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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Brundage Publishing
33 West State Street,
Binghamton, NY
Genre: Fiction
Rating: Good
ISBN: 1892451417, $19.95, 320 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Best friends Sarah Brogan and Jim Conner have the perfect childhood friendship, but it is shattered by the devastating power of secrets as Jim uncovers the truth about Sarah’s family. In an attempt to save Sarah and her brother, Jim exposes the truth and watches as his best friend’s family is torn apart."

This is a complex story with complicated characters. Pat Frank does a good job of telling this tale in a straight forward style, but the story lost its credibility about halfway through when Chad and Harry, his father, could recognize Sarah, now calling herself Lynn, when she returned to her hometown and her best friend Jim, whom she was now dating, could not. There were other aspects which I felt to be unbelievable, such as Sarah living with Chad for two years, not having sex with him and dating Jim at the same time. It’s a sad tale with a sad ending.

A Song for Sarah is Pat Frank’s second novel. Beyond Jack Squat, her first, which I reviewed in July was most entertaining and informative.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Twin Monkeys Press
Dunellen, NJ
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 0976860201, $13.95, 300 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"When 12-year-old identical twin sister Penelope and Priscilla Post move to the small town of Dunville with their mother, they are greeted with cold, angry stares from the townspeople. Over the next few weeks, mysterious events take place within their house, causing the girls to argue about their origins. When Priscilla suggests that her house is enchanted, Penelope becomes angry. She wants nothing to do with magic.

"Upset over the growing distance between her daughters, Mom enlists the help of Penelope and Priscilla’s grandmother to devise a plan to help mend the girl’s relationship. Little do they know that their plan will do much more than intended. With the help of a 200-year old magical book, their house, and its talking inhabitants, the girls come together to defeat their sinister neighbor and protect their family secret."

This is a delightful book to entertain young teenage girls. It is fast paced and imaginative and kept me reading till the end. Jennifer Troulis is a good writer; however, the book could benefit from further editing.


9 Strategies for Taking Life by the Horns
by Ann Tardy
LifeMoxie Press
San Francisco, CA
Genre: Self Help/Motivation
Rating: Typical
ISBN: 9780979585708, $19.95, 237 pp.

LifeMoxie! is a self-help book to get readers motivated. This information is presented in nine strategies. At the end of each chapter is a summary of the significant aspects of the chapter.

It is my opinion that most of the information is common sense and covered in just about any self-help book on the market. The bulk of the text is what I call ‘fluff and fill’ with the few words of wisdom delineated in the summaries. If you’re interested in a good self-help book, why not save your $20 and pick up an old copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People at a thrift store for $.50.

I will say the book is well written and well edited, and we could all use a little moxie.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

AVENGING VICTORIO - A Novel of the Apache Insurgency in New Mexico, 1881 by Dave DeWitt

Rio Grande Books,
Los Ranchos de Albuqerque, NM
Genre: Fiction/SW History
Rating: Excellent
ISBN: 13 9781890689261, $24.95, 261 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"A rag-tag group of Apache warriors, led by an elderly man in his late seventies, took on the U.S. army’s Ninth Cavalry in revenge for the death of the great Apache war chief Victorio. Using guerilla warfare, they led raids through New Mexico, slaughtering men, women, and children and evading the Cavalry and the Buffalo Soldiers. In the end, they won!

"Interesting historical characters abound. Billy the Kid was killing people in the southern part of the territory. The New Mexico Territory was governed by Lew Wallace (author of Ben-Hur and territorial governor). Colonel Edward T. Hatch (the chile town of Hatch is named for him) was in charge of the U.S. Army’s Ninth Cavalry. And the great Apache war chief Victorio had been killed by the Mexican Army. After Victorio (a supposed treasure trove is named after him) was killed, the elder war chief Nana led the Apache to victory."

Avenging Victorio is indeed a fast-paced, fascinating, historial novel bound to entertain and educate at the same time. DeWitt’s technique of telling this tale from two perspectives–the Apache’s and the military–provides a truer sense of history and the cultures.

As I live in the four-corners area just north of New Mexico, I personally enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it to readers who enjoy historial, western-type novels.


Cincinnatus Press
Cary, North Carolina 27513
Genre: Fiction/Literature
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9780979411427, $16.95, 344 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"A domestic terrorist attack evokes a violent and oppressive response from the U.S. government . . . a labor dispute ends in violence . . . a young boy lies dying of a rare disease with no hope in sight.

"When the conflict focuses on a small town in West Virginia, Ken Murphy, Iraq veteran and Lieutenant Colonel in the West Virginia National Guard, must find a way to protect his family and community in a world turned upside down.

"In a future America terrifying to behold, Republic evokes the specter of civil war in a world that is simultaneously familiar and changed beyond recognition."

Republic is a very interesting, thought provoking story about the loss of jobs due to corporate greed, abuse of power by government agencies, and a civil war.

Charles Sheehan-Miles is an exceptional writer, and Republic is his second novel. I reviewed his first novel, Prayer at Rumayla - A Novel of the Gulf War in June 2007. And I repeat . . . I like his writing style, honesty and courage and hope you will too.

STINGY JACK by R. Scott Taylor

Booklocker.com, Inc.
Genre: Mystery
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781601452511, $16.95, 308 pp.

Stingy Jack is a fast-paced, fun read about a professional thief named Adam Beesler. It is two tales in one–Adam’s jewel heist and 17th century Ireland as told by a spectral rogue name Jack O’Keeffe. Can this young thief stay alive as he unravels the mystery?

R. Scott Taylor is an interesting writer with a snappy style. The book is well written and edited. Here’s a sample of his writing from page 5:

Police sirens ripped the silence, getting closer if Adam’s exceptional senses remained so. His light steps intensified. A man running on a cold night might turn a head or two and draw unwanted attention. A straight line beats a meandering one, and Adam’s path couldn’t have been much straighter.

Adam cursed the face-chilling wind while facing a well-lit gas station within walking distance. Frostbite might claim him as its victim if he lingered. Ears ached, making him wish for earmuffs; his hands provided the earlobes little comfort as his breath steamed from his chattering teeth.

A lone driver topped off his yellow taxi’s tank; the nozzle spurted precious fuel onto the concrete. The older man’s wool scarf draped his heavy brown polyester jacket. The right sleeve’s rip was double stitched in a frugal attempt and his cotton gloves bore multiple tatters.

To have such fortune on a chilly night, Adam wasted no time in taking advantage of the luck. " Excuse me, Sir!" Adam trotted over to the cabby, making sure nothing escaped his pockets. "Excuse me, but are you taking fares?"

If you enjoy a good mystery, you may enjoy this story.

DEAR DAD - Life Through the Eyes of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic by Kelly Phillips Bookamer

Llumina Press
Genre: Poetry
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781595267979, $9.95, 64 pp.

This small book of poetry is divided into nine chapters: Roots, Refuge, Unfortunately, Relationships, Life and Death, Darkness, Beloved, Miracles, and Dear Dad. Kelly Phillips Bookamer is an adult child of an alcoholic–her father–and Dear Dad is the story of her life expressed through poetry as she struggled to come to terms with a troubled childhood. And here’s Dear Dad.

Your future was full to tomorrows
Yet, your tomorrows end today
You sat so close to Utopia
But you were a million miles away

You carried a heavy burden
Your soul was black and blue
But all along the answers
Were buried inside of you

Every shoulder was for leaning
Every arm was open wide
But how does one swim freely
Against an impossible tide?

Waiting for you to change
Into the person you could be
Was like waiting for the sound of ashes
To fall upon the sea

Now your pain is only a particle
Floating on a quiet breeze
Your weariness is washed by waves
Over kind, contented seas

I wish you an eternity of laughter
I pray you think of me
Dad, your anguish is over
You’re free. You are finally free.

You decide.


Twenty-six Rhymes for Children
with 52 Illustrations by Grace Horne
Authors Online
Genre: Children stories
Rating: Good
ISBN: 0755201426, $7.50, 53 pp.

The Greedy Pigeon is a collection of fantasy poems beautifully illustrated by Grace Horne. Allow me to share one of the poems with you to give you an idea:

The Curious Little Hedgehog

A curious little hedgehog was looking for a meal,
When it fell into a dustbin with a little squeal.
As it lay upon the rubbish it found some lovely food
Which it gobbled up most greedily saying "This is good!"
Along came the dustman and put it in his cart
So, next time your feeling hungry, think before you start!

This small book of moral and comic verses might make a delightful gift for any young child.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - August 21, 2007


Tate Publishing & Enterprises
Genre: Love & Marriage
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 1598864858, $13.99, 211 pp.

There are many books on love and marriage, and here is another one. Dr. Buri’s contention is that thriving marriages can actually be achieved through sensible effort by reasonable people, and he places significant responsibility upon the men, as they hold the key . . . to which I agree.

Books such as this one typically tell us things we already know but have no control over. However, Dr. Buri’s book is extremely contemporary, dealing with new problems such as the increased interest in pornography and husbands using the internet for sexual contact. Studies have shown that men who view porn on a regular basis eventually find their partners less attractive and appealing. Dr. Buri clarifies the positive and necessary aspects of conflict, talks about rapport-talk versus report-talk, and concludes with "The Heart of Intimacy: Communication."

How to Love Your Wife is well written and edited. It progresses in a logical manner, is insightful and informative. Based on its contemporary focus, I can highly recommend it as food for thought to help in our personal relationships.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - August 21, 2007