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.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Parker, CO 80134

Genre: Literary Fiction
ISBN: 159800462X, $17.95, 240 pp, 2006

This is a contemporary love story but not a romance, and romance readers will know what I mean. Through this tale we follow the turbulent relationship between Tess Castellano, a uniquely beautiful woman, and Jorge Sanchez, a successful corporate manager, as they try to understand the love they have for each other. And, as the reader, we have hope that this young couple will find their way.

Who would this story appeal to?. . . Young New Yorkers, actively mobile corporate climbers from poverty, readers who enjoy poignant love stories, readers who enjoy stories about real life.

Peter Haase writes with a direct, simple honesty, and one technique I particularly like is his use of italics to express what someone is thinking in addition to the dialogue, which he uses throughout. We cannot always realize our wishes and thoughts (even about ourselves), and so, this story reinforces for us reality in the real world–what we hope, what is real, how we adapt or how we become lost . . . to ourselves and to others.

The photographic front cover of the two lovers certainly captures the essence of this story.

Other books by Peter Haase include Call of the Sea and Eleven Years Afloat. Several of Peter’s short stories are included in an anthology published by the Treasure Coast Writers Guild, Fort Pierce, Florida.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 25, 2006 - Copyright

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

THOSE MADE TO SUFFER by Philip Colander

Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Parker CO
Genre: Fiction/Thrillers
ISBN: 1598002716, $24.95, 400 pp, 2006

An amazing blending of fact and fiction!

In the never-ending, mysterious museum created by Wilhelm Kraus you will find everything created under the sun, including the sun. Ralph Laffoon from England and his team of four paranormal investigators plus one police officer, Jeff Rome, find their way into this northern California abandoned museum and then need to find their way out. Why is there a problem about getting in and getting out? Well, there’s a brick wall just inside the museum which repairs itself when damaged in any way. And as this is a mystery thriller, there must be an evil force at work somewhere. Do they make it out? Guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Philip Colander has used his rich imagination to weave his knowledge on many subjects into this ghostly tale–Greek and Egyptian mythology, dinosaurs, astronomy, rocks & minerals, Aztec history, pictographs, anthropology, archeology, architecture from different periods to name a few. His descriptive abilities are exceptional and my only constructive criticism would be to vary his approach when describing new characters, as after the first few characters, the descriptions tends to have a ‘formula’ feel about them. Other than that, I would say Philip is a very promising author.

As I was reading, sometimes I’d have a ‘Nancy Drew’ feeling about the mystery in the haunted museum with her pals, but that feeling quickly left when a main character died. With the ghostly white mists, explosive powers and transforming substances, one certainly can envision a movie version with all its special effects.

This is Philip Colander’s debut novel, and I say, "Congratulations and well done!" It was a lot of hard work, and I’ll be looking forward to your next novel.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 24, 2006 - Copyright

Friday, May 19, 2006

FRAGMENTS by Lesly Auerbach

Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Parker, CO 80134
Genre: Fiction/General
ISBN: 1598004204, $12.95, 136 pp, 2006

Lesly Auerbach writes about a fictional character, Adam Lewis–the biography of a screw-up. The story is not unique . . . it could be any man’s life, and that’s the key. However, she clearly relates her insight into the dynamics of contemporary marriage and relationship problems.

What is unique is her style of writing which does not conform to all the rules and guidelines writers are supposed to follow to make it easier for the reader to follow the story. There are no chapters . . . just detached fragments . . . jumping from place to place, and the reader needs to pay attention.

In a book I read by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter, What If?, there was a chapter on 'Transitions' which suggested that ‘White Space Does Not a Transition Make’. However, the author makes her reader work, and the story is worth the effort. As one reads on and gets used to her style, it’s quite evident that there is purpose and she has something to say about contemporary relationships.

It is also quite evident that Adam Lewis has a serious drinking problem and may well be an alcoholic, which certainly would add to his general "screw-up" behavior. Do you think the author is telling us in her closing paragraph that Adam has finally found AA?

"Now what? I sit here drinking black coffee, smoking maybe my millionth cigarette–I can’t give up everything–telling you fragments of my life, knowing that some of you will think they make up my whole story somehow. The problem with that, though, is that it’s never the whole story."

To whom would I recommend this book? . . . to readers looking for an interesting writing style, to readers interested in contemporary relationship dynamics, to readers interested in real life.

Lesly Auerbach is an honest writer and whether you like the subject matter or her style of writing, her honesty shines through–the heart of a great writer. She lives and writes in Southern California, and Fragments is her debut novel–an exceptional first effort. She is currently working on her second novel and a poetry collection.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 19, 2006 - Copyright

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

SEA CHANGE by Marguerite Bell

Sea Change
Marguerite Bell
Authors Online, Ltd
40 Castle Street, Hertford SG14 1HR, England
Genre: Fiction/Historical Romance
ISBN: 0755200543, $18.95, 232 pp, 2002

Tears . . . I am still recovering from this poignant love story. I guess I’ll always be a hopeless romantic, and Marguerite Bell knows how to work her magic. She is a consummate writer when it comes to the Napoleonic Era and will spark your imagination and passions.

The year is 1803. England and France have a tenuous peace at the moment. Little Letty Craythorne, sister to Sarah and daughter of the Admiral, agrees to marry Captain Oliver Westland of the British Navy who was jilted by sister Sarah. Immediately after the marriage Oliver leaves for Antigua without consummating the marriage.

A year later Letty is summoned to join her husband and during the voyage to Antigua, she is abducted by the French Captain Armand d’Anviers as war has begun between England and France. They sail the Atlantic together for two months until Captain Oliver Westland’s ship arrives to reclaim his wife. Of course, Letty and Armand have discovered a truly passionate love, which has no hope for a life together.

The story is complex and rich with intrigue, human foibles, love and compassion. The author doesn’t miss a beat, and her rhythm carries you right along to a tearful, yet satisfying conclusion.

Other books by this author include: A Rose for Danger, The Devil’s Daughter, Bride by Auction and The Distant Drum. The Pride of Eagles will be published sometime this year. She also writes under the name of Ida Pollock and books under this name include: The Gentle Masquerade, Lady in Danger, The Uneasy Alliance, Country Air and Summer Conspiracy.

It is my opinion that Marguerite Bell’s writing is of exceptional quality, and she is certainly an equal to Amanda Quick for historical romance. I believe her books are well known in England, and I wish her much success in the United States.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 9, 2006 - Copyright

Monday, May 08, 2006

A DISTANT DRUM by Marguerite Bell

A Distant Drum
Marguerite Bell
Authors Online, Ltd
40 Castle Street, Hertford SG14 1HR, England
Genre: Fiction/Romance
ISBN: 0755201604, $14.95, 172 pp, 2005

This is a traditional romance which takes place around the Napoleonic era. Fanny Templeton is a twenty-six-year-old English widow, still a virgin and step-mother to Justine. At the beginning of the story she is a paid companion to Lady Elizabeth Mablethorpe and concerned about the welfare of Justine and her new husband, Freddie, who is the younger brother of the Marquis of Ordley, Edward, a Colonel in the British army.

There is an initial tension between Fanny and Edward which evolves into romance in Brussels. They are married in a barn shortly after Edward is seriously injured in the Battle of Waterloo. Because Fanny was not certain that he truly loved her, she would not share his bed so that the marriage could be annulled if he so chose after he was well again. Edward, of course, interpreted this as rejection until . . . .

If you like historical romances of this period, you will enjoy this book. Marguerite Bell is a consummate writer, and you definitely will not be disappointed. She’s clearly knowledgeable about the period–the manners, customs, the clothes–and certainly brings it all to life as she keeps the intrigue sharp and poignant.

Other books by this author include: A Rose for Danger, The Devil’s Daughter, Bride by Auction and Sea Change. The Pride of Eagles will be published sometime this year. She also writes under the name of Ida Pollock and books under this name include: The Gentle Masquerade, Lady in Danger, The Uneasy Alliance, Country Air and Summer Conspiracy.

I enjoyed the story and her engaging style of writing. Thank you!

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 8, 2006 - Copyright

Thursday, May 04, 2006

CAESAR'S TRIBUNE by John Timbers

Caesar’s Tribune
John Timbers
Authors On Line Ltd
19 The Cinques, Gamlingay, Sandy
Bedfordshire SG19 3NU, England
Genre: Historical Military Novel
Rating: Highly Recommended
ISBN: 0755210336, $17.95, 248 pp, 2006

This is a novelized version of Caesar’s Gallic Wars as witnessed by the main protagonist, Marcus Rutilius Robura, a military tribune. Marcus was a young Roman officer of junior rank in the Tenth Legion . . . the Tenth being sort of a ‘boot camp’ for young members of the upper classes.

John Timbers has taken Caesar’s Commentaries–difficult reading–and turned this historical, exciting period into a richly textured, contemporary, intriguing military novel. Not only is our protagonist a Roman officer, he is also Michael Oakwood, a British Army officer on international anti-terrorist duties in the Balkans who wakes up in the year 60 BC. Somehow the spirits of these two men have switched bodies during a battle in which they are both injured. Mike, however, is aware of this double identity and writes in a journal to stay in touch with himself as he lives the life of Marcus. To complicate the matter, Marcus has a twin sister, Rutilia, who is extremely sensitive to him and has dreams of his other identity.

Through this novel we can see and experience Rome at this time . . . what it looked like, how the aristocracy lived, the social structure, the political arena and power politics. And more intimately, we experience Marcus’s family, friends and love life . . . his marriage to Marcia and his sister’s marriage to his friend, Quintus. And then there’s the intrigue of another woman, Sylvia, and her connection in the dream to Mike.

The author conveys very clearly the developing power structure (Caesar, Crassus and Pompey vs the Optimates), the popularity of the amazing Gaius Julius Caesar and what he wanted to accomplish. We also get a feel for some of the other key players at that time such as Cicero, and I quote:

"Poor Cicero – fine legal brain and great philosopher that he is, is clearly the dupe of whoever flatters him most. He seems to have spent his lifetime trying to score points off people with his cruel wit, either orally in the courts or the Senate or in his letters and political tracts. In these he is prone to recall things in the light of his political leaning at the time of writing, especially when matters don’t pan out as he hopes."

From the back cover of the book:

"This is the first in a series of five books that set out to tell the action-packed story of Julius Caesar’s protracted battles in Gaul–modern France and Belgium–and his struggle to force the Roman Republic to abandon its obsession with ancient and superstitious traditions, a system of government that favoured only its racist, corrupt and all-powerful nobility. Caesar, a man way a head of his time, was determined to change the Republic into a multi-cultural meritocracy, fit to govern its growing empire for the good of all its disparate peoples. Caesar’s Tribune is a fictional character who is also way ahead of his time but in a very different way..."

I would certainly recommend this book to history buffs and to readers who enjoy military strategy and intrigue. The battles on land and sea are vivid, exciting encounters, and the sexual thread in Marcus’s life adds a very intimate element.

John Timbers is an accomplished writer, and this story is well written. You will not be disappointed as it entertains while it educates. My kind of book!

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - April 4, 2006 - Copyright

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Just Like That 2! Legends and Such
DJ Blatchford
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Rd. #515, Parker, CO 80134
ISBN: 0972330364, $16.95, 272 pp, 2006

A pot-pourii of Alaskan Inupiaq legends, touching stories, inspirational writings, poems, healing remedies and delicious recipes.

Dj Blatchford is an Alaskan Inupiaq, Ahgalliamiut, and shares with us their legends and experiences after coming out of her village of White Mountain, Alaska. She is a very spiritual person and God is clearly her core strength. Her writing is inspirational, fun and strongly upbeat. You can’t help but grow to love and admire this woman and her family. The stories are enriched with local idioms, colloquialisms and bits of her language.

This book will particularly appeal to women, to people who enjoy inspirational writings, and to people interested in learning about other cultures. Dj herself is a very unique woman. She was raised in a large family and family is her heart. She can ride a motorcycle and excelled in a man’s world as a correctional officer.

From a letter she wrote to me, I quote, "Part of my belief is even just a smile or tear can start healing within oneself. So when my legends do this we share goodness and it spreads. My legends can take your mind away to our lands here in the far north. Yes, like the song, it is about 75 miles southeast of Nome on the mushers trail."

Other books by this author include Just Like That, English to Inupiaq Alphabet. You can order this book directly from her by calling 1-866-570-3143.

A unique style of writing, for sure! You certainly won’t get bored. Quanna!

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 3, 2006 - Copyright

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Translator’s Kiss
Doug Murphy
2021 Pine Lake Road, Ste 100
Lincoln, NE 68512
Genre: Fiction/Romance
ISBN: 0595339557, $13.95, 170 pp, 2004

This is a simple, fun story about true love, at least from one side. Our protagonist, Michel Pernaud, is a translator by trade and a man with a good heart. He is in love with Sophie, who doesn’t fully appreciate or treat him very well; however, his love persists. His good heart gets him into and out of compromising situations with Bridgette, the attractive daughter of a French billionaire, with whom his employer is negotiating a major real estate deal. "Struggling between temptation and loyalty, ambition and integrity, Michel faces one challenge after another in a story that is sad and funny, romantic and heartwarming." Throughout we hope Michel will find the woman who can appreciate his good qualities and return his true love.

The book is well-written and is a fast, pleasant read. The author knows how to tell a good story to keep you guessing.

Doug Murphy lives in Virginia where he works as a physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (physiatry). In my interview with him, he shared that he likes playing with his imagination and telling stories in print and thought that perhaps he had a bit of the Irish storyteller in him. Other books by this author include The Griffon Trilogy: Part I (with Andrea Murphy) which I reviewed in April. Books in process include: The Griffon Trilogy: Parts II and III and Sexsomnia (book about parasomnias).

Thanks for the fun read.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 1, 2006 - Copyright


Cloud Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown
Victoria Rose
Outskirts Press, Inc.

10940 S. Parker Rd. - 515 Parker, Colorado 80134
(888) OP-BOOKS
Genre: Fiction/Erotica
ISBN: 1598001159, $11.95, 400 pp, 2005


This is everything a novel should be - original, captivating, and, most of all, transporting! Ms. Rose writes with a combination of the wild imagination of a Rod Sterling and the sense of down-to-earth character-and-location-detail of a John Steinbeck, not to mention the sensuality of a Zalman King! That makes for a heady concoction indeed. Like many great fantasy writers, there's a social conscience at work here, but it's written with such verve and good humor that you never feel preached to. Judging from its very satisfying conclusion, Cloud Hidden is meant to be one of a series. Let's hope Part 2 isn't hidden for long! (5 STARS)

Reviewed by J.D. Guinness for Kaye Trout's Book Reviews - May 1, 2006