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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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          Focus Review

          Socrates in Love: The Making of a Philosopher
          by Armand D'Angour
          Bloomsbury Publishing


          "But if the stimulus to Socrates’ adoption of his philosophical perspectives and procedures was the woman who first taught him ‘all about love, we should recognise that Aspasia was not just a dynamic and unusually clever woman in her own right..."

          To the western world, Socrates is most often seen as an aging philosopher. Both history and art ratify this, most famously in Jacques Louis David’s masterpiece The Death of Socrates. Here the legendary philosopher holds court a final time, while facing a deadly mixture of hemlock, the result of a politically motivated death sentence. As in most of Socrates’ depictions, he is a finished product at the height of his mental prowess and approaching his untimely ruin. In contrast, Oxford professor D’Angour attempts an image of young Socrates, employing known texts to unearth the potential experience and motivation that formed the mature man. The result is Socrates in Love, a kind of reverse engineering through history to reveal the famous philosopher’s genesis. ... (read more)

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          Featured Book Reviews

           

          A Complicated Character


          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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          Big Plans


          The Dung Beetels of Liberia: A Novel Based on True Events
          by Daniel V. Meier, Jr.
          BQB Publishing


          "I can’t say for certain that it was a damp, drizzly November of the soul or that I wished to be called Ishmael, but events had reached a turning point."

          After his older brother’s tragic death, Ken Verrier drops out of his classes at Cornell University in the summer of 1961 to opt for life as a transport pilot in West Africa. The ever-present dung beetles become a metaphor for the various groups he flies from the capital, Monrovia, and into the bush. All of these groups seem to be seeking to “roll” something out of Liberia. The Americo-Liberians live as “big men” at the top of the national social ladder. The missionaries and Peace Corps volunteers seek to do good. Meanwhile, the diplomats, politicians, international corporations, hustlers, ex-Nazis, and Israeli Nazi-hunters are all scrambling to manifest their agendas and reap profit amidst a mosaic of tribal cultures. ... (read more)

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          A Solution


          A Day in June
          by Marisa Labozzetta
          Guernica World Editions


          "All marriages have spells . . . like a chronic illness: the symptoms subside . . . you feel good; they flare up . . . you feel bad: occasionally the illness is fatal."

          The small, picturesque town of Brackton, Vermont, is suffering a failing economy. Enter Eric Boulanger, a photographer and hometown boy who proposes that the Chamber of Commerce have a contest in which the winning essayist will be gifted the wedding of a lifetime, and "Brackton Is for Brides" will become the town’s slogan. The winning essay, written by a paralegal and aspiring writer, Ryan Toscano, is chosen for its sincere and honest portrayal of the deep love shared by her and her fiancé, Jason McDermott. The only problem is that Ryan and Jason aren’t together anymore. ... (read more)

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          Max's Story


          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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          Manhattan Nexus


          Cooperative Lives
          by Patrick Finegan
          Two Skates Publishing


          "Hanni gathered her belongings and left the church. There was clarity in her mother’s pronouncement, 'This is how God repays sinners.'"

          Set in recent history, the author’s book uses a Manhattan co-op as its nexus—a place where all of its characters reside or have a history of residence. From the outset, a shared address seems to be all that binds these individuals together as they, in true New York City fashion, keep their heads down and worry about their own survival rather than the lives of everyone else in the crowd. However, bonds are revealed in time. Some are being made with each passing day; others have dissolved or been hidden from years before. What starts as a metropolitan microcosm unfolds and grows to encompass stories of fortunes won and lost, international intrigue, and lives that hang in the balance after every small and large decision. ... (read more)

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          Generations of the Chesapeake


          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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          Realizing the Disney Vision


          Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs for the Disney Studios
          by David A. Bossert
          The Old Mill Press


          "'It’s the only furniture I ever dealt with that had a soul. It had an energy that came off of it.'"

          At the close of the 1930s, Walt Disney was putting together his legendary studio complex in California, designed from the ground up to provide his team with everything they needed to do their jobs. Also enjoying success in his field, German architect Kem Weber was pushing the style of modernism in the areas of furniture design and architecture. Searching for someone who could capture his vision completely, Disney struck up a partnership with Weber that led to the designing of a whole new line of furniture that combined flexibility and modulation with extreme specialization. These designs and pieces of furniture served as an iconic hallmark of the Disney Animation Studios for decades after their creation as well as in a resurgence toward the end of the previous century. ... (read more)

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          True Valor


          WWI Crusaders: A Band of Yanks in German-Occupied Belgium Help Save Millions from Starvation as Civilians Resist the Harsh German Rule. August 1914 to May 1917
          by Jeffrey B. Miller
          Milbrown Press


          "The oncoming sound of heavy boots swept into the paper shop moments before the bell above the door tinkled."

          As the First World War began to spread throughout Europe, Germany’s occupation of neutral Belgium struck many as a concerning action. With many of the able-bodied men shipped off for slave labor, the writing was on the wall that the country would stagnate and soon face a crippling food shortage. Efforts from within Belgium were being concocted to provide for the people, but without adequate access to resources and guarantees from the warring powers, nothing could be accomplished. Meanwhile, a group of Americans led by Herbert Hoover was helping American tourists out of the war zone but soon decided that intervention had to be taken in Belgium’s food crisis, as well. They had the protection as a neutral interventionist organization but lacked the infrastructure to disperse the aid appropriately. ... (read more)

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          Direct Answers


          Common Sense and Reasonable Answers
          by William Warren Luce
          Seacoast Press


          "World peace is achievable. We simply have to change our perception, believing that it is attainable."

          In a book that examines life from many points of view, a retired military officer has delved into politics and religion, asking questions and coming up with startling but often sensible responses. The book as a whole seeks to examine in detail many major concepts that we think we should live by or have been conditioned to believe. The author then proceeds to pick these concepts apart, from branch to root, offering a different way of approaching such time-worn notions. The basic premise is that, despite what we have been led to believe, we can change the world, but we must do so by changing ourselves. ... (read more)

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          The Right D3


          The Optimal Dose: Restore Your Health With the Power of Vitamin D3
          by Judson Somerville, MD
          Big Bend Press


          "During that day outside in the sun, you likely felt very alive and invigorated but then got very tired that night and slept well."

          After experiencing a tragic biking accident, the author of this book was rendered paraplegic while going through his medical residency. Struggling with chronic pain and a host of other medical concerns, he was able to overcome his disabilities and finish his training, opening up his own private practice. Health continued to be an ever-present concern, however, as he dealt with infections, sores, and a lack of quality sleep. Decades later, he attended a medical conference and listened to a talk about vitamin D3, something he had already considered as an undiscovered cure. His beliefs reinforced, the author returned to his home and began experimenting on himself to discover what larger doses of D3 could do for him before prescribing them to his patients. This book captures those results, chronicling the author’s personal story and background before exploring the positive effects that a much larger dose than the current recommended dosage of the vitamin can have on the body. ... (read more)

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          Finding a Way


          Up from Adams Street
          by Larry Crane
          Maine Authors Publishing


          "I wished I could be more definitive in my plans. She wished she had been more definitive in hers. It felt as if we were balanced on the edge of a knife and could fall off on either side."

          Growing up in Illinois just after World War II, Crane recounts his childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Born into a blue-collar family with limited means, he is constantly cognizant of disparities between his living conditions and those of many of his contemporaries. He realizes that participating in sports is a potential entrée into worlds that seem beyond his. Plus, Larry loves the games. He plays baseball, football, and basketball. He caddies at golf courses. As he grows physically, he senses the need to expand mentally and philosophically too. A scholarship helps, then a surprise appointment to West Point follows. Each step up the ladder of opportunity, however, is taken with a self-inhibitor in place—an emotional regulator that keeps his innermost feelings trapped inside him. ... (read more)

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          Forever


          They'll Never Die
          by Don Calmus
          Fulton Books


          "'I have died a couple of times, and there's nothing out there but cold dark space.'"

          Generally, engineers and other professionals don't morph into successful writers. But Don Calmus, a retired engineer, has writing talent and took the time to study the craft, enabling him to write this stellar novel. Not only should he not "stay in his own lane," he should write a sequel. ... (read more)

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          Riddles of Love


          The Woven Flag
          by Margaret Fourt Goka
          BookVenture Publishing LLC


          "Childhood is a spaceship full of friends
          that rockets into the future.
          I will be there when it lands
          like a kitten on its feet"

          In her second book of collected poetry, the author has organized her musings and insights into six categories. Each chapter follows the themes of home, animals, places, riddles, caffeine and wine, and family respectively. The home chapter is the most explored, following memories of homemaking and raising children with all the energy and chaos they can bring. The chapter on animals considers the impact of family pets and wonders what life would be like in animal form. The chapter on places recalls old residences and other colorful memories of location. When writing on the theme of riddles, the poet considers things that are somewhat contradictory or mysterious about life. Not surprisingly, the chapter on caffeine and wine is a treat for the sense of taste, using language to express flavor. Finally, when exploring the topic of family, Goka revisits the endless tasks of homemaking, as well as considering her dual role as both mother and child. ... (read more)

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          A Western Gem


          Off The Well-Lit Path
          by M. S. Holm
          Sentry Books


          "Rugg did not ask the cop why he robbed adolescent girls of their innocence and bragged of the obscenity. He knew the cop would have no answer."

          Danger, fear, and violence come shockingly to life in this searing tale of modern Mexico. From deserted desert highways to crowded city streets, mayhem is ever present as marauding gangs ply their contemptible trade. Police are either too corrupt or too powerless to stop the rampant bedlam as citizens and tourists alike become prey for criminals immersed in a culture of brutality. ... (read more)

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          Exploring Self


          A Walking Shadow
          by Gary Bolick
          Unsolicited Press


          "He called the desert the perfect place for him because so little moved. Just one big photograph, so it provided the illusion that his life was back to normal."

          There is an exceptionally fine line between intense introspection and prolonged navel-gazing. That line is a tightrope author Bolick walks precariously in this tale of one man’s unyielding search for enlightenment. Bolick’s protagonist desperately wants to come to grips with personal answers to profound questions such as why are we here, what does consciousness really mean, and can we ever truly understand one another or, for that matter, ourselves. The author encases these soul-searching queries in a story that dispenses potential answers much like a time-release capsule—a few now, a bit later, and eventually perhaps enough to ward off congenital melancholia. However, these intermittent answers raise additional questions. Does the patient stand a chance of actually being cured or merely treated? Should his doctor heed the proverb, “Physician, heal thyself”? ... (read more)

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          For the Future


          Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California
          by Lucille Lang Day, ed. and Ruth Nolan, ed.
          Scarlet Tanager Books


          "They need to see danger before their eyes to believe its teeth."

          An ode to California’s majestic inheritance when it comes to Mother Nature, this anthology presents one of the rare occurrences in which the spotlight is almost entirely removed from the poets themselves and placed onto the different natural gems that the Golden State offers. Letting your work stand for a greater cause takes both grace and humility. More importantly, the compilation expresses a dichotomy of concern and hope throughout by juxtaposing the awe-inspiring descriptions and imagery with the potential devastation that is in store for future generations. ... (read more)

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          Whatever Comes Their Way


          Matt Monroe and the Haunted House
          by Edward Torba
          All Points Press


          "Thick fingers of low-lying fog floated toward Matt. Curiosity urged him to walk forward, but what lay ahead?"

          After their last adventure in the magical realm of Paragon, Matt Monroe and his friends are eager to get back to what passes as normal life for them. Back in school and under the watchful eye of their parents, Matt hides a series of terrifying nightmares about his arch-nemesis Damien, and Josh is hiding his unhealing wound suffered at the hands of a dragon. When Matt is out delivering papers, he encounters Nathaniel and Annabelle Parker, two children who were murdered in the town nearly a century ago. This contact leads to a new supernatural adventure that only Matt and his friends in The Brotherhood can embark upon. With vengeful ghosts, deadly poisons, and the shadow of Damien’s influence in every danger, the group of teens and their allies must be ready for whatever comes their way. ... (read more)

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          Danger & Suspense


          Badge of Honor
          by Karen Glinski
          Terra Nova Books


          "'Walk in beauty, Shitsoi,’ he whispered. ‘I know you can.’ His eyes closed."

          Gratitude turns what one has into enough, and Emerson learns this important lesson in Glinski’s intriguing novel. Emerson, a twelve-year-old, is spending the summer on a Navajo reservation when his grandpa is bitten by a snake. Awaiting news from the hospital doctor, Emerson witnesses a sack being chucked into a trash can. Curious, he goes to investigate. Little does he know that the sack is full of stolen jewelry until it is too late. This event starts him racing from one peril to another. ... (read more)

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          Cloud of Murder


          The Siege: When Duty Calls
          by Harvey Cleggett
          Brolga Publishing Pty Ltd


          "'. . . if there’s even the slightest hesitation in paying the ransom, that's when things are going to get really, really ugly.’"

          Detective Inspector Michael Ballard, a newlywed, must interrupt his extended European honeymoon to rescue a group of politicians held hostage back home in Victoria, Australia. Their captor is a Spetsnaz soldier determined to rise in the ranks of the Board. This brutal Russian terrorist organization extorts billions from helpless victims to finance their crimes. This time, Sergey, the soldier, demands first a billion dollars and then doubles the amount, promising that he will also double the number of hostages killed for every hour payment is delayed. He has already shown his murderous capabilities, so no one doubts he will do as he says. The situation acquires a personal sense of urgency when Ballard learns that Sonia, his partner John’s pregnant fiancée, is one of the hostages. Will rescuing her and the others cost Ballard his own life? ... (read more)

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          The Kids Know


          Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer
          by Diane Davies
          Beaver’s Pond Press


          "Cancer can make our feelings hurt, way down deep inside."

          Children are terrified by the thought of losing parents and grandparents, and cancer is a particularly frightening and mysterious illness for any age group to confront. Author Davies uses her talents as a grandmother, educator, breast cancer survivor, and patient advocate in this concept picture book that speaks frankly about the fears, tough questions, and emotional responses that both children and adults have when confronting this medical challenge. ... (read more)

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          A View


          Who Am I? My Stories and Philosophies: The Autobiography of a Somebody or Nobody or Anybody?
          by Rolf Harms
          Trafford Publishing


          "Whether sad events or happy memories, the experiences of my life have made an exciting journey for me."

          Born in Germany in the latter years of World War II, author Harms has early memories of Allied aircraft attacks, bombings, and the loss of his father. His mother, though deeply traumatized, managed to keep working as a farm laborer and seamstress to support him, despite many obstacles. As a boy, Harms had visions of adventure in faraway lands, and at age fifteen, he acted on those visions, joining the German Merchant Marines. His very first sea voyage was to New York City, “providing many firsts.” The first American he met was also the first black man he had ever seen; the man’s good humor in communicating with Harms though they had no shared language impressed the lad deeply. ... (read more)

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          Best Laid Plans


          War Calls, Love Cries: A Civil War Novel
          by Mark Barie
          Barringer Publishing


          "Isaac was stirred into righteous anger and could feel the goosebumps on his skin. Lincoln spoke to his heart."

          Seventeen-year-old Isaac Wells dreams of attending law school after graduating from a small school in Keeseville in upstate New York. His older brother, John, a notorious alcoholic, is to take over the family farm while Isaac follows his dream. However, fate fails Isaac. His father falls ill, John is less than dependable, and the stirrings of war pull at his conscious. The only bright light in Isaac’s young life is Rebecca Lobdell, daughter of the innkeeper where he has placed his ailing father. When John’s devious behavior compromises Isaac’s plans, he decides to put law school on hold, marries Rebecca, and tries to save the family farm. But again, Isaac’s plans go awry. Depressed and discouraged over his unhappy marriage, Isaac seeks solace in the arms of a prostitute. Eventually, he becomes convinced he must join the Union Army, thinking that the only thing he is leaving behind is the farm, an unhappy marriage, and his deceitful brother. ... (read more)

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          Myths & Legends


          The Mystery of the Iatt Lake Monster—Revealed!: Squatchland the Dartigo Creek Valley Project
          by David Hollis
          Xlibris


          "After yelling ‘Bigfoot!’ these creatures jumped up, and I snapped the picture."

          While living in Louisiana in the remote rural region of Iatt Lake in the Kisatchie National Forest, author/photographer Hollis began to sense strange happenings in the woods around him, beginning with spying a huge black arm reaching out of the woods to grab a deer. He heard knocking noises like the sound of a club beating on a tree. After photographing a huge footprint encountered in the wilderness, he began snapping shots of places near home and farther afield where he felt the presence of strange figures. He was intrigued to discover their shadowy forms on his photos. He believes that the creatures communicate telepathically and make their presence known to him because they sense he means them no harm. Convinced he has a knack for photographing the legendary Bigfoot or Sasquatch creatures, he created this remarkable collection of pictures with an accompanying text describing the circumstances of each sighting.... (read more)

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          No Stone Unturned


          Widowland
          by Pamela Manché Pearce
          Green Bottle Press


          "Because ‘it’s good for me,’ to get out and remind me I’m alive.
          I have a night off from my husband’s dying."

          The energy that flows from poem to poem in this collection is electric, a pendulum between the solitude of death and the heartbreaking reality of life. While one of the purposes of poetry traditionally is to evoke emotion from the reader, Pearce’s downright haunting imagery and impeccable use of figurative language—from similes and metaphors to personification and enjambment—take it one step further: the audience is living the anguish of her existence. ... (read more)

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          Reconciling the Past


          Ground Zero
          by Anthony Robert Murphy
          URLink Print and Media


          "With my pen as my weapon I was able to escape those same chains that otherwise would have left my story undocumented by me. "

          This heartfelt epistolary memoir examines a seminal event in the author’s life that landed him in jail and thrust him upon a journey of self-examination. He reviews not only his relationship with the legal system that unfairly charged him but also his inherent identity as a human being. His sometimes peripheral but highly candid, sincere, transparent, and entertaining point of view is offered in a mosaic of “letters and journal entries written to friends, mentors, pastors, family members, and others, all who God has sent to me as witness.” ... (read more)

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          Risky Adventure


          Steak and Baloney: The Time Traveler
          by Kenzel May
          AuthorHouse


          "If everything had worked as planned, it was about nine o’clock in the morning on April 27, 1856."

          May embarks on a risky literary and time-travel adventure to Coal Hill, Arkansas. He grew up on his father’s cotton farm near Lubbock, Texas, in the 1950s and 1960s and developed an appreciation for the wholesome, hardworking, agrarian family life that was the norm across nineteenth-century America (minus modern technology, of course), a lifestyle still active today, though gradually disappearing. ... (read more)

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          Happiness


          Narnols, Blumblums, & Friends
          by Dr. Vicky Ciocon-Heler, Ed.D.
          LitFire Publishing


          "You’ll forget to gibber, babble, gurgle. You’ll forget to whine and growl and shout!
          You’ll forget to yell …! You’ll forget ‘cuz YOU DO CARE."

          Written by a specialist in the development of small children, this relatively lengthy book combines poetry, illustrations, and puzzles to reflect moments and perceptions that are common to preschoolers and children in early elementary school. The text and illustrations alternate with one another, as do the moods and tempo of the poems and stories. Some of the text appears to combine messages of understanding with a warning. For example, "Busy Bunnies” is a verse about bunnies eating and drinking snacks while they sit for a long time. The "sat" refrain gives the impression that the verses are comments on the joys of indulgence without responsibility, combined perhaps with a warning about potential childhood obesity and inertia. Other verses describe and celebrate the attempts of children to "fit in" to the adult world, and the magnificent messes, both physical and emotional, that occur from time to time in children's lives. ... (read more)

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          A Father's Love


          Beloved Son, I Am Going To Be Your Father!!
          by Reynaldo Pareja
          URLink Print & Media


          "Feel awaited and loved even before you are born; grow inside Mom knowing that your presence already illuminates and fills us with such happiness . . ."

          Pareja’s unique book—a collection of letters from the expectant father to his unborn baby—is a beautiful expression of the love and anticipation the author experiences during the months that he and his wife are experiencing the arrival of their first child. Pareja writes about the daily goings-on of the future parents, and specifically their preparation for the child’s birth, as well as sharing with their future baby boy all of the changes and nuanced emotions both parents feel as they prepare for their child to enter the world. He writes with candor about the stages of fetal development the unborn baby is going through, the “miracle that nature” has given the couple, preparation of the nursery in their home, emotional ups and downs his wife experiences, frank descriptions of the bodily changes his wife is going through, and all of the movement and kicking around that the baby performs, especially as the delivery date nears. ... (read more)

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          Young Struggles


          A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains: A Memoir
          by William Walters and Victoria Golden
          Orphan Books


          "I did commit a major crime repeatedly during the time I lived with the Walters: I ran away. To me this was not a criminal act—it was a survival tactic."

          This co-written memoir reveals painful truths about the effects of the Orphan Trains on Depression-era children in the United States. In its attempt to find stable homes for children away from crowded cities, the Children’s Aid Society had noble intentions in creating the Orphan Trains. However, Walters’ story reveals how a healthy placement depended on pure chance; in his case, after being separated from his co-traveling older brother, he was physically and sexually abused by his adoptive couple. After finally escaping the abusive pair (one attempt resulted in his confinement to Boys Town for a year), Walters learned life on the road by hopping freight trains and working jobs as he found them. This precarious existence became the pattern for his life, as, after serving in World War II, Walters toiled at a succession of varied occupations while he struggled to raise his family. Yet those struggles sparked and emboldened his resilience, which sends an inspirational message to readers and provides a sense of resounding hope. ... (read more)

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          Honoring the End


          Essential Caregiving Guide: How to Optimize the Extended Care Your Loved One Needs
          by Godfrey Harris and Jacqueline Njuki
          The Americas Group


          "This book is about helping those who help others—the people who selflessly manage the extended caregiving needs of a relative or friend."

          Voluntary caregiving for ailing relatives or friends is an activity that has increased greatly in recent years and shows signs of continued growth. AARP statistics project that as many as 117 million people in the United States alone will be in need of some kind of caregiving service in the coming decade. Many of these people will be taken care of in their own homes or in the homes of family members, statistically far more than those who will be occupying standard medical facilities. Harris and Njuki, co-authors of this practical guide for those who offer care, have coined the term “kacipent” that they invite readers to utilize. It is a blending of the words “care” and “recipient” and is seen throughout their book. It seeks to remove the connotation of the person needing care as being either a patient or customer. The authors offer three rules at the outset: consider the kacipient’s needs by major groupings such as medicine, food, etc.; take notes; seek help from others willing to work with you. The most important message is to relax. ... (read more)

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          A Worthy Answer


          Count It All Joy
          by Mitchell Allen
          Booklocker.com, Inc.


          "Given some time, the new saplings would strengthen and mature and merge with the greater forest, becoming complete and lacking in nothing."

          As a boy, Luke experiences peace and happiness when gardening. Sadly, the young gardener becomes an alcoholic and a self-destructive young man. After several years, entrenched in almost complete self-loathing and isolation, Luke decides to give himself one good day outdoors before he commits suicide. At the end of the day, as he is pondering the act, a camper named Jim speaks to Luke and invites him to join him. Jim, a character symbolic of the biblical writer James, invites Luke to join him and share his food. Their meeting is the beginning of Luke's redemption. ... (read more)

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          France is Coming


          The Angel of Lorraine: Part 3 of the Richard Calveley Trilogy
          by Peter Tallon
          BookVenture Publishing


          "It seemed that a great battle was about to take place on the fifteenth, but neither side wanted to attack."

          England’s campaign through France continues not without resistance but certainly without setbacks. Captain Richard Calveley is there at the siege of Orléans, as the Dauphin’s men seem to be at their last resort. But when the bridges are destroyed, and the city is surrounded and left to starve, he is called away to oversee the training of reinforcements. While this is happening, a peasant girl named Jeanne Darc is hearing an escalation of the voices in her mind that come from heaven, and she is determined to drive the English out of her homeland in the name of the Lord. Gaining notoriety and eventually granted an audience with the Dauphin at the insistence of his beloved mother-in-law, the French army has a new leader and a symbol that they can put all of their hopes behind. ... (read more)

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          Humanity Explored


          Amadeus! What Makes a Human Human?
          by Josephine deBois
          PageTurner, Press and Media LLC


          "'What makes you a better person if you are made in one way and not the other? And how would you even know the difference?'"

          Ludwig Mann is a conductor riding the heights of fame and execution in his profession. Organizing orchestras in sell-out live performances and selling popular recordings around the world, life seems to be in the palm of his hand. Still, he is plagued with insecurities and doubt about his work, his life, and his romance. On the one hand is Tiffany Yun, a talented pianist whom he has bound his existence to despite fate and culture keeping them apart. On the other is Josephine deBois, his manager, who has been with him every step of the way and is deeply committed to him. The pressures of being a celebrity and always in demand compound this unsure aspect of his nature, but a deeper, darker secret is hidden from even Ludwig himself. ... (read more)

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          How to Live


          The Art of Coping: Discover Calmness Amidst the Stress Through Spirituality, Mind, Body, and Soul
          by Tamara Dalton


          "Moreover, you will appreciate the life God has bestowed upon you and will realize that every bad phase is surpassed by happier times."

          How does a single mother of four, who is also a registered nurse, life coach, and ordained minister, live stress-free? Dalton explains in this book and shows readers that if she can do it, anyone can. She draws on personal and professional experience to substantiate her claim. It won’t happen overnight, she cautions, but those who actively implement positive life changes will gradually reap their benefits. The author discusses practicing attitudes of patience, gratitude, forgiveness, and positive thinking and offers scientific evidence of the effects of each on mental well-being. True to her nursing background, she also emphasizes the roles of proper diet and exercise in stress reduction. Like any conscientious healthcare professional, Dalton begins with a disclaimer, advising readers to apply her material alongside, but not instead of, professional mental health treatment. She also encourages those who need such treatment to seek it without shame. ... (read more)

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          Mountain Drama


          Lily Lives On Mount Rainier
          by Arley M. Fosburgh
          iUniverse


          "He had an edge she didn’t yet grasp as though he lived in a realm apart from the boundaries of human influence."

          In the shadow of Mount Rainier, an unusual young boy with a photographic memory lives with his grandmother. Only four years old, Sandy has a love of flowers and a penchant for quoting classical literature. Particularly, he loves one flower, a lily he considers to be his best friend. Lily is Sandy’s constant companion and confidant, and when the precocious boy discovers she hails from nearby Mount Rainier, he becomes obsessed with visiting the mountain. Unfortunately, Sandy is plagued with allergies, and though his heart longs for the mountain, his absent and emotionally distant parents refuse to allow him to visit the mountain. When his grandmother is unexpectedly called away, Sandy stays with Rebecca, an old family friend, who loves flowers as much as he does, and it seems there may be a chance for him to visit Mount Rainier. However, forces seem to work against Sandy, and it seems that he may never get his wish. With winter close at hand, will he be granted permission in time? ... (read more)

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          Wild Times


          Cain’s Children: A Novel of Lust, Sex, Criminality, Fate, Murder, Death, Love and the Human Condition
          by Estefan San Martin
          Xlibris


          "He may save his life and a million dollars yet."

          Dante Martino’s wild escapades begin when his brother is found dead and after Dante returns home both for the funeral and to deliver the eulogy. Soon a cast of characters emerges to wreak havoc and sex in equal measure. Relatives, lovers, and criminals swarm Dante, generating a story of intrigue and suspense. At the center is Dante, a charming and adventurous lawyer facing one obstacle after another in pursuit of saving his life and a fortune. With the help of his sister, Rhonda, and her partner Carol, Dante may be able to solve the mysteries of his family’s sudden demise. As the threats close in, the danger escalates for Dante and all those close to him. ... (read more)

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          Braided Lives


          Tears of Beauty
          by Cornelia Fontane
          AuthorHouse UK


          "If you like the story of the Garden of Eden from the Holy Bible, you must see the gardens of Iraq and Iran."

          Village life near Cambridge, England, in 1979 is good but somewhat tedious. Pimply, bespectacled Simon is a nerd. Sarah is beautiful, bold, and a talented athlete. Both are immigrants who grapple with the incongruity of modern life and their respective cultural heritages. The kids’ friendship and futures are uncertain due to their parents’ life choices. Hungry for acceptance and love, Simon and Sarah careen from pillar to post in a world of misbegotten circumstance. Ultimately, their paths diverge, taking them far away from England to unfamiliar homelands where their lives mesh once more in a heart-wrenching conclusion. ... (read more)

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          Homelessness & Opportunities


          From Homeless to Heaven
          by Jeanne Ann Off
          LitFire Publishing


          "'By the way, if you stood before God and He asked you, “Why should I let you into my heaven,” what would you answer?'"

          When Cody Cambres learns that his order at the labor office for additional help on the ranch is fulfilled by Alan Purdy, a formerly homeless man in search of opportunity, his first act is to take Alan to the store for warm clothing. As the book progresses, the respect Cody and Alan have for each other shines through, and their friendship seems to be a match made in heaven. Alan, due to his personal experiences, refuses to attend church, while Cody and his family attend church regularly. After probing, Cody discovers that Alan’s disdain for the church is mired in Alan’s own traumatic experience as a foster child bouncing around from home after home and being bullied for being a foster child at one of the churches he was forced to attend. ... (read more)

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          Overcoming Alcoholism


          Invasion Revealed: Healing Alcoholism, Mental Illness, & Drug Addiction
          by Nancy Lynne Harris
          URLink Publishing


          "Professionals who offer help need to understand the spiritual problem that is causing the dysfunction. Sick people must be trained to think differently about themselves . . ."

          This book begins with Harris’ testimony of what happened to her family as a result of not knowing the connection between spiritual influences and human illness and addiction. Her father died of alcoholism at fifty-two; her son was killed in a car crash on his eighteenth birthday. Another son, depressed at forty-eight, hanged himself, and when she divorced, her husband was experiencing alcoholic-related blackouts. After eight years of therapy, Harris was losing her will to resist interior suggestions of suicide. Sitting alone on her couch, she covered both eyes and looked inward. What happened next amazed her. ... (read more)

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          Her Voice


          Mom's Poetry
          by Kathleen Dunleavy
          Xlibris


          "Pop is still always with us, only in a different way
          He watches us and prays for our welfare every day"

          The author began by composing and sharing heartfelt poems of gratitude and faith in God with her extended family each year at Thanksgiving. Over time, poems were added which celebrated the lives of family members who had passed on and which also explored other subjects such as childbirth, friendship, forgiveness, and even one written in the aftermath of 9/11. A retired nurse with New York-Presbyterian Hospital for more than 40 years, Dunleavy assembled her growing collection of “prayer-poems” in order to memorialize them in a tangible collection for her children and many grandchildren. Intriguing artwork by Dr. Frank Stringfellow—recipient of the Maryland Governor’s Award for Leadership—accompanies the text. ... (read more)

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          Filling the Universe


          The Legends of the Big Game: Legends I & II
          by Suna Flores
          Xlibris


          "Spirit was sure of his eventual victory but anticipated a slow start. He knew the players on his side would have to practice the skills he had given them."

          A game began early in the empty universe. Two young spirits with different approaches agreed to compete. Spirit chose goodness as his winning strategy; Fighter preferred to use chaos instead. Their game field would become the earth. As fireflies watched, Spirit began to create his contestants: mice and then men. Fighter quickly found a way to tamper with Spirit’s human creation. A storm was what Fighter used for that dirty job. Spirit didn’t notice what happened, but an enterprising mouse did. ... (read more)

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          Hyperspace Journey


          The Adventures of Harry Stone
          by Larry Horowitz
          Xlibris


          "Inside the Galaxis something very odd is taking place. The entire crew is experiencing a strange sensation as they are temporarily removed from normal space-time."

          Rachel Mannix sits between two young men who will play a tremendous role in the events of her life. Harry Stone, her childhood friend and now boyfriend is serving time in a juvenile detention center for killing a bully in a fight. Though smart and good-hearted, his emotions can overpower him. Sherman Hollingsworth is an anti-social science whiz who doesn’t have any time for human interaction and social niceties. As these three enter adulthood, they all become brilliant scientists in their own right, but Sherman is able to follow his dream of unlocking the mysteries of hyperspace. Once they embark on the test of Sherman’s theories, they end up leaving the galaxy and being made into slaves of a foul race of aliens. Escape seems impossible, but between Sherman’s intellect and Harry’s never-say-die attitude, the group of humans is determined to make it home. ... (read more)

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          Gambling with Lives


          Reverse Swing
          by Ron Prehn Palmer
          Xlibris


          "Positive action is required, and the more brutal that is, the better our chances of regaining control of our business."

          When an international gambling corporation resorts to increasingly violent tactics to control profit and loss, the sporting industry in Australia takes center stage as the government responds to the crisis through advocacy and intervention. With a combination of sports action and criminal intrigue, this multi-faceted story reaches far and wide across continents into locker rooms, boardrooms, and courtrooms. A cast of devious villains works behind the scenes to influence the outcomes of sporting matches by conspiring to have athletes lose games intentionally, thus ensuring maximum gambling profits for invested parties. The shocking criminal minds of the board members protecting their massive gambling business’s profits generate episodes of murderous violence. Juxtaposed with this are startling scenes of inspiring athletes and teams working together to overcome obstacles and secure victories for their communities and for Australia. ... (read more)

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          An Answer


          The Solution? Daniel 11:20-45 - A Historical Interpretation
          by Robert W. Knutson
          Xlibris


          "It is perceived that individuals who support certain views, in this case theological, become soldiers of that cause."

          In an age of religious unrest, wars between different ideologies begin to unravel "in conjunction with the glorious incarnation of Christ." These wars started as wars of words between churches and civil states, ultimately leading to many separations from the Roman Catholic church and the transition to schools of thought. Knuston analyzes these historical occurrences in relation to the prophecies of Daniel 11:20-45. ... (read more)

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          Living Through God


          Give Your All to God: Be a Pleasing and Delightful Offering
          by Morris Williams
          iUniverse


          "The best way for us to prove that holiness even exists in our lives is to live it out in good relationships with others."

          According to the Bible, the ancient Israelites were given five principal means of making offerings to God. These were a sin offering, a trespass/guilt offering, a burnt offering, a meal/grain offering, and a peace offering. Such offerings often involved an animal sacrifice and always represented gratitude for blessings and the forgiveness of sins. Taking them as symbolic of what we can offer to God at all times, Williams suggests that we must put heart, mind, strength, soul, and body into our worship. Our legs carry us to good or bad directions. Our feelings, our hearts or “inwards” as Williams says, guide us to express compassion and help others. Our prayers can reach out to close ones as well as non-believers. We can sing to God, thank God, and obey God in all things. Such activities in our age replace the burnt sacrifices that God ordained for the Israelites. ... (read more)

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          Spiritual Growth


          Beyond Self-Realization: A Non-Sectarian Path to Enlightenment
          by Paul Breer
          Xlibris


          "It is strange to think that our most treasured possession, the self, is the cause of most of our suffering."

          A teacher named Richard conducts classes on self-realization to a variety of students in this intriguing look at the path to self-realization freed from the fetters of organized religions. Relinquishing the individual “I” is a transcendent concept intersecting psychology, intellect, and spirituality. Richard offers exercises, advice, wisdom from many sources, and his personal experience to convey his ideas to his students. His comprehensive method includes meditation and other exercises. Much is learned in open discussion with the students whose believable personalities offer unique perspectives. Richard gently guides them to understand that enlightenment, Being, or Pure Consciousness can be reached by divesting oneself of ingrained, illusory notions of control and by coming into acceptance of what it is already there. He reminds them that enlightenment doesn’t give answers; it simply stops questions from arising. As the class progresses, his students gain a grasp of these far-reaching concepts. ... (read more)

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          When It's Over


          The Apocalypse Revisited: Unveiling the Alternate Realities and the Long Period of the Last Days
          by Dr. Reginald O. Crosley
          Xlibris


          "God has established a time of reckoning to bring His justice over the whole creation in its multiple alternate realities."

          The Book of Revelation (sometimes called The Apocalypse of John) in the New Testament has always evoked speculation. As author Crosley notes, the central event prophesied in the writing—the second coming of Jesus Christ—has yet to take place, despite many signs of upheaval on earth, many of them notable in the past 100 years. Crosley asserts that the “last days” began with Jesus’ first advent, and the great judgment predicted will happen, but not in the way that many people believe and not in this century. Examining in detail the many symbolic elements—the Four Horses, the Seven Seals, the Bowls of Wrath—Crosley brings the coming events into sharper focus with one radical prediction: that the final apocalyptic struggle will involve as yet unseen beings—saints, angels, aliens, and demons—springing into action from alternate realities.... (read more)

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          Divine Inspiration


          I Was Scared to Death When I Died: The True Story of Bryan Killebrew
          by Bryan Killebrew
          Xlibris


          "There’s nothing like grandmothers. They know how to take away your troubles. That is a fact."

          When Killebrew was two years old, he and his baby brother were, quite literally, kidnapped by their biological father from their mom’s house and driven deep into the Ozarks in their dad’s tiny blue car. They were not heard from again for the next seven years. Although his father was fierce, the author “worshipped the ground he walked on.” His fondest time, however, was spent with his Grandma Audra, who was more like a mama to him. It was she who was instrumental in instilling within him a deep love of God. Everything changed when the author was 16 years old. After taking a bite from his goulash while relaxing on the couch after an exhausting day of hard work, he immediately slouched over and experienced what he describes as a life-altering encounter with God. God told the teenager that once he found faith, he would one day be in Heaven with Him. ... (read more)

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          The Organic Garden


          The Harvest Helper Organic Gardening For Vegetables
          by Kathleen B. deMaCarty
          ErinCo Marketing and Publishing


          "Organic gardening is easy, you just have to have a little information. This book gives you lots of information."

          Taking the reader carefully by the hand, deMaCarty has included everything a person could need to know to create one's own organic vegetable farm or garden. Perfect for beginners, or even experts who want to learn more about organic farming or try growing a new vegetable, this book includes easy-to-navigate and understandable language about not only when and how to plant 30 different types of vegetables but also includes information and instructions for dealing with pests and diseases, starting and transplanting seedlings, and more. ... (read more)

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          The Marriage Bed


          Sex: Baddest Sin or Goodest Pleasure
          by Ron Vieselmeyer
          LitFire Publishing


          "Just as it is God’s plan for bride and groom to become one, so it is that the spiritual Bridegroom (Christ) becomes one with us, the Bride (Church)."

          In a work that could be viewed as controversial, Vieselmeyer—a conservative Christian—is not afraid to passionately make the strong case that healthy sexual relations only exist within the context of what he calls “natural marriage.” By this, he means marriage between a married man and woman. He argues that sexual activity itself is, of course, not bad, but that the God of the Bible has intended it be performed only between a married, opposite-sex couple—and only after marriage, barring the use of any pornography, substance abuse, deceit, etc. Sexual relations, in fact, are a blessing our Creator has bestowed upon the world, Vieselmeyer writes. Under the main theme of sex, and in the context of a range of healthy and unhealthy situations, the book is divided into numerous chapters, focusing on such aspects as pregnancy outside of marriage, sexual orientation, abortion, rape, pornography, prostitution, incest, polygamy, and the like. ... (read more)

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          Alphabet Bingo


          The Adventures of Professor Poodle & Auggie: Let's Collect the Alphabet
          by Mark A. Vogel
          LitFire Publishing


          "They tried a push to the tush and a pull to the toe, but still they could not get that U to go."

          Professor Poodle and his young companion Auggie are on a very important mission: They're trying to find the entire alphabet. As they travel through their homeworld on their Model E car, they find letters in the most unexpected places. What's that U doing in the middle of the road? Why's the Y running away? How will they clear the I (and his friend, the baby fly) off their windshield? Young kids will enjoy having this engaging tale read out loud to them as they follow along with the vibrant and whimsical pictures. ... (read more)

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          Smart Money


          The Incredible Investment Book
          by Chuck Salisbury
          LitFire Publishing


          "The bottom line: gold is for wearing, not for investing. The people who make money in commodities are the brokers, not the investors!"

          Turn on the television for five minutes, and you’ll no doubt see a commercial about selling gold, a show about flipping beat-up houses onto the market, or a financial guru picking hot stocks. But if all of these things are sure-fire successes, why are so few people making a living with them? Drawing on decades of experience both as a power broker and a real estate professional, the author of this book shares his expertise on what the true and most secure investments in America are. Outlining the very same plan he used to make his fortune (and flagging the early mistakes he made lest they are repeated), Salisbury shows readers how to use this guide to invest wisely without a huge nest egg, setting themselves up for retirement, family planning, and financial stability. ... (read more)

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          Finding Yourself


          Zero Turned Hero
          by Bessie Frazier
          LitFire Publishing


          "Jennifer felt an awesome feeling of peace and joy. She thought she heard bells ringing and angelic singing."

          In these eight stories, individuals who have always experienced the brunt of inferiority, low self-esteem, poverty, or other social deficits find out what life can offer with a change of attitude, heart, and perspective. The collection opens with “Tip Top Finds Hope,” which highlights the sadness of a boy cruelly nicknamed because of his large head and small power of intellect. These differences make him the brunt of childish bullying until a stranger stops the hateful behavior with a strict lecture to the boy’s abusers. In “Victor Learns a Lesson,” a mean-spirited and dishonest boy is found out and rejected by his peers, while “Nightmares” beset a lonely boy until he is given a special emblem by his mother to take away his depressing dreams. “The Onion” depicts an unusual but fair punishment for a thief. A boy who has always been challenged and beaten by his father at arm wrestling gets strong enough to conquer the bullying gang that has been tormenting him, then lets his father win one more time, though they both know now that it is “The End of an Era.” In “Jennifer’s Luck,” a karmic spirit (significantly named Angelo) gives a plain-faced older lady a choice: she can be young or beautiful. After experimenting with both states, she chooses neither in favor of accepting her life as it is. A woman who works hard for what she earns is given an excessive reward for her labors in “The Lavender Dress,” while a hateful monarch’s heart is softened by genuine love in “The Stone King.” ... (read more)

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          Dream's End


          A Montage of a Mauve Reality: A Collection of Unusual Short Stories
          by Thomas James Taylor
          Xlibris AU


          "Life is often interspersed with events—happenings which are just enough out of the ordinary so as not to be easily dismissed as . . . random good fortune."

          Imagine the end of all childhood fairy tales or that something as beautiful and stately as a Morton Bay fig tree transforms into the beast of your nightmares when darkness falls. These are just two of the scenarios contained in this highly entertaining 18-story collection. Taylor’s knack for the curious and unusual is evident in stories such as "Time Enough in Hell," in which Jonathan James Goodman reaches the final depths of despair in a lonely apartment, and "Parasite," the journal of a man who, having returned from “a salvage operation in the Arafura Sea one week ago” is feeling not his “usual self.” Other notable offerings in this volume are "Hypnagogic," in which, confronted by a visit from an old friend, a man convinces himself to do “a noble thing” and “dose” himself with alcohol, and the surreal "Dark Gallery" with its ominous orb of regrets. ... (read more)

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          The Journey


          Pink Conch
          by Raj Behera
          Xlibris


          "Even the thousand miles will be covered not by the swift flow of waves but the favorable wind of the mind."

          Neil and Goldy, two fish driven by curiosity and a guiding tool called “the wisdom box,” endure an exhausting swim spanning from the San Francisco Bay, through the North Pacific Ocean and Panama Canal, the North Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, to the Bahamas, the South Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, and through the Arabian Sea until they reach the Bay of Bengal. In a seemingly impossible effort to find the sacred pink conch, Neil and Goldy not only swim thousands of miles and strengthen their friendship, but they also survive perilous storms, ship traffic, surfers, swimmers, and other threats to achieve their goal. Along the way, they achieve self-realization, peace, and a sense of self that leaves them with fulfillment, no regrets, and the recognition that curiosity and their friendship are truly the cruxes of intelligence and existence. ... (read more)

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          For Men


          How the Tears of a Bad Boy Made Him a Man
          by James Thomas Wright Jr.
          Xlibris


          "I encourage you that if you would only take that leap of faith and really start to look within yourself and operate in the freedom that has already been given to us; you will see the peace, prosperity, and happiness in yourself, which has been given to us all."

          Written by a former Navy officer and current police officer who has a master’s degree as well as certificates in spiritual work, this short book explores the author’s humble and traumatic beginnings through his rise as a well-respected and God-fearing man. The book focuses on men only, as the author feels men are most in need of his wisdom. He examines the difficulties of growing up in an abusive household, his troubles in school, becoming a father at age 17, and his immersion into the drug world while also working as a pimp. The book focuses on his faith and utilizes numerous biblical passages to support his writings. He writes about men and emotions, techniques for healthy communication, coping with anger and fear, healing through loss and trauma by allowing sadness and tears, meditation and prayer, and challenging one's beliefs. ... (read more)

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          True Wealth


          Capitalism Killed the Middle Class: 25 Ways the System is Rigged Against You
          by Dan McCrory
          Xlibris


          "Business, quite understandably, has been repelled by the multiplicity of non-negotiable “demands” made constantly by self-interest groups of all kinds."

          Millions of Americans work hard every day, trying to save up for their retirement or make a better life for their families only to be set back by medical bills and emergencies that seem impossible to recover from financially. Sharing his own story about working within the telecom industry, the author describes how the increase in the cost of living and the stalling out of salaries have led to a financial and political system that puts American citizens in an unwinnable situation. Using elements of a memoir, the style of an op-ed essay, and the political cartoons of Gary Huck, this book illustrates to readers all the ways that the deck is stacked against them and how, without massive policy changes, the American dream could now be just that: an unattainable dream. ... (read more)

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          In the Navy


          A Sailor’s Tale: Miss Judith 1888-1893 Miss Molly
          by E. G. 'Lusko
          Xlibris


          "Cheered him and got another shot! Best was, “Stay home tomorrow. Paid for the day!” Oh, thems all cheered."

          Doing genealogical research on his family, the author of this book discovered a possible ancestor who walked a similar path in life, sailing around the world in the Navy. Through the author's organizing and transcribing of a collection of found letters, that unnamed man, referred to as an “Old Salt,” has his life captured through each missive to his niece, Judith. Starting his journeys around California, through the Pacific Ocean, and up through Canada and Alaska, his travels during these five years take him through America and Europe as the Old Salt verifies maps and embarks on relief missions for other ships. These letters are more than just a bullet list of ports of call and duties though, describing to a civilian the colorful crews and peculiar behaviors that go hand in hand with life aboard a ship. ... (read more)

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          Sudden Ascension


          Secrets of the Nire
          by Anne Durand-Athy
          Xlibris


          "These are the covenants that were established by the first ones, the rightful heirs to the Celtic Isles, the Fourteen Tribes of Galway, Ireland -- the rightful Celtic monarchy, De Athy!"

          It’s not every day you find out you’re the rightful king to the Celtic Isles, but that’s exactly what happens to the protagonist when a Hollywood film company comes to the Nire Valley in Ireland to film a movie. When William Thomas Athy is asked to be a consultant for the production team, he soon learns that the movie is based off a book his father wrote, Secrets of the Nire, and that the book is a factual account of the history of the Athy family. The Athy family secret is powerful and can lead to the ruin of the British monarchy, a fact that someone tries to prevent as they orchestrate attacks against the film crew. As William grapples with his newfound destiny, his family and friends help coach him to prepare for his coronation, while also trying to figure out who is behind the attacks. ... (read more)

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          Secrets


          Aether Gate
          by A. M. Deuel
          Xlibris


          ". . . you have to understand that dying in this world is okay, even when in our mind dying is the thing we often fear the most."

          Focus Fire Initiative is an online games company which announces Project Vulcanium and Nebula: Genesis as a "first full-dive virtual reality system." From this point on the narrative enters into variations of online warfare, where participants engage in battle with virtual enemies like the Venchuri in what is at times an almost indistinguishable intensity from actual warfare, except that virtual bodies explode in shards. A small group of players notices some anomalies regarding "modded" parts being shipped to various organizations. These are modified weapons or even warriors that can outclass everyone else. When thirty-seven soldiers for the small group suddenly disappear from the system, each marked with a peculiar icon, the players at first put it down to possible glitches in the new closed test of the Aegis Project. But after being summoned to a virtual arena meeting where Project Aether is announced, they intuitively sense that something is not quite right. ... (read more)

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          Smooth Exit


          Injury: The Unspoken Social Order in an American School System
          by Dylan Miller
          Xlibris


          "'Those who are treated badly, treat others badly. A victim’s anguish is going to come out in some way.'"

          Jill Franklin’s decades-long teaching career in Chicago is coming to its natural end, with the art teacher eagerly preparing for her retirement. While outsiders may wonder if Jill will look at this event as bittersweet, her experiences and encounters within the school system have Jill counting down the days with excitement. Faced with cliques, politically underhanded tactics, and outright threats and attempts to harm or discredit her, Jill’s stories about the corrupt school system could fill a book. Proudly wearing her identity as an outsider, she treasures her few allies dearly as she protects her integrity and her ability to retire with a pension from those that would take it away as punishment for not playing along with the social pecking order that the other teachers, principals, and administration accept as a necessary aspect of their workplace. ... (read more)

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          Childhood Adventures


          Spit!
          by Nancy Long
          Xlibris


          "There is happy chatter over rustling paper bags against corduroyed legs as the children tell Mary about points of interest along the way."

          Growing up in the outskirts of Jacksonville, Florida, the author of this book shares her memories of a childhood full of adventures out in nature and within the home. Recalling times spent with her adventurous older brother Benjy and more reserved, grown-up older sister Lorraine, Long presents family stories of the children going fishing, meeting new neighbors, making trips to the circus, and building a clubhouse. From her early childhood and all the way to driving lessons, the author grows up among tough love and is never afraid to do anything that the boys her age get up to. Sharing her personal history in the narrative style of a storyteller, the author transports the reader back to the days of endless summers spent out in the sunshine and magical Christmas moments full of wonder. ... (read more)

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          Best of Times


          Life in the Sandpit
          by Terry Thomas
          Xlibris


          "It was inevitable that . . . the Arab way of life and people have an impact on those of us living there . . ."

          The author’s memoir is the often hilarious remembrance of a single year spent in Saudi Arabia working as an engineer on the oil pipelines. The year was May 1977 to May 1978―a significant point in construction for their oil industry. Due to stringent rules for taking a spouse into that country, the British author spent much of his out-of-country time in the company of two zany male engineer friends surrounded by swarms of not always proper Muslim shopkeepers, religious police, and gatekeepers. The friends quickly learned the customs that govern life in a foreign country, including getting a driver’s license, buying food from open markets, and living in an alcohol-prohibited country. Their youthful shenanigans, including liquor making, resemble the TV series MASH, except that they were operating on damaged pipelines rather than the wounded. ... (read more)

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          A New World


          Compass: Book 1: Search for Serenity
          by R. A. Burke
          Xlibris


          "'Those aren't dreams you're having, they're your memories the surging of your Magic is digging up.'"

          Lily has a recurring dream of driving through a storm to a deadly quiet forest, searching for something beyond the trees. But then the dream becomes reality as Lily finds herself in the forest and witnesses reality collapse all around her. She blacks out and wakes up sometime later in a world of magic, the world of the Fae. Lily meets Xyllia and The Tails of the Fox, who recruit and protect her as she adapts to this new world and the burgeoning powers she’s been given. As Lily grows more comfortable with her new friends, however, many questions go unanswered, and danger starts to surface that is connected to a prophecy. Will Lily find out who she is in this world of magic? Will she be able to make it out alive? ... (read more)

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          No Ordinary War


          Through Deception: Izoah's Legacy
          by Elvis Ali Bautista
          Xlibris


          "Yes, this is no ordinary war."

          The kingdom of Revalon is torn between two factions: Sanctuary, made up of survivors from Revalon, and the Rebellion, ruthless soldiers who have taken advantage of the fallen kingdom. Isaac and his friends, considered the leaders for Sanctuary, are in the middle of a battle when they come across some strange ruins. Isaac discovers a crystal in the ruins which grants him strange powers. As Isaac adjusts to his new body and gifts, he also learns of Izoah and the raging war between the gods that had consequences for Revalon. With the threat of the end of civilization looming, Isaac and his friends must form unlikely alliances in the hope of saving what’s left of humanity while trying to piece together the truth. ... (read more)

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          A Juicy Scandal


          Star-Spangled Scandal: A Novel
          by Lori Swerda
          iUniverse


          "He said one thing only, 'I’ve killed him.'"

          Powerful politicians, a jealous husband, and a scandalous affair lead to murder and a controversial trial of the century in this shocking story based on real-life events from 1859. This is the story of Philip Barton Key, son of Francis Scott Key, who was shot and killed by his lover’s husband, congressman Dan Sickles. The nation’s capital takes center stage in this fictional history, but politics takes a back seat to love and passion, adultery and madness, guilt and blame. Above all, the consequences for one’s actions and choices is a running theme through Swerda’s engaging story of real-life historical figures. ... (read more)

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          True Joy


          Thrusting Against Negative Forces
          by Dr. Belinda Ball
          iUniverse


          "We live in a society that is unpredictable and spiritually detrimental because of opposition to God’s laws."

          Targeting young people, this guidebook contains journaling techniques for personal examination in times of struggle with temptation and wrongdoing. Author Ball has organized her message in three parts: exploring God’s spirit and its power, detailing the character of Satan, and offering suggestions for serving God in all aspects of life. The author believes that today’s youth are increasingly led on a path to self-destruction and that they can be lifted up by meeting their problems head-on, using the power of scripture to combat them. She has created daily exercises that allow the reader to study a moral message or passage of biblical scripture and, for each, to record their conclusions in the sections titled “My Situation,” “Pray about Thoughts and Feelings,” and “Action Plan.” She vividly depicts Satan and his devious plans, while recommending practical means—a “spiritual toolbox,” a ninety-day plan for renunciation of specific sins—to defeat evil and find true joy rather than earthly, fleeting happiness. ... (read more)

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          Family


          We Are the Wackadoodles: Welcome to Our Blended Family
          by T. A. Duggan
          Xlibris


          "Now the kids get free time to do silly things that make them happy before we settle into bed."

          In this bright and colorful text, young readers are introduced to individual members of an extended, blended family: the Wackadoodles. Mr. and Mrs. Wackadoodle opened their home—and their hearts—to homeless children from all over the world. There’s Dorian from Kenya, Chandy from Croatia, twins Coco and Mabel from China, Johnna from Ireland, and others, along with a handful of children born into the family. Each child has his and her unique interests and activities. After meeting the entire blended family, we learn how the Wackadoodles start each school day, including “a buffet line to feed everyone in a timely manner.” We are also introduced to the weekly chores charts for each member of the large family. After school, it’s homework time for the Wackadoodles, followed by dinner during which each individual shares something—good or bad—about their day. ... (read more)

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          Sprawling WWI Saga


          The Alsatians
          by Leo Kearley
          Stratton Press


          "I wanted him to hang. I really did. I wanted that bastard to sit in a cell and wait for his sentence to be carried out."

          Wars end on official dates, but the enormity of human suffering such conflicts engender often goes on long after formal hostilities have ceased. In this sprawling saga of World War I, much of Europe has been savaged. In France, thousands of defeated German soldiers are held in prison camps. As they await repatriation to their homeland, most exist in squalor. Racked by a spreading influenza epidemic, near starvation, and abandoned by their captors, they become easy prey for individuals and groups bent on revenge. ... (read more)

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          Stormy Seas


          Fishing for Birds
          by Linda Quennec
          Inanna Publications and Education Inc.


          "She already knows death doesn’t make you fragile."

          Author Quennec masters juxtaposition and paradox in this unassuming but powerful debut novel. The viewpoints of three Vancouverites—young widow Kate, her mother Nora, and Kate’s elderly friend Ivy—alternately diverge and converge as they explore the contexts of their lives and loves in a New Agey island community near the northwestern coast of Canada. Thirty-two-year-old Kate is recovering from an unhappy marriage that ends prematurely in a tragic accident. Her middle-aged mother Nora, ever practical and inflexible, is on the cusp of a major life transition. Nonagenarian Ivy bravely faces her imminent death forearmed by reconciliation with loss and grief. Their experiences inform and enrich one another’s perspectives about what it means to be fully alive and joyful no matter how mundane or harrowing the journey. Often the viewpoint of one woman speaks for all: “She twins herself, cloned into something she never gets to be back home—something that feels.” ... (read more)

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          WWI from the Air


          Mein Gustav
          by Ira Campbell
          Xlibris


          "It was like a dark cloud about to swallow me on the way down, the deep yellow nose within a hundred feet or so, and diving over the port as I threw my stick to starboard to avoid a collision."

          Extensive details of airplanes, engines, flight maneuvers, and aerial dogfights fill this prodigious historical fiction of World War I. Told from both the British and German perspectives, readers are able to empathize with fierce enemies who eventually come to realize that their foes are simply human beings caught in catastrophic circumstances. ... (read more)

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          A Tech Genius


          Cyberman
          by David Uquillas
          Xlibris


          "A macabre sentiment was taking hold of him to leave his imprint permanently and anonymously in the life, in the body and mind of criminals."

          David Connor and his fiancée Kate have just moved from Los Angeles to Mexico City. She is a successful theatre producer, while his work involves laboratory science. An event on the public transport in their new city, in which David is robbed of his cell phone—including accompanying intimate photographs of Kate, which are then broadcast via the Internet—will change his life and mission forever. ... (read more)

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          Nursing Right


          Parting the Veil: Reflections on Soul
          by Joy Nugent
          Westwood Books Publishing LLC


          "Over nearly three decades of nursing people at the time of death it has been impossible for me not to question what comes next."

          Nugent, the founder in 2006 of the non-profit NurseLink Foundation, specializes in providing home-based, end-of-life holistic nursing and has lectured and consulted widely around the world on issues surrounding geriatric nursing as well as hospice and palliative care. In this book, she not only contemplates the myriad issues surrounding her holistic nursing career and philosophy but, in particular, shares more of her personal philosophy by exploring the concept of soul and the afterlife. ... (read more)

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          Life & Death


          My Way: One Nurse’s Passion for End of Life
          by Joy Nugent
          Westwood Books Publishing LLC


          "I have often described myself as being a midwife to the dying."

          What are some of the unique challenges of being a nurse in hospice and palliative care? What are some strategies for nursing elderly and sick patients who are coming to terms with the onset of the end of their lives? Nugent, who was a holistic nurse for three decades, lays bare many of her experiences in this field using honesty, depth of emotion, and, above all, the truth that dignity for the patient is of paramount concern. This book is as much a meditation on palliative care nursing as it is a primer for would-be nurses specializing in end-of-life care. The author writes about the meshing of her life on a personal and professional basis, influences on her model of care, the time she spent working in Malaysia, the knowledge and skills necessary for a nursing career (specifically in geriatric care), hospice philosophies, the significance of effective communication, and that which she calls “making friends with loss, grief and death.” ... (read more)

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          Lively Discussion


          Equality of Women and Men: An Unstoppable Evolution of Humanity
          by Reynaldo Pareja
          URLink, Print and Media


          "To appreciate the depth of this evolution is the intent of this book."

          The vast topic of women’s equality is distilled admirably in this volume, which also serves as a promotion for the Baha’i Faith based on its embrace of the spiritual equality of men and women and the author’s engagement with the philosophy. Pareja makes it clear that “this book is not intended to be a scholarly or academic work because it is written for a general audience.” ... (read more)

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          Social Movement


          Daisy in the Doghouse
          by Joe Barrett
          Black Rose Writing


          "'You don’t hate the people, Jack,' she calls from the other room. 'You hate the system. The people are just collateral damage.'"

          Daisy Sullivan is a 12-year-old girl with a popular blog, Daisy in the Doghouse. Her “social experiments” that she subjects her parents to are the source for much entertainment until they catch wise to what Daisy’s been up to. In need of a new angle, Daisy’s father Jack sees an opportunity to tell her audience about a financial system that he feels is corrupt and which he has experienced and exploited firsthand. Almost overnight, Daisy’s blog explodes into a full-blown social movement, bent on empowering those who try to help others every day and shame those that make a living by exploiting a broken system and the labor of others. Now an overnight celebrity, Daisy as well as her family must figure out the best way to continue the message and try to keep their lives normal even as they manage to change the world around them. ... (read more)

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          The US Review of Books is dedicated to fair and honest coverage for all books. We are a leading book review site, often visited for professional book reviews examples.
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