkness, Betts weaves an unexpected narrative of humor and tragedy worthy of any memoir. Both funny and dark, this story covers a multitude of topics: debilitating injuries, relocation adventures, the reluctant embrace of all things domestic, financial distress, bug infestations, a crisis of faith, a child with a major medial condition, and tiny pink bathrooms, to name a few. Grab your popcorn, find a comfortable chair, and get ready to read/watch the story unfold.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“Read before or during aging! More fun than a colonoscopy and more truthy than the evening news.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“When a hurricane jogs off course, quaint Pleasant Palms Trailer Park isn’t the only thing ripped apart. Right in front of Hester Murphy’s eyes is the unbearable evidence of who her husband Al really is. As a young English teacher, Hester was drawn to sexy Alexander Murphy like a moth to a flame. With her perception clouded by lust and anxious to have a family of her own, Hester overlooked the cracks in Al’s veneer and committed herself to him. Now the retired teacher begins to piece together the darkest of her husband’s secrets, while memories of her own transgressions are driving her mad. She finds her only reprieve in her treasured books, but sometimes even the words of her beloved writers are no consolation. In the end, does Hester have the fortitude to bring the scandalous facts about Al into the light of day, or will she once again choose the coward’s way out and sweep yet another horror under the carpet? This is the first book of the Dangerous Things Trilogy.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“For many years, D. Margaret Hoffman taught other people to write. And now, a last, the writing teacher has become the writer. In Saving Our Lives: Volume One–Essays to Inspire the Writer in YOU, Hoffman spills her life stories and her writing secrets. If you want to write, this is the book that will inspire you to finally do it. Hoffman’s essays will encourage you to pay attention to the life you live, to admire the details, to find the fun. With humor and heart, they’ll convince you that your life, too, is worth saving–one essay at a time.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“The true story of an airline crew wrongly blamed for a near-fatal accident and the captain’s decades-long battle to clear his name.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“Fez Bradlee, at the age of 52, is struggling with a crumbling marriage, financial ruin, and a teenage daughter, Hazel, who is becoming more and more withdrawn.  Then Fez is hit with a major shock; she has an older sister, Penny, about whom she never knew, who was institutionalized at the age of four because of an extremely low IQ. Penny has just experienced a devastating loss of her own, and is also shocked to learn that she has a sister, with whom she’ll soon come to live.  Hazel, once a prize student, is experiencing a confusing spiral into drugs and alcohol, one that she has largely managed to keep her preoccupied parents from noticing until a harrowing event exposes all of the fault lines in this family.

Told from the first person point-of-view of all three women, Hazel, Penny and Fez must confront their demons, unravel family secrets and, ultimately learn that their most important family legacy is the tenacity to face and build their futures anew.”

Buy at RJ Julia

Riffing on noir and told in a series of vignettes, Sid Sanford Lives! douses humanistic themes—love, loss, and family—in bourbon, shoves them in the barrel of a gun, and shoots.

This emotionally-charged debut is sure to keep readers up late into the night to find out who is left standing. Sid Sanford always follows a path, just not his own. From backyard Wiffle ball games to New York City skyscrapers, Sid finds triumph and pain in equal measure during his uncertain, and at times violent, thrust into manhood.

A colorful, loyal family, a plethora of eccentric friends, and a few star-crossed soulmates highlight his journey, but it’s ultimately up to Sid whether his destiny fulfills his potential or drowns in the bottom of a bottle.”

Buy at RJ Julia

Smothered is an epistolary mystery that early reviewers have called ‘an intriguing murder mystery, crafted in a unique style, gripping and hugely entertaining.’  Fifteen years ago, Kitty Holbrooke was set to be the greatest child star since Shirley Temple. Days after completing her debut film, the young girl was kidnapped from her home in the middle of the night. The next day, a rambling ransom note appeared in the family’s mailbox, but as the family scrambled to gather the money, police discovered Kitty’s body.

Due to the media circus surrounding the case, changing testimony from key witnesses, and police missteps, lead detective Andrea Bennett was never able to bring Kitty’s killer to justice, and the case that rocked a nation went cold. Today, an online tabloid has uncovered Kitty Holbrooke’s shocking case files including never-before-seen police interviews, confidential emails, secret text messages, and sealed grand jury transcripts. The Internet explodes as fans devour and comment on each piece of new evidence, desperately hoping that they, too, can help solve the case. Loosely inspired by the JonBenet Ramsey case, this thrilling mystery will keep readers guessing until the very end.”

“Mary is a naïve twenty year old in 1945 when her high school sweetheart, Jack, returns to their small Indiana steel town wounded from World War II and makes her his bride. While Jack struggles to find his place in the world, Mary begins her own journey of self-discovery. As the years and letters unfold, Mary and Jack have five children, including their first-born son, Junior who is not “right,” an issue that contributes to the turmoil in their marriage and impacts their lives in unforeseen ways. Mary’s Christmas letters track her children from toddling to adulthood, while also commenting on her marriage, her friendships, and the world around her– advances in technology, the dawn of the nuclear age, the Cuban Missile Crisis, The Cold War, Vietnam, Woodstock, and more. Through disappointments, triumphs, dark moments of doubt and suspicion, loss of loved ones, and the lessons learned from hard experience, Mary’s Christmas letters are a constant in an uncertain world. A part of the ritual of Christmas, these letters are a touchstone from which Mary takes strength and comfort.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“1986 is the year everything blew apart … Twelve-year-old tomboy Cassie lives a pretty boring life in small-town Black Creek, Arkansas, until her mom and dad divorce, throwing her into poverty and shattering her sheltered life. Then the rich, elderly Henson sisters take pity on her, taking her under their wings and into the church. Except the handsome, charming new preacher has something strange going on in his shed. When Cassie starts snooping around his property looking for her lost dog, she discovers something so awful, no one will believe her – and that may put her own life in danger.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“Three missing persons cases over a two-year period collide in this novel. The most recent person gone missing, Seth Tryton, has friends in low places that won’t let the case stand as is. Placing his freedom in peril, fugitive from the law, Gerald Hodges, returns to Minnesota to help find out what happened. A couple of associates join him as they roam the streets of Duluth and travel the rugged North Shore in search of clues to his disappearance. They discover that Peter Karonen, a local man who has lost everything important in his life—his wife to cancer, and a daughter mired in a persistent vegetative state. His dark journey leads him on a collision course with Gerald Hodges and his crew. Complicating matters, the local police discover that Hodges is in the vicinity and pursue him with vigor. Time is running out as Hodges must not only find his friend, but dodge the police in the process.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“A former American soldier suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A gorgeous Romanian stripper.
A fascinating Italian city.
A priceless painting.
A murder.

The Salome Effect is a story of suffering and redemption.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“Eighteen-year-old Raquel isn’t eighteen anymore.

During Raquel’s first semester of college, she witnesses the end of the world, only to wake up in her old room at her parent’s house two years in the past. Even worse, it seems she’s the only who remembers. Half convinced she’s crazy, her first instinct is to pretend it was all a dream.

That almost works until Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always thought was a loser, tells her he remembers the catastrophe too. Soon, they both discover new abilities they have as a result. Able to understand any language and teleport through time and space, Raquel and Chris decide to find others who remember the end of the world and figure out what happened.

They start by exploring previous extinction events throughout Earth’s history. If they can figure out what caused the end of their world, maybe they can stop it.”

Buy at RJ Julia

“After her father’s death in a plane crash, 16-year-old Miranda Woodward’s life begins to unravel. On her birthday she receives a mysterious gift: a small wooden box containing a spool of gossamer golden thread, left behind by her now-deceased father, which begins a chain of events that soon leave her former life in chaos. Her pet cat is replaced with another, though her mother denies noticing a difference; her teachers don’t have her on their roll call at school, even her closest friends forget who she is. When her mother vanishes into thin air, Miranda becomes desperate for answers. She follows clues to meet a man known only as the Tailor. With his help, she must find a way to fix her life before it’s too late.”

Buy at RJ Julia

In a world where children do too much, what if – for a whole summer – they did nothing at all?

Facing summer with her two boys, ages ten and seven, Pam Lobley was sifting through signups for swim team, rec camp, night camp, scout camp, and enrichment classes. Overwhelmed, she asked her sons what they wanted to do during summer: “Soccer? Zoo School? Little Prodigy’s Art Club?”  “Why can’t we just play?” they asked.

A summer with no scheduled activities at all . . . The thought was tempting, but was it possible?  It would be like something out of the 1950s. Could they really have a summer like that?

They could.  With wit and candor, Pam writes about the joys and the frustrations of those shapeless days and most importantly, how to stop time once in a while and just play.

Buy at RJ Julia