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, November 30, 2007


Xlibris Corporation
Genre: Sci-Fi Fiction
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781425753702, $30.99, 172 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"To Live Without Warning is a story set in a future San Francisco, where public transportation is the only way to travel, and people with colds are required by machines called breathe-eraters to wear masks. Within this speculative fiction novel, there are aliens who disguise themselves as homeless people, and there are twins from an alien abduction, one human, one not, plus a virtual couple who live in a bungalow on a beach in a virtual Costa Rica who mix up their computer code to have a virtual child, and then there is a cat woman who can do all sorts of erotica with her tail, and a drummer who leads more than a band called Death, Ax and Grind.

"Joshua Cromwell has a dream, one he has had for some time, where he’s a planet. After a mysterious woman tells him of the aliens that are about to attack the Earth, she takes him to her home in the tenderloin where he meets a robot the color and texture of an orange. His life seems to be very, very important to these aliens called the Hymenopts, but he would really rather not participate in whatever is about to happen, if only he had that choice.

"This is a love story, a growing up story, and a coming home story. It’s about friendship and family and about the planet Earth. This is the story of how we begin to remember."

If you enjoy sci-fi fantasy fiction, you’ll probably enjoy To Live Without Warning. Most of my readers know that I’m not a great fantasy fan; however, as I grew up in San Francisco and play the drums myself, this novel had a unique appeal, plus I enjoy novels with an element of the metaphysical.

Timothy LaBadie is a good writer with an colorful imagination and spicy style. The novel is well-written and well-edited. LaBadie is the author of essays and fiction which stand out for their offbeat settings and timeless humor. Give him a try.

Friday, November 16, 2007

SHADES OF GOLD by Charlie Hudson

Outskirts Press, Inc.
Parker, CO
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9781432714406, $12.95, 267 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"The word is out that Hollywood is coming to Verde Key, Florida, to capture local scenery, above and below water. Police Chief Taylor considers it to be an invasion and the mayor is counting the economic boost. Detective Bev Henderson is happy to hear that her friend, Chris Green, has been hired to give scuba lessons to the handsome lead actor and other members of the cast.

"Chris’s excitement is tainted when her ex-convict, estranged husband appears in town, a new wedding ring in hand. As tension mounts into a bloody encounter, Bev begins to question what seems to be an open and shut case of tragic obsession turned violent. Are three dead people, who apparently have nothing in common, linked to a secret from the l940s?

"Plunge into an intriguing story filled with memorable characters and twists sprinkled like golden nuggets."

In Shades of Gold Charlie Hudson continues the mystery adventures of Detective Bev Henderson, her serial protagonist. We first met Bev in Shades of Truth. If you enjoy fictional mystery stories with women detectives, I’m certain you will enjoy this series. Charlie Hudson is a consummate writer who shares her knowledge of Florida and scuba diving with her readers. There’s always a little romance, some suspense and of course, a murder mystery to solve. The novel is well-written and well-edited. You won’t be disappointed.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


The Essential Guide for Crafting Your Personal Healthcare Plan
DJ Iber Publishing, Inc.
Bethlehem, PA
Genre: Nonfiction/Healthcare
Rating: Excellent
ISBN: 9780979906107, $26.95, 430 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"-Create a plan for your healthcare that reflects your values
- Recruit the top two members of your healthcare team: Your primary care physician and your medical mentor
- Pay for your healthcare, when you are insured and when you are not insured
- Play an active role in creating and maintaining your healthcare story
- Understand your privacy and ownership rights to your health information
- Communicate with your physicians to get the best results
- Use Internet-based healthcare quality tools to rate the quality of your providers and health plan
- Understand the languages used in medicine: Medical terminology and diagnostic coding"

Ruthann Russo has written this wonderful, comprehensive healthcare book to help us better understand our healthcare rights and responsibilities and to answer questions related to our complex healthcare system. The book contains an Introduction, 18 chapters and 2 appendices: Becoming a Visionary Healthcare Consumer; Recruiting Your Top Two Team Members; Paying for Healthcare; Playing an Active Role in Creating Your Healthcare Story; Understanding Who Uses Your Health Information and Why; Knowing Your Rights; Recognizing Healthcare as a Right, a Privilege and a Responsibility; Communication with Your Physician; Getting a Second Opinion; Rating the Quality of Your Healthcare Providers and Health Plan; Impacting Healthcare Quality; The Making of a Doctor; Understanding Medical and Surgical Specialists and Other Providers; Complementary, Alternative and Naturopathic Medicine; Serving as the Common Thread in a Fragmented System of Healthcare; Choosing a Hospital; Learning the Language of Medicine; Coding; How to Review Your Medical Record; Raw Food and Nutrition Resources. 7 Steps to Your Best Possible Healthcare is an excellent reference book addition to anyone's medical library.

Ruthann has written 5 books used by managers in the healthcare industry. Hospitals throughout the country use her training programs to assist their physicians and clinicians in providing quality care to their patients.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A RUMOR OF DRAGONS by Michael A. Heald

Lulu Press, Inc.
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9781430325093, $19.95, 396 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"On Ganus, a world with two unchanging faces, the great dragons disappeared long ago.

"Marc Courtenay swallows his anger when his friends laugh at him behind his back and his father uses him as a pawn in games of political intrigue. After all, what good is a prince born without hands? What can he hope to accomplish? Better to enjoy life’s pleasures and let the world take care of itself!

"But when the kingdom falls, Marc is plunged into a world he has never known, where myths come alive, legends kill, and a rumor about the return of the great dragons will decide the fate of all.

"As he flees for his life, Marc is aided by a minor wizard, a disgraced empath, and a dwarf dragon who cannot fly. He discovers that even a handless prince can change the course of history. However, first he must learn to entrust his life to those he comes to love and to discover the courage to act when all hope seems lost before he can confront the growing menace that threatens to rip Ganus apart."

As I have said in past reviews, the fantasy genre is not one of my favorite genres; however, I do review such novels when they are submitted. It is my opinion that A Rumor of Dragons is an exceptional fantasy novel which I found to be most enjoyable. It is quite an inspirational story with a unique hero. Michael Heald is a consummate writer with a creative imagination, and hopefully, one day his name will be included along with Robert Jordan, Jonathan Stroud, and Christopher Paolini as a contemporary fantasy writer.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Aventine Press
1023 4th Ave., San Diego, CA
Genre: Fictional Short Stories
Rating: Good
ISBN: 1593304994, $11.50, 131 pp.

From the back cover:

"A delightful collection of short stories–from the humorous to the spiritual to the tragic–that will stay with you long after you’ve read them."

If you enjoy short stories...a bedtime treat, you’ll probably enjoy Laura Lee as it is well-written and well-edited. There are seven stories in all: Laura Lee, Devils, Natty Sorrell, The Mutiny of Harby Stone, The Baptism of Billy Ray Sikes, Confessions of a Ridiculous Man, and An August Colloquy. I personally found The Baptism of Billy Ray Sikes, the thoughts of a man on death row as he awakes to his last day of life, to be the most poignant as he recalls how he came to be on death row, his fears of this day, and finally, the peace he had found.

J. D. Livken is an educated, creative freelance writer who received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Tennessee. He lives with is wife and two children in East Tennessee.