US Review of Books - Book Review Service

US Review Blog Twitter Facebook Instagram GoodReads Linked-In USR Subscribe US Review RSS feed

Book Reviews

search engine by freefind

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.

Recent Reviews

Focus Review

Featured Reviews

US Review Blog
 


A Fresh Draft -  Editorial Services

Recent Book Reviews

 

Focus Review

The Making, Rising and the Future of the SpeakingMan
by Dan M. Mrejeru
Creative Book Writers

"It was this metamorphose of the virtual static into virtual dynamic that created the modern brain"

What makes us, us? From a scientific perspective, Mrejeru brings together a comprehensive and full-scale anthropological examination of mankind’s evolution. Through a compilation of his many articles on the topic, the author probes deeper into how a combination of nature and nurture, from brain changes to the advent of fire and climate cooling, contributed to shaping humanity in its various phases. ... (read more)

Read the US Review of Books Previous Edition

back to top

Featured Book Reviews

 

Suburban Discord

Highlight Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Unsettled States
by Tom Casey
Heresy Press


"Like it or not, there is a relationship between a killer and a cop, and it is personal."

Detective Gerard Mallory has reached out to Dr. Caroline Singer for professional help for a troubled man named Bradley Davis. Davis has been caught peeping into the house of a local citizen, and Mallory believes therapy will aid Davis in overcoming his problem. Davis is a single young man who works as a librarian but is viewed as a disappointment to his oppressive mother. Davis acts out by engaging in voyeurism. Davis is interested in a woman named Grace, whose life is about to come undone dramatically. As Davis begins his sessions with Dr. Singer, Mallory can devote his efforts to finding a killer. A woman named Ann Wallace was found murdered, and the crime was particularly brutal. The motive is unknown, and the possible suspects are limitless. Mallory has his work cut out for him. ... (read more)

back to top

The Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

I Could Have Been One
by Donald Wm. Jeffries
Dorrance Publishing


"Will those, who have drifted away from Christianity, come back to it in order to save their soul for the next life?"

Author Jeffries recalls his personal history, expanding it to a broad vision of his nation and the world. Born during World War II, he recognized early on that men in his parents’ “Greatest Generation” were spurred by the trauma that all warfare can evoke and, therefore, strove to achieve more once they returned home, building new neighborhoods and aiming for meaningful employment. Similarly, American women who had contributed industrial efforts to the nation’s defense, symbolized by the popular image of “Rosie the Riveter,” resolved to be conscientious wives and parents while also starting to seek outside employment. The postwar years thus wrought numerous upswings in ordinary American life. Meanwhile, citizens of central Europe, where whole cities had been obliterated, were still grappling with extremely challenging aftermaths. One ominous signal was the burgeoning of Russian communism and its concomitant movements of socialism and similar, politically far-left movements. ... (read more)

back to top

Resolve

Highlight Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Trust and Confidence: Inside the Battle between the Secret Service and Ken Starr
by Jim Lichtman
Scribbler’s Ink Press


"'What [Starr] did was over the top,’ Merletti said. He did not use good judgment. He went way beyond the parameters of common sense.’"

The names Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky will forever be intertwined for all the wrong reasons. With the end of the twentieth century nearing, the world's eyes were seemingly on the sitting president’s extramarital affair. While this topic will undoubtedly be covered in the history books for generations to come, Lichtman's research, which includes speaking to many of the chief players, has resulted in a candid presentation of the content that is simultaneously insightful and entertaining. ... (read more)

back to top

Clear Philosophy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Free Will, Do You Have It?
by Albertus Kral
Tellwell Talent


"Procirclism has departed from the free will issue and proclaims there is neither free will nor no free will. There is just will and that is the force necessary to manifest behavior."

The free will debate has raged for over 2,000 years. Do individuals have control over their own actions and decisions, or are these actions and decisions predetermined by the gods, logic, nature or nurture, or many other forms of determinism? In this new work by Kral, he takes the reader on an intellectual journey that attempts to provide an alternative to the free will question. Upon initial inspection, the question, at its heart, seems to imply either a yes or no with explanations while excluding other answers. However, Kral manages to create a compelling third option, which posits that the question itself is flawed. He argues that “will” cannot be considered free or not free. His reasoning breaks down what the word means in the context of this question, and his results lead him to create an additional theory about the source of human behavior. which he has titled procirclism. ... (read more)

back to top

Extraordinary Read

Highlight Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Butcher on Colfax
by J.T. Tierney
Curtiss Street Press


"Sitting on opposite sides of the court room, Maggie Quinn and Alice Kelly wept."

Four young Irish immigrants seek their fortunes in Denver, Colorado, filled with enthusiasm and dreams for their new futures. Emmett Kelly, the titular butcher, has meat-packinghouse experience in Chicago and longs to open his own butcher shop or grocery store. He may be considered the lead protagonist because the novel opens and closes with his predicaments, but the story is truly not Kelly’s alone. He becomes acquainted with Thomas Quinn on the train to Denver, a young carpenter who is quieter and much less brash. The young men soon find a wealth of job opportunities and female companionship in the rapidly growing city. Despite the era’s restrictions for women of all ages, Alice Butler and Maggie Sullivan are high-spirited young ladies with viable dreams of their own. More interested in romance than in making a headlong rush toward marriage and motherhood, they’re inclined to seek both adventure and respectability in their new environment. ... (read more)

back to top

By the Word

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Love, Literally
by J.T. Tierney
Curtiss Street Press


"Words and language were the most valued currencies in our family, our favorite pastime, our religion."

When the COVID-19 virus shuts down the Boston theater scene, Hallie, a theater set designer, loses her job, boyfriend, and apartment. Her friend, Maria, offers a lifeline when she invites Hallie to move in with her and her husband, Mike. Maria’s friend Lisa invites Maria, Mike, and Hallie to come to their vacation home on the Cape for an extended stay away from the horrors of the virus. The very wealthy Lisa and Paul also invite a friend, Quinn. As everyone settles in for a relaxing first night, it is obvious that Hallie and Quinn are very compatible. ... (read more)

back to top

Live Positive

Highlight Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Journey in Grief
by Diane Davies
Oculus Literary


"I woke up this morning thinking about my full day ahead with anticipation of a good day. Little did I know how this day would end, turning my whole world upside down and inside out."

In this intimate book, Davies shares a deeply personal story about reckoning with death, grief, and life after losing a loved one. The author recounts her story of losing her husband in daily journal entries. These entries help readers understand the process of acceptance that happens after someone dies. They also learn about how the support of one’s family and community can make the grieving process more navigable. Throughout the collection, poems appear with certain journal entries, and these poems help memorialize the author’s husband, Butch. However, the poems’ inclusion is also a testament to the healing power poetry and literature offer during difficult times. As readers progress through the journal, they learn that the author’s assertion, “Grief demands to be handled on its own terms and in its own time,” is an adage to adopt and live by when facing grief and trauma ... (read more)

back to top

Designed Success

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Plan to Profit: Business Planning for Builders and Remodelers
by Chuck Miller
Leavitt Peak Press


"The task of writing a business plan today is much less daunting than it used to be."

Writer Miller focuses on small businesses, specifically those that deal in remodeling and building trades, to demonstrate the need and the method for creating a comprehensive corporate plan. Any small business may struggle to survive. However, with a structured, all-encompassing proposition and the step-by-step processes that accompany its development, chances for success will greatly expand. ... (read more)

back to top

A New Favorite

Highlight Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Oscar and Otto: Troll Tales and Other Stories from Grandma’s Cottage
by Betty Cetas
Windy Sea Publishing


"…Otto was very heavy from all the worms he’d been eating. With a final tug, Otto pulled Oscar into the lake. And again Otto swam away, laughing."

From the outset, Oscar and Otto are destined for confrontation. Oscar loves to fish, while Otto loves to trick fishermen. One day, Oscar’s fishing takes a turn. He keeps putting worms on the line, getting a nibble, but hooking no fish. He soon runs out of worms. While sitting in wonder in his boat, Otto approaches, thanks Oscar for all the worms, then splashes him and laughs as he swims away. Of course, this angers Oscar. He begins to plan and plot, but Otto still seems to get the best of him, and Oscar ends up falling out of the boat into the lake. Meanwhile, Otto is bragging more and more to his friends. Finally, Oscar comes up with a more devious plan and hooks Otto. Although Otto gets away, he is no longer bragging as he has a hook stuck in his mouth. When winter comes, Oscar is still fuming and making plans, while Otto has trouble eating. When Oscar forgets to be cautious and falls through the ice, Otto has a decision to make as he sees Oscar fighting fearfully to find a way back to the surface. ... (read more)

back to top

Transformation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fred Clayton
by Frank Accettura
Archway Publishing


"Let me put it this way: have you ever tried kissing a value?"

Fred counts on his dad when his inability to keep a job and keep his weight in check causes conflict with his mom and sister. When Fred’s dad dies and his sister (his primary income buffer) moves away, Fred and his mom are on their own until Fred’s wrestling champion girlfriend, Mary Ellen, arrives, giving Fred the boost he needs to defend himself, literally and figuratively. ... (read more)

back to top

Resilence

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sun Tzu's Café
by Eric Bornstein
MindStir Media


"This plan would allow the CPC to gain access to America’s upcoming best and brightest young minds."

Transporting audiences into a riveting espionage thriller, Bornstein pushes the limits of science and technology to create a potentially cataclysmic outcome that is as plot-centric as it is character-driven. Loyalties are tested regularly, revealing the fortitude of the main characters and their determination to achieve their goals at all costs. Not your typical thriller, the narrative is tied to one’s roots, family, and being wronged in a way that can’t easily be forgiven. ... (read more)

back to top

Cast of Characters

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Leaning Tower
by Charles McNeill
Warren Publishing


"In the past, he had wrongly assumed academics pursued the truth wherever it might lead."

The relationships between instructors working in a dysfunctional sociology department at a fictional Florida university in the late 1980s are realistically explored in this novella by educator McNeill. While many workplaces, whether in government, the private for-profit sector, or even non-profit organizations, have these ego-driven, ideological clashes that create a hostile environment for some employees but provide unfair advantages to others, this story reveals the particular problems that arise in academic settings, and in this case, with dramatic, destructive results. The drama is also a cautionary tale determined by various departmental cliques that disregard the warning signs of trouble ahead for not only department faculty but for the entire university and the outside community as well. ... (read more)

back to top

Triump & Tragedy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Elmer and Virginia: A World War II Romance in Letters
by John Odell
Quickfoot Books


"It must be because the same feelings, the same motives, the same goals and ideals that I call my own I often find in you."

Odell, a television video editor and faculty emeritus at the City College of San Francisco, compiled his father and mother’s love letters from 1939–1944 in this award-winning epistolatory memoir of their love affair, engagement, and early marriage. Set against the dramatic backdrop of World War II, the letters shine a light upon the strength, determination, and resilience of the youngest members of the Greatest Generation, many of whom were lost in the seas, skies, and battlefields of the European and Pacific theaters of war. In this case, the author’s father and mother wrote quite often to one another—every few days, just as they did when pursuing their educations before the war. They steadfastly proclaimed their love in each letter, commenting upon their daily activities and planning for their future after the war, giving readers a concrete, vivid look at early 1940s life and culture during the European air war and on the American homefront. ... (read more)

back to top

Myths & Magic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mystic Prince
by M. A. Richter
Alexander Publishing


"You made that choice of your own free will. I want you to flourish and fulfill your potential."

Prince Khael Stratton is a mystic who seeks to deepen his knowledge of such arts to help those in need. Following a mission, he reports to the city of Cambridge—ruled over by his brother—and has a close encounter with a pickpocket who steals his signet ring. Alongside his bodyguard, Grant, the prince manages to track down the young woman, Vixen, who suffers from a foggy memory while demonstrating a great talent for skills associated with assassins. Prince Khael finds it an odd happenstance in a time when a terrorist group known as the Chelevkori are making active attempts to eliminate the royal family for a perceived wrongdoing by his grandfather, Loren, and it is further compounded by reports that tyrannical rule has seized the city of Skemmelsham over which he rules. Prince Khael forges a contract with Vixen, and with Grant, they go on a journey to liberate the city. ... (read more)

back to top

Passion

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Force of Art – A Life for Painting: Biography of a Vietnamese Artist: Van Den 1919–1988
by Juhani Murros
Austin McCauley Publishers


"By removing needless details in pursuit of perfection, Van Den followed in the footsteps of many great artists, writers, composers, and painters."

Juhani Murros made an unexpected discovery during his visits to art galleries when he worked for an organization in Ho Chi Minh City in 1990. A small still life in an unobtrusive gallery commanded the Finnish physician’s attention. “It was an unpretentious oil painting, yet its dark, mysterious colors and the emotional tension of its disciplined composition set it apart.” Thus began a long journey of discovering the art and life of Van Den, a frugal and kind Buddhist of mixed Chinese and Vietnamese ancestry who studied in Paris for less than two years during 1950-52, a volatile period during the first French Indochina War. ... (read more)

back to top

Pleasingly Complex

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Madame Curie’s Piano Tuner
by Steven Barron
Atmosphere Press


"When a man can’t figure out how to convey a simple accusation or protest, chances are there’s plenty more he’ll not be able to manage."

In this unique novel, readers meet Raymond Dover, a self-trained piano tuner. In pursuit of business, Raymond finds himself in Bucksnort, a town entirely its own. Raymond embarks on his unique calling of providing services for a veterans' nursing home. However, shortly after his arrival in Bucksnort, a mysterious mental illness overcomes him, and readers watch as the protagonist’s idiosyncratic road to recovery unfolds. What readers also find in this book is the seemingly charming town of Bucksnort. However, like any other small town in America, Bucksnort is full of its own quirks, bureaucracies, and secrets, which leave Raymond, at times, scratching his head in bewilderment. Amid Raymond’s own story, the narrative details the ins and outs of the lives of those who inhabit Bucksnort and make it a town unlike any other. ... (read more)

back to top

Moscow Intrigue

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Rasputin Stain
by W.H. Mefford
Twenty20


"Illya rambled uncertainly, praying that Putin couldn’t actually hear his knees clacking like ivory castanets in his pants. At that moment he would have strangled a puppy for a cigarette."

Illya Podipenko is a Moscow investigator who is not esteemed in the eyes of his superior. Only his famous father’s military service prevents him from being sacked. When his young, new partner drags him out of his slovenly routine to investigate an apparent suicide, Podipenko is not amused. However, as the investigator begins piecing the clues together, and as everyone insists the case is a suicide, Podipenko becomes more and more interested. When he learns there are a total of five siblings, and they are rapidly becoming deceased, he becomes engrossed. It helps that the one female sibling is absolutely stunning. Soon, the case will expand in scope, and Podipenko will find himself on the wrong end of several corrupt officials and a powerful American entrepreneur. On top of all that, lurking in the distance is the haunting figure of the feared and hated religious prophet Rasputin. ... (read more)

back to top

Innovative Ideas

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Map Colorist
by Rebecca D’Harlingue
She Writes Press


"The coloring meant different things to each of us. To my mother, it was not only a chore that she carried out as part of her housewifely duties. It also allowed her to, in some small way, take part in the artistic world to which she had aspired."

This unique work of historical fiction takes readers to seventeenth-century Amsterdam, where they meet Anneke, a young girl who, along with her brother Lucas, learns the art of map coloring. Anneke learns map coloring from her mother, and soon, her skill surpasses her mother’s. At its core, however, the book provides readers with a careful examination of the historical role of education for women and how historical-artistic and scientific endeavors performed by women were frequently stolen by or wrongly attributed to men. ... (read more)

back to top

Positive Encouragement

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Passion Struck: Twelve Powerful Principles to Unlock Your Purpose and Ignite Your Most Intentional Life
by John R. Miles
Post Hill Press


"But I’ve realized that growth is impossible without change, much like expecting a plant to grow without water—it’s just not feasible."

Miles' insightful book gives one the proper instructions to work towards successful personal growth. In its pages, the reader learns about mindset shifts, behavioral shifts, and how motivations and intrinsic values influence one’s actions. Additionally, the author's book teaches the differences between passion and wisdom, and readers can also assess how their self-mastery of certain skills influences the passions and interests that they pursue. ... (read more)

back to top

The Quest

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Secrets of Shadowcrest
by Lance McColgan
Cabalian Games


"The Assembly has agreed to forgo any disciplinary hearings…though you certainly made it difficult for me to accomplish that."

With the holidays approaching, quality family time for Lord William Steele gets interrupted by an urgent request from Henry II, king-in-waiting and the rightful claimant to the throne. The fear that King Stephen has something nefarious planned to wipe Henry out has Henry himself making his own moves. What ensues is a whirlwind adventure that transports William to ancient lands while testing his integrity and loyalty to Henry, often at the risk of his own existence. Fusing genres to traverse into the historical fantasy space, McColgan sets the stake high (the throne of England itself), prompting William to journey through a life-threatening mist to a long-forgotten land, the Cabalian Islands, and negotiate a deal that would ensure Henry’s security, and in all likelihood, the throne. ... (read more)

back to top

Epic Whirlwind

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Chronicles of Alluvia: Shades of Darkness
by JCM
Xlibris


"All of Alluvia is about to be caught in a game of chance that has plagued the dimensional-verse for centuries."

The battle to restore the balance between good and evil continues in this sequel to Chronicles of Alluvia: Birthings. Abkhas, the quintessential embodiment of evil, turns his attention to Contradista, the next in a long line of civilizations fated for the brutality of Abkhas’ subjugation. With demon lieutenant Niphyus and shapeshifter Breyfirr, Abkhas takes the next steps in the campaign for total domination of Alluvia. As Contradista is infiltrated by evil and mayhem, demonic possessions plague the land. Meanwhile, Abkhas’ forces use trackers to locate the birthings. ... (read more)

back to top

Ominous

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Déjà View
by Michael Thomas Perone
Wheatmark


"There was something insidious lurking in the shadows of his mind. Like an omniscient narrator, only he knew the secret of this strange universe."

It is 1989, and Bobby, Joe, and Max are best friends enjoying their final months of sixth grade and their last summer before junior high. Bobby possesses a vivid imagination and lives in a world of constant make-believe. Joe is the rebel torn between childhood fun and his desire to grow up. Max is sensitive with a dramatic flare. The trio’s friendship is a complicated mix of competition and camaraderie. Their afterschool play and sleepovers consist of video games, action figures, and acting out scenarios from Bobby’s imagination. Despite their perpetual battle for one-upmanship, the boys’ time together frequently ends in fits of hilarity. But junior high tests the bonds of their friendship. While Bobby clings to the innocence of childhood, Joe and Max make new friends and try to reinvent themselves as cool. When a school project exposes Bobby’s struggles with growing up, he discovers sinister forces at work. Bobby soon realizes there are worse things than leaving childhood behind. ... (read more)

back to top

Wholesome Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Dodging Cupcakes
by Laura Pashley
STEMpire Press


"Maybe, if she created a fantastic game, it would prove to her dad that she was too talented to be stuck in this small town…"

When socially awkward seventh grader Mindy Bright relocates from Chicago to her dad’s small country hometown of Oglesby, she leaves behind the familiar order and structure of her private school, St. Mary’s Academy. Accustomed to school uniforms, challenging academics, and extravagantly themed school socials, Mindy is anxious about fitting in at her new school, Korn Wotel, where the highlight of the academic year seems to be the Fall Carnival with homemade games. Although disappointed by Korn Wotel’s shabby condition and limited resources, Mindy is determined to use her abundant imagination and knack for building things to create a fantastic carnival game guaranteed to help her make new friends. But from the very first day, everything goes horribly wrong. It seems the harder Mindy tries, the less popular she becomes. ... (read more)

back to top

Changes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Manda and the Fish
by Noah Bella Michaelis
Archway Publishing


"When I was your age, I wasn’t allowed to fish, hunt, trap or do anything that my father and brothers were allowed to do."

This story within a story begins with a teenage girl telling the younger clan children about how she wasn’t allowed to do things that males were allowed to do and that she was only allowed to do girl things. Manda, the teenager, wanted her father to teach her how to fish, but he would not allow this as it went against the rules of the Haudenosaunee tribe. She grew up watching her father and brothers fish and thought she would enjoy this. So, one day, she decided to go out on her own. She borrowed her older brother’s fishing pole, swore her younger brother to secrecy, and went fishing. She caught a bunch of fish, which she put in her mother’s borrowed basket. Her father caught her doing this, and there were consequences. But from her defiance came progress as the tribe began to allow girls to do traditional boy things and boys to do traditional girl things. ... (read more)

back to top

Saving the Day

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Magical Missions - The New Chosen Ones
by Jaime Enrique Gutierrez Perez
Xlibris


"She is the best candidate for this… not just because of her strength, but because of her perseverance. What she lacks in experience, she has it in heart."

In this fantastical tale inspired by The Lord of the Rings, the beautiful parallel world Multiria is plagued by a long history of perils. Rogius is an evil, powerful sorcerer and expert in dark magic who was imprisoned by the Sirigian warrior hero Ellios and the supreme magician Adriano using the power of the Sun Sword. But when Rogius is freed many years later, a new generation of warriors must rise to defeat him and protect Multiria from utter destruction. ... (read more)

back to top

Truth Seekers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

John 3:16.5: The Rest of the Story: A Practical Guide into Reading the Bible and Understanding Christianity
by Wally Gonzalez Jr.
Christian Faith Publishing


"It took me over a year to complete the book, but once you get going, you’re not going to want to stop."

At the core of the author’s effort is a determination to make the Bible more comprehensible and relatable to all audiences. What ensues is a work that delves into the well-known stories of scripture minus the intricate complexities and dense language. Though one can make the claim that there is nothing new within this work, it is imperative for readers to understand the unique commentary and angles that add immense insight to monumental biblical events like Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. ... (read more)

back to top

Triumphant

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Brave Magnolia
by Nella Simoni
Fulton Books


"I just want to make sure you know that not everyone will help you or want you to succeed because of who you are."

In this inspiring novel, each obstacle stacked against the protagonist solidifies her resolve. After the parents of Magnolia (Lia) die helping at a hospital in WWII, she is raised by her grandmother with the help of her parents’ friends in the medical community in Chicago. Channeling her mourning into her studies, Lia graduates high school and college early on a beeline to medical school to fulfill her parents’ legacies. Lia escapes to California to start anew when the high school sweetheart she marries betrays his promises. ... (read more)

back to top

Good Humor

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Everything Goes to the Dogs
by Billy Albert
Alkira Publishing


"Nobody knows what is to come. Given that we all end up at our own funerals, that is just as well."

Max Schwartzvoete, the protagonist of this historical satire, began his journey as a former hardware tradesman who migrated from South Africa to Australia during apartheid. He guides us through his years as a lecturer at Prosper Institute of Technology, which is later taken over by Her Royal Lamb Institute of Triumphal Technocrats. He becomes a member of the HRLITT Business Faculty and ventures into the world of business ethics. He gains admission to an ethics conference in New York by writing a paper titled, in part, “A Philosophical Investigation Guided by King Hammurabi’s Teachings of Robert Nozick’s Comprehension of Immanuel Kant’s Second Formulation….” His primary motive for traveling to New York is not to attend the conference, however. Instead, he travels to meet up with his uncle Izaak, who had double-crossed Max’s father in past illegal business deals. Despite his ironic and ostensible interest in ethics, he exacts revenge in a surprising way. ... (read more)

back to top

Mental Order

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Evolution of Human Motivations: An AI-Illustrated Odyssey
by John V. Wylie, MD
Amazon


"Embark with me on a journey delving deep into the relationship between severe mental illnesses and the primal emotions fueling our social interactions."

Originally published as an essay in The Montreal Review, this book first summarizes the numerous historical theories on the cause of mental illness—from complex brain disorders to childhood emotional trauma to chemical imbalances. Deviating from the theories of his predecessors, Wylie maintains that severe psychiatric conditions are not a distortion of emotion but an excessively intensifying repetition of ordinary social emotions. The book explores mental disorders against the backdrop of human evolution. The fears that emerged as the earliest primates began to engage in social interaction still permeate society today as a shared emotional heritage and may manifest as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and panic disorders. More recent evolutionary developments, such as biases and individual ambition, may contribute to the symptoms of conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. ... (read more)

back to top

Aftermath

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Glacier House
by Donna V. Batt
Proisle Publishing Service


"I can't believe I am being talked about as a victim and him as an abuser."

Jake is taking care of Trevor, a victim of human trafficking whom he and his brother Zack rescued. Jake wants to ensure Trevor gets the best possible care, so he decides to set up a home called Glacier House. This home will be a haven for victims of human trafficking, where they can readjust to the outside world with the help of counselors. Meanwhile, Trish is a nurse who has recently left an abusive relationship, but her ex-boyfriend Dillon is still stalking her at work and home. One day, Dillon assaults Trish and her neighbor when he tries to defend her. Trish files a restraining order against Dillon, but he violates it after being released on bail. To protect herself, Trish has no choice but to move somewhere where Dillon cannot find her. As their lives intersect, Jake and Trish will face some obstacles along the way. ... (read more)

back to top

Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Glacier Highway: Book I
by Donna V. Batt
Proisle Publishing Service


"There was a man just inside the door, holding a gun. He had a wild look in his eye."

After her best friend, Rog, is killed in a firefight where she is wounded, Jen leaves the military, taking Rog’s service dog with her. She takes over work at her family’s cabin rental business. The work is easy, and she isn’t struggling for money, but Jen realizes she misses the intelligence work she did in the military. Two kidnapping incidents in a matter of a day get her interested in gathering intelligence on a human trafficking ring. The handsome homeland security agent Zack Julion makes the work even more tempting. When Jen’s lifelong friend, Paulie, is targeted by the human traffickers, Jen and Zack realize they need to work quickly. Unbeknownst to any of them, danger from Jen’s past is also hunting her. As the risks grow more deadly, so does the heat in Jen and Zack’s relationship. Unfortunately,each carries baggage and fears that lead to poor decisions. ... (read more)

back to top

Action-Packed

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Rejecting Destiny: The Underworlds
by Dennis Scheel


"Hear my last testament of what shall be; all the wrongs you have committed shall come to a reckoning by a child, one with powers unlike any other..."

Scheel uses a curious blend of biblical concepts and characters from Greek and Norse mythology to create this fantastical tale of gods, demons, angels, magic, and multiple dimensions. This third installment of The Underworlds series explores the depth of pain associated with the loss of a child and sharply contrasting responses to grief. Denida and Nina are both traumatized by the murder of their son, Daniel. Rather than leaning on one another for comfort and support, the couple allows their mutual tragedy to divide them. ... (read more)

back to top

Life of Joseph

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hero for Hire: Joseph Son of Jacob: And the Four Pillars of Durable Power
by Jon Joseph Tailly


"Joseph’s life was about his journey toward the acquisition of the four pillars of durable power."

This study of the life of Joseph centers upon four great trials in Joseph’s life. These events include his time in the pit at the hands of his brothers, his years spent as a household slave in the home of Potiphar, his incarceration in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and his time spent as the vizier for the Egyptian pharaoh. Though in situations sometimes dire, Joseph grew spiritually during each of these life events. Tailly identifies the four pillars of durable power as humility, integrity, reliability, and efficiency. Joseph attained each of these pillars through his trials. In the pit, he gained humility; in the house of Potiphar, integrity; in prison, he built reliability; and in the palace of Pharaoh, he learned efficiency, which placed him as Pharaoh's second in command. Each chapter includes a section concerning the ways in which each pillar can be incorporated into one’s life, especially in the workforce. ... (read more)

back to top

Distinct Phases

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates
by Dana Jetey
PageTurner Press and Media


"She noted that, indeed, years took advantage of her; there was no shine in her eyes anymore, subtle wrinkles around them."

Young Diana’s dream is to follow in her parents’ footsteps and become a successful surgeon. Her parents want a different life for her, but after trying to convince her otherwise, they allow her to work part-time as a nurse in the hopes she will lose a taste for medicine. Years later, the experiences have steered Diana toward a career teaching English. After her first year of university, a chance encounter with an unfamiliar young man in her train car blossoms a feeling of romance that burns for the entire journey. Just as quickly, the piece of paper with his phone number on it slips out of her hand and leaves her with no way to reach him. Older, divorced, and with children of her own, fate intervenes once more and gives Diana a chance to reconnect with someone she never thought she would ever see again. ... (read more)

back to top

Genuine View

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Broken: A True Story of Spiritual Abuse
by Claire Larsen
WestBow Press


"Every abuse, every insult, and every invalidating comment had sent an arrow in my back or through my heart. I was covered in them."

Called to serve and spread the gospel in other countries, the author of this book and her family prepare and pack to move across the world for their mission. Bureaucratic power plays, duplicitous dealings, and a global pandemic take an already challenging prospect and make it nearly impossible. Back home and still eager to serve, they find themselves ostracized and scapegoated by their community leaders and those who claim to support them. Their faith is challenged through this isolation but remains steadfast in this harrowing tale of a religious institution that does not practice the things it preaches. Charged with helpless anguish and dogged determination, this account demands accountability for spiritual leadership and uses the Bible to back up its position that congregations must be served and supported by their leaders instead of the other way around. ... (read more)

back to top

Genetic Control

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Genetic Universe: Revised Edition
by Garcia-Gonzalez
Nelson E. Garcia


"But, when the goal is something as rare as wisdom, realistically, one should suspect most people in the world are unwise or not wise enough."

A scintillating commentary on philosophy and metaphysics, Garcia-Gonzalez’s work forays into numerous aspects of our existence to probe into the constraints of the human experience. What is reality? What incites the disparity between one individual’s observation of reality and another’s? As the author dives deeper into his immense understanding of what is, he provides a series of intriguing, thought-provoking insights that cut right to the core of one’s belief system, yet he does so with grace and knowledge that impels readers to at least consider what is being proposed. ... (read more)

back to top

A Spry Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Cause for All
by Norman Finn
Page88


"Michael, kill them for our baby. Make them pay. Get them for killing our child. Kill them for us and Israel. Kill them!"

After helping the Mossad take down the V2 rocket program being co-developed by the Egyptians and ex-Nazis, Michael Janssen thought that his life would start to return to normal. He’d met the love of his life and had returned to the United States. He was now putting his full attention on his fashion business and his family. Yet the shadowy remnants of those hostile groups remain, and a man by the name of Walter Schmidt wants revenge against Michael and his wife for ruining the operation. An assassination attempt wreaks havoc in their lives but ultimately falls short of its goal, bringing Michael back into action once more, determined to get payback of his own. This time, his travels take him to Britain, Germany, Israel, and more, as the lingering expectation of war against Israel gives him and his allies a strict time limit to work against. ... (read more)

back to top

A Triumph

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

I Am Perfectly Flawsome: How Embracing Imperfection Makes Us Better
by Tom Collins and Michele Molitor
WME Books


"So yes, strive for excellence, but do not chase perfection."

The book opens with a bold declaration that all forms of perfectionism are unhealthy. Collins and Molitor denounce the concept of “normal” perfectionists who are more productive and achieve greater success. As perfection is inherently unattainable, its pursuit is an inevitable path to frustration, which adversely affects mental and physical health, relationships, creativity, and productivity. Inspired by Kintsugi—the Japanese art and philosophy of “golden repair”—the authors advocate rejecting perfectionism and adopting the “Flawsomism” mindset of celebrating imperfection, striving for excellence, and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth. ... (read more)

back to top

Good YA Read

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Selected Stories 3
by Jack Karolewski
Kindle Direct Publishing


"His duties were routine enough, and his salary and perks were generous, but what Vincent really longed for was to be more like Howard Carter, the famed discoverer of King Tut’s untouched tomb…"

This collection of twenty short stories is reminiscent of the stories found in the adventurous Boy’s Life magazine, whose title was changed to Scout’s Life in 2021. Anyone who has ever dreamed, as the character in the quote above, of being someone more intrepid than the person they see in the mirror can relate. The influences in these stories range from writers like Jack London to Earnest Hemingway and draw comparisons with characters such as Indiana Jones, pirates, and special ops personnel. These characters are seeking to leave a mark on the world. ... (read more)

back to top

Eternal Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Spellbound
by Ann Charlotte
AuthorHouse


"We must have faith. Without faith in these trying times, we have nothing."

It is 1863, and Clarissa Fontaine lives in the Virginia countryside with her two children, awaiting the return of her beloved husband, Charles, from the war between the states. She comforts herself by confiding her innermost thoughts in a diary. One of these thoughts relates to how she cast a spell to compel Charles to return to her. The horrors of wartime lead to the couple’s separation, and Charles becomes a broken man, aimlessly wandering the streets. In 2007, Claire LePaige is a widowed mother of two taking her kids on an impromptu vacation. When driving in Virginia, she is awestruck by a splendid home she comes across in Shenandoah. She decides to rent it despite warnings from the realtor that the place is haunted. Claire is nonplussed until her children tell her of seeing and interacting with an apparition named Charles. ... (read more)

back to top

South & North

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Two Eagles: The History of the United States and Mexico
by Ricardo Sheffield
AuthorHouse


"The constitution of a country makes clear the historical background and the reality of its people, who, in the spirit of community, accept certain rules of governance."

This book offers readers a well-researched and detailed overview of social and diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico. It begins with an explanation of what life was like before the Europeans arrived on the North American continent. Then, readers discover the influence of the British, the establishment of the American colonies, and the role of the Spanish empire in exploration, trade, and economics. As the book progresses, insights are given into many events, such as the independence of Yucatan and the Zapatista Rebellion, which are frequently overlooked in American history books. The book also touches on economic and socio-political US-Mexico relations. Topics range from a brief overview of Mexico’s long history with drug trafficking to the hot topic of US-Mexico immigration policies. Uniquely, the book also incorporates information about the United States’ relationship with China and how the United States’ relationship with Mexico influences US-China relations. ... (read more)

back to top

Stepping Out

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Life IS a Game: Life Lessons Learned Living the Rules for Being Human
by Chérie Carter-Scott
Archway Publishing


"When things have gone well, did you stop and reflect on the reasons why? What did you learn from being in flow?"

Simultaneously a memoir and a blueprint on how to take the reins of one’s life, this book wastes no time in telling the author's story and using it to weave pertinent themes centered around reflection. True to the genre, the “My Lesson” section is intensely vulnerable. When readers see the author not just accept but embrace what happens to her, it is a resounding vote of confidence for them to emulate that mindset. Carter-Scott is adamant that when a breakdown occurs, the path to a breakthrough opens. Thus, all things, even adversity, should be viewed as learning experiences that add unique skills to deploy later in life. ... (read more)

back to top

A Practicing Christian

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Beyond Tithes and Offerings: I AM The God Of Recompense
by Dr. J. Gayle Gaymon
iUniverse


"Abram was the first biblical example of tithing in the Hebrew scriptures."

Gaymon’s work records a multitude of examples of, and the reasons for, tithes and gifts presented under Mosaic law. The text is written partially as a history of traditions and interpretations of religious practices using many versions of the Bible and other sacred texts as references. According to some examples in the book, tithes were fixed by religious leaders through divine instruction to demonstrate the worship of God, as well as to provide sustenance to people in need and those whose vocations or life situations precluded their growing or raising food. In addition to providing historical examples of tithing throughout millennia and the reasons for them, the author challenges the reader to accept an active faith and to seek that which God truly wants of us beyond nominal religion: an offering of ourselves. ... (read more)

back to top

Loving & Caring

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Pickup Pals
by Melinda M. Fons
iUniverse


"Stella looked out the window and saw garbage..."

Stella is on a school field trip and sees garbage strewn on the side of the road. Later, she witnesses her peers adding to the litter. Something has to be done. ... (read more)

back to top

Notable Scope

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Building the Selfless Economy: Saving Humanity In Crisis
by James Michael Matthew
Archway Publishing


"However, my one takeaway is to launch a different kind of social media company—one that is devoted to helping people pursue their real ideas and projects and can provide early intervention when they need help."

This unusual guidebook offers some blueprints for humans to change Western society into a "selfless economy" and perhaps save the planet by rebuilding its infrastructures. The author’s concepts are revolutionary. For example, Matthew’s idea of a "climate change bridge" outlines an interactive dashboard by which practitioners and specialists from a variety of disciplines would be able to share information and draft legislation. Although some countries in Europe have smaller forms of this model in which specialists in diverse fields work together to address environmental issues, this has yet to be implemented on a larger scale. Another idea is that people who are in legal trouble or disenfranchised in other ways may be sent to "planet infrastructure sites" to address major climate issues. The book ends with previews of situations that the author wants to address. Matthew's ultimate goals are a healthy planet, healthy people, and healthy societies. ... (read more)

back to top

Poetry Exploration

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Firefly racing with the dolphins
by Chalat Rajaram
Balboa Press


"I am a bird in flight."

In this poetry collection, readers discover a careful embracing of both long and short forms. They also discover an attentive and meticulous speaker who observes the world around them with grace, gentleness, and understanding. Some poems celebrate human interactions. Others celebrate the mystique of the spirit. The dream world also plays a significant part in many of these verses, and these pieces give the collection an otherworldly tone. The speaker lives in awe and wonder at the world, and their articulations of that world encourage readers to live fully and seek places where the “energy is running wild.” Other poems explore the fine lines existing between life and death and how one leads to the other “all too soon, all too fast.” Thus, readers discover a book that not only performs a balancing act within itself but encourages one to live a balanced life in order to live fully. ... (read more)

back to top

Scope & Depth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Piercing Light Through the Biblical Fog: The Bible’s Literary and Theological Inner Core
by John D. Early
Xlibris


"The Bible must be understood in the context of the many centuries in which it was written."

Wading through biblical commentaries in an attempt to understand the Old and New Testaments can be as daunting as reading the Bible without any direction at all. Early has rendered the task manageable. In just under 250 pages, the author effectively guides the reader from Genesis to Revelation, tying together the Bible’s major themes. He also emphasizes the importance of symbolic language found in the words of the Bible’s prophets, storytellers, and, in the New Testament, of Jesus and his disciples. The book is organized into two major sections, with the first acting as an introduction to the historical, social, and political forces that would have influenced Jewish oral tradition and, subsequently, the Bible. The second section examines “the moral problem of humanity” from the Garden of Eden to the beginning of the “Jewish Epic” and through the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. ... (read more)

back to top

Comprehensive

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Kawasaki Superbikes: Z1000 R and Z1100 R
by Stefan R. Oehl
Xlibris


"My goal is to cover the history of Kawasaki superbikes in eight volumes."

The Kawasaki Superbike Series Z1000R and Z1100R were born when Team Kawasaki rider Eddie Lawson won the 1981 and 1982 American Motorcycle Association’s (AMA) Superbike Championship. The racing competition, created in 1976, featured modified stock bikes and was a means to “promote the street legal products of motorcycle manufacturers.” After Lawson’s 1981 win, Kawasaki used his “mean green machine” as the model for their new street bike, which continued through the next year with the Z1100R model. Though sales never hit high marks, this iconic Eddie Lawson replica bike remains a popular motorcycle in the biking community with its signature lime green base with blue and white strips. Some of these first Eddie Lawson replica models are highly valued by collectors with a limited edition series of racing bikes listed in the six figures. ... (read more)

back to top

A Cute Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Adventures of Fairies and Dragons
by Nancy Benson
AuthorHouse


"The king explained that they were not that different from the dragons."

What is the relationship between fairies and dragons? A very long time ago, a baby dragon named Hunter got lost when flying and ended up in the land of fairies, where he was found by his father, the King of Dragons. Being appreciative of the fairies who took care of the baby dragon, the father promised he would protect the fairies from dragons who weren’t nice. Hunter made the mistake of telling his friends about the fairies to his friends, and he was overheard by other dragons. He told his father the truth about his mistake and was forgiven. Another day, his fairy friend Sylvie came to visit and told Hunter that the mean dragons had come, and they were afraid they would destroy the fairies’ land. In the end, Hunter, his father, and his friends protect the fairies and teach the mean dragons important lessons. ... (read more)

back to top

Avenues of Exploration

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Drawn to Feel: A Poetic Expression of Love, Loss, & Soulfulness
by Irish A.D.
Balboa Press


"The poetry, stories, and ideas shared in this book have only one purpose and that is to ignite contemplation in the reader’s mind."

The author has crafted a poetic and personal story of loss and isolation with suggestions on how to cope. Not a “how to” tome, these mindful observations share a unique journey through an isolating physical disability and the sudden death of a partner, inviting the reader to be curious about their own lives. In a Marcus-Aurelius-meets-Louise-Hay fusion, past-life and near-death experiences, meditation, and astral projection are intertwined with lists, charts, “short short stories,” and poems that encourage contemplation, self-growth, and self-expression. ... (read more)

back to top

Encouragement

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

In the Eyes of an Old Black Man
by Ron Whitlock
Archway Publishing


"Dare to reach the unreachable dream."

In this poetry collection, readers discover poems that address race, faith, love, and human interconnection. The poems address current social justice issues like being Black in America. They also explore faith and devotion and the peace that faith can bring during turbulent times. “In His Eyes” reminds readers about the acceptance and salvation Christ offers to his believers. These types of poems encourage one to embrace the concept of accepting others. Other poems, like “Keep On,” encourage a person to continue going forward even when “trying is no longer good enough” and “your feelings inside are worn and torn.” A few of the poems, such as “Star,” celebrate the beauty and light nature offers in times of darkness. “Autumn Leaves” acknowledges the shifting of time and seasons and the role those play in one’s existence. ... (read more)

back to top

Fossils Alive

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Kid Dino: The Beginning
by Raphael A. Batista
Archway Publishing


"Several hours later, Ralphie was released – no broken bones and no fractures."

This book is about wishes, imagination, intelligence, and superpowers. Ralphie, known as Kid Dino, asks his mother what superpower she would like to have, and she replies she would like to read minds or turn invisible. He states he wants to be an extinct animal and debates with his sister Valencia about this. They discuss whether a T. Rex would defeat a Megalodon and the strengths and weaknesses of the T. Rex. When getting out of the car after getting groceries, he smashes his hand and has to go to the hospital where he’s treated. Having gotten an Amazon package with dinosaur fossils, he finds a fossil coming alive and grabbing his mother with its tongue, turning her into “Momzilla,” and splattering the dishes. Kid Dino grabs another fossil, and a battle ensues. ... (read more)

back to top

The US Review of Books is dedicated to fair and honest coverage for all books. We are a leading book review site, often visited for professional book reviews examples.