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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

The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture
by Heather Mac Donald
St. Martin's Press


"The great accomplishment of European Enlightenment was to require all forms of authority to justify themselves through rational argument, rather than through coercion or an unadorned appeal to tradition."

For decades, splinter groups on campus have seized control of events and departments to block intellectual discourse. The result has been the destruction of property, the dissolution of long-standing careers, and the dissemination of fear throughout campus and especially within its ranking officers. Even the police are afraid to act. The majority on campus is being divided, tagged, and bagged as the perpetrators of crimes (racists, rapists, etc.). While the characterization of these crimes runs roughshod over the facts and statistics, the fringe bullies push forward, isolating and destroying anything or anyone in their path. They stamp their feet and scream like toddlers, finger-pointing manufactured offenses. Anyone not adhering to their proclamations is inherently guilty. However, the underlying cause of all of this is as simple as it is obvious: These student protesters are for the most part not prepared well enough for higher learning, and society at large continues to ignore the root problem. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

Triumph Over Evil

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Game Piece
by Alan Brenham
Black Opal Books


"'Five homicide victims, all connected to me—not in a good way. He knew a lot about me. How?'"

When a serial killer goes on a murdering spree, police detective Barry Marshall finds himself working on the case to bring him to justice. As Barry begins to receive taunting calls from the killer after every murder, he realizes that the killer holds him responsible for stealing something from him in the past and is now hell-bent on ruining Barry. After the killer’s activities cause damage to Barry’s marriage and career, Barry becomes even more determined to track him down and end his sinister game before he can harm his wife and daughter. ... (read more)

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Max's Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Case of Emil Diesel
by Patricia Menton
Xlibris


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

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

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A Complicated Character

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

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Becoming a Leader

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

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A Believable Heroine

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Awakening of La Muse
by S. R. Strickland
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"The sounds of a vivacious city sang out to her, the tunes of a town still unseen."

A young slave girl living on a Virginia plantation encounters the new ideas of freedom when she is taken to Paris in the mid-1800s. Muse, whose African name is Aggrey (meaning “bead”) lives and works alongside her mother Mary, who has talents as a healer. When both Muse and her white mistress Cassandra contract a pox-like illness, Muse recovers more quickly owing to Mary’s ministrations, while Cassandra will retain scars on her face. While recuperating, Muse is left alone in a shack that adjoins the white children’s school. Though it is forbidden, she begins to learn to read and write and is later secretly assisted by the schoolmaster in perfecting those skills. ... (read more)

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Forbidden Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Dating Policy
by Suzanne Eglington
Xlibris


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

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

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A Ray of Hope

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Real Daughter
by Lynne McKelvey
Savant Books & Publications LLC


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

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

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Sensitivity & Accuracy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Journey of Hope: Her Search for Truth
by Patricia Hope
Stratton Press


"I am glad I had the opportunity to meet several of my birth relatives and their families, and perhaps one day I will meet others."

Recounting the trauma of childhood deprivations, this memoir shows a maturation process that aided its author in later life, owing largely, she believes, to God’s care and intervention. Born in a fractured family in 1932, the little girl was assigned to an orphanage in Memphis—the Tennessee Children’s Home Society (TCHS)—after her mother was falsely accused of a crime. The TCHS was operated by notorious child-trafficker Georgia Tann. Hope wound up in Texas, supplied to a woman who wanted a playmate for her son. Gradually, Hope began to grasp the extent of her victimization as a young child and to seek information regarding her birth parents, sibling, half-siblings and other known relatives. Through a religious experience, she was able to love and understand her then deceased parents and even forgive Tann for her perfidies. ... (read more)

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Generations of the Chesapeake

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Family Matters
by D. C. Moses
Cherry Street Publishers


"But what had happened to Alex and Barry…so busy, so loving, so passionate for self-discovery, so yearning for self-transcendence?"

The untimely death of their son, Lu, is a shadow that haunts and looms over the Byrnes family. Each one grieves his loss in their own private way while attempting to find a way forward, immersing themselves into their careers and daily life. Then father, Barry, faces a life-changing decision when his company requests to relocate him to Washington. This sets in motion the mixed feelings and introspection by Barry and his reluctant wife, Alex, who contemplate the uncertainty of their future so close to retirement. They each reflect upon the early years of their marriage and life before and after Lu’s death. Others in the family must also come to terms with the tragic familial loss. As they each face uncertainty in the way forward, they learn something of themselves and one another. ... (read more)

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Against the Darkness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Love is the Answer, God is the Cure
by Aimee Cabo Nikolav
Inspirational Books Publishing


"I always pray that God removes any darkness around me and fill my soul and life with love."

Nikolov’s complex, searching memoir details the severe abuse and trauma which impacted the trajectory of her life. It is also a cathartic account of the faith she holds steadfastly to for survival and how her belief in God enables her to transcend the darkness. ... (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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Dubious Characters

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Middle East Quicksand: Espionage, Passion, & Love During the Crisis
by Robert Thomas Fertig
LitFire Publishing, LLC


"Everybody lies,” he said. “You must inquire, question, scrutinize everything. It’s not what people say – it’s what they do that really counts!"

At forty-five, Vincent Renaldo is questioning everything about his life. With his children away at college, a growing distance developing in his marital relationship, and a dead-end corporate job, he feels as if he’s drowning in mundane minutiae. When he’s offered a new position at the smaller firm Computer Techniques and Systems, he decides to accept. Though he learns much in his new position, it isn’t the lucrative proposition he expected. Vincent soon finds himself in search of other prospects. Thus, begins his introduction into the world of foreign intrigue and dangerous espionage. Vincent becomes entangled with the seductive Eve in Monaco, and his life becomes as complicated as the world events exploding around him. As factions in the Middle East are beginning to grow heated, Vincent finds himself embroiled in a world of dubious characters and uncertainties. Will he ever escape the dangers and find his way back to the life he once knew? ... (read more)

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Peaceful Resolution?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Quall Assassin: Talaza's Contract
by Yuan Jur
WaaDoom


"'For what you have done to my Analuke, I allow you to see my true face. Consider this a parting gift.'"

On the planet Tora, a conflict of warring clans is threatening to bubble up to the surface and bring the entire continent of Ludd into battle. Talaza and his wife Analuke belong to the Quall, a four-armed race of assassins that live in the mountains, stick to the shadows, and carry out their contracts with precision and without mercy. When the couple receives orders to ambush a supposed peace talk between the warrior clan of Scarzen and the duplicitous Flaxon, they have their reservations but are honor-bound to fulfill the request. Before he can finish scouting, Talaza is intercepted by the Star Lord and his canine companion and informed that he must abandon his duty in order to protect the whole land from a terrible tragedy. Worrying about his wife’s decisions and skeptical of his abductor’s true purpose, Talaza can only watch and hope that things resolve peacefully. ... (read more)

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Deceit & Danger

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Gazelle in the Shadows
by Michelle Peach


"From the back seat of the car, I wondered how long it would be before I could be one of those people in the crowd, mingling with the people."

Elizabeth Booth, a British student at Durham University, has the opportunity of a lifetime to study abroad in Damascus, Syria. With her previous work experience in the British Embassy in Yemen, she has both a passion for and a familiarity with the Arabic language and culture. Although nervous at first, Elizabeth soon finds herself adjusting to life in the city, with friends and even a boyfriend making her feel welcome and introducing her to all that Damascus has to offer. But things aren’t always as they seem. Beneath the friendly smiles and warm invitations runs a complicated web of deceit and danger. If Elizabeth’s not careful, she just might get caught. ... (read more)

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Fervent Passion

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Girl's Night Out
by M. C. Syben
Amazon Digital Services


"I watch as they join again. That’s how Girls’ Night Out becomes a weekly event, over the murder of an innocent puppy, of decency, of human sanity."

Four college friends and their little sister gathered casually for a girl’s night out, not knowing just how much the meeting would reveal about each of them. With this one reunion, the course of many lives would change that night. The women had all been staunch advocates of varying animal rights causes throughout their college years, but when life called their passions got pushed to the side. Then, after reconnecting and re-living the glory days while discussing all of life’s uncertainties, they were filled with renewed energy and wanted to defend the defenseless once again. Over drinks and appetizers, a dangerous a plan began to take shape. A goal for the group was formed, but that task quickly caused a domino effect that would evolve into something much larger, putting all of them at risk. ... (read more)

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True Family

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Faith Through the Storm: Memoirs of Major James Capers, Jr.
by Major James Capers, Jr. and Buz Sawyers
Page Publishing, Inc.


"The Marine Corps had somehow seeped into my bloodstream, and “Semper Fidelis” had been tattooed across my heart."

This memoir tells the story of a warrior, a U.S. Marine whose service in Vietnam from 1965-67 went above and beyond duty. He led the reconnaissance team Broadminded on secret missions that encountered the North Vietnam Army (NVA) in short, fierce contact during Special Forces landings (SFLs) and in the jungle. Capers accepted each reconnaissance mission regardless of danger. He vowed to always bring back team members, including his final mission when the team and their leader were evacuated, though badly wounded. The Marine’s motto to leave no man behind became his guide. He insisted that the team’s dog, King, killed in that final skirmish be carried out. Faith in God saw them through, with Capers claiming, “God was my backup.” ... (read more)

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Thinking

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Morality Shorts: Short, Short Stories with a Poetic Twist
by Miatta Lunn Lansana
Stratton Press, LLC


"Sitting in a whirlwind of her negative words, her negative words are all she heard."

Over two dozen short stories, only a page or two each in length, comprise this book’s focus on morality and living a responsible, respectful, and faithful life. In addition to adopting the short story format, each selection is also written in a rhyming, poetic style. Every story introduces a character who, for various reasons, has a critical flaw in their character. Whether it’s a racist attitude, only seeing life in negative shades, or refusing to accept Jesus as savior, each person’s lifestyle is negatively impacted by their choices. Through the course of each story, readers will be introduced to the focal character, learn about their life, and then discover the consequences that they face for straying from the moral choice. ... (read more)

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Pain Song

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Alternate Reality: The Mostly True Story of How I Became a Sociopath
by B. Steve Ross
LitFire Publishing


"I was like a cyborg in that I looked and acted human, but inside I was just a calculating machine of manipulation."

The author’s book is both a soul-bearing memoir and a study of how childhood psychological trauma propels into motion a pattern of compulsive sexual behavior. Raised in a broken home with an occasionally drunk and subsequently abusive father—who died when the author was seven—and bullied by his family for years, Ross sets the stage to share an even greater trauma that led to his creation of alternate realities as coping mechanisms. The central action takes place during a family reunion to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of the author’s aunt and uncle. As the reunion gets underway, Ross proposes a game: he will tell personal stories about his past, and the participants must evaluate the percentage of truth contained in each, using evidence and prior knowledge to support their decisions. After the votes are tallied, family members debate the findings and are given a chance to revise their scores based on the input from others. When Ross discloses the correct percentage of truth per story, the reunion becomes unforgettable. ... (read more)

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Love & Courage

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Forbidden Love
by B. B. Kemp
White Bird Publications


"By the beginning of 1829, there were more than 2,000 families, and over 500 slaves living and farming the rich Colorado River bottoms."

The love story of John Webber and Sylvia Hector defies the odds as it unfolds at the height of the slave trade in America. Webber is from a white, wealthy, New England family, and Sylvia is born an African princess, enslaved and transported across the Atlantic. Their separate paths eventually lead to each other, and despite their differences and the impossible times they live in, they fall in love. Rejected by Webber’s family and forbidden to marry, they set out for Tejas and begin life as pioneers in a new land. But when revolution arrives, and the Republic of Texas is formed, the bigotry the Webbers sought to escape comes with renewed ferocity. ... (read more)

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Making a Leader

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Growing Influence: A Story of How to Lead with Character, Expertise, and Impact
by Ron Price and Stacy Ennis
Greenleaf Book Group Press


"'Are you happy where you’re at? Do you feel like you’re fulfilling what you’re meant to in life?' ... it was a question she knew she needed to answer..."

This leadership book isn’t your common offering about building a great team, establishing good relationships, and building trust to bring out their best (not that you won’t learn valuable information about those things). But as strong leaders know, delivery is everything, and this small offering delivers valuable insights and knowledge in a big way. ... (read more)

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Haves & Have Nots

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Freefare: Welcome to the Age of Entitlement
by Mark A. Kovel Sr.
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"Freefare will become not only the means to financially provide for those in need, but it will also provide the control mechanism to properly manage."

Through extensive research and a career advising business enterprises spanning nearly five decades, Kovel proposes Freefare, a concept that is both revolutionary and straightforward, a seemingly disruptive force with the potential to redirect the fiscal future of the economy. Kovel sets up Freefare by providing a thorough historical context of American leaders and a government’s ability to establish control of its citizens. One might wonder why Kovel doesn’t immediately commence with his proposal but rather waits until the latter section of the book to introduce it in detail. However, by providing a plethora of examples throughout history and numerous presidencies, he is creating an environment that will lead readers to fully grasp the purpose of his proposal. ... (read more)

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Granny Tales

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Children's Stories by Grandma Dee Dee
by Delores (Dee) Ray
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"After meeting with the Fairy of Dreams, we left Fairyland. For the rest of my life, the lessons I learned there came in handy."

Collecting dozens of short stories for children, this book invites young readers to be kind, considerate, grateful, and to exercise their imaginations at every opportunity. Each story features the perspective of a child on a journey, sometimes to visit their grandparents on the farm and sometimes to ride on the back of a frog as it journeys through the swamp to visit its friends. Some stories revolve around special times of the year, such as a delightful Halloween ghost story or a handful of Christmastime stories that perfectly capture the magic of the season. Some stories are told in a more modern era, while others are the stories of children who have gone on to grow into parents or grandparents of the children reading this book. ... (read more)

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Winning

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

50 Ways to Get Your Way
by Juliet Huck
The Huck Group


"This book is for those who need: a verdict, a job, a raise, a child to get good grades..."

A tiny book based on the author’s work in persuasive tactics, this work not only gives 50 ways to get your needs met but also has eight sayings from her father who was a farmer. The author notes that she wanted to get away from the farm but, in the end, has seen that this “country upbringing” has been beneficial for her own success regarding exploring human behavior. In 120 pages, the book explores issues such as the Golden Rule, narcissism, listening, story, patience, emotional connectors, creativity, and self-awareness. Each of the fifty sayings is accompanied by a paragraph defining these words of wisdom which are followed by a “Note to Self” such as “The biggest ego = the most insecure” and “Don’t sell yourself short.” The book also has photographs that help define the saying, including the ending photos of the family homestead. ... (read more)

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Prayer Now

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Little Power Prayer Book for Your Daily Living
by Mina Petersen
Amazon Digital Services LLC


"Heavenly Father, teach me to walk in a forgiving heart that is filled with gentleness, kindness, the love of Christ, and is very quick to forgive."

A simple, brightly illustrated collection of prayers, this book offers comfort, courage, and biblical truth to both the faithful and those seeking a new faith base. Each prayer is accompanied by a color illustration integral to the text, rendering artistic satisfaction to the reader as they search for the prayer that will have the most relevance for a given situation. Thirty prayers are offered, probably to give a choice for each day of the month. Many of the prayers consist almost totally of ascribed biblical verses, while others are of the author’s composing. Others are a combination of both. The prayer titles include such poetically conceived phrases as “My Soul Thirsts for You,” “I Decree the Word Over Your Life,” and “Prayer of Spiritual Warfare Against Your Enemies.” Thus, the reader can match the mood to the circumstance in selecting prayers. ... (read more)

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Miracles

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Silence of God: Sock It to Me!
by Dr. Gene Russell
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"The purpose is to help clarify for Christians and non-Christians in brief form why God is often silent on many occasions."

Despite the cruel hardships that many people experience and which author Russell enumerates based on the personal accounts of those he has met and pastored, we must accept that God listens and answers, even when he is silent. To take on the significant spiritual question of why a loving, omniscient, and omnipresent deity so often feel so far away from those who believe in him, preacher and businessman Russell draws on both historical record and real-life stories. Perceptions of God’s presence or lack of it can vary greatly. As Russell points out, one person might feel that they have been unfairly targeted by God for suffering, while another might wonder why they have been so greatly blessed. To grasp the explanation of God's silence, the author states that one must first accept that God is real. Though we cannot perceive Him with our ordinary human senses, we may have a feeling of God watching over us at crucial times. In dry periods, those who believe in God must subsist on faith and welcome his silence—hence the book’s subtitle. ... (read more)

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A Big World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Tale of the Pumpkin Seed Squad
by Carolyn Mitchell
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"Are you NUTS?” blurted Ralph. ”You can’t play with that ball . . .
Can’t you see it’s too big for someone so small?"

Riley Chester-field Mouse lives near a human’s house under a post where there are many other mouse-families with mouse-kids with whom he plays. Riley and his friends are adventure seekers, and sometimes they roam away from their safe havens. So that all may enjoy them, their escapades are recorded in stories and poems. This is the second collaboration of Mitchell and illustrator Brenda Timms. Just as the first was, it is also written in verse. The major difference between the two is that the little field mouse who helped Santa out on Christmas Eve in the first offering (The Tale of the Christmas Hero) now has a name. The author uses the book’s dedication to recognize and thank the children who contributed ideas for the hero mouse’s name. Children should appreciate this interesting backstory which can lead to building creative skills in writing through their invention and naming of characters for their own stories. ... (read more)

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The Sun Sees All

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Story of the Sun
by Anne Hunter Logue
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"When, in the Beginning, the Sun was made, God made her happy and the possessor of all knowledge about the Universe...."

In the beginning, God created the sun, and as a result, all things that followed are part of the sun, requiring its heat and light in order to survive. The sun shows the beauty of the entire world, and mankind was able from early on to properly observe and appreciate all of the gifts of the world that exist under the sun, from majestic mountains to tranquil streams. Mankind was also able to reason that since the sun was not always out to provide its services, it must have to rest, and so women and men also rest along with the sun’s schedule. However, as people further considered the sun, their knowledge grew to a point that started to separate humanity from the simple balance of nature, driving people to acts that do not serve the common good of the world. ... (read more)

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A Wish

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Red Car That Tyler Wanted
by Mary A. Kurban, Ed.D.
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"Tyler was very happy. He felt that he had gotten everything that he wanted."

Tyler, a young rabbit, is on a shopping trip with his mother. His birthday is coming up, and it’s possible she wants to get a clue about what he’d like for a present. For Tyler, there is no doubt. In a store window, he sees a red car. There's something about the light glinting on the shiny surface of the toy car that he finds irresistible. He begins to beg his mother for the red car. She tells him that if he does everything he is asked and obeys all the rules at home without complaint, he may just find that car waiting for him on his birthday. When he goes home, he is given a big supper, and though he isn't especially hungry, he follows his mother’s instructions to finish all his food. After supper, he obeys again, putting away all his toys. He continues to do as he’s told for weeks until his birthday finally arrives, and Tyler finds his mother has bought him the car. It’s every bit as much fun as he’d imagined; with its remote, he can make it zip around, dodging the furniture. When his guests come to his party, though, there is an extra, seventh visitor—a friend’s little brother, Freddy. Tyler’s mother has only provided enough party toys for six, nothing for Freddy. When Tyler sees Freddy sitting alone, crying, he realizes there is something he can do to help. ... (read more)

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Devotionals

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Incredible Truth
by Mary A. Kurban, Ed.D.
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"If you like what you have today, don’t fear losing it tomorrow, for its memory will always remain with you and continue to enrich you."

This devotional offers fifty-two weekly truths to ponder, each followed by one to three appropriate Bible verses. An online search for weekly devotionals results in theme-based ones on joy, uplifting, etc. or group-oriented devotionals geared toward families, married couples, and even dancers. Kurban’s book is theme-based and centers around personal growth through studying and applying the incredible truth found in the Bible. ... (read more)

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Chosen Prose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Water Lilies
by Jacqueline Ann
Xlibris


"like water lilies
we shall grace ourselves into the trust of liquid love
with life gently feeding our bellies one day at a time;
moments we cannot take in at once
people we cannot forget
choices that change us forever"

Ann admittedly writes because it “took over and chose me” and is a “preferred method of transportation to travel toward a destination of peace.” This collection of free-verse poems is a search for love and peace that is sometimes difficult to attain but not altogether impossible. Along the way in this journey in life, there are hurt, distractions, roadblocks, and unexpected paths. These are universal experiences. Ann is aware of this, and she addresses them here, through her poetry, through words. ... (read more)

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Inner Feelings

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Stick from Every Valley
by Adel Hariz
Litfire Publishing, LLC


"In conclusion, that are three things in life that will endure: faith, hope and the greatest of the three, love."

Hariz offers a deeply personal, pragmatic, and often poetic view into his life as a patriotic Lebanese man who chose to flee his home country at the beginning of Lebanon’s civil war, which lasted from 1975 to 1990. Surrounded by Syria and Israel, except for a western coastline that meets the Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon has long been rattled by religious and political differences both within its borders and outside. Hariz was one of almost a million Lebanese who left during the country’s civil war to pursue a better future. His exodus created strong conflicting emotions, which energize his story. Contrasting perspectives show joy for escaping a war-torn county, then shame for abandoning it; love for those who stayed to rebuild, but hate for those who tolerated despots; courage for overcoming many hardships, but despair that romantic love eludes him. ... (read more)

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The Natural World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Garden in the Hood
by Rebecca Crosdale
Litfire Publishing, LLC


"It is often said and heard, that it is always so beautiful there, in the garden in the hood."

A secret English garden in the hood quietly thrives throughout the year and welcomes animals, birds, and insects who arrive as its special guests. In spring, as flowers bloom in all their beauty, the garden prepares to greet birds that glide, dance, and sing. A resting frog, a wandering dog, cats, a shy rabbit, playful squirrels, turtles, and even a lost deer are all visitors at the garden. Summer arrives with blooming annual flowers, while autumn brings brown leaves, withered flowers, and rough damp mist. Winter comes last, bringing snow and icicles, and the garden waits for the sun to return in early spring, when its story can begin again. ... (read more)

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Real Oregon

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Bridge with a House...: Oregon's Covered Bridges
by Steven E. Hunnicutt
BookVenture Publishing, LLC


"A bridge with a house reminds us of the horse and buggy day, of a slower pace of life, of a town long since gone…."

This photographic journey of the covered bridges of Oregon provides lovely images of these picturesque structures while also providing historical details and intriguing anecdotes for each bridge. Hunnicutt’s love for Oregon and for the covered bridges is evident in each snapshot and accompanying text. The contents of this sprawling coffee table book explore the practical purposes and aesthetic appeal of a covered bridge. Their rustic charm and romantic allure cannot be denied, but covering a bridge is also a valued protective measure that lengthens and strengthens the lifespan of a bridge. Hunnicutt effectively captures both the idyllic qualities of the sites he photographs and the facts of their creation and use. ... (read more)

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Meditate Today

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fides Qua Creditur: Can I Live Better
by Franny Hill
LitFire Publishing


"Make no mistake: salvation is our responsibility."

Hill has constructed an intriguing collection of daily meditations based on her own thoughts, biblical quotations, and the ideas of others. The book follows a calendar format, arranged by week and beginning January 1st. At the beginning of each 7-day segment, there is a short lead-in message. Each day, there is an entry of a few sentences followed by a biblical attribution and a section called “Our Focus” illustrating how the concepts portrayed can be applied to everyday life. In January, a reference to Lamentations—“hope burns eternal”—yields the focus that “the world is on the verge of something remarkable.” In remembrance of the events of September 11, Hill opines, “The feelings may never go away.” A meditation in June concerns acquiring money, referencing the famous verse from I Timothy—“The love of money is the root of all evil”—with Hill’s suggestion that we should not make getting rich a sole priority. The book concludes with a discourse on holidays which examines their meaning and their application to our lives. ... (read more)

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Woman Power

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ladies...Make It Your Time Now!
by Mia M. Fujii
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"Had I known all the things I know now, I may have lived a less frustrated life in many situations. I may have had less self-doubt..."

In an interview with Ric Bratton on the YouTube channel This Week in America, Fujii candidly revealed she wrote this book because she wished she’d had access to one like it when she began her career. Using her personal experience as an ambitious woman in a male-dominated field, this advice book for women is an honest study of what to expect in the work environment. The author tackles subjects such as balancing work and family, dealing with pre-conceived notions and stereotypes, presenting a strong and appropriate business presence, and using awareness of the differences in how men and women utilize language to an advantage. Though written for the young woman just entering the workforce, there is much to glean from Fujii’s experience and wisdom for women of all ages who wish to improve their communication skills in all forms of leadership. Whether you are the leader of a huge corporation, a small civic group, or a family, you’ll find much of her advice to be poignant. ... (read more)

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Tennis Time

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sweet, Sweet Addiction: Pain and Pleasure of a Tennis Playing Family
by George Howard Newton
LitFire Publishing


"Suddenly I realized that I had just beaten the player who beat my coach, and it was only a week after I started to practice."

The author is well-known as a Virgin Islands’ tennis player and teaching pro that went on to national level competitions. Most tennis players begin their careers in youth. Newton caught the "bug" at thirty. With the support of his wife, this educator eventually quit academia to become a full-time teaching pro. The couple’s two sons grew up on the tennis courts of St. Thomas Yacht Club where their father taught for thirteen years. His wife Rosanna (aka Bernice) became his scorekeeper. ... (read more)

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Humorous & Heartbreaking

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fabled Truths Volume 1: Self Portraits and Poetic Essays
by Lurlynn Franklin
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"starving
the symbolism
the tangible content
the meaning that you hunger for
has become my mission
of what not to give you"

Fusing poetic essays with photo-collage pieces of art, this artistic debut from the author is designed to contrast and draw a strong response from the reader. Containing 16 self-described self-portraits and 20 essays that function both as verse and prose, Franklin lays her perspective and feelings on the page for all to see. Tackling strong issues such as race, economic disparity, mental health, modern life, and life as an American, each piece whether visual or written focuses on a different subject, sometimes working in tandem to emphasize a point. ... (read more)

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Science Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Harvest of Thorns
by Mario Carini
iUniverse


"It was a world where he hoped more than justice prevailed; a world where people wouldn't fall to corporate profiteering and greed."

This is the story of two twin planets: Earth and Aquario Prime. Set several years in the future where space travel has been discovered, civilization on Earth is floundering. The land and its people have been ravaged by environmental destruction and corruption as Big Pharma has taken a hold on society and become a power practically immune to the government. Aquario Prime is destined to be the new home for Earth’s civilization. They’ve taken a clear, anti-pharmaceutical-drugs stance, leading to a prosperous, healthy population as well as a beautiful, well-maintained planet. But things aren’t as peaceful as they seem. Weapons smuggling, terrorist attacks, and a new virus outbreak cause complications for both planets and their governments. As the looming threat grows larger, the leaders of Aquario Prime must figure out a way to stop a carefully-orchestrated attack before it’s too late. ... (read more)

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Secrets

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Tarnish
by S. Watts Taylor
Book Thoughts Publishing


"As bomb squads combed trains, subways, and buses in search of incendiary devices, forensic experts analyzed the scant belonging of the dead man, whose body they subjected to intense inspection and scrutiny."

Tom Clark has secured a good spot in life, working as a White House reporter and following the President around, waiting for scoops. When the apparent suicide of a childhood friend occurs in a very public Washington D.C. spot, Tom's life suddenly grinds to a halt, and he finds himself dispatched from his cushy Air Force One seat and thrown into a web of conspiracies bigger than he had ever anticipated. As the journalist noses deeper into his friend's death, he uncovers a scandal on a national scale that someone will do anything to keep quiet. Putting an end to it hinges on the correspondence left behind by a tormented homosexual man, entrusted to none other than Tom. ... (read more)

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Quantum Elevation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Electromagnetic Energy of the Human Mind: Physics of the Mind
by Prof Tapan K. Chaudhuri, Prof Tushar K. Chowdhury, Prof Tandra R. Chaudhuri, Sree Taposh K. Chowdhury, and Srimati Bulu R. Chowdhury
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"... mind and soul can only be explained by the science of physics... because mind and soul are at the subatomic level and cannot be seen, heard, and felt..."

This intriguing treatise is a collaborative effort between a medical specialist in nuclear and internal medicine, a biophysical innovator and professor of physiology, and a cancer researcher and professor of radiology specializing in early cancer detection. These three are joined by a spiritual guru and Divine Mentor as well as a spiritual intern and disciple. All five of these co-authors share a profound sense of self and God from having served as spiritual interns, disciples, and devotees under the guidance of a Divine Mentor. Author Chaudhuri attributes some of the conclusions of this book to the knowledge and wisdom he acquired during a near-death experience. Each of the authors has attained spiritual knowledge through meditation which they believe leads them closer to understanding God as the electromagnetic energy of the mind. The authors theorize that God exists in the electromagnetic energy (EME) that runs through all human life, yet he isn’t perceived unless he is sought. To comprehend the workings of God in one’s life, one must seek out the spiritual world through prayer, worship, and meditation. Otherwise, all that happens on earth, even human consciousness, is merely an illusion. ... (read more)

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Conquering Obstacles

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Pandora's Box
by Alan Davis
iUniverse


"He realized that time is moving only in one direction and that our fates are constantly in the process of being written."

Darth, the pupil of the Egyptian god of wisdom, Thoth, is sent to the mortal realm to be tested. Reincarnated as a young man, Darth is serious and contemplative, eventually becoming a healer for his community and the surrounding areas. As he approaches the age of 30, Darth begins to fall in love with a server at the local tavern and begins a slow but cautious process of courting her. Just as he finds his boldness and makes his move, dark forces conspire to permanently remove him from his desire. Accepting a prolonged exile instead of a grimmer fate, Darth leaves town and embarks on a pilgrimage, studying with peers and gurus, learning about the beauty of the natural world and the depths of human existence. ... (read more)

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Sorrow & Resolution

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Book of Original Poems and Memories
by Jacqueline Ivey
Xlibris


"Peeking through the tall trees
Quite a phenomenon
Rising slowly in the East
Set against a sky of red and orange hues
It’s sunrise."

Written by a retired public-school teacher, this book of poems and memoirs includes themed poems conveying the author’s strong faith, her love of family, and her sense of humor. Some are long, spiritual works concerning her love for and relationship to God. Others are heartbreaking musings on the death of her husband of forty-four years. Many are short, fun rhymes written to friends. Collected from years of writings, these poems range from the reflective to the witty. Also included, is a chapter of stories about her three sons and some of the humorous and challenging aspects of parenthood. ... (read more)

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Natural Disaster

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Rekindle Me
by Muhammad Ishaq
Xlibris


"The truth is that the planet is on the brink of destruction."

In 2074, inhabitants of Earth are thoroughly interconnected with cyber devices, including online “personalities” that “chat” with them as well as providing instantaneous, encyclopedic facts. The Moon is colonized, and a newly discovered planet, Yahire, is a popular vacation spot. But Tommy Russell, a devout believer in God, is concerned about recent developments, mainly the Mantle Project, a scientific plan to break open the earth’s core and force hidden mineral resources to the surface. When the project fails, there are cataclysmic earthquakes and billions of deaths. Soon Earth will break apart, and all will die. Russell’s old friend, Dr. Jonathan Bailey, is in charge of Mantle and must somehow avert this doomsday scenario. Meanwhile, Russell, who has always felt he had a special spiritual destiny, leaves his wife and children in search of a reclusive guru who may be able to offer a very different sort of solution. ... (read more)

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Beautiful Compilation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Chorus on a Bridge
by Felix Bongjoh
AuthorHouse


"The world is lonely with grins rubber-stamped on mouths
Held out to shine in the skies like planted stars . . ."

This book of symbolic and metaphorical poetry is a study of life with all its complexities and problems, its dangers and uncertainties, its highs and lows, and its ultimate, unavoidable end. Containing a preface and prologue, both also written in poetic form, the book is divided into one major section followed by five themed sub-sections. Using the image of a bridge as the connection between past and present, present and future, and life and death, Bongjoh creates an accessible metaphor. His writing is honest and unapologetic. Even when dealing with heavy themes such as death, the poet doesn’t fall into sentimentalism. For example, he writes of seeing his mother on her deathbed, “I wish she remained the soldier she’s always been / And regained her breath from the fire that is burning her life out...” ... (read more)

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Overcoming Fear

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Grandpa, I'm Afraid
by Mart Grams
Xlibris


"Children have brains capable of generating intense fears but are not capable of caging the tiger."

The author introduces the reader to this lively story by relaying a message for moms and dads with kids from ages 2 to 7 that fears are normal. With a trusted family member’s help, a child can face his fears, reframe them, and move on with his day. Each story presents the animals or situations that the character Alli fears, such as bees, monsters, clowns, shots, and Halloween. Grandpa and Alli have a conversation in which the loving grandfather helps his grandchild talk further about the fear and reframes the situation in a way that helps the youngster move on from being afraid. ... (read more)

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Science & Humor

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Somewhat Sammie
by Jan Schaeffer
Xlibris


"Sammie protested, 'I think I remember not being a clone.' 'You also remember battling a minotaur,' Jelly Guide pointed out."

Suddenly and without warning, a bottle of whiskey falls from the sky and lands upright on the table of a brewery with matching branding. Noticed only by the proprietor of the establishment, it’s placed aside from the other bottles and its curiosity quickly forgotten. Shortly thereafter, a giant spaceship destroys the moon. After this, such happenings are normal now in the life of Sammie, the Crabby Whack’s brewmaster, or rather in the life of his clone, created by aliens to live in a sort of simulated environment known as The Embassy despite more closely resembling a zoo. Living among a host of aliens and dealing with concern over the fate of his home planet and the encroaching realization that The Embassy is his home planet given his cloned state, Sammie attempts to find both meaning and normalcy in an increasingly bizarre world. ... (read more)

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Sporting Characters

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Honeyball
by Pete Liebengood
Xlibris


"What do a bunch of women know about running a baseball team?"

Former pro-athlete Rachel Haslett is given a class A, minor league baseball team by her father, a hard-driving, successful businessman. She is determined to find success with the team and to shake things up by hiring an all-female staff and marketing the team with a sexy logo and ad campaign called Honeyball that proves controversial. As she struggles to overcome the doubts of the community and baseball fans, she also must overcome her own character flaws and family dysfunction that threaten to be her downfall and the team’s demise. Her father’s sudden death in a plane crash adds to the mounting pressure in her life, especially when she begins to suspect foul play. ... (read more)

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Dark Fun

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

For Your Pleasure & Questionable Behaviour
by Thomas James Taylor
Xlibris AU


"It could mean that you don’t have to strive in search of some great adventure all your life, when life, itself, being human, is already the great adventure."

In this book, one can enjoy two novels in one, each unrelated except for their mutual Australian setting. The first book is a tale of a close friendship between two men that is disguised as a gritty crime caper. Morris and Spider are tangled in a life of wrongdoing yet long to escape it. Lively descriptions of people and place animate a standard plot: the age-old quest for ill-gotten money and securement of drugs. The pawn-shop transaction featuring the “Right Honourable Sir Desmond Tutu” white leather lounge suite is especially spirited. What really shines are the sympathetic descriptions of Spider and Morris and their unusual, even humorous, reactions to their situation and each other. The inner workings of level-headed, kind Morris and his deceptively shallow sidekick, Spider, beg to be unfolded, perhaps in a well-crafted short story. ... (read more)

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Womanizer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Diary of a Philanderer
by Anthony M. Wilson
Xlibris


"I wasn’t raised like this. Then I remembered, I was raised like this. Thanks, Pop."

James is a serial womanizer. He seduces women like he’s swatting balls at a batting cage. He charms and cheats in a compulsive and relentless way, as though someone shouted “go” and started counting his conquests. Despite professional, military, and academic achievements, he is a relentless bounder, a true cad, and in his “diary,” he can’t quite decide if that’s worth a high-five or a round of therapy. ... (read more)

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Snapshots

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Moving On / Never Leaving
by Martha Beimer
Xlibris


"The early moves about the country had made her keenly aware of people, and she held on fiercely to what her memories provided."

Gail’s father works as a lineman stringing wire to provide electricity to farm homes and small towns across America. When the work is done, the family moves on to the next town to fill another contract. From a young age, Gail has lived in many different houses from Arkansas to Texas, and her childhood unfurls lovingly in a time when communities cared for one another and raised each other up together through shared traditions and values. This story documents the many moves of Gail’s family and also captures a life filled with the trials and tribulations of growing up. ... (read more)

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The Doctor Knows

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Dark Wood: Poetical Sketches on Life & Being in the World
by Wandile Ganya
AuthorHouse UK


"I do not know
the path of the light

but that
of the dark,

that long and savage way,
that long and savage way

in the dark of the wood."

The title of this slender book comes from Dante’s Divine Comedy, referring to “a place of estrangement and consignment.” Ganya’s collection of poems is tinged with violence in history, the horrors of oppression, and the power of insurgencies. He views the world through the journey of a soul, traveling through darkness and light. He carefully reminds us that not all human experience is shared or universal, but all of us, as humans, do feel love, loss, beauty, and despair. His poems address our need for identity, the fear of the unknown, of loneliness, alienation, and anxiety prevalent among humans. He is particularly fascinated with the complexities of our earthly lives and the terrifying wonders of what awaits us in the beyond. ... (read more)

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Toward Solemn

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Poems Short Stories and Things Remembered
by Gloria G. Blakeney
AuthorHouse


"There is nothing quite so peaceful as the smile of a toddler snoozing."

While the compilation contains a range of poems and short stories that can appeal to a wide audience, the central theme undoubtedly revolves around faith and family. In keeping with this latter focus, Blakeney’s book also features special entries from her family, including pieces by her son Kyle, daughter-in-law Angela, and even her granddaughter, Allison, among others. The strength of faith and family shines throughout, creating an aura of positivity that overlooks poetic techniques. ... (read more)

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Engaging & Meaningful

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

My Puppet Master
by Olivia Brighten
Xlibris


"I need you, I breathe you, I got to have you in some way. My compulsion for you is eating me alive."

In an attempt to eliminate the stigma around mental health, Brighten delivers a heartbreaking yet raw and stirring collection of poems that depict just how addiction gradually makes the individual bereft of personality and life. As the speaker, Liz Dunmire, journeys through addiction, the audience will be inspired by the authenticity of her words and, ultimately, the message she is trying to convey to those who have suffered from addiction. ... (read more)

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Wistful, Nostalgic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Dreams, Wishes, and Fantasies of Common Folk: As Revealed in Old Photos, Folk Poetry and Art
by B. G. Webb
AuthorHouse


"The dream always begins the same
--the flaming torches and
then the sounds of:
running on the pavement,
fists pounding on doors,
glass breaking."

Dedicating this assortment of folk poems, old photos, and sketches to Prince, Judy Garland, and Elvis, Webb masterfully portrays the predicament of humanity as getting stuck in the clouds of wishes and fantasies in the quest of reaching the stars of genuine happiness. What begins with photos capturing themes such as acceptance in “Outsiders” and a strong family system in “Family” evolves into free verse, narrative folk poetry that both entertains and probes into the human mind. ... (read more)

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Elevated

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Balloon Passages
by Donald Kihm
AuthorHouse


"I recline in the morning’s palm
being read by the November sun
I join the flock
browsing through the ‘it’
of life what beckoned me"

Seemingly using the various phases of a hot balloon ride as a metaphor for life, Kihm weaves together myriad topics and references to icons—ranging from Jackson Pollock and Octavio Paz to Carl Jung and Socrates. Through the use of short lines, thought-provoking imagery, and an expert command of enjambment, Kihm maintains a swift pace and infuses the poetry with energy. ... (read more)

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Black History

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The World That Was the World of the Blackman: (And What Happened to It)
by Hadja Aisha Cassana Maddox Nablisi
Xlibris


"South Asia is a melting pot of black, oriental and Chinese people."

This is a scholarly work published posthumously by the author's children. Nablisi's credentials are impressive—including a Ph.D. and a career as a college professor—and give added weight to her writings and hypotheses. The subject of this intriguing, in-depth work is the ancestry and evolution of the black race, especially the North American blacks. In this complex yet fascinating study, Nablisi argues, "I would concur with the thesis of the late Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who constantly referred to the black man in North America as being indeed an Asiatic black man." She urges more work and research into this. ... (read more)

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Trauma Change

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Valley Of The Shadow: An Account of American POWs of the Japanese
by Colonel Nicoll E. Galbraith, GSC, U.S. Army and Whitney H. Galbraith
Xlibris


"Still, a man of ingenuity can often think himself out of a tight squeeze...if he can hold on a little longer and fight a little harder."

This World War II memoir begins in 1942 with events leading up to the surrender of the last American soldiers in the Philippines to the Japanese Army. Major characters are composites of actual American Army leaders and their fellow prisoners. Disobedience was not tolerated, but the POWs did give their Japanese captors names such as Pussy and Scurvy. The author records the events over a three-year period from extensive diary pages. Other than composite characters, very little is fictional. ... (read more)

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Bipolar Memoir

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Surgeon's Life with Bipolar Disorder
by John A. Emery, MD
Xlibris


"Experts tell us that up to 4% of our population has bipolar disease."

An esteemed physician bares all, describing his life, professional and personal, with bipolar disorder. The author trained in medicine without incident and was already a successful physician before his clinical symptoms and diagnosis came about in his late 30s. His life before the diagnosis was filled with exciting moments. Emery writes in an entertaining style about golfing with the Governor of Oregon, performing surgery near the front lines during the Vietnam War, and knowing entertainers and sports stars. His life was clearly already worthy of a memoir. ... (read more)

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Cautionary

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Old Geezer Romancing in Cyberspace
by Bill McDonald
Xlibris


"...such a woman would yoke herself metaphorically alongside her man..."

This book is obviously written by a seasoned professional. McDonald is a retired journalist who paints vivid pictures with words. For example, in explaining that he needs to find things out for himself, he doesn't simply write that he once licked a lighter to see if it was hot. He says, "Staring hypnotically at the lighter’s orange glow one day, I licked my tongue across its grill." ... (read more)

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One Who Knows

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Revelation of Number 10: A Galactic Neighbor's Appeal
by Cliff Joseph
iUniverse


"I was producing a mystery. I felt that the drawing was being done on my own power, but with a speed and in a manner that was not my own."

Science fiction, art, history, politics, and more populate the pages of this look into both the past and the future. It’s a story of how one man’s recognition of powers beyond this planet wind up challenging every man and woman on Earth to re-examine their own ideas about belief, behavior, and our own world’s destiny. ... (read more)

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Two for One

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hell in a Handbasket
by Timothy J. Amerine
Xlibris


"The rendezvous was far from over, but the trapper would soon be back to the mountains and the cold streams in hunt of the elusive flat tails that had brought them together."

What happens when you get a serious case of wanderlust? In the case of Billy White, you leave your life on the farm and head west. While his travels take him through many places, and he runs into many people of all walks of life, his lust for women is one thing that never wanes. Through the twists and turns, the marriages, and the lovers’ trysts, Billy finds himself on the journey of a lifetime. Will his passions lead him to where his heart leads him, or will he become furhter entangled in his troublesome lust? ... (read more)

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Mia's Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Thy Kingdom Comes: Kingdom of the Crescent Rune
by Steve Woodland
Xlibris


"Act, achieve, hide, sob, recoup. It was her technique for survival..."

Attractive and witty Mia Elyse of the Rythanian Space Fleet is in a prison cell with little memory of how she arrived there. Elyse finds out she is the enemy of the state after a battle and will be in prison until her hearing in 20 years. She falls asleep, a werewolf bites her, and she encounters a band of allies. One of these allies, Locke, tells her that only the powerful will pass the test that Elyse is about to endure. A journey then begins that includes battles, love affairs, magic, tests of friendship and loyalty, questionable enemies, monsters, war, adventure, and the dead being brought to life. In a shocking story twist at the end of the book, Elyse is forced to make a choice that will impact her friends, lover, and future forever. ... (read more)

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The Villages

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ole Manuõ o Tala Tu’u Ma Fisaga o Tala Ave: “The Heralding of Our Oral History and Relishing of Our Story Narratives”
by Amerika Samoa Humanities Council
AuthorHouse


"The stories shared here embraced the significance of knowing who we are and where we came from."

The aggregation of five volcanic islands known as Samoa came into the light of modern history in 1900 when the US flag was raised there, signifying Samoa’s new status as an American protectorate. But Samoa embodies a much earlier culture, lore, and legend. Interwoven in the descriptions of places in this guide are old photos showing how the islands appeared at the earliest incursion of foreigners along with vivid color illustrations of modern-day attractions. The collection begins in the village of Fagatogo on the island of Tutuila, one of the most naturally protected harbors in the Pacific. Its name denotes the mangrove trees that used to grow in the bay, but which were later uprooted for a wharf and coaling station by the US Naval Administration. Another example among the places described is the village of Leona, named after an ancient famine time. Leona is important to the native political structure and carries memories of a mysterious ringing sound that used to be heard in the nearby mountains. ... (read more)

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Citadel 7 Continues

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Dead End: Plight of Rudy Barabbas
by Yuan Jur
WaaDoom


"Oh Goddess! Rudy thought to himself. Insidia looked to Rudy and whispered, 'She can’t help you now.'"

Rudy Barabbas, a Jamaican cab driver trying to eke out a living in San Antonio, Texas to create a better life for him and his girlfriend, ends up involved with dangerous characters as a result. After trying to cheat in a dice game and getting caught, Rudy ends up in the pocket of the Caracara criminal family, working as a courier for contraband using his taxi cab in secret. On a late night shortly before his shift ends and while set to deliver a package to the Caracaras, a mysterious man gets into Rudy’s cab unexpectedly. The client is Walter Kneebone, a serial killer known in the area as the Keyhole Killer. This chance meeting puts Rudy in contact with an Ultra Demon named Insidius and places him squarely in the middle of a conflict for the souls of humanity, putting his life in great risk. ... (read more)

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Forest Challenge

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush, Sagebrush and the Butterfly Creek Flood
by Joni Franks
Xlibris


"Mother Nature has created all kinds of life besides us. It’s important that we learn that all lives matter, not just some."

The author teaches a lesson of the importance of valuing all life equally, no matter one’s age, size, or even species. A hiker in a Rocky Mountain forest loses his balance and falls into a rushing stream, putting his life at risk. To save himself, he grasps a lettuce plant that a tribe (the Shun) of “little people” is gathering for food. A tailless dog named Sagebrush and his parents, who live on Young Miss’ ranch, hear the struggle and concoct a plan to save both the hiker and the Shun. Will the plan work, will they save the whole group, or will the hiker and the Shun suffer a tragic fate? ... (read more)

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Survival

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bits of Sky
by Marc Severson
iUniverse


"Everything that happened in the last few days was so strange – the world was turning upside down –things were happening too fast."

A crisis takes hold of the people of Sky Valley in prehistoric Arizona when a man mysteriously falls from the sky. In a time of great unknowns and grave uncertainty, Fat Badger, who is the Winter Chief of his people, must investigate this strange occurrence with the help of Tall Claw and others committed to keeping the people safe. Their investigation will take them into the Forbidden Place and through old superstitions about ogres and beasts. The mystery of the falling man stokes ancient fears of the unknown, but as Fat Badger closes in on the answers, he soon discovers that man is to be feared more than beast. ... (read more)

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History & Folklore

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Gods and Heroes: Itan Legends of the Golden Age Book One
by Oladele Olusanya
Xlibris


"Ile-Ife was the birthplace and origin of all the gods of our people, who in those days walked the earth and lived among mortal men."

Blending history with folklore, myth, and a little surrealism, this book follows the exile and migration of the Yoruba tribe from Nubia, the founding of Ile-Ife (today’s region of West Nigeria), the various adventures and conquests of its people, and the rise and fall of the civilization of Oyo. Readers are introduced to historical figures as well as gods and goddesses and learn how the actions and choices of these individuals have shaped Yoruba culture and tradition.... (read more)

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American Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Courage of the Heart: An American Odyssey 1915 to 1923
by Christine Chatterton
Xlibris


"He would talk until he got tired and then we would sit silently for a few minutes taking it in. I think he was breathing out his memories along with his air. I loved to hear him."

In this age of seemingly endless celebrity worship, where little of lasting value needs to be created to elicit fawning adulation, it is all too easy to lose sight of the dignity, struggles, and achievements of what we too often refer to as ordinary people. The author of this book has performed a service by recounting the lives of two individuals who could easily fall into the category of Everyman and Everywoman. Yet their true story is anything but ordinary, and it reflects what human beings are capable of overcoming when devotion to one another is unending. Through interviews with the principals and people who knew them well, plus access to the personal letters they shared, a love story unfolds that overcomes distance, war, tragedy, disease, and more. Theirs is a compelling testament to the power of love. ... (read more)

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Captivating

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Children of the Fallen Empire: Book I of the Tera-Ninja Saga
by Killian Tiwari
iUniverse


"At that point, he didn’t know that it was the symbol of the Tera-Ninja Dragon Clan. As a matter of fact, he didn’t know what a Tera-Ninja actually was, much less that he was one. Or at least half of one."

The Tera-Ninjas are the most powerful warriors ever created—a race of superhumans genetically designed to be incredible weapons. With healing abilities twenty times more than that of a regular person, four times the strength, and the ability to manipulate energy particles around them, they are the ultimate weapons of war. Rejected by some nations but embraced by others, the Tera-Ninjas manage to flourish. But when the emperor is murdered, the empire they once thrived in collapses. It isn’t until many years later that five survivors—Johnny, Sasha, Alex, Cirrus, and Sonia—come together as they try to prevent their world from falling into chaos. ... (read more)

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Retribution Plus

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Jesse Caulder
by J. Christensen
Xlibris


"No use frettin’ bout it now; if they’s comin’, they’s a’ comin’; we’ll deal with it when the time comes."

This novel is a testament to how engaging stories of the Old West can be. While revenge, an oft-used staple of the genre, centers the plot, the tale also encompasses survival, empowerment, understanding, and renewal. Fortunately, where morals are concerned, the author lets the story speak for itself, without the need for preaching or pretense. Such restraint increases the book’s impact exponentially. ... (read more)

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Sufi Says

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Come...Sit in My Heart: A Sufi Speaks His Silence
by Hosain Mosavat
Xlibris


"Love is like a wind
In a barren place
You will not see the wind
But in a rose garden
When a rose waves at you
You know wind is present"

Sufi poet Mosavat has composed a collection of mystical works that speak, he says, “about merging in the end” where no separation exists. In the tradition of Sufism, which developed within Islamic culture, the images of human love are subtly presented as symbolic of the relationship between humans and the divine. In this volume, the poet has chosen the rose as a powerful representation of such love. Other aspects of love here are depicted variously as fragrance, music, candlelight, and the moon. The verses quietly convey spiritual insight through these conventionally romantic images. Some come across almost like Zen koans, because of the way the poet startles or awakens the reader, such as when he declares, “A lover loves death,” since a kiss must die in order to create the longing for the new kiss, and the day must die before a new dawn. ... (read more)

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The Core Classroom

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A.T.A.P How to Achieve a Workable Classroom Environment: In a Core Curriculum Classroom (Grades Pre-K Through 8th and Special Education) (A Book of Strategies and Research)
by Dr. Mavis A. Bouie
Xlibris


"To be an effective classroom teacher, it is important to have effective classroom management strategies."

This practical, research-based guide for teachers provides a well-organized track through familiar topics related to classroom management tips, techniques, and strategies. Bouie covers the core components of a well-run classroom which include getting to know your students, setting limits and clear classroom procedures, and using time wisely. She also offers teacher-tested tips for handling discipline and classroom conflicts and for encouraging parental involvement. ... (read more)

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A Greater Evil

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Third Eye
by David Goldstein
Xlibris


"Exploration is the epitome of adventure and Navigators are the luminaries of any Exploration crew."

In the distant future, the galaxy is maintained by The Galactic Union, a collective of planets and societies who promote space exploration and unified peace. The Galactic Union has been locked in a terrible war with the Galani, a hostile race who invade other planets for resources, refuse to join the GU, and engage in deadly, suicidal attacks. Almost all citizens of all beings in the Galactic Union have three eyes, with their third eyes operating as windows to their souls. But the Galani have sealed their third eyes closed in imitation of an evil race, as a fear and intimidation tactic, and to keep the threat of evil alive. But what will the Galactic Union do when they come across a supposed greater evil? ... (read more)

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True Killer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

All That Glitters: Deceit, Murder, and Passion in the New South Wales Goldfields
by Robert Walker
Xlibris AU


"While I was feeling around in the dark, I found what I thought was a heap of clothing. On closer inspection, I became aware it was a body."

Recently separated from his wife and children, Detective Sergeant Grant Williams is trying to relax after a difficult murder case when he literally stumbles upon bodies in a mine shaft in the dark. The local force from Tumut, in New South Wales, Australia, does not have the expertise nor drive to handle the case, so Grant is assigned to head the investigation. Partnering with one of the local constables, the sexy Sophie Laycock, Grant dives into a world of greed, gold, and murder. He’ll have to depend on his new partner to help him navigate the local characters, a biker gang, and the officers in the Tumut precinct. In the pursuit of the killer or killers, he’ll require the assistance of his specialized crew from Sydney, and he will also need to manage the sexual advances of the lead forensic investigator, Jenny Manning. ... (read more)

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Journey & Sacrifice

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Eleven Miles South of Half Moon Bay
by Bill Sullivan
iUniverse


"The slowly moving dark form beside the road, lean and six-feet-tall, was instantly familiar and instantly warned of disaster."

Sullivan’s memoir takes place in Ohio during the 60s. It tells the tale of Sullivan’s group of school friends and how they spent their formative years of late adolescence. It was a time when Vietnam would divide the country, peace and love movements would forever alter the countenance of America, and music would adapt to the tune of the shifting heartbeat of the nation. The narrative primarily follows Sullivan and his close cousin, Bruce Stevenson. Like many boys, they grew up roughhousing, seeking outdoor adventures, and roaming the highways on their motorcycles. As they begin to make lives for themselves, the young men drift apart physically but never lose their connection. However, a moment of selflessness will leave one of them dead and the other searching for a way to make sense of it all. ... (read more)

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Urgency

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Wolf Bites
by Ron Gordon
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"'You bloody secretive British bastards, why did you not include your American ally in your plans for God’s sake!'"

From the very first page of this book, you are thrust into the heat of battle and consumed with a hornet’s nest of hidden agendas, divided loyalties, an exploding cast of characters, and non-stop grammatical aberrations. There is a particularly sliced and diced quality to the plot, the principals, and the prose in this novel. The narrative combines both real and manufactured events, the participants are plucked from the news as well as the author’s imagination, and the structure demands intense concentration if you’re committed to keeping up with the continuing twists and turns of this fevered tale. ... (read more)

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Beauty Endures

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To Keep a Butterfly From Flying
by Cynthia Snyder
BookVenture Publishing


"This ship is going to give me my escape, and I was only hours away from being set free."

Cynthia has a rocky relationship with her boyfriend, Ted, but his latest betrayal is the final straw. She jumps at the chance to put some space between the two of them and signs up to work on a cruise ship as a hairdresser. It’s a chance to start over, to do a little healing, and to have the experience of a lifetime. Cynthia soon learns, however, that her time working on the high seas is just as complicated as her everyday life. From maintaining performance standards to navigating relationships with co-workers and colleagues, she grapples with the duality of her feelings, human nature, and all that life has to offer. ... (read more)

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Grace

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Finding Joy
by Ellen Payne
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"Suffering abuse always robs the victim, taking from them such things as innocence, trust, security, virginity, control of their lives."

A woman named Joy, whose autobiography is being offered here in anonymity, is well aware of the truth of the foregoing statement. From her earliest childhood, she suffered various forms of abuse imposed on her by both parents. It took a journey of many years to regain a sense of her own worth. She recalled without too much effort that her parents had punished her physically with beatings that included insults, hitting, caning, and isolation in a stench-filled chicken coop. Later, with the help of counseling and her own professional work as an occupational therapist and a religious leader, Joy’s other memories began to seep in. She recognized her mother’s pattern of verbal denigration when she saw it repeated in incidents with her own children. Her father was a cold man, and as time passed, and Joy had more flashbacks, she realized that, along with the frequent beatings and harsh words, he had sexually abused her. ... (read more)

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Romance, Drama, Suspense

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Come Fill Up My Cup
by Jean Murray Munden
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"'You’ve been lonely?' he asked, with a half smile, and gazing again at her through those curly eyelashes."

In the mid-1990s, a Canadian woman named Robin Lindsay is traveling through Scotland on a pilgrimage of sorts. Years after the commercial flight her husband was piloting disappeared without a trace, she revisits his homeland to honor his memories and remember some places that they shared. While there, a nasty storm hits, knocking trees into the road and placing her car firmly in a ditch. After the mishap, Robin is fortunate to find herself not far from a quaint property with flickering lights inside. The building turns out to be a local bed and breakfast with stables and is occupied by a kind older woman and her nephew, James Maclachlan. Appreciative of their hospitality, Robin spends the night drying off and then a peaceful morning waiting for the electricity and the phone lines to be repaired. ... (read more)

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A Year in Prose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Jacaranda: Waiting for Love in Forlornness
by Zhao Crowley
Xlibris AU


"Never ask what to worry
Never ask where is future
Only ask if the light smile is at rest"

Written over the course of a year, this collection of 110 poems tells a story of love, travel, friendship, loneliness, and other emotional moments. Each poem can be enjoyed separately, but taken as a collection, there is a greater story that threads each selection together and weaves a narrative that covers the entire book. The entire book is presented in bilingual fashion, including both English and Chinese text, reflecting the author’s Chinese heritage and Australian residency. The subjects of the poems include friends reuniting after a long time apart, inspiration from popular movies, fairy tales, and the impersonal pace of urban life. Using a wistful, private style, the imagery and feeling will reach the reader in poem after poem, creating a powerful reaction and leading them to resonate with the author’s various inspirations for writing. ... (read more)

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Movement & Tension

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Color-Field Paintings
by Fiore Ai and Fleur Yano
Xlibris


"They (Fiore Ai’s paintings) are at once subtle and bold, fluid and tense, moving across the space that evokes a cosmic world."

The art world was never the same after the abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollack introduced his dynamic, drip paintings on large surfaces in 1943, impacting and influencing future artists. Color-field painting was one such movement that followed Pollack’s explosive entrance on the American art scene. Artists such as Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, and Ad Reinhardt used large canvases filled with unexpected pigments and flow patterns or geometric shapes with thick lines and vivid colors. This book traces the influence of these painters on one artist’s work by following her progression and vision through selected paintings. The beginning of the book offers a short history of abstract expressionism and its aftermath listing the artists that most influenced Ai. It is followed by a chronological study of her work beginning with her early collagraphs and ending with her large acrylic Planetary Series. ... (read more)

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The American Way

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Patriotism: An Immigrant’s Perspective of Loving America
by Rose Mary S. Y.
Xlibris


"Our special characteristics that make us different from one another are not as important as the fact that we’re all Americans."

In a political climate that is becoming increasingly heated and hostile, this mixture of autobiography and political science gives readers the author’s perspective as an Assyrian immigrant who takes great pride in her identity as an American citizen. Beginning with an appreciation and explanation of Assyrian culture and its accomplishments, the author then examines the current state of the region and what life was like for her and her family before moving to America. Following that is a full list of American presidents, including their accomplishments and the history behind their election at the time. The final three chapters of the book showcase life for those who live as American immigrants, take pride in being an American, and encourage a lifestyle that is traditionally moral in order to get this country back to a prominent place on the world stage. ... (read more)

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The Real

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Mystery of Life What's It All About?: Discovering the Truth in a Skeptical World
by David E.Peeples
Xlibris


"Many prominent authorities agree that historical research has added convincing support to the biblical account of history."

Living in a world that is progressively modernizing with technology and advancements in science has left people still feeling unfulfilled and wondering what the meaning of life is. With all of science’s accomplishments, it has still failed to answer that one all-important question. In this thorough examination of society, the author proposes that the answer is already well-known and widely distributed, just increasingly ignored in today’s world. Adopting a scientific, evidence-based approach, the case is made for considering the Bible as the roadmap to a life lived with meaning and purpose, offering fulfillment and satisfaction for those who do. From the origin of life itself to the landscape of modern media moguls and talking heads, readers will see the reason to support the Bible as the answer to questions about science and social behaviors that are not easily answered otherwise. ... (read more)

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Getting the Funds

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

30 Ways to Raise Capital for Your Business
by Chris P. Ogola
AuthorHouse UK


"Failing to use your gift or talent is like hiding money in you and at the same time looking for it elsewhere."

As the economic climate continues to shift, more and more people are looking to be their own boss or realize a creative dream that they’ve had by starting their own business. However, such a venture can prove risky and financially challenging. In this handy reference, the author has collected thirty different methods that someone can utilize in order to raise money to start a new business or grow a small business into something even more successful. From asking friends and family members for assistance or resources to applying for government grants or utilizing the Internet to engage in crowdfunding, entrepreneurs are sure to find a method that suits their situation and allows them to accomplish their goals using instructions that are brief, direct, and easy to understand. ... (read more)

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