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Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Reviews

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The US Review of Books connects authors with professional book reviewers and places their book reviews in front of 17,000 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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Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Book
by Julius Freedman
Old Stone Press


"Books, I tell my students, are objects with stories both over and secret."

It's been a decade since an art book has taken the grand prize, but this beauty kept rising to the top of our judges' scoring cards. Have you ever seen a book after it becomes wet and dries? It screams, with a puffed chest of curling pages like the arms of a roiling sea monster. Julius Freedman shows us this and more, as he takes on the book as both physical and symbolic object. In a sequence of building images, The Book begins with a book as art... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

To Live Forever

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Diary of an Immortal (1945 - 1959)
by David J. Castello
Werewolf Publishing

reviewed by Carol Anderson, D.Min., ACSW, LMSW

"We'd also heard reports from the hordes of refugees streaming westward towards us about medical experiments and medieval style torture; stories almost too fantastical to believe."

The story is written in first person by Steven Ronson, who begins his tale of being a U.S. Army medic during World War II and experiencing the horrors of Nazi Germany, including the freeing of the Dachau concentration camp. The first chapter sets the stage for a fascinating journey for Steven—from the hell of the war to the beginning of his life as an immortal human being. For when he was in Germany, the troop discovered a treasure trove of Nazi goods in a hideout. While others looted for souvenirs and money, he read about the providence of a box of pills, pills which were meant for Hitler in order to dominate the world with immortal, super Aryan beings. ... (read more)

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Consideration of the Mystical Path

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Paths of Destiny
by Lilian Nirupa
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott

"The Jyotishian, or expert in understanding the signs, following specific instructions of the sages stored in many thousands of rules, will use them to depict an interpretation of the person's whole life by creating a Jyotish reading."

Astrology—the belief that planets and other heavenly bodies can influence our lives—is considered by some to be a science which, properly understood and utilized, can provide practical guidance. Author Lilian Nirupa, practitioner of the Vedic astrological system called Jyotish ("light of God"), is a Christian who here expresses her conviction that Jyotish, while grounded in Eastern (Hindu) religion, can also benefit those who follow other spiritual paths. Her book is a basic explication of the Jyotish system, suitable for someone new to both astrology and Vedic teachings. She provides astrological charts and other diagrams to illustrate the many "thousands of rules" mentioned above. ... (read more)

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A Seasoned Writer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

UFOs and God
by Michael R. Lane
Bare Bones Press

reviewed by Lee Ware

"I was actually doing well until I heard her voice and all that changed. She resurrected the void in my life. I hated her for that, her and Alexander Graham Bell."

The stories range from a couple of pages to over thirty. They begin with two boys tossing pebbles and making wishes into a well, and they end with a writer awaiting the return of his wife while he contemplates the lives and scenery surrounding him. In between, we have World War II soldiers, a devout believer in UFOs, a man deciding whether to live or die, and many others creating a varied spectrum of characters and settings allowing the reader to slip from one world to the next. The stories themselves are not centered around a single idea or place, but... (read more)

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Intelligent Erotica

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Inceptions: The Kate and Robert Chronicles
by Suzanne Eglington
Xlibris

reviewed by Michael Radon

"Then I briefly thought about past women and quickly barred them from my brain. He was mine! He wanted me!"

Kate Quinn's life went into a downspin in a hurry. In her late 20's, Kate works as an in-home nurse with a family that loves and respects her while she also has to deal with criticisms from her own family, whom she still lives with. Topping this all off is Scott, her one and only boyfriend of six years who, as Kate has just discovered, is cheating on her. Kate cuts Scott off immediately and tries to deal with her problems with the help of two friends: Pepper, her headstrong dance instructor best friend, and alcohol. Scott is trying desperately to win Kate back, but what neither of them counted on was Robert Beckham, a police officer friend of Scott's that has been interested in Kate since they first met. ... (read more)

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To Live Again... and Again

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

They'll Never Die
by Don Calmus
Fulton Books

reviewed by Jennifer Hummer 

"'Do you fellows want to live as long as civilization on earth exists?' Dalton said in precise unhurried words, while smoothing down his thick crop of silver hair. "

It's the 22nd Century and people no longer need to die—at least that is what John Dalton, a retired billionaire, wants to prove. After convincing his friends, all of whom are also past their prime years and billionaires, to join him, the men seek to clone their DNA while retaining their memory. The Reborn Project, as Dalton calls it, is not only morally questionable, but illegal. Still, the men press on, finding a way to take over the financially strapped IMS (The Institute of Medical Science). After a few missteps, John Daltons' reborn operation is a success and his old memory is placed into a younger clone, JD Dalton. But not everyone is happy about the Reborn Project and soon JD must deal with death threats. ... (read more)

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Is the Honeymoon Over?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

You and I: The Kate and Robert Chronicles
by Suzanne Eglington
Xlibris

reviewed by Michael Radon

"My Robert showed me his vulnerability, and it was me. I meant so much to him as he did to me."

For Robert and Kate Beckham, the wedding is over and the honeymoon is about to begin. Fresh from their hurried matrimony in Las Vegas, the newlywed Beckhams head to San Diego for some alone time full of relaxation, sightseeing, and plenty of physical intimacy. Focused on her husband—the over-possessive, at times frighteningly intense, madly in love police officer Robert—Kate is interested only in showing her love and passion for her new husband. Pleasant times in San Diego are over in a matter of days, but Kate has her wedding reception followed by an extended honeymoon across the Atlantic to meet Robert's parents to look forward to. In the blink of an eye, the couple are off, and Kate falls in love with the natural beauty of Ireland. ... (read more)

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Pioneer Woman

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sarah's Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness
by Beverly Scott
Word Project Press

reviewed by Maria A. Hughes

"He was starting a new life. No one knew him here. He had no past, only present, and future."

What if your world was turned upside down because the person you loved and thought you knew kept a secret that could destroy you and your family? Sarah Martin is left confused by her husband's dying words, which in a state of delirium, seemed like he was having an argument with someone. Not thinking anything of it, she instead absorbs her mind with how she's going to raise five children on her own, with no income and in a town where a widow is not welcomed. Later on, when she applies for widow benefits, to support her children, she is denied. She recalls her husband's parting words and slowly peels back their life together for clues. ... (read more)

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The DOXA Method for Self-Understanding

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Passion Spirit Purpose: 3 Formulas to Introduce the DOXA Method to Empower You to Love Your Life
by Ana Weber
Balboa Press

reviewed by Carol Anderson, D.Min., ACSW, LMSW

"Every puzzle we encounter, every challenge that calls for our creativity, lets us build part of a new foundation of self-esteem and self-love as we take ownership of our actions and solve the mystery."

In 157 pages, twenty-two chapters, an appendix, and endnotes, the author explores how to grow through a sense of empowerment. The initial chapter, which focuses on using the DOXA way, sets the stage for the rest of the book. DOXA is about Desire, Outstanding, Xing, out the impossible, and Allowing you to be you. This chapter leads to others on mysteries, desire, and living in the now of DOXA. Other chapters include your purpose, intentions, learning and growing, freedom, your metaphorical grocery bag regarding taking an inventory of your day, and a cautionary tale regarding relationships. ... (read more)

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American Heroes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Other Two Fifths
by Joan Early
W&B Publishers

reviewed by Dylan Ward

"There are lots of ways you can make a difference. Men and women devote their lives to fighting injustices. White. Black. Sometimes we are on the same side, you know. Hating the world won't help, but you can help bring justice where inequality prevails."

In 1908, Springfield, Illinois is on edge and race relations fragile. Adelaide Carter, a housemaid for the honorable Judge Fowler, fears for her missing son, Hollis. After tensions boil over, black citizens' safety are at risk, and Hollis may be hurt or worse. Then Adelaide finds out more than she bargained for when she finally learns the truth about Hollis. ... (read more)

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An Epic Thrill Ride

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Gem Connection: A C.J. Cavanaugh Mystery
by Michael Lane
Booklocker

reviewed by Jennifer Weiss

"Besides not buying the story about Renita, she was suspicious about the extent of my involvement in this case. My weakness for children would have been a plausible explanation."

C.J. Cavanaugh is a well known private investigator. C.J. and his partner Renita Harris are hired by a mystery client to solve the murder of Clinton Windell, but they are not allowed to tell anyone about the case. Instead, they assume a false identity, a false job so to speak, to uncover the facts. Windell has not only been brutally murdered in his home, but also was robbed of his uncut gems worth twenty million dollars. Trying to remain anonymous, C.J. and Renita must become creative and think outside the box in order to solve the case. Michael Lane's story takes readers on a thrilling ride filled with excitement, mystery, and suspense. Mystery fans haven't read a story quite like this one. ... (read more)

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Kate and Robert Continue

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

She's Got the Jack: The Kate and Robert Chronicles
by Suzanne Eglington
Xlibris

reviewed by Michael Radon

"He sighed as I looked at the screen full of photos of me. 'What's this?' He answered very monotone, 'My wife in another man's eyes."

At the end of the previous book, Kate and Robert's near-idyllic, passionate whirlwind romance and marriage was struck with family tragedy at the car accident her pregnant sister and brother-in-law were in. This story opens with the joint funeral of this crash that claimed the life of Kevin and Stacey. Just when the situation seems like it can't get any worse, the dark twist that Kevin has been spying on Kate and taking photos of her, chasing after his unrequited love, comes to the surface. Kate and Robert must come... (read more)

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Hero's Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Baljuna Covenant
by Tim Pelkey
SDP Publishing

reviewed by Jennifer Hummer

"'And yes, Genghis Khan was also believed to have more impact than George Washington, Churchill, Lenin, even Charlottesville’s own Thomas Jefferson.'"

The adventure begins when James Andrews, an archaeologist and professor from the University of Virginia, returns from a dig in Mongolia with a mystery bone. Could it belong to a descendent of Genghis Kahn, or perhaps to the great warrior himself? Andrews and his colleague, Abby Conrad, who works in Ulaanbaatar University, are determined to find out. Along with a slew of others experts, Andrews has been attempting to find Genghis Khan’s burial site for years. Finding evidence of Khan or his ancestors would mean a financial boon for Mongolia and bring in much needed tourism. As it turns out, it would also help the Mongolians prevent the very real threat of war from the Red Army. When two of Andrews trusted colleagues attempt to kill him, Andrews is shot. He wakes up in a hospital bed back in the United States whereupon he learns that the excavated bone has been stolen from the lab. ... (read more)

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Honest Trouble

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Falling Back to One
by Randy Mason
Archer/Rare Bird

reviewed by Joe Kilgore

"He polished off the bottle, lay down on the bed, and closed his eyes. If they never opened again, it was all the same to him."

This first-rate novel unfolds linearly while taking revealing side roads along the way. The more you read, the more you learn—and the more you want to know. The location is New York City in the 1970’s. Baker, a tough detective, is in a jam. The only way out is to agree to serve as guardian for a juvenile offender. He agrees, then learns the juvenile is a girl. Micki is a seventeen-year-old hellion. She takes drugs, robs people at knifepoint, and curses like a sailor. Plus she has no discipline and even less self-respect. But she comes by it honestly. Her whole life is one long succession of anger, fear, lies, betrayal, and innumerable doses of mental and physical abuse. ... (read more)

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Dealing with Temptation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Say No! to Satan
by Terri Ketterling
Xlibris

reviewed by Michael Radon

"If they took the money and didn't tell, that would be stealing, which is a sin, right?"

Calli and Eric are two children that as brother and sister get along perfectly. They like to spend time together playing games, having fun, and even just talking. Their favorite thing to do together though is to go to Sunday School. On this weekend, their Sunday School is heading off to a field trip, so Calli and Eric are more excited than usual. When it's time to get on the bus, Eric realizes he misplaced his jacket, so Calli tags along with him to go get it so nobody is left behind. After retrieving his jacket, Eric notices a quarter on the ground on the way back to the bus. Bending down to pick it up, more quarters appear, creating a very valuable path. Happily, the kids follow along, picking up quarters as they go, thinking about what they can buy with all this money. ... (read more)

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Surviving

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Undeterred; KKK Target, KKK Witness
by Tracey Brame
NB Bookshelf

reviewed by Yuliya Geikhman

"It would be years before I knew he had raped me, brutally raped me, and that the skin strewn on the wall and my clothes hailed from the inside lining of my vagina, which had been purposefully ripped out and left to rot by the man who swore he wanted to marry me."

We like to believe that in the face of danger, we would put up a fight. The truth is that we can't plan an instinctive response, and sometimes the brain responds by simply shutting down. This is what happened to Tracey Brame. Time after time when faced with violence, verbal and physical threats on her life, and general adversity, Brame's mind slipped into shock and blocked out any offensive stimuli. This response, she would later learn, is a typical symptom of PTSD brought on by several physical, mental, and sexual attacks. Until she began to recall her trauma, Brame remained in a numb state, impervious and oblivious to the dangers around her. ... (read more)

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Adversity Conquered

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

No Surrender: Faith, Family, and Finding Your Way
by Patrick Bisher with Jon Land
Post Hill Press

reviewed by John E. Roper

"The last moments before I hit the ground followed in complete silence. Other than the roar of the wind through my ears, the world had gone quiet."

The doctor told him he would never walk again. The news would be devastating to anyone, but to the active nine-year-old in the hospital that day, the words seemed to signal the end of his childhood. A rare disease had destroyed his hip bone and socket. Medically, his case appeared hopeless, but he had never been a quitter. Leg braces, crutches, painful physical therapy, and surgical procedures followed, but after almost eighteen months of agony, frustration, and pushing himself harder than anyone might have imagined, the boy began to sense a difference in his pain. The journey to recovery was still a long way off, but nothing was going to keep him from traveling that path. ... (read more)

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Crimes and Healing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Let's Make Our World Better: How Politics and Religion Stand in the Way
by Warren William Luce
Green Ivy Publishing

reviewed by Carol Anderson, D.Min., ACSW, LMSW

"We all hope for a better and peaceful world. Hope springs eternal in the human heart, but we need to understand it is love that will bring it to fruition."

In examining both politics and religion, the book begins with an Introduction, is then divided into two parts: Part I Politics and Part II Religion. Within these two parts are 21 chapters, which are then followed by a Reference Index which is mostly a listing of Biblical references. Part I chapters include our political atmosphere, how to curb terrorism; health care; our national debt; the economy and jobs; and national security. It also examines immigration reform, Social Security, the Postal System, and solutions for the Middle East. Part II focuses on religion as a barrier; the nature of the world; the existence and the nature of God; and the nature of man. The final chapters include as we think so we are; materialism vs. spirituality; those who experience spiritual events; the joy of death; health and healing; and the conclusion. ... (read more)

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Real Humor

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Replicants
by Gerry Burke
iUniverse

reviewed by Joe Kilgore

"With their four tentacles working overtime, the guests from outer space were downing margaritas as if they were performance enhancing drugs."

Few things take themselves more seriously than science fiction. The genre attracts legions of fans eager to supplicate themselves to terrestrial tomes and authors intent on profoundly prophesying what the future might hold. That of course, makes it the perfect target for scathing satire. And this novel’s author is not one to pass up low hanging fruit without taking an enormous bite. ... Earth is hosting Intergalactic Games with participants from the farthest reaches of the universe. You know what you’re in for the moment you realize the planet Schmoo is sending a contingent of athletes accompanied by insurgents bent on infiltration and eventual colonization. These green, three-eyed, four-tentacle life forms are intent on taking over either by force or by applying the Schmoo embrace, a hug that results in body transfer. Think of it as Invasion Of The Body Snatchers meets Mel Brooks. ... (read more)

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Women's Seven Deadly Sins

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Vice Grip: A Woman's Look At The Seven Deadly Sins
by Sara Dyer
LitFire Publishing

reviewed by Donna Ford

"The system of classifying the vices came out of this monastic tradition of self-examination... born out of a desire to lead a more pure life..."

Vice Grip presents a refreshing return to a time before the meanings of such stout English words as gluttony and sloth were reinterpreted for political correctness. However, the author takes care to clear away any confusion these older words might cause. For example, Sloth is a choice and not the same as the ailment called Depression. A slothful person accepts upside-down values as an excuse for not doing a task; a clean house should never take priority over caring for one's children. ... The book is highly structured. Seven Vice chapters each start with a cartoon of a woman controlled by that vice, followed by a brief introduction which often includes teachings of early Christian fathers. ... (read more)

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The Challenge Ahead

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Nursing Home Crisis
by William Dorich
GM Books

reviewed by J. Duffield

"In nursing homes around the country, there has been a progressive increase in elder abuse."

With over 30 million elderly people in the United States, there is a seemingly unending demand for beds in nursing homes. Ironically, according to the author, there is only an 85% occupancy rate. More and more elderly are choosing to live out their final days at home with relatives or homecare professionals attending to them. In his book, the author does a good job of educating the reader about the escalating problem of elder abuse. He breaks down the different types of abuse (physical neglect, physical harm, emotional and verbal abuse, and financial abuse) in a clear and concise manner, and he then offers signs of what to look for when abuse is suspected. ... (read more)

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A Devilish Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Geek
by Jonathan Latt
GM Books

reviewed by Joe Kilgore

"No one who saw Gary found him intimidating, until it was too late. Even with the scar, he simply looked like someone who’d come to fix the copier. "

Fancy a giggle with your garroting? Enjoy a snarky stabbing now and then? Prefer your torture tongue-in-cheek? How about just a touch of whimsy as victims writhe in pain? If any of the aforementioned whets your appetite for appallingly unapologetic mayhem, then you’re in for the time of your life (and almost everyone else’s death) with this sublimely sordid tale of an assassin called “The Geek.” ... (read more)

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Homeowner Logic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Defeat Foreclosure: Save Your House, Your Credits and Your Rights
by William Dorich with Merle Horwitz
GM Books

reviewed by Clarissa Douthit

"Foreclosures are nothing new in real estate and they remind us that the only constant in real estate is change."

The housing bubble of 2008 resulted in many homeowners being unable to afford their homes, mostly due to adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) that almost doubled their mortgage payments within a few years or sometimes within months. Originally published in the midst of this crisis but now in its third edition, this book is a short, yet important, must-read for anyone facing the possibility of foreclosure, currently experiencing foreclosure, or seeking information to help avoid foreclosure. ... (read more)

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Who is Skipper?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Skipper
by Craig B. Bass
BookVenture Publishing

reviewed by Joe Kilgore

"He would not hurt anyone. He is the best person I have ever known, and this Matt is one of the worst."

Coming-of-age tales have dotted the literary landscape for centuries. Charles Dickens certainly made the most of the form in Great Expectations. Mark Twain put a particularly American flavor to the genre with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Somewhat more recently, S. E. Hinton was only eighteen years old when her novel, The Outsiders, explored young people in rival gangs. Multiple adolescents, all male, populate the pages of Mr. Bass’s novel, Skipper, which interestingly isn’t actually the name of the central character, but rather the nickname of the individual who would have a lasting impact on Greg, the young man who would learn and grow in this coming-of-age story. ... (read more)

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A Woman Survives

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

JO by Nigel Wyndham
by Viedelle Smith
GM Books

reviewed by J. Duffield

"And then his voice turned into a solemn but deliberate whisper. 'I am betrothed to another, my love.'"

Smith has crafted a well-written historical romance, based on a true story. The novel is produced as a story within a story. Newspaper man, Nigel Wyndham, upon hearing Josephine Mary’s tale of unfair imprisonment and subsequent banishment to Sydneytowne, vows to tell the world her story. Born in New York in 1764, Josephine witnesses English felons working alongside black slaves. When Jo’s brother runs off to join the Northern troops, Jo runs away to find him–infuriating her father, Victor. Jo finds her brother dead on a battlefield, and English Sergeant Brian Eagan is ordered to protect her. ... (read more)

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Understanding Us

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

What is Man
by Rohan and Mohan Perera
World of Ro and Mo

reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott

"The Ego is a consciousness, which is created by the great consciousness to extend itself into a new consciousness of the same."

In this engaging text, Sri Lankan twin brothers Rohan (now deceased) and Mohan Per era explicate their philosophy of life and religion. Based on a framework of Christianity, their shared viewpoint also encompasses some Buddhist ideals. The authors believe that since love existed before humanity, it is to this pure love that humans must return through diligent seeking, the development of conscience, and the gradual acquisition of wisdom. In the Pereras’ exploration, they pose several notable questions: Since lust is necessarily selfish, how can it support a marriage dedicated to mutual caring and unselfishness? If religion teaches us to love all equally, why do we teach children to succeed in life by besting others? If science can find the location of thinking—the brain—why has it never found the location or mechanism of loving? The Pereras suggest that the devil tempts our human egos toward selfishness; only through the unconditional love of and from God can we overcome that temptation. ... (read more)

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World on Edge

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Nuclear Lies, Deceptions and Hypocrisies
by Mehdi Sarram, PE
GM Books

reviewed by  Jacquelyn Gilchrist

"The governments, in general, lie, deceive, cheat and demonstrate hypocritical behavior."

Sarram, a leading expert in the field of nuclear safety, offers an in-depth look at international intrigue among the so-called Nuclear Club. He’s well-qualified to do so, having worked for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He starts, somewhat shockingly, with a look at Israel’s attack on Iraq’s nuclear facilities in 1981. The attack was in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Years later, Israel again attacked a nuclear facility, this time in Syria. Both facilities were IAEA-approved. This material sets the stage for a closer look at international deception regarding nuclear proliferation in Iraq, Syria, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, India, and the U.S. ... (read more)

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Truth in Media?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting Journalism and Tragedy in Yugoslavia
by Peter Brock
Graphics Management Press

reviewed by Donna Ford

"…I decided to confront as many journalists as I could, personally or in print. Let them answer questions face-to-face, or through what they had written…"

For the media, warfare opens doors that can lead to increased prestige, promotion, and even Pulitzer Prizes. Instead, Peter Brock’s book explains his break from the journalistic pack to research and pursue truth, even when it would bring reproach as a reporter. Why was Brock willing to go against the tide? He had friends among the inhabitants of what was once Yugoslavia, having frequently visited the region since the mid-70s. These friends included a Serbian former physician and a farmer returned after living in America. Both were proud of their multi-ethnic country and worried about what became known as the Bosnian war. ... (read more)

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Awakening

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Digital Now
by Roland Allnach
Tabalt Press

reviewed by John E. Roper

"It was maintenance, maintenance for the Process; Society must go on; Central must go on. The data threads must not be disturbed."

Carly Westing lives in the moment. Every day is the same for her as a patrolman—a day of intense brutality, mindless sex with colleagues or neighbors, heavy drinking, and the periodic joy of "meat-farming" someone with her repeater. Like all patrolmen, she never questions her role in life, nor does she retain many long-term memories other than some fragments of a childhood that seem at odds with how things are supposed to be in a society where Central is in control. Little does she suspect that everything she has always believed about herself and her world is soon going to change. ... (read more)

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The Identity Trap

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Names Are Music and So Are You and I
by Anders Wennerstrom
Xlibris

reviewed by Michael Radon

"Now I am in the street,
free from institutional care,
still mad
but really
with a controlled behaviour
walking and I meet you."

Using a combination of poetry and free verse, the author of this book starts by asking a simple question: what power does the name we are given have over the world around us? Struggling with bullying, depression, paranoia, and isolation, the narrator describes his daily life and his interactions with people who mock him, the mind that betrays him, and the nationalism that affects him in unexpected ways. What unfolds is an honest, vulnerable monologue about the desire to be among other people and have relationships while at the same time feeling out of place and not a part of society. ... (read more)

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Your Next Step

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Bridge to Eternal Life
by Ronald A Train
Xlibris

reviewed by Priscilla Estes

"Having investigated the Bible evidence, it is my conviction that human beings will continue to exist after mortal death."

Death is a daily topic of conversation but eternal life is not, even though what lies beyond death has long fascinated humans. For the next 184 pages, Train explores eternal life, using logic that clicks as tightly and builds as sturdily as a LEGO® village. Train has a solid footing as a retired Australian pastor with twenty-seven years of experience, a Master of Ministry degree, and two degrees in theology. With a dry diligence religious scholars will appreciate, he establishes that the Bible is the word of God, versus a mode of conveyance containing the word of God—a distinction that greatly influences one's interpretation of Jesus’s statements about eternal life. With copious research (353 footnotes), Train dissects the Old Testament... (read more)

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Of Men and Spirit

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

God and the gods
by Genesis T. Yengoh
Outskirts Press

reviewed by John E. Roper

"Death celebrations, like other activities, have morphed to reflect the dualism that penetrates the very fabric of social and cultural life in Oku."

The future looks very bright indeed for Nsiemboh Ngoske. Unlike so many of his colleagues, who seem to spend their time looking for ways to leave the job early, he is a dedicated government employee who takes pride in doing his best on a project. Such diligence does not go unnoticed for long, and soon Nsiemboh finds himself rising in the ranks and being given more and more responsibility. As the firstborn son, he also knows his duty to his family, so in addition to providing for his wife and children he generously passes much of his financial gains to his parents and siblings. ... (read more)

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Seeing Clearly

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Discovery
by Louis Kraft and Robert S. Goodman
CreateSpace

reviewed by Michael Radon

"In addition the hospital records document that the doctor had been drinking on the night of the birth and had alcohol on his breath."

Harry Chapman is a young obstetrician whose career is on the rise after just a few short years. Talented at his job and willing to donate his time to teaching hospitals, his track record is spotless until the night when Laura Smith goes into labor. She gives birth to a premature baby she intends to put up for adoption, but the newborn is not breathing when he is delivered. Dr. Chapman orders that the baby be put in an incubator; but when it doesn’t seem to help, he orders maximum oxygen, which has recently been discovered to cause blindness in children. ... (read more)

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Coming to Understand

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Spiritual Wisdom of India
by Lisbeth Ejlertsen
AuthorHouse

reviewed by J. Duffield

"The five gurus who I met on my way all had the same message; that happiness is to be united with the divine in oneself; everything is in being."

In 1992, the author meets a teacher in Denmark long inspired by an Indian master. For some time, the author found herself depressed, despite her budding career. Motivated by the teacher, the author travels to India herself. It is to be the first of over 20 visits. Ejlersten’s goal is to visit with the most well-known Indian gurus, all of whom have enormous responsibilities as communicators of spiritual laws and truths. Years later while travelling in Turkey, the author feels herself falling off a path, but instead of hitting the ground right away, time seems to stand still. The author comes to believe that human consciousness can exist on many different levels. ... (read more)

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Being Stronger

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Puppy Minding
by Liam Goodall
Xlibris

reviewed by Sheelonee Banerjee

"Isn’t it better to remain calm, brave, and intelligent, so that we may lead with our hearts?"

Two girls, Sally and Ellie, meet at a dog breeder’s home when they arrive to pick up a puppy from the same litter. While Sally chooses to take her puppy to puppy school, Ellie chooses to skip training, keeping her puppy at home. As a result, Sally’s puppy becomes smart, well behaved, and brave, while Ellie’s puppy becomes timid, disobedient, and naughty. One late afternoon–when a storm strikes suddenly, and two little boys from the neighborhood go missing– Sally and her dog save them and are celebrated as heroes. Ellie then takes Sally’s advice and finally trains her dog. ... (read more)

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Passionate Poetry

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Benevolence Within
by Cecilia Hill
Xlibris

reviewed by Donna Ford

"This is life: it’s not at all pretty, easy, guaranteed, rewarded, or complimentary. You have to deal with the darkness, surround your life with light."

The tragedy of September 11, 2001, prompted the author to move along a path toward having a closer, more trusting association with Jesus Christ. Retirement provided the opportunity to pursue a life-long interest in writing. Hill’s muse inspired the recording of her thoughts in the form of poems and ponderings. Her husband encouraged her to collect, organize, and publish these writings. ... (read more)

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Classy and Romantic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Go Down Swinging: Erotic Romance for Professional Women
by J. Ellis
J.M. Erickson

reviewed by Clarissa Douthit

"He prefers women over forty-five years old who are articulate, intelligent and bright working professionals in need of attention and fun. Be careful ladies, Jett is addictive and you will want to take him home!"

There is nothing sexier than a well-written adult story. This book has it all: infidelity, sex, emotional drama, soul searching, and revenge. Ellis grasps the reader’s imagination with a gripping, heart-wrenching tale of infidelity, descriptive sex, and emotional torment. The writing is intense and slick with erotically vivid language. ... The novellas’ main character, Carlos, faces the reality of a failing marriage that he thought was built on love, but was in fact build on lust, wealth, and power. After returning early from a business trip to surprise his wife a day before their anniversary, Carlos is devastated when he arrives home and hears his wife, Dr. Jessica Davenport, having sex with another man. He is furious and wants to harm his wife and her lover. ... (read more)

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Committed Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Momentous Thoughts
by Abhijit Das
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Mihir Shah

"We want freedom and want to become free
But we live in a cage and are afraid to flee."

In “Papri, My Love,” the opening poem in this collection, Das makes clear his profound appreciation and admiration for his wife, Papri Das. While the central theme of love permeates throughout the poetry, there are many vital, current-era ideas that Das explores. As an Indian American from Kolkata, Das salutes the ultimate sacrifice of a soldier for the love of one’s motherland and its inhabitants. Das conveys powerful ideas of simply being a human being removed from all forms of discrimination in “Soldier’s View.” Ultimately, as expressed in “Bird,” Das’ poems seem to seek a return to the times of innocence, freedom, and an endless canvas of hope. ... (read more)

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African Intrigue

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Faded Flowers
by Timothy Etoori
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Joe Kilgore

"He doused the newspaper in paraffin. Then he set the paper alight. Advancing towards Salongo, holding the stick with an outstretched hand, he set Salongo’s body alight."

Many African nations share histories replete with wars, insurrections, coups, civil strife, the fall of governments, and the rise of tyrannical leaders. Uganda is certainly one of them. The rise, reign, and fall of its third president, the brutally notorious Idi Amin, made headlines around the world, but violence and sudden death didn’t end for Ugandans with Amin’s exile. Etoori’s novel tells a story of what life was like in that tortured country when Milton Obote, the man who had actually preceded Amin, came back into power. ... The author’s tale encompasses numerous individuals, yet it centers on three central characters. ... (read more)

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Deep and Provocative

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Free to Fly
by Jean Bisbey
AuthorHouseUK

reviewed by Toby Berry

"Whatever you think about and believe to be true is what determines how your life will unfold."

Fergus, the book's protagonist, is a psychologist. He counsels his patients that cause and effect operate everywhere and always. He teaches that thoughts are causes and conditions are effects. "Effects produced by thought can be changed by thought," he writes. With that in mind, when Fergus has a chance meeting with Sarah, a minister's daughter and verbally abused wife, he must rein in his desire for her using the psychology he lectures about. In turn, Sarah is intrigued by Fergus's psychological beliefs and strives to put them to use to solve her marital problems ... (read more)

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A Struggle with CFS

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

My Battle With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
by Beckie Butcher
iUniverse

reviewed by Donna Ford

"Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients truly suffer. It is a serious illness which attacks the organs, muscles, and nervous system. We are not simply ‘tired.’"

In August, 2007, a doctor’s report informed the author that her strange and disabling symptoms resulted from high levels of the antigen for Epstein-Barr. Triggered by exposure to this virus, her body over-responded, causing the autoimmune disease known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Prior to this, Butcher led an active life: working twenty years in clinical laboratories; singing in a choir; and preparing to open The Butcher’s Block, a catering service. Instead, a few months later her brain was literally foggy; she became confused, and her joints and muscles ached, leaving her bedridden. ... (read more)

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A New Journey Begins

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Gods of Dark Swell: Champions of the Realm - Book 1
by David Dowell
Xlibris

reviewed by G. Robert Frazier

"Mortinan’s heart sank because if there came a time when Mendina was in mortal danger, then his champion would do absolutely anything he could to save her."

To be effective, fantasy and science fiction novels require an inordinate amount of attention to detail and, in particular, world building. But, at the same time, the best authors in the field find a way to propel the story forward without becoming bogged down in minutia. Dowell spends the first fourth of his hefty 476-page tome weaving a rich tapestry of life and back story for a half dozen characters and the world they inhabit, while teasing what’s to come. ... (read more)

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The Power of Numbers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

You Are 10
by Leo F. Batista
BookVenture Publishing

reviewed by J. Duffield

"God created this universe using logic and divine proportion."

In his book, Batista aims to show his readers how universal life is formed by the power of duality. Up and down, left and right, hot and cold, light and dark, are but a few examples of how life is created by opposing forces. Batista explains that these opposing forces ultimately lead to the form of one (1). When this shape repeats itself, the second law, or number two (2), is created. The third law highlights the use of both numbers. The author states that “two goes back to the one, and forms three.” Roughly, when something is divided, it begins to subtract, which is also a form of death. Throughout the book, Batista gives specific theories and meanings to each of the numbers one through nine. More often than not, we can find these same numerical meanings repeated in differing spiritual and religious teachings, as well. ... (read more)

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Dark Secrets

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Ordainment Betrayal
by Dennis Quiles
iUniverse

reviewed by Yuliya Geikhman

"[Father Bartholomew] felt the rush of power over life and dominance over others and felt like God himself for taking a soul. He was doing God's work by sending to heaven little angels like Magdalene to decorate heaven's skies as so many others before her."

The world is a dangerous place, and no one—not even a priest—is safe from sins and vices. Father Bartholomew is very particular about the children he requires for his "services," and once he's found the perfect little boy, he must have him. The task of acquiring the boy falls to a notorious Albanian group of smugglers called The Outfit, who specialize in items of a more delicate nature. The boy is kidnapped; the father framed. Everything goes off without a hitch—until the boy manages to briefly escape. The resulting firefight ends with two people dead, including the fiancé of private investigator Jack Steele. This thrusts him deep into the world of the Albanian mob, who seek their own revenge and wish to annihilate Jack and everyone he holds dear. ... (read more)

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The Power of Hope

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Messiah
by Martyn James Pummell
Xlibris

reviewed by J. Duffield

"'I don’t know. If it is true it’s about time, the old one has been gone for over 1900 years. It’s about time we had a new one.’"

In 1947, journalist Arthur Green is sent to India to investigate a boy, known as the Messiah, who is bringing back the dead. Green’s host, Jahmel, explains that as a young boy, the Messiah was attacked by a tiger, badly injured, and was never the same again. Green is introduced to the boy’s foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, who call the boy “Frank.” Mr. Wilson explains that after Frank was killed and left unrecognizable, he brought his body back to the house and found another “Frank” waiting for them. This Frank claimed to be the son of God. Green watches Frank bring a child back to life—or did he? Green continues pursuing the truth and eventually uncovers it: Jahmel is the boy’s real father and had murdered Frank’s brother to set Frank up as the Messiah, all for the good of the Indian people who needed something hopeful to believe in while the British withdrew from rule. When Green returns to England, he tries to tell the truth, but it seems the legend of the Messiah might have become too big to stop. ... (read more)

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Motherhood

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

My True Colours: A Mother's Strength
by Hannah Francis
AuthorHouseUK

reviewed by Megan Bain

"I am twenty four years old and divorced with four children. Living on my own with four children is my only option."

Lauren was the leader, more outgoing and headstrong than her twin sister Lorna. After a dark event changed Lauren’s life, roles started to reverse. Lorna became the popular and daring sister while Lauren turned inward, trying to shield herself from any more pain. ... When older, Lorna dated freely while Lauren didn’t prefer to date at all. With much persistence from Lorna, Lauren finally agreed to go out with Zitty, whom she later nicknamed Ziggy, which resulted in a long-term relationship in Lauren’s life. The couple married, but only after Lauren’s pregnancy. This is when Lauren learned the true abusive nature of her husband. However, she still desired a large family and reluctantly had three more children with him. ... (read more)

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Friendship and Surfing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Kimo and Kalini: A Hawaiian Mouse Tail
by Jimbo Harris
Xlibris

reviewed by Sheelonee Banerjee

"The Tourist Mouse was…so grateful for his new friends that it seemed like it was really all he could say, and he kept repeating, 'Mahalo, mahalo.'"

Two Hawaiian mice, Kimo and Kalini, are best of friends. Friendly and adventurous, they love the beach and enjoy playing in and around the Pacific Ocean. Once, while playing on the beach at Halona Beach Cove, locally known as “Cockroach Bay,” Kimo discovers a tiny driftwood surfboard charm necklace, which he and Kalini use to surf on the waves. They get worried when they spot Bobo, a tourist mouse, moving too close to the dangerous Halona Blowhole, next to Cockroach Bay. Disregarding the dangers, Kalini saves him, and Kimo, in turn, saves Kalini’s aloha charm, which she had lost while saving Bobo. They all stay friends forever. ... (read more)

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A Charming Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

How Grandpa Tata Caught a Ginormous Fish Without a Hook
by Dhan Reddy
iUniverse

reviewed by Maria A. Hughes

"As Grandpa Tata held the lamp high, the gigantic fish’s eyes shone big and bright."

Ever want something badly enough that you’re willing to go the extra mile to get it? Grandpa Tata loves fish. Every night his daughter-in-law serves him fish for dinner, hoping to make him happy, but the fish is never big enough. Frustrated, one night Grandpa Tata decides to show his son (and daughter-in-law) just how big of a fish he wants! Dinesh, his favorite grandson, is fortunate to join his grandpa on his adventure. How Grandpa Tata plans on catching such a ginormous fish is extraordinary: with a piglet and lamp! How exactly does one catch a ginormous fish with a piglet and lamp? Dinesh is about to find out. ... (read more)

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Fun & Quirky Read

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tales of My Uncle Bob
by Chris Robinson
Xlibris

reviewed by Toby Berry

"The water at this place was deep enough to swallow a house, if that was a sort of thing you were likely to want to do."

This book will have readers smiling from page to page and front to back. Robinson is funny and drops quirky sentences and stories like little surprises between more serious verse. Each chapter relates a tale that may or may not be entirely true as recalled by the narrator whose Uncle Bob was "not so much born as discovered." He was reportedly found in a boab tree and then bundled up and left at the post office. He was then discovered and taken in by Miss Mary O'Toole. Hmmm, coincidence, or is this allegorical? ... (read more)

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Grandmother Says

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Woozie (AKA Grandmother) Wisdom (About Life, Sex, Love)
by Lynn Hubschman
iUniverse

reviewed by Carol Anderson, D.Min., ACSW, LMSW

"Anyone who does not know how to be intimate, and love and be loved, is a moron, in my book. Or at the least, a limited frightened pathetic excuse for a human being."

Hubschman’s book explores issues related to relationships, love, sex, fun, and healing. There are 151 short chapters, most of them beginning and ending with quotes from others. The first section is about “LIFE,” and its chapters focus on living, happiness, children, types of "smarts,” stupid people, therapists, having a bad day, friends, jackasses, sibling rivalry, and the non-existence of perfection. Section I I– “SEX,” explores what's new about sex, listening techniques for guys, gay/transgender, pornography, passion, selfish lovers, sex is in the head, sensuality, and being alone by choice. Section III – “LOVE,” examines beauty, fair fighting, assertiveness, absence, showing that love is not for the weak of heart, games, broken hearts, relationship roles, ending the relationship, styles of marriage, and talking to one another. ... (read more)

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God Provides

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Bridge Named Susan
by Sharon Chase Hoseley
Xlibris

reviewed by Joe Kilgore

"This is the bridge I’ve longed to be—the bridge between generations, spanning not just changes, inventions, and experiences, but living relationships."

Every life is a story, but it takes an excellent storyteller to make the journey of a lifetime memorable. Fortunately, author Hoseley is such a storyteller. Her life of the indefatigable Susan is a trip you’ll remember for some time. ... The year is 1910 and the setting is a prairie farm in Idaho. Writing in Susan’s voice, with prose and dialogue that is admiringly restrained yet unflinchingly descriptive, we share Susan’s life with her mother, father, older brother and younger sister. The mother is an older, colder woman. The father is more demonstrative and understanding. Hoseley imbues each of these characters and those that follow with a plainspoken honesty. No false notes or overwriting turn them from characters to caricatures. ... (read more)

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A Life Well-Lived

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

How Green Were My Mountains?
by Leonard Linkow
Xlibris

reviewed by J. Duffield

"My reputation runs the gamut: I have been celebrated, vilified, feted, demeaned, adored, sued, hailed and scorned. Sometimes all in the same week."

In his memoirs, Dr. Leonard Linkow, known as “the father of implantology,” reflects back on a life of great success and personal achievement. As the creator of non-removable, perfectly functioning, and attractive “fabricated” teeth, Dr. Linkow’s implants marked the first time patients could bypass removable bridges and caps. Sprinkled with personal and family photos, Dr. Linkow gives his readers a delightful look into his youthful years growing up in Brooklyn, New York. Before serving his time in the Army Air Corps, his love for baseball landed him a contract with the New York Giants to play for the Springfield, Ohio, minor league team. After the army, Dr. Linkow attended the College of Dentistry at New York University. From there, Dr. Linkow went on to work with some of the most prestigious dentists and oral surgeons in the world, some of whom became life-long friends and partners. ... (read more)

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Hell on Earth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Chronicles of Detroit, Michigan
by Alex Gordon
Xlibris

reviewed by Joe Kilgore

"The archangel of death smiled and replied, 'Only a mad idiot of a human would agree to this, but you’re a selfless one. Still an idiot.'"

In his Scottish play, Macbeth, Shakespeare writes of life, saying, “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The sound and fury levels abound in this apocalyptic novel that is about much more than the city of Detroit mentioned in the title. ... Can one young high school lad save the world from monstrous evil? Possibly. Certainly it helps if he’s being aided by gun-wielding priests like Father Gary and Father Gordon from the Order of The Guardians. Wisecracking skeletons skilled in the art of death and dismemberment also lend helping, if somewhat bony, hands to the grim task of dispatching marauding dark humans—or the even worse Dead Dark Humans. Think of them as particularly hungry zombies on steroids. ... (read more)

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Ground-breaking Dentistry

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Renaissance of the Subperiosteal Implant: Volume II
by Leonard I. Linkow, DDS, DMSC
Xlibris

reviewed by Jacquelyn Gilchrist

"The opposing occlusion is of great significance. The more natural teeth present, the poorer the prognosis for a subperiosteal implant."

In the 1950s, implant dentistry was in its infancy. Dr. Linkow might not have been solely responsible for making dental implants the powerhouse they are today, but he's certainly done more to advance the field than just about anyone else. Dr. Linkow, who was once considered for the Nobel Prize in Medicine, continues his mission with this latest volume. This book is intended solely for practicing dentists and those who are in dental school. Dental implant patients will not derive much benefit from it. ... Endosteal implants may be the most commonly used type, but as Dr. Linkow aptly points out with the title of his book, subperiosteal implants could certainly be enjoying a renaissance. By encouraging the use of the subperiosteal implant, Dr. Linkow is opening the door to restoring oral health to patients who otherwise would not be candidates for replacement teeth. ... (read more)

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True Change

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Your Behavior: Understanding and Changing the Things You Do
by Richard H. Pfau
Paragon House

reviewed by Yuliya Geikhman

"Knowing that what you perceive is a construct of your brain may help you realize that different people often perceive reality differently. As a result of their differing perceptions, they may act differently. Furthermore, you can change how you view the world, to some extent at least -- a realization that if acted upon, can change your life for the better."

There are many self-help books out there, and many focus on only one aspect of your behavior: Become a more motivated person, find true love, stop overeating, etc. Few books examine the human being as a complex mechanism, and fewer still take the time to understand the underlying causes for our behavior. Your Behavior spends only one chapter on explaining how to change your behavior, with a majority of the book focused on explaining why you act the way you do. The result is a brilliantly organized trove of knowledge that will leave readers with a better understanding of what makes us tick. ... (read more)

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A Political Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mario Cuomo: Remembrances of a Remarkable Man
by William O'Shaughnessy
Whitney Media Publishing Group

reviewed by John E. Roper

"Through it all he was a most generous friend, to be sure. But I still treasure most the great gift of his friendship and presence in my life."

It was an unlikely friendship. No one would have expected a rising figure among New York's Democrats and a Republican broadcaster to hit it off; oil and water should have had a better chance of mixing. Yet, there was something about this Italian immigrant's son from Queens that set him apart from other men, an ineffable quality that was able to earn him a hearing on both sides of the political fence. O'Shaughnessy, "the voice of Westchester" County, caught a glimpse of this during his first radio interview with Mario Cuomo, then New York's secretary of state, in 1977, an encounter that caused him to race to the phone after his guest left, call up the local bigwigs in the Democratic party, and demand of them, "Who is this guy…?" Over the next thirty-eight years the relationship between Cuomo and O'Shaughnessy blossomed, becoming one of mutual respect, trust, and an easy amiability. ... (read more)

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A Quick, Interesting Read

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Happiest One!
by D.C. Koh
Xlibris

reviewed by Pearl Matibe

"Told me later they went to see some comedy picture. He likes the cowboy pictures."

Set in Cincinnati and Maryland's 1930s, this book is written in a particularly uncommon yet fresh unique voice. It's written as the characters true voice which emphasizes how that distinct voice sounds. Beginning with an Italian immigrant having trouble with an Irishman and extending to his running away from the city because he thinks the authorities will not believe his account of what happened to the many characters portrayed throughout, the reader will enjoy the humorous account as it enfolds. The main character is a carefree Italian immigrant that ends up in a small town where all the folks are impacted by his personality. Finally, what he can't run away from catches up with him—his past. He's a man on the run. ... (read more)

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A Life Told

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Love Has More to Say The Truth Will Set You Free: Book 2
by Dorothy Love
Xlibris

reviewed by John E. Roper

"My mother was asleep, pregnant, raped, and killed…There is no closure."

The murder of the author’s mother, sister, and unborn sibling left a wound that will never heal. The image of her four-year-old younger brother finding his dying mother and sister, slipping on the blood, and not knowing who to help still haunts her. The damage she unintentionally inflicted on her own children by staying in an abusive relationship for so many years also weighs heavily on her heart, but Love has found hope in the midst of sorrow. She credits God for bringing her through the rough times and feels she has “grown tremendously” since the publication of her last memoir. Her spirits are on the rise. ... (read more)

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A Wife Abroad

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Candlelight in a Storm: Born to be a Berliner
by Naveen Sridhar
AuthorHouse

reviewed by John E. Roper

"But, right now, this was a moment of leaving all that was dear to her, a moment to close the door. To move, to escape, to flee."

Renate was only three when the bombs began to drop in Berlin, shattering homes and lives as the Allies worked to bring Nazi Germany to its knees. Her mother, Erika, realizing that the time to leave had finally come, bundled up her two children and fled to the town of Apolda. This would be the first of many such significant moves in the young girl’s life. Eventually, World War II ended, but another more subtle war would soon begin between the capitalist West and its former ally to the East, a conflict that would help shape much of the young girl’s future. ... (read more)

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Dramatic Imagery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Mother’s Sin
by Mia Henry
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Michael Radon

"The wound heals but the scars would always be there. Visible forever. They would never go away."

A moment of passion shared between two people working on a movie in Angola leads to an unexpected pregnancy. Eduardo and Nancy go to every length to make their situation work for them, getting married and starting a family in South Africa. However, the sin of their adultery haunts them and calls into question whether any of the misfortune that seems to follow them is because of their daughter Ella who was conceived out of wedlock. In time, Ella grows up and starts a family of her own, but the bad luck follows her as well, leading to fertility problems, miscarriages, and the heartbreak of giving birth only to have the child die days later. Eventually a string of unexpected pregnancies, not without their own complications, leads to Ella starting and raising a family. Ella must deal with health problems, a violent, drug addicted sister-in-law, and the desire to keep her family together. ... (read more)

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Magical Ethnicity

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Radiant, Book 1: Ascension Series
by Ela Laurenco
Xlibris

reviewed by John E. Roper

"Heat spread throughout her body. Her magick hissed as a sudden pressure pushed at her from the inside."

For almost sixteen years Sena’s life has seemed fairly normal, at least normal for Xanos, a planet where race is defined by magical orientation. However, things are beginning to get a lot stranger for her as her birthday approaches. The weirdness starts when she hears a voice speaking cryptic words to her in the forest. Then, after bumping into a young singer in the woods, she finds herself pulled into a Hyios, a type of bubble in time and space. In the Hyios she encounters Sya, a mysterious young woman who shares with her secrets that alter everything Sena once believed about herself. Yet, as bizarre as these events might seem, they pale in comparison to the changes coming when the hourglass sand remaining in her fifteenth year finally runs out. ... (read more)

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A Charming Read

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Bone for Jack
by Susan Frances
Xlibris

reviewed by J. Duffield

"He dug a few holes to pick up a scent, but could not discover where that bone went."

Jack is a sweet Dalmatian who lives with his master, Rob, in Cape Cod. Unfortunately, Rob must head off to work one day and leave Jack alone at home. Hoping to brighten Jack’s spirits, Rob gives Jack a delicious new bone. As soon as Rob’s gone, Jack buries his bone in the yard. It’s a hot day, and an exhausted Jack decides to take a welcome nap. After he wakes, Jack is excited to chew on his bone. There’s only one problem: he can’t remember where he buried it. Jack begins to dig for it—everywhere. He digs up pansies and lilies. ... (read more)

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Your Chinese Primer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Chinese, English & French Words in Use: Mots Chinois, Anglais & Francais en Usage
使用中文 、英文 、法文詞匯 2 4 0 0 (四級 - Level 4 - B2) & 7 2 0 0 (六級 - Level 6 - C2)
by Hua Zhang
AuthorHouse


reviewed by Jacquelyn Gilchrist

"Xué. It’s never too late to learn. Il n’est jamais trop tard pour apprendre."

Language studies are typically linear progressions, as most workbooks feature only two language arrangements. For example, English to French and Chinese to English workbooks are plentiful, but also self-limiting. Zhang has tackled this problem admirably with his trilingual workbook, which is intended for intermediate students. Zhang’s compilation is a treasure trove for language lovers who are interested in simultaneously expanding their vocabularies and learning how to place words in their appropriate context. ... (read more)

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Forward in God

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

As Sparks Fly Upward: Weathering the Storms of Life
by Michael Carr
AuthorHouse

reviewed by John E. Roper

"What possible good could come of this situation? I asked myself. Could there be any positives to outweigh the negatives?"

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Patricia met her future husband at the age of thirteen in a Bible class. Ten years later they were married and with a bright future of children and ministry ahead of them. But at thirty-one Patricia was diagnosed with a rare muscular disease, myasthenia gravis, an illness the doctors predicted would take her life before she reached middle age. They were wrong. For forty-seven years Carr nursed his wife through the pain, the discomfort of tracheotomy and gastrostomy tubes, and, eventually, confinement in a wheelchair until she passed away at the age of seventy-eight. Where was a loving and caring God in this process? Culling wisdom from his sermons and other writings of those dark years, Carr offers insights forged in the fires of doubt and suffering to encourage others in their own journeys with Christ. ... (read more)

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Healing Brain

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Lady in Red, Where is Your Head?…Surviving a Brain Injury And Coma
by Carolann deBellis
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Donna Ford

"Each year, one million persons incur traumatic brain injuries. Most such injuries result from automobile accidents…"

The true story told in this book begins on January 1987 with a two-car collision in a northbound ice-covered lane on the New Jersey Turnpike. The author was pulled from the wreckage unconscious due to trauma caused by soft brain tissue rapidly striking bones of the skull. Injuries were internal, but resulted in brain damage that required the author to relearn the most basic skills, social and physical, at the age of thirty-four. ... (read more)

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Healing & Learning

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Soothing: Lives of a Child Psychologist
by W. Hans Miller
Xlibris

reviewed by Donna Ford

"Soothing is the right touch at the right moment…finding relief, no matter what it takes…soft pleasure."

'What is soothing?' became a relevant question early to the author, since life threw him an emotional curve while still a child. How did one heal from living with a mentally unstable father and a mother who kept moving the goalposts, while having few real friends? Talking and baseball became Miller’s methods of soothing. Those he was good at even though smaller than school mates. Pitching the perfect baseball as a lefty (which he wasn’t) became his impossible goal. ... Once Miller learned that someone could earn a living helping others heal their emotional wounds, he determined to become a psychologist. While college mates opted to treat adults, he felt drawn to treating children. First, the child psychologist must learn to successfully communicate. ... (read more)

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Honoring God

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Revelation CH: 25 - A Letter to the Churches from the 24th Elder
by Edward K. Micheal
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott

"I hope to give answers to those in this life that, through orthodox methods, find answers to the meaning and occurrences in your and my life."

The author of this unusual testimonial, Edward K. Micheal, is an Englishman who describes the distressing and sometimes chaotic events of his life in harrowing detail. He has experienced both the highest sense of spiritual involvement and fulfillment, as well as the lowest torment of destructive drug addiction. His book begins with a boyhood memory of inscribing three symbols on a bridge: time, defense, and sex. Later he came to understand that the message of these words was a warning for him to avoid the entrapments of sexual activity. ... Falling into sex and then drug abuse, Micheal struggled with addiction. For a while, living with a Christian family, he improved his diet, prayed, meditated, and would even walk for many hours a day to induce exhaustion and take away the desire for drugs. ...(read more)

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Life in the Service

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bullets to Bandages: Life inside the Israel Defense Forces
by Mark Terris
Xlibris

reviewed by Mark Terris

"The Zionist ideas I had been exposed to in high school and the scout movement had taken root. It was my responsibility to serve the country that I had called home the past years."

This is a tale of one young man’s military service. It takes place in Israel in the late 1970’s and recounts three years of what the author experienced as a member of the armed forces. Memoirs, by their very nature, are sometimes accused of faded or selective memory. Terris’s tome, however, is constructed from an initial draft completed immediately following his discharge. Then he revisited it frequently, polishing and providing additional remembrances over subsequent years. He has no qualms about calling it a true story. ... (read more)

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Rhythm and Language

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Follow the Leader
by Gina Sano
Xlibris

reviewed by Toby Berry

"I followed the itchy grubs...Left.Right.Left.Right."

The author spins a tale of a young child helping her father in the garden and observing itchy grubs marching in a line. The grubs then change their route when they encounter obstacles. It is a feel-good, adorable story. Sano's book encourages kids to play in the soil. Shouldn't most kids, most of the time, be encouraged to play in the dirt? Children will also be intrigued by some bugs' cooperative and quirky habits–think ants, trailing in perfect formation across the ground, carrying crumbs. Families or teachers can use this book as an excellent jump off point to start a game of cooperative play where children emulate those silly grubs. ... (read more)

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Love and Travel

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Meo: The Pharaoh of Cats
by Connie Soles
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Sheelonee Baneerjee

"Somewhere in a distant place love will find the way / Searching, always searching you seem so far away."

Sarge, a strong, beautiful male cat, lives in the RV with his human daddy, Jesse. One full moon night, Sarge meets a strange circle of cats who bow to him as a gold crown magically lands on his head. One cat, Cleo, seems to find Sarge very familiar, and they are both attracted to each other. The cats purr a haunting Egyptian love song and gradually become popular amongst humans. On their one-year anniversary, a tornado of stars takes Cleo and Sarge back to ancient Egypt. ... (read more)

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Survival and Determination

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Little Weed and Spider Sam
by Elizabeth Lauren Owen
Xlibris

reviewed by Sheelonee Banerjee

"'Little Weed...all things are a challenge. Some you will win and some you will lose.' Said Spider Sam."

When unwanted Little Weed sprouts in the Tulip Garden and the tulips tease her, a kind little girl replants her in her pasture. There, Scorpion stings her to test her strength. After Scorpion spreads a rumor that Little Weed is strong, the whole pasture wants to challenge her. Since all Little Weed wants is to grow in the pasture without trouble, she befriends wise Spider Sam, whom all the pasture knows. He helps her win new friends. Meanwhile, Little Red Flower challenges Little Weed to take the Sun Battle challenge, where anyone who lasts the scorching afternoon without wilting becomes the winner. Little Weed wins the battle with her resilience and is finally acknowledged by the whole pasture. ... (read more)

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Understanding Message

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Origin & Insertion Charts for Massage Therapists
by Thomas Vas-Don
Xlibris AU

reviewed by Donna Ford

"Whilst studying for my Diploma, I recognised the need to collate all relevant information for various sources into a single easy to read book."

The author’s interest in massage therapy began with an industrial accident in 2006 when he was twenty-one. Injury to his lower back and the resulting surgery brought a dire prospect: being confined to a wheelchair for life. Instead, he practiced martial arts and pursued a diploma in massage therapy, putting his life back on track. Earning a black belt also gained him respect from his peers. Vas-Don’s motive for publishing this book came from discovering the complexity of massage, anatomy, trigger points, and referral pain patterns. He decided to create one, easy-to-use resource that distilled vast amounts of information into a ninety-page book.There are three sections: range of motion and testing charts, origin and insertion charts, and charts with illustrations indicating trigger point referral of pain. Sub-sections arrange the charts according to muscle groups including feet, ankles, legs, back, abdomen, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and head. ... (read more)

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The Road Less Traveled

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Gaining the High Ground over Evolutionism
by Robert J. O'Keefe
iUniverse

reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott

"And because knowledge of the supernatural is not a subject of scientific inquiry, the inevitable conclusion is that no knowledge of anything supernatural is possible."

O'Keefe has chosen to take the road less traveled in the often heated debate between creationism and evolutionism. He believes that both positions have merit; the problem lies in how science and religion are regarded in our culture. The issue was personified for many by the 1925 Scopes trial in Tennessee—the famous case in which two great legal minds argued whether evolution was to be taught in public schools. But the crux of this debate really began, O'Keefe asserts, with the very beginnings of science. When Galileo defied Christian doctrine by proving with a telescope that the earth was not the center of the universe, but instead revolved around the sun, the basic divide between faith and science was established; "Divine revelation was out, and reason was in." ... (read more)

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Outside Forces

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Strong Delusion: Invasion of an Otherworldy Islam
by John Milor
iUniverse

reviewed by Barbera Bamberger Scott

"The seers of today peer into the ancient past through the lens of ancient manuscripts, and they marvel and accept the truth of what they see."

The author, a self-described Christian ufologist, has developed compelling theories based on his study of the Bible, the Quran, and the Hadiths, taking the book’s title from dire predictions of the end times found in 2 Thessalonians. Milor has seen extraterrestrial phenomena himself, and he grew up with a devout Christian grandmother who claimed to have seen both Jesus incarnate and UFOs. He relates these images to a projection of the end times to come. Beginning with the Biblical description of a race of evil giants, the Nephilim, who he believes caused the great flood, Milor suggests that these shape-changing giants are also the jinns mentioned in Islamic scripture who surrounded the prophet Muhammed. Milor also notes that Muhammed predicted that someone claiming to be Jesus will appear on earth... (read more)

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Letters Home

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Love From
by Edna Carr Green
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Rebecca L. Morgan

"The upside was that no matter how bad things were, there was always the possibility that a letter would arrive in the post—hat was how things worked before the internet—and we would be on our way to somewhere nicer."

Reflecting on decades of travel throughout the Middle East, Asia, and India, London-born Edna Carr Green shares her insights and experiences on cultures and customs as she sets up her household on foreign soil. Accompanying her husband, an international banker, to remote and exotic locations during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Green offers a unique perspective of day-to-day living abroad in this light-hearted memoir that chronicles her journey from young wife and mother to confident and sophisticated world traveler. Beirut, Abu Dhabi, Bombay, Saigon, Dubai, Kuala Lumpurthese are just a sampling of the cities she describes in fascinating detail before the advance of technology and massive infrastructure developments, via consulting letters she wrote home to her mother and her journals. ... (read more)

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Wartimes, War Crimes

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Focus on Survival: A Young Family's Struggle to Survive World War II
by Julie Bayl
Xlibris AU

reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott

"Those last few months of 1943 were precarious indeed, and Ben and Em had to summon all their strength and mental ability…to survive."

They were a loving couple whose relationship had a rocky start. Ben, a professional photographer, courted Em, a certified midwife, over the objections of Em’s domineering father. Shortly after their marriage, their beloved Netherlands fell under the Nazi occupation. Ben vowed to protect Em and their children, two of whom had hemophilia. Because the occupiers did not confiscate midwives’ bicycles, Ben “became” a midwife. His disguise was so successful that no one recognized “Sister Bernadina,” allowing him to travel and find food. Ben secretly provided Jews with false passport photos and was once held for days, questioned, and brutally beaten. Em told authorities that her husband had abandoned her. They made a tiny attic space for hiding during periodic Nazi searches. Em also took bike trips, even when pregnant and dodging the bullets of warfare, to ask better-off relatives in the countryside for precious eggs and vegetables for the children. ... (read more)

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A New Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Redhead
by H. M. Howington
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Joe Kilgore

"Just knowing a girl like this could get a guy into trouble sometimes. I was hoping it wouldn’t be this time."

The gumshoe is back. The Private Investigator who used to prowl the pages of pulps with handles like Phillip Marlowe, Sam Spade, or Travis McGee, has been re-imagined and brought back to life. The setting is a muggy Los Angeles soon after World War II. The seedy goings-on include blackmail, murder, and mayhem administered by beefy guys in suits and fedoras. True to form, the toughest one in town just might be the femme fatale who starts out as the damsel in distress. Or maybe not. As is usually the case in such intricately plotted potboilers, things are seldom as they seem. ... (read more)

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Meditations for Growth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Message Within It's Words
by Paul Mason
BookVenture Publishing

reviewed by John E. Roper

"Therefore, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in a person’s life, God is there waiting for His children to call…"

Mason is a man on a mission. His stated concern for both those he knows and those he does not is what has driven him to offer his meditations to the world; his passion is to see as many people as possible become truly aware of what is happening in their lives and to realize that with God on their side they can thrive. Structuring his book in a way that it can be read as a daily devotional, with each page comprising one topic, he presents hope and encouragement to all who care to read his words. ... (read more)

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Enchanting Poetry

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Growth of a Girl to the Wisdom of a Woman
by Stephanie Olivia Bell
Xlibris

reviewed by J Duffield

"Who am I?
Who am I, now that
I'm no longer
someone's wife,
no longer
someone's daughter,
no longer
someone's mother?
Who am I now?"

A lovely series of poems that invites the reader to witness the progression of a passionate young girl in love, through her maturation years, finally concluding with her older, wiser years. In the first few poems, the reader experiences the joy and rapture the young girl feels at being in love. The reader begins to suspect that all may not be well when the voice changes from blissful to worried. The following poems become laced with intense longing for the missing lover. ... (read more)

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First Chapter Reviews


First Chapter Review archive

none

The Replicants
by Gerry Burke
iUniverse

Generally, science fiction is one thing and humor is another. However it takes only a paragraph and a half before readers come upon Planet Schmoo, foretelling a cosmic collision of science and shtick. Rapidly, multiple characters are introduced who further this formulation of interstellar absurdity. The Schmooans are on their way to Earth to participate in intergalactic athletic games. Or, is something more sinister at play?... (read more)

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