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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

Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter
by Tom Clavin
St. Martin's Press


"Their subsequent conversations, gathered in an interview for an article published in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, would do much to create the Wild Bill Hickok legends that exist to this day. It even contained a few facts."

Why do legends exist? Perhaps to capture the boldness of a moment in time. Perhaps to whitewash its dirtier element. Or perhaps to underscore the human desire to become bigger than we are. Sometimes a person of unique caliber intersects with the right moment in time and the stories of their adventures take on a life of their own. They transform into an enduring legend. ... (read more)

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Exploring Self

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Walking Shadow
by Gary Bolick
Unsolicited Press


"He called the desert the perfect place for him because so little moved. Just one big photograph, so it provided the illusion that his life was back to normal."

There is an exceptionally fine line between intense introspection and prolonged navel-gazing. That line is a tightrope author Bolick walks precariously in this tale of one man’s unyielding search for enlightenment. Bolick’s protagonist desperately wants to come to grips with personal answers to profound questions such as why are we here, what does consciousness really mean, and can we ever truly understand one another or, for that matter, ourselves. The author encases these soul-searching queries in a story that dispenses potential answers much like a time-release capsule—a few now, a bit later, and eventually perhaps enough to ward off congenital melancholia. However, these intermittent answers raise additional questions. Does the patient stand a chance of actually being cured or merely treated? Should his doctor heed the proverb, “Physician, heal thyself”? ... (read more)

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Uncommon Bravery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Cordelia Lionheart
by Ron Fritsch
Asymmetric Worlds


"'Father,' Cordelia said, 'I fear you'll soon regret being so stubborn, so unwilling to admit your kingdom isn't the peaceful, orderly realm you dream it to be.'"

Cordelia, the youngest daughter of King Lear, is beginning to lose faith in her father’s ability to rule as a fair and just king. Between rumors of unrest, distrust among the soldiers, her sisters’ and their husbands conspiring for the throne, and the occasional assassination attempt, it seems that King Lear’s peaceful reign is coming to an end. Cordelia soon finds herself in the midst of an oncoming war as Lear declares her his heir. With her life on the line and the future of the kingdom at stake, will Cordelia be able to fight back and keep the kingdom at peace? ... (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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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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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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Enthralling

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Cost of Justice
by Michael Skeen
Outskirts Press


"...a segment of our population has been convinced that the government is the enemy..."

Fast-paced and realistic, this novel is enthralling. The author imagines, "What if the news media worst case scenarios of our time actually came true?" Skeen puts the possibilities in writing in a three-book series. Although this is the final book in the trilogy, it stands alone without confusion. ... (read more)

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Forever

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

They'll Never Die
by Don Calmus
Fulton Books


"'I have died a couple of times, and there's nothing out there but cold dark space.'"

Generally, engineers and other professionals don't morph into successful writers. But Don Calmus, a retired engineer, has writing talent and took the time to study the craft, enabling him to write this stellar novel. Not only should he not "stay in his own lane," he should write a sequel. ... (read more)

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Still the Same

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Complete Food Substitutions Handbook: Including Options for Low-Sugar, Low-Fat, Low-Salt, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, Soy-Free, and Vegan
by Jean B. MacLeod
MacLeod How-To Books


"Honey - 1 cup
- 1 cup light agave syrup/nectar
- 1 cup Coconut Nectar
- 1 cup rice-based nectar, such as Just Like Honey"

In today’s culinary world, any group meal is bound to feed someone with food allergies, a specialty diet, or just a preference against certain ingredients. Or maybe you have found a new recipe, the prep begins, and then suddenly you realize you’re missing an important ingredient in the pantry. Perhaps even the item in question is out of season or unavailable in your area. This book aims to solve such problems by providing a comprehensive, A-to-Z resource for quick reference to substitute virtually any ingredient needed in cooking with something else, either in a pinch or if your dinner plans include people with dietary restrictions. With more than 500 pages of suggestions, this aims to be the only book you need when it comes to food substitutions. ... (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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A Western Gem

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Off The Well-Lit Path
by M. S. Holm
Sentry Books


"Rugg did not ask the cop why he robbed adolescent girls of their innocence and bragged of the obscenity. He knew the cop would have no answer."

Danger, fear, and violence come shockingly to life in this searing tale of modern Mexico. From deserted desert highways to crowded city streets, mayhem is ever present as marauding gangs ply their contemptible trade. Police are either too corrupt or too powerless to stop the rampant bedlam as citizens and tourists alike become prey for criminals immersed in a culture of brutality. ... (read more)

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Surviving Stroke

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Wonderful Stroke of Luck: From Occupational Therapist to Patient and Beyond
by Janet R. Douglas
Archway Publishing


"Even though I did not see myself as handicapped in terms of doing my job, obviously others did."

Janet Douglas knew that her family had a history of stroke. And as an occupational therapist, she knew all the warning signs, the symptoms, and how to defend against something she had a genetic disposition toward. While attending a country wedding reception for her nephew, she became sick to her stomach and believed she was having a heart attack, turning a blind eye to the diagnosis she dreaded most. The next month was spent in and out of consciousness, in hospitals on either side of the Atlantic Ocean, including in places she once worked. Despite surviving narrow odds after neurosurgery, Douglas continued her denial that the diagnosis she feared had happened to her. As she struggled through physical therapy, she continued to improve enough to be sent home and set her sights on a difficult goal: 90% recovery of how she was before the stroke. ... (read more)

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Magical Adventure

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Gondoliers: The Secret Journals of Fanticulous Glim
by Paolo Mazzucato
BepiBooks


"Venice has a secret, and you know if you open your mind and search deep enough you might discover more than you imagined."

This magical novel begins with the promise of a journey unlike anything ever seen before. Following the adventures of 15-year-old Fantina, a self-proclaimed explorer who comes to Venice in 1902 at the request of her uncle, it delivers just that. Fantina makes her way from an orphanage in Boston to find her Uncle Gio at work restoring one of the old churches of Venice. The adventurous Fantina is intrigued by this work and recalls her father saying that Gio’s work restores not only the architecture of the city but its stories and legends as well. When later she is approached by a white pigeon that suddenly becomes a fairie, Fantina embarks on a fabulous adventure leading her through the streets and history of Venice as she seeks to discover what secrets the city holds. ... (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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An Intrepid Storyteller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Cognition
by Jacques St-Malo
Ballista Press


"How can a clock tick if time itself doesn’t know in which direction to flow?"

How does one explore scientific, philosophical, cultural, and moral questions without wading laboriously through the muck of debate and diatribe? If you’re this author, you weave it all into a tapestry of good old-fashioned adventure. Nothing takes complicated intellectual queries and injects them with pulse-pounding energy quite like a rousing thriller—which this novel certainly is. ... (read more)

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Direct Answers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Common Sense and Reasonable Answers
by William Warren Luce
Seacoast Press


"World peace is achievable. We simply have to change our perception, believing that it is attainable."

In a book that examines life from many points of view, a retired military officer has delved into politics and religion, asking questions and coming up with startling but often sensible responses. The book as a whole seeks to examine in detail many major concepts that we think we should live by or have been conditioned to believe. The author then proceeds to pick these concepts apart, from branch to root, offering a different way of approaching such time-worn notions. The basic premise is that, despite what we have been led to believe, we can change the world, but we must do so by changing ourselves. ... (read more)

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Heart of Gold

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Expecting the Good: Inspiration from a Badass with a Big Heart
by Brigitte Cutshall
Gemini Media, Inc.


"He embraced the chaos of the moment and brought out the best in others."

A paean to her soldier stepfather, Cutshall’s new book is a reminder of how much one person can mean to many others. When Jean Luc became her new parent, Cutshall was a diffident teen and not easily impressed, but as time passed, she came to hold JL, as she calls him, in great regard. A man of few words who showed his beliefs through action—and plenty of it—he gave pointers along the way, urging her to "take responsibility for the person you choose to be." When the retired Green Beret died suddenly of a heart attack, Cutshall considered the impact he had had, even saving some lives in combat, and started to collect materials for this book. Tall, muscled and handsome, JL looked like the "badass" he could be if tussled with, but he had a heart of gold. ... (read more)

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Supermodel Sleuth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Disorder
by Johan Fundin
Asioni Press


"We’re each other’s twisted shadow."

Catriona Milton is London’s most beautiful supermodel, living the ultimate life of luxury, working with the biggest brands, and dating one of the hottest football players. The trade-off?: Cat’s biggest secret—her narcolepsy—and the hallucinations and nightmares she experiences from her disease. When Cat receives a call from her twin sister, Janice, that their father has died, Cat returns to her hometown of Blackfield. She has a run-in with a few of her father’s old biomedical colleagues, as well as her doctor at the funeral. After Cat’s hallucinations become stronger and more visceral, she begins to look into her father’s death at the request of his apparition. The supermodel soon finds herself investigating a pharmaceutical drug war between companies who aim to capitalize on Cat and her condition. ... (read more)

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Life as We Knew It

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sinister Summer: Cars, Cruisers, and Close Calls
by C. A. Hartnell
Hawks Print Publishing


"'I think you’re right, Pete. I’ll find a Bible verse about trusting God and the peace that brings. Then I’ll write it down in my little notepad.'"

American identity is rife with lore and legend, maverick-minded pilgrims who settled the land and befriended Native Americans, cowboys who blazed trails across the American frontier, and hot-rodding greasers who frightened and electrified sleepy American communities with drag races, diner-dominance, and jelly-rolled hairdos. It is an America of burgers and fries, long sunny days, and a community-centric lifestyle bolstered by biblical references and family values. ... (read more)

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Extraordinary Circumstances

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

What's Next
by Bobby Bell
Xlibris


"Running and pushing open the door to the ladies room, Russ looked down to see his wife on the floor bleeding from her mouth, her hair matted with blood, and unconscious."

Two stories unwind in parallel until they become one in this engaging thriller. The first involves a soldier back from active duty who hasn’t seen his wife and three children for some time. The second follows the trail of two miscreants with a long history of law breaking, drug abuse, and more. When the two narratives intersect, the novel definitely shifts into high gear. ... (read more)

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A Cool Pageant

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Wild Winter: Christmas, Clues, and Crooks
by C. A. Hartnell
Hawk Prints Publishing


"Who’s stealing our stuff? Can we keep our fundraising money safe if we’re able to make some this weekend at our first bake sale?"

Wintertime is taking over El Monte, California, and with Christmas not far behind, Pete and Carol Ann are trying to think of ways to help those who might be less fortunate than they are. They come up with an idea to host a Christmas pageant with all the kids in their class and raise money for the Community Chest by having bake sales and selling tickets to the pageant. Everyone is eager to chip in, and even Mary Jane takes a role, putting her bossy demeanor to good use as the pageant director. Once again, however, robberies are beginning to take place, as the money from both the bake sales and the pageant tickets are starting to go missing. Pete suspects it must be someone helping with the events, while Carol Ann hopes it is not one of their friends. ... (read more)

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A Darker Turn

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Bedwetter: Journal of a Budding Psychopath
by Lee Allen Howard
Three First Names


"When I get home--my NEW home--I will enjoy it in the spirit of celebration. I AM THE MAN."

Russell Pisarek grew up in an abusive home, largely ignored by his father and terrorized by his mother for his misbehavior and his chronic bedwetting problem. Now an adult, he lives with his sister Becky and her son Aiden, working as an animal technician at a research facility. Tormented by twisted desires and taunted by memories of his past, Russell’s bedwetting creeps its way into his life once again. As life spirals away from his control, he feverishly works to take it back by any means necessary. Shaped by his experiences and the bullying he received growing up, Russell decides that he’ll take matters into his own hands and find a woman that he can shave with his clippers in order to be sexually stimulated. But when judgmental comments and resistance block his plans, those same urges take a darker, homicidal turn. ... (read more)

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Winter is Coming

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ferocious Fall: Our Wild Weather Escapes
by C. A. Hartnell
Hawk Prints Publishing


"The huge, swirling dust devil roared across the vacant playground like a runaway train off its tracks."

Pete and Carol Ann’s adventures continue as autumn kicks into gear. The weather in El Monte, California, begins to get dangerous with cloudburst thunderstorms, flash floods, and even a dangerous dust devil that the two kids must avoid to stay safe. Whether preparing for Halloween, going to high school football games, or visiting popular landmarks like Knott’s Berry Farm and Sturtevant Falls, these two neighborhood friends are always up to some kind of adventure with their families, friends, and Carol Ann’s energetic dog, Buddy. ... (read more)

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Loud & Clear

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tinnitus Toolbox Hyperacusis Handbook
by Jan L. Mayes
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication


"The focus of coping tools is to improve quality of life, whether used alone or with medical treatment."

For people suffering from tinnitus, the world is full of unwanted sounds. Diagnosis and treatments have improved, but many people still do not receive adequate evaluation, therapies, and tools from care providers. This book breaks down, in exhaustive detail, the myriad options available to those suffering from this condition. ... (read more)

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Drastic Resources

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tenacity: A Vegas Businessman Survives Brooklyn, the Marines, Corruption and Cancer to Achieve the American Dream: A True Life Story
by Ron Coury
Las Vegas Publishing Group


"Doing what you say you’re going to do, standing behind your word, and not taking any cheap shots at people are always important in business."

The author’s life journey, as encapsulated in this text, presents a model of how to live with ambition and integrity regardless of how adverse the circumstances. Fittingly titled, his life story is remarkable in that he is constantly moving up the entrepreneurial ladder. However, where most lose good friends and quality relationships along the way, Coury is building upon them. ... (read more)

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A Real Author

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Influential Author: How and Why to Write, Publish, and Sell Nonfiction Books that Matter
by Gregory V. Diehl
Identity Publications


"A single refined thought can carry more influence than all the internal ramblings of an unfocused mind over the course of its lifetime."

Reality is like a multifaceted diamond, one in which everyone has a unique perspective that shapes it. Out of the din of the many, however, there are those who feel compelled to pass along that experience and knowledge in a message to others, often in the form of the written word. Diehl utilizes his experience with self-publishing to give a brutally honest message to aspiring nonfiction writers on the art and viability of self-publication. ... (read more)

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Understanding

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Housing Projects, Mansions & Schools: An Educator’s Odyssey
by Roger Prosise
Chatter House Press


"Even though I was superintendent, in a way, I was still the kid who needed a scholarship to go to summer camp."

Roger Prosise’s experience growing up in a tough housing project in Chicago gives him a unique perspective when he becomes a teacher and eventually superintendent of a school in one of the wealthiest communities in the country. In this wise and absorbing memoir, Prosise reflects on his neighborhood, his family, and his career and tackles issues related to racial inequalities, poverty, and education. His remarkable story chronicles his childhood and eventual journey through various schools as a teacher, administrator, and volunteer. ... (read more)

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Fight for Freedom

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mortal Men, Immortal Warriors
by Steven London
Writer’s Guild Publishing House


"Words alone cannot serve the justice required to enshrine these men and their actions and experiences."

London’s book comes across as a documentary pieced together with the tales of those who served in the First Battalion, Fourth Infantry. A two-year project, London presents the true voices of soldiers and their separate experiences on the front lines of combat in one of the most remote locations in the world. This is not easy to share, and by sharing it, they are allowing others into a world that is not altogether understood. As London states, “…for some, this is just the beginning of being able to share their experiences with audiences that may not have known about the effects of war on those involved.” ... (read more)

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Origin of Greatness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

African Sorceress: A Warrior is Forged
by M. E. Skeel
Xlibris


"There will rise up a leader among us. Someone with great power, who will drive away the white devils so that we may return to our land by the sea!"

In this historical fiction narrative, Skeel develops upon an oral African legend of the Sorceress who drove out the slavers from her village in, what is now, Ghana. Skeel’s novel is perfect for those who wish to enjoy an enthralling tale of passion, spirituality, and bravery. The novel begins as an origin story for those who will play different roles throughout this tale. Many of the characters are under constant progression that helps readers become attached to the outcomes of not just the main characters’ lives, but all those involved. These characters, especially Kisa, are easy to empathize with, which is in part due to the authors well researched vernacular, setting descriptions, and historical connections. ... (read more)

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Enaging the Battle

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Shepherd's Horizons
by Gene Kelly
Xlibris


"The warship cried out its pain as metal being torn apart was heard and felt throughout the ship. It seemed to last forever."

Brian Shepherd and his Interplanetary Council warship New Horizons live in interesting times. Following 200 years of interstellar peace, two events have everyone ready for war. First, the warship Banshee is destroyed on an exploratory mission after encountering an anomaly that could only be detected by antiquated radar. This barrier in space destroyed the Banshee’s probes and shuttles while concealing the Thorans, a warlike alien race ready to make devastating contact with humanity. Second, the Ravenhurst Empire, a young coalition of planets known for their religious zealotry, are ramping up their control and have nearby planets and outposts expecting war. Shepherd and his crew on the New Horizons will have no choice but to be part of the battle that will end a longstanding peace and usher in the next era of humanity’s exploration and colonization within deep space. ... (read more)

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Love Poems

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

In Love with a Stranger: Testimony of the Heart
by Marija Matic
Xlibris


"… I don’t know why
I fell in love
With a stranger I have never seen
Should I search for the answers
Written in the stars . . ."

Poetry is one of the most natural and timeless forms used to express the emotional turmoil and nuances of romantic love. This collection features a number of beautifully illustrated love poems written to the author’s love interest, a man she hasn’t physically met, and probably, because of the miles that separate them, will never have the opportunity to meet. Matic proclaims him to be a teacher of “indigenous American backgrounds” from whom she has learned a great deal about the earth, nature, animals, and herself. The poet, a refugee from the former Yugoslavia in Eastern Europe, now resides in Australia where she is an avid and lifelong student who has studied theology, philosophy and classic languages. It was the lessons she learned from the subject of her “Stranger” poems, however, which she credits with teaching her the most valuable lessons of her life. Giving him the alias G.H. Eagle Spirit, she credits him with teaching her to “connect with nature” and to feel “a deep passionate love and respect for humankind as a whole,” lessons evident in her work. ... (read more)

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Ranch Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Roy's Ranch
by G.F. Welch
Xlibris


"Roy has big windmills that get water from under the ground. The water goes into big tanks."

The narrator, a middle child in a family of five, goes with his siblings and parents to visit Uncle Roy who owns a ranch in the countryside. While there, the children enjoy the unique aspects of life on a ranch. From sleeping in an RV camper or tent to having outdoor campfire food, the change of pace keeps all the children interested and excited. Their days are spent tending to, petting, or keeping their distance from all the animals on the ranch, depending on their size and how dangerous they are. Eventually, the slower country life starts to bore the children, and the narrator’s older brother John wanders away, only to end up lost and missing. The family’s concern leads to a search party for John, who may not be as far away as they worry he could be. ... (read more)

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Transition Rising

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Target Aquarius
by Scott Beringer
Xlibris


"What I do know is...a Shaman would state that witnessing and being aware of synchronicities is a sign you are on the right path."

The author begins with the retelling of a late-nineties Target commercial. He claims that this spiritually aware advertisement with its ancient red eye target is full of symbolism to encode a warning regarding mankind’s future. Were the writers and the singer, Petula Clark, aware of what they created? In our age, warfare between the duality of bad and good keeps most humans distracted. He promises clues hidden in plain sight, such as those in numerology, will reveal ancient truths. Only those who perceive the warnings are ready for the next level. ... (read more)

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A Cure for Sorrow

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Two Roses
by Mazen Kharboutli
AuthorHouse UK


"I will never return to New York as long as I live, Daniel told himself, little knowing what life had in store."

Daniel Bouchard has been alone most of his life. The ones he loved most in the world were taken away from him at an early age, forcing him to bury his emotions deep to keep his broken heart hidden from the world. Fast forward in his life, and Daniel has been accepted to a prestigious university in exciting New York. He decides to leave the little family he has left in Paris to start a new chapter in his life. He begins to struggle with questions about love and sorrow until he meets a young woman named Greta who changes his life forever. ... (read more)

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Scapegoat for Disaster

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Breaking News: A Story of the 5th Estate
by Jim Boston
AuthorHouse


"We always seem to be more interested in presenting news as entertainment, and we’ve lost track of being honest arbiters of information."

Although his work days are filled with constant tension and conflict, Keith Collins calmly starts each day the same way. After feeding his fish, catching the early morning newscast, and checking emails, he makes his way to the local WCUY television station from his downtown Cleveland apartment. As the head of the engineering support department at the station, Keith’s team is dedicated to managing all of the equipment that directly contributes to the production of the news. Even though this day started like most others, no one could have predicted the catastrophic set of events that would take place and alter the landscape of the network forever. After Keith loses pieces of his memory during the unforeseen tragedy, the race is on to connect what fragments he has left before the station can make him the scapegoat for the disaster. ... (read more)

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High-Stakes Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

What I Want
by Helen Walters
Xlibris


"Had you not betrayed me, I would not have found out how much I like tasting them. So really, their deaths are on you."

Alice Forbes’ life is everything she wants it to be. She has a great boyfriend, Josh, and has recently made detective. She is mentored by the senior investigator, Leo Mason, and is in pursuit of a new, high-profile serial killer. However, when she finds herself a captive of the killer—a man named Simon Clarke whom she knew as her boyfriend, Josh, and who leaves her with a knife in her side, the knowledge that he is doing it all for her, and that the game has just begun—she will find herself tested in ways she never imagined. Struggling with the love she still has for the man she thought she knew and baited by him as he kidnaps a child and makes plans for a big “gift” for Alice, she can only rely on her training and cunning in this high-stakes thriller. ... (read more)

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Power to the People

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Servant Leadership: Tear Down Pyramids, Empower Followers
by Samuel O. Enyia
Page Publishing, Inc.


"Thus, effective servant leader paradigm can only thrive in the culture where everyone is treated with dignity, respect and leaders are visible and approachable."

From corporate America to local church congregations, even all the way down to the family unit, leadership is typically found represented by a few individuals with power exerting it over a much larger number of individuals. This pyramid hierarchy model is what people are accustomed to thinking of when it comes to the relationship between a boss and the workers, but what happens when this model is literally turned on its head? In order to put people, whether the customer or the frontline employee first, those designated as leaders must work hard to serve their needs and put the power back in the hands of the people who most frequently need to use it. ... (read more)

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The Core of People

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

And Throw Away the Skins
by Scott Archer Jones
Fomite


"All things on earth, both good and bad, last only a little while."

Good books have advantages over good friends. Like friends, they can provide diversion, comfort, and the sharing of a plethora of emotions; but unlike friends, you don’t need to take their feelings, needs, or desires into account. You can gobble them up in massive chunks or simply nibble at them now and then, returning only when you decide to do so. Good books never feel slighted, nor do they ever take offense. Yes, good books have their advantages, and Scott Archer Jones writes good books. This is one of them. ... (read more)

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Working Vacation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Murders of Conveyance: Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mystery
by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson
Artemesia Publishing


"She then steps across the corpse she seems to regard as being of no consequence."

Another startling murder seems to follow Natalie Seachrist and her friends, this time during an inaugural scavenger hunt celebrating the culture and history of Hawai’i. Natalie, her boyfriend and ex-cop Keoni, and their friends from the mainland, Margie and Dan O’Hara, are excited to dive into a fun adventure when a mysterious murder of one of the hunt’s sponsors threatens to cast a pallor over the event. Natalie realizes that a dream she thought was inspired by a classic movie marathon was, in fact, one of her trademark visions—only this time, the victim in her dream appears to have been murdered decades ago, despite similar circumstances. She and the Hawai’i Police must find the killer and solve the urgent mystery as well as a very cold case, all while trying to enjoy what was supposed to be a relaxing week with friends. ... (read more)

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Dangerous Consequences

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Rattlesnake & Son
by Jonathan Miller
Artemesia Publishing


"And then above me, as if directly overhead, I heard the explosion."

Dan Shepard, known as the Rattlesnake Lawyer, is a New Mexico lawyer with a law practice all his own. He gets the shock of his life when his son Marley, whom he hasn’t seen in years, shows up in his courtroom. Upon rekindling his relationship with his son, Dan finds out that a lot has changed with him, including the fact that the fourteen-year-old boy may possess psychic abilities. The lawyer in him sees stars in his eyes for what these kinds of abilities could mean for his practice. But life shatters this dream to pieces when things go awry for Marley at school. After a magic trick gone wrong, Marley finds himself in some serious legal trouble. Worse yet, the prosecution wants to try him as an adult. Dan rushes in to represent his son in a case unlike any other he’s ever had to deal with in his career. Was his son set up? Can the Rattlesnake lawyer get his son out of trouble, or will they have to face some of the dangerous consequences of trying to prove his innocence? ... (read more)

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A Higher Calling

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Choices Consequences Crowns
by A.J. Hutcheson
Xulon Press


"While much of my childhood was undeniably happy -- there was a dark side that has followed me all my days."

Hutcheson’s life has been filled with faith, service, medical obstacles, and a higher calling ever since she was a little girl. The author’s autobiography follows her upbringing in a ministerial family in Kansas all the way to her career spent as a nurse and a life as a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. From pranking and hijinx in nursing school to an incredible and sometimes terrifying year spent with her family in turbulent areas like Syria, there are plenty of adventures in every situation and never a dull moment. Though her health repeatedly provides challenges for her to overcome, Hutcheson relays her resilience and insistence that she can take whatever comes her way and live to tell the tale. ... (read more)

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Family Challenges

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Psalm 32: The Joy of Forgiving
by Amanda Lamb
LitFire Publishing


"I wanted this curse to be broken. My daughters deserve so much better than this generational curse that they were born into."

The author’s paternal family was cursed by alcohol for generations. Her father was a decent man until drunk; then he took his anger out on his two teenage sons. A punch to the face was the greeting between her uncles and was also her father’s challenge to her brothers. The author, as an eight-year-old, would place a Bible under her pillow for safety, having heard that Jesus would care for her. Her father’s verbal abuse included calling her stupid. She began to drink to hide her pain. The tragic shooting death of her oldest brother at twenty-four rocked her whole family. Her father also died of lung cancer. ... (read more)

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The Known & the Possible

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Thomas Merton Meets the Unspeakable: Rendezvous in Thailand
by Jerome Donovan
iUniverse


"Merton likened the ‘unspeakable’ to the ‘void’ – the unexpressed mendacity that undergirds the true objectives of our wars and dreams of international dominance."

Author Donovan extols the many virtues of a most unusual American, Thomas Merton (1915-1968), while examining more closely the strange circumstances of his death in Thailand. Said to have been “boisterously secular” in his youth, Merton converted to Catholicism while in college and later became a monk, joining a strict Trappist order in Kentucky. From this humble station, he became a well-known writer on spiritual themes, authoring the still popular work, The Seven Storey Mountain. His political views aligned him with such radical Catholic contemporaries as Dorothy Day and Daniel Berrigan. In 1968, at the height of the Viet Nam War, he was invited to speak to fellow Catholics at a conference in Thailand, his topic being “Marxism and Monastic Perspectives.” His death there, unwitnessed, was said to have been by electrocution from an electric fan. Mysteriously, US soldiers, acting under unknown orders, quickly shipped his body back home. According to the author, this action plus reports that a loud sound was heard outside his room at the time he might have died, along with other supporting clues, suggest a covert action by government operatives. ... (read more)

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One Hundred Years of National Parks

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The Great Centennial
by Les MacLean
Xlibris


"This glowing-robed king, emperor of the mountains, walked in a lordly gait, and seemed to float across rock slabs, scree, and grassy slopes."

On August 25, 1916, the National Park Service was founded. This photo journey through the treasured parks of our nation is a celebration of over 100 years of maintaining, protecting, and honoring national parks. Inside this thin book, one discovers the wilderness of these parks through the eyes of the author/photographer thanks to photographs, songs, experiences, and a bit of history. ... (read more)

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Bright Lights

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A Hollywood Darling
by Brittany T. Noring
Xlibris


"Yet again, I came to the conclusion that I had to endure Barney’s unbearable actions for the sake of my family’s happiness and to keep the money rolling in."

Discovered by a talent agent singing outside a theater at the tender age of 11, Rosanne Cartwright is whisked into a Hollywood life full of glamour, movie roles, and a darkness that no one will protect her from. She suffers through sexual abuse by her agent and other directors, and while she wants to escape, she is the sole breadwinner for her family as her father is injured from World War I, her mother has no job, and her younger brother has lived most of his life on the streets. Her life is not her own, as her agent arranges her name, her roles, her housing, and even her marriage. Everyone has a breaking point, though. ... (read more)

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Strange Worlds

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The Amphibiots
by Clem Masloff
BookVenture Publishing


"'For me, it is a matter of personal honor. What integrity would be left me if I compromised my beliefs? My conscience screams out against hypocrisy.'"

The strange world of Caecilia is home to both factions of the religious cult collectively known as Amphibiots. The two denominations were formed when a schism within the cult occurred over whether to worship the frog or the salamander, resulting in the formation of the Anuran and the Salamandrine sects. Ranid Rolius is on a mission to prove that the Salamandrine Doctrine is the first and true doctrine of the Amphibiots, making his sect's ancestors “the genuine, orthodox believers” and the Anuran dissenters ones who “revolted, straying from the true track. . .” Ranid intends to access the Salamandrine archives by becoming a research assistant in hopes of discovering the truth about his religion through a careful reading of the religion’s founder, Alsike Caldus. The prospect is intriguing to Praeposter Hyle Xalus who sees it as a way to gain the upper hand in the tensions between the sects. ... (read more)

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Hygea Tale

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Galactic Minds
by Clem Masloff
BookVenture Publishing


"All that this patient had told him qualified as signs of the Hermes Archetype. The signs were many and clearly evident to the analyst."

Aboard the orbiting hospital ship Hygea, a group of doctors and psychologists travel from planet to planet, offering medical services from across the galaxy, including some which are not normally available on each world. At every stop, patients are ferried onboard to receive treatment, and doctors visit to learn new methods and medications to employ in their practices. Dr. Mead Quort, of the planet Ghain, has just begun a position as a psychoanalyst with the Hygea’s team. Practicing in a Jungian, archetype-driven method, he quickly fits into place with his supervisor, Dr. Soro Rimny, who also uses the same ideas. As they visit distant planets, Mead and his co-workers face unique cases that they must do their best to resolve before it is time for the Hygea to visit the next location. ... (read more)

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Hope for the Future

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mining The Mineral Mountains
by Clem Masloff
BookVenture Publishing


"Whenever a threat has appeared from the ranks of the lower orders, they have utilized a convenient scapegoat to divert the majority’s wrath."

For some readers, this science fiction fable will likely bring to mind actual historic occurrences that for ages have plagued man’s ability to govern without violence, prejudice, and oppression. When reading this novel of the future, one is continually reminded of parallels from the past that make us question the depths to which humanity can sometimes sink. The Nazi’s persecution of the Jews and the damage the Third Reich did to the country of Germany are perhaps what will seem most similar to the situations and events that occur in this novel. The Balkanization of Eastern Europe and the horrors of ethnic cleansing come to mind as well, as do Shiite and Sunni conflicts in the Middle East, plus the unimaginable repulsion of the Rwandan genocide and mass slaughters conducted by Hutus upon Tutsis in the 1990s. Fortunately, the author of this tale has chosen to dispense with reenactments of violence and gore. He has chosen to spice his story with the much more digestible condiments of action, suspense, and intrigue instead. Maybe there’s hope for the future after all. ... (read more)

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Fulfillment

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Souls from Mercury
by Raju Ramanathan
Authors Press Publishing


"When you love the enemies sufficiently, and ask for their forgiveness, the persecutors will change their heart too."

Many people feel a lack of fulfillment or enlightenment in their lives and turn to religion, written manuals, or vices to try and create a sense of peace. In this analysis that draws from the premise of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, Ramanathan creates a roadmap of awakening chakras and using meditation to become a "Soul from Mercury" in pursuit of wisdom and to rise above the divisions of humanity. Instead of teaching the reader how to meditate and providing a how-to guide, this book is written in a way that explains the result more than the process, acknowledging that everybody has different needs and perspectives. Starting from the first chakra all the way to the seventh, Ramanathan shares his insights and teachings with the reader, regardless of their familiarity with the subject. ... (read more)

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Behind the Scenes

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President Reagan’s Unsung Heroes
by Gary Anton
Book-Art Press Solutions


"Destiny was calling my friends and me to get involved in major world events."

Rather than an autobiography about family life, growing up in a certain part of the country, or an exciting business career, Anton recalls his time as a “rogue amateur agent” for the CIA and Col. Oliver North. When he and his friends decide to get into business and become invested in the advancement of Haiti under the regime of Papa Doc, they realize that business and politics have an undeniable link. Working with Latin American countries under oppressive regimes and the threat of growing Cold War Communism, Gary and his associates work to inform the United States and the people of countries like Grenada and Haiti about the injustices going on. Despite just being regular citizens and in no way affiliated with the intelligence community or the government, they risk their lives and safety to make the world a safer, freer place. ... (read more)

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Lfe of Values

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If You Think You Can Press On!: Twenty Three Values That Govern the Triumph of Unfailing Kindness
by Daniel Mirera
Xlibris


"Have you stopped for a minute from your busy schedule and daily activities to just worship God for getting you through your day?"

Everybody has their hard days, their own struggles and obstacles to overcome in life. And when those hard times come, sometimes people have the strength to get past them, but other times it feels too big to handle. In these moments, many turn to God for support and strength, but how can someone know to ask if a regular relationship with God hasn’t been established? In this book, the author outlines twenty-three life values that can be integrated every day that will not only tighten the reader’s bond with God but also with other people. In so doing, a support network will be created of heavenly influence, people who have experienced kindness, and a greater personal sense of fulfillment that gives you the energy to see things through. ... (read more)

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Underwater World

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Hanging Out with Wild Animals: Book I
by Cheryl Batavia
Authors Press


"Beyond my lifetime, shark teeth
will still wash up on the beach.
I leave behind...poems
and shark teeth given away."

Children are always fascinated by the habits of animals which they share themselves—like eating, sleeping, and pooping. Batavia points out a variety of fun facts in this delightful 24-page children’s book which uses a combination of captivating poetry and photography to highlight the lives of twenty creatures of the wild and their true-to-life habitats. For example, flamingos eat shrimp, which is why they are pink. The black racer is a snake that eats many lizards but is itself the occasional dinner for hawks. The pelican uses its large bill to catch its supper of fish. Raccoons and the armadillo leave behind garbage and poop in exchange for their favorite backyard foods. Bobcats are insomniacs (Watch out, little bunny rabbit!), while caterpillars are always in a hurry, munching vegetables to become future butterflies. ... (read more)

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Dreamer's Song

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Dancing with the Moon and Stars
by Sylvia Stern
LitFire Publishing


"Careful now, let the bubble flow.
Only a little bubble, don’t pout.
You’ll always have another try."

The speaker in the poems is undoubtedly a dreamer, often lost in the changing shapes of clouds as though in a trance. Poems like “Riding on a Cloud” and “DOES THE RAIN MAKE YOU LAUGH?” are simple yet profound as they explore both the feeling of being free to soar above the world unobstructed and the sheer exhilaration of jumping over puddles and spotting rainbows on a rainy day. The personification of nature is authentic; readers will feel the hide-and-seek between the clouds and the sun and connect with the pitter patter of rhythmical raindrop chatter. ... (read more)

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Honest & Direct

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“Lift Up Your Heart”: Poetry of Love to Our Heavenly Father
by RAM
Xlibris


"The brave face is just a mask to hide from all those near
The loneliness, isolation, illness, pain, and fear"

Enabling the author to share her faith with a larger audience, this short collection of poems and devotionals will strengthen readers with a background in Christianity and inspire those who may not be inclined to daily worship. The focus of each poem ranges from nature to temptations, personal strength to the augmentations provided by faith in the Lord. Virtually every poem is accompanied by two enhancements: first, an original pencil framing by the book’s illustrator, Cath Chegwidden; and second, a devotional that combines scripture and prayer to give the reader a practical application for the emotions and ideas presented in the poem. With more than two dozen poems and nearly as many devotionals, this collection is designed to stir the hearts of its readers and call them to praise and thanksgiving. ... (read more)

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Style & Calm

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Edge of a Fantasy and Other Poems: Al Borde de una Fantasia y Otros Poemas
by Gil Saenz
Xlibris


"Poetry man, your destiny
has already been ordained.
You were meant to be a teacher,
a consummate storyteller,
otherworldly and mundane."

In this latest compilation of poetry from Saenz, fifty poems about love, hope, peace, nature, and meditation are collected for the reader’s enjoyment. Each of these poems is printed in a side-by-side nature, with the original English on the left and a Spanish version translated by both the author and his brother (who holds a doctorate in foreign language education) to ensure that the meaning and detail intended is not lost in translation. The overall themes of this collection are tranquil and reflective, even with titles like “Vagabonds” and “Human Struggles.” Finding beauty in every moment and circumstance, Saenz captures these moments of peace and frames them in contemplative thought to share with the reader. ... (read more)

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Improve Your Health

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The Origin of Disease: The War Within
by Carolyn Merchant, JD and Christopher Merchant, MD
AuthorHouse


"The medical history should include a detailed and extensive history of pets, and the degree of close contact with pets."

Disease is an inevitability. No matter how healthy your lifestyle and habits or how well you take care of yourself, everybody gets sick sometimes. When you get sick, a doctor usually prescribes medicine to treat the symptoms and get the patient through until they are well. But what can you do to avoid getting sick in the first place? What actually causes a person to become ill, and can anything be done to avoid chronic, long-term illnesses that just seem to happen at random? In this examination of disease, the authors identify a pattern of the root causes of chronic illnesses and what can be done to fight maladies that many medical professionals just say happen and have to be lived with. ... (read more)

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Pushing the Envelope

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

River Rat
by Michael E. Oppitz
Xlibris


"I did something just now that I never thought I was capable of doing."

Robbie Jasper’s parents plan a family canoe trip down the Rio Grande River as a high school graduation present for their son. Robbie’s father is a distant, workaholic parent, and his mother is overbearing and materialistic. The canoe trip is an opportunity for them to make amends before sending Robbie off to college and into the future they have planned for him. But when the unpredictable waters of the Rio Grande intervene, Robbie’s life is changed forever. He is the lone survivor when their trip goes awry, but in the aftermath, Robbie finds his true calling on the river. ... (read more)

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Economic Honesty

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

What Every American Needs to Know About Economics
by David F. Rankin
Xlibris


"When economic freedom is enhanced, personal freedom is enhanced. When economic freedom is diminished, personal freedom is diminished."

As debates rage around the country about socialized benefits, dramatic increases in the minimum wage, and excessive tax rates, many regular citizens must simply sit on the sidelines and hope that their elected representatives deliver on the promises upon which they were voted in. Using a background in economics both in the academic field and in the public sector, the author of this book warns against the desire to socialize more citizen needs and expand the role of the government. Pointing to the prosperity enjoyed by the tax cuts of the Kennedy, Reagan, and now Trump administrations, the author proposes a roadmap of enabling personal and corporate freedoms and tax reductions in order to actually increase the amount of tax revenue generated, as well as providing for retirement, medical care, necessary wages, and more. ... (read more)

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Time & Money

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Navigating the Career Marketplace: Preparing for the Marketplace, Engaging in “Situation”/Position Search
by Len Rishkofski
Xlibris


"Finding a new situation/position... requires a very single-minded, assertive, multifaceted sales campaign, with you as the product."

Read the want-ads, send a resume, get a job; if that simple employment formula ever worked, this book suggests its time has passed. For serious professionals seeking new positions, the modern career marketplace is a complex maze that requires self-assessment, market awareness, and personal responsibility from a committed job hunter. ... (read more)

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Women & Society

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Dawning of the Matriarch Society: How the Extinction Rule Was Broken
by Alan Paine
Xlibris


"To reach a higher consciousness means gaining a higher and deeper awareness of oneself, other humans, our world, and existence itself."

Paine’s book offers what the author feels is a better way to form society and government through utilizing the inherent traits of women in that they “inspire, love, nurture, enchant, forgive, and cooperate much better than men given the right circumstances.” Believing he has received inspiration from the “divine feminine,” he relays a vision of the “ignoble ending to humanity” unless humanity follows the leadership of women or, more specifically, women whom he calls “Earth Goddesses.” He believes these women embrace their feminine and sexual power. ... (read more)

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Doubt

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Dark Tunnel: A Tale of Childhood, Passion, and War
by Patrick Henderson
AuthorHouse


"In their minds, they were brothers, and nothing could alter that."

Throughout Henderson’s extensive historical drama, World War II casts a darkness over the young lives of three closely bonded cousins—Robert, Karl, and Lisa. Robert is a sensitive soul with a comfortable English upbringing. His love for music conflicts with the military aspirations of his father (a general) and the world around him as war looms. As Robert transitions from childhood to manhood, he strives to make his father proud and live up to his high expectations despite his own doubts and reluctance. ... (read more)

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Fear & Bravery

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The Last Orphan Maker
by Earl Griffin
LitFire Publishing


"I spent days composing this. I compiled it not on blank paper but upon the torn scarred fabric of my mind."

Fiction has the ability—in the hands of an exceptional writer—to transport readers into worlds both familiar and foreign, to evoke both laughter and tears, to incite longing or escape. All of the potential powers that novels possess are fully realized in this sweeping generational saga of love, loss, and resilience. ... (read more)

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Global Intrigue

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Deception License
by R.J. Red
Cosmo Publishing


"He cautiously looked around when he was out and walked around his car as if he was checking the tires. But just then, a remote-controlled bomb placed under his car exploded. He died on the spot."

Multiple geopolitical agendas are at play in this international thriller that zigzags across borders. Russia and Turkey are the principal locales with action spilling into the United States, Azerbaijan, Syria, and more. As players pinball from one nation to another, state secrets are purloined, agents are bought and paid for by more than one side, and corpses begin to pile up from one country to the next. ... (read more)

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Immigrant Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Beyond the Island
by Joy Lizbeth Holmquist
Xlibris


"Helga couldn’t understand the family separations, except for the obvious thought that came to her mind."

In the early 20th century, two families an ocean apart have tragedies that will combine to bring their children together. In Pennsylvania, Erik’s father perishes in a mining cave-in that brings him home from his apprenticeship to take care of his family. In Germany, a drunken assault on Helga’s mother ends her life and forces Helga and her siblings to live with their aunt and uncle. The worsening conditions in Germany between the two World Wars put pressure on the adults, and Helga’s uncle Karl decides that the family will pack up and emigrate to America to avoid the collapsing economy. Helga is separated from her siblings and forced to live with a different aunt and uncle on a farm as she tries to adapt to life in a new country. But then she crosses path with a young man named Erik. ... (read more)

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Zest for Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Feast After the Spirit
by L. Talmage Gorringe
Xlibris


"When people communicate with love and affection, they are creating a friendship that will last eternally."

Debut poet Gorringe was a hearty young child with a zest for life when, at age five in 1981, he met with a tragic accident in one of his daring adventures, having insisted he could toboggan alone down a steep, icy incline. That he survived seems nothing less than a miracle; that he was able to revitalize his brain to create poetry is equally remarkable. The many free verse poems offered here pay tribute to that sense of the miraculous and to his strong belief in God and Jesus. Most of all, the poems celebrate possibilities for happiness: “A smile may put a person who is feeling sad in a better mood so she may handle situations better;" “The love secret is having joy in your heart, mind and soul;" “Hold on to dear life, and you will be happy for eternity.” ... (read more)

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Feel Good

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Quotes: Humbled but, yet Eloquent
by Winifred Lee Richardson
Xlibris


"Time is of the essence. Time will not wait for you, so prepare, study, and put on the armor of God."

Centered on humbleness, hope, and faith, this compilation provides an assortment of feel-good sayings and quotes interspersed with poetry and photographs that fully convey Richardson’s emotions and optimism toward life. For instance, her “humble+humble=humbleness” formula, though simple in theory, is particularly thought-provoking because it shows the merits of an unassuming life of humility. While Richardson initially shared quotes from her book during her fiftieth birthday celebration, the book provides wisdom that is beneficial to all audiences. ... (read more)

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Love & Sharks

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

No One Knows but Me: And Other Poems
by Briana L. Boggio
iUniverse


"When you love someone
the way that I love you,
then letting go for me
is the most impossible thing,
like cutting wire with scissors."

Boggio imbues her compilation with a wide array of poetry topics ranging from love, graduation, and seasonal poems to vampires, sharks, and mermaids. While many of her poems adhere most closely to an AABB rhyme scheme, the main driver of the poems is the speaker’s raw emotion injected by Boggio through vivid imagery and use of figurative devices. From the first poem, “Graduation,” readers will be able to share similar sentiments and connect with poems because of the universal relatability of the experiences. For instance, “The Hate of Winter” memorably captures the image of an individual snuggled in bed, dreading the thought of facing the impending frost as alarms blare, announcing the morning and winter’s arrival. On the contrary, “Dance of Fire” depicts the warmth of the campfire as an almost hypnotic, peaceful calm amid the background of night. ... (read more)

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Beauty

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

An Angel in My Garden
by Mart Grams
Xlibris


"I am what I was; I will be what I am.
For I am of the past, now will be the clay of/the future."

Gram’s poetry commemorates the life of his wife by providing a glimpse into his life before they met, during their three-plus decades of marriage, and following her passing. By combining structured poetry with narrative prose, Gram allows readers get to experience both raw emotion from the speaker as well as background context that brings life to the poems. Because many of the poems are taken from old love letters, the image of the speaker’s tears falling on old love letters is particularly striking and heart-wrenching. ... (read more)

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Provocative & Powerful

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Reed in the Wind
by Thomas Griffith
Xlibris


"I felt wise and graceful, instead of lonely and empty.
This has never happened to me before.
I was in a blessed shower of euphoria."

Profoundly disarming and intensely personal, this collection of poetic essays puts readers in a front-row seat in the mind of the author as he deals with feelings of depression, isolation, oneness with nature, and the difficulties of living with schizophrenia. Occasionally telling the story of characters with memorable names like Sub-Cycle Tears, Vacuum Eyes, or Bittersweet Pushbuttons, many of these selections come straight from the author’s point of view and experience. These personal chapters cover topics like sexuality, psychedelic drug use, and trying to correct commonplace behaviors of human civilization. No matter the narrator, each of these chapters gives the reader plenty to think about as the author relays his journey into his innermost self, prompting the reader to look just as inward if they think they can. ... (read more)

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Strange Messenger

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Echos of the Lamp: Part 1: Chains of the Slave
by Kerry Scott
Xlibris


"The tainted flesh of the good will devour the living. The hands of the good will build the Oblivion. The chains of the slave will secure the fall of life."

On a planet in a far away solar system, the marble city of Naydalt is celebrating. Their hero, the city's oldest humanoid inhabitant and namesake is entering the now finished city. It is a happy time until a comet descends from the sky bringing with it a strange terrifying creature with purple eyes and a blank dark space where it's head should be. It also brings a flight of dragons that attack Naydalt the City and it's residents. Naydalt the Humanoid and his friends have to battle the intruders and find out why they are attacking. ... (read more)

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Romance Against the Church

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Priest and Me
by Charles Mohl
Xlibris


"The convent is most upset over all this business with you and are not sure what discipline will be sought by the Mother Superior here at the convent."

Following the lives of a young airman named Raymond Neiman, who will turn a near-death experience with the Luftwaffe into a career as a priest, and the narrator, who will become the priest’s close friend, this concise tale takes the reader through adventures the pair have together. Their friendship began over drinks and a discussion of religion, and the narrator immediately knew Father Ray was going to be someone he would like to have in his life. The pair take a cruise to the Bahamas, and, while visiting a busy night club on Nassau Island, they are asked by the waiter if they would mind having two nuns join their table. Although aware of the vows nuns take, our young narrator is smitten with Sister Meagan and can’t help but dance with her and slip her his number when the evening ends. This is the beginning of a romance against the Church’s rules and which will lead to complications and severe mental distress. ... (read more)

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Gerbil Adventure

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bubba: A Gerbil’s Adventure
by Deborah Dominguez, MFT and Richard Engel
Xlibris


"Anyway, I am sorry I made you cry, but I have a very strong urge to travel and be free. The spinning wheel was boring."

Bubba lives a normal gerbil life with his family in California: his owner Debi treats him with kindness while he eats his food, spins in his exercise wheel, and sleeps in his habitat. But unbeknownst to Debi or anyone in her family, Bubba has inexplicably become able to reason and comprehend everything happening around him. Desperate for freedom and adventure, he yearns to leave his simple life behind and see the world as he has on TV. When the stars align, and he has an opportunity to escape, he takes it despite causing Debi distress. Stowing away in a suitcase, Bubba’s adventures lead him to see the sights of France and the wilderness of Libya, but before long Bubba begins to think that having his old life back wouldn’t be so bad. ... (read more)

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Converse with God

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

So A Muki: Receiving Prophecy
by S.L. Bergen
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"'Our creation, too, is universal. There is a place for Earth in the Kingdom of God. We only have yet to find it.'"

Tara is a 13-year-old girl living in western Canada whose life is not ordinary to the outside observer. A perpetual risk-taker, Tara nearly lost her life at a young age and has been able to converse with God ever since. Though she frequently rebels against God’s guidance, she is never fully able to ignore his words. One night, she receives instructions that God is sending her a friend, an older man named David. Tara is mostly a loner, never comfortable enough around other people and preferring to go on adventures on her own. The next day while walking home, Tara spots the same man from her dream. Both seem startled by each other’s presence, but Tara has the confidence of her directive from God to insist that they become friends. ... (read more)

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Time & Reality

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tick Tock Universe: A Harvester Adventure Series
by Richard Chamberlain
LitFire Publishing


"He realized he didn’t believe any of the others would ever believe what he had just done. Astoundingly, he found it difficult to believe himself."

After fending off the Harvester invasion that almost wiped out the sun and all of life on Earth, Jerome, Katie, AK, and Professor Massey are not treated to a hero’s welcome. Their actions, while saving humanity, altered the course of time, and so their deeds go unrecognized. Katie is reassigned back to Ganymede Station while the Professor returns to lecturing, but nobody seems concerned about Jerome’s improbable disappearance into the crystalline ship. Determined to find him, Katie must wait while AK scours the universe. Meanwhile, Jerome’s abduction makes him a prisoner with a mysterious alien race, but his time in their care leads to an understanding of the origin of the mysterious and nefarious Harvesters and also unlocks unbelievable abilities within Jerome that he must use to stop their plan to return. ... (read more)

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Inside Wagner

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Wagner Revisited
by Milton Brener
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"I see Wagner as one who bounced back and forth between free will and fate..."

In-depth research and well-considered opinion contribute to this study by Brener, author of an earlier treatise, Richard Wagner and the Jews. Brener’s new perspective again puts the public face of the great composer’s infamous anti-Semitism under the microscope of assiduous investigation, while further expressing some more personal, balanced ideas regarding that aspect of Wagner’s personality. There can be no doubt that Wagner had an aversion to Semitic people; he penned a derogatory diatribe, "Judaism in Music," often cited as clear proof of his racist vitriol. But Brener then concentrates on some important Jewish people in Wagner’s circle. Two Jewish acquaintances, in particular, were part of Wagner’s life, even of his household: Joseph Rubenstein, a Russian Jew who was a devoted admirer and served as Wagner’s scribe, and Hermann Levi, a renowned Jewish conductor. These and other private relationships might seem to belie, or at least confute, the idea of Wagner’s public anti-Semitism. ... (read more)

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Forgiveness

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Katie's Wish
by Susan Spierling Smith
Xlibris


"She loved gazing at the fish that swam so near she could almost touch them. One very large fish seemed to understand her feelings."

Katie, whose parents have just passed away in an accident, is a young girl going to live with her aunt. Her harsh aunt teaches her to do chores such as cooking, cleaning, and gathering and chopping firewood. Her aunt withholds food when her niece makes mistakes such as pulling vegetables which she thinks are weeds. Katie begins to see small hints of kindness from her aunt and wishes she could be nice all of the time. As Katie spends time with her only friends, the animals in the woods, she meets a fish named Carp that speaks to her. He takes her on an underwater adventure that could change her entire life. Who will she meet on her underwater journey? Will Katie’s wish for her aunt to be nicer come true? Will she make a life for herself in the cabin in the woods, or is she destined to find a new home of more loving and welcoming people? ... (read more)

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First Pet

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Gingerpuss: My First Home
by Vicki Mitchell
Xlibris


"I think I am going to like it here in my new home."

Little Maria asks her mom if she can get the cute ginger kitten at the mall, and her mom says yes. Maria names the cat Gingerpuss. Maria loves the cat so much and wants to take her to school, but her mom insists that Gingerpuss stay home. Gingerpuss enjoys the new activities of her home, such as playing in the grass (which she has never seen before!), befriending a cricket, and playing with wool in the house. However, not all the new features of her new life are fun. Gingerpuss is terrified of a large, barking dog and climbs a tree to escape him. Will Maria find a way to rescue Gingerpuss? Will the kitten want to stay in her new home? Who will save Gingerpuss from the tree? ... (read more)

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Power of Thought

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Magic: Air Child
by Veronica Red
Xlibris


"So much magic is revealed today, starting with imagination and belief."

In the spirit of her name, Red’s work is abundant with color and energy, with the flow of different shades serving to evoke particular emotions and connect readers with natural elements like the moon and the sun. Magic is at the core of this children’s story, but the magic really is in the creation of ideas that stem from the vitality of different colors and auras. ... (read more)

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Turtle Racer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Turtle's Tail
by Travis Cole
Xlibris


"Splash knew they were making fun of him, but that didn’t bother him. Splash was determined to prove to the world just how good he could be."

Splash is a turtle who dreams of success as a speed swimmer in an animal Olympics. He faces scorn and underestimation from speedier seals and a skeptical animal kingdom, yet he perseveres and makes good friends along the way. ... (read more)

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Beautiful Spider

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The Spider's Journey
by Kate Gardener
Xlibris


"His web began to violently shake, and he was thrown into the air."

It is human nature to fear that which cannot be understood and, most times, to meet it head-on with violence. Often in science fiction literature, the portrayal of this primal human instinct against the brutal alien is through insectoid creatures such as in the novels Starship Troopers, Ender's Game, and Children of Time, to name a few. Gardner decides to turn this mechanic upside down to teach children an important lesson regarding nature and the benefit of such insects, namely spiders. The story is told through the perspective of a spider who is unexpectedly swept into a pail of blueberries. Upon entering a house, the spider is surprised by its surroundings but then dashes for its life when a human discovers its existence and becomes determined to kill it. ... (read more)

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The Rainbow Authority

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hidden Truth
by Naomi Skye
Xlibris AU


"If they were all to lose their power, then magic itself would cease to exist."

In the land of Vestra, society is governed by The Rainbow, seven ruling houses of seven families with ancient ties. Each house controls its own lands and elements and strives to maintain peace between the families and outside citizens. So when Yarra White, a notoriously dangerous criminal, is secretly released from The Halls of Trepidation, Vestra’s worst prison, by a few leaders of The Rainbow, she knows something is up. In the care and custody of Ray Mossman, the young lord of House Green, Yarra is wary of the intentions of her old friend and the reasons The Rainbow pulled her from prison. Tension seems to come from all sides as both a war and a coup are brewing. But Yarra’s existence to the stability and future of The Rainbow is more than it appears to be, and the truth of her power could either be the triumph or the downfall of Vestra. ... (read more)

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A New Destiny

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Raindrops
by Lexington Justice
AuthorHouse


"Then out of nowhere, someone reenters my life, and he makes me think and feel like I know I should."

On the same day Stefani Tanner is fired from her company after a corporate acquisition shakes things up, she also discovers her husband has been having an affair with one of her best friends. But Stefani’s worst day ever turns out to be the catalyst that leads her to a whole new life and love with a man from her past. ... (read more)

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A Double Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Karma
by Tristen Herrera
Westwood Books Publishing


"Is it fate or is it by choice?"

Victoria Lockhart, the new mathematics teacher at the local high school, is intrigued by one of her students, Karma Aoi. He’s incredibly smart but with a dark, traumatic past, and she finds herself cautious of him as her daughter, Luka, begins to show interest. Yet Victoria and her daughter’s lives are becoming more intertwined with Karma’s as they continue to befriend him, soon learning more about his past, his emotional state, his family life, and even the many hats Karma wears to survive in life. Will there be a happy ending for the Lockharts? Will Karma figure out how to navigate his feelings without burning others? ... (read more)

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An Intelligent Thesis

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Designed to Become Divine: The Role of Peace
by Rubin Perry
Xlibris


"The purpose of this book is to help you understand the source of peace."

According to Perry, there’s more to life than merely being human. The author begins by “pinching” us to wake up to a simple reality: the complex design of our bodies, pre-planned by God to help us achieve spiritual understanding. For example, just as we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide to sustain our physical being, we must ingest spiritual truths and cast off harmful untruths for the good of our souls. And just as our hearts are a “transfer center” for the body, so the soul is center for “thinking, feeling, and willing.” Our spiritual journey, like the physical one, begins by sensing, leading to ideas and thoughts and, eventually, to understanding, which Perry calls “the spiritual organ where divine truth is ultimately housed.” Once we have located that level of deep understanding, we will experience peace and healing. ... (read more)

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A Mythic Approach

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Lamb of God
by John Mahon
Xlibris


"God is a universal entity, and consequently, it does not really matter what religion you choose or are born into."

Written by a neurologist who has practiced thirty-nine years, this is the story of a bipolar man who suffered from mania and depression alternately for fourteen years before a major seizure finally brought about a correct diagnosis in 1983. The seizure caused religious hallucinations which prompted him to begin a spiritual quest for the meaning of life soon after. He describes his gradual association with hypnosis, a Bible camp, the Methodist church, and eventual acceptance of the Gospel of Thomas, a non-canonical book of “sayings” of Jesus unearthed with the Nag Hammadi manuscripts found in 1945. Preferring a “mythic” approach to the gospels, he stresses the inner and meditative over the exoteric and literal. Also described are the stages of his career in neurology and a critique on the excesses and dangers posed by modernity. ... (read more)

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God is Here

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Enter His Courts
by Christina Corbitt
Xlibris


"What is Love? The answer is God is love."

Author Corbitt has composed a Christian-themed journal of 365 modern parables. These readings are diverse and offer a fresh, simple look at timeworn ideas. On New Year’s Day, the journal opens with the reminder that it’s time to let go of yesterday because God is already here, making all things new. Regarding forgiveness, a mother advises her little boy to pray to Jesus on behalf of those who tease him at school (July 26). On January 16, the parable concerns a man who, worrying about his children, keeps filling groundhog holes until his children declare they have no groundhog problem. They are right; their father dealt with it though they never knew he was doing so. The June 26 entry compares the beauty of dandelions, a prolific weed, to the attractions of sin. On Christmas, the author reminds us that “we are the ones who received the birthday gift.” ... (read more)

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Passionate & Articulate

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Do You Love Me? Discover How to Deepen Your Love for God
by Don Schmidt
LitFire Publishing


"God’s love for us is fixed and unchanging and unending. It never ceases."

This Christian-themed daily devotional collection contains messages for each day of the year (including leap year’s February 29th). Each message is one or two pages long, and all begin with a biblical verse and a brief title. Some are topical: the July 4th message references “rampant lawlessness” in our society and invites us to remember that Jesus freed us from contamination from such ills. In quietly commemorating 9/11, he exhorts us to trust God and accept that we cannot explain the tragedies that occur, whether to our close ones, a nation, or a population. As Christmas nears on December 23, his vibrant entry is entitled “Mary’s ‘scandalous’ pregnancy” and asks us to speculate on how difficult this miraculous event was for Mary, Joseph, and their families to deal with, as the eyes of neighbors were upon them. Yet they responded with faith in God, and so should we when we face difficult situations. ... (read more)

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Good and Evil

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Invading The Kingdom of Darkness: Strategic Prayer Handbook for Rescuing Families and Nations, Revised and Expanded Second Edition, Volume 1
by Samuel T. Padmore
LitFire Publishing


"In 2006, the Lord spoke to me...America didn’t need you then, but now America needs you. I brought you to intercede for the land."

This 168-page book of biblical exposition and memoir has as its central theme the power of intercessors to rescue their families and nations from evil. Sections of the book include having a prayer closet and how to conduct spiritual warfare. Padmore tells of ways the Lord speaks to him and the importance of quick obedience. He explains what is meant by gates and keys to open them. Spiritual gates bar people from obeying God; intercessors are given the keys to unlock them. The remainder of the book describes amazing incidents that happened to the author in his African homeland where prayer worked to change political situations, restore life, and spread the gospel. He explains his method of PPP, the Power of Preaching in Prayer, by detailing results that occurred the first time applied. ... (read more)

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Big Action

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Shadow of Zelos
by Uwe Jaeckel
iUniverse


"We are no longer in orbit around our sun. That’s Alpha Centauri out there, people, and we are the first Humans to see it in person."

Darren Hildure and Feng Yusheng gain extraordinary abilities while surviving a disastrous trip to Mars to find the source of a one-word extraterrestrial summons. With the true purpose of their trip hidden from all but a select few on Earth, the men learn an insectoid alien race, known as the Zelos, are determined to annihilate the earth and harvest all its citizens. Only through the gifts and resources given them by another alien race, which includes an advanced AI they name Observer and machines to enhance their bodies and minds, will humanity have a fighting chance. However, they will quickly learn that not all their enemies are coming from the stars; a group on Earth led by a man with equally impressive abilities is attempting to assassinate those trying to unite the earth under this one cause. Selecting the best and brightest to return to Mars and undergo the enhancement process, the top government officials and intelligence agencies must find a way to prepare Earth for the Zelos onslaught. They have limited time to build a fleet of spacecraft and crew worthy of this challenge. ... (read more)

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Going West

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Unknown Horizons: The Lewis and Clark Expedition a Novel
by Ted Brusaw and Ruth Kibler Peck
Xlibris


"He felt strongly that the journey of discovery to the vast territory recently purchased by President Jefferson was too important to the future of his country to deny the call to participate."

At the dawn of the 19th century, on the heels of that famous bargain acquisition, the Louisiana Purchase, President Thomas Jefferson sought to explore, map, and put a stamp on America’s newly acquired land. He delegated the task to U.S. Army veterans Merriweather Lewis and his pal, William Clark, along with their assembled team of men called the Corps of Discovery. In this era well before Google Maps, the interstate highway system, and even the transcontinental railroad, the way to know and claim a land was to traverse it. In doing so, the Corps of Discovery faced a hefty stew of challenges, including native Americans, inclement weather, land and waterway obstacles, equipment and supply availability, and the human elements of sickness, conflict, and emotion. Still, they prevailed for a successful and groundbreaking mission. ... (read more)

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Sheer Politics

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Power Seekers: Book 1
by Peter Nagle
Xlibris AU


"'They really believed my bullshit that the left was ready for a do-or-die fight. I bluffed them well, friend.'"

Behind the suits and ties and polished appearances of politicians at any level, there’s a darker side to the government that tries its hardest to stay out of the light. Richard Harris, Paul Durham, and Kyle Powell are three young parliamentarians in Australia who are tired of being in the minority. Stuck behind a long-standing candidate that many view as unelectable, Harris puts into motion a political maneuver that will thrust the handsome and well-spoken Durham into the race for Prime Minister instead of the expected George Bryant. But every action has an equal reaction, and as Harris and his triumvirate make a play for their own political gain, they’ll not only have to contend with the opposition but also those within their own group who might want to stop them from pushing past them. ... (read more)

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Order of Australia

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Feather on the 'Wind of Change' Safaris, Surgery and Stentgrafts
by Michael Lawrence-Brown
Xlibris AU


"I realized then that there would be many tough times to deal with when life and death flirt with each other and others can only watch on."

This memoir highlights the colorful life and career of a highly esteemed medical innovator, moving the reader from continent to continent and from an era now gone by to the most modern scientific explorations. Son of a British war veteran mother and an adventurous safari guide, Lawrence-Brown grew up in Kenya in the waning days of Empire. He went on safaris from an early age and often kept wild animals for pets. After boarding school, he failed to qualify for medical school but finally edged in after studying in London. By then, Kenya was in the midst of a revolution, so he immigrated to Australia where he studied, interned, and emerged as a surgeon. Gradually his professional interests and his ceaseless hunt for new discoveries led to the development of the endovascular stent graft, a device used in the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms. That led to worldwide recognition and a high honor: Officer of the Order of Australia. ... (read more)

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Tough Enough

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Guy Named Charley: My Refusal to Be Average
by Charley P. Riney
iUniverse


"It seems to me that the key to being successful in anything we do is to demand of ourselves that mere average is unacceptable."

Author Riney is 6’6”, a natural athlete, champion basketball player, and army veteran who has suffered innumerable life-threating health emergencies and chronic medical conditions. His duty in Viet Nam began with a savage attack by the enemy on the very first day, but he survived and was soon selected to work in what he calls “the greatest oxymoron of all - military intelligence.” He was awarded a Bronze Star and came home to find that the institution where he’d been teaching was closed down. He quickly secured a new job. A high school teacher and highly successful athletic coach for 46 years, he finally had to retire after battling lupus, diabetes, successive heart attacks, kidney failure, skin cancer, and many long weeks in rehabilitation over the past 13 years. Typically, he takes this retirement as a time to give back by encouraging others. ... (read more)

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Rakesh's Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Just Dance
by Daksha M. Patel
Trafford Publishing


"He chose to be quiet, spoke few words, and did not tell a soul about how he was helping others."

Rakesh Patel was quietly heroic. Known as Rock, he was an enthusiastic, bright presence who started a dance team at the University of Houston based on Asian folk dance. But at age 20, he began to lose energy, display other symptoms, and was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL. Supported by a loving, concerned family, including his aunt who is a physician and the author of this reminiscence, he marshaled his energies to send humorous, usually daily tweets. He was in and out of ECU, received chemo for about a year, and, in remission, returned to college, resolving to pursue a career as a physician assistant so that he could help others as he had been helped... with an extra share of empathy. He received comfort from his guru and participated in his brother's wedding, even offering a hilarious toast, despite his weakened condition. He was known for his sometimes anonymous helpfulness and loving nature. ... (read more)

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Courts & Hospitals

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Medusa Enigma
by Dino Panvini, M.D.
Xlibris


"I’m extremely conscious of my body’s frailty and vulnerability. I believe that this in turn makes me a better doctor."

In this combination of memoir and exposé, the author tells the story of the struggles he endured due to personal health, unfaithful relationships, lies, and legal battles that have surrounded the thirty years of his medical career. These trials began when his family-encouraged marriage failed due to his wife’s drug use. She hired a corrupt lawyer who charged him falsely with drug usage. His wife turned both of the author’s teenage children against him. He had to move out of state by himself and found work at a hospital in the American Southwest. Eventually, two of Panvini’s fellow doctors, likewise unscrupulous, would join the battle that nearly cost him his life. Few people like a whistle-blower, so at times his sole supporters were staff members who had worked for him. ... (read more)

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Miraculous Circumstances

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Edge of the Field
by Austine Royer Smith
LitFire Publishing


"Many times I have been rescued and ministered by His Angels."

A dedicated charity worker, author Smith recounts some of the steps that led her from America to Haiti and back again, seeking to do the work she believes God calls her to. After doing missionary work in Haiti, she was told by the Lord to purchase land there to start a charitable center. Money for this purpose would be provided by her books, but she was not a writer. Amazingly, the way was open for her to write books, sold in aid of her plan. The way was often thorny, but soon she traveled to Haiti to look at land for sale. After some interference from a local farmer, and with the help of a woman friend, she was offered a plot of land for free from people who shared her vision. Her book cites the many women who assisted her in wonderful ways along this path. ... (read more)

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Healing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Please, Please Listen! This Is Your Body Speaking
by Terry Bjelland
Xlibris


"I need to be given foods that are as close as they can be to the way God created them."

An innovative look at naturopathic healing, Bjelland’s debut book allows the body to talk to the reader. The body, referring to the author as its “owner,” tells us what substances we need for optimal health and what to avoid. Chief among the taboo foods are white sugar, white flour, and hydrogenated fats. The body describes what happens when we ingest productive nutrients as opposed to unhealthy materials. It encourages us to understand how our internal physical processes work. We are advised against always accepting what doctors tell us. When you have acid reflux, for example, you may not need an antacid; in fact, acid is needed to aid in the digestive cycle, which the body examines here from beginning to end. In addition to eating well, chewing your food thoroughly is important, as is drinking pure water. Good nutrition starts with the mother, begins at birth, and needs to be a part of our thinking throughout life. ... (read more)

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A Terrifying Tale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Silent Stillness-Buried Alive: One Woman's Remarkable Story of Survival, Hope and Rescue; the Last Survivor of the La Conchita Landslide
by Diane Metivier-Hart
Xlibris


"I didn’t know it at the time, but I was buried thirty feet below the surface under layers of mud, trees, and debris."

The author of this riveting, astounding, and terrifying tale was a nurse living a peaceful life in a pleasant small community when tragedy struck. For years she had been charmed by the natural beauty of La Conchita, a tiny burg hugging the southern California coastline with 180-degree views of ocean and mountains and a relaxed, laid-back, friendly ambiance. In 1995, a serious mudslide struck the town; no one was killed, and residents were assured that measures had been taken to prevent a recurrence. Then in 2005, while the author was working at home, a worse slide engulfed her home, pinning her underground. She was left badly hurt, with a space about two feet square in which to breathe, dealing with pain and wondering how such a horrific accident could have happened in just eight seconds. By concentrating, recalling her nurse’s training, and praying, she held out for several hours until she was rescued. ... (read more)

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Hatian Children

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Boci's New Shoes
by Austine Royer Smith
LitFire Publishing


"Boci had never had shoes before. Only ragged flip flops."

Prayers are answered and a life transformed in this endearing true tale for children. Boci, who lives in Haiti, has dwarfism and a hunched back. Each day he walks through the village begging for food. Yet he remains cheerful, despite being bullied and mistreated. When a hurricane strikes, Boci and his mother receive help from Sister Austine, an American charity worker. Barefoot, Boci begins to attend church. Sister Austine promises to bring him some shoes when she returns from her next trip to America, measuring his feet by drawing their outlines on a piece of paper. Arriving back home, she realizes she has left the paper. Then she opens a plastic bag of donations left on her front porch and finds new black shoes just Boci’s size. He is delighted with them, never doubting she would keep her promise. Now, with a school uniform and other assistance, Boci can attend school for the first time. ... (read more)

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Zest for Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Where is Home: How a Childhood in East Germany during World War II Shaped My Adult Life
by Anneros Valensi
Best Seller Publishing, LLC


"I kept studying and dreaming about my future."

This memoir takes readers into the life of an immigrant from Germany to England and on to the United States. The author is an ambitious woman and an excellent writer, so readers should enjoy accompanying her on her journey in this autobiography. ... (read more)

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Growing Up

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Mighty Spartan!
by Edmond P. DeRousse
LitFire Publishing


"I like living in Sparta. It is quiet and full of hard working, caring, family centered people."

Pierre “Pete” Russey is a native son of Sparta, Illinois, a town of just a few thousand people located in the southern part of the state. Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, Pete gets into the kind of fun and trouble that any kid of the era would happily claim—from secluded dates by the lakeside to playing Cowboys and Indians with the neighborhood children. Pete isn’t the kind of person that seeks out trouble but simply gets caught up in whatever mischief his friends are cooking up. As Pete recalls stories from his time in Sparta both as a youth and then later as an older man settling down in his hometown, there’s plenty of adventure, family, and historical happenings even an hour away from the big cities. ... (read more)

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Vampire Struggles

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Eternal Nights - Book 1: Redemption
by Richard Spegal
Authors Press


"They had decided that immortality together was a blessing, not a curse."

It’s been over 900 years since Danielle and John were turned into vampires during their honeymoon in the 12th century. At first confused and distraught over their new undead life, the couple has made peace with immortality, learning the ins and outs of their power and successfully blending into society so as not to raise suspicion. But after a few centuries of peaceful, quiet living, the couple’s lives are at risk once more. A secret organization called the Sons of Gods that hunts down demons and the like has discovered the two vampires and, following an encounter with one of their members, has launched a mission to destroy them. Up against this highly trained group, Danielle and John must figure out a way to take down this fanatic organization before it’s too late. ... (read more)

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Science Strives

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Scary Spring: Our Polio Fright of 1955
by C.A. Hartnell
Hartnell House Publishing, LLC


"A grateful world continues to give thanks to Dr. Jonas Salk and his team of scientists for their tireless efforts to isolate the dreaded polio virus and create a safe, effective vaccine to prevent polio."

In April 1955, Carol Ann is a nine-year-old in the southern California community of El Monte. Her world centers in her cozy neighborhood, where she and her sisters play with neighbor kids, enjoying an idyllic pastoral childhood of outdoor fun, good friends, pop culture, and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. However, life is not all sunshine and hopscotch. Lurking on the edges of the daily routine is a terror, the aggressive and indiscriminate poliovirus, which strikes children and renders them ill with a variety of symptoms—most horrifyingly the degradation of their muscle function to the point of disability. Polio’s transmission path is unknown, leaving families to worry about the potential of airborne or otherwise invisible and indefensible communicability. ... (read more)

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Purpose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Instrument of Justice
by C.B. Anslie
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"I’ve never known what I was meant to do in life. What my purpose is. It is like I know what I am but not who I am or why."

There is much going on underneath the surface in Anslie’s slim, fast-paced, genre-bending novel. There are actually two stories here combined into one book. Some parts hold intrigue, while others leave the reader feeling a bit left in the dark, fostering a sense of mystery and uncertainty throughout the book. ... (read more)

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Florida Fiasco

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Fish House Gang
by Kenneth L. Funderburk
Archway Publishing


"Victor rarely suffered from the drug of reflective thinking. He didn’t have time for that kind of psychosocial bull crap."

The Panhandle of Florida and the waters that surround it are the primary locales for this tale of mayhem, murder, and money. Good old boys, nefarious businessmen, Mexican cartels, and Boston gangsters intertwine as their best-laid plans and schemes run headlong into human imperfections. The results are bad times, botched jobs, and lost lives as everybody scrambles to protect ill-gotten gains. ... (read more)

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Water Woes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Medusa's Lair: A Chic Sparks—Fish House Gang Novel
by Kenneth L. Funderburk
Archway Publishing


"Myra’s concern came from her mouth like a flicking snake’s tongue, searching for small prey."

This novel is a sequel to Funderburk’s The Fish House Gang. It continues the exploits of Chic, a clinical psychologist who often helps authorities with his own personal brand of detective work and lethal capabilities. Also returning from the first book is Chic’s main squeeze, Suzy, who like Chic, is still on some very bad dudes’ radar for causing havoc with their drug selling and money laundering. Realizing that he and Suzy are still seen as loose ends and unfinished business to these purveyors of evil, Chic sets out to close the books on these bad guys before they have the opportunity to silence both him and Suzy forever. ... (read more)

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Hero & Heart

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hero at Home
by Sara Verardo
IUniverse


"Grace’s Dad tells her that sometimes people get hurt and their bodies change, but they still have the same heart.”"

A cruel, thoughtless slur motivates a caregiver wife to reveal the endless challenges faced by Michael Verardo, her injured war hero husband, in this slim Children’s volume. Simultaneously, she pleads her case for treating everyone with dignity, respect, and understanding. Michael’s inner calling was to serve his country. So, he joined the United States Army as an Infantryman with the 82nd Airborne. Following near-fatal combat injury, he returned home with a robotic left leg and a technologically enhanced, rebuilt arm. ... (read more)

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Doubts & Praise

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Preaching from Over the Hill: An Old Man Has His Say
by C. Floyd Emerson
Xlibris


"The church gets by real well with the good folk that we do have, not the ones we might wish we had."

Author and raconteur Emerson was ordained as a minister in 1965, and even now "new things keep coming up." His stories include some explorations of the biblical text, but most come from the author's direct experience. He rushed to a home where a toddler twin had just died, and though he felt he could do very little, he did what he could and was later abundantly thanked for it. He juxtaposes two concurrent pieces of news: the PTL club had a new multi-million dollar auditorium with a piano that cost $6,800, while in Calcutta, India, Mother Teresa had just gotten $26,000 to set up a work center—no mention of a piano there. His years as a preacher, of course, play into the narrative. He speculates about possible titles for someone in his position, opining that as well as the minister, he could be, among other things, guru, one-man band, gunslinger, wheeler-dealer, or sheepdog. He concludes with the hope that the turmoil in today's world will help us take our freedoms and blessings more seriously. ... (read more)

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Diary Truths

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

It’s OK to Tell: Healing Process Diary
by Marie Giles
Xlibris AU


"Am I ever going to be happy, really happy?"

In the aftermath of coming to terms with her sexual abuse at a young age, the author has collected diaries that she wrote between 2002 and 2004 recording her struggles in the hopes of allowing those in her life to fully understand her as well as help those who may feel helpless in a similar situation to hers. Documenting a lengthy investigation, trial, and appeal process of her abuser as well as struggles with her mental health while being available for her husband and children, these journals are open, honest, and intense windows into the mind of someone learning to cope with a terrible history that she could not control or forget. Each journal in this book is organized chronologically, telling the author’s story in her own words as she lived them. ... (read more)

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Powerful Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Obsession of Lt David: A Story of Love and the Navy
by William Harris
Xlibris


"The three swore to keep their secret. If there was no liberty it would be the fault of the Captain, not them."

David Rhodes is ending his stint in the Naval Reserves to return to active duty. Assigned to the Bringer, he is finding it difficult to adjust among a group of strangers on a new ship as an officer with rank and power over others who are equally as unsure of him. While preparing for a mission to Australia, a chance encounter with a woman changes his career-minded direction and has him looking for a new source of fulfillment in his life. Smitten with this woman, Beth, he is dismayed to learn that she is already married and that her husband happens to be on the same ship as David. Torn between a love more powerful than he has ever known and the desire to keep the status quo, David must endure time on a trip beneath an incompetent captain while making up his mind. ... (read more)

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