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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

Warlight
by Michael Ondaatje
Knopf


"I wondered if this combination of 'domestic life' and a 'life away' was what first led my mother to accept and then change the path of her life."

War never ceases. Even during ceasefire, war goes underground and waits for a chance to reemerge. During active war, nothing comes off cleanly, and rules are bent if not entirely broken. This uncertainty requires people to reevaluate what is important and what to preserve for the future. The intensity forces people to change. It places them out of position and off the beaten paths of their lives. On the largest scale, war is about power, but when the dust clears, all war is personal. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

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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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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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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A Personal Passage

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Bridge with Three Spans: An Indian Muslim Boy Lives Through Major Events of the Twentieth Century
by Zia Uddin Ahmed
iUniverse


"For a twenty-two-year-old man facing a full auditorium of students, lecturing was an experience comparable to being out in the sea struggling to keep the head above water."

Retired international civil servant Zia Ahmed offers a thorough recollection of his life, spanning three main segments: his youth in village India during that country’s independence struggles, his professional life in the new state of Pakistan as a young man, and his post at the UN before leaving public life. An early crisis he noted as a child was the Bengal famine, watching his mother culling the staple food, rice, to remove rocks and insects. A beloved brother died of beriberi. As a boy, Ahmed had seizures, cured by homeopathic doses of poisonous water hemlock. As was typical in his culture, he was sent away to school as a young teen, becoming a professor in his early twenties. Soon afterwards, he had took a civil service exam and got a job in Finance Services, not his first choice of career paths but, “I realized that ‘what has been’ has turned out to be better than ‘what might have been.’” He eventually secured work at the UN. He observed such phases on the world stage as the apartheid regime in South Africa, the inauguration of Richard Nixon, and most recently, some critical changes in Muslim society. ... (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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A Wonderful Celebration

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Almost a Minyan
by Lori S. Kline
Sociosights Press


"We live in a town that has just one shul and even on Shabbos, it isn’t quite full. So mornings at seven, it’s often the case, there’s almost a minyan – except for one face."

A minyan is a gathering of ten adult Jews over the age of 13 for the purpose of prayer. In this lovely story, a Jewish girl looks forward to becoming old enough to join her father in prayers in the presence of a minyan. In their small town, she worries that on Shabbos they will be almost a minyan or just short of the required 10 adults for certain prayers and rituals. She watches her father leave each morning with his tallis and tefillin to pray, and she longs to go with him. In this, she is like any tween who is ready to be old enough to join the adults and leave childhood behind. She not only wants to join her father and make the minyan complete, but she also wants to carry on her family’s traditions and rituals. When her grandfather dies, and she is finally old enough to join the minyan with her father, she receives her grandfather’s tallis and tefillin to use. Her father tells her that his Papa’s spirit is in the prayer shawl and will wrap her in love each time she wears it. ... (read more)

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The Student's Experience

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Mental and Emotional State of School-Aged Students: What Exists and What Educators Can Do
by Sean M. Brooks, Ph.D.
Xlibris


"If a student doesn’t like school or answers in the negative at such questions, this doesn’t mean a disorder is present, let alone ADHD."

Educators are required to not only teach children about academic subjects but are in many ways responsible for their emotional and psychological upbringing in a means not unlike a biological parent. This book outlines various conditions or circumstances that can be detrimental or can create challenges for children in the social and learning environment of a traditional school system. From autism spectrum disorders to being raised by parents who are divorced or abusive, each chapter of this book examines a particular shortcoming or challenge that educators will certainly experience in some fashion during their career. ... (read more)

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When Bad Things Happen

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Miranda's Appeasement: If Your Heart Is Not Content There Is No Peace
by Barbara Allemeersch
Xlibris


"It all started about five years ago when those terrible nightmares returned. That's when those terrible thoughts started coming into focus - the dark side."

Miranda had just finished her first semester of college and life was good. She came from a small town and a loving, supportive family that would do anything for her. She was also a couple of months into a relationship with a young man that she was falling deeply in love with. But one traumatic night as she was on her way to visit her boyfriend, her life would change forever, and she would experience something that she would never truly be able to overcome. ... (read more)

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Going Straight

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tushhog
by Jeffery Hess
Down & Out Books


"I don’t need to be breaking the law again and I swore I wouldn’t, but father to father, who both lost sons, I’ll help you get any kind of revenge you choose."

Scotland Ross is trying hard to stay out of trouble, but when his friend’s son is killed, he is drawn back into a life of violence. What starts out as revenge becomes more complicated as various crews from New York to Cuba get tangled together in drugs, money, and power. All the action plays out in 1980s Florida against a backdrop of palmetto scrub and orange groves, with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Ozzy Osbourne on the radio and the ever-present heat of the rising sun. The violence unfurls quickly, but the characters enter the story with a slow burn of vengeance. With names like Gator Doug, Cara Quemada (Burnt Face), and Luno Luzazzi, they each have a story to tell as they circle Scotland Ross at the center of all the action. ... (read more)

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Prose & Poem

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Contemporary Bloody Literature: Stories & Poems
by Martin Connolly
Snowchild Press


"...I saw my words
exposed for what they were,
rhetorical devices, no less,
and revisionism...
an artefact of fancy phrases
that wouldn’t bring him back"

Not many authors write and publish short stories anymore. More's the pity, as proven by Connolly’s book which demonstrates the appeal of this diminishing art form. Use of “Blood” as part of the title hints that the macabre is the focus of the short collection, and with shades of Rod Serling it delivers. The result, however, is meant to be more engaging and thought-provoking than spine-tingling. ... (read more)

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Hearts & Minds

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

10 Minute Short Stories
by Zach Rehfeld
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"What would be the answer to changing man’s need to breaking laws? The only answer has to be to change man’s consciousness."

The book begins with a reverend taking Johnny under his wing for some storytelling after Johnny’s mother determines that he may be falling in with the wrong crowd. Will Johnny learn the necessary lessons to set him on a successful path for his life? ... (read more)

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Memorable Characters

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Walking Shadows: Stories of Tragedy, Love & Triumph
by Chijioke Dikeocha
Farreach Media


"I abandoned my ‘humanistic’ self-centeredness and embraced the ‘animalistic’ brotherhood."

On the surface, this is an anthology of nine intriguing stories that provoke universal discussions about love, university life, loss of innocence, persistence, poverty, and, ultimately, silver linings. Digging deeper, Dikeocha’s stories are powerful agents of change that seem intent on creating awareness for current issues facing Nigeria. From tackling the literacy and academic dishonesty of university education in “Campus Lovers” to exploring themes of corruption and lust in “End-Time Disciples,” the author exposes the harsher underbelly that constantly plagues Nigerian society. ... (read more)

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Intense & Riveting

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Madagascar
by Stephen Holgate
Blank Slate Press


"Things are connected in ways you don’t understand. Don’t look too far below the surface."

Miles away from his own country that he no longer feels any attachment to, Robert Knott leads a reckless and mediocre life as an American diplomat in Madagascar. As his waning career, alcoholic past, uneasy relationship with his daughter, and the futility of everyday life begin to eat away at his untamable spirit, he sinks to new lows, gambling his way deep into debt at the Zebu Room. But when his next assignments require him to free Walt Sackett, an American, out of a Malagasy prison and investigate growing unrest in Tamatave, Robert must utilize various strategies as he navigates toward redemption through a dangerous path replete with powerful enemies, corruption, dark secrets, and ruinous threats. ... (read more)

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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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Big Questions

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fried Oyster Sandwich
by Lloyd E. Gross
AuthorHouse


"Do you think it will ever be all one country again?"

Eric Kaufmann, the only child of German and Irish immigrants, is young and in love as he and Stephanie Weaver stroll through Audubon Park in 1909 New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s been fourteen years since the last four states of the Confederate States of America (CSA) have abolished slavery. Their many walks in the park are filled with conversations encompassing politics, women’s rights, religion, and Stephanie’s Native American heritage. Their marriage will ensure the survival of Eric’s family name and begin the story of four generations of Kaufmann’s, as they live through the most tumultuous years of the 20th century. Through the Kaufmann family’s professional endeavors and political interests, Gross explores the relationship between the CSA and the USA. Throughout the story of Kaufmann births and deaths is one constant—the unanswered question that hangs like Spanish Moss from the Live Oaks: Will we ever be one country again? ... (read more)

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A Gripping Storyline

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Lost Time (Between Two Evils, Book 2)
by D. L. Orton
Rocky Mountain Press


"The question nags at me night and day. What happened in this universe that changed things?"

When a living, breathing, nearly naked man is discovered falling from a tree in a zone where no human life can survive, it’s natural that everyone in the biodome will be curious—but some people have a crucial interest. Shannon, the teenage girl who found him and brought him into the dome, needs compatible males to breed within a dwindling population. Shannon’s medically-trained mother Lani wants to find out what gave the man calling himself Diego Crusoe the ability to survive after the Doomsday Virus swept over the world, destroying all human life left outside. The powerful, arrogant Doctor David is especially keen to find out more about Crusoe; David built the Colorado biodomes and keeps tabs on any suspicious happenings outside. ... (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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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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Survivng, Living

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

600 Days In Hiding: A Jewish Family in Nazi-Occupied Thessaloniki, Greece
by Andreas Algava with Daniel Levine
For Passion Publishing Company LLC


"Seven trains have left for Auschwitz-Birkenau. Another will leave today."

Written by a Jewish survivor of World War II, this is a realistic, stirring, day-by-day account. The author was just a baby when his parents Henri and Allegra—Sephardic Jews whose family had lived peacefully in Greece for generations—were forced into hiding after the Nazis took over the country. They gradually understood the implacable horrors of the regime. For example, at one point hundreds of the Jewish men were systematically tormented and clubbed on the streets by Nazi soldiers while their Greek neighbors watched. No longer able to do business or even shop, Jews wearing yellow stars were forced into ghettoes and then onto trains. The Algava clan found a place to hide on the outskirts of the city—one room, which they later shared with another, larger family. Theirs was one of only three Jewish families in Thessaloniki that survived the war; thousands more were starved out, executed, or sent to death camps. ... (read more)

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Through the Northwest

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mountain Meadows... Ocean Meadows: Yosemite–Portland–San Francisco
by Charles Anderson
Xlibris


"Whereas Yosemite and the Tioga road were the highlights of the trip, the sights of tidal waters...and open wild meadows...remain very distinct in my memory."

Since Ralph Waldo Emerson’s time, East-coast dwellers have made the trip west to tour the areas that the author and his wife, two California residents, visited in August 2017. What could any tourist want more than to spend two weeks viewing Yosemite domes photographed by Ansel Adams, famous rivers encountered by Conestoga wagons, the basalt formations of Oregon’s coastline, California’s stately Redwoods, or the town of Eureka where the first nuggets launched gold-fevered Americans westward? ... (read more)

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Deeply Human Stories

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Girl, World
by Alex Poppe
Laughing Fire Press


"Underneath her girl smell is the scent of independence blossoming."

With precision and honesty, Poppe explores the brutal experiences some girls in the world face where men can be creators and destroyers. Poppe’s range as a writer is evident as she moves from heartbreaking to humorous, hopeful to shattering in the span of eight powerful stories. This collection showcases the searing violence women experience in places across cultures and geography. From the Balkans to New York, the women in these stories struggle to overcome the atrocities that have broken apart their lives. The stories feel authentic and true as if these women are real and moving about in the world with all their hopes and sorrows trailing behind them. Poppe’s ability as a writer and as an observer of humanity gives body, soul, and voice to these characters. ... (read more)

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The Life Cycle

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Three Secrets
by Gretchen Bainum
AuthorHouse


"‘Each secret is more wonderful than the one before, and each will bring great joy to you and to all the world!'"

A small seed is whispered a mysterious message by the wind, foretelling of three wonderful secrets concealed within it. At first, the small seed is perplexed by the message as the wind dances away. The seed is left alone to lie on the cold ground. The days pass, the weather changes, and the lonely seed is soon enveloped in the dark earth. But spring pushes away winter, and the seed is hopeful as it begins to grow, revealing a wonderment. The arrival of summer brings the sun and rains that nurture the seed until, finally, the seed understands each of the secrets once whispered by the wind. The marvels and splendors of the world unfold, and the small seed transforms into a golden beauty. Then a familiar friend returns, and the transformed seed discovers even more about this astonishing transformation. ... (read more)

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Winning Changes Everything

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Ticket
by Fred Shackelford
Black Opal Books


"Unless the ticket had fallen out of its hiding place, somewhere in the country a moving van was hauling the most valuable bookmark in the world."

Channing Booker is a gambler, liar, compulsive cheater, and abuser. His gambling habit and general recklessness have cost him a literal fortune, and it seems a foregone conclusion that they will soon cost him his wife, as well. No longer able to maintain his high-roller lifestyle, Channing’s luck has just about run out when he miraculously wins the Mega Millions $241 million jackpot. But there is one significant hitch. His wife has finally had enough and has left him in the middle of the night—with the lottery ticket unknowingly in tow. Channing knew this day was coming so he isn’t nearly as concerned about the well-being of his soon-to-be ex-wife Susan as he is with finding the ticket before the 180-day claim window slams shut. Channing now must find both Susan and the ticket quickly without any leads, and this thriller soon becomes a race against time with life-threatening consequences. ... (read more)

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A Welcoming Place

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Synod: A Novel
by Dan C. Gunderman
Zimbell House Publishing, LLC


"It would be the culmination of a crusade fueled by color...and his heart raced. The preparations for the defense of Synod were underway."

Due to his military experience in the War of 1812, Goldfinch has been assigned to lead and defend a small colony of people (some may call do-gooders) who want to make slavery in America a thing of the past. Goldfinch is his Synod name; real names from the illusory (outside) world are no longer to be used. Synod is a refuge where idealists can escape the world of deism and skepticism—a welcoming place. ... (read more)

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Betrayal & Heartache

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

His Name Is Josiah
by Jose Flores
Xlibris


"He wanted to end poverty, he wanted to give back to his parents—he wanted to make a difference."

Josiah’s story begins in South Texas where he lives in poverty with his parents, one sister, and five brothers. They live in an abandoned bus on land that they own, but they have no running water and no electricity for much of Josiah’s childhood. Against these struggles and deprivations, Josiah perseveres to excel in school with his intelligence and commitment to better himself and his family. Many of the traits he exhibits in childhood are the same traits that will shape the experiences he has as an adult and will inspire the choices he makes as an enlisted marine. As a child, he never backs down from a challenge and always protects and defends his brothers. ... (read more)

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Inspiring the Young

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Rainbow Angel Earns Wings
by M. Michaelides
iUniverse


"Suddenly all the patches of wildflowers began to sing! Anthea smiled, delighted to witness this flower talk. The flowers sounded as lovely as they looked."

In a mythical land known as Fos, the king and queen decide to spread the qualities that make their land so wonderful with the other people of the world. Summoning all of the children of Fos to the palace, King Savitar and Queen Sofia send their children away to distant lands in order to teach others about unconditional love and kindness. Traveling via magical rainbow, Anthea is one of the children of Fos who arrive in Talia, a garden world. Here, Anthea meets friends like Zoë the sunflower, Astrid the flame lily, Mr. Eagle, Miss Dove, and Grace, an orchid that records the history of Talia. As Anthea and Zoë travel through the garden, they are tasked with inviting everyone to Grace’s party held in honor of the autistic children of Talia. ... (read more)

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An Unique Tale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Midsummer's Bottom
by Darren Dash
Home of the Damned Ltd


"'Four hundred years of watching the same play. Can you even begin to imagine how torturous that is?'"

Del Chapman is a modern-day nomad, a man who relishes freedom and a lifestyle that embraces chaos. After being willing to try life the normal way, he quits his job by spreading a debilitating computer virus and ends up fleeing from the Limerick police. While hiding in the woods, a mysterious man appears in Del’s stolen car who claims to be none other than the infamous Puck. Stealing Del away to Feyland, Puck explains that in exchange for telling their story, Shakespeare made a deal that Oberon, Titania, and all of Feyland must attend each and every performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Not expecting the longevity of the play, they are now sick of seeing their story acted out and recruit Del to disband the most offensively amateurish production around in order to steal some relief. ... (read more)

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What's Important?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Budaniel: and Simba the Toy Lion
by Susan Kapanke
FriesenPress


"Grandpa and Grandma’s kitten named Max had been hiding the day before, frightened by the talking, laughing, and footsteps of a house filled with family."

Nathaniel is a young child riding with his parents to visit his grandparents and extended family. Though he is typically shy, Nathaniel’s constant stuffed animal companion Simba the Lion gives him the confidence he needs to meet and play with cousins that he rarely sees and scarcely knows. After having lots of fun, receiving a new nickname of “Budaniel,” and forgetting his shyness, Nathaniel is offered some quality time with his grandparents after his aunts, uncles, and cousins all leave. When it gets to be time for bed, though, Budaniel is shocked to discover that Simba has gone missing. Concerned that maybe one of his cousins packed him up by mistake, Budaniel’s parents scramble to either find Simba or purchase a replacement, but Budaniel instead makes a new animal friend—and this time with one that can play back. ... (read more)

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Romance & Drama Abounds

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

An Occurrence in Big Sur
by Dwight Dixon
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"When they are satisfied with the drug, they’ll market it in the U.S., where it will corrupt and kill the infidels from within their own depraved culture."

A German pharmaceuticals company is forced by a terrorist organization to buy the company of a gifted, autistic chemist and his brother. Before the multi-billion-dollar sale of the company is finalized, the chemist must create a highly addictive, lethal drug. The drug will then be introduced into the illegal drug supply in the United States through a Mexican cartel. This creative plot to kill Americans through their own vices offers an unusual take on the terrorist thriller. The author's idea of using illicit drugs as a weapon iintroduces a totally different kind of chemical warfare in the terrorists’ struggle against the West. ... (read more)

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Understanding the Founders

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

America: The Founders' Vision
by Thomas Graham Jr.
Butler Books


"...understanding the intentions of the original texts can help us identify the current challenges to our political system and perhaps guide our thinking in overcoming them."

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend writes in the foreword to Graham’s book that the Founders “hoped to write not for the Times, but for the Eternities, as Thoreau would wish.” Graham’s hope is also that citizens will read not for the “Times” but for the “Eternities.” For this, he provides thoughtfully selected original texts of the Founders with the aim that readers will rely on the values and principles set forth when America began as a republic. Using speeches, letters, diaries, notes and essays, Graham groups the Founders’ documents around issues that seem modern but are the same ones Americans have been wrestling with since the birth of our nation. Corporate power, income inequality, tyranny, health care, the right to bear arms, and the environment are some of the pertinent issues Graham includes in this timely and relevant book. ... (read more)

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Unseen Forces

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Satan's World
by Wayne Hill
DiggyPod.com


"Some days Satan would be angrier than usual and Jesus would let me know today I needed to be extra cautious."

In a mysterious and horrifying series of events, the author of this book recalls his tale of being possessed and harassed by demons under the employ of Satan who are determined to make his life a living nightmare or end it swiftly. Experiencing a wide array of maladies such as a scraping pain within his heart, conversations with unseen creatures, and visions of death and horror, he begins to lose sleep and struggles to function on a daily basis. Eventually, heavenly forces intervene, and he is able to converse with the presence of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and even receive guidance from trusted friends. To his dismay, Satan and his demonic minions can also perform similar communications with the author, even going so far as to disguise themselves as the holy influences battling to save his soul. ... (read more)

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Through Dispair

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Four Seasons of Loneliness: A Lawyer's Case Stories
by J. W. Freiberg
Philia Books, Ltd.


"I have an idea about writing a book some day about the social psychology of loneliness – how loneliness is what we sense when we lack adequate connections to others."

There are those rare books that come along with a subtle power to change lives after they are read. Freiberg’s book fits into this category. A former social psychology professor and lawyer, Freiberg threads together four distinct accounts of actual cases he worked on during his career into a thoroughly moving book. While all four of these stories are vastly different, they are equally captivating alone as they are together, linked by the key and principal theme of the book: loneliness. ... (read more)

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Replacement Blues

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

When Will I Be Good Enough? A Replacement Child's Journey to Healing
by Barbara Jaffe
Lisa Hagan Books


"Today, I accept that my intense love for my mother was not reciprocated in a language that I understood—in words or hugs or open doors."

There is a term well recognized in psychological circles—replacement child. But when the author was a little girl, she knew nothing of such terminology; all she knew was that her mother suffered and that she was somehow the cause. During much of Jaffe’s childhood, her mother spent long hours in bed and wounded the author with an oft-repeated statement: “If Jeffery had lived, you wouldn’t have been born.” This ingrained in the little girl’s mind the sense that she was an accident—an accident that could never go away, that would continue to torment the mother she tried so hard to love. Surrounded by pictures of Jeffery who died at age two proudly held in the arms of the same mother who treated her so coldly, it wasn’t long before Jaffe developed feelings of inadequacy as well as eating disorders that plagued her all her life. Not only that, but she was unable to score well on testing, being left behind by peers who excelled... (read more)

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Determined Progress

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Lady of Esterbrooke: Loves Journey Through Time
by Ann W. Phillips
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"’I especially miss you when I do my Bible reading. That has always been our special family time.’"

Marla is a Christian young woman looking ahead at her life. While living at home on the plantation her father manages, she meets Lance, the son of the new plantation owner. After a rocky start, they fall in love, marry, and build a family on the land they both love. ... (read more)

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Good Guys

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bandwagon: A Retrospective
by Dwight Dixon
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"One by one the members of the commune turned from their flight and joined, defying the fire and standing their ground."

The Author tells the story of a commune of marijuana growers founded by Smokey fifty years ago. Big Man, a former convict, is now out of prison and beats the Judge to death, and the Author brings him back to life. Narc poisons the drugs being grown in the commune and kills Big Man, so the Deputy arrests Narc. The Author and Nancy, an accountant for Clark, Smokey’s father, say “Grow Garden Grow,” and the garden grows, after which the Author leaves because the people think he is a prophet. Narc and Big Man’s girlfriend escape prison and set fire to the hill near Bandwagon. Nancy and the Author stop the fire by saying, “Stop Fire Stop.” Clark invites the commune members to a party, and Nancy declares her love for the Author. ... (read more)

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Be Happy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Decisions We Make: How Our Decisions Produce Success in Our Lives
by Travis Towns
Amazon Digital Services LLC


"Everything that happens to us in life is a direct result of a decision we have made."

This book examines some important points regarding decisions and decision-making. The author begins by defining a decision as a choice made after thinking about it. The thinking process required to make any decision will be influenced by our beliefs and priorities. Priorities need to be considered at all times; merely depending on what happens will lead to our being controlled by our environment instead of controlling it. Though the author speaks from a religious viewpoint, he makes it clear that beliefs are not necessarily religious; belief in oneself is necessary, enabling the individual to confidently use one’s talents for successful outcomes. Decisions can’t be made in a vacuum; they will affect other people. ... (read more)

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Beauty

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bringing In Beauty
by Malcolm Pullen
Balboa Press


"Suddenly, everything is different. Beauty is not a stray dog, I am her person and she is my dog."

Over the course of about six months, a man bonds with a stray dog, winning her trust slowly—inch by inch and day by day. The author is a committed animal lover who has fostered a number of pets. He is told of a stray canine that has taken up temporary residence near a local business. Though he has made plans to travel, Pullen makes a month-long commitment to feed and water this dog. She keeps herself so aloof that it takes him several months just to determine that she is a she, but early on he begins to see the “beauty” that becomes her name. Pullen details every visit, describing how close he is able to get to her, how she eats, and how clever she is at dodging his well-planned advances. More months pass, and he is still irresistibly involved with Beauty. She begins to take food from his hand, allows herself to be petted, and finally accepts a leash. Beauty now lives with him in a mutually enjoyable, trusting pet/owner relationship. ... (read more)

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Earning Happiness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Are You Happy? A Guidebook to Earning Happiness
by Lea Colleens
Harlen Books Pty Ltd


"You’re here because you need to know what it is you are passionate about and what it is you want in your life."

Colleens’ brief guide uses formulas, pros and cons, and cycle diagrams to demonstrate that we do not find happiness; rather, we earn it by controlling our mind/ego. Humans have a three-part brain, each assigned to govern our mental, emotional, and physical responses to life. Relationships are the ideal place for these three brains to clash. While the Reptile Brain demands immediate satisfaction based on ego and sex drive, the smaller Dog Brain will go along unless trained appropriately by the larger, more-reserved Master Brain. Relationships are the perfect place for these three brains to clash. ... (read more)

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An Exciting New Trilogy Begins

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Hunger Saint
by Olivia Kate Cerrone
Bordighera Press


"He felt the grit and dust of sediment and sulfur ore become as much a part of him as the vibrations of the rock drill..."

This historical novella is set in Sicily during the early years of World War II. Mussolini is in power, and Italian soldiers are winning fights in Africa. The main character is an adolescent boy named NToni. The boy's father has recently died working the sulfur mines. His signed contract provided a loan to support his family of five. With this untimely death, the mother must repay the loan, or send one or more of her sons into the mine to work off this soccorso morto debt. “We need to help out, all of us” was how the mining community interpreted this. That is why NToni, the oldest child, found himself in a mine with other carusi—boys working long days beside the sweaty miners in cramped, hot tunnels. ... (read more)

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Where Are You Now?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Falling Into Flowers
by Lynne Barnes
Blue Light Press


"…No matter how far flung this once-close circle has grown,
our roots still touch, entwine, still hold us, help us kiss the sky"

A Georgia girl becomes a New York nurse then relocates to 1960s San Francisco where she lives in a commune for 20 years before leaving and later emerging as a lesbian poet. At face value, it’s an interesting story. Told by the poet herself, in uniquely detailed narrative verses of candid emotion and stark revelation, this comprehensive American life story is an immersive blend of history, womanhood, and examined living. ... (read more)

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The Perfect Vacation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Unsullied Islands, Beaches & Landscapes
by Cyril Oghomeh
AuthorHouse


"Sincerely my love, the cherry blossom effuses with your gaiety and makes it look like the
Fortitude of the Tokyo imperial palace"

Spanning the globe in search of exotic locations both natural and urban, this collection of poetry is all about sampling the finest that life has to offer as well as sharing it with someone special. Sometimes romantic, sometimes emotional, and sometimes erotic, each poem is heartfelt and explores pristine beaches, posh resorts, and fine dining as metaphors to compare with the most powerful feelings of love. From Cuban islands and Jamaican resorts to Chinese bridges and Japanese cherry blossoms, the vibrant, striking visuals used for imagery in these poems will send the mind on a world tour as it anchors the heart to that someone special to share these experiences with. ... (read more)

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Paranormal Truth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Mysterious Paths of Versailles: An Investigation of a Psychical Journey Back in Time
by Mark Lamont
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"I feel the time has come for a resurrection of this once most captivating and long enduring of mysteries..."

Ghost hunting—that is, the investigation of paranormal activity—has an enduring popularity. Witnesses claim supernatural experience, and third parties seek to verify or debunk their claims. Using historical research, scientific inquiry, and other scholarly methods, investigators comb through hard evidence that they pair with the anecdotal reports of eyewitnesses to unexplainable phenomenon. Despite exhaustive work, answers are elusive. Such is the case in this meticulously researched book that details the event, response, and potential explanations for an alleged incidence of the supernatural in 1901 at Versailles in France. ... (read more)

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No Rules

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Bird in a Hurricane
by Carlton M. Downey
Bayou Press


"Innocent people rarely had this many files packed with evidence against them, but since I was the one who told her to get them, I now had an obligation to find out what had happened."

A big city lawyer reluctantly gets dragged back to his small-town roots. His formerly estranged father is dying, and the attorney wants to try to mend fences before it’s too late. Simultaneously, an associate wants him to look into a pro bono case involving a young black man who was apparently incarcerated unjustly and just might be the target of a setup for murder. These two storylines provide the foundation for this legal thriller that bounces back and forth between the bayous of Louisiana and the boulevards of New Orleans and Houston. ... (read more)

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Asking the Saint

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Fellowship of the Saint
by Ali Hussain Al-Ridha
AuthorHouse UK


"Too many memories have my wife
scattered in my soul,
And too many are of the laughter she
seeded in my dreams."

In the mountains above a village named Humbleton, a lonesome lakeside cottage rests among nature. This cottage is home to a man the villagers know only as the Saint, a man who visits them to answer the questions that plague them as well as offer wise advice to any who are eager to learn and listen. The Saint lives a life of solitude—not by choice but because his beloved wife died suddenly. When he finds the loneliness too much to bear, the Saint makes the short trek into the village and heads to the Temple of Humbleton, offering his sagacious insights to assuage the fear and concerns of the people. In a series of verses, the Saint reflects and speaks on issues of both the material world and that which concerns the soul. ... (read more)

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Within Chaos

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

painted drawings | drawn paintings
by Arline Kimbel Sadlon
Blurb


"Ultimately, amid the flow of marks, one can create moments of transcendence."

In 1984, the author stood on the bridge overlooking the pond of water lilies in Giverny, France, at the former home and gardens of Impressionist artist Claude Monet and found inspiration for her own artwork in the artfully arranged horticulture and meticulously landscaped surroundings. For the next three decades, Sadlon worked intermittently in her studio on abstract versions of her observations at Giverny. Transforming these visual inspirations into precise mixed media creations, the artist presents a unique collection that showcases her perspective through shape, color, and form. Her complicated and nonlinear strokes routinely intersect and tangle, yet each line remains identifiable, solitary among the chaos.... (read more)

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Art & Redemption

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Three Souls
by Bill Thomas
BookBaby


"So there I was driving around with a briefcase full of cash and reincarnations of Van Gogh and Mozart."

Johnny Chambers is serving out a five-year prison sentence for a robbery he did not commit, and John F. Kennedy has just been elected president. Chambers determines that his two fellow inmates who work in the license plate section of prison with him are reincarnations of Vincent Van Gogh and Amadeus Mozart. Through the warden, Chambers facilitates the acquisition of art supplies for the two inmates so that they can develop their talents while behind bars. Chambers suffers a beating by “the Buddies” and is put into a coma for three months. When he wakes, he realizes he has been reincarnated as Ernest Hemingway, who warns him of the coming assassination of President Kennedy. Will the reincarnated characters escape prison and bring their art to the world, or are they doomed to stay in prison, deprived of their ability to practice their talents?... (read more)

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Intensity

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Emmanuel
by Lilian White
Stratton Press


"The stars in their splendor had decreed what the events of the world would be, every year, since time began."

In the 1920s, a shadowy organization known only as La Fatal came into existence with a mission of using the new field of genetics to breed a new species of human-animals to produce hybrid super soldiers. Overseeing both the FBI and the CIA, La Fatal recruits a series of assassins and scientists from the United States, Ireland, and Australia to achieve its ends. Following a cast of characters all the way from World War II to the dawn of the 21st century, the novel follows criminals, scientists, terrorists, assassins, and spies all jockeying for power in a rapidly-changing world. When La Fatal’s creations begin to revolt, it puts the lives of everyone involved in the conspiracy at risk and sparks a conflict that will determine the fate of all life on the planet.... (read more)

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Warrior's of Nyx

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Warrior's Embrace
by Anita Crowley
Xlibris


"Weird stuff never happened to her, she was boring and normal, and not typically the one who would wake up with marks on her stomach that she had dreamt about."

Leta Ryan is living the life of an average college student until she awakens from a vivid dream on her twenty-first birthday and quickly detects that she has entered an alternate reality. Having dreamed that a crescent moon appeared on her side following an encounter with a mysterious man, Leta discovers the mark present on her body as she envisioned. In an attempt to seek some guidance on this confusing occurrence, her roommate convinces her to partake in a tarot reading at a local sorcery shop. The results of the reading leave her even more dismayed as the sorceress reveals that Leta’s tattoo is the symbol of The Night Goddess Nyx and foresees many changes in her future. Before she has time to adjust to this prediction, a bizarre series of events unfold, propelling her on a journey toward understanding her new existence and, unexpectedly, finding love. ... (read more)

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The Job

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Deadly Highway: Super Highway Beta 1.0
by J. Willis Stewart
Xlibris


"How the hell did I end up in this job?"

Charlie is a 44-year-old newly retired army engineer peddling his skills in the private sector. Post-military life is presenting a sharp learning curve, with fewer professional opportunities than he'd hoped. His skills land him in a cutthroat corporate subculture manned by a mix of politically connected hacks and managerial climbers. Their collective goal is to write the winning proposal for a lucrative government outsourcing opportunity, a superhighway. Soon, however, office drama devolves into a tawdry show of workers and wives behaving badly... (read more)

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Tension Road

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sig Alert
by David Scott
AuthorHouse


"’You must monitor freeway traffic. My sources tell me something will happen on the freeways in the middle of September.’"

If there is a hell on earth, southern Californians have a name for it: the freeway. There, at the convergence of too many interchanges and too many cars, despair festers as thousands huddle together, yet apart, stymied in their forward progress and cursed to sit, frustrated and immobile, atop the paved lanes. A ring of domestic terrorists might look upon the human misery of LA traffic and think their job was already done. Or, as private researchers Darcy and Peter Dale soon learn, the sadistic vision of mass murderers knows no bounds, and LA commuters are the perfect prey for their dastardly plans of vast upheaval and destruction. ... (read more)

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Choices

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hypocrite
by Tasha Harper
Xlibris


"He was right. I am a hypocrite. Maybe we all are. That was the last thing she thought before her eyes drifted shut."

Sophia is a party girl living in unwed sin with her boyfriend Derek. Sophie is a devout Christian, a celebrity religious speaker, and the trusted leader of a church group. If anyone finds out these starkly different women are one and the same, they will know her shameful secret: She is a hypocrite.

Sophia is guilt-stricken by the burden of her double life but not uncomfortable enough to end the duplicity. She preaches about a loving, forgiving God and of gospels written to help people through struggles like hers, but she is unable or unwilling to access these teachings. Instead, the book’s clearest wisdom comes from Sophia’s disciples, who have learned from her teaching and reflect back to her the loving guidance she has failed to use. They puzzle over her failure to reveal herself as a flawed but well-intended Christian. ... (read more)

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Mother

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Sins of the Mother
by Ellen Tipping
Xlibris AU


"Fiona didn’t fear death, what she feared was separation – being separated from the people she loved."

A coming-of-age story, albeit in retirement, this novel explores the loves and losses of Fiona’s life. In 102 pages, the book is divided into four parts with an epilogue. Part 1 begins with the death of her father, whereas Part 2 examines the three years prior to his funeral. Part 3 examines six months after the funeral, and Part 4 explores the three years after the funeral. ... (read more)

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Goddess

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Four Aspects of the Goddess & the Wheel of the Year
by Norma Joyce
Xlibris


"Within the ritual all is symbolism, and allowing our self to immerse totally into that symbolism we can allow our self to let go."

Looking both personally and practically at Goddess spirituality and modern Wicca, the author of this text shares her perspectives on ritual and how to celebrate and embody the aspects of the Goddess throughout life. Though traditionally, only the Maiden, Mother, and Crone are recognized, this book proposes another phase—that of the Woman—to be added for consideration. Examining each Aspect individually, there is advice on how to use the strengths of each both during that period of a woman’s life and also how to use the appropriate energy depending on the task. Examples and explanations of rituals for each are provided at the end of most chapters, as well as information about astrology and the zodiac, and how the zodiac influences and informs the appropriate Aspect of the Goddess. ... (read more)

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A Special Time

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sunday Cosmopolitans: Sunday Cosmopolitans, Intimate Friends & Brilliant Minds from Bygone New York
by Lynn Clark Dorr
Xlibris


"Neither stiff, boring, snobbish, or formal, the evenings are invariably thought-provoking, inspirational, engaging, and quite often, fun."

History comes charmingly to life in this well researched and gracefully imagined recounting of the Cary sisters’ life in New York City from the 1850s to the 1870s. Their ascent from farm girls to popular, respected writers plays out amid some of the most engrossing times of the nineteenth century and among some of the most influential people of the period. ... (read more)

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Mystery or Cult?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Machine
by Julio Ortiz
Xlibris


"Man the block was hot. People were getting arrested and shot. I left for San Antonio, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the man. It was fresh, untapped territory."

A psychological mystery pervades this tale of a young man’s journey from the wrong side of the tracks to the right side of the law. Leonardo grows up in a tough neighborhood in Houston, Texas. Like most at-risk youth he has some missteps along the way, but he eventually winds up becoming an FBI agent. As such, he commits himself not only to solving the specific jobs he’s tasked with but also to unravel the mystery of a cult-like organization seemingly fixated on personal growth and awareness often achieved at the expense of the law. ... (read more)

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Sleep Better at Night

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Boba's Adventure
by Leah Rondogiannis
Xlibris AU


"Let's go to Planet Green together."

Boba the Bear fears a fire on the stove and is whisked away to safety on Planet Green via magic travel dust. Matilda, picnicking with her parents, finds Boba in his box nearby and takes him home to play. She and her friend Frankie discover that Boba can talk, and he explains that he comes from Planet Blue where there was a fire and he was frightened. ... (read more)

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Excitement & Mystery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Grandma's Magic Box
by Nadine Thomas
Xlibris


"GOLD RUSH!!...Well sir, we don't actually know how we got here..."

Some say that travel is the best teacher. But, for those who cannot, or do not have the opportunity to do so, perhaps there is another way. The magic box that Ryan receives as a gift from his grandmother takes him and teaches him all around the world, from Alaska to India and beyond. Each chapter is an adventure in itself. When Ryan, a first-grader, falls asleep on some nights, he is magically transformed by this glowing box to curious settings where he learns about the geography, history, and culture of many lands. What an adventure and education he receives! ... (read more)

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Fun & Responsibility

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sammy the Super Sleuth Sprite and Ferrett
by Gi Gi
Xlibris AU


"Arms and legs went everywhere, and suddenly Sammy’s legs and arms were all tangled with Ferrett’s legs."

Sammy is like most young people: he loves to go out on adventures with his friends, ride his bike, engage in make-believe, and usually comes home to a mother that’s worried sick. What makes Sammy different from most is that he is an elf living deep in the woods, and his best friend is a ferret named, well, Ferrett. One day while out playing hide and seek, Ferrett falls down a well-hidden hole. While searching for his friend, Sammy, unfortunately, makes the same mistake as Ferrett, and they find themselves trapped and unable to get out. Scared of being stranded and with his wings too damaged from the fall, Sammy will need to rely on an unexpected friend in order to make it home in time for dinner. ... (read more)

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Learning to Share

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

An Alligator and Friends Or Friendly Antics
by Adrienne Harrell
Xlibris


"She wants the bear to share with everyone. The bear doesn't understand sharing..."

Lily the friendly alligator is a pet of the Baker family, which includes children, grandparents, Hiram the Bassett hound, and friendly bees, bears, and bunnies, too. The adventuresome family goes camping, taking life as it comes, in comical, whimsical style. Similarly, the tale is told in an unconventional, almost stream-of-consciousness manner: "Look out! There is a railroad crossing! Here comes a train! Gran'ma gets stuck on the track...I thought I'd lost you. Don't ever try to speed in your wheelchair again… Whee that sure was a fun ride, says Gran'ma." ... (read more)

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Serial Killers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

I Am Terry Walker
by Skye Andrews
Xlibris NZ


"The first time I murdered someone was by accident, and this is where it all started."

Terry Walker, an incarcerated serial killer, recounts his twenty-year stretch of murders. The 54-year-old inmate now has nothing but time to reflect on his past, channeling his anger at Karl Michaels, the detective who captured him, by bequeathing to him a written confession of sorts. But one may wonder if it is merely Terry’s means of reliving his once gratifying exploits. ... (read more)

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Sincerity

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Golden
by Sandra O. Ferraro
AuthorHouse


"As I think about life’s experiences, and the passing of time, it is hope that always gets us through…"

Author Ferraro refers to this short novel as a “fictionalized account of true events.” Writing in the first-person voice of Ella, she begins by detailing a meeting with her doctor. There, she learns that she is in the early stages of multiple sclerosis. Retreating to her parents’ home for solace, she asks to rest for a bit. Alone, she finds a book with something inside it that begins a journey of self-reflection into her past. It is a journey that will take her and readers into another time in America—a time when things seemed to move more slowly, more deliberately, but no less relentlessly. ... (read more)

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Rollo's Way

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Deadwood and Beyond
by Kip Meyerhoff
iUniverse


"The best liars dab on whiter shades of pale, using razzle-dazzle to further obscure the facts. Sifting through the bullshit is the investigator’s main chore."

Coffee-swilling, wisecracking Rollo is a private investigator who’ll likely win your heart as well as your funny bone. He’s scrambling to keep his small agency, with its cadre of colorful coworkers, financially afloat while juggling multiple cases that keep him bouncing from LA to the outskirts of NYC and even to the modern-day wilds of Deadwood, South Dakota. Rollo’s good at his profession but bad at being a father to his kids who live with his ex-wife. The fact that he constantly beats himself up over this, while it’s obvious his children still adore him, makes him even more endearing. ... (read more)

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An Eye-Opener

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Thaddeus Lamb: Or, Taking America Back
by P. G. Smith
AuthorHouse


"She was a blessing from God; the best thing that ever happened to him. And he ignored her most of the time."

Reverend Thaddeus Lamb is a man clinging to the fundamentalist past in the face of rapid social upheaval. As pastor of the Angel Falls Independent Church of the Straight and Narrow, he has had to deal with dwindling attendance. An old college friend proposes a solution to Thaddeus: the way of the future in ministry is televangelism, and now is the time to get involved. While the Reverend looks for a way to raise money, he crosses paths with a man named Roger Wright, a conservative who blends business and politics as if the two were always meant to go hand-in-hand. Focused on what he believes is his mission from God, the antiquated Thaddeus pours his all into the world of televangelists, all while his children drift from his fundamentalist upbringing toward disco, feminism, and rock and roll. ... (read more)

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An Innovative Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

I Am John H. Holliday DDS. You May Call Me Doc
by Patrick Gillen
AuthorHouse


"The West lured men and women who had a need for a fresh start, perhaps fleeing unpleasant pasts: the adventurers, soldiers, prospectors, and gamblers."

Styled as an autobiography of the well-known historical figure Doc Holliday, this fascinating work has an authentic feeling. John H. Holliday DDS migrated west in 1873 after receiving a diagnosis of tuberculosis. There was no cure for the fatal disease, only palliative measures and the observation that sufferers might live longer in a dry climate. As writer Gillen has staged it, Holliday was bent on getting lost in the vast western territories so that his loved ones would be able to forget him as he slowly faded from disease. Sometimes using an alias, he was known as a gunfighter who may have killed several men and was arrested multiple times for fighting and gambling, Holliday is most remembered for his participation with Wyatt Earp in the legendary confrontation at the O.K. Corral. Gillen pays this colorful historical scenario its full due, while also focusing intently on Holliday’s private life and especially his 13-year struggle with tuberculosis, a disease which finally claimed his life at an early age. ... (read more)

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Alien Society

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Cardinal Rule
by W. Greg Henley
iUniverse


"Even though we could have defeated them, our selfishness and anger burned within, and many of us died from the sickness."

Far in the future, an exploratory spaceship named Cutty Sark approaches a planet denoted as Galton III. A lander ship is sent down, only to have its entire system become disrupted, forcing it to make a crash landing. The human explorers find a highly contaminated and decaying earthlike civilization that has undergone some major upheaval, throwing it back into an almost pre-industrial condition. The lander crew, once they have re-established contact with the orbiting ship, establish contact with a small village after altering their appearance to resemble the aliens. They find a strangely passive and utterly leaderless society where initiative and survival skills have atrophied into almost nothing. Slowly, evidence of great war in the past that was neither nuclear nor chemical is revealed. But why do these aliens now die from a mysterious sickness caused by simply defending themselves or feeling resentment and anger? ... (read more)

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Redemption

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Prodigal
by Janice Parker
AuthorHouse


"I don’t know if I have a home to go back to. I doubt my father would ever want to see me again. I know my brother doesn’t."

In this intriguing adaptation of the biblical story about the prodigal son, Clint is the son of a wealthy Texas rancher. After serving in World War II, Clint returns home disillusioned and aimless despite his father’s pleas to grow up and contribute to the family business. Clint is restless and hot-tempered, picking fights at bars, driving drunk, and landing in jail. Tired of his father’s lectures and aching for adventure, Clint demands his inheritance so he can travel to Europe and live a life of leisure and freedom. On the French Riviera, Clint’s playboy lifestyle allows him to forget his despair. His postwar response to what he has seen and experienced is excess: gambling, drinking, women, and an extravagant villa. Meanwhile, at home, his brother chooses differently. Instead of excess, he chooses the stability of home and family and eventually marries a Japanese-American woman whose family has relocated to Texas after leaving an internment camp after the war. ... (read more)

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Modern Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Style Yourself with Confidence: Styling Tips and Techniques for Each Body Shape
by Ellen Joubert
Xlibris AU


"The meaning of the term well-dressed is to be attired in clothing that is of good quality, is properly fitted, and is appropriate and becoming."

An argument could be made that, since personal and career success often stems from self-confidence, and since self-confidence often comes from dressing well, that dressing well can lead to success. Joubert makes a compelling case for her assertion and follows up by offering comprehensive aesthetic guidance for women of all ages. ... (read more)

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Enchanting Tales

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Where Is My Home?
by Joan Romney Groves
AuthorHouse


"Sonic realized the world can be dangerous. He became unhappy, scared and lonely."

Groves has created a believable, meaningful saga of a little, lost kitten. Sonic is one of four siblings in the caring household of the Jakes family. Brooke and Danny adore the kittens—all but Sonic. He’s cute with soft, grey fur but not friendly or cuddly. He doesn’t like being petted. He hisses, growls, and even scratches the children when they try to play with him. When the time comes to find homes for the four kittens, no one wants Sonic, but a friend suggests a place in the country where several “wild cats” live. When they drop Sonic there, he jumps out and excitedly explores his new surroundings. But left alone, he soon encounters enemies, including a smelly skunk. He begins to search for a home. Over the course of nine months, he makes his way back to the Jakes family, who are amazed to discover that he has grown tame and really wants to stay with them. ... (read more)

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A New Hero

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Kings’ Assassin
by Ed Cannon
Xlibris


"Sillik had seen magic, felt the impression of battle, seen the face of an attacker, and felt betrayal."

There’s nothing like returning home to a celebration, especially with a royal feast and a king who is very much alive. Unfortunately, Prince Sillik returns home on the night of the celebration to find out that his father, the king, has been murdered, killing the mood for Illicia’s inhabitants. After months of spending time alone in the wilderness, Sillik is suddenly thrust into court life, war, and a crown he thought he ran away from. ... (read more)

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Sense of Self

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Cinnia's Story
by Lily Violet
Xlibris


"At that moment in life, I realised, at such a young age, that money was worthless and the only thing that mattered was our family was alive and together."

From 1992 to 1996, the city of Sarajevo lay under siege. It was the longest siege in modern history. The author was a young child during this time. Although she never acknowledges the name of her native land or the two wars she lived through, it’s clear that her details of the endless bombings, sniper alleys, and daily deprivations are descriptions of the Yugoslav Wars. Her family flees the city early on, leaving her father behind, but moves back into Sarajevo after his name mistakenly appears on the list of deaths. From that point on, Lily and her family live on borrowed time. Lily herself narrowly escapes death a number of times. ... (read more)

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Too Much Trouble?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Olympus Deception
by Richard Ronc
Xlibris


"The memory temporarily took the fight out of him before he shook it off and brought himself back to the present."

Dishonorably discharged soldier, Vincent Peterson, is set on finding out the truth behind why he was publicly disgraced and forbidden from serving his country over four years ago. Enter Athena, a woman cloaked in mystery with the promise of the answers he desperately needs and a payout of twenty-five grand for a simple job. What transpires next will have an FBI agent and an off the books agency working together to help bring an end to the mayhem, but will they succeed in their endeavor? Kidnapping, Russian intrigue, and danger bring this plot to a boil, and the mission ahead will take Peterson deeper than he’s ever encountered. ... (read more)

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A Resource for Fitness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

100 Physical Education Activities
by Denis O'Driscoll
AuthorHouse UK


"From a sitting position the child raises his body off the ground so that his weight is supported by hands and feet."

In an age of computer and sedentary hobbies, the role of physical education in schools is that much more important. Physical movement and development remain crucial to the child's growth and health. This book aims to educate teachers, parents, and anyone else in charge of children's well-being of the importance of remaining active and the methods by which to achieve this. Using data drawn from official sources in the physical education industry, the book presents 100 child-friendly exercises and physical games that can be done with little to no equipment, in any space you have available. ... (read more)

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Understanding Paul

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Chasing Truth: A Detailed Discussion of Paul’s Letter to the Romans Chapters 1-8
by Joel Zao
Xlibris


"During the time of the early church, God’s dealings with Israel came through Peter, whereas his dealings today with the nations comes through Paul."

The Letter to the Romans, written by Paul, reveals that he took seriously his task as Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul employed his Jewish training to explain what the Old Testament revealed about a promised Savior to those with no Jewish background. Notable personalities of the Old Testament, from Adam to Zachariah, had prophesied that someone was coming to restore broken laws and make people of all nations right with God again. This was the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ, who had revealed himself to Paul on the road to Damascus. ... (read more)

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Fun & Color

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Coyote's Christmas Tale
by Andy Melenchek
AuthorHouse


"If you find a piece of the falling star and grind it into dust, it has magical powers."

It is said that the “light of winter is the poetry of patience.” Nature hibernates during the long nights and bitterly cold days of the season. For the spirited coyote in this charming tale, winter is a time of loneliness and longing. His yearning for fun, warmth, and belonging leads him on an adventure that leaves him forever changed. ... (read more)

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A Fascinated World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Outlander Page: First Book of the Aethereal Knights' Tales
by William Cornelison
Xlibris


"Knights keep people safe when they are in danger and help those who need it. And I want to do that too."

The son of two famous knights, Vandelas Kronas lives a quiet life in the countryside of the village of Russalin. On the day of his ninth birthday he is celebrating with his family and one of his few friends when a mysterious villain kills him with an ax to exact revenge on his mother Victoriah. Mysteriously, despite dying, Vandelas returns to life after a vision of a wintry plane full of snow and ice. After resurrecting, Victoriah and her husband Jerrell tell Vandelas the truth of his lineage—he was abandoned by his mother and is the last of the Kindhrin, a race of demons destroyed by their own greed. With a new perspective on life and a strange ability to create ice, Vandelas decides to become a knight, beginning training that will shape his young life and the fate of the realm. ... (read more)

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Malevolence

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Motivated by Wicked Intention: A True Story of Demonic Oppression Caused by Witchcraft in a Small Town
by Carol Bell
iUniverse


"My faith was challenged daily to the point of exhaustion. Yet quitting wasn’t an option."

Black magic, disfiguring objects, orbs, and dark, black demon spirits with red eyes—these are just a few of the negative energies named by Bell that invade every aspect of her life during a particularly arduous time. After relocating from her city life in Nevada to a small town in Georgia to be close to her ailing grandmother, unanticipated tragedy strikes her family. This becomes a turning point for Bell and the start of much struggle and pain coupled with paranormal occurrences. What at first seem as friendly visits from beyond the grave soon reveal themselves as more sinister. As Bell recovers following family tragedy and two car accidents amidst the increasing signs of malevolence, she grapples with the conflicting circumstances that plague her. With the support of her husband, Bell eventually recognizes and attributes this malevolence to witchcraft and black magic set upon her by neighbors and members of the community. ... (read more)

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