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, June 25, 2008

DOGS: FUNNY SIDE UP! by Nola Lee Kelsey

Nola Lee Kelsey’s Funniest Canine Chronicles from Dogtown to Bangkok
Dog’s Eye View Media
Hot Springs, South Dakota
Genre: Satirical Short Stories
Rating: Exceptional
ISBN: 9780980232325, $14.00, 264 pp.

Delightful! Worldly insightful!

Quoting from the back cover:

"Welcome to a ‘dog-gone’ hysterical perspective born out of a life that has literally gone to the dogs. From Nat Geo’s Dogtown to the temples of Northern Thailand, Kelsey’s biting satire offers an outrageously fresh perspective on the world of animal rescue and a life spent among man’s best friends."

My favorite chapter is titled, So Ya Wanna Start a Sanctuary. Allow me to share the opening paragraphs with you:

"Many of us dream of starting our own animal sanctuaries. In my world you hear this fantasy so often you’d think shelters would be as common as pigeons in Balboa Park or Republicans in denial.

"After two decades of working at, and volunteering for, every ilk of animal rescue, in addition to attending seminars on founding sanctuaries, and driving past many more, I fancy myself quite knowledgeable on the basics of sanctuary operations. This is precisely why I don’t start one."

If you have any interest in animals, you’ll like this book. If you’re involved with animal rescue organizations, you’ll love this book. Nola Lee Kelsey, a consummate writer who knows her stuff, has a quick mind and sharp wit, and it’s not all about dogs.

Kaye Trout - June 25, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

EVIL, ANGER, AND GOD - A Biblical Pastoral Study by Milton Crum

WingSpan Press
Livermore, CA
Genre: Religious
ISBN: 9781595942425, $12.95, 156 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"The Book in a Nutshell - Evil in Scripture denotes both suffering and behavior that causes it. Anger often follows suffering. Anger at people is condemned, but anger at God is accepted because biblical faith portrays God as inflicting evil. This faith calls for an understanding of language about God acting and a biblical theodicy revealing God’s goodness; both are provided. Portrayals of God as inflicting evil do not deny that, factually, humans inflict it, so the witness about human sin is included. Final chapters offer biblical deliverances from evil.

The author, after military service and business experience, served as a parish priest, a campus chaplain, and as a professor at the Virginia Theological Seminary where he taught a course on Evil, Anger, and God."

After trying to read this book, it is my feeling that it was not written for the average lay person. So, who might enjoy and understand this book?...possibly theological students, priests and other religious ministers. If you can understand the quote from the back cover, possibly this book may appeal to you too.

Kaye Trout - June 19, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008


How to Rewrite Your Life Script and Change Your Destiny
Parra Grande Press
Santa Barbara, CA
Genre: Self Help/Mind and Body
ISBN: 9780981554105, $14.95, 130 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Is it really possible to change your programming, your life and your destiny? Yes, it is.

"Healing Your Inner Core presents a new approach to repairing and restoring the wounded self. If you sincerely desire to heal your inner core and change your life, this book is for you.

"John Boswell is an entrepreneur living in California. As a young man he realized that his life wasn’t working and that he needed to fundamentally change. After an extraordinary journey, he succeeded. This is the story of that trip and a description of the powerful techniques he adopted to accomplish something extremely unusual.

"Healing Your Inner Core is one of the best books on the Healing Journey I’ve seen–succinct and to the point as the author lived the process himself. If you’ve ever wondered what happens behind the therapist’s door, or whether your life script might need some rewriting as well, then this is the book for you. To some extent, Boswell gives us a brilliant description of just what can happen when we decide to open them up, once and for all. James Redfield, author of The Celestine Prophecy."

John Boswell has taken his time, energy, and knowledge to share with readers his personal struggle to overcome a dysfunctional childhood. Does his book contain anything new or unique that we haven’t read before in other self-help books?...I don’t think so. The process seems to be pretty standard: recognition that one has a significant problem; making a commitment to change; honesty with oneself; and seeking help...from whatever source works.

As the author is not a psychiatrist or psychologist with client case histories, John relates personal stories about his friends, which I found questionable. Quoting from page 115:

"Now that we’ve defined the tools to rewrite life script, let’s put them to use. Remember my friend Russ, whose father abandoned him emotionally? He’s in real danger of passing that script forward as a result of emotionally abandoning his own son. If Russ were willing, he could learn how to stop reciprocating his father’s abandonment, develop a real relationship with his son, and put an end to the transmission of this unfortunate and very damaging script.

"It’s clear that Russ needs to be re-parented. He has a big gap in his script because of his dad’s inability to father him. Assume that Russ visits a counselor who understands these principles. Russ complains about his lack of relationship with his son. How can he be helped?..."

The parts that bothered me in these two paragraphs were: "If Russ were willing..." and "It’s clear that Russ needs to be re-parented." Really? Some people are raised by loving parents but still have problematic family relationships, and the reverse is also true. I don’t think there is one ‘clear’ answer to the source or solution of another person’s problems...life is complicated...and so it goes. What do you think?

Kaye Trout - June 9, 2008

Saturday, June 07, 2008

FASHION FIGHTER - Cheeks-A-Saurus-Rex-A-Maxamus by Deborah O'Dowd

iUniverse, Inc.
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 0595442676, $11.95, 148 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Seven-year-old Kylie ‘Cheeks’ Acosta is the youngest of three girls, and there is another baby on the way. Cheeks gave herself another nickname when, at four years old, she dressed up in as many clothes as she could fit and announced she was ‘Fashion Fighter’, a sort of clothing superhero. But Cheeks doesn’t want to be called Fashion Fighter anymore; she has more important issues on her mind.

"A smart and curious second-grader, Cheeks meets her biological father, whom she calls R-Daddy, for the first time. She discovers that he lost his legs in the war in Iraq. When she hears about soldiers and innocent children dying, Cheeks feels sad, frustrated, and anxious to do something about it.

"Rallying her fellow students, Cheeks starts a campaign to educate people about the war. She discovers that not everyone agrees with her, which helps Cheeks make sense of her own growing beliefs about the world around her. But the war is only one of Cheeks’ concerns–she has to fight another battle of her own right close to home. Readers will be rooting for Cheeks as she valiantly stands up for what she knows in her heart to be right."

The cover and title of this juvenile fiction novel might convey the impression that Fashion Fighter is a light, simplistic, cartoon-like read. Surprisingly, that is not the case, and Deborah O’Dowd does an exceptional job of writing about family dynamics, child abuse, the horrors of war, and terrorism through the eyes and mind of a seven-year-old little girl. This novel is a contemporary story about real problems, real fears and real solutions designed to entertain and educate young readers. It is unique, well written, well edited, and an inspiration.

Deborah has taught high school English for over sixteen years and is also the author of Poetry Made Easy. Keep up the good fight!

Kaye Trout - June 7, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


iUniverse, Inc.
Bloomington, IN
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: Good
ISBN: 0595443024, $14.95, 206 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"According to the ancient Mayan Calendar, time as we know it will stop on December 21st, 2012. But what does this actually mean?

"Rebecca Larson, senior dolphin behaviorist at SeaWorld, San Diego, has a theory. She believes that the cooperative way dolphins live is the very reason they have thrived on earth for millions of years. What’s more, she see the end of the Mayan calendar as a moment when humans may truly begin to integrate these same peaceful behaviors.

"Dr. Troy Wallace, a pioneer in the study of dolphin echolocation, is convinced that he is on the verge of an incredible scientific breakthrough. Recent research suggests that dolphins may send three-dimensional sonograms to each other, and Dr. Wallace hopes to be the first to decode and view these images.

"As handsome as he is shallow, Souther California television celebrity Ryan Ericson finds himself on a path that intersects with the lives of Dr. Wallace and Rebecca. Together, they are thrust into a mystery of coincidence and discovery connecting the Mayan Calendar end-date, dolphins and the very fate of humanity.

"What The DaVinci Code did to shed light on the mysteries of the Holy Grail, The Aquarians does for the ancient Mayan Calendar. I cannot imagine a more timely or enlightening novel. - Dr. Jim Turrell, Founder of the Center for Spiritual Discovery."

The theme of The Aquarians is most contemporary, and I’m certain there will be many more books written about ‘the end of time’ the closer we get to 2012. The subject matter makes for an informative, interesting read, though the storyline is not unique. Through his novel Eric Rankin shares his knowledge, experience and understanding of dolphins and the Mayan culture. He does an excellent job of weaving the multiple facets together to a full-circle conclusion. His style of writing is straight forward, educated, and the book is well edited.

Kaye Trout - June 4, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

MILLIE'S HONOR by Neal L. Powers

iUniverse, Inc.
Genre: Fiction
Rating: Exceptional
ISBN: 0595472249, $15.95, 222 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Things change when Millie comes to Raleigh County in 1957. She teaches students to think for themselves, and soon everyone know her slogan: ‘Grammar matters. It proves you’re educated!’

"Because of one teacher, teenagers learn to think critically about civil rights, the death of 13 year-old Donny Weber, the assassination of JFK and Dr. Martin Luther Kings, Jr., and Vietnam.

"Millie leaves a legacy. And Raleigh honors her memory in a most unusual way."

Millie’s Honor is an eclectic mix of history, mystery, drama, romance and suspense. Neal Powers tells a most interesting, unpredictable, true-to-life story about three boys, Vietnam, and the mysterious death of Donny Weber. Neal is a consummate writer with a delightful style, and his novel is well written and well edited. Allow me to share a sample of his writing with you.

"Half a million years ago, give or take a hundred thousand years, an icy mass the size of Antarctica ground past Chicago on its way south. At its southernmost reach, its gleaming face carved a line on the earth we now call the Missouri River. Spanning all the way to New York, the eastern shoulder of the Laurentide Ice Sheet also gouged out the Ohio River Valley. Desperate for a path ti the ocean, the Ohio and Missouri Rivers joined forces to cut the Mississippi River. It wasn’t trickle-down; it was cataclysmic. What sometimes begins as innocently as a snowflake can become a force to change the landscape. It is not unlike the affairs of men."

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed and price isn’t bad.

Kaye Trout - June 3, 2008