I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2012 YEAR OF THE APOCALYPSE by Edward Arnold

2012 Year of the Apocalypse
The Destruction and Resurrection of Earth
Edward Arnold
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Denver, CO, USA
ISBN: 1598002023, $16.95, 124 pp, 2005

Edward Arnold presents, in a very compact manner, documentation and research for you to consider in forming your own opinions regarding the subject matter which includes: alien visitations and abduction; the Dropa Stones–a Chinese alien-human encounter; crop circles; the Greys–an alien life form; the Nordics–humanoids almost identical to humans; intergalactic travel–in bending time, you reduce the distance light must travel; the birth of man–evolutionists vs creationists; Penal Colony Earth–a possible answer for our predilection for war; religious myths--gods and goddesses–since the beginning of man; who and what was Jesus; Tammuz, the Son of God, 2,000 years BC; and finally, historical and astronomical support for why this book was written . . . 2012 Year of the Apocalypse.

From the historical perspective, allow me to quote: "The Mayans began counting time as of August 31, 3114 B.C., more than 5,000 years ago. . . . Mayan mathematicians could project their calendar millions of years into the past and into the future; time had no beginning, no end. Their projection of events that they foresaw has all but been realized, from world wars and the development of weapons that could destroy the world to Mother Nature’s fury of cataclysmic events. They predicted the eruption of Mount St. Helens more that 1,500 years before it happened, and they got it exact–right down to the years, month, and day.

Long ago, they put a large check mark on the calendar, a pointer is aimed at what they called the "End Date." . . . It is so significant that the calendar just comes to an abrupt stop–it ends on the date December 21, 2012."

From the astronomical perspective, allow me to paraphrase: Our Milky Way Galaxy is 100,000 light years across and all the stars and planets spiral around the Galactic Center. It takes our solar system 250 million years traveling at a speed of 500,000 miles per hour to circle the center. Our solar system finds its way into the center of the Milky Way every 26,000 years, then moves back out.

"We began approaching the outer edges of the "eye" in 2004 and at sunrise on December 21, 2012, for the first time in 26,000 years, our little solar system, our sun and ten planets and all of our moons will once again enter the center rift of the Milky Way. . . . The result could be a cleansing of earth and the destruction of everything that dwells upon it."

The author writes: "Some of the Mayan elders believed that after the destruction is over and 2013 arrives, we will enter into a whole new age and into a whole new cycle. So, do not fret, the end-date of 2012 does not signal the end of time and the destruction of the world; more so, it means the beginning of a new stage in the development of human consciousness."

This book will certainly hold your attention, light up some brain cells, and possibly inspire you to move to higher ground. It got me thinking about what I might want to be doing during the next six years, and I was delighted to find the answer to be . . . just what I’m doing. I would not want to survive such worldwide destruction, as I know I could not withhold food and water from other people. On the positive side, it would be an amazing experience. I may end up in my energy-efficient, passive solar home at 7,000 feet above sea level with ocean-front property. Guess I'll need a boat.

The strength of Mr. Arnold's convictions comes through clearly: the importance of using your imagination and questioning everything. The book 2012 Year of the Apocalypse is a well-written, informative book to challenge you to think for yourself. It’s a keeper in my library of first editions and lucky me, it’s signed.

Reviewer: Kaye Trout - February 28, 2006 - Copyright

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Battle Downunder
Charles W. Rush
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Denver, CO, USA
ISBN: 193267263X, $15.95, 218 pp, 2004

"The submarine world of USS STRIKER, its brave officers and crew, the harrowing war patrols, life or death decisions, problems with malfunctioning torpedoes and naval politics . . . all come to life in these pages."

On January 9, 2002, the President of the United States awarded the NAVY CROSS to Captain Charles W. Rush, Jr. for Extraordinary Heroism While Engaged in Military Operations on 11 November l943. A copy of this citation with details of Captain Rush’s heroism while on the submarine BILLFISH is included in this book.

Allow me to quote: "During 12 straight exhaustive hours at his Diving Officer post, his calm demeanor, innovative damage control actions, and demonstrated courage in the face of perceived certain disaster served as the major inspiration to the crew to keep them functioning after most had given up all hope of survival. After finally being relieved by another officer, Captain Rush proceed to the conning tower to assess the situation. He found the helm unmanned, the Captain and all senior officers still incapacitated, and no effective action being taken to counter the relentless depth charge attacks. Captain Rush, in a display of enlightened leadership immediately assumed the conn, obtained a helmsman, and proceed to direct evasive actions to elude the enemy above."

Judging from the detailed citation, much of this story is based on the true life experiences of Captain Rush. However, the story has not been written as a memoir or historical autobiography. It is written as a military-naval adventure with an element of romance, and the author states: "I have tried to illustrate the contrast between a ship commanded by a great captain and one with a washout in charge. There were many great captains. The one in this book is a generic composite."

The main character in this story is a Lieutenant (junior grade) Tom Rhett who volunteered for submarine duty, was supposed to attend submarine school, but the Navy ordered him to the STRIKER in Pearl Harbor and two weeks later he was on war patrol under Commander Michael J. Hanahan, U.S.N.

Through this story we see Tom evolve out of his submarine ignorance and initial panic into an officer who is responsible and holds himself accountable. The characterization of the officers, Tom and crew come to life particularly through their personal, off-duty experiences and relationships. We learn something about a particular part of WWII and the Japanese enemy. Tom and Heather’s developing love weaves itself through these pages and adds a warm, human aspect to a trying time in history.

This POD published books is well-written and well-edited. Battle Downunder definitely was a page-turner for me as I’ve been to sea, delivered yachts, lived and worked in small quarters with others. You’ll definitely get some sense of what life was like in a war patrol submarine. Isn’t that why we read?

Reviewer: Kaye Trout - February 25, 2006 - Copyright

MY FAVORITE WITCH by Annette Blair

My Favorite Witch
Annette Blair
The Berkley Publishing Group
375 Hudson Street, NY, NY 10014, USA
ISBN: 0425207234, $6.99, 286 pp., 2006

Jason Pickering Goddard is a playboy hockey star who is injured and swears off women. Kira Fitzgerald is a sexy witch who, after a cheater, swears off men. Gram is Jason’s grandmother who brings them together to help her foundation’s foster home for boys. You can figure the rest.

My Favorite Witch is traditional romance genre and would be considered a paranormal romance–fantasy magical–in that the story takes place in the natural world but features a being with unnatural abilities. The focus is on a central love story involving the development of an emotionally committed relationship between two major characters and a positive outcome.

Of course you need the conflicts and tension in order to overcome or you have no story, and it’s truly amazing how a sexy body and really good sex can be the key to a man’s heart or his . . . . The clever verbal sparing keeps it moving.

From the back cover: "The clash of their strong personalities ignites Jason’s competitive streak and sparks an inner fire that threatens to melt the ice around his heart–a slow warm-up that weakens Kira’s own defenses."

This books will appeal to romance lovers who want a light, humorous read with lots of fun sex. Annette Blair handles all aspects of writing well. Other books by this writer include The Kitchen Witch, An Unmistakable Rogue, An Unforgettable Rogue, An Undeniable Rogue and her next novel The Scat, the Witch & the Wardrake.

Reviewer: Kaye Trout - February 25, 2006 - Copyright

Friday, February 24, 2006

MICAH by Laurell K. Hamilton

Laurell K. Hamilton
Jove - The Berkely Publishing Group
375 Hudson Street, NY, NY 10014, USA
ISBN: 0515140872, $7.99, 245 pp, 2006

Laurell Hamilton's extraordinary imagination is a major inspiration to my own writing.

Micah is Laurell Hamilton’s latest Anita Blake, vampire hunter novel–the thirteenth in the series. Anita is a complex woman with many conflicting facets: she’s a U.S. Marshal authorized to hunt vampires, an animator (zombie raiser), necromancer, and her love life is to die for. In the past Anita has been bitten by vampires and wereanimals and has unique talents and strengths, but is not a wereanimal herself; she is, however, a gutsy, no-nonsense female unafraid to take on anything in the preternatural world.

She’s called out of bed from between Nathaniel and Micah in St. Louis to fill in for a friend who was to animate a dead witness in Philadelphia for the Feds–Emmett Leroy Rose died of a heart attack before he could testify. Her cases and conflicts with the FBI add some spice and purpose, but at the heart of the novels is Anita’s internal, personal conflicts about her relationships with the men in her life–Jean-Claude and Asher, vampires; Richard, a werewolf; Nathaniel, a wereleopard and Micah to name a few.

Micah is head of the St. Louis wereleopard pard and King to her Queen. He is the only one of her lovers who can stir her blood with just a glance from his chartreuse cat’s eyes and has been with her for six months–a longtime relationship. For all her strengths, she’s afraid to fly and Micah volunteers to go–their first time alone.

Agent Franklin challenges Micah’s qualifications as her assistant, and I quote:

"If he’s not an animator or a vampire executioner, then what does he assist you with, Marshal Blake?" He almost managed to keep the sarcasm out of the "Marshal Blake."
I was tired of Franklin, and I’m not that good at lying. I’d had less than two hours of sleep and had to fly on a plane. So I told the truth, the absolute truth.
"When you need to have sex three, four times a day, it’s just more convenient to bring your lover with you, don’t you think, Agent Franklin?" I gave him wide, innocent eyes.

Laurell Hamilton’s novels all have a strong erotic flavor and Micah is no exception. She’s a pro at plot, characterization, setting and style, and this story is a fun, fast-paced read with suspense, action, and unique ending.

I’m so green-eyed over her sensitive, loving lovers–only in your dreams.

Reviewer: Kaye Trout - February 24, 2006 - Copyright 2006

Saturday, February 18, 2006

SENIOR MOMENTS by David Wayne Silva

Senior Moments
Getting the Most Out of Your Golden Years
David Wayne Silva
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Denver, CO USA
ISBN: 1598001639, $13.95, 148 pp., 2005

I particularly wanted to review this book because I’m a senior myself and just starting to enjoy the benefits of retirement–doing just exactly what I want.

David Silva was a teacher, school administrator, and family/grief counselor prior to his retirement. I’m sure his vocational history contributed to the fine quality of this POD published book. Senior Moments is a well-written, well-edited, and poetically inspirational collection of thoughts and experiences. David’s lyrical prose style makes one stop and rereading a verse or two for the pleasure and feel of it. Allow me to quote from Cricket Songs:

"Cricket songs are night sounds, much like rain falling on the roof, a mockingbird singing its ancient night song, or the neighbor’s dog barking in the distance. Crickets lull us to sleep and keep us company when we have trouble sleeping."

"The awareness of a common, taken-for-granted sound suddenly interrupted my contemplations. Once again I became aware of the ancient song of the crickets. Their melody crept in from the garden, through the open window, and over the windowsill. I could not help but wonder at the strength and beauty of the cricket song. We usually have to be alone to hear cricket songs. Their voices are a sound that lulls us back to sleep or gently wakes us, a sound that sings accompaniment to our nighttime thoughts. While I listened, night’s darkness no longer appeared quite so somber, and a pleasant sensitivity permeated my thoughts."

Senior Moments is a collection of thirty-three short inspirational stories and of these, Are There Really Miracles? was my favorite. It’s the story about David and Sallie’s two-month premature baby, Dave, which they took home from the hospital to hold while he died. Sallie had a dream that gave her the answer to keeping her baby alive . . . and he did indeed survive.

David Silva urges the reader to, "look at the process of aging with humor and good intentions–to observe the beauty in the natural world around us, to take care of our bodies, to exercise and eat a balanced diet, to maintain old and build new relationships, to maintain and reenforce our spirituality, and to laugh more and cry less."

Reviewer: Kaye Trout - February 18, 2006 - Copyright 2006

ADIOS, HAVANA by Andrew J. Rodriguez

Adios, Havana
Andrew J. Rodriguez
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Denver, CO USA
ISBN: 1598000489, $14.95, 262 pp. 2005

I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books, primarily because many reviewers in the "traditional book reviewing community" are not interested in them–regardless of how well-written or engaging. There is a strong resistance within this community, and a POD author would be fortunate, indeed, to receive any acknowledgment to his/her query–they simply ignore you. This, I’m certain, will change in time . . . helped along by quality, well-written, and touching memoirs such as this one.

I quote from the back cover: "Adios, Havana is a true account of romance and peril, adventure and patriotism. Fueled by love–love of family, of country, and of each other–a young couple must face the most wrenching of choices: remain in the country they cherish, lose the wealth and position their families strove for generations to attain, and watch their children grow up impoverished under a terrifying regime; or risk escaping with no money or possessions and leave behind all they have ever know to begin a new life in a strange land.

A legacy to future generations, this memoir is intended to remind readers of the fragility of freedom . . . to describe the disintegration of a prosperous civilized society and offer counsel on how to prevent a similar catastrophe from happening in America . . . and to show how and why penniless refugees flourish in the land of the free–why anyone who resists oppression would be driven to tell his beloved homeland, Adios." I could not have said it better.

The extraordinary beauty of Cuba and the Cuban culture, prior to Castro, come to life through this book, as do the difficult decisions these successful families had to make and the realities of being Cuban refugees in Little Havana, USA. The generosity of the American people to help . . . also comes to life. Andy and Margarita’s beautiful love story weaves its way through history and binds it all together.

This book is well-written, well-edited, compelling and sensitive. The author has an educated vocabulary, uses unique similes and metaphors, and is so kind as to translate the Spanish phrases he uses throughout. In addition to this memoir, Andrew J. Rodriquez has authored The Teleportation of an American Teenager.

Reviewer: Kaye Trout - February 17, 2006 - Copyright 2006


Fears Flutterby
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Denver, CO USA
ISBN: 1598000195, $15.95, 432 pp.

This book was a refreshing change in pace for me–from fiction. I do read autobiographies but typically of a historical nature–famous people. Fears Flutterby is about a woman’s life–her childhood, marriage, family, problems, friendships, divorce, and an abiding love. It could be about you or me. It’s a story about her ongoing challenge to find and deal with the source of her fears. Also, it’s about the love and compassion she found inside herself when she was challenged to deal with a special friend’s Alzheimer’s disease.

The book is well designed and has an attractive cover with a subtitle: "Fears fluttered by as quickly and unexpectedly as a butterfly until a gift came in an unusual way." It certainly is not a fast-paced thriller; however, I read it in three days, as it moves smoothly and carried me right along. It is a true life story in which we witness a woman’s personal growth from dependent to independent, from fearful to non-fearful, from depressed to joyous.

I think Fears Flutterby will particularly appeal to and touch mature women who have been married, had children and are possibly divorced because they can relate to her problems. . . and too, it may appeal to young women who enjoy learning from other women. It definitely will appeal to all readers who enjoy true life stories about challenge and growth.
As a substantial part of the book deals with the realities of Alzheimer’s from the initial diagnosis to the death of her special friend, it has many details to offer in the way of information–caring for a person with Alzheimer’s, physical and emotional problems, support groups and friends, dealing with care facilities, expectations, and acceptance. I have to admit . . . it may bring up tears. Quoting from the book, "So, when do you part? Never–if you have loved another, you’re never parted."

Fears Flutterby is the author’s debut as a published writer, and I think it’s well done. She stated in the press release that she wrote the book as a testament to God’s influence in her life and the healing powers of love. She is presently working on the sequel, Wrong Diagnosis.

Reviewer: Kaye Trout - February 12, 2006 - Copyright 2006