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.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Center Street
Hachette Book Group USA
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY
Genre: Fictional Western/Adventure/Romance
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 13:9781599956893, $12.99, 328 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Hap Bowman and his rodeo partner, Laramie Majors, set out to find Hap’s lost childhood love and are soon chasing down every Juanita from Wyoming to the Mexican Border. Every place they go leads to more trouble and excitement–whether it’s herding cattle across the Rio Grande, facing off against a crooked park ranger in the Chisos Mountains, or rounding up wild mustangs on a desert military testing ground. Though their search may or may not lead to Juanita, it will definitely be the adventure of a lifetime for these two modern-day cowboys."

One Step Over the Border is a contemporary western, dealing with contemporary issues. As you read, you can’t help but grow to like Hap and Laramie–rough, rugged, good-hearted, stand-up cowboys. While searching for Hap’s Juanita, they encounter challenging adventures, always heightened by the ‘purdy’ women along the way.

Stephen Bly is a prolific author (ninety-five published books) and best known for his classic historical westerns. He’s a consummate writer with a colorful, entertaining writing style–filled with delightful metaphors. He certainly knows his horses, cowboys, ranch and rodeo life.

If you’re a western buff and want a fun, true-to-life western story, give One Step Over the Border a read. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 29, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


2021 Pine Lake Rd, Lincoln, NE
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9780595437948, $18.95, 295 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"In the summer of 1891, Orrin Leslie Elliott brings his wife and young son to Senator Stanford’s Palo Alto Farm in Northern California to work for David Starr Jordan, president of the new university being established there.

"The Elliotts find their new surroundings to be bleak and isolated: college buildings that look like a factory, little or no housing, and a murky water supply. Nearby Mayfield is peopled with cowboys serviced by numerous saloons and prostitutes. With faculty still to be hired, textbooks to be ordered, and dormitories only half finished, plans to open the university in four months seem ludicrous.

"This is the story of the founding of Stanford University, as seen through the eyes of the Elliotts, Dr. Jordan, and a sundry group of students. Rubin (Sosh) Weinberg is the only Jewish student in the class of 1895. Fletcher Martin, ex-U.S. Army officer, put his life on the line for others. Sally Forrest, whose father was slain by gunmen hired by the railroads, attempts to avenger her father’s death. Sam Cutter, a devious product of the streets of Chicago, performs act of chicanery-thievery, intrigue, and murder, including the tormenting of Sosh Weinberg."

Jerry Franks has done an excellent job of weaving factual elements into this fictional novel to create a feel for the times. The entire story takes place during 1891, beginning on March 16 and ending on December 31. This novel is the first of a trilogy. It is well written and well edited, and if you enjoy historical novels, you won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 27, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

A WINTER'S VIGIL by Norval Rindfleisch

iUniverse, Inc.
2021 Pine Lake Rd, Lincoln, NE
Genre: Fictional Memoir
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9780595430277, $16.95, 252 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"This fictional memoir, set in a blue-collar neighborhood movie theater of a Midwestern city, will remind the reader how quickly the past fades and yet how powerfully it persists unrecognized below the surface of later conscious decisions. Alternately comic, nostalgic, reflective, and even whimsical, the narrator recalls his tenure as the doorman and general flunky of the Imperial Theater threatened by the competition of television. He gradually drifts into a partnership with the long time woman manager, desperate to keep the theater going as a community institution, to restore with his free labor and her personal expense the dilapidated condition of the theater and to change the format from traditional B films to musicals of the 40's and 50's."

We follow Ted, a self-deprecating teenager, through his Catholic high school, home and first job experiences to the closure of the theater. I don’t fully understand why people write fictional memoirs, but such is the case.

Norval Rindfleisch is a consummate writer; however, A Winter’s Vigil could benefit from further editing. To whom might this novel appeal? . . . possibly teenagers working at their first minimum-wage jobs or readers raised in the Catholic faith. Would I recommend this book based on the storyline? . . . not particularly, but that’s just my take. As the author has taught literature and writing at secondary and college levels, won writing awards and recognition, you may find something in this fictional memoir which appeals to your taste.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 22, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


iUniverse, Inc.
2021 Pine Lake Road, Lincoln, NE
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 978059420629, $12.95, 149 pp.

Marcus and Lynn, abducted runaway teenagers, find themselves on an isolated island in the Bermuda Triangle and part of a radical group’s bizarre survival experiment. And, if that’s not enough, how about the wild creature in the wilderness?

Survival Op was a fun, educational, exciting read . . . a captivating adventure. As Scott Allen is an English teacher, who also coaches football, basketball and track, his novel is well written and inspirational. Possibly, Allen wrote this tale to forewarn teenagers of real dangers in this world. It’s an inspirational story from the standpoint of how Marcus and Lynn survived in the wilderness, and I can wholeheartedly recommend this book for its quality and substance.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 20, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007


New Horizon Press
PO Box 669, Far Hills, NJ
Genre: Self-Help/Educational/Nonfiction
Rating: Good
ISBN: 13: 9780882822839, $15.95, 196 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"In a revealing study of relationships where partners love themselves first, last and always, researcher and teacher Cynthia Zayn, along with Counselor Kevin Dibble, help you diagnose whether your partner is over the line and has narcissistic personality disorder.

"This easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide shows you how to develop your intuition, recognize danger signals and choose sound, practical solutions for healing, even when you’ve been deeply wounded.

"Drawing on their research and interviews with a variety of men and women who’ve been narcissized, the authors help victims understand the pain brought on by their abusers, show why these self loathers can’t change and offer hope to lovers of narcissists for healing from their ‘N-fliction.’"

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is briefly defined as an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy. NPDs are constantly envious of others and/or believe others are envious of them; are arrogant/haughty coupled with anger when frustrated, contradicted or confronted; see people as ‘things’ to satisfy their needs, and are always on the lookout for a new supply. Do you know anyone like this?

Narcissistic Lovers is well organized, informative and strives to be helpful to the narcissized, but provides no real input from narcissists. The authors tell us that NPD is not curable but that NPDs can learn to modify their behavior, which they do anyway when they revert to their "charming selves."

Nowadays, there’s a technical term for every step you make, every breath you take, but I guess it’s necessary. In my opinion this book is about typical relationship conflicts between men and women in western society today–dominance vs co-dependence. And, truthfully, aren’t we all a little ‘damaged’ . . . to some degree?. . . whether from childhood or past experiences. Relationships are complicated and emotionally painful, but when one doesn’t work, we generally go on, with hope, to try again, unless, of course, fear and anger have closed us down.

How many people do you know who have a ‘normal’, healthy, happy, supportive relationship with their partner? Considering the frequency at which people change partners and divorce in the U.S., I don’t imagine too many. Can this book help you improve your relationships? Maybe, maybe not, but it will give you some insight into contemporary relationship behaviors.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 15, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Cincinnatus Press
Cary, North Carolina
Genre: Fictional Psychological/War Memoir
Rating: Expectional
ISBN: 9780979411403, $14.95, 196 pp.

Chet Brown tells his story: life before, during and after the Gulf War–his transformation from a kind man into a trained killer. The straw which broke his mental back upon returning–loss of Amy, his love, to his best friend, set him off on a drunken, cross-country titty-bar spree. The war had changed him. The nightmares wouldn’t stop, and he didn’t know how to control the ‘monster’ he’d become.

Charles Sheehan-Miles originally wrote this honest, revealing novel shortly after the 1991 Gulf War. His story unfolds as he flip-flops back and forth between segments of his life–memories of his youth . . . his unstable mother, never having known his dead father; reliving the war he couldn’t forget and betrayal by the ones he loved. Sheehan-Miles does an excellent job in relating the realities of his tank/war experiences on the ground at the front and the psychological conflict upon his return. Allow me to share a sample of his writing with you, from page 141:

"I jumped to my machine gun as the first round was fired by ‘31. The flash and concussion knocked me to the side, and a fuel truck exploded a hundred meters to my front, spraying burning diesel, chunks of metal and body parts in a fifty meter radius.

"Sergeant Arno and I were both stunned as we gripped our machine guns. Peering into the flame I could barely see the silhouette of a second truck, half engulfed from the flames of the first.

"A figure ran out, burning over half of his body. Instantly I depressed the trigger, then cursed. The safety was on. The bass thump of Arno’s .50 started as I fumbled with the trigger. The man fell to the ground, just as a second ran across my field of vision, burning, desperately trying to escape.

"I launched a spray of bullets from the machine gun, just short. Following the tracers I walked the stream of bullets into the back of the running, burning man. He crumpled to the ground and I continued firing, a sudden feeling of triumph and lust in my body. Fuck yeah! Die motherfucker!"

I like Charles Sheehan-Miles’s writing style, honesty and courage, and per the author, "...word of mouth from enthusiastic readers is what allows books to flourish...". Check him out (
http://www.shehanmiles.com). You won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 13, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

ARTICLE 5 by Isabelle Assante

Llumina Press
PO Box 772246, Coral Springs, FL
Genre: Social Commentary
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781595267085, $9.95, 100 pp.

Article 5 is a true story, presented in play form, about Mikey Strenton, a young man on death row. Most of it takes place in a courtroom and includes testimonies from the victim’s mother, the prison chaplain, lawyers, prosecutors, prison guards and other inmates. It also includes the history of the electric chair– how and why it was developed to replace death by hanging. It is a very short story, 50 pages, as the second half is the French version.

Isabelle Assante, a consummate writer, has written many plays which have been produced in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. This little play dramatically conveys the reality of an innocent, young man waiting to die–a sad situation. Yes, the system doesn’t always work, but, then, nothing ‘always’ works. There are sad, unjust things happening all the time...such as young service men and women being blow apart, not to mention innocent civilians, in wars over oil.

Does Isabelle Assante believe there should be no death penalty for those who have violently taken another person’s life? Does she think society should provide comforts–room, board, health care–for such people when many hard-working, tax-paying Americans cannot afford the same? I do not think many homeless people have decent shelter, regular meals, pen pals, computers, books and art supplies. Some institutionalized criminals actually choose prison life because it is harder to survive on the outside. Does Ms. Assante have any positive solutions to the controversial death penalty problem (none mentioned in the book) . . . or just a fascination with death-row prisoners?

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 11, 2007

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Timberline Press
6281 Red Bud, Fulton, Missouri
Genre: Political Satire
Rating: Exceptional
ISBN: 9780944048382, $15.00, 204 pp.

Operation Supergoose is a contemporary, satirical novel about the Bushs administrations and their war on terrorism. In this whimsical tale Lieutenant Ernest Candide uses his superhero attributes to fight Plunderland’s enemies . . . until he discovers, for himself, the ‘truth.’ And the truth will set you free, so they say.

This little novel tells it like it is and most readers will probably agree; however, in truth, we are all responsible, to some degree, for this situation: one, because we allow it to continue and two, because no one wants to give up their nice gas-guzzling, oil-dependent vehicle which has become an intricate, necessary part of life in America. Throughout history, isn’t that what wars have really been about . . . acquiring resources for the tribe, clan, country, nation?

I know some of my readers think I should review books in a more opinionated, entertaining manner; however, as we are all different with varying tastes, it is my preference to provide excerpts which I feel convey significant facets of the novel and samples of the writer’s style, for the readers to decided for themselves.

It takes an exceptionally gifted, skilled writer to reveal the truth about deplorable situations through humor, reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut. William Hart is such an author, and I quote from page 138:

"‘It began with our genocide against the Native Plunderians. According to the best estimates I could find, we killed at least ninety percent of them, mainly for their land. We stole half of Mexico through unjust and brutal wars. We killed six hundred thousand Filipinistas to establish a Pacific military base, then turned their homeland into a whorehouse. Cubaland, Isle of Haiti, Puerta Rita, Panamaland and others were conquered by U.S. Marines and forced to pay tribute as little colonies, with fruit, sugar, cigars, naval bases and nubile women. And let’s not forget the millions of Africans we turned into slaves–as well as those who died on the slave ships. All so white Plunderians could rake in the bucks while others sweated the bullets.

"‘These various crimes against humanity were based largely on greed,’ Candide continued. ‘Later we waged wars based on silly fears, if the justifications of our government can be believed. We liquidated four million Korealanders so we wouldn’t have to ‘fight communists on the streets of Honolulu.’ Two to three million Vietlanders died for the same reason, along with two million Cambochians and a million Laoslanders. That’s ten million Asians, many of them children, sent to heaven to protect our pineapples from countries without navies.’"

Quoting from page 143:

"A lesser attorney would have concluded on this lofty rhetorical peak, but Ms. Mezey plunged ahead, eyes on the stars. ‘Consider the world we live in since Screaming Eagle was blown up–a world full of crazed fundamentalists dedicated to the destruction of civilized mankind. Who will protect us if we do not? Who will secure our citizenry from biological, chemical and nuclear attack? Who will defend the smaller nations of the earth from Madmahn Badassi and his like? And who will place the world’s key resources in trust for everyone, not just the selfish few? Our planet cries out for a fair and noble policemen–a cop with a heart of gold. World Congress is too weak and too corrupt for that role. All nations but one are too puny in power. Our planet’s richest nation, liberated from motives of greed by its wealth and beefed to the teeth with the most fearsome weapons the world has ever known, is the only nation that can be trusted with the sheriff’s badge. Mr. Candide, by questioning our wars for freedom, would torpedo this essential mission for Plunderland. Say no to his destructive negativism by finding him guilty.’"

And lastly, from page 202:

"And while we’re at it–imagining that is–why don’t we imagine something more constructive? Let’s imagine what it would be like if there really were a Plunderland, a mighty nation turned against mankind and our mother earth by arrogant and deluded leaders. Imagine what it would take to put that country right again. And imagine how a thinking citizen might pitch in.

"Just imagine."

So many more excerpts I would like to have shared, but I think these three are sufficient to spark an interest to read this very timely novel. You won’t be disappointed, and we can all use a good laugh, even at ourselves.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 9, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007


Genre: Fictional Memoir
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9780615140353, $14.99, 212 pp.

This is a story about a man, the author, dreaming up a surrealistic autobiography, and in doing so, thinking he has created a new genre.

Sol Luckman is clearly an educated, creative writer with a gift for ‘word’ gab; he also excels at the art of description. Beginner’s Luke just might be Sol’s approach to the concept of creative imagery, or you are what you think. I kept expecting something insightful, but in the end, realized nothing of value. There is humor in this tale, and if you love words, you may be delighted and want to decide for yourself.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 8, 2007

Monday, June 04, 2007


Virtualbookworm.com Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 9949,
College Station, TX
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 1589399137, $14.95, 316 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Globalization and the off-shoring of middle-class jobs will be one of the most important forces shaping the 21st Century. Accelerating job migration is already permanently altering nearly one of the world’s economies, typically leaving Western workers anxious about how to compete. For instance, just when Mr. And Mrs. Middle Class have finished school, gotten good jobs, had their kids, and bought their house, they find their jobs are exported to China or India.

"Destined to become a guidebook to thriving in the 21st Century, Off-Shoring the Middle Class outlines the prompt action required on many levels as governments, corporations, and individuals are all drawn into the battle to remain competitive, to move up the value chain, and to succeed in a world gone flat.

"Off-Shoring the Middle Class explains how off-shoring affects society and workers at every level and outlines a course of action for each, including a mix of better public policy, more innovation, more relevant education, and substantially expanded entrepreneurship, following the Silicon Valley model."

Steve Mushero has written an extensive, in-depth book about the problem of loss of white-collar jobs to Asia; plus, he offers up constructive solutions to the problem. This is definitely a timely book, well-written, and if this topic is of concern to you, you may find it informative.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 4, 2007


HCR Books
P.O. Box 39655, North Ridgeville, OH
Genre: Nonfiction Health Care
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 1570876975, $14.95, 186 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Health Care Responsibility: The Older Adult’s Guide to Surviving the Health Care System is a book that not only educates but also provides a method for the older adult to organize and communicate health care information. The techniques described in this book provide a system for the older adult to tap into the top-notch resources of the American health care system. The book offers:
-An overview of the current health care system and why each individual needs to assume responsibility for his or her own health.

-A seven-step system for the health consumer to report a complete yet concise medical history.
-Multiple forms to help assure patients get the most out of every health care visit.
-A method of prevent errors and get the most out of any hospital or nursing home admission.
-A system to track important preventative health care measures.
-Tips on exercise and nutrition to optimize health.
-Multiple questions to ask any health care provider about medication, diagnostic tests, medical conditions, medical procedures and blood work."

This is an excellent book . . . one which I will keep in my reference library. Raymond Lengel, a family nurse practitioner, has done an exceptional job of explaining many of the problems within our health care system and how to avoid them. It is well organized and full of pertinent information. I particularly like the forms he has provided to assist in communicating ones medical history to a physician. It is a book for the times in which we live and really helpful to anyone of any age. Plus, for the price of $14.95, it’s quite a deal.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 4, 2007

Friday, June 01, 2007


American Legacy Books
Washington, DC
Genre: Political/Romance Macabre Fiction
Rating: Good
ISBN: 1886766452, $9.95, 288 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Andrew Gabriel is awakened from his catatonic slumber by love’s passion. His diabolical half-brother, Craven Maxwell, politically manipulates his way into the White House. Andrew realizes that this cunning predator now has access to the American presidency and will use his new position to dominate the United States and, eventually, the world. Only Andrew can end Craven’s depraved schemes, but Andrew has one vulnerability–the newly found love of his life."

Valerie Hoffman is an educated, talented author and shares her gifts and interest in vampires with us through this novel. She became blind at the age of nineteen, yet became a successful psychotherapist. Dr. Hoffman is the vice president of the National Board of Forensic Evaluators.

If you also have an interest in vampires and unique variations on this theme, you may enjoy her novel. The price of $9.95 is very reasonable, considering the length.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 1, 2007