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

Recent Reviews

Focus Review

Featured Reviews
 

Recent Book Reviews

 

Focus Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Broadway General Manager: Demystifying The Most Important And Least Understood Role In Show Business
by Peter Bogyo
Allworth Press


"...general managers oversee all the financial and business concerns of a show. Even more, they are the linchpin of the entire production, upon which every aspect of the show must rely."

A lover of theater since the age of five, Bogyo, a veteran Broadway general manager, is no stranger to show business. Having worked with notable heavyweights such as Cicely Tyson, Stephen Sondheim, Carol Burnett, and Richard Dreyfuss, Bogyo holds an esteemed reputation in the industry. Now he graciously shares his expertise with an honest, inside look into a critical but misunderstood role. His objective here is to answer the question of what precisely a general manager does in an unvarnished book he wishes he had when first starting out. He explores the myriad ways in which a general manager “interacts with people at every level of the production.” Beyond that, Bogyo examines with precise detail the inner workings of theater and production management and the complexities these entail. He literally walks us step-by-step through the day-to-day functions and requirements for developing, organizing, and administrating a major stage production from birth to end. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

Mastery of Prose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Devil’s Bookkeepers, Book 1: The Noose
by Mark H Newhouse
Newhouse Creative Group


"How can we bring a child into a world like this?"

History textbooks often provide facts in lieu of telling stories. In Newhouse’s historical fiction, largely based on the Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, 1941-1944, these stories are brought to life, a conjuring of what those resilient souls must have endured daily. Through the lens of the main character, Benny Ostrowski, readers gain the opportunity to experience what it must have been like to live, love, and grow in such a terrifying time. As each chapter progresses, the narrative becomes simultaneously more mesmerizing and haunting. Sealed off from the world in the Lodz Ghetto, the Jewish community was stripped of its dignity—and most material possessions—with the ever-looming Nazi noose becoming increasingly tighter. ... (read more)

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Death & Trial

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Death by Cop: A Call for Unity!
by Wayne Reid with Charles Gill
Lioncrest Publishing


"Join us on the bench as a spectator; judge the case alongside us. Vicariously experience the drama that we lived."

On a December morning in 1998 in the town of Milford, Connecticut, Franklyn Reid, a Jamaican American, was shot in the back at close range by police Investigator Scott Smith. Prior to the shooting, Franklyn was not committing any crime but was evading the police after being seen walking along the street. Reid died from his wound in the hospital. Smith was able to leave police headquarters without facing the questioning and examination to which a non-police suspect would customarily be subjected. Reid’s family, including his younger brother—the co-author of this stirring account—were shocked, grief-stricken, and enraged by the manner of his sudden death. More than a year later, a trial was held to determine if Smith was guilty of murder. The presiding judge was Gill, who has also contributed his memories and expertise to this legal and personal exploration of events. ... (read more)

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The Show Goes On

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Broadway General Manager: Demystifying The Most Important And Least Understood Role In Show Business
by Peter Bogyo
Allworth Press


". . . general managers oversee all the financial and business concerns of a show. Even more, they are the linchpin of the entire production, upon which every aspect of the show must rely."

A lover of theater since the age of five, Bogyo, a veteran Broadway general manager, is no stranger to show business. Having worked with notable heavyweights such as Cicely Tyson, Stephen Sondheim, Carol Burnett, and Richard Dreyfuss, Bogyo holds an esteemed reputation in the industry. Now he graciously shares his expertise with an honest, inside look into a critical but misunderstood role. His objective here is to answer the question of what precisely a general manager does in an unvarnished book he wishes he had when first starting out. He explores the myriad ways in which a general manager “interacts with people at every level of the production.” Beyond that, Bogyo examines with precise detail the inner workings of theater and production management and the complexities these entail. He literally walks us step-by-step through the day-to-day functions and requirements for developing, organizing, and administrating a major stage production from birth to end. ... (read more)

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Manhattan Nexus

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Cooperative Lives
by Patrick Finegan
Two Skates Publishing


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

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

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Living

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Troubles of Our Lives
by Marie-Ghislaine Mera
BookVenture Publishing, LLC


"Bring all your troubles, your sorrows, to the river. Drown them, immerse yourself and you will come out a new being if only you believe."

Mera’s work consists of twelve different short stories. And though each one has its own plot, set of characters, and can represent differing genres (religious fiction, mystery, romance), there are common threads that run through each of the dozen original narratives. Such common elements include, among other things, downtrodden or disadvantaged characters—drug addicts, porn addicts, lost souls, the mentally ill, widows—who are all searching for meaning in the madness of life. And in each case, it is through Jesus that a sort of completeness is finally found, a type of peace for the sets of varied characters in each of the twelve stories. ... (read more)

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Healing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Illness of Medicine: Experiences of Clinical Practice
by Michael J. Young, M.D.
GM Books


"Until the business of medicine is removed, and the actual practice of medicine is again the priority, we are destined to continue on this path of dysfunction."

This deeply informative, thoroughly fascinating book makes an important contribution to debates about the broken American healthcare industry. A retired urologist, Author Young draws on a career that gave him the experiences not only to write a compelling memoir but also the wisdom to make a credible and incisive assessment of the medical system. He narrates his journey through medical school, the challenges of establishing a practice, and frustrations of complex bureaucracy. As a urologist, he saw his share of gruesome injuries and illnesses involving intimate parts of the anatomy. For example, one chapter is disturbingly titled “The Fractured Testicle.” Descriptions of complex urological cases are informative, and readers will gain detailed knowledge of prostate ailments, in particular. However, Young’s ethos extends beyond his specialization, as he delves into various healthcare topics such as overhyping of pharmaceuticals, rampant litigation, and problems with current medical training. ... (read more)

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Beloved Pet

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Toby
by Phyllis M. Cutler
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"When grandma takes me for a walk she is very proud to walk with me. People stop and say how cute I am."

Toby, a golden labrador with a loving family, tells his story in this “autobiography” of the everyday life of a family dog. Always on the hunt for food scraps and looking forward to visits from grandma or the kids getting home from school, Toby is a lively, energetic dog with a twinkle in his eyes. Despite some necessary leg surgeries and even being afflicted with seizures, Toby doesn’t get slowed down by much thanks to his disposition and the love of his family. From stories of neighborhood walks to the joy of opening presents at Christmas time, Toby recalls all of the special memories and moments of his life shared with his beloved family. Though his energy sometimes gets him into trouble, Toby is always interested in being a “good boy” in the eyes of the people who take care of him and love him. ... (read more)

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Disney Days

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


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

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

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Exploring Self

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Walking Shadow
by Gary Bolick
Unsolicited Press


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

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

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Musings & Insights

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Woven Flag
by Margaret Fourt Goka
BookVenture Publishing LLC


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

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

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Oneness with Earth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction
by Dr. Ian Prattis
Manor House Publishing Inc.


"Yet there is always a glimpse, a possibility of stepping through the darkness and touching a warm knowing light that spurs us on."

Educator, prolific writer, spiritualist, and environmentalist, Prattis delivers an SOS to the world to save the earth and its inhabitants from destruction. The work draws upon written accounts from scientists, philosophers, social activists, and spiritual thinkers, including the wisdom of first nation tribes, all who make a convincing case for the need to take immediate action to rescue the planet. His futuristic scenarios are a wake-up call to honor the Paris Climate Agreement and the horrific physical, environmental and social consequences that civilizations will face should the earth fall further into demise. Prattis elucidates the dangers of corporate carbon emissions and their contributions to the destabilization of the earth. He emphasizes that the continuous search for wealth accumulation has come at the sacrifice of the planet. His compelling personal narratives take readers to the Canadian wilderness, the Hebrides in Scotland, and to an Ashram in India, where he writes of his near-death experience. ... (read more)

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Awakening

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Lord Chamberlain’s Daughter
by Ron Fritsch
Asymmetric Worlds


"That was the story people told about me. I’m glad, of course, it wasn’t true."

Lord Chamberlain’s daughter, better known as Ophelia, has a new story to tell. In this satisfying remake, Ophelia’s fate is markedly different from the one Shakespeare assigned her. In this story, she is alive and well and ready to talk about her childhood friendship with Hamlet and Horatio, palace intrigue, and the warmongering of men in power. Shakespeare’s setting remains, and the time and place of the original play are intact, but the plot has gone astray, reimagined and rebranded with a powerful female protagonist driving the action of the familiar story’s milestones: the murders and resulting power shifts. The story is structured as a confessional of sorts by Ophelia to Fortinbras, who visits her after he learns that she is alive and living in the countryside. Ophelia begins her story by filling in the details of her adolescence at Elsinore castle, roaming freely with her brother Laertes and pals Hamlet and Horatio, while her father, Polonius, advises Hamlet’s father and strategizes a war with Norway. She continues through her own awakening to the suffering of the common people in the war effort, the corruption of the castle, and her own heart’s desire. With her motives revealed and her secrets shared, Shakespeare’s heartsick, mad Ophelia is transformed into a savvy woman of power and rebellion. ... (read more)

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Making Connections

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Big Bear Fair
by Grandma Krazy
EC Publishing LLC


". . . there's a bear over there in midair!"

Children's books are only as good as their vocabulary, story, rhythm, rhyme, and illustrations. That is it in a nutshell, and Grandma Krazy gets it. In this whimsical story, a child imagines, and reports to Mom, about a group of bears meeting outside the window. Meanwhile, Mom is distracted by her work on the computer screen. One can only guess where that unbridled imagination is headed. It is a fun story. The illustrations are printed in bright colors and bold tones, and all of the characters look lively, like critters kids want to imagine knowing. The story is adorable and has an upbeat meter and rhyme, too. Beyond these qualities, the author intentionally, yet slyly, adds in spelling and vocabulary lessons. For example, the author includes, ". . . there's a bare, bear over there. . . . He looks very debonair." Notice the contraction slipped in, as well. This one sentence is a rich lesson by itself. ... (read more)

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Yeshua’s Message

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Jonathan’s New Day
by Kendell H. Easley
Stratton Press Publishing


"As long as he lived, Jonathan remembered the afternoon he spent in Simon’s house listening to Rabbi Yeshua teaching about God’s kingdom."

A ten-year-old Jewish boy living in Capernaum in the days of the Roman occupation has the good fortune to meet Rabbi Yeshua, someday to be known to the world as Jesus of Nazareth. On his way to work in his father’s wheat fields, Jonathan spies a group of Roman soldiers approaching on horseback. Among them is a yellow-haired Roman boy about his age. Later, he spies that same boy kidnapped by one of the soldier’s slaves. The Roman leader enlists his help to rescue his son, Julius, and from that encounter, Jonathan will become a friend to Julius and a liaison between the Romans and the local Jews. Both groups will hear the words of Rabbi Yeshua, and both will puzzle over his message, as the ties between them grow closer, demonstrating how Yeshua’s message is reaching people of different origins and beliefs. ... (read more)

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Citizen Crisis

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Contact Tracer/Virus Diary
by Phil Barber
Outskirts Press, Inc.


"This book is dedicated to Carol Browning R.N. and Agnes Johnson R.N. . . . who ran towards the fire . . . to a disease whose cure . . . remains elusive."

This glorious volume includes a series of vignettes about people's diverse reactions to AIDS in the early 1980s when it began entering the general population of the US. Fear engendered draconian responses by many, and Barber, who at the time was a disease intervention specialist, wrote of the reactions and responses of people who had received a diagnosis, as well as those who were affected by the trepidation that someone they knew had it or might have it. ... (read more)

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A New Hero

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Pirates Born from Iron Blood
by Timothy Patrick Means
Goldtouch Press


"Treachery was everywhere; it seems, even an old friend could turn pirate at any time and sell you out for a price."

Friendship confronts treachery upon the dangerous waterways of the mid-1700s in this adventure novel. While dominant militaries protect the seas for trade and travel, pirates test the world order with their cunning hijacks. Thomas, a British naval officer thrown overboard his ship in a storm, and Mauricio, an Iron Born Pirate who abandons his crew to rescue his sister from harlotry, find themselves fellow prisoners, wounded and wanted, in Trinidad. Two prostitutes help the unlikely pair of inmates escape and consequently must escape Trinidad themselves for their deed. In separate but related escapades around the Caribbean islands, the two men and two women encounter both villains who do them harm and strangers who turn out to be saviors. ... (read more)

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Being a Man

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Time 2 MANning Up
by Jasper “Mr. Horse” Manning
WestBow Press


"Success is what we teach
But what do children learn
Will what they know at home
Surpass our respect they earn"

In society, much is expected of men through their demeanor, professionalism, respect, and behavior. But at the same time, few men are open to discussing their feelings or respecting the wisdom of their elders. So how are men supposed to know the right way to act, to respect others, or to treat a partner? In this volume of poems, the author provides something he wishes had existed for him: man-to-man guidance and a safe space to discuss moments of vulnerability and doubt with someone who has been there and knows how to proceed. Each chapter of poetry focuses on a different aspect of life as a man—from being a husband, a father, or simply the man in a situation, relied on for leadership and stability from those who need it. ... (read more)

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Modern Christians Should

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Necessary for Jesus: 70 Prophecies 70 Rewards
by Stephen R. Kirkendall
Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.


"If you start giving, you will begin to trust more in the Lord. If you don’t give, you’re saying that you don’t trust the Lord."

Many aspects of the Bible have been “put up for debate” between scholars, translators, clergymen, and laypeople alike. After centuries of study and reinterpretation, different churches or communities believe that they have come across the correct way to understand the information presented in God’s Word. Using direct quotations from the New King James Version Bible, this text puts to rest the debate as to whether or not tithing still applies to modern Christianity. Answering questions about its relevance, the amount requested, and the correct way to tithe on a low income or no income, this book chooses not to interpret the words of the Bible but to present them literally in order to provide guidance. ... (read more)

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Friendship & Struggle

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Secrets of Hawthorne House
by Donald Firesmith
Magical Wand Press


"'I’m tired of hidin’ from outsidahs, livin’ in the past, and waitin’ for the Goddess tah return while the rest of the world passes us by.""

The Hawthorne family moves from their isolated community on the coast of Maine to Indiana to live with their aunt Vivianne, a recluse shrouded in rumors and a mysterious, murderous past. The Mitchell family, recently arrived in the small Indiana town, lives next door. Their shared status as outsiders brings the two older boys from each family together as they navigate bullies, the loss of a parent, and one massive treasure in the Hawthorne House. The biggest hurdle to overcome as the families grow closer is the secret lives of the Hawthornes. When Matt finds out the Hawthornes are druids and druidesses who worship Modron, he is intrigued by the magic they conjure with prayers to the Celtic goddess. Gerallt is willing to trust Matt with his family’s secret, but will the other family members agree to trust outsiders?... (read more)

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True Drama

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Voices from a Wendy House Contrivance: A Drama Novel
by Tom Walters
AuthorHouse UK


"School life is a bloody tragedy; any teacher can tell you that!"

The staff of Belle View Primary School in London in the late seventies is consumed with more than just the students. This story pulls back the curtain on the lives of the teachers and reveals, with humor and style, the grievances and musings of these working teachers. Witty repartee in staff meetings and school events lends conversational flair to this clever novel. Staff concerns range from petty nuisances to serious complaints, and the voices combine with ease to reveal what life is like for teachers when the students are not around. Unlike many schoolroom dramas, this one is focused on the parts of the school day that do not include the children. Through a collection of scenes, the working lives of one group of teachers are revealed as they navigate staff meetings, individual quirks, conflicts, and even death. ... (read more)

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No Average Tale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Defending Guns
by Steven Prevosto
World Castle Publishing, LLC


"The wind rushing wildly through the trees and over the land is like the spirit of man driving him to feel fulfilled in his pursuits."

In 1878, bad guys are hired by Douglas Pitt, whose goal is to take land surrounding Kansas City for a large cattle ranch. The hirelings include the town’s sheriff and deputy, who obey Pitt’s orders at whatever cost. Most of the other hirelings are already on wanted posters. The main good guy is Anthony Augustus Peters, a traveling actor from New York and quick-shot gun aficionado. He meets Fox Cloud, a Lakota Sioux and former child captive who knows English. They pose as bounty hunters wearing clever disguises from Anthony’s makeup kit. Another important yet unseen character is Anthony’s deceased wife, Mary, who inspires his death wish. Dressed in black for the final scene, will Anthony get his death wish as in Hamlet’s tragedy? Can this adventure end well? ... (read more)

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A Career in Blue

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Blue Bias: An Ex-Cop Turned Philosopher Examines the Learning and Resolve Necessary to End Hidden Prejudice in Policing
by Charles D. Hayes
Autodidactic Press


"The history of law enforcement in America is too exceptionally dark to be ignored if we are sincere about attempting positive reform."

In this extraordinarily detailed book, Hayes takes a step back from the seemingly day-to-day headlines regarding excessive police force to examine in a holistic and interdisciplinary approach some of the reasons policing in our American society has become so problematic. A police officer in Dallas back in the 1960s, Hayes has in the decades since dedicated his life to understanding the human psychology behind excessive police force, brutality, and the relationship between police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve. Much of the book examines the academic and scientific evidence provided by such intellectual disciplines as anthropology, evolutionary biology, brain chemistry and processes, politics, sociology, economics (especially inequities therein), and how our basic biological predilections as human beings can often jar against the enormously taxing and sophisticated jobs we expect our men and women in uniform to exercise with levelheaded precision once we place a gun in their holster and put them on the beat. ... (read more)

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Comic-Book-Style Action

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Inferno Scorcher: Book One
by J.C. D.C.
AuthorHouse UK


"'Why are you humans acting like this?' Inferno shouted at them. 'Who laughs for no reason!?' He stormed out of the room in frustration."

Prince Inferno is the eldest son of the King of the Fireiods, one of two races that live on the planet Freeze-flame and that have been locked in conflict for decades. When King Freeze and his son Prince Frost suddenly attack around the rim of the planet, they have a clever scheme in motion. During the battle between Inferno and Frost, Frost sends Inferno through a portal that crashes him down to the planet Earth, transformed into a normal human boy instead of his typical form. Dealing with strange foster parents, boring high school classes, and bullies, Inferno must find a way back to his home planet and his family before Prince Frost locates him and puts an end to their rivalry once and for all. ... (read more)

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Dark Humor

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sick and Twisted
by Danny Salazar
iUniverse


"Watching the house falling to its fiery death as they slowly drove away, the four of them began to laugh and cheer, filled with hope of finding the one who was responsible for the murder of their boss."

Readers follow the sadistic adventures of a rampaging, murderous group known as The Cannibal Mafia after they discover the murder of their boss, Edgar, and begin hunting a soul-stealing prostitute, Scarlet, who follows the whims of her long-decomposed cat, Whiskers. As The Cannibal Mafia slay, slaughter, and sometimes filet their innocent victims while pursuing Edgar’s murderer, readers anticipate the group’s next grotesque and often knife-laden move, and they encounter mind-numbing characters like Mr. Corpse Bandit and the Grave-Digging Pirates who change the course of The Cannibal Mafia’s dismemberment-charged pursuit, as well as the group’s—and Scarlet’s—hedonistic future. While their paths cross and re-cross with Scarlet, The Cannibal Mafia’s members learn that they have more in common with their enemy than they originally thought, and readers embark on a journey of irreverent and explicit sadomasochistic sex, hardcore drugs, and an exploration of New York City’s worst streets and people. ... (read more)

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Cyber Ops

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Covert Decisions
by Donald Peters
Xlibris


"Mark had been in many tight spots before, against far smarter and more heavily armed foes, but he could not see a way out of this one."

Readers follow Mark Taylor, a US Army Special Forces soldier turned computer guru, as he ventures from New York City to places like Kosovo, New Zealand, and even Papua New Guinea as he fights to clear his name after the aftermath of a deal gone wrong with a client known as The Augem Group. Readers join Mark as he begins questioning the intelligence and security infrastructures and bureaus that he once served and worked with during his Special Forces career, and they follow his calculated strategies to protect himself, a city, innocent people, and possibly the world, as he uncovers a potential terrorist attack that could bring New York, once again, to ruins. As readers follow Mark’s adventures, they encounter a cast of corrupt, yet slightly relatable, characters with whom they will develop love-hate relationships, and they will experience first-hand the complex worlds of cybersecurity, international terrorism, and clandestine, mercenary-like operations that are probably closer to fact than fiction in today’s unpredictable world of political and technological upheaval. ... (read more)

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Cat Mystery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mrs. Katz Was Troubled
by Bob McElheney
Xlibris


"’But I do declare, old Mrs. Katz does not seem to be herself today. I wonder if there is something troubling her,’ he said in his usual polite manner."

Elderly Mrs. Katz was troubled, and her 10 cats were concerned about her. Gumshoe was the first kitty to notice. Mrs. Katz lived alone with her beloved cats, and they were her family. And as a family does, they worried, for she had been looking out the big picture window for hours. The cats came up with a variety of problems she might be worried about. Jellyroll was always hungry, so perhaps Mrs. Katz needed food. Powderpuff, who knew herself to be beautiful, felt she was just admiring her reflection in the glass. Gumshoe thought it was just the weather. Jitterbug worried the most about it because he was a worrier, while Dizzy defended her as he’d known her the longest. When Mrs. Katz pulled out some yarn and started knitting, they were excited to play, yet they could see there was a mystery afoot. So what was Mrs. Katz up to? ... (read more)

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Understanding Loss

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Adventures of Callie: Callie’s New Friends: Las Aventuras de Callie - Los Nuevos Amigos de Callie
by Dr. Ida Acuña-Garza
Stratton Press Publishing


"Like all families, they would have their good days and bad days, but nothing was more important than the love they had for each other."

Rescued and brought into the loving home of her adoptive family, Callie the cat becomes good friends with Mitzi, the German shepherd. The two pets often snuggle together on the family room rug. Callie loves to climb and explore—maybe a little too much, as when she jumps on a shelf and knocks over Mom’s collection of porcelain angels. During Christmas, Callie tries to climb the family Christmas tree and ends up making a mess. But Callie also has a very sweet and loving side, as when she develops a friendship with the family’s new miniature poodle Simbah. “In the Callie tradition,” writes Acuña-Garza, “they explored and often got into trouble together.” Soon the two are inseparable. ... (read more)

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The Creative Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Welcome To the Shivoo! Creatives Mimicking the Creator
by Laura Bartnick
Capture Books


"In the beginning, God revealed Himself by creating."

The premise of this book is simple: humans are created by God in God’s image; therefore, all creativity comes from Him. If creative work “provokes depression or suicide, it does not fall within a Christian’s definition of true creativity. It is rather a trick, a gimmick, or the indulgence of a thief.” Using theological examples to illustrate her thesis, the author presents ten rules to inspire creatives to join the “shivoo” (party) of like-minded people. Rules such as first acknowledging one’s dependence on the Creator, showing one’s gratitude to God, nurturing other creatives, and enjoying your own creativity are illustrated through Bible verses and stories that reveal the Creator’s own artistic mindset. Though not specifically a how-to book, the author offers readers a variety of steps to help tap into and develop their creativity in a godly manner. ... (read more)

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In the Numbers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Gleeful Banker
by Gardiner Noble
Stratton Press Publishing


"Despite the denial of the righteous, if the need arises, we’ll all make ourselves comfortable by using guile to extricate ourselves from a desperate situation."

Author Noble’s novel is a saucy little satire on human frailty. It dramatizes not only the mistakes our egos and libidos often lead us into but also our inherent intellectual ability to rationalize and accept less than honorable behavior. In other words, we may all be prone to screwing up, but some of us are fortunate enough to find tolerable ways of living with our moral lapses. ... (read more)

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Supernatural Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hauntings of Avalon
by Flo Swann
iUniverse


"Stalactites were hanging from the ceiling, and I brought the light to the ground. Rocks made a circle on the floor, and a skull was lying next to a rock. I dropped my phone and screamed."

Strange events afflict nineteen-year-old Rita at the Avalon Motel when she moves out to get away from her mother. Residing in a “retro 50’s kind of room,” Rita is troubled by recurring dreams of a mysterious blond woman and a tall man with an El Camino. With her boyfriend, Keith, she discovers a hidden cave with bones underneath the motel. For some reason, they choose to keep this a secret, but Rita’s curiosity pushes her to investigate the motel’s history. She gets help from the aging motel owner Jerry Lewis, a psychic named Isabella, and best friend, Tara. Several tragedies beset Rita’s life, and we jump ahead a few years, where a recovering Rita aims to relieve herself from buried secrets. Her mother begins dating retired FBI agent, Richard, who Rita is suspicious of at first but then requests help from later. Ultimately, Rita sets out to finally lay to rest the ghosts that haunt her dreams. ... (read more)

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The Prize

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Lance
by George Vasil
iUniverse


"And soon I will have another of Christ’s possessions . . . and all the glory and money it will bring. My time in Purgatory is ending."

It is a relic like no other, said to have magical powers that can make the possessor incapable of being defeated. Napoleon desired it. Hitler sought it. Now it’s been found: the Lance of Longinus—the spear that pierced the side of Jesus as he hung upon the cross. But who does it really belong to, and can the finders keep it when so many will do so much to have it for their own? ... (read more)

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A Women's Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mary: Woman of Sorrows
by Beverly Lein
Stratton Press Publishers


"Mary fell to the ground in a dead faint, for the wild-looking woman in tattered rags and foaming at the mouth was none other than Mary Magdalene."

Readers become part of a historical and biblical story as they follow the separate yet intersecting paths of two of the most famous women in history—Mary (the mother of Jesus) and Mary Magdalene. Readers experience the Virgin Mary’s struggles as she accepts her marriage to Joseph and, eventually, her role as Jesus’s mother. Readers encounter the plights of Mary Magdalene, as well as her depicted, but fictional, romance with Paul. More importantly, readers gain an insight to the strength that both women possessed as they came to understand Christ’s role and their purpose in his life, the strength they possessed as they grieved for Christ after His death, and how that strength came to solidify both women’s roles in history. ... (read more)

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Life Reflections

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Man’s Late Night Thoughts
by J. Richman
Dorrance Publishing Co.


"If your obituary won’t read an amazing life and you are alive do something amazing."

Inspiration picks strange times to strike. Sometimes when you most need it, nothing comes to mind. Then there you are, lying awake at three in the morning, and some profound thought crosses your mind and lands squarely on your nose. This book collects those types of thoughts— self-attained wisdom and peculiar ways of looking at the world—and presents them as an entire volume. With more than 300 to choose from, readers can turn to any random page and see the world through different eyes, surprised with the clarity and cleverness presented. Brief, witty, sometimes solemn, and at other times jovial, these thoughts are sure to strike a familiar chord with anybody that’s ever been unable to turn their brain off after a long or challenging day. ... (read more)

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Tongue-in-Cheek

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Walking on Ocean Floors
by Mike "Spike" Mcgettigan
Xlibris AU


"I made a decision once that put me unknowingly on a path that ended up on the seabed of the oceans all over the world."

An escapee from New Zealand, Mcgettigan is one of a group of commercial divers who has worked in many of the bodies of water of the world—from Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand to the North Sea and Mexico. His diverse adventures are sponsored by the oil and gas industries for which he has worked. Along the way, he's been in danger and nearly betrayed by his "umbilical," the cord that supplies each diver with oxygen—or does at least under normal circumstances. He has surfed in several environments, including "Coast to Coast in Australia." He married and raised a family (the latter he credits to his wife much more than himself) and acquired eccentric and interesting friends and colleagues who punctuate his nearly nonstop adventures. ... (read more)

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Remembering Different Times

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

We All Wrote on the Same Outhouse Walls
by Larry M. Farrar
Stratton Press Publishing


"Back home, back then, it was a simple matter of right and wrong, beliefs and standards."

Farrar’s early memories of life in a tiny, historic village—West Middletown, Pennsylvania—begin when he was five, and the schoolhouse burned down. His secret happiness at the possibility of dodging education that fall was dampened when a new school location, Possum Hollow, was selected. In its one room, Farrar swears he never learned to spell. Remarkably, from such a humble beginning, he secured excellent employment after a stint as a baseball player and several years in the military. His first year at school was shadowed by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, evoking memories of rationing and other consequences of war. When he was 14, the family, whose income derived from his father’s general store, finally acquired indoor plumbing. Farrar’s boyhood years included delivering newspapers, sledding in the snow, hunting, fishing, playing pool, sneaking off to drive-in movies, and dreaming of big-league baseball. ... (read more)

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Extreme Changes

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Getting Up Close and Personal
by Dee Williams
Xlibris


"God has a specific time to manifest his promise into one’s life. His timing is perfect."

This religiously themed memoir from author Williams shines a light on a long path from sorrow to solace. Her life was one of notable contrasts. She was rejected by her mother, adopted by loving grandparents, helped in many ways by her mother as time passed, and happy in the security of a large, caring family. It seemed when she was young that ”whatever I wanted, I would get!” This false sense of personal power was gradually eroded by an abusive marriage and many physical ailments. Her trajectory seemed positive at times: she could support herself and her children, had a lovely home, and was a strong Christian. But at other times, she was bankrupt, threatened by violence, and faced the sadness of deaths, injuries, and injustice among her family members. Finally, God began to step in, noticeably helping and changing her circumstances and rewarding her endurance.... (read more)

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Returning with Joy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Growing Up in Mister Rogers’ Real Neighborhood: Life Lessons from the Heart of Latrobe, PA
by Chris Rodell
iUniverse


"In Latrobe, helping people is reflexive. I don’t know if it started with Fred Rogers, but it’s his message that today still inspires so many."

Latrobe, PA, is a small town with a big legacy. Fred Rogers—television’s Mister Rogers—was born here and has left an indelible influence on the individual people and the community as a whole. Rodell, a long-time Latrobe resident, chronicles this impact with delightful stories and insights about the birthplace of the ultimate ambassador for kindness, civility, and goodwill among all people. Rodell effectively showcases Rogers’ message one chapter and one story at a time through encounters with Latrobe residents, landmarks, and even crises like the opioid epidemic. Rodell also offers interesting views on Rogers’ place beside spiritual leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as views on comparisons to Jesus. These chapters all combine to emphasize Rogers as an abiding force for good in the world, which starts by being that force for good in our neighborhoods and communities. Rodell’s pride is evident as he writes convincingly of the importance and endurance of Rogers’ lessons. ... (read more)

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Life in Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Come Along and See: What Some Young Men Did in '48, '49, '50, '51, '52
by Dan Rasmussen Jr.
PageTurner, Press and Media LLC


"I carried that small Bible for a year in Korea. I still have it. It was wet so many times that the binding is broken, the ink is smeared, and mildew blot the covers."

This book tells the story of a young man from a small town in Nebraska. When his sister calls from California with a job opportunity just as he graduates from high school, he heads out the town he has lived in his entire life. And just like that, the author goes from tornadoes, old trucks, and school friends to beaches, swanky stores, and beautiful people. But then, when he is 21, the notice comes: he has been drafted for the Korean War. The story continues with his time in Korea, and he details the horrors of war alongside the camaraderie of his platoon. ... (read more)

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Taught By Jesus

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Feasting with the Trinity: A Formative Approach to Growing in Godliness
by Kendell Easley
Stratton Press Publishing


"Formation in godliness can well be understood as responding to God’s invitation to feast with Father, Son and Spirit."

The relationship with God for which an individual Christian needs to strive has been made more accessible with this guide. Here, author Easley compares that relationship with taking three meals. “Breakfast with the Father” is the time to comprehend and accept God as the loving creator, the light of the universe, the one deserving of our praise. Through grasping who God is, we can develop both a comprehensible view of his creation and an acknowledgment of his role in our lives. This will be aided by the study of scripture. “Lunch with the Spirit” will be concentrated on spiritual power, health, and discipline. This is derived from an understanding of God as the Holy Spirit, permeating our lives and helping us to build strong character despite the world’s many temptations. “Supper with the Son” is our opportunity to reach out to our fellow human beings through worship, companionship, mission, and service, following the example set by Jesus. ... (read more)

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Dedicated to God

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

10 Guidelines on How to Receive from God
by Larry Ellerbee
Stratton Press Publishing


"Now is the time to take control over your life. If you follow these guidelines, you will receive the desires of your heart."

Dedicated Christian writer Ellerbee presents a straightforward method for receiving from God the blessings that he wishes us to have. The guidelines include love, belief, righteous living, obedience, trust, faith, patience, giving, asking, and thanking. God’s basic commandment, as conveyed in the Bible, is to “love one another.” Much of the New Testament describes what love is. Ellerbee suggests ways to apply it to one’s life. Believing and trusting have similarities: God already gives us everything we need, so we should stop envying others and be thankful for what has been bestowed. Ellerbee advises us to “live holy” by avoiding sin and the company of sinners and by obeying God’s law. Cleanse your heart; practice patience even when “waiting on God is not easy.” Have faith that God will bless your life. Use your blessing of money to tithe, giving back to your church and other charities. Ask God for what you need, and thank him through prayerful praise for what you will receive. ... (read more)

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Life of Service

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

What Price Priesthood: Perseverance in Living Faith
by Judy Beckman
Xlibris


"Jumping from secular job to secular job, I knew the adversary, the devil, was gloating, Lord; but he wasn’t going to win!"

Joseph Beckman, known to his friends as Father Joe, battled adversity for most of his life. Born to a loving, caring family, he developed physical ailments that would thwart his early sports ambitions. Then mental distress began to show itself, with manic episodes and other manifestations that would beset him throughout his adulthood. When in college, he began to feel that God was calling him, and he eventually became an Episcopalian priest. After two failed marriages, he met Judy, who would be his partner and advocate as he tried, often without success, to find a home in a parish, even as an unpaid assistant. He then discovered a “ministry” as a cab driver, counseling his passengers. This calling was gradually transformed into his work as a nursing home minister until his death from cancer. He accepted all his difficulties as God’s will and remained admirably cheerful to the end. ... (read more)

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World Clock

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Knowledge of the Hour
by Torati
AuthorHouse


"When the ten kings came together, they changed the days of the year, the months, the weeks, and the hours."

Author Torati has composed a short but informative treatise regarding some of the differences between biblical truth and what has come to be accepted as but is not, in fact, biblical truth. The author focuses on the Council of Nicea, attended by the “ten kings” or representatives of ten European nations and convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine. The ten kings—concerned, the author believes, with their own earthly status—made major changes to the calendar. Torati states that at creation calendar time was divinely established, the days and months named, the number of hours per day, days per week, and month designated, but the Council instead incorporated numerous pagan rituals into the yearly and even daily cycles. Torati warns us that this was a satanically inspired move and presents us with the option to utilize, as he does, the old, scripturally-based order illustrated in his text. ... (read more)

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Becca's Tale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Soul Mate’s Journey
by Lauren Greysen
Xlibris


"But now as she lay there drifting in and out of consciousness, she saw only a glimpse of a dream."

After a devastating blow renders her unconscious, Becca Roberts drifts into a world of memories that force her to face the choices she has made in her life. Becca’s life is dominated by relationships with men, and as she recounts one messy and unhappy relationship after another, she confronts her mistakes and blind hope in love. Despite the heartache and pain of these failed relationships, Becca believes in second chances and renewed romance with the one man that almost got away. Her willingness to grow, change, and ultimately to learn from her experiences leads her to find love and happiness with her true soul mate. ... (read more)

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Time Travel

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Gift for Mrs. B
by Brenda Bittle Bucher
Xlibris


"I will leave you to ponder the mystery of time travel . . ."

A sequel to the author’s debut time travel adventure, Sara Found it First, this young adult novel stars Meredith Byers, an octogenarian near the end of her life who is fast losing her memory. One evening in 2018, she reaches out to shut off her shower faucet in Bristol, Rhode Island, and finds herself standing near a stone wall under a waterfall in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in late June 1863. Discovered behind Rebel lines by some Union scouts, she soon discovers through their admiring glances that she’s an attractive young woman again. Meredith, a former surgical nurse, shakes off her confusion, telling herself that God must need her there. Soon she’s recruited to work with a Union company surgeon, patching up both Union and Confederate soldiers during the bloodiest battle of the U.S. Civil War. ... (read more)

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Roving Scholar

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How to Get the Best Head: A Philosophical Study of the Mirror Neuron. The Imaginary Audience
by Anette Bloch Jesperson
Xlibris


"We are like sponges, soaking up information, and by copying others’ behavior, neural patterns become imprinted on our mind."

While conducting experimental research to measure brain activity in a monkey, a team of neuroscientists stumbled upon a remarkable conclusion: by constantly observing, using what are called “mirror neurons,” humans form impressions that influence our actions and reactions even when we are unaware that it is happening. Author Jesperson has expanded this knowledge to create a paradigm she calls the “collective mind.” In this lively and far-reaching exploration, she gives many examples of how this concept works. At an early stage of development, we lose our sense of oneness, perceive our separation from others, and start feeling incomplete. The mirror neurons help us to identify with other people—sometimes positively, wanting to share experience—but sometimes to our detriment, wanting to have what others have. Jesperson’s collective mind model brings power to alleviate that feeling of separation, leading us to a new way of perceiving who we are and how we find happiness individually and collectively. ... (read more)

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Deep Science

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Finite Theory: Historical Milestones in Physics
by Phil Bouchard
PageTurner, Press and Media


"Finite Theory defines a new representation of the formulas derived from General Relativity based on the superposed potentials of the predicted massless spin-2 gravitons that mediate gravitational fields."

This title is an alternate proposal of the mathematical model of general relativity by Albert Einstein. Bouchard suggests that “Time . . . itself is a dimension and . . . (opens) doors to ideas such as: singularity, wormhole, paradoxes and so on.” He also proposes that infinite speed can be achieved using basic nuclear fusion reactors with the adequate technology to cancel the effects of the gravitons, and that time travel into the future is possible with “an increased flux of gravitons.” ... (read more)

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Future Paths

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Planning Today For Success Tomorrow: Helping Students Choose Their College or Trade School Major and Career
by Dr. Moses McCutcheon, Jr.
Outskirts Press, Inc.


"Research indicates that more than 50% of high school seniors lack clear goals and objectives for life after graduation."

McCutcheon has written a helpful life and career workbook guide geared towards parents, schools, and other organizations that serve middle and high school students. The goal, broadly, is to serve as a resource for “helping students choose their college or trade school major and career.” Stating that his motivation for creating such a guide stems from personal experience, in which it took many years for the author to fully realize his own life’s purpose, McCutcheon is the creator of a program entitled School-To-Success which assists middle schoolers and high schoolers to “explore educational and career opportunities,” develop twenty-first-century computer skills, and discover one’s life purpose. The workbook covers such areas as to why career planning should start early, identifying one’s loves, skills, and strengths, general principals for success, translation of one’s purpose into specific career choices, exploration of career and educational opportunities, and setting creative, measurable goals. Expert advice on resume and cover letter creation, tips on the application process, and ideas of how to create an “education and career plan” are also presented in detail. ... (read more)

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Realm of Magic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Alder
by Derek Dyer
Xlibris


"The beautiful beams of sunlight gracing their room betrayed the gloomy atmosphere making its home in every corner and crevice."

Readers encounter Alder, a budding prodigy whose Merlin-like skills in magic surpass even those of his teacher, Elea. After Alder’s parents follow Elea’s insight and ask her to accompany Alder to Capital City in order for him to take the Mage Knights test, readers join the duo on adventures of camaraderie, adversity, and even flirtation from royals that test each character’s self-will as well as their friendship with each other. Readers then follow Elea’s journey of reckoning with her past as she confesses why she hid Alder’s ability from King Cadien, Capital City’s ruler, and they join Alder on his journey of self-awakening, maturity, and independence while around teacher and student a kingdom teeters on chaos, collapse, and the threat of the evil guild Dromaeos. ... (read more)

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Corgi Time

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Tipper Chronicles:A Memoir of Our Beloved Corgi
by Hollis Williams
AuthorHouse


"We had a new dog. The corgi had a new family. Our adventure as corgi owners began."

Veteran dog owners of many decades—of sheepdogs, a mixed-breed Labrador, and a boxer—the Williams family was captivated by their new four-month-old corgi in ways that they didn't expect. Tipper, whose original name was Tiffany, so entranced the author and his spouse, Kathy, that their friends encouraged him to write a book. The fifty-page volume documents, among other adventures, Tipper's finding a place at the dining table (thus stating her status as a member of the family), reacting to friends by assuming relaxed or playful postures, positioning herself to protect the family from a stranger, and rebuffing the friendly advances of a male corgi in whom she was not interested. The story will make almost anyone smile. Those familiar with the breed (Elizabeth II, for example) will delight in this corgi orgy of tales, for it is a love letter about a gifted and dedicated breed. ... (read more)

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Nostalgia & Trial

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Reading of the Will
by Nwanganga Shields
Black Rose Writing


"Nkechi was the mother I knew, comforting her children when they had nightmares in the night, taking them to the doctor, caring for them."

A family saga that revolves around the death of Nkechi, the family matriarch, reveals Nigerian traditions and customs and showcases a tremendously authentic portrayal of splintering families when the question of wills and contributions arises. Shields does justice to the perspective of each sibling, good or bad, painting profound images ranging from intense sibling rivalries to a tenuous divide between male and female siblings. At its core, having all siblings arrive from different locations for their mother’s funeral (even those that did not have the highest regard for her), is a celebration of Nkechi’s life. Seeing the family in disarray after her loss is a testament to how much of a giant she was in the family. ... (read more)

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Do the Right Thing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Rocky and His Responsible Band of Cowboys
by Janet H. Councilman
Authors Press


"As the Cowboys carefully crossed the street a strange thing began to happen. More lights began to appear in the haunted house."

What child does not love Halloween? This is the season for tricking and treating, and Rocky and his adorable, well-behaved friends from Old Oak Woods are back for another adventure, one which introduces yet another healthy character trait to young children. Councilman, who is quite a prolific author and illustrator and has written many picture books for young children, excels at creating stories which serve not only to entertain but provide important lessons about building good characteristics, such as respect, responsibility, being helpful, caring, safety, sharing, and honesty. ... (read more)

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A Curse

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Princess Who Wept Diamonds
by Frank Tropea
Authors Press


"Her parents had arranged her marriage to the very cruel Prince Philip in order for her to cry these endless streams of diamonds!"

Would it be a blessing or a curse to weep diamonds and gems? For Princess Ellida, it is a curse. Her parents, the King and Queen of Lyonnesse, care more for wealth than their own daughter. In their greed, they use cruelty to make her cry so they can accumulate jewels. Though Ellida possesses beautiful gowns and eats of the finest foods, hers isn’t a happy life. She is tortured psychologically from a young age. Her parents’ lust for wealth knows no limits, and Ellida grows to believe all the horrible things she is told in order to make her cry. When she becomes of age, her parents promise her hand in marriage to a cruel prince, and to save herself and her beloved kitten, Jasmine, Ellida escapes. Encountering danger on the road to freedom, Ellida is saved by her fairy godmother, who ferries her away to safety. With the help of her fairy godmother, Ellida becomes “Belinda” and finds refuge with a widow and her son, Tom. She finds the loving home she never had with this kind woman and her son but must keep her true identity from them for their own well-being. ... (read more)

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The Settlers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Darkness at Dawn
by Pamela Roberts Lee
Outskirts Press, Inc.


"He felt overwhelming and joyful relief at Grace’s safety. But this proved short-lived when he realized that he’d just sworn an oath to a thief."

At thirteen, while sailing on The Francis in a wave of early Puritan settlers, John Lee first encounters his nemesis, Richard Hawkes, while catching Hawkes in the act of stealing. To protect his fellow traveler, Lee swears an oath to never expose the thievery—an oath which Lee feels bound to keep. This oath causes him much anguish over the years. He is tormented by this secret knowledge, and as time goes by, he must silently watch as Hawkes’ power grows along with his crimes. Lee struggles inwardly over the damage his silence brings upon the community, yet he can find no way to break his word without jeopardizing his very soul. In the backdrop of a young America, Hawkes and Lee remain enemies, and their hatred of each other grows, while Lee struggles to find a way to expose this evil and bring justice to those Hawkes has harmed. ... (read more)

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Better Thought

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

COMI: How to Consciously Overcome Mental Illness
by Nancy Lynne Harris, M.A.
URLink Print and Media, LLC


"Mental illness is not something that happens to just a few people. It is a chronic worldwide problem that is caused because people do not know how to think correctly."

Studies show that one in five Americans are afflicted with some form of mental illness during their lives, but two-thirds do not seek treatment due to feelings of shame. It is clear that effective treatments are needed, and author Harris, shaman and spiritual teacher, offers her thoughts on the problem of mental health. Her book outlines theories about the origins and causes of mental illness as well as coping and healing strategies for sufferers. Blending spiritual and positive thinking approaches, Harris affirms that all people contain the divine; however, in moments of pain, they can be invaded by evil spirits who create emotional suffering. Not metaphors, these spirits literally possess people and create symptoms. These malign invaders cause the negative thoughts that power mental illnesses. Therefore, drugs and diet changes will only temporarily soothe symptoms, not address the root causes of mental illness—invasive, enduring, and out-of-control destructive thought patterns. ... (read more)

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Enduring Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Saying I Love You and Beyond: Is Saying I Love You Enough?
by Ralph Mosgrove
Your Online Publicist


"God tells us in His Word what love is and where it comes from."

We use the word “love” often to express many different feelings, events, and situations, but as author Mosgrove elucidates, the Greek language has provided a basis for examining many separate aspects of love. Mosgrove explores these terms, viewing them as a progression: agapao, or friendship; eros, or romantic, intimate relations; storge, the love established between parents and children; philia, a love that arises among extended family; epithumia or compelling desire; and agape, the unconditional love of God. ... (read more)

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Double Agent

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Finding Gessler
by Barbara Celeste McCloskey
Authors Press


"Edward knew he and Johnny were playing a high-stakes game of espionage roulette, and if their cover stories would be blown, their usefulness would end and quite possibly their lives as well."

Adventure, fear, romance, love, tragedy, sorrow, and hope—they all unfold amid the pages of this sweeping saga of individuals buffeted by the winds of war. This is a tale of decisions that can’t be unmade, consequences visited upon multiple generations, and the relentless search to come full circle with what’s most important in life. ... (read more)

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On the Brink

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Journal of Dysfunction, Denial and Discovery: The Reluctant Lesbian
by Elizebeth Harding
Stratton Press Publishing


"The questions are always there, and the word . . . bad."

Written between November 3, 1979, and June 20, 1985, this journal is the firsthand account of a woman’s struggle to come to grips with her undiagnosed mental illness while dealing with its mood swings. The author also finds herself in the throes of a toxic relationship with an older lover who not only belittles her already fragile self-esteem but is prone to acts of physical violence. Her many years of journaling reveal her self-torture and loathing interspersed with moments of hope. Harding chronicles the ways in which she self-medicates with both alcohol and food, all while struggling to maintain her career as a physical education teacher. She addresses not only her same-sex relationship with her abusive lover, but also addresses relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and her students. ... (read more)

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Susie's Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Susie’s Submissions
by Gardiner Noble
Stratton Press Publishing


"When he had her firmly in his grasp, he gently kissed her closed lips. 'Open your mouth when I kiss you,' he commanded."

This book features three women, all sharing the same name and hungry to break out of their routines and claim power and sexuality for themselves. In this trio of short stories, each selection focuses on a woman named Susie in an intimate predicament. In “The Price,” Susie falls in love with her tennis instructor and begins a series of dangerous and secret liaisons that put her life at risk and her marriage in jeopardy, but her heart yearns for more. In “The Office,” a night out with her friend Michele puts Susie at risk in the hands of a group of riled-up teens when the mysterious Stud comes to her rescue. And in “The Hot Tub,” the loneliness of Alaska is filled by a lavish getaway spent at Susie’s friend Diane’s house, but the attention of the handsome Leon threatens to tear friendships apart. ... (read more)

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Healing Path

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Death of a Spouse: My Journey
by Erwin Parent
Stratton Press Publishing


"The long walks helped to center my thought. When I returned home each time, I would write down my thought."

As the title suggests, Parent has experienced excruciating heartbreak—not once, but twice in an eerily similar fashion. However, the author’s book is hardly a woe-is-me piece. On the contrary, Parent’s work is a testament to walking in faith and building resilience to tackle any possibility. After his first wife of thirty-five years, Virginia Allen, then his second wife of seventeen years, Rosanna Gibson, pass from ovarian cancer, Parent leans on writing as a therapeutic outlet to find meaning and understand the complexity of his emotions brewing within. ... (read more)

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The American Businessman

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The United States of America: The Most Successful Nation and People of All
by Tom Shipley Jr.
Stratton Press Publishing


"Our successes were determined by the freedoms we, the nation’s people, were given by our Founders . . . not founded in the same manner that other nations were."

This book argues that America has never been a capitalist country. Instead, it inherited a unique free market system from 1623 when William Bradford gave property to individual Pilgrim members. Land ownership was contrary to their European investors’ guidelines for a communal system. However, that year the amount of corn harvested supplied the Plymouth colony’s needs with extra to sell. The Founding Fathers studied various theories on governments and economics. They chose to follow Bradford’s model of a free market. Older nations inherited a monarchy-ruled economy with classes of servants and tradespeople, and Marx and Engels reacted against the European system in The Communist Manifesto. Meanwhile, visitors from these countries marvel at American-owned homes with kitchens filled with gadgets. Addressed in this book are controversial and significant topics such as politicians, slavery, market principles, stock market swings, downturns, and many others. Additionally, the author credits presidents and others who understand our economy’s response to taxes as having come from a business, not political, background. ... (read more)

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Essential Meals

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

For the Good Times: The Best of Fifty Years
by Tom and Virginia Shipley
Stratton Press


"Days which we would like to relive at this point in our life. No big events or happenings, just families doing inconsequential family-like things together."

Food is many things: necessary for living beings to survive, a complicated art form in both composition and presentation, and a pleasure for the senses. Yet in human societies around the globe, it serves another equally important and dignified position as a catalyst for gatherings and sharing moments with cherished friends and beloved family. Yet when we pass down culinary traditions, we often only provide the recipes to make the food and not those precious moments shared along with the meal. This book combines cookbook and memoir, compiling decades of popular recipes with the stories of who made them first or for what occasion. From cocktails and appetizers to soups, salads, entrees, and desserts, not only will readers get an inside perspective on what to make but also the backstory behind how these recipes were selected to share with the rest of the world. ... (read more)

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Beneath It All

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Firefly Zodiac: Selected Poems by Fiona McIlroy
by Fiona McIlroy
Xlibris


"olive trees older
than memory
lean with the mistral
along the slopes like
the long-haired girls
resting their heads
against the train seat"

McIlroy’s latest book of poetry is both deeply rooted in everyday life, particularly the natural world around her, and seeking to find an understanding of the unseen. Set within the beautiful and rugged Australian terrain, McIlroy writes primarily as a keen observer of celestial bodies and the plant and animal life around her. However, her topics can vary from observations made from train windows, recollections of time spent in the company of various women, and assisting a retired geneticist looking for a rare plant among black stones. She clearly sees beauty and wonder in the world, and often relates it to the human experience, such as in these lines from the title poem: “it’s as if the umbrella / of the Northern sky / has allowed a few of its / glittering cast to come down / and light our way.” ... (read more)

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Reflections

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Loving Memories: A Collection by Betty J. A. Barkley
by B.J. Barkley with Tawnia Mitchell
Xlibris


"Loneliness is like a dying tree
in the midst of a forest glen.
Standing there with no one to care
that its plight is ghastly."

Barkley’s compilation is an unveiling of a life's journey through the lens of faith and the power that faith holds in reshaping perspective, even in the darkest of times. Despite facing challenges and adversity like her brother getting cancer, Barkley is adamant that it is not the fault of God, and to hold Him culpable would be a shame. Ultimately, through a strong command of poetic devices such as similes, metaphors, and alliteration—though not always exhibiting a consistent rhyme scheme—Barkley’s compilation evokes a trust that Jehovah’s Kingdom can be earned through a discovery of truth and unquestioning surrender to Jehovah in the material life. ... (read more)

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A Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

For Aged Men
by Leon J. Alexander
Xlibris


"It’s only in this desolated gorge
That thorny succulents vibrate with life
And soothe thereby the passing boatman’s heart."

Growing up in the early twentieth century, Alexander can provide a first-person account of when the draft passed into law by one vote in a divided Congress. He was drafted into the Navy’s Seabee Corps in ‘43. However, despite this and other interesting tidbits in the introduction, the poetry compilation morphs into a search for meaning in nature’s caresses, river rafting excursions surrounded in the majestic Colorado River rapids. What one does when life falls apart at the seams is a question at the forefront of Alexander’s rafting adventures. ... (read more)

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Global Scare

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Man-Made Global Warming? It's Foolishness in Words That All Can Understand
by Tom Shipley
Stratton Press Publishing


"Our warming-enthusiast scientists’ warnings of world devastation from man-made global warming were not scientifically based and showed a dangerous ignorance of world history."

The United States government funds universities, including university environmental research projects. To receive this funding, scientists must prove that they have a problem that can only be solved with government grants. Particularly in the late 1990s, the controversial issue of global warming provided that problem. Among the points of contention surrounding global warming is the theory that it is man-made through industrial emissions, most notably carbon dioxide. But high levels of carbon dioxide predate humans by millions of years, according to the author’s research. They had no bearing on the gradual, infinitesimal temperature increase that has occurred since 1850. Through exhaustive internet research on sites for NASA, the NCDC, the NOAA, and the CRU, four organizations that monitor global temperatures, Shipley has found that all information that supports man-made global warming is incorrect. More disturbingly, could leaked email correspondence between officials at all four agencies prove that the theory is a hoax? ... (read more)

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A Worthy Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Life's Story: A Portrait of Millions of Ordinary American Citizens As They Moved Through the Twentieth Century
by Tom Shipley
Stratton Press Publishing


"It is one individual’s story, but it is representative of millions of other Americans of those times."

What makes up a life? For many, it’s only the extremes of highs and lows that seem most important when looking back over one’s lifetime. But for this author, it’s the minutia of existence that completes the picture. Pieced together from his wife’s diary, letters they both saved, and memory, Shipley writes a detailed account of the life he and his wife led through much of the twentieth century. It is the story of a love affair that never waned. The author recounts the big events, such as the births of their children and their numerous moves in pursuit of jobs during his career as an engineer, as well as the small ones like furnishing their first apartment and purchasing the cookware that he still uses today. Filled with all the things with which every life consists, it is a story of the joys and sorrows as well as the wins and losses of a man looking back on ninety-plus years. ... (read more)

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Many Ideas

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Of Human Spirit, Mind and Soul
by Daniel Zanou
Stratton Press Publishing


"Now is the best moment of our life to rekindle the question about our existence as human beings on this planet."

This volume explores the mind and body questions addressed by French philosopher René Descartes in the seventeenth century: “How are mental states related to the physical states? The immaterial to the material? The invisible to the visible?” The narrative contains a “story within a story” as it follows Ben—a first-generation immigrant from West Africa and a great admirer of French philosophers—as he ultimately embraces the American Dream. ... (read more)

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Faith, Discipline & Knowledge

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Life: A Bit More? Revised Edition
by Andrew Thomas Elder
Writers Republic LLC


"Life is always good, even through trials and tribulations."

This work is a compilation of experiences in poetry form that read like prose and with titles that are arranged in alphabetical order. Each is meant to emphasize faith, hope, and love in daily life. Most are focused especially on life-changing cogitations and events. The author strongly emphasizes the need to take all issues of faith, fear, hatred, and all other emotions and weaknesses to "YHWH," which are the four consonants of God’s name in Hebrew.... (read more)

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Onward & Upward

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Fix Yourself Handbook: Using the Process Way of Life to Transform Your Life into a Happy, Healthy Journey
by Faust Ruggeriero, M.S.
FYHB Publishing


"Understanding and learning to live according to the Process Way of Life will eventually lead to the ultimate goal of the program: internal balance."

Professional counselor Ruggiero has devised a unique psychological method by which anyone might find a better direction for coping with life’s challenges. In short intensive lessons, the reader can gradually absorb and utilize Ruggiero’s Process Way of Life, beginning with “Fact-Finding” and employing “Brutal Honesty” to courageously acknowledge our issues. We must control emotion and impulse; important decisions need to be founded in accuracy. A key component of Ruggiero’s method involves “Slowing Down Life’s Pace,” something that may seem difficult in our fast-paced era. We must be aware that routine can be negative, shielding us from admitting the need for change. Ruggiero offers simple steps to break free of old patterns. Fear must be overcome, so we can help and be helped by others. Once our goals are achieved, we must practice “Good Housekeeping,” always vigilant to deal with invasive “visitors” from the past. ... (read more)

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Eat Til Your Gone

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Flowers When You’re Dead... and Italian Food While You Live!: The Memoir of a Determined Polio Survivor
by Daniel Delfucho
AuthorHouse


"A family deserves to have its history recorded."

In this affecting memoir, Delfucho traces the storied history of his “proud, successful Italian-American family.” The Manoneros clan is a large, close-knit immigrant unit with long-held traditions and customs. Between the years of 1950 and 1970, Delfucho follows his early years and the key events that shape his and everyone else’s lives. The recollections are primarily culled from what others regale him with and some from what he remembers himself. Details are often disputed, and the sometimes heated discussions that arise are what make Delfucho’s memoir so engaging. He recounts growing up in the shadow of his baseball-loving father’s propensity for violence, the resolute care and protection of his loving mother, the abuses toward his sister, and his own affliction and recovery with polio. There are moments of happiness and tragedy, emerging sexuality, and a fond remembrance of boyhood love. ... (read more)

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Coming Her Way

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Be Careful What You Wish For: A True Story of an American Family’s Five Year Adventure Living on the High Seas
by Kay Moon
AuthorHouse


"If you could do whatever you wanted, anything at all, what would it be?"

In the mid-1980s, a family of five set out on a sailing adventure with little experience but lots of determination to live life to the fullest. Moon recounts this true story of her family’s unusual journey at sea, beginning with the first bloom of an idea to a plan taking shape. When they finally launch off the coast of California on their 37-foot trimaran sailboat, their lives are forever altered by the lessons they learn and the experiences they have at sea for five years. Moon’s three boys are homeschooled on the boat while the oldest son stays behind, and parenting on the high seas becomes its own adventure. Their journey together shapes the boys’ futures and binds the family together with lasting memories that are extraordinary and inspiring. ... (read more)

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Stay Addiction-Free

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Prepare Yourself for a Wonderful Life-Changing Experience
by Richard Franza
Xlibris


"The human brain is similar to a computer system in the sense that it can be “programmed” to think in a certain way."

Have you ever felt that you wanted to have more control over your life, to conquer that which holds you back? This is what led the author to write this short guide explaining how he gained just that. In the grip of drug addiction, Franza developed techniques that allow him to maintain the hard-earned sobriety he gained. In each beginning chapter, Franz addresses an issue or situation which he views as problematic to him personally or to humanity. Subsequent chapters lay out fifteen techniques the author uses to improve his life, the benefits of following those techniques, and the pitfalls which may occur. Bonus chapters of suggestions and philosophical quotes of interest follow. Finally, the author reveals himself to his audience in the final chapters of biographical information and well-wishes for his readers. ... (read more)

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Visionary

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

BodySong: Composing a Life
by Patricia Anne Dye
Xlibris


"To learn to ‘sing’ your unique ‘song’ under all conditions offers the most reliable defence against an increasingly discordant and crazy world."

Visionary writer, empath, and poet Dye shares her journey from off-key discordance to harmony and lists the fundamental steps necessary to create equanimity in life. Dye backs up the philosophical concepts in each chapter with practical measures. For example, one should meditate, be present and mindful, examine thoughts and feelings, practice gratitude, and care for the body as well as mind and spirit. A list of “practical tune-ups” places emphasis on exercise, diet, relaxation, and ways to keep the body supple, such as yoga and tai chi, and nature-based practices such as Japanese “forest bathing” and the ancient practice of working with the breath. She discusses many of the pitfalls and obstacles on the path to harmony and offers solutions by “finding courage in every stage of life.” She is a proponent of positive messaging and encourages positive self-messages and images created with wisdom and humor rather than dwelling on disquiet and disappointment. “Become the warrior rather than the worrier,” she says. ... (read more)

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Reshaping Perception

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Everybody Feeds You: But Nobody Really Wants to Help You
by Dwight Jeffery
Trafford Publishing


"They teach you everything in school except how to survive the ups and downs of life."

Reeling readers in from the opening line, Jeffery’s text integrates personas and archetypes that one will run into in life. More importantly, it emphasizes the idea of being fed by everyone that one encounters. However, what they are fed is often not conducive to discovering yourself on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. The most heartbreaking aspect of the book, though, is the repeated reference to a very real problem: trying to benefit from those who are already down. Structurally, the prose introduces a thought, accompanied by its aligning scripture verse, with the ultimate goal of giving people hope. ... (read more)

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Dream Think

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Two Rivers of the Mind: A Simple and Fun Guide to Your Desires in Life
by Christopher J. Bourg
iUniverse


"Use this book and its system to get on the river to your mountain of dreams."

Certified leadership trainer Bourg offers an extended metaphor as a way of thinking about and accomplishing our aspirations, using the model of steering a boat and all its supplies and crew on a possibly dangerous, mostly uncharted river. He introduces his central character, Captain Bon, who, as an experienced seaman, must traverse a river to reach Mount Felicidad. He will first choose between two rivers, deciding on the Larga Vida, shorter but said to be far more perilous. But with proper planning, Bon believes he can make the journey, and begins assembling experts to plot out the undertaking along with men and women to join the crew. When they finally embark on the adventure, they face many pitfalls, some known and others a surprise requiring immediate decisions. When the goal is finally attained, Bon experiences satisfaction, only wishing he had started on this path earlier in life. ... (read more)

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Ritual

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

My Book of Bible Verses & Daily Prayers: With Letter Sign Language A-Z
by Kathy Alexis
URLink Print & Media, LLC


"Praying is talking to God, the same way you talk to your best friend."

Author Alexis has combined artwork, Bible verses, sign language, and prayers to lead children toward enhanced, daily devotion. The book is divided into two sections. In the first, “My Bible Verses A to Z,” each letter of the alphabet is introduced by a character whose name begins with that letter. This part also includes a Bible verse starting with that letter, a hand sign for it, and a little speech from the character explaining how he or she understands and utilizes the biblical verse. In the second section, “Daily Prayers,” Alexis presents some standard offerings such as “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep,” along with ten prayers of her devising, such as “Prayer for Service Men and Women” and a “Single Parent Family” prayer. The book concludes with a page for readers to place their picture and sign a simple declaration of faith. ... (read more)

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Dealing with Grief

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Where Did Nicky Go?
by Lucy Geddes
Xlibris


"Why didn't Nicky get better like he usually did?"

This story confronts the death of a pet. The main character, Danny, loses his beloved dog, Nicky. The author gently writes exactly what needs to be said, helping parents guide their children through it, and helping rally any child facing that situation. In Danny's case, his dog dies right before the summer break, so he has plenty of time to feel the hole in his normal summer vacation. But then his friend asks him to dog sit his puppy. Danny stumbles, not wanting to replace one dog with another so fast. When he realizes that he needs to step up and help his friend by agreeing to keep the dog, he still struggles to rebound enough to give the puppy the attention he needs and deserves. In this story, Danny's parents guide and encourage him, rather than mandate his responses and decide for Danny when he is ready to recover from his grief. ... (read more)

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Snow!

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Snow Day with Summer
by Margaret M. Eberl
AuthorHouse


"’Summer, we need to wear our jackets and boots! It’s cold out there!’ Ben says to Summer as they get ready to go outside."

Summer, a black Lab, and Summer’s best friend, Ben, are told when they wake that school is canceled due to all the snow that has fallen. Ben asks Summer if she’d like to play in the snow and make snow angels and snowmen, and Summer replies with an enthusiastic “Woof!” The two friends enjoy a wonderful snow day together, helping each other with the snowmen and gathering parts to bring them to life. At the day’s end, they snuggle and warm themselves by the fire while drinking the cocoa Mom provides. Obviously, they hope tomorrow will bring a snow day, too. ... (read more)

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Spare the Dragon

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Friends in Strange Places
by Petra Graham
Xlibris


"Use courage and wisdom . . . Violence is never the way!"

Into the forest and fantasy land go the readers of this imaginative story. The book fills a niche that needs more of its kind. It is a pre-chapter book, so if parents have an early reader with a big imagination who is beyond "See Spot run" but not ready yet for chapter books, this book is for them. However, this isn't a read-aloud story unless you can handle "Smiling Fluttersplots" without stumbling or sputtering. What it is, though, is pure fun to read with life lessons and rhyme thrown in. ... (read more)

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Snow-Play

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Kokomo and His Snowman
by Dr. Joel A. Feder
AuthorHouse


"While having his delicious warm oatmeal breakfast he looked out the window and saw snow! Lots and lots of snow that had fallen the night before."

Feder’s newest children’s story follows five-year-old Kokomo through his play day as he wakes up to see snow. Kokomo is excited to build a snowman and, after having his breakfast, asks his mother if he can go outside and play. She agrees as long as he is properly dressed to stay warm. As Kokomo stacks the three snowballs together to form his snowman, he realizes something is missing. Each time he feels something isn’t quite right, he goes to his mother for help. He needs a nose, eyes, mouth, buttons, and a hat. His mother provides what is required, and Kokomo is finally pleased with his snowman. Then he charges the snowman, tackles him, and declares that this has been the most fun he has ever had. ... (read more)

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The Land of Taramos

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Orange Blossom Fairy
by Scharie Hilton
iUniverse


"The roof of the castle seemed to melt away as a glorious moon and stars filled the room. Twinkling stars moved and danced about that invisible ceiling as music filled the hall.... This was a magical evening."

When evil beings threaten the land of Taramos, the Wizard Zane, along with an adventurous group of creatures, sets off to bring peace and harmony back to their territory. The titular Orange Blossom Fairy, Silvera, is part of this curious crew, which also includes a witch and the girl whose body Silvera once inhabited. From the beginning, Silvera is an outlier among the other fairies. She disagrees with their myriad rules, such as being required to take over a person’s body and to use her magic and tricks for harm rather than fun. And she cannot follow their rules forever. So when Wizard Zane suggests he flee with her after their land is invaded, she quickly follows. ... (read more)

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Grandparents Are Coming

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

They're Here!
by C. M. Caffey
Xlibris


"During the night, Hallie woke up and could hear a scary noise. It was like thunder inside the caravan, making even the walls tremble!"

Two active, curious little girls, Hallie and Ella, are excited to hear the great news: their grandparents are coming for a visit. The family rushes to the patio to greet them as they drive up, pulling a cute little caravan where they will stay during their visit. Grandma has wonderful hugs, holding both of them together in her soft arms. Grandpa has an idea: why not let the girls sleep in the caravan with Grandma and him? Of course, Hallie and Ella are thrilled and can barely wait until bedtime. As soon as supper is over, they beg to go, only pausing to clean their teeth. They are tucked into sleeping bags on bunk beds. Each one has a little light that they can turn on if they get scared. Grandpa reads them a story, and they soon fall asleep. But then, scary things start to happen. Loud noises need to be investigated, and then there is the eerie sight of teeth floating in a glass of water. ... (read more)

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Under the Sea

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Dreamer's Wish
by Barbara Magargal
Xlibris


"Along came a whale looking for a small treat. He was swallowing up everything that he could eat."

Sometimes when you’re upset, the best thing to do is walk away and take a time-out. That’s exactly what Cody does when he is angry with his mommy and daddy. Sitting beneath an old tree, he begins to dream of flying above the clouds and being free. When a buzzing bumblebee asks Cody if he would like to change places, the boy has no idea what’s in store. When he closes his eyes and wishes with all of his might, he instantly turns into a fish. Now, living as a small bright yellow fish alone in the big blue sea, Cody is surprised by the huge change of scenery. He meets a mermaid, and they hatch a plan for getting him out of the ocean and safely back home, but not until after meeting an octopus, a whale, a crab, jellyfish, and a lobster named Lucy. Swimming deep through dark waters past urchins, swordfish, shark, and eel, the mermaid finally bids the child adieu, after such confusing and watery adventures. ... (read more)

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Spelunking

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Unexpected
by Donal Myrick
Xlibris


"He is going to be amazed, just like the rest of us, maybe even more so."

An earthquake in Venezuela causes the Churum River to disappear into a newly formed canyon, practically eliminating one of Venezuela's wonders of the world: Angel Falls. While governments and international scientific communities try to figure out a resolution, one group of spelunkers from Austin, Texas, sees this as the perfect opportunity to explore the new cave and discover its origins. Led by Ted Baldridge, a geology professor and caving hobbyist, a group of eight or so people is soon on its way to Caracas, Venezuela, to start the new expedition. The spelunkers' journey takes an unexpected turn after some competition arises with the Russians to explore the secrets of the cave first. As Ted and his crew advance in their cave exploration, they encounter something unimaginable that will take their journey farther than they've imagined. ... (read more)

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Coming of Age

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

How Long Is Exile?: Book II Out of the Ruins of Germany
by Astrida Barbins-Stahnke
Xlibris


"We have fallen between the cracks of the great powers that rule the world."

This second book in a series follows two Latvian women, Alma and Milda, who survive through the generosity of German mothers and their children who maintain their homes while husbands and brothers are off fighting. The second half of the book covers a five-year period after American soldiers have arrived in Germany. Humanitarian organizations supported throngs of Latvian exiles awaiting deportation to friendly countries. The hope of returning home changed into a search for happiness elsewhere. ... (read more)

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All the Gods

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Pandora's Box: Stay In or Expand
by Alan Davis
iUniverse


"'Sirius, you already have shown me I'm special.'"

Siena is a Celestial Messenger in training in Earth’s Heaven. At one of Heaven’s balls, Siena notices Sirius and Penti, a couple known for their love and devotion to each other. Curious about their story, Siena manages to convince Penti to tell her how their relationship came to be during a training session. Penti begins to recount their epic tale, all the while imparting wisdom and her teachings along to Siena. ... (read more)

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Beauty & Brutality

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Paradise Broken
by Rob Marshall
Xlibris


"Nothing any man could ever make would equal the beauty of the natural environment. This must truly be God’s own paradise."

Three couples travel together into the New Zealand mountains, ready for horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and camping in the great outdoors. What begins as a perfect vacation in paradise takes a violent turn when mutant creatures and menacing humans attack the group. First, the group encounters an ecological disaster when they find a downed plane that has leaked gallons of growth-promoting hormones into the landscape and waterways which the animals in the area have ingested. Giant spiders then ambush the unsuspecting group. After a narrow escape, the travelers return to their camp with plans to report the bizarre events. When two of the men go off hunting, three brothers come upon the women back at the camp. Fueled by drugs and alcohol, the meeting takes a deadly turn. When the men return to camp, a hunt begins for human prey as one of the husbands seeks to avenge the death of his wife. ... (read more)

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Atlantis Rediscovered

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Crystal Traveler: Book I of the Crystal Message Chronicles
by R. B. Breighton and Kathleen Dawe
PageTurner Press and Media LLC


"This crystal was asking for you. I knew it was meant for you within hours of finding it."

Dr. Trell Amundsen is invited to view a group of unusual crystals discovered by seismologist Dr. Gene Harshaw while diving off the coast of Scotland and Ireland. After meeting with Dr. Harshaw and seeing these crystals found in pottery dating back to 11,000 B.C., he discovers that one is encrypted with a message: “Return to Dr. T. Amundsen, SGI, Menlo Park, CA, USA.” Trell begins to conduct tests on the crystal, during which he is transported back to the time of Atlantis to find himself in the company of Lyra, High Priestess of the Temple of the Moon. Here he becomes Ta-rel, the voyager, and his life in Atlantis takes him down many paths. But it is his relationship with Lyra, his true soul mate, which will define both him and the future of Atlantis. Will the two be able to prevent what had been told in the legends of Ta-rel’s time? ... (read more)

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Messenger Fairy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Aryella, The Messenger of Fairy Love and Her Fairy Friends
by Susan Jane Tilley
iUniverse


"When we work together, we grow as friends."

Aryella is a messenger fairy who dreams of a world that is overflowing with joy and kindness. In the locket she wears around her neck, Aryella also holds the key to unlocking hearts to love. She spends her days working with her fairy friends to teach children what it looks like to show people and our planet how much we care. The story graces readers with the presence of eight exceptional friends, all of whom have their own interests and ideas. Aryella and her friends adore being in nature, making new friends, and exploring the hidden secrets of love. Where can it be found? How can it be expressed? ... (read more)

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Epic Young Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Covenant Betrayed: Revelations of the Sixties, the Best of Time; the Worst of Time (Book One)
by Mark Dahl
Stratton Press Publishing


"Chris was on the road and was exhilarated. He had the hunger that Kerouac wrote about and the frustration of James Dean. He understood them."

Christopher Church, having graduated from his Kansas high school and not sure what to do with his life, is a young man on the road. Much like in Jack Kerouac's seminal novel, Chris seeks to wander, to stretch the vast highways, and travel to faraway places, preferring a life of hitchhiking and camping out, a life free from any burdens. It's fresh into the decade of the 1960s in America, and Dahl’s expansive and impressive novel is situated within the cultural and political events that shaped the American decade: the tumultuous civil rights movement, the Kennedy assassination, the atrocities of Vietnam, and the growing disillusion of young people. ... (read more)

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Returning to Real

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Atropos Maker: A Novel
by N. J. Lujan
iUniverse


"She can see her young, innocent soul rise out from her body, pleading to stay, but she shoos it away as she swallows her pain."

This is not your average cloak and dagger thriller. While there’s plenty of cloak and a good bit of dagger, the thrills within these pages are found as often in internal angst as they are in external derring-do. Mental scars and psychological savagery cause as much pain in this suspenseful story as knife wounds and bullet holes. ... (read more)

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A Light Mystery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Death by Dose
by Lynn Ronsen
Xlibris


"Although modern medicine cannot legally and actively expedite death by a lethal dose, which is considered murder, it is legal, ethical and recognized, and acceptable practice to allow a series of natural events to take place that will result in death."

Who is killing off patients in Jacksonville, Florida, through assisted suicide? Perinne Anderson and her dog, Baby, are tasked with this investigation. She works undercover as a nurse detective for an insurance company that is being hit by these deaths. With a boat explosion, medical concerns, various foibles by the many players, Perinne’s relationship with a professor of medical ethics, and her own troubles involving a car chase and a nasty alligator, she wonders if someone has figured out her role. But as readers learn about four doctors who are employed at the Rathburn Clinic and Hospital, and who are all in financial binds, one has to wonder if one of them is the killer. And is it murder if people choose to die through assisted suicide? This is an underlying question in the author’s modern-day story of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the real-life Dr. Death from the 1980s and 1990s. ... (read more)

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Magic & Fantasy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Days of Beltane
by Sean Aramesh
Xlibris


"The other people in this life may not believe me, but I am a wizard."

This short, magical story revolves around Winter, who has decided he wants to start a band. However, he needs a name for it. The story progresses by the examination of his daily life in his small cottage surrounded by nature, his herbs and crystals, and his magic. Using chants to help with his spiritual connection, he begins to write lyrics and music. Taking a trip into town, he goes to listen to a band, which further inspires him to work more on his music. Fate reveals itself when he is asked to sing with this band. He meets up with a witch, Lucinda, whom he knows from the thrift and pagan shop. He sees the goodness in her as well as their connection on a spiritual level. She influences him to make a major life decision, which results in the connection with Beltane, where the spring reaches its peak, and one feels at peace. ... (read more)

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Spare the Child

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Child of the Heart
by Ron Kempton
iUniverse


"There’s a Universe as vast as the Starry Heavens right behind your eyes."

Inspired by the author's desire to face his anxiety head-on, Ron Kempton weaves a tale reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland as he takes his readers through the landscape of his mind on the search for his inner child. At first sight, the plot appears detached from reality with the characters and their world, but it doesn't take long to realize that this fictional world is more real than it seems. With its bizarre and speculative events, the story is a unique display of anxiety and the inner workings of the mind. ... (read more)

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Royale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Crown of Unity
by Lisa Boomhower
Xlibris


"She had heard stories about the Crown of Unity. A crown created for the true queen, the king's crown was the Crown of Trust."

Misty is a sea witch just now coming of age at her home on the Island of Spirit when an emissary from the King of Azure arrives to take her there. She is to be wedded to the King. But not all is to be taken at face value. Raver, the emissary, is really a prince from a former king, and the current King of Azure only wants a new queen because, in five years, he will automatically be taken into the underworld by the spirits of his innumerable victims. Both Raver and Misty realize that the King of Azure is thoroughly evil and disgusting, and after a hideous encounter in the evil one's library, Raver splits him in half with his sword. Then, the young couple flees. When they realize that the kingdom is literally dying, with all of the elementals (fire, water, air, and earth) having fled the utter ruin that is Azure, the two make desperate plans. ... (read more)

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An Experiential Work

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Nevermind: The Last Temptation of Frank
by John Climenhaga
iUniverse


"Sometimes painting is just the most joyful thing you can do."

Frank Teeman is, in many ways, an ordinary young man from Kansas who has finally made it to the Big Apple to pursue his dream of painting. He lives a modest life, working at McGarrety's, a local supermarket, sometimes dating women and occasionally going to parties with Jacsun Pranesh, his cab-driving buddy. Frank has no idea his life is to drastically change forever the day a certain wealthy Mrs. Irene Solomon walks into the grocery store while the protagonist is working, notices a rather shoddy little painting he has hanging in the shop, and insists on buying it from the young artist. Before long, the wealthy, elderly Irene is opening up her own art shop, Solomon's, and taking Frank under her wings. She has also convinced him to show and offer for auction his paintings as her very first featured artist. ... (read more)

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A Sci-Fi Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Lights Above Cass
by Marilynn Brokaw Hall
Xlibris


"'In some ways I believe these aliens are toying with us. I don’t like it a bit.'"

On March 18, 2020, the control tower of a secret base buried deep in the Appalachian Mountains reports viewing an unidentified object “moving at a fantastic speed.” Numerous objects are spotted on radar, and as the staff looks on, the main craft approaches, leaving three human women behind. Now, all pertinent factions of the government are scurrying to find out who these women are and, most importantly, who or what has left them. As investigations proceed, it is discovered that each woman had been reported missing, along with many others through the years, in the area of Cass, West Virginia. Even more strangely, none of the women had aged since the day of their disappearance, and all of the abductions had taken place on the same date. Now agents must scramble to figure out how the women’s abductions are related and what, if any, is their connection to Lucia, the “self-aware computer” recovered from the Roswell crash. ... (read more)

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Mesopotamian Drama

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Ox-Boy of Ur: A Trilogy of Ancient Sumer
by Rose Shaw
Stratton Press Publishing


"Your future was changed today, that much may be fact, Young One. But let us choose to believe it will be a brighter future for both of us."

Thirteen-year-old Zim-Ri’s life is changed forever when he is sold into slavery to pay his father’s debts. He begins a journey to the ancient city of Ur through Mesopotamia’s Fertile Crescent when he is forced to abandon his village and follow his new master. He quickly adapts, showcasing a resilient spirit that catches the attention of those around him on the journey. He forms an immediate attachment to an old woman enslaved beside him, an individual who proves to be a helpful and trusted guide as he builds a new life for himself. Zim’s talents and gifts matched with his kind and generous spirit help him to thrive through adventures great and small. ... (read more)

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Rebelle, Rebel

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

It's a Sin to Be Boring
by Nancy Singletary
Xlibris


"She wanted to be in control of her life, but she hadn’t developed the confidence to believe that the things she loved would not die or not be ripped from her grasp."

This work of historical fiction reads almost like a biography, as the events and the characters seem so true to life. The author weaves the political with the religious, the public with the personal. She expertly outlines the American political landscape as she discusses the political events associated with president after president, and she explains how the political climate of the country affected her protagonist's family for generations. ... (read more)

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His Burden

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

George Washington at “Head Quarters, Dobbs Ferry”: July 4 to August 19, 1781
by Mary Sudman Donovan
iUniverse


"In the orders for the day, Washington recognized the difficulty of the march the soldiers had just made and complimented on their discipline."

After seven years of war, George Washington establishes his headquarters at Dobbs Ferry in order to join with French allies led by Comte de Rochambeau. This book is an account of Washington’s time spent in the area immediately preceding the Battle of Yorktown. Information is taken directly from firsthand accounts and impressions of the people staying in both the American and the French encampments, and the book is filled with details of everyday life. There are remarkable impressionistic revelations from the French concerning the Continental Army, the countryside, and Washington himself. Most interesting are the excerpts from Washington’s diary, which reveal his frustrations about the lack of supplies and his brilliant strategic mind. Covering the dates of July 4 to August 19, 1781, the book offers an inside glimpse into the lives of those who fought in the American Revolution and the general who led them. ... (read more)

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Ode to War

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Wholesale Blood
by Dan Rasmussen, Jr.
PageTurner, Press and Media LLC


"You could get wounded, and quickly or slowly, bleed to death
You could get captured, and slowly starved, and worked to death
You could get captured, and tortured, until you take your last breath
Or, you could get overrun and doomed, and were scared to death."

Burning tanks, trenches of bleached white skeletons, dark nights that terrify men and cause insanity, endless rains, a landscape littered with wounded, and rats eating the dead—these are just some of the vivid images that permeate Rasmussen’s narrative. Here, he recounts his service in the Korean War as a member of Fox Company. Among his comrades-in-arms, Rasmussen witnesses the hellish, gruesome horrors of combat, where the “thief death” hides around every unseen hill and callous bloodshed impacts everyone. ... (read more)

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Teen Spirit

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Quantum Leap
by Rainie York
Xlibris


"I wanted to feel like I’m not just a pawn . . . I wanted to have some sort of . . . control over my own life."

Rebecca Jean is a typical teenager dealing with high school drama created by jealousy and judgment, perceived favoritism, and strict parental rules. When she begins to channel her frustration into creative writing through an alter ego named Laney, she feels a kind of power as she shapes outcomes to her desires. But when these revenge stories begin to unfold in real life, Rebecca is shocked and uncertain of the consequences. As the school year progresses, and the stories come to life, she begins to understand how to become the person she truly wants to be. Rebecca’s journey of self-discovery follows an unusual but interesting path as she learns the ways of Reiki and the power of energy fields to heal and to alter lives. ... (read more)

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Complex Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Project Anasazi
by Michael Brian O'Hara
AuthorHouse


"When the spirits are angry they will take their vengeance on anyone and anything . . ."

Main character Brad Davis, a writer, sets off in the 1990s to New Mexico to research the Anasazi Indians from Arizona and Colorado who are thought to have migrated to New Mexico. He is also interested in the conundrum of how the Mayans and other far-spread early civilizations made the advances they did too precociously to explain. He does not, however, set out to solve the mysteries of the Boswell incident of 1947 or to search for UFOs. That comes later. To summarize the plot completely would give away critical pieces of the puzzle, so suffice it to say that the author has a great imagination and excellent writing skills to spin his story into quite a complex novel. ... (read more)

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Avoiding the Gap

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Difference Makers
by Roja B. Sooben
Xlibris


"I continue to cherish the moments of sheer delight, deep love, and happiness that are strewn . . . in my path."

The safety of children with learning disabilities becomes a concern in the United Kingdom. In 2007, there is an accelerated number of deaths, which prompts a response from parents and others who ultimately represent "The four corners of Britain." Emily Beacon, the mother of a child with Down's Syndrome and with support from many parents' groups, fights against the initial silence about the issue via a radio program whose message eventually reaches a national audience. ... (read more)

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A Breath of Fresh Air

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Young Lords of Siyah Chan: A Novel of the Ancient Maya
by Joan C. Wrenn
Outskirts Press, Inc.


". . . which in turn might generate discussions among scribes and Bakabs in other cities of the People, expanding their knowledge and understanding of the world and the Gods."

The world of the ancient Mayan civilization is brought to life through the story of the sons of Ahaw Itzamna Balam. First, there is Kyu Balam, the youngest son, who has not yet found his purpose in life. Then there is Yooat Balam, the heir who would prefer to study the stars than to lead. Finally, there is Yaxuun Balam, with aspirations to become the strongest warrior around. These three men are coming into their own, trying to find their path to becoming a True Man. Their individual journeys lead them through the tumultuous life of what ancient Mayans experienced: ceremonies, family turmoil, war, and secrets that could make or break them as men. ... (read more)

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Straighten Up

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Back to Basics: How to Move Dirt Efficiently
by R. A. Martin
Xlibris


"A good operator needs to know how to read the material . . ."

Before digging dirt in mining or civil earthwork operations, managers must consider containing or providing water, building access roads, and matching the right equipment and operator for the tasks. This book covers all of these basics. It also includes training sections for teaching operators how to work efficiently and for profit with equipment based on the owner’s requirements for a particular piece of land. ... (read more)

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Clean & Endless

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Arrival of a Renewable Fuel Technology: Stop Climate Irreversibility Now!
by Christian O. Nweke
Xlibris


". . . awareness of the danger fossil fuel poses is fast spreading and no longer confined to campuses, but to city governments, religious denominations and self interested investors."

Concern about the environment prompted the writing of this book, which focuses on air pollution. The burning of fossil fuels with increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions presents the biggest source of pollutants, according to the author, who joins those who fear global warming and its possibly devastating effects around the world. Climatologists point to wildfires and droughts on the US West Coast. Nweke agrees that climate control is the most important issue of the twenty-first century, for both developed and developing nations. ... (read more)

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A Woman's Choice

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ava
by Janet Perroni
iUniverse


"Ava reflected on her trilogy of men and how she had made mistakes."

Ava is the daughter of a large Irish immigrant family in Boston who is looking for a husband in the afterglow of WWI. The Roaring Twenties are alive with possibility, forbidden passion, and impossible choices for Ava as she reckons with her burgeoning sexuality and the financial struggles of her immigrant family. When Ava succumbs to the sexual pressures of a soldier she meets at a dance, she gets pregnant, and he returns to his ship never to be seen again. Now an unwed mother, she must navigate a treacherous future on her own with lecherous men constantly offering money in exchange for her body. She gives sexual favors to her landlord to pay the rent, works as a nude model, and falls into a doomed affair with her employer’s son while working as a maid. Eventually, she settles down with an older man who is willing to accept her two illegitimate children as his own, and together they have more children. Ava’s lineage becomes her legacy. ... (read more)

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Perserverance

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

True Crime Cases
by Ron Rupert
Stratton Press Publishing


"Both bodies were molded together in a three-foot ball of blood, bones, and guts."

This autobiographical memoir of a Canadian police officer pulls no punches and immerses readers into the darkest sides of human behavior. From a twenty-something young man to senior citizenry, his long career encompasses incidents and involvements that most people would do whatever they could to avoid. Rupert did the opposite, and the chronicle of his experiences is the ultimate testament to perseverance. ... (read more)

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Working the Stream

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fly Fishing Challenge
by Forrest Oldham
Xlibris


"Open up your mind to where to look for this information and be willing to talk to others about their experiences."

In order to keep life interesting, it’s important to explore new hobbies and passions to dive into and devote energy and motivation toward improving. In this book, the author tells of his experiences learning about fly fishing as a young man and the adventures or growth opportunities that his interest has offered him. Whether it is selecting gear or making your own, mastering the local fishing spots, or journeying around the world looking for a new adventure, this book is all about deciding how to set personal challenges and then sparking the desire to continue improving and challenging oneself. From novice fly fishers to the pro that knows there is always a new skill or technique to acquire, this book is part practice and part philosophy that is perfect for keeping the mind sharp and the heart engaged in the hobby. ... (read more)

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College Cheer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The History of College Nicknames, Mascots and School Colors
by Gary Hudson
Xlibris


"Captain Cane has been TU’s official mascot since 1994. He is a superhero that has the power to summon weather."

A collection of the history behind the identifying features of college football teams, the text is a goldmine for sports trivia enthusiasts, both casual and those who regularly compete at pub trivia nights. Even the most ardent fans will likely learn something new about the teams they root for. Hudson’s objective in creating an aggregate resource that disseminates information about school sports is portrayed clearly in a simple but direct structure that features the school’s name, nickname, mascot, colors, conference, and typically several paragraphs delving into its history and fun facts. In other words, audiences won’t have to hunt long to get the information that they’re looking for. ... (read more)

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Eternal Sin

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Gospel and the Eternal Sin
by Kevin Sparks Berry
Xlibris


"You must know the Gospel to understand the scriptures. The church will grow when the Gospel is preached."

Using Bible verses offered daily in The Upper Room, a Methodist publication, author Berry focuses on the unification of the Church by the correct understanding of Christian scripture. Berry styles this unification initiative as The Prototokos (Greek for “firstborn”) Church. In 530 entries numbered in reverse order, the author presents the verses obtained and then explains them with his terminology: in general, “I” or “he” is Jesus Christ, and “you” and “your” refers to “WE in the Body of Christ.” Following his explication using these terms, Berry encourages “Methodist Men” to follow the instruction implied in the scriptural passage. For example, enter the door, be converted, and accept the doctrine always by the same means: baptism by immersion in water. Berry states that such baptism is central to the gospel, and not believing the gospel constitutes eternal sin. ... (read more)

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Prowess & Majesty

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Sagebrush Curtain: A Personal History of the Oregon Desert
by Melvin Adams
iUniverse


"I want to be like the desert: subtle, silent, and searched for. I do not want to be named or on a map."

Born in the Oregon desert in 1941, Adams has crafted a captivating book of his time there, a genuine and nostalgic revisiting of a treasure trove of never-ending adventures and discovery. While it is natural to be pained when leaving the land where you grew up, the author’s utilization of stunning images and evocative imagery paints a portrait of a land with an aura of haunting serenity. Adams’ trip down memory lane features a quartet of hunting, camping, fishing, and survival skills in Boy Scouts that highlighted his childhood. Audiences can surely envision the buckaroo country child dueling imaginary foes in an attempt to channel his inner Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, or the Long Ranger. ... (read more)

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A Western Philosophy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Odyssey of the Western Spirit: From Scarcity to Abundance
by Jack Meyer
Trafford Publishing


"The smartest man alive was judged to be too smart to live."

Readers become part of a historical and philosophical conversation that invokes the likes of Plato, Socrates, and Descartes to discuss the power of the self and individualism—as well as the need at times for the sacrifice of those elements in the name of forming community. Readers then progress into discussions about the Church and its imposing of tradition along with the individual need to break tradition in order to make progress. Readers also encounter discussions that incorporate economic and social theories that examine the Western ideal’s roles of the individual and tradition. They will also see the position that each holds in community with others, and how future leaders can utilize those ideals to unify peoples, strengthen economies, improve political platforms and discussions, and achieve peace. ... (read more)

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Trump Worries

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Demolition of Democracy: Has America Lost Its Soul
by Ted Bagley
Xlibris


"It takes courage of candor, speaking truth to power, and stepping out on faith to change the hearts and souls of a nation."

Businessman Bagley analyzes the political minefield of the Trump administration through the historical framework of the racist ideology that has long hampered American politics and daily life. He begins by defining democracy and comparing the ideal to the current reality in which the United States of America finds itself: “I can’t remember a point in my life’s history when racism, sexism, homophobia, narcissistic behavior, gun violence, and divisiveness were as prevalent as in this current political climate. Self-aggrandizement is the foundation of this administration.” ... (read more)

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Inspirational Verse

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Silver Pen: Sound and Silence
by Jan Voth Dubbs
AuthorHouse


"Thank you for my Blue Heron times when quiet beauty patiently waits for your tasty words to swim by."

This book of poetry is a love song to both the power of God and words. In eight chapters, the author uses metaphor to express how she finds spiritual truths in all aspects of life, from contemplating the miraculous movements of animals to working through the depths of depression. She writes with a purpose—to present the reader with the wondrous healing power of God as she has experienced it in her life. Her poetry is personal. She shares her experiences of both despair and joy equally. Dubbs delves into subjects of not only nature but also silence and sound, the struggles of life, the depths and despair of human suffering, and the life of Christ. She credits her ability to create poetry to God, stating, “The Lord calls me his Ready Writer . . . the words he gives me can have the power of boulders or the tenderness of feathers.” ... (read more)

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Meditations

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

God Inspired Quotations And Understandings
by Stanley D. Rainbow
PageTurner, Press and Media


"Time is only there for you to use wisely as it just keeps going and never stops."

For those whose devotional time has grown a bit stale, Rainbow has written a small book that is full of insights and surprises. Like his name, the nuances he reveals through these short quotes and their related understandings almost fracture the white light of wisdom into shards of glorious color. Treating common words such as “Time” and placing them where the reader is not expecting them causes a response that is unlike other devotionals readers may have read. Also, within this collection are a group of beatitude-like sayings. The reader will begin to locate many similar thoughts. ... (read more)

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Compassion

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Rocky Raccoon and His Caring Classmates
by Janet H. Councilman
Authors Press


"They were so happy to be helping and caring for others less fortunate."

Rocky Raccoon and his classmates at Holly Elementary School are excited for the day as they will be helping others. They have organized a cookie collection to bring bags of cookies to children who are sick and in the hospital. Rocky is particularly selected for his kindness and caring actions to lead this effort with organizing the cookie bags before he and his classmates go to Green Leaf Hospital to deliver them to the children. Once there, the children who are in the hospital are cheered by the kind gesture, and the school even receives a prize for their kindness. ... (read more)

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Possible by God

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

For the Love of God: In the Midst of Trials, Tribulations, & Temptations
by Bishop Ray Washington
Stratton Press


"'No, Granddad, I'm not a man yet, but slowly and surely, I'm becoming one.'"

The story of the journeys of a father and his son through upheavals in their lives, this book encourages the reader to sustain faith in God through whatever trials that life presents. Filled with proverbs that provide direction for specific problems and conundrums, the book aims at being a roadmap for its characters and readers. Two of the main characters are the new pastor (and the father of the narrator), James and his wife, Bonita. It is the second marriage for both, and each had been widowed and deep in grief when they found each other through James's ministry to grieving, depressed Bonita. From healing ministry to friendship to love and, eventually, marriage, their stormy but caring relationship grows. James's son, Keith, observes the dynamics of their relationship and learns from it something about the relationship of love. Additionally, Keith experiences the dynamic of his tender-hearted grandmother and his somewhat didactic (but always for a good cause) grandfather. ... (read more)

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Some Truths

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Culture War Games: The Birthright Covenant Book 2
by C. A. Davidson
LitFire Publishing LLC


"Well, it’s still about power. And it’s about money, which adds to their power."

The subjects of this book are reminiscent of 1984, Animal Farm (the latter is mentioned in the text), and other works about totalitarian societies and those who resist them. There are training places for "Reverse Education," propaganda that comprises the only form of education that is allowed by the Anti-Hate Committee. "At home and abroad, Reverse Education's lies fill every classroom, every courtroom, every newsroom. Its hatred infects politicians and corrupts kingdoms." The structure of the land is a house of cards, but one so steeped in lies that, true to deeply dystopian societies, the lies become their own truths. The group of resistors is made up of philosophers, young people, and seekers of truth in general, who meet secretly to discuss the reality of situations, including the usefulness of philosophies, the structure and seduction of power, and the necessity of discovering the truth rather than agreeing with the majority. Their vehicle of truth is the Bible. ... (read more)

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Restoring Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

8:15: A True Story of Survival and Forgiveness from Hiroshima
by Dr. Akiko Mikamo
Westwood Books Publishing LLC


"I was surrounded by the loudest thunder I had ever heard. It was the sound of the universe exploding."

Dr. Akiko Mikamo composed this vivid story to honor her courageous and forgiving father, Shinji Mikamo, now in his nineties and a survivor of one of the twentieth century’s most horrific acts of war, the US bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. She has styled it as a first-person narrative, enhancing her father’s minute-by-minute experience of the attack and day-by-day struggle to live beyond the tragedy. ... (read more)

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Lovable Blended Family

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

We Are the Wackadoodles: It’s Nice to Be Kind
by T.A. Duggan
Xlibris


"We like to celebrate family as often as possible so that we always know how special we are to each other."

The extended, blended family of the Wackadoodles are back, and in this new picture book, the parents teach an important life lesson about kindness, even in the face of bullying. The family is excited because today they will play and picnic in the park. Before enjoying their meal, they split into teams for a friendly game of toss football. ... (read more)

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Faith & Forgiveness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

After All I’ve Been Through
by LaNell Rogers
Xlibris


"Everything changes when you say the words ‘I do’ in front of a preacher. My husband, Jimmy, always said it was something they put in the wedding cake."

This book depicts one woman’s journey of marriage in thoughtful essays about what it is to find one’s true love and then watch that love disintegrate. These musings are then followed by light-hearted prose and poetry about child-rearing, which discuss the joys of making homemade pizza and completing homework. Next, the focus shifts to confronting and overcoming depression and bereavement in essays and poems discussing the loss of a child and, ultimately, one’s self before they reach the ultimate gift—forgiveness. Through these poetic and memoir-like journeys, readers encounter one woman’s testament to faith, kindness, and forgiveness. ... (read more)

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Setting Direction

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Career Match: The Ultimate Guide for Teens and Young Adults
by Naomi Vernon
URLink Print and Media


"Remember, applications and resumes are tools used to introduce you to potential employers, so it’s critical to do a good job of writing them."

For teenagers and young adults embarking on the process of considering job and career prospects, author Vernon has written a concise, articulate guide that examines in detail the many facets related to establishing oneself in the career of one's choice. A handy reference guide for teens and young adults new to this process, Vernon's book provides relevant, useful information on such matters as career assessment tools, research, the employment application process, resume and cover letter creation, interviewing, follow-up, salary negotiation (if applicable), sealing the deal, and more. Further, this book covers how and when to part ways (if absolutely necessary) in a manner that avoids burning bridges, money-management philosophy, entrepreneurship, and advice for starting one's own business. ... (read more)

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