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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

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Recent Book Reviews

 

Focus Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Perfection of Fish
by J.S. Morrison
Black Rose Writing


"Maybe there's something in the water."

In the small town of Assurance, North Carolina, agoraphobe Nadia Holman is the last remaining resident. Nadia relies on Berky Benson, a former student and resident, to take care of her while she attempts to document and preserve Assurance’s history. What Nadia doesn’t realize is that her genes are being used and manipulated by Berky, who believes that society is trying to eradicate masculinity, and who funds a genetic manipulation research project in the hopes of creating subservient women. Diana, Nadia’s twin sister, stops by Assurance for a visit and realizes both her sister and her sister’s love for their hometown are being exploited. Diana joins a ragtag team of rebels who work together to uncover and undo the dangerous experiments helmed by Berky’s laboratory team, Xanadu. What ensues is a clash of cultures, beliefs, science, and manpower with the future of humanity at stake. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

The Christian Experience

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Who’s Controlling You? Encountering the Ultimate Connectedness
by Mardi Harjo
Christian Faith Publishing


"A person cannot be saved without first having realized he is lost."

Christian artist and musician Harjo has constructed a thorough, thoughtful treatise focusing on the ideal relationship between human beings and God. She begins with a basic view of that relationship, questioning the reader in clear, rational terms. Do we worship the stars or God who made them? Do we believe that worldly knowledge can save us, or must we look beyond, to an "authoritative Truth that cannot be compromised"? In what do we base our identity? What is our ultimate, utmost purpose? By this means, the author stretches the mind beyond its usual realms of spiritual examination. She is not eclectic but selective in her guidance towards leading a God-centered life. She decries some televangelism as a kind of religious "junk food" and suggests that certain sorts of worship emphasize apparent miracles and wonders rather than their source. She warns that one can be a "nominal" Christian who simply takes in a few spoonsful of religion on a regular basis with the appeal of elaborate rituals, a phenomenon she calls "churchianity." ... (read more)

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Captive Crisis

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Forever Wild, Forever Home: The Story of The Wild Animal Sanctuary of Colorado
by Melanie and Mark Shellenbarger
Pyree Square Publishing


"Here, above all else, the animals set their own agenda. And that is the difference between a zoo and a true animal sanctuary."

This book covers the miraculous efforts of Pat Craig, the founder of Colorado's The Wild Animal Sanctuary—a place where more than 500 wild animals call home. The story begins after Craig rescues a baby jaguar, Freckles, and continues through forty years of environmental and conservation awareness. It examines the rise in popularity of shows like Tiger King and the United States' lack of federal oversight regarding large animal ownership. It introduces readers to the sanctuary's "ground-breaking, species-driven, and carefully tailored animal rehabilitation programs." Readers become friends with Clay the tiger, Ricki the black bear, and Gala the lioness—animals whose successful recovery stories are highlighted in this book. Readers also learn about the captive wildlife crisis permeating America and vicariously travel through decades of hard work, well-earned patience, and the continued and recent expansion of the sanctuary in a new Texas installation. ... (read more)

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Breathing in Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

When Snow Walks In
by Christine Candland
iUniverse


"Just sitting there.
Looking forward to a murky pancake
and syrup that stares back from a small
stainless pitcher -
when Snow walks in."

Like the title poem in this short and elegant collection, the other pieces also describe the extraordinary amidst everyday scenes and in understandable prose and sparkling details. Simple things like utensils, road signs, trinkets at a thrift sale, and foods convey the feelings surrounding memories. Compassion and empathy are immediate responses to such straightforward expressions of emotion. Like Snow, the tantalizing newcomer to the scene in the title poem, the poems invite the reader into an elevated experience of humanity through captured impressions. ... (read more)

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Engaging Plots

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Helen’s Orphans
by Ron Fritsch
Asymmetric Worlds


"I wondered who we were, what for. War took his kinfolk off to die. But who were mine, and who was I?"

In Greek mythology, the legendary Trojan War is universally recognized for the carnage it caused and the notion that it stemmed from ego-fueled ambitions of attaining Helen, anointed as the most beautiful woman in the world. With this tale as inspiration, Fritsch peels back the curtain even more and spins a complex web of secrets and revelations that keep the audience engaged throughout. ... (read more)

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Liberation From Self

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Art of Forgiveness: A Promise of Peace
by Carolyn CJ Jones
Gate Lady Publishing


"It’s as if someone was saying, because you don’t understand something, have a question, or need a hand, you’re defective for some reason."

Demonstrating the dichotomy between a life lived in two entirely different worlds, Jones holds nothing back in describing her own journey and providing a pathway for others to achieve the same level of peace. At its core, the narrative is an opportunity to experience authentic introspection and tackle heavy topics like anger and resentment head-on. ... (read more)

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Evocative Prose

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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Dante Revisited

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Once Was Lost: Book Three of In Dante’s Wake
by Seth Steinzor
Fomite Press


"Faith may reside in aspiration,
...as lunging, snarling dogs,
water cannons, police batons, and
hooded incendiaries bloodied negroes for
asking politely to live like me."

In this modern-day retelling of Dante's epic Divine Comedy, this third volume shapes itself structurally after Paradiso, with Steinzor's vision of the Garden of Eden taking form on a North Atlantic Beach. Beginning with a breakfast of clams at sunrise, Steinzor's poetry progresses through the day with a series of interactions and encounters with individuals whose impact on the world reverberates even now. With Dante and a woman named Victoria as guides, Steinzor's heavenly journey begins with a reflection of "dumpster diving" for food while progressing through Hell. Perhaps what makes this rendition compelling in its own right is the poet's ability to unearth the perspectives and contributions of history's players that would not immediately strike the reader's mind. ... (read more)

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Our Evolving Brain

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Story of Homo Loquens: How We Have Changed into Another Species
by Dan M. Mrejeru
Global Summit House


"“…language was one of the fundamental tools that shaped our ‘world of order’ by suppressing the elements that appeared to contain ‘disorder.’"

Humans are born with the potential to learn languages. This ability does not leave us as we age. Retention of such a juvenile characteristic as the need or desire to communicate is called neoteny. Through language, we have achieved such goals as effective agriculture and the establishment of complex societies by means of our ability to name their components, such as tools or laws. Human communication is the most outwardly apparent sign of humanity's potential for creativity and innovation. Such creativity also manifests itself in the production of music and other art forms. Ultimately, a perpetually inquisitive human brain is likely to remain healthier—that is, more adaptable to new ideas—than that of someone who deliberately or otherwise stops learning. ... (read more)

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Myths & Legends

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Resistance, Revolution and Other Love Stories
by K
FriesenPress


"I think we’re destined to one day despise those quirks we once fell in love with."

From the opening tale, it is clear that this collection of twelve stories centering around love will be anything but conventional. Survivor's guilt devours the main character, Mustapha, who survives a bombing in Gaza that claims the lives of his neighbors and own brother, Khalid. In the privacy of his thoughts, he is unable to hide his attraction for Khalid's widow, Khalila, particularly knowing that the affection is reciprocated. However, outwardly he is resilient, thwarting any advances with the common statement that work needs to be done. The imagery of the fallen families, depicted by the metaphor of fallen branches, their limbs and bodies sprawled together yet mangled in every direction, is haunting. While love is central, the author's stories transcend beyond simple romance and dive into contextualized and developed worlds that add unique insight into what drives human behavior. ... (read more)

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Greed, Love, Tragedy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Porno Valley
by Philip Elliott
Into the Void


"But sometimes, you get lucky and every door you open leads you to another until, finally, you stumble upon the truth."

It's the year Y2K, and Mickey O'Rourke, a seventy-eight-year-old L.A. private investigator, is taking on one last case before retirement. The mystery in question is the disappearance of former porn star Jeffrey Strokes. The client is Bethany Summers, Strokes' former girlfriend and co-worker at MidnightPussy Productions. O'Rourke's leads take him through some seedy scenes of San Fernando Valley and Compton, where he pieces together three different trajectories of perfect strangers that led to Strokes being missing in action. ... (read more)

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Making a Difference

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Moment
by Robert Abad


"When you look at the images of protests going on in a number of countries, you see young people leading the way."

Full-page color photographs and well-chosen quotations make this collection by the author far more than the usual "coffee table" work. Collaborating with his daughters Sofia and Ariella, photographer Abad has produced what is envisioned as a pathway to inspiration. ... (read more)

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A Dazzling Success

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Magician
by Kathleen Shoop
Indie Publishing-Shoop


"Stan headed to the lot wondering when his sense of greatness and purpose would return."

2019 isn't ninety-two-year-old Patryk Rusek's year. He simply wants to die. First, his granddaughter moves him into a nursing home against his wishes. Then his plan to escape from there goes awry when his coconspiring great-grandson isn't at their rendezvous point. He learns soon afterward that he has cancer. Yet, when it seems the disease might kill him, the prospect of dying frightens him. After all, he is in Donora, a Pennsylvania mill town and his lifelong home. Patryk's family is there, as is his handwritten chronicle of baseball Hall-of-Famer and native son Stan "The Magician" Musial's early career. Patryk, "Donora's favorite casual historian," starts to worry that he'll run out of time to share with those around him the story of Musial's dazzling success. ... (read more)

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Heartfelt Tribute

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Dog’s Life: A Collection of Humorous Tributes Celebrating Man’s Best Friend
by Peter Boygo
BookBaby


"As is often the case with those displaying an aptitude for math, Tiger was also a gifted musician. The piano was his instrument of choice, with jazz improve his forte."

In a society where pet and particularly dog ownership is becoming more and more integrated into family and individual life, an aspect of pet ownership that all pet lovers must face is the passing of one's beloved friend. As dog lovers encounter this difficult time, the grieving process proves itself as intricate, intimate, and individual as the grieving process one experiences when losing any human family member. More so, in a dog-eat-dog world where even the smallest ounce of puppy love from a therapy or family dog can make the largest difference, these humorous tributes—sure to make readers laugh, cry, and remember all at the same time—are one author's attempt to bring peace and healing to the lives of dog owners who have lost their best friend. ... (read more)

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A Solid Foundation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Saint James Conspiracy
by Jessica Murphy
Stratton Press


"When the eastern sky began to pale, still a good hour to sunrise, he quietly walked back to the estate’s brick wall."

In this novel of biblical history and proportions, readers cross spiritual and global roads that lead to the internet's dark depths and into history's darkest crevices. Mackellan Kirby—renowned international scholar, former SAS soldier, and Greek and Latin expert—is one of less than a hundred people worldwide granted access to computer images of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Among these pictures, Kirby makes a discovery that holds the potential to change the religious world and society itself forever. ... (read more)

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Exciting New Take

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Tribute to Hip-Hop and Shakespeare's Othello "When the Knight Fell" Part - 1: Clear's Rise
by Christopher Gary Simmons
Writers Republic


"There’s only one thing in this world that can hurt you. Trying to have virtue; to be this or that."

Adhering closely to the essence of Shakespeare's Othello, Simmons' adaptation transports the play's enthusiasts into its modern-day rendition revolving around Clear S. Waters and similar themes of love, jealousy, conspiracy, friendship, and loyalty. All this is done while tackling socioeconomic conundrums and the music scene's social commentary (and interconnected street life) of Manhattan in the late '90s. ... (read more)

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Real Funny

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

OOF
by Strobe Witherspoon
Marginal Books


"Everyone you know believes that narratives can and should contain whatever information is necessary to further one’s own interests. Everything is subjective and facts are an illusion. Propaganda = Truth."

In this book, readers meet Strobe Witherspoon, a terribly dressed radical and literary provocateur with a complex personal history. After a leaked chapter of Strobe's latest sensation, a novel titled FLOTUS: A Memoir, the formation of the Online Outrage Fiesta leads to his societal persecution. Readers become investigators searching for evidence of Strobe's guilt in transcripts of slang-filled tweets, scrapped-together vlogs, seemingly disorganized podcasts, and even personal interviews with members of his own family. As readers determine Strobe's innocence or guilt, his intentional or unintentional interpretations and actions, they traverse the wide yet closed circles of human rationale (or lack of) and the lightning speed at which a person's reputation can be destroyed with only a few shares, clicks, and likes. ... (read more)

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Power & Vulnerability

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Godly Sins
by Clara Loveman


"'I don’t deserve Geniverd and I don’t deserve you. Or maybe it’s like you say—we don’t deserve each other.'"

When Cerna steps foot into VondRust Palace with her partner, Roki, she has flashbacks of her human life as Queen Kaelyn. Though only weeks have passed since her death, King Zawne has already taken a bride, Lordin, who has assumed Queen Hagan's body. Though the occasion is one of celebration as Cerna has just saved the entire Geniverd kingdom from a deadly pandemic, neither she nor Lordin is celebrating their encounter. ... (read more)

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Emotionally Jarring

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Girl on the Stairs
by Patricia Rose
Austin Macauley Publishers


"There was not really anything to say. She now had to concentrate on what was expected of her..."

This story leaves an indelible impression. The author writes a hauntingly realistic tale of a girl growing up with dysfunctional parents in England in the mid-1900s. She and her brother are so emotionally abused that readers will want to reach through the words, embrace the kids with a meaningful adult hug, and then rescue them. The main character, Alexa, is scolded for car sickness and then describes the time her parents drive off and leave her brother by the side of the road because he has to go to the bathroom. Hours later, heading home from the beach and looking for Luke along the way, "...her mother saw him; a small boy crouched by the roadside." ... (read more)

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Quiet Masterpiece

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Writ in Water: A Novel of John Keats
by James Sulzer
Fuze Publishing


"In this twilight world, the song of the nightingale is reborn as a strand in the eternal tapestry of light and darkness, weaving the weft of its eternal affirmation through the warp of time and change, of loss and longing."

In this hauntingly poetic depiction of the tragically short life of the poet John Keats, readers follow a guardian spirit, one visible and sensed by only one person—the poet himself. As Keats suffers poverty, immense familial loss, and the all-consuming grief that follows, he also endures the painful emotional rollercoaster known as "love" as he navigates a tumultuous romance with Fanny Brawne, the captivating woman whose family hopes will marry well and for wealth. Meanwhile, the real tour guide of Keats' experiences for readers is the unnamed spirit who observes and directs Keats directly and indirectly. The spirit is often hesitant to intervene but feels pity for the poet who continually strives for a place among the English greats and fails to meet society's expectations. This is not because he isn't worthy, but because of the circumstances that life and society have shaped for him. ... (read more)

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Amalgam of the Living

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Mother's Tale & Other Stories
by Khanh Ha
C&R Press


"I cried for his youth and mine, lost, wasted."

The eleven linked short stories of this collection revisit the complexities of the controversial Vietnam War. At once poignant and jarring, the tales are narrated from multiple personal viewpoints: the physically and emotionally maimed soldiers of North and South Vietnam, Vietnamese civilians whose lives are no less desperate than the young men who face certain death, American soldiers and prisoners of war whose fragile lives hang by a thread, and the families of all sides who return to the misty jungles and rice paddies to search for the remains of loved ones missing in action. The spare but lyrical narratives transport the reader into the dreamlike riverine landscapes of a nation haunted by the ghosts of this massive conflict. The characterizations are deep and raw, beset by the paradoxes of cruelty and compassion, loathing and desire, and driven by the perennial human hope for acceptance and love. ... (read more)

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Emotionally Charged

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mothers of Pine Way
by Corrine Ardoin
Black Rose Writing


"Protective of her newfound self, she savored the change, basking in a waking dream. Joy and opportunities were open to her since the discovery of her gifts."

Candelaria is one of many women in this story. She discovers her true self, and the power to thrive, after surviving multiple traumas: the loss of her family's home and parents when she was a child and, later, the loss of her husband as well as her feeling of responsibility for a difficult son. Ultimately, she rejoices in her Mexican and Native-American heritage and a rare ability to tell stories. Those epiphanies, as well as positive relationships with her daughter, Rosa, and a determined woman named Esther, Candelaria's good and bad memories of her past, a spiritual counselor, a connection to her mother that transcends death, and other major transitions help Candelaria to develop a life that is liberated from rage and fear, a life that becomes personally empowering. ... (read more)

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Intrigue & Suspense

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tales from the Gray Area
by Curtis Stephen Burdick
Gene-Freak Publishing


"Homeland Security will immediately begin drafting resettlement plans for our land, with food production the priority. Cities will be the last areas we will repopulate."

Ancient symbols from the Indus Valley culture appear on newborn babies' necks. An unknown species of highly destructive sea creatures arises to devour all in their path, and the devil must deal with the threat of a labor strike by his chief demons. These are just three scenarios of the seven short stories in this author's homage to The Twilight Zone television series that aired from the early to mid-sixties. With elements of science fiction, horror, and suspense combined by the writer into original stories, this is not simply a pastiche of Rod Serling's works or those of any other of the stable of writers for the show, which included such luminaries as Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury. The author's settings are mostly contemporary, with computers, internet cable, and other technology appearing. There are also more black characters with leading roles than the sixties show, even if that show fearlessly dealt with racial issues, albeit sometimes very obliquely. ... (read more)

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Passion & Authenticity

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Rescuing General Patton
by Curtis Stephen Burdick
Gene-Freak Publishing


"If you find the target and are unable to accomplish mission, kill the target. REPEAT kill the target. Target must not remain in enemy hands."

Hemingway is credited with saying, "All good books have one thing in common—they are truer than if they had really happened." That thought can definitely be ascribed to this World War II novel where fact and fiction cohabitate imaginatively in chapter after chapter. The literary conceit is simple enough: suppose the Germans had apprehended General Patton. However, the plot that follows is anything but simple, as the highest echelons of U.S. Command plan an incredibly desperate mission to simultaneously hide his capture from the world and rescue the fabled warrior. ... (read more)

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Heroes & Heroines

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Special Glow
by Jessica Crews
Mascot Books


"We’re all called to work, but in different ways.
We all come from God, and to Him goes our praise!"

In this innovative, nonconformist children's story, readers meet a small ant named Grant, who heads to school day after day with the rest of his ant pals. Though he is proud of his grades and the fact that he can pass Mr. Dewey's rote memorization tests, He begins to see the true nature of the school he attends. What he realizes is that he and his ant friends "all had been trained and were too scared to speak." Moreover, Grant also sees the selfishness of Mr. Dewey, who relies on teaching methods designed to keep everyone on the same level and erase any uniqueness an ant might possess. However, one day Grant realizes that "the Lord was right by his side," so he steps forward and encourages the other ants to take a stand against Mr. Dewey and his teachings. ... (read more)

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Darkly Satirical

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Whole Lot of Hullabaloo: A Twenty-First Century Campus Phantasmagoria
by Christopher Fried
Retro 85


"'Other people were creating the whole hullabaloo, which seemed to keep getting more and more out of control. I wanted to stop it, but I couldn’t.'"

On a seemingly quiet university campus, readers meet Ian Mueller (a prankster with a gift for one-liners and a taste for the 80s) and his ever-practical roommate, Troy. After a Halloween prank goes wrong and Ian becomes the very eye of controversy, the Janus-like nature of academia unfolds. Troy and Ian's other friends navigate their on-campus lives and personal morals as Ian faces the consequences of his actions. Meanwhile, readers also meet Sam, the university president struggling to keep his personal and professional lives separate. He finds himself failing at what he desires most—to keep his university free of controversy and negative attention. Amid the controversy, readers find themselves at tables with professors who preach the doctrines of esoteric fields of study, in the throes of protests fueled by rumors and misperceptions, and in the conscience of one young man trying to understand what is actually happening on campus and in society. ... (read more)

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Superhero Blockbuster

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Origin of The Follower and His New Actions: About an Action Character with Unique Capabilities
by John Durbin Husher
iUniverse


"Here Axel was, a normal college teacher, about to venture into a cloak-and-dagger type theme."

Axel Tressler looks at first glance like a normal person, a collegiate professor of biology who is making a comfortable amount of money and is enjoying a new love interest. Despite his normal appearance, a traumatic episode his mother went through shortly before his birth led to an abnormal amount of mitochondria in Axel's body, giving him access to extra strength and power when he needs it. For this reason, his twin brother Adam turns to him, introducing him to a secret government agency that he works for. Combining his supernatural ability with the latest in nanotechnology, Axel becomes The Follower, a do-all agent who can establish peace and carry out dangerous missions through his combined use of super strength and cutting-edge soldier technology. Living the double life of a college professor and traveling the world on clandestine operations, The Follower somehow navigates these disparate experiences. ... (read more)

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Environmental Times

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Lake Friction
by Ron McCarthy
Xlibris


"He has a lump on the back of his head and a few bruises, nothing too serious. He had a good look at the knife man and will not forget that face."

One doesn't normally think of climate activists as good old boys who like to sit around, recount their youth, and down multiple beers together. That, however, is the case in this crime adventure set in an Australian community dependent upon its local lake for all manner of tourism, sport, and employment. The problem is not with their commitment but rather how they plan to act upon it. ... (read more)

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See the World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Narrative Tale of Morocco
by J Peter Hall
Xlibris


"Our first order of business this last day in Morocco was to go inside the Hassan II Mosque."

A whirlwind tour of Morocco blooms on the pages of this travelogue. The author spends ten days with a tour guide and group exploring the country and encountering the culture through the food, art, architecture, and history. He relives the daily excursions of the trip for readers through photographs, descriptions, stories, and research. His passion and love for his experience in Morocco are infectious and will remind readers of the joys and benefits of travel for the mind and soul. Visiting another country offers an opportunity to understand the universal pursuit of beauty, appreciate the world's hardworking people, and adopt a global perspective. Those wistful for travel will find a kindred spirit in the pages of this tale. ... (read more)

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A Higher Self

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Divine Journey: From the Ego to the Sacred Heart
by Nikki Friedlander
AuthorHouse


"Mystery is what I AM, and we are the great creative force of life itself surfing on a sea of universal consciousness."

A novel combined with a nonfiction component, this story explores one woman's life. It recounts her trials and tribulations and recalls the joy, compassion, and spirituality she learns throughout the journey. The book is based on the true story of the author's life as she navigates her career, family, and ego issues while working to become a better person. She continues to search for a spiritual path—a path that her husband, David, is not understanding. He struggles with the costs, both monetary and emotional, of her attending temple and workshops, buying books, going to ashrams, and her yoga participation. But they are able to develop a different level of love while she examines what is most important to her: her love of life with her Creator. ... (read more)

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Curious Seeker

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Art of Not Knowing: Uncertainty as Possibility
by Desiree Carlson
Xlibris


"I hope these words filled with intention and passion will be to you as a seed that generates new questions that make sense in your path."

The universal quest to understand how to be human and navigate pathways for a fulfilling life has many philosophical responses worthy of deep discussion and exploration. Many guides for living build on the yearning people have for certainty in their lives and infinite wisdom about the world's ways. However, Carlson's approach is founded on the power of not knowing, which opens up a life to possibilities, wonder, and unexpected outcomes. Using philosophical history and practical principles, Carlson invites readers to question fixed mindsets and see themselves as works in progress, still seeking who they are and who they might be. ... (read more)

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Life Challenges

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Let’s Chat - Cuba Cerita: Do it…
by Mia Kalila
Partridge Publishing Singapore


"Everything is ready for us but are we being grateful with all the amenities."

Combining the author's own life experiences with guidance on developing strong, functional human beings as they progress from childhood to adulthood, Kalila's work sheds light both on growing up as one of eleven siblings as well as the importance of every action and decision on the positive and negative outcomes of life. Speaking from the lens of her observations, the author outlines what she believes are strong gender norms and responsibilities as they pertain to parents toward their children and spouses to one another. ... (read more)

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Goal PhD

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Thinking Tools: Navigating A 3-Year PhD Journey
by Rahinah Ibrahim
Partridge Publishing Singapore


"This book aims to be an easy guidebook for those embarking on a PhD journey."

This self-help volume is aimed "specifically for students in developing and underdeveloped countries" who are non-native English speakers in three-year Ph.D. programs, such as the author's graduate students in Malaysia. However, the book will likely be a godsend for Ph.D. candidates of any culture who are struggling with the technicalities of doctoral study. Two decades ago, Professor Ibrahim's supervisory committee at Stanford University did not approve her doctoral research question after two years of hard work. When she successfully completed her Ph.D. and returned to her teaching position, she reviewed what she had done to rectify her mistakes. She developed a methodology to devise the EAGLE Table (an acronym for "Excellence Accelerator for Grounded Learning Environment), an ingenious and innovative research design framework that has been tested on many sets of students, documented, and peer-reviewed. ... (read more)

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Forgiveness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

How I Survived Physical, Emotional, Verbal, And Mental Abuse: There Was Another Footprint in the Sand
by Starr
AuthorHouse


"The truth is, there are some things we will face in life that are unavoidable."

Though a time of innocence, joyful exuberance, and whimsical curiosity for many, one's childhood can be marred with negative experiences that carry on into adulthood. In this narrative, Star journeys back through her abusive and neglect-filled childhood with the primary purpose of depicting the silver lining, the hope that lies in discovering the Bible and Jesus Christ. Integrating faith and her life experiences, Starr demonstrates the intestinal fortitude and courage required to keep pushing on until the metamorphosis happens from a struggling, abused child to a strong and confident individual. ... (read more)

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No Room for Disappointment

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

DisHarmony: A Jigsaw Collection of Misguided Dating
by Rachel R. Kovach
Xlibris


"How can I find someone who matches the great love you had... that set the standard for what true love is?"

At first glance, this book would seem to be a charming collection of enlightened short stories and poems about love. Inside, the book catches readers off-guard. The author presents a tongue-in-cheek or even cynical view of soft, squishy words like romance, Valentine's Day, "the One," or the more empowered "O" word. There are stories about a first love and a hot tub, matchmaking mishaps online and by friends, a date who still loves his wife, holiday celebrations gone awry, and even a ten-minute stand with an unknown party guest. One shouldn't be shocked at the drama or daring language because Kovach likely doesn't mean half of what she says, even if it is the truth. It is tough for a romantic like her to play the tigress when happily married family members model her ideal of love. ... (read more)

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Your Best Path

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ace Your Professional Journey: The Ace Mindset Alignment Paradigm
by Laëtitia Gnago, MBA, CPTM, MCCT, PPPC
Xlibris


"Celebrate short-term wins toward the goals; you must genuinely feel good about the progress, while still expecting longer-term success."

Some people are capable of being happy and productive at their job because they find their passion, doing what they truly love. For others, those opportunities may be more difficult to attain, but that doesn't mean one can't still take pride in and love what they do. Those people are professionals who find ownership in their work and excel through a combination of aptitude and attitude. In this book, the author details the personal stops along her own journey, pointing out how she eventually became an "ace" professional. Teaching others the mental perspectives and values that will allow them to attain the same level of job satisfaction and personal growth the author has experienced, this book offers appropriate ways and avenues for creating new opportunities and satisfying changes in the workplace. ... (read more)

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Building Wealth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Inequality And Evolution: The Biological Determinants of Capitalism, Socialism and Income Inequality
by Charles L. Ladner
Xlibris


"...the genetic imperative that triggers the Darwinian response in individuals and species also critically influences... the success or failure of economic systems."

Ladner claims the driving force of Darwinian evolution is selfishness. This inherent human trait is behind the failure of economic systems, including communism and capitalism. To illustrate this claim, the author considers the history of an ideal communist society based on Marx and Engels' theory. Beginning with the demise of its aristocracy, the author describes the birth of Communist Russia through Lenin and Stalin, and then the Soviet Union's economic fall seventy-four years later. He compares the economics of Russia's prosperity years with its post-communism years. He observes that a communist system can only survive with an authoritarian government and a strong revenue source. He also notes that during Russia's peak, the proletariat workers exhibited selfish behavior and mediocre workmanship. ... (read more)

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Durr's Trial

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Leaving Mississippi
by Betty R. Dickson and Martha Lee Hall
Xlibris


"It is easy to lose hope in a place like the Delta."

It's nothing to Martha Lee to pick several hundred pounds of cotton a day when she's eight months pregnant. That is no excuse for a young sharecropper woman to shun a full day's work. Hitching mules to a plow when she's that far along is another story. But her husband, Jim, won't be doing that or anything else for her when he's jailed for murdering a white police officer in 1951. Nor is this the only loss Martha Lee endures following the shooting. Her baby daughter is stillborn a month later, and Jim is executed in a portable electric chair in 1952. By the time electrocution is deemed inhumane in 1955, Martha Lee is long gone, fleeing the sorrowful memories of Mendenhall, Mississippi. In the next seventy years, she shows how hard work, humor, and, above all, forgiveness can restore a fragmented life. ... (read more)

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Achieving Sobriety

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Based on a True (Traumatic) Brain History: A Short Memoir
by Mark Allen
Xlibris


"I’ve grown up and lived all my adult life with a level of malleability and willingness to adapt."

In this candid book, former MMA fighter Allen examines his alcohol and drug abuse and considers the enormous risks and rewards of combat fighting. Born a "hapa" (half Asian Pacific American), Allen offers a little backstory into his upbringing as the son of immigration lawyers. Trouble always seems to find this rule breaker, and since birth, Allen is always "fighting to get better." When he attends the University of Chicago, he joins the men's basketball team, giving him an outlet and athletic opportunity. But along the way, he is mired by the trappings of alcohol and drugs, his life heading toward inevitable disaster. ... (read more)

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Confessional

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Reflections from Behind the Glass
by Japser A. Lee
Xlibris


"Love is a choice I doubt I’ll make again."

This experimental epistolary novel consists of journal entries written in a controlled stream-of-consciousness style. Articulate to a fault and lyrical, the narrative voice is strong and sometimes disturbing in its intensity and obsessiveness. The narrator addresses his lover, Julia. He is clearly beguiled by her but possibly also in love with his own incessant philosophizing. He is also sensual and sensitive but potentially more in love with his own words than with the woman he addresses. The reader will wonder if Julia is truly as wonderful as his glowing praise suggests or if he places her on a pedestal that he would gladly knock her down from when his attention falters. ... (read more)

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Grief & Recovery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Nine Lives of a Scouser
by David C. Pickard
AuthorHouse


"Life always presents other opportunities to finish the job."

From recollections of an early childhood dominated by Hitler's bombings of Liverpool to emotional confessions regarding a beloved wife's decline, detailed, diary-like entries bring readers into the most intimate and interesting parts of the author's life. As they follow the author's journey, readers vicariously experience work in various careers in companies like Cammel Laird & Co. Ship Builders and Engineers, Ford, and Cross Company. They also encounter cultural differences, misunderstandings, and common grounds in countries like Poland, where the author struggles with understanding "the misguided nature of Iron Curtain countries in respect of trust values." By the book's end, readers have enjoyed a life well-lived, and they grieve with the author as his wife's death reshapes his life and sends him down another unique, fulfilled path. ... (read more)

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A Medical Worker Speaks

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Female Genital Mutilations: The Story of Kedra
by Getu Tadesse Mindaye DR
Xlibris


"We had better circumcise her just like her peers—and accept the pain and tribulation that comes after."

In Somalia, Kedra's mother believes that the time has come for her six-year-old daughter to be circumcised, an ancient custom particular to the culture. Kedra's father is hesitant, asserting that the Koran does not support this tightly held tradition. But he accedes because of the familial disgrace that might result if he does not. For the ritual, Kedra, innocent of what is to come, wears a pretty dress, and female relatives gather. The woman who performs the surgery will use a knife, needle, and thread—no anesthesia. The pain is extreme, with many bloody aftereffects. Kedra finally recovers, doing well in school and considering college. But this is unacceptable in the culture, as a female's only role is to marry and have many children. Kedra, though, determines to defy that social stricture and find happiness with a young man who loves and respects her. ... (read more)

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Many Twists

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Riders Up! Handicapper Down…
by Lee G. Harvey
Xlibris


"After trying desperately to raise her hands to remove the bag, realization hit her! Her hands were tied behind her back! She was lying on the floor of a vehicle."

The majority of the action and intrigue in this contemporary cozy mystery occur in and around San Diego, California. In addition to a very different type of kidnapping tale, readers get a winner's bouquet of fascinating information about the history, heritage, and everyday goings-on at the city's famous Del Mar Race Track. ... (read more)

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Unlikely Heroine

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The House on the Green
by Betty S. Hilton
AuthorHouse


"'You don’t have to make up a tale like that to cover your sins. You got Mum pregnant before you went to Canada to make your pile. She obviously forgave you for leaving her in the lurch.’"

In this heartfelt, pastoral novel, readers meet Penny, a young woman to whom life has handed many hardships. As she struggles through family ordeals and poverty, she bustles from job to job until finding a modest place in the house of a respected doctor. In a society where marriage and social standing matter and determine a woman's everything, Penny falls in love with Will, an adventurous young man who promises to wed her. However, the lure and romanticism of the Canadian wilds call to Will, as does the haunting promise of fortune. Readers follow Penny's struggles through an uncertain relationship, an elevation in social status, and a barrage of life-changing transitions that take her from housekeeper to doctor's aide, wife to mother, maid to respected heroine. ... (read more)

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Colorful Monsters

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

An "A" My Way
by Courtney Burkett
Xlibris


"...the key to success with anything is all within your head."

Burkett's book is a delightful story about different learning styles. The author's intent is to reassure kids that there is more than one right way to an answer and even more than one right way in life. After finishing this charming tale, it is easy to see that she has accomplished her mission. ... (read more)

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Top Thoughts

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Quotes from the Quiver
by Dante P. Galiber, MD, FACC
AuthorHouse


"Quotes serve at least three purposes: minimizing time, word usage, and the distance one needs to travel to attain wisdom and understanding."

With over 450 quotations arranged across a wide variety of categories, this eye-opening collection imparts wisdom on every page. Galiber's impressive commitment to documenting original quotations gathered from his daily life has resulted in this valuable resource. The quotes are well-organized by topics so that readers can browse the book for areas of interest based on chapter titles. Readers can also progress through the entries from beginning to end and accrue daily inspiration. Each selection feels grounded in truth, experience, and authenticity. Galiber's life experiences inform the creation and curation of these quotes. He explores social issues, current topics, and universal truths. ... (read more)

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Vivid Pictures

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Deadly Distrust
by Mary Schaller
Xlibris


"Confusion racked Mark’s brain cells. He couldn’t think straight. He badly needed a hit of something, the symptoms of withdrawal were distracting."

Mayhem, murder, and mushrooms are at the heart of this elaborate thriller. The Amanita ocreata, also known as the Destroying Angel, is white and deadly dangerous. It plays a major role in this twisting and turning tale of people caught in precarious situations, often of their own construction. Fungi, however, eventually take second place when all sorts of grave incidents start happening to good and bad people alike. ... (read more)

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Transplanting

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Match: A Medical Murder Mystery
by Amy S. Peele
She Writes Press


"She heard a door slam and footsteps coming down a flight of stairs. A man in a hoodie walked in with a tray and placed it on the floor near her."

In this medical murder mystery, readers accompany Sarah Golden, a transplant nurse at the San Francisco Global Organ Transplant Institute, as murder, suspicion, and the consequences of failed relationships haunt her. After the mysterious death and suspected murder of an employee named Kayla, Sarah finds herself entangled in the throes of a murder investigation, the perils of a friend's failing marriage, and the life-and-death battle of a young boy who requires a life-saving kidney transplant. Meanwhile, when Sarah becomes a suspect in Kayla's murder, her friend Jackie balances caring for her ill son, Wyatt, and becoming a pseudo-investigator determined to operate on the fringes of legality and find Kayla's killer. The drama intensifies as both Sarah and Wyatt face life-altering surgeries, Jackie's marriage borders on failing, and the investigation takes a dark, dark turn that threatens all involved. ... (read more)

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Strong Dialogue

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Atomic Ocean Landfall
by J.W. Delorie
Westwood Books Publishing


"Bright light quickly moved to engulf him as he ran across the smaller platform opposite the station’s entry. Soon after, projectiles from ancient machine guns pelted the ground around his landing footsteps."

In a ravaged, post-nuclear apocalypse, survivors must live with firestorms and mutant creatures known as Uprights. Potential danger lurks everywhere. To find it, Samuel Jackson Knight (Sam) sends forth his trusty German Shepherd, Max. Frank, a fellow soldier and drot (drone) operator, scans the treacherous landscape from the skies above. Fury, a feisty female soldier reminiscent of Lara Croft, and Acorn, a man whose name does not match his size, also accompany this unlikely trifecta. Together, this team works not only to survive the wasteland they now inhabit but also to rejuvenate Earth, return it to its former state, and restore what is left of humanity in a mission known as Ocean One. Along the way, however, the group battles the Circle of Hope Foundation, a group led by The Matron, a wicked Maleficent-like figure who attempts to steal Sam's equipment for her own nefarious needs and deeds. ... (read more)

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Gritty Debut

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tronick
by Rosie Record
Suncoast Publishing


"So eventually, she dared to ask what they couldn't even think: What's on the other side?"

Ghost in the Shell meets the Millennium series in this quintessentially American cyberpunk thriller. Fiona Tronick is a Controller, a street operative of The Agency—a covert, decentralized power challenging the more overt, authoritative Governance. These two forces butt agendas within two major domains of the walled-up California-Annex. The iconic wall means little to the thoroughly conditioned PW1.6 generation, raised amidst a jungle of vegetation-decked skyscrapers gleaming from Francisco in the north to flooded-out Xīn SD in the south. ... (read more)

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To Reaffirm & Inspire

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Holy Water in My Scotch: From Despair to Hope
by Susan Boylston Cusack
Austin McCauley Publishers


"To thine own selves be true... sometimes we do the right things for the wrong reasons, and in trying to please others, lose ourselves."

This spiritual narrative takes readers on a journey through the horrors of addiction and the blessings of recovery. Cusack shares her own harrowing story, beginning with an examination of life in a family where "Drinking was always a coping mechanism in all the family histories involved" and a "part in the decision-making and fate of all concerned." Then, in 1969, after slowly sinking into alcoholism and addiction, the author decides to call AA Intergroup, an answer to her mother's prayers after a period of time when her mother poured holy water into Cusack's scotch. The path to recovery leads the author to Jim, a wonderful man with whom the author begins a new life devoted to helping others heal. Throughout their marriage, the couple works to develop, promote, and run Veritas Villa, an alcoholism recovery center. As positive and negative transitions affect both the couple and the program, God's will and the couple's purpose solidify, and readers encounter a hope-filled, faith-backed message sure to reaffirm and inspire. ... (read more)

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Truth Seeker

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sara Found It First
by Brenda Bittle Bucher
Xlibris


"OK, I give up! This is just one big mess! Somebody please show me the way to the twentieth century!"

Sara's modern life in Rhode Island is upended dramatically when she wakes up one day to find herself transported in time and place to Colorado in 1872. Thus begins an extraordinary journey of awakening as Sara has the opportunity to experience new love, new friends, and a whole new way of life. With knowledge of her future life always in her mind, she can compare and contrast people, places, and actions. As Sara adjusts to life in the 1800s, another woman, Ginger, is transported into Sara's life in Rhode Island. The mystery of the two women is slowly revealed as the characters search for the truth. ... (read more)

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Cutting Suspence

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Belly Crawlers
by Farah Velez
Xlibris


"When their eyes met the source of the hum, they saw a set of human eyes staring at them from the storm drain."

In the town of Jerridale, people are disappearing. Fern's father is among the missing, and one night she decides to investigate the strange stories surrounding the sewer system near an abandoned factory in town. She begins to believe the answer to the mystery of her father's disappearance may lie beneath the streets. But to find the truth, she must face her fears and confront the creatures the townspeople say live down below. Her classmates tell her that there are not just rats under the factory but also belly crawlers reaching up from the sewers that snatch people. However, what she finds is even more terrifying than anything she imagined. ... (read more)

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Actioon-Packed

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Witching Moon
by K.E. Bonner
Brandylane Publishers


"'Rowan’s visions are like my own, spotty and apt to change,’ Lugus said. ‘Trust that there is a reason Anne found you. Guard her well. The winds are shifting, and you are favored.’"

In this mystical novel, readers encounter Anne, a young woman who from birth has always been more intuitive, more insightful, and more of an old soul than those around her. After Anne discovers a washed-up stranger—a man known as Phillip of Amaranth—on the shore of Cusabo Island, Anne’s orphanhood and origins, her purpose, and her future make more sense. When she learns she has a mysterious sister in a faraway land, Anne reluctantly ventures from Cusabo to France to find her and bring together prophecy and her gifts as a healer. Readers follow Anne as, along the way, she finds an unlikely friendship with Rory, heart-racing adventure on the high seas aboard sailing ships, and a surprising bond with a sister she never knew previously existed. ... (read more)

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A Better Look

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

You’re Not Crazy: Living with Anxiety, Obsessions and Fetishes
by Laurie Singer, M.S. LMFT and BCBA
Laurie Singer Behavioral Services


"Picking up this book means you are brave and self-aware enough to want to take charge of an anxiety-rooted issue."

This exciting new self-help book is aimed at individuals struggling with unhealthy behaviors associated with anxiety. It's a highly positive and inclusive approach that enlists family and other loved ones to help support the practical therapeutic techniques outlined. Combining cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques, Singer provides time-tested observations to offer quick and effective relief for troubling behaviors associated with anxiety, such as agoraphobia and social phobia as well as conversion disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and fetishes, among a list of many other conditions that can be alleviated with her system. In fact, the techniques outlined here include the same self-monitoring charts and steps that Singer uses in live therapy with her clients. She assures readers that they can also achieve successful results using only the book as a guide to understanding and working with their behavior disorders in what she calls a "Stop-Choose-Start approach." ... (read more)

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The Best in US

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Under the Shadow of God’s Wings
by Deborah Harris
Xlibris


"Let not the view of distance make
you weak on your feet and keep
you from climbing high beyond
this worldly seat."

Poet Harris expresses a sincere hope that readers will find their own personal path to God within her words. She refers to those who have helped lead her, those she loves, beginning with the “Love Smile” of “the one God sent to me to make me lowly and free.” She invites a special friend to “Be Found Still Loving Me”: “I’ll always thank God for you / In the misty blue days.” ... (read more)

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A Conversation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Renaissance Dreams: Life’s Journey through Poetry
by Juanita Gaskin
iUniverse


"Memories become real when the mind can remember it so."

Through five poetic chapters, readers journey through a life balanced with struggle and heartache, joy and contentment. The initial chapter harbors the stark “A Day in the Welfare Office,” a depiction of the sterility involved in dealing with bureaucratic systems as inhumane as the circumstances that force people into their offices. In the second chapter, “The Me Who Should Have Been” utilizes the repetition of “Look upon this face, which cries no tears” to create not only a command but also a plea that makes readers return to the poem again and again. As the collection progresses, prose poems like “What Remains is Not Gone,” “Dream Picnic,” and “Miracle of Life” feature evocative images such as “listening to Tina Turner and Nancy Wilson” and awakening “out of my strawberry and ice cream dreams.” By the collection’s end, readers have found themselves immersed in personal conversations, detailed confessions, and friendly advice. ... (read more)

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Unique Reading

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Second Arrow: A Book of Illustrated Poetry
by Sahli A. Cavallaro
Xlibris


"Night is when
The body
Hovers
between the
ground and sky
While
The soul
Cuts free"

Bold, individualistic, and innovative, this book combines art and poetry to form a unique linguistic and visual journey that bumps along roads where nature, the self, and free-spirited folks freely roam. The Eliot-like poem "The Normal Door w/o Trial and Error" invites readers into a realm of philosophical contemplation, one driven by the continual repetition of the phrases "As I walk through it" and "As I walk up to it." Other poems like "Light is Free" declare, "This is the reason to stay alive, / to see," providing readers with an optimism that is often difficult to come by. In "The New Girl," readers meet a "rattler" of a person "prone to soliloquy," "forensic and formal," who reveals her true, selfish nature to those around her. Walden-like "Two Moons No Longer Grazing" summons nasturtiums, baying dogs, and smiling constellations as a narrator looks to nature and sees their being reflected in nature's glories. ... (read more)

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Infused Narrative

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Along the Ucayali: Pucallpa to Iquitos
by Frederick L. Kramer
Xlibris


"My experiences on the Ucayali never ended, as I still always think about my moments there."

In July 1963, author Kramer, having left law school, instead takes a high school teaching contract in Vermont. He spends the remainder of the summer fulfilling a long-held dream: world travel. Intending to visit friends in Lima, Peru, he winds up on the banks of the winding Ucayali River. For longer than expected, he will travel on the riverboat SS Hullaga in the depths of the Amazon. He is one of only two gringos on board, the other being his roommate, Leo, an Australian who's left a boring profession to hunt for gold. Together the newly bonded pals explore the cultural and natural enchantments of their exotic environment, eat local foods, sample local liquor, and in Kramer's case, fall briefly in love and contemplate a permanent existence along the Ucayali. But duty calls, and Kramer returns to the US to teach and fulfill another small dream—becoming a published poet. ... (read more)

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Nothing Less

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Being a Ballerina: The Power and Perfection of a Dancing Life
by Gavin Larsen
University Press of Florida


"...this was it: the 16-year-old’s last chance to get serious... make something of her dancing potential or just coast along in the sea of mediocrity."

According to the author, "There are dancers, and there are ballerinas." And a dancer knows whether or not the line has yet been crossed. What did it take for Larsen to get to that point at the age of sixteen? There were eight years of regular classes, daily practice at the barre and at home, memorizing the moves mentally and physically, and striving for excellence while on stage at the center of attention. Lastly, there was a fierce resolve to be nothing less. ... (read more)

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Worldbuilding Wonder

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Arty and the Forest of the Forsaken
by Nicholas Jauregui


"Arty stood in awe, his mind drifting into the clouds. He could almost see himself out there with them, practicing together. His heart raced with excitement seeing true knights for the first time in his life."

In this adventurous middle-grade fantasy, Arty has always dreamed of becoming a knight for his kingdom. When Arty's father, Harper, is offered a job to work for a blacksmith in Camelot, they take a weeklong journey to the kingdom to start their new life, bringing Arty one step closer to his dreams. However, as someone who isn't of noble birth, a lot of obstacles stand in his way. Still, Arty is filled with energy and ambition and refuses to give up no matter how many times he's looked down upon for being from the lower class. He and his new friends decide to train themselves on their own without the guidance of any knights and are eventually put to the test when a wizard who wishes to rule over Camelot puts all of their families in danger. ... (read more)

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Theological Revelation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Revelation Through Science
by James G. Martin
Xlibris


"We have encountered numbers so incredibly enormous that there is a vanishingly remote probability that random chemical reactions... produced life with a DNA code."

Throughout human history, a significant chasm has existed between science and religion, church and state. Martin seeks to combine his faith-based prism with extensive knowledge in the sciences to establish that monumental moments like the Big Bang, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and evolution are evidence that science is a means of expressing faith and understanding God, a means to reveal his divinity and infinite scope. By connecting belief and science through both known and less commonly known scientific events, the author effectively paints a comprehensive picture for the layman. Initially, Martin’s focus is on Galileo, one of the earliest men of faith and science, and the Copernican theory that subsequently led to two inquisitions. Further, the text juxtaposes evidence for the Big Bang with carbon-isotope-driven data that suggests another brewing “Grand Extinction” that could be expedited by continued human folly. ... (read more)

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Conversational & Friendly

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Beyond Want: Finding Peace Now
by Dr. Ronnie Hale
The Adverters


"As soon as you see that what you seek is in your imagination to be unlocked, you can become that now. Either you create your own prison or your best life possible."

This wide-ranging book contains a wealth of thoughtful reflection and strategies for achieving a more fulfilling life. Author Hale, a spiritual teacher who holds doctoral degrees in metaphysics, addresses his book to readers who may want to change their lives and overcome mental roadblocks that keep them from living their dreams. The book is organized by topics that contribute to this larger goal. For example, chapter titles include "What Really Matters Most to You?," "Overcoming Fear," and "How to Give Yourself Peace." Each section explores a different aspect of how to change one's perspective in order to find more joy, meaning, and purpose in life. The objective is to be free from negative, limiting thoughts and behaviors that produce a sense of dissatisfaction and yearning for more—in other words, to live "beyond want." ... (read more)

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Candid Portrayal

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

To Be Loved - An MS Story
by Robert L. Sterling
Xlibris


"The love I have for them doesn’t allow what I do to be tough or hard, but… I do have my days."

Trebor King should be enjoying midlife with a good woman at his side and his independent grown children and grandchildren surrounding them both. Instead, following a complicated divorce, he's been single for years. Still, his ex-wife did give him two children. He holds the elder, Tamara, particularly dear. When a cheap motel room is all that separates them from homelessness, it could be worse since they're in this together—couldn't it? Their accommodation isn't the only uncertainty in their lives. How will they cope with Tamara's multiple sclerosis, the reason for her eviction from her last residence? She can't work to support her five-year-old son. A disabled veteran, Trebor is both the exclusive breadwinner and sole care provider for his family. In his search for help, Trebor meets a social worker named Christine who also has MS. As he works with her, he soon falls for the enchanting woman. ... (read more)

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Prayer & Determination

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Golden Key to Success
by Livingstone Gadwell
Xlibris


"There is more gold in your Mind than anywhere else in the universe but it takes Persistence to discover it."

This self-help book is about learning to shift your mind from temporary defeat and failure to build a sustainable and fulfilling life. Gadwell recounts the story of Larry Adams, a man of little education and skills who began working as an errand boy at a local newspaper. It was Larry's dream to work in the advertising department. However, he was not well received by his co-workers. What he lacked in experience he made up for in sheer determination. Larry worked hard to prove that he could succeed in the advertising department. His work resulted in astounding sales for the company. He eventually gained a full-time and well-salaried position with full benefits in the company. ... (read more)

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Existence

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Next Exit: Your Destiny—Taking the road towards the life of your dreams
by Dr. Ebony Potts, Ed.D
Xlibris


"When all else failed, when the chips were down and they may have wanted to give up, they kept the faith."

As someone who has endured the rat race and incessant feelings of emptiness despite being accomplished, Potts is easy to relate to as she delivers hope to her audience. From the outset, the author establishes that if one simply looks like they are living the best version of themselves, it doesn't necessarily mean they are not struggling. What stems from an epiphany while being stuck in rush-hour traffic evolves into the courage to dream big and subsequently take action to bridge the gap between her vision and reality. ... (read more)

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Selflessness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

And He Was My Friend
by Dr. Gene Russell
The Mulberry Books


"Being a pastor allows friendship to take on a new dimension. You are a pastor and friend to all. That comes with the calling."

Part memoir, part spiritual and philosophical guidance manual, this book explores the many physical, spiritual, and emotional facets of friendship. The author's work invokes various scriptures to explore friendship, journeying through multiple scriptures that build a solid foundation for forming meaningful relationships and understanding what it means to be a true friend: "a friend is concerned about being faithful and loyal." It also advises that friendship "lives in the heart, grows in the mind, and travels in one's speech." With the gentle reminder, "Respect is a strong word in the Christian vocabulary," readers also receive instruction about respect and appreciation that can be utilized to form more understanding in their daily and social lives: "appreciation is a necessary ingredient, one formed from love and appreciation." ... (read more)

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Auditory Learning

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Song of Zong
by William A. Moses
Xlibris


"Everyone, sing along; sing
the Song of Zong
Where everything is right
and nothing is ever wrong."

On the planet Zong, the primary method of communication is through song and dance. This premise alone is one that younger readers who are beginning to get familiar with the written word are certain to relish. Moses' use of alliteration and repetition is commendable as it serves to plant sound in the readers' minds and build recognition for rhythm. ... (read more)

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Deep Caring

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Is a New School a New Chance: The First Quarter
by B. J. Bartlett
AuthorHouse


"Standing there, with a smile on her face, and the sunlight shining through her hair, she was beautiful."

His friends call Jason Wilson a jock who's not a jock. True, this dreamy girl magnet excels in multiple sports, but he goes out of his way to associate with unpopular kids. Also, with his schedule comprised of advanced placement classes, he's a proud nerd. After an unfaithful girlfriend breaks his heart, school and football seem like they'll be enough to keep him busy, since he's decided to stay single for his junior year. But Jasmine Kibbler, a beautiful misfit cheerleader, soon tests his resolve. When Jason defends Jasmine against a clique of bullying girls, the two become staunch friends. Jasmine proves as sweet as she is pretty, winning over Jason's entire family. Still, he hesitates to use the l-word to describe their relationship. Then a jealous cheerleader tries to steal Jason from Jasmine, even as a disgraced quarterback repeatedly assaults him. Can Jason's bond with Jasmine weather this relentless hostility? ... (read more)

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Interplanetary

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Space Gamble Volume 1: Perils
by J. W. Delorie
Westwood Books Publishing


"'Whoever designed this intruder is a master of his trade...'"

The year 2111 finds humanity colonizing Mars and Neptune while maintaining a presence on Earth. The race still has not overcome such character flaws as greed or lust. Casino magnate Kennith Jackson Furgis takes full advantage of these hedonistic weaknesses to open the luxury gambling resort Neptune One. The equally luxurious cruise spaceship the Jupiter Queen transports vacationers from other planets to partake of Neptune One's decadence. Success has its cost, however, and Operator Furgis, as he is known, has ambitious competitors. There's an unknown adversary labeled "The Tamperer" who is bent on corrupting all the resort's high-tech systems with a virus. Simultaneously, there's the mysterious middle-aged casino patron everyone simply calls "The Gambler." No one knows whether he means to help or harm. Does he have any connection to The Tamperer? ... (read more)

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Continuous Action

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

ESPer Wars
by J. W. Delorie
Westwood Books Publishing


"Sorry, Lasko, but you need to understand, Eese and I are twins, we share ESPer power."

In the distant past, people possessing powers of extrasensory perception—known as ESPers—live on earth with those who have no such abilities. Because of the ESPers' desire to rule those without powers, war breaks out between these two factions. Retribution soon ensues. "The people without the power designed a virus that caused all ESPers to go insane and start fighting with each other." These ESPers followed those "without power into space where they became the Derelicts." ... (read more)

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