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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

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Recent Book Reviews

 

Focus Review
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Thomas Paine's Rights of Man
by Christopher Hitchens
Grove Press New York


"To begin with, a summary of Paine’s astonishing life and career is to commence with a sense of wonder that he was ever able to emerge at all."

Now that radical elements are attempting to erase history, Thomas Paine might laugh in his grave. As the singular most important figure in the birth of modern democracy, the promoter of human liberty, and the author of an American bestseller only eclipsed by the Bible, Paine should have a monument in Washington, DC at least as big as the “founding fathers,” but he has been mostly forgotten—and that occurred before he even left the planet. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

Culture & Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Talk Till the Minutes Run Out: An Immigrant’s Tale at 7-Eleven
by Benedicte Grima
HigherLife


"Nur Ali momentarily closed his eyes on the brightness of the store . . . He reached with the fragile tendrils of memory to conjure up, at the very least, the smell of fried dough and freshly brewed tea."

Informed by the author’s decades of study and fieldwork in the Middle East, this powerful novel explores one Pakistani family’s efforts to navigate the post-9/11 world of violence, cultural displacement, and exile. The main character, proud middle-aged patriarch Nur Ali, immigrated to the United States from northern Pakistan’s Swat Valley when the area turned into a warzone, making earning a living impossible. Ali found a community of expatriates and a job working the night shift at 7-Eleven. Enduring 15 years of exile, Ali worked to support not only his immediate family but also an extended network of relations, his only connection to them coming through constant telephone calls and dreams of returning. The chapters alternate between describing his family back in Pakistan—their marriages, births, and deaths—and descriptions of his grim, unchanging existence behind the counter. ... (read more)

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Healing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer
by Diane Davies
Beaver’s Pond Press


"Cancer can make our feelings hurt, way down deep inside."

Children are terrified by the thought of losing parents and grandparents, and cancer is a particularly frightening and mysterious illness for any age group to confront. Author Davies uses her talents as a grandmother, educator, breast cancer survivor, and patient advocate in this concept picture book that speaks frankly about the fears, tough questions, and emotional responses that both children and adults have when confronting this medical challenge. ... (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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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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Scary

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Matt Monroe and the Haunted House
by Edward Torba
All Points Press


"Thick fingers of low-lying fog floated toward Matt. Curiosity urged him to walk forward, but what lay ahead?"

After their last adventure in the magical realm of Paragon, Matt Monroe and his friends are eager to get back to what passes as normal life for them. Back in school and under the watchful eye of their parents, Matt hides a series of terrifying nightmares about his arch-nemesis Damien, and Josh is hiding his unhealing wound suffered at the hands of a dragon. When Matt is out delivering papers, he encounters Nathaniel and Annabelle Parker, two children who were murdered in the town nearly a century ago. This contact leads to a new supernatural adventure that only Matt and his friends in The Brotherhood can embark upon. With vengeful ghosts, deadly poisons, and the shadow of Damien’s influence in every danger, the group of teens and their allies must be ready for whatever comes their way. ... (read more)

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In the Queen's Service

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Reversible Mask: An Elizabethan Spy Novel
by Loretta Goldberg
MadeGlobal Publishing


"As a doctrinally conservative Catholic serving a Protestant queen, Latham had almost concluded that he could not reconcile his religious faith with fidelity to the State."

Sir Edward Latham is a conflicted man. A Catholic knighted by both Protestant Queen Elizabeth I and the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, he strides both worlds as spy and counterspy with the disdain of the conflicted. Never quite fitting into the role of knight for either sovereign, and finding himself having to hide his true religious bent when in the service of Elizabeth, perhaps it is inevitable that he becomes a spy for both factions. As his story unfolds, readers are taken on a marvelous journey of intrigue throughout a fascinating historical period. ... (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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New Kingdom

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Lamellia: The Wizard in the Forest
by Gloria D. Gonsalves
AuthorHouse UK


"I will fly high to the sky
where nobody hears me cry
and ask so many questions why."

Lamellia is a kingdom of mushrooms, and Tiara, an Amanitan mushroom, is a princess there. In the past, Tiara had been adopted as a human child, but the forest of Eucalyptia cured her and transformed her back into a mushroom. When Tiara meets some Little Brown Mushrooms, she learns that their friend is missing and may be in the Greener Forest, a place from which no one has ever returned. The Greener Forest is ruled by Evilia, an evil wizard. As Tiara ventures into the evil wizard’s territory, she faces great danger. However, she may also be able to learn the truth about why her mother was imprisoned for causing her sickness and weakening the other mushrooms. Courageous and kind, Tiara leads a potentially dangerous quest to face an unknown foe, learning more about herself and her family in the process. ... (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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War Heroes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

WWI Crusaders: A Band of Yanks in German-Occupied Belgium Help Save Millions from Starvation as Civilians Resist the Harsh German Rule. August 1914 to May 1917
by Jeffrey B. Miller
Milbrown Press


"The oncoming sound of heavy boots swept into the paper shop moments before the bell above the door tinkled."

As the First World War began to spread throughout Europe, Germany’s occupation of neutral Belgium struck many as a concerning action. With many of the able-bodied men shipped off for slave labor, the writing was on the wall that the country would stagnate and soon face a crippling food shortage. Efforts from within Belgium were being concocted to provide for the people, but without adequate access to resources and guarantees from the warring powers, nothing could be accomplished. Meanwhile, a group of Americans led by Herbert Hoover was helping American tourists out of the war zone but soon decided that intervention had to be taken in Belgium’s food crisis, as well. They had the protection as a neutral interventionist organization but lacked the infrastructure to disperse the aid appropriately. ... (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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Ancestral Dreams

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Return to Eternity: Dreamtime Mysteries
by Jenni Barnett


"My ancestors from the Baalijan people, where I descended from my mother, Amy, will offer me a resting place in the running stream, flowing from the cave at Baalijan Creek, uniting us with Booran land at Yaraan Grove, when I eventually return to eternity."

In this third installment of the Dreamtime Mysteries series, Barnett returns to the familiar territory of Australia and the myths and spiritual history of Aboriginal culture. The densely woven narrative unfolds in rich, meticulous detail that centers on two protagonists and a sprawling cast of characters. Broken into five parts, Barnett’s historical-fantasy novel is complete with relevant illustrations, footnotes, and a bibliography. ... (read more)

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A Woman in Danger

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Back Where I Belong
by Julieann Chenevert
Goldtouch Press, LLC


"This place hadn't felt like home for a long time, now. Not since she and Paul divorced."

Actress Sydney Lang appears to be in danger. Someone seems to be stalking her, which necessitates her leaving California for the safety of her old home in Stafford, Colorado. Sydney's relocation to Stafford is the idea of the sheriff of Stafford, who is also her cousin. The sheriff does not want Hollywood and the characters from Sydney's professional life to follow. They do, on the premise that the Colorado location would be a good one for a new movie. Complications arise as the location person, Julia McFarlin, and Sydney's ex-husband, Paul, appear to conduct business, as well as test the emotions and loyalties of the cousins. Will love or safety rule decisions? Sydney wants self-determination. The sheriff's and her objectives appear to be in contention. ... (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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Island Winds

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Kahana: The Untold Stories
by Ann Kennedy
Kahana and Kennedy Productions, LLC


"The ghostly night transforms the island into a spiritual odyssey. Tribal men hold torches high above their heads. Fire sparks and crackles as if ten-thousand fireflies are swarming."

It is 1941 in Hawaii, and young Kim Kahana, like other children in his village, learns from the tribal elders about Hawaiian heritage, history, and folklore. They also learn the martial art of Lua. The extraordinary power of its discipline, focus, and physical strength are to play a significant role in the life story of young Kahana. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, and the U.S. is thrust into World War II, life on the island changes dramatically. “Whenever Kim needs to escape the harsh realities” of what is happening around him, Kennedy writes, “he ventures down to the docks,” where he befriends American soldiers and begins to dream of life on the mainland. ... (read more)

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His Word

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Man of Honor or Horatio's Confessions
by J. A. Nelson
Quill Point Press


"The story of Hamlet survives, truthfully told."

With his dying breath, Hamlet asks his best friend Horatio to live on and tell his story, to let people know what conspired at Helsingør. Horatio swears, but before he can grieve, Fortinbras and his army invade the castle, demanding to know what happened. Horatio seizes this opportunity to tell Hamlet’s story and fulfill his duty to his dead friend, appealing to Fortinbras’ nature. However, when Horatio finds himself risking his life and his honor in his quest to tell the story of Hamlet, he becomes tangled in a grab for power for the throne of Denmark. Can Horatio survive and successfully pass down the legend of Hamlet? ... (read more)

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Squirrel!

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Life in the Neck: Squirrel Trouble
by Diane Davies
Beaver’s Pond Press


"They only weigh ounces, but have a lot of energy and like to be busy and bossy."

Eli worked hard to build a fort with his dad during the summer. The animals of the Neck noticed this impressive fort, and soon some pesky red squirrels had moved in. The red squirrels found the fort to be rather cozy and began to build up their stash for winter. When Eli finds himself repeatedly cleaning up the mess from their stash, he asks his dad for advice. Together, they check online and find a set of steps to follow. Eli follows the steps carefully, trapping the red squirrels and taking them away from the fort to set them free. However, the red squirrels are just as determined as Eli, and they repeat these steps until Eli adds one of his own, learning to live with the squirrels. ... (read more)

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The Choice

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Jamie’s Pet
by Ramona Morrow
Page Publishing Inc.


"One day, Jamie thought he should have a pet. He wanted someone to play with and to keep him company, so he asked his mother, ’Can I have a pet, Mommy?’"

After two decades of publishing poetry in various publications, Morrow is breaking into the world of children’s fiction with her new book, dedicated to her real-life son, Jamie. The story unfolds as the child protagonist concludes that he needs to have a pet with which to play and add to their family. Jamie’s mother agrees, and they go to the pet store to begin comparing pet options and deciding which pet is right for Jamie. Jamie’s mother gives Jamie some information about each of the pets he sees, including such animals as birds, rabbits, gerbils, and kittens. Jamie meets all the animals, observes their behavior, and listens to his mother’s descriptions as he narrows down his decision. ... (read more)

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Warp Speed

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Justice: The Curtis Chronicles #3
by Joseph Badal
Suspense Publishing


"As much as she wanted to be strong, she couldn’t fight off the fear that seemed to invade her every pore."

Adrenalin flows through the pages of this novel as if it were being sprayed from the mouth of a fire hose. Action, intensity, and suspense rocket from chapter to chapter. The deeper you get into the story, the more the tension mounts. When you finally turn the last page, you’re definitely worn out, but the ride has been more than worth it. Seldom does one get caught up in an adventure that’s as smart as it is stimulating. While this is the third installment in a particular series, it’s no less entertaining if you happened to have missed the first two books. The author does a skillful job of interweaving information from the preceding installments to provide necessary knowledge regarding specific characters' motivations and behavior. You spend little time getting up to speed and more time just going along for the thrill ride—a veritable roller coaster of intersecting mayhem. ... (read more)

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Traveling with Purpose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Essential Checklist for Smart Travelers
by Godfrey Harris and Kenneth M. Katz
The Americas Group


"As this encyclopedia’s ultimate editor, you will make this book the authoritative document on your personal travel likes and dislikes."

After an incident in which one of the two authors discovered that he had inadvertently left behind a number of important travel items, he joined with a colleague—both seasoned travelers in the fields of foreign affairs and international travel—to write this personal reference book in which individual “needs and conveniences, likes and dislikes, can be recorded, tracked and changed as circumstances require.” Harris and Katz have organized the reference book into sections on topics such as travel calendars, things to do before leaving, basic considerations, budget calculations, and a set of checklists for leisure, business, personal, and emergency travel. Additionally, there is a chapter dedicated to evaluation of the trip (what worked, what didn’t work so well, and space for miscellaneous notes). The authors note that their “book is designed to help readers list everything they like to have with them on any trip away from home, [and] allows readers to select what they will need for any specific purpose.” ... (read more)

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Strange Reality

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

All Roads Lead to Lawrence
by Craig Leener
Green Buffalo Press


"And it’s through basketball that I measure my life and figure out the people who are in it."

Engaging readers in a fast break followed by an easy layup and a slam dunk, author Leener returns to Zeke Archer’s world where athletic prowess plus metaphysical curiosity equip this youthful character to meet life’s challenges and obstacles. As the story opens on a basketball court in urban Los Angeles, Zeke is engaged in the biggest tournament game of his life, while his older brother Wade is dying a world away in Afghanistan: “I realized I was no longer on the basketball court. I was crouched on my haunches beneath the scorching sun. The sound of Jefferson’s pulsating crowd dissolved into a whir of truck engines. And I still had the ball.” As his team loses, and Zeke’s entire world dissolves around him, he reaches out to his autistic friend, Lawrence, a math prodigy who intercepts messages from the 7th Dimension. ... (read more)

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Study Guide

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Lord Is My Shepherd: A Devotional Study of the Psalms
by Roy Hardeman Deaver
Xulon Press


"Our task is to learn, as did David, that God is committed to those who are committed to Him."

An intensive study guide to help readers fully understand and appreciate the portion of the Old Testament called the Book of Psalms has been carefully organized by preacher and teacher Deaver. The 150 sacred works in the book were mainly composed by David, a shepherd who became King of Israel and was said to be “a man after God’s own heart.” These psalms, sometimes referred to as songs, show David’s full humanity and his deep devotion to God throughout his personal struggles. Deaver believes that the Book of Psalms stress the personal tests of faith to which we are all subjected. Thus David, who had been a shepherd and knew the duties associated with overseeing the flock, could sincerely declare, “The Lord is my shepherd.” ... (read more)

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True Learning

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

To Find: The Search for Meaning in Life on the Gringo Trail
by J. R. Klein
Del Gato


"Drained, weary empty, living in Baltimore, unmotivated and unhappy. My life seemed stalled."

Having completed a doctoral degree, Alex Moreau turns down a postdoctoral fellowship, bids his girlfriend goodbye, and sets out from Baltimore to experience Central America with buddy Stefan Kale, an adventurous photographer. With no real plan, they find a temporary haven in Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende, where a fellow ex-pat tells them about the Gringo Trail—the only road into the Yucatan and onward to Belize and Guatemala. With Yvette, a feisty, beautiful Australian trekker, Moreau savors the mystique of Mayan temples. Along the storied trail, their entourage avoids the few crowded tourist towns, camps in the desert, soaks and savors on glistening isles, takes a splendid mountain train ride, and is targeted by Guatemalans inflamed with revolution while welcomed by hospitable peasants. Eventually, Moreau will find himself ready to return to the US, full of thoughts of 101 days that can never be forgotten. ... (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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Women Rising

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Blue Scorpion: Last Flight of the Ancients
by Karen S Lee
Xlibris AU


"The disappearances are just the start. On the empty shell of Ittacca, he has built a new temple. In his Dark Temple, he is making preparations."

By trying to overcome the obstacles of her life, Evanna takes a head-on approach to standing up for herself and her people. With the murder of her mother, she understands the hardships of life: "Evanna was no stranger to hard work, but her work was cut out for her if she was to support this small family." From the Great Mountains, Evanna works as a blacksmith in an outpost, Drone, where she constantly fights against those who attempt to take advantage of innocent people such as Lord Salem—for she is not only skilled in the craftsmanship of blades but their use as well. ... (read more)

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Solitude

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Day God Wore a Hard Hat: The Loves of My Life
by Jonathan James
iUniverse


"I guess I am a person who loves love or loves to be in love."

Everyone Paul Reynolds loves leaves him, intentionally or otherwise. He’s orphaned as a teenager. His freshman year of college finds him alcoholic, insecure, and unmotivated to plan his future. His sexy, vivacious fellow student Lena changes that when she introduces him to Lisa, her opinionated little sister. Their unlikely but passionate marriage ends when she dies. Devastated and adrift again, Paul takes in Rommel, a client of Lena’s attorney husband, a witness in a murder trial. Paul falls in love with the young gang member. He doesn’t expect Rommel to end the relationship. Newly employed as a flooring salesman, Paul takes comfort in his boss’ supportive family. He settles into a companionable, if boring, marriage to the old man’s middle-aged daughter. He finds excitement in a gay affair until the birth of a child changes his priorities. When yet another loss leaves him with a father’s ultimate grief, who will be there to heal Paul’s soul? ... (read more)

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Good Enough for Government

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Strategies Used by Small Business Leaders to Obtain Government Contracts and Subcontracts
by Dr. Damian C. Dunbar
Xlibris


". . . knowing people that have been where the small business owner has plans to go can save both time and money."

Small businesses make up the backbone of the American economy, and it’s a common goal for people to want to be their own boss and pursue their dreams. But owning and operating a business can be a volatile situation, one which demands not only time and energy but serious capital as well. In this book, the author outlines ways in which owners and managers of independent businesses can cooperate with the United States Government in order to obtain work and projects that will keep them in business and growing in a reliable, consistent manner. Backed by data and the experiences of those who have already followed this path, readers will be able to identify new opportunities that will give them the stability and income that their businesses no doubt need. ... (read more)

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New & Charming

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Barcelona Beckons
by Simonne Celestine
Xlibris


"Even though our lives were so perfect, I found myself missing my Spanish roots."

Barcelona will beckon readers as it does the main character in the novel. Celestine describes how the main character, Manuel, returns from Sydney to his roots in Barcelona after suffering the loss of his family. The descriptions of the plazas, the markets, the lifestyle, and the genuine people are alluring. ... (read more)

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Poetic Projection

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Thinking in Tristichs: Original Poems Inspired by Thomas Wolfe's Short Stories
by Martin Wasserman
Xlibris


"When the spirit’s aflame
that’s the time
to play with fire."

To fully appreciate this new collection of tristichs—three-line poems reminiscent of haiku and senryu—readers may want to familiarize themselves with the short stories of Thomas Wolfe, one of the most significant twentieth-century American authors. In Japan, Wolfe’s novels are popularly read to identify the embedded haiku and to write haiku in response. Wasserman, a professor emeritus at SUNY, took this inspiration a step further and replied in tristich to Wolfe’s short stories, citing Wolfe’s fiction as “the original source for my three-line writings, and . . . the literary context for my entire tristich project.” ... (read more)

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Soaring

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Stewie the Eagle
by Dane A. Stewart
Xlibris


"For years people have seen Stewie as an icon of beauty, bravery, courage, honor, pride, determination, and grace."

Children will learn about Stewie the Eagle in this colorful picture book. Combining facts and fiction, this book is a mix of the comical and the serious. With information about eagles, such as a few of their habits and information about their nests, Stewart gives young readers some details to spark interest in the birds. Adding some funny moments, such as Stewie trying not to laugh at his own jokes and carrying a dinosaur in his beak in an illustration, the book manages to entertain as it informs. The book also addresses the qualities that people ascribe to eagles and paves the way to a discussion of symbolism. Eagles are revered in some cultures, and this book describes some of the qualities people have assigned to eagles in general as well as those that form Stewie’s own personality. Among many other qualities, Stewie is determined, clever, and dominates his territory. He also likes to play and tell jokes sometimes. ... (read more)

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Imagine Texas

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Last Paradise
by Michael Kasenow
iUniverse


"The wind and sea kept him company and nothing more. No voices, silhouettes; no gaslights or steam engines; only the hypnotic breath of nature, the rhythm of forever."

If you’re lucky, every now and then, you find a book that has it all: great story, haunting atmosphere, unforgettable characters, and writing that frequently stops you in your tracks with the impact of its truth, or beauty, or profoundness. This is such a book. It begins with a ribald grandeur that puts you in mind of Pete Dexter’s Deadwood. Before it’s finished, however, the rough-hewn humor has been surpassed by a humanist eloquence more akin to the best of Steinbeck. ... (read more)

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Best Practices

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

How a Nursing Home Works
by Peter D. Busacca, BA, MBA, ACHA, LNHA
AuthorHouse


"It is the purpose of this book to help make great Quality in nursing homes more uniform, ubiquitous, and longer lasting in this industry!"

An experienced nursing home administrator presents an insider’s view of the procedures, regulations, rights, and activities that pertain to such facilities. Busacca examines general licensing requirements, staffing issues, and in-house committees such as ones on safety, infection control, and quality action. All residents will have advanced directives, living wills, and other legal paperwork prepared upon entry, and a Comprehensive Care Plan renewed quarterly. Staff must respect resident’s absolute rights to privacy of health care information. Strict nutritional standards are imposed; individual dietary needs are monitored. Soon after moving in, residents are evaluated for therapeutic, medical, religious, dietary, pharmaceutical, and other needs. Social services are provided for admission and on-going assistance. Financial circumstances are identified. All these safeguards and regulations are instated to ensure that the residents will experience a quality environment, no matter how long they stay. ... (read more)

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A Special Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Lisa: God’s Unconditional Love Released Through The Life of an Exceptional Child
by Becky Rowe Hutchison and Sam Hutchison
Xlibris


"Unknowingly, the child is treated as somewhat subhuman and denied feelings of tenderness. The blow dealt to parents by the sickening realization of retardation is painful and confusing."

Becky and Sam Hutchison knew there was something wrong with their beautiful baby girl when, even after several months, she was not moving nor responding to stimuli. There was also the way little Lisa always held her head to one side, and the fact that she showed no sign of ever being able to sit up or manipulate objects with her hands. “The ultimate goal for Lisa would be sitting alone or brushing her teeth for herself!” writes her mother. The official diagnosis was microcephaly, complicated by cerebral palsy. That the new parents also abused alcohol and other drugs—and that Sam was physically abusive—only compounded an already difficult situation at home. ... (read more)

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Standing Firm

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Lt. Williams on the Color Front
by Chris Bell
Authors Press


"He thought; how do I go about finding out who I am? Do I listen to how and what people say about me?"

As the United States winds down from the Second World War and begins to gear up for conflict in Korea, the political landscape leads to a potentially massive change within the armed forces. It has been decided that white troops and colored troops will no longer remain wholly segregated, and that leads to a situation on a German military base where Second Lieutenant Neal Williams finds himself as a black man in charge of a unit made up entirely of white soldiers. Williams, already feeling like a fish out of water in a foreign country and away from his family and girlfriend, must deal with this conflict as his superiors look for ways to undermine him to the point of requesting a transfer and having him become “somebody else’s problem.” ... (read more)

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Happy Days

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Rocky the Respectful Raccoon and His Red Sunglasses
by Janet H. Councilman
AuthorsPress


"We should do our best to treat each other in a respectful way each day."

Rocky is a happy raccoon living in Old Oak Woods with lots of friends and a supportive community. His only problem is that he is the lone raccoon, and the black mask around his eyes makes him feel strange and different from the other animals. One day, he finds a pair of red sunglasses and puts them on to hide his black mask that won’t come off even when he scrubs it. He doesn’t really know how to talk about his feelings about himself until the animals gather for a Thanksgiving feast, and someone asks Rocky what’s bothering him. Once Rocky shares how uncomfortable he is with the way he looks because he is different, all the animals share something about themselves that makes them who they are. A bird’s simple song, a rabbit’s lopped ears, and a squirrel’s notched ear are all unique characteristics of Rocky’s friends. They help him see that these things make them all unique and special. And Uncle Feathers reminds them all to always treat others with respect by not saying unkind words that can hurt. ... (read more)

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Simply Wealthier

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map For Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying To Go With Money?
by Larry R. Frank Sr., MBA, CFP
iUniverse


"The bottom line: Should you decide you want help, be sure it is the kind of help you need."

Though there is no shortage of books on personal finance, this text is one of the most clear, concise, and comprehensible yet. Frank’s knowledge throughout is unquestionable; his thought process and probing questions for readers are a byproduct of a long career teaching personal finance. He is able to take complex topics and articulate them with rare simplicity. Whether someone is a seasoned veteran in control of their finances or entirely new to personal finance, this book has something to offer everyone. ... (read more)

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Discovery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Chloe
by Jerry Leppart
iUniverse


"The question is, Who am I? Am I Chloe? Am I my mom, Jenny? Perhaps I’m both. Perhaps I’m neither."

When Chloe Murphy discovers the truth about her birth, she faces a personal crisis. She is the first human clone and an exact replica of her mother, Jenny. But who is she really? It is this driving question that leads Chloe to leave her boyfriend and head out on the open road in search of her true self. As she travels throughout the Dakotas and adjoining states, she meets a man named Billy Two Bears, who teaches her to see the world and herself differently. After visits to magnificent locations in pristine natural environments and an encounter with two free-spirited women, Chloe decides to return to her home. But now she is faced with a pregnancy which, because of the circumstances of her birth, may very well lead to her death. Alone and facing the hardest decision of her life, Chloe must search her soul to find her path in an uncertain and perhaps compromised life. ... (read more)

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Building a Wonder

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Building the Pyramids: How Did They Do It?
by Bob Moores
iUniverse


"But three things we can confidently say: The builders were superbly organized, brilliantly innovative, and craftsmen par excellence."

With an introduction that celebrates curiosity and a passion project, this exhaustive text on the pyramids provides a fundamental understanding of how the pyramids were built. Chapter coverage includes the materials, methods, and manpower used to construct the pyramids as well as a closer look at specific pyramids and the Great Sphinx. Later chapters also consider and critique various theories on the techniques that may have been used to raise the stones. Despite thorough research and study, Moores readily admits that these architectural wonders are still mysteries to behold, to examine, and to ponder. No one knows definitively the methods used by the incredibly innovative builders as they designed, organized, and crafted the pyramids that so many are drawn to visit. However, Moores’ experience and expertise give him considerable perspective and insight into these amazing structures. ... (read more)

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The Darkest Hours

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Building Champions: Changing Disruptive, Delinquent Teens' Attitudes and Behaviors to Become Real-Life Champions
by John Stephenson
iUniverse


"I was able to make my dream become your dream, and you guys made your dream come true."

After Rocky Scott suffers a sudden, near-fatal illness that nearly destroys his mind as well as his body, his determination and positive attitude deliver a miraculous recovery. As he slowly gets on his feet and regains mental clarity, he retires from his previous roles as salesman and boys soccer coach to drive maxi-taxis in Queensland, Australia. Rocky soon discovers that rowdy teenage boys are his most challenging passengers. He gradually befriends the toughest kids using his coaching, life coaching, and sales skills to show them how to live without drugs, alcohol, and violence. Many are working-class kids with single mothers, and all act out with no sense of self-respect, hungry for positive male role models in their lives. ... (read more)

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Find a Way

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Wings in a Jar
by Albert Rodriguez
iUniverse


"It isn’t until I turn twelve that I see life in a different way."

Growing up, Quattuor knows that he is different, which sometimes makes him an outsider at school and also an easy target for school bullies. As Quattuor perseveres through elementary schoolyards, junior high hallways, and high school classrooms, he is shaped by the experiences with friends and teachers along the way. He navigates carefully through his childhood and adolescence as he struggles with OCD and finds ways to manage it despite never having been diagnosed. After high school, he finds new friends in college, including Chris, who is bipolar and schizophrenic. With empathy and support, Quattuor recounts his encounters with Chris from adventurous outings to a stay at a mental health facility. ... (read more)

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Better Times Begin with You

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Your Life Sucks: Because You Are a Big Jerk!
by Brian Kasperitis
Xlibris


"In short, all of life’s battles are in your mind. Practice does not make perfect! However, perfect practice can show results."

When dealing with a seemingly insurmountable amount of obstacles or difficulty, it’s only natural to ask, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?” Despite the title, this book examines positive thinking and the importance of karma as a means to turn a negative situation into something that can be learned and grown from. Each chapter considers a different type of circumstance and how to move beyond it just by looking at things from a different angle or changing an attitude. Part autobiography and part self-help book, Kasperitis’ offering relays personal stories as a means to explain the author’s points, succinctly expressing each step of his plan in a clever and digestible phrase or saying. Whether you need guidance in troubling times or just some reassurance for the path being traveled, this book is an informative, entertaining guide to a more fulfilling lifestyle. ... (read more)

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Courage

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Twice in a Lifetime and Then Some: A Zest for Life
by Vee Q
iUniverse


"In order to survive life and its many obstacles, I believe we must expect the unexpected."

After facing many barriers, surprises, and disappointments, a courageous woman offers a positive, take-charge view of life. While never denying the difficulties posed by changes and challenges, author Q presents a series of recollections that illustrate resilience and perseverance. A major obstacle for her was breast cancer, resulting in surgery and lengthy, daily radiation treatments. Years passed; she seemed to be living a regular, healthy life. Then came a recurrence, requiring extensive changes and invoking a sense of her mortality, which was underscored by other health problems. She also battled with grief—the loss of three close relatives in a short span of time. She advises her readers confronted with difficult situations to develop an accepting attitude, find a confidant—a good listener whom they can talk to in times of distress, “glean a little humor,” and move forward as gracefully as possible. ... (read more)

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The Expedition

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Vault of Power: The Unknown Region
by Philip Whitby
AuthorHouse UK


"If the Oracle had truly stated this prophecy, then no-one stood a chance."

A grisly civil war erupts through the boundaries of the Unknown Region into the Realm, where “magic is a way of life and civilization evolved through sorcery.” A detachment of young mages, including the brilliant youngster, Emma Knight, venture into the great Unknown to reach the Vault of Power, a phenomenal source of magic. Emma seeks adventure after her father has confined her for her safety, but her presence is crucial to the success of the mission, or so the prophecy goes. She is puzzled by this proclamation and, soon, is terrified by it because she’s unprepared for the harsh challenges that the expedition faces. The expedition’s only hope of returning home to save their world is to make an alliance with native survivors and find their way to the Vault, but soon after crossing the Storm-Line, the expedition is blasted from the sky by Death-Hunters. In addition, the surviving mages are dealt many nightmares and setbacks. ... (read more)

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Launching a Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

From Cows To Space With God as My Copilot: My Career And Family Life
by Alfred Miller
Xlibris


"I was in the middle of all these historic events, but didn’t realize at the time that history was in the making."

College graduates with a technical or mathematical degree in the 1940s–1960s walked out of college halls straight into NACA/NASA jobs as America raced to beat the Russians into space. Young men and women were needed to program computers, creating software programs based on mathematical equations that evaluated real flight data and then reported the results. Alfred Miller was one of those talented young mathematicians who worked at the Edwards Air Force base, where test pilots like Chuck Yeager pushed the envelope into space. Miller assisted his boss, director Al Phillips, by programming the new IBM computers with their initial software. ... (read more)

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Sex - Drugs - Violence

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Impregnation of Evil
by Jonas Hansen
Xlibris


"The mission, the mission is everything. It’s not only a lifestyle, it’s your life."

Feisty young Joanna works for an agency that takes on difficult, sometimes life-threatening assignments. In the opening pages of this sci-fi thriller, she gleefully kills numerous guards with bullets flying and blood spurting to rescue a man caught in a mysterious lab where grey-faced aliens are performing strange experiments. Soon afterward, her boss is contacted by Pollyanna, who asks for Joanna by name. Joanna knows Pollyanna as the lover of her brother John whom she has not seen for a long time. The violent, drug-infused, sex-charged entanglements that result will involve further killing, the wiles of a witch bent on destruction with John as her intended victim, and, for Joanna, a chance for something akin to sainthood—if she is willing to cooperate with the grey beings who are, she learns, plotting to eliminate male sexual dominance by making the planet’s inhabitants physically and emotionally androgynous. ... (read more)

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Buddy's Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Black Sapphire: Ghost
by James Gluz
Xlibris


"Well, to me, you are a ghost, and that’s as far as people are going to get."

Buddy Noble, also known as Ghost, and his sister Tara have their world turned upside down when a terrorist attack strikes and kills both of their parents. Set in a dystopian future, they discover that they are left with strange and unique abilities—abilities that they unlock because of the mutant DNA hidden within their very veins. These unique powers grant them many things, including the interest of the Black Sapphire Corporation and the Trillion Company. The Black Sapphire Corporation wants nothing more than to take advantage of the siblings’ newfound powers and control them. The Trillion Company, on the other hand, wants to give them, and others like them, the freedom they so deserve. ... (read more)

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Angela's Challenge

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Between Light and Dark
by Rian McMurtry
Xlibris


"She bit her lip. Planning to come in here and confront him was one thing. Now she was here. She was actually going to do it, and her stomach was in knots."

High school freshman Angela is one of only two girls on the Lucas Valley High football team. They’re set to play their first game against the mysterious and religious White Hill Christian Academy, but a visceral school bus accident sets in motion McMurtry’s fantasy novel where everything unravels for Angela. Emerging from unconsciousness, she finds herself in a compromising situation with the “creepy goth” boy, Seth. While Seth’s claim of saving her life and suspicions of the bus accident do not convince Angela of his good intentions, Seth is forced to serve time in temporary juvenile detention. ... (read more)

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Poverty Explored

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Zen and the Art of Funk Capitalism: A General Theory of Fallibility
by Karun Philip
iUniverse


"The truth seems to be that there are systemic structural issues that keep certain types of people and families constantly disadvantaged and poor."

A spirited treatise on the philosophy of economics, Philip’s text examines such interwoven issues of poverty, capitalism, fallibility, human knowledge, education, societal welfare, entrepreneurship, and more. After an initial chapter covering general epistemology (philosophy of knowledge), the author addresses the core issue of poverty as an unfortunate consequence of capitalism, even though it is the modern Western capitalistic system, he asserts, which has benefited the greatest number of people. “There is no doubt that poverty is undesirable,” Philip writes, “and disturbing to anyone who has ordinary human emotions.” However, he argues, no government can—or should—attempt to “legislate a ban on poverty.” Rather, the author stresses, democratic debate and scientific inquiry are invaluable vehicles for understanding oppression and monetary challenge. Philip draws much of his ideas from Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek (1899–1992). ... (read more)

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Driven

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Woman Possessed
by Marilyn Hering
iUniverse


". . . George Lafferty's being more disappointed by ruined silk than by a ruined girl."

The main character, Eleanor O'Bannion, in this exceptional historical novel endures physical, sexual, and emotional abuse from the town union "hero," who is also married to her mother. In the first chapter, she kills him “accidentally,” and the book keeps moving rapidly from there. It describes the plight of turn-of-the-century silk workers as they are worked literally to death by the silk mill owners. Hering skillfully describes how New Jersey silk workers struck, fighting against the silk industry for better wages, working conditions, hours, and safety, just as copper miners were doing in Michigan at the time. ... (read more)

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Another World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The News From Arkansas: Sense of Humor Required
by Valerie Katz
iUniverse


"I wore my Tinkerbell PJs, and David was in his underwear and socks. He hooked up the VHS, and we watched Law and Order. Good times!"

A self-described “California girl” whose home had always been the Golden State well into her sixties, Katz and her then-boyfriend David found themselves, surprisingly, relocating to Arkansas, much to the confusion and amusement of her four children and six grandchildren. So how did the couple end up down south in the Natural State? It all started, hilariously, with an advertisement from the actor Eric Estrada on television, touting the advantages of retiring to Arkansas. That which began as emails sent to friends and family to keep them abreast of “all the strange and amusing differences in our new world” in their move to a completely different region of the country, over time morphed into group email “News” updates. Eventually, at the request of many of those friends and family who were regular receivers of the “News,” the entire set of adventures were encapsulated into the book at hand. ... (read more)

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The Difference

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Unshackled: Experiencing True Freedom for Men and Women
by Peggy Park
LitFire Publishing


"Have you heard that your Creator thinks you are wonderful and awesome? Do you know you are unique, one of a kind?"

We as human beings are all “bound by messes that shackle us,” writes Park. These chains—both in a physical and in a mental sense—can present in our lives in the form of various kinds of addiction, abuse, old festering wounds, unforgiveness, buried traumatic memories, anger and insecurities, and more. The good news, which is the focus of the bulk of this book, is that freedom is indeed attainable. One finds such freedom, which awaits all who suffer, maintains Park, as we discover and embrace the “person God created us to be.” Through a transformational relationship with Jesus Christ and by living a life informed by his teachings, any one of us can find a pathway forward, unshackled from the chains that currently bind our spiritual progress. ... (read more)

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Funny

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Humor and Witticisms 101 Plus
by Alex Gall
AuthorsPress


"Mary’s voice was as clear as a bell. The problem was her voice left a ringing in my ears."

Comedy is all about coming up with the right thing to say, in an acceptable amount of time, when presented with a situation or a character. The author’s hundreds of phrases, banter, and wisecracks are collected and presented in an A-to-Z topical format ranging from marriage to politics, health to intelligence. Each heading offers between one and dozens of pithy remarks set up either as anecdotes, punchlines, or simply clever bits of wordplay and creative observation. Each line is a surefire way to crack a smile, chuckle sensibly, or share with a friend for twice the laughter. Much of the humor is good-natured but also ventures into the deprecating or fun-poking variety from time to time, so readers should bring a sense of humor or some thickened skin. ... (read more)

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No Chaos

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Order in the Schoolhouse: Discipline with a New Attitude (DNA)
by Jewell T. Christy
Xlibris


"Managing a school implies getting and remaining organized, employing team work, and just getting it all done."

A professional public school educator has constructed a manual for school management and educational process. The standard hierarchy begins with government officials who are charged with legislating and regulating. Administrators such as the school superintendents who execute school policy come next. The principal and vice principal provide on-site leadership, while teachers have direct responsibility for conveying policy in a way that students can understand, participate in, and incorporate into their classroom and general behavior. Naming this hierarchy “The Everyone Team,” Christy gives realistic examples of how such functioning should work, showing how easily discipline can go astray when anyone on the team is not fully in sync with the larger vision. When all parties in the hierarchy are smoothly and solidly playing their parts, the student can and should learn to assume responsibility for his or her actions, ensuring order is maintained. ... (read more)

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Ware Rages

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Where Tigers Flew
by Rebecca Kaye
Xlibris


"Ah Poon said, ‘The monkey is your special animal, and you will grow up to be clever and wise like him.’"

The author of this fascinating memoir, whose father was Chinese and mother Australian, paints a rich tapestry of growing up in Shanghai, China, during World War II and throughout the Japanese invasion. After the war, China is still in turmoil as the Communist Party of Mao Zedong rises in power. Throughout all of these war-ravaged and politically-charged times, Kaye—who is already considered an “outsider” due to her Eurasian appearance and struggles with the Chinese language (her native tongue is English)—learns to live life with an acceptance of the harassment and near-daily inquisition of armed officers even as she simply ventures to school and back. “Mongrel,” she is sometimes called, referring to her mixed cultural heritage. Despite these difficulties, constant interrogation by armed Japanese officers, and times she and friends have to run for cover during wartime air raids, the young protagonist goes on to eventually find love and a steady career and is currently a much sought-after instructor of traditional Chinese ink painting onboard cruise ships. ... (read more)

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Better Relations

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Human Relation
by Hyok Y. Lee
Xlibris


"Because everything comes down to character eventually in life . . ."

Lee, who is a physician specializing in allergy and immunology, has written an interesting philosophical and psychological book, the primary assertion of which is that all human beings generally fall into either high- or low-grade character wealth. This type of wealth is completely separate from material wealth, job title, or other societal status. In a nutshell, one’s grade of character wealth determines to a very high degree one’s ultimate happiness, likeability, meaningfulness (achieved in life, both in one’s career as well as one’s interpersonal relationships), and other key areas. Although analysis of the characteristics of that which makes for individual high-graders and low-graders is the hallmark aim of Lee’s work, in the process, the author also delves into such related matters as mathematics, economics, medicine, aesthetics, and sports (the author is an avid tennis player). Ultimately, as Lee writes, “High-grades are better respected and more likeable due to high character; simply hanging around high-grades enriches one’s life and makes one’s life meaningful.” High-grade individuals, Lee argues, innately know how to enjoy and make the most of life, no matter the circumstances. ... (read more)

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Safety

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Haven in the Hood
by Raychel Ryder
Xlibris


"Maria learned that the neighborhood had criminals lurking and that every noise she heard could be an indication of trouble."

For twenty-six years, Maria lived in a dangerous, crime-infested neighborhood. She acquired a house from family and was determined that, with only a low-paying job, she could maintain it. An older relative told her that a spirit hovered over the house. Maria began to see that spirit as a protector, and, with a strong sense of serendipity and spiritual insight, she attributed to God her many close escapes from fire, stalkers, and random violence. Extraordinary happenings, often involving extrasensory perception, were a constant in Maria’s life. She had the ability to take “memory photos,” recounting details very accurately when she saw evidence of a crime in progress. As one of many examples, she once sensed panic in the faces of three schoolgirls who, it was later learned, were being targeted by men who meant to harm them. After Maria moved to care for her ailing mother, she was convinced her long stay in the ‘hood had been divinely overseen. ... (read more)

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Danish Struggles Abroad

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Girl from Copenhagen: A Memoir Revisited
by Glenn Peterson
Xlibris


"As I have now come to realize, my father and I were in the same boat. I, too, had this store of true stories imparted to me by my parents, but I chose to spend time writing mediocre fiction."

Peterson explores the tenuous threads of memory and the invulnerable connection of life to death as he recollects the loss of his mother, Inge—a Danish woman who emigrated to the United States in 1946, the loss of his father, Bob, their life together as a family, and, ultimately, Peterson’s coping with his mother’s death. Peterson gently weaves his own memories and insights with his mother’s shared memories and experiences in order to preserve his mother’s life and explore his grief, all the while noting the importance of homeland and family and the impenetrable influence of both on his life. ... (read more)

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Impact

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Files of the Missing: Book 2—Gray and Armstrong Private Investigations
by Eve Grafton
Xlibris


"We started out as a partnership. You will meet my partner Percy Gray tomorrow. He is a retired police detective, it was his dream, and he talked me into it."

A mystery revolving around a private investigation agency, Gray and Armstrong, the book takes us through the inner and outer workings of what it takes to be a detective. There is a lot of work to go around for these members of a new agency, especially as they are often utilized by the police for various cases. A missing teenager, an Indian diplomat and former friend of James Armstrong, a former schoolmate of Alicia’s who abandoned her four-year-old child to them due to her drug addiction, a pedophile named Bull, a disappearing 18-year-old, possible murders at a nursing home, arson, and being pursued by a former crime boss are some of the main plots. Throw in a bookstore run by Granny, who raised Alicia, developing friendships, a recovering veteran in need of career help, and the do-good activities of all of these people, and you will find a story of interesting activities. ... (read more)

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Great Pride

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Party of the Hat
by Maria Elena Alcolea
iUniverse


"Each hat was decorated with flowers and ribbons. The children ran and hugged their parents in great happiness."

The Perezalco family lives in a small town and consists of a mom, dad, and four children who all attend the same school. Their father walks them to school each day and then works in his vegetable fields, while their mother takes care of the household and always has a hearty meal ready when the kids return. One day, the children learn at school about a contest called Party of the Hat in which each child will create a unique and festive hat to wear and share its story with the entire school. The winners will get a prize. The Perezalco children have no idea at this point just how extraordinary that prize will be. Mom and Dad use their own large hats, in combination with hats from the family’s scarecrows, and adorn them all with “the most beautiful white and colorful flowers from the garden” and “dark lilac velvet ribbons and silver-black buttons,” writes Alcolea. On the day of the contest, all the schoolchildren are excited, “wearing their hats with great pride.” ... (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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