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

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Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout
by Lauren Redniss
It Books


"We lived in preoccupation as complete as that of a dream."

Before STEM Programs, before Title 9, before the Suffragettes, Marie “Madame” Curie blazed a path for science and women that marks history. Pioneering research in radioactivity—a word coined by her—Curie discovered two elements (Polonium, named for her beloved Poland, and Radium). In doing so, she established a new science and became the first female professor at the Sorbonne. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and the only person to win it twice. For a scientist, filling in even one square on the periodic table is a big deal, and she discovered two. Her research sprawls through chemistry, physics, and medicine to this day, including its long-lasting cultural implications. She ultimately sacrificed her life, dying from radiation exposure prior to a true understanding of the risk. Effectively she pioneered this research as well. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

Max's Story

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Case of Emil Diesel
by Patricia Menton
Xlibris


"Art survives. That is all that matters. Each piece tells our history. It is our gift to future generations. It is our legacy."

This novel is a fictionalized account inspired by a true story. It involves a private art collection illegally seized by the German Democratic Republic in the years during the Cold War. ... (read more)

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This Healing

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Illness of Medicine: Experiences of Clinical Practice
by Michael J. Young, M.D.
GM Books


"It is time to stop, time to take stock of what is happening in the practice of medicine."

A physician specializing in urology recounts incidents in his 30-year practice to illustrate some of the flaws in the current medical system. Young vividly describes the sleepless nights and weekends weighed against the constant requirement for total concentration and alertness, two factors affecting any hard-working medical practitioner. Using a myriad of memories, he carefully paints a picture of the many ways that medical work has gradually changed, often for the worse. Such issues include digitalized electronic medical records that may allow a diagnosis of “normal” for every condition a patient might have, even those for which one has not been examined or, at the opposite extreme, leave a diagnosis of some abnormal condition on the patient’s permanent record long after it has been resolved. Another problem is the explosion of medical marketing; ads on TV and the Internet can give false hope for treatment. Complexities of medical insurance can prevent needed care, and fear of lawsuits can have a deleterious effect on a physician’s practice. ... (read more)

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Searching for Answers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

I Know Now: A Woman's Healing - Violence to Victory, Trauma to Truth
by Cinda Stevens Lonsway
new72publishing


"I’m alright. I’m alive. I’m here and Bob is gone."

When an intruder broke into her apartment in the middle of the night, the life of the author changed irrevocably. The man, whom she decided to call “Bob,” had apparently been observing her and her flat-mate Katie and had found a way into their little domain through an open window. Strangely, though he demonstrated an intention to rape the woman who gave her name to him as “Cindy,” she was able to fend off his advances for three hours. The methods she used were spontaneous. They included physical resistance and aggressive response on her part, but there were clever diversionary tactics as well. She asked him his name, shook his hand, even offered to get up and cook him a meal—anything to distract him from his desire to rape her. In the time they were together, though she could barely see him, she determined that he had an acrid body odor and very rough hands. As dawn broke, a neighbor began doing his morning ninja moves, causing a sudden clatter. Cindy convinced Bob that this was a sign that Katie would soon be up and would come to check on her. Bob fled. He was never found, though the author is convinced that he continued to stalk her. ... (read more)

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Powerfully Broad

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Penny For Your Thoughts: Poems of Love and Loss (Feelings Into Words)
by Sherrill S. Cannon
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.


"For if I knew ahead of time, then I
Would live my life according to its end;
And never give the present, time to try"

This collection of poetry examines love, as so much poetry tends to do, but the perspective here is unique. That romantic euphoria and devastating heartbreak are seen as two sides of the same emotion. Split up into three sections, the first and third are polar in their approach, either bubbling with affection or profound in examining what was lost or what was never had to begin with. The middle section offers a little bit of both, tying in experiences that are related to being in love or emotions that come along with a relationship or marriage. The poems themselves also cover a variety of forms, ranging from free verse to sonnets and concrete poetry to haiku. Containing over 100 poems, the poet’s musings on an aspect of life that tends to be powerful no matter how it’s experienced will emotionally reach readers of all ages. ... (read more)

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A Complicated Character

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Raven's Resurrection: A Cybertech Thriller
by John D. Trudel
Trudel Group


"Raven slung his rifle. He walked over and stood behind them, his Sig leveled, finger on the trigger."

In the author’s latest thriller, America is not as secure as its average citizen might think. Radical Islam poses a serious threat to the nation, but only a few understand just how extensive the reach is of its practitioners. Raven has experienced firsthand how dangerous the nation’s enemies can be, but many of them, in turn, will learn what a deadly adversary he can be. ... (read more)

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Becoming a Leader

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Unlocking the Natural-Born Leader's Abilities: An Autobiographical Exposé
by Salar A. Khan, MD., MBA.
Xlibris


"…natural-born leaders...have an innate skill set conducive to becoming leaders. They are optimistic, selfless, and do not seek external rewards or glory."

Illustrating the author’s own journey to leadership, this autobiography/memoir was written to pass on experience gained by a lifetime of service. A young child at the time of the India/Pakistan partition, his family resettled in Pakistan. With those early years in turmoil, his parents were his teachers. Once the author entered school, his brilliant older brother became a role model. Challenged by his family, the author assumed responsibility for household duties and volunteered for additional tasks. On his father’s advice, Khan became a doctor serving in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and America. From experience gained, he declares it our duty to find out what we are capable of. ... (read more)

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Forbidden Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Dating Policy
by Suzanne Eglington
Xlibris


"I couldn’t get past the kiss as that employee handbook taunted me on my coffee table."

Mallory Kennedy’s company has a strict "no dating" policy that threatens to derail her first real chance at love with Todd Duvall, a quality control manager in her office who sends her heart racing every time he walks by her. She admires his confidence, his Scandinavian features, and his work ethic. When Todd begins to show interest in her, too, her work life and romantic life become entangled. Adding to the fray, Mallory also finds that Todd has deeper secrets that threaten their future even more than the company’s policy on dating. ... (read more)

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Generations of the Chesapeake

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Family Matters
by D. C. Moses
Cherry Street Publishers


"But what had happened to Alex and Barry…so busy, so loving, so passionate for self-discovery, so yearning for self-transcendence?"

The untimely death of their son, Lu, is a shadow that haunts and looms over the Byrnes family. Each one grieves his loss in their own private way while attempting to find a way forward, immersing themselves into their careers and daily life. Then father, Barry, faces a life-changing decision when his company requests to relocate him to Washington. This sets in motion the mixed feelings and introspection by Barry and his reluctant wife, Alex, who contemplate the uncertainty of their future so close to retirement. They each reflect upon the early years of their marriage and life before and after Lu’s death. Others in the family must also come to terms with the tragic familial loss. As they each face uncertainty in the way forward, they learn something of themselves and one another. ... (read more)

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Triumph Against the Darkness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Love is the Answer, God is the Cure
by Aimee Cabo Nikolav
Inspirational Books Publishing


"I always pray that God removes any darkness around me and fill my soul and life with love."

Nikolov’s complex, searching memoir details the severe abuse and trauma which impacted the trajectory of her life. It is also a cathartic account of the faith she holds steadfastly to for survival and how her belief in God enables her to transcend the darkness. ... (read more)

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Inventive & Fresh

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Beer and Gasoline
by John Knoerle
Blue Steel Press


"Feed the tyrant a credible story of evil plotting’s within the castle walls -- indeed even a half-way credible story -- and he will act accordingly."

Hal Schroeder is a long-time spy with CIA Counterintelligence that has worked with the group before it even became an officially sanctioned agency in the years following World War II. Now in 1968, he finds himself in the small town of Needles, CA, on assignment from his boss and the Chief of Counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton. Angleton assigns Schroeder to Needles on a rare field assignment to investigate the disappearance of a local man named Jeremiah McLemore. McLemore operates a for-hire trash disposal business and worked as the trash hauler for Camp X, a mysterious government outpost on the Arizona side of the border near Needles. Under the alias of Army Lieutenant Richard Nolan, Schroeder befriends a young local police officer named Thomas Bell to help locate McLemore. When Jeremiah’s body is found (with the aid of a helicopter pilot-for-hire and a locally famous Native American tracker), the grisly sight sets off all manner of speculation. ... (read more)

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Dubious Characters

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Middle East Quicksand: Espionage, Passion, & Love During the Crisis
by Robert Thomas Fertig
LitFire Publishing, LLC


"Everybody lies,” he said. “You must inquire, question, scrutinize everything. It’s not what people say – it’s what they do that really counts!"

At forty-five, Vincent Renaldo is questioning everything about his life. With his children away at college, a growing distance developing in his marital relationship, and a dead-end corporate job, he feels as if he’s drowning in mundane minutiae. When he’s offered a new position at the smaller firm Computer Techniques and Systems, he decides to accept. Though he learns much in his new position, it isn’t the lucrative proposition he expected. Vincent soon finds himself in search of other prospects. Thus, begins his introduction into the world of foreign intrigue and dangerous espionage. Vincent becomes entangled with the seductive Eve in Monaco, and his life becomes as complicated as the world events exploding around him. As factions in the Middle East are beginning to grow heated, Vincent finds himself embroiled in a world of dubious characters and uncertainties. Will he ever escape the dangers and find his way back to the life he once knew? ... (read more)

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Love and Renewal

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Angel City Singles
by Ralph Cissne
Morgan Road


"…'He learned… how a new life can be constructed on the foundation of what had been destroyed.'"

David is at a crossroads when he finds himself bobbing in the Pacific Ocean off a Malibu beach. There, with dolphins swimming just out of reach, possibilities loom. A peaceful drowning death lies temptingly beneath the surface, while back on shore, the potential for fulfilling life beckons. David stays afloat, and this metaphor befits his journey of reinvention from divorce in Dallas to a new life in Los Angeles. It’s 1987—an era before Facebook, YouTube, and Uber drivers of the so-called gig economy. David and a small circle of new friends ease their way through the dark margins of Hollywood. They heal wounds, bide time, stretch pennies, and seek the inner artist in each struggling soul. ... (read more)

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Discovery & Power

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Being a Witch and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For
by Sara Pascoe
Trindles and Green Ltd


"That would be one of the regrets of her short life, never getting one of those kebabs."

There is much to explore and admire within the pages of Pascoe’s magical, award-winning tale, but divulging every detail would spoil the fun of reading it. The basis of the story is a girl named Rachel Hollingsworth, or Raya, who discovers she is a witch. The young protagonist is a wise-beyond-her-years, fourteen-year-old girl who favors the goth look of black spiky hair and body piercings. Underneath that tough exterior, hidden behind the self-confident attitude, exists a vulnerable girl. Her father is dead, and her mother is afflicted with a “bad case of schizophrenia,” leaving Raya in the foster care system with a woman named Angie. Life in the foster home isn’t bad, and she reluctantly strikes up a friendship with twelve-year-old Jake. Still, Raya is determined to run away and live on her own with her new boyfriend, Tony. Their plan isn’t perfect, but Raya needs to do this while she still has her sanity. But just when she finds Tony she witnesses his irrevocable decision that sends Raya reeling and running away solo to London. ... (read more)

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A Ray of Hope

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Real Daughter
by Lynne McKelvey
Savant Books & Publications LLC


"He doesn’t get it, she thought, pausing beside the baby mastodon and its imploring trunk. Doesn’t get that Mandy is a child in mourning, a child in mourning for her mother."

Secrets have always played a major role in novels. From secret passageways in adventure tales to secret betrayals in spy yarns to secret familial revelations in Victorian comedies, tragedies, whodunits, and more. A secret is also at the center of this literate psychological drama that unspools in late 1970s Los Angeles. It is a secret that engulfs its keeper completely—a secret that results in unimaginable consequences when shared. ... (read more)

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Peaceful Resolution?

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Quall Assassin: Talaza's Contract
by Yuan Jur
WaaDoom


"'For what you have done to my Analuke, I allow you to see my true face. Consider this a parting gift.'"

On the planet Tora, a conflict of warring clans is threatening to bubble up to the surface and bring the entire continent of Ludd into battle. Talaza and his wife Analuke belong to the Quall, a four-armed race of assassins that live in the mountains, stick to the shadows, and carry out their contracts with precision and without mercy. When the couple receives orders to ambush a supposed peace talk between the warrior clan of Scarzen and the duplicitous Flaxon, they have their reservations but are honor-bound to fulfill the request. Before he can finish scouting, Talaza is intercepted by the Star Lord and his canine companion and informed that he must abandon his duty in order to protect the whole land from a terrible tragedy. Worrying about his wife’s decisions and skeptical of his abductor’s true purpose, Talaza can only watch and hope that things resolve peacefully. ... (read more)

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A Believable Heroine

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Awakening of La Muse
by S. R. Strickland
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"The sounds of a vivacious city sang out to her, the tunes of a town still unseen."

A young slave girl living on a Virginia plantation encounters the new ideas of freedom when she is taken to Paris in the mid-1800s. Muse, whose African name is Aggrey (meaning “bead”) lives and works alongside her mother Mary, who has talents as a healer. When both Muse and her white mistress Cassandra contract a pox-like illness, Muse recovers more quickly owing to Mary’s ministrations, while Cassandra will retain scars on her face. While recuperating, Muse is left alone in a shack that adjoins the white children’s school. Though it is forbidden, she begins to learn to read and write and is later secretly assisted by the schoolmaster in perfecting those skills. ... (read more)

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Serious Comedy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Managed Care
by Joe Barrett
Black Rose Writing


"'I mean, wherever we end up, it isn’t going to be any worse than where we started, right?'"

Three narrators tell this hilarious story about a 33-year-old man living in a nursing home who befriends two middle school kids when they come to volunteer at the facility. Frank moves into the nursing home when the director refuses to refund his advance payment after Frank's grandfather dies and is never able to move in. Elroy is a foster kid struggling through middle school with bullies on his back and a stuttering problem that keeps a target on him no matter how hard he tries to fit in or disappear. Sally is a snarky, depressed tween reeling not only from her aunt’s recent suicide but also from her father’s suicide when she was younger. When these three misfits come together, they forge a friendship and hatch a plan to take over the local Catholic church and offer the community a chance at real connection and cathartic release. But with a man like Frank at the helm, shaking up the neighborhood means devising outlandish plans that will disrupt the suburbs and shock everyone around him. ... (read more)

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Child Fears

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Bucky and the Navigator
by Kristiana Pelot
BookVenture Publishing, LLC


"At night when all the family sleeps, he is awake with the fear of sounds. How can his family sleep with the Night Wheezers loose in their home?"

Alone in his dark room, Bucky listens for the strange noises that have been keeping him awake at night. He calls the culprits—makers of the strange, loud, rhythmic noises disturbing his peace of mind—The Night Wheezers. With the help of the Navigator, the special blanket his grandmother made for him when he was born, he will put aside his fear and find the creatures who make these harsh, strange noises before any danger comes to his family. ... (read more)

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Appealing Read

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fun Times Growing Up: True Stories of Lessons Learned with Family and Friends
by Donna S. Giuffrida
Litfire Publishing, LLC


"Mom said we looked like best pals. She took a picture of us, saying something about it being a once in a lifetime event."

A boy and his best friend disagree on games to play during a playdate. He learns from his mom that being a best friend means doing what your best friend wants to do sometimes, and both have fun when he acquiesces to his best friend. Next, kids show mom just how much fun a rainy day can be. In another story, a child demonstrates that he is ready for a dog by caring for the neighbor’s dog. Then, bickering siblings learn how to get along and take care of each other when they catch the flu. Finally, a child learns the lesson of gratitude when he takes toys to sick kids at the hospital. ... (read more)

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Honest & Heartbreaking

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Cost of Truth
by Julie K. Parrott
BookVenture Publishing


"And now I knew I was meant to be with a woman. It was who I was and who I still am."

Even from a young age, Donna knew that she wanted to join a convent and serve God as a nun. The only girl of five children, Donna grows up as a bit of a mischievous tomboy before heading off to boarding school. At boarding school, she excels at sports, particularly netball, but fails to focus more than necessary on her classes. Set on the convent, after a year’s sabbatical at her father’s request Donna becomes a nun. At the convent, she continues to be something of a minor rebel, dedicated to her mission but set in her ways. When she finishes her initial years and moves into a teaching role, she learns that her path was not what she imagined it would be like and pivots to pursue a role in nursing. ... (read more)

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Sensitivity & Accuracy

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Journey of Hope: Her Search for Truth
by Patricia Hope
Stratton Press


"I am glad I had the opportunity to meet several of my birth relatives and their families, and perhaps one day I will meet others."

Recounting the trauma of childhood deprivations, this memoir shows a maturation process that aided its author in later life, owing largely, she believes, to God’s care and intervention. Born in a fractured family in 1932, the little girl was assigned to an orphanage in Memphis—the Tennessee Children’s Home Society (TCHS)—after her mother was falsely accused of a crime. The TCHS was operated by notorious child-trafficker Georgia Tann. Hope wound up in Texas, supplied to a woman who wanted a playmate for her son. Gradually, Hope began to grasp the extent of her victimization as a young child and to seek information regarding her birth parents, sibling, half-siblings and other known relatives. Through a religious experience, she was able to love and understand her then deceased parents and even forgive Tann for her perfidies. ... (read more)

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Triumph Over Evil

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Game Piece
by Alan Brenham
Black Opal Books


"'Five homicide victims, all connected to me—not in a good way. He knew a lot about me. How?'"

When a serial killer goes on a murdering spree, police detective Barry Marshall finds himself working on the case to bring him to justice. As Barry begins to receive taunting calls from the killer after every murder, he realizes that the killer holds him responsible for stealing something from him in the past and is now hell-bent on ruining Barry. After the killer’s activities cause damage to Barry’s marriage and career, Barry becomes even more determined to track him down and end his sinister game before he can harm his wife and daughter. ... (read more)

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Thrilling Adventure

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Inevitable dreaming
by Dave Dröge
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


"My virtual dream therapy was coming to an end. I knew what to do."

Shrouded in grief from the loss of his wife Antoinette and young daughter Claire, Waldemar van Splunteren’s life is in shambles. Add in a suspension from his role as a university forensic psychologist that he is in the process of defending, and his slip from reality into the void that is alcohol and self-pity is justifiable. Nevertheless, Miriam, a family friend and Waldemar's coworker, is intent on pulling Waldemar from this spiral. ... (read more)

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Humanity Explored

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Fire, Faith & Glory: Le Feu, La Foi et La Gloire
by R. R. Pravin
AuthorHouse


"Goodbye my child
Time won’t bring
Your heart back to us
I never dreamt
That I will live to
See the day
I lose you"

Pravin discloses that his new anthology of poems commemorates his second year in pediatric residency at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Singapore. If one can imagine being witness to the final hours of a child’s life, the suffering and grief that comes with that mortal end, one can understand the nature of Pravin’s work. He is all too familiar with the experience of heartache in the final moments of a young patient in palliative care. It requires an unusual level of mental and physical strength to confront the high emotions that come with this field. Naturally, one finds a way to deal with this heavy toll, and Pravin’s poetry is his emotional release. ... (read more)

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Asian Switch

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Asian Ingredient Substitutions: Fish and Fruit, Veggies and Vittles, Noodles and Noshes, Seasonings and Sauces, and more
by Jean B. MacLeod
Amazon Digital Services LLC


"NORI FLAKES, SHREDS, OR POWDER/AO NORI/AO-NORIKO (Japanese seaweed seasoning and garnish for salads and raw vegetables)"

MacLeod presents this book as an invitation to explore the art of Asian cooking. Like her other books, this is more than just a well-researched list of A-to-Z entries that offer a one-stop place to discover substitutes for recipe ingredients. Once again, the author’s goal for this reference guide is giving the reader the ability to substitute more vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, and low-salt ingredients. The health-conscious will find six pages on rice substitutes and sixteen other flour options. Some substitutions will just plain be a surprise. Who would have thought to substitute cauliflower puree and coconut extract for coconut milk? ... (read more)

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Higher Nature

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Paradigm Shift: Future Comes from Behind
by S. T. K. Chan


"Space symbolizes the need to reach new levels: to show we won’t back off from finding the best in us."

When Lisa, the heroine of Chan’s sci-fi fantasy, is just five, she shows her unusual personality through her craving for white noise. Living on Malta with loving parents, she watches her wonderful world crumble during an armed rebellion. She then has a visionary breakthrough to another dimension where a shaman immediately recognizes her special powers and gives her a magical bracelet. As an adult, she begins to return often to her dream realm. She is told by one of its denizens that she is in Exo, short for Éxo Mésa or “out inside.” There she and her Exo companions re-fight old or future earth battles to reduce the effects of evil associated with them. Now an astronaut, Lisa believes she and her coalition of fellow time travelers can affect a paradigm shift: to alter humanity’s pattern of constant war to one of global illumination. ... (read more)

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Persuasive Passion

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Out-Of-Country: The Untold Story Of The Vietnam War
by Ron Aigotti
Xlibris


"'The people I’m talking about didn’t die in combat… As if there weren’t many other people who suffered.'"

Two young doctors are drafted into military medical service during the Vietnam War. While both stay stateside, their time on base treating soldiers alerts them to the horrors of rampant drug use, addiction, racial bias, and the shipment overseas of sick and unfit soldiers. When the physicians try to treat the troubled men in their care, they face a corrupt and hostile chain of military leaders focused on populating ranks on the war front and denying treatment to the men suffering under their command. The book’s ultimate focus is on the case of one sad addict, a young soldier who receives his drugs from the very command chain that will eventually send him to fight overseas and who, thanks to the army’s focus on feeding the war rather than caring for its men, ultimately dies from his addiction and lack of care. ... (read more)

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Feelings Stirred

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Stronger Every Day
by Rich Gordon
Newman Springs Publishing


"The HYPE has been destructive, like a bomb that has erupted, and the panic leaves us running through the streets and smoke above us."

Raw, unapologetic, and inspired by real life, this collection of poetry puts the reader along for the ride in the author’s journey to hell and back, highlighting the emotional struggle and eventual triumph recovering from drug addiction. Whether providing a personal introspection or highlighting a relationship with another person, the poet gives a real, honest perspective that comes straight from his brain without mincing words or hiding feelings. The general message of these poems is one of hope and, as the title implies, constant self-improvement and betterment. ... (read more)

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Police Dog

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Blue
by Melissa Gole
Xlibris AU


"He felt scared, alone, and like he had no hope."

Blue is a police dog who takes pride in his job. He wants to save lives and uphold the law, but he is going through a “ruff” period. As the pressure of being a police dog gets to him, Blue’s behavior starts to change, and he feels many negative emotions. With the help of his friends and professionals, however, Blue learns how to take care of himself and continue being strong. ... (read more)

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Closeness

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Adrift
by V.P. Saxton
Xlibris


"Another family would invade their idyllic existence. People they knew nothing about would expect to become part of their lives."

When Helena’s mother becomes ill and needs full time care, her and her family are faced with giving up their dream home on Capstan Court to help take care of her. The decision is not well received by their neighbors, who are devastated that their tight-knit community is being turned upside down. Helena and Greg, Lizzie and Mike, and Carla and Douglas as well as their families had been inseparable for years. But now has the time come for the Capstan Court residents to go their separate ways? The story follows each of these three families as they go about their lives all while processing the biggest change they’ve faced in all these years living next to one another. ... (read more)

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About Us

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Short Stories of the Yester Years
by Gigi Mera
Xlibris


"Little River is bathed by the longest river in Hispaniola: the Artibonite River."

Consisting of seven short stories, this small but interesting book offers a glimpse into life on Hispaniola. Deemed “the pearl of the Caribbean” by Christopher Columbus in 1492, today this Caribbean Island consists of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Linked by setting, each narrative takes place in Little River over decades of French control. ... (read more)

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Life During Wartime

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Family Divided
by Dick Parsons
AuthorHouse


"Golda shut her eyes in horror. That form when completed would reveal Hedwig’s Jewish ancestry and their attempt to pose as Christians would be uncovered."

Parsons' novel is a harrowing chronicle of what it was like for one Jewish family in Germany before and during World War II. It is an emotionally compelling book that not only contains a riveting narrative but also well-researched information about the machinery of war that led to enormous loss of life throughout Europe and across the Atlantic during that period. ... (read more)

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Love & Lust

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Double Wow
by Shellie Green-Baker
Xlibris


"He knew he was borrowing trouble, but they would need each other’s body heat to stay warm, so he lay down next to her."

Men are suckers for blondes in this tale of a tomboy turned head-turner and the two men who vie for her affections. A light-hearted entry in the romance genre, this love story builds upon favorite tropes, including the girl who blossoms overnight into womanhood, the kidnapping seducer, the family friend who becomes a lover, and that popular old standby—the love triangle. ... (read more)

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Standing Strong

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Crossroads: Conflicted Journey Of A New Jersey State Trooper
by Dr. Vincent Lucas Martin
Xlibris


"I earned a PhD in street life watching everything...everybody, and I would put my savvy street skill set to work later in my life."

Martin’s memoir is proof that every person, regardless of circumstances and/or race, can amount to greatness in their lifetime... if given help and motivation by mentors. The author’s mother was an early influence by both example and love, and so was the owner of the pizzeria that gave this promising lad a real job and his first chance to assume responsibility. While serving as a New Jersey state trooper, older officers willing shared their expertise with him. ... (read more)

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Inside Egypt

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Amen: The Beginning of the Creation of God
by Nicholas P. Ginex
Xlibris


"It is the author’s hope that by exposing our religious views freely and honestly, we can someday not only agree to disagree but to come to a clearer understanding that we all pray to the same God."

While the word “amen” is typically defined as meaning “so be it,” this book examines an Egyptian deity known as “Amen” and his influence on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Amen is seen not just as an important word and concept but also as an important god in religious history.... (read more)

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Surviving, Grace

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Lakes In My Head: Paddling an Unexplored Wilderness
by Lesli Chinnock Anderson
Xlibris


"We needed some hope. Following a tough paddle and an arduous portage, a place to set up camp is a welcome site."

The author cleverly compares her own experience with hydrocephalus (water on the brain) to negotiating a canoe and setting up camp within her beloved Northern Minnesota lakes region. While working at a veterinary office, a fall broke her nose and set in motion the search for a diagnosis explaining complications. Apparently, she had experienced some amount of water on the brain since childhood. Following the accident, brain fluid began to build up excessively, creating "lakes" in her head. She required a shunt installed surgically to provide excess fluid a pathway into her abdomen.... (read more)

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Ballard on the Case

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Whatever It Takes: When Duty Calls
by Harvey Cleggett
Xlibris AU


"The criminal axis in this country is tilting at an alarming rate. I just hope we can get on top of it before we’re overwhelmed."

There’s big trouble in Australia as Victoria’s Parliament House is under siege by terrorists. With the death toll rising, special units from the police and the army mount a daring rescue, only to be stalled by a wickedly brilliant exit plan. A temporary stalemate ensues. The terrorist leader helicopters away with a police inspector as the hostage. One siege is ending, but the mayhem and carnage are only beginning in this excellent action adventure. ... (read more)

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Path to Knighthood

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Saviors of Italia
by Harry Salazar
AuthorHouse


"This is the beginning of a great war against evilness, between the underworld and the heavens above and it will take place here on this earth."

The Roman Empire has fallen, and Christianity is not as prevalent as it once was in the city-states of Italia. Leaders alike are falling prey to the influence of evil and Satan, and the people are suffering. Yet there is hope—a prophecy foretold in Torrance, Umbria speaks of a war between the forces of good and evil and the triumphant return of Christianity. But before the forces of evil can be vanquished, however, a true leader must be found. ... (read more)

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Time & Outcome

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Life By Design: Mastering Energy, Money and Leverage in 9 Simple Steps
by Sundardas D Annamalay
Xlibris AU


"Life Design for greater productivity needs an individual to become focused, relentless, and even enlightened."

Life Design is a program that aims to help people manage their time and resources more effectively in all major areas of life including business, family, and health. Annamalay urges readers to view his program as a lifestyle that utilizes intentional exploration and reflection on a variety of topics from childhood experiences to stress management. By completing various thought exercises and reflective practices, participants can identify what matters most in life and can begin to make choices and commitments based on those priorities. As the process unfolds, an individual will begin to understand the difference between a Designed Life and a Compulsive Life. ... (read more)

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The Next Strike

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Imaginary
by Helen Walters
Xlibris AU


"'You are perfect in every way, and you will be mine forever.'"

First, he finds them, studying their daily routines and habits. Then he integrates himself into their lives, becoming an invisible presence until it’s too late. After brutally carving up his ‘perfect’ victims, he leaves without a trace… until his next strike. ... (read more)

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A New Look at the Planets

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Tiny Universe: Astrology and The Thema Mundi Chart
by Joy Usher
Xlibris AU


"The ability for a planet to successfully manage its house is dependent on its condition."

Many people are familiar with astrology under the terms of the daily newspaper horoscope or a simple understanding of the zodiac, but this textbook provides a comprehensive, complete understanding of the science of the planets and signs. Beginning with the Thema Mundi chart, referred to as the Birth-Chart of the Universe, and incorporating Hellenistic and Arabic perspectives, readers will understand how astrologers construct various charts and understand how the planets relate to the person to whom the chart concerns. Usher examines the natures of each sign and planet, from gender qualities to temperature and elemental alignment, clearly laying out the various ways in which each body complements or aggravates another. Concluding with a different way of considering the chart and an interpretation of each of the twelve houses, the depths and complexities of astrology will be revealed to the reader. ... (read more)

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More to the Stars

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Tiny Universe’s Companion: Popular Techniques in Traditional Astrology
by Joy Usher
Xlibris AU


"The change in daytime or night-time Firdaria will not affect the planet’s meanings and general significations."

Serving as a supplement for A Tiny Universe, this accompanying volume provides tremendous additional reading, giving those with questions on the original book some clarity and those with greater curiosity much more information to digest. The book examines many interpretations of astrological data that have been forgotten to time, but which are starting to come back into influence, such as the importance of planetary sect, the infinity-shaped lemniscate, and the Persian Firdaria. The Firdaria, to which almost a third of the book is dedicated, provides different understandings based on whether a person is born during the day or night and allows for planets to rule different periods of life while still obeying the Chaldean Order. With this as a follow-up or reference guide to the original book, one can fully understand the history and origins of astrological insight. ... (read more)

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Mind Well

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Curious Case of the Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital: And Other Controversies in Psychiatry
by Anthony M. D'Agostino, MD
iUniverse


"The problem is that patients keep coming—all the more since there are now fewer options out there for them, public or private."

An in-depth treatise regarding the history of psychiatry, the book traces the beginning of treatment starting with the history of religious influence. This includes the forward-thinking Alexian Brothers, which was a Catholic religious order that began 700-800 years ago in Europe. The work then takes us through the history of early hospitals, medical schools, surgery, medicine, psychiatric wards, the use of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), and lobotomies as well as Freudian theory and psychoanalysis. Also explored are the value of psychiatric medicines, behavioral treatment, and the positives and negatives of health care, including managed care. This thorough analysis of 228 pages is then followed by an extensive list of references which adds to the professional depth of this work. ... (read more)

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Saving Spring

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Up to Miracles: A Stone’s Throw from a Fairy Tale
by Zeynab Salimova
Xlibris


"They heard a loud BOOM, which could have been either a clap of thunder, or an explosion."

Santa Claus is known to give presents to good little boys and girls, but what if he were to whisk them off to a world in need of heroes instead? That is exactly what happens to Alex, a ten-year-old boy who reluctantly takes his five-year-old sister Annie to a Christmas party. He doesn’t believe in Santa or wishes, so when he finally meets the jolly old elf, Alex just scoffs and walks away... into another world. He and his sister are put into the middle of a political battle between the Four Queens of the Seasons, but Winter is the worst. She wants time to stand still in an eternal wintry slumber. Along with a few friends, Alex and Annie are determined to save Spring and find a way back home. ... (read more)

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Zoo Times

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Book 1 of MB's Adventures in Dr. T's Marvelous Zoo: Featuring the Lop-Eared Frizzle Frop
by R.E. Tegtmeier, M.D.
Xlibris


"There's much more fun in store, with all these friends and more. M.B. has fun at the zoo and you can join him too!"

R.E. Tegtmeier, M.D. has composed a singsong read aloud children's book that features his son, M.B., and is based on stories the author told his son as he was growing up. Interestingly, the author's text reads similar to Dr. Seuss books that adults can read aloud to children and children can read silently to themselves or out loud. In Book 1 of this series, M.B. goes to the zoo on "The Very Frightful Day" where he meets his friend, Juck. As they walk around the zoo, the two friends greet various animals when suddenly everything goes quiet. A lion has escaped from his cage and leaps before M.B. and Juck. M.B. is paralyzed by fear while Juck flies away to find help. Next enters the Lop-Eared Frizzel Frop who saves the day (and M.B.) by rolling down the hill and knocking over the lion who ends up back in his cage. The story concludes with an impromptu party featuring strawberries and cream. ... (read more)

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More Zoo Times

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Book 2 of MB’s Adventures in Dr. T’s Marvelous Zoo: Featuring: The Dreck and the Jeck
by R. E. Tegtmeier, M.D.
Xlibris


"While they were gliding around, they might see The Lop-Eared Frizzel Frop on top of his mountain, or they might see The Squail sailing around the pond."

MB plays with his friend Dreck at the zoo on quiet days and with his friend Sheck on pleasant, clear days. Dreck, a giraffe, stretches his neck out, and MB climbs it to see all the animals in the zoo. MB then dreams about all his zoo animal friends including ducks, giraffes, lions, and bears. The Juck takes MB to see the monkeys, and the zookeeper informs the friends that the monkey is stuck in the tree. Will MB’s friends help the monkey, or will the frightened animal remain stuck in the tree? ... (read more)

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Reflections on Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Journey
by Gayleen Wentz
Xlibris


"We can’t change the times back to the way it was, but we can cherish those memories."

In this memoir of motherhood, Wentz captures the joys and heartaches of raising a family in a small town in West Virginia. Beginning with her marriage in 1960 and followed by the birth of three children, the book tracks the highlights with humor and charm as she offers up anecdotes and snapshots of her life through the years. The author writes about many of the milestones and typical experiences of families as children grow and change. Chapters on remodeling a house, childhood antics and minor accidents, family vacations, and pets offer personal yet relatable anecdotes. ... (read more)

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Form & Style

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Prayer, Praise and Poetry
by Susan Champion
Xlibris UK


"Are you gambling with your life?
If you foster anger, bitterness, strife,
You may be gambling with your health
More important, surely, than your wealth!"

Much as the title suggests, this book of poetry has a significant focus geared towards spirituality and religion. However, with more than 100 poems, there’s a strong variety of topics extending beyond the aforementioned praise and prayer. The latter two-thirds of the book is divided up into sections of poems on nature and environmentalism, war, family, grieving, and lighthearted matters. Each poem is brief, lasting only a page or two, allowing the reader to read as much or as little as they want at a time. Drawing inspiration from the glory of God and the folly of man, the parents' love for their children, or the violence of combat, there’s a poem in this book for just about any occasion. ... (read more)

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Gratifying Prose

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

If I Hold You In My Teardrop
by Hosain Mosavat
Xlibris


"No grave can engulf me now
I burn anything that comes near
Be aware
for I have become love."

Mosavat, whose poetry also includes The Heart Whisperer, opens this compilation with a tribute to his parents but primarily his mother, whom he credits for his poetic pursuits. Each poem is accompanied by his mother’s handwritten calligraphy of beloved Persian poets. The untitled poems can be perceived as one long running poem that challenges readers to be a wild heart, uncaged, and unstoppable in its path to “smelling every flower on the path.” ... (read more)

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Embracing Love

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Heart Whisperer
by Hosain Mosavat
Xlibris


"Then I realize
that one small being can love infinitely
and an infinite love can dignify the smallest being."

Mosavat is as interesting and captivating as his poetry. In his mother, the poet inherited a teacher who instilled within him an appreciation for the arts: poetry, music, calligraphy, and painting. Having endured loss during the revolution in Iran, Mosavat moved to the United States and taught physics and math for thirty years. The essence of a Renaissance man, Mosavat’s poetry, inspired by his wife Judy, revolves around love in its myriad forms. ... (read more)

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What Comes Next

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

As Quiet as It’s Kept—Shhh...
by Jacquelyn Dortch
Xlibris


"Healing does not imply a cure; it is the ability to recover,
The unshakable faith that leads to a path where we discover."

Dortch offers a collection of short stories and poems revealing major events that have shaped both her personal and career life. Written in her fiftieth year, she looks back with honesty, documenting life’s momentous occurrences, beginnings, endings, and the valleys while exploring their effect on her own psyche. Through her stories, the author chronicles her life as an African-American girl and college student, young career woman in the non-profit realm, an unwed mother, and a grieving daughter and granddaughter. She tackles such subjects as racism, family legacy, and divorce. Feelings of fear, anger, sorrow, joy, and uncertainty permeate both prose and poetry as Dortch opens her life to her readers, tackles her battles, and conquers her trials by “... moving ahead with full speed and force.” ... (read more)

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Skilled & Challenging

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Therapy
by Mike McCluskey
Xlibris


"Digging in your chest until the heart is found,
Warm to the bite but it no longer pounds"

This assortment of fifty poems offers a violent glimpse into the mind of a troubled soul with themes of suffering, torture, and depression. Separated into two distinct sections, the first half of the book follows the theme “Patient” in both senses of the word. These poems are about diagnosis, treatment, and a hesitancy to act on urges that are eating away at the narrator’s soul. The second half, “Escape,” lets these tendencies run rampant, painting scenes of grizzly acts and self-harm on the page lest they be made manifest in other ways. While many of the poems follow somewhat similar structures and lengths, “Escape” opens with a story poem about a circus-worker named Grim who yearns to be a clown but is held back and cruelly dispatched by greedy employers, only to find revenge in the afterlife. ... (read more)

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Thriving Regardless

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Light for a Vanished Sun: A Mission Deep into Navajo Country
by Midge Shusta
Xlibris


"'If we had to understand electricity before we flipped the switch, most of us would live in the dark. It’s something we take by faith.'"

Take a familiar tale about innocent adventurers who plummet into life-threatening survival mazes, add in time travel, clashes of civilization, and a Christian missionary message about the endurance of true faith, and you have the substance, if not the essence, of this unusual tale about a mission gone wrong and the believers who make it right. In 2004, while refurbishing a church in Navajo country as part of a multi-family mission, five young people leave for a short hike and don’t return. While their tormented families search fruitlessly for the missing youngsters, the lost hikers find themselves slaves to a hostile native American tribe some 600 years in the past. How each processes the hardships they face within their own belief systems makes for a compelling, if grueling, read. ... (read more)

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Choices & Connections

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Playing with Passion: A Novel
by Katrina Reinhardt
iUniverse


"'Passion. Romance. That’s why I got into trouble. But you’ll agree that I may lead the way in our friendship?'"

This tender story centers on a regretful woman who leaves behind a secretive past in Paris for new beginnings in the city of Boston. After an illicit affair with her professor, Jacques D’Argenes, twenty-three-year-old Yvette leaves their daughter at a convent for adoption. She desperately sheds her past by immersing herself fully into the Boston arts community. As she yearns for the “magic and poetry” of music, she strives to marry music with art for ultimate inspiration. ... (read more)

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A Classic Adventure

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mystery in the Keweenaw Peninsula
by D.J. Martin
Xlibris


"Then she saw the reflection of the knife and closed her eyes. She didn't want to see anymore. He said she could trust him."

Although an amateur, Jane is passionate about archaeology and understands the dig process. When a volunteer opportunity is available for her to help excavate ghost towns in Michigan, she welcomes the chance to take a break from teaching history. Leaving her husband behind, Jane meets many like-minded individuals and heads off to the university dorms where the archaeological dig team will be stationed. What others don't know about Jane, and what she barely understands herself, is that she has whispers of clairvoyance; she can sense danger and get a general read on people's intentions. Under the guidance of Joyce, a family friend, Jane uses the trip to help herself become more attuned to her abilities, focusing on reading the auras of the other volunteers. She never, however, expected to communicate with a spirit nor find herself mixed up with murders, past and present. ... (read more)

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The Mission

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Lasso Part 2: The Fall of Castle X
by Dave Bair
Xlibris


"’We’re SEALs. We fight the war that others can’t. We give freedom back, we save the day. We, Jesse, are the answer to many prayers.’"

Former Navy SEAL turned Montana bar owner Jesse Buck is back in this sequel. Now happily committed to his soon-to-be wife Rachael, the pair, along with a collection of former seals, agents, and new friends must defend themselves and their property while taking on a daring mission and considering renewed roles as government assets working deep undercover. ... (read more)

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A Philosopher's Touch

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Between the Fields
by Boby Beavers
Xlibris AU


"To those born of the sea, the sound of waves breaking would always be friendly."

Alexander Scott is described by the narrator as a “hero to some, disappointment to others.” Through the course of this story set in Australia, Alex will struggle to fit in with his blended stepfamily and will find love among friends and, ultimately, a soulmate. Love and friendship will unfold against the backdrop of the ocean and the surf culture of Australia. Tragedy will mar the story’s idyllic romance as Alex settles in with the love of his life, Julianne. This is a book about finding your tribe of people when family life falters in its attempts to keep you and nurture you into adulthood. It is also about finding oneself apart from your family. Alex is fearless out in the world looking for the things that make him happy. This character study is full of insights and ruminations about memory, love, family, identity, friendship, and community. ... (read more)

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The Human Side

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

City of Sharks
by Ian Alexander
Xlibris AU


"Now, Chris wonders, is this the beginning of the political slippery slope for me? Surely not, after all aren’t deals just part of politics?"

After an affair with the State Premier goes south, Diana is eager to shake up the political landscape in Western Australia. Teaming up with her friend Chris Burnside, a former councillor and activist, the two of them rise to power on different sides of the political aisle in order to create change in their region. While Diana serves as an assistant to the opposition and is able to leak sensitive information, Chris acquires a parliamentary seat and becomes an influential independent. As the two friends stand to thwart corrupt unions and building companies tied to the government in power, Chris becomes a popular figure. However, his womanizing tendencies have the potential to land him in hot water if made public, especially considering the high-profile status both he and the politicians he spends his time admiring have achieved. ... (read more)

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A Rapid Pace

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Chased Across Australia
by Reynold Conger
Xlibris


"Again Cedric pulled out the diagram and went through the plans for the attack. All weapons were checked one last time, and they walked down the road to the bed-and-breakfast."

Action, suspense, and religion play major roles in this tale. Jack and Jill are looking to celebrate their thirtieth wedding anniversary by visiting their son’s family and seeing the sights of Australia. Fate, however, has something else in store for them. Before long, their trip of a lifetime turns into a run for their lives. ... (read more)

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Put It On Your List

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Light of the Desert
by Lucette Walters
AuthorHouse


"Standing behind his partners, mesmerized by the flames, Moustafa watched with clenched teeth. The sinful girl was where she deserved to be—in hell…and he was free."

If stories of sweep and scope appeal to you, you’ll likely be caught up in this saga of a young woman’s incredible odyssey. Starting from a position of wealth and privilege, she finds herself thrust into unimaginably harrowing predicaments. But fate, fellow travelers, and her unremitting will to survive keep moving her toward a destiny she never could have possibly foreseen. ... (read more)

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Lagant's Journey

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Good Guy Gone Bad: Book II
by Lagantra Outen
Xlibris


"More shots were fired into the hallway. They all had to get a grip on their situation and fight back if they wanted to live."

Picking up after the previous book in the series, in this story Shakur is tracked down by the police. They put him away for the murders that happened when Money Mel tried to double-cross him. No trail exists to tie Lagant and Khalil to the crime, so they must simply wait for Shakur to get out of jail to get the money that he promised them. In the meantime, Lagant tries to get back to his normal life, living with Jada and his daughter Iesha while trying to get some extra action on the side. Lagant’s womanizing ways catch up to him, though, and soon his whole life starts to crumble down around him when the women in his life have enough of his cheating. ... (read more)

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A Time-Bending Tale

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Legacy—A World Apart
by Raymond L. Cox
Xlibris


"One thing I’d known since eighth grade when those dreams first started–the man in the mirrored armor in my dream was me."

Mike is a high schooler living in rural Iowa who describes himself as “pale and skinny with dense glasses and a poor fashion sense.” He is already a world apart from his peers as he harbors secret powers that make him godlike. Fascinated by these physical and mental powers, he struggles to understand his humanity coupled with his abnormal abilities. As he searches for answers, he is haunted by the “man in the mirrored armor” and the girl named Amy, who is the key to unlocking the mystery of his identity. ... (read more)

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A Gospel Intensive

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Book of Luke: Physician And Historian
by Matthew A. Knight
Xlibris NZ


"One can almost visualize Luke placing... his fingers together as he considered a well-written, historical, and orderly account of... birth of John... birth of the Lord Jesus Christ."

The author has written a guide for use in conjunction with group studies on the Gospel of Luke. A physician who traveled with the Apostle Paul’s missionary group through Asia and Greece, Luke was also likely the author of the Book of Acts. Undoubtedly, he questioned the disciples who knew firsthand the early events of the New Testament. This allowed Luke to carefully lay out in order the facts about the ministries of both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Luke was also acquainted with an important personage who expressed interest in learning of these events. His gospel is a systematic narrative addressed to the “most excellent” Theophilus, possibly a governor. ... (read more)

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A Heroic Brotherhood

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Chicago 1871
by James E. Merl
Xlibris


"'What if I told you something was gonna happen in a few days, and I know it because I’m from 147 years in the future?'"

John Kirk is a California firefighter who travels back in time after battling a blaze that goes dangerously awry. History comes alive before him as he begins working for the Chicago Fire Department armed with the knowledge of the future and with the certainty of the impending Great Chicago Fire. Kirk immerses himself completely in his new life but feels compelled to share what he knows about the future despite the disbelief he faces whenever he reveals a shocking detail from 2018. The tension escalates as the days move closer and closer to the historic fire of 1871, and Kirk must decide how much of the future he is willing to alter. ... (read more)

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Odd & Fantastical World

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

An Orbiting Dilemma
by Brett Wortham
Trafford Publishing


"This girl had been causing him whole worlds of problems since earlier this morning."

Yurri is your average Joe: a human with a regular job and no special skills. The one good thing in his life is his girlfriend, the beautiful, bubbly, Jai-obsessed Janice. But Janice has a royal secret which soon catches up to her, and what starts out as a picnic date on the moon-planet Drylon 3 quickly turns into a series of wacky misadventures for the couple as they navigate through the galaxy, strange alien encounters, and their relationship. ... (read more)

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Cleaning Up

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Who Wants to Be a Litterbug
by Donna Goldsmith
Xlibris AU


"Keep your head high and your heart strong."

Imagine a book filled with images and scenes of a koala and his buddy Winks (a kangaroo in shades) cruising outdoor paths and all the while loving life and doing good things. Like with The Jungle Book’s Mowgli and Baloo or Christopher Robin’s Piglet and Pooh, the duo’s relationship makes readers smile. ... (read more)

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A Nomadic Life

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Find My Hidden Rose
by Sharlyn Duval
Xlibris


"My questions had been answered. I felt closer to Jesus through understanding about Baha’u’llah. From here on, I would refer to Baha’u’llah as my prophet."

It took an immersive spiritual journey spanning six decades, never-ending persecution, and countless relocations for Duval to find answers to some of life’s most pressing existential questions. Feeling isolated and out-of-place as a young girl adopted at the age of three, Duval turned to God early in life. Her first spiritual encounter came at age six when she met with the beam of light in her childhood bedroom that overlooked the backyard. ... (read more)

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Harvesting Grace

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Wonderfully Blessed, Highly Favored, Deeply Loved by the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit
by Joe Lockhart
Xlibris


"I have come to realize that the Biblical Joseph and I have much in common."

This memoir recalls the life of a man brought up in poverty, the son of a sharecropper in Mississippi. His parents had fifteen children. He was the youngest boy, and like Joseph in the Old Testament, was most favored by his father, a strict, righteous man who bought him a bicycle and often took him to the local store to get candy. The family earned a little money by raising cotton on land owned by a white farmer and subsisted by canning fruits and vegetables, fishing in a local stream, and hunting small game. At nineteen, Lockhart volunteered for the military, serving for three years. He developed problems related to women, alcohol, and anger and was incarcerated. He was later able to give back by working with delinquent boys, observing some “miraculous” turnarounds. He describes camping and playing basketball with the teens as a “healing time.” ... (read more)

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Surprising Plot Twists

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Moving Blade: A Tokyo Mystery
by Michael Pronko
Raked Gravel Press


"When Jamie Mattson saw her father for the first time since she was thirteen, he lay in the casket in the Shida Funeral Hall and Crematorium."

Jamie Mattson’s reunion with her father in Tokyo isn’t what she expected. Just one week before she is to leave for a visit with Bernard Mattson, she receives word that her father has died. Now, in Tokyo, she learns he was murdered. Left to deal with the police inspectors, the U.S. Embassy, and, most daunting of all, the work her father left behind, Jamie is determined to discover why her father was killed. When detective Hiroshi Shimizu becomes involved with the case, he offers Jamie his personal help. Soon after they begin to uncover Mattson’s work, it becomes apparent that it holds the key to his murder, and they are also in danger. But Jamie is compelled to find the answers hidden in her father’s work and continues to search for the truth. With her every move being monitored and Hiroshi’s time divided between Jamie and work, she wonders how to keep herself and her father’s work safe from forces determined to suppress it at all costs. And she realizes another concern: Whom can she trust? ... (read more)

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Coming of Age

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Forty Days with Ruth
by Carol Welty Roper
Trafford Publishing


"Ruth was lonesome and at moments like this, she felt she might just lose her mind if he didn’t return to her."

In 1898, a young, newly married couple makes their home in Oklahoma after eloping. Far from her Texas family, isolation sets in for Ruth, and she takes comfort in Riley’s companionship. But the need for food becomes too great, and Riley sets off to hunt and bring back needed supplies. When Riley does not return home anytime soon, a vulnerable Ruth wills herself to survive in the days of her husband’s absence. ... (read more)

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No Horsing Around

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Horses for Courses: A Beginner’s Guide
by Russell S. Stokes
Xlibris AU


"Always let the horse know where you are. Talk to the horse. Make it aware of where you are standing."

Drawing from decades of experience as a jockey and trainer, the author provides critical and crucial information for those looking to acquire and care for their first horse or for those training brand new riders. Covering equipment basics, safety measures, basic riding techniques, and even grooming and stable maintenance, this first installment of three books provides a knowledgeable introduction to equine training and ownership. ... (read more)

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Australian Solutions

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Outside the Box: A Wind of Change
by Pietro Barbara
Xlibris AU


"The first step is a universal change in thinking and a real universal ownership of the problem."

In this time of social transition and conflicting idealism, the author of this book presents sometimes radical, sometimes traditionally founded, and always common-sense ideas for how to move Australia into a position where it is socially and economically responsible to itself and its citizens. With two dozen diverse topics covered—from health insurance to religion to the Australian flag to cryptocurrency—the design of this book is to look at these complex issues in a new light, approaching them in a way that politicians are often too intimidated to do in fear of stripping their own power or polling numbers. ... (read more)

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Finding You

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

I Am Just Not Good at Anything!
by Nicole Atkinson
Xlibris


"Gina asked her mom if she could take tennis lessons. How hard could it be to swing a racket, she thought."

Everyone is good at something, or so the adage goes. But nine-year-old Gina is beginning to have doubts that this applies to her. She can’t keep her fingers curled correctly at piano lessons, her arms swing all over the place during swimming lessons, and no matter how hard she tries during tennis lessons, she can never make the racket connect with the ball. After failing at everything she attempts, Gina is despondent and concludes, “I’m just not that good at anything!” But then something happens to change her mind. At school, her teacher introduces a new game called the Spelling Game, and Gina discovers there is something she is good at after all—a game she was born to win. ... (read more)

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A Charming Book

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Benjamin
by Anne Ogle
Xlibris


"I vomited, spraying yellow feathers on everyone."

Benjamin is a spunky cat, full of life and personality. This fictional cat is likely based on the author's real one because he is sad one moment and hilarious the next, just like what most pet owners observe in their own beloved pets. ... (read more)

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Serious Choices

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Curse
by Xenanique Clarke
Xlibris


"This is what he wants, and what Pan wants, Pan gets."

Zylan has been living on the Island for over 540 years with Pan and the other rescued teens. They’re free to spend their days practicing magic, never aging, and never coming to any real harm. While most of the inhabitants are grateful, Zylan holds a grudge against Pan for ruining her life. As she works to reveal the truth about Pan, she finds herself in the center of a tangled history dating back five centuries and the real reason why Neverland exists. But danger is fast approaching the Island, and Zylan has to make a choice. ... (read more)

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The Game

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Be the Pine, Be the Ball: Haiku Reflections on the World of Golf
by Paul J. Zingg
Xlibris


"Through focus and precision, visualization and imagination, we can begin to appreciate the connections between haiku and golf."

The author is clearly an ardent fan of things ancient. His book highlights the Japanese poetic form haiku and the game of golf, both which have historical origins in the 14th century. Zingg believes he has spotted another connection between the two. The book presents insightful essays introduced by original haiku and arranged in 72 short chapters. These essays honor the world’s best golf courses and provide other little-known or fun facts. ... (read more)

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Speaking to Us

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Poems Short Stories and Things Remembered
by Gloria G. Blakeney
AuthorHouse


"...‘remember this’ the angel said,
‘You must teach the children well
for theirs the future will be.’"

This book hosts a collection of poems and short stories which the author wrote to read aloud to her grandchildren, but it is more than a children’s book. The themes that run throughout will speak to both adults and children. ... (read more)

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Spiritual & Human

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Paradigm Lost: The Founder's Sons
by R. Roderick Rowe
RWCollins Publishing


"He had remembered enough of his long spirit sojourn over the last year to recognize his visions were indeed calls for him to act."

The Jamari and the Manhood Rites Trilogy concludes in this third and final installment which resumes after the action and heartache of Paradigm Lost: Jamari Shaman. After a skirmish between the Elk Creek Tribe and the Outsiders, Jamari performs a funeral service for his friend and lover, Shane. When the Eagle Spirit surprises all present and accepts Jamari’s offering, it takes a piece of his spirit with him, leaving Jamari depressed, reckless, and detached from the world around him as he struggles to recover from the loss. The Elders notice and decide to intervene, accompanying him on a journey to the site where the separation occurred in order to rejoin Jamari with his missing soul. While in the spirit realm, Jamari begins to eavesdrop on the communications of the forests, listening to conversations of the trees, and relaying a prophecy of interconnectedness that haunts his thoughts. ... (read more)

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Focused Threads

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Age and Experiences
by Robert Duddle
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"Remember...
I will only live in your thoughts so please
Think of me."

The author began writing poems in his eighties after the death of his wife of fifty-six years. He has continued to put that latent talent to use in creating a fine collection of poems. Being an octogenarian has given Duddle the privilege and responsibility to write with authority on both age and experience. This English author was born in 1931 between two great wars that cost the world, and especially the British, deeply in lives lost. Therefore, it is not surprising that traumatic and needless death becomes one of the important themes in this book. ... (read more)

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Range & Thought

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Just a Dream
by Vernal Wright
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"I dream I rise to my feet,
with arms open wide as the wings
of birds and float in the sky like fluff from
summer plants."

Wright refers to his collection of poems as a “dangled bone to a hungry dog,” and like a dog’s hopeful hunger for that bone, we humans are a hopeful species waiting for what comes next in this uncertain life. Through his writing, Wright explores the intricate relationships between man and the natural world, examining how external forces shape our responses and affect our emotional state. While his diction is simple, his ideas are complex. Day and night often bleed together, and the poet seemingly moves in a metaphorical dream state, pondering deep questions with vague answers. ... (read more)

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Plain Language

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

A Child’s Guide to Wisdom
by Everton Robinson
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"Research has shown that it takes 21 repetitions of a thought or action to form a habit."

Robinson has created a manual for the memorization and internalization of fifty significant wisdom statements. His guide is designed to be utilized by parents in their efforts not only to educate but to elucidate important, spiritually based principles to their children. These are principles by which any person can structure a rational, decent plan for all aspects of living. The statements composed by Robinson treat with such diverse but crucial character aspects as creativity (“finding new ways to get things done”), transparency (“being the same person in public that you are in private”), mentorship (“learning from another person’s experience”), passion (“doing what you do with all your heart”), edification (“building another person up”), and wisdom (“knowing what to do and doing it when you are supposed to do it; and knowing what not to and NOT doing it”). ... (read more)

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Rich Detail

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Brothers: Of Britons and Romans
by M. E. Taylor
BookVenture Publishing LLC


"'My word to you is that I intend to escape from you at the earliest opportunity. Is that clear enough for you?'"

Lucius Marcius lives with his family in Britain in a kind of exile after displeasing the Emperor. He oversees the creation and growth of villages along with the collection of tributes from the Britons. After the death of his eldest son, Lucius’ younger son Gaius becomes withdrawn and somber. A chance encounter with a mysterious boy fishing on the edge of their property enraptures Gaius, and he becomes obsessed with the idea of having this untamed Briton as his new brother, refusing to eat and becoming sickly until his dreams are made manifest. A misunderstanding in orders leads to Lucius’s steward seizing the boy and branding him as a slave when the boy’s mother refuses to sell him to Lucius. Lashing out, the boy escapes within days and is not seen for years. ... (read more)

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Friendship

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Little Leaf
by Paul Sauvola
Xlibris


"For great is the happiness when a loved one is returned home."

When Stoogie the bird rescues Little Leaf from a rushing stream of water during a storm, they become fast friends united in a close call with disaster. When the weather clears, the two set off together and join a group of animal friends. This group enjoys meals and games together, bonding over a cozy campfire and the loving company of friends. But when Chompers, a young colt, wanders off alone and does not return, the group must set out to find him. They travel through all kinds of weather and various landscapes, meeting people along the way while looking for their lost friend. ... (read more)

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Engaging Romance

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Hebridean Meeting
by Patrick Wetenhall
AuthorHouse UK


"I wish Jim were here to comfort me, she thought."

When John Dalmane, Earl of Saint Helens, passes away, his widow Susan is immediately troubled by dreams—not of her departed spouse but of a man with whom she had an affair two years before. Jim Sandy was the guide at Dalmane’s estate. Discovering Susan’s unfaithfulness, John fired Jim at once. Jim is now a railway porter casually eyeing a local girl. His father and he are planning a vacation to the Hebridean Isle of Skye, so when Samantha, Susan’s maid, comes for a short visit apparently out of the blue, they welcome her personal recollections about the island not knowing that Susan plans a sailing excursion to Skye. Jim has been remembering Susan with longing. When her yacht, Osprey, arrives in Skye’s harbor, Jim has a fresh opportunity to regain lost love, while the widowed Susan has the chance to find true solace. ... (read more)

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Fun Street

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

As brincadeiras da minha rua / Games of My Street: A rua animada / The Fun Street
by Paulo Chemane
Xlibris


"There’s always a game of soccer to be played, no matter what."

Recreating the atmosphere of his childhood as seen through street games and activities, new author Paulo Chemane mixes cultures, languages, and media in this colorful children’s offering. Having grown up in Mozambique, which at one time was a colony of Portugal, Chemane has included text in English and Portuguese along with words and phrases in the indigenous African language, Changana. The children on “my street” (minha rua) are seen playing hopscotch, hand games, tug-of-war, and, of course, soccer. An illustration of a kite is accompanied by the poetic observation that “The sky is always shining from flying diamonds.” The author suggests that by playing on the street, children can “be at one with nature” and “feel connected to the mother earth.” This enjoyable collection ends with a song composed by the author entitled “Kids Smile.” ... (read more)

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Prose & Image

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

You, Me … And Us: Thirty-7 Moments of Love, Passion, Betrayal, And Scorn
by Moctezuma Braussi
iUniverse


"When remorse’s restraint
and destiny lash at your retreat.
When absence releases me,
and loneliness and distance
cease to badger my feelings"

In this bilingual (Spanish and English) poetry book, Braussi, known as the Aztecan Jaguar, combines a refreshingly honest take on the passionate shades of love with a spectacular display of figurative language ranging from majestic phrases of personification to metaphors that imbue the compilation with stirring energy. Though the cover of the book may indicate an overtly sensual piece, Braussi exquisitely builds an almost magical element around the art of sensuality. In particular, phrases like “you approach like a droplet from a spring” and making a “covenant with your eyes” convey the speaker’s pining for his love. ... (read more)

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Engaging Storyteller

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Dubai the Jungle
by Abdullah AlQatami
AuthorHouse


"Saeed cried with them without knowing it. Tears spilled from his eyes. How could things get this much out of hand?"

The largest city in the United Arab Emirates is the locale for this intriguing thriller. Something strange is going on at the Dubai Zoo. The animals, normally alert and attentive, are becoming oddly listless. They pay little or no attention to the people ogling them or the keepers feeding them. Then the worse happens. Somehow all the cages are opened, and the animals go mad with hunger. They begin attacking workers, visitors, even each other. Escaping into the public areas surrounding the zoo, they run amuck until police arrive and attempt to subdue them. Blood runs in the streets. Chaos reigns. How did this terrible event happen? What caused it? And is there more mayhem to come? ... (read more)

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Emerge

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Cocoon: Water Child
by Veronica Red
Xlibris AU


"The new world is yours to explore and freely roam."

Written especially for the unique characteristics of water sign children, this book, describing the emergence of a butterfly from its cocoon, emphasizes the concerns of security, connection, and comfort as explained in the astrological study of water signs. The cocoon is compared to a mother’s womb for its ability to protect the caterpillar and keep it safe and secure. The emergence of the butterfly is described as a magical event. As the girl watches over the cocoon awaiting the birth of the butterfly, she relates to the caterpillar by playing music for it and comes to accept the butterfly as a friend, emphasizing the theme of connection. The narrative’s calm flow is maintained through poetry and imagery. For example, “The doorway is creeping open…” uses imagery to describe the imminent emergence of the butterfly from its cocoon. ... (read more)

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