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
 

Recent Book Reviews

 

Focus Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Last Lumenian
by S. G. Blaise
Lilac Grove Entertainment


"They came to Galaxy Five, to the Pax Septum Coalition Worlds, to Uhna, for safe haven. What they've found was less than ideal."

Blaise's debut novel is bursting with deeply thought-out worldbuilding, tension, and a wide cast of characters with a blend of science fiction and fantasy. The plot follows Lilla, the ma'hana (princess) of Uhna, the wealthiest planet in the Pax Septum Coalition. Though a princess, Lilla has little to no say in how to lead her life. She is expected to be seen but not heard, and her duties are to marry whomever her father sees fit. However, Lilla is not someone to take lightly. She's stubborn, outspoken, and a rightfully deserved headache to her father. Where Uhna's outdated customs don't allow women to be involved in politics, Lilla finds no other way to push back except to join the rebel forces, even if she must go against her father, the king, in doing so. ... (read more)

Read the US Review of Books Previous Edition

back to top

Featured Book Reviews

 

A New Way to Relate

Highlight Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

back to top

Imaginative

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Orientation of Dylan Woodger: A Central New York Crime Story
by Chiuba E. Obele
Fischer House Publications


"But this much is clear: Utica would forever change my life."

What would happen if one's normal, everyday life not only turned upside down but morphed into a nightmare? When Dylan J. Woodger finds himself being questioned by a ruthless mafia boss in 2019, the last thing he remembers is being dropped off by his mother at Hamilton College in Utica, New York, in 2016. Apparently, he's stolen three million dollars but has no memory of how, when, or why after being tortured, raped, and given a memory-impairing drug. One never truly understands the depths of evil or one's own capacity to commit crimes until seized by the talons of desperation. ... (read more)

back to top

Grappling With Life

Highlight Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Standing at Water's Edge: A Cancer Nurse, Her Four-Year-Old Son and the Shifting Tides of Leukemia
by Janice Post-White
Toplight


"Cancer was my job, my career. Cancer was only supposed to happen to other people's kids."

When Janice Post-White's son is diagnosed with leukemia at four years old, a journey begins for her family through the difficult years of treatment and the ensuing ones of post-treatment. As a cancer nurse, researcher, and educator, Post-White is uniquely prepared to wade through the clinical side of her son's ordeal. She tackles the consultations and treatment plans with analytical precision. But as a mother, she is wholly unprepared for the fear, stress, and suffering that cancer creates in its wake as it attacks her son's small body. She explores the turmoil that illness brings to her family's life with her detailed account of hospital stays, her son's emotional outbursts, and the different ways each family member copes. Post-White is a steady voice of resolve through this transformative memoir so full of wisdom gained in the fire of experience. ... (read more)

back to top

Mormon Trials

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Way to the Shining City: A Story of the Early Mormons in Missouri and Nauvoo, Illinois
by Elaine Stienon
AuthorHouse


"He said the time had come when men of high reputation in the sight of God could take extra wives..."

Gabriel Romain is a young doctor among the Mormons who began relocating to the city of "Far West," Missouri, taking refuge after the church's financial speculations in Kirtland, Ohio, had failed. By 1838 there were more than four thousand Mormons in Far West. This novel joins Gabe and his sister Marie, escaped slave Eb, his friend Nathaniel, and others as they re-orient themselves in this new place. Tension builds again between believers and other Missouri citizens, culminating in Governor Boggs's infamous "exterminating order" after mustering 2,500 militia troops to put down the "Mormon rebellion." Joseph and Hyrum Smith negotiated a surrender by October of 1838, and the body of believers once again forfeited their property and rights to gain safe passage to Illinois. Most of the novel concerns Gabriel's wedding to Bethia, who seems to suffer from depression, and his encounter with the rapidly changing circumstances of life in Nauvoo, Illinois. ... (read more)

back to top

Bravery in Blue

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Black, White, and Gray All Over: A Black Man's Odyssey in Life and Law Enforcement
by Frederick Douglass Reynolds
Mindstir Media


"If you can't learn to swim with the tides of history, you will get swept away by the undercurrents of time."

It seemed inevitable that Reynolds would continue down the road of crime to which he was drawn as a teenager. However, this son of Virginia sharecroppers made the fateful decision to join the Marine Corps and leave the influences of his hometown. After being honorably discharged from the service and with a young family for whom to provide, he began working for the Compton Police Department upon graduating from police academy in 1986. Reynolds worked in one of the most crime-ridden, dangerous cities in America. His career spanned events such as the Rodney King trial and subsequent riots, corruption in all levels of city government, gang violence that pushed the murder rate to astronomical heights, and scandal so pervasive as to cause the dismantling of the Compton Police Department. ... (read more)

back to top

Riveting

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Unconventional: A Memoir of Entrepreneurism, Politics, and Pot
by Jamie Andrea Garzot
Girl Friday Books


"I saw the potential to create a store that was different, that did not have the ‘stoner’ customer at its center but instead embraced all customers."

Scores of inspirational, entrepreneurial memoirs are appealing, but few are quite so riveting as this title. With humor and the same point-by-point fastidiousness displayed in developing her pioneering cannabis dispensaries, Garzot outlines her entry and ascendency into an industry in which she originally had no interest. Never a consumer of cannabis, Garzot's life took an unexpected turn when she sought relief for insomnia and discovered that a single cannabis edible brought her a full night's rest. From there, she became a pioneer in the virtually unregulated California market that, even after many years of regulation, still has many peculiarities. Dispensaries still engage in cash-only transactions because most banks don't allow accounts for dispensaries, a situation created by the federal status of "pot."... (read more)

back to top

Elder Advice

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The 16th Second: The Wild Life and Crazy Times of Colt Michael—What Really Happened
by Ted A Richard
W. Brand Publishing


"I have lived through my fifteen seconds of fame, albeit not without scars. But what about the 16th second? What happens then?"

Trauma and homophobia in Richard's hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, led him to Houston, Texas, where he found a vibrant, welcoming gay community—and where he discovered exotic dancing. Performing under the name Colt Michael, Richard became a highly-recognized, award-winning stripper. He spent years living a double life, using drugs and alcohol to bridge the gap between the fabulous, debonair performer and the lonely, insecure young man he truly was. Unfortunately, his wild lifestyle caught up with him, and HIV/AIDS, as well as his rampant substance abuse, took their toll on his body and mind. ... (read more)

back to top

Skillful Storyteller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

back to top

Delightful, Colorful, Fanastic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Snoodles, Kidoodles, Poodles, and Lots and Lots of Noodles
by Steven Joseph
Mascot Books


"All you had to do was put some noodles in the Snoodle. Off you would go, and the delicious smell of noodles would immediately fill the air."

Once upon a time in the not-too-distant future, the "air was always clean and the sky was always blue." In fact, every single man, woman, and child in town was happy. This was all thanks to a certain Herbie Snoodleman, inventor of the SnoodleMobile. Quite the sensation and featured in all the major newspapers and magazines of the day, the SnoodleMobile—affectionately referred to by the townsfolk as simply the Snoodle—was indeed a revolutionary form of transportation. And what was the secret of the Snoodle? It was powered merely by noodles. Drivers were even able to add any special sauce of their choosing when powering up their Snoodle. And if that weren't enough, after driving home, by pushing a simple button, a "fresh and delicious bowl of noodles and sauce" would easily serve a hungry family of four. ... (read more)

back to top

Hell Has a New Ruler

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Annihilation
by Kaylin McFarren
Creative Edge Publishing


"Lucifer's most frightening power is annihilation. You don’t need knives, spears or firearms when you can turn your enemies to dust with the wave of a hand."

Hell has a new ruler, and her desire for eternal power knows no bounds. When Queen Lucinda replaces her father on the throne of Hell, a new reign of terror and perverse dominion begins. But maintaining control proves to be more difficult than Lucinda imagined as political enemies conspire, secret alliances form, and her father's spirit returns to claim what it is his. Evil retribution is unleashed when he reclaims the throne in a stealthy, unexpected move. Lucifer punishes his daughter and begins the hunt to kidnap and possess the enigmatic Samara, who becomes his queen by brutal force. But some outside of Hell believe Samara to be the miracle prophesied to destroy Lucifer and save the world from annihilation. Will she discover her power in time, or will Lucifer's mark consume her? ... (read more)

back to top

Soul Searching

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought
by Jason A. Merchey
Values of the Wise


"Wisdom has the capacity to be our greatest strength, individually and collectively."

An immense and insightful treatise on the virtues of wisdom, Merchey's nearly 400-page study is a grand undertaking rooted in philosophical inquiry, examining the unparalleled value that wisdom brings to the human experience. Noting that he draws from a diverse selection of writers' insights on the subject—ancient and modern alike—the author "feathers in" a number of his own perceptions and prescriptions, resulting in an impressive and focused examination on the singular notion of wisdom (in its many forms and contexts) and related phenomena. Divided neatly into fifteen chapters, Merchey covers abundant terrain on the following: qualities wise people value (such as altruism), emotional intelligence, insight and intuition, empathetic compassion, intellectual humility and modesty, issues of applied wisdom, self-awareness and discipline, the nuanced dynamic of wisdom, toleration of uncertainty and patience, open-mindedness ("mental flexibility"), and living a life of flourishing fulfillment. The final two chapters include thoughts on developing greater wisdom and the notion that "we must begin to love wisdom," in that in our complex and troubled world today, the "ability to think through the consequences of our values and our choices—and to improve them" becomes quite necessary. ... (read more)

back to top

Unforgettable Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Eban and the Dolphins
by Carolyn Davis


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

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

back to top

Educational Struggles

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Send Her Back and Other Stories
by Munashe Kaseke
Mukana Press


"Had I become the proverbial African who goes away for a few years and comes back acting like they're too good for the place, positioning herself as superior before jetting away again?"

This collection of short stories breaks the heart and makes the mind consider the world's cruel ways. The title of the book reminds readers of a 2019 presidential rally in the U.S. when a crowd chanted "send her back," which proved a dark moment in U.S. history for immigrants. These stories reveal the extent of hurt that dark moment caused. ... (read more)

back to top

Better Behaviors

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Power of Freedom
by Denis Letendre


"So when the mind is given two options, one at odds with emotion and one at odds with logic, the resulting tension is energy; it intensifies the thinking process."

Having grown up during the sixties, Letendre knows a thing or two about freedom and power. As a self-proclaimed "ex-hippie," Letendre writes honestly about his experiences with drugs, alcohol, and sex and how each of these affected his behavior as a young man. Later in life, "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" has taken on a much different meaning to the author than in his earlier years. In this part self-help, part spiritual book, Letendre aims to communicate how reality and self-created realities differ in an altered state of mind. He discusses the ways in which logical behavior and illogical behavior can change the future of humans. By taking a deep dive into the idea of freedom and what freedom means, the author argues that the real power of freedom is an energy that one can harness and choose to incorporate into daily living. ... (read more)

back to top

Imaginative Storytelling

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Hittite and a Shaman: At Queen Nefertari's Secret Service
by Naveen Sridhar
KDP Amazon


"Are we not all just egotistic souls wanting to project ourselves before others and eager to leave a legacy?"

This historical novel tells of the Egyptian Queen Nefertari's efforts to bring about peace between the Hittites and Egypt during the reign of her husband, Ramses II. When the Hittite King, Mursili III, is overthrown by Hattusili III, Mursili and his son, Crown Prince Hartapu, seek refuge in Egypt. By chance, Queen Nefertari meets Prince Hartapu when he is asked to translate a message she has received from the Hittite Queen. The missive warns of an impending war between the two countries if the refugees are not returned. Thus begins Nefertari's behind-the-scenes efforts to forge a peace treaty between the two countries and avoid war. With the help of Hartapu and her advisor, Nefertari helps to ensure that the first international peace treaty in history comes to fruition. ... (read more)

back to top

Deep Contemplation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Freedom's Journey Free to Serve
by Dennis McIntyre
iUniverse


"He was determined not only to take the test, but to pass it with flying colors."

In this multilayered novel by author McIntyre, a man with limited but rational expectations becomes the recipient of blessings beyond his wildest imaginings. Jake Wilson and his wife, Terry, have two children from her first marriage and are barely but happily squeaking by on Jake's earnings as an unlicensed plumber. As the story opens, their life is on the brink of change as they officially take custody of two girls from Jake's former marriage. Suddenly becoming a family of six will not be easy. However, Jake, a former offender now reformed in mind and spirit, takes comfort from a men's Bible study group and Terry's devotion to him and the four children. A call from Bob, a friendly work colleague, will provide some steady work and much more. The job will take place in an old farmhouse desperately in need of upgrades, once occupied by a generous lady who left it all to Bob. ... (read more)

back to top

Comfy Tone

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Essence of Life: Poetry & Life in Motion 1
by Jennifer Fahie
Stratton Press


"The Lord my God will see to all."

In this selection of eighteen poems, Fahie presents reflections on morality and life, many of which pay homage to biblical lessons. For example, "Human Law" weaves together the Ten Commandments with descriptions to help modern-day readers relate to them, while other poems like "Daniel" and "A Sign" interpret stories from the Bible and stress what they can teach devoted Christians. Such themes continue throughout the book, even amid a gradual shift towards especially intimate and contemporary issues, including racial biases, social injustices, and personal relationships. "Consequences," for instance, calls for a reevaluation of the punishments for serious crimes. Meanwhile, a later piece, "Relationships (Void and Null)," discusses the gulf that has developed between a couple over time due to their neglected relationship. ... (read more)

back to top

Meals for Kids

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Queen Bee's Alphabet Cookbook: A Nutrition Guide for Families
by Mariah Ecker, RD and Teri Ecker
Archway Publishing


"Now you know your alphabet and foods that you can cook. We have fun while learning with our healthy cookbook!"

This kid-friendly cookbook is filled with more than forty healthy recipes the whole family is sure to enjoy. The book starts with a fun A-Z alphabet association with foods and where the fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products come from that will be used in the recipes. The recipes have specific directions on what kids can do to contribute and what parents should assist with. ... (read more)

back to top

City of Flowers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mia Discovers Florence
by Alexandria Pereira
AuthorHouse


"These artists, scientists, engineers, and writers discovered their great ideas by reading old books, looking at old drawings, and studying old buildings."

Mia and her grandmother return to explore their Italian heritage in this colorful final volume of the series. The children's concept book opens with Mia painting a canvas of her new puppy, Licorice. This reminds Grandma of how their Neanderthal ancestors painted animals on cave walls. With her history book in hand, Grandma takes Mia on a journey from pre-history to the establishment of an Etruscan village where the city of Florence stands today. Together they visit Florence during the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, and beyond. There's a special focus upon "the need for art, culture, and innovation," and the text handily introduces Italy's outstanding architecture, sculpture, painting, literature, and music in bite-sized segments. The story is a good introduction for kids to the universally revered Italian artisans and designers such as da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and others. ... (read more)

back to top

Good Advice

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Heart Disease & Hypertension: Vitamin Therapy for a Healthy Heart
by Bryant Lusk
Köehler Books


"The information offered here provides a path of least resistance to a healthier heart and longer life."

Health researcher and writer Lusk has painstakingly mined a variety of wide-ranging materials to inform those with heart disease and those who may be susceptible to it, elucidating the best remedies and techniques for preventing disease and improving heart health. He presents an organized examination of the blood vessels, structure, and activity of a normally constructed heart using both words and pictures. He then illustrates what can go wrong, as even the tiniest change can result in a major malfunction, either suddenly or over time. Risk factors include age (people over sixty-five), gender (more men than women), and ethnicities (most often other than Caucasian). Heart disease dangers can be modified by reducing smoking, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight. ... (read more)

back to top

Remarkable Souls

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Our Church Mothers: Letters from Leaders at Crossroads in History
by Gwen Ehrenborg
Westbow Press


"Whatever letters remain today from these seven women open the door for us to peek inside their innermost thoughts and hearts."

Retired pastor and theological thinker Ehrenborg conveys the voices of seven dynamic Christian women, both as women acting as they felt women should and as spiritual movers and world changers. Thousands of years ago, prophetess Judge Deborah led and fought with an army to protect Israel. Miriam (Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus) upheld his principles and reflected his glories throughout her life. Mother Clare was the founder of a conventual order based on pure poverty, prodding the Church to return to its original principles. Katie Luther was Martin’s spouse. Married during the Reformation, she supported her husband’s work, setting the model for a clergyman’s wife. Susanna Wesley was mother to John and Charles (the founders of Methodism), who saw in her an example for church organization, recalling prayer meetings and Bible study in their childhood home. Catherine Booth, with her husband William, founded the worldwide Salvation Army. And Mother Teresa dared to leave her convent to live with and as the poorest of the poor. ... (read more)

back to top

The Food Chain

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Chatty the Hen Pheasant: Travels with the Pack
by Linda Harkey
Archway Publishing


"I had a nasty thought. What if I crunched down on Chatty? That would shut her up."

Nassau is a hunting dog, a Labrador retriever. It gets separated from its owner during a winter hunt by blowing snow. However, Nassau is well-trained and determined to find a pheasant for its owner, the "Great One." Catching a scent, Nassau dives into a snowbank and emerges with a pheasant named Chatty. Chatty is very unhappy that she has been pulled from her warm nest under the snow and berates Nassau. Nassau does its best to ignore Chatty and eventually hears its owner's whistle and brings the pheasant. Anticipating treats for the find, Nassau is disappointed when its owner lets the pheasant go. The owner explains that the bird is a hen and not to be hunted. The owner gives Nassau a loving scratch behind the ears, and they head home. ... (read more)

back to top

Life's Beauty

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Story of Tree and Cloud
by Daryl McCullough
Archway Publishing


"Dear friends never fully leave us when they die."

McCullough tells the tale of an old live oak tree named Folie and all of the beautiful things she has seen and experienced in her many years. After several days and nights of rain, Folie is surprised to meet a new friend beneath her: Puddle. Folie and Puddle's friendship grows stronger as the seasons change until Puddle eventually dries up and disappears. Folie is deeply saddened by this and doesn't understand why her dear friend was taken away from her. Suddenly Puddle reappears above Folie in the form of a cloud, and Folie realizes that her friend never really left after all. ... (read more)

back to top

Positivity

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Throne of Her Own
by Hayley Van Duyn
AuthorHouse


"Everyone should be able to feel as special as I do."

The author's book tells a beautiful story of a young girl, Lahn, with a heart of gold. Although handicapped and confined to a wheelchair, she spreads love and kindness to all with her generosity. Lahn wants nothing in return for her generosity but simply wants everyone around her to feel special. After returning the prince's precious lost dog and tutoring the prince in his studies for many years when others were unsuccessful, they form a loving friendship that blossoms into a royal marriage that she could never have imagined. The sweet princess, still only wanting to spread joy, opens her castle to others so that they might feel the magic she feels. ... (read more)

back to top

Fantasy & Realism

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Seidon’s Tale
by Bill VanPatten
Input and More


"Jake once again saw movement behind the dark eyes–giant waves crashing against jagged rocks, a strong fist clenching something like a rod."

In this genre-defying novel packed with both action and classical mythology, Jake Hewitt's affair with the wife of a state trooper leaves him on the run across Texas and New Mexico. On the way, he picks up an unlikely hitchhiker: a strangely-dressed old man who asks Jake to take him to the nearest river, for he is Poseidon, god of water and earthquakes, or "Seidon" for short. Jake must navigate being stalked across state lines while trying to help this seemingly deluded individual. However, his perspective begins to change as he learns more about him. ... (read more)

back to top

A Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

West, by Southwest
by Joann Klusmeyer
PageTurner Press and Media


"That pulling and tugging within him seemed to say, go west by southwest, to find peace for your soul."

Andrew Erickson has one thing in common with his ancestors: a feeling of wanderlust that stirs him to leave his home and travel west by southwest until he finds the place that speaks to him. He purchases a Conestoga wagon for his long trip. Before leaving, however, he finds a three-year-old girl standing by the Atlantic Ocean. Young Lucinda tells him she is waiting for him because her father said a nice man would come and help her. Andrew is drawn to this intelligent young child, and he decides to take her with him. While on the road, they meet a young woman escaping a terrible situation, and she accompanies the two for safety. They eventually settle on the prairie, where Andrew, a master builder, builds a reputable business and begins a family. Will the penchant for travel and relocation continue with Andrew's descendants? ... (read more)

back to top

Endurance

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

"4:09 to 9:02" Boston to Oklahoma and New York Cities: Beyond the Bombings
by David Hamel
PageTurner Press and Media


"Many thoughts, emotions, and memories of Oklahoma City and Boston flowed through my Mind."

Hamel is a survivor. Framed around three significant events in American history and a teddy bear, the author's story poignantly recounts traumatic moments of love and loss. As he shifts between time and place, Hamel revisits unforgettable physically and emotionally painful situations that shaped him as a person and compelled him to reconcile with grief. ... (read more)

back to top

Rodeo Primer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Rodeo Queen 101
by Anne T. Reason
PageTurner Press and Media


"Being a rodeo queen is a competition of knowledge."

The author has written an impressive reference book for anyone interested in becoming a rodeo queen. The book is chock-full of practical suggestions for novice and veteran rodeo queens alike, ranging from rodeo animal care to rodeo queen clothing and make-up. The book will inform hopeful rodeo queens how to be on their best behavior while striving to remain positive and even encouraging to their competitors. The book also includes helpful advice to parents, who play an important role in their child's journey to success. ... (read more)

back to top

Significant Progress

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

By George, He Did It! A True Scholar's Autobiography
by George R. Hall
PageTurner Press and Media


"To this day, I continue to approach every task and milestone of my life as if it were my only opportunity to perform."

Beginning school in the late 1930s, author Hall— young, black, and poor—was misjudged by a kindergarten teacher who predicted he would not "become much of anything." As Hall proves in this lively memoir, she couldn't have been more wrong. In eighth grade, he was chosen as class valedictorian, attained the honor roll throughout high school, and once again served as valedictorian and salutatorian. A fine singer, he joined a gospel quintet as a young teen. Tall and physically agile, he participated in all sports. His skills helped him enter Ohio University. After gaining a degree in education and serving in the Air Force Reserves, he began teaching in Cincinnati. With a master's degree, he moved up to the assistant principal and principal positions. In one such post, he forbade teachers from paddling students and instituted counseling and other interventions. He was the first black principal at Glendale Elementary School in Ohio. Even after retirement, he continued to hold supervisory positions, moving to Florida and Georgia, enjoying each new step up the achievement ladder. ... (read more)

back to top

Inner Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Focus on the Moment and Trust in God’s Love: Read It Forward – Live It Backwards
by Gene P. Neral
Xulon Press


"Most importantly, we must recognize that God has a plan for each of us."

Numerous life events led author Neral to a spiritual stance that he propounds in these recollections. He believes that God wants to get the attention of all his followers, just as he did with Saint Paul, who initially preached against Jesus until God awakened him with a blinding flash of spiritual light. For the author, it took a series of brain tumors to help him fully focus on paying the fullest attention to God. The very word "focus" provided a sudden, mystical clue about how he should get his Christian message across to others. That single word soon became the phrase proclaimed in his book's title. In his devotion to his faith, he was ordained as a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church and has served in that capacity for thirty-five years, using the phrase as a vehicle for communicating with others by means of a small, printed card, with many gratifying results. ... (read more)

back to top

Take Control

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Down in a Hole
by Shahryar Sadree
Book Vine Press


"It takes courage to accept change. Courage decimates fear and opens the doorway to freedom."

In a wide-ranging exploration of life's many challenges, self-help author Sadree believes that anyone might sometimes experience the sense of being "down in a hole." His message involves rising up, grasping freedom, and removing walls that limit thinking and keep one from positive actions. According to the author, a total change, requiring great courage, is necessary at times to rise out of the hole. He praises activists like Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandhi and speaks of "the force" that pervades the movie Star Wars—a force that all of nature, including one's mind, can generate and utilize. He notes that Thomas Edison was told he was "too stupid to learn anything," and Walt Disney lost a job because he "lacked imagination." Beethoven was deaf, and Stevie Wonder was blind. Yet they all rose up and achieved remarkable feats. Sadree advises self-discipline, visualization of outcomes, an understanding and reprogramming of the subconscious mind, and the development of "Smart" goals: "Specific," "Measurable," "Achievable," "Relevant," and "Time Bound." ... (read more)

back to top

Thought Provoking

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Divine Body
by Sabije Dervishi Veseli
Christian Faith Publishing


"God created us as human beings, and we return again to God as divine beings."

In 1989, seventeen-year-old Veseli was troubled by mysterious sensations that she could not understand or share with others. Though she was still living in daily, earthly reality, she was also infused with a far broader consciousness as a Croatian soldier who fought and died in World War II began to "visit" her. This led Veseli to investigate the inherent spiritual possibilities, using the Bible and the Quran for reference. She learned that there are different portions of heaven in Islam: one is for those who have followed Allah, and another is especially designed for those killed (martyred) in war. She was able to join the unnamed soldier in the latter, where she perceived three colors—purple, red, and dark-red, corresponding to the color of priestly robes specified by God to Moses in the Old Testament. These were the facts she was able to gather, along with her strong sense that departed souls may return to human life, blessed with divine intelligence and able to predict the future. ... (read more)

back to top

Inspiring

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Double Rainbow
by Joann Klusmeyer
PageTurner Press and Media


"The fact was, the angels had the matter totally in their control."

During a snowstorm, Matilda Gustave, a good-natured delivery room nurse, discovers that her patient, Charlotte, is unaware that she has delivered twin girls. Her husband, Oscar, who is working at the docks that night, falls overboard and drowns. In the hospital room next to Charlotte, a new mother, Marjorie, has just lost her baby. Heartbroken for Marjorie, Nurse Matilda secretly replaces the stillborn with the second twin born to Charlotte. Although feeling guilty about what she has done, Nurse Matilda signs the necessary paperwork, and baby Marlene, nicknamed Neecy, goes home with Marjorie and Duncan Hunter instead of her birth mother. ... (read more)

back to top

Mentor Advice

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Dare to Be a Revolutionary Leader: People Are the Solution—Change Your Leadership Style
by Charley Swords
PageTurner Press and Media


"As a transformational leader, you need to balance the four individual yet related disciplines of being a leader, manager, coach and mentor."

Leadership consultant Swords offers sound, practical steps for those who find themselves in a leadership role in their profession, whether by ambition or progression. She provides various methods for self-analysis, always advising that one may not need to change one's basic traits, only align them with the new trends in corporate leadership. In the past, management was based more on rigid rules. But in today's rapidly changing technological environment, Swords asserts that managers should concentrate on the people who work for them, understand them, offer them incentives based on their own goals, and help them function as a team, no matter what changes they may face. She calls this the transformational management style—less dictatorial, more personal, geared to the millennial generation of employees, utilizing shared vision, open communication, cultural factors, team building, and the ability to steer a team through inevitable changes. Collaboration and communication will foster "soul-centered" leadership, resulting in high-performance standards and employee and customer satisfaction. ... (read more)

back to top

Deep Themes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Words & Graphics – The Four Seasons of Love
by C.O.B.
Grey Line Press


"For all this time, all I’ve ever wanted, thrived for, prayed to achieve, was one goal—win your heart."

The narrator of this multimedia collection of poetry, short stories, prose poems, photographs, and paintings analyzes love in its many incarnations. The narrator's strongest and purest emotion is his love for his tween daughter. But as their relationship grows strained, he reflects on the various forms of love in his life—parental, romantic, platonic—and the creation and dissolution of all these relationships. The tone of the writing changes with the passage of the seasons. For example, the writings in the "Spring" section are mostly light and hopeful. By "Winter," the narrator's struggles with mental illness and substance abuse drive the story to deeper, darker themes. A mix of incisive wit and silly humor help lighten the tone throughout, but the overarching focus of this text is that of a deeply feeling person trying to reconcile loving with not being loved. ... (read more)

back to top

Twist & Turns

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Grind Slowly, Grind Small: A Big Ray Elmore Novel
by Thomas Holland


"I'm saying that maybe you see the devil in the dregs, when sometimes all they turn out to be are just the dregs."

When fragments of a female skeleton with a bullet hole in the skull are discovered at a small-town construction site, Police Chief "Big Ray" Elmore must investigate leads that affect not only people he's known his entire life but also many that infringe upon the jurisdiction of his law-enforcement nemesis, Sheriff Cecil Ben Cooper. If that weren't enough to keep Ray busy, a freshly decaying body is found in the rundown home of two oddball brothers who spent their lives estranged from the community. That body also has a bullet hole that matches the caliber of the first victim's fatal wound dealt fifteen years before. ... (read more)

back to top

Tales of Cuture & Soul

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Silhouettes of Time
by Maya Mitra Das
Inks & Bindings 


"She could not take the deception of living sheltered in the family when the rest of the country was in serious trouble."

This compilation consists of ten short stories plus the five-part title story. Set in various locations in India and the United States, the tales are based on family stories Das heard as a child. She takes readers on a fascinating journey in which characters, faced with trials and tribulations, must rely on inner strength to survive. ... (read more)

back to top

Life & History

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

In Pursuit of the Wind: The Adventures of Roy Warner, Airmail Pilot
by William Gibson
Xlibris


"As the wing disappeared under the flames, my plane began spiraling toward the ground."

Roy Warner is a lucky man. Born in 1895 "under a lucky star," Warner grows up poor among the gold mining camps while he and his sister perform in vaudeville shows. Eventually, they join and tour the country with the Ringling Brothers before reconnecting with their parents again in Montana. After high school, Warner enlists in the Navy but nearly dies from pneumonia and is saved by his future wife, Nurse Fern Gallagher. Warner makes a life-changing decision to drop out of college to join the Air Mail Service as a mechanic, pursuing his dream of flying. ... (read more)

back to top

Traveling

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Embracing Life: with Twists and Turns
by Richard Stuckey
Xlibris


"Diversity in thought and action is our key to continuous growth and development."

Born in 1944 to a Mennonite farming family, author Stuckey opens his engaging memoir with a salute to an earlier, largely self-sufficient generation of Americans. He recounts that his father was late to his own wedding because he had farm work to complete, and the couple spent their honeymoon at the home of the bride's parents. Stuckey's childhood was peppered with farm chores and home-bound incidents. As he entered school life, his horizons broadened. He recalls corporal punishment for a childish prank. By contrast, he praises teachers whose kindly ways encouraged him to pursue higher education, beginning with enrollment in the FFA (Future Farmers of America) program, in which he excelled, receiving many honors. College was next, leading to meeting his future wife, Judy. The couple took a two-year volunteer post in Laos during the Vietnam war. A Ph.D., a gift for math, and his diligent study of plant pathology provided excellent career opportunities, including work in Washington, DC, and a gradual retirement with continued community and charitable organizations involvement. ... (read more)

back to top

Difficult Times

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Teapot Nobody Wanted
by Pauletta Jackson
AuthorHouse


"Ms. T felt like hiding under a rock, she was frightened, sad, and hurting inside."

This allegorical tale featuring a beloved teapot, Ms. T, explores adoption and what, unfortunately, can sometimes happen. Ms. T, a beautiful silver teapot, is finally taken by the Eldredge family into their home. Once there, she is happily greeted by Mrs. Eldredge, who tells her husband that they need to host a tea party for their family and friends. However, Mr. Eldredge doesn't like the teapot and, in fact, is jealous of his wife's attention to it. Because of this jealousy and anger, he begins to say ugly things to Ms. T and then hurt her. Ms. T stops shining, and her whistle also starts shrieking. After injuring her further, Mr Eldredge throws the teapot in the trash. Ms. T is scarred inside and out but is taken to an antique shop where a little girl and her mother buy her and take her home. In this new family, she receives a lot of love, even from the father. ... (read more)

back to top

The Greek Text

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Sacred Writings of St. John the Apostle
by Rev. Dr. Henry B Malone
AuthorHouse


"We are thus strengthened and encouraged for the work in Christ’s Kingdom here on this earth."

The Apostle John wrote at a time when the disciples of Jesus were fearful. The newest believers only knew about his life as told by those alive during the period chronicled in Acts and later from believers as recorded in the gospels. John's letters answered the worries of the Church elders when Jesus and the apostles were no longer around in person to consult. Jesus also wanted to reassure those living centuries later that he was still caring for his Church during the end times he had prophesied. ... (read more)

back to top

Dealing with Sadness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Gizzie B. and LiliMae G.: A Special Love Story
by Dr. A. Bergin
URLink Print and Media


"She saw beyond his arthritis, beyond his anxiety."

This simple story about Gizzie B, an Arabian horse, explores his aging with the problems that go along with it. He is sad because he feels alone and unwanted and worries about life. He also struggles with physical pain, and he is so very unhappy. ... (read more)

back to top

Mind-Bending

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Denial: The Infinity Series
by Asia L.T.
AuthorHouse


"True immortality is through memories."

Without death, what is life? This is the overriding question faced by a group of friends caught in a centuries-long quest to conquer death. Sacrifices must be made so that some may live. Those who give birth to multiples must give the youngest to Gehenna in order that those residing in Orbis may eat. To make this departure pain-free, the memories of Orbisians are erased so that their sacrifices do not torture them. But what happens if snippets of memory remain? How does one find true meaning in a world where there is no death, thus negating the precious nature of life? And how will the world react if those who are sacrificed and those who have lost siblings and memories say, "Enough!" and freely choose death over endless life, effectively ending immortality? ... (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.