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 31, 2007


Why you should raise your kids as pirates and 101 tips on how to do it
Cold Tree Press
Nashville, Tennessee
Genre: Parenting/Humor
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781583851272, $10.95, 123 pp.

From the back cover:

"Never before has raising a pirate been so easy! If you’re like most parents, you long to raise your children as pirates but just don’t know how. In Guide to Pirate Parenting, Cap’n Billy ‘The Butcher’ MacDougall provides everything you need to know to turn your little powder monkeys into happy, healthy buccaneers."

I’m not quite sure who this little book might appeal to . . . exasperated, frustrated parents looking for a good laugh or . . . young boys and girls looking for adventure and a way to channel aggressive, destructive, pirate-like behavior.

Part 1 is the Introduction, and Part 2 includes the following chapters: Baby Pirates–Mapping Out Your Child’s Future; Belly Timber–Feeding Your Pirate; Sleeping Like a Seadog and Other Nocturnal Issues; Quelling Mutinies–Disciplining Your Pirate; Scurvy and Hook Injuries–Pirate Health and Safety; Your Pirate’s First Ship–How to Convert Your Minivan into a Pirate Schooner and, lastly, As Your Pirate Gets Older (The Teen Years and Beyond).

My favorite creative suggestion was in answer to the question: "What’s the best way to potty-train my pirate?"

"Fill your toilet with small toy ships and let your pirate fire away. Reward your child with chocolate doubloon gold coins for direct hits. Remind your child to activate ‘the giant whirlpool that brings all vessels to Davy Jones’ Locker’ when he’s finished."

Clever, if the 'small toy ships' are flushable, and many of the suggestions in this little book are just that, plus you can’t help but laugh now and then and who doesn't need a good laugh.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 31, 2007


If Publishing
101 Evergreen Rd, Jamestown KY
Genre: Taxation
Rating: Average
ISBN: 1432703633, $9.95, 126 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"A clear and concise guide for organizing and preserving expense records for writers as a sole proprietorship under current rules and regulations of the Internal Revenue Code using Schedule C and its supplements for the 1040 IRS form. Vital tips for preventing identity theft, keeping your computer free of viruses, worms and other headaches, personal security planning, and designing worry free book tours. Contains all 50 states and DC as to their sales tax percentage and contact information."

There is some information in this small book which might be of interest to new authors, of which there are many these days; however, unless an author is fortunate enough to realize significant financial returns from his writing efforts to show a profit at some point, the IRS may consider his endeavors to be a ‘hobby’ and not a business and therefore not eligible for business deductions. It is always important to keep all your receipts, protect your computer and personal identity, and I think most people today have the common sense to do so. Would I recommend this book to new authors? I don’t think so . . . based on its briefness.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 31, 2007

BEYOND MAJORS AND G.P.A. by Aaron Scott Robertson

A Real Philosophy for College and the World Ahead
Genre: Education
Rating: Fair
ISBN: 0595431860, $9.95, 60 pp.

This little book contains nine chapters: misconceptions about your major, positive attitude, set your pace, knowledge is power, leaders are made, G.P.A, flip-flopping, invest early, and endless possibilities.

It reads like an essay assignment and really has nothing new or particularly significant to say in its attempt to be inspirational. I believe the author just wanted to write a book, set himself the challenge, and this is the result.

It is well organized and edited; however, I consider the content trite and would not recommend it to an intelligent college student.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 31, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007


Booklocker.com, Inc.
Genre: Travel Narrative
Rating: Exceptional
ISBN: 9781591139973, $13.95, 196 pp.

Is There a Hole in the Boat? is a marvelously entertaining atypical narrative of Darrin DuFord's travel adventures while hiking, bribing and bartering his way around Panama. It is most unique and filled with a sense of the people/culture, epicurean delights and tidbits about history, current and past politics.

Darrin DuFord is a gifted, accomplished writer with a vibrant style, and his debut book was chosen by Fore Word Magazine as a finalist for the 2006 Book of the Year Award. You can find his latest articles and recipes on his website Omnivorous Traveler (http://www.omnivoroustraveler.com). I consider this little book an exceptional, fun read and highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - March 25, 2007


BookSurge, LLC
Genre: Fiction/Action/Thriller
Rating: Good
ISBN: 1419634151, $18.99, 332 pp.

About the story?... quoting from the backcover:

After a terrorist bomb takes covert agent, Kelly Rogers’ life, he awakens in the hospital, in his Arab killer’s body also killed but brought back to life by the doctors. This extraordinary occurrence leads him on a bizarre odyssey, thwarting terrorist plots, which includes a nuclear attack on Las Vegas.

Supporting Kelly on his mission, are two extraordinary beauties, Mariam, a cerebral, former Miss Pacific Rim - his killer’s wife and Jane, physically, perhaps the most deadly woman alive - Kelly’s undercover handler.

In addition, Kelly has become a Muslim Icon, looked up to by a growing number of Muslim clerics as the ‘Chosen One,’ a new prophet, who allegedly met with Allah, in Heaven, and was afterward, returned to Saudi Arabia, after being tasked to be his worldly representative - "The Right Hand of Allah."

About the author’s writing style:

It is clearly evident that D. E. Dawning is knowledgeable about Arabs, Muslims and ‘contemporary terrorism.’ His style is straight-forward, action thriller, but to my taste, the dialogue is too cliched and imitative. For a BookSurge POD published novel, The Right Hand of Allah is well edited with an artistic, appealing cover.

If you enjoy action-packed, sexually-erotic, contemporary thrillers, you may enjoy this novel.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 25, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Booklocker.com, Inc.
Genre: Fictional Mystery/Spiritual Adventure
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9781601451439, $15.95, 296 pp.

Darkness Withdrawn or The Eclipse of Nietzsche’s Shadow is a most unusual title for a uniquely thought-provoking novel. The basic framework of this spiritual adventure is a murder, killer on the run and obsessed FBI agent in pursuit, plus a cast of boldly animated characters...some quite cartoon-like.

Edward Fotheringill is an educated, dynamic writer who taught philosophy for 24 years. Through the mystery genre, Fotheringill weaves insights about life and the human condition, drawing from his knowledge/experience of Hinduism, the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and the scientific theories of John Dobson. Allow me to share a treasure or two with you.

"Bars all over the world are the same. They harbor conversations, laughter, tears, celebrations, failures. Their walls resonate with the entire range of human emotion."

"If you really know who you are, everywhere you find yourself is home. That’s the secret to living well. To always feel at home."

And its heart beats thus:

"...Sri Ramana stretches his arms and yawns. ‘Mother Nature is quite a rascal. She shows us everything as divided and finite and changing. And then she turns around with the forces of gravity and electricity and the physical property of inertia, and shows us that what she really wants is unity, infinity, and the unchanging.’ The guru raises the index finger of his right hand. ‘What is very important to realize is that there are three fundamental spiritual drives that coincide exactly with the physical ones. The spiritual drives are for love, freedom, and peace. Our heart’s yearning for love is nothing other than the desire for unity that we see in gravity. Our heart’s yearning for freedom is nothing other than the desire for infinity that we see in electricity. And, our heart’s yearning for peace is nothing other than the desire for the unchanging that we see in inertia.’"

My favorite gem, placed just prior to Chapter 1 reads:

"In this world of space and time, oddities abound. Mystery upon mystery floats beneath the horizon of life. Sometimes hints of what might be called knowledge are revealed. Look at the hints closely enough, and they disappear like fading clouds into deeper mysteries beyond the reach of the human mind. Once beyond the mind, once beyond space and time, one experiences a solace, a peace, that when reintroduced into the worldly realm is recognized by a few seekers as holiness. This holiness, known only to the holy themselves, is none other than complete indifference. A happy indifference? Is there such a thing? Yes. The holy live with happy indifference. There is truly no other kind."

In April 2006 I reviewed Edward’s first mystery novel, Lanterns in the Mist, and, as before, I recommend this novel to mystery lovers, to readers in search of themselves, and to intelligent readers who can appreciate the author’s literary gifts.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 24, 2007

Monday, May 21, 2007


2021 Pine Lake Rd, Lincoln, NE
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9780595391691, $20.95, 357 pp.

Anyone who has read my reviews in the past, knows that I’m generally not a fantasy buff.

Sorceress Revealed is a tale about a magically gifted girl, Ellyana, unrequited love which becomes requited, an abusive father who isn’t her father, the search to find her heritage, attempts on her life, considerable physical abuse by evil men, and of course, the quest to save her world...all before she’s eighteen. If you like fantasy adventure fairytales, this may be a book for you.

Nicci Baker is the writer who has written this lengthy, well-edited novel. To my taste, the dialogue and some attitudes are too contemporary for such a tale...the little heroine too physically abused my men. However, Nicci does a good job of weaving multiple facets together for an interesting read with an attractive cover. I think Sorceress Revealed may appeal to young teenage girls.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 21, 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007


Booklocker.com, Inc.

Genre: Fictional Mystery
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781601451309, $15.95, 280 pp.

Such an interesting name for a novel and quite a unique "terrible secret." St. Louis cop Cliff Branson is our protagonist, and we follow him through a murder investigation, family matters and romance to the conclusion of this long-kept secret. Theodosia’s Flock is classic mystery genre, and if you’re a mystery buff, you’ll probably enjoy this easy read.

D.G. Bryant is basically a good writer, but not exceptional. Some of his writing has a cliche feel about it–dialogue is predictable. The cover and title are appealing, and in general, Bryant has done a good job.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - May 4, 2007

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Llumina Press
7915 W. McNab Rd, Tamarac, FL
Genre: Fictional religious fantasy
Rating: Exceptional
ISBN: 1595266976, $15.95, 288 pp.

It is not possible to classify this novel into just one genre. Is it fantasy or messianic-religious science fiction?

Through dreams, pain and torment, Scott LeClair receives the memory of who and what he is–Azriel, God’s angel of death, destruction and chaos and . . . one-time ally of Abaddon, the Devil.

"On one side was the army of God, on the other the army of God’s accuser. It was a battle for the supremacy of Heaven and Earth."

Mark D. Chevalier is a uniquely dynamic writer and whether you like the genre or not, his writing talents are clearly evident, and I share an excerpt from page 12 for you to judge.

"The memories breached the wall of his sanity, spilling over into the depths of pure chaos. There was a Great Hall, covered in the radiance of a thousand suns. A preeminent debate was occurring, where gods and princes argued over a splinter that would grow to become a mighty oak of division.

"War spilled out from the Great Hall, over the Plains of Serenity to the edges of the mortal world. Ground was lost, ground was gained. Finally, legions of warrior and one-time comrades fell from the light, careening uncontrollably through the void between as final judgment was irrevocably inflicted.

"Blood flowed in rivers upon the Earth as armies began conquest after conquest. Civilizations rose, only to crumble beneath the onslaught of their own weight. Greed, genocide, murder, vanity, apathy, they all had a place in the new world order. The fallen were leaving their mark upon every living thing. Angered by their expulsion, driven mad by their infinite power while at the same time seemingly impotent, their goal had become to transform the Earth into the living manifestation of what they felt."

And from page 270:
"What you need to remember now as I sit down to finish writing these chronicles is that it was never solely about angels and demons; it was never about the war in Heaven, or how I came to be among the fallen, sacrificing my own eternal life.

"It was about you, humans! Abaddon may have started something long ago, but it was you who turned on each other. It was you who began to murder, looking at the Earth as a resource to be dominated and controlled, along with each other.

"You had the power to start it, and you have the power to stop it. As my father told me back in the church on that fateful first day, ‘You need to remember that no matter what else happens, the time you have is all you have. Make the most of it. Live, love, experience everything you can.’"

Mark had something to say, and through his novel he has added his voice to life’s wake-up call.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - March 2, 2007