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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book Reviews

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The US Review of Books connects authors with professional book reviewers and places their book reviews in front of 17,000 subscribers to our free monthly newsletter of fiction book reviews and nonfiction book reviews. Learn why our publication is different than most others, or read author and publisher testimonials about the USR.

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Focus Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter
by Peter Singer
Princeton University Press


"Once we start to question our evolved and culturally transmitted intuitive responses to moral issues, utilitarianism is, I believe, the most defensible ethical view..."

Peter Singer, bioethics professor and prolific essayist, has assembled a collection of writings on ethics. Sharing his views for decades, there are few topics, if any, this modern thinker has not touched upon. To cover the breadth of them in this review would be futile. While his point of view might be controversial to opposing thought, his words are vital in a society sorely lacking in civil public discourse. Regardless of our individual beliefs, it is essential that we consider arguments of focused and reasoned philosophers. In a time of swords and blood, thinkers like Singer are the antidote. ... (read more)

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Crimes and Healing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Let's Make Our World Better: How Politics and Religion Stand in the Way
by Warren William Luce
Green Ivy Publishing


"We all hope for a better and peaceful world. Hope springs eternal in the human heart, but we need to understand it is love that will bring it to fruition."

In examining both politics and religion, the book begins with an Introduction, is then divided into two parts: Part I Politics and Part II Religion. Within these two parts are 21 chapters, which are then followed by a Reference Index which is mostly a listing of Biblical references. Part I chapters include our political atmosphere, how to curb terrorism; health care; our national debt; the economy and jobs; and national security. It also examines immigration reform, Social Security, the Postal System, and solutions for the Middle East. Part II focuses on religion as a barrier; the nature of the world; the existence and the nature of God; and the nature of man. The final chapters include as we think so we are; materialism vs. spirituality; those who experience spiritual events; the joy of death; health and healing; and the conclusion. ... (read more)

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Of Men and Spirit

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

God and the gods
by Genesis T. Yengoh
Outskirts Press


"Death celebrations, like other activities, have morphed to reflect the dualism that penetrates the very fabric of social and cultural life in Oku."

The future looks very bright indeed for Nsiemboh Ngoske. Unlike so many of his colleagues, who seem to spend their time looking for ways to leave the job early, he is a dedicated government employee who takes pride in doing his best on a project. Such diligence does not go unnoticed for long, and soon Nsiemboh finds himself rising in the ranks and being given more and more responsibility. As the firstborn son, he also knows his duty to his family, so in addition to providing for his wife and children he generously passes much of his financial gains to his parents and siblings. ... (read more)

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Classy and Romantic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Go Down Swinging: Erotic Romance for Professional Women
by J. Ellis
J.M. Erickson


"He prefers women over forty-five years old who are articulate, intelligent and bright working professionals in need of attention and fun. Be careful ladies, Jett is addictive and you will want to take him home!"

There is nothing sexier than a well-written adult story. This book has it all: infidelity, sex, emotional drama, soul searching, and revenge. Ellis grasps the reader’s imagination with a gripping, heart-wrenching tale of infidelity, descriptive sex, and emotional torment. The writing is intense and slick with erotically vivid language. ... The novellas’ main character, Carlos, faces the reality of a failing marriage that he thought was built on love, but was in fact build on lust, wealth, and power. After returning early from a business trip to surprise his wife a day before their anniversary, Carlos is devastated when he arrives home and hears his wife, Dr. Jessica Davenport, having sex with another man. He is furious and wants to harm his wife and her lover. ... (read more)

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To Live Again... and Again

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

They'll Never Die
by Don Calmus
Fulton Books


"'Do you fellows want to live as long as civilization on earth exists?' Dalton said in precise unhurried words, while smoothing down his thick crop of silver hair. "

It's the 22nd Century and people no longer need to die—at least that is what John Dalton, a retired billionaire, wants to prove. After convincing his friends, all of whom are also past their prime years and billionaires, to join him, the men seek to clone their DNA while retaining their memory. The Reborn Project, as Dalton calls it, is not only morally questionable, but illegal. Still, the men press on, finding a way to take over the financially strapped IMS (The Institute of Medical Science). After a few missteps, John Daltons' reborn operation is a success and his old memory is placed into a younger clone, JD Dalton. But not everyone is happy about the Reborn Project and soon JD must deal with death threats. ... (read more)

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True Change

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Your Behavior: Understanding and Changing the Things You Do
by Richard H. Pfau
Paragon House


"Knowing that what you perceive is a construct of your brain may help you realize that different people often perceive reality differently. As a result of their differing perceptions, they may act differently. Furthermore, you can change how you view the world, to some extent at least -- a realization that if acted upon, can change your life for the better."

There are many self-help books out there, and many focus on only one aspect of your behavior: Become a more motivated person, find true love, stop overeating, etc. Few books examine the human being as a complex mechanism, and fewer still take the time to understand the underlying causes for our behavior. Your Behavior spends only one chapter on explaining how to change your behavior, with a majority of the book focused on explaining why you act the way you do. The result is a brilliantly organized trove of knowledge that will leave readers with a better understanding of what makes us tick. ... (read more)

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Taking Care

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Treasure of the Magical Mine Moppets
by K.J. Blocker
Mindstir Media


"And that would mean that Withers was both crooked and intelligent, a terrible combination. It was easier when criminals were stupid."

If one were categorizing, Blocker’s book would probably fall into what’s often known as middle grade fiction—fiction that’s best read and enjoyed by children somewhere in the age range of 8 to 12. That certainly doesn’t mean that younger kids wouldn’t enjoy it as well, particularly if the book is read to or with them. In fact, time being spent between parents and children is at the heart of this fantasy adventure, which is grounded in real world scenarios. ... (read more)

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To Live Forever

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Diary of an Immortal (1945 - 1959)
by David J. Castello
Werewolf Publishing


"We'd also heard reports from the hordes of refugees streaming westward towards us about medical experiments and medieval style torture; stories almost too fantastical to believe."

The story is written in first person by Steven Ronson, who begins his tale of being a U.S. Army medic during World War II and experiencing the horrors of Nazi Germany, including the freeing of the Dachau concentration camp. The first chapter sets the stage for a fascinating journey for Steven—from the hell of the war to the beginning of his life as an immortal human being. For when he was in Germany, the troop discovered a treasure trove of Nazi goods in a hideout. While others looted for souvenirs and money, he read about the providence of a box of pills, pills which were meant for Hitler in order to dominate the world with immortal, super Aryan beings. ... (read more)

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The DOXA Method for Self-Understanding

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Passion Spirit Purpose: 3 Formulas to Introduce the DOXA Method to Empower You to Love Your Life
by Ana Weber
Balboa Press


"Every puzzle we encounter, every challenge that calls for our creativity, lets us build part of a new foundation of self-esteem and self-love as we take ownership of our actions and solve the mystery."

In 157 pages, twenty-two chapters, an appendix, and endnotes, the author explores how to grow through a sense of empowerment. The initial chapter, which focuses on using the DOXA way, sets the stage for the rest of the book. DOXA is about Desire, Outstanding, Xing, out the impossible, and Allowing you to be you. This chapter leads to others on mysteries, desire, and living in the now of DOXA. Other chapters include your purpose, intentions, learning and growing, freedom, your metaphorical grocery bag regarding taking an inventory of your day, and a cautionary tale regarding relationships. ... (read more)

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In This Hosue

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Ostermann House
by J. R. Klein
CreateSpeace


"The room was bathed in the thin evening light that came in through the window, filling it with an eerie glow."

If you’re a fan of thrillers, mysteries, or ghost stories, chances are you’ll be intrigued with this novel that could easily find a home in any of those genres. It weaves its way from one inexplicable situation to another while constantly seeming to have its feet planted squarely on dusty Texas dirt. ... (read more)

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Global Forest Concerns

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Global Environmental Awareness on Climate Change: Forest Protection: Wildfire Science Manual, Volume I, Part I
by Dr. Andreas Tertey Gboloo
Mindstir Media


"The future of our climate largely depends on essential carbon-guzzling forests. The forests are the key stores and facilitate in the sequestration of carbon compounds on the planet."

Gboloo recognizes that protecting our planet from the devastation of wildfires is a daunting task. Our forests are vital for preserving life on Earth, yet millions of acres succumb to the flames annually. With this sobering fact in mind, the author has brought his extensive education and years of related experience—”including working in Africa as a United Nations consultant in forest fire prevention and control—to bear in creating a comprehensive manual too address the problem. ... (read more)

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Help You Grow

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Night Blooming Jasmine in Your Heart
by Marie Helena
Dawn Light Press


"We live on a verdant, lush planet of infinite possibility. We are surrounded by fascinating individuals, each with his or her own preferences, experiences, values, feelings. Everyone has a story to tell."

Through a concise collection of elegant, narrative prose, this mystic-themed guide beckons the reader to amend his or her way of approaching daily challenges by making a psychological shift in thinking. Revolving around the representation of the jasmine plant, whose blossoms open in darkness, each chapter serves as a kaleidoscope of poignant, inspirational messages. The opening passage introduces the premise of discovering the beauty within oneself when one chooses to recognize and appreciate the existence of beauty in all things. This initial chapter sets the pace of the book, which persuades the reader to examine each word with precision in order to engage in an emotional exploration of self. ... (read more)

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Protecting Our Forests

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Global Environmental Awareness on Climate Change: Forest Protection: Wildfire Science Manual, Volume I, Part II
by Dr. Andreas Tertey Gboloo
Mindstir Media


"We should not look for excuses but look for how we can mobilize our people and governments... a journey of a thousand miles, starts with a step."

Scientifically proven facts are indisputable, but that hasn't stopped climate change deniers from trying. Much of the controversy regarding climate change stems from the recalcitrance of corporations to adhere to stricter emissions standards, which, consequently, is born of the fear of lower profits. Dr. Gboloo argues in favor of a different approach that doesn't undermine private sector profits, but does have the potential to make a major impact on the future of the planet.... (read more)

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Crucible Poland

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Jew: Novel Based on a True Story
by Domenik Poleski
Xlibris


"We are Jews, and always will be, and we don’t have it written on our foreheads, and we don’t behave differently than anybody else."

Teenager Alek Brodski and his mother, the poor widow Zofia, live in a remote Polish village in the politically fraught 1960s. Everyone knows everyone else's business and knows that the two are the only Jews in town. When Alex, a loner who tries to avoid trouble, is set upon and beaten up by three boys, Zofia seeks justice from the fanatical Marxist police chief who offers only lies and evasions. Kindly Christian Maria Pavloska, who witnessed the incident, begins to help and counsel Zofia. Alex, intelligent and artistically talented but tormented by adolescent fears and fantasies, meets Ela, a young prostitute, when she speaks out to defend him from yet another attack. Ela returns to high school in hopes of seeing Alek and getting his help to study and improve her miserable life. ... (read more)

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Poems of Intensity

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Thesaurus of Separation
by Tim Mayo
Phoenicia Publishing


"it was definitely there
that I learned how easy it was,
among strangers, to let one’s grief
get in the way of another’s."

This poignant volume is an award-winning collection of poems by Mayo, a man who has personally experienced the pain of separation throughout his lifetime. As a child, he lost parents, family, youth, and American innocence; later as an adult he endured the death of his partner. Perhaps the graphic image used to separate sections throughout the book represents a lock of a hair kept to remember. ... (read more)

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True Understanding

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Theodore and the Enchanted Bookstore: Tale of the Spectacular Spectacles
by K. Kibbee
Corgi Bits, a Incorgnito Publishing Press


"Theodore whimpered and let the floor numb his belly until sleep took him."

Theodore is a young corgi who loves his owner despite being somewhat of a klutz. When his owner has a child of her own, she becomes impatient and distant with Theodore, keeping him in her garage before eventually just giving him away to a kennel. Separated from the ones he loves, Theodore becomes despondent and refuses to eat until a teenage boy and a kindly bookstore owner take notice of him. Sam, the man who owns the bookstore, adopts Theodore in order to add some livelihood and companionship to his store, but soon learns that Theodore's clumsiness could be a potential problem for him. During a reading session with some children, one of the little girls realizes that the reason Theodore is always bumping into things is because he has poor eyesight, so Sam begins to search for a tiny pair of glasses to help his new friend. ... (read more)

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A Riveting Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Damascus Cover (The Jerusalem Spy Series Book 1)
by Howard Kaplan
Kaplan Inc.


"Pain would follow, excruciating pain, and then if he was lucky, a quick death. But spies, Ari knew from experience, rarely bumped into luck."

Spy thrillers require analytical discipline and creative risk-taking. Fortunately, both the left side of the author’s brain and the right are clicking on all cylinders in this intellectually stimulating and emotionally compelling set piece. It torments with the moral conundrums of le Carré, pulses with the action of Ludlum, and haunts with the guilt of Graham Greene. ... (read more)

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Karma Without Culpability

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Struth the Bloody Truth
by Iarn Pernell
Xlibris


"What I'm really trying to convey to you, the reader of this small book is that nothing is ever out of place and there is never anything to feel guilt over."

In his presentation regarding astrology, the author’s book consists of 12 chapters and an index. Pernell begins his treatise with a focus on science and his unique view of truth—the truth about life, the universe, and our part in this universal system. On the subject of karma, the book states that there is no such thing as coincidence, holding forth the view that science can prove the existence of an energy which surrounds all of human consciousness and which is in itself human consciousness. The book also explores perceived difficulties with religion and Biblical stories and makes a prediction that on January 13, 2020, the stock market will crash. ... (read more)

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Mindful and Harmonious

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Neuroscience of Mind Empowerment: Epigenetics, Neuroplasticity, Meditation, and Music Therapy
by Anees Akhtar and Nasim Khan
Author House UK


"Our minds are capable of influencing our fate and well-being.”

It’s a well-established fact that lifestyle choices substantially influence health. For example, denying the body sufficient sleep leads to an increased risk of heart disease. But can lifestyle choices also influence brain health? The authors have set out to prove that it’s possible to reprogram your own brain with the principles of epigenetics and neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is simply the brain’s ability to change over time in response to environmental stimuli, such as by developing new neurons. Epigenetics refers to the way in which genes are expressed or turned on or off. It’s possible to turn a gene off or on based on external factors like sleep, exercise, and even the way you think, according to the authors. ... (read more)

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Finding a Hero

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Saga of Moby Beast
by Norrie Charles
BookVenture Publishing


"But none you would hear
Could strike you with fear,
Or scare you to say the least
Than that terrible story,
The ghastly and gory,
Saga of Moby Beast"

His listeners thought he was mad. The village priest would tell a tale of a horrible beast that lurked in the swamp but which would one day awaken to feed on poor, unsuspecting folk like them. His horrific story made even the strongest men turn pale, yet they brushed off his words as the ravings of one deranged. After all, for decades the village had gone about its daily life in peace—for not even armies bothered to trample through its remote and isolated location. Imagine then the shock and terror of the residents of this small burg when an exhausted axeman stumbled into town and recounted his recent close call with the hideous creature. The next day brought ever-worsening reports of dire calamity as refugees from the outlying farmers came flooding in with what few possessions they could carry. ... (read more)

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Uncovering Secrets of the Prophecy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Revelation Unlocked
by Carolyn M. Prince
BookVenture Publishing


"Although symbolism abounds throughout Revelation, each symbol used is identified elsewhere in Scripture…God does not rely on outside sources or circumstances to explain His Word."

Early in her book, the author provides clues to unlocking the Revelation of Jesus Christ written in 90 A.D. by the Apostle John. Prince has interpreted difficult passages in Revelation by analyzing translations of Hebraic and Greek words from Old Testament prophets as well as Jesus’ prophecies of end times. The chosen translation for a word was often based on the frequency of use. For example, skirts in the Old Testament are usually associated with shame. This may negate the common interpretation of who is revealed in Isaiah 6. ... (read more)

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A Treat for the Eyes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Delivering Dreams
by Lori Preusch
Dandelion Press


"Attention all letters that I have collected -
Sweep me away to the vast unexpected! "

Delivering Dreams is a three-in-one wonder, with many extras that will delight children and those who read the book to their young ones. First, it is an engaging short story. Second, it is an artwork with rich, evocative illustrations on every page—and the pages are unusually large, each one an exciting display of bright, emotive pictures. And third, the book is a poem, inventive and expressive like the accompanying drawings. The story centers on a little girl walking every day to the mailbox, considering it just a chore until she begins to get letters from her Grandpa telling of faraway places—India, Venice, Turkey, Nepal—where Grandpa is roving. The illustrations show the many ways in which she is “transported” by ... (read more)

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Letting Go of Fear

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Love Me Enough: The Godly Power Within You to Attract Love, Happiness and Success!
by Tamara Dalton
Litfire Publishing


"When you are so spiritually disconnected to yourself, to your higher power, and to the God within, you become a dry shell."

Growing up as a young girl in a comfortable but strict household in Haiti, Dalton’s self-worth is deeply affected by the lack of affection from her parents. There is even suspicion of domestic violence between them. All of this instills a lifelong struggle within Dalton to find love and happiness with others as she assimilates into American culture, achieves a career in nursing, and marries and divorces men in abusive relationships. Dreams and goals are altered by what Dalton refers to as “wrong turns” on her path through adulthood. Then, after experiencing a spiritual awakening, she discovers a newfound mental and physical strength from the “godly power within” to escape the continuous abuse and a life entrapped by low self-worth. ... (read more)

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Exceptional Language and Symbolism

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Raven Wire
by Matt Pasca
Shanti Arts


"…If my poems could curl into your lap, I’d let them."

Reading Pasca’s writing means reading between the lines—at what is being hinted at, of what is not being said. Mainly, he asks of us: Are we listening? Some of his poems require several careful readings. They are erudite, meditative, and lyrical. Themes stem from his own life, while others reflect on events or moments of history with wide-ranging impact on any of us throughout generations. His work touches on familial relationships, blessings, violence, privilege, music, and literature. They are articulate with an exceptional control of language and symbolism. ... (read more)

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Dancing Through Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

We Danced!: A Devotional Filled with Excerpts from the Dance of a Real Fairy-Tale Romance
by Lin Sons
LitFire Publishing


"God says that in everything we are to be thankful. We exhibit that thankfulness in our marriages by being a more effective witness for Him. When did a change of plans upset all of your plans but work out best in the end?"

As the book states within the very first sentence, marriage is like a dance. Merely knowing the steps is not enough: it takes practice to hone and refine your skills, and at times you might lose the beat or miss a step. As long as you manage to get back in sync, the dance of marriage can be an exciting experience and a chance for both you and your spouse to grow. In her book, the author describes her own marriage and uses moments from her own life to support a thoughtful and spiritual journey towards a stronger marriage. ... (read more)

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Gaining the Lost

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Finding My Father's Voice: A Baseball Love Story
by Leigh Ann Walker
Ascend Books


"Everything I know about him was either told to me or I read in a book. I have no memories of my own."

In her early forties, Walker resolved to find out as much as she could about her father Verlon Walker, a minor league coach for the Chicago Cubs who died of leukemia when she was three. Walker soon located a mentor in George Castle, a baseball historian who took her under his wing, helping her contact players—some of them Hall of Famers—who knew Verlon and were glad to talk to his daughter. Some remembered her as the baby girl he doted on. In the baseball world, he was known as a good man, “fun to be around, easy going.” He was fair; he made good decisions. In his private life, he was known as a “goodwill ambassador” for his hometown of Lenoir, North Carolina, where a stadium bears his name. One woman who helped Walker in her search was a former Cubs’ secretary, Mary Deese, who shared a memory of seeing her dad on his death bed. ... (read more)

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Love and Loss

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

She Who Knows: A Tale of the Heart
by Barbara Bras
Sojourn Publishing


"'Don’t get me wrong, no one is mean to me or anything like that. I mean, you know I am still an outsider.'"

At the early age of five, young Cassandra is separated from her family. When her mother passes away, it is decided that the best thing for Cassandra’s heart defect is to go live in Maui at her grandparents’ old mountain home, but her father remains in Oahu to run his law practice. Growing up sheltered and alone, Cassandra feels isolated and unhappy. When she has a strange dream five years later, she encounters the Menehune—the fabled tiny, indigenous people of Hawaii—and accidentally inhales a tiny dragon. When her dream ends, she begins to be able to hear people’s thoughts somehow, an ability that changes Cassandra’s life by getting her into a normal school, introducing her to new friends and admirers, and reconnecting her with family members from her past. ... (read more)

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Clowning Around?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Warwick
by Boby Beavers
Xlibris


"Like magic, the clown appears. No one recognizes it. The clown appears because that's what clowns do. That doesn't sit right. Performers need a stage, a manager, a past -- an identity. Even Warwick demands more."

A clown has come to Warwick, and no one knows where he came from. This is relevant in a small community like Warwick, where anything out of place is noticed immediately; yet no one seems to notice the clown's sudden appearance. No one, that is, besides Detective Willow. The detective doesn't let much pass him by, and he becomes strangely fixated on this clown character who stands out among the locals. The sharp-eyed detective sets out to answer the questions surrounding the clown: Where does he come from? Why is there fear in his eyes? Who is this clown, anyway? ... (read more)

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The Longing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hard Road Home
by L. A. Dopson
Angel Fire Press


"He felt bad for the guy. Then he thought about his own dad and tripped on a lump of fear he hadn’t known was there."

The time is now. The place is North Dakota. The story is about life—the life of a twenty-something girl named Amanda. On the surface, things seem relatively stable. She has an apartment and a job. Though without a car, or excess money for cab fare, she has to walk back and forth to work. When it comes to personal relationships, she appears to be stuck in place. Most people, except for her father, seem to take her for granted when they’re not taking advantage of her—particularly her brother, her mother, and especially her coworker. ... (read more)

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Children Struggling with Cancer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Do They Have Telephones Up in Heaven?
by R. R. Pravin
AuthorHouse


"To the children who are fighting every day for a better tomorrow
I hope you know we are all right here by your side
fighting alongside you hoping for a better tomorrow."

This book begins with a forward, a “Letter to Readers,” and then is followed by 36 poems and one song related to children on a pediatric oncology and complex care unit where the author was a resident. He has an extensive history of working with children and their families, and having lost his own father when he was 15, relates to these children who are sick and dying. The poems, as well as a song he wrote to raise funds for a charity, are indicative of the type of caring work he has provided over the years. ... (read more)

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A Shocker

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Murder at Mason's Mesa
by David J. Kucera
BookVenture Publishing


"Ready to leave, Dr. Kruse was feeling disappointed that he had not found the evidence he had been looking for when he was kissed by inspiration."

The protagonist of this novel, Dr. Charles Quincy Kruse, is an esteemed archaeology professor conducting research at a dig site with other professors and students when things start going awry: first a water leak, then a fire, and eventually murder, drugs, and money, not necessarily in that order. This murder mystery novel is much more than just that, however. Sometimes waxing poetic (the mark of a professional writer), and full of twists that readers don't anticipate, this is a novel not soon to be forgotten. Weeks after finishing it, readers might still be wondering whether this author had a lesson or message in mind when writing his book, or just an extremely riveting story rattling around that had to come out. ... (read more)

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Superb True Crime

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Familiar Evil
by Rannah Gray
The Lisburn Press


"As he revealed more about Scott Rogers, I began to realize that Scott was even more dangerous than what I knew."

Scott Rogers had an uncanny ability to get people to like and believe in him. In England, parents entrusted their children to him, not simply in the role of students at his performing arts academy but also as houseguests for sleepovers. In the United States, he cast his spell on members of his flock at the church he established with himself as pastor. Government officials and representatives from local and federal law enforcement agencies also succumbed to his influence. As the host of a local cable TV show, Rogers even managed to charm many of the residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that he had never met personally. Of course, no celebrity is popular with everyone, and there were some who recognized the manipulation that lurked beneath his public persona. The author was one of these individuals who saw this and also sensed there was something else not quite right about the man. But it wasn't until she received a disturbing email from an unknown correspondent in England that she began to see just how dangerous Rogers was. ... (read more)

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Designed for Revenge

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Vengeant
by Eric Artisan
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"There is only one emotion that keeps him living, that gets him up and out of bed each day. And that is hate."

Clay Nehman wakes each morning to find himself in a different time and place than the previous day with no recollection of what has occurred to bring him to the current moment. The days begin with confusion and disbelief at the man he has become, but one consistent memory haunts his thoughts regardless of the spanning years. What happened to his high school girlfriend, Charlene? Fueled by emotions to unravel the mystery that has left his life void of her presence, Clay quickly discovers that each day is designed for the revenge he innately seeks against the man that shattered his future. In his desperate quest to understand the physical transformations he is incurring, he embarks on a transcendental journey that brings him to a harrowing conclusion and a reality he cannot escape. ... (read more)

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Healing in Practice

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Healing Wisdom for a Wounded World: My Life-Changing Journey Through a Shamanic School, Book 1
by Weam Namou
Hermiz Publishing


"There was a silence so sacred, it was as if the earth beneath us was knitting its soil into a blanket and placing that blanket around us to honor our desire to acknowledge, respect, love, and help heal her wounds."

Written by noted author Weam Namou, this memoir delves into a deep relationship between her past, present, and future with insights from her varied cultural experiences. Her autobiography (Book 1) has 28 chapters that stretch over 341 pages. Interesting chapters include her first meeting with her shaman, the history of growing up in Iraq and what it was like to move to America, and the story of her eating disorder and how she struggled with self-worth issues, including her over-eating. The chapters on the Great Nurturing Mother and the Creative Rainbow Mother explore how women are taught to take care of others while struggling with finding their own creative paths in life. The “Personal Evaluation Paper” chapter evaluates how the ancient teachings have helped her to heal, and the book ends with an exquisite poem dedicated to her mentor. ... (read more)

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Healthy Choices

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Chocolate or Lunch: How Choices Impact Relationships
by Nancy Smyth and Sharon Eakes


"We are beings of light and love, a subtle, yet powerful energy force that is always pulsing from within our heart. Getting to know that pulsation of love is a homecoming."

An easy and fast read of 153 pages, the authors’ book delves into relationship issues and offers practical ways to develop and enjoy healthy connections. It begins with the authors’ gratitude for their numerous blessings (including family and friends), to each other, to other work-related people, and to experts in the field. They also thank clients that they have met and whose stories have been included in the book. The book continues with an introduction regarding their work as professional coaches and describes how the book is organized. It relates that it is important to start from an inner journey to an outward one by mapping how to achieve happiness. There are nine chapters, followed by an afterword regarding the importance of practices and the need for appreciation, an expansive study guide, references, and a section called “About the Authors.” ... (read more)

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Refusing No for an Answer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

How I Beat Macular Degeneration in the Early Stages and How You Can, Too!
by Alan N. McClain
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"Beating macular degeneration at its earliest stage when druses are first seen, and eliminating them completely in two years, is a stunning achievement."

Author and former management systems analyst McClain was shocked to learn at his yearly eye exam that he had Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), a condition that can lead to decreasing vision, making activities like reading and driving impossible. Tests revealed "drusen" (gold flecks) around the macula (part of the retina). Even worse, the doctors said that there was nothing they could do for him. McClain took this bad news as a challenge, devising his own strategy for combatting ARMD. Thanks to his determination, the drusen disappeared after two years. For others wishing to follow his lead, McClain stresses the importance of B-complex vitamins, fish and vegetable oils, and lesser-known supplements like lutein. He lists good foods, surprisingly including coffee and red wine along with orange juice, seafood, salads, berries, and nuts. He recommends using amber lenses for sun-blocking and lists exercises to facilitate the sound sleep so important to eye health. ... (read more)

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Seasons of Gertrude

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Shape of the Atmosphere
by Jessica Dainty
Pandamoon Publishing


"The pressure bubbled inside. I felt as though I were at shock, my arms and legs ringing with electricity."

Life for Gertrude MacLarsen has never been particularly happy, living in the shadow of her older sister who is more mature and more of a social creature than she has ever been. Her mother is becoming increasingly detached and depressed, sequestering herself in the pantry with alcohol, but her father still makes Gertie feel special, spending time with her looking up at the stars and even watching as Sputnik floats across the night sky. The next day, Gertie’s 16th birthday, an accident happens that kills her father and her sister, leaving her with her mother. Both of them grieve in their own ways, drifting further apart from each other. When Gertie’s mom learns that she has been burning and cutting herself, she makes arrangements for Gertie to go live at the Willow Estate Sanatorium. ... (read more)

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Trading Lives

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Town Moose and Country Moose Trade Places
by Michelle Tremblay
Xlibris


"Moral: Trading places with another gives one gratitude for what one has."

When talking one day, friends Maddie and Mack decide trading places would be adventurous and different from their everyday lives since Maddie lives in the exciting city and Mack lives in the laid-back countryside. Together they decide to switch places and meet back in three months to describe their experiences. At first, trading places seems fun as Maddie sees beautiful marsh lands, wide open spaces, and beautiful country. Mack also enjoys his first experiences with the city as he discovers tall buildings, various stores, and many houses. But then trouble begins. Maddie encounters bears, deep snow, an avalanche, and hunters. All the while, Mack is having the same troubles in the city as people constantly shoo him off, mean dogs chase him, and he gets caught in a hammock. When it is time to meet up again, both Mack and Maddie tell each other of their adventures which they did enjoy. However, they both agree that there is no place like home. ... (read more)

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Friend or Foe

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Poet
by Stephanie Harris
AuthorHouse


"She kept looking around the room, eyeing each of the other guests. She was searching for someone or something that might prove useful. Anything. Because she was completely aware that she would probably die tonight, it was just a question of how."

Rebecca Paige, dissatisfied with life and love, heads to a much-needed vacation out in a group of cabins in the middle of nowhere. Here she meets "Jack," a mysterious, intellectual man with a gun who immediately grips her attention by the throat, so to speak. Before she can get herself in too deep, Jack departs into the night and Rebecca is left to face a different kind of danger: A group of men takes the entire vacation resort hostage. Rebecca must use every bit of her psychiatric knowledge and strong personality to remain calm and protect herself—and all the other hostages. As things spiral out of control and the danger grows more and more real, Rebecca has only one last ace up her sleeve: Jack, the assassin known as The Poet. But is Jack friend or foe? ... (read more)

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A Surgeon from Poverty

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

On the Border of a Dream: One Mexican Boy's Journey of Becoming an American Surgeon
by Edgar H. Hernandez
Book Chix


"I could feel my body trembling and at the same time becoming rigid. My lips and feet felt as if they were being besieged by ants."

Immigration is much in the news these days. There seem to be constant differences of opinion about who, how many, and when, people from different countries should be allowed legal entry into the United States. There’s even discussion about making judgments based on the financial, educational, and specialized skills of potential entrants. Those having such discussions would do well to read Dr. Hernandez’s book. Were they to do so, they would see that even those from severely dire economic conditions possess enormous human potential that can be beneficial to generations of Americans for decades to come. ... (read more)

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Big Apple Refuge

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Central Park: Rhapsody and Oasis
by Eve J. Blohm
BookVenture Publishing


"Horse and carriages stand outside the park, waiting for passengers. The lone sparrow steals oats from a horse as everyone has to eat."

New York City, with its towering jungle of iron and glass buildings, has been the subject of countless books, paintings, and films. Yet most denizens and even visitors to the Big Apple would probably agree that its heart and soul is not found in the rush of Madison Square Garden, the glitz of Fifth Avenue, or the over-the-top spectacle of Broadway, but in that long rectangle of green space known as Central Park. It is here that the author chooses to observe the city's inhabitants, both flora and fauna, and then capture them for all time in words. Penned with a penchant for realism over gaudiness, her poetry and prose chronicle the ordinary magic of daily life in one of the most visited and beloved places in the city. ... (read more)

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Emotional Turbulence

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Riot In My Senses: Where Chaos Occupies Serenity
by Rima Jbara
CreateSpace


"At dawn, she woke up, hearing herself crying. She sat in her bed for a few minutes then went for another shower and got dressed."

When teenage friends Shamyana and Shyam are preparing for their final year of high school, they discover a shared passion for photography and a shared passion for each other. Arranging to be wed directly after graduating, their love burns brightly but hits an early snag. Shamyana wants to pursue her career in photography while Shyam favors a more traditional housewife role for her. After she miscarries their child, their marriage falls apart. Shamyana’s professional career continues to rise to national fame, but a difficult relationship with her mother and the emergence of a string of nervous breakdowns is a double-edged sword. Finding inspiration in dark places, Shamyana has endless motivation for her art but struggles to make meaningful romantic connections and is plagued by negative thoughts about herself. ... (read more)

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Sisters in Struggle

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Seasons of Insanity: Two Sisters' Struggle with Their Eldest Sibling's Mental Illness
by Elaine Taylor and Julie Hanes
Xlibris


"Julie sent Jane a care package...I sent lipstick...it will have been a year since she got arrested..."

The title refers to Jane's episodes of severe mental breakdown as witnessed by her two younger sisters. Fifty pages in, readers will already be thinking, "Oh I have to show this to XYZ," because almost everyone has loved ones affected by a family member's mental illness. The authors feel the guilt, worry, and wear of abuse as they deal with their unpredictable, and sometimes violent, older sibling. The authors describe their difficulties, not just in dealing with Jane, but in coming to terms with their feelings about her. As Taylor tells Hanes, "She has taken us to hell and back and I can't seem to get past it.” ... (read more)

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Fast-Pace Sci-Fi

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Deep Black Road
by Allen Scovil
WestBow Press


"Ricky had only enough time to put his hands up defensively before it rammed into him and smashed him against the near wall."

Ricky's life changed forever after he was killed. The son of a top scientist in the field of robotics, he was helping his father and a fellow scientist with their work when an out-of-control robot inhabited by the "spark" of a chimp attacked him. In a desperate attempt to save him, Ricky's spark was transferred from his battered body into another robot before the boy died. In the few minutes prior to this exchange, however, Ricky found himself standing naked on top of a lifeless hill within sight of death's door. There he encountered a tall white-robed man and a large black dragon. Despite the dragon's desire to have him, the man said it was not yet Ricky's time and sent him back to the land of the living, saying that he was destined "for great and terrible things." Just how great and terrible these would be, and how the world would be changed, Ricky would soon discover. ... (read more)

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Powerful Feelings

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Visions from Heaven: Climbing the Ladder to Spiritual Oneness
as told to Ron Hodge, Jan Huber, and Lorraine Dopson
Angelfire Press


"Though you are starting to advance toward spiritual understanding, you will not go forward until you can share with others and learn the art of compassion."

Three friends band together to share timeless wisdom in this short series of messages from the Native American spirit world. When Ron Hodge—a descendant of the Powhatan tribe, an attorney, and tribal judge in the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota—learned that he was dying of cancer, he enlisted the help of two friends. Jan Huber, a homemaker and mother who worked with the visually impaired, and Lorraine Dopson, a counselor and author on spiritual matters, would record as Ron gave voice to revelations from the ancestors of his people. The messages indicate that the world is approaching a short but devastating crisis—upheavals in climate, wars, and the breakdown of social order. ... (read more)

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The Man Who Would Be King

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Accidental King of Achoo
by Linda J. Falkner, LMHC
iUniverse


"Orgizo himself had never actually considered the job of king… He only wanted to win the contest in order to prove that he was the best."

In a peaceful valley beyond the sneeze trees, a small community of people prepares to choose a new king. Kings are chosen through tests of strength and endurance, which ensure only the best person for the job is selected—until now. When the unlikable Orgizo enters the race, no one believes he'll win. He is slower, older, and less experienced than the other contestants. Yet through trickery and cheating, Orgizo gains followers and emerges as a very real, potential candidate for the kingship. The once-peaceful valley is torn apart and thrown into chaos, all because of one man. How does a completely unqualified man become the ruler of an intelligent community of people? ... (read more)

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Beauty and Strength

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Unlocking Brynleith
by D.A. Mayes
Xlibris


"You've always been my best beloved since I first saw you."

When Tayte Murdoch's son is stillborn, it's the catalyst to leave a loveless marriage with a controlling husband. She visits her second cousin, Adam Leith, who runs the Brynleith property in New Zealand. He's a taciturn, reticent man who unfurls during her visit, although there are plenty of secrets he keeps close to the vest. Tayte thrives in the beauty of the New Zealand landscape and the welcome from the people. Exploring the bush near the property, she meets the reclusive Rua, who's indebted to Adam for more than money, and the illiterate but beautiful young man Boy, a gifted visual artist considered "retarded." In spite of Adam and Rua's disdain, Tayte, a talented teacher by trade, determines to help Boy learn how to navigate the world and use his gifts. Adam's death and his revealed secrets, closely tied to Boy's past, drive the two even closer. ... (read more)

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A Kid's Summer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Joe's Adventures: "Fun on the River"
by Joseph J. Dougherty
Xlibris


"Harold was just hanging up the camera when he took one more picture—of Brown, jumping into the river just past Susan, and Brown was swimming toward that giant of a beast."

Dougherty’s book is a charming story that brings to mind some of Mark Twain’s tales of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Becky Thatcher. The setting is different, though. This author’s story takes place in Ormand Beach, Florida. The timeframe is also different. This narrative unwinds during a summer in 1947. Yet the feelings of youthful exuberance, camaraderie, and kids just being kids reminds one of the yarns Samuel Langhorne Clemens spun so well. ... (read more)

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Real Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Love Over Lust: How Love Overcame the Power of Sexual Addiction
by Karen Valiant
iUniverse


"I felt like I was grieving and, in fact, I was. A certain innocence was gone."

In this candid memoir of betrayal and humiliation, the author reveals how she uncovered her husband’s alcohol and sexual addictions that jeopardized the fate of her fourteen-year marriage and sent her spiraling into turmoil. This story is her journey to heal and forgive after discovering her husband’s numerous indiscretions that unraveled the life she believed she was living and exposed the reality of a relationship with an addict. Describing the bevy of emotions one experiences when confronting a family member’s addiction, the author details her own path to recovery achieved by gaining an understanding of the psychological effects associated with substance abuse and compulsive behavior. ... (read more)

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Science for Better Living

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bionic Afterlife
by Jermaine Emmanuel Crockett
AuthorHouse UK


"By science you not the same as you were in your previous life….You still John but you half human half robot. Follow me."

This short, forty-page story is about a young student named John Moore whose girlfriend Emma dumps him for the school bully, Steven Mccory. Mccory is the leader of a gang, and as John leaves school after a short detention for giving Mccory the middle finger in class, Mccory and his gang jump him. They beat him senseless with a baseball bat, golf clubs, and other items until Mccory finally sinks a knife into John, killing him. But John wakes up a short time later under the care of his science teacher, Mr. Nagaku. Nagaku informs him that he has revived him by turning him into a bionic or half-robot human. He now has more strength and speed plus latent abilities of flight and x-ray vision that he must learn to develop. A re-match with Mccory is arranged. Will John defeat Steven this time? And what does Mr. Nagaku really want? ... (read more)

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Real Impact

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Evolution Now
by David Penny
Xlibris


"So, and in a very fundamental way, there were dozens of major changes in climatic and temperature conditions, without any “mass extinction” – until after modern humans arrived."

This is a nonfiction work about the progress of science regarding biology, specifically genera and species, with a focus on the importance of Charles Darwin. The author presents a quite interesting survey of the history of scientific thought regarding biological processes. He maps out the progression from belief in a continuous spontaneous generation, where nature is always being created by an omnipotent God who finds it easy to transform stones into plants, into animals, etc., to a more measured approach based on observation and testing. It is this eventual willingness to observe, measure, test, and revise scientific theories accordingly that the author champions, a philosophy of science spelled out by Karl Popper in the mid-twentieth century. ... (read more)

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Ready for Success?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Countdown to Greatness
by Michael Carter Griffin
Xlibris


"Failure is not a negative; failure is part of the learning process, and helps to drive improvement."

Is there a blueprint to finding greatness in oneself? It is believed that to be great one only need to be positive and look in the mirror, as greatness is held within. Griffin shows how basic principles of science and art lead to learning and finding a balance using repetition, practice, and refinement. Some individuals have learned the art of finding greatness within themselves, and others need a road map to guide them along the way. Countdown to Greatness encourages readers to reduce negativity and replace it with peace, self-worth, and positivity. By looking within one's own mind, they can learn self-esteem and a feeling of purpose. This leads to achieving greatness. Readers are encouraged to continuously improve and reinvent their creativity, thus leading to a better understanding of oneself. ... (read more)

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Holiday Blessings

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Delivered on Christmas: A Journey of Faith through Two Decades That Changed the World
by Dean McFalls
Xlibris


"I encourage you to be on the lookout here for every heaven-sent blessing—and meanwhile to be counting the blessings which have come into your life because of the coming-into-our-history of the One we call Christ."

The book begins with the author noting the influence on his writing and the stories that follow. Each story (actually a poem) begins on Christmas Eve starting in 1976, although "The Night Before Christmas"—which this book is based on—was written in 1834. The 15 years of writing are through 1990. Each poem is a work revolving around this original poem and relates to his process as well as the process of the world as many changes happen throughout this time frame. The purpose of the book is about the meaning of the holiday and our search for God. Through these poems, his explanations of the poems, and his illustrations, he explores history and the need for change. For example, the book examines issues such as the perils of mankind, the horrors of war, and the importance of “Christ’s humble birth,” along with his peace and justice work through Amnesty International, the Catholic Church, etc. ... (read more)

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Learning About the Weather

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

When Is It Going to Rain?
by Gina Sano
Xlibris


"Now I know when it is going to rain."

During an extended drought in her home town, a little girl wants to know “when is it going to rain?” She asks adults in her life and learns many weather forecasting tips: Grandma and Granddad ache, her mother notices ants invading the kitchen, and she learns about insects making noise at night. While she feels these might be good predictors of impending rain, she seeks additional signs. She observes the behavior of cats and dogs, and she hears about the tendencies of birds. Could these be signs of rain? One night, her cousin Brad teaches her about the rings around the moon. She patiently watches the night sky. She studies her pets and listens to nature outside her home as well. It not only rains, but everyone’s forecasting signs fall into line. ... (read more)

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First Chapter Reviews


First Chapter Review archive

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Treasure of the Magical Mine Moppets
by K.J. Blocker
Mindstir Media

An old crop-dusting biplane is taking the reader along for the ride as it flies through the sky. It’s piloted by Tubby, who seems to enjoy giving his boss, Tom, a bit of a thrill ride. Below, Tom’s nine-year-old son, Jimmy, is acquainting himself with a precocious bug that seems to be saluting him from the leaf of a cornstalk. Neither the pair in the air or the boy on the ground seem to be the least bit amazed that they’re looking at a field of rainbow colored corn that stands twenty-five feet high. ... (read more)

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