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The US Review of Books connects authors with professional book reviewers and places their book reviews in front of 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

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America
by Beth Macy
Little Brown


"In a region where few businesses dare to set up ship because it’s hard to find workers who can pass a drug test, young parents can die of heroin overdose one day, leaving their untended baby to succumb to dehydration and starvation three days later."

Lately, it appears that it’s women doing real journalism in America. Whether it’s Sharyl Attkisson fighting for truth in reporting or Sarah Carter exposing corruption in the US Justice Department, they dig for facts to reveal the salient story. Now it’s Beth Macy’s turn. Hardly her first dive into a story, Macy plumbs the deaths of the country’s very sad and particularly dangerous opioid epidemic. It’s a compelling and necessary read. And, by the way, all three women deserve a Pulitzer Prize nomination at the very least. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

Protector of the Law

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Voidstalker
by John Graham
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"A voidstalker was a lone wolf, there was no room for bonds of comradeship. If Gabriel were forced to choose between the squad and the mission…He would leave them all to die."

Perhaps Ray Bradbury was right when he said, “We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.” That sentiment seems to be at the heart of most science fiction. If one accepts the incredible accomplishments, the extraordinary coincidences, the phenomenal capacity for birth, life, death, extinction, and regeneration on this world that we inhabit, then surely one must accept the proposition that wondrous things are therefore possible on worlds we don’t inhabit. Certainly, wondrous things are on full display in Voidstalker, a sci-fi novel that elongates the limits of its readers’ willing suspension of disbelief while keeping them anchored to very human ties that bind. ... (read more)

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A Complicated Character

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Raven's Resurrection: A Cybertech Thriller
by John D. Trudel
Trudel Group


"Raven slung his rifle. He walked over and stood behind them, his Sig leveled, finger on the trigger."

In the author’s latest thriller, America is not as secure as its average citizen might think. Radical Islam poses a serious threat to the nation, but only a few understand just how extensive the reach is of its practitioners. Raven has experienced firsthand how dangerous the nation’s enemies can be, but many of them, in turn, will learn what a deadly adversary he can be. ... (read more)

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Becoming a Leader

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Unlocking the Natural-Born Leader's Abilities: An Autobiographical Exposé
by Salar A. Khan, MD., MBA.
Xlibris


"…natural-born leaders...have an innate skill set conducive to becoming leaders. They are optimistic, selfless, and do not seek external rewards or glory."

Illustrating the author’s own journey to leadership, this autobiography/memoir was written to pass on experience gained by a lifetime of service. A young child at the time of the India/Pakistan partition, his family resettled in Pakistan. With those early years in turmoil, his parents were his teachers. Once the author entered school, his brilliant older brother became a role model. Challenged by his family, the author assumed responsibility for household duties and volunteered for additional tasks. On his father’s advice, Khan became a doctor serving in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and America. From experience gained, he declares it our duty to find out what we are capable of. ... (read more)

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Bringing to Light

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hidden Women: A History of Europe, Celts and Freedom
by Jacqueline Widmar Stewart
Lexicus Press


"New information gives glimpses into a world where women were treated better 2000 years ago than today."

What do the Celts have to do with the tax-exempt status of churches? Stewart’s book makes its way to a connection in this wide-ranging exploration of Celtic history. She begins with a song of praise to women and ends with a bulleted call to action for “going forward” to reclaim the values and cultural equilibrium achieved by the ancient Celts. Overall, the purpose of the book is to explore the hidden layers of Celtic history in Europe which can be found through archeological discoveries, analysis of Roman conquests, and a critique of the rise of Christianity. She invites readers to reconsider history by looking more closely at the role of women and of the family in the Celtic tradition. ... (read more)

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Inventive & Fresh

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Beer and Gasoline
by John Knoerle
Blue Steel Press


"Feed the tyrant a credible story of evil plotting’s within the castle walls -- indeed even a half-way credible story -- and he will act accordingly."

Hal Schroeder is a long-time spy with CIA Counterintelligence that has worked with the group before it even became an officially sanctioned agency in the years following World War II. Now in 1968, he finds himself in the small town of Needles, CA, on assignment from his boss and the Chief of Counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton. Angleton assigns Schroeder to Needles on a rare field assignment to investigate the disappearance of a local man named Jeremiah McLemore. McLemore operates a for-hire trash disposal business and worked as the trash hauler for Camp X, a mysterious government outpost on the Arizona side of the border near Needles. Under the alias of Army Lieutenant Richard Nolan, Schroeder befriends a young local police officer named Thomas Bell to help locate McLemore. When Jeremiah’s body is found (with the aid of a helicopter pilot-for-hire and a locally famous Native American tracker), the grisly sight sets off all manner of speculation. ... (read more)

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Searching for Answers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

I Know Now: A Woman's Healing - Violence to Victory, Trauma to Truth
by Cinda Stevens Lonsway
new72publishing


"I’m alright. I’m alive. I’m here and Bob is gone."

When an intruder broke into her apartment in the middle of the night, the life of the author changed irrevocably. The man, whom she decided to call “Bob,” had apparently been observing her and her flat-mate Katie and had found a way into their little domain through an open window. Strangely, though he demonstrated an intention to rape the woman who gave her name to him as “Cindy,” she was able to fend off his advances for three hours. The methods she used were spontaneous. They included physical resistance and aggressive response on her part, but there were clever diversionary tactics as well. She asked him his name, shook his hand, even offered to get up and cook him a meal—anything to distract him from his desire to rape her. In the time they were together, though she could barely see him, she determined that he had an acrid body odor and very rough hands. As dawn broke, a neighbor began doing his morning ninja moves, causing a sudden clatter. Cindy convinced Bob that this was a sign that Katie would soon be up and would come to check on her. Bob fled. He was never found, though the author is convinced that he continued to stalk her. ... (read more)

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Powerfully Broad

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Penny For Your Thoughts: Poems of Love and Loss (Feelings Into Words)
by Sherrill S. Cannon
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.


"For if I knew ahead of time, then I
Would live my life according to its end;
And never give the present, time to try"

This collection of poetry examines love, as so much poetry tends to do, but the perspective here is unique. That romantic euphoria and devastating heartbreak are seen as two sides of the same emotion. Split up into three sections, the first and third are polar in their approach, either bubbling with affection or profound in examining what was lost or what was never had to begin with. The middle section offers a little bit of both, tying in experiences that are related to being in love or emotions that come along with a relationship or marriage. The poems themselves also cover a variety of forms, ranging from free verse to sonnets and concrete poetry to haiku. Containing over 100 poems, the poet’s musings on an aspect of life that tends to be powerful no matter how it’s experienced will emotionally reach readers of all ages. ... (read more)

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Love and Renewal

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Angel City Singles
by Ralph Cissne
Morgan Road


"…'He learned… how a new life can be constructed on the foundation of what had been destroyed.'"

David is at a crossroads when he finds himself bobbing in the Pacific Ocean off a Malibu beach. There, with dolphins swimming just out of reach, possibilities loom. A peaceful drowning death lies temptingly beneath the surface, while back on shore, the potential for fulfilling life beckons. David stays afloat, and this metaphor befits his journey of reinvention from divorce in Dallas to a new life in Los Angeles. It’s 1987—an era before Facebook, YouTube, and Uber drivers of the so-called gig economy. David and a small circle of new friends ease their way through the dark margins of Hollywood. They heal wounds, bide time, stretch pennies, and seek the inner artist in each struggling soul. ... (read more)

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Graphically Great

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Resilience Birthright: Origins of Resilience
by Jessica Jane Robinson
Resilience Birthright, LLC


"Our child is the chosen one; she must survive, she will save life itself, it is her birthright."

Every superhero has an origin story that tells the tale of how it all began. This is the story of Resilience and the devastating time of conflict she is born into which will forge her destiny as a hero and hope of her people. Resilience’s early life foreshadows her great mission to save her planet and connects her to a deep ancestry of love and support. Moving seamlessly between the present and the past, the story begins with Resilience’s birth in the midst of an epic fight to save the planet Terravitae. Her father, the king, is desperate to send his wife and newborn daughter into hiding while the war rages. ... (read more)

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Discovery & Power

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Being a Witch and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For
by Sara Pascoe
Trindles and Green Ltd


"That would be one of the regrets of her short life, never getting one of those kebabs."

There is much to explore and admire within the pages of Pascoe’s magical, award-winning tale, but divulging every detail would spoil the fun of reading it. The basis of the story is a girl named Rachel Hollingsworth, or Raya, who discovers she is a witch. The young protagonist is a wise-beyond-her-years, fourteen-year-old girl who favors the goth look of black spiky hair and body piercings. Underneath that tough exterior, hidden behind the self-confident attitude, exists a vulnerable girl. Her father is dead, and her mother is afflicted with a “bad case of schizophrenia,” leaving Raya in the foster care system with a woman named Angie. Life in the foster home isn’t bad, and she reluctantly strikes up a friendship with twelve-year-old Jake. Still, Raya is determined to run away and live on her own with her new boyfriend, Tony. Their plan isn’t perfect, but Raya needs to do this while she still has her sanity. But just when she finds Tony she witnesses his irrevocable decision that sends Raya reeling and running away solo to London. ... (read more)

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This Healing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Illness of Medicine: Experiences of Clinical Practice
by Michael J. Young, M.D.
GM Books


"It is time to stop, time to take stock of what is happening in the practice of medicine."

A physician specializing in urology recounts incidents in his 30-year practice to illustrate some of the flaws in the current medical system. Young vividly describes the sleepless nights and weekends weighed against the constant requirement for total concentration and alertness, two factors affecting any hard-working medical practitioner. Using a myriad of memories, he carefully paints a picture of the many ways that medical work has gradually changed, often for the worse. Such issues include digitalized electronic medical records that may allow a diagnosis of “normal” for every condition a patient might have, even those for which one has not been examined or, at the opposite extreme, leave a diagnosis of some abnormal condition on the patient’s permanent record long after it has been resolved. Another problem is the explosion of medical marketing; ads on TV and the Internet can give false hope for treatment. Complexities of medical insurance can prevent needed care, and fear of lawsuits can have a deleterious effect on a physician’s practice. ... (read more)

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Forbidden Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Dating Policy
by Suzanne Eglington
Xlibris


"I couldn’t get past the kiss as that employee handbook taunted me on my coffee table."

Mallory Kennedy’s company has a strict "no dating" policy that threatens to derail her first real chance at love with Todd Duvall, a quality control manager in her office who sends her heart racing every time he walks by her. She admires his confidence, his Scandinavian features, and his work ethic. When Todd begins to show interest in her, too, her work life and romantic life become entangled. Adding to the fray, Mallory also finds that Todd has deeper secrets that threaten their future even more than the company’s policy on dating. ... (read more)

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A Ray of Hope

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Real Daughter
by Lynne McKelvey
Savant Books & Publications LLC


"He doesn’t get it, she thought, pausing beside the baby mastodon and its imploring trunk. Doesn’t get that Mandy is a child in mourning, a child in mourning for her mother."

Secrets have always played a major role in novels. From secret passageways in adventure tales to secret betrayals in spy yarns to secret familial revelations in Victorian comedies, tragedies, whodunits, and more. A secret is also at the center of this literate psychological drama that unspools in late 1970s Los Angeles. It is a secret that engulfs its keeper completely—a secret that results in unimaginable consequences when shared. ... (read more)

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Life Lessons

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Seventh Dimension - The Prescience: A Young Adult Fantasy
by Lorilyn Roberts
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"Time travel is more dangerous...The chasm between the physical world and spiritual realm is becoming unstable, as Satan and his minions gain more control."

Daniel and Shale were betrothed by Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) at the end of the previous book in the series. When they return to the present dimension in Israel, they encounter bombings and danger as the Gog-Magog war begins. They run to a bomb shelter, where a rescue dog finds Shale who can speak to animals. Everyone has their unique gifts of service; Shale has the gift of hearing, and Daniel has the gift of reading minds. Dodging bombs to follow the dog, they discover a young child with her mother dead beside her. The dog reveals her name is Shira, and she has no living relatives. That’s how the newly-engaged couple becomes parents of a three-year-old in the middle of a war predicted in the Bible. ... (read more)

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Deliciously Dark Read

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Encore: A Contemporary Love Story of Hypnotic Abduction
by Tantra Bensko
Insubordinate Books


"What a nauseating motto, at the top of every book on the back cover in sickening Pepto Bismol pink: “Just be yourself!” God, I’d rather die."

Novelist Bensko weaves elements of history, myth, political intrigue, psychology, magic, cultism, religion, and romance into a tight tapestry of contemporary Gothic storytelling that has the reader as entranced as the novel’s protagonist. The plot centers around an avant-garde theater troupe and its resident hypnotist, Dune Thornley. Thornley has made the troupe and its star performer—his wife, Susan—famous for their performances centered around British myths that incorporate the gem, moldavite. In preparation for each performance, Susan’s understudy, Miriam Reynolds, possessing a close resemblance to Susan, undergoes Dune’s hypnotic entreaty. Dune has taught Miriam to take in his wife’s essence—to essentially become Susan on stage. At the season’s final show, Susan is missing, and Miriam takes her place on stage. Before Miriam is released from Dune’s suggestive spell, he abducts her and rushes her away to an ancient castle. With each passing day, the reader becomes aware that Dune has much more in store for Miriam than life as a replacement for his wife. ... (read more)

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Family First

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Ties That Bond - Reflections of a Defining Relationship
by Yvonne M. P. Lee, M.S.
Stratton Press


"Mothers are the conduit to the well-being of their daughters."

In a “long gone era,” mothers had other women to act as midwives, wise grandmothers to assist in child-rearing, and the general fabric of society to facilitate the modeling of virtuous, organized behaviors. Now, while children who grow up with such support are still successful in life, the patterns have changed. Many children will have a mother who is young, unsupported by family or peers, and lacking in basic parenting skills. The author regards the relationship between mothers and their daughters as a key factor in determining future mothering skills. She illustrates this with a narrative composed of numerous sets of maternal characteristics, both positive and negative. A mother may encourage and console, feed and clothe, but at the same time cause confusion in her daughter’s psyche with harsh physical punishment. She may be capable and caring, a counselor and educator, but also a sharp, sometimes demeaning critic. ... (read more)

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The Good Fight

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure
by Sylvie Beljanski
Morgan James Publishing


"The public is craving natural solutions that are effective yet affordable."

The author combines a moving personal narrative with vital information about possible natural cancer interventions that could prolong lives. Daughter of Pasteur Institute scientific researcher Mirko Beljanski, the author was immersed in the legal profession when her father was arrested in France for “deception” after publishing some controversial research papers. The papers supported his experimentation, suggesting that the use of two primary herbal compounds—Pao pereira, extracted from the bark of certain tropical trees, and Rauwolfia vomitoria, found in leaves of a shrub long used in Ayurvedic healing—can aid in the treatment of cancer. These compounds, he stated, are non-toxic, capable of eradicating cancer cells, and work in synchronization with standard forms of chemotherapy. ... (read more)

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Knee-Deep in Trouble

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

End It By The Gun
by Kenechukwu Obi
Black Rose Writing


"My storytelling capability was a lamb struggling to grow up, while Mom and Dad, a pair of lions, were determined to see that it never became a sheep."

Writing about writing is fraught with peril. Often the writer has two strikes against him before he even begins. Strike one—the reader is seldom as interested in the subject as the writer. Strike two—if rejection is a major component of the story, the reader can almost never reach a level of empathy that equals the writer’s personal and likely visceral experience with the raw emotion of continually being turned down. This is not to say that waxing profound on the suffering of writers is doomed to failure. Certainly, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, John Irving, and others have found ways to achieve success at this arduous task. However, it is not a challenge to be taken lightly, but it is one author Obi takes a roundhouse swing at in this fevered tome. ... (read more)

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The Vow

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Ugly Priest
by Richard Stickann
AuthorHouse


"What did he do to let himself get this way. This job, being a priest, pounds the hell out of a man."

Almost from the very beginning, Father Bernard’s life in the priesthood has been challenging. From a near career-altering temptation while in seminary with a childhood friend-turned-sweetheart to being assigned to Immaculate Conception, one of Chicago’s most underfunded, rundown congregations, nothing has come easily for him. As the assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception, he feels weathered by all of his duties and yearns for some normal human interaction aside from the needs of his parishioners and the cantankerous accusations of his superior, Father McElroy. Signing up on a website for Catholic pen pals, Bernard is shocked to learn that he is matched with a woman. Nervous and desperate to hide the truth from just about everyone, he begins to deteriorate in his appearance and actions, caught between a desire to simply just have a friend and stronger desires that threaten his priestly vow of celibacy. ... (read more)

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Enemies Afoot

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hope Is Not a Strategy: Book Three of the Monitor Series
by Darleen Hayball Johnson
Westwood Books Publishing, LLC


"His world was gray upon gray, black upon black, unless he was with Ann, when it was either warm and loving or intensely infuriating."

Three years after the eruption at Yellowstone National Park, Ann Jacobs and her family continue to survive in the harsh state of the world. With the help of the Monitors, an alien race from outside the solar system that observe the progress of humanity, the ongoing concern of how to treat the lungs of all life on Earth and remove the obsidian dust from them remains the top priority. The head of the Monitors on Earth, Marco Antonio, is now fully invested in his romantic relationship with Ann Jacobs, the matriarch of the Jacobs family. Together, they go looking for supplies in abandoned shops, conduct research in their joined-basement laboratory, and enjoy intimate moments while also learning more about the social differences between their two races. ... (read more)

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Max's Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Case of Emil Diesel
by Patricia Menton
Xlibris


"Art survives. That is all that matters. Each piece tells our history. It is our gift to future generations. It is our legacy."

This novel is a fictionalized account inspired by a true story. It involves a private art collection illegally seized by the German Democratic Republic in the years during the Cold War. ... (read more)

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A Quiltwork of Welcome

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Woven Flag
by Margaret Fourt Goka
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"Childhood is a spaceship full of friends
that rockets into the future.
I will be there when it lands
like a kitten on its feet..."

This 75-page book of poetry celebrates children and cats, butterflies and mornings, tea and coffee. Goka’s poems are highly entertaining, and her specialty is wordplay and riddles that almost beg to be read aloud. The “Riddles” section contains some of her deepest poetry, demonstrating an ability to juxtapose the then and the now. “Homespun” (gray woven cloth worn by previous generations) contrasts with “spun plastics,” color-saturated and tangled in the modern washer spin. “More Mornings” finds the poet lethargically waiting with birds in her treeless yard for more than another mechanical dawn. ... (read more)

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What Stands

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tree
by Melina Sempill Watts
Change the World Books


"There could be no more perfect place in all the world. In all the universe. The center was here and Tree would never, could never leave such a spot."

Deep in the canyons of California stands Tree, a live oak flourishing amidst the plants and animals of the complex ecosystem and deep history of Topanga. To tell the story of Tree, Watts uses a third pronoun, "e," to stand for Tree and the other plants. This linguistic trick allows Watts to narrate the wild which she does with beautiful prose and startling imagery. The land is alive with thinking, feeling, and the enduring dialogue of the trees and plants communicating through rains, winds, drought, storms, wildfires, and, eventually, even across carved up subdivisions. ... (read more)

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Successful You

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Multiple Bold Steps
by Abayomi Adeyeri
Xlibris


"Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing far outweighs its outcome."

Nigerian banker and businessman Adeyeri uses the wisdom of his life as a template for others on the path to success. He himself did not always make excellent decisions and wryly refers to the acronym “FAIL” as “first attempt in learning.” In secondary school, he didn’t pass enough courses to get into university, but through family connections a rule was changed, allowing him to enter university taking a different course of study than planned. This was his first “bold step.” It altered his professional direction, steering him to a banking career. During college a church leader mentored him, inspiring him to take further initiatives. Throughout the autobiographical portions of his narrative, Adeyeri offers such rules as FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful and stresses that success is about its second letter: "U." Once “you” are developed, you will become unstoppable in every way. ... (read more)

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A Universal Philosophy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ancient Wisdoms: Exploring the Mysteries and Connections
by Gayle Redfern
Stratton Press


"As I researched ancient civilizations, I found the wisdom of remote societies was more applicable than the culturally bound teachings of our immediate ancestors."

Author Redfern has compiled lore from far-flung, long-ago cultures to help us examine our own societies and, perhaps, make changes. She takes the reader on a whirlwind global tour from the land of the Mayans, now in ruins, to the still vibrant Himalayan home of the Hunzas. The journey continues to the region of the Haidas in Canada and on to Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. By studying earliest cultures, we moderns may understand better how to live. First, we must cease relying solely on science and accept that the knowledge of the ancients encompasses hidden, mystical aspects. The author suggests connections among ancient peoples who might never have met, such as the tau, or T, represented as a tree or a cross common to ancient Mayans, Egyptians, Mexicans, and Greeks. All ancient cultures, no matter how isolated, developed “rules” common to all—to do no harm, respect ancestors, and honor life. ... (read more)

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Chronicles of a Survivor

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Adrift: Completely at Sea with Paranoid Schizophrenia
by Nicki Adams
AuthorHouse


"I wondered if he felt compelled to do these things in an effort to create some order in his confused mind."

This 2014 memoir chronicles a decade of events beginning in 1973 as the author, a teacher of modern languages at a London comprehensive school, recounts her life with husband Vincent, a Jamaican carpenter who increasingly exhibits the signs of schizophrenia, becoming convinced that others are out to get him, especially his wife. Eventually, he begins hearing voices and becomes mentally and physically abusive to both his wife and children. He wavers over believing that he has serious behavioral issues that require professional help, as he voluntarily checks himself into the hospital for observation but leaves after only two days. Over time, he receives a modicum of help by attending counseling appointments, but his illness goes largely untreated. ... (read more)

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Air of Mystery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Dakota Son
by Mary Ramsey
AuthorHouse


"All I ever wanted was to feel normal in my own skin. Because being normal comes with happiness, right?"

This novel tells the story of Sean Foster, an adopted son living with cystic fibrosis. A former high school gymnastics star who dreams of competing in the Paralympics, he and his girlfriend Jen are survivors of sexual assault. Their similar backgrounds and individual tragedies bond them; they fall in love and eventually marry. Sean’s sister Sara is UCLA-bound, thanks largely to the tutelage she receives from Jen’s father, Diego Quinto, a disabled, decorated war veteran. After Sean recovers from a serious car accident that had left him in a coma for two months, Sara leaves North Dakota to attend UCLA, and Sean accompanies her. While living in California, Sean eventually meets the reality star and supermodel London Sharp, under whom his agent obtains work for him as a model. Sean achieves a level of fame, but then news about Diego suddenly reaches him—the war veteran is being physically abused by his wife, who is slowly trying to murder him because she blames him for the death of Cam, their young son. ... (read more)

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Receiving the Holy Spirit

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Launch Out
by Frank Ovec
AuthorHouse


"It is a thing of faith to be born of the spirit."

Ovec propounds a view of Christian faith based on his diligent religious study. In order to “launch out” as a true Christian, he states, there are two major kinds of baptism required. First, you must be baptized “in the water” as water symbolizes the seed of the lineage of Abraham. This baptism means accepting one’s God-ordained status as a Jewish person or as a Gentile, since the Gentiles, through the work of Jesus, have been “adopted” by God as joint heirs with the Jews. Secondly, you must be baptized “in the spirit.” This means to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, which will endow you with certain gifts. These could include healing or prophecy, whatever will bring about your edification, or the building up, of your spirit. ... (read more)

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The Job

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Union Vs. Company Vol 1. - Livin' La Vida Local
by Perel L. Blakely
RoseDog Books


"Who was really working for whom? Was Dan in Larry’s pocket, or vice versa? Could Larry and the union actually be working for the company?"

Silver-tongued devil Peter Lablazio is the local 205’s Shop Steward at USA Pop and Beverages, Inc. His gift of gab renders him a master of union negotiations in both business and sex, gaining him the admiration of his fellow union men. Peter’s deceased father’s best friend, Sal, had arranged for him to be elected Steward and depends on him to keep things running smoothly. The only problem is that Peter genuinely cares for the men he represents and has the courage to speak up for them—to both union and company bosses. When Larry De Grossi arrives from New York to ensure all goes well in the upcoming union negotiations, Peter is faced with a choice. Does he follow the orders of the union bosses, or does he follow his conscience, stand up for his men, and face an extremely dangerous situation? To complicate matters, Peter begins a relationship with the newly hired female warehouse boss which, if found out, could cost her the job or leave her vulnerable to blackmail by the union. The more Peter becomes entangled with the union bosses, the more he begins to suspect something isn’t right. ... (read more)

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Fair Trade

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Athapaskan Matriliny and Trade in Canada and Alaska
by Wayne W. Allen, B.A. M.A.
FriesenPress


"Father-in-law/son-in-law relationship would reinforce the trading partner relationship..."

There is a plethora of buried theses out there because after most graduate students complete their hard work and training, they move on. Allen’s thesis was one of them… until he decided to publish it in the form of a fascinating social anthropology book. ... (read more)

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Vulnerable & Genuine

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Seasonal Woods: A Collection of Poems
by Jane Summers
Xlibris


"My hair a mass of
corn silk
A pale golden hue
Strewn around
Shining with
Of tiny
Jewels and stars
Adorning my crown."

Though Summers finds inspiration from the passing seasons, the impact of South Asian (Indian) culture in her poetry is undeniable. In particular, “A Daily Ritual” and “A Celebration of Festival” capture both the festive spirit and the sanctity of the morning ritual. From references to temple celebrations to the token ingredients of a morning—turmeric, kumkum, and sandalwood—readers will embrace the rhythmic structure and use of repetition that unveil layer after layers of emotion and culture. ... (read more)

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A Crowded Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Destiny
by Mahlon Palmer
AuthorHouse


"...how one young man was able to bypass all...and turn it into a career that is the envy of many of his educated peers."

Palmer was the youngest child of a poor, New York farmer. The boy learned early to work hard morning to night, with his dog King following everywhere. There was no time for school work, but he did pass the exam for high school graduation... barely. With no money for college, Dick’s parents advised that he join the military. In 1954, he entered the US Air Force; once more destiny intervened as he barely passed the physical with a heart anomaly. ... (read more)

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True Choice

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Freedom of Religion by Individual Choice: The Religious Beliefs And Convictions Of Our Founding Fathers...
by Sarah Carpenter-Vascik
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"The motto In God We Trust has been viewed by some as a backdoor attempt to get God into government."

Author Carpenter-Vascik has gathered factual material concerning the shaping of America, revealing it as a country that both upholds religious freedom and also one which, at times, has sought to deprive its own people of that freedom. The issue has run like a hidden river through much of our history. Our most storied settlers, the Pilgrims, a group from which we draw such folklore as the first celebration of Thanksgiving, fled from religious persecution in the Old World yet practiced it in regard to other groups. ... (read more)

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She Endures

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Least of These
by Lee'ah D. B. Giaquinto
Zimbell House Publishing


"Sabie often told Teddie that giving a little of oneself brings about the good in the world, but one must be careful not to let people take advantage of you."

Sabrina, a personal injury attorney, is looking for a change. When she uncovers letters in a family heirloom—a secretary passed down from her great-aunt—she discovers the family practice of assisting those in need, “the least of these.” Believing this might help her find peace, she decides to follow in her family’s footsteps and opens up her home. ... (read more)

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Faces of Shelby

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sorry's Run
by Joani Lacy
iUniverse


"She changed from being the isolationist...to becoming an active abolitionist, living on the edge of social mores in a very dangerous time."

This intriguing psychological thriller begins with Martha, a 7-year-old girl growing up in Kentucky in the 1940s, who experiences the death of her grandmother. Martha remembers her grandmother’s wish that the “fairies” would take her back to Ireland when she died, a memory which introduces the reader to supernatural forces that are a common theme throughout the remainder of the story.... (read more)

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Do the Right Thing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Trouble in the Chicken House
by Jim Snyder
BookVenture Publishing


"While they watched, Rusty tapped Blue on the shoulder and said, 'Something must be done about this, otherwise it will keep going on.'"

Morality gets a new coat of fur in this story about bullies, friendship, and doing the right thing. Through an unlikely alliance and an unfortunate series of events, young readers get a taste of true heroism, the kind they can practice in their everyday lives. ... (read more)

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The Collaborative

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

EMP Causality
by Michael Kravitz
BookVenture Publishing, LLC


"For those with an already damaged inner being, self-preservation opened the door into denial."

Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels hold a diverse range of outlooks on a changed world with survivors who persevere in its aftermath. For Kravitz’s third novel, much of the country is still reeling from the EMP (Electromagnetic pulses) strike that occurred in his first novel, Boston Darkens. The grid no longer functions, and survivors strive to maintain a semblance of normalcy as they wait for the restoration of power. ... (read more)

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Pride & Acceptance

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Jacobus: A Eunuch’s Faith
by Paul Trittin
BookVenture Publishing, LLC


"Was I just a conflicted uncut eunuch, unable to hold on to love no matter how much I cherish it?"

Born at the beginning of the first century, Jacobus lives a life that is both comforting and cold. An identical twin, he and his brother Josephus came into the world in 14 A.D., sons of a powerful maritime trader. Their mother, however, died shortly after birthing them. Shunned by their older siblings and largely ignored by their father after this tragedy, Jacobus and Josephus bond as twins often do, forming their own activities and even their own language. The twins take things a step farther, fostering a romance between the two of them that draws their father’s anger. Continuing their exploration in secret, they are confined to their house, having tutors brought in to prepare them for the outside world. ... (read more)

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A Tale of Two Bears

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Lets Meet Tederico Frederico and Augustus Algernon: Two Special Bears
by Margret Wallis
AuthorHouse


"The bears were beginning to think the children had forgotten about them."

Through the eyes of a child, life is a big adventure and full of wonder and magic. It can also be a rollercoaster of emotions. Tederico and Augustus are teddy bears that are well-loved by their owners: a brother and sister. They are adventurous, mischievous, and full of life—engaging in everything from discovering a beast that looks remarkably like a kitten, sneaking food, and hiding from other children who want to take them home. Wallis uses the characters of Tederico and Augustus to explore the curiosity of children and the different feelings it conveys, whether it be fear, love, wonder, or rebellion. She captures these perfectly in beautiful, fun illustrations and uses language that is easy for a child to follow along. ... (read more)

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A Higher Peace

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Trying for Peace: Self-Actualization and World Federalism
by Joseph Sassoon
iUniverse


"The secret of American success lies in its essentially humanistic values, which are congruent with individual self-actualization or human nature."

In this short book, the focus revolves around the need for a healthier atmosphere through a democratic, humanistic focus on individual and group/organizational (political) self-actualization. The work examines the value of democracy as a product of self-actualization but without the examination of the significant problems in a democratic system. Yet the goal of trying to achieve self-actualization is explored as a way to develop a healthy, world federalism with all countries focusing on a humanistic code. But whose humanistic code are we looking at with so much variance of who and what we see as healthy? What is the individual consciousness, and what is the collective consciousness? ... (read more)

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Appreciating Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Magic of Flowers
by Roxanne M.
iUniverse


"You can't change your past, but you can look at it with different eyes."

Amanda is a psychologist who specializes in talk-therapy, letting her patients express themselves in an unguarded way. Her newest patient, Tatiana Ayoub, however, has a harder time opening up, fluctuating between wanting to work through her trauma and not sharing. Amanda begins to take a personal interest in Tatiana, curious to know what haunts her. As the two women's therapy sessions continue, they grow closer together, forming a deep and intimate friendship of understanding and healing. What happens when they find out their lives are intertwined more than they thought? How does Amanda's perfume, "Quelques Fleurs," affect those closest to her? ... (read more)

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To Be Gay

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fallow Park Today
by Joseph Glenn
Amazon Digital Services


"But he who strays from a community's norms can often be too deviant for society to tolerate."

Fifteen years have passed since a major eugenic event changed American life and launched a dystopian society. A "gay gene" was identified, and America implemented draconian measures to identify and eradicate gay genes and people. Prospective future parents undergo mandatory genetic testing, and, if they carry a chance of producing gay offspring, they are shunned and sterilized. ... (read more)

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Two Paths

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Adam and Steve: My Flesh, My Desire
by Minister Debbie Williams
Xlibris


"I know this book is not for everyone...but if it can help one person...I have done my job."

What this book offers is the author’s own story as the daughter of church members and who for a time was a practicing bisexual. Her struggle lay between knowing what is taught in the Bible as God’s word and her fleshly desires. She came to see the battle was spiritual and that the choice to resist and obey was hers. Choosing to do the hard thing, Williams followed God’s word as she had learned it. ... (read more)

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A Vivid World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Watchmaker's Doctor (Erase and Rewind Book 1)
by G.M.T. Schuilling
AuthorHouse


"She closed her eyes, concluding that she’d rather have had one day living with no regrets, than thousands more being oblivious to fixing them."

If you had the opportunity to go back in time and change your past, what would you do differently? That is the exact situation that Anaya finds herself in when one of her patients at the retirement home she practices at gifts her with a watch that gives new meaning to the definition of free will. ... (read more)

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Keen Observations

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Late Starter
by Robert Ferguson
AuthorHouse UK


"Will they have time to enjoy a brief journey,
Imaginatively,
And return reluctantly, as I did,
At the call of a gentle friend?"

In what Ferguson calls “a picture book in words,” his new collection of poems is replete with vivid imagery, diction, and musical rhythm that appreciates the wonders and mysteries of life. They draw upon the influences of his upbringing, musical training, and fondness for classical English poetry. He touches upon fundamental subjects and ruminates on matters of world events, travel, theology, nature, and humanity. ... (read more)

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Important Time

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Grandpa! Can We Go Fishing?
by D. R. Rands
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"We will have to get some fishing equipment first. We will need a net, lifejackets, worms, minnows, anchor and jigs."

Two young boys are staying with their grandpa and grandma in their cabin in the woods. Eager to take in the great outdoors, they ask their grandpa if he will take them out to go fishing. Grandpa, pleased that they want to fish, agrees and tells them to prepare for the trip. Listing all of the things they’ll need to bring on the trip, the two boys pay attention to all the tackle, lures, and safety devices they need for their activity. Once everything is collected, the three of them head out in a rowboat and head to a spot that Grandpa favors over all the others—his “secret fishing spot.” As the two boys cast their lines, Grandpa minds the net, ready to bring in any fish that they catch. ... (read more)

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Simmering & Rising

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Death by the River
by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor
Vesuvian Books


"Then there was his prize. He had plans for taking her, taming her, and teaching her the lessons she deserved."

In the small Louisiana town of St. Benedict, the Devereaux family has wielded most of the power for generations. Through their brewery, they are the largest employer in town, and the only heir to the family, Beau, is set to inherit the company. But Beau has no interest in taking over the family business; he wants to pursue a career in football as well as pursue the girl of his dreams, Leslie Moore. Prone to anger and used to swinging his clout around, Beau dates Leslie’s twin sister Dawn, all the while harassing Leslie to break her will down. But for Beau, his possessive manipulations soon escalate wildly out of control, and what started as sleeping with some girls behind Dawn’s back turns into twisted, sinister urges to dominate at all costs, putting the lives of everyone around him at risk. ... (read more)

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Real Trouble

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The A `Kempis Connection
by Michael A. Kelly
Xlibris AU


"…if this information was to become available and recklessly brought forward, all I can repeat is Lord knows what ramifications it may well present for all of Christianity—and that’s no joke."

History, religion, facts, faith, truth, consequences—they all weave a mosaic of intrigue in this international thriller that careens from America to Italy, Germany, Ireland, and even Tasmania. Jack is an ex-military man and a highly ranked scholar in the fields of theology and ancient languages. Though he’s frequently at odds with many of the Catholic Church’s teachings, he accepts an invitation by the Vatican to examine ancient texts that may or may not provide important information about the New Devotion, a secret society that has long fascinated him. Soon, he and Zoe, his brilliant and gorgeous assistant, are brain-deep in dusty research, murder attempts, torture, and more. Hidden agendas proliferate as do potentially lethal interlopers such as the CIA, an American Senator’s henchmen, brutal Moslem terrorists, and even the Mafia. ... (read more)

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Kid Rhythm

Book Reviews - US Review of Books


"But more than anything, Sammy and Sue want to learn to swim in the sea."

Kids love repetition. They relish the same stories and refrains over and over (and over) again. If the material rhymes or alliterates, they don’t just love it, they sing it. Repetition helps kids learn, reinforce, control, anticipate. Parents might think one more rendition of a favorite stanza will send them over the edge of sanity, but kids just say, “Read it again!” ... (read more)

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A Russian General

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

To Serve the Russian Empire: The Autobiography of Boris Héroys
by John Elverson
AuthorHouse UK


"Grand Duke [uncle of emperor] did nothing to show off...many of those words proved useful grains that settled quietly in the minds of his listeners."

Héroys, the author of this intriguing autobiography, was sent to elite St. Petersburg military schools. A chamber page to the future Empress Alexandra, he attended her wedding to Nicholas II. His battalion also traveled to Moscow for their 1896 coronation. Graduating at twenty-eight from the academy as a General Staff officer, he would meet many of his teachers again on battlefields as he worked up the ranks to general. ... (read more)

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