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May 2024

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 subscribers to our free monthly newsletter of fiction book reviews and nonfiction book reviews. Learn why our publication is different than most others, or read author and publisher testimonials about the USR.

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Recent Book Reviews

 

Focus Review

Prayerful Warrior Mom: Embracing Faith Through the Storms of Your Child's Congenital Heart Journey
by Tracy A. Ripley

"You are their advocate, and never, ever, be afraid to speak up for your child or yourself."

Using her faith as fuel, the author lays bare her soul in this raw and incredibly vulnerable chronicle of hope and fear. Rooted in scripture, the work and the themes presented within it are universal, depicting the human struggle to balance all aspects of their lives without losing themselves. For Ripley, a blessing in the form of baby Bryce is rife with obstacles, such as her child’s congenital heart disease (CHD), spearheaded by a faulty heart valve. The author’s unyielding tenacity, come what may, to ensure that Bryce is able to lead a quality life is something to truly marvel at. ... (read more)

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Featured Book Reviews

 

Designed Success

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Plan to Profit: Business Planning for Builders and Remodelers
by Chuck Miller
Leavitt Peak Press


"The task of writing a business plan today is much less daunting than it used to be."

Writer Miller focuses on small businesses, specifically those that deal in remodeling and building trades, to demonstrate the need and the method for creating a comprehensive corporate plan. Any small business may struggle to survive. However, with a structured, all-encompassing proposition and the step-by-step processes that accompany its development, chances for success will greatly expand. ... (read more)

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Resilence

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Sun Tzu's Café
by Eric Bornstein
MindStir Media


"This plan would allow the CPC to gain access to America’s upcoming best and brightest young minds."

Transporting audiences into a riveting espionage thriller, Bornstein pushes the limits of science and technology to create a potentially cataclysmic outcome that is as plot-centric as it is character-driven. Loyalties are tested regularly, revealing the fortitude of the main characters and their determination to achieve their goals at all costs. Not your typical thriller, the narrative is tied to one’s roots, family, and being wronged in a way that can’t easily be forgiven. ... (read more)

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Cast of Characters

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The Leaning Tower
by Charles McNeill
Warren Publishing


"In the past, he had wrongly assumed academics pursued the truth wherever it might lead."

The relationships between instructors working in a dysfunctional sociology department at a fictional Florida university in the late 1980s are realistically explored in this novella by educator McNeill. While many workplaces, whether in government, the private for-profit sector, or even non-profit organizations, have these ego-driven, ideological clashes that create a hostile environment for some employees but provide unfair advantages to others, this story reveals the particular problems that arise in academic settings, and in this case, with dramatic, destructive results. The drama is also a cautionary tale determined by various departmental cliques that disregard the warning signs of trouble ahead for not only department faculty but for the entire university and the outside community as well. ... (read more)

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Passion

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The Force of Art – A Life for Painting: Biography of a Vietnamese Artist: Van Den 1919–1988
by Juhani Murros
Austin McCauley Publishers


"By removing needless details in pursuit of perfection, Van Den followed in the footsteps of many great artists, writers, composers, and painters."

Juhani Murros made an unexpected discovery during his visits to art galleries when he worked for an organization in Ho Chi Minh City in 1990. A small still life in an unobtrusive gallery commanded the Finnish physician’s attention. “It was an unpretentious oil painting, yet its dark, mysterious colors and the emotional tension of its disciplined composition set it apart.” Thus began a long journey of discovering the art and life of Van Den, a frugal and kind Buddhist of mixed Chinese and Vietnamese ancestry who studied in Paris for less than two years during 1950-52, a volatile period during the first French Indochina War. ... (read more)

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Clear Philosophy

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Free Will, Do You Have It?
by Albertus Kral
Tellwell Talent


"Procirclism has departed from the free will issue and proclaims there is neither free will nor no free will. There is just will and that is the force necessary to manifest behavior."

The free will debate has raged for over 2,000 years. Do individuals have control over their own actions and decisions, or are these actions and decisions predetermined by the gods, logic, nature or nurture, or many other forms of determinism? In this new work by Kral, he takes the reader on an intellectual journey that attempts to provide an alternative to the free will question. Upon initial inspection, the question, at its heart, seems to imply either a yes or no with explanations while excluding other answers. However, Kral manages to create a compelling third option, which posits that the question itself is flawed. He argues that “will” cannot be considered free or not free. His reasoning breaks down what the word means in the context of this question, and his results lead him to create an additional theory about the source of human behavior. which he has titled procirclism. ... (read more)

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Lyrical & Vivid

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Water Music: A Cape Cod Story
by Marcia Peck
Sea Crow Press


"Tides filled and emptied our small world and I tried to figure out who belonged to whom."

In the summer of 1956, eleven-year-old (soon to be twelve) Lily Grainger describes her family’s annual summer vacation at their undeveloped property on the shore of a salt pond on Cape Cod. As this coming-of-age novel progresses, it mirrors the Beaufort scale of wind velocities that mark each chapter heading with increasing speeds and potential damages, an apt reminder of the increasing tension in Lily’s parents’ marriage and the marriage of her forceful Uncle George and delicate Aunt Fanny. Lily describes this crescendo of life-changing events in the prologue: “All summer the storm gathered and gathered, took its breath from every direction we thought we knew, and lashed us into spindrift.” Interestingly, the summer of 1956 is meaningful historically as the shipwreck of the Andrea Doria happened nearby on a July evening. ... (read more)

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By the Word

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Love, Literally
by J.T. Tierney
Curtiss Street Press


"Words and language were the most valued currencies in our family, our favorite pastime, our religion."

When the COVID-19 virus shuts down the Boston theater scene, Hallie, a theater set designer, loses her job, boyfriend, and apartment. Her friend, Maria, offers a lifeline when she invites Hallie to move in with her and her husband, Mike. Maria’s friend Lisa invites Maria, Mike, and Hallie to come to their vacation home on the Cape for an extended stay away from the horrors of the virus. The very wealthy Lisa and Paul also invite a friend, Quinn. As everyone settles in for a relaxing first night, it is obvious that Hallie and Quinn are very compatible. ... (read more)

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Uplifting

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Stepping Stones for the Heart: Awakening with Jesus
by Ann Paulson
2020 Literary Group


"When you encounter amazing spiritual events in your life, be reaffirmed that these things can and do happen."

Author Paulson recounts her visions, conversations, travels, and training with the one she calls Jeshua—Jesus—and some of his followers in this touchingly transcendent memoir. Her connection with the etheric realm began in October 1999 when she found herself involved in incidents of “cross channeling.” During these times she would speak truth, and others would listen and take her words seriously. However, she could never remember what she had said. She began to read books based on such experiences and point to a connection in mind and heart to higher realities. Still, she would not have said she was special or overly religious at the time. ... (read more)

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Triump & Tragedy

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Elmer and Virginia: A World War II Romance in Letters
by John Odell
Quickfoot Books


"It must be because the same feelings, the same motives, the same goals and ideals that I call my own I often find in you."

Odell, a television video editor and faculty emeritus at the City College of San Francisco, compiled his father and mother’s love letters from 1939–1944 in this award-winning epistolatory memoir of their love affair, engagement, and early marriage. Set against the dramatic backdrop of World War II, the letters shine a light upon the strength, determination, and resilience of the youngest members of the Greatest Generation, many of whom were lost in the seas, skies, and battlefields of the European and Pacific theaters of war. In this case, the author’s father and mother wrote quite often to one another—every few days, just as they did when pursuing their educations before the war. They steadfastly proclaimed their love in each letter, commenting upon their daily activities and planning for their future after the war, giving readers a concrete, vivid look at early 1940s life and culture during the European air war and on the American homefront. ... (read more)

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Myths & Magic

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Mystic Prince
by M. A. Richter
Alexander Publishing


"You made that choice of your own free will. I want you to flourish and fulfill your potential."

Prince Khael Stratton is a mystic who seeks to deepen his knowledge of such arts to help those in need. Following a mission, he reports to the city of Cambridge—ruled over by his brother—and has a close encounter with a pickpocket who steals his signet ring. Alongside his bodyguard, Grant, the prince manages to track down the young woman, Vixen, who suffers from a foggy memory while demonstrating a great talent for skills associated with assassins. Prince Khael finds it an odd happenstance in a time when a terrorist group known as the Chelevkori are making active attempts to eliminate the royal family for a perceived wrongdoing by his grandfather, Loren, and it is further compounded by reports that tyrannical rule has seized the city of Skemmelsham over which he rules. Prince Khael forges a contract with Vixen, and with Grant, they go on a journey to liberate the city. ... (read more)

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Transformation

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Fred Clayton
by Frank Accettura
Archway Publishing


"Let me put it this way: have you ever tried kissing a value?"

Fred counts on his dad when his inability to keep a job and keep his weight in check causes conflict with his mom and sister. When Fred’s dad dies and his sister (his primary income buffer) moves away, Fred and his mom are on their own until Fred’s wrestling champion girlfriend, Mary Ellen, arrives, giving Fred the boost he needs to defend himself, literally and figuratively. ... (read more)

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Encouragement

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How I Got Off That Tree Limb
by Dr. Gregory Harris
Ink Start Media


"I have been blessed over the years to have many opportunities to reach for the stars."

Author Harris recalls the incidents and inspirations that he has encountered on his life’s path in this engaging autobiography. His inner aspirations were evident from his early school days when he demonstrated abilities in graphic arts and was encouraged to use his creativity, writing a play in fifth grade. His Christian upbringing led him to organize a revival meeting at his church, and it was there, in 1982, that a preacher urged him to “Get off that limb,” explaining that one can’t make apple pie until one picks the apple from the tree, a lesson that Harris has carried with him ever since. ... (read more)

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The Journey

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I Could Have Been One
by Donald Wm. Jeffries
Dorrance Publishing


"Will those, who have drifted away from Christianity, come back to it in order to save their soul for the next life?"

Author Jeffries recalls his personal history, expanding it to a broad vision of his nation and the world. Born during World War II, he recognized early on that men in his parents’ “Greatest Generation” were spurred by the trauma that all warfare can evoke and, therefore, strove to achieve more once they returned home, building new neighborhoods and aiming for meaningful employment. Similarly, American women who had contributed industrial efforts to the nation’s defense, symbolized by the popular image of “Rosie the Riveter,” resolved to be conscientious wives and parents while also starting to seek outside employment. The postwar years thus wrought numerous upswings in ordinary American life. Meanwhile, citizens of central Europe, where whole cities had been obliterated, were still grappling with extremely challenging aftermaths. One ominous signal was the burgeoning of Russian communism and its concomitant movements of socialism and similar, politically far-left movements. ... (read more)

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Facing It

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A New Way to Hope: Stories That Describe the Journey To Hope
by William Stephenson, Ph.D.
Proisle Publishing Services


"I am convinced that no one should come to the end of life without hope."

Author Stephenson recounts his many experiences in counseling those who were nearing death, revealing a deeper understanding of such suffering and the ways that hope can be found. His human-scale vignettes of those he assisted open with young Anthony, suffering from cancer, who liked to draw. His artistic innovations would later lead to a memorable gathering of friends and family, including the author, with Anthony leading everyone in song. Kathy, a deeply discouraged young woman, was asked by Stephenson to interview fellow patients, which gave her “a reason to get up every day.” ... (read more)

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Artful & Entertaining

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What Lies Buried
by Leslie Kain
Atmosphere Press


"Permission to feel. And now permission to be..."

Gavin DiMasi has a terrible childhood of being tormented by his twin brother and their father. But when his parents and brother die, DiMasi is the last man standing to deal with all of the family's dirty laundry. Not only were his father and brother cruel, but they also left a mob mess to mop up. DiMasi's wife tries to save him from his memories and the mob while simultaneously working to protect herself and their child from being sucked into his dark world. Readers learn from DiMasi and his wife's dialogues with their counselor, Dr. Pederson, and are reminded of the slow road to recovery. Pederson says, "If Gavin’s life were fiction, his behavior would self-correct after one explanation. But words can’t rewire the neurological damage from his lifetime of traumatic assaults." ... (read more)

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Intrigue

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The Darque Side
by Steve Burkart
Proisle Publishing Service


"Pandemonium had replaced the solemnity of the site, and, as might be imagined, confusion now reigned in its place."

John Darque, or “Chadeaux,” as his friends call him, is the leader of a top-secret organization inside the United States. Only a select few know of its true existence. While he is visiting the grave of a murdered friend and partner, Casper, at the Arlington National Cemetery, a bomb explodes. This incident happens after a U.S. Border Patrol Agent is found dead with the words “Chadeaux” carved into his body. Darque and his team, which includes the love of his life, Penny Miller, soon find that Iran and China are working together to not only get rid of the intelligence agent but bring the United States to its knees. The mission for Darque becomes personal—not because of the bounty on his head, but because he may finally have the chance to come face-to-face with Casper’s killer. ... (read more)

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Belonging

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The Box and My Trouble Getting It
by Bruce Tryon
Proisle Publishing Services


"Everyone was quiet, reflecting on the harrowing events and waiting for the next crisis."

Joneb works on Captain Milroy's spaceship. Most of the crew members are related to the Captain. Joneb likes it there and wishes to become part of this family. He is taken by Captain Milroy's niece, Rojas. One day, they dock at the Durban Outpost in the Danube solar system, and the Captain orders Joneb to go to the general cargo office to get a box. Unfortunately, an explosion destroys the cargo bay at the outpost. Somehow, Joneb makes it out alive with the box. The Captain finds it suspicious that it took Joneb hours to return to the ship. However, they find evidence that he did not cause the explosion. Consequently, Joneb is cleared of any wrongdoing and restored to his duties. The Captain trusts Joneb's reliability and assigns him to assist with their upcoming mission. ... (read more)

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Everyman Rising

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Pathway to Glory
by Edmund Schiavoni
Edmund Schiavoni Publishing


"Since losing his job he had been either too distraught or too drunk to care about money. However, with only thirty-two dollars left in his billfold, he cared now."

It is 1967, and Paul Stevens works as an assistant controller at a large company in New York. Paul has two young sons and is expecting another with his wife, Elaine. Like many people in this life, Paul is experiencing Thoreau’s quiet desperation. On a routine train trip to his office, Paul overhears two men discussing a promising new stock. When Paul unexpectedly comes into money left to him by his aunt, he dumps almost all of it into this stock, much to the chagrin of his wife. This awakens Paul’s greed, and he begins to pursue a risky move to take over the company for which he works, even breaking the law in the attempt. When everything crashes down on Paul, he and his wife separate, and Paul wallows in alcohol and self-pity.

Schiavoni has a background in finance, and his experience is shown in his writing. The situations his characters go through feel distinctly real and honest. His writing is professional, and the book is focused and easy to read. The overall theme of his novel is the classic fall from grace, and the work can be read as an extended parable against greed. The protagonist is a bit of an everyman, a feature that enables the reader to identify at least on some level with him. The book has a happy ending even if it is easily won. Readers who are interested in redemption stories and enjoy seeing their main character return from failure to the status quo will find this title to their liking. ... (read more)

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Criminal Masterminds

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Tree Pose
by Susan Rogers and John Roosen
G-EMS PTY LTD and PS LLC


"The law does not always deliver justice."

This third book in the Yoga Mat Mysteries series begins on a light, meditative note, then spins away into the dark motifs of a mystery/ghost story/thriller mashup with a twist of romance. Ric Peters and Elaina Williams return in this tale, determined to relax and enjoy a holiday in Tasmania when ghosts from their personal pasts and the island’s collective past upend their plans for serenity. Elaina becomes a target of revenge for Ric’s past blunder in Indonesia that results in tragic loss of life, haunting Ric and threatening to destroy the couple’s budding relationship. ... (read more)

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Find Christ

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Adventure The Long Walk
by Joseph N. Padilla
Proisle Publishing Service


"The story is about a young man named Timothy, and his walk of mercy to help his young brother who has been badly injured..."

Timothy is the older brother of Jobe. Jobe is blinded in an accident, and his brother and father, Mark, rescue him. Guilt-ridden, Timothy begins a sojourn, which he at first believes will be brief and fairly easy to accomplish. The journey is significantly more complex than the young man anticipates. It takes many years and involves multiple tribulations as Timothy ultimately seeks out Jesus. When Timothy returns to his home, he discovers many changes—including his family's apparent dispersal. Of what use were those years on the quest? The answer to this eventually becomes clear. ... (read more)

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Confidence

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Obedience Rather Than Sacrifice
by Cinda M. Carter
Pen Culture Solutions


"It’s amazing how God takes one’s life and can mold it like the clay on the spindle."

Writer and poet Carter delves deeply into a religious tenet that has always attracted her, which is based upon the words of Samuel in the Holy Bible that “to obey is better than sacrifice.” This concept crystalized for her as various incidents revealed its essential truth. When she moved to the home of her new husband, its décor was not what she preferred, but she decided to conform to his wishes, avoiding changes and thanking God for the opportunity to obey. Later, circumstances allowed her to redecorate, confirming her sense that her obedience had been rewarded. Interspersed with her poems are recollections of phases of her life in which the “obedience” perspective takes a firmer hold. ... (read more)

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Who Really Wins?

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Ebony Embellished
by Bernard Otto
First Edition Design Publishing


"Her revenge will be a well-crafted work of art."

Success as the best revenge is a theme running through the stories in this collection. In the first and longest story, Black academics work to secure private funding for a Black history museum. Subsequent tales in the book feature a wide range of characters and situations. For example, a man’s choreographed murder gains financial freedom for his family. A nurse schedules surgery on her abuser. A rich senior gifts his care facility the technology that many fellow residents helped build but can’t afford. A woman gets the child she desires from the man she didn’t think she preferred. A Muslim man inherits a dog, although his love for the animal once ostracized him. A soldier leaves his wealth to the lesser of two evils. An ex-prisoner supplies the secret to his girlfriend’s dream restaurant. A motorized scooter ride turns into a story to tell the rider’s granddaughter. ... (read more)

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Discovering

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Coming 2 America: This is a Story About a Fifteen-Year-Old African Girl
by Dr. John Ayoola Akinyemi
The Reading Glass Books


"We were inseparable in the sense that I couldn’t have written her story without touching my story. We loved each other."

In the later years of her life, Agnes Ndungwa Akinyemi assembled much of her family and recounted her life story to them, sharing the surprising details and points of interest of where she, and by association, they had all come from. After her passing, her husband recollected that story here in this book, detailing the journey of a fifteen-year-old girl from a small village in Kangundo, Kenya, entering the United States on her own without family or an established support system to continue her education. Her journey would open doors that could only be unlocked by taking such a bold step. It was not by accident that this opportunity came up but through her hard work, as she was chosen for this new American program by the Kenyan government based on her performance in school up to this point. ... (read more)

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Master Storyteller

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Rogue Wave
by Robert Wesley Clement
Twenty20


"Misery loves company they say so we’re going to conduct a little test. How much do you love your family, Wayne?"

In the small town of Flagler Beach, Florida, Wayne Garrett, a Flagler Beach local, lives a contented, comfortable life with his wife and three daughters. A postman for the town, his happy-go-lucky spirit extends to all he encounters. Wayne loves his job delivering mail to residents. He and his wife, Becky, the manager of a souvenir shop along Highway A1A, meet each day for a mid-morning coffee. They walk on the beach at night together or with their daughters. The family’s quiet life is idyllic. ... (read more)

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The Spirits

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Ghost Writer
by Robert Wesley Clement
Twenty20


"When his father died a violent death Ed was about the same age as this kid Ryan. He had cheered the death of an abusive alcoholic who terrorized both he and his mother."

Things aren’t going well for Ryan Trussell. His mother regrets his birth while chain-smoking throughout the day and ignoring any domestic needs. Meanwhile, his father comes home from work to several whiskeys and the solitude of the basement. At his new school, his math teacher immediately identifies him as a troublemaker, even though Ryan is a good student who prefers books to buffoonery. The only bright spot comes in the form of a girl he meets at the public library who likes books and the paranormal, much like Ryan. Ryan‘s best friend, his journal, keeps his secrets. However, even that changes as the two spirits that inhabit the house begin taking a keen interest in his family, and one of them communicates with Ryan through the journal. Both ghosts have experienced a violent death in the house, and they seek release. Small-town secrets, both past and present, will threaten those in Ryan’s circle. ... (read more)

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Wicked Money

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The Fascination: Money, Power, Greed, Sex, Fear, Addiction
by Bob Renterson
AuthorHouse


"But in the end, this hunger always returned, an addiction that needed to be fed."

Sergey is a Russian gangster unafraid of taking out anyone perceived as an annoyance to him or his business. Hans is a family man from South Africa who is often called away to travel on business, except his business is death. Joe Scattini is an investment banker who is fending off attempts to have his financial division sold off. David Kettner is a banker engaged in money laundering who has opted to abscond with money that is the property of organized crime. As Joe fights to keep his division, he keeps large losses off the balance sheet and browbeats subordinates into compliance. David has fled the country with his girlfriend, and Hans is traversing the globe and silencing problematic witnesses for men like Sergey. Each day brings more danger. ... (read more)

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Strains of Twain

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The Usefulness of Hippopotamus
by Vincent J. Tomeo
Atticus Publishing


"A self-portrait of Pablo Picasso roamed freely, / whispered into the ear of a Girl with A Pearl Earring / the boy in The Torn Hat was up to mischief."

Tomeo’s collection of short, whimsical verses was written as a balm against the trying times through which we have been living. His verses cover the gamut of human experience and are foremost linked thematically in their wit and attempt to make light of the human condition. There is the poem quoted above about art coming alive in a museum paralleled with one covering the rambunctious food left in the fridge. Another expands the colloquial wisdom shared with children about the effects of consuming a watermelon seed. At times, Tomeo tones down the humor and adds a little more tenderness and connectedness. For example, he closes the title poem by speaking of the hippopotamus, “Paving a route, creating streams, roads for other animals to navigate their way.” It is a nice allusion to his wish for humor to help us navigate our own way. ... (read more)

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Reading the Stones

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My Cemetery Friends: A Garden of Encounters at Mount Saint Mary in Queens, New York
by Vincent J. Tomeo
Atmosphere Press


"The cemetery is a stage set for a written script. We are all actors just passing through."

Poet Tomeo creates an emotive panorama as he walks within and contemplates a place where lives and deaths are recalled and commemorated: a graveyard. In this case, it is the Mount Saint Mary Cemetery in Flushing, New York. Of particular significance to him are the soldiers who gave their lives in service to their country. It is to them that Tomeo dedicates this work, naming them as they are listed on a stone memorial in Corona, Queens, New York. ... (read more)

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Cataclysm

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Disaster for Sale: Man Corrupting Nature
by F. David Rinehart
iUniverse


"You have never met people like this before…. There are no friends there, only alliances."

An eruption has occurred at Sicily’s Mount Etna, and the destruction unleashed in its wake has been catastrophic. US government officials are concerned about a similar eruption at the Yellowstone caldera. Dr. Thomas “TJ” Jackson has been brought in to work with a team in preventing an even larger disaster. In a presentation to scientists and military officials, TJ raises concerns about how water depletion is fueling the instability of the caldera. He posits a plan to start pumping in water gradually to maintain the status quo and keep Yellowstone from blowing sky-high. However, the forces of government bureaucracy seek to undercut his plan. Despite some pushback, some agree with TJ and want to assist. One of his backers is disaster expert Catherine Craft. The pair will need to act quickly while avoiding menacing figures who will kill to thwart their plan. ... (read more)

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Get Inspired

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In Awe of It All: Stories and Inspirations from a Spiritual Journey through Eight Decades of Life on This Earth
by Sherry Dee Lady
Proisle Publishing Service


"I value you – more than you may know. Thank you for being here, with me, at this time in my life and in our spiritual community."

This book is a series of essays lovingly crafted by the author, documenting the lessons she has learned in her impressive lifetime. The selections are organized into sections that exemplify the actions of a full, well-lived life: communicating, participating, integrating, radiating, anticipating, appreciating, and celebrating. She shares stories from her childhood, such as an interaction with a neighbor who related a plant slowly blossoming to celebrating ourselves and our unique gifts in our own time. She also offers pithy bits of wisdom she has gained through her adult experiences, including different ways the COVID lockdown affected her life and relationships. Sprinkled in are reflections on books she has read or programs she has watched, as well as musings on aspects of life from friendships to family relationships to spending time outdoors. ... (read more)

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Changes

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The Old Cape Map
by Barbara Eppich Struna
Bestrunabooks


"His Grandma Anna had said there was a treasure map, courtesy of Wilkins."

This beguiling mystery covers approximately 125 years of families, pirates, poverty, treasure maps, and altruistic as well as criminal acts that take place on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The author tells the tale of an eccentric older man with a mysterious past who, in the early part of the twentieth century, gives treasure maps to two young girls. Shortly afterward, the man dies in a house fire. One of the girls hides some of the information in her father's home. Through the years, the story of the treasure—a small portion of which has been uncovered by the girls—as well as myths about the property and uncertainties about the land's ownership inspire curiosity, amateur treasure hunting, alliances among eccentric neighbors, life-threatening situations, and murder. ... (read more)

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Culture & Language

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How to Understand and Talk Like a Jamaican
by Anthony McLaughlin
Xlibris


"This package is designed to assist with learning to speak our dialect and is guaranteed to help you feel more comfortable in the presence of any Jamaican."

Recognizing that many people in the U.S. enjoy the way Jamaicans speak due to the “unique accent,” as well as the often-experienced misunderstanding due to both pronunciation and word usage, the author of this guide was inspired to produce this work to assist non-natives with the Jamaican dialect. Drawn from a set of daily conversation examples and questions commonly asked by visitors to the Caribbean island, selected vocabulary, phrases, questions, and answers are presented, first in English and then accompanied by the Jamaican equivalent. Dialogues range from dining out, shopping, entertainment, and everyday business and social situations. Finally, a brief but colorful and informative history of Jamaica rounds out the monograph. ... (read more)

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Curious People

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Shahrazad's Gift
by Gretchen McCullough
Cune Press


"When we arrived at the vet… I was thinking about how else we might raise the money for the kidney for my mother…. This clinic for animals was very shiny…"

This collection of stories, with a nod to The Arabian Nights, is set in Egypt and deals with a group of Americans, most of whom are writers or work at a university. There is a story about a displaced costume designer working on a lavish celebration while trying too hard to please everyone. The most grounded person she talks to is an elderly woman who snuck away from her tour group. In another, a professor takes a stand against pollution by having his students dump a ton of contaminated fish on the university's front steps. Some of the stories have touches of magic realism, while others border on the absurd. A common theme is the callousness and cluelessness of the Americans to the plight and humanity of the people sharing their world. ... (read more)

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Divine Life

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Your Unique Consciousness: The Eternal Path of Life
by Dr. Anthony J. Emmett
Balboa Press


"We live this conscious life, but in our unconscious mind lies the answer to that eternal mystery of what we are and where we come from and go to after the body dies."

The author’s book takes readers from consciousness to the subconscious and the unconscious, with all the permutations between the levels. It examines topics such as reincarnation, ESP (extra-sensory perception), the soul, meditation, near-death experiences, and the chakras while also looking at some of the experts in the field. Combining research with the author’s own personal experiences, Emmett’s work is written from the perspective of someone who has lived the life of the divine. He describes the work he did with Sai Baba [an Indian guru], particularly at his ashram, and the enlightening experience he goes through and continues to go through with his divine connection. His book reveals much of his teachings. Focusing on the mind-body connection provides an especially important glance into one’s healing, as does the focus on divine love. ... (read more)

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Truth Seekers

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Sleeping with a Wall Street Banker
by Marlene Morgan
Archway Publishing


"You're unreliable in your love for me. You have no idea what it's like to be on the receiving end."

Jake Logan, an investment banker from New York, has been living in London for the past three years. One night, he meets Alice Francis, a lawyer. Sparks fly, and they soon begin a romantic relationship. Things are going very well, but Alice senses that Jake is hiding something about his past relationship. She eventually finds out that his ex-fiancé, Jessica Brooks, has been stalking him and that Jake stood her up at the altar. Jessica never got over it, and her shadow looms over Jake and Alice's relationship. To make things more complicated, Alice discovers she is pregnant and shares the news with Jake. Though shocked, he proposes to do things right by her, and she accepts. Unfortunately, as the reality of becoming a father hits Jake, he grows more distant from Alice. Jake's attitude will ultimately lead to devastating consequences. ... (read more)

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Jealousy & Obession

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Revenge I Will Have
by Marlene Morgan
Archway Publishing


"...he lived with a woman with two distinct personalities for over a year."

Jake Logan is devastated when he discovers that his ex-girlfriend, Jessica Brooks, has stabbed his former fiancée, Alice, to death. Meanwhile, Jessica has fled to Paris under a fake name, but Jake eventually discovers that she is mentally ill and has connections to terrorists. Alice's family blames Jake for her death because they read a letter she wrote to him before she died, which revealed Jessica's troubled past. During Alice's funeral, there is an explosion that was meant to kill Jake. With the help of his former Navy SEAL colleagues, Jake investigates Jessica's connections to the terrorists and strives to stop them from carrying out any dangerous plans they have in mind. ... (read more)

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Hide From God

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

Taken with a Dark Desire: The Underworlds
by Dennis Scheel


"After he got the ring, he remembered everything..."

Denida, the President of the Underworld's archenemy Claus, kidnaps Denida's son Daniel, so that he can get out of Hell. The mastermind behind the plan is Lucifer, who has his own agenda and wants Denida's ring because of its power. While imprisoned, Daniel tells the story of his father's past—God wanted him to be destroyed at birth, but Lucifer saved him by taking his soul to Hell and training him to be the next master of darkness. Meanwhile, Denida, his wife Nina, and the Colonel are trying desperately to rescue the child, but things turn from bad to worse when Medusa returns to the picture—a powerful demon that Lucifer had sent to Earth to keep Denida's human form safe from God.... (read more)

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Caring & Courage

Book Reviews - US Review of Books

The Eye of the Tiger: Yolanda's Testimony
by John Fulce


"Watch for those gentle souls, the ones who walk through life quietly, making their mark on the world with gentle gifts of love."

In this inspiring story of love, faith, and a life well-lived, Fulce shares the powerful testimony of his dearly departed wife, Yolanda (Mendez) Fulce. He tells of love-at-first-sight high school sweethearts whose endearing romance of movies, dances, and drag car races laid the foundation for a marriage that spanned half a century. Fulce’s account of starting a family amid financial challenges highlights the stark contrast between his cynicism and Yolanda’s faith during the early years of their marriage. But Yolanda’s quiet yet persistent prayers for her husband’s salvation were answered. Together, they shared a life of adventure—raising a family, owning a comic book store, meeting famous athletes and celebrities, and traveling. Wherever God planted them, they ministered. Yolanda’s compassion led her to open their home to anyone in need. Her love for children enabled them to build multiple successful youth ministries. ... (read more)

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