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Wednesday, August 2, 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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Focus Review
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Seven Skeletons: The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human Fossils
by Lydia Pyne
Viking

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Featured Book Reviews

 

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


"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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Of Men and Spirit

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God and the gods
by Genesis T. Yengoh
Outskirts Press


"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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Classy and Romantic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


"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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Understanding Us

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


"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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To Live Again... and Again

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

They'll Never Die
by Don Calmus
Fulton Books


"'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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Pioneer Woman

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


"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

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


"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


"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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To Live Forever

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


"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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Global Forest Concerns

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Global Environmental Awareness on Climate Change: Forest Protection: Wildfire Science Manual, Volume I, Part I
by Dr. Andreas Tertey Gboloo
Mindstir Media


"The future of our climate largely depends on essential carbon-guzzling forests. The forests are the key stores and facilitate in the sequestration of carbon compounds on the planet."

Gboloo recognizes that protecting our planet from the devastation of wildfires is a daunting task. Our forests are vital for preserving life on Earth, yet millions of acres succumb to the flames annually. With this sobering fact in mind, the author has brought his extensive education and years of related experience—”including working in Africa as a United Nations consultant in forest fire prevention and control—to bear in creating a comprehensive manual too address the problem. ... (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


"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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True Change

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

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


"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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In This Hosue

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Ostermann House
by J. R. Klein
CreateSpeace


"The room was bathed in the thin evening light that came in through the window, filling it with an eerie glow."

If you’re a fan of thrillers, mysteries, or ghost stories, chances are you’ll be intrigued with this novel that could easily find a home in any of those genres. It weaves its way from one inexplicable situation to another while constantly seeming to have its feet planted squarely on dusty Texas dirt. ... (read more)

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A Great Script

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Singer at Penn Station: A Script Based on a True Story
by Josephine deBois
Xlibris


"Samuel and Huang laugh as they instantly feel their good chemistry."

Engaging, suspenseful, and ready for the big screen, this screenplay has all the elements necessary for a blockbuster movie. The plot is complex, and the story is filled with action, mystery, sex (appropriate and tasteful), and violence. The last movie with the depth, intrigue, and suspense equal to Singer at Penn Station was arguably Dan Brown's novel made into the highly successful movie, The DaVinci Code. ... (read more)

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Secrets, Relationships, America

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Baxter House
by George Encizo
CreateSpace


"He wanted to deflect the topic away from him because he could tell that Lottie was studying him."

Bradley Harding is a soldier. As a gunnery sergeant in Afghanistan, he has led his team into battle. He has also seen them get maimed and killed under his command. Now, after returning to the States and struggling with disillusion, he is considering hanging up his stripes for good. First, though, he has another battle to fight—a mission to reconnect with a past which has been denied him for decades by his father and paternal grandfather. It could end up being his most difficult assignment yet. ... (read more)

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A Memorable Tale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Black Overalls
by Tom Donaldson


"When we took the field, we could hear some laughing and heckling about our jerseys. Nobody is laughing now."

For the uninitiated, in Texas, where this story takes place, football—particularly high school football—is just as much a religion as Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. In fact, it’s probably more popular than all of those combined. While H. G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights covered similar terrain via non-fiction, Donaldson uses the novel’s inherent ability to add intimacy, drama, conflict, and heroism to definitely up the emotional ante. ... (read more)

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Working, Winning

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Rule # 1: Don’t Be # 2
by Daniel Milstein
Gold Star Publishing


"Work so hard that one day your signature will be called an autograph."

Daniel Milstein, best-selling author and CEO of the Gold Star Family of Companies, has written a new motivational book for business people, with snappy, thought-provoking guidelines that can apply just as easily to everyday life situations that we all experience. On almost every page, he provides aphorisms to get you charged up and ready to roll on almost any project. He reminds us that eighty-six percent of millionaires are self-made, and jokingly but pointedly tells his readers that while they were deciding if the glass was half empty or half full, he sold the glass. He emphasizes teamwork, insists that you don’t get lucky, you make your luck, and states boldly, “Lunch is for losers.” Yet he assures you that if you choose the right career, you’ll never need a vacation because your work will bring you the happiness you seek. Pointing to successful people like Thomas Edison and millionaire Jack Ma, he propounds a “never give up” attitude. ... (read more)

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Cool Mysteries

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bigfoot: Mysterious Monsters, Book One
by David Michael Slater
Corgi Bits, An imprint of Incorgnito Publishing Press


"He had a sack full of peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches in there with him because he never went anywhere without a sack full of peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches. "

In the seemingly never-ending quest to educate children at younger and younger ages, people sometimes forget that kids are really kids—not simply pint-sized adults eager to learn the latest math equation or scientific formula. Fortunately, author Slater is keenly aware of this and has begun a series of books that will likely teach kids a lot even though they might think they’re simply having fun. ... (read more)

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Angels and Demons

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Complications in the Spirit Realm
by R. L. Coleman


"The evil seraph, the neophyte, and the innocent newborn are locked in a chain reaction of cause and effect."

When death comes calling for a drunk, homeless man, the reaper charged with taking his soul is shocked to learn that no seraph is there to guide his spirit through the afterlife. Breaching protocol, the reaper himself decides to do the seraph’s duty, which involves him in a situation he did not expect. Angrily, the Gatekeeper assigns the reaper to serve as a guardian spirit to a compromised newborn baby that was to be the missing seraph’s charge. The reaper takes on this duty with grave responsibility, despite the mistrust he receives from his former foes, the seraphim. With his assignment born prematurely and the mother’s recovery compromised by her HIV-positive status, opportunity is created for enterprising parties on both sides to try and follow their own twisted agendas. ... (read more)

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Best Friends

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Will Will and Me: Eight Amazing Stories About Two Special Friends
by John Hyland
BookVenture Publishing


"The next second it was thrashing around on its side in the road, honking like crazy. It twisted the hoop six ways to Saturday but couldn’t tear through the cloth."

Will Will's full name is William Sidney Peterson, but no one ever calls him that. Will Will is as unique as his nickname—the leader of the pack, the Dennis the Menace of his hometown. In his book, Hyland recounts eight adventures he embarked on thanks to (or perhaps because of) his best friend Will Will. Set in the 1950s and 60s in a little town in Illinois, this charming trip down memory lane invites readers to take part in the boys' adventures and perhaps reminisce about their own childhoods as a result. ... (read more)

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Protecting Our Forests

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Global Environmental Awareness on Climate Change: Forest Protection: Wildfire Science Manual, Volume I, Part II
by Dr. Andreas Tertey Gboloo
Mindstir Media


"We should not look for excuses but look for how we can mobilize our people and governments... a journey of a thousand miles, starts with a step."

Scientifically proven facts are indisputable, but that hasn't stopped climate change deniers from trying. Much of the controversy regarding climate change stems from the recalcitrance of corporations to adhere to stricter emissions standards, which, consequently, is born of the fear of lower profits. Dr. Gboloo argues in favor of a different approach that doesn't undermine private sector profits, but does have the potential to make a major impact on the future of the planet.... (read more)

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Changing Business

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Continuous Knowledge Development in Organizations
by Dr. Miomir Arandelovic
CreateSpace


"over 50% of the knowledge management initiatives failed to produce satisfactory results and… most KM projects had been successful due to leadership talent..."

The goal of the research study presented in this book was to uncover how organizations have pursued continuous knowledge development both in the traditional past and more recently. Then the study mathematically coded results from forty sample cases so that outcomes could be predicted and be repeatable for other organizations. ... Section 1 provides examples or descriptions of recent Knowledge Management (KM) projects including: Google's creative license initiative, Just-in-time (JIT), and Six Sigma. Also covered are ancient philosophies that address human knowledge development. This section includes writings of ancient Chinese and Buddhist thinkers along with Greek philosophers. ... (read more)

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Beating the System

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

David L. Margrave: The Plumber Who Outwitted the IRS
by David L. Margrave with Michael Conant
Incorgnito Publishing Press


"Authority is built on rules… If you know and abide by the rules, you can use those same rules against the very authority that created them."

Co-written by Margrave and his publisher, Conant, the early chapters of this book deliberately dramatize Margrave's life and reveal his eccentricities. He was justifiably proud of winning the Iron Man Award for soccer coaching, but Margrave's big achievements were challenging the government regarding the need for IRS taxes and Social Security, researching the history of the gold standard from 1789 onward, and employing text from The Revenue Act of 1913 as the basis for only paying tax on his rate as the company plumber, not on a salary. This tax he paid in gold. ... (read more)

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Help You Grow

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Night Blooming Jasmine in Your Heart
by Marie Helena
Dawn Light Press


"We live on a verdant, lush planet of infinite possibility. We are surrounded by fascinating individuals, each with his or her own preferences, experiences, values, feelings. Everyone has a story to tell."

Through a concise collection of elegant, narrative prose, this mystic-themed guide beckons the reader to amend his or her way of approaching daily challenges by making a psychological shift in thinking. Revolving around the representation of the jasmine plant, whose blossoms open in darkness, each chapter serves as a kaleidoscope of poignant, inspirational messages. The opening passage introduces the premise of discovering the beauty within oneself when one chooses to recognize and appreciate the existence of beauty in all things. This initial chapter sets the pace of the book, which persuades the reader to examine each word with precision in order to engage in an emotional exploration of self. ... (read more)

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Struggles in Mass.

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Jack's Place
by Phoebe Otis
Xlibris


"He tried to get to Jack, but something was wrong with his legs, and it was hard to breathe."

Diana Rice doesn't know what to expect when she decides to look up her last living relative in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her cousin Charlie is a local boy who had excelled in school and had seemed to have a bright future ahead of him before being sent to Vietnam. He had returned home a completely different man. Renamed Charlie Mutters because of his constant talking to himself, he now squats in a camper cap on the land that once belonged to his grandfather but which has since been sold to a shady, out-of-state developer for back taxes. Determined to connect with him despite his problems, Diana works with Billy (Charlie's childhood friend) to become friends with her cousin. ... (read more)

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Love of Country, Family

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Knock
by Marc Hardage
LitFire Publishing


"The thought occurred in a cold, unrelenting torrent of finality that he had better spend the rest of the afternoon growing up."

A warm family atmosphere sets the tone on page one, when retired Navy SEAL Nash Crockett tenderly tucks his youngest son into bed the night before the under-age-14 Oklahoma State Championship soccer game. Tension is raised when the next chapter introduces oldest son Travis, a newly married Navy SEAL serving time in Qandahar, Afghanistan, and who is passionate about his little brother’s championship game. Parallel plots quickly raise the conflict in this two-day saga of a close-knit, patriotic, Christian, soccer-loving family in Oklahoma. ... (read more)

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Freehackers Unite

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

AM - Solid Glass: Part 1, Masterplan
by Dave Dröge


"Predicting is the essence of intelligence, and in that, I am (we are) superior."

Earth in the year 2050. Technology, once the servant of man, has now become mankind’s ruler. Artificial Intelligence, witnessing humanity’s history of disregard for each other and everyone’s environment, has taken control in an attempt to provide a collective solution that will stop the degradation of the planet before man totally destroys it. Humans have been divided into four sub-species: leaders, hard-workers, creatives, and the relatively useless. While the planet around them has fallen into a slagheap of disrepair and ruin, people are kept mollified by viewing their world through embedded rose-colored glass technology that makes everything seem far more comforting than it is. However, being human there are still some who refuse to live under a cyber fist, and they are determined to use all the means at their disposal to avoid total capitulation. ... (read more)

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Taking Care

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Treasure of the Magical Mine Moppets
by K.J. Blocker
Mindstir Media


"And that would mean that Withers was both crooked and intelligent, a terrible combination. It was easier when criminals were stupid."

If one were categorizing, Blocker’s book would probably fall into what’s often known as middle grade fiction—fiction that’s best read and enjoyed by children somewhere in the age range of 8 to 12. That certainly doesn’t mean that younger kids wouldn’t enjoy it as well, particularly if the book is read to or with them. In fact, time being spent between parents and children is at the heart of this fantasy adventure, which is grounded in real world scenarios. ... (read more)

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Gaining Compassion

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Being Happy: The Sacred Art of Letting Go and Letting God
by Anne K. Ross
Balboa Press


"I strongly believe that everyone has the power and ability to reprogram themselves to learn their own truth, their beliefs for their greater good."

Do you remember the happiest time during your childhood? Has it been years since you felt that way? If so, then this is the right book for you. At its core, Ross' personal development philosophy is about inviting positivity and joy into everyday life. She starts by asking the reader to imagine becoming childlike and full of wonder again. Set aside your worries about your 401(k) and your deadlines, and let yourself approach every new experience as if it were something to be savored. This approach might seem overly simplistic for some, but this is because true happiness is simplistic—it's the rest of the world that makes life more complicated than it should be. Ross nudges readers along a journey toward better understanding of how their pasts inhibit present and future progress. She encourages readers to build the joyful life they deserve through the use of her "toys." These include breath work, meditation, affirmations, and simply having fun. The author provides actionable directions and clear explanations for each of these. ... (read more)

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A Lasting Relationship

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Bird and the Dragon
by JessieMay Kessler
Balboa Press


"I’m not sure when Sy and I married that we were fully prepared for how much work it would be to raise five girls in a blended family."

Author and therapist JessieMay Kessler has composed a paean to her long, loving relationship with a man she met in a group for single parents working through divorce. ... Sy Kessler was coming away from marriage to an alcoholic. JessieMay had been involved in a marriage that had long since gone cold. The two became engaged while they were still in the couples therapy group. Together they had five growing daughters—Sy bringing two and JessieMay three to the blended home. Kessler’s book is concerned with small but significant everyday events of their co-existence, in which Sy took the role of a “dragon” who would always protect his lady, and she, nicknamed Birdie as a child, would reciprocate by offering him a “warm, safe cave” as described in one of Sy’s favorite poems. ... (read more)

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African Turbulence

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Shades of Africa: Kwasuka Sukela
by Toko Loshe
Xlibris


"…my father…had grown up with a mixture of English, German, Afrikaans, Zulu, and Xhosa on the farm in the Transkei."

This novel is based on the true story of Shirley Schreiber, a white girl who grew up in some of the most troubled places in Southern Africa during the late 1950s. It is written with the hindsight of adulthood but felt from the heart of an unhappy childhood. Because this is a novel with an autobiographical underpinning, separating actual disturbing events from fiction sometimes resembles solving a mystery. Why must her father drink? Was he abusive, protective, or both? Did she inherit his strong determination and artistic talent or her mother’s sewing skills and ability to love obediently? Would Shirley repeat their mistakes? ... (read more)

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Crucible Poland

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Jew: Novel Based on a True Story
by Domenik Poleski
Xlibris


"We are Jews, and always will be, and we don’t have it written on our foreheads, and we don’t behave differently than anybody else."

Teenager Alek Brodski and his mother, the poor widow Zofia, live in a remote Polish village in the politically fraught 1960s. Everyone knows everyone else's business and knows that the two are the only Jews in town. When Alex, a loner who tries to avoid trouble, is set upon and beaten up by three boys, Zofia seeks justice from the fanatical Marxist police chief who offers only lies and evasions. Kindly Christian Maria Pavloska, who witnessed the incident, begins to help and counsel Zofia. Alex, intelligent and artistically talented but tormented by adolescent fears and fantasies, meets Ela, a young prostitute, when she speaks out to defend him from yet another attack. Ela returns to high school in hopes of seeing Alek and getting his help to study and improve her miserable life. ... (read more)

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The Human Trade

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Perilous Question: A Marcie Kane Novel
by Barry Finlay
Keep On Climbing Publishing


"The people that do this sort of thing will do anything to get these young girls in their clutches. They promise them education, jobs, marriage, wealth, anything to persuade the girls they are doing the right thing."

A mystery novel regarding the international trafficking of young girls, the book delves into the reality of this horrendous practice. The author, who personally does fund raising for kids in Tanzania, Africa, examines the people who do the trafficking, the victims (including the girls being trafficked as well as their families), and those who either personally or professionally aid in trying to capture the traffickers and end the practice.The book takes us from Tanzania to the United States and places in-between. ... (read more)

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Universal Themes of Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Boomerang Girl
by John Rennell Secor
Trafford Publishing


"...for mouvances is the archaeology of self
a meditation, a release from life's burdens
the restless pursuit of meaning
seeing the past with absolute clarity
even when the future makes no promises."

This collection of bilingual poems is written with unabashed, raw emotional power. Focusing on the senses and its affect on memory, Secor's poems are nostalgic. They are glimpses in time, sometimes of fleeting moments, sometimes of larger moments in life that portray a range of emotions of anger, fear, sadness and happiness, and can be recalled anywhere at any time. ... (read more)

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A Ladder to Heaven

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Original Intent: Restoration Of The Bride of Christ Into Her Purpose And Destiny
by Victoria Kutkina
Litfire Publishing


"A reward is greater than we are because our purpose is greater. We can choose our profession or our education, but our purpose chose us."

This book is an exegesis of nine beatitudes Jesus delivered as part of his Sermon on the Mount. The author calls these a ladder to Heaven provided for the Bride of Christ; each of the beatitudes is a step upward to fulfilling her purpose and destiny. Kutkina first focuses on the disruption of the family that has occurred since man and woman were forced from Eden. Worship of early gods required the sacrifice of firstborn sons by the father, further altering families and society. During Jesus’ lifetime, he demonstrated a right relationship between the Son and Father. In return for faithful obedience, Jesus was promised his bride, the Church. ... (read more)

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A Deep Mystery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Letters From Brackham Wood: A Moira Edwards Mystery
by Rita Gard Seedorf and Margaret Albi Verhoef
Cozy Cat Press


"Charles’ unit was just activated. He does not know a deployment date. It is like a very bad dream!"

Progress giveth and progress taketh away. While electronic mail provides virtually instantaneous communication, its reliance on brevity, cyber-speak, and emojis too often eliminates that which written letters are most impactful at providing. Thankfully, the qualities of comprehensiveness, thoughtful conversation, and the ability of words rather than pictures to compellingly convey emotion are all on display in this novel woven almost entirely from shared correspondence. ... (read more)

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Chilling Adventure

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Watermelon Snow: A Novel
by William A. Liggett
Sandra Jonas Publishing House


"At last, he started drifting off. All around them, the water still cascaded under the ice, but mercifully the wind and rain had stopped."

Adventure novels are frequently based in strange locales. The primary location for this book is definitely out of most reader's comfort zone. It takes place primarily on a Mount Olympus glacier in the state of Washington. While the story is chock-full of thrills, it's also filled with enough scientific and environmental insight to infuse its excitement quotient with copious amounts of climate credibility. ... (read more)

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Powerful Storytelling

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Yestermorrow
by Warren R. B. Dixon
Xlibris


"He could see his own brief life in theirs. He could look into this mirror, this coming-home, at death."

Morgan Sizemore harbors the bohemian lifestyle almost as if he has no choice. Living in a drafty beach house owned by his friend Ragnar Jack, Morgan works as a university professor of literature almost as an afterthought. Professionally, his torturous thoughts turn instead to writing the next novel in a collection of commercially ignored works. Morgan’s escape is found in the company and the intimacy of the opposite sex, which is hindered or accelerated by his inability to commit to a single lover. Thrice divorced because of his wandering eyes and hands, Morgan now acknowledges his own inability to settle down, opting instead to alternate between his lovers depending on his physical and emotional needs. Told over four parts each representing a season of 1973, this story follows a man struggling with detachment on all social levels, looking for a way to find contentment. ... (read more)

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Family Ties

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Cream Brick House: Elodea's Dream
by Christine Ellen
Xlibris


"Elodea dejectedly, wearily made her way down the steps to her car. She was devastated! Her hard-earned savings were gone!"

Australia has its share of sweeping family sagas. Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds is a popular example. The land down under is also renowned for indefatigable heroines. Laura from Henry Handel Richardson’s The Getting of Wisdom is a case in point. Those novels come to mind when reading Christine Ellen’s far-reaching tale of one woman’s quest to achieve her own personal dream. ... (read more)

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Journey to Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sin of Ambition
by Mary M. McNaughton
Xlibris


"Money, position, power. The very attributes that frightened her were drawing her closer every day."

Meg Newport dreams of overcoming an arduous childhood and creating a life of luxury and refinement. Having suffered severe burns on her neck and shoulder as a child, she longs for the opportunity to have reconstructive surgery, believing that the scarring is holding her back from being propelled out of her middle-class lifestyle into the upper echelon of society. Meg’s resolve to obtain wealth and status motivates her to excel at her workplace, attracting the attention of the Holts, a family of prosperous hotel owners. The Holts welcome her into their world of opulence and prestige, but her association comes with a caveat: a romantic relationship with their discontented son. She is determined to earn her master’s degree in business administration and work her way through the corporate hierarchy to obtain her own fortune. Aligning herself with the Holts is certain to bring her the success she desperately seeks, but it will mean surrendering to a life on their terms. ... (read more)

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Taking Sides

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Tenuous Tendrils
by Tom Corbett
Xlibris


"He had spent his whole life running away, from the law, from his family, from relationships, from human feelings."

Jeremiah Joshua Connelly is retiring from a very lucrative career as an academic professor at British Columbia University. His sister Rachel, an accomplished doctor, along with many friends from Joshua’s past are visiting Joshua in Canada for his retirement ceremony. Joshua has always been a very private person who offsets serious conversation with jokes, which is why very little is actually known about Joshua’s past. Only his closest friends know why he left the United States all those years ago, and now Joshua’s treacherous past is about to be revealed to everyone, even old colleagues. Joshua is going to come face-to-face with feelings he has suppressed for many decades and relive his numerous radical actions from his youth. ... (read more)

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Emotional Read

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hope
by Rima Jbara
AuthorHouse


"Since you’ve left me, and I wanted to
follow you.
Wait.
Wait for me."

Part prose, part poetry, this in an insightful and passionate piece of work. Hope is a young talent who prepares for her first interview as a new professional painter. The reader can sense a painful past during the interview, and it is confirmed when she tells the interviewer, Alex, that her father is dead. The author’s perceptively dark tone teases the reader, suggesting that there may be more to the story, and eventually we learn that Hope's father committed suicide. ... (read more)

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Honor the Earth

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush: Sagebrush Meets the Shuns
by Joni Franks
Xlibris


"But the little dog never stopped to listen. Off she went. She was faster than lightning, off to save her friends."

This second book in the author’s children’s series re-introduces young readers to Sagebrush, the Welsh Corgi puppy without a tail. Sagebrush’s life is a happy one, living with her parents and the owner of the ranch. One day, Sage goes on an adventure into the forest while sniffing all of the smells of nature and is surprised to meet two tiny creatures that introduce themselves as Sprout and Shroom, members of a race known as Shuns. Shuns revere nature and live inside trees, but the deforestation that’s been going on has been destroying their homes and made them distrusting of humans. Now it’s up to Sage to protect her new friends the Shuns from the giant machines that are destroying the forest and prove to her family that these creatures are real and in need of help. ... (read more)

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Try, Try Again

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hiding Boys in Bathrooms: A Decade of Dating Debacles
by Giuliana Prada
AuthorHouse


"The conversation was basically dead after that exchange, and I left soon after. Not surprisingly, our short-lived six-week romance immediately started to taper off."

Prada shares with the audience her lack of luck when it comes to romance in this collection of eight moments of love, heartbreak, booze, and comedy. Beginning with Prada’s awkward years, it quickly becomes apparent that she has a hard time talking with and reciprocating the interest of boys her age. Once she reaches her thirties, the author's social awkwardness diminishes through social drinking and the bar scene; but now that she can talk to men, she finds that the ones that she’s interested in have their own negative qualities and issues that spill over into her own life. When love finds its way to her, it brings with it a fear of commitment, a drug problem, or a sweet-talking scheme after the honeymoon period of a new relationship passes. ... (read more)

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God and Humanity

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Taboo Tabernacle: God's Design & the Cultures Demise, One Man's Journey from the Secular to the Sacred
by A. W. Archer
iUniverse


"We're afraid to talk about intelligent design, evolution, science, sexuality, Islamic terrorism, Government conspiracies, UFOs, aliens, monsters, and demons; but, the Bible has answers for all of that..."

Archer became a born-again Christian in 2012, and this work explores his journey to Christianity. It begins with an introduction which asks a number of existential questions and then focuses on his background. This is followed by 27 chapters accompanied by a section of questions for review regarding each chapter.

The first part of the book is an honest reflection on his early experiences with drugs and alcohol, sexual practices, violence, and his ADD/ADHD. He then examines how he got involved with clairvoyance and how this led to a focus on the dark side of life and a feeling that he might have the demonic within him. As he begins to explore his relationship with God and Jesus, his life becomes healthier, including his relationship with his wife and their child. Viewing life now through a biblical filter, he sees opposing belief systems such as yoga, mysticism, New Age philosophy, witchcraft, kundalini practices, etc. as evil and satanic. The Bible is used to justify all of his beliefs, including scientific principles, and Biblical quotes are often utilized to support his views. ... (read more)

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Cathartic Healing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Extraordinary Happenings on the Edge of Lunacy
by Mr. Frankie Princeton
Xlibris


"She is the sweetest and dearest lady I have ever known, and had you really gotten to know her…you would come to love her the way I did and still do."

At just four years old, Amanda suffers traumatic childhood experiences with the death of her brother and then the murder/suicide of her father, mother, and grandmother. This singular incident is perhaps what forever fractures Amanda’s mental stability and shapes the remainder of her life. In adulthood, Amanda’s depression and mania disrupts the normality of her family life, severely restricting her ability to function in society. Princeton describes harrowing moments of near-death events caused by his mother’s unpredictable behavior. Her various mild to dangerous and uncontrollable actions emerge and cease without reason or warning over the course of many years. Despite treatments and hospitalizations, Amanda gradually unravels as she ages, her relapses deeply affecting her husband and children as helpless witnesses at the time and continuing to impact them even after her death. ... (read more)

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A Full Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Dream, Shadows and Fulfillment
by Henry Bretton
Xlibris


"Upon arrival in New York, the immigration officer praised my greeting and talking to him in English, expressing his wish that all immigrants would do likewise."

The author of this wide-ranging autobiography began his life in humble status as the son of a single mother in Berlin, Germany, in the midst of World War I. Unable to support him adequately, his mother put him in foster care with a kind, loving couple until she married and could help shape her son’s future. More than anyone in his life, she provided the dream of the book’s title, believing that Bretton would one day become a university professor. Then the shadows fell—Germany became a dangerous place for someone like Bretton, whose birth father was Jewish. To help him emigrate quickly, his mother located a distant relative in the United States. Skilled in several languages, the author enlisted in the US military and served in the US Secret Service, then known as the OSS. After the war, the GI Bill provided the education he had longed for, allowing him to get a Ph.D. He became an internationally noted professor, teaching all over the world—Europe, Africa, and the US—and experiencing the fulfillment of his childhood hopes. ... (read more)

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Exploring Solutions

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sacred Kingdom
by K. C. Smith
Xlibris


"Even though I have a clinical major mental disorder, I feel I am an average guy, or that is what I aspire to be."

The author was an adopted child, which, along with a facial scar acquired at an early age, gave him a sense of inferiority. This gradually developed into a deep depressive disorder with which he still struggles. He wrote this book, he says, “on my knees,” seeking ways to get past the many obstacles he has faced. ... As an adult, he gained employment and the relaxation of participating in local sports but longed to break free from a life of security and discover his true destiny. He found solace in spiritual self-examination. Having dabbled in numerology, Biblical study, pendulum energy, and Chinese astrology, he offers his understandings of those disciplines. He consulted with psychics who assured him he would accomplish greater things. That emboldened him to follow his own advice: “Face your fears.” Now, with a long-term partner, Donna, he feels ready to embrace his future. ... (read more)

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A Spiritual Resource

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Rising of the Temple of God: A Journey Towards 2020
by Apostle Antonia
Xlibris


"But what happened was when I held on to the world and got friendlier with the world of sin, God was not even in my heart and mind anymore."

In this study guide, Apostle Antonia challenges readers to take a five-day journey with Jesus. She believes this commitment is one that none should pass up, ignore, or quit. In five years you become what you begin to do now. Why the date of 2020? The author predicts that the dark and evil days which are here now will increase more as God figuratively shakes this earth. She believes the five-day journey will raise up a spiritual temple within believers. ... (read more)

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An Alligator's Tale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

An Alligator's Hide or Just Come Clean
by Adrienne Harrell
Xlibris


"Lily comes in the room. She has on a hula skirt and lei around her neck. She is dancing."

Lily the Alligator is perhaps an unusual household pet that plays with the children and hangs around during family picnics. But she is still very friendly and not a hazard to anyone, even the energetic dog Hiram. During a game of hide and seek, Lily is discovered by a policeman who has a warrant for the alligator’s arrest. Her family pleads for Lily to stay with them, to which the policeman responds that he will turn a blind eye for now. However, if Lily’s rightful owners come looking for her, he’ll have to take her away. Later, the family is getting ready for dinner, with Grandpa and Grandma coming over along with cousins and even the policeman from earlier. When Lily’s owners also stop by, Lily may have to say goodbye to her family. ... (read more)

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Changing Cancer

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Conquest of Cancer: A Long-Ignored Breakthrough
by Vladimir Kalina
AuthorHouse UK


"Unhindered cancer cells grow copiously, and so antigens…are not produced…and malignant cells are not marked for elimination by immune system components…"

Kalina introduces his book with provocative claims about cancer and its research today. The first claim is alarming enough: every third person is afflicted with cancer, and nearly every fourth person actually dies from it. A reader of this book likely has personal experience supporting these statistics. The author’s second claim is that the economic credo in the selection of potential research projects is to attain maximum profits in minimum time. Drug research has priority. Chapters 1 through 3 discuss how this affects professional clinicians and physicians. The book is dedicated to one of three Nobel Prize winners for the discovery of penicillin who experienced the early stages of big business determining research funds. ... (read more)

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Animal Path Above

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

What My Dog Taught Me About Jesus
by David Ross Sherman
Xlibris


"In Jenny, hope springs eternal because there is always so much joy in her life."

When the author, a pastor, wanted a dog who would stay with him and listen to him—even to his sermons-in-progress—he thought he needed a purebred animal. But when he met Jenny, a basic “mutt” at the animal shelter, she convinced him that she was the dog he sought. Her excitement at the very sight of him was unabated until he finally agreed to take her home. She had been in the shelter for more than a year. Her long period of deprivation made her obvious joy at being with him seem by contrast like a pure gift from Jesus. Her wish to please her master, her obedience (without “treats”), and her utter trust in him are qualities that have given Sherman food for serious spiritual thought. ... (read more)

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The Beauty of Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Poetry Through My Ages, Still Writing
by Brent Jared Dearham
Xlibris


"Everyone has a ticket
To sail the sea
And add to the witness
as we stand and mourn."

Dearham’s poetry compilation, which includes seven of his most cherished poems from a previous volume, is a collection that is as thoughtful as it is stimulating with its spectacular imagery. Instead of grouping all the poems into a particular idea or emotion, Dearham diligently crafts an identity for each of his poems. From the first poem, “History in the Making,” we are made privy to the poet’s ability to think introspectively in the face of a catastrophic day such as 9/11. His compilation runs the gamut of emotions, ranging from hope to despair. Particularly hopeful poems are “Dreams,” with its strong rhyme scheme and juxtaposition of the sun and moon, and “Good Morning,” which emphasizes the anxiety of waking up to the same person we were the night before. In these, as in many others, the constant that Dearham seems to emphasize is for readers to not forget the beauty in simply being alive. ... (read more)

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Humanity Falling

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

President Tron 7000
by Adam Pfeffer
iUniverse


"They were getting closer. He heard the sound of shots being fired, human voices shrieking in the darkness."

In the near future, technology has advanced to allow people the use of androids and other intelligent machines that serve to make life simpler for the human race. As the science evolves, it reaches the point where an android, Tron 7000, is running for the office of President of the United States of America. What seems at first like a comical stunt soon changes the fate of humanity when Tron wins the election. Everything proceeds peacefully until an assassination attempt is made on Tron by a disgruntled human. This leads the machines to round up as many humans as they can and imprison or kill them, claiming the rightful inheritance of the planet. An aging journalist named Hudge Stone is determined to resist the new world order, but his willpower will be tested by the new nation the machines are building. ... (read more)

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Good Dentist

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

My First Trip to the Dentist
by Carolyn N. Paulino
Xlibris


"‘Open big like an alligator,’ said the dentist, and she started saying the ABCs to count my teeth."

A young boy is excited to share about his first trip to the dentist’s office. He delights in the play area of the waiting room, gives a thumbs up for the really cool chair where he meets the dentist, and recalls the special tooth counter and mirror she uses. Once he is thoroughly checked out, the dentist gives him a clean bill of health and tells him she is impressed with his sugar-free teeth. Then, to complete a terrific dental appointment, the boy gets a goodie bag complete with toothpaste, a toothbrush, and some floss. His first trip to the dentist is such a great experience that he cannot wait to go back again! ... (read more)

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A New Space Opera

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Shroud of Peace
by Nathaniel Szymkowicz
Xlibris


"You do realize that it’s just gene therapy and state-of-the-art neural implants that make them such capable operators."

The time is 2585 A.D. Mankind has reached the stars and can travel through Dark Matter Conduits faster than light. But humans are not the only species in the universe, and there has been warfare between man and alien for the past 150 years. The insectoid-like Sanhaeli race had almost conquered the inhabited universe until the Human Interstellar Alliance took control of a Sanhaeli cyber-weapon and turned the tide. A cold war between the former combatants has become the new normal, but the fragile peace is threatened by the growing power of a private military corporation called Blackout. Mitchell Henderson awakes from a coma-like condition and slowly regains his awareness as a product of Blackout. He has been transformed into a genetically and neutrally altered “super soldier” that is capable of superhuman (though morally neutral) battle abilities. Meanwhile, Major Da-Xia Chen, or “Dutch,” has been sent on a multi-species expedition to intercept and destroy Mitchell. ... (read more)

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An Important Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Princess Amber
by Margaret Wright
Xlibris


"It is the heart of a true princess to dance upon the stage…the walking stick (her old faithful friend) simply had to go for a princess ballerina works upon her toes."

Princess Amber loves cooking, gymnastics, jumping on the trampoline, climbing high on the bars in the gym, and even doing homework since she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. But Amber’s greatest desire is to dance as a beautiful ballerina. However, Princess Amber is born with a very restrictive medical condition that makes her walk with a cane. With great determination and practice, Amber does eventually dance without her cane, leaving not one dry eye in the fascinated audience.... (read more)

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The Tension

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Biparticanship and the Making of Foreign Policy: A Historical Survey
by Ellen C. Collier
Xlibris


"Recently a new set of foreign and domestic conditions has led many to call for a new bipartisan foreign policy."

This is a rerelease, without revisions, of a book first published in 1991. It focuses on bipartisanship in all aspects specifically pertaining to US government foreign policy. Collier is not taking a political position on this subject; she examines in detail what bipartisanship consists of, when and why it has been appropriate and yielded positive results, and when and why it has had a negative, or mixed, impact. Notably, governmental decisions following World War II were in some cases strikingly and genuinely bipartisan, a primary example being the North Atlantic Treaty. The author explains that true bipartisanship occurs when the President, who is charged with making foreign policy, has nearly full support of both House and Senate. There is a clear indication that between the Truman, post-war administration and the 1990s, bipartisanship gradually eroded. ... (read more)

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God Against Odds

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Guilty but Forgiven
by Somi Omowo
Xlibris


"He wondered what was the cause of Gbemi’s change of mood and had played events of that evening over and over in his mind."

In Nigeria, two lives are about to intersect and create a relationship that will be unpredictable and difficult but potentially life-changing. Gbemi is a third-year undergraduate in economics at the University of Ilisan and in love with her boyfriend, the chivalrous and caring Seun. However, Gbemi and Seun’s intimacy has resulted in an unexpected pregnancy that neither of them is prepared to deal with. Leke Adedeji is a brilliant medical student and a born-again Christian. His girlfriend Tolu and he are very happy, but Tolu wants to have sex while Leke is saving himself for marriage. The ensuing break-up distracts him to the point where Leke fails his course in Medicine and has to repeat his testing. A complication in Gbemi’s abortion brings her and Leke together, but neither knows how important the other will prove to be in their lives. ... (read more)

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Secrets

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Concealed Weapons
by Alana Reneé
Xlibris


"'But now is not forever,' Ms. Karen promised. 'Now is not forever. Today, you get a say in what tomorrow will be like for you.'"

Mark Twain wrote, “Truth is stranger than fiction…” Occasionally however, truth is best found in fiction. That feels like the case with this collection of short stories detailing the brutal truths of existence that some are forced to live with, as well as the transcendent power individuals possess to break free from circumstances that confine. ... (read more)

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Identifying

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hatching Sharey
by Bao-Khanh Tran
Xlibris


"Hey there, you interesting creature! You with all the different animal features."

After Sharey hatches she finds herself alone and seeking "her kind." Inquisitively meeting a duck, and then a mole, she is not immediately accepted because she is a bit different than a duck or a mole. Finally, Sharey comes upon a friendly beaver who accepts her for all the attributes she has—duckbill and all. The story revolves around a platypus duckling trying to find out where her beaver-like tail, mole-like claw, and duck-like bill places her in the animal kingdom. ... (read more)

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Tenderness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Smiling Again: Expressions Through Poetry
by James E. Tincher
Xlibris


"She reaches up to grab the sun to put it in her pocket, but her arm can
reach only as far as it can reach."

The work of a kind heart, Tincher’s poems sing with the somber truth of one who has suffered, endured, and, finally, transcended. He’s a man who has long lived under the shadow of depression and fought back against suicidal thoughts. In his darkness, he took solace in writing, and the results of his exploration and understanding are what fill the pages of this collection of poetry. ... (read more)

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The Gift

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Juncture
by M. Kelly
Xlibris


"A final decision had to be made to escape the web that was pulling him ever closer to peril."

Exploring attachments that exist both in this world and within the spirit realm, this novel tells the story of several different characters that are all attached to each other, even if they don’t yet know it. Riccardo serves as the centerpiece of the narrative that the other major players and relationships branch off from. Readers are introduced to Riccardo’s first and second wife, his family, and the loyal security guards who have been instructed to protect them. After a strange accident that brought to light more questions than it answered, two of the security guards lost their lives. This left their wives widowed at a young age, and thus they set out to find answers so they could attain peace and closure in the wake of their husbands’ deaths. In their quest for answers, they come across a spirit medium who could be helpful, although she herself comes from a troubled background and is still learning how to use her gift appropriately. ... (read more)

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Haunting, Quiet Tale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Secret Whispers
by Jacqui Hyde
AuthorHouse


"If they were right, then it would have meant that friends and family were much older than they actually were. And one of them was me."

George Morgan was comfortable with his life in the West Country, even if there were questions about his family that had never been answered. David and Megan, although not his real parents, cared for him like he was their own, and even their son James, while often irritating in a younger sibling way, wasn't a complete nuisance. Yet there was always something mysterious lurking below the surface, a hidden secret that often seemed to be reflected in the eyes and smile of Pearl, the enigmatic family nanny. Then one day everything changes as George is sent off to a private school. There he meets a man named Mr. Williams, an often shadowy figure who begins to appear to him in odd places such as on the family's trip to Wales to visit George's Aunt Louise. Once there, fantastic secrets will be revealed that will alter George's perception of reality and even himself forever. ... (read more)

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Mystery and Magic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Three Crowns and the Dream Sofa
by Liliane Broberg
Xlibris


"The Dream Sofa had been a royal pride... Its disappearance had shocked every living being in Viz."

The Kingdom of Viz has gradually been sinking into decline. Its rulers—the triplets Bruno, Benjamin, and Bernard—have unwittingly hurt the land they have sworn to protect through their constant bickering, personal idiosyncrasies, and mismanagement of the kingdom's resources. But why have they been such bad kings? What has caused their strange behavior patterns? Although only a few know the truth, as babies the triplets were cursed with a dark magic, and the Dream Sofa, which lent its powers to generations of future monarchs, disappeared from the castle not long after this. As long kept secrets begin to be revealed to the royal family, they also learn that an ancient prophecy about the Bearer—the only person who can lead them to the missing Dream Sofa—is about to be fulfilled. But will they be able to find him? ... (read more)

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Why Rules?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Lilley the Pizza Mouse
by Ricky Kennison
AuthorHouse


"The road maybe filled with twists and turns but you can always go back home,” Lilley thinks to herself"

Beautiful baby Lilley was born on Christmas day. As time passes, Lilley grows bigger and is finally old enough to start playing outside. Lilley loves the wonderful woods where she lives. As Lilley explores the woods, she one day finds a place where machines go back and forth across a clearing. Excited, she runs home to tell her parents about it. Her parents warn her to stay away, but curiosity wins as Lilley returns to the forbidden location and crosses the clearing. On the other side are buildings with wonderful smells coming from inside, and she cannot resist going in. After exploring for a few days, Lilley is caught by the exterminator Ms. Cacher. ... (read more)

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Safety First

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The 'Possum in the Pool
by Joy Liebl
Xlibris


"Robby didn’t listen! He walked right to the edge of the pool and fell in!"

Robby the opossum loves to go exploring with his mother, brothers, and sisters. One day the opossum family explores a home where the humans leave food out to eat and where there is a big pool with bushes in which to hide. Once Robby gets his belly full, his curiosity grabs him and he creeps slowly toward the swimming pool. Even though Robby’s mother has warned him, he still gets too close and tumbles right into the pool. Robby’s mother tries everything to save her son. She sticks out her paw, dunks her tail in the pool, and even sticks in her nose to try to grab him as he floats by but nothing works. ... (read more)

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First Chapter Reviews


First Chapter Review archive

none

Treasure of the Magical Mine Moppets
by K.J. Blocker
Mindstir Media

An old crop-dusting biplane is taking the reader along for the ride as it flies through the sky. It’s piloted by Tubby, who seems to enjoy giving his boss, Tom, a bit of a thrill ride. Below, Tom’s nine-year-old son, Jimmy, is acquainting himself with a precocious bug that seems to be saluting him from the leaf of a cornstalk. Neither the pair in the air or the boy on the ground seem to be the least bit amazed that they’re looking at a field of rainbow colored corn that stands twenty-five feet high. ... (read more)

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