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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

Sheep No More: The Art of Awareness and Attack Survival
by Jonathan T. Gilliam
Post Hill Press


"Despite what some security 'experts' may say, fear is not a gift."

Former Navy SEAL and FBI Special Agent Jonathan T. Gilliam takes a decidedly philosophical approach to self-defense: Each of us are potential targets of crime and violence to various degrees depending on our experience, education, and exposure. Throughout the book, Gilliam reverses the perspective to that of the attacker—albeit military, criminal, mass murderer, or terrorist—so that we better understand how potential targets are formed and how we become the target. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

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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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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Living Better

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Your Best Health by Friday: How to Overcome Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Trauma, PTSD and Chronic Illness
by Elizabeth Gould, M.S.
Ricon Star Press


"If you are anxious, depressed or chronically ill, please don't be discouraged about where you are."

This practical guide contains research on reducing chronic illness without the use of modern medication. These recommendations are to aid readers medical plans, in the long run, replace all or most of the modern medication prescribed. This simple plan is divided into five days of learning. Monday describes ways to reduce stress. Tuesday outlines an understanding the overall plan. Wednesday teaches how to stop reliving negative emotions that cloud your mind. Thursday stresses ways to develop breathing practices to control emotions, exercise, and how to use vision and thoughts to heal. Finally, Friday discusses how the digestive system and diet work together to aid your body in retaining nutrients needed for overall health. ... (read more)

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Personal and Professional Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Drop the BS (Belief Systems) and Be
by Keli Adams
Dog Ear Publishing


"Live your own truth without attachment to anything…with a childlike sense of wonder, curiosity, grace, gratitude, and love."

This work is divided into two sections: the first section is primarily about the author’s experiences of the psychic and the immanence and transcendence; the second part regards work one can do to help on the path of such growth. It begins with a helpful introduction, a basic discussion about her “bizarre life experiences,” and then, inexplicably, has an article quoted from Alena Hall in The Huffington Post about introverts. This is followed by the in-depth examination of her “intuitive gifts.” She then takes the reader through letting go of personal belief systems and ways to find one’s unlimited potential, discusses automatic writing, examines some of Robert Monroe’s work, and then ends with her journey as it is today. ... (read more)

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A New Legend of Americana

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Legend of Higley Flow...: A Retrospective
by Richmond LaFayette Holton
Outskirts Press


"'I’m neither poet nor writer, but I do have plenty to say. I am the only living eyewitness to the Legend of Higley Flow.'"

In the upstate New York countryside, there is a folk legend of a monster living beneath the waters of the Higley Flow State Park. Unlike the camera-shy Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster, the mysterious creature living in Higley Flow is known to be predatory, and for over a century many people and even ships have disappeared in the area, never to be seen again. The most recent disappearance is that of a young woman by the name of Cass Landau and her pet pug Ruby. While walking through the park grounds, the two of them go missing, leaving almost no trace aside from Ruby’s dog tag. Local amateur historian, community figure, and Boy Scout troop leader Bernard Tyler Binghamton, known by all those around him as either “Bing” or “Uncle Too-tall,” unwittingly becomes involved in the legend himself. ... (read more)

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Liberal Arts Matters

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Relevance of the Liberal Arts in Twenty-First Century Academics
by Thomas Langtry
Lulu Press


"In this age, works like George Orwell’s 1984 (1949) are regarded not as dire warnings, but rather as business and administrative models to emulate."

Langtry has published a treatise on the reasons for returning liberal arts to the modern-day college curriculum. Originally published in a 2014 journal, the author has chosen to increase exposure of his arguments by presenting them inside this book. The chapter headings address three main arguments as to why the liberal arts fell out of favor and why they should be restored. Each heading voices a question followed by the author’s answers, which average 10-15 pages. The format for answers is a series of pro and con statements with quotation(s) from an advocate or opponent. ... (read more)

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Living Rights

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bring on the Blacks
by Desmond Ward
SilverWood Books


"'It is hard to know what to do, but the main thing is not to descend to the level of those who insult us.'"

Set in the early 1960s as the Civil Rights movement’s early steps are taken in the United Kingdom, this story blends fact and fiction to present a pivotal moment in the battle for equal rights. Dabber is a young conductor in the bus industry in Bristol who faces tough working conditions due to insufficient workers. Without enough people to run the buses, routes have to be canceled, and buses are abandoned in alleys, stranding people around the city. Dabber believes that if the Bristol Omnibus Company would just lift their ban on hiring black, Asian, and West Indian people, they would have more than enough people to keep all the buses running. But attitudes are slow to change within his company, despite the mounting pressure coming from the university campus. ... (read more)

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What Men Will Do

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tunnel To Hell: The Lake Erie Tunnel Disasters: Tales of Heroism and Tragedy
by Scott MacGregor
illustrated by Gary Dumm
EOI Media Press Inc.


"Years of shared desperation, poverty and fear was gone. Only darkness and lonely calm awaited the souls swept away by the angels."

The enormity of this project is impressive in itself—a complete historical fiction novel in approximately 1,500 illustrated frames. But the depth of the history lesson and the writing eloquence are nothing short of prodigious. The book has two major plots: The tunneling under Lake Erie for fresh water, and the life of Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. Either story in itself could make an interesting graphic novel, but entwined, they add depth and sophistication to the novel. There is so much to learn while reading and "watching" a comic book. ... (read more)

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The Good and the Bad

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

His Grandfather’s House
by Ron Fritsch
Asymmetric Worlds


"Without becoming pillars of salt, they felt the comfort of the other man’s arms."

In a novel that touts itself as a “coming-of-age” story, this book does indeed meet that description. Set in the early 1900s through 1961, it is a family story revolving around Kurt and his grandfather, Henry. It explores the history of Henry’s family including the death of his brother, Conrad. The book also explores the loss of Kurt’s parents and his growth into an 18-year-old man who is much like his grandfather. As they continue to buy neighbors’ farm properties, they are accused of stealing and various other sins. The local minister continues to preach about this sinful family—to which Henry and Kurt pay no heed. Kurt talks with neighbors to try to learn more about Henry and what type of man he is. While exploring other life events such as WWI and WWII, the Depression, and Kurt’s school years, the story always circles back to farm and family, both those living and deceased. The ending is both traumatic and sweet. ... (read more)

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Understanding Judas

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Misreading Judas: How Biblical Scholars Missed the Biggest Story of All Time
by Robert Wahler
AuthorHouse


"Please, everyone, read the Gospel of Judas as the Gnostic text that it is. Stop importing a New Testament bias into it."

Lost for 1,700 years, the Gospel of Judas has an approximate origin in the 2nd century and was found preserved in an Egyptian cave. The Coptic language text was written by Gnostic Christians and elevates Judas from traitor to teacher of sacred mysteries. While this find has been touted as a great revelation, early Christians labeled it heresy. ... (read more)

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To Live Forever

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. Legitimizing human cloning won't be as simple as Dalton had once thought. ... (read more)

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Faith and Spirituality

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Worthy
by Judy Salz
Hardway Press


"You never know when a door will open that’ll change your life forever."

The lives of doctors Jenny Gordon and Mark Stewart along with Chaplain Joseph Waters are thrown together when a massive earthquake destroys the hospital where they are working. Now, on his first day of work, Mark must mark patients who managed to escape with ribbons: red for immediate attention, blue for beyond help, and yellow for less serious. Mark is torn as he feels he is playing God in the decision of who lives or dies. Jenny is treating all the patients she can, and Joseph, on his second day as the hospital chaplain, is administering last rights. None of these remarkable characters have had an easy past, and it comes to haunt them, especially on this disastrous day. ... (read more)

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Showdown

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Twisted Threads
by Kaylin McFarren
Creative Edge Publishing


"'What kind of game are you playing, Yuki? What about the money you promised to give me? If anyone finds out about this...'"

The Threads series continues in this tale of suspense and mystery surrounding the employment debt of Akira Hamada. Her days as a geisha long behind her, she now serves as a deadly assassin for the Yakuza boss Mitsui. After Akira makes a threat on Mitsui’s life, his daughter-in-law, Yuki Ota, (a character familiar to readers of the series to this point) is the messenger to give Akira one final job, but Akira is unsure if this is her way out or merely a trap to end her career fatally or in prison. ... (read more)

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Steeped in Realism

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Rising Tide of People Swept Away
by Scott Archer Jones
Fomite


"The room was hot, just the way she liked it, hot enough that she sweated in penance. In the kitchen the preacher echoed forth from the radio, his phrasing taut, compelling, and rhythmic as a hymn."

A book cover with all the words of the title written in lower case—a hint, perhaps, that some lives are afforded less respect than others. Then a dedication to the working poor—further evidence that what you are about to read has nothing to do with the public’s seeming obsession with wealth, celebrity, and the glitterati. Lastly, the novel itself—far from a screed or polemic, more an homage to humanity with the realization that the effort is the truly important part, regardless of the outcome. ... (read more)

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Deborah Moves On

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Deborah Calling: A Novel Inspired by the Bible
by Avraham Azrieli
Harper Legend


"Winning one battle does not ensure a lasting freedom. You have to win every battle, again and again, for as long as you wish to remain free."

This dramatic story follows Deborah, a young girl living in a land and times where women were not treated as equals. Deborah, forced into an abusive marriage, must do whatever it takes to escape this life, gain her freedom and win back her family homestead—even if it means traveling to an elixirist to transform from a female to a strong male. Her quest leads her to Kassite, a slave worker, who takes an interest in helping her escape her old life and begin a new life as a male. Together they journey to help Kassite’s friend, Sallan, who helps lead Deborah on her final path to becoming what she dreams of. ... (read more)

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Leaving Home

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Fenians: A Stand for TIR na nÓg
by Midge Shusta
CreateSpace


"We’re chasin’ after a stick called freedom that’ll never truly be ours...we’ll carry their teeth marks in our hearts and on our skin forever."

Following Ireland’s devastating potato famine in the mid-1800s, a group called the Fenians was notorious for actively opposing English rule—especially tax decrees during the reign of Queen Victoria. Their name is derived from Finn MacCool, a legendary hero. This novel begins when Jimmy Stephens, worn out from leading a band of Irish Brotherhood in their fight, decides he must leave Ireland. He assigns Egan O’Shea as temporary leader of the local group. Three of the Brotherhood are about to be hung by the British. With trusted friends, Eagan must devise and lead a plan to free them. Unfortunately, a traitor will do everything to stop the success of their attempts. ... (read more)

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Fresh and Exciting Ideas

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Right Hand of God
by Nelda Moffatt
Litfire Publishing


"The main purpose is to provide a deeper understanding of the Trinity."

Moffatt has painstakingly detailed Judeo-Christian religious history to support her view of the sustaining power of God’s will in the world. She believes that Biblical truth is supported by current scientific fact. Adam and Eve, Moffatt suggests, were thrown out of Eden so that they could “recognize the otherness of God” and overcome their “stupidity” by working to survive. Mankind lost the connection with God in the time of Noah, invoking the flood. By exercising his free will, Abraham presaged the Reformation. Moffatt follows the Bible and then conventional historical sources through the fall of Rome, the gradual spread of Christianity, and the founding of America with its unique democratic ideal. But she feels democracy can’t spread to other world cultures today until Christians fully live and demonstrate their connectedness to the Spirit. God will re-enter the picture in what the author calls the “Age of Integrity,” and then the predictions of the Book of Revelations will come to pass. ... (read more)

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Simple Wealth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ella's Golden Eggs: How to Conquer Real Estate and Never Be Broke Again
by Ella M. Coney
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"I promised God that if He blessed me with $1 million just once, I would be set for life. He did, and I am."

Retired real estate investor Ella M. Coney shares her experiences, her lessons, and her expertise in this slim but valuable book. Her life has been a remarkable one, a true rags-to-riches saga. Born to a working-class family, she became pregnant at age 17 and again before she was 20. Her hard-working mother was unable to let her stay at home once she had two small children, so she got a job and found a place to rent. But she didn’t really know how to keep a job or pay rent regularly and failed even when assigned a low-rent apartment in the projects. Yet somehow she maintained a faith in God and a basic will to better herself. ... (read more)

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A Noteworthy Character

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Lady One Horn’s Champion
by Pat Rogers
AuthorHouse


"Tris gasped in amazement. The sky was filled with a mass of creatures bigger than wooly mammoths and all the colors of the rainbow."

Near as anyone can tell, Tristram Carter Horne is a normal college student. The only things particularly noteworthy about him are his photographic memory and a horrible nightmare—the latter which has been plaguing him and preventing him from sleeping. The nightmare turns out to be linked to a prophecy in a far-off mystical land that the Champion of Lady One Horn (the queen of the unicorns) will do battle with the Dark Lord. Tristram is pulled into this strange new world and forced to learn the customs of elves, dwarves, fairies, dragons, and even the parallel world’s humans while preparing for a conflict foretold in his destiny. His knowledge of technology and the attraction he feels toward Princess Katrina—who has dreamed of him as he has dreamed of her since childhood—will prove to be the force that keeps him going in an unfamiliar and fantastical place. ... (read more)

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This World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Pilgrims’ Passage: Darkness to Light
by Joe Buda
Xlibris


"The rhythmic vibrations are actually signals that are projected out into space and then, when intercepted, can be returned with energy that can destroy life as we know it."

Think of Buda’s novel as a present-day thriller steeped in both the ancient past and the cosmic future. It feels a bit like The Da Vinci Code meets Brave New World with a touch of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy sprinkled in for good measure. Religion, both ancient and modern, is involved, Philosophy, both traditional and experimental, is explored. Plus, there’s a lot of psychic energy communication going on in the afterlife while romance, sex, murder, and mayhem play out right here on earth. ... (read more)

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Love Letters to Horror

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Trilogy of Terror : Three Tales of Horror, Dread and Fear
by Alfonso Moret
Xlibris


"Tales of ghost, dead warriors seeking revenge, even vampire and wolf-man tales."

Three grisly tales comprise Moret’s book of terror. In “Wrath of the Devil Dogs,” a high school football student, Lugo, is bitten by Himalayan Devil Dogs while visiting the Los Angeles Zoo on a class trip. Under the moonlight, he morphs into a wolf-man of sorts and wreaks havoc upon the city. His teammate, Johnny, and his girlfriend, Lisa, arm themselves to fight the deadly beast terrorizing the night. “King of the Vampires” centers on a seventeen-year-old sheepherder, Ivan, and his encounters with vampiric creatures in the Russian countryside. He discovers a supernatural power within him, becoming a reluctant, vampire-killing hero to face the powerful King of the Vampires, Demetrius. The final tale, “Curse of the Incas,” finds archaeology students on a dangerous expedition in the mountains of Peru to study the ancient Incas. There they encounter Inca ghosts and mummies and are pitted against a great curse for survival. ... (read more)

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Fast-Paced Action

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Abandoned of God: Book One: A Life Becomes a Better Life Through Living!
by Monroe Silver
Xlibris


"Was he now fated to draw violence and death the remainder of his days? Had he been abandoned of God?"

Every time Mason Cole Stuart fought at school to stop kids from picking on his disabled friend, Judy, his mother was sure that her son would drop the Stuart family into the toilet. His father, Matthew Lee Stuart, quietly observed the boy instead, wondering what the future would bring him simply because he was his son. ... (read more)

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Enchanting Family Saga

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

I'll Remember April
by Jean Murray Munden
Xlibris


"Blue eyes looking into mine; hand firmly in the small of my back, then his lips against my cheek, and his whispering words…"

When her granddaughter comes to her for advice concerning a matter of the heart, Louise Ferris begins to reminisce about her own amorous past. At seventeen, she is enamored with her best friend’s older brother but is taken by surprise when he confesses returned desires for her and proposes marriage. As Canada enters the Great War to aid Great Britain and France, her wedding to Jeremy must be put on hold, and Louise embarks on a path of service in nursing. Her prospects appear to be securely in place until she meets Jeremy’s cousin, Johnny, and finds herself longing for a different future. The casualties of war and rapid spread of influenza threaten to define her destiny as she wrangles with her new emotions. Now eighty-eight, Louise reflects upon her experiences and those of her loved ones as she slowly unveils an undisclosed legacy of love. ... (read more)

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In Loving Memory

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

My Connie
by Pradeep K. Berry
AuthorHouse


"We immediately knew on our first meeting that we were in love, and there was no need to have a second meeting."

Author and finance consultant Berry lost his wife, Connie, to cancer in 2015. As a young man, he turned his back on professional opportunities in his native India to travel to the US seeking better prospects. But as soon as he arrived, he began to have misgivings, feeling unbearably lonely. Fortuitously, he found employment almost immediately, met Constance Ann Fuller, fell in love, and married her soon after. They were a faithful, happy couple for 42 years. In 2002, she was diagnosed with cancer; in 2005, he left his employment to spend more time with her. Ten years later, he was with her when she passed away. Though he expresses bitterness toward family members who offered no help or care, and toward doctors who, he believes, didn’t do all they could have for his beloved wife, his book is in the main a praise-filled, sorrowful recollection of his life with Connie. ... (read more)

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Engaging Reverse Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Heaven and Earth
by Arturo Riojas
Xlibris


"The cadmium story in this country began around the end of World War II, with the widespread use of phosphate and other commercial fertilizers."

In this most unusual offering, author and chemical/environmental engineer Riojas combines scientific fact and science fiction. The novel concerns an aeronautical engineering brainiac, Olga, whose overt curiosity about some unusual data puts her under suspicion among her fellow scientists. Her friend Gavilán, a sensitive practitioner of Earth sciences, arranges for the two to make an exploratory, under-the-radar visit to Roswell. There they meet a thousand-year-old alien from Treretum. The Treretumians visited Earth once before and were known to the ancients as “The Teachers.” They are concerned now at the common trend among Earthlings to ingest a poisonous chemical that causes life-threatening illness. ... (read more)

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Happiness and Fulfillment

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Orange Cover
by Moshy Shain
Xlibris


"We might have people who we don’t like, and we might have some enemies, but we shouldn’t be happy when they get hurt."

Many of us deal with emotional trouble on a frequent basis, whether it’s letting emotions get the better of us or being too harsh on ourselves. In this book, the author outlines a simple plan that is designed to give people better control of their minds and feelings by understanding more clearly why we feel the way we do. Each chapter covers a different kind of situation or certain way of thinking, from dealing with jealousy and distrust to letting go of needless blame. After identifying a typical problem that people struggle with, a short, accessible action plan is laid out to help change the way one handles their emotions. In short, simple lessons that can be studied and applied to everyday life, this book will allow its readers to live happier, more loving, and compassionate lives. ... (read more)

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Shaman Teacher

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Invasion Revealed: Healing Alcoholism, Mental Illness & Drug Addiction
by Nancy Lynne Harris, M.A.
GodSpirits United, LLC


"The lesson we all have to learn and demonstrate is the triumphant power of Self-Love."

Shaman and spiritual teacher Nancy Lynne Harris states that we can heal ourselves from addiction and mental illness by practicing the art of Self-Love. She describes her own journey to this truth. Her father was an alcoholic. He took prescription barbiturates, believing that doctors would cure him. He was found dead at age 51. She lost two sons and an ex-spouse to drugs and alcohol. For eight years she suffered from depression, going to counselors who prescribed various drugs for palliation. Then she had a powerful vision of evil spirits taking possession of her mind. She realized that she could heal herself by taking charge of her mental state and overcoming such demonic entities with authoritative, disarming messages. She thus began the process of Self-Love, recognizing that even the word “love” has the power to drive negativity out of one’s life. ... (read more)

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Enthralling Fantasy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Out of the Forest of Darkness: The Parables of the Game Master, Book 3
by Allen Scovil


"“…Arthur is the only one who cares for you, Amy, and is the only one who can help you in this place."

Young teenager Arthur Pye suddenly finds himself in a cloud of gloom and realizes he’s in someone’s Land of Heart. Readers of previous volumes of Allen Scovil’s The Parables of the Game Master will be anticipating stirring surprises in Part 3. Arthur must rescue Amy, who caught the attention of Game Master Jesus when she was prayed for in church. Arthur must show her that she is loved so she can extricate herself from the dangerous realm she landed in after too many video games and zombie movies. But how can a boy talk to a girl about love without sounding creepy? After much guidance, Amy learns how to elude her captivity and overcome her demons, gradually absorbing the remarkable idea that someone really loves her. In the plot mix are lies disguised as truths, magic tricks to set doubters on the wrong path, and a dark secret about Amy that Arthur discovers after he has, to his astonishment, fallen in love with her. ... (read more)

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Teen-Focused Fantasy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Fortress With No Door: The Parables of the Game Master, Book 4
by Allen Scovil


"At the start of the next lap, Arthur braced himself against he knew not what; and then he was floating naked again and feeling more pain."

Arthur Pye, aligned with the greatest force for good—Game Master Jesus—faces his toughest assignment ever: improving schoolmate Rick, a teenager completely dominated by self-protective pride. In this fourth in Allen Scovil’s The Parable of the Game Master series, young Arthur learns what it means to suffer for the sake of others as, assisted by a donkey named Daisy and other angelic spirits, he enters Richard’s profoundly dark and dangerous Land of the Heart. ... (read more)

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Misbehaving and Misadventures

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Don't Smile Till Easter
by Adrian Stadtmiller, BA Dip Ed
Staddie Media/Publicious Book Publishing


"Delia, the Drama teacher at my school, tells me that I’m anti-establishment and a guerilla warfare fighter against the educational system."

A novel based in Australia, the book focuses on 14-year-old Lukas, his grandfather Tom, his mother Gail, and his teacher and mentor Mr. Donaldson (Donny). Along the way, other players are introduced including the Old Bloke Next Door—a creepy religious zealot, Bob, the father of Jenny, who is raising his daughter alone after his wife died of cancer, and Jenny, an older girl who Lukas likes but who is shown to have some significant issues of her own. Other characters include Terry (a fellow student who is obsessed with sex), the inept Principal Dr. Martin Grey, and various other teachers and school personnel. ... (read more)

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Antihero

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Demetrius
by Alfonso Moret
Xlibris


"At first, the bite was painful, but then the physical agony turned to a heated passion. Her pushing away arms diverted to grasping and pulling him tightly to her body as her life fluids left her body."

As a highly trained spy and assassin for France during the Napoleonic wars, Demetrius Gannet Brocolac is no stranger to danger. So when a vampire descends on him in the middle of a clandestine night mission, Demetrius manages to kill the monster—but not quickly enough. That fateful night, Demetrius finds himself turned into a vampire. As he learns to navigate his new life, Demetrius finds himself entangled in the world of other vampires, suspicious detectives, and love. As he hones his skills at killing, with his Queen by his side, Demetrius becomes a respected member of the vampire society. But a few irresponsible kills draw the attention of those who see him as a monster. Now he must use his wiles and skills to secure a spot as the leader of one world while avoiding the legal and moral consequences of another. ... (read more)

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Best Intentions

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Good Intentions—Bad Consequences: Voters’ Information Problems
by Phillip Nelson
AuthorHouse


"Everybody would like to wrap their political position in the mantle of altruism. That wrap also improves their evaluation of themselves."

The author has published this book as a new approach to understanding voter choice. Nelson’s impressive economic credentials give weight to his argument that more information about bad consequences could have changed the results of recent elections. He predicts that in the future such information can sway the votes of conservatives, liberals, altruists (liberal and naïve), and even Republicans and Democrats. ... (read more)

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Underwater Alien

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ocean Whirled
by Sam Webb
BookVenture Publishing


"'All we ask is that you do whatever you can to aid us in the battle. That is enough.'"

Deep in the ocean, a peculiar creature named Penure is raised by a pod of dolphins. Penure is believed to be the last of his kind: the N’harmae. With the tail of a dolphin and the torso and head of a human, the N’harmae were the caretakers of the ocean and its creatures, compassionately taking care of other creatures before they were pushed to the brink of extinction by a mysterious predator known as the Vi’red. The Vi’Red arrived on a falling meteor that landed in the ocean and swallows its prey whole in order to clone itself, preferring the taste of N’harmae over all the other creatures in the ocean. Young Penure is sent from his adoptive dolphin pod across the ocean to learn more about himself and his people. ... (read more)

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From LA to NY

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Midnight Shrink: A Novel
by Edward A. Dreyfus
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"'I began thinking about my own childhood and wondered whether the stories I've told based on what I experienced as a child may have been colored.'"

Forensic psychologist Dr. David Edminson spends his nights in LA's Skid Row, administering mental and emotional care to those the rest of the world would sooner forget. He knows the streets and its downtrodden inhabitants better than anyone, which is why the police turn to him for assistance when a local stripper is found murdered. When another body turns up, the cops fear they have a serial killer on their hands. The doctor has his hands full with his regular clients and trying to uncover the truth behind his grandfather. Now he must get into the mind of a serial killer intent on snuffing out strippers—before his own girlfriend becomes the next victim. ... (read more)

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Women's Rights

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Surviving Dreamland: Escape from Terror
by William F. Penoyar
Bookerfly Press


"The motivational torture continued when one or another team member displeased him on the field."

Penoyar’s historical novel grabs you from page one with an insider’s look at the brutal reign of the Hussein family in Iraq, specifically Saddam’s sadistic son, Uday, known for kidnapping coeds from the streets of Baghdad. The main female character, Lara, an Iraqi-American who returns to Baghdad for college, is drawn into the horror through a chance encounter with the vicious Uday outside a nightclub in 2003. Her fate is Dreamland, Uday’s torture palace. ... (read more)

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Bravery and Humility

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

For Country: My Little Bit: Twenty-One Months of Service
by Donald G. Bartling
Xlibris


"...American people are a peace-loving people...but there are times when they also must face reality. That reality is sometimes―WAR."

The author published this book as a statement of his personal belief in the value of defending one’s country. This short memoir covers 1950 to 1956, beginning with the orders for the author to report for induction into the U.S. Army and ending with his honorable discharge. Bartling modestly refers to this as his “little bit” of service. ... (read more)

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Clear and Evocative

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Blessings of a Mother to a Son
by Kamal Krishna Laha
Xlibris


"There is no word sweeter than ‘mother’, which reminds me of my mother and motherly gods."

The author wishes to share memories with his children and grandchildren. This memoir was inspired by a grandson’s question: “Where did you come from?” Laha was born in 1942 in a cowshed in Bengal, India. The family house had no running water. Laha had typhoid fever three times. He did not walk in his early years but built up his strength by swimming in the Ganges River. After basic schooling, he attended a Hindu-based college (Ramakrishna Mission Shilpamandira, Belur Math). With a diploma in electrical engineering, he worked in India, began to travel for his employment, and ultimately emigrated to Australia with his wife and children. ... (read more)

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Clear & Uncompromising

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A New Day Beyond the Horizon
by K. Meador
Xlibris


"After years of struggling to take care of her children, it was time for Adele to take care of Adele. There was no one else to do it."

This book recounts the lives of a man and woman from different parts of the world who eventually meet, fall in love, and realize that life is better when it’s shared with someone else. While the story is based on truth, changes have been made to names, places, and organizations to maintain privacy. ... Adele is an Austrian child of World War II. Growing up initially under Hitler’s reign and then in the aftermath of the greatest conflict the world has ever known, hers is an early life of hardship. Yet her intense desire to read and learn is the fuel that keeps the fires of hope burning. Married young, she is bound to a husband more committed to a group of religious zealots than to his wife and family. Eventually, Adele breaks away and finds herself in America. Paul is a Texan. Similar to many from his place and time, he survives a hardscrabble beginning to eventually serve in the military, finish college, and begin a career that will take him far beyond his roots in the piney woods. In his mid-forties, he meets Adele, and a life together begins—a life that neither could have ever imagined. ... (read more)

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Twists & Turns

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Guy De Tournet, Child of Revolution, Son of France: Papaha
by Denise Cory Blake
AuthorHouse UK


"They dropped like flies with malnutrition and exhaustion in their wake. The Russians had no need to engage the French in mortal combat, the land, and the terrain did their work for them."

History is engagingly brought to life in this novel of a young Frenchman’s experiences leading a ragtag band of soldiers in Napoleon’s Russian folly. As empty victories embolden the French Emperor to chase his foe’s retreating armies across vast stretches of countryside, winter sets in and leads to one of the worst debacles in military history. It is within this momentous chapter of days gone by that the author has chosen to weave a tapestry of romance, danger, and mystery. ... (read more)

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Storybook Devotional

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Growing in Grace: Series 2: All About Jesus
by Caren McBride
Xlibris


"Something beautiful, something good, all my confusion, He understood."

This storybook is a beautiful lesson book for children to learn more about Jesus. Young readers learn that Jesus loves you no matter what mistakes you have made. He gave his life for our sins so we can be forgiven and live without regret. Readers learn that Jesus is always there for us; he wants us to talk to him, to trust him, to ask him for what we need. In return, Jesus loves to hear what we are thankful for in our hearts. In addition, children learn that Jesus is with us always; he will never leave our side, and even when we are not thinking of him, he is thinking of us. We can trust Jesus to always be with us regardless of our actions due to his love and grace. ... (read more)

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Get Your Gun

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bounceback
by Michael Hollins
AuthorHouse


"'Shorty is a good man, but I warn you, if you fail Shorty today, you will be very, very surprised how displeasing your life will become and surprised once again when your life ends so soon.'"

Want to read a movie? Hollins’ original screenplay describes what’s happening visually, dialogue tells you what the characters are saying, and your imagination fills in the rest. It’s a quicker way to move through a story—and if the story is good, as this one is, it’s no less compelling than a novel. ... (read more)

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Random Smarts

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Random Acts of Writing
by Mark J. Molldrem
Xlibris


"What you are about to venture forth in reading is not meant to be a page-turner (as in a great detective or romance novel), but a page-stopper..."

In a 126-page book that meets the author’s definition of being a “page-stopper,” this work examines the basic definition of each month followed by questions for personal examination. These questions revolve around each of the four essays that follow, with questions such as, “How does your lifestyle promote peace in your community?” and “What parables of life do you read in the changing colors, the cooling clime, and the falling leaves?” The four essays focus on a variety of topics. They examine history, science, sci-fi, and spirituality with quotes from the prophetic to the inane (such as a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon) and from philosophers to artists. It includes stories of others as well as information from Islam, Judaism, Christianity and humanistic beliefs. A few of the most interesting topics include “Reading the Tides”—which is about the ebb and flow of life—“The Names of God,” and “Prescription for World Health.” ... (read more)

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Adventure-Laden Yarn

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Wilderness of Ice: A Tibetan Myth Becomes Reality
by Keith Devine
AuthorHouse UK


"Did the Himalayas’ most ancient mystery figure in the origin of humankind’s creation?"

In this intriguing fantasy, author Keith Devine mixes myth with some gently massaged facts. The story begins with a search for the elusive Yeti, a large hairy humanoid that supposedly dwells in the Himalayan Mountain range, feeding happily on all meat, including human flesh. An investigation is initiated by Nazi Heinrich Himmler to determine if the Yeti, with its blue-green eyes, might be a primitive member of the Aryan race, utilizable as labor for Hitler’s Reich. A reluctant zoologist, Hans Schröder, is sent by Himmler to the icy regions of Tibet and records his encounter with the terrifying species, including a Nazi vs. Yeti battle. ... (read more)

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Artist Reveals

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Art with a Story III
by John Nieman
Xlibris


"The only relief was a glimpse of the Hudson River and the gulls and birds that would momentarily alight there and then soar toward freedom."

Sixty-four paintings and short stories comprise this distinctive combination of original art and fiction that offers a glimpse into the artist’s interpretation of his own work. Featuring watercolors and pastels, the artwork frequently incorporates text into the paintings, layering a collage of elements that provide depth to the surrealist designs. Using movie and song titles, well-known phrases, and celebrity names, words and art merge into a modern picture saturated with social context. This visual presentation is enhanced by the accompanying stories that provide a concise, often whimsical, tale to associate the artwork with real-life encounters and situations. The provocative narrative creates a voyeuristic experience for the reader that leaves little to the imagination. ... (read more)

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The Beautiful Witch

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Friends of The Enchanted Forest
by Glenda Crenshaw
AuthorHouse


"'If anything happened to any of you, I could never forgive myself and could not face life.'"

Willow is a beautiful witch living in the Enchanted Forest with her friend, Panthagoras, a wise old owl. However, Willow was raised on the dark side of the forest where trees tied up those passing by, shadows drifted around in the gloom, and the Evil Magician lived in the murkiness. This is where Willow grew up after the Evil Magician banished her parents and took Willow to train for evilness. After twenty years, Willow escaped and found love, kindness, friendship, and true happiness with new friends in the Enchanted Forest. Life was lovely, until one day when a shadow appeared on the beautiful side of the forest. Willow’s Evil Magician had finally found her and sent a message to her: She must return, or her friends would suffer the consequences. Willow did not want harm to come to her friends, so she left. However, her friends would not give up so easily. They loved Willow so they followed. Together with Panthagoras, the friends defeated the Evil Magician and banished him to space forever. ... (read more)

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A Better Home

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Home Attitude: Everything You Need To Know To Make Your Home Smart
by John R. Patrick
Attitude LLC


"...iterate fast... means continuously adding devices and capabilities to make your home smarter and smarter. I started with just one light switch..."

Making your house smarter could be addictive! At the book’s publication, Patrick confesses to having 18 schedules and hundreds of the following: devices, triggers, and action groups. Divided into two parts, this 173-page book first provides an overview of the devices/technologies/apps involved in creating a smart house and ways scheduling can simplify how you leave, return, and interact with your home. Next, it briefly supplies information regarding devices and services to install yourself—suited to a ‘home attitude’ enthusiast. ... (read more)

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Satisfied

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Deep in Serenity
by DP Jones
iUniverse


"This night was no different, it started with playful flirting then before you know it he lifted Serenity up onto the counter top."

Dwayne is working as a chef in an on-campus cafeteria when he meets an alluring student—Serenity. After some brief flirting, their relationship explores taboos of professionalism, age, and public intimacy, but the connection that the two experience is strong enough to carry them through any difficulty. Fostering their passionate moments into a full-bred relationship, Dwayne falls head over heels for Serenity, and their days are full of both romantic and erotic happenings. Their connection causes plans to change, with Serenity working hard to graduate sooner so she can get her own place and eventually move in with Dwayne. Both of them have ghosts in their past threatening to put a stop to the good times, forcing them to stay committed to living in the moment. ... (read more)

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Depths of Depravity

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Concrete Grave
by Aaron Gilbreath
Xlibris


"The air was thin and crisp with a chill that would make any man shiver to his bones. With most families seeking the warmth of a heated home, it was a perfect moonlight setting for a murderer to commit a brutal act of mayhem."

When a copycat killer is gunned down in a quiet suburb outside of Houston, one TV station comes up with an ambitious plan to bump their ratings through the roof. The station plans to broadcast a reality TV show from inside a maximum-security prison which houses five death-row inmates—including the original killer who inspired the copycat: the infamous David Byers. At the center of the reality show is ambitious young reporter Thomas Ryans. But what initially seems like a windfall for Thomas quickly turns into a nightmare. Fueled by hostility and insanity from both in and outside the prison, chaos unfolds. A mission to film reality TV turns into a fight for survival as Thomas and his cameraman dig up the truths behind these vicious killers and uncover some shocking personal revelations. Reality TV has never been more real. ... (read more)

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Wolfman

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Curse of the Devil Dogs: A Sequel of the Devil Dogs
by Alfonso Moret
Xlibris


"This is unbelievable – a sci-fi terror movie coming to life."

In 1963, after recent events of an alleged wolf-man terrorizing Los Angeles, NASA trained scientists Delores Martin and Robert Bain are called to investigate the Himalayan wolves responsible. The wolves, known as devil dogs, have been transferred from the Los Angeles zoo and quarantined at El Segundo Air Force Command Base. There, Delores and Martin work with animal specialist and veterinarian Vernon Murray. In a mishap during their assessment of the devil dogs, Vernon and Robert are each bitten. A growing understanding of the implications from the wolf bites freaks Robert out, and he goes into hiding. Meanwhile, Vernon and Delores, in a developing romance, prepare for the worst. ... (read more)

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Expressing the True

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

To You, Madam
by James Norman
Xlibris


"'My dear, every pleasure in life should be indulged with moderation, except love.'"

Myles and Brenda meet during a snowstorm by accident at a crowded bar. Myles invites Brenda back to his home to wait out the storm—an offer she accepts. Over the weekend, this pair discovers much about each other: divorces, a shared love of jazz, and hopes for the future. But most of all they discover their immediate, irrefutable love for each other after only a few short days. Neither has ever felt this kind of longing intimacy for another person, even during their past marriages. After the storm passes, the two are already devoted fully to each other in body and soul. As time passes, the couple meets friends and extended family. Brenda’s family is mostly estranged from her, and Myles family consists of Aunt Babs, his mother's twin sister, who raised him after his mother's death. Aunt Babs only wish is that her nephew will have children to carry on the Covington name. ... (read more)

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Overthinking Sex?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sex Makes the World Go Round
by Alison Brause
Xlibris


"What if Monica Lewinsky...had said, 'You're damn right I had sex with the President. That's how good I am. I'm presidential material'."

Some people tend to stress about sex too much. Unlike other creatures, who just do what comes naturally, humans sometimes overthink the action and take the fun out of carnal pleasures. Author Alison Brause aims to bring some of the fun back into the act of lovemaking. Her book is short and filled with fun, bite-sized thoughts about sex and how to make it more enjoyable for everyone involved. ... (read more)

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Enjoyable Holiday Read

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

No Destiny, There Is No Santa Claus: The True Story of Christmas
by Larry Douglas Mattox
Xlibris


"He didn’t think that it would be right to have lies going on between his children and himself."

Christmas has a multitude of meanings for people, depending on their beliefs. The secular celebrity of the holiday season (whether one believes in him or not) is Santa Claus, a popular figure who can be found everywhere in the media. As a parent of a particular culture or belief, it is difficult to bypass the Santa Claus dynamic with children, including whether to tell them if the mysterious old man actually exists. In his charming book on the subject, Mattox tackles this tough question through the eyes of Destiny, a seven-year-old girl, and her family. ... (read more)

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Musings on Aging

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tapestry: Poetry and Musings
by Edward Schwartz
Xlibris


"As I write this at age seventy-three, I am comfortable with my age. …at our age, you can be whatever you want to be."

This book of just under one hundred poems is divided into about eleven parts, beginning with the author’s marriage in 1958 to his wife for the next fifty-nine years. The first few sections are short—featuring love letters between them—usually a page or two in length. The series of rhyming poems then proceed into sections covering “cycles of life”—or nature poems—then into poems describing his newborn children, Deborah and Howie. A short venture into ecological poems then shifts into the poet’s musings about his thoughts about God, fate, and philosophical ideas. His daughter Deborah’s death from cancer at age thirty-eight is the next theme, with very sad and moving poems about the parents’ sense of loss. A short series of poems about senior citizens is then followed by the longest section called “Humorous, Silly, Thoughtful,” which features the author’s musings on aging. ... (read more)

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Inner Dialogue

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Angels Among Us: Living Dream Series
by Erwin Lazaro
AuthorHouse


"I’m not afraid of facing my fears...I’m more terrified about failing than being terrified by fear itself."

The author published this memoir as part of his Living Dream series. This first book is about resolving significant life experiences from his childhood to age thirty, including the early deaths of two best friends and the recent break with his fiancée of six years. His book begins with disturbing dreams that insist Lazaro dig into buried concerns. Fortunately, the author’s career is settled at this point. Instead of the electrical engineering degree his father wanted, Lazaro chose to become an architect, following his own path and honoring promises to his deceased friends. ... (read more)

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Guided by Taoism

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

What Jah Feels: The Words of the Scribe
by Moses Shehan Dana Lee
Xlibris


"Cry out to God, I hear,
What sound denies, in the silent moments.
The deepest thoughts, this one is for Jah."

Within the pages of Lee’s collection of poems are spiritual messages of beauty, love, and enlightenment. Born in New York City to Jamaican parents, Lee (formerly Paul Dwyer) fostered his love for poetry at a young age. His writings are the result of years of close study in religious movements and the adoption of a poetic name to symbolize his transformation and illumination. ... (read more)

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Inspiring Hero

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Adventures of Billy Bog Brush!: The Fire Brigade
by Ian Campbell and Tim Constable
AuthorHouse UK


"Wow, what a day this has been, he thought."

Billy Bog Brush wakes up to a peaceful, quiet day but soon hears a scream. The day is now getting exciting. Billy climbs out his family’s cat flap and runs down the street where Mrs. Brown is standing outside in great distress. Her grandson is asleep inside her house, there is smoke, the door is locked behind her, and the fire brigade is on the way. She is worried they will be too late, so Billy climbs in through Mrs. Brown’s cat flap to get the keys to the front door. Being small, Billy must balance on the stair banister to reach the keys. He carefully balances on the rail and jumps toward the key hook. Once he has the keys, Billy climbs back through the cat flap to give Mrs. Brown her keys just as the fire brigade arrives. She unlocks the door, and the firefighters rush in and bring out Mrs. Brown’s sleepy grandson. As a reward for Billy’s bravery, he gets to ride on the firetruck with the firemen. ... (read more)

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Intriguing Adventure

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

New Zealand: A Personal Discovery
by Dick Parsons
AuthorHouse


"Thus this sleeping land… was moulded by exploitation, wars and the gospel into this beautiful and productive land we were about to explore."

Starting with prehistoric times and moving seamlessly to present day, Parsons paints a vivid picture of the three islands that make up New Zealand. The gorgeous green valleys, lovely volcanoes, and panoramic ocean views are well worth the trip. But if a trip to this beautiful country isn’t in the cards for you, then Parsons’ book is the next best thing. Parsons writes with an enchantingly mischievous tone that makes the book a joy to read. Whether he’s writing about a disappointingly modern ferry, the Lynx, or about the tendency of buildings to be moved from one side of the road to the other, Parsons’ writing style makes every adventure intriguing. ... (read more)

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Nature Theme

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Color Cycle
by Eric Peplinski
AuthorHouse


"Here is a story about colors so true, where violets, the sky, and the oceans are blue."

This first-time author’s work, which has been illustrated by his young daughter, is a celebration of the vibrant hues that grace our world according to the changing of the seasons. Peplinski’s book evokes for his young readers how the changing of the seasons brings a distinctive color palette to one’s daily life. Spring is a time of delicate greens as new leaves unfurl from twigs and small plant shoots poke their heads above the earth. Summertime brings the kaleidoscope of wildflower colors, and as summer eases into fall, the riot of oranges and scarlets of the fall foliage serves as a kind of last hurrah before the cold whites and grays of winter sets in. ... (read more)

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Growing Up

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fourmi the Ant
by Akshita Kakumanu
Xlibris


"I crawled through the underground passageways and back to my room to get some rest hoping to pass all my tests."

Fourmi is a shy, scared, little ant who isn’t sure he has what it takes to become an adult. He believes he is not a normal ant. In order to become an adult, Fourmi must pass a series of tests: How to Escape Humans, Digging, and Carrying Big Things. But these are tests he has failed once already, and this is his last chance. If he fails again, he will be banished to the grass forever and never become a working adult ant. While he is unsure he has what it takes, Fourmi is determined to study hard and be prepared for whatever may come. However, he receives very little help from his family, especially his sister Formica. This book takes the reader along on Fourmi’s journey to become a strong adult and live out his dream. But, what if he doesn’t make it? Will he be banished to the grass forever and never truly grow up? ... (read more)

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Constructive Solutions

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Chaos of Kittens Meets a Knot of Toads: In the Land of Critter Crowds
by Ruth Anderson Lawler
Xlibris


"Their squeals and yowls gave the knot of toads a classic case of indigestion."

Life is full of heartburn-causing moments—the grumpy old man who yells at the young whippersnappers to get off his lawn or the loud party music that keeps the neighbor awake into the early hours of the morning. Lawler uses a whimsical tale to paint this type of frustration clearly—kittens who give both jellyfish and toads indigestion because of the ruckus they create around the pond. If only it ended there, however. The adult animals get involved, trying to determine who is at fault: the overly playful kittens or the toads and jellyfish who are perhaps a little too serious for their own good? ... (read more)

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Core of Family

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Lady of Esterbrooke: Loves Journey Through Time
by Ann W. Phillips
Xlibris


"She wondered how it felt to be held in his arms and to feel his lips on hers. She bet that any woman that got that close to him had better beware."

Marla McIntire is an independent, young woman content with her quiet country life at Esterbrooke, an old southern plantation where her father serves as the caretaker. Having grown up surrounded by nature and history, she feels an innate connection to the land. When the new owners of the plantation visit the property from their homeland in Spain, she unexpectedly encounters their son, Lance Bridwell. Initially taken aback by his assertive disposition, she quickly changes her negative opinion of him after he reveals his religious upbringing and belief in God. This recognition of shared values generates an attraction and passion that unites the couple, leading to marriage and a family of their own. Together, they encounter life’s challenges while remaining steadfast in their commitment to each other. ... (read more)

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A Multi-Cultural Work

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tossed Overboard
by Garibaldi Sabio
Xlibris


"‘You can freely and voluntarily climb down them ropes; or the third Mate and the boatswain’ll throw you overboard.'"

Time spent on the high seas is not what it’s cracked up to be in this thriller as a container ship with a record of notorious mistreatment and exploitation becomes a murderous vessel. When two men, one Portuguese and one Spanish, find their way to a law firm in Minneapolis looking for help, the law firm is tasked with proving that this ship was indeed guilty and liable for the misdeeds. Outside of getting the shipping company to flat out admit that they did indeed perpetrate all of this torment and anguish, the only other option would be to send an investigator undercover to verify the claims and then present a first-hand account of corroboration. However, while the hardened private investigator might indeed be able to compile enough evidence of the wrong-doing, he could also get himself in much deeper then he would have ever anticipated. ... (read more)

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A Harrowing Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Unintended Consequences
by Janet Kay Swain
Xlibris


"Mommy didn’t want me. I came into the world alone, afraid, and abandoned."

Swain chronicles the dreadful, sorrowful, dangerous, and frightening experiences of her life and her eventual slow recovery. When she was born, her mother refused to touch her. She lived with her emotionally cold Grandmother, who whipped her, and her Grandfather, who sexually abused her. Her mother’s many boyfriends also abused the author. By age thirteen, Swain was an alcoholic who used street drugs and had sex with multiple partners. Though she had almost no self-confidence, her academic test scores revealed her high intelligence. As an adult working in accounting, she was detail-oriented and diligent but still alcoholic. She had two sons who were also addicted and—like their mother—acted out their pain in desperate ways. But as she shielded them, they often came to her rescue. She finally found help in A.A. and counseling, and after many years of misery, with a diagnosis of and treatment for schizophrenia, she now enjoys a calm sense of self-esteem. ... (read more)

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