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The US Review of Books connects authors with professional book reviewers and places their book reviews in front of subscribers to our free monthly newsletter of fiction book reviews and nonfiction book reviews. Learn why our publication is different than most others, or read author and publisher testimonials about the USR.

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Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
by Laurence Gonzales
W.W.Norton


"The design of the human condition makes it easy for us to conceal the obvious from ourselves, especially under strain and pressure."

Accidents cover a wide spectrum of often life-threatening scenarios. On the surface, survival appears random or at the very least circumstantial, but the survivors or top performers when challenged are often those that use logic in harmony with inbred animal instincts or emotions, and they never follow the rules, not even their own, yet keep in touch with all of their knowledge and resources, their very position on the planet. ... (read more)

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A Complicated Character

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

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A 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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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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Love and Renewal

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Angel City Singles
by Ralph Cissne
Morgan Road


"…'He learned… how a new life can be constructed on the foundation of what had been destroyed.'"

David is at a crossroads when he finds himself bobbing in the Pacific Ocean off a Malibu beach. There, with dolphins swimming just out of reach, possibilities loom. A peaceful drowning death lies temptingly beneath the surface, while back on shore, the potential for fulfilling life beckons. David stays afloat, and this metaphor befits his journey of reinvention from divorce in Dallas to a new life in Los Angeles. It’s 1987—an era before Facebook, YouTube, and Uber drivers of the so-called gig economy. David and a small circle of new friends ease their way through the dark margins of Hollywood. They heal wounds, bide time, stretch pennies, and seek the inner artist in each struggling soul. ... (read more)

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An Eye-Opener

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

9/11: The Unanswered Questions
by Ramesh S Arunachalam
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"Taken together...I strongly believe that the 9/11 Commission completely failed in its job of unearthing the real facts and circumstances behind the 9/11 crime."

Arunachalam has spent sixteen years analyzing all information available regarding the unique event he refers to as “the 9/11 crime.” What initially peaked his curiosity were these facts: on no other occasion has a tall, multistoried building made of steel collapsed due to fire, and that day three such buildings, all newly-acquired by the same person, collapsed. He asks both himself and his readers if this could be a coincidence. ... (read more)

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A Personal Passage

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

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A Wonderful Celebration

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Almost a Minyan
by Lori S. Kline
Sociosights Press


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

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

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Magic & Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Wanderings of Chela Coatlicue: Touring Califaztlan
by Ananda Esteva
Transgress Press


"If you’re going to be honorable to your word like you say then don’t spew out those hating side comments even to prove a point..."

Like many young people, Chela at twenty-one is caught between personal interpretations and the classical heritage of her family. This conflict gets her expelled from the music conservatory in Mexico and causes misunderstanding from her own band members. When an online newspaper advertises a bass guitar for sale, the 'Perfumed Lady' eerily calls to her. Her uncle claims that at some deep level she recognizes the bass gifted years ago to Chela’s grandmother by her lover Sugar Rivera, a blues artist. Seeing the ad brings back buried dreams—how Chela hoped to be a famous musician like Rivera by now and how she disappointed her dying grandmother. Logistics is a major problem in reclaiming her heritage: the sale is for pickup in California only while Chela and the band are currently in Mexico. Getting visas for all and a gig ready in time to meet the sale deadline are huge roadblocks―besides those actually waiting on the road to the Mexico/USA border. ... (read more)

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A Great Yoga Primer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Yoga the Pathway to Perfection: Yoga Is Not a Way of Doing but a Way of Being
by Dr. Kandasamy Arunachalam
Xlibris AU


"Meditation is most sacred. It is the unconditioned communion with the Inner Reality, the Inner Self, the Pure Soul, Pure Undifferentiated Consciousness or the ONE."

The book explores one type of yoga: the yoga of meditation or Raja yoga. This introductory booklet consists of 45 pages and is broken down into 19 chapters. It offers a discussion of the basics of all yoga and why one should utilize meditation as a process of healing. It explores Samadhi as looking at the three conditions of consciousness—waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. Also important are the three disciplines—universal charity, strict morality, and development of the mind. It then takes the reader into the value of walking meditation, contemplation, and how to select the meditation site, the clothing worn, the postures, and the physiology of breathing and relaxation. ... (read more)

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Surviving

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tutti’s Promise: A Novel Based on a Family’s True Story of Courage and Hope during the Holocaust
by K. Heidi Fishman
MB Publishing


"When Tutti returned, she said, “Mammi, these stars are so the Germans can make sure we're following their rules, aren't they?"
"Yes, Mädchen. You're so smart."

Tutti Lichtenstern was an infant when her family left Germany in 1936. By then, the Nazis had been passing anti-Jewish laws for three years and had stripped Jews of their citizenship, so Tutti's family fled to the Netherlands. The Lichtensterns thought they’d be safe in Amsterdam, but four years later, they realized they hadn't moved far enough: on May 10, 1940, the Dutch army surrendered to the Germans, and Tutti and her family, along with all the other Jews, faced life-changing restrictions... and then, mortal danger. ... (read more)

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Indigenous People

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Into A Savage Land
by James R. Field
Hyperborea Publishing


"...he felt his hair being grabbed by the hand of a savage who lifted him clear off his feet with one arm while with the other he swung a tomahawk."

In this historical novel based on an actual incident that occurred in the early 1800s, Field dramatizes events surrounding the sacking of a sailing vessel, the massacre of its crew, and the taking of two white prisoners by the indigenous peoples of Canada’s Pacific Northwest Coast. It is a tale of high adventure that breathes life into a story of the unfortunate sailors and the Nootkans who enslaved them. ... (read more)

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A Nonstop Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Persona Non Grata: A Novel
by D. C. Grahame
Orewa Storytelling Company


"'I’m not a hero.' Hades replied. Firing a second bullet into Kane’s shoulder causing the large man to shriek in pain."

In the coastal city of Kingsland, England, two families vie for control of the criminal underworld. James Vinyar and Isaac Kane are behind much of the city’s illegal activity, but, eventually, the two men come into direct confrontation, an event which results in James being killed in front of two of his three sons: Indy and John. The Vinyar boys live off James’s pension while Isaac’s control of Kingsland grows unchecked. When John kills one of Isaac’s sons after an underground street fight between the two of them, John disappears for years, only returning when Indy gets knocked out by a stranger on a dark street. Kane’s men come for John again when he returns to Kingsland, so Indy decides on exacting justice his own way: soon a costumed vigilante the press calls “Hades” is patrolling the streets, harassing Kane’s enterprises. ... (read more)

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Quiet Medicine

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Dead Serious and Lighthearted: The Memorable Words of Modern America, Volume 1 (1957-1976)
by Mack W. Borgen
Schmitt & Brody Publishers


"History is a quiet medicine, but it can allow us individually and as a nation to better remember our accomplishments. It can reinforce our patience..."

Opening this book feels like unlocking a time capsule. What were people watching on TV or seeing in movie theaters in 1967? If you can’t remember, two popular offerings were The Andy Griffith Show and In the Heat of the Night. If you could step back into a bookstore in 1965, what books would be on the best seller’s shelf? The author tells us they were The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Unsafe at Any Speed. Meanwhile, the memorable phrase of 1973 was “What did the President know and when...” ... (read more)

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Encouraging Philosophy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Chiseled Intelligence for the Soul: A Thinking Super-Book of Inspiration, Volume 2
by Dr. George D. Naike, Ph.D., FRC.
BookVenture Publishing, LLC


"Infinite is impossible; finite definitely is. The caveat is, it must be correctly identified, defined, aimed for, and then achieved."

Over the course of more than a hundred quotes, the author of this collection provides succinct, profound, and poignant thoughts about both the physical and metaphysical worlds we live in. Each thought is presented as a singular quote from the author, complete with a title and occasionally a dedication to the people or place that inspired it. Topics range from positivity and spirituality to friendship and the existence of the soul, and they are frequently approached with a mixture of gravity and playfulness. The chapters with specific dedications are often written from a position of being thankful and grateful to that chapter’s focus, whether it is on cardiologists, the City of London, or Princess Diana. ... (read more)

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Suspense & Danger

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Suspicion
by Jake Bussolini
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"You have approval to offer friend a new identity if he cooperates. Courier may be trusted completely. Assistant still in doubt, make your own judgment."

There’s a lot to like in this intellectually compelling thriller. The plot is involving and credible. The characters’ personalities, behaviors, and idiosyncrasies are well-drawn. The evocation of the time’s geopolitical climate, plus the economic and political aspects of the period, are realistic. One gets the feeling that what goes on in this novel could have actually gone on in the late 1970s and early 1980s. ... (read more)

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A World in Change

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Farewell the Dragon
by Lee Barckmann
AuthorHouse


"The music evoked soulful melancholy, pushing me outside my normal consciousness, away from self-awareness, into a reverie of emotion and longing."

Napoleon is frequently credited with describing China thusly: “There lies a sleeping giant. Let him sleep. For when he awakens he will move the world.” For centuries China has been viewed by Westerners as a mystery. In this novel, we have a Westerner embroiled in a murder investigation in mysterious China. As the mystery unfolds, so too does a bit of the country’s impenetrability—thanks to the insightfulness and reportage of the author. Barckmann freely admits that even the Chinese don’t totally understand this ancient land, its customs, and its people. But through his storytelling, we get a closer look at this enigmatic world, and we do so while being thoroughly entertained in the process. ... (read more)

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Best Intentions

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Son Of The Maya
by John H. McKoy
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"Hour after hour, we trudged through brush, forest, and an occasional clearing, but no farm, no town, no well-worn path, and no sign of other humans appeared."

The haves and the have-nots, the upwardly mobile and the mean street toughs, the immigrants and the natives, the guardians of the status quo and the unabashed revolutionaries—they all struggle, skirmish, and intertwine in this geopolitical thriller that is as much about social change as it is about kidnap survival. McKoy has penned a tale that may appeal equally to both admirers of adventure and addicts of international studies. His is a yarn as much about right and wrong as it is about good and bad—and how it’s sometimes very difficult to know exactly which is which. ... (read more)

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Women of Faith

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Women Who Knew Jesus
by Rev. Dr. Bonnie Ring
BookVenture Publishing


"Whatever we do, seeking our own wholeness should be our first priority."

After years of working as a psychologist and as an ordained minister, Ring presents a manual for the study of women whom Jesus of Nazareth encountered in the course of his life, beginning before his birth and continuing after his death and resurrection. Ring’s study of these women began with a focus on five subjects, but later she was encouraged to expand the circle. The many women included here range from the well-known, such as Mary the mother of Jesus, to a crippled woman healed in a synagogue, a poor widow contributing her “mite,” Simon Peter’s mother, and even the wife of Pontius Pilate. In each case study Ring is not merely recounting a Biblical story, but, in a sense, composing a vibrant sermonette. ... (read more)

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Accessible Prose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Poems for All Occasions
by Linda Mangram
BookVenture Publishing, LLC


"Our friends remain important wherever we are.
We want to keep them close, not have them go far."

Just as the name implies, this book compiles a large number of poems written by the author to cover many of life’s moments and circumstances. Each of the poems is placed into one of three chapters based on their overall theme and message. The first chapter’s theme is “Inspirational,” offering several poems on the subject of faith and the power and influence of God in everyone’s life. Whether it’s learning to put control of life in God’s hands or a message of support in difficult times when even suicide is being complicated, this first collection offers a glimpse of hope and a way out through a path of love and faith. ... (read more)

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A New Adult Character

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Diner by The Lake
by Danial Suits


"The start of an idea is done and it will be turning the idea into something real that will dictate the rest of their lives."

Dreams and ambition light a match, but it’s the plodding, consistent, day-by-day grind of committed hard work and determination that realize a goal. This textbook recipe for success finds an unlikely poster child in recent college graduate Lindsey Chastain, a lovely and unassuming young woman so unexpectedly poised with the ingredients for success that even her best friends doubt her ability when, just a week out of school, she announces her intent to open a diner. Soon enough, when the rest of the county is eating Lindsey’s popular fare, Lindsey’s doubters are eating their words. ... (read more)

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A Cowboy Hero

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Tick Rider: A Story of Families, Homelands, Drugs, Redemption, and the Dividing Rio Grande
by William Street
BookVenture Publishing


"There they parted, both aware of the invisible boundary between their two countries, an unseen cultural wall that perhaps, in the end, they both realized could destroy their budding relationship."

In May 2009, Jack Leavitt, a young cowboy, is on a routine patrol along the Rio Grande when he encounters a Mexican teen, Ramon, struggling to herd his cattle away from the US border. Jack is employed by the Texas Animal Health Commission as a tick rider (a little known and specialized role in the prevention of tick-infested livestock crossing into the United States). He instinctively crosses into Mexico with his trusted horse, Tom, to help Ramon without any thought of the repercussions or peril. Together, they herd Ramon’s cattle back to the ranch where the Ortez family lives, and Jack meets the beautiful Gabriella Ortez. Her beauty incites a passion in Jack, and a courtship and romance develop between them during the course of the novel. But their relationship is not without barriers and concerns expressed from each of their respective families. Gabriella’s family cautions her about moving too fast with the Americano, while Jack’s father, James, who works for the Drug Enforcement Agency, fears for his son’s safety with the increasing cartel activity along the borders. ... (read more)

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The Legacy Begins

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Legacy of King Jasteroth, Vol. 1
by S. L. Wyllie
Amazon Digital


"If your powers aren't harnessed and controlled properly, they could consume you and take command. Or, something far worse..."

In the faraway Kingdom of the Golden Peaks, Princess Ariella lives an unhappy life as a prisoner of her family's own design. Eager to learn to fight with a sword and defend her kingdom like her brothers Edward and Charles, her father insists that she stay locked away and demands she start attending lessons with a tutor for as long as ten hours a day. Distraught, Ariella is soon surprised to learn the nature of this tutelage. A handsome young man named Austin Alvar begins to work with Ariella, revealing that she is capable of magic so powerful it is nearly unrivalled in all the lands. With a new spark of hopefulness in her life, Ariella dives head first into her magical studies, only to have her world crash around her with a war on the horizon and the magical assassination of her mother, the Queen. ... (read more)

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Deeply Meditative & Philosophical

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Pigeon
by Daniel Zadow
Xlibris


"Then etch by etch, slowly, the face is repaired and filled in, and the face is that of a young child. It is me."

Simon, living in the present time of 2030, has been blessed (or is it cursed?) with the power to see into alternate dimensions. This skill has given him the ability to travel into dreams, to commune with spirits, and to exist on an alternate plane of reality. But he has never been able to control these skills, only learn to live with them—that is, until now. When a pigeon dies in his hands, Simon and the pigeon become inextricably linked, forming a bond of souls. And now the pigeon has come back with an offer that Simon has been waiting for his whole life: the chance to become part of something bigger than him. Through the spirit of the dead pigeon, Simon is introduced to the Intractable Energy Agency which travels into the parallel dimension of dreams in an attempt to safeguard lost energy. Finally, Simon's journey can begin. ... (read more)

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Redemption

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Speaking Human: The Tragedy of the Retarded Genius
by Adrienne Fergessen
Xlibris


"Filling the bath with water, I swallowed every drug I had ever been prescribed and waited for my breathing to slow down."

Jamiel is a Lebanese-Australian boy eager to enjoy life and learn all that society has to offer, but he has a hard time fitting in. Undiagnosed as an autistic, he goes through life struggling with human interactions and experiencing deep depression stemming from feelings of inadequacy brought on by teachers, peers, and family members. Struggling to find his place in the world, Jamiel tries living abroad, going to university, and attempting suicide as means to make sense of his life. Through the support of loved ones and an attitude that musters moments of understanding and fearlessness, he becomes a renowned DJ, a successful businessman, and even someone who champions justice and tries to make the world a better place. ... (read more)

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Forceful Arguments

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Century Sentence: A Diary Written to God Accusing Against All of the World
by Xu Xue Chun
Xlibris


"There must be a new agreement between God and Man."

Presented as a series of short essays, this large work comprises the author's conversations with God. The individual segments range widely in subject, commenting on such diverse issues as the essence of the Tao Te Ching, the relationship between China and Taiwan, preventing global Islam, China’s governance, the insanity of Americans, and the "doggery" of democratic systems, with a strong preference expressed for Chinese socialism. The author advocates for the death penalty and for buying and selling babies on the international market. Africans, he states, have low IQs, Israel will fail if it continues to allow homosexuality, and the current Pope "has lost his mind" because he once washed the feet of Muslims. Chun believes that hatred for and willingness to expel Mexicans or Muslims is not racism; it is the only way to combat Satan, and, as such, is God's will. He states plainly that "women can't think." They can therefore never be philosophers and must always be taken care of by men. ... (read more)

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A Reiveting Tale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Dragon in the Mist
by Tom Caine
Xlibris


"'This may be an ending, but we are sailing towards a new beginning, my lord.'"

Wolfric is a young man approaching adulthood in 9th century England. His father is Earldoman Hrothwulf, a respected landowner in the coastal areas of Wessex, and so Wolfric grows up familiar with power and privilege while still remaining kind and considerate. Norse raiders arrive in the nearby port of Oxtun under the leadership of the jarl’s son, Alrik, and havoc ensues when the war leader goes rogue and decides to loot and pillage the town. This singular decision sets in motion a series of events that will define the political landscape of the country. Hrothwulf and his men arrive to defend the survivors and drive the raiders off, while Wolfric meets Alrik and learns the true reason of the Norsemen’s arrival: to negotiate a treaty with England that trades land and protection for a Navy to use against invaders. ... (read more)

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A Personal Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Hard Bargain: Music, Medicine, and My Father (Richard Tucker, Opera Legend)
by David Tucker and Burton Spivak
Xlibris


"The tug-of-war between music and medicine was pulling the rope exceedingly tight, with no clear winner or loser."

David Tucker dreams of a career in music, but his father envisions a future in medicine for his son and refuses to relent. At constant odds over the younger Tucker’s future, father and son struggle to accept each other’s aspirations. An agreement is reached between the two that the father will generously pay for singing lessons only if his son remains in medical school and pursues a career as a doctor. However, escaping the shadow of his father—Richard Tucker, a renowned operatic tenor for the Metropolitan Opera—proves a daunting task for the author as he is continuously subjected to comparisons. The weight of balancing both his education and singing requires unwavering dedication, but he is committed to pursuing both medicine and his passion. As his graduation nears, he is faced with the challenge of deciding his path and discovers that his purpose surprisingly aligns with his father’s dream. ... (read more)

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Funny and Honest

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Season in My Life
by Richard Lawrence
Xlibris


"I really didn’t intend for this book to be about me. It was supposed to be about men’s softball and why we play."

Ben is a devoted boyfriend, an expectant father, and perhaps, most importantly, an amateur softball fanatic. The team he currently coaches, Swingin’ Stixx, is a dream team of Ben’s friends, players he’s built a relationship with over previous seasons, and a collection of players from other teams who’ve proven themselves to be athletic studs. As the title implies, this story follows Ben, his team, and his relationships off the diamond through a season of Alabama’s tournament and league softball. ... (read more)

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Gripping Crime Novel

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Spirit Lake
by Dwight Dixon
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"He had a rough moment as he beheld her once pretty face, crushed and distorted forever."

By all appearances, Dan Rice leads the typical American family life. He is a tenured professor at a conservative college, lives near a beautiful lake with his wife and fifteen-year-old son, and has aspirations of finishing a novel that will provide both the respect and financial success he seeks. But looming beneath the surface is a dark desire to release his frustrations over his struggling marriage and unhappiness through rage and violence. Impacting his situation are the terrible headaches he is experiencing. A fainting incident on the college campus leads to an encounter with a female colleague that attracts his attention. Suzanne Lacey is attempting to create a new life for herself after escaping a difficult past and recent allegations of murder following her husband’s death. When she refuses Dan’s advancements, he spirals into a series of brutal acts that erupt into a volatile scheme to capture his prey. ... (read more)

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Three Faces

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Safe Passages
by Elizabeth Terraszas
Xlibris


"She cinches the plastic ties around Susan’s wrists and leads her out to the car."

Courtney McCormick is good at her job, but it’s an unusual profession. She is a transporter, responsible for safely delivering troubled and grief-stricken children to schools with expert counseling services. Her assignments arrive at the request of concerned parents who fear for their child’s safety if they do not take drastic measures to intervene. A former cop, her keen eye at surveying the locations of interception proves beneficial at establishing effective capture, restraint, and transport. She intently reviews the details of each case, aware that a single misstep can result in an undesirable or even fatal outcome. But when she is asked to transport her boss’ granddaughter, Courtney fears she may not have the necessary skills to successfully complete this sensitive mission. ... (read more)

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Broad Suspense

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Diversions: America Under Attack
by Frederick Nathan
Xlibris


"I start to think like a terrorist about where I can place bombs, what places are most vulnerable and where can I maximize the damage."

In this post-9/11 terrorism thriller, the Anti-Terrorism Task Force (ATTF) led by Mark Jason, Jr. is trying to stay one step ahead of a terrorist cell led by Jari, the mastermind behind an impending attack on multiple targets in the United States. The tactics of the ATTF are showcased as the team investigates complicated webs of hidden identities, banking transactions, and business ownership. The layered facades created by Jari to conceal his extremist ideology, true identity, and catastrophic intentions are effective as he sets up multiple targets and diversions. The complexities of anti-terrorism efforts are laid bare as the team wrestles with issues of security, privacy, vigilance, and paranoia. The ATTF must anticipate targets by understanding the mind of the terrorist, by understanding history, and by understanding the nation’s vulnerabilities. ... (read more)

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Deep Exploration

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

When Writing Morphs into a Lifetime: A Novel
by Myrna Lou Jastra
AuthorHouse


"Were it not for the power of the written word, the world of Lor and Ermin would never have commenced."

The love story of Lor and Ermin unfolds against the backdrop of post-World War II in the Philippines. Lor, an aspiring writer, meets Ermin when he writes to her and requests that she submit an article to be included in his all all-boys military academy publication. The year is 1948, and Lor has been actively writing for her own college newspaper. This correspondence starts a relationship that is tentative at first as career ambitions and trajectories threaten to keep the two from being together. Lor is hired as the first female journalist of the Manila Daily Bulletin in 1949, and Ermin pursues a military career. Then, when Lor is accepted into a graduate program in Michigan, she is prepared to choose her career and ambitions over love and family. But Ermin is persistent in his hopes for marriage. Lor must decide. ... (read more)

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Raising Children

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

In Loving Hands: How the Rights for Young Children Living in Children’s Homes Offer Hope and Happiness in Today’s World
by Elsa Chahin with Anna Tardos
Xlibris


"An adult must work with continuous patience and presence to maintain equanimity and emotional balance."

With children being raised in orphanages and institutions around the world, many people believe that these circumstances cannot produce a child who is emotionally stable and developmentally balanced. However, a pediatrician named Emmi Pikler studied children raised outside of the family unit and came up with a method that creates comforting, supportive environments for children who for one reason or another must be raised away from their relatives. In this book, a series of guidelines and methods influenced by Pikler are presented to help those running children’s homes and institutions to provide adequate, effective care for children from infancy on up. Using plenty of data and real-world examples, the authors make their case clear in the hopes that every child in the world can be raised with love and support no matter what their circumstances are. ... (read more)

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Called to Serve

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Power and the Fear
by Banilda Mares
Xlibris


"...if we want a better life and future...[w]e are the ones who have to make the difference in ourselves first and then in others."

People today are ruled by two forceful motivators: power and fear. Those with stronger personalities have learned that power—domination, authority―protects them by manipulating others. Those less strong-willed can be controlled by fear―even terror―inherent from their personalities or provoked by someone else. Both power and fear are bad motivators. Parents may contribute initially to these responses adopted by their children without meaning to do so. Who advises parents how to do better? With God’s help, the author broke through her own generational cycle by speaking aloud positive words. She repeatedly proclaimed herself a “winner, victorious and warrior.” Her daughter is learning from this mother’s example. ... (read more)

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Favorable Outcomes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Synergy: A Theoretical Model of Canada’s Comprehensive Approach
by Eric Dion, CD, MBA, PhD
iUniverse


"...synergy theoretically emerges from being a crucial condition, not by being left to chance."

In this extensively researched and copiously documented book, a way forward is proposed to better manage problems and conflicts that often arise in one part of the world but ultimately involve multiple nations. Tribulations arising from unconventional warfare, counterterrorism, narcotics proliferation, and more are making it essential that interdependent governing bodies find a way to work more effectively together. This author—a military veteran, executive management consultant, and university lecturer—proffers that greater efficiency can be achieved through the use of an integrated, holistic, and dynamic theoretical model when undertaking a comprehensive approach to the difficulty at hand. ... (read more)

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Musical Prose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Poetically Speaking: Artistically
by Thelma Cunningham
Xlibris


"He ran through valleys,
Over mountains and pathways,
And ran until he was delivered from all problems."

While Cunningham’s poetry compilation covers a range of emotions using a multitude of figurative devices, art forms, and experimental verse, the resonating themes are love and faith. With a combination of hundreds of poems and sixty-two original song lyrics, there is an undeniable substance with which audiences can engage. ... (read more)

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Achingly Human

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Children of a Northern Kingdom: A Story of the Strangite Mormons in Wisconsin and on Beaver Island, Michigan
by Elaine Stienon
AuthorHouse


"Gabriel has only seconds to realize that they must leave everything behind, even the animals and the tools. He blinks. How can he tell the others?"

An unholy trio of bigotry, fear, and religious persecution hovers like a malevolent cloud over this narrative of Mormon settlers in the American Midwest of the1800s. Cruel, oppressive, and violent behavior repeatedly confronts the principal characters in Stienon’s historical novel. Yet it is not the monstrous conduct of their persecutors that will remain with you at story’s end. Rather, it is the faith, strength, and resolve of the oppressed that will surely leave the most lasting impression. ... (read more)

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Faith Through Crisis

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Miracles from Prayers: Conversations with God
by Ann Malik Oman
Xlibris


"God heard my pleas and answered my cries for help from him."

Afflicted by many physical sufferings in the course of her life, the author shares the special relationship with God that helped her at every step of the way. Major troubles began after an auto accident left her with an aching arm. When the usual therapies did not bring relief, it was discovered that she had bone cancer, requiring extensive radiation treatments. A practicing Catholic who had actively “received the Holy Spirit into my life” as a teenager, Oman reacted to the diagnosis with near constant prayer and with acceptance which she believes helped her face the events that followed. Later, she developed plasmacytoma and multiple myeloma, experiences she shares in detail, including many seemingly miraculous occurrences and answered prayers. Her husband was a wonderful caregiver; she continued her favorite activities—sewing and quilting—and attended a cancer camp. After years of struggle with the disease, she was pronounced cancer-free, and even her doctor said it was a miracle. ... (read more)

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A Mosaic of Drama

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

2056: Meltdown: The Lost Rule of Law
by Philip Altman
Xlibris UK


"More and more people were bribing judges for a successful outcome to their cases and this had even led to blackmail and the prosecution of some judges…"

This international thriller takes a look at the future and doesn’t like what it sees. In Altman’s 2056, corruption of the judiciary is rampant. Those with the means to do so bribe judges for favorable verdicts. Honest decisions are almost nonexistent. Something must be done, so virtuous individuals unite in an attempt to once again even the scales of justice. ... (read more)

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A Privileged View

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

640 Acres and Dirt Poor
by Janet Godwin Meyer
AuthorHouse


"…I am a lonesome man who somehow accumulated six hundred and forty acres of land, and when I was working toward that end, I enjoyed life’s sacrifices and embraced them with the hope of a better tomorrow…"

At the start of Meyer's lengthy memoir, sixty-seven-year-old Hugh Godwin mourns the death of his wife, Mattie, and their son, Right Handy. Their deaths are a result of a typhoid epidemic and devastate their family. From here, Meyer's book scrupulously regales the intricate history of the neighboring Godwin and Owens families, traversing across time and generations. Before his death, Hugh begins to share his family history with his young son, Shug. But as Shug ages, he shies away from his father’s rural farming ways and instead turns to a life of moonshine and eventually to the logging business with his good friend, John Owens. Later, Shug marries John’s daughter, Vesta, and their family of five children includes Meyer. Following the author's personal history in the last third of the book, she recounts her life growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, learning about her family and difficult truths about society. By high school graduation, she is more than ready to face the world. ... (read more)

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Smelling the Roses

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hey, Everybody!: Preston Carlisle Tells His Story
by Preston C. Carlisle
Xlibris


"I don't remember taking 18 to 24 minutes for reflection in any of the last 40 years."

Authors sometimes set out to write their memoirs for their grandchildren or for cathartic self-help. Carlisle is no different. He was spurred on to write this book by regular pleading from his grandkids asking, "Grandpa, can you tell us a story?" But, that is where the "sometimes" ends and this unique memoir begins. ... (read more)

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Making Love Great

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Get the FACTS: 5 Secrets to a Healthy Christian Relationship from a Guy's-Eye View
by Jermaine A. Hamwright
iUniverse


"Plain and simple, true love never fails. God sees to that. Life is about living, learning and loving."

Drawing from his background as a human resources specialist, Christian talk show host, and motivational speaker—but, most importantly, as a man looking for love—the author provides a straightforward approach for men and women to establish a healthy relationship with one another. The FACTS in the title is an acronym that represents the ingredients that must be present in a loving, Christian relationship: friendship, affirmation, communication, trust, and support. Combining hypothetical situations, personal accounts, and Biblical scripture, readers will be able to see what was missing from previous relationships and what needs to be a part of any future romantic endeavors. More than just a five-step process, there are also chapters about being honest, how to deal with hard times together, the importance of faith and maintaining a constant belief system, and more. ... (read more)

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Clarity and Conviction

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Unforgivable Sin: Spiritual Formation Through Forgiveness, Repentance, and Reconciliation
by Mikal J. Shedd
iUniverse


"The first defense against the Cycle of Unforgiveness is to establish a habit of daily prayer and scripture study. "

Written by a Minister of Blessing in the Community of Christ, this book serves a dual purpose. First, it provides an understanding of the spiritual quality of forgiveness. Second, it comprises a set of daily exercises related to the process of forgiveness. The author shares an autobiographical vignette of a crucial, difficult, and demanding situation in her own life—the death of a family member. This eventually evoked a call within her to forgive persons who seemed “unforgivable.” She shows how easily the reluctance to forgive can become a cycle of hatred, tantamount to an addiction. The related feelings of victimhood, of cultural or societal superiority, of blame, of refusal to share responsibility, even the basic feeling of “he/she hit me first” all play into what she calls the Cycle of Unforgiveness. She finds comfort and eventually a way out of this cycle through scripture. She shows how God, through Jesus and his disciples, demonstrates forgiveness, teaching us that we are in service to one another. ... (read more)

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The Best Intensions

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Operation Wappen: A War That Never Was
by Robert K. Maddock
Xlibris


"To understand history and current events we must understand how people think. Nowadays this means a working knowledge of our major ideologies―Judeo-Christianity, Islam, and Communist-socialism."

The author lived through a one-of-a-kind experience in 1957 that was classified under the code name “Operation Wappen.” His account in this book begins with an explanation of the fears facing a world recently plunged into the Cold War on the heels of World War II. Communism was swallowing nations behind what Winston Churchill declared an “Iron Curtain.” Next, sights seemed to be set on seducing Arab nations. With Eisenhower as America’s president, his staff encouraged a military-style solution to Communist activity in Syria. Aboard the USS Olmstead, the 6th Marine Regiment sailed under subterfuge into the Mediterranean Sea. The night of October 16, officers met on the USS Albany to reveal operation details; Maddock attended as the artillery liaison. His assignment the next morning would be to fly by seaplane over Syria to get coordinates. This military operation would then use the nuclear weapon wildcard. Russia’s surprise launch of Sputnik and civil rights troubles in Little Rock made cooler heads prevail. ‘Operation Wappen’ was quietly aborted. ... (read more)

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Whimsical

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Alali the Flying Mermaid
by Betty Hall
Xlibris


"Ocean creatures of all sizes, shapes, and accents, gave her their blessings, wishing her speed in her quest."

While playing with her friend Pearl, a young mermaid by the name of Alali is startled when her grandmother lets out a frightened shriek. Rushing to the safety of her elder, Alali’s grandmother Elise informs Alali that her parents have been captured and kidnapped by the evil barracuda, Sobedel. When the electric fish sage Modu visits Alali in a dream, she knows that she must seek out the wise fish’s advice to rescue her parents and sets out on a two-week journey through the ocean. Meeting friends along the way, she finally arrives at Modu’s castle to learn that her parents are still alive but in dire condition. Modu also shares a detail of Alali’s past: she was born with superpowers that were stolen from her by the cunning octopus, Ka. ... (read more)

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An Unbreakable Bond

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Adventures of Ralphy and the Awesome Trio
by Linda D. Vagnetti
Zimbell House Publishing


"Anyway, we finally became ungrounded, but we didn’t go back to Mackinac Island. When we got home, I wrote down the adventures to tell at school. Our stories were becoming infamous."

Ralphy, Jabber, and LeBean are a trio of best friends. They are all very different, but they also bring out the best in one another. From their adventures fishing at the lake to getting lost in the woods at Boy Scout Camp to sneaking into a haunted house, these three friends will always be there for one another, even after their fight over fruit trees at the state fair. ... (read more)

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Wolves of Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Check Mate: Wolf Sisters Series, Book 1
by Margy Millet
iUniverse


"Then they closed their eyes, enjoying the heat of their joined bodies."

Roger, a wolf mourning the loss of his wife and baby at a funeral, shifts into a wolf and runs off. Twenty-seven years later, Pilar (Pi)—a half wolf, half person—encounters Alton, a similar hybrid, at her office at the DEA and declares him “mine.” Alton has the same reaction toward her. Each has located their mate. Six months earlier, Roger, the father of Ari, Cris, and Pi, tells Alton that his dying wish is for Alton to find Pi. Pi and her two siblings search for Reed, Pi’s childhood crush, who is in trouble. To lure Reed’s captor, Willie, away from him, Pi pretends to be a prostitute then poisons Willie and escapes the house. The group then rescues Reed, and Pi and Alton consummate their relationship. While Reed is cared for at the wolf compound, Pi and her sisters feel stifled. Carla, Alton’s ex, attacks Pi. Alton and Pi first mate as wolves and then as humans. ... (read more)

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Fate of a Nation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Republic: Traitor
by R. R. Quaggiato
Xlibris


"He ended the meeting with his characteristic note of sadness. 'Please keep us up to date with any new developments; the White House will always be open."

America has seen better days as it faces rampant rioting, a biological attack on Congress, growing unease among the public, and the threat of imminent terrorist attacks—both from overseas and from the home turf. The new President, Clayton Prescott III, has his work cut out for him. With the help of his closest advisers and cabinet, he has to figure out how to rebuild the US or watch his beloved nation burn to the ground. As the threats mount, Prescott must deal with pressure from the media and unease among his own staff. ... (read more)

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