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.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


2021 Pine Lake Rd, Lincoln, NE
Genre: Adventure/Memoir
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 0595416446, $17.95, 226 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"In this memoir of adventure and survival in late-1970s Alaska, author John McGoldrick offers a sweeping look at the stunning beauty and natural history of one of America’s most scenic states.

"Leaving Maine in 1975, McGoldrick travels to Alaska, working as a clam digger, carpenter, gold miner, and mountaineering guide. He survives Alaskan winters living in the back of a truck, a camper, and a broken-down school bus, and eventually builds his own house. Hunting ducks, geese, and deer, and fishing for salmon across the state helps McGoldrick experience the beauty of Alaska’s wildlife and jumping out of a military CH 47 Chinook helicopter in the middle of winter onto the slopes of Mount McKinley to rescue survivors of a plane crash keeps his adventurous spirit content.

"Blending scientific insights with Alaskan history, Alaska Memories is McGoldrick’s vivid, witty, and enjoyable story."

This memoir is divides into twelve chapters...all very interesting, informative, and well written. If you enjoy true-life adventure tales, have any interest in Alaska, or just like personal memoirs, you’ll certainly enjoy Alaska Memories. McGoldrick lived in Alaska from 1977 to 1983 and then returned to New England where he attended medical school to become an emergency physician.

Kaye Trout - December 30, 2007


A Little Boy Remembers the Japanese Attack and Other Survivor Stories from America’s Greatest Military Disaster
Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc.
701 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Genre: History/Memoir
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 13: 9780805972047, $36.00, 400 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"An early portion of West Point to Pearl Harbor tells about life at the U.S. Military Academy and one young cadets’s challenge to graduate amid the rigorous training regimen at the Point. In the beginning, Plebe ‘Dutch’ Spangler was about to understand that he was nothing but a ‘beast’–a lowly presence considered unfit for social contact with upper classmen. He wasn’t an outcast, rather a cadet on probation for the next year until proved that he had what it takes mentally and physically with proper military bearing. ‘Dutch’ had already made his firm decision at the age of eighteen that he could endure and show everyone, including himself, that he would become a full-fledged cadet. He made it! Armed with a hard earned diploma, a fine engineering education, ‘gripped by an indefinable West Point spirit,’ he was imbued with a strong sense of duty and honor that ‘guides everyone during their stay at the Military Academy and during the career of later life.’

"West Point to Pearl Harbor is heavily devoted to memories of the attack on Oahu, Hawaii on December 7, 1941 as my Father, then a captain, was ordered with his family to Fort Kamehameha, an artillery base adjacent to Pearl Harbor. As a five-year-old boy, I had been happily playing on the beach along the strategic entry channel to Pearl Harbor when I was startled into awareness and watched as the first wide wave of Japanese fighter planes roared over the Waianae Mountain Range even before they dropped their deadly loads...."

West Point to Pearl Harbor is a unique addition to the many books written about this historical event. Unique because it is predominantly a perspective of the era and lives as told through personal journals, letters, and memoirs. Dick Spangler is a consummate writer and has done an excellent job in organizing this material. The stories, as told by the survivors, bring to life the reality of this horrifying attack.

I can highly recommend West Point to Pearl Harbor to history buffs and students of all ages.

Kaye Trout - December 30, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

EL NINO by Vicky Acevedo

Llumina Press
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781595268082, $8.95, 56 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Diego Buonese had just celebrated his 10th birthday in a little town in California, when suddenly the rainy winter turns into a terrible storm. Diego, victim of a raging flood, desperately tries to keep his head above water, but exhaustion causes him to lose consciousness.

"Regaining his wits, he discovers that he is in the strong clutches of a giant boy named El Nino, the weather phenomenon. El Nino has superhuman strength, can fly above the clouds, and dive to the bottom of the Ocean.

"El Nino introduces Diego to Wiro, a small, fantastic creature with the face of a little lion monkey, the body and feathers of a parrot, and lots of magic, who lives in El Nino’s backpack. And they just might meet La Nina, El Nino’s friend and opposite presence on Earth.

"Thus begins an incredible journey across the Americas, with uncountable adventures that help Diego learn and then share with his family and friends everything about Mother Nature’s reactions to civilization."

This little adventure story was written for young children. It is educational as well as entertaining. Vicky Acevedo’s writing style tells her story well with an exciting beginning, happy ending and beautiful drawings. This little book will be released in January 2008, and you may just want to give it a try.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - December 13, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007


Outskirts Press, Inc.
Parker, Co
Genre: Poetry
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781432706869, $8.95, 76 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"A glimpse into the head of an average, everyday kind of woman–me! Much of what you’ll read between these covers comes from my personal experiences; then there are the pieces where I put myself into those proverbial ‘someone else’s shoes.’ I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is which.

"Part emotional outburst, part fantasy, some social commentary, and everything in between, this collection is my life in a nutshell and helped form who I am today–well, sort of ...."

Lesly Auerback is a unique, interesting writer. In 2006 I reviewed her debut novel, Fragments, which was an exceptional first effort. In A Nutshell is a free-style, poetry collection, and the primary element which appealed to me in Fragments is also present here–her honesty. She is an intelligent writer, and her honesty and writing style could make her a great writer. Allow me to share just a small excerpt with you from page 30:

"Lost to myself in proving I do exist
A blank soul begging to be written on
Painted on with something other
than charcoal water and mud
Putting on any discarded mask
Creating a new one to suit new friends
Leaving a shattered face quivering underneath
Unable to hold any real expression
That first abandonment reaching
across the years
Disconnecting tentative connections
Wiping out trust and security
with its lie taken for truth"

If you’re a poetry buff, give her a try and see if you don’t agree.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

NO EXPERTS NEEDED: The Meaning of Life According to You! by Louise Lewis

2021 Pine Lake Rd, Lincoln, NE 68512
Genre: Memoir/Body, Mind, Spirit
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9780595429714, $18.95, 213 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Just minutes after being ‘set free,’ Lewis, a single woman with a mortgage to pay, sits in the San Jose, California, airport panicking over her future. While toying with the option of giving into depression, she receives a powerful message from God that instantly releases the weight of her worries. ‘This is just a new chapter in your life. You hold the pen, I’ll guide your hand, and together we’ll write one hell of a chapter.’ Through Spirit’s continued involvement, Lewis is inspired to ask normal, everyday people to answer Spirit’s question: what is the meaning of life?

"No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You! weaves through a vast collection of spontaneous, thought-provoking answers and inspirational stories that demonstrate how the simple act of listening to Spirit can add meaning to every moment of your life."

This book is a personal memoir with a central theme–what is the meaning of life? Louise Lewis asks this question of family, friends and a plethora of people she meets along her path as she is guided by what she calls Spirit. The memoir contains 42 short, inspiring stories with many answers to her question. Lewis is an educated writer with an enjoyable writing style. Of course, the most interesting aspect of this book are the spontaneous answers. Allow me to share several responses with you.

"Brian - To pass on your genes. To pass on your knowledge, joy, and love to others to enhance their lives. And if nothing else, to laugh. You must always laugh."

"Agnes - To live the best I know how. Be kind and of service to others. To keep my eyes of Jesus and let him lead me on this journey of life."

"Oscar - Life is a treasure that God has given me. I am so thankful for those that love me and so thankful for those that I love. God bless you for allowing me to be a part of your book."

If you enjoy spiritual, inspiring memoirs, you just might consider this book.