US Review of Books - Book Review Service

US Review Blog Twitter Facebook Instagram GoodReads Linked-In USR Subscribe US Review RSS feed

Book Reviews

search engine by freefind

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.

Recent Reviews

Focus Review

Featured Reviews
 

US Review News

Recent Book Reviews

 

Focus Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote

by Sharyl Attkisson
Harper


"In the news business a 'great get' used to mean that you, as a reporter got an exclusive story as a result of your ingenuity, shore-leather journalism, and persistence. Today it simply means you're the recipient of a White House or political party leak."

Imagine your friend just told you that the former President of the United States was dealing drugs from the White House. This friend quoted several articles from apparent reputable news sources who are calling for the prosecution of the former president. The story is everywhere, echoed on the twenty-four hour news cycle. You are shocked, but then after a cursory examination of the facts, you realize that the story sources are unnamed, the facts are unsubstantiated, and the experts are questionable. Your friend has bought into fake news—a smear campaign against the former president's legacy. Your friend is an intelligent, good person, but you are embarrassed for him or her, that they were duped so completely. ... (read more)

back to top

Featured Book Reviews

 

Thinking Beyond the Hype

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

It's All Just a Sales Pitch: Why We Believe What We Believe
by David T. Garland III


"Before taking advice, consider the source."

The author, a salesman/consultant, wants us to discern deceptive sales pitches in all areas of life and understand why we are susceptible to such pitches. Once our basic human needs are met, we pursue our wants; that makes us the willing dupes of every kind of “pitch”—for material goods to religion to a political party. And in symbiosis with our gullibility is our ability to convince, deceive, and manipulate others into buying what we’re selling. Garland shows us how, as babies, we soon develop a pitch for attention and basic needs—the scream. Later, confronted with the word “no,” we develop more subtle pitches to overcome resistance. Growing up, we learn to pitch ourselves in order to be members of a group and find a mate. A successful sales pitch nearly always involves “a misrepresented truth,” so Garland asks us to consider: what is truth? What we take as truth is actually only true “circumstantially.” Advertisers know this, and manipulate facts to make us feel that we need something that enhances our image of ourselves, making us feel we need it now. ... (read more)

back to top

Taking Care

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Treasure of the Magical Mine Moppets
by K.J. Blocker
Mindstir Media


"And that would mean that Withers was both crooked and intelligent, a terrible combination. It was easier when criminals were stupid."

If one were categorizing, Blocker’s book would probably fall into what’s often known as middle grade fiction—fiction that’s best read and enjoyed by children somewhere in the age range of 8 to 12. That certainly doesn’t mean that younger kids wouldn’t enjoy it as well, particularly if the book is read to or with them. In fact, time being spent between parents and children is at the heart of this fantasy adventure, which is grounded in real world scenarios. ... (read more)

back to top

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)

back to top

Living Better

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

back to top

A New Legend of Americana

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

back to top

Scovil the Teacher

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

To Save a Dragon
by Allen Scovil


"'Oh Game Master, give him the strength to get through his Abyss!'"

Arthur Pye has returned to the Land of the Heart after asking Game Master Jesus’ help with Sid, a bully at his school. In the Land of the Heart, Sid is a dragon in need of aid after being hurt by a giant. Arthur is the only person who can assist Sid and keep him on the right path of forgiveness. Just as Arthur must forgive Sid for bullying him, Sid must learn the same lesson by forgiving the giant who hurt him. As Arthur tries to help Sid, Sid is seduced and drawn off the righteous path by Dark Nemesis who promises him revenge upon the giant who hurt him. It is Arthur's quest to show Sid how to turn away from his hatred and forgive those who hurt him. Not only must Arthur teach Sid, but he himself must also abide by this rule of forgiveness and learn to love his enemy. ... (read more)

back to top

To the Little Bighorn

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

This Land Is Mine!
by Elsie S. Wilmerding
BookVenture Publishing


"'You see, think strategy, and you’ll hit your target,' his father says. 'Hunt with a plan in your mind and be ready.'"

19th-century American history is full of fascinating, influential people who shaped the tumultuous expansion of the United States and lived through the displacement of the natives who lived off the land before colonization took place. On this subject, two of the first names that certainly spring to mind on either side of this conflict are General George A. Custer and Crazy Horse. Despite their differences in heritage, background, and their fundamental differences regarding land rights, they were similar in age, ability to lead, and battlefield prowess. Following both of them in their youth to their infamous years, this book illustrates the inevitable collision of these two leaders that would be a pivotal moment in this country’s history. ... (read more)

back to top

Understanding Judas

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

back to top

Living Rights

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bring on the Blacks
by Desmond Ward
SilverWood Books


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

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

back to top

To Live Forever

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

They'll Never Die
by Don Calmus
Fulton Books


"'Do you fellows want to live as long as civilization on earth exists?' Dalton said in precise unhurried words, while smoothing down his thick crop of silver hair. "

It's the 22nd Century and people no longer need to die—at least that is what John Dalton, a retired billionaire, wants to prove. After convincing his friends, all of whom are also past their prime years and billionaires, to join him, the men seek to clone their DNA while retaining their memory. The Reborn Project, as Dalton calls it, is not only morally questionable, but illegal. Still, the men press on, finding a way to take over the financially strapped IMS (The Institute of Medical Science). After a few missteps, John Daltons' reborn operation is a success and his old memory is placed into a younger clone, JD Dalton. But not everyone is happy about the Reborn Project and soon JD must deal with death threats. Legitimizing human cloning won't be as simple as Dalton had once thought. ... (read more)

back to top

The Devil You Don't Know

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

JRZDVLZ
by Lee Klein
Sagging Meniscus Press


"I am the Jersey Devil, older than America itself, cursed at birth, damned to atone for an unfortunate reaction to my entrance into the world."

A bastard child—the thirteenth child to be born to Mother Leeds and cursed by Pastor Dade from conception—the Jersey Devil was born during a nor'easter night late in October 1735. Upon birth, Mother Leeds was handed a small boy whose features immediately began to change. On seeing the scaly skin, leathery wings, a tail, claws for hands, hooves for feet, and a snout for a nose, screaming began to rise from the mother and the midwives all around. With the fear and shock instilled in a child just born, as his eyes adjusted to the light, his lungs breathed for the first time on their own, and his bodily functions started adjusting to being outside of the womb, the rise of screams frightened the newborn baby, and his animal instinct took over. Extreme terror grasped the child, and he devoured the mother, the midwives, and all his siblings before opening his gnarled wings and taking flight up the chimney and out into the protection of the woods. ... (read more)

back to top

Doubling Down on Fear

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The House Always Wins: A Vegas Ghost Story
by Brian Rouff
Huntington Press

"Also apparently, Las Vegas is the easiest place on Earth to get married, short of some Third World village where saying, 'I marry you, I marry you, I marry you,' allegedly does the trick."

It’s a ghost story, love story, comedy, and drama. It’s a memoir that looks and sounds almost like fiction but yet feels real, making it a lot like the town where most of it takes place—Las Vegas. The plot, on its own, may sound a bit threadbare. Girl falls for guy and leaves the Midwest for Sin City where the couple experiences ups and downs. In this case, however, the plot is only the skeleton on which the author molds a flesh and blood tale whose arteries and veins flow with humor, irony, compassion, and contagious charm. ... (read more)

back to top

Taking to the Skies

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

To Fly and Fight: Memoirs of a Triple Ace
by Col. Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson with Joseph P. Hamelin
Xlibris


"...one of the children asked what was the worst thing about flying airplanes? 'Losing friends,' I replied without hesitation."

Some lives are simply bigger than others. Some individuals face more challenges, achieve more, and leave larger footprints. On occasion, the biggest of lives are lived by those who report without exaggeration, make themselves the butt of the joke, and give credit to others. Anderson’s life was carved from such a mold. His autobiography is a testament to it. ... (read more)

back to top

Informed Sources

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Miracle Before Your Eyes
by Patrick K. McAndrew
LitFire Publishing


"One with Spirit, I remove the mask that hides the truth of who I am, and I experience the fullness of life!"

McAndrew gleams lessons from the stories of his own life and has turned them into pieces of inspiration and guidance for his readers. He begins with his turning point, a transition out of the restaurant industry after serving a man his final drink before he drove off and ended his life, which began his spiritual journey. Each story reads more like a sermon from a warm friend than a traditional story. ... (read more)

back to top

A Better You

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tell It To Me Straight, Doc
by Steven Marx Celestin, MD
BookLogix


"Medications are great supportive tools, but they can never be greater than the patients themselves. They treat conditions, but they don't treat life."

Is your medication treating the cause or the symptoms of your condition? Are you overusing antibiotics for non-bacterial maladies? Do you have a long-term treatment plan in place for your ailments? Many of us don't consider questions like these when we visit the doctor's office; we leave the thinking to the professionals. The author urges us to abandon this manner of thinking in favor of actually understanding our bodies and all their peculiarities. Celestin’s book aims to equip readers with the right questions to ask their doctors and emphasizes acquiring knowledge over blindly following the doctor's orders. ... (read more)

back to top

Coming of Age

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

From Whence We Come
by Maurice W. Dorsey
Xlibris


"Seymour was conflicted with Estelle. On one hand, she was the most generous person he knew; and on the other hand, she appeared unloving."

Seymour Rose is born to a strong and loving father, Albrecht, and a proud and confident mother, Estelle, in the final years of segregation. Estelle, forced into motherhood at a young age following her mother’s death, imposes her father’s strict upbringing and morals onto her own family. Albrecht is a calm balance to the headstrong Estelle as they manage their somewhat dysfunctional family. Their oldest son, Aries, is rebellious with bouts of violence, and daughter, Claudia, excels in school while welcoming the onset of womanhood. Seymour, the third child, is unlucky as he is the one who Estelle “never wanted to have.” ... (read more)

back to top

Tales of Avalon Continues

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Exchange of Rings (Tales of Avalon)
by Daisy Bourne
AuthorHouse UK


"One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, Three for a Girl, Four for a Boy, Five…for Silver, Six…for Gold, Seven…a Secret Never to be Told."

The third book of the Tales of Avalon series welcomes back friends, foes, heroes, and heroines well-known to King Arthur’s people in Avalon. These include both the human and magical kind. And wherever good and evil clash, there will always be long-time enemies (Trajaens) or unfriendly strangers (the Northern King).The tale told in this book begins and ends with the exchange of rings. Avalon’s own Prince Edward and Princess Rosalie are among the couples exchanging rings. These marriage-like relationships between future kings and queens are typically meant to unify neighboring lands. A missing ring—stolen by a magpie—sets Merlin on a hurried journey, and there will be one more surprise union whose secret is told before the end of the book. Bindweed enchantments have long protected wizards, the little folk, and their secrets. Now the same spells may be used to reverse destruction caused by an invasive weed, saving farmers and living creatures, including magpies, from death by starvation. ... (read more)

back to top

A Treasury of Stories

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Little Rainbow Dragon: And 17 More Colour Stories
by Marion Ireland and Margaret Lewer
Xlibris


"All the other dragons watched in amazement as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple flames formed a giant arch right across the sky."

This colorful collection of stories begins with a dragon who is very different from all the others. While the other dragons change colors with the season, he does not. Some dragons bully and tease him, which makes him feel sad about being different, but he soon discovers being different is amazing. By being unique, he can create rainbows in the sky. Leading with the rainbow anecdote, the stories continue with each color having a varying story. For example, red is a story of race cars, sunburns, and strawberries. The colors contained in this anthology include all the colors of the rainbow plus eight other colors found in the world around us: white, black, gray, pink, turquoise, silver, gold, and brown. ... (read more)

back to top

Factoids to Amaze

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fifty Curious Questions: Pabulum for the Enquiring Mind
by Martin Fone
AuthorHouse UK


"It is hard to imagine the scene of devastation as the rats suffered a slow and painful death."

Nothing grabs a reader’s attention quite like starting a book off with some mild bathroom humor. If you’ve ever wondered whether releasing flatulence encourages weight loss, why Greek statues are not well-endowed, or whether an empty beer bottle smashed on your head might be more lethal than a full bottle of beer, then this is the right book for you. ... (read more)

back to top

Separation Anxiety

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mommy, the Dreamweaver
by Meri Tumanyan
Xlibris


"Even when she’s not in sight,
her heart beats for your beating heart."

Leaving behind your family and children in order to work is hard for all mothers as well as their children. This story is a singsong poem designed to help both children and mothers in this situation. As mother leaves for work, she expresses her love and also her sadness with the situation at hand. She explains to her daughter that although she must leave in physical form, she is always thinking about her whether she is there in person or just in her daughter’s mind. The mother comforts her daughter by telling her not to cry because she will always return at the end of the day. She also further relaxes her in this loving poem by telling her all about the fun things they will do together when she does return home. Until that time, mother weaves peacefulness by telling her daughter to close her eyes and sense Mommy’s loving presence whenever she feels sad or lonely throughout the day.... (read more)

back to top

Prayer for Any Occasion

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Prayer When You Don’t Have the Words
by Tamara Michelle Dobbs
iUniverse


"Find a prayer that touches your heart or need."

As a licensed massage therapist, the author interacts with people who are often experiencing one of life’s pain points. Because Dobbs has the gift of empathy, she willing writes specific prayers for these clients, their friends, and her own friends/acquaintances. Each concise prayer in the book is for an actual person experiencing particular circumstances. For example, the issue needing words of prayer could be as simple as moving to a new home or as intense as the suicide of a relative. ... (read more)

back to top

An Engaging Fantasy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Moon Phases
by Stephanie Chambers
Xlibris


"'All of these years and none of you noticed? Father knew.'"

Magic versus reality. Creativity versus tradition. These are two of the themes in this colorful fantasy novel. The town of Kraal is still reeling from the murder of Malesh. Lumaris is the next in line to the throne. Half-human and half-Magicker, Lumaris is the first royal human to rule in over three thousand years. Now that the emperor of Enace wants to add Kraal to its reign, Lumaris will have to forge new friendships. With any luck, the powerful magickers might just prevail. ... (read more)

back to top

New Austen

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Listen with Your Eyes
by Jennie Lea
Xlibris


"Neither Ashling, nor Tess, could speak for a while, but as their tears slowly ceased, and they gradually recovered from the tremors of emotion."

Growing up in Australia with only her aunt for family, Mary is an awkward, unsure girl who loves her simple country life and taking care of horses. When cancer brings a sudden end to her aunt’s life, Mary is all by herself and learns that she is inheriting a manor from her aunt in a small Irish town. Travelling to the Emerald Isle, Mary intends to get the paperwork in order and prepare to sell it to go back to what remains of her life. Instead, she finds herself drawn to the estate and the people who run it, finding true fulfillment in her life for the first time and potentially true love as well. But there is a deep mystery here, as well, with the fate of her late parents and a mysterious baby buried in a grave with Mary’s name on it called into question. ... (read more)

back to top

Taking No Prisoners

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Odd Twins
by Randy Caparco
BookVenture Publishing


"She often took to feeding the animals in a kind fashion and then would suddenly and unexpectedly grab a chicken by the neck and say, 'Daddy, I want this one for dinner.'"

Some books do not fit snugly into one genre or another. A mystery can simultaneously be a tale of horror. A family saga is occasionally both melodrama and historical fiction. A tale of suspense sometimes morphs into surrealism. If one is forced to categorize Randy Caparco’s novel, The Odd Twins, its genre might best be defined as strangely indefinable. ... (read more)

back to top

Moonman on the Move

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Berdichev to Basildon
by Eric Moonman
AuthorHouse


"I believed I could make a difference to the way life was lived and my knowledge of working class life could be of value to the Labour Party..."

This witty memoir by a former British Member of Parliament (MP) is an inspirational name-dropper. How many commoners―son of an illiterate Russian Jewish immigrant from Berdichev―went on to learn about Parliament directly from Harold Wilson, shared a charity lead with Princess Diana as a benefactor, and met with both Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat and Israel’s current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? How did this happen? ... (read more)

back to top

The Unique Tree

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Tree That Never Grew
by Matilda Nicole Rothon
Xlibris


"The only thing that grew inside Poppy was his sadness."

Poppy is a short tree growing in New York’s Central Park. He has many tall tree friends around him, but Poppy feels sad and alone. All the other trees are growing big and tall, but Poppy doesn’t grow. He is afraid that something is wrong with him and that he will soon die. Poppy grows even more fearful after new trees are planted around him and then soon grow bigger than him. One day, Poppy overhears some men speaking about the trees in the park. They are talking about him and describing how he is a special kind of dwarf oak tree that lives much longer than regular trees. He hears the men say how special and unique he is, and Poppy’s fears melt away as happiness spreads through him. ... (read more)

back to top

Real Alien

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Manhattan Alien
by B. K. Mhatre
Xlibris


"I was baptized by an Italian American, Jennifer Graziano, from Raju More to Roger Moore alias James Bond, or more precisely Dr. Bond."

Mhatre has penned a charming memoir about his experiences when immigrating to America. Using wit and self-effacing humor, he recounts his reactions to the United States and his struggles to understand many cultural mores that are initially alien to him. Already a doctor when he arrives, he’s immediately taken under the wing of a young medical student who realizes that while he may be brilliant at his chosen field, he’s woefully inept at navigating social situations that require an understanding of the American way of doing things. She becomes his guru, and he becomes a willing student. ... (read more)

back to top

Plot and Philosophy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

An Apprentice Dictator in the White House
by Abner Clerveaux
Xlibris


"He thought he was above the law. He wished to turn the White House into a palace for a dictatorial monarch."

Politics, law, justice, and morals are all turned on their various heads in this satiric parable. Sacred precepts and institutions are sorely tested, and readers are given a vision of what is possible when an individual has the means to assume powers not granted to him by man or God. ... (read more)

back to top

Stiring Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Two Sides of the Coin
by Malia Davidson
AuthorHouse


"'Once upon a tragedy,' he began, 'there was a man who had a very dangerous idea.'"

Honest, the town's enchanting storyteller begins a story of two reporters taking an adventurous trip to the Bermuda Triangle. While traveling, the men find two different islands—the foreboding Island of Despair and the sunlit Island of Joy. With limited time, the reporters decide to split up to explore. Neither wanting the Island of Despair, a coin toss is used to decide each reporter's fate. Steve, the winner of the toss, gets the Island of Joy where trees talk and the inhabitants sing happy songs. On the opposite island, Shawn meets people who have been at war over territories for years. As the days pass, each reporter has vastly contrasting experiences with the inhabitants of the islands, and both decide to stay. What could draw each reporter to stay? What unusual predicaments did the men find themselves up against? The children listening to Honest’s fables want answers as much as the readers do. ... (read more)

back to top

Way of the Spirit

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Healing Wisdom for a Wounded World: My Life-Changing Journey Through a Shamanic School (Book 2)
by Weam Namou
Hermiz Publishing


"Two truths I discovered in less than an hour: I owned creative property and I’ve already written a book."

The author, who traces her personal history to ancient Babylon and a lineage of healers, has undertaken a four-year course of study at the shamanic school conducted by Lynn V. Andrews. This book is the second in a four-part series. At the beginning of her second year of study with Andrews, Namou recounts her husband’s tortuous path to become a US resident and the anxieties that result from that process. All the while, she’s a full-time mother/housewife dedicating all her spare time to completing a book and finding a publisher—a seemingly impossible goal at times. According to Andrews’ shamanic wisdom, Namou must learn patience to deal with the constant pulls on her energies. Contacting Andrews mainly by conference call with other students serves to keep her hopeful and offers lessons about gathering her inner resources. By the end of this fascinating year, supported by shamanic wisdom, she has completed her writing project and has the promise of publication. ... (read more)

back to top

Collateral Damage

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

War Nightmares
by Michael Montero
AuthorHouse UK


"Tears wouldn’t come. I had seen so much slaughter and death that my feelings were numb forever."

Growing up in the besieged city of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), Montero, known as Manolo, seemed at first inured to the chaos around him. His memoir depicts his childlike responses to the war that began when he was ten, a time when Nationalist rebels savagely murdered local priests and dominated the capital city. His father would be supervised at work by a Nationalist operative; his older brothers would be drafted to serve in the military; an older sister was a survivor of the bombing massacre on the town of Guernica. ... (read more)

back to top

Stories of Value

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Little Rainbow Dragon: And 17 More Colour Stories
by Marion Ireland and Margaret Lewer
Xlibris


"All the other dragons watched in amazement as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple flames formed a giant arch right across the sky."

This colorful collection of stories begins with a dragon who is very different from all the others. While the other dragons change colors with the season, he does not. Some dragons bully and tease him, which makes him feel sad about being different, but he soon discovers being different is amazing. By being unique, he can create rainbows in the sky. Leading with the rainbow anecdote, the stories continue with each color having a varying story. For example, red is a story of race cars, sunburns, and strawberries. The colors contained in this anthology include all the colors of the rainbow plus eight other colors found in the world around us: white, black, gray, pink, turquoise, silver, gold, and brown. ... (read more)

back to top

Translation in Literature

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Convergences: Studies in the intricacies of interpretation/translation and how they intersect with literature
by Dr. Nabil M. Abdel-Al
AuthorHouse


"An interpreter has to be optimistic, not to get scared of his audience."

The premise of this book is to find likenesses between a vast and seemingly unique set of great literature. As a veteran interpreter/translator, Dr. Abdel-AI is also a university lecturer. After spending his early childhood in a village in Upper Egypt, the author went on to become a senior interpreter at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. With his impressive career, the author is uniquely qualified to point out the many particular talents that those in his field require. For instance, interpreter/translators bear the responsibility of not only delivering a message but delivering its meaning, as well. They are also responsible for guaranteeing that any diverse viewpoints are easily comprehended by the audience and that any hesitation, indecisiveness, or personal opinion on their part is avoided. Likewise, readers of literature must be wary of applying their own life experiences and judgments to the text they are reading. Good readers, like good interpreters/translators, remain mindful of this common pitfall. ... (read more)

back to top

How Civilization Was Built

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Need For God in Human Society
by Joseph Borowitz
Xlibris


"We humans must be part of a group of people united with God and especially His Holy Spirit."

As a college teacher who has been a faculty advisor for a student prayer group, Joseph Borowitz draws upon his personal experience and that of many others to present his belief that we must invite God into our lives in specific, practical ways. God was active in Biblical times when people were presumably more primitive than they are now; yet with God’s direct guidance, they were able to organize themselves and live by moral rules. To include God in our daily existence, prayer and faith are important. But it is also crucial to meet with other believers, read scripture together, and share stories of God’s influence. The author did this with his students and others and applauds the organization of similar, sincerely directed groups. He projects this need onto national and governmental bodies, as well, stressing the need for religious principles to guide society as a whole. ... (read more)

back to top

His Life and Times

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Captain Ronald Campbell of Bombala Station, Cambalong: His Military Life and Times
by Ivor George Williams
AuthorHouse UK


"On the first night two boatmen strayed into the jungle and were not seen again. Carried off, it was supposed by tigers."

History comes to us in many forms with various interpretations. Therefore, it is often difficult to ascertain just what is fact and what is fiction. For those who prefer their history more real than imagined, Williams’ book will likely prove attractive. Short on conjecture, it is long on actual eyes-on reportage about the subjects it explores. ... (read more)

back to top

Trekking the World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Trials and Tribulations of a Travelling Prostitute
by Andrew Mackay
AuthorHouse UK


"It was becoming clear that when I out on site, no one is the office cared, and looking for answers to problems was a total waste of time."

In his work for an international engineering concern, Scotsman Andrew Mackay worked in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and North America. Now retired, he looks back on that period of his life sardonically as a kind of prostitution. Supervisors told him where to go but not exactly how or when to get there—or even what to do or with whom once he arrived. He endured extremes of temperature, food poisoning, and the hostility of locals. On his first trip to the North Sea, he realized on arrival that the very brief instructions he had received before leaving in no way covered all the problems he would encounter; this turned out to be the “new normal” for most of his career. His adventures ranged from enjoying glittering carnival nights in Curacao to seeing a decapitated body lying by the road in Nigeria. He took it all in stride and did his job, though not without the occasional, justifiable complaint. ... (read more)

back to top

Expertly Paced

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hidden Magic: Fear of the Smallest Wizard
by N. D. Rabin
AuthorHouse UK


"The giant crimson devil that was their father fell from his position in the air and landed squat on the ground."

Zachary, Saskia, and Rafi are young siblings living a normal life in modern London—going to school, playing games, and spending time with their parents. All of this comes to an abrupt halt when a backyard accident reveals a latent power in 5-year-old Rafi, and a powerful, shadowy organization arrives to investigate. James and Jenna, the children’s parents, whisk them away to Peru where they won’t be discovered. James and Jenna reveal to the kids that they are in fact wizards, and Rafi has just discovered his hereditary powers. As the family heads to Machu Picchu for answers and protection, the sinister company of Darwinian Global that seeks to control the world with a combination of science, magic, and politics is hunting them down, trying to harness the awesome power of the three young wizards-to-be. ... (read more)

back to top

World According to Zotti

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Best Served Cold: Essays
by Roger Zotti
Xlibris


"Creepy pleasures await the viewer in Carnival of Souls (1962). A superior horror flick that with the passage of time has become a classic…"

Zotti writes with authority and keen insight on sports and entertainment. He divides his collection of essays into two sections: sports and books, TV, and movies. Part one covers a range of sports from hockey to roller derby—each pastime handled with deft hands. In “Spoiler,” Zotti reveals not only his expert research skills but also his ability to sift through the research, finding the most relevant and amusing details about Johnny Risko’s boxing career. He starts with Risko’s breakout fight against Paul Berlenbachand before heading right into what he dubs Risko’s most unpredictable and memorable fight against Max Schmeling. In this way, Zotti delivers his reporting with an exciting pace that hooks the reader instantly and keeps one reading until the end. ... (read more)

back to top

Horrific Ramifications

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Come Not To Us
by Brett Ramseyer
Lulu


"He could barely breathe around it and it made his eyes water. He could not ask about what she hid then or what she hid now."

Peter Sonderling is an accountant whose twenty-year marriage to Doreen is failing. Consumed with despair, he is on the verge of committing suicide not far from his family cottage when an old man’s voice shouts to him from the darkness. This is Peter’s saving grace and, though still alive, he is for the moment angry at the interruption of his well-laid plans. In his rage, Peter hurls his gun and contemplates harming the old man who abruptly vanishes into the night, leaving Peter to wonder if the old man ever existed. ... (read more)

back to top

What Men Will Do

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

back to top

The Constitution Now

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Constitutional Renaissance
by Richard R. Monts
Xlibris


"The constitution evolved until it was signed. It became the datum, from that point on, of everything allowable the government could do."

The author’s book is a cross between an exposé and a pep-talk. The book exposes actions by officials whose goals were to gain control at the Federal level. The pep-talk is to Americans, who like the author, have accepted changes over the past two centuries which override the Founding Fathers’ original intent for state governments. ... (read more)

back to top

The Unseen War

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tobias’s Story: The Life and Civil War Career of Colonel Tobias B. Kaufmann
by Doug Kauffmann
Xlibris


"Tobias was, indeed, a man who lived and strived for all that was good."

Mennonites were known for their involvement in the Underground Railroad. Born into a Mennonite family in the heartland of Pennsylvania, Tobias Kaufman answers President Lincoln’s call to arms in the early days of the American Civil War. In 1861, Tobias is only twenty-four, and like so many other men who have enlisted to fight, Kaufman is initially without a unit to serve. Governor Andrew Curtin creates the First Pennsylvania Reserves as a solution, and Kaufman begins his service as a private. Due to his natural leadership abilities and respect from his superiors, Kaufman climbs the military ranks quickly. He does not shy away from combat, proving his honor and devotion. He is wounded in battle and even captured by Confederate soldiers before spending time in prison for a brief period. He is celebrated for his service and continues to live an active but quiet life beyond the war until his death. ... (read more)

back to top

Success Constructed

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Professor And CEO True Story: A Fascinating Journey to Success: Volume 1: Surviving the Two Wars
by Richard T. Cheng
Xlibris


"Ignorant people are exactly the same as bad people because they can’t tell right from wrong and the outcome from their actions is the same."

The author was born in China and is descended from two prominent families. His father became the wartime military officer in charge of arranging the movement of high-ranking personnel, families, and documentation of the Nationalist Government around the country for safekeeping. Born just before the start of WWII, Cheng accompanied his mother in following his father’s many moves. They alternately lived in grass huts rented from rice farmers to government buildings/dormitories and back to poverty-level homes. At times they lacked proper sanitation facilities and clean water. ... (read more)

back to top

A Hunger

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Blood Lovers
by K. E. Thomas
AuthorHouse


"Shane was almost thrilled about Andrea needing a hero because you could see that superhero complex coming out in him."

Andrea is an unassuming young woman who keeps to herself as she works her way through medical school. After doing some people watching at a party, she draws the attention of Shane, a handsome and mysterious man who immediately becomes infatuated with her. Shane tries to claim Andrea, but she expects what Shane had assumed would be a bombshell: he is an immortal vampire. Andrea herself is a “half-a”—half-vampire and half-human—meaning she doesn’t require blood to avoid starvation, can walk around in the daytime, and yet can still tap into a vampire’s special abilities and increased strength. Shane kidnaps Andrea, forcing her on a quest to acquire the vampire queen’s blood that can turn her into a vampire, but she instead ends up discovering a taste for adventure and a fearsome adversary that has sought Andrea her entire life. ... (read more)

back to top

Chock-Full of Suspense

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Catching Raven
by CB Tucker
Xlibris


"'You did what you had to do to protect our daughter. What happened was not your fault. You have nothing to be ashamed of.'"

Forensic accountant Samantha Raven is the consummate professional. With her partner, attorney Jennifer Mills, they’ve overseen a handful of successful mergers and financial tactics to help their clients’ businesses flourish. Her home life is a little more chaotic, as she raises her 15-year-old daughter Elizabeth as a single mom after her college sweetheart disappeared after impregnating her. Samantha’s latest clients involve crossing paths with a dangerous criminal in control of a local union and a mysterious entrepreneur that takes a keen interest in Sam. As old ghosts from the past threaten to resurface, a very present danger threatens to destroy Sam and her daughter. Now Sam has to try and balance her work life, a daughter in danger, and a foreign yet familiar suitor that seems to know more about her than she does about him. ... (read more)

back to top

Secrets

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Letter
by Sylvia Atkinson
AuthorHouse UK


"Ben said firmly, 'This is the custom and so it will be.'"

Occasionally a fictionalized account of an author's life or history is written with such passion that the voice within the words is loud and moving. Such is the case with Atkinson's story of her parents' lives.

The book begins in 1985 with Atkinson's mother Margaret as an elderly British woman in Yorkshire with a secret to reveal. Then readers are taken back to Margaret's adult beginnings as a young woman in the 1930s who meets and marries Ben, an Indian medical student. After becoming a doctor, Ben moves back to India and reestablishes his place as eldest son and patriarch of a respected, well-to-do family. Ben sends for Margaret, and she leaves her family to become the British wife of a prominent Indian doctor and officer. Losing all her freedom, yet having servants for every task, she tries valiantly to adjust to her new life and role. Eventually, the book leads us back to the end of Margaret's life in India and her new start back in Scotland and England. ... (read more)

back to top

Sweet and Sour

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Love Spelled Sideways
by Jacqueline Brown
Xlibris


"As soon as the front door was closed and locked, Cole pulled her roughly into his arms, covering her mouth in a demanding kiss."

This book, written specifically for adults only, features two erotic short novels focused on the dynamic of black women with white men. In the first story, Foreplay, successful novelist and publisher Jesmond LaVilliard has a chance encounter with a jogger in the park who accidentally breaks her camera. When the jogger extends a business card in an offer to repair the rare, aging device, Jesmond learns that this mysterious man is none other than Coulson Stanton, a billionaire philanthropist who seems more interested in Jesmond than he does her camera. The second story, Coitus, concerns Kevin Daly, a senior vice president at a communications firm who routinely drives top talent away with his abrasive personality. Dr. Loren Clarke, the company’s organizational communicator, is tasked with changing Kevin’s behavior before he loses his job. Kevin fights Loren’s advice at every turn, but his fiery demeanor soon morphs into a passion for his professional adversary. ... (read more)

back to top

A Map of the Sky

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Wrong Side of the Badge
by Marshall Ginevan
BookVenture Publishing


"All four of you go. I want them alive too. I don’t care if you have to capture them with a net in their sleep. No shooting."

The fuel tanks are filled with testosterone in this high-octane crime opus. Set in the mid to late 1980’s and taking place in and around southern Texas and Mexico, this is a police procedural that pinballs its way through local, county, state, and national jurisdictions, with just a touch of potential international terrorism thrown in for good measure. ... (read more)

back to top

A Femme Fatale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Life Story of a Flight Attendant
by Kevin Meyer
Xlibris


"I thought I had their leash in my hand for life. I liked it that way."

Sex and revenge are good combos for entertainment. Meyer entertains with a tale of a sexually liberated flight attendant whose appetite for men is like her appetite for steak: a delicious treat that “lasts for only two hours,” or less. Her appetite for revenge is also never satisfied. Raped by her father and abandoned by her fiancé, she does not trust men and seeks to punish them. She takes their money then lies, cheats, and breaks their hearts, all while providing excellent sex. She’d be a villain except for her past abuse and excellent financial care of her mother and four sisters. ... (read more)

back to top

Being Prepared

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Proactive and Applied Resilience: The Sixteen Experiences
by Glenn E. Richardson, PhD
iUniverse


"Resiliency, with its accompanying skills of resiliency mapping is the experience and choice of planning how you will thrive through life’s disruptions."

Resiliency is the key to living with sustained well-being, and Richardson’s journey through the discovery of the Q-nexus experiences begins out of adversity—near tragedy, in fact. As he leaves campus one night he is struck by an Oldsmobile and sent into a coma for ten days. However, this experience taught the author the reality that all stories are born from some event and that resiliency truly reveals itself in the face of adversity, challenges, or other calamities in life. Q-nexus refers to the qualities and virtues you truly want (Q) and the connection to sources of those qualities and virtues (nexus). ... (read more)

back to top

Life and Innovation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

My Life, Times, and Legacy
by Leonard I. Linkow, DDS, DMSC, and Sheldon Winkler, DDS
Xlibris


"Although there is very little we can do about it, we must try to keep our candles burning without flickering… Once the candles stop burning, it’s all over."

Arguably, not since the invention of the toothbrush or the discovery of x-rays has there been as important an advancement in dentistry as the modern dental implant. The first modern endosseous implant was successfully inserted in 1938. By the 1950s, Dr. Linkow had begun placing thousands of implants to restore the function and beauty of the smiles of countless patients. Dr. Linkow is widely recognized as the father of modern implant dentistry, having developed and refined his techniques over the course of inserting more than 101,700 implants during his career which spanned more than 50 years. ... (read more)

back to top

Finding Peace

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Fifth Dimension: A Story of Courage Through Faith
by Ramma Kher
Xlibris


"The fire God blessed the bride and bridegroom with a happy union for seven consecutive janams, births. Hopefully."

Meera is a young Indian bride who moves to Canada with her husband; then the unthinkable happens, and she becomes a widow. Already despondent, tragedy compounds in Meera’s life when her depressed friend Jane disappears, only to turn up dead in a motel room after committing suicide via a cyanide pill. Prior to her death, Jane pleads with Meera to raise her son Rishi if she were to die due to a strained relationship with her own mother, a situation that bleeds over into Meera’s life when she agrees. Meera and Rishi have to deal with prejudice and hardship because of their differing race and family conditions both in her native India and in Canada. Threatened repeatedly by malicious individuals and the possibility for more misfortunate and heartbreak, Meera must rely on inner emotional strength and spirituality if she is to survive her ordeals. ... (read more)

back to top

Vibrant and Thoughtful

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

My Very Own Words: 15 Original Poems in 15 Types of Poetry
by Derrinique Elliott
Trafford Publishing


"They would call on shooting stars to grant me;
Break sand dollars to find the magic that makes me come true"

What began as a high school poetry project for the poet has evolved into a compelling, versatile, and personable compilation for poetry aficionados. From the first poem, “Words,” the author possesses the undeniable ability to create visceral images in the minds of the reader using alliterative phrases like “hurt or heal,” and “comfort or corrupt.” Though spelling out the figurative devices used is overkill for the seasoned poetry reader, it is a great opportunity for new enthusiasts to understand the structure and rhythm behind what they are reading. ... (read more)

back to top

Making Change

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

All About the Coins of Australia: Their Stories and How to Collect Them
by David Miller
Xlibris


" If you hanker after an album with not too many empty spaces, you are a collector."

Whether you've dabbled in coin collecting or are not sure where to start, this book is a perfect entry point. As the title suggests, the guide focuses on Australian coins and as such will not provide too much insight for those outside this niche. But for beginning and aspiring Australian coin collectors, Miller's guide provides everything you need to know to begin a collection of your own. Printed on beautifully glossy, large paper, a large portion of the book is made up of coin charts, images, and details. However, in addition to the visual resources, the book contains a wealth of information presented in bite-sized chunks. ... (read more)

back to top

The Healing Experience

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Miracles Master the Art: Healing Medically Incurable Illness
by Nancy Lynne Harris, M.A.
GodSpirits United, LLC


"What is going on in your own mind is projecting what you are experiencing in your body and in the world, whether or not you are aware of it."

Through spiritually driven text, the power of our thoughts and their impact on our body is analyzed in this enlightening guide that provides a step-by-step solution to transforming your mental and physical health. A long-time student and practitioner of shamanism and energy healing, the author proficiently details the thought process required to manifest desired outcomes when projecting positivity. By acknowledging that thoughts create experience, the reader is presented an encouraging pathway to reverse thinking by establishing an understanding and love of one’s self. This holistic approach to well-being is skillfully communicated through the author’s willingness to share deeply personal experiences of loss and illness in order to impart the benefits of gaining control of your mind and body with your thinking. ... (read more)

back to top

The Self-Healing Art

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Heal Yourself of Anything: Example Glaucoma
by Nancy Lynne Harris, M.A.
BBCS Publishing


"To make a positive change in your health you have to change the negative words in your mind that are causing a...manifestation in...your body."

The author has written this self-help book to document the amazing healing of her young son who was born with glaucoma. This eye condition involves high pressure that can result in sight loss. Feeling pressured by a family member during and after her pregnancy, the author realized that she repeatedly verbalized that word. Refusing any longer to dwell on or speak about pressure, within a relatively short time the author’s son was healed of glaucoma—much to the delight of this mother and surprise to his doctor. ... (read more)

back to top

Coming Home

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Survive!: First Alien Contact
by Charles P. Graham
iUniverse


"'We too had a time when violence was considered amusing, but fortunately, we have outgrown it.'"

After surviving their ordeal stranded on the planet Tau Ceti g, the seven survivors of the United Earth Space Force ship Copernicus have made their way home, anticipating some much-needed leave. Commander Caitlyn Carver and xenobiologist Chris Elliott are looking forward to spending their leave together despite the pending complications that their differing ranks will cause in their relationship. Caitlyn is on the shortlist to lead the UESF’s latest ship, Orion, which is full of the latest technology and also the latest protocol—with the UESF changing its rules to allow for civilians to work and live on board as family members to the enlisted crew. Admiral Davies assigns the Orion to Caitlyn, giving both her and Chris promotions so that they can be married and serve as an example for these new rules, finding a way for people to survive and live together in the farthest reaches of space. ... (read more)

back to top

Overcoming

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Howl of the Lambergoon: Gad the Zig, Book 1
by Anthony Spaeth
illustrated by Marta Stawska
Meat For Tea Press


"...if one day you reach the Faroes,
And there you visit Kraki’s tomb,
Remember the zig who dug his grave...
And howl for the lambergoon."

Hoon is a famous alchemist who once created a steaming draught for forgetting one’s troubles. Nowadays he must hide away from seeking customers in an island cave shared with Gad, his zig. The story opens with young Gad gathering clams by the seashore with his Shetland pony named Lull. Hoon and Gad have two surprise visitors at their mountain-side cave. First to arrive is the screeching lambergoon with its glowing eye who wishes to have a zig for dinner. Hoon’s magic cane and the bars of the cave sends away hungry the hideous monster who issues a challenge to Gad before departing. The next visitor arrives by boat—the daughter of King Flatnose who rules these seas. What causes her to bravely sail in search of the alchemist? Why did her father send her alone? ... (read more)

back to top

Showdown

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Twisted Threads
by Kaylin McFarren
Creative Edge Publishing


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

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

back to top

A Serial Killer Unmasked

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Magpie
by Oliver Rock
Fireflies Publishing


"No body had been found on his birthday. He drew comfort in this and drifted back to sleep quickly, without the need for a cigarette or a drink."

The mood is decidedly somber in Amsterdam as a serial killer has the public spooked and the police baffled in this cold and damp Netherlands city. Van Loo, a beer-and-gin-swilling, moped-riding detective leads the task force charged with solving a series of murders that has left one naked male body in different parts of the city for each of the last ten months. When it comes to who is the most accomplished—the killer or the cops—the murderer is definitely ahead on points. ... (read more)

back to top

Faith and Spirituality

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Worthy
by Judy Salz
Hardway Press


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

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

back to top

The Change

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Build Six-Pack Abdominals Jesus's Way
by Scott D. Mendelson
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"'’There you are, you little sonuvabitch!’ He snatched his ragged Bible off his desk, slammed back the last gulp from a nearby bottle of Jack Daniels, and sprinted back to the stage."

Meet Abner Kincaid, a 59-year-old Vietnam vet—divorced, foul-mouthed, Camel-smoking, Jack-Daniel’s-drinking, and womanizing pastor of The Church of the Fiery Word of God, which he notes is a “cathedral for nitwits.” We follow him through his history with his service to his country, his pursuit of divinity school, and his training and work through the Holy Roller tent revival circuit. In his incarnation of pastor at Fiery Word, we watch him try to make up stolen money from the church while scamming a parishioner, Brother Thomas Jenkins. Kincaid and his friend, George Granger, start a new business on his useless farmland—the Lord’s Cross-Training Farm with its Stations of the Cross parcourse. Through his various scams, he has no desire to change his ways until some events force him to look at himself. But who is he at his core? ... (read more)

back to top

Harmony

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sharky and Mia the Mermaid
by Carmen Dannenberg Morales
Xlibris


"Everyone in the island was living in peace and happiness with one another."

Mia is a very special mermaid who can sprout legs to walk on land to explore the world around the ocean. Mia’s best friend Sharkey, however, must stay in the sea at all times. Mia collects treasures she finds when she is exploring on land and brings them back to her friends in the ocean. While Sharkey appreciates all the gifts Mia brings, his real wish is to walk on land with Mia. When they were little, Mia told Sharkey if she could give him legs she would, but, unfortunately, it was impossible. ... (read more)

back to top

Loveable, Humorous Characters

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Adventures of Willy Nilly & Thumper: Charlie the Cross-Eyed Crocodile
by Jim Henry with Jimmy Patterson
illustrated by Marjorie Van Heerden
Willy Nilly Stories, LLC



"If it’s a new adventure, I’m in. And it looks like a pretty cool place, too."

Willy Nilly and Thumper, lifelong friends, have a love of adventure. Today, the dog and rabbit pair go to the San Juan River on their cherished canoe, Carefree, and see a new creek to explore. Joking with each other as usual, the two friends do not see the hungry vultures perched high above them or the lounging crocodile, Charlie, that is floating just on the surface of the water. However, Charlie most certainly notices the them. Sneaking up, Charlie whips his tail at the canoe, and into the water the two friends go. Swimming to shore quickly, they find refuge in a large tree. Now Willy Nilly and Thumper must figure out how to escape Charlie. Trying several plans that fail, the two friends finally get free from Charlie and his monstrous teeth. Escaping this adventure, Willy Nilly and Thumper are still not fazed and decide to continue their adventures right away. ... (read more)

back to top

Amazingly Detailed Heritage

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Amah and the Silk-Winged Pigeons
by Jocelyn Cullity
Inanna Publications and Education Inc.


"She strains to hear a pigeon breathe Yahu, or perhaps even the song from a sitar, or cook’s knives chopping ginger, anything beyond loud...Englishmen."

Mistaken for a boy in her royal uniform trousers, Amah is a female bodyguard assigned to protect possessions of the king of Lucknow. The greediness of the British forces the king’s exile to Calcutta. English soldiers plan to take over the great wealth of the Awadh region of India—a wealth generated from trading spices and tea with the East India Company to satisfy Englishmen’s tastes. ... (read more)

back to top

Steeped in Realism

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

back to top

Medieval Worlds

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer's Eggs
by Janine De Tillio Cammarata
Highland Mountain Publishing


"'What is the quest?' Luke asked, not getting pulled into the excitement of an adventure, even if that was what he had just been hoping for."

Luke is an active 11-year-old who loves to swim—until one day he is sidelined with an illness that has him bedridden in the hospital. His family, including his brother, Peter, would do anything for Luke to get better. One day, upon waking in the hospital, Luke finds a puzzle next to his bed. Thinking it is a gift from a family member, he and Peter put the puzzle together. But this is no ordinary puzzle. Placing the final puzzle piece brings the puzzle to life and transports Luke and Peter into a medieval world of dragons and knights. A princess named Meriwether needs their help and in exchange will grant them each a wish. Longing for his brother to get better, Peter agrees, and Luke is excited about an adventure away from his hospital room. ... (read more)

back to top

Simple Wealth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

back to top

The Good and the Bad

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

His Grandfather’s House
by Ron Fritsch
Asymmetric Worlds


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

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

back to top

Life Inside

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Good Girl's Guide to County Jail for the Bad Girl in Us All: Your Guide to the Incarcer Nation
by Ellen Marie Francisco
FriesenPress


"Those who have been on the inside know how difficult it is in there. Take it from us, be an outie, and help in any way you can."

The author intended this book "...to help incarcerated women gain access to vital information that is not available to them inside the jail..." But those who never have or probably never will land in jail should read it anyway—this guide is eye-opening. ... (read more)

back to top

The US Review of Books is dedicated to fair and honest coverage for all books. We are a leading book review site, often visited for professional book reviews examples.