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The US Review of Books connects authors with professional book reviewers and places their book reviews in front of nearly 20,000 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

JFK and the Reagan Revolution
by Lawrence Kudlow & Brian Domitrovic
Portfolio Books


"Circumstances called for final and definitive policy—and Kennedy chose Treasury's recommendation: supply-side economics."

To many, the study and discipline of economics seems like a dark science practiced by witch doctors who are more skilled at explaining what just happened in the world of business and finance than making sense of current developments. Very few experts make salient arguments, much less absorb the breadth of the important issues, instead delving into the details and missing the point altogether. ... (read more)

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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)

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Taking Care

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


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

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

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A Dickens Sequel

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge: The Sequel to A Christmas Carol
by Norman Whaler


"The ghost became illuminated now, like an oil lamp being turned up by an unseen hand."

Consider the sheer audacity involved in deciding to write a sequel to what is arguably the most beloved Christmas story of all time—A Christmas Carol. Since the initial publication of Charles Dickens novella in 1843, the book has virtually never been out of print. It has been published in multiple languages worldwide and several motion picture treatments, as well as operas, stage plays, and more, have been produced over the last one hundred and seventy-five years. The story of the misanthropic and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, who is transformed into a loving and charitable man, has been and continues to be a staple for families around the world. Therefore one can barely imagine the chutzpa required to deliver a sequel to such a revered tale. ... (read more)

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The DOXA Method for Self-Understanding

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Passion Spirit Purpose: 3 Formulas to Introduce the DOXA Method to Empower You to Love Your Life
by Ana Weber
Balboa Press


"Every puzzle we encounter, every challenge that calls for our creativity, lets us build part of a new foundation of self-esteem and self-love as we take ownership of our actions and solve the mystery."

In 157 pages, twenty-two chapters, an appendix, and endnotes, the author explores how to grow through a sense of empowerment. The initial chapter, which focuses on using the DOXA way, sets the stage for the rest of the book. DOXA is about Desire, Outstanding, Xing, out the impossible, and Allowing you to be you. This chapter leads to others on mysteries, desire, and living in the now of DOXA. Other chapters include your purpose, intentions, learning and growing, freedom, your metaphorical grocery bag regarding taking an inventory of your day, and a cautionary tale regarding relationships. ... (read more)

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True Change

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Your Behavior: Understanding and Changing the Things You Do
by Richard H. Pfau
Paragon House


"Knowing that what you perceive is a construct of your brain may help you realize that different people often perceive reality differently. As a result of their differing perceptions, they may act differently. Furthermore, you can change how you view the world, to some extent at least -- a realization that if acted upon, can change your life for the better."

There are many self-help books out there, and many focus on only one aspect of your behavior: Become a more motivated person, find true love, stop overeating, etc. Few books examine the human being as a complex mechanism, and fewer still take the time to understand the underlying causes for our behavior. Your Behavior spends only one chapter on explaining how to change your behavior, with a majority of the book focused on explaining why you act the way you do. The result is a brilliantly organized trove of knowledge that will leave readers with a better understanding of what makes us tick. ... (read more)

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Superb True Crime

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Familiar Evil
by Rannah Gray
The Lisburn Press


"As he revealed more about Scott Rogers, I began to realize that Scott was even more dangerous than what I knew."

Scott Rogers had an uncanny ability to get people to like and believe in him. In England, parents entrusted their children to him, not simply in the role of students at his performing arts academy but also as houseguests for sleepovers. In the United States, he cast his spell on members of his flock at the church he established with himself as pastor. Government officials and representatives from local and federal law enforcement agencies also succumbed to his influence. As the host of a local cable TV show, Rogers even managed to charm many of the residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that he had never met personally. Of course, no celebrity is popular with everyone, and there were some who recognized the manipulation that lurked beneath his public persona. The author was one of these individuals who saw this and also sensed there was something else not quite right about the man. But it wasn't until she received a disturbing email from an unknown correspondent in England that she began to see just how dangerous Rogers was. ... (read more)

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To Live Forever

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They'll Never Die
by Don Calmus
Fulton Books


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

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

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Gold Rush

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Elephant's Grip
by Raymond Lowrie
The Wild Rose Press


"Gold filled my thoughts, and the word sprang from my lips. Just saying gold made me feel good."

People are always looking for a way to strike it rich, whether it be by playing the lottery, giveaways, or other types of get-rich schemes. In Lowrie’s novel, Jeremy is no different. Living in a small town during the gold rush of the 1800’s, Jeremy dreams of becoming rich quickly. It consumes his thoughts until, against his father’s practical views and wishes, Jeremy goes in search of gold at Pike’s Peak with his estranged and rather erratic step-uncle Daemon. What Jeremy envisions as an easy road to affluence turns into an unexpected, difficult adventure that will forever leave an impression. ... (read more)

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Man's Best Friend

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Giving Paws: Having a Service Dog for a Hidden Disability
by Martha L. Thompson
Koehler Books


"What I did not anticipate were all the other challenges that came with having a four-footed assistant by my side."

After her father’s death in a car crash, Martha sinks into a dark period of depression and self-doubt that reignites the “childhood demon” of her anorexia nervosa. As she battles these conditions, she recognizes the healing power of her dogs and animals, thus motivating herself to improve physically and mentally. She abandons her acting career and studies and volunteers at a zoo that leads to a new career. Then a doctor suggests getting a service dog to help her manage difficulties with her illnesses, a surprising idea for Martha. ... (read more)

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God Will Help

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Abyss of Nil: The Parables of the Game Master, Book 1
by Allen Scovil


"The guard led them in, and Arthur was barely able to stifle a gasp of shock -- Baba-death was huge, bloated like a human puffball, massively fat -- boss monster, 500 hit points, grey power (metal magic) … in much better shape on the card."

The most exciting part of Arthur Pyle's day is playing the card game Rune Matrix with his friends. But as he places a card into play one day, he is thrust into the fantasy world of the game, and his life becomes a whole lot more exciting. Guided by Joyful-mercy, the Great White Owl, Arthur must undertake a quest that will test his mettle—and his faith. As he proceeds in his travels, Arthur's knowledge of the game and his courage drive him forward past friends and foes and onward to his destiny. To return home, Arthur only has one option: he must play the game. ... (read more)

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Evil Town

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tom and Lovey: Under the Moon Into the Wood
by G. R. Jerry
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"Tom raised his cup. He was certain that Lovey’s time would come. He was bound, obligated to help Lovey. He was also bound to make certain that Stargut’s time would also come."

Evil lurks within the rural, Midwestern Village of Wrong. In a place that doesn’t exist on any map, a woman named Lovey mourns the loss of Bill, a man dead for ten years at the hand of the brutal Sheriff Harrigut, also known as Stargut. She has nothing except the farmland where she lives and works as well as the memories and thoughts she keeps in her journal. She holds fast to her solemn vow to avenge Bill’s mysterious and untimely death. He was put to death for the crime of hitting and killing a deer with his car because in the Village of Wrong the killing of animals is forbidden. They are “friends of the wood” and staunchly protected by Stargut and his followers. ... (read more)

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A New Legend of Americana

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

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Going Normal

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Missing the Mark
by John W. Ridley
LifeRich Publishing


"…solving the mystery of Jerry’s life had again become all-encompassing."

A powerful prologue promises a main character who will succeed and retain her high character despite shortcomings, mistreatment, and danger. Ridley successfully delivers Margaret Ann, part Cherokee and Yakima but fully Appalachian, who treats “everyone with respect and dignity, even when wronged by others.” ... Deep in the isolated mountains of northern Georgia during the late Sixties, Margaret Ann’s poor but loving family of thirteen concentrates on survival. Margaret Ann yearns for more and gets it via an unexpected scholarship to a local college. ... (read more)

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Classroom Harmony

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond
by Walton Burns
Alphabet Publishing


"Research and classroom experience do show that students do better in classrooms where they feel included and welcome."

Burns, an award-winning teacher and classroom materials writer, offers nearly 100 energizing exercises designed to help new students get to know each other and their teacher and prepare them for the practical situations they will encounter in their coursework. These activities vary widely—from cartoon-based memory games that would suit young children to more cerebral tasks like answering questions based on thought-provoking text. The book portions include “Set Your Expectations,” “Working Together,” “Getting to Know You Activities,” and “Get to Know Your Teacher.” Fun-filled work for younger people is presented in equal measure with tasks for more mature groups, such as the “Culture Shock Handout” which poses significant questions to identify how different people perceive so-called “norms” like shaking hands, kissing a friend on the cheek, or asking someone what his or her religion is. This handout is also designed to be appropriate for individuals or as a team building project. With so many exercises to choose from, teachers could keep this manual on hand not just for the first day but any day. ... (read more)

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Winning Together

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Successful Group Work: 13 Activities to Teach Teamwork Skills
by Patrice Palmer
Alphabet Publishing


"Team building activities demonstrate different aspects of team behaviors and get students to think about what is essential in order to reach their desired goals or outcomes."

Short yet full of helpful information, this book examines 13 practice activities for teachers to utilize in developing successful group work with their students. In 56 pages including an introduction, appendix, references and the author’s qualifications, the book is nicely categorized into five sections, each with one to three chapters regarding these sections. These sections include “Getting to Know Each Other Activities,” “The Benefits of Teamwork,” “Team Building Activities,” “Teamwork Skills and Strategies,” and “Reflection and Evaluation.” All of these skills help students to boost their communication skills, develop rapport with other students, and find ways to help to meet their goals. Each chapter focuses on the time involved, materials needed, the team-building skill, procedures, and, sometimes, debriefing questions. ... (read more)

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Dark Histories

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War
by Phyllis Edgerly Ring
Whole Sky Books


"After that first encounter with his crystal-blue gaze, she couldn’t imagine how she’d held out so long without blinking or looking away. A combination of innocence and ignorance, perhaps."

Three stories beguilingly intertwine in this novel. There is the story of Anna—a mature woman beset by a crumbling marriage, physical hardship, and emotional upheaval. There is the story of Anna’s mother Peggy—a World War II survivor with secrets she may have kept too long. And there is the story of Peggy’s friend Eva Braun—a young woman captivated by a man history has forever deemed a monster. The plot flows like a river with the author sliding in and out of tributaries that continually add context, illumination, and depth. Anna’s tale is the current. It sweeps readers along as she discovers things about her husband she doesn’t really want to know, then uncovers information from her mother’s past she finds hard to believe and accept, and finally shines a light on a dark figure from history that few have ever understood. ... (read more)

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Becoming a Leader

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

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A Witch Hunt

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America's First Witch Hanging
by Beth M. Caruso
Lady Slipper Press


"'Goodwife Alice Young, you are under arrest for complaints of consorting with Satan.'"

The author has penned an intriguing historical fiction novel about Alice Young, the first American Colonist hanged for witchcraft. Filled with images of what Puritan life must have been like, Caruso delivers an engaging, if frightening, story about what can result from a people mired in their religious beliefs. The author's sharp setting recreates the early Colonial days—days which were filled with triumphs and terror, new discoveries, and old brutality. ... (read more)

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Hard Justice

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Dead Wrong: A Jason Justice Mystery
by Ralph Zeta
Blue Iguana Publishing


"I had never witnessed an execution...It would be another grim image that would haunt my quiet moments for as long as I lived."

Jason Justice, a divorce attorney living in Florida, led a quiet life alone on the boat his father left for him. Not much happened in his life—until the day Milt Lowry, a famous billionaire, contacted him and asked to meet at his private home. Upon arriving, Justice walked in on Lowry being strangled to death by a masked intruder. As he attempted to help, his world went dark. Upon awakening, Justice found no body, no sign of struggle, and no intruders; he was only left with questions. Who killed Milt Lowry? Where was the body? Was Lowry really dead? Why did they spare his own life? How far would Justice go to find out? The events that followed would lead Justice down the path of investigative mystery, a far cry from his normal divorce attorney status. This path would have Justice meeting new people, learning to trust, and fearing for his life. He would learn who had helped Lowry in his life, and who was threatened by his fame and success. ... (read more)

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To Live Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Coffee Shop University: A Book About Mythology, Spirituality, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, Politics, Economics and the Ecology...
by Mario Kfoury
Comet Publications


"I’ve always been like this: a rebel who wouldn’t settle for anything less than that which would steal his heart away."

This philosophical investigation by the author is designed to lead the reader to conclusions about the nature of the universe and the meaning of life. In so doing, the reader will travel the same path that the author took. In Part I of his book, Kfoury recalls his time as a young man newly come to the US from strife-torn Lebanon. His quest begins when he attends a meeting of Native Americans while living in Los Angeles. The meeting includes a “smudging ceremony” in which smoke is used to purify the atmosphere and awaken the mind to the color and sacred elements of the natural world. Never having considered these aspects before, the author is prompted to learn more and begins a lengthy study of religion, culture, myth, and philosophy at his local library. ... (read more)

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Calculating True Cost

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Planetary Rent: As An Instrument for Solving Global Problems
by Aleksandr V. Bezgodov
Xlibris


"Future harmonious development of modern civilization is based on awareness of the fact that the nations of our planet share a common fate..."

The term "planetary rent" refers to the global agreed-upon use of resources, including social, economic, political, and natural resources. The author, having earned PhDs in political science and economics, is obviously well-versed on the subject, and this scholarly work seems best suited for upper-division university reading in global policy development and international studies. ... (read more)

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The Bridge

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Confessions of a Split Mind
by Paul Kiritsis
AuthorHouse


"SOLIM: I struggle to understand how random activations in functionally specialized regions of an input-deprived cortex could somehow translate into a meaningful, complex, and symbolically rich experience on the phenomenological level."

In the question of God versus the natural world, there are many ways to align yourself. Some strictly adhere to scientific thinking or religious beliefs, firmly convinced that the two can't coexist. Others manage to find a middle ground, straddling the two worlds with various degrees of success. In Confessions of a Split Mind, author, artist, and philosopher Paul Kiritsis explores where his own beliefs lie. Through two allegorical short stories and a series of dialogues, paired with a number of symbolic works of art, Kiritsis makes connections and asks probing questions about our brains, the nature of humanity, and our world. ... (read more)

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Myth Busting

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Psyche
by Chris Phillips
Xlibris


"This is the Age of Aquarius and ‘tell all’ is a good motto for us to follow as we move beyond the canonical scandals of the Church, manipulation of opinion, misinformation and a wide range of secret codes and names."

An eclectic book of 235 pages, it is followed by three pages of bibliography. With beautiful photos, much of this being the work of the artist Raphael, as well as other photos, it begins with the focus on the legends of Psyche, Cupid, Venus, and Pan. It examines the work regarding Original Blessing and the Wisdom Paths including a mandala of the nine spheres of Original Blessing. The book continues to examine these wisdom paths with a primary focus on Linda Goodman’s work—a work that is significantly quoted. This is regarding the virtues such as creativity, sensitivity, love, mystery, and partnership. The book then continues to astrology and archetypes, followed by utilizing the Chaldean-Kabala Numerical Alphabet as well as the periodic table of elements. Finally, it examines the psychology of HIV and AIDS and then, one’s personal transformation and transcendence. ... (read more)

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Living Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Garnet Bunches
by Zeynab Salimova
Xlibris


"Everything was grey and lifeless—as if you were in another world, the world of the dead. Here time stopped."

Part autobiography, part novel, and part historical record—this is a story of life that mostly unfolds in the country of Azerbaijan. The book intertwines the author’s own story with that of her great-grandmother. In so doing, she shows that her homeland is both rich in history and culture, yet undeniably part of the world’s ever changing interaction of cities, countries, and continents. ... (read more)

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Journey to Survive

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

REAP 23
by J J Perry
Xlibris


"Twenty-two hours later, the tug disengaged. It would jettison its disposable booster, destined to spiral into the sun."

The 23rd team of the Repopulation, Expansion, and Annexation Program (REAP) has undergone extensive flight, landing, and emergency preparation. The only factor it can't prepare for is human nature. Aboard the spaceship, a crew of four highly trained couples experiences the effects of being cooped up in close quarters. Adultery, revenge, and at least one unhinged crew member threaten years of preparation. Soon after liftoff, disaster strikes. The last 22 missions failed; humanity's fate is in their hands. Does this team have what it takes to succeed? ... (read more)

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The Family Unit

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Shocking Surprise
by Bonnie Jampol
Xlibris


"Abigail sat on the bed and thought, I don’t remember this feeling being this bad before. She just knew it was different from her other feelings. It was the worst she’d ever had."

Abigail, more affectionately known as Abby, grew up in a family that was full of love, with her mother and father leading the way and setting a virtuous example for her and her five younger siblings. True to form, as Abby was preparing for the biggest event of her life, all of her loved ones were gathered around lending her their full support to make her day as smooth as possible. Yet something still just wasn’t right. Abby was prone to having strange feelings before something big happened in her life, but the feeling she got on her wedding day was unlike one she had ever had before. ... (read more)

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Days of Lore and Magic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Bramble and the Rose: A Historical Novel
by Sanford Leffler
iUniverse


"Yet, joy was not universal throughout the Federation."

This is a well-written and engaging historical novel. The author is an excellent writer and proves himself to be an equally excellent storyteller. Leffler paints his scenes with great detail and precise descriptions, and the medieval settings are enchanting, misty, and dangerous. Names of characters, primarily Irish, are clever and fun to read. Tristan is a worthy hero and an admiral warrior, as well as, at times, moody and ornery. Princess Isolde, famous within her kingdom for being a laudable healer, changes Tristan’s life by saving him from death. Their love story is convincing and should pull at the heart strings of the hopelessly romantic and the history lover alike. ... (read more)

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True Impact

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

You Can Change the World
by Richie Hrivnak
Xlibris


"Do it now! The sooner you start, the bigger the impact you can make!"

From the author’s viewpoint, there are many things a person can do to make a change in today’s society. Any person, regardless of age or ethnicity, can do a multitude of helpful services to change our ever-growing society. People from large cities to rural areas can all help our world; you just have to find what is right for you. From small acts of kindness such as standing up for kids being bullied, praying for others, and baking cookies for your neighbor to large acts of kindness such as donating food, honoring veterans, comforting the sick, helping the homeless, rescuing an animal from the shelter, and recycling—there is something for everyone to do. Children, as well as adults, can help change and shape today’s world. These are merely a few ideas about how one person can make an impact. ... (read more)

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Cheating Death

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

German Tears
by Pauline Elischer
Xlibris


"Standing outside on the boardwalk stood her mother and her two small brothers waving goodbye. Lisle's heart began to break!"

This heartfelt narrative is the story of Lisle, a child of World War II. Her family’s desperate escape from Czechoslovakia to West Germany marks the beginning of her tale. The rampaging Soviet army was raping and killing its way across Eastern Europe near the end of the war. Even the crumbling sanctuary of a starving and defeated nation was a preferred option to the atrocities that awaited Lisle's family at the hands of the victorious Russians. ... (read more)

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Stories in Prose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tales from the Trails
by Melissa K. Melton
Xlibris


"Sometimes in life
One will find
A treasure
So precious, it’s hard to measure
A gift that lasts eternity
Always a wonderful memory"

This collection of poetry covers running from rugged trails to technical road races, giving consideration to both the physical and mental demands that long-distance running creates. Combining the author’s two most helpful outlets, each poem in this book tells a story of a specific race, with all the memorable details included. From half-marathons in the woods to 100-mile, all-day runs that demand peak performance from the runner, these poems reflect on the beauty of nature, the persevering power of the mind, and the value of good friends that support and challenge you. Split up into four sections, readers can enjoy selections about trail running, road races, running in America’s heartland, and personal musings of the author’s about the things that interest and matter most to her. ... (read more)

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The Memories

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Stories for You: "A Wish for You" a First Grader's Story from 1957
by Ricky Kennison
AuthorHouse


"It must have been the green button we pushed accidentally. No one had ever pushed that button before."

This collection consists of five brief light-hearted stories to share about pleasant memories, some recalled in detail and others embellished with some fantastical elements. The first story, “A Wish for You,” tells of a boy in school in the 1950s hoping to win a contest held by his teacher, leading to a small but profound lifelong regret. “Grandmother Emma’s ‘Secret Recipe’” illustrates the value of being charitable, even when resources are scarce or when the recipient is a complete stranger. An often-feared or hated insect is the subject of “Wasp on the Ceiling,” where the author teaches the importance of an act of kindness or mercy to any living creature. ... (read more)

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Last Stand for the Living

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Shattered Trinity: Book One of Ayun's Trilogy
by Mike Pearson
Xlibris


"Before she could even touch the console, she felt the cold, steely grip of a sentry droid grasp at her right shoulder…"

Gandhi once said that “heroes are made in the hour of defeat.” This is apparent in Pearson’s book, a story of a people’s last gasp for survival when a being known as the Star Devourer threatens to end their life. On the planet of Findang, the Humans align themselves with the Amoreans—an alien race on the same planet—to create cybernetic entities. This aliance, along with the Skorchawk race form Project Trinity, present a final resistance against the Star Devourer. The story takes place through the eyes of these cybernetic creations, and those they align themselves with, as they journey to save their homeland. ... (read more)

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Greek Upheaval

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Kapelis "the Hatmaker"
by Andreas Kappa
Xlibris


"The atmosphere was electric. Greeks were meeting in secret everywhere."

In clear and concise prose, Kappa delivers over two centuries of history from the continent of Europe. Unadorned with sentimentality, the writing reads muscular and passionate without any trace of overt manipulation. The author delivers story and action with a deft hand, choosing words for a meticulous and polished style. The reader feels the power of human emotions as the narrative spans the lifetimes of the Kapelis. The book showcases the enduring strength of family set against some of Europe’s most atrocious crimes, including the horrific holocaust of the Jews. ... (read more)

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Blood Rivals

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Queen Cartel Gangster Blooded
by Simmeon Anderson
iUniverse


"Bigz walked off and the young man started to cry out loud, screaming 'No!!!!! Please! I told you everything! Please don’t do this to me.'"

In this sequel to Cartel Kings and Gangsters: Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang!, Pinkey and Suzie’s lives take a darker turn. With their lovers James and Wesley locked away in prison, Pinkey and Suzie—along with their friends Lisa, Asia, Nadia, Shianna, and Tytianna—are stripping in a Buffalo nightclub in order to make ends meet and take care of their children. However, Pinkey and the girls’ business interests extend beyond taking off their clothes and dancing for men. They’re also running half the city of Buffalo’s drug trade for their men and the Crips. When a big baller comes into town and Pinkey recognizes him from grade school, they forge an alliance to help each other prosper. The opposing gang ties of these unlikely partners lead to a frightening situation—one that Pinkey must escape with her life and the lives of her friends. ... (read more)

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Sacrifices & Traditions

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Martini Afternoons
by Beverly Fortenberry
Xlibris


"Everyone sits on their front porches or back patios and fans themselves. They watch the fireflies and listen to the crickets singing in the trees. It is peaceful, hometown America."

Bexley, Indiana, is a quaint town in the midst of a housing transformation. Large, new homes are under development, replacing the worn charm of bungalows and cottages. Edi Harris has lived in Bexley since 1939. Now widowed, she longs for the companionship she once had with family and friends, sharing pleasant conversation over a nice martini. Determined to ease her loneliness, she implements “sample social hours” into her afternoons by calling on local contractors for estimates on home improvement projects and presenting them with a refreshing cocktail during their visits. When her long-time friend Elli comes to stay with her, the two continue with Edi’s current pastime. As the contractors begin inquiring about establishing a date for work to commence, they fear they may have taken their well-intended entertainment too far. They quickly find a solution to ending their charade when the community’s leading socialites approach Edi about converting her house into a museum to recognize Bexley’s efforts on the home front during WWII. ... (read more)

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Corky Continues

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush: Sagebrush and the Smoke Jumper
by Joni Franks
Xlibris


"Even on the darkest of days, good things can happen."

Sagebush and her owner Young Miss awake one morning to the smell of smoke coming from the mountains. A dangerous fire is coming their way. Sagebush and Young Miss immediately begin to herd the farm animals to safety. While evacuating is happening on the farm, in the woods a Shun named Juniper is also seeking shelter because of the tree cutting machines that had taken not only her home but also her parents. Juniper finally finds shelter at a campsite created by a smokejumper that came to help fight the fire. After a long day fighting the fire, the smokejumper returns to camp to find Juniper asleep. Enchanted by the small creature, the jumper asks Juniper to join him for food. After eating, the smokejumper and Juniper hear the cattle in a clearing and go to investigate. There they meet Young Miss and Sagebush who invite them back to the ranch where Juniper is introduced to two other Shuns who have been living on the property. Now Juniper can have a family again. ... (read more)

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Disquieting Beauty

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Falling Leaves Observation: Book II: Macrocosm Autumn
by Casey Carter
Xlibris


"Spurs of imagination
Pangs of intellect
Whirlwinds of beauty"

The title of Carter’s poetry collection indicates a close study of the seasonal changes of autumn: the alterations in colors by nature’s clockwork; the decay of life that marks the coming of winter. But Carter works on a much deeper level here, manifesting as a necropoetic observer of the macrocosm of our existence. Autumn simply gives inspiration to his melancholic scrutiny of life as he probes primal matters of death, the conflicts of nature and society, and the turmoil of loneliness in a fragmented world. ... (read more)

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