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

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Recent Book Reviews

 

Focus Review
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. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

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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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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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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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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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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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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Quirky, Good

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Satellite Street
by Eleanor Lerman
Permanent Press


"A radio dj who died seven years ago-someone you’re too young to remember-was trying to communicate with me through my friend who can channel the dead, but she didn’t hear him so he used my father instead."

Paul Marden struggles with horrible pain from a severe illness and is developing a friendship with LeLee—a psychic, transgender woman who is swarmed by spirits on the other side. They live in a dilapidated town known for the supposed ability of its inhabitants to see launches from Cape Canaveral. Also living there is Paul’s elderly father who has dementia and horrible nursing care. But this is only the beginning as the Great Oswaldo, a former children’s program host who now works to debunk anything psychic or spiritual, is focused on revenge. However, the dead may have other ideas. The story revolves around coping and accepting differences, childhood struggles, and meeting interesting characters, especially as Paul and LeLee, the former Arthur Conners, reconnect at a church function after having no contact for many years. ... (read more)

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Intriguing Ideas

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Igbo Mediators of Yahweh Culture of Life
by Philip Chidi Njemanze
Book Venture Publishing


"There I was told by Our Lord to research on the materials on abortion and contraception in Africa and around the world."

The Igbo are an ethnic group in Nigeria, and archaeological evidence suggests their culture goes back thousands of years. Njemanze presents some aspects of the language of these people throughout the book in an interesting glimpse into this culture, which may not be widely known in European and American societies. ... (read more)

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Human Rights

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Eyes of Africa: In the Eyes of Africa
by Victorine D. Ngangu
Outskirts Press


"Africa’s progress lies in the hands of Africans themselves; it depends solely on their strength, courage and work."

Author and activist Ngangu has created a credible, thought-provoking thesis regarding her native land. She asserts that thousands of Africans die each year from preventable causes that can be traced to poverty, neglect, and lack of basic rights. She paints a wide panorama of those causes and suggests ways to remedy this shocking and unjust situation. One major irony is that the continent of Africa is far from poor. Focusing on the Congo region from where the author emigrated in her teens, she points out that it is a “geological paradise.” The whole of Africa, in fact, is laden with vast mineral resources: coal, oil, copper, cobalt, lead, uranium, gold, diamonds, and a substance called Coltan, used in the manufacture of computers and in the nuclear and aeronautics industries. Additionally, Africa has rich soil for agriculture that is not being utilized for its starving citizens. Ngangu states that generations of wealthy, greedy elites in Africa have allowed these resources to be exploited almost solely by other nations with almost no benefit accruing to the poor people who live there. ... (read more)

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Gritty & Intellectual

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Transference
by B.T. Keaton
Ingleside Avenue Press


"When everything you believe about civilization is a lie, the ultimate power is truth."

Barrabas Madzimure is a notorious thief, banished from a dystopian, post-apocalyptic Earth, and sent to mine eridanium ore on a distant prison planet. The slave laborer is sentenced to death after killing an errant prison warden. What seems like a mundane predicament is complicated by the fact that immortality is available to all in the twenty-second century by soul transference—a complicated process requiring eridanium—and controlled by an all-powerful Church under the watchful eye of a megalomaniac prophet. In extreme duress, Madzimure confesses that he is inhabited by Thaniel Kilraven, a legendary warrior and dissenter sought by the Church. But will the revelation assure his survival and escape from the cynical brutality of this system or condemn him to more torture? When Madzimure-Kilraven learns that the family he thought dead are all alive, it seems there is much about his journey that he must strive to understand. ... (read more)

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A Higher Level

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Finding the Clouds and a Life
by Carl M. Robinson
Page Publishing, Inc.


"I could get a black patch to cover my eye or just leave it uncovered and cloudy; I chose the latter."

From the outset, Robinson’s fusion of memoir and biography combined with a succinct narrative writing style results in a clear and engaging portrayal of a life story that rarely lacks positive energy even in the midst of adverse circumstances. Audiences who either grew up in the 40s and 50s or learned about the decades in the history books will undeniably get an in-depth snapshot into what life was like for those who actually lived it, whether it was the anticipation of being drafted or how World War II not only affected soldiers on the front line but also drastically altered civilian life. ... (read more)

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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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Nature Trails

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Kodiak Tales: Stories of Adventure on Alaska’s Emerald Isle
by Harry B. Dodge III
AuthorHouse


"Transported from the mainland by ocean currents many centuries before, the spruce were slowly advancing southward across the archipelago."

The stories contained within Dodge’s collection are all set in and inspired by the Kodiak Archipelago, which the author aims to depict “with respect and appreciation for Kodiak’s beauty, abundant natural resources, and rich cultural past.” And that is what the reader gets from Dodge’s varied stories and factual accounts. They all speak to the “unique ecosystem” of the Kodiak Archipelago, a land “isolated from mainland Alaska for at least 200,000 years.” It is a region where secrets are revealed, where man and nature converge in unpredictable ways, and where isolation is understood and sometimes feared. ... (read more)

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The Test

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Where Sheep May Safely Graze
by Phyllis Staton Campbell
Goldtouch Press, LLC


"You’re going to think I’m mad, Amy, but no matter how awful blindness is, I’m seeing some good in it."

Their relationship blossomed out of the garden that was Grace Church. Amy, who since childhood loved nothing more than playing old hymns on the piano, was hired as the music director while Jim, tall and handsome, was the new pastor. The first time they met, he heard gorgeous organ music filling the church’s loft and just had to see who was playing. It turned out to be Amy. Soon they were engaged and then married—only to have Jim, who was in the Army Reserve as a pastor, sent to the Iraq War just after they tied the knot and shared their vows. Before long, word came that Jim had been wounded. Because a gunshot wound ruptured his optic nerve, the young pastor lost his vision. ... (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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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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Immortal Soul

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Real You Does Not Die!: What We Have Now Learned
by William Pillow
Amazon Digital Services LLC


"Down through time, our ancestors seemed to have sensed hidden truths as they buried their loved ones."

A combination of historical, anecdotal, scientific, biographical, and, above all, spiritual information, this intriguing book is, among many other categories and definitions, a bibliography of sources about death and transcendence as well as Pillow's own research and experiences about the subjects. The author usually avoids the concepts of "death" and "afterlife," however, and focuses on the theory that life is ongoing. Therefore, no one "dies" but instead transcends the physical realm for a while. ... (read more)

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Optimism & Faith

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sweet Dominique
by Will Holmes
iUniverse


"Big Swag: I wish I could get out this street life like you, homie. But I’m too far in. You got a good girl, two beautiful kids."

This is a story of a young black woman overcoming many horrendous obstacles, including the death of her mother during childbirth, when her father was faced with a most difficult choice of keeping the mother alive or the new baby; according to the doctors, only one option was viable. Her mother insisted that the new life be spared. The baby, Dominique, also lost her only sibling, as well as her dad and stepmom in a car wreck. She got pregnant in her teens, twice. The characters we come to know in Holmes’ book live lives surrounded by drugs, murder, gangs, poverty, prayer in church, and parents often not being at home. Dominique—or Sweet Dominique, as her mother, Evette, decides to name her on her deathbed in the hospital during delivery—rises above it all to go on to earn her Master’s degree and become CEO of a Fortune 500 telecommunications company. ... (read more)

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Super-Powered

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Galena Nuclear Project: Pursuing Low Cost Energy in Bush Alaska
by Marvin L. Yoder
PageTurner, Press and Media


"Finding a long-term solution for the high cost of energy remained elusive."

Galena is a small Alaskan city established in 1918 when lead ore was discovered at the site of a tribal fishing camp. During WWII, a military field was built adjacent to the civilian airfield. The end of the Cold War caused the partial shutdown of military operations at this airbase in 1993, with a complete shutdown in 2010.The author picks up Galena’s history from that time when the high cost of fuel transportation initiated discussions regarding various systems to meet the city’s newly-reduced electrical and heating requirements. ... (read more)

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No Ordinary Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Musings of a Military Maverick
by Yoginder Sharma
PageTurner Press and Media


"Taking over command is like summiting a peak. The challenge may be in the climb but the command tenure is the exhilarating culmination at the apex."

Sharma’s intense and detailed narrative of his decades-long career with the Indian military is full of amazing feats. It also tells the love story he shared with his “soulmate,” a “beautiful Greek girl” the young Indian Army officer met in Gaza in the summer of 1958 while both were serving with the United Nations Emergency Force, deployed at the Sinai Peninsula to keep the peace between Israel and Egypt. Her name was Despina, and the two were wed in 1960. Later, she was anointed as ‘First Lady’ of the Grenadiers, the esteemed familial group with whom Sharma served. “She had long wanted me to write this account,” says Sharma, “for posterity’s sake.” ... (read more)

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Confessional

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Pockets of My Brain
by Constance Breen
PageTurner Press and Media


"Eating a fudge pop and staring at the walls
In my mind I am wandering down these strange halls"

In this genuine, hearty collection of more than 140 individual poems—each approximating a page or two in length—Breen pays homage to her dying mother, her father, her friend Donna, and a range of her own experiences and emotions. To be sure, there are certain moments within these 160-plus pages that stand out as exemplary. In the poem “How I Am Still,” Breen begins, “There are no oceans between the oceans / Time is swept swiftly into the undertow.” In “For My Dad,” the poet writes that she will “always be your little girl / The one that you called monkey.” She paints a touching image when she adds, “With the side burns I used to twiddle,” of a baby girl playfully smitten with her father, and that is a beautiful thing. One appealing aspect is that with each poem presented, the exact date the poet authored it is shared with the reader. ... (read more)

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Facing a Bully

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Tails of Linda Place: Kurt and Nibby
by Josephine E. Hernandez
Xlibris


"Cousin Nibby was afraid of Kurt. But he knew that he had to overcome his fears if he was going to help this terrible fellow squirrel."

Kurt Mudgeon is the bully of the squirrel community that lives at Linda Place. Because of his great size and agility when navigating tree branches, even the dogs of Linda Place are afraid of him. Not only does Kurt’s squirrel community fear him, but they also harbor much resentment for his thievery. Adept at stealing the nuts that the other squirrels in the community have collected, he has built a fortune. As Kurt grows older, he becomes even more devious and mean-spirited. He hoards the nuts he has but also refuses to share any of his bounty. When Kurt grows old, his behavior becomes increasingly disturbing, and he can’t remember where he hid his bounty. The only squirrel in the community concerned for Kurt is his cousin Nibby who, despite his fear of Kurt, can’t let him starve. So, he becomes his cousin’s guardian. ... (read more)

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Tale of Loss

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Where Are You?
by Alexander J.S. Warner
iUniverse


"Kitty cat, Kitty cat, where are you? Are you under the bed?"

Roger Caras spoke truly when he said that a pet is not a person’s whole life, but that they make a life whole. With their unconditional love and undivided attention for their owner(s), it is no surprise that pets are viewed as part of a family. So when they go missing, it can instill anxiety akin to losing a child. In this tale, a young boy named Alexander becomes anxious and starts to panic when his cat goes missing. The story focuses on his search for his beloved kitty. ... (read more)

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Acceptance

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hairy Phil Finds Fairy Hill
by Tish Quigley
Xlibris


"Phil’s plan was ingenious; he knew it just couldn’t fail.
And as the wind started blowing, he hoisted the sail"

A race of kind, hirsute humanoids known as the Hairies are facing an urgent crisis: their island is sinking under the weight of all of them, sending the citizenry in a panic. One Hairy known as Phil sets out on a raft to try and come up with a solution to this impending catastrophe. Tossed about at sea and shipwrecked in a storm, Phil washes up on a strange beach that he quickly realizes would be perfect for the Hairies. Unfortunately for Phil, the island is already occupied by a group of Fairies who distrust Phil and send him to see the King immediately. The King banishes Phil effective the next day, but the Fairy people discover that their island is starting to drift away, and Phil might be the only thing that can save them. ... (read more)

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About Birds

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Little Billy and the Birds
by T. Steele Petry
AuthorHouse


"Little Billy loved birds. He was lucky enough to live close to fields, forests and lakes where many interesting and beautiful birds lived and played."

Little Billy takes a trip to visit nearby birds in this delightful rhyming story. The book features specific birds by their species or family names, such as the pileated woodpecker and the nuthatch, along with facts about what they eat, key characteristics, and/or habits. There is a lot to learn in this entertaining picture book about nine different bird types. ... (read more)

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Dog Times

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Little Dougie and the Dogs
by T. Steele Petry
AuthorHouse


"Little Dougie loved dogs. Whether big or small; he loved them all!"

Little Dougie takes a trip to the dog park and meets many different types of dogs while he is there. The book introduces the dogs by their species and by their names, providing an entertaining view of many different types of dogs. Little Dougie meets a German shepherd, an English setter, a golden retriever, and many others. The dogs are also pictured alongside their passages, introducing the children to the way they look. ... (read more)

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The Jungle

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Little Jenny in the Jungle
by T. Steele Petry
AuthorHouse


"This day little Jenny decided to travel to the jungle to visit with the many varieties of animals that lived there."

Little Jenny decides to explore the jungle and travels to South America and Africa to see these exotic locations and the animals who live there. The book journeys to each continent in turn and explores the animals and other features of the jungle. Many species are featured, including a Nile crocodile, a blue wildebeest, and a scarlet macaw, among many others. ... (read more)

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On Safari

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Little Sally on Safari
by T. Steele Petry
AuthorHouse


"Little Sally loved her home where she could walk and talk with the animals."

Young readers can join little Sally as she travels around her home in Africa to visit the animals that live there. Unfortunately, along the way, little Sally gets lost, but she knows just who to ask to help her find her way back home. Luckily, Mrs. Giraffe is able to use her high vantage point to locate little Sally’s home and point her in the right direction. The book tracks her journey as little Sally says hello to a lion, elephant, tiger, and several other animals. ... (read more)

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Overcoming

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Left for Dead at Nijmegen: The True Story of an American Paratrooper in World War II
by Marcus A. Nannini
Casemate Publishers


". . . standing in line waiting his turn to board the C-47 transport which would drop him into Holland in the first wave of Operation Market Garden."

Gene Metcalfe was a fit and willing 20-year-old who finally achieved his goal of parachuting behind enemy lines. Days after the 1944 Normandy invasion, his 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment parachuted onto the European continent behind enemy lines in Holland. Their assignment was to capture the bridge leading into the city of Nijmegen. They were led to expect that no seasoned German soldiers would be there to meet them. Quickly, the unit figured out that these were not elderly men and kids manning the tanks and firepower. A blast that erupted near Metcalfe tossed him into the air; the slam to earth caused bleeding from his ear and rendered him unconscious. His best friend considered him dead and fell back with other unit members. ... (read more)

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Engaging Plot

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Seven Shadows: A Dana Hargrove Legal Mystery
by V. S. Kemanis
Opus Nine Books


"She feels slightly reckless but hasn’t lost her perspective or turned off her radar. By no means has the stalker left her mind."

The protagonist of this involving mystery seems to have it all. Dana is a middle-aged judge in New York City. She has a loving husband who teaches law, a boy and a girl in college who seem to exemplify the best and the brightest, and a sister who’s a successful actress. She’s also well-respected by the people who work with and for her. Yet the core of this novel is not about superficial perceptions; it’s about being able to see things from different perspectives, and the need for empathy as well as experience when making difficult decisions. ... (read more)

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Staying Alive

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Everyone Dies Famous
by Len Joy
BQB Publishing


"'Thank you,' Dancer said, but he didn’t mean it. He knew Landis’s generosity would come with strings attached."

Dancer Stonemason is an old man whose ride on the ups and downs of life has him at another lonely crossroads. After making amends and peace with his oldest son Clayton, his child is suddenly ripped away from him in a truck accident. A year later, Dancer has to relocate back into the heart of Maple Springs, the town where he was a legend from both good times and bad. His other son, a successful car dealership owner, negotiates the sale of his late brother’s house and has Dancer move back in with him. Forcibly moved into the next phase of his life, Dancer tries to keep Clayton’s business alive while adjusting to these new circumstances as best as a stubborn old man can. The memory of his son haunts him repeatedly, no matter his attempts to simply keep moving with the flow of life. ... (read more)

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Here & Now

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ezekial: A Warning
by Lawrence Adams
Fawkes Press


"God has a plan for the country of Israel, which is the apple of his eye . . ."

The author of this warning book about the end times, as prophesied in the Bible, has studied and quoted extensively chapters 37, 38, and 39 of Ezekiel. Adams explains in detail his belief that Israel and her people have been “risen up” by God and that apocalyptic calamity of famine, pestilence, and earthquakes will accompany the time on Earth before Jesus Christ returns and takes his believers the world over to eternal salvation. Invoking various prophetic verses of both the Old and New Testaments, Adams predicts that Russia, in particular, will engage in a war of biblical proportions with Israel and that God’s chosen people will ultimately prevail. ... (read more)

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Quirky, Good

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Satellite Street
by Eleanor Lerman
Permanent Press


"A radio dj who died seven years ago-someone you’re too young to remember-was trying to communicate with me through my friend who can channel the dead, but she didn’t hear him so he used my father instead."

Paul Marden struggles with horrible pain from a severe illness and is developing a friendship with LeLee—a psychic, transgender woman who is swarmed by spirits on the other side. They live in a dilapidated town known for the supposed ability of its inhabitants to see launches from Cape Canaveral. Also living there is Paul’s elderly father who has dementia and horrible nursing care. But this is only the beginning as the Great Oswaldo, a former children’s program host who now works to debunk anything psychic or spiritual, is focused on revenge. However, the dead may have other ideas. The story revolves around coping and accepting differences, childhood struggles, and meeting interesting characters, especially as Paul and LeLee, the former Arthur Conners, reconnect at a church function after having no contact for many years. ... (read more)

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Ahead of His Time

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Leonardo da Vinci Cartographer and Inventor of the Google Map
by Ann C. Pizzorusso
Da Vinci Press


"Through Leonardo’s ability to draw upon his capabilities in many fields and manifest his creativity with startling innovations, he revolutionized the field of cartography."

This essay-length book explores the mapmaking interests of the great Renaissance painter and polymath Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), who melded his artistic skills and his knowledge of military architecture and engineering, geology, hydrology, and surveying to revolutionize cartography. His 1502 street plan of Imola, a city used as headquarters of a military campaign by Cesare Borgia, is a pen and ink drawing enhanced by colored washes and noted for its accuracy as compared to a current map by Google. In fact, it is considered the first mathematically accurate topographical rendering of a city in cartographic history. Da Vinci also produced many maps related to his studies of the flow and diversion of water. “In the ensuing years, [da Vinci] worked on imaginative innovations which allowed him to create maps which had never been produced before, were only imitated a half-century after his death, and whose symbols and coloration form the base of every map we have today.” ... (read more)

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Snowman Incident

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The Battle of Elm and 11th
by Tanner Frankfort
Austin Macauley Publishers


"They’d no reason to think that each snowy friend,
Would all come to life and would fight to the end"

Welcome to North Green, where the Murphy and Conroy families live in harmony, both on Elm St. and with 11th in between. Both sets of neighbors are families of five: one has all girls, while the other has all boys. The Murphys and the Conroys do everything together; their kids go to school each day on the same bus, while both sets of parents carpool to work, following right behind the children. One day, after “the leaves were all raked and the wind turned cold” after a great snowfall, the two families built snowmen together. Having bid their goodnights, and retiring to their respective houses for a good night’s sleep with all children and pets snug in bed, little did any of them know just what was to happen out in their yards and in the street below. The Murphy and Conroy snowmen seemed to have fashioned weapons of snow and, in fact, to have had a great battle. Shoving and chaos ensued. Snow spears were thrown, and top hats knocked off. ... (read more)

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Understanding

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Pretty: A Memoir
by Karen Vorbeck Williams
Fawkes Press


". . . I wanted to be a great dramatic actress—but I couldn’t. I wasn’t good enough—smart enough—pretty enough."

Williams recalls the moment in circa 1955 that her family life split. Her mother’s bold decision to leave her husband and take Williams and her sisters, Susan and Gretchen, changes everything. The “urban sprawl” of California is far different from the familiar, isolated mountain home in Grand Junction, Colorado. They eventually settle in the “small and peaceful” town of Ojai, where Williams witnesses her mother’s positive transformation. As Williams fondly remembers her childhood in Grand Junction, she comes to terms with living in the shadow of her fragile mother’s anger and her gloomy father’s propensity for damage. ... (read more)

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Pastoral

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Woods, A Summer Weave: Collection of Poetry and Piano Classics - Vol VII
by Jane Summers
Xlibris


"Seasons summer,
A face of a plant,
Smiles of joy of cheer!
My leaves look up for a greeting every sunrise,
Only my awe!"

Nature is at the heart of Summers’ poetry, with the changing of the seasons evoking a range of emotions that testify to the meaning of being alive. Combined with intoxicating imagery both in prose and illustration, Summers’ command of figurative language is undeniable. Rooted within the theme of changing seasons as a representation of the passing of time, however, is an intriguing glimpse into Telugu and Hindu culture, from its traditions and gods to its rituals and celebrations. ... (read more)

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Climate Change

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Three Degrees and Gone
by J. Stewart Willis
Black Rose Writing


"Between the phone patch, the ear imp, the tube computer, the television wand, and the sensor goggles, there was no need for books."

The year is 2086, and Frank and his wife Dana and daughter Embrey all live in the self-contained “glass bubble,” which Frank’s employer Gibson Petroleum provides for all of its employees’ families. In fact, venturing outside the facility too often is highly discouraged, as all the needs of the families are (supposedly) met by the super-complex, and besides, it’s a dangerous world out there. In Frank and Dana’s Galveston Bay area in Texas, the waters have risen three feet since the turn of the last century. Unchecked climate catastrophe has run amok, and the consequences for daily life and survival are very real and very bleak at this fictionalized point in the near future. A good many Americans find themselves in the role of migrants, as heading north to Canada—both legally and illegally—is now a common course of action. ... (read more)

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Warm Embrace

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Preacher with a Pen
by Garfield Gordon
Xlibris


"Know that while wearing this mortal tent
You're living on the edge of Eternity."

William Cowper’s Christian hymn in 1773, “God moves in a mysterious way,” is a testament to Gordon’s life, a journey that started in the light of God and spiraled into the depths of such darkness that a return to the light seemed impossible. In this poetry compilation, Gordon extends the warm embrace of the light and Christ, demonstrating that stumbling rudderless through life, blind, and unfulfilled, is not a fate the Lord plans for any of His children. ... (read more)

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Roman Slaughter

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Bethlehem’s Brothers
by Ronald Hera
iUniverse


"And is this gift for gentiles and well as the Jews?"

Nine-year-old Simeon and six-year-old Enoch and their mother, Esther, survive the first-century AD Massacre of the Innocents in this young adult historical suspense novel, the first of a trilogy. The boys’ youngest brother and their father are brutally murdered by Roman soldiers in the surprise nighttime mission. This horrific execution of all male children two years old and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem, as ordered by King Herod of Judea, is a measure meant to destroy Jesus, later known as Jesus of Nazareth, the long-prophesied Jewish Messiah. ... (read more)

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Love or Leave Him

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Trump: Laugh or Cry
by E. M. Fintan
iUniverse


"Dr. Mueller said if I don’t get a Trumpectomy soon, I could suffer lasting consequences!"

For most Americans, the 45th President has been a polarizing figure, moving people further from the center to either side. For his critics who prefer to take a step back and ride out his administration, the question becomes more of whether to speak out against the decisions being made or roll eyes at the litany of caps-locked tweets. In this collection of political cartoons by the author, Trump’s presidency, cabinet, and foreign policy are presented in a caricature form that is far from flattering for the current commander in chief. From meetings with despotic foreign leaders touted as diplomatic successes to the proposed border wall, no topic is off-limits or played with kid gloves. Opponents of the current presidency will find reasons to either shake their head and laugh or go through their growing list of grievances with each cartoon presented in this book. ... (read more)

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Passionate Learning

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Beliefs
by Gardiner Noble
Stratton Press Publishing


"The joy and comfort a human being gets from studying any one of the sacred books is . . . a confirmation of the existence of a supreme being."

Have you ever wondered why people of different religions can react with equal violence to those who refuse to immediately accept their religious experiences or rationale? At the same time, they claim that their religion teaches peace and love, when, in fact, what it inspires is a passionate response to learning about like-minded opinions. The author examines these tendencies and more in his intriguing work. After introducing his first argument-provoking revelation, the author avoids immediate confrontation by switching to seemingly off-topic chapters. Noble next offers his explanations of the wonders of cell propagation and DNA, the Big Bang theory, and global warming. Each of these side topics, like the main thesis, either mandates a divine designer or becomes hopelessly limited to the finite wisdom of fellow human beings. ... (read more)

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Pressure Cooker

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Living in Brazil: As a Peace Corps Volunteer and Businessman
by H. Lynn Beck
iUniverse


"I had a reason to live in Brazil for two years, to learn the language and the culture and maybe even mature more. Looking back, I had a wonderful deal."

Upon the completion of a master's degree in 1974, Beck finds himself as a young man with no set plan or direction for his life. When he decides to join the Peace Corps, he receives an offer to work in Brazil in education. His fluency in Spanish is an advantage for him that allows Beck to get by just enough with his limited Portuguese. ... (read more)

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A Big Picture

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

All Over the World Boys Behaving Badly
by Brynn Sommerlynn
Westwood Books Publishing


"We need to resurrect the American men for their best interests as well as ours and our children’s."

With a mix of memoir and social critique, this book wades into the rough waters of controversial topics, offering insight, advice, and a way forward. Sommerlynn begins with an emphasis on gender roles and expectations by breaking down her own beliefs about what constitutes a real man and about how women should conduct themselves in the world. She moves quickly forward into a wide range of political and social issues, including illegal immigration, feminism, and white privilege. Sommerlynn relies on personal, cultural, and historical anecdotes to support a conservative viewpoint on these issues. Part advice, part commentary, Sommerlynn’s writing unpacks the issues with fiery accusations and clear-eyed assessments of modern society. ... (read more)

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Inside Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Memories of a Jewish Girl from Brooklyn
by Helene Meisner Oelerich
Page Publishing, Inc


"Every time I did my homework, I would save my literature or writing or reading for last. That was my dessert."

Oelerich was born to a Jewish immigrant family. Her Russian grandfather arrived as a blacksmith. They fled to America to escape from the Czar’s anti-Jewish pogroms. These were violent massacres that targeted religious groups, especially Jews. Working as a blacksmith, her grandfather shoed horses for the NYC police department.

The author’s early childhood in Brooklyn is told in chapters 1–4. The author had one older brother she greatly admired. Her father was a paper hanger. Her mother read books to her as a child. When she wasn’t reading, Oelerich went to afternoon movies. As a teenager, her activities centered on making her dream to become an actress come true. She studied music and the theatre, including pantomime, taking the bus over to Greenwich Village. During Oelerich’s high school years, her mother was a saleslady in Manhattan; they both loved City Music Hall and going to the top of the Empire State Building. A close high school friend, Laura, invited her to come along with her family. Laura’s mother was an actress. With them at a famous restaurant, the author met Johnny Carson. For a time, they were a couple pursuing more than a casual relationship as he divorced from his first wife. Later, Oelerich was involved in her own failing marriage. Prior to this point, her life dream had changed to teaching children. The author met Phil Oelerich who became her second husband. The couple has been married for twenty-three years. ... (read more)

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Action-Packed

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Kings Death
by Ed Cannon
Xlibris


"Sillik here can see the truth of things before anyone I know."

Prince Sillik, the youngest son of King Saldor of Illicia, is the prime mover in this action-packed fantasy. The father detects the boy’s special abilities early on. At age nine, Sillik produces fire with a wave of his hands and befriends a huge wild bird—the common means of transportation—after being prompted by the goddess Silvia. Sillik will act fearlessly, fighting and winning a war, while employing magic and his sharp wits against a consortium of evil beings. He will have an ally—Prince Lysander of Aceon, a cadre of warriors led by stalwart general Ramos, and two special supporters: his consort and someday wife, Renee, and Briana, a bold female warrior. When Saldor and his brothers are lost in the fray, Sillik assumes the Illician throne, even as his future enemies are being conjured from the souls of the conquered. ... (read more)

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Strange Visions

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Beatific Vision
by Jordan Spiece
AuthorHouse


"Even now I feel as if I truly experienced it. When I wake from any other dream, I immediately realize how illusory they were."

During an architectural study trip to Rome, Daven Jones and Adam Gilmour find themselves trapped in the city under a new regime, Domus Aurea. The city is immobilized, and anyone not of Italian heritage is arrested and placed in newly established work camps. Finding refuge with friends, the two bide their time while evil and fear permeate the city. With the situation dire, Giuseppe Morreti, commander of the Vatican’s Milvian Guard which had cleared the Vatican of Aurean captors, has a strange dream—a vision. Now three years after the takeover by the Domus Aurea, Morreti struggles to understand his strange vision in which the names of Lilith’s angelic punishers are revealed. But even as Morreti is convinced this vision is positive, the children of Lilith are seeking revenge, and soon other demonic visions will follow. Now, the two students and Morreti find themselves in a fight to save Rome from the hands of the Domus Aurea and Lilith’s vengeful children. ... (read more)

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Creatures Abound

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Jake’s Fantastic Journey
by Linda Hunt
AuthorHouse UK


"It would whirr and gurgle into action and then brightly coloured bubbles would shoot out of a large red pipe."

One day after school, young Jake wanders farther than he ever has before behind his house and into the large maze of a garden of bushes and rhododendron with wild roots jutting in every direction. Instead of accompanying his little sister Molly home from school, he enters a world, through a heavy wooden door, very much unlike ours, where time is meaningless and elves, goblins, gnomes, and other creatures roam through forests. An abundance of portal holes appears through which one can quickly come out the other side into new places and planets in the universe, locations where life and the rules of physics as we know it are completely different. ... (read more)

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Unique & Innovative

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Jonathan’s Venture
by Wai Kit Chiang
Xlibris


"We must work together as one collective mind and body or we haven’t learned a thing."

Commander Robert Jameson is eight months into a two-year leave when he is ordered to return to active duty. The United Federation Space Program has approved a vessel that will be equipped to make a long voyage into space, one which doesn’t require its crew to hibernate during travel. Jameson’s past work convinces the orchestrators of this journey that he is the perfect man to command such an endeavor. His assignment is to put together a crew in which each member will take part in the final construction of a new ship—the Jonathan. This crew must be able to live together in harmony as well as know the inner-workings of the Jonathan so that. if needed, they can repair and maintain the vessel during the trip. As the crew is put in place, it is evident that each member is part of a whole which works autonomously to keep the ship stable through its travels. ... (read more)

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Blood Beast

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Shobu Samurai: Project Aryoku
by Shinry
Xlibris


"It won't be long now until the lunar eclipse, and then God will return, and we will bring salvation to everyone in the Ark."

In the Ark world, there are six different realms devoted to specializations: members of the Wind Civilization are technocrats; the Fire comprises the offensive military; the Water is made up of healers and gardeners; the Earth members serve as defense; the Light Realm governs; those in the Dark are scientists who dabble in the forbidden. In fact, it was the Dark Civilization that started "Project Aryoku," wherein humans become fused with "blood beasts," super-powered animal forms that feed on the human's blood then soul until finally killing them. But things in the Ark are not peaceful. Members of the Fire and Dark are combining to overthrow the Light's government. They are driven by resentments and hatred driven by the initial experiments with Aryoku. They enlist with the guardian known as Blood Wrath—a shadow creature created to guard the blood beast realm and summon a black dragon and fox spirit. Hoping to become infused by the dragon "Annoishi" and the fox "Akuma," they are surprised when, instead, the spirits enter into a very young boy, Shobo Samurai. ... (read more)

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Strange Worlds

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Albetration 2394 AD
by Brian Pinzon
Xlibris


"Well, think about it, the human psyche changed when the world was confirmed to be round and not flat."

In the future, more than three centuries away, many of the modern issues we face regarding overpopulation, climate change, and economic disparity continue to exist. What has changed, however, is the science of intergalactic travel via wormholes, creating a host of new solutions in place that will take time. People are able to buy land cheaply and ascend to positions of power if they agree to relocate to a new world, and it is the efforts of people like Captain Hanlow shipping various supplies and seeds needed to cultivate these Earth-like planets that make such solutions possible. Hanlow and his crew travel from world to world in this story that combines science fiction rooted in the latest developments and planned advancements explored in science fact. ... (read more)

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No Nonsense

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

What Makes a Happy Marriage: Maybe It’s Friendliness or Romance or Simply Being Extra Lovable That’s Missing
by Radzilani N Martin
AuthorHouse UK


"When your partner tells you of something a little stupid he or she did someplace, laugh and be happy."

Despite the ever-climbing divorce rates of the modern era, people are always falling in love and committing themselves to each other in marriage every day. So what steps can someone take in order to make their marriage stick where so many others fail? This guide breaks things down step by step, from selecting the right partner, preparing for marriage, to the ceremony itself. It also includes strategies for communicating and compromising well into married life. Every section of this book is full of advice, some of it common sense that needs to be spelled out while the heart chases excitement, other bits things that many wouldn’t think of until they’ve gone through marrying somebody. From sage wisdom to anonymous quotes from husbands and wives who share their secrets, this is the perfect handbook for making it work with the one you love. ... (read more)

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Health Frontiers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Life and Death: The History of Overcoming Disease and What It Tells Us About Our Present Increasing Life Expectancy as a Result of Present Day Actions
by John Durbin Husher
iUniverse


"The caveman had wonderful exercise, fresh air, no pollution, plenty of nutrients . . . plenty of sleep, no modern-day stress, yet the typical lifespan was nineteen years."

A cross between a short story and an encyclopedia on the evolution of innovation as well as diseases faced by mankind, Husher’s work is so engaging and comprehensive that audiences of any age could find the information easily digestible. Husher’s concept of non-evolutionary death incorporates the epidemics that changed the course of history and often yielded medical advances (e.g., vaccines) from the most brilliant minds humanity had to offer. Covering the past two centuries, Husher demonstrates why the average lifespan shifted from a measly twenty-seven to the mid-seventies. From the bubonic plague and the Black Death to manmade horrors such as World War I, the author thoroughly dives into the ramifications of events that decimated the world’s population. The history of more modern virus outbreaks such as anthrax in the United States and SARS in China is also covered from a scientific perspective in addition to a socio-cultural angle. ... (read more)

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Flawed People

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Higgins Hotel
by Carla Coffman
AuthorHouse


"But all good things must come to an end. One morning after Jack left for the gym his wife came back from Florida unannounced and made her appearance at the hotel."

Multiple murders, affairs, and a slew of motives populate Coffman’s second novel. Jack Higgins owns a hotel and a gym and does a bit of drug dealing on the side. The FBI is trying to make a case against him and one of his partners, but they don’t have much to go on. Jack’s wife, Booboo, is spending the winter in Florida, and Jack hires a young woman named Blossom to replace her as the head of Human Resources and the object of his desire. Although Blossom is doing a good job at the hotel, Booboo knows her husband and his motives and immediately fires Blossom when she returns to town. With the mysterious explosion in the occupied office of Cecil Pratt, a bank executive, the body count begins to rise. ... (read more)

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Espionage & Mayhem

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Perception: A Novel
by Jack Sinclair
iUniverse


"That’s what Sam was hoping for—that the people chosen by the citizens to do this kind of stuff would realize that they were not doing enough. Maybe then, he could go home and resume a ‘normal’ life."

Sam is a young man embarking on a dangerous task—making the world a better place by taking down those he deems as the ones who make the world a wretched place. Sam takes on drug cartels and their leaders, at times even entire governments, in order to do what he thinks is right: helping those that these entities eventually harm. However, as Sam takes on the largest project of any that he has ever undertaken, he begins to realize that what he wants most is to return to a normal life. As he pursues his goal and enlists the help of his talented family members and old friends, Sam battles against not only those he deems evil but also a system that ties his hands and even himself as he struggles against all the odds to finish what he knows is right for the betterment of humankind. ... (read more)

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Cricket Experience

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Boy, A Man and a Game
by Stanton Sheogobind
Xlibris


"In the world of cricket, there was a team renowned for its exciting, refreshing, and aggressive brand of cricket. This team was the West Indies."

A love letter to cricket's days of glory in the West Indies, this book is a memoir of the teams that the author was a member of, those that he cheered for, and the players and teams for which he has fond memories. Cricket has been a part of his life since 1949. The memories and anecdotes that Sheogobind shares are potent, as are his memories of the politics and financial disparities. At a match in Barbadoes, the author's Colombian flag attracted not the commentators, as hoped, but security, who asked him to remove it. Despite political and financial sacrifices for "The Game," the author bonded to his experiences and friends in ways that athletes and fans do—passionately, and for life. "In those moments when there [was] dull and uninspiring play . . . the crowd stomped, waved, and shouted, trying to keep their spirits up." ... (read more)

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Person & Prose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

It Is What It Is
by Judy Sunne Knowles
Xlibris


"It was my mother, my two sisters, my brother and me who travelled around one thousand miles and six states to reach our new home."

Reading a memoir is like peering voyeuristically into a life, but with permission. Such is this highly personal and touching account of a life well-lived. This is an autobiographical lesson in positivity. Knowles describes some of the worst experiences matter-of-factly in the best of terms and with the best outlook. "Before I knew it he was gone to another. My friends were there to help." Knowles, now over seventy years old, describes her life and memories from childhood with three siblings to the present. Her memories are sometimes bittersweet but often described in the most poetic of terms: "My story, I am not dead yet...Remember, where I land my balloon, it never lands twice - does it ever land?" ... (read more)

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Owners & Builders

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York
by Stanley Turkel, CMHS, ISHC
AuthorHouse


"The main criteria for inclusion of the thirty-two hotels in my book is that their structures are at least one hundred years old."

This book is an architectural delight for anyone who enjoys social, physical, economic, or geographical histories. Many of the hotels, including the St. Regis and the "literary" Algonquin, were built from 1900-1907 to accommodate the demands and tastes of an increasing, migrating population. Some, including the Cosmopolitan and Chelsea, hark back to the 1880s. All are distinct, even if owned today by corporations instead of individuals. Each sought to be an attraction for an elite clientele. They catered and continue to cater to their guests' individual needs, habits, and quirks. All of the hotels emphasize elegance and service, and even the title fonts of the book’s chapters reflect the splendor of the buildings. The author mentions the transition of wealthy people in the early twentieth century from large houses with many servants to smaller houses and apartments in the city. The hotels met this accommodation by providing suites and hotel staff, minimizing or eliminating the need for private servants in an urban dwelling. ... (read more)

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A New Mystery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Passport Mystery
by Eve Grafton
Xlibris


"These people are very professional, and with the killing of the Australian fellow, we believe them to be very dangerous."

Mysteries come in many shapes and sizes. The shape of this one is British, and the size is cozy with a capital C. While mysterious events are definitely delved into and solved, it’s the interpersonal relationships between various characters that take up most of the space from the first page to the last. ... (read more)

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Person of Faith

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

If You Want to Soar with Eagles, Don’t Hang Out with Turkeys: Gems for Christian Living
by Lois E. Scott
iUniverse


"With my newfound faith, I began collecting various sayings about faith and Christian living that I could share with family and friends."

This collection of sayings focuses on many aspects of life, offering practical and philosophical ways of striving for a higher purpose and maintaining the ability to smile, even laugh occasionally, when appropriate. Scott has neatly arranged hundreds of adages and aphorisms into categories presented alphabetically, beginning with “Animals.” For example, Mark Twain said, “He who grabs a cat by the tail learns a lot about cats.” In contrast, “If you want the best seat in the house, move the cat,” is attributed to an unknown source. A great many of the sayings come from the religious organization, Our Daily Bread (ODB). In “Giving,” ODB offers the statement that “Sacrifice is the true measure of our giving.” Others spring from the writings of pastor Charles R. Swindoll: “You can’t trust Satan’s ceasefires,” and “You and I become what we think about.” All, from the intellectual to the humorous, may stir the imagination and remind one of lofty concepts. ... (read more)

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Integrity

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Nights Remembered
by Bruce Collier
Stratton Press Publishing


"Dinner was a special time and occasionally lasted for hours. Tom never ran out of interesting stories about his and Carl’s father’s teenage adventures."

Collier’s expansive work of fiction follows the life of Carl Sanford, from when he was a small boy and witnessed his father’s death after a boating accident through his young adult and adult life. Sanford must deal with an alcoholic and adulterous mother, who often mistreats her son and brings unsavory boyfriends into the picture, including many who are abusive to the young boy. When things simply become unsustainable at home, Sanford goes off to live with Tom—his deceased dad’s brother—and Tom’s wife, Joyce. A new, healthy family unit is born, as the three of them, plus Jill (Joyce’s daughter), create a new household. Out of respect for the couple under whose roof they live, Sanford and Jill learn to repress their deep feelings they have for one another, but in the end, the two let their love blossom and eventually have a family of their own. Still, there’s another major twist to the story which readers will find quite delightful. ... (read more)

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Defining Moments

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Guys in Their 20s in the ‘60s: A Novel, Inspired by Actual Events
by Dennis S. Rasmussen
Access Media Group


"We’re all connected like roads spider-webbing across a highway map."

The tumultuous 1960s were full of shocking historical and cultural moments that shaped a generation of young men and women navigating the highs and lows. In this work of historical fiction, the decade comes to life with all its defining moments for a group of friends finding their way in young adulthood. The story opens with Dave Jennings learning the news that President Kennedy has been shot. Dave’s shock and sadness are palpable because he looked up to the young president as a surrogate father after his own father was killed in the Korean War. As he finds his footing in high school and with Vietnam looming, Dave goes to college and reconnects with his old friends, Adrian and Mitchell. All three begin the journey to find love and careers in a decade full of possibility. ... (read more)

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Rapid Change

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

American Baby Boomer
by Lucas Carter
Xlibris


"My generation has seen more change than any generation before it."

The generation born in America between the years 1946 and 1964 has fascinated the public from its beginning. This novel is described as “the story about one individual who was born and grew up as a baby boomer in the United States.” Born at the precipice of enormous cultural change, Michael Larson, the son of Norwegian immigrants who migrate to the United States by way of Canada, reflects on his life. Filled with family stories of love and laughter, sorrow and despair, the author’s tale leaves one feeling akin to Larson as he navigates the seasons of his life through decades of war, social upheaval, terrorism, and even the assassination of a president amid the social and intellectual strides of American society. ... (read more)

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Battle for Freedom

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Decision Affirmed
by Clarence “Kip” Vold
URLink Print and Media


"The choice for the United States was not between atomic bombs and peace, it was between atomic bombs and an early end to the war, or a continuing conventional war."

Vold, a former chief master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, believes the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, were justified. Step by step, battle by battle, Vold clearly and intelligently validates his (and President Truman’s) opinion that Japan would not have surrendered during WW II without the A-bomb’s persuasion. ... (read more)

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Awreness & Balance

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Jasmine and the Lamp of Spells
by Leonard Tate
iUniverse


"Boil the root of tangled snout.
Drink the broth, so piping hot.
A heavy sweat with darkness comes,
a sickness gone when day is done."

Witches, warlocks, sorcerers, changelings, elves, fairies, and humans comprise the majority of players in this bewitching fantasy. With slight glimpses of Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore, this story has its own tale to tell. Set in medieval times, the forces of good and evil clash in a conflict between kingdoms. The Witch Queen Borosia, ruler of the dark Kingdom of Willowdown, is determined to conquer the human Kingdom of Rodan, ruled by King Vroland, and where Jasmine and her father, the King’s military commander, reside. Meanwhile, the witch Borosia seeks to seize the Lamp of Spells, which will provide her with the power to win the war and seek revenge for the killing of her father in the former Battle of Nadia. When Jasmine discovers that her father is missing from the village where they live, she sets out on a mission to find him. The courageous Jasmine navigates the dark woods of Bantok Forest and fights the wicked beasts of Willowdown as they attempt to capture her and the magic lamp she carries. Will the Lamp of Spells save her from her deadly entanglements? ... (read more)

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Childview

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sammy Explores Charlotte, North Carolina: Book 3: Sammy's Big Adventure Series
by Pete Mravetz
Xlibris


"I’m on another Big Adventure with my family in Charlotte, North Carolina."

Sammy is an enthusiastic cat who opens this story wearing a bright yellow shirt announcing “I (heart) Charlotte.” He is visiting there with his cousin Adam, who will show him the sights. After a healthy breakfast, he and Adam head for the downtown with its many tall buildings. The city was founded in 1768 and named for Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III of England. Its love of the arts is apparent in the grand, ultra-modern Belk Theater set in the city center. In the suburban area is the Mint Museum, which was for many years an art and drama center. The Billy Graham Library is housed in a peaceful farm setting memorializing the famous preacher. Charlotte Motor Speedway is next with its NASCAR history, followed by Lake Norman, a recreation site with 520 miles of shoreline. After a “warm yummy pizza” at Hungry Howie’s, Sammy goes to bed content, feeling ready for another big adventure. ... (read more)

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Patriarchal Tendencies

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Boys’ Secrets and Men’s Loves: A Memoir
by David A.J. Richards
Xlibris


"The truth about our natures is that the gender binary and hierarchy—the heart of patriarchy—are false and destructively false because they cut us off from loving relationships based on freedom and equality."

Much more than the memoir of an eminent gay law professor, this title is a seminal treatise on the history of hierarchical patriarchy and its corrosive effect upon both men and women in every stratum of contemporary American society. The author “joins reflections on my own struggles with manhood and love with the insights of writers, who across the ages, have illuminated the trauma of patriarchal manhood, although their works have not usually been read in this light.” ... (read more)

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The Accused

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Denied! Failing Cordelia: Parental Love and Parental-State Theft in Los Angeles Juvenile Dependency Court: Book Three of Climbing the Broken Judicial Ladder
by Simon Cambridge
Xlibris


"I strongly believe that my commitment has added meaningful value to my daughter's life."

When she accuses her adoptive father of sexual abuse, a thirteen-year-old girl referred to as "Cordelia" is removed from parental custody and placed in state care. Cordelia is no ordinary disgruntled teenager in rebellion. She experiences reactive attachment disorder (RAD) after severe mistreatment from her birth mother. It causes her to reveal inappropriately intimate details of the alleged abuse to anyone who will listen, including perfect strangers. Meanwhile, she vacillates between shunning and craving contact with her adoptive parents. Her adoptive mother does not share this desire, and for the second time in Cordelia's life, a mother figure abandons her. The dysfunctional and overworked Department of Child and Family Services cannot adequately address her mental health problems and places credence in each of her ever-changing accounts of parental abuse. Only one person remains steadfast in his devotion to Cordelia's best interest—the very father she accused. ... (read more)

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The Leader We Deserve

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Forty Year Con Game: Everything You Need to Know About Donald Trump's Threat to Democracy
by Dr. Michael B. Harrington
Xlibris


"In their respective times, con artists gained national influence by controlling the public narrative, selectively using information, falsifying facts, stoking fears, claiming to save the country, and employing the mass media of their day effectively."

In this quietly commanding narrative, Harrington employs his expertise as a retired foreign service officer, national security analyst, and expert in economics and management to examine Donald J. Trump’s improbable ascension to the White House from a long career in real estate development and entrepreneurship marred by grandiosity, fraud, and failure. In Chapter 1, “The Implausible Candidate: Risks Known But Discounted,” Harrington writes, “Based on his public statements, [Trump] changed political parties several times between 1999 and 2012. He threatened to run for president on several occasions, mostly to attract attention. Yet he never adopted the tenets of either major party, shifting from day to day depending on his moods.” ... (read more)

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Faith Heal

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Keys to the Kingdom Revealed
by Richard Dunlap
Xlibris


"Each of us as Christians are responsible to pursue His same lifestyle if we have asked for Jesus to be in our hearts and have repented of all sin, which is cleansed by the blood of Jesus and puts us in right standing with the Father."

A fundamentalist approach to Christianity, the book examines the supernatural through the thoughts, beliefs, dreams, and visions of the author as well as the people he works to heal. The author indicates how he was a rather lax Christian until he attended a revival in 1997, which led him to focus on Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and intense work into his religion. The book then focuses on his religious beliefs: the laying on of hands to heal others; the sins, curses, and evil spirits which include physical and mental illnesses; generational curses that are incurable by mankind, such as cancer, acne, and fibromyalgia; and curses to pets, along with other evil spirits. Much is revealed by the testimonies of people he has healed through the Holy Spirit and Jesus. Also explored is the value of revival as well as the keys to spiritual warfare. Interspersed throughout the book are quotes from scripture. ... (read more)

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Natural Adventure

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Child’s View of the Prairie
by Susan C. McDermott
AuthorHouse


"Welcome to a Wisconsin prairie. This is a different world with many interesting things to see."

Two little boys, Mike and his older brother Dave, lead readers on a guided tour of a western prairie illustrated with large color photographs on every page. Through their dialogue, one learns that there are no trees or bushes in the prairie, but flowers and grasses can get up to ten feet tall, blooming and thriving through the year. Perhaps the most prolific are the black-eyed Susans with their bright yellow petals and dark brown centers. Yellow and purple coneflowers are distinguished by their “droopy” petals. Native Americans used purple prairie clover with its tall stems for healing wounds, while delicate pink bergamot blooms were made into tea. Prickly white rattlesnake master was believed to help heal snakebite. Bright orange butterfly weed attracts honeybees, and its seedpods are used to fill life jackets. Insects—bees, moths, ladybugs and dragonflies—are also seen in their habitat and examined by the enthusiastic boys. ... (read more)

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Treachery

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Living with the Devil’s Daughter: A True Story
by Webster T. George
Stratton Press Publishing


"I grew up feeling inferior to everyone. My father and mother, although not knowing what they were doing, had taught me that everyone was better than I was."

A story of longstanding familial dysfunction with roots in the author’s childhood, George focuses on a history of deception that begins after he marries his wife, Patsy, in 1961. Warren, her son from a previous marriage, lives with them. Eight months after the wedding, Kevin is born. It soon becomes apparent that Kevin is not George’s son. However, more surprises await the author as he discovers Patsy’s covetous ways and the darkness of her and Warren’s true character. The drama is compounded for the author because he suffers debilitating pain due to a work accident from which he gets limited relief. He develops major depression, further casting a cloud of doom over his world. ... (read more)

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Generations in Motion

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Sole Surviving Son
by W. Matthew Hart
Amazon Digital Services LLC


"'Attention all hands! This is not a drill! A torpedo has been sighted off the port bow!'"

Steamships were once used to transport coal, wood, and steel, predominantly along the eastern coast of the United States, but they often took on the private cargo of international companies that needed a way to relocate their investments and operations to keep them out of the German government’s reach. On the cusp of World War II, one such steamship was being used to transport a steel container to Brazil for this very reason, escorted by the captain and his crew, two passengers responsible for guaranteeing the container’s safe delivery, and two additional European passengers that were suspiciously added to the trip at the last minute. Despite changing course to maneuver nearer to the coastline and avoid any unwanted trouble, the ship was attacked by a torpedo and quickly became a sinking death trap for everyone on board. On that fateful summer night in August of 1939, a series of events that would traverse more than five decades and the family ties between three generations of fathers and sons was put in motion. ... (read more)

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Impactful Prose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Few More Minutes: A Poetry Collection
by Brenda Livingston Bradley
Xlibris


"And when you place your head
upon your pillow,
may you dream
of stored memories
and feel gentle arms
of peace surround you."

Moments in Bradley’s poetry compilation are almost like photographs that capture and encase a particular memory for eternity. The poems demonstrate a level of serenity and peace, whether it is the image of the speaker resting under the magnolia tree while observing a ruby-red Macaw cleaning his talons or the speaker being in a daze, going almost in slow motion while mourning. ... (read more)

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A Complete Children's Book

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Little Freddy in the Forest
by T. Steele Petry
AuthorHouse


". . . not an animal to touch but lucky to see."

This book is a complete display of Petry's talents as an artist and as a children's book author. His main character, Little Freddy, is the definition of complete enthusiasm, love of nature, and curiosity personified. Though there isn't one picture of Freddy himself, readers will want to pinch his cheeks and squeeze him for all the pure child he represents. The book starts with Little Freddy waking daily with enthusiasm to explore. He heads into the forest, not to hunt or fish or catch anything, but to observe and appreciate. "The fawn was beautiful with very large eyes, / Especially considering her relatively small size." ... (read more)

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Rich & Complex

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Girls of Charity
by Latosha Downs
iUniverse


"It’s everyone’s dream to fit into a world that hates you."

There are many quotes regarding the idea that when one is faced with adversity, and not conforming to the social norms set by society, that one should rise above it and embrace one’s individualism. These slogans are meant to be a source of inspiration when it seems like life can’t get any worse. The story that Downs paints is of a similar vein. Six girls—Marley, Leeanna, Summer, Lauren, Amanda, and Madison—have lost their parents (in one fashion or another), and are struggling to survive in a town that is prejudiced against their upbringing in an orphanage called Charity Home. ... (read more)

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Supernatural

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Blazing: A Vampire Story
by Buffy M. Brinkley
Xlibris


"He looked like a lion with compassion."

Viveca Moreau is a homicide detective in New Orleans, and her latest case borders on the supernatural, with victims featuring bites near their neck similar to that of a vampire. At the same time, a man from Viveca’s past resurfaces, making her question the reality around her. Richard has been trying to undo his curse for centuries and believes Viveca might be the key to his cure. Considering an extremely risky and dangerous undertaking known as The Blazing, Richard is afraid of failing and accidentally hurting Viveca. As the two grow closer to one another, it seems clearer and clearer that their fates are intertwined, and that someone is trying to keep them apart. Will Viveca and Richard be able to figure out who is behind the murders? Will they be able to survive The Blazing? ... (read more)

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Goodness & Darkness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sterling and the Book of Miracles
by Pam Dabon
Xlibris


"‘The Book of Miracles not only contains the prayers of the innocents but also the future miracles Father has ordained for each prayer request.’"

A sweet little book of 100 pages, the author’s novel tells the story of Sterling, a shy young girl who loves to read and who will be graduating from middle school. As her parents will be out of town, she goes to stay with her aunt where she becomes involved with mysterious adventures in a higher realm where her aunt tells her that “phenomena happen.” On her adventure, she meets Luna and Mimsie, both angels, who need Sterling to help them get back the stolen Book of Miracles. The “Father” is the “father of all living creatures” who has chosen her to be his human helper to help the Innocents—aka humans. On this adventure, she meets up with darkness but is told that she must not worry because darkness is always overcome by lightness, and she utilizes prayer to help them on the journey. ... (read more)

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Funny

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Major Grumpy Morning Man: Getting Ready for Work
by Jason Gobby
Xlibris AU


"She's come in to see what the fuss is about and to tell him to quietly figure it out."

This children's book will have any class of second graders laughing for the rest of the day. It pokes fun at adults, and what child doesn't appreciate that? The main character, Major Grumpy Morning Man, has a hard time getting through his morning routine, and every mishap rattles him. Whether dropping his toothbrush or knocking over his plate, every little problem sends him into another fit. "Well, he screams, he yells, he jumps, he shouts Major Grumpy Morning Man lets it all out." Then, his wife calmly tells him to quietly figure it out. ... (read more)

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A Dark World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

On the Edge of Life: Prophecy
by M. Blackthorn
AuthorHouse


"Rabolii tore the letter angrily and smashed his fists on his desk."

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but hiring a necromancer may be a more efficient and successful option. All joking aside, Blackthorn weaves a dark fantasy tale revolving around a young man named Arkenel. Arkenel only wants to please his father, Rabolii, who is the high king and necromancer over the country of Krumeria. Unfortunately for him, his father doesn’t return the favor, trapping and torturing him in a prison for seven years just because he can. Arkenel’s desire to please and serve his father takes him down a path of choices that he cannot take back. ... (read more)

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Behind the Eye

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Eye: Window to Body and Soul: An Ophthalmologist’s Odyssey
by W.A.J. van Heuven, M.D.
Xlibris


"The blood was dark red, like a clot, surrounded by the orange color of the normal background."

Encompassing over a half-century of clinical experiences, Dr. van Heuven’s work is a unique glimpse into the intricacies of the eye. Exhibiting an engaging storytelling style, this narrative simultaneously accomplishes two objectives: audiences will soak in van Heuven’s life through the context of medical vignettes and also gain an incredible level of awareness for maintaining a healthy eye. ... (read more)

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Truth & Humility

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Biggest Hole in the Iron Curtain: The Batizy Story
by Levente Batizy
Outskirts Press


"With refugees fleeing their worn-torn countries, we are constantly reminded of the risk and benefits that refugees pose to the host nation."

This inspirational hybrid of memoir and family biography will please history buffs and memoir enthusiasts alike. Tracing their ancestry back to medieval nobility, the Bastizy family enjoyed prominence and relative peace in Hungary until the failed 1956 revolution against communist rule. Armed with his keen intellect and fierce determination, Gusztáv, the Batizy patriarch, fled Hungary with his second wife and thirteen of his fourteen children from two marriages to Austria, then eventually took refuge in the United States. Though faced with many obstacles, including raising a large family while working at menial jobs and attending classes to satisfy U.S. credential requirements, despite his status as a doctor in Europe—and all while frequently moving to take advantage of opportunities—Gusztáv, his wife Julianna, and his progeny display the universal courage and conviction of immigrants who pursue the American dream of freedom and upward mobility. ... (read more)

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Crisp & Bold

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Year Winter Came Late
by Michael Larzelere and Susan M. Ward
URLink Print and Media


"Lisa said, 'I will play, but remember if I win, you have to give winter back to Snowtown.'"

In the land of Snowtown, each of the citizens celebrates and enjoys the fullness of every season of the year, but as the name suggests, they love winter most of all. One year, winter is late to arrive, and the people of Snowtown panic, thinking that their winter will never come. When the Mayor offers a reward, a little girl named Lisa comes forward and reveals that she saw a bitter, mean snowman named Mr. Sneezy Snew bag up the winter weather and take it away to his home. Setting off to recover the wintertime, Lisa befriends a series of animals on her journey before coming face to face with Mr. Sneezy Snew himself. In order to save the season for Snowtown, Lisa will have to outsmart the wily snowman and trick him into giving back the winter. ... (read more)

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