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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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Power Blind: A Dana Hargrove Legal Mystery
by V.S. Kemanis
Opus Nine Books


"And that’s it, the source of her emotion, the hidden, uncomfortable part of her distress. The personal part."

In this emotional legal thriller, readers meet Bianca, a devoted aunt who cares for her Hodgkin's lymphoma-ridden niece, Josefina. Not only does Josefina struggle to fight the lymphoma ravaging her body, but she also navigates the grief she feels over the death of her young mother. After she and Bianca decide together that Josefina will not undergo the chemotherapy that swiftly killed her mother, an unexpected visit from CPS unravels Bianca and Josefina's world. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

Reactionary

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The Ranting of an Uneducated Reactionary
by Oscar Phillips
Outskirts Press


"…the AIM of any actual HATRED on the right, albeit conceivably misguided, is to build America up while the AIM of true HATRED on the left is to tear America down."

This is a passionate work of political and social opinion from a self-declared, self-educated, far-right conservative who has actively engaged in political discourse, essay and letter writing, and opining over the course of decades. His lengthy collection includes previously published material as well as recurring chapter installments titled "Opinionated Bits and Pieces," which offer a variety of views that may prove either intriguing or offensive to readers across the political spectrum. They showcase a perspective the author calls "Anti-socialism" that devolves into almost comically aggressive antisemitism by the end. The book shares ideas about freedom of speech and thought, economic equality, socialism, feminism, racism, perception, optics, and Jews. Indeed, unsourced and uncited generalizations about the left, liberals, and Jews comprise much of the book's meat through lengthy arguments about forms of collective government and the presumption that certain Americans want changes the author finds objectionable. ... (read more)

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Coming of Age

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A Portable Chaos
by E. M. Schorb
Hill House


"Rivers of rain, as when you look up through greenhouse glass on a rainy day, crossed his green eyes blotting out the blue dry sky overhead..."

Growing up in the 1950s, Jimmy Whistler demonstrates literary talent at a young age, resolving to dedicate his life to writing poetry. In Hawaii, he meets a girl named Leilani and falls in love. The two separate but later find themselves together in New York during a decade of social and cultural upheaval. Jimmy takes care of his aging mother and attempts to process the shock of his father's death. When he's offered a well-paying job writing copy for an ad agency, Jimmy is torn between financial security and the freedom to pursue his vocation unhindered ... (read more)

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Up For The Job

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Tails of a Lady Dog Catcher
by Nancy Lebaron-Kiley
Fulton Books


"On the first week as the Assistant Dog Catcher I rounded up 37 dogs and collected $93 in fines, something the City Treasurer had never seen before…"

In the early 1970s, the author, although young, shows herself to be good with animals. She can do what the city dog officers cannot. However, because she is a female, the city isn't ready to hire her on full-time. As her first year as an assistant wears on, the community goes through several male dog catchers. Eventually, they conclude that the author is the best person for the job. She becomes the first female dog officer in the country. Fearless and mischievous, she does outstanding work with a variety of animals and makes a name for herself. She also becomes known around the precinct as a practical joker and has all the other officers on their toes. Not only does she deal with a number of dog cases, but she also handles snakes, skunks, large cats, and an exotic monkey. The hardest cases involve those where animals are mistreated. The author learns a lot from a judge and makes sure to pursue those who commit animal cruelty until they are caught and convicted. ... (read more)

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Vibrant

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Lyle’s Christmas
by Kimberly Vincent-Hampton
PageTurner Press and Media


"There was not a creature stirring… well, maybe a mouse."

This fully illustrated children’s book follows little Lyle, a mouse too excited to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. The anticipation of having Santa Claus pay a visit to his home and bring gifts becomes too much for him to stand, and he cannot keep his eyes closed. In fact, he decides to check on the stocking he has prepared for the occasion. Little does he know that Santa Claus is aware of even the smallest spies on his evening rounds, which leads to a gentle encounter between Lyle and this merry spirit of the season. It is a meeting imbued with magical goodness alongside a tasty treat or two and becomes a night Lyle is sure never to forget. ... (read more)

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Amusing Fantasy

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The Trump Diaries 2024
by Barry Robbins


"I’ve got a really good topic tonight… but for the life of me, I can’t remember what it is."

Satirist Robbins has composed a future view of former president Donald Trump, garnered from Trump’s fictional diaries in the year 2024. The humor rolls from the outset when Trump admits he has hired a “translator” to convert his “drivel into real English.” While some of each day’s ramblings reference Trump’s continuing, outrageous aspirations to take back the White House in the elections coming up in November 2024, some of his daily scribbles sustain the hilarity with simple, human diversions: his attempts to make a truly smooth smoothie; his frustrations with the popular Wordle game (and his proposal to create an alternative to be called “Trumple”); his annoyance arising when the Mar-a-Lago chef decides to switch to brewing real coffee after years of serving him instant; and coping with problems with the toilets at Mar-a-Lago, problems possibly caused by his flushing away all the bills he gets from plumbing companies. ... (read more)

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Truth Telling

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The Hanford Plaintiffs: Voices from the Fight for Atomic Justice
by Trisha T. Pritkin
University Press of Kansas


"During the Manhattan Project and Cold War era, nuclear weapons production and testing by US government exposed many Americans to harmful levels of radioactive fallout."

A revealing book comes to the rescue when people are denied their opportunity to be heard in court, and people who were hurt finally get a chance to break the silence. Clearly, many American lives have been negatively impacted by the development of nuclear power, but their voices have not been heard until now. Here are the stories of twenty-four people who endured debilitating illnesses due to exposure to radiation, I-131, plutonium-239, and all the toxins related to creating nuclear bombs and energy. ... (read more)

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Shining Talent

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Five Mile Charlie: A Five Mile Christmas
by Kimberly Adams
Mascot Kids


"Grumps had not sung for a long time, but now he threw back his head and howled a joyous tune."

Christmas is approaching the Five Mile Farm, and it is alive with activities. The cooler weather and shining lights make the meadow buzz with excitement. Carly and Charlie have a plan to bring the joy of the season to someone who needs it most—Grumps. He is not simply bad or mean but rather very sad and lonely. Once they discover this, they know how to help. Charlie wants to use his beautiful wool to craft a sweater for Grumps. All the animals on the farm are ready to help. Carly gets the equipment needed to shear and clean his wool, spin it into yarn, and knit it into a cozy coat. Grumps lingers near the farm to see what all the commotion is about. He is surprised when Charlie does not chase him away. Instead, Carly and the farm animals gift him with a warm, wooly jacket. He feels joy and friendship for the first time in a long time. ... (read more)

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Success Strategies

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Be Transcendent to Sustain Happiness: Ethics Philosophical Essays—Reduce Miseries and Stresses
by Yvon Milien
yMilien


"Transcendental knowledge and the will to learn how to act correctly are sure ways to sustain happiness in this life."

Author Milien offers sound, wide-ranging guidance for self-improvement based on the legacy of some of the world’s greatest teachers. His vision for attaining and maintaining earthly happiness is arrayed here in eighteen essays examining the subject from a variety of fascinating angles. Initially, Milien says, one must be careful not to “put the plow in front of the oxen,” as an old adage humorously suggests. To make meaningful strides in life, one must develop a strategy for assuming one’s proper place and knowing the work involved in that place. To do so, self-control will be required, along with the development of well-chosen intentions and the ability to put principles into sound practice. One angle of examination comprises rising above a mere “life history” to create a vibrant “life story.” The latter demonstrates one’s triumphs over adversity and overcoming of weaknesses. Using this story, it is then possible to persuade and convince others of one’s worth, leading to advancement in many spheres. ... (read more)

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Real Progress

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ACE Your Life: Unleash Your Best Self and Live the Life You Want
by Michelle P. Maidenberg, Ph.D., MPH, LCSW-R
Morgan James Publishing


"You must chisel away those barriers and 'stuckness' to reveal and unleash your personal power."

The three components of this revelatory guide for transforming your life are acceptance, compassion, and empowerment (ACE). With insight and wisdom founded on professional knowledge and experience, Maidenberg breaks down each component and incorporates inspiring stories alongside scientific and philosophical expertise. Maidenberg also provides self-discovery exercises, questions, and prompts to engage readers and seekers in actionable work that can lead to true transformation. Each section offers definitions, benefits, methods, and strategies that combine to provide a way forward for people who may feel stuck in unfulfilling lives and cycles of frustration and missed opportunities. ... (read more)

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A New Way to Relate

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

2 x 2 on the Ark: Five Secrets of a Great Relationship
by Mary J. Giuffra, PhD
Balboa Press


"Building a love relationship and being a strong marriage partner require a lot of intentionality and self-awareness."

Falling in love is easy. Swept up in emotions and the excitement of something new is like a rose-filled wave that lifts lovers to dizzying heights and sets them off on shore to find their way. Then the hard work begins, and sometimes that work demands the help of the experts. With over forty years of experience, Mary Giuffra offers resources and practices to empower couples to build and maintain long-lasting relationships. Filled with practical advice, insightful revelations, and candid examples, this guide will inspire couples to transform their relationships. Strategies are thoughtfully designed and thoroughly explained, so the hard work feels manageable and the results within reach. ... (read more)

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Innovative

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Reality Prism: A Raven Novel
by Paul E. Vallely Major General, US Army (Ret) and John D. Trudel


"These America haters of the left and their Marxist and Fascists friends like BLM and Antifa do not advance civil discussion or unity."

This innovative book blends fiction and fact to address what the authors see as a Marxist takeover of America. The chapters are written as distinct types of prose: normal narrative or general reading; non-fiction discussions of threats, such as a New World Order and The Great Reset; action or suggestions to regain freedom, prosperity, and safety; and heroic fiction in which the authors' theories are presented as a predictive thriller. Throughout the non-fiction portions, the authors expound on the current state of American politics and what is seen as an effort by the liberal wing of the Democratic Party to change America into a Marxist state. This theory is reinforced by the fictional part of the book, which tells a terrifying story of the assassination of a sitting American president. ... (read more)

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Brotherhood

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Inside the Grey
by Bobbi Groover
Satin Romance


"They were sensations he had never felt before, not even with Lavinia."

This captivating story follows the adventures of Brayden, who is searching for his best friend, Caleb. Union raiders took him because he was accused of hiding a rebel convict. They plan on hanging him. Brayden is ready to do anything possible to find his dear friend. Life has not been easy for him because he is still grieving the tragic death of his wife. At this point, it is essential for him not to lose another loved one. Brayden begins this journey with the help of his friends. Along the way, he crosses paths with Kawley, a mysterious lady with many talents. She is looking for her brother, who was also taken by the Union raiders. She is determined to find him. At first, Brayden and Kawley do not trust each other, but throughout this journey, they will come together to find their loved ones. ... (read more)

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Christmas Tradition

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Life in the Neck Advent of Christmas
by Diane Davies


"The kids found an old wooden manger in Papa’s shop and placed it by the Advent wreath for the third Sunday."

This beautifully illustrated book tells the third story in the Life in the Neck series. Young readers discover the Advent story as well as a beautiful message about the meaning of family and tradition. They follow Elsie and Eli, two siblings who embrace the true meaning of not only Christmas but the entire Advent season. As Elsie and Eli prepare for their Advent celebration, they pose deep questions about the meaning and depth of God's love. Young people can experience the Christmas season in a new way as Elsie and Eli celebrate the season in a heartfelt manner that encourages readers to love and respect all of God's creations. Throughout the book, the audience also engages with scripture passages inherent to the Christmas season. ... (read more)

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Riveting

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Cast Them Dead: A Brig Ellis Tale
by Joe Kilgore
Encircle Publications


"You know there’s no statute of limitations on murder. As far as this one goes, the detective overseeing the case is a bit of a fanatic."

Brig Ellis works as a private investigator in San Diego, but he heads to Los Angeles when an old friend in the LAPD calls him in to help solve a cold case. Abel Dane, a talented film director, was murdered the year before under mysterious circumstances, and Ellis’ detective friend cannot let the case rest without a final look. Ellis, “ex-military but not ex-badass,” tracks down and interviews the case’s five suspects. These suspects include an under-appreciated screenwriter, an ambitious personal assistant, a skilled cinematographer, a dashing but drug-addicted lead actor, and a beautiful starlet. Ellis unearths evidence that all five had reasons to want Dane dead, and as he starts to narrow his investigation, his suspects start dying of mysterious deaths themselves. ... (read more)

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A Worthy Gem

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Nothing Comes After Z: Death and Retribution in Tepoztlan
by Ana Manwaring
Indies United Publishing House


"I am that person, Dylan, I wanted to shout. But it would be a lie. I was a girl with too much baggage, and part of the baggage was after me."

JadeAnne Stone is in a world of hurt and confusion. She is recovering from a recent gunshot wound and being tended to by her estranged biological father while residing at a former brothel. JadeAnne is fleeing from the lethal Los Zetas and their attempt to ensnare her in a large human trafficking ring. Her refuge from immediate harm lacks security in her mind. The man who calls himself her father is still enshrouded in mystery. Her once ally may have led her into a trap, and she doesn't know who to trust. She saved a young teen from human bondage but is at a loss in how to get her back to the United States. JadeAnne's confusion yields to anger, as she desires payback against the criminals who harmed her. ... (read more)

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Storytelling Heights

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Double Indemnity
by Richard Zappa
AIA Publishing


"Crowder had her doubts too, and she spoke before he could say more. 'Alex, it's not what happened last night that should concern us, it's what is going to happen tomorrow that should.'"

Jo Crowder, an attractive thirty-six-year-old, works in the homicide division and isn't afraid of her job. She has a long list of kill numbers, and more than once, she has been accused of using lethal force and sent to the board to defend herself. Crowder suspects that Heartland Insurance, which buys life insurance policies and collects the proceeds after their clients' deaths, is covering up something sinister. After discovering that Heartland has a suspicious number of clients, all suddenly deceased, Crowder and FBI Special agent Alex Hill uncover the insurance company's evil connections with a research lab testing their experimental serum on animals. However, to prove they are right, Crowder and Hill must put themselves in grave danger and break a few laws along the way. ... (read more)

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A Spiritual Philosophy

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One Family: Indivisible: A Spiritual Memoir
by Steven Greenebaum
MSI Press


"Each of us can make a difference. And together, we can all make a difference."

Author Greenebaum's childhood was spent as a member of a respectable Jewish family in a safe, all-Jewish neighborhood of Los Angeles. At the age of about six, he heard grownups discussing the Holocaust, forging a deep, lasting impression. He realized, "I am Jewish," and some people, not just Hitler but Americans, even Christians, hated Jews. Greenebaum was sometimes bullied by other children because of his small frame, invoking yet another "life lesson" about the perils of mob consciousness. In the sixth grade, after some years of religious education, a voice, the first but not the last, spoke to him, saying, "They are killing each other in my name. Stop it." Looking back, he believes that message changed his life. As a thoughtful young person, he would grapple inwardly with such issues as pride. Should he be proud of his accomplishments or avoid any form of self-congratulation? ... (read more)

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Love, War & Survival

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Muir's Gambit: A Spy Game Novel (The Aiken Trilogy)
by Michael Frost Beckner
Montrose Station Press


"For each of us, our entire existence was wrapped up in secrets, stealing them, keeping them, selling them, living them, killing them."

In this prequel to the Brad Pitt espionage thriller Spy Game, Beckner transports audiences back into the universe of Nathan Muir, a multifaceted CIA legend whose discourse with Russell Aiken, legal counsel to the CIA, is nothing short of two juggernauts dueling in an epic game of high-stakes chess. From the first line, “Charlie March is dead,” the author establishes a “no holds barred” tone that only continues to build toward a fever pitch as the exposure of national secrets are on the line. ... (read more)

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Unique

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Turquoise Tail
by Rachel Bate
Mascot Books


"You are special my friend, so please stay focused."

This children's book is a masterpiece. The words, the illustrations, the lessons, and even the paper quality are all spot on and exceptional in the genre of children's books. Aside from being gorgeous at first look, the book's messages are moving. Because the author is a teacher and obviously realizes that empathy can be taught, the main message is "Be nice." A caring person can walk children through the paces, and Bate does just that with Cielo the coyote and his forest cohorts. ... (read more)

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Wonderful Storyteller

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Artifacts and Other Stories
by Ronna Wineberg
Serving House Books


"You wonder if what a person wants—if the wanting itself—ends up being his or her undoing."

This marvelous collection of fourteen stories explores human relations through the voices of complex and interesting characters seeking connection and fulfillment through different stages of life. The female protagonists found in most of these stories are navigating marriage, divorce, mid-life desire, or late-life love. Many are constructing new lives in the wake of loss and are adjusting to shifting priorities, new responsibilities, and startling revelations. The stories also explore caring for aging parents, facing illness, and dating during the later stages of life. ... (read more)

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Skillful Storyteller

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A Date to Die For
by Gaylene B. Corben
AIA Publishing


"The howling wind gave way to dark, grey clouds. The night came earlier than it should have, and the lengthening shadows moving across Paul’s face grew darker."

Set in contemporary Australia, this foray into the oft-examined world of serial killings manages to set itself apart from the majority of such thrillers. While there are plenty of dark and dreadful doings to satisfy the staunchest fans of the genre, there is also a complimentary and insightful exploration of those tasked with tracking down the human vermin who take innocent lives. In a bit of a twist from how these tales are usually told, the psychological underpinnings of the good guys are explored in as much, if not more, detail than that of the villain. ... (read more)

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Endurance

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The Fifth Daughter of Thorn Ranch
by Julia Brewer Daily
Admission Press


"But, the more she became enchanted by their way of life, the more she realized she might be the one who needed rehabilitation."

When the heiress of Thorn, a huge Texas ranch, goes missing, its future is threatened. Thorn is passed down through generations of feisty women, all only daughters, for whom the land and their stewardship of it forms a sacred, unbreakable bond. Emma is soon to take over the ranch, but one day she doesn’t come back from an outing to the far reaches of the property. Josie, Emma’s mother, breaks down and stops attending to ranch business. Meanwhile, Emma discovers The People on the land, and Emma’s appearance brings hope to them. Although endeared to The People through her host, Kai, and wanting to stay, she also wants to return home. ... (read more)

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Sky High

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Airplane Stories and Histories
by Norman Currey
Inks and Bindings


"So for the first hundred years, we were teaching people how to fly airplanes, and in the second hundred, we’re teaching airplanes to fly themselves!"

As a pilot and aviation engineer for many decades, Currey is well-qualified to pen this volume, an intriguing memoir and historical narrative hybrid highlighting the world history of modern aviation. He shares many interesting anecdotes of the rare appearances of aircraft that he witnessed in the skies over Yorkshire during his youth. ... (read more)

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Sympathy Endures

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Kugelach Stones for a Dagger
by Lanton Hamby
Page Publishing


"He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

Responding to Julius Caesar and the Romans' decree that the entire Jewish community be present for the census, young Abijah and his family set off for Jericho with Zebedee, an elderly rabbi of Heron, and his donkey, Samuel. Using the journey as the context, this historical novel revolves around Abijah's coming of age as he goes from the confines of maternal love to a cutthroat world that is survival of the fittest. ... (read more)

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Musical Language

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Violin Thief: A Curious Tale of Lost & Found
by Genie Higbee
100 Wings


"Young Douglas’ runaway imagination is a growing problem. He believes the rogue violin communicates with him across time and space."

This magical story begins in 1941 in Elizabethtown, New York, where a haunting violin melody slices the starry night and mingles with the smoke from a burning farmhouse, a temporary refuge for Basque immigrants. Now homeless, the colorful, gypsy-like band departs, accidentally leaving behind the violin, which miraculously survives the fire. ... (read more)

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Irreverent Humor

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Claim Denied
by G.R. Jerry
PageTurner Press and Media


"Once born, something as horrible as this did not just fall into oblivion and disappear forevermore."

In this quirky thriller, Jerry melds classic horror tropes with his knowledge of the insurance industry. Benny Johnson works hard on big-ticket business and industrial claims at BestEver Insurance, so when he catches a glimpse of something robed and spectral in the company bathroom mirror, he wonders what could possibly happen next. Benny may be one of the top guys in his department, but his life is looking a bit shabby after his wife has disappeared with her lover and all the furniture. Perhaps stress and overwork are getting to him… or maybe not. Frances Murphy, one of Benny’s regular clients, the shrewd owner of a popular restaurant, accosts him on the phone about her encounter with a similar phantom in her ladies’ room on the same day. Benny is articulate, fast on his feet, and rarely pauses when push comes to shove, but Frances Murphy’s tale chills him to the bone, especially since what he saw spoke in her voice, and her spook spoke in his. ... (read more)

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Inside & Outside

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Like a Lily Among the Thorns
by Karen S. Bell
KSB Press


"This is where my father lived when my mother was losing her mind and wasting away."

In this touching and gripping novel, Bell explores the theme of a sense of belonging through the lenses of her protagonist, Gabrielle Bernstein. Gabrielle is an optimistic young woman, and she never takes life for granted. She enjoys working as a librarian, and she loves her community. One day, she receives a notice to evict her apartment because her building is being demolished for luxury condos. She only has a few days to find a new living situation. Soon after, she receives disappointing news: her estranged father has passed away and left her an inheritance. Throughout this journey, Gabrielle will struggle internally about whether to accept or decline this sudden inheritance from the man who caused her so much pain. ... (read more)

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Remarkable

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

God, the Here, and the Hereafter: The Way to Heaven
by Norman Talsoe
N Talsoe Publishing


"For Christians, the handwriting is already on the wall."

Author Talsoe began this creative work at age eighty-two, based on two strong visionary experiences directly telling him to construct a book with its specific title, receiving the inward message that it would “help evangelize the world.” Realizing from peripheral events that the Almighty clearly inspired this mandate, Talsoe undertook diligent delving into scripture and an understanding, shared by many Christians, of a spiritual timeline. In that frame, God’s work with humanity began six thousand years ago, with a day being one thousand years. The final week (before the seventh, sabbath or resting day) is now upon us, according to the author’s information. ... (read more)

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Digging Deep

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Carbon Dating, Cold Fusion, and a Curve Ball
by David D. Moon
Trafford Publishing


"Flood of Noah is proposed to have been a time of massive nuclear transmutations, brought about by the hypothesized ‘neuprons’ that form in cavitation bubbles."

In a world that sees one technological advancement after another, cold fusion could become the ultimate trump card in terms of efficiency. In Moon’s survey of cold fusion and carbon dating, readers get a glimpse of a lesser-known technological device that harnesses the potential to transform the way humanity lives and goes about its business. Specifically, Moon examines many different angles and connects cold fusion through the lens of faith to deliver greater understanding in as direct and simplified a manner as one can with such a complex topic. At its core, Moon hypothesizes that cataclysmic events like the Great Deluge during the time of Noah could result in transmutations that could significantly alter carbon dating methodology and yield different results regarding the age of what is being examined, including our planet. ... (read more)

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Inseperable

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Secrets in the Mirror
by Leslie Kain
Atmosphere Press


"Can't let you go, let you be your own person."

In this novel, Kain relates the story of Tony and Colleen DiMasi. They have twin boys, Devon and Gavin. Tony has a particular preference for his firstborn twin son, Devon. He sees him as unique, strong, and special, while he views Gavin as someone weak. He berates him any chance he gets. Tony also resents his wife, Colleen, for getting her doctorate. However, Colleen tries to keep the peace in the household. One day, during the twins’ sixteenth birthday party, Devon gets drunk and steals Gavin’s friend’s car. Unfortunately, he gets into a car accident and is severely injured. During his stay at the hospital, he is diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder. The more Tony refuses to see the truth about his son, the more Devon spirals out of control, leaving Gavin trying to break free from his unstable brother once and for all. ... (read more)

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Real Progress

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

ACE Your Life: Unleash Your Best Self and Live the Life You Want
by Michelle P. Maidenberg, Ph.D., MPH, LCSW-R
Morgan James Publishing


"You must chisel away those barriers and 'stuckness' to reveal and unleash your personal power."

The three components of this revelatory guide for transforming your life are acceptance, compassion, and empowerment (ACE). With insight and wisdom founded on professional knowledge and experience, Maidenberg breaks down each component and incorporates inspiring stories alongside scientific and philosophical expertise. Maidenberg also provides self-discovery exercises, questions, and prompts to engage readers and seekers in actionable work that can lead to true transformation. Each section offers definitions, benefits, methods, and strategies that combine to provide a way forward for people who may feel stuck in unfulfilling lives and cycles of frustration and missed opportunities. ... (read more)

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Unforgettable Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Eban and the Dolphins
by Carolyn Davis


"I think that he could be a leader—perhaps a liaison between us and humans."

Lost and adrift in the foster care system, Eban retreats to the ocean, where he is drawn to a pod of bottlenose dolphins that he discovers swimming near his coastal town. Initially, he connects to the patterns of sounds coming from the dolphins. As he spends more time with the pod, he begins to see these amazing animals as the family that has eluded him all his life. In a lovely twist on the coming-of-age tale, Eban joins the pod of dolphins and escapes into a world he chooses rather than remain to suffer in the human world that leaves him sad and disconnected. Growing up with the dolphins as his family, Eban becomes a beautiful bridge and healing force for animals and humans. With a deep knowledge of the oceans and the needs of dolphins, Eban is able to channel his experience into environmental activism, and his life becomes an inspirational call to action for all young people. ... (read more)

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Tension & Depth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Darker Side of Love
by J. Shannell Evans
PageTurner Press and Media


"Virginia, Dr. Grimes wants an autopsy done on your mom. He says her cause of death is inconclusive and they need to find out what happened."

After winning an important legal case, Virginia takes a day off from work to help with her mother's beloved garden. When she arrives at her parents' house, her mother is violently ill. Virginia takes her to the hospital, but the doctors cannot figure out what is wrong, and Virginia's mother dies suddenly. Virginia calls in her siblings, Brenda and Luke, so that the family can mourn together, but their father does not seem interested in spending time with them. When their mother's doctor calls for an autopsy, their father fights against it. The ensuing struggle tears the family apart and opens up many suspicions on all sides. ... (read more)

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Grace

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The Ups and Downs of Growing Older: Beyond Seventy Years of Living
by Viola B. Mecke, Ph.D., ABPP
Xlibris


"The number of persons living more than eighty-five years is increasing. There will be more persons to share this time of life."

This book about aging is filled with interesting and engaging statistics stemming from the author's lifetime study of the individual's social and emotional development. Mecke—recently retired and now in her nineties—has become one of the "oldest-old" she writes for. The book's orientation ties to Maslow's Basic Needs. ... (read more)

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Changing Culture

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

To Whom I Care: Book 2: Positivity Exists in Any Negativity
by Abdulelah Bin Khaled Awad Allam
Xlibris


"Respect the potential of others and give them a chance.
Knowledge is an ocean of facts.
Stick to what you know, but don’t be fanatic."

A previous book by the author dealt with hastily made mistakes, struggles with success, and finding peace and contentment in unlikely places. Here, using his signature poetic style and the wisdom and insights from a long and varied life full of rich experiences, the author cuts through the fake ways that people hide their true feelings and reveals a deep insight into moments that changed his life. The lessons and personal confessions within allow the reader to live vicariously and be guided through turbulence, imparting all of the growth acquired through these difficulties with none of the personal hardship required. From a simple childhood when a bicycle is the biggest dream a boy can think of to finding one’s place in the world as a young adult, the author has hand-selected a powerful collection of tales to share with his readers. ... (read more)

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Far-Flung

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

To Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth: Book Five, Betrayal
by Hugh Cameron
Xlibris


"'Are you just being pessimistic?' 'Probably, and depressed at seeing it all slip away,' said Munro sadly. 'The great experiment that was America.'"

As new world orders materialize, and the balance of power shifts to the other side as it tends to do, the powerful figures near the heads of various governments are again brought together in the face of crisis. The clandestine Prometheus Group, assembling the best and brightest young scientific talent from all around, is being hounded and threatened by others in power who wish to assume control and use their space program for their own ends. Continued developments in automation and normalized social structures are taking power away from people and leaving them helpless in the face of a growing governmental movement that seeks to guide their life strictly and without hesitation. The rough and ready Munro and his allies will once again have to stand for their beliefs. ... (read more)

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Punch After Punch

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Domain of Arrogance
by Charles David Grotsky
Xlibris


"'Jason has had a change of heart. I want you to contact him. The two of you must work together. Find allies you can trust.'"

For years, as many as a few thousand people have been vanishing from the American Southwest, disappearing without a trace. Jenny Spadaro has been working the cases from the Phoenix FBI office with not much to go on. Unfortunately for Jenny, these missing person incidents have just gotten personal with the vanishing of her twin sister in Albuquerque. Worried and with the clock ticking, Jenny gets pulled into a massive conspiracy of some of the most powerful people in the world on a scale impossible to imagine. Making unlikely allies and with the clock ticking on a disaster of an apocalyptic scale, it won’t merely be enough to rescue all of the missing people. With the fate of humanity at stake, a few individuals will have to topple a cabal of the richest and strongest people on the planet. ... (read more)

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Candid

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Inspire Before... ...You Expire: A True Story of Love and Survival
by Wayne and Jolyn Elmore
Xlibris


"I find myself thinking about what happened to me in December and where I'm at today. I now see how God and prayers really work."

The authors' memoir is about how God works miracles amidst tragic experiences. In December 2019, Wayne suffered a dramatic, head-on collision with a truck on his way to work. He had been a beloved school bus driver in his community for thirty years. This disaster would change his life forever. Wayne was taken by helicopter to Parkland Hospital, where paramedics worked tirelessly to save his life, despite their doubts that he would recover. Because of hundreds of prayers, trust in God, support of family and friends, and personal determination, Wayne made a miraculous recovery. He and Jolyn were united as man and wife within months of the accident. This life-altering experience created a desire in Wayne to spread the truth of God's infinite power, love, and mercy. The book closes with the wondrous note that, despite all odds, he had made a near-full recovery only a year after the accident. ... (read more)

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Suffering & Longing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

When I Was the Wind
by Hannah Lee Jones
June Road Press


"The wind and the road are your parents now.
Your new body is happening west of here."

The language of poetry is both emotion and experience distilled into one of its purest forms for readers. Therefore, it is meant to be digested in small, delectable bites so the reader can slowly savor any insights into the human psyche and heart. Jones' debut poetry collection is a testament to poetry in one of its most refreshingly raw yet refined forms. She speaks both to and of the "wilderness" within everyone and its external reflection in nature (depicted in the collection through the four cardinal directions). While there is much danger and uncertainty once one decides to follow the wilderness within, the author's words encourage and guide readers on a memorable and mystical journey to wander and "become the wind" so that they can unlearn "the constellations so that the individual stars become visible." ... (read more)

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Future Debt

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Biotechnology: Scientific Advancement versus Public Safety
by Conrad B. Quintyn
World Scientific Publishing


"It is clear that tinkering or tweaking—which gives the impression of minor changes—for a desired effect can also lead to drastically fatal results."

In the history books, the twenty-first century will be known for many things, but the technological advancements that have revolutionized life itself will be at the forefront. In Quintyn’s text, readers get an incredibly comprehensive history of the evolution of biotechnology. At its core, the author is determined to demonstrate that though genetic engineering has forever altered the way we live, the ripple effects it has undeniably caused leave many unanswered implications for society, ones that future generations will have to fend off and decipher if nothing is done now. ... (read more)

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Knights & Princes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Dagger for Catherine Douglas
by Euan MacPherson
AuthorHouse


"...a second chance; and maybe I can say I am fighting on the right side this time."

This historical novel is about Scottish court life in the early 1400s. For readers who have visited an old castle, the book gives the structures they once encountered life and breath. But for those who haven't seen one in the flesh, the story comes to life anyway. The author describes life at court and castle architecture interestingly, but readers looking for action and adventure get it here, too. The main character, Catherine Douglas, is a lady-in-waiting who falls in love with a soldier who, as it turns out, isn't sure where his loyalties lie or what he stands for. ... (read more)

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Adored

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Memories: Expressions from the Word
by Rose Love-Woolfolk
Quantum Discovery


"True religion is a thing of the heart, an inward life."

When the author's beloved former pastor, Suffragan Bishop Robert A. Baggett, died in 2001, she was compelled to publish a compilation of "bits and pieces of sermons/quotes and Bible class notes" in a desire to inspire others. According to Love, "The Lord gave me the title and directed my thoughts as to how the book should be composed." The book begins with touching tribute letters from Baggett's wife, Love, and others, plus several photographs of the bishop and congregation of Morgan Park Assembly Church which under Bishop Baggett became the Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Morgan Park. The author draws from many years of sermon and Bible class notes from her personal "precious keepsake journals." Thematic topics are followed by Bible verses and sermon notes illustrating each topic. The book is divided into three major sections: "Inspirational Sermon Excerpts," "Bible Class Notes," and "Meditations for the Week." ... (read more)

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Erotic Romance

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Requiem For A Queen
by Kaylin McFarren
Creative Edge Publishing


"She wanted to find a way to survive on her own, just as she had planned to do before being discovered by Onoskelis."

In a fascinating concoction combining the realms of magic and Hell, McFarren delivers scintillating commentary on the quandary that is power: the more one has, the more one wants until the individual's true essence is so consumed by their hunger that they become mere puppets of that power, going to any and all lengths to attain it. Upon severing ties with the Nexus Institute, Samara Daemonium is the object of a wild goose chase featuring everyone from a former Nexus lover to Hell personified—Lucifer himself. Chaos ensues, yet like a phoenix, Samara attempts to rise from it and experience her own journey of introspection and self-realization. ... (read more)

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All Lives Have Purpose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Presence Driven
by Paul Ellis
Quantum Discovery


"The first establishment of the standard of purpose being connected to presence happened in the garden with Adam."

Writer Ellis brings together stories and history from the Holy Bible and recollections from his personal experience to demonstrate that, though all lives have a purpose, higher goals will not be accomplished without the presence of God. His venture into this compelling theme begins where the biblical record begins, with Adam, in the Garden of Eden. Adam was charged with caring for the sacred garden, giving him both purpose and the presence to succeed. But then, through the wiles of the serpent, he and Eve were forced to begin a new life, tinged with deep regrets as they clung to their sense of God’s guiding presence. Abraham and Sarah, Ellis asserts, always had that presence through God’s covenant, though their long lives would occasion many doubts, especially since Sarah was unable to bear a child. But God did not give up on them, and through the birth of their son, Isaac, the Israeli nation would have its inception. ... (read more)

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Earth-Shaking

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Shepherds
by Shirley Bellinger
Westbow Press


"Let us learn from the shepherd and may we remember this story as we go through this holiday time and into the next year."

In a rather placid rural Virginia community, something is about to happen that will shake residents to their core. Bellinger’s emotive tale begins when a woman named Daisy is driving home one afternoon after teaching in the local school and giving three piano lessons, reminiscing about her past, the tragic early death of her husband, and the bond she now shares with their young son, Daniel. Suddenly she is confronted by another vehicle heading toward her. In a few seconds, there is a horrific crash, and she and the other driver, Marshall, are killed instantly. Many in the community will turn to religion for answers and comfort. ... (read more)

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What Lies Beneath

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Connections to Real Life
by Makaylan England
Xlibris


"I just wish life was the
way in the real world
As I pictured it in my head."

Visceral images shed light on the perennial grind that is life. Capturing the spectrum of emotions within the compilation, England’s work is relentless in tackling the chaos and the incessant feelings and temptations that darkness lays out. Essentially, the collection steers readers toward discovering and embracing their own identity, persevering through the darkness so that they can be ready in the light. ... (read more)

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Imaginative Fantasy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Wandered Into the Far Outlands
by Carlos X Febles
Xlibris


"…his entire body suddenly just plunged itself headfirst like a torpedo straight through his mirror without it breaking."

Timothy (Timmy) Winnow is a peculiar young man who becomes completely absorbed when looking in a mirror. The only person who can reach him without extreme measures is his twin brother, Edmund. One day, after arguing and breaking up with his girlfriend, Timmy is plunged into his mirror while his mother plays the piccolo. Shortly thereafter, his ex lies to her brother, who plants a bomb in Timmy’s new car. With no body to be found, the police believe Timmy’s father is to blame for the explosion. Meanwhile, Timmy is trying to escape danger in the Far Outlands, where he meets a young lady from the 1800s who is forever seventeen. Along with some intriguing characters and creatures, the two work to find a way to get Timmy back home where he can clear his father’s name. ... (read more)

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Inside Mening

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Life: What It's All About
by Robert Todd
Pen Culture Solutions


"If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you always got."

As stated by the author, "The opinions in this book are my interpretations of the facts gathered over many years as a trainer and clinical hypnotherapist practicing in the area of past life regression solving phobias and other problems." The book is written as a conversation between Thomas, a seeker of truth, and Peter, one who has "studied the mind and has improved many people's lives." Thomas and Peter meet on several occasions as Thomas seeks to understand life's meaning. Their conversations cover topics such as the brain, karma, meditation, near-death and out-of-body experiences, and the afterlife. The author discusses the soul, its characteristics, its purpose, and its reincarnation over many lifetimes. Included are three appendices that cover the main symbols, general symbols, and quotes from the book. ... (read more)

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Trust Your Heart

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Everything Is Everything: Finding Your Magic
by Sally Kingman
Balboa Press


"I no longer will listen to that voice calling me away from what I love. Everything is a part of everything. Who I am and what makes me happy counts!!"

In this heartwarming children’s picture book, Sally won’t let the everyday sundries stop her from marveling at the enchantment of life. She has found the gift of mindfulness, but as she tries to live in the moment, a menacing Voice intrudes, telling her that the contemplation of nature’s beauty is a waste of time. With determination, Sally and her friend, Pup, ignore the Voice and find themselves in a forest where they must choose the right path in order to discover the “magic of life.” They are visited by a tiny woodland person who shows Sally the path to mindfulness through the magic of trusting in herself. Crystal-Claire shares her wisdom with Sally and Pup, reminding them that they have everything they need to discover the splendor of nature and, ultimately, to love themselves. Sally finds a life-long friend in Crystal-Claire and, for the first time, truly believes she is making the right choices. ... (read more)

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Mystery, Love, Horror

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hanging Chads
by Evan Clouse
Xlibris


"It was always the first thing that she noticed. The faint scent of iron as the sticky thin molasses gently dribbled down the shaft of the knife and penetrated the space between her clenched thumb and forefinger."

This horror story of many delights begins with a creepy prologue that sets the stage for the next twenty-three chapters. The book examines Maddy Sommers’ early beginning of being a charmer and one who looks angelic. But looks can be deceiving. Growing up in a house of physical and emotional abuse, Maddy bears her scars in many ways and inflicts those scars upon unsuspecting others. While she has the support of her aunts and an uncle, this love is not enough to overcome the rigidity, cruelty, and hatred she experiences at the hands of her fanatically religious parents. What happens when she goes to college, gets married while trying to be someone other than herself, and how she copes with the death of a loved one show the reader a broad spectrum of a personality significantly harmed as a child. Amidst the mayhem, she finds a sisterhood with other women, all while searching for her “prince.” ... (read more)

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