With more than 125 publishing houses situated in and around Chicago, we believe the Windy City has a thriving, robust, and lively publishing industry—and one that often doesn’t get enough attention. From micro presses and indie publishers to association and education publishers, and from university presses to niche houses, Chicago is home to literally thousands of authors, editors, literary agents, and publishers who work together to publish hundreds of new titles every year. Discovering the books that these folks publish is important to us—and to readers everywhere.

At Chicago Book Review, our goal is to highlight Chicago’s publishing world and the great books that it produces. The mission of Chicago Book Review is to:

  • Review books
    – published by publishers based in Chicago and/or the Midwest,
    – written by authors based in Chicago and/or the Midwest, and/or
    – written about or set in Chicago and/or the surrounding areas.
  • Shine a spotlight on Chicago’s publishing industry, houses, titles, and authors, as well as on other Midwestern publishers, authors, and new titles.
  • Highlight bookstores, authors, literary events, etc., in and around Chicago and the Midwest.

That said, it doesn’t mean we’ll like every book that comes our way, even if we might like the author and the publisher and respect what they are trying to achieve. We strive to publish balanced reviews, and each book will get a rating. Those ratings summarize our thoughts about each title, although, perhaps, in an oversimplified way and without any nuance. Our rating icons could be simplified to mean something like this:

Four-Star Review = Loved it

Three-Star Review = Really liked it

Two-Star Review= Liked it

One-Star Review = Didn’t like it

Zero-Star Review = Hated it


Chicago Book Review was launched in June 2013 by publishing veteran Kelli Christiansen. With more than two decades of experience in the industry, Kelli has spent her entire career in the Chicago area, first as a bookseller with B. Dalton (a long-gone division of Barnes & Noble). She worked as a reporter and city editor for Press Publications before becoming an acquisitions editor, first at Publications International, Ltd./Consumer Guide and then at McGraw-Hill. Following a stint as an executive editor with ABA Publishing (part of the American Bar Association), Kelli launched bibliobibuli professional editorial services, in 2007. She also is the founder of Chicago Publishing Network, a LinkedIn group with more than 1,600 members. An editor, writer, and ghostwriter, her work has appeared in a variety of media, including Book Business Magazine; Carol Stream Press; Chicago Life; Collections & Credit Risk Magazine; Faith, Hope, & Fiction; Midwest Book Review; Sacramento Book Review; and San Francisco Book Review.


4 responses to “About

  1. Congratulations on your new site! I’m sure it will become very valuable to both readers and authors.


  2. I am so excited for you new book fair!!


  3. I heard about Chicago Book Review at the Society of Midland Authors on Feb. 11 and enjoyed meeting founder Kelli Christiansen at the Society public presentation. Great service for readers! I look forward to following Chicago Book Review.


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