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Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Monday, May 1, 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
Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Selected Poems: 1968-2014
by Paul Muldoon
Farrar, Strauss & Giroux


"A corduroy road on the quag kept me on the straight and narrow."

In a collection that spans a lifetime, Paul Muldoon’s selected works reveals the evolution of a poet who achieved multiple honors including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. While many poets lock themselves into a particular style or gradual, organic ascent, Muldoon is known for major shifts in approach between collections, spanning a deft if not eclectic combinations of technique and form. ... (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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Is the Honeymoon Over?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Beckham 101: The Kate and Robert Chronicles
by Suzanne Eglington
Xlibris

reviewed by Michael Radon

"'There's my girl. Baby, you are mineall mine and only mine. I don't share.'"

Fresh from their second and full-sized honeymoon across the Atlantic, Kate and Robert Beckham are back into their routines and enjoying their lives. Resolving the cliffhanger from the previous book, Kate finds herself home alone and confronted by a jealous ex-lover of Robert's, police officer Chris Foss. The conversation between the two women is civil if not icy at first, but before long, Chris has Kate at gunpoint and is ready to kill her to win Robert back. Kate's future brother-in-law Kevin, also a police officer, is able to protect Kate from Chris' jealous rage, but Chris is wracked with grief and ultimately ends her own life shortly afterwards. ... (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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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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Secrets of the Mind

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Alexandria
by Gregory Ness

reviewed by Jennifer Hummer

"You're in Prague to study people's dreams and a strange man appears who knows too much about you, gives you an old coin and plays a flute that hypnotizes you into a dream state. Abnormal? Yes."

Roy, a physicist, and his girlfriend, Renee, have moved to Prague after being ousted by their lab at home in the United States. Roy's research on dark energy has been deemed too dangerous to continue. His superiors claim Roy's findings will threaten the world order and in particular the dependence on fossil fuels. As Roy and Renee continue to study the dreams of "sleepers," they begin to wonder if the visions they are seeing are actually scenes from the sleeper's past life. One of the dreams takes Roy back to ancient times inside a sealed temple in Alexandria. There, Samia and Agrippa enter into "The Isis Rite of Eternal Bond," a ritual that will bond them for eternity as each other's spiritual guides. ... (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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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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When Bad Things Happen

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Atheist and the Parrotfish
by Richard Barager
Evolved Publishing

reviewed by Yuliya Geikhman

"Hairless legs latticed by thick veins peeked out between the rims of his white socks and the hem of his dress. With caved-in temples and sunken cheeks, a dusky wattle dangling practically to his chest, broken teeth, sallow skin, and a glaze of despair in his eyes, it was hard to imagine a less appealing host for Carla MacGregor's youthful organs."

Cullen Brodie is a brilliant doctor and a kind-hearted person, but even saints carry darkness from their past in their hearts. An event in his youth caused Cullen to shut his mind to religion and spirituality. When he is tasked with transplanting the heart and kidney of the young and vibrant Carla into the body of Ennis, an old cross-dressing man, a spiritual journey is set in motion. Ennis emerges from his transplant operation claiming he's brought Carla with him. Cullen's entire belief system is shaken as he begins to question the nature of humanity and the possibility of souls. ... (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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Considering Nature

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Nightclub on Elm Tree
by Joan Cimaglia
Publisher

reviewed by Jennifer Hummer

"Mr. Owl's getting antsy and just might fly the coop, so Miss Spider better speed it up and dish him out the scoop."

This is a delightful poem about the secret lives who visit the elm tree after dark. The title is a clever play on the well-known film, Nightmare on Elm Street. While this is no horror story, it does take place in the oft-times brutal world of nature, where survival of the fittest dictates fate. The story starts off with the narrator introducing the beautiful elm tree that rests just outside her door. From there, the readers are given a private peek into the covert beings that visit the tree. The cicadas, in adorable scarves and big smiles, start the poem off by celebrating happy hour. Evening falls and we are introduced to Miss Spider greeting the night owl, who laments about his travels and hidings from thieves and ne’er-do-wells. ... (read more)

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A Survival Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

In The Beginning
by Daisy Graham
Xlibris

reviewed by Sheelonee Banerjee

"All we can do is stay in the hope of our faith and believe that He has plans for us all."

While on a tramping holiday in New Zealand, five women—Sharon, Julie, Marion, Kathy, and Claire—get trapped in a cave during a massive earthquake. When they manage to get out, they witness drastic changes and devastation. Concerned about the safety of their families, they set out to find them. On their way, they meet more survivors and finally reach their loved ones. Cut off from the rest of the world, they must now battle to survive the ruinous wrath of intermittent quakes, tidal waves, and volcanic fires, which might be the Apocalypse. ... (read more)

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Suspenseful Page-Turner

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Morning Missed
by Bromley Coughlan
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Megan Bain

"I was redeemed and proved innocent at the cost of several lives, including my estranged wife, her boyfriend, her father, her mother, her grandfather, and her illegitimate half brother and his mother."

Marcus Edge has had a hard and dreadful start in life with many deaths surrounding him during his kidnapping and torture five years ago by his wife and her family. In Morning Missed, the sequel to The Scorpion's Tale, Coughlan has produced another winding story further building on the previous life of the well-loved character, Marcus Edge. Continuing to be a man of unbreakable integrity, Marcus is thrown into another horrific situation which will test not only his will to live but also his past and present relationships. ... (read more)

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God Provides

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Journey to an Unstoppable Break Through
by Evelyn Saah-Giegbefumwen
Xlibris

reviewed by Donna Ford

"We all leave footprints behind us. We will be remembered for our generosity or selfishness."

This book passes along wisdom learned from life lived on two continents: how a woman’s determined journey to break through birthed a life of ministry. The first chapter tells the story of a person whom the author calls “Dora.” As a child in Africa, Dora was given in marriage to an abusive husband. When she was in her thirties, Dora’s brothers helped her escape. She then met and married a researcher and they moved to America. After learning English and earning several degrees, Dora became the CEO of a business in Boston. While in her forties, she had a daughter of her own, a child who was valued as a person. The 96-page book moves from the issue of emotional abuse through stages of personal growth in order to overcome the past and leave behind an unstoppable legacy for others. ... (read more)

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Sparkling Poems

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Serendipity: Seeing Through Words
by Karla Durrington-Rojo
Xlibris

reviewed by Donna Ford

"And the night will continue to hold onto your dreams
 of a beautiful tomorrow."

The author has long known the power of her words. She has used her talent as a poetry writer for over forty years to change her own life for the better. Now in published format, Durrington-Rojo shares twenty-nine of her insightful works which are a joy to read and pass along to others. The poet’s talent for seeing with words recreates her experiences in order for readers to participate as well. Sample poems include: “Where has the day gone?” written forty years ago and just as true today; “Thoughts from a summer night” with the rich imagery of gum trees standing like purple soldiers near rolling hills of brown native grasses; with “Castle” recalling a tour across the causeway... (read more)

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Love During Wartime

Book Reviews - US Review of Books
Beloved Enemy
by Sheila Munds-Belbin
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Wendy Strain

"When she was back at the Hotel Meisler, she told herself once again that she was only doing her job, but secretly she knew that there was more to it than that."

Set 70 years in the past, Allison Grant takes on one of the most dangerous missions a woman could engage in during World War II. As a member of the British military, she agrees to go deep undercover within Nazi Germany, going straight to the heart of the turmoil in Berlin. Her assignment is to get close to a German commander and pass important information about troop movement and positioning to help members of the French Resistance and other insurgency groups gain greater success. She never anticipated the possibility of falling in love with the man she was assigned to spy on. ... (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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Life's Satisfying Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fragments of Life
by Anita R. Gibbons
Xlibris

reviewed by George Furukawa

"On numerous occasions over the past five years I had felt my life was far too dependent on Carla Green. Indeed, sometimes I feel a distinct lack of any reality in my life before I met her."

This book offers readers a heart rendering look at how a courageous woman (author Anita Gibbons) decides to confront her loneliness by taking a gamble and embracing a relationship with another woman (Carla Green), despite eventually losing her to the devastating effects of cancer–while also experiencing tremendous responsibility for the welfare of her seven-year-old daughter, Stephanie. From the perspective of psychology, within the context of what the author experiences, her relationship with the deceased was difficult, which added another dimension to the grieving process. It takes some time, and thought, before Gibbons looks back on the relationship and adjusts to the loss. ... (read more)

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The Voice of God

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Prophets in Our Midst: Jung, Tolkien, Gebser, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
by David T. Johnston, Ph.D
iUniverse

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

"The basic message today, as in the past, is that there is a need for cultural renewal, which happens by way of individuals and society connecting, both in ideals and dynamic living, with the evolving archetypal substratum of the psyche."

A 220-page collection of essays on four prophets, Johnston's book is divided into a Table of Contents, Preface, Introduction, the focus on the prophets Carl Jung, J. R. R. Tolkien, Jean Gebser, and Sir Aurobindo and Mother (whom he combines), and ends with an Appendix, References, and an Index. The beginning Introduction leads the reader in examining these prophets together in their works exploring the new consciousness—the integral consciousness seen in the past by an elite and today in this complex world. Here the book examines spiritual transcendence, the mystical, the nature of the psyche, and the prophetic—the prophet being "any individual who speaks with the word of God. ... (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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More Than a Good Chuckle

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Penguin Rolling Down a Hill
by Kevin Tranter
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Yuliya Geikhman

"Tables were sent flying, tops of heads were hit by chairs, eyes were blackened, and noses were bloodied. The proprietor of the establishment tried, in vain, to restore order. Amidst all the bedlam he appealed to their better nature. Unfortunately, none of his patrons had one."

A Penguin Rolling Down a Hill is every bit as playful as the title implies. Full of jokes, silliness, and a strange and wonderful cast of characters, this adventure will delight young adult readers. A serious danger has overcome the world of dreams and its inhabitants, which spells trouble for humans around the world, or at least the ones that sleep. The nefarious Vile has banished dream ambassador Mr. Good from his rightful place in the Palase of Somnium, where Vile and his henchmen plan to unleash a collective nightmare of epic proportions on all unsuspecting dreamers. ... (read more)

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A Man's Claim to Success

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Outfoxing the Gaming Club: A Former Worker Reveals All
by Pascale Batieufaye
Xlibris

reviewed by Donna A. Ford

"Doesn't every man have to do something at one point of his existence to achieve a greater purpose?"

Batieufaye lays out the facts of an Employer Suggestion Program implemented by a tribal-owned gaming club that prompted his zealous and continuing submission of ideas. These original ideas resulted from having taken a Travel and Tourism college course at Johnson & Wales and then applying that knowledge with experience gained working six years on the club floor as a Guest Services Representative. One suggestion earned him a $25 reward, but additional submissions were discouraged by his supervisor. Batieufaye kept making lengthy suggestions, even after management questioned his mental stability. This brought a "cautious ultimatum" to see a therapist or lose employment. Finally forced to leave in 2004, he observed that his ideas were being implemented without acknowledgment by any management official. ... (read more)

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The Legacy of War

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Hard Decision
by Westley Thomas
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Joe Kilgore

"I didn’t ask to be born. If I ever find out who my old man is, I’ll kill the bastard."

War, as a fulcrum for drama, has spawned innumerable novels, plays, and movies. The Vietnam War certainly continued that tradition. Oliver Stone’s Platoon and Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter both captured the Oscar for Best Picture. They put forth unflinching looks not only of the horror of war, but also its devastating aftermath on those who participated. Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket took viewers into the brutality of training and the hell of battle. Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now showed how easily war could blossom into full-blown insanity. This introspection of the emotional and physical toll that the Southeast Asian war wrought on individuals continued with Ron Kovic‘s Born On The Fourth of July, Hal Ashby’s Coming Home, and David Rabe’s Streamers. ... (read more)

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A Fast-Paced Thriller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Imaginarium Machine
by John Adrian Tomlin
BookVenture Publishing

reviewed by John E. Roper

"Mages throw fireballs at hay-stuffed men, summon creatures out of nowhere, make ice out of thin air, heal wounds by making their hands glow, and create miniwind storms."

By the year 2030, the hosts of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, believe they have seen almost everything the industry has to offer. After all, with Xbox World having practically perfected virtual reality, what new frontiers in gaming could possibly be left? But when the head of Sony Computer Entertainment International demonstrates a new device that goes beyond sight and sound by allowing gamers to actually feel, taste, and smell the objects in the game they are playing, jaws begin to drop all around. Understandably, the demand for such an innovative gaming system is overwhelming, and by the time the release date for the Imaginarium arrives a year later, avid gamers... (read more)

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The Best Intentions...

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Sorceress Book One: The Prophecy
by John Sinisi
BookVenture Publishing LLC

reviewed by Michael Radon

"Wars are won and lost not just on battlefields, but also in the hearts, minds, and souls of the people on both sides."

In the fractured land of Menkara, a religious witch hunt is about to take place in the province of Zandor. Ruled by Baron Frederick, who has recently turned from a life of debauchery to one of zealotry, three Bezrielites are rounded up and arrested using largely false pretenses. The people of Bezriel are known for their spiritual religion and their capability to invoke magic, but are not known for doing so in any aggressive way. Indeed, two of the arrests are Abigail, a midwife who can deliver babies in even the most complicated of pregnancies, and Sarah, a healer who has been capable of things that modern medicine cannot replicate. ... (read more)

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Surviving

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Dark Side of Life
by Edna Hunt
BookVenture Publishing, LLC

reviewed by Mihir Shah

"I was bound and determined that I was not going to let a man control my life like my mother did."

In Edna Hunt’s memoir, The Dark Side of Life, readers are taken through a whirlwind of heartbreaking childhood experiences. Whenever life seems to be tilting in Edna’s favor, an unforeseen event, inevitably and unfortunately, tilts it right back to the dark side. Despite all the negativity, the author’s unwillingness to just give up is one of the consistent bright spots. While this memoir has come into existence primarily due to Hunt’s desire to share her story, it will surely help the audience appreciate the balancing act that keeps one on the light or dark side of life. ... (read more)

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Breaking the Cycle

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Still Standing
by Jessica M. Ivy
BookVenture Publishing

reviewed by Toby Berry

"If I never would've met my husband, and I was still living with Zelda, I would've been in one of three places right now; in prison, the mental institution, or in the ground..."

As a child, Ivy saw more and knew more than any child should have to see or hear. Her parents were cheating on each other, and she was aware of it even as a youngster. She felt unwanted and unloved throughout her childhood. She explains that her brother and sister, Quincy and Zoe, tried to convince her that she was adopted and not a true family member. Her mother, Zelda, was mean-spirited, violent, and unaffectionate. As Ivy puts it, "I've gotten more beatings and punishments than I did hugs, kisses, and I love you." Her father, Sheldon, was a bright spot, but in and out of her life unpredictably, also leading to her feelings of being unloved and unlovable. ... (read more)

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A Humorous Look at a Bad Situation

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

MacRudd -King of Oz- A Tragedy
by Kevin O'Donnell
BookVenture Publishing

reviewed by Michael Radon

"You all know that I have supported the queen throughout her reign. Today, I announce that I can no longer do so."

Presented in the form of a play, this story uses political satire and the formula of Shakespeare's Macbeth to tell the story of former Australian Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, and others. In the context of this story, Rudd is MacRudd, King of Oz, a boorish leader who makes it impossible for anyone to schedule a meeting with him, is constantly surrounded by mountains of unfinished paperwork, and quick to blame anyone other than himself when something goes wrong. The Red Witch, the fictional persona of Gillard, is a loyal assistant to MacRudd, but she is talked into deposing the king by Simon the Clean, the Black Swan, Winky Bill, and others. The conspiracy informs the Red Witch that MacRudd is leading Oz down a path that their ruling organization will not recover from. ... (read more)

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Coping

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Now: The Journey to Healing After Losing a Loved One
by N.E. Ilori
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Yuliya Geikhman

"Forget not the beautiful lessons of life you have learned. Do not take on or pass on the weaknesses your loved one had, but learn positively and pray to be better and do better."

Dealing with the death of a loved one is not an easy journey. In Now, author N. E. Ilori shares her own struggle following the departure of her mother, father, and unborn child in rapid succession. Ilori's passionate words create a tribute to her loving parents, whose strength and life shine on through her book even in their passing. Photographs included within the chapters, as well as at the end of this short book, drive home the sense of loss the author has suffered. Ilori writes about her parents' strengths and shortcomings, and about the process she went through in accepting their death. But above all, this deeply personal book strives to enlighten the reader, compelling us to find peace in pain through acceptance and faith. ... (read more)

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A New Series Begins

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Key West Interlude
by Lois Richman
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Brittany Smith

"I am here as a woman seeking truth- at the very least, my own truth... Searching inside myself seems as good a place as any for me to start."

Paulette Marshall thought she had everything she needed. She was married to a doctor with whom she had one son, Billie, and they lived in a beautiful home that overlooked the hills of Los Angeles.  She also had a career that she truly enjoyed: counseling at-risk youths at San Fernando Junior High School. Unbeknownst to her, though, Paulette’s entire world was about to crumble completely in the span of just one day. At work, one of her favorite students was brutally stabbed, and nobody had any answers. Upon returning home that evening, her husband of twenty-two years asked for a divorce so he could be with someone else. Completely overwhelmed by tragedy and heartache, it was then that she realized... (read more)

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Knowing Poems

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Mother-Father Complex
by Anders Wennerstrom
Xlibris

reviewed by Jennifer Hummer

"The dirt in your eyes, could have been good dirt, if you had allowed my love, to see the real you."

Wennerstrom has crafted a thought-provoking book of poems. The first group of poems, “If I Were Her,” begins by speaking to someone who has “dirt” in their eyes. This person does not appear to see the poet for who she truly is. Sadness and grief are woven into the author’s words. She writes of finding herself in someone else’s space, perhaps implying that the author feels lost inside the presence of the person she is speaking to. Failed sexual arousal is alluded to next. Harsh words are written about the author’s lover not being able to perform because of the illicit side effects of drugs. The author tells her lover that she resorted to “porn-surfing” to study love-making techniques of porn stars. The first series of poems ends with the author saying good-bye to her lover. ... (read more)

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Understanding Spirit

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

From the Blue
by Paul Allen Roberts
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Jennifer Hummer

"The love and the blue made me see, my husband. I saw the power we all have on these islands-"

In 1528 AD, the Polynesian island of Condonte is not prepared for war. The people have never needed to resort to violence. They live with the whispers of “the blue” to guide them, an ancient wisdom that presents itself in deep knowledge. One day ships arrive, and James Christo lands on the island. Pohii, the leader, must decide whether or not to trust James, who tells him that they have come peacefully to explore. Phoii’s wife, Iliakahani, advises her husband by listening to “the blue.” War is averted. The ships leave. The elders decide to explore a neighboring island, Mokiki. There, the elders find Ferdinand, the English Priest, who abandoned ship. ... (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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What is Life?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Thoughts and Inner Journey of Dr. John Dee
by Clair Iles
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Toby Berry

"...I have met and talked to 'myself', the me that has lived time after time as man, child and beast!"

Dr. John Dee was a 16th century Hermetic philosopher and mathematician. He served as advisor to Queen Elizabeth, but preferred a private, remote life in which to find answers within himself, infused with energy, Spirits, and Angels. Iles writes as his pen, professing to hear him and transcribe his words for modern-day readers. ... (read more)

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A Virtuous Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Downfall
by Dr. Mohsen El-Guindy
Author House 

reviewed by Jennifer Hummer

'“Live modestly. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly,” Omar said simply.'

After Omar Abdel Aziz, the deputy commander of the Egyptian Special Forces, saves the life of Colonel Kenny Walker, his team is invited to visit the Naval Academy. Omar stays with Walker in Maryland where he lives with Jennifer Jones. Omar explains the Muslim faith to Jennifer, who is pregnant with Walker’s baby. He convinces Walker to marry Jennifer. Elizabeth Rosh, daughter of John Rosh, the President of the Unites States, marries corrupt Roy Connery. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, her best friend Mary MacKenzie is in love with Roy. The two have an affair. When the affair is made public, Roy commits suicide and Elizabeth travels to Kosovo where she meets Omar. They secretly fall in love with one another. Elizabeth returns to America and her mother sets her up with Senator Robert Hudson. The two marry. The marriage is platonic and Elizabeth remains in love with Omar, who becomes the Ambassador to Egypt and moves to Maryland. Eventually, Elizabeth divorces a corrupt Hudson. Elizabeth and Omar marry against her fathers’ wishes, but live happily without regret along with their two children. ... (read more)

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The Golfing Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Burke and Demaret: The Wit and Wisdom of Golf's Most Colorful Duo
by Bill Pelham
Xlibris

reviewed by Donna Ford

"From the near caustic and irascible nature of Jack Burke to the whimsical flare of Jimmy Demaret, I hope you will enjoy the stories…"

Step back into the memorable world of golf in the 1950s and 60s―when Arnold Palmer became the first sports star and Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf introduced the average American to the sport. In this tribute to two golfing heroes, the author recreates the world of his mentors. ... Pelham started working at Champions club in 1971. The owners, Jackie Burke and Jimmy Demaret, were challenging a crop of younger golfers and amateurs to excel at the game of golf by following in the footsteps of the masters. Burke and Demaret, in turn, had been trained by golfing great, Claude Harmon.... (read more)

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The Road to Recovery

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Broken Man
by Joseph Tyler
AuthorHouse

reviewed by Clarissa Douthit

"Excess baggage can become very expensive, and decisions have to be made."

British author, Joseph Tyler, candidly shares his painful journeys of marriage, remarriage and divorce. He shares how any relationship can have problems. Ultimately, Tyler discovers it’s how he handles those problems that determine his emotional, financial, physical, and psychological outcomes. ... Troubles begin with Tyler’s frequent absenteeism due to his military career. Then, there was the tragedy of infidelity when he falls in love with a married co-worker, Sally-Ann, whom he later marries. He is heartbroken when his first wife falls out of love with him. ... (read more)

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