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August 2019

Book Reviews

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

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Focus Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race
by Douglas Brinkley
Harpers


"'Are we working 24 hours a day on existing programs? If not, why not?'" – from JFK memorandum regarding US space effort

Famous for making a “giant leap for mankind” upon the lunar surface, the US space program was in fact built with small steps. It began with the great minds of earlier centuries and the brainchildren of inventors and tinkerers. By the time John F. Kennedy took the reins of the Presidency and a splintered military push for rockets, an approach for the moon had already been discussed and often been dismissed within the higher circles of scientists and pundits. Then the first Russian Vostok missions occurred, solidifying a presidency as well as defining a purpose for America in space. Reaching the Moon would “leapfrog” Krushev’s accomplishments and threats. In many ways, the free world drew focus for the first time since WWII, lifting three astronauts to the Moon and etching a new high water mark for humanity that for fifty years remains unduplicated and unsurpassed. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

Exploring Self

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A Walking Shadow
by Gary Bolick
Unsolicited Press


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

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

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A Complicated Character

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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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Forever

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They'll Never Die
by Don Calmus
Fulton Books


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

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

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Big Plans

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The Dung Beetels of Liberia: A Novel Based on True Events
by Daniel V. Meier, Jr.
BQB Publishing


"I can’t say for certain that it was a damp, drizzly November of the soul or that I wished to be called Ishmael, but events had reached a turning point."

After his older brother’s tragic death, Ken Verrier drops out of his classes at Cornell University in the summer of 1961 to opt for life as a transport pilot in West Africa. The ever-present dung beetles become a metaphor for the various groups he flies from the capital, Monrovia, and into the bush. All of these groups seem to be seeking to “roll” something out of Liberia. The Americo-Liberians live as “big men” at the top of the national social ladder. The missionaries and Peace Corps volunteers seek to do good. Meanwhile, the diplomats, politicians, international corporations, hustlers, ex-Nazis, and Israeli Nazi-hunters are all scrambling to manifest their agendas and reap profit amidst a mosaic of tribal cultures. ... (read more)

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Max's Story

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The Case of Emil Diesel
by Patricia Menton
Xlibris


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

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

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Manhattan Nexus

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Cooperative Lives
by Patrick Finegan
Two Skates Publishing


"Hanni gathered her belongings and left the church. There was clarity in her mother’s pronouncement, 'This is how God repays sinners.'"

Set in recent history, the author’s book uses a Manhattan co-op as its nexus—a place where all of its characters reside or have a history of residence. From the outset, a shared address seems to be all that binds these individuals together as they, in true New York City fashion, keep their heads down and worry about their own survival rather than the lives of everyone else in the crowd. However, bonds are revealed in time. Some are being made with each passing day; others have dissolved or been hidden from years before. What starts as a metropolitan microcosm unfolds and grows to encompass stories of fortunes won and lost, international intrigue, and lives that hang in the balance after every small and large decision. ... (read more)

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Generations of the Chesapeake

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Family Matters
by D. C. Moses
Cherry Street Publishers


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

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

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Realizing the Disney Vision

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Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs for the Disney Studios
by David A. Bossert
The Old Mill Press


"'It’s the only furniture I ever dealt with that had a soul. It had an energy that came off of it.'"

At the close of the 1930s, Walt Disney was putting together his legendary studio complex in California, designed from the ground up to provide his team with everything they needed to do their jobs. Also enjoying success in his field, German architect Kem Weber was pushing the style of modernism in the areas of furniture design and architecture. Searching for someone who could capture his vision completely, Disney struck up a partnership with Weber that led to the designing of a whole new line of furniture that combined flexibility and modulation with extreme specialization. These designs and pieces of furniture served as an iconic hallmark of the Disney Animation Studios for decades after their creation as well as in a resurgence toward the end of the previous century. ... (read more)

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True Valor

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WWI Crusaders: A Band of Yanks in German-Occupied Belgium Help Save Millions from Starvation as Civilians Resist the Harsh German Rule. August 1914 to May 1917
by Jeffrey B. Miller
Milbrown Press


"The oncoming sound of heavy boots swept into the paper shop moments before the bell above the door tinkled."

As the First World War began to spread throughout Europe, Germany’s occupation of neutral Belgium struck many as a concerning action. With many of the able-bodied men shipped off for slave labor, the writing was on the wall that the country would stagnate and soon face a crippling food shortage. Efforts from within Belgium were being concocted to provide for the people, but without adequate access to resources and guarantees from the warring powers, nothing could be accomplished. Meanwhile, a group of Americans led by Herbert Hoover was helping American tourists out of the war zone but soon decided that intervention had to be taken in Belgium’s food crisis, as well. They had the protection as a neutral interventionist organization but lacked the infrastructure to disperse the aid appropriately. ... (read more)

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Direct Answers

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Common Sense and Reasonable Answers
by William Warren Luce
Seacoast Press


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

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

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The Right D3

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The Optimal Dose: Restore Your Health With the Power of Vitamin D3
by Judson Somerville, MD
Big Bend Press


"During that day outside in the sun, you likely felt very alive and invigorated but then got very tired that night and slept well."

After experiencing a tragic biking accident, the author of this book was rendered paraplegic while going through his medical residency. Struggling with chronic pain and a host of other medical concerns, he was able to overcome his disabilities and finish his training, opening up his own private practice. Health continued to be an ever-present concern, however, as he dealt with infections, sores, and a lack of quality sleep. Decades later, he attended a medical conference and listened to a talk about vitamin D3, something he had already considered as an undiscovered cure. His beliefs reinforced, the author returned to his home and began experimenting on himself to discover what larger doses of D3 could do for him before prescribing them to his patients. This book captures those results, chronicling the author’s personal story and background before exploring the positive effects that a much larger dose than the current recommended dosage of the vitamin can have on the body. ... (read more)

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A Western Gem

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

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Young Struggles

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A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains: A Memoir
by William Walters and Victoria Golden
Orphan Books


"I did commit a major crime repeatedly during the time I lived with the Walters: I ran away. To me this was not a criminal act—it was a survival tactic."

This co-written memoir reveals painful truths about the effects of the Orphan Trains on Depression-era children in the United States. In its attempt to find stable homes for children away from crowded cities, the Children’s Aid Society had noble intentions in creating the Orphan Trains. However, Walters’ story reveals how a healthy placement depended on pure chance; in his case, after being separated from his co-traveling older brother, he was physically and sexually abused by his adoptive couple. After finally escaping the abusive pair (one attempt resulted in his confinement to Boys Town for a year), Walters learned life on the road by hopping freight trains and working jobs as he found them. This precarious existence became the pattern for his life, as, after serving in World War II, Walters toiled at a succession of varied occupations while he struggled to raise his family. Yet those struggles sparked and emboldened his resilience, which sends an inspirational message to readers and provides a sense of resounding hope. ... (read more)

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Authenticity

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Talk to a Real, Live Girl and Other Stories
by Paul Clayton
Amazon Digital Services


"The colors on the glass wall swirled, morphing into a picture of a girl. He wanted to look away, but couldn’t…She stared, seeming to recognize him. Then the image faded."

Clayton’s new book includes a couple of short stories but primarily focuses on the title novella. A work of speculative fiction, it builds the story around Alex, who has taken a job on a mining planet. A recent divorce on an Earth ill-disposed toward men has left him unable to communicate with his young daughter and driven him to Kratos and a working environment consisting only of men and AI. Although Kratos does offer female companionship in the form of sexbots, Alex longs for the companionship and conversation of a real human woman. Traci, the “Real, Live Girl” of the title, hires herself out by the hour to offer human conversation to the men stationed there. Alex falls for her, but he is not alone. His boss, an elite AI named Donald Banks, is also curiously interested in Traci. ... (read more)

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A Solution

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A Day in June
by Marisa Labozzetta
Guernica World Editions


"All marriages have spells . . . like a chronic illness: the symptoms subside . . . you feel good; they flare up . . . you feel bad: occasionally the illness is fatal."

The small, picturesque town of Brackton, Vermont, is suffering a failing economy. Enter Eric Boulanger, a photographer and hometown boy who proposes that the Chamber of Commerce have a contest in which the winning essayist will be gifted the wedding of a lifetime, and "Brackton Is for Brides" will become the town’s slogan. The winning essay, written by a paralegal and aspiring writer, Ryan Toscano, is chosen for its sincere and honest portrayal of the deep love shared by her and her fiancé, Jason McDermott. The only problem is that Ryan and Jason aren’t together anymore. ... (read more)

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A View

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Who Am I? My Stories and Philosophies: The Autobiography of a Somebody or Nobody or Anybody?
by Rolf Harms
Trafford Publishing


"Whether sad events or happy memories, the experiences of my life have made an exciting journey for me."

Born in Germany in the latter years of World War II, author Harms has early memories of Allied aircraft attacks, bombings, and the loss of his father. His mother, though deeply traumatized, managed to keep working as a farm laborer and seamstress to support him, despite many obstacles. As a boy, Harms had visions of adventure in faraway lands, and at age fifteen, he acted on those visions, joining the German Merchant Marines. His very first sea voyage was to New York City, “providing many firsts.” The first American he met was also the first black man he had ever seen; the man’s good humor in communicating with Harms though they had no shared language impressed the lad deeply. ... (read more)

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Best Laid Plans

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War Calls, Love Cries: A Civil War Novel
by Mark Barie
Barringer Publishing


"Isaac was stirred into righteous anger and could feel the goosebumps on his skin. Lincoln spoke to his heart."

Seventeen-year-old Isaac Wells dreams of attending law school after graduating from a small school in Keeseville in upstate New York. His older brother, John, a notorious alcoholic, is to take over the family farm while Isaac follows his dream. However, fate fails Isaac. His father falls ill, John is less than dependable, and the stirrings of war pull at his conscious. The only bright light in Isaac’s young life is Rebecca Lobdell, daughter of the innkeeper where he has placed his ailing father. When John’s devious behavior compromises Isaac’s plans, he decides to put law school on hold, marries Rebecca, and tries to save the family farm. But again, Isaac’s plans go awry. Depressed and discouraged over his unhappy marriage, Isaac seeks solace in the arms of a prostitute. Eventually, he becomes convinced he must join the Union Army, thinking that the only thing he is leaving behind is the farm, an unhappy marriage, and his deceitful brother. ... (read more)

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Danger & Suspense

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Badge of Honor
by Karen Glinski
Terra Nova Books


"'Walk in beauty, Shitsoi,’ he whispered. ‘I know you can.’ His eyes closed."

Gratitude turns what one has into enough, and Emerson learns this important lesson in Glinski’s intriguing novel. Emerson, a twelve-year-old, is spending the summer on a Navajo reservation when his grandpa is bitten by a snake. Awaiting news from the hospital doctor, Emerson witnesses a sack being chucked into a trash can. Curious, he goes to investigate. Little does he know that the sack is full of stolen jewelry until it is too late. This event starts him racing from one peril to another. ... (read more)

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Emotional Fragments

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Speak No Evil
by Liana Gardner
Vesuvian Books


"At sixteen, some still wear the mask of innocence, while others toss off the mask to glare at the world through experience-weary eyes."

Orphaned, alone, and afraid, Melody Fisher is now facing serious allegations about the stabbing of the local football hero, Troy. She has not spoken in two years but must now attend daily therapy to recover her speech and tell her side of the story or else be tried as guilty. In doing so, she must face all the horrors of her past that she vowed to never speak of. Through her bravery and love of music, she discovers there is so much more to life than her sixteen-year-old self ever knew. ... (read more)

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Riddles of Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Woven Flag
by Margaret Fourt Goka
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"Childhood is a spaceship full of friends
that rockets into the future.
I will be there when it lands
like a kitten on its feet"

In her second book of collected poetry, the author has organized her musings and insights into six categories. Each chapter follows the themes of home, animals, places, riddles, caffeine and wine, and family respectively. The home chapter is the most explored, following memories of homemaking and raising children with all the energy and chaos they can bring. The chapter on animals considers the impact of family pets and wonders what life would be like in animal form. The chapter on places recalls old residences and other colorful memories of location. When writing on the theme of riddles, the poet considers things that are somewhat contradictory or mysterious about life. Not surprisingly, the chapter on caffeine and wine is a treat for the sense of taste, using language to express flavor. Finally, when exploring the topic of family, Goka revisits the endless tasks of homemaking, as well as considering her dual role as both mother and child. ... (read more)

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Self-Discovery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Purple Heart
by Nefy
Xlibris


"The days are difficult and miserable
Not because there is poverty, but because there isn’t."

This collection documents brief encounters with the self and with humanity, and it captures one writer’s ten-year journey through self-discovery and self-awareness. Lengthier poems such as “My Choices” and “Gerascophobia” provoke rumination about one’s brief existence and the modern world’s fear of aging. One-sentence, rapid-fire poems like “Color Me” and “Mind games” invoke a spirit of confident selfhood, while Zen-like, two-sentence poems such as “Equality” serve as a call for individualism in the face of adversity. ... (read more)

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For the Future

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California
by Lucille Lang Day, ed. and Ruth Nolan, ed.
Scarlet Tanager Books


"They need to see danger before their eyes to believe its teeth."

An ode to California’s majestic inheritance when it comes to Mother Nature, this anthology presents one of the rare occurrences in which the spotlight is almost entirely removed from the poets themselves and placed onto the different natural gems that the Golden State offers. Letting your work stand for a greater cause takes both grace and humility. More importantly, the compilation expresses a dichotomy of concern and hope throughout by juxtaposing the awe-inspiring descriptions and imagery with the potential devastation that is in store for future generations. ... (read more)

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Pithy Poems

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The Weapons of Light: A Warrior’s Guide to Their Spiritual Arsenal
by Lairyck Beliveau
Xlibris


"Though the fires of adversity burn beneath us and the weight of our human condition may crash down upon us, the wise come to understand that resolve is tempered into a strong and lasting arsenal of the soul . . ."

This pithy, multi-genre guidebook shares author Beliveau’s insights “on the better quality of human nature in a format not easily forgotten.” The practical, universal, and non-denominational wisdom offered is parsed in compact chapters and is mindful of the shorter attention spans of modern readers. Yet the slim volume is sufficient to arm and empower spiritual seekers who are confronting obstacles and feel “driven by the lesser spirits” in their daily lives. These seekers are also summoned to heed the call that “no weapon has ever won a battle—victory is within the heart and minds of those who would not surrender.” ... (read more)

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Blur the Boundaries

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Damn the Novel: When a Privileged Genre Prevails Over All Forms of Creative Writing
by Amr Muneer Dahab
AuthorHouse


"Although life is full of pleasure within the realm of what is permitted in accordance with customs and ethics, literature and art still insist on raising the ornery question of why they are subject to a trial they didn’t sign on to."

In this volume of forty-five short essays of literary criticism, the author, writing from a distinctly Sudanese-Arabic sensibility, asserts his case that the novel has superseded the other, more clearly-superior genres of poetry and the essay based on the greater public exposure novels receive, which virtually guarantees their marketability and profitabilty. The unfortunate commercialization of novels in the form of popular television and cable mini-series adaptations obscures the finer literary qualities of these works; the market simply churns out a constant machine-like supply of stories for the public to consume. Given this public thirst for novels, Dahab bemoans the lack of relative and substantial submission opportunities for writers in other genres; both the short fiction and poetry markets offer equally scant opportunities for getting new talent into the public eye. He also laments the ongoing blurring of genres as he asserts that “[t]he value and the pleasure of any artistic or literary genre do come from their unique distinctiveness, not from taking all the light on the stage through pushing the other arts to the dark corners.” ... (read more)

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Control

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Rise of the Chimera: The Chimera Saga
by Paul C. Hill
AuthorHouse UK


"For a business person or scientist, that is probably the greatest advantage we have, over other people… You must guard against enjoying a situation. Analyze, Adapt and Achieve, then you are in control."

By trade, scientists are calculating, meticulous, and, above all else, practical. Normally guided by precision and logic, Dr. Charlene Klerk, one of the most talented biologists and chemist prodigies in the world, has to undergo an overwhelming transformation. Charlene lives by a very strict routine every single day, consisting of a healthy balance between work, training, and meditation. Unlike anything she is used to though, her fate ultimately comes down to how well she can tap into and subsequently control her feelings and emotions towards both her past and future. One trip to a scientific conference will change her mind and body in ways she may never understand. ... (read more)

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No Stone Unturned

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Widowland
by Pamela Manché Pearce
Green Bottle Press


"Because ‘it’s good for me,’ to get out and remind me I’m alive.
I have a night off from my husband’s dying."

The energy that flows from poem to poem in this collection is electric, a pendulum between the solitude of death and the heartbreaking reality of life. While one of the purposes of poetry traditionally is to evoke emotion from the reader, Pearce’s downright haunting imagery and impeccable use of figurative language—from similes and metaphors to personification and enjambment—take it one step further: the audience is living the anguish of her existence. ... (read more)

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Spirit Poems

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Flowers of the Sun
by Joseph Kent
Stratton Press


"The Divine manifests on earth, evolves, pervades cosmos, embraces all everywhere, sustains all evolving in the very face of the ascending sun"

This collection of poetry celebrates the spiritual seeker. As a follower of Eastern philosophy living in the noise and distractions of the West, the poet reflects on the quiet path to spiritual awareness in the midst of constant movement and sound. In this book of poems, works about Boston, New York, and San Francisco are interspersed with poems concerning spiritual awareness. Each work is a glimpse into the life of one who seeks. In this delightful offering of metaphor and imagery, readers will follow the poet’s quest for enlightenment as he reflects on the various paths that led to his search and the ultimate finding of a teacher. ... (read more)

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The Kids Know

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer
by Diane Davies
Beaver’s Pond Press


"Cancer can make our feelings hurt, way down deep inside."

Children are terrified by the thought of losing parents and grandparents, and cancer is a particularly frightening and mysterious illness for any age group to confront. Author Davies uses her talents as a grandmother, educator, breast cancer survivor, and patient advocate in this concept picture book that speaks frankly about the fears, tough questions, and emotional responses that both children and adults have when confronting this medical challenge. ... (read more)

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Advice in Prose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Why Does Grampy Forget My Name?
by Curtis Cooper
Barrel of Monkeys Publishing Co.


"'Whatever he does you’ve got to remember,
it just really isn’t his fault.'"

This story told in rhyme begins with a family outing to visit Grampy and Grandma. The family arrives by car late in the day. Johnny rushes to find his pal, Grampy, but returns puzzled by the older man’s strange behavior. Grandma assures her visitors that he will be better in the morning, as he’s always more tired at night. However, the whole truth comes out the next day. Grampy’s memory has failed; Grandma calls it Old-Timers’ disease. Will he get better? The doctors have no cure. Grandma sums it up in a rhyme: “the older he gets, the more he forgets.” ... (read more)

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Finding a Way

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Up from Adams Street
by Larry Crane
Maine Authors Publishing


"I wished I could be more definitive in my plans. She wished she had been more definitive in hers. It felt as if we were balanced on the edge of a knife and could fall off on either side."

Growing up in Illinois just after World War II, Crane recounts his childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Born into a blue-collar family with limited means, he is constantly cognizant of disparities between his living conditions and those of many of his contemporaries. He realizes that participating in sports is a potential entrée into worlds that seem beyond his. Plus, Larry loves the games. He plays baseball, football, and basketball. He caddies at golf courses. As he grows physically, he senses the need to expand mentally and philosophically too. A scholarship helps, then a surprise appointment to West Point follows. Each step up the ladder of opportunity, however, is taken with a self-inhibitor in place—an emotional regulator that keeps his innermost feelings trapped inside him. ... (read more)

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On Her Own

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Crushers: A Ros Gordon Mystery
by Bronwyn Rodden
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"You’re in the Mountains now, copper – our territory – we have all the mates here, not you. And we know everything about you: where you came from, who you sleep with, what you had for breakfast. Everything…"

A young woman who desperately needs money to move out of her parents' house is found dead in a cave that is so far off the track that anyone would have been hard-pressed to locate it twice. The area’s newest detective, Ros Gordon, and her partner, Bill Fontani, are tasked with finding out how and why the victim’s naked body ended up in that cave and laid out in the manner that it was. A novice to the Blue Mountains, Detective Gordon is also trying to adjust to the changes in her life after moving from the big city while fending off constant reminders of the events that landed her in her new home in the first place. At the center of it all is an illustrious grand hotel as old as the town itself. ... (read more)

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Positive Mind

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Creative Advantages of Schizophrenia: The Muse and the Mad Hatter
by Paul Kiritsis
Cambridge Scholars Publishing


"A researcher can hone into, pursue, and study different aspects, levels, and domains of creativity . . ."

This slim but fact-packed volume builds upon previous research of the intersection between psychological disorder and creativity. The work is slanted toward scholars and mental health professionals specifically interested in “the growing body of theoretical, clinical, and experimental evidence corroborating a correlation between creative ideation and positive schizotypy,” an idea sustained through the centuries since Plato’s era. Plato and Socrates referred to theia mania, a divine madness ascribed to the poetic arts, thought to be inspired by spiritual fervor inherited from the gods. Aristotle viewed this creativity as rational and also made reference to the connection of creativity with melancholia. Later, modern and post-modern historiography, sociology, and psychology research found evidence of links between extraordinary creativity and psychopathology. ... (read more)

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Unlikely Friendship

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sasha & Sheila: B, C and DILL
by Suzette Smith
Xlibris


"So many thoughts and questions ran through Sasha’s mind as they travelled to their new home."

Sasha has always been a country girl and loves life on the farm. When she learns she is moving to the city, she is nervous and scared. Her new neighbor, Sheila, helps her unpack. Sasha shares a story about the family pan they are unpacking. The girls bond over a love of food and cooking, and this shared interest helps their friendship grow. Sasha teaches Sheila how to ferment food, and Sheila is surprised at how good fermented food tastes and that it quiets her cravings for sweets. Sheila wants to make some to give to her diabetic mother. The girls do so, and it helps her mother lower the amount of medicine she needs to take to combat her diabetes. ... (read more)

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New Place for Mama

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mama's House
by Mary Angelean Love
Xlibris


"Building mama's house took time and pain. If she had to do it over, would she build it again?"

Author Love tells the tale of Mama and her decision to build a new house. Filled with colorful and humorous illustrations, it’s a story for children of all ages. Employing clever and well-thought-out rhyme schemes, we see Mama build her house from beginning to end. Many contractors and inspectors are there to help. However, building Mama’s house doesn’t come without its complications. She experiences some hiccups along the way, and she even regrets taking on the project. Angry neighbors criticize the developing project, but she isn’t deterred from accomplishing her goal. In the end, those hostile neighbors will eventually congratulate her, and she’ll fold once again happily into the neighborhood beyond the chaos of construction. ... (read more)

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Plant Song

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Honeysuckle Hugs: A Blend of Botanical Poetry
by Libby Piper
iUniverse


"Blow my breath into the world,
Dreaming mighty dreams to be."

Featuring seven different types of plants, this book first explores them with poetry before giving them characteristics in the second part of the book. The poems are lovely and flowing with beautiful imagery and fantastic structure. On the facing page of each poem is an illustration showing the plant in nature and interacting with humans. For instance, the dandelion is being blown by a girl, and spearmint is seen between human toes. Muted colors add to the soothing and mystical quality of the poems and illustrations. The book then includes a recipe for a tea with six of the plants (which also directs for grown-up help in making it) before continuing to describe each of the plant's gifts, such as that the dandelion connects us with our loved ones from far away and releases us from our worries. These descriptions delve into the magic of nature in a relatable way. ... (read more)

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Alphabet Journeys

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

ABC Adventures Cont’d, X Y Z
by Anita Everett
Xlibris


"Zany, like all his kind, was beautifully striped in black and white. He was not yet aware of this, but the striping was different on each animal."

Exploring the last three letters in the alphabet, this book includes three different stories. For X, several words are presented with brief descriptions as the letter is personified and notes its many uses, such as for xenon, x-ray, and Xerox. The remaining two letters have longer stories dedicated to animals—Yakkidy Yak and Zany Zebra. Each story is long, making them better for early chapter book readers and features a few illustrations throughout. ... (read more)

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Grow!

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Watermelon Seed
by Coretta Williams
Xlibris


"She would take us on long walks through the neighborhood. It seemed like almost everything we said or did made her laugh."

Summertime is here, and that means time spent with Big Mama. Here, the stepmother stereotype is turned on its head as this fun, loving mom plays dress-up and visits fancy stores with her stepdaughters. One afternoon, while “playing church” at Big Mama’s kitchen table, each child is given a delicious slice of watermelon. The young narrator places a seed in the center of the table, asking God, “Please grow us a watermelon. Thank you!” Because the ground was “very wet and muddy” following a thunderstorm, Williams’ main character decides to plant that seed in an unlikely place: behind the stairs and under the porch in an area receiving little sun or rain. The young girl is delighted when she discovers a tiny little watermelon plant has indeed begun to grow in this most unlikely of places. ... (read more)

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Adventure, Danger, History

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Sheriff's Catch (The Sassana Stone Pentalogy Book 1)
by James Vella-Bardon
Unbound Digital


"Then the old soldier’s instinct for survival returned as I studied my position, looking from left to right."

Abel de Santiago, a sniper for the Spanish army, falls in love with a Dutch woman during the Spanish campaign in the Netherlands in 1585. When she is killed by Abel’s own comrades, he deserts the army and seeks revenge for her death and for their unborn child. Swift justice eludes him, though, as he tracks the murderers on land and sea, facing new villains along the way. The road to vengeance is long and arduous and takes him from the Spanish Netherlands to a ship of the Spanish Armada. Finally, he is shipwrecked on the shores of Ireland. With each new captivating backdrop for daring violence, Abel uses his determination, wits, and skill to escape cruel captors, nature’s wrath, and the horrors of war. Abel, an unlikely hero and, ultimately, a survivor, begins to find renewed purpose as he is chased across Ireland, making new enemies and finding new allies. ... (read more)

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Confession or Faith

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Trial of Hannah Duston
by Richard W. Pyne
iUniverse


"'That she did kill is not disputed, but was it in the heat of battle, or was it planned?..."

For two months in 1697, Abenaki Native Americans in Haverhill, Massachusetts held Puritan Hannah Duston for ransom during King Phillip’s War. Now, brought to trial eighteen months later, Hannah stands accused of murdering nine members of the tribe—including six children—as they slept. Though Hannah concedes that she hacked nine people to death with a tomahawk, she maintains that she killed only to avoid being sold as a slave. Meanwhile, some in Haverhill believe that Hannah also killed her newborn baby who was captured with her, and then slaughtered the Native Americans to conceal that earlier crime. ... (read more)

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Family Affair

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fritz Von Erich: Master of the Iron Claw
by Ron G. Mullinax
LitFire Publishing


"With the addition of this new wrestling hold, my transformation would be complete. I had become Fritz Von Erich, The Master of the Iron Claw."

Jack Adkisson, born in Texas in 1929, was an unusually strong, athletic teenager. Married young and in need of a career, Adkisson found his niche in professional wrestling, a spectator sport with a fanatical following in local venues and later on TV. Adkisson styled himself as "Fritz Von Erich," exploiting Nazi stereotypes. He incited crowds by teaming with "brother Waldo" and using his brutal signature hold, the infamous "Iron Claw." When his first son died in a tragic accident, wrestling became his obsession, its pains paradoxically helping to assuage inner grief. After garnering fame in the international wrestling limelight, Adkisson developed an award-winning family wrestling consortium in the Dallas area, utilizing the varied talents of his five remaining sons. But then wrestler son David died, three other sons committed suicide, his marriage dissolved, and rumors of a family "curse" arose. ... (read more)

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Leaving Cuba

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to Freedom
by Desi Sanchez
Stratton Press


"I did not support the new sheriff in town. I concluded that it was time to get the hell out of here!"

A young adult when Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, Sanchez had a front-row seat to see the changes happen to his country. The same year his parents divorced was the same year that his home country started changing in ways that would have him eventually thinking of how he could escape. Many changes didn’t affect him at first. However, as a lover of women, his first outrage at the new government was when they closed down the prostitution houses. “Who took my prostitutes away?” is the title of one chapter. ... (read more)

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Self Portrait

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fly, Honeybee, Fly: A Memoir
by Eva Robberts-Vankova
iUniverse


"It was a beautiful sunny day when I left the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic forever."

Born in Czechoslovakia, Robberts-Vankova enjoyed a childhood that seemed idyllic, almost magical at times. When her father, a dedicated Communist, became a diplomat, the family lived in Sweden where she once had dinner with the king. Then in 1968, Russia invaded Czechoslovakia to put down a simmering revolution. Her daily life became tense and fractured as her father’s high-profile communist loyalty was no longer viewed favorably, and classmates were suspicious of her. Robberts-Vankova began to see herself and her fellow citizens as animals in a zoo; everyone would be fed and housed and treated well as long as they obeyed. But punishment for disobedience was harsh, even fatal. She finally made her escape to what she called the Other World and from where, after some years, she has composed this enthralling reminiscence. ... (read more)

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Cancer, Go

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

But Not Today: My Journey through Brain Cancer
by Doree O'Connell
Xlibris


"But the reality is that, at my core, I am who I was. And cancer has not changed that."

If a dear sister or best friend wrote a memoir about their unexpected confrontation with a malignant brain tumor, this might be the book. O’Connell immediately captures attention with her open-hearted narrative and her appreciation of family, friends, and the medical team involved in her sojourn with stage IV glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) that began in April 2006. O’Connell’s determination to live a decade (GBM has a median survival rate of fourteen months) is a tribute to her matter-of-fact attitude. She exudes compassion for herself as well as others. Despite the heavy emotional toll that a GBM diagnosis exerts on patients and their families, she remains, for the most part, in the moment, accepting her fate with grace. ... (read more)

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Divorce Afghan Style

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The Keeper of Families: Jean Heringman Willacy’s Afghan Diaries
by Sue Heringman
AuthorHouse UK


"Enthralled by mountains, Jean journeyed dauntlessly through the countries spanned by the Himalayas."

After Willacy’s death in 2004, her daughter, Sue, took on the momentous task of compiling and publishing this intimate, cohesive record of her mother’s extraordinary experiences. This historical yet timely biography, composed of drawings, journal entries, letters, personal notes, photographs, speeches, and transcripts of tape recordings, is a tribute to Willacy’s life and legacy and to the indomitable people of Afghanistan. ... (read more)

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Love Honestly

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

One Who Is Loved
by Jennifer Taylor
AuthorHouse


"Why does this keep happening to me? What did I do to deserve such unrest in my life!"

Relationships begin, blossom, and occasionally burst in this tale of a woman’s life gone completely off the rails. From her teenage years through young adulthood, we follow the starts and stops of a protagonist who plays with others’ lives like the strings on a violin. The music being heard, however, is a cacophony of trickery, treachery, and even homicide. ... (read more)

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A Fearsome Killer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Howl of the Gods
by Rajesh Pandey
Stratton Press


"A very thin veil of steam rose from it as the clouds passed away from the moon and allowed it to shine with all its waxing brilliance. Hal wanted this night to end."

In this supernatural crime thriller, Lieutenant Hal Dillon hunts a terrifying killer in Moon Valley. When the novel opens, Hal, a “forensic specialist turned field agent” who ironically is afraid of death, is on an undercover drug deal that goes terribly awry. Someone has left a brutally murdered victim, prompting Hal to change course. He soon finds himself in uncharted territory with the gruesome investigation. Meanwhile, Mark Hunter hunts the vicious killer, or “the beast,” with special bullets as Hal, with the support of others, is equally propelled by curiosity and necessity to stop this fearsome killer. ... (read more)

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Reading Songs

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sing to Read! Letter Names, Letter Sounds, Color Words, Vowels, Contractions, and Punctuation for Emergent Readers
by Deborah L. Ellis, B.S., M.Ed., Reading Specialist
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"Kids who go to Punctuation Station sound so smart when they read and when they write."

Ellis has devised a well-organized, ingenious, and easily accessible method for helping young children learn to read. Her approach involves singing recognizable songs while repeating alphabetical and other language elements. The songs to be used in the learning process are well known children’s ditties with repetitive lyrics and melodies: “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain, When She Comes,” “Are You Sleeping, Brother John?,” “The Farmer in the Dell,” and the “Traditional Alphabet Song.” ... (read more)

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Parent Better

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Listening Child: What Can Go Wrong: What All Parents and Teachers Need to Know About the Struggle to Survive in Today’s Noisy Classrooms
by Stephen V. Prescod
Stratton Press


"Under noisy conditions, children with a central auditory processing disorder may have problems with auditory attention and auditory memory figure-ground extraction."

With each passing year, it seems as though more children are struggling with the educational system or being diagnosed with various disorders to explain away their poor academic performance. Aimed at teachers and parents alike, this book offers up an explanation for these new cases or for children who simply seem to struggle in school with a central auditory processing disorder (CAPD). Getting into the science behind what can masquerade as a hearing issue, the author explains that CAPD is not a hearing impairment but a listening one, preventing the child from filtering out background noise or from hearing at a distance, even though their ears are medically functioning well. By understanding the scientific triggers and conditions where this disorder will be a problem for children trying to learn, parents and educators can work together to create an environment that will allow the child to maintain focus and attention in order to learn. ... (read more)

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Past Puzzles

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Out From Under: A Mental Maze of the Past... A Novel of Triumph
by Mark Platt
Stratton Press Publishing


"'Hello dear, how's your day? Say, can I have some that carjacking money for groceries?'"

Contemporary California is the major setting for one man’s chronicle of his descent into clinical depression and multiple suicide attempts. In this high-energy yarn, readers are taken along for a spellbinding ride through guilt, confusion, fear, remorse, anger, frustration, and more. It is a tale of loss, a spiral into near oblivion, and an arduous journey back to some form of self-esteem that holds at least the promise of contentment. ... (read more)

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Troubles & Vices

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Chambermaid
by Marcus Aurelio
Xlibris


"I was just a visitor in the strange hallway of this unreckoned lunacy."

Martin, a young man who likes heavy metal and pretty girls, is sent to a mental asylum after a schizophrenic episode where he attacks a bystander on the street. He makes a few friends at the ward, notably Gus and Sally Anne, who help him acclimate to life at the asylum. But it seems that even in the ward he can’t escape his troubles or his vices, as his crush on Mary, one of the “chambermaids,” causes a chain reaction that ends in disaster. ... (read more)

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Personal Attack

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Death at the Spring Tide: a Mystery Novel
by Paul A. Egbers
iUniverse


"This is a map covering Ranworth Broad where we found the boat! It looks like someone sat here and planned where to sink the Willow."

A mystery is brewing in North Norfolk. A woman who had gone missing turns up dead on a missing boat, and the mill she had been staying at catches fire shortly after. Enter Tony, the boat-for-hire business owner who is brought in initially to help find the missing woman. He has a reputation for being good not only with boats but with maps as well. Once they find the woman’s body, everything goes downhill from there. Tony and his new assistant Cyn embark on helping out with the case. And when Tony’s friend Jo is attacked, it becomes personal. Will they be able to find out who the mysterious killer is, or will they become victims as well? ... (read more)

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What He's Thinks

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Diaries of a Serial Killer
by Sheng Sun
Xlibris


"There is too much going on in my mind now that I wouldn’t find the darkness, the stillness, or the quietness enjoyable enough to stop writing down what my head wants to tell."

Sebastian kills women in Stockholm, Sweden, and draws pencil sketches of his victims to immortalize them after death. Tormented and haunted by his “mentally unstable” mother, Sebastian selectively kills women that resemble her. But life as a serial killer is troublesome for Sebastian who, like a bumbling adolescent, is embarrassed by his furtive impulses. He knows the wrongness of it and the complexities of his existence. Each day he grapples with his desire to kill as “a disease” that feeds his morbid requisite to “breathe in peace.” Wrestling with this quandary, he resorts to writing in his diary as a source of “therapy to analyze and solve problems.” He eventually seeks help from Margareta, a psychiatrist, and together they uncover the darkness that shrouds Sebastian’s life. ... (read more)

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Health Mindfulness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Breast Cancer Meets Mindfulness: Surrendering to Life
by Cheryl Wilfong
Heart Path Press


"When I signed my contract with Life, I didn't notice that it was a blank piece of paper."

When diagnosed with breast cancer, Wilfong chose not to wage war on the disease as so many do. She chose mindfulness. She documents everything about her experience. In this reflection, Wilfong takes readers on her intimate journey that explores her ups, downs, and in-betweens while practicing techniques to stay calm and prepare for whatever is to come. Through her organization, Wilfong's chronicle does a beautiful job of taking a terrifying situation and turning it into an insightful journey. Without the chronological layout, her message would not be as impactful. ... (read more)

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Solid Advice

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

How to Win Nature and Enjoy Good Life: Baby Steps to Follow Mother Nature
by Prabhash Karan
Xlibris


"Once your life is purpose driven, you can make decisions about allocating your time, energy, talent, and other resources."

Though medical advances are made constantly, the average life expectancy does not seem to increase. And how is it that people in civilized countries still die at young and middle ages to various diseases and maladies, but people in remote rural areas around the globe routinely live to a century or more? In this book, as in his other work, the author posits that what really leads to a long, healthy, and happy life is a connection with the natural world and the natural order. This guide focuses on three key areas—love, attitude, and diet—in order to help increase wellness, emotional well-being, and physical health. Each piece of advice is meant to be taken individually and mastered before tackling the next, creating a manageable roadmap of directions that anyone can follow in order to rediscover their place in the natural world. ... (read more)

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Nature & Nuture

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Of Human Nature and Good Habits: Baby Steps to Follow Mother Nature
by Prabhash Karan
Xlibris


"By nature, all humans are alike, but practice sets them apart."

There is a debate, almost as old as time itself, regarding the primary influence on human behavior and development and whether it is due to nature or the environment (nurture). Karan explores this topic in depth. The author lays the foundation of his thought process by starting with the research and philosophies surrounding the impact that both nature and nurture play in human behavior and development. ... (read more)

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A Happy Pet

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Art of the Dog: A Training Guide
by Thomas Purcell
AuthorHouse


"I learned when very young to gaze into a dog’s soul."

Purcell’s book presents his own time-honored approach to understanding dog behavior and his subsequent development of practices which lead to a happy and well-disciplined dog. His theory, developed over many years of owning his own dogs as well as training canines for others, may seem unorthodox to some, but according to him, it works. In this short work, the author gives a step-by-step guide which anyone can follow. At the crux of his method is the transference of energy from the dog owner to the dog. He explains the best way to transfer this energy from a calm, dominant, human pack leader to the animal. According to Purcell, this easy-to-learn method transforms overexcited and undisciplined dogs into obedient and happy pets. ... (read more)

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Resolution

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Clash of Power and Authority: Why the Pursuit of Authority instead of Power Normally Leads to Transformational Change
by Troy Sanon
Xlibris


"A greater understanding of how power and authority operates may facilitate greater success for all of us."

In this nuanced portrayal of power and authority, a distinct contrast is drawn regarding the corrupting influence of power and the God-given gift of authority. Sanon sifts through examples from history, politics, business, and the church to illuminate the differences between power and authority. In addition to this thought-provoking topic, Sanon also offers advice for people seeking to better their personal and professional lives by cultivating key characteristics like patience and persistence while also building a network. Sanon sprinkles sound suggestions for living a life built on ethics, particularly in the workplace. He posits that living by these ethical tenets establishes authority, and authority leads with love and compassion as opposed to power, which leads with selfishness and cruelty. ... (read more)

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Remembering Mom

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Goodnight Mom, I Love You
by Karen Ritter Kelly
Xlibris


"I miss my walks with Mikey at the ocean. I miss our mutual moments of silence. I miss the laughter we shared . . ."

Kelly and her son, Mikey, enjoyed a tradition of driving out to the ocean—a particularly rocky and beautiful spot on the beach at Half Moon Bay called the Mavericks. Mikey loved, more than anything, surfing the waves. “On the drive home we would talk,” writes Kelly. “I always told him that he brought joy to my heart.” On a brisk day in November 2001, only days before Thanksgiving and just weeks shy of his 18th birthday, Mikey and his best friend Joel were killed in an automobile accident on a curvy road known by locals to be dangerous. A third friend was seriously injured but survived. In this touching story of unyielding faith, Kelly describes when she arrived at the hospital where her son lay. “I wanted to climb into the hospital bed and cuddle him,” she writes. ... (read more)

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Mental Wellness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Confessions of a Moonflower
by Rebecca Fionna
AuthorHouse UK


"I’m an open book
But not everyone knows
How to read me."

Despite modern medicine’s progress, little has changed with the way society and health professionals perceive mental well-being, unintentionally leading to the ostracization of those who suffer from an illness. The author’s book opens with an account of Fionna’s own fight with undiagnosed borderline personality disorder (BPD) and the impact it had on both her and those who came in and out of her life because they either did not comprehend it or want to. The book is not an autobiography, however, but rather a collection of poetry that speaks a simple but powerful message to others who also battle with mental illness and its stigmatization. This message is important since, as the author states, the general populous expects those who battle with mental illness to overcome their affliction with sheer mental willpower (or in other words, to “just get over it because it's all in the head.”). ... (read more)

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A Promise

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Witch’s Door: Stories from the Book of Bella
by Ricardo Martinez
Xlibris


"The more I thought about it, the more I decided that six was the magic year."

In 1926, six-year-old Juan Aguilar is on a family camping trip in Questra, New Mexico. He is exploring the woods when a mountain lion spots him and chases him. Terrified, Juan seeks refuge in an “old dilapidated adobe house,” where he walks through a door and is transported one hundred years into the past. The misplaced Juan is taken in by the Silva family, whereupon he discovers a connection with other missing children, a curse with the Bella witch, and the minister and witch hunter, Luciano Del Valle. Juan learns of his own special powers of sight with the spirit world. As dreams and visions plague Juan, he searches across the Old Southwest for answers and clues to these supernatural occurrences while trying to find a way back to his family. When he finally does reunite with them in 1936, he strives to fulfill a promise to the Silva family. ... (read more)

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Taking Charge

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Brainwashing of the American Investor
by Steven R. Selengut
LitFire Publishing


"Why do you think Wall Street wants you to think you know what you are doing? So that you will transact and move your money!"

Americans in pursuit of investment information may be surprised at the direction advocated in the introduction of this book. With a tongue-in-cheek commentary, Selengut derides common Wall Street recommendations, warning their products are geared to make money for investment advisors. Readers who follow the author’s strategies in the following chapters will discover that managers, consultants, and other advisors are unnecessary, even harmful to gaining steady profits. ... (read more)

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Getting to Safety

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Fire Escape: A Visual Survey. Second Edition
by Peter J. Lagomarsino
LitFire Publishing


"Be good to your fire escape today, give her a wink as you walk by, she'll be there when you need her for sure."

You see them every day, and they are ingrained in city life, yet chances are you don't even notice them. They are the humble fire escapes that adorn our buildings. These stalwart guardians of urban life favor function over form, and beauty isn't a word you'd normally associate with them. Lagomarsino sets out to change this perception with this book, which features photographs of fire escapes from 25 cities across the US. The author approaches the subject through the eyes of an architect and designer, seeing beauty in the functionality of an arguably mundane object. By infusing the subject with art, history, and a touch of nostalgia, he manages to make fire escapes, well, downright beautiful. ... (read more)

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True Comfort Zone

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Belonging: Feeling Loved, Comfortable, and Safe
by Paul Carlo
Xlibris


"Human beings learn early on that our survival in this crowded world is dependent on our interaction with those around us."

In our online age, it has become easier than ever to reach out and make contact with another human being anywhere in the world and at any time of day. So why then do so many people feel isolated, estranged, and on their own? Communicating the expertise and experience of his career as a psychotherapist, the author of this book examines the importance of connection and community on every level. From exploring the importance of touch in both childhood and adult life to the necessity to forgive ourselves and others, every section asks and answers a new question for introverts and extroverts alike to process and practice. While social interaction can feel like an unscientific skill that some people just seem to have, this book shows that all people are capable of making meaningful relationships with others without necessarily sacrificing their comfort zone. ... (read more)

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Spirit Within

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Evenings and the Mornings
by Ilya Sapozhnikov
Xlibris


"But inside of me, a little boy is crying, scarred and lost
Between the cold stone walls of reality."

Sapozhnikov’s poignant collection delivers captivating storytelling and thought-provoking observations through poetry, offering up a comprehensive snapshot of time and how one responds to the inevitability of aging. At its core, the work is an expansive effort to peel back layer after layer of worldly experiences to uncover the unfiltered joy of the human spirit. Fittingly described in one of the opening poems, this peekaboo with time will inevitably be a losing effort; however, the speaker dives into an assortment of complex yet vital concepts including, but not limited to, embracing change, understanding our limitations, dealing with fear, and finding a balance between the outside stimulus and the spirit within. ... (read more)

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Observations

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Poems of Life, from the Heart
by Mitchell England
Xlibris


"The earth is such a pretty place,
for all of us to live and dwell;
and if we just take care of it,
it might last for our children as well."

England’s poetry compilation covers a range of topics and observations from nature and love to daily activities such as drinking coffee and smashing the ever-irritating mosquito. Though there is not always a particular rhyme scheme, there is a consistent structure among the poems that results in a seamless flow. More than anything else, England’s work has strong energy and is a strong platform for him to share his unique experiences throughout his life. ... (read more)

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Swoon

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Wishful Thinking
by A.R. Johnson
Xlibris


"When the question that remains is who am I?
Be still my soul, be still"

Starting with Demessie-Shelton’s stirring book cover illustration that seemingly depicts the union of sky and sea, this poetry compilation speaks through multiple poetry platforms: prose, free verse, haiku, etc. Throughout the poetry, Johnson finds a multitude of descriptions and euphemisms to demonstrate the varying shades and acts of love. In “Don’t Move Without Me,” for instance, the speaker uses free verse to show how love interacts with life and fate, while the intensity of the lovemaking is depicted via verbs like croon and swoon and culminates with the singsong “anthem.” ... (read more)

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Love Expressed

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

It’s All About Love
by Hosain Mosavat
Xlibris


"Do you really think
wars
bloodshed
indifference to people’s pain
conquering, capturing, and enslaving
people or animals
is natural?"

Mosavat’s work has the uncanny ability to recalibrate the heart; the poetry is so pure in its intent to spread love that it will undoubtedly impel readers to realign love in their lives. As the title suggests, this is not simply an ode to romance, but a commemoration of how love is intertwined with every aspect of life. A master at his craft, Mosavat composes poems that are the eyes through which readers can embrace love. ... (read more)

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Poetic Devices

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Just Beyond The Hill
by Diane E. Dockum
Xlibris


"Breath comes in shallow
spoons, not quite filling my mouth
not quite tasting life."

Utilizing a repertoire of poetic devices, Dockum delivers a compilation filled with such an intimate level of detail that one might conjecture the entire scene was unfolding under a microscope. Memorable examples include a glimpse into a crow’s mind as it contemplates entering traffic for a glistening banana peel to the sensuality portrayed in “Like Chocolate” as the speaker imagines unraveling layer after layer of love. One of the most intriguing elements is the poet’s ability to slow time down and let the reader experience a moment as it unfolds. In poems like the “Anchored Heart,” for example, the personification of sunlight dancing on dappled water, leaving the flow of time undisturbed, is a visceral image that is brilliantly juxtaposed in poems like “For the Wind” where the intensity of love expressed through the vigorous rush of wind envelopes the body and soul. ... (read more)

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Endurance

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty for Love
by TJ Allen
Xlibris


"But, the military is a funny place. When you think you’re ‘scott-free,’ you get burned."

In this multi-layered account, the author plays many roles. Initially, Allen is a former Marine who enlisted in order to marry and hopefully stay with her chosen sweetheart. When the rigors of the couple's duties cause a rift that the military can’t or won’t fix, she decides to help others in the same situation if she can. She is invited to Hawaii, where friends are battling for the right to save their marriage despite the dictates of their terms of military duty. When the case is won largely because of her accurate, unflinching testimony, she becomes a local celebrity. In talking to the lawyer who sought her help, she learns of a serial killer at large and offers some very smart speculations about what might be going on. This leads to her getting involved with the case and romantically entangled with the officer in charge. ... (read more)

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Mind Heal

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tender Mind
by Tiffany Rodriguez
Xlibris


"I felt so saddened by my love and sexual life. The fact that I was molested made me drive men away. I always wanted to get fat so that no man would like me for sex, and I didn’t even know that I was a virgin."

In this short novel, the focus is on a variety of social issues, including sexual harassment and abuse, prejudice and discrimination, mental illness, and cultural differences. Throughout all of Lucy’s problems, she attempts various schooling (noting that she has an IQ of 300) and has a variety of jobs, often getting fired because of being Filipino. Because she looks Caucasian, she initially doesn’t have work issues but believes it is the discrimination that causes job losses. She is in and out of psychiatric treatment centers and also sees a counselor and psychiatrist on an outpatient basis. Because she has schizophrenia, she takes strong psychoactive medications for her illness. Lucy believes her schizophrenia was caused by studying too much for school. She has difficult relationships with her mother and sister, which impact her life. Throughout the book, Lucy also goes into detail regarding sexual abuse and her sexual play with a few men. ... (read more)

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Must-See

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Big Al Travel Companion: A Companion for You Getting the Best Values in Your Discovery into Festival, Culture, Food and Many Others
by Albert Wilson
Xlibris


"I am keen to offer you an advantage of gaining more cultural experiences whether you are backpackers, holidaymakers, expatriates and alike . . ."

Discover Hong Kong through this sprawling, expansive travel guide that includes must-see attractions and excursions as well as practical tips for exploring the region. Wilson, born and raised in Hong Kong, offers the local’s perspective with detailed lists of the best places to eat, sleep, and experience the wonders of art, architecture, history, and more. Recommendations are accompanied by full-color photographs, detailed maps, links to websites, and informative descriptions. Wilson also includes mobile app recommendations for up to date information on transportation and various attractions. ... (read more)

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Remarkable Tales

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tips 'n Tales from the Trails
by Vicki Evenson
Xlibris


"Time stands still while trying to absorb it all, and the worries of life seem to float away."

When the widowed author retired in 2007, she was suddenly free for an adventure she had long contemplated: to ride horses on wilderness trails in each of the fifty states. Taking on the challenge, Evenson soon gathered many remarkable tales and useful suggestions to share with others starting out. Trail riding as she undertook it requires highly specialized equipment: a trailer for the horse and an adequate vehicle to pull it plus special gear such as fencing, saddlebags, medicines, clothing and other necessities for both humans and horses. One must negotiate rough, winding roads by vehicle to reach the trails. Injured more than once, and admittedly unprepared for the differing demands that arose, Evenson succeeded in her goal, proving her grit and keeping a promise she had made to her father who gifted her with the first horse she ever owned. ... (read more)

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Your Real Past

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Past Life Regression Using Your Religious Belief
by Babu Moses
Xlibris


"Religious visualizations are easy to imagine emotionally as we have heard them so many times as children."

Author Moses offers a way to revisit past lives through self-hypnosis. He grew up as part of the only family of Christians in a Hindu village in India. Though Hinduism was all around him, his parents were strongly evangelical and urged him to study the Bible. Coming to live in America, he gained certification in electromyography and hypnotherapy and began conducting workshops on Jesus, yoga, and meditation, leading him to explore in depth the concept of past life regression. He developed techniques for self-hypnosis that can also be used for meditation. He presents dramatic examples of self-induced excursions into biblical stories. Imagine, for example, that you are the woman condemned to be stoned to death for adultery and whose fears are released by the grace and wisdom of a man called Jesus. Such visualizations can potentially engender inner peace and confidence. ... (read more)

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Discipline

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Crime Scene Processing in the Correctional Setting
by David Doglietto
Xlibris


"However, stopping all inmate movement is essential because in this group of inmates who assume the prone position can be found the witnesses, additional victims, and suspects who are trying to avoid detection."

Processing a crime scene in the real world is tough enough, but consider the formidable obstacles one will come up against trying to do the work in a prison or jail setting. Just a few of those impediments are witnesses who refuse to cooperate, keeping unruly gawkers from contaminating the scene, and often trying to restore order at the same time one is trying to protect potential evidence. Things get harder, not easier, when the population is basically made up of rule-breakers of one kind or another. ... (read more)

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Fixing Mistakes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Party of Three at the Palace of Blue
by Mary Lee Gutwein
LitFire Publishing


"Oh, why? Oh, King! Oh, why must we have our royal snack back in the kitchen and not in the Palace of Blue?"

Gutwein’s easy-to-read chapter book is the short story of three girls preparing to have a snack in their imaginary kingdom, complete with a fancy setting, in the outdoor Palace of Blue. The girls frolic and play while awaiting their snacks; they are surprised to find the snacks not ready at the appropriate time and the royal cook, Mom, waiting on them with a lesson on respect and manners. Once the girls realize their mistake and apologize for their poor behavior, Mom leads them to a beautiful table covered with a lace tablecloth and fresh treats. As the girls are about to partake of their sweets, their father arrives home from a long business trip. Overjoyed, the girls rush to their father and tell him about their morning. Their father states that it sounds like an awesome morning and relates how their story reminds him of a piece of text he was just reading in his Bible that morning. ... (read more)

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Missy Troubles

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Taking Charge Missy’s Way
by Patricia Bullock
Xlibris


"I’m a big girl. I can handle myself, and I can’t give you what you deserve, so it’s time I handle my life myself . . ."

Missy has been taught all her life that the only person she can count on is herself. But life has a funny way of guiding you along the way, pointing you in the exact direction you need, even if you don’t know it. A series of life-changing events falls into Missy’s life, from having to unexpectedly take in her younger half-brother, having children of her own, her best friend passing away, and eventually falling in love. How will Missy handle all of this? Will she be led astray by all the chaos, or will a guiding light show her to the path that she’s meant to take? Missy will have to learn to follow her heart and to take charge, her way. ... (read more)

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Realm of Truth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Beyond the Spark of Freedom
by Jule Gaige
URLink Print & Media


"The mind relates to the past or to the future. In Truth, your existence simply pertains to the now."

Part self-help guide, part philosophical and poetic tribute to cultivating one’s true nature, Gaige’s manifesto teaches that once one has realized “who you are, completely and absolutely,” one is liberated from the struggle of misunderstanding. Each of us on this earth, the author maintains, is, in reality, comprised of love and wisdom. “Walk your Truth” and “Build Awareness” are some of the fundamental offerings Gaige inspires readers to undertake in this book of guidance. They are encouraged to identify their thoughts and emotions—without judgment—and move beyond that realm into their own truth. ... (read more)

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A Better Shape

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ageless MirrorAthlete: Overweight and Unfit No More
by Marc T. Woodard
iUniverse


"If I wanted to lose weight and increase my energy levels, the processed food had to go . . . required a greater balance of organic whole foods . . ."

The author chose exercise as his major life tool to remain fit and healthy, ignoring another significant contributor to health: nutrition. A skilled fitness expert, Woodard created customized training programs for servicemen and women returning from war with serious physical and mental handicaps. After retirement, he worked as a personal fitness expert. His own journey back to health started after being diagnosed with avascular necrosis (AVN)―bone loss in his hips that resulted in serious injury. After his surgeries, pain, weight gain, and depression, the author decided to follow the advice he offered soldiers. Beginning with dietary changes, he used the preparation of nutritional foods as a therapeutic exercise. Woodard knew that a certain amount of pain must be accepted to restore health to an injured body. The author was able to give up his walker and canes, and now walks unaided 8-10 miles a day. ... (read more)

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A Late Surprise

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Magi's Well
by Trisha O'Keefe
W & B Publishers


"She descended slowly, studying the paintings on the stairwell wall which were every bit as intricate as those on the most decorated tomb she had seen in the Valley of the Kings."

Adventure abounds in this intricate and multi-layered novel set in and outside of Cairo. The fabled Egyptian city comes alive and houses a cadre of calculating characters pursuing multiple agendas that lead to deception and death. Before the last page is turned, readers are swept along in a tide of scientific pursuit, geopolitical machinations, historical religious encounters, and good old-fashioned slam-bang action. ... (read more)

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Battle of Britain

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Breaking Point: A Novel of the Battle of Britain
by John Rhodes
Suncoast Publishing


"Dense smoke shrouded every scene. Everyone was ashen faced and coughing. Park groaned at each fresh sight of the destruction he had failed to prevent."

The Battle of Britain was a turning point for World War II and indeed for the entirety of world history. In England’s fabled finest hour, a stand against all the odds prevents Hitler from completing his westward march across Europe. Two figures factor into this historic moment, tied by a university friendship and separated by the horrors of war. In the skies, Johnnie Shaux is one of the RAF’s hotshot pilots, risking his life in mission after mission as he engages the Luftwaffe high above his homeland. On the ground, Eleanor Rand is a mathematician and staff officer in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force who starts to see patterns in the combat that lead to strategy but struggles to be taken seriously because of her gender. While the undertaking is momentous, the efforts of these two solitary people will contribute to the making of history. ... (read more)

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Terrorist Afoot

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ring of Steel: International Terrorism
by Keith Salmon
Toplink Publishing


"'Gentlemen. The London Stock Exchange has been hacked. We believe that the Chinese government did it. How we know this is not important.'"

A ring of Al Qaeda based in the United Kingdom is using the country’s refugee policy to bolster its numbers and strengthen both its bankroll and influence. A Nigerian named Adeola Adindu is advised to use the refugee loophole to be allowed to emigrate and later becomes radicalized. Inspector James Thornton has big plans for the city, desiring to computerize security and keep a watchful eye over all the comings and goings of known organized criminals. The paths of these two men cross unexpectedly when an immunity deal is struck with a local criminal that offers up the link between one of London’s crime families and this shadowy Al Qaeda cell. With a multi-pronged attack imminent, Thornton has an opportunity to bring down the mobsters and the terrorists in one stroke. ... (read more)

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Mystery & Controversy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Carolina Connection
by Lee Mims
Black Opal Books


"’Sissy’s done fainted!’ Joelle dropped her phone back in her pocket and hurried to her children. She’d call 911 when she got to the car. One thing was sure – a few more minutes weren’t going to make any difference to the man in the berry patch."

A timely mystery with its focus on the controversy of illegal immigrants and including a plethora of mayhem, murder, sorrow, love, and good old boys, the book takes us through the life of Boo Overton and her trials and tribulations overcoming the accidental death of her husband. As she works to change the focus of her business by becoming a cattle rancher for grass-fed beef while also learning how to deal with horses, she finds that odd happenings keep popping up around her. Boo is drawn into the local mysteries that surround her usually safe town in North Carolina. She and others continue to find information regarding murders, a past accident, horse business (literally and figuratively), kidnapping, a missing kid, attempted bombings, amulets, gangs, and illegal operations including drugs. Her new friend, Detective Felix Truly, who returns home after the death of his father, becomes enchanted with the non-enchanting Boo. Much to the detective’s chagrin, Boo keeps putting her nose into police business. ... (read more)

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Whatever Comes Their Way

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Matt Monroe and the Haunted House
by Edward Torba
All Points Press


"Thick fingers of low-lying fog floated toward Matt. Curiosity urged him to walk forward, but what lay ahead?"

After their last adventure in the magical realm of Paragon, Matt Monroe and his friends are eager to get back to what passes as normal life for them. Back in school and under the watchful eye of their parents, Matt hides a series of terrifying nightmares about his arch-nemesis Damien, and Josh is hiding his unhealing wound suffered at the hands of a dragon. When Matt is out delivering papers, he encounters Nathaniel and Annabelle Parker, two children who were murdered in the town nearly a century ago. This contact leads to a new supernatural adventure that only Matt and his friends in The Brotherhood can embark upon. With vengeful ghosts, deadly poisons, and the shadow of Damien’s influence in every danger, the group of teens and their allies must be ready for whatever comes their way. ... (read more)

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Prosperity Amid Turmoil

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


"The giant banyan trees, palm trees and banana trees dotted the landscape. The whole landscape looked so lush and green, so beautiful! Now I understand why many people called Taiwan the Treasure Island."

Action and intrigue are plentiful in Cheng’s personal narrative of events that unfold during his childhood years in China. The book centers on the author’s tragedies and triumphs of growing up amid the turmoil of China’s 1937 war with Japan. Cheng and his family move from shelter to shelter in villages and cities throughout China to escape the Japanese encroachment. His father (BaBa), a military leader in Chiang Kai–Shek’s Nationalist Army, is called to the frontlines, leaving Cheng and his mother to fend for themselves. Cheng and his parents confront food and medical shortages, makeshift living arrangements, robberies, murders, sickness, death, and perilous journeys. No sooner than the Japanese surrender, another war is brewing: China’s civil war between the Nationalists and Communists. Mao’s Red Army advances through China, capturing major coastal cities. Subsequently, Cheng’s father is relocated to Fujian Province, the Nationalist Army’s last stronghold. Surrounded by Communist agents, the Cheng family narrowly escapes the incursion as they seek safety in Taiwan through the South China Sea. ... (read more)

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Interpreting the Revelations

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Thy Kingdom Come: Re-evaluating the Historicist's Interpretation of the Revelation
by Marsue and Jerry Huerta
iUniverse


"Yet, the continuous-historical approach to interpreting Revelation is truly represented by following the linear narration from the Commencement of Christ's ministration . . . "

This contemporary history argues that traditionalists need to update their perception of the Book of Revelation. By evaluating the Revelation prophecies to that of the modern-day church, the authors look into the illustrations of Revelation without the "ad hoc rationalizations" that often portray it. In doing so, they attempt to prove the view of Professor David J. Engelsma of the Reformed Church who stated in The Church Today and the Reformation Church: A Comparison that "prophecies are best interpreted after they are fulfilled.” ... (read more)

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Evangelism

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Believe, Believe, Believe
by James Henry Lincoln, Sr.
Xlibris


"What you believe or do not believe is firmly in your hands."

According to the author, the choice people make to believe and accept the word of God as detailed so thoroughly in the Bible, or to believe it only in part (or not at all), will determine the way they live and the sufferings they undergo. Lincoln is certain that this is a simple option: What has a person’s attention is what one most believes. He posits that refusal to believe in God can lead to addictions and compulsions, even to madness. He counsels spending time in conversation and closeness with the Lord, remembering that Jesus prayed for us. Only through this faith can one avoid the wiles of Satan, who is constantly battling for possession of souls. God is like the co-pilot who won’t take control until one allows him to by relinquishing the need for control. A person shouldn’t hold to the tradition that suggests that God puts trials on people to teach them something; instead, one should use the sacred Name and its healing power. A person shouldn’t be one of Satan’s POWs but be “a warrior in the army of Christ” instead. ... (read more)

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Devotionals

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Gridiron: Thoughts About The Christian Year And Other Things
by Clive H. Jackson, Reader
AuthorHouse UK


"In the season of Advent, we remember an adventure! This refers to when God himself did a very risky thing―he became human . . ."

Beginning with Advent, this book of devotions covers well-known holy days and seasons such as Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Other days celebrated during the church year may be less familiar to some, such as Holy Cross Day in September, which commemorates the church’s use of the cross symbol to identify Christians. Early in the history of Christianity, the fish was the symbol used. This changed when Helena, the mother of Constantine, Emperor of Rome, traveled to the Holy Land in the 330s. There she discovered a cross and promptly had a basilica built on the site. ... (read more)

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Deep Emotions

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Poetic Inspirations
by Darron Hurst
Xlibris


"God told me not to worry
But my spirit is crying, “Really?”
Then He said, “Have you forgotten
My Revelation concerning the Lily?"

Poetry comes from deeply held emotions, inspired by moving thoughts or scenes of beauty. So it stands that the Bible holds a wealth of opportunity for the faith-minded poet to put pen to paper and construct verses both powerful and delicate. In this collection of over three dozen poems, the author marries his personal thoughts and feelings with specific biblical quotations that move his soul. Sharing these with the reader creates the chance to make not only an emotional connection but also share spiritual messages rooted deeply in Christianity in a way that is easy to understand and humanize. Each poem is paired with both a selected line of scripture and a short introductory thought, creating fully realized and interpretable messages that give a glimpse into both spirituality and the writer’s point of view. ... (read more)

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Grow Up

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Am I BIG or Am I Little?
by Eileen Simonsen
Xlibris


". . . I am too little to brush my own teeth . . . I am too big to have a binky."

The world can be one big conundrum for children. For curious young ones, it is often a world of contradictions and confusion. Remember making odd assumptions such as thinking the kindergarten teacher had webbed feet because she took off her shoes while wearing pantyhose? Simonsen's book cheerfully points out how confusing the world must seem to the preschool and kindergarten crowd. The main character, Violet, is a toddler. One day, she is told how big she is because she masters putting on her shoes all by herself, but soon after she is told that she is too little to wear her aunt's shiny red heels; then, she is big because she can run fast but too little to cross the street without holding an adult's hand. ... (read more)

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Missing People

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Hathaways and the Disappearing Translators: The Search Begins
by Kass Harker
Xlibris NZ


"'I think we should send a forward party, shake the Uglies up a bit. Then the full assault will be an extra whammy.'"

After the events of Into Another Dimension, Gemma and Edward Hathaway return from their journey to the dimension of Picturedurmia to the relief of their parents. However, it isn’t long before the president of a race known as Translators asks the siblings for their help. The Translators have had hundreds of their kind living among the humans of Earth to study them, but recently they have begun to disappear mysteriously. Together with their drone-like Futuristicator Will, the young Translator Dash, and a street child by the name of Cliff, the Hathaways discover a portal hidden in a defunct subway station that leads to a dimension full of intelligent, bipedal dogs. They admit to recruiting outsiders to their dimension but insist that none are held against their will. But why then are the Translators on record in that dimension missing, and what’s happened to Cliff? ... (read more)

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Coming Home

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Home from Iraq
by D.D. Anderson
Xlibris


"Dad wanted to go and help the people there."

Dad and son have a great relationship and bond over things like fishing trips and playing ball. But when Dad goes off to war, his son misses him immensely. One day Dad is home; the next day, he is gone very far away with brief and few telephone calls. One day Dad is well; the next day, he is home and in the hospital, possibly with permanent disabilities. One day Dad works in town; the next, Dad proudly goes off to war. Despite the heartwrenching situation, the author keeps the plot lighthearted. ... (read more)

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New Friends

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Missy Mermaid: "Queen of the Sea"
by Jean McCarthy
Xlibris


"They swam together the rest of the day, exploring all the amazing life under the sea."

Muhammad Ali once said that friendship was the most difficult concept to explain. McCarthy illustrates the meaning of friendship, and how integral it is to the human experience, in this charming tale. The story opens up with Missy Mermaid swimming in the ocean during a thunderstorm. As she takes cover, her tail becomes pinned between two rocks. She cries for help, and to her relief, a dolphin named Dino comes to her rescue. They become fast friends thereafter. ... (read more)

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A Frenzied Affair

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The China Affair
by J. T. Gooch
Xlibris


"She fell asleep wondering whether her troubles were over or whether they were just beginning."

Gooch presents a frenzied, romantic rendezvous against the backdrop of communist China. The male protagonist, Jack, is an American who is hired to train teachers in China as part of a teacher exchange program started by the Chinese government. When Jack gets close to a Chinese political training teacher, Angela, everyone around them seems to take notice. Even Angela’s thirty-second private visit to Jack’s room is seen and reported later—when it really matters. Once Jack leaves China, he hears the news that Angela is on trial with the Chinese government for crimes against the state. Her relationship with Jack is the primary piece of evidence brought against her. Despite all odds, Jack makes it his mission to save her, putting both of their lives at risk. ... (read more)

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Everything Tale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Cobble City
by Todd Monger
Xlibris


"Boar is screaming mad; he orders five of his men in front to take the prisoner down."

If you’ve got a hankering for blood and mayhem mixed with dragons, sorcery, and beautiful women, this quick, high fantasy read that is reminiscent of Conan the Barbarian might just satisfy your craving. The story follows four companions, and the allies they acquire, as they embark on a mission to stop barbarians from ransacking and destroying their homeland. Unfortunately, accomplishing that goal won't be that simple. At the center of the barbarian horde’s murderous ventures is a sorceress hell-bent on finding the perfect home. Her whims go unchallenged, and her powers are unmatched, except by one. ... (read more)

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HIV Drama

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Jaded Caduceus: A Trauma Surgeon’s Experience with AIDS
by Michael S. Hickey, M.D. F.A.C.S.
Xlibris


"'They literally have no clue that they’re HIV positive. And that’s why AIDS is so terrifying and difficult to control.'"

Dr. Jason Stone, a skilled trauma surgeon at the City Hospital, has his entire life put at risk when the unthinkable occurs. While trying to save the life of an HIV-positive young man with a gunshot wound, his surgical resident accidentally slices Stone’s palm open with his scalpel. At this point in the 1980s, the disease is little understood and thought by many to be nothing more than a death sentence. After six weeks, Stone is confirmed to have contracted HIV, and the waves from this event lay waste to his marriage, his career, and the life that he has created for himself to this point. Struggling to find support from peers and a healthcare system that is eager to blackball him due to his condition, Stone must look within to find the strength to persevere against a deadly disease. ... (read more)

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A New Canadian

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

My Chosen Words
by Ferial Imam Haque, Ph.D.
iUniverse


"I ask, 'Who am I today?'
A scientist, a chemist, a forensic scientist.
An activist or an artist or
A citizen of the global community...
This is the story of my life
And my unfinished dreams."

This autobiographical collection tells the remarkable story of Ferial Imam Haque, Ph.D. Haque was born in then-British India in the 1930s. She earned a Ph.D. in chemistry in Scotland at a time when women seldom pursued scientific careers. She immigrated to Canada, married, and raised a family, and has been involved since the 1970s with efforts to promote women's equality. Still living in Ottawa, she reflects on the challenges and joys of living in her adopted country. My Chosen Words depicts her journey and documents her views on women in science, love, marriage, family, the immigrant experience, and the challenges of aging. Mostly comprised of poems, with some prose narratives and essays, the collection is organized around themes such as "Family," "Seasons," and "New Canadian." ... (read more)

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Nostalgia & Heart

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

"Poems from the Heart"
by Armand Cannamela
iUniverse


"You leave the warmth from within and are suddenly thrust out of your security."

A reflection upon life’s peaks and valleys, of love young and old, Cannamela’s compilation uses nostalgia and piercing imagery to remain etched in the audience’s hearts. Though the poems are mostly in free verse and lack any consistent rhyme scheme, their simplicity makes the message of living in life’s moments even stronger. While the poems cover a range of content and themes, the premise central to the work is that time is precious; however, its value is only realized once it slips so far away that no return is in sight. In several poems, the speaker yearns for one more memory, a moment that can endure a lifetime of separation. ... (read more)

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Easy & Natural

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Walking Through Poetry: The Rhythm of My Life
by Sylvia Stern
LitFire Publishing


"The lonely wind blows
freely through branches,
picking off any loose ends.
A little piece of my heart
blows away with them."

Finding inspiration in nature, the rainbow, the change of the seasons, her faith, and even junk food, Stern has crafted a volume of more than 100 poems which comes from the heart and finds beauty in many different aspects of life. The book is split into eight subsections, each containing at least a handful of poems. Beginning with the personal “Moods and Dreams,” the topic then changes to weather-related poems in “Out of the Blue.” The next sections focus on the poet’s faith and then the scenes she records from gardens both small and large. A chapter on seasons provides a half-dozen or more poems for each of the four major times of the year. The remaining sections feature poems that provide personal reflections, a celebration of color, and humorous poems designed to be a little silly and light-hearted. ... (read more)

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Place & Time

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bits and Pieces: Thoughts from a Life in Poetry and Prose
by Joyce Henefield Coleman
iUniverse


"I sometimes feel the presence of spirits,
Perhaps ancient Native Americans who found respite here
Ate pecans, wild onions, and grapes,
Feasted on deer and wild turkey."

Coleman’s book of poetry is slim but encompasses something much larger: the experiences which shaped her. She shares intimate events which were particular to her journey and experiences affecting our nation over the last half-century. Included are pieces concerning loss, the births of children, horrors committed at Newtown, Connecticut, and The Boston Marathon, traveling, and her long marriage. These poems are a mixture of rhymed pieces and free verse. Also included are haikus and a prose poem, similar to the many prose poems with which Robert Bly is often associated. Although there is a lot of loss and sorrow represented in these poems, they are ultimately bound together by the author’s joy in the life she has been given, hope for the future and the life of her children, and her ability to embrace the life she has lived as the complex, confusing, sad, and beautiful mess that it is. ... (read more)

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Enlightenment

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ramblings of a Mad Outlaw
by Batch G. Brennan
Xlibris


"There is the social/human world, but there is that underlying, limitless world of the creator, the artist, the Buddha."

This nonfiction first-person text is a longish foray into the inscrutable and difficult highways of what human consciousness and its values entail. Coming from a Western psychotherapeutic and scientific tradition of measurement and repetition of results, the writer attempts to expand, or perhaps integrate more holistically, the hierarchy of Maslow's needs, which he refers to as the social self, with a greater appreciation or "enlightenment" based on the Eastern model of sunyata or the non-verbal experience of the sublime. ... (read more)

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Healthier

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Trimming Your Waistline: Ten Steps to Better Health and Fitness
by R. Matheny, PhD, RDN
iUniverse


"Negativity directed toward the overweight and obese can produce and reinforce poor body image and by doing so, threaten your weight-loss and weight-maintenance success."

The book’s slim size belies the amount of information contained in this excellent self-help guidebook geared to help promote weight loss without sacrificing healthy food choices. The author’s diet emphasizes complex carbohydrates and low-calorie foods that are high in nutrients and antioxidants. She provides wise suggestions on food choices and also healthy practice recommendations. The author also offers up helpful measurement techniques, including portion control, measuring body fat and energy levels, and logs to record results. The book details weight loss plans with menu ideas and a grocery shopping list. Chapter 9 provides a physical activity program followed by a chapter giving tips for maintaining losses. The book also points out health issues that may be helped or eliminated by losing weight. This section is generic and should be used to open conversations with your doctor when dieting and weight loss is recommended after a diagnosis such as diabetes or prediabetes. ... (read more)

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The Sensual World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Acquisition
by Aura Polanco
iUniverse


". . . it was impossible for Marcus to work as Valentina’s brown suede eyes continuously flashed before his mind . . . For her, he would leave it all behind."

In a New York City immune to the unromantic realities of workplace sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement, Marcus is Valentina’s boss and also loves her. He declares his feelings and offers himself to her in a way that, if he weren’t handsome, rich, and kind, might strike a young woman as creepy but which Valentina accepts as flattering and brimming with potential. In another story, this might be the beginning of Valentina’s quest to be loved for herself and not just her attractive external essence. But here, what Marcus calls love is apparently the real deal, and Valentina must determine whether the feelings are mutual. ... (read more)

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Starting Over

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Are You Free Enough?
by Verona Willis-Brown
Xlibris


"She saw that what they had as two adults who were matched together were moments of bonding and sharing."

A woman ends a long-term but painful relationship and is immediately noticed by a well-to-do, handsome man. Determined not to make the same mistakes, she coolly rejects his advances, which he continues without becoming aggressive or impatient. After several years, she finally decides she is ready for something new, but wonders if this mystery man has any strings tying him down or obligations that will keep their love from lasting forever. Letting go of her fears, the woman finds in her admirer an attentive and passionate lover, someone she can teach and yet relish in. Torn between her mind and her carnal desires, the protagonist, along with her lover, must decide between living in the present and making the most of each moment or dreading a future that they can never have. ... (read more)

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Healing Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Helping Hands
by Ken Saik
iUniverse


"The possibility of Jill agreeing to marriage also depends upon her dealing with the ghosts in her past, ghosts that Bill suspects reside in Ontario."

A horrible car accident leaves Jill Kreshky with a lot of damage that needs healing. Aside from her injuries and spending weeks in a coma in the hospital, when she returns to her life, she finds it in disarray. The children she had once been so attentive to have now become self-reliant and independent. Her husband has opted to leave her, and without a car or a job for the entire summer, she quickly falls into a spiraling depression. The lone bright spot for her is Bill Wynchuk, a man from her church who stayed by her as she healed in the hospital. Confusing his attention for pity, she spurns his affections but slowly learns to accept him into her life. But even with things starting to look up for Jill, the massive demons of her family and her past continue to loom, unresolved. ... (read more)

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Fighting Poverty

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Movement and Mentorship: Healing Kids through Sports
by Marian Prentice Huntington
Xlibris


"We’re operating a health-care program disguised as an athletic program."

The fight against poverty and inequality relies on people willing to help in their communities by creating opportunities for all people to participate and engage in activities that foster strong minds and bodies. Huntington’s success with her public charity serves as a guide and a model for others to implement in order to change the lives of children marginalized by poverty. Huntington shares her firsthand experiences connecting impoverished children with after-school sports programs and with mentors in the areas of karate, dance, and soccer. The prohibitive cost of organized sports leaves many kids isolated and trapped in unhealthy habits that lead to depression, anxiety, and obesity. By engaging these children and teens in physical activities and by connecting them with athletically minded mentors, young lives are changed dramatically. ... (read more)

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Class & Taxes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Free-Riders and Rent-Seekers
by Artur Soares
AuthorHouse


"Taking into account the number of free-riders who will vote, a winning party must ensure a strong score among them."

Ever since the original days of man where tribes have had to work together to provide for each family and member, the division of labor and the division of supply has rarely been equal. As technology progresses and automation encroaches further and further each year, this situation has reached an all-time high. While there are many citizens working to provide for themselves and paying into the tax system, there are others who are content to coast by on the bare minimum, collecting assistance funds to pay for their food, shelter, and medical needs. This disparity has become an entrenched part of modern society, and the reality of it impacts not just tax dollars but the income class system and the outcome of elections on the local, state, and federal level. ... (read more)

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A Bard's Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Naughty Cyfarwydd and the Windows of Igg: A Rhyming Novella of Interweaved Bard's Tales
by Walter Penbaird
iUniverse


"So, I told a daring story, with some overstated songs, interjecting with dashes of prose."

A young man establishes himself as a bard, making his living telling tales and singing songs in local inns and occasionally fooling around with women. After getting caught with a man’s wife, the bard has to flee, essentially exiling himself and taking refuge in Saxon lands. During his travels, he meets a Saxon who begins to tell him Norse tales. ... (read more)

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Good vs. Chaos

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Legends of the Big Game: Legends III & IV
by Suna Flores
Xlibris


"At last, as the sun was coming up, Sol crumpled in a heap,
And racked by nightmares of failure, he sank into a heavy sleep."

The eternal conflict between Spirit of Good and Fighter for Chaos comes to its temporary conclusion in these final two legends in verse and song. The vicious King Sol and Queen Luna have been given a surprise in the form of a tiny child, which they believe to be theirs despite his impossibly small size. Prince Sol is, in fact, the son of King Heart and Queen Constance of the good-hearted Scraps, given to the River Nation monarchs in order to teach them how to live their lives compassionately and considerately. As time passes, and the behavior of people starts to take a turn for the positive, Fighter has no choice but to send in villainous humans with the strength to snuff out goodness in the world once and for all and create a realm of pure chaos. ... (read more)

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From Fear to Forgiveness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

7,000 Million Degrees of Freedom: One Earth, Seven Billion Worlds
by Sehdev Kumar
iUniverse


"The phenomenon of humanity, I believe, is the grandest expression of the universe."

In this fascinating work regarding the earth and her inhabitants, the book takes us through the freedoms we have sought and the freedoms that bind us. These freedoms mean so many things for so many different people, for what may be freedom to one may be tragedy and fear to another. The book explores many insights by examining the works of others, such as philosophers, scientists, and social scientists, along with their views. Exploring these views takes us back to the beginning of mankind and the trials and tribulations of how we have envisioned freedom as well as how these mores have changed over time. From slavery to war, from the intellect into consciousness, from fear and suffering to grace and forgiveness, the author utilizes the brilliant explorations of others and expands this knowledge into his own powerful messages regarding our freedoms, revealing both the good and the bad. ... (read more)

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Black Sheep Brotherhood

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Reigning Black Sheep
by Agnes G
Xlibris


"We are a large family with a lot of strength flowing through us, and Lee knows he can depend on each one of us."

Lee is the third “black sheep” in his family. His mother, the book’s author, was considered to be illegitimate; her grandmother was ostracized for her unusual lifestyle. Her son Lee, now in his forties, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age one. In Australia as elsewhere, conditions for special needs persons in the 1970s-80s were rather backward. Lee’s family soon became acquainted with the many extensive complications, like waiting more than a year for a needed motorized wheelchair; this would continue for many years, causing tension, anger, and exhaustion. Lee’s early schooling took place in a poorly supervised atmosphere where he underwent bizarre punishments after complaining about the “slop” the children were being fed. With gradual, significant improvements that were fought for by activist parents like the author, Lee is now able to live independently. ... (read more)

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Once a Minister

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Who? Me: "Never Thought It Could Be Me"
by Dr. Jeremiah Toney
Xlibris


"I know I might not know you but this book has been ordained for them that have been struggling and are ready to be free."

As a child, Toney was "unintentionally prophesied" by his grandfather to become a preacher. However, it wasn't until his time in the United States Army, when he served as a Chaplain Assistant, did he fulfill this prophecy. Once a minister, Toney traveled the world, spreading the Word of God. Through these experiences, he learned that "so many people feel that they are unworthy to be used of God," which inspired him to write this book. ... (read more)

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Growing Up Struggles

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Childhood Memories
by Ronald Mortenson
Xlibris


"Jeanne and I closed the door so no one knew we were in the room and then we got on the bed and started jumping."

Collecting various memories and stories from life growing up in rural Wisconsin in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, the author shares his firsthand experiences to show the younger generations how much has changed in so short a time. From hijinks around the farm to hunting trips with family, each memory is presented as a brief vignette, often with photos of the people and places in question. The story begins with the details of his grandparents emigrating from Austria-Hungary and acquiring land for timber purposes as they create a large family. With aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents around, there’s always something going on for Mortenson to get involved in. Sometimes tragic, sometimes mischievous, and always informative and honest, these stories give the reader a firsthand account of simpler but certainly not easier times. ... (read more)

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Lives Uprooted

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Passage to America: American Melting Pot
by Gopi Krishena
iUniverse


"I accept citizenship with great feelings of hope and with the promise to fulfill the duties of citizenship."

Arriving during a period of modern political strife, Krishena's timely tale drives home the message of America as a melting pot of cultures. Although there are many political and social circumstances that the author touches on, his story focuses on the community surrounding a family that only wishes for health and happiness. To do so, they will have to uproot their entire lives to move to an unknown land to survive, leaving behind friends and family. ... (read more)

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A Different Perspective

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The System of European American (white) Supremacy and African American (black) Inferiority
by Paul R. Lehman
LitFire Publishing


"The system of white supremacy/black inferiority is changing because the concepts of race by color, blood, geography, etc., never were fixed or static . . ."

The goal of this book is to present the argument for a less offensive approach to the way human beings address and speak about each other. According to Lehman, the history of racism begins with the Anglo-Saxons of the British Isles. It arrived in America with the Puritans and other European settlers. Demeaning an ethnic group whose skin was not white included both Native Americans and slaves from Africa. This book traces US racism through the history of slave owners in the North and South. The difference was that Northerners valued the souls of their slaves. The Southerners considered them property and less than human. The author explains dog whistle terms, like "inner city" and "illegal alien," that media and politicians use to incite animosity. This generation is familiar with phone cameras that capture physical abuse by police or difficulties in classifying color on forms and census reports. The author assumes that most whites were scared to have a black president in the White House. ... (read more)

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Better Choices

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Think, Be Still, & Grow Spiritually: Your Spiritual Manifesto
by Philip Guy Rochford
Balboa Press


"What you need to look at now is what can you do to take you to the next higher level of performance . . . "

This spiritual guide teaches how to get in touch with one’s higher self. The author discovered in his own life that when we think we are doing all we can, it is really only a small percentage of what we are capable of accomplishing. Over a long lifetime, he has found ways to think and become still, allowing his self to grow to its full spiritual height. His goal in this book is to pass the techniques onto others so they can do the same. ... (read more)

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Real Heroes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

We Called Ourselves Rocketboatmen: The Untold Stories of the Top-Secret LCS(S) Rocket Boat Missions of World War II at Sicily, Normandy (Omaha and Utah Beaches), and Southern France
by William Howard Palmer Jr.
LitFire Publishing


"Nobody knew about rocket boats. We were a secret mission as part of the invasion."

There is a secret history, one largely omitted from US naval accounts and World War II stories. Palmer reveals in his book, for perhaps the first time, this secret history. By the author’s own reasoning and from his detailed research, it can be assumed that this history is little known today because of the limited timeline of the program itself and of the inevitable separation of the men involved. Here, the author unveils the circumstantial operations of what was called the Rocket Boat Missions—elite missions that took place in Sicily, Normandy, and Southern France. ... (read more)

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The Struggle

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Journeyman's Journey: From Drewry to Doctor
by Melvin Bullock, Sr.
Stratton Press


"I view my home and my upbringing as the foundation of who I am today."

Author and minister Bullock recalls his early childhood in a farming community in northeast North Carolina. He and his close-knit family worked hard to “make something out of nothing.” Born in 1939, Bullock remembers rain caught in pots for washing and bathing and a cook stove that warmed the house. He and as many as six brothers shared two beds. The main room was the site of family religious services held almost every day. One year the tobacco crop failed, yet his father rejoiced when a creditor, knowing that he was a black preacher, graciously gave him one dime for the collection plate. Within this model of making do, though, there was always the pride of land ownership. That ended when, in the late 1940s, the government instituted the Kerr Lake plan to control flooding in a two-state region. The farmers were paid a pittance for their land, which now lies under water. ... (read more)

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Gods & Aliens

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

They Are Not Alone: Mythology or History
by Leo Cauzillo
iUniverse


"We would not be strapped in for eight minutes as we would be for a trip to orbit, nor fifteen minutes as for a trip to the moon, nor even twenty-seven as for a trip to the planets, but for eight hours as for a trip to the stars"

With a nod to Heinlein and Vonnegut, a cerebral but humorous treat awaits sci-fi fans with a taste for history and mythology in this head-spinning debut novel. Mathematician A’Pal Chi devises a secret theory that enables lightspeed travel, allowing his team to build a vast new craft to carry two thousand occupants on an eight-year-long galactic journey. After Dr. Chi and his crew leave their doomed planet to search for new worlds, they encounter ancient Earth. Thus begins a program based on Mars which fictively re-examines mythological Earth history and spirituality through the lens of advanced science and mathematics. ... (read more)

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Nightmares

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Trouble in Monarto
by Thomas James Taylor
Xlibris AU


"She was sobbing. Her worst nightmare had been realized, but she had the guts to regain control and fight the urge to scramble over me."

Mean streets, malevolent motives, and man-sized adventure are all in play in this contemporary tale set in Monarto, Australia. From the first chapter to the last, the action rolls along as one man sets his sights on helping a damsel in distress, getting a good dollop of revenge, and eventually putting a stop to a heinous plan no one could have initially imagined. ... (read more)

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Choices

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Dean's Wife & Three Young Curates
by Sydney James
Xlibris AU


"They'd each developed a persona to present to others, a mask behind which to hide."

Longtime childhood friends Brian, Alex, and Charles have a unique bond that many are not able to understand. This bond leads all three of them to begin a new career in the church to create new lives that will be more fulfilling. Although the original intention is to find a more comfortable career, the boys quickly learn that this job has its own set of obstacles and tribulations. When all three catch the eye of the Dean's wife, all notions of what they thought will come from this life choice changes. ... (read more)

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Obstacles & Successes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Personal Achievements
by Francisco Javier Morales E.
Palibrio


". . . life is full of all types of illusions, and one must be cautious so as not to get trapped by one of these."

There are obstacles in every life that shape the psychological make-up and contribute to the formation of one’s personality. These events remain in the minds of people, emerging on occasion to remind them of past encounters. Whether wonderfully enlightening or woefully discouraging, the people one encounters throughout life leave their mark on the psyche. Navigating the many obstacles he has faced in love, education, and career, Morales takes his readers through the emotional ups and downs of his life. In doing so, he reveals his innermost thoughts and feelings concerning the failure of an early relationship, his unreasonable and narcissistic bosses, the fear of his parents’ reaction should he fail in his educational pursuits, the conflicting emotions of an inappropriate relationship, and the confusion he experiences when he encounters a fighter. ... (read more)

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Finding Your Tribe

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Don't Drop It
by Liliane C
AuthorHouse


"All we ask from you is that you take part in at least one activity or club in the school, whichever one you choose."

What begins as a school policy to help students get involved becomes the catalyst for one young teenager’s transformation. When Alex’s school requires everyone to join an extracurricular activity, she’s not sure how she will comply when she’s never been a part of any school activity. Before she can even rebel against the policy, a group of girls invites her to join a volleyball club in need of one more player. Despite her inexperience and lack of interest, she steps out of her comfort zone and gives it a try. With the other girls’ encouragement and friendship, Alex begins to enjoy the game and the comradery. She slips easily into a wholesome circle of teenage fun, games, and conversations. ... (read more)

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Emotional States

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Star-Crossed
by Thomas James Taylor
Xlibris AU


"'You’re in love, you idiot,' he said, stepping out of the water. 'You can say good-bye to rational thought.'"

After growing up in Port Moreton, Amber Powell knew she was destined for greater things. After going off to college, she finds herself estranged from small-town life and the subject of nasty rumors and animosity. Soon those rumors start to take on an ugly reality, and while Amber finds opportunities to make use of her business acumen, she remains a target among men nearby. Daniel Gilmour is a young man returning to the area where he grew up, boarding with Amber’s parents in their guest house. A dark secret from his recent past clings to him, though nobody around him seems the wiser. These two young adults gravitate towards each other romantically in a world they both feel lost in and amidst a local Aboriginal legend and a series of horrific murders that seem to involve them somehow. ... (read more)

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Living Faith

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Gloria's Dream
by Adriana Pernetz
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"’A prayer is an act of love,’ said the moon lovingly."

One night, in the cozy sleeping community of a barnful of animals, a goat awakens from a troubled sleep and announces, with great dismay, that his dreams have been stolen. The peaceful nighttime scene he usually enjoys has been replaced with frightening and unfamiliar imagery of receiving a medical injection in a doctor’s office. His friend the pig, who is the resident wise man in their community, takes the troubled goat with him on a windswept journey to the moon, whereupon they learn that, unbeknownst to the goat, his dream was swapped with that of a sick little girl, whose subsequent peaceful slumber is a moving sight to behold. ... (read more)

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History Revealed

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Inca Gods and Aliens: A Novel about the Incan Journey of Discovery, Conquest, and the Future
by Bruce Noon
iUniverse


"Finding the impossible interested me – a key to the past, a key to the future, and a bridge to link them together."

At the center of Noon’s historical thriller is Peruvian-born college student Jesus Ruiz’s discovery of an otherworldly history. While conducting research among the library stacks for his archeology studies, Jesus happens upon a hidden saga of the Incan Empire. His thirst for knowledge and interest in everything compels him to dig deeper, and he gradually uncovers a secret language and tales of supernatural powers among Incan peoples. The discovery leads him back home to Peru and eventually to Spain, where he is joined by friends and the secretive Father Juan. His further research with rare archives is mired by danger and mystical communications with an Incan goddess as Jesus uncovers surprising truths that hit close to home. ... (read more)

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Astronaut Wife

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Keeper of the Flame
by JoAnn Petrie Carr
Xlibris


"She couldn’t accept the possibility that he might not fly after all they’d sacrificed. She wouldn’t accept it. Something would happen. It had to."

At the grand climax of the space race, when the United States is preparing its Apollo series of lunar flights, astronauts become overnight celebrities in the American conscience. While many can rattle off the names of the members of each flight crew, at home, their wives and children sacrifice much in the name of science and progress. Jennifer Davis is the wife of Evan Davis, a Marine Corps pilot whose sole motivation is to be selected for one of the remaining Apollo missions. Dealing with her four children, an absentee husband always off training, and the social change of the 1960s that calls her to her own destiny, Jennifer struggles between loyalty to her husband’s dreams and her own needs. Caught between her personal heart and her love for her husband, Jennifer must find herself while her husband prepares to leave the planet for a month. ... (read more)

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Island Views

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tour da’ Maui: An Adventurous View of Paradise
by CruiserBob
Xlibris


"“[The Tour da’ Maui] is NOT the conventional tourist routine that packs visitors in endless traffic jams. It is a route of adventure that opposes the normal routine."

Readers are invited to take a photographic journey through the gorgeous island of Maui alongside CruiserBob in this beautiful book. The author owned a bike rental business in Maui, and with his degree in photography, he has produced stunning images of the island as well as tourist and islander lifestyles. Combining memoir, travel guide, and some history all into one, this book is a comprehensive journey through the Tour da’ Maui as seen through CruiserBob’s eyes. ... (read more)

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The Real Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Squatchland II: Under the Sign of the Crooked Snake
by David Hollis
Xlibris


"Some guys dress in Gilley suits and hike for days trying to sneak up on Bigfoot. I carry my cellphone and get close by making friends."

A sequel to Hollis's first book, Squatchland: The Dartigo Creek Valley Project, this story continuation focuses on the relationship Hollis has with one of the Sasquatch leaders—Brutus, king of Dartigo Swamp and leader of the clan of the Lance. "Brutus's name in Sasquatch is Mo Cho Rook. His name means the cruelest one of all," but his interest in Hollis is out of curiosity. Their mutual respect creates a chance for Hollis to research and observe the elusive Bigfoot. ... (read more)

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Compassion

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Awakening to More: Life Lessons to Keep Us Grounded, Hopeful, and Prepared
by Adele Von Rust McCormick, Ph.D. and Marlena Deborah McCormick, Ph.D.
iUniverse


"We contend that learning about Nature, including human nature, is an ideal venue to stretch one’s consciousness and compassion, because its messengers and cast of characters whisper to the human soul."

In examining such consciousness and compassion, the authors focus on the healing of nature and all of its inhabitants. This is a self-help book that goes beyond the usual platitudes of such necessary help through the examination of psychological needs interspersed with the wisdom of philosophy and spirituality. Here, human nature combines with that of the mystical relationships with various animals, primarily horses, although there are other animals as well. The work examines the awe of nature, mysteries, and the cosmos. It further examines the “richness” of tragedy, letting go of the ego, peace vs. conflict, the need to retreat, leadership, silence, stress, intimacy, and the development of the superego and of a higher conscience. The authors utilize the example of horses and crossing the ‘interspecies barrier” in order to bond with animals, which also teaches readers how to bond with humans. ... (read more)

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