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 28, 2008

A BRIDGE BACK by Patrick M. Garry

Inkwater Press
Portland, OR
Genre: Fiction
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9781592993321, $16.95, pp 225

Quoting from a portion of the back cover:

"Eighteen years ago, on a stormy night, the worst tragedy to ever hit Mount Kelven occurred on a lift bridge over the Esarno River. Many said it was caused by two reckless young people on their way to a Justice of the Peace.

"For 18 years, Nate Morrissey has stayed away from his hometown of Mount Kelven. He didn't even return for his grandfather's funeral, or to try to stop Laura's wedding. But this long absence is about to end."

A Bridge Back is a novel full of intrigue, tragedies and dysfunctional people. Patrick M. Garry is a talented/gifted writer who excels at weaving simple, yet complex stories about real people and real problems. Can Nate and Laura change 18-year-old attitudes in a week or two? Can they begin new lives and forget the tragic past? Should there be a happy ending for Nate after 18 years of self-centered detachment and selfishness? Will Laura ever find some happiness? Is the story believable? No, but then again...yes, in a dysfunctional, true sense of life.

Patrick Garry is a pro and I like his style.You might too.

Kaye Trout - January 5, 2009

Thursday, December 25, 2008

THE VALUES PURSUED LIFE - Exellence and Greatness from Within by Gary Gordon

Genre: Christian Inspirational Self-Help
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781419691966, $13.99, 186 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Within each of us lie infinite potential, decency, and yes, greatness. The trick is to tap into our natural reservoir of humility, tenacity and strength. To help release our boldest forces, each of us must consciously and actively embrace the principles of integrity, responsibility, and accountability. We are what we value most.

"The Values Pursued Life by Gary Gordon reads like a tightly woven monologue and stream of consciousness. Lively and original, this vastly powerful guide proves to be a journey in which readers become better leaders, better men and women, better co-workers, bosses, confidantes and friends. The best is yet to come; it comes from inside each of us. Tap into your values and your inner greatness--today."

Through this little story about Shabaroo, an immigrant Jamaican driver, and his employer, "the old man", Gary Gordon works to inspire his readers to greatness based on values such as spirituality, love, integrity, justice, wisdom, perseverance, temperance, tolerance, frugality, principle, empathy, compassion, knowledge, chastity, peace of mind, faith and tranquility. His writing fluctuates between (1) a pollyannaic perspective of the United States, (2) giving advice and (3) poetic descriptions of Floridian flora and fauna. I willl provide you with samples of all three and then you can decide if this books is for you:

(1) From page 71 - "This is a fertile land. This was the country that recognized the importance of values and principles. This was the country of abundance, accountability, freedom, quality, service, and hospitality. This was the nation of moral intelligence, ethical intelligence, and emotional intelligence. This was the country where excellence and greatness abounds. This was the nation where spirituality was placed first on its chain of values; where integrity and honesty are as importance as the very foodds that were eaten for sustenance. This was the land of knowledge, wisdom, and discernment."

(2) From page 47: "'What is emotional intelligence?' Shabaroo asked. 'Emotional intelligence,' the old man answered, 'is having knowledge of your internal state. Having that knowledge gives you wisdom. It is also understanding your emotions and recognizing other people's emotions. It is the ability to use emotions creatively and cognitively.'"

(3) From page 9: "Shabaroo looked to his left. Not far off was a stream. A soft wind swept by. It came smoothly up and over the turnpike overpass and down through the cane fields. Then it subsided.

The wind came back in slightly stronger gusts. It moaned in the palm trees, causing their leaves to sway back and forth. It rippled the gently flowing waters of the stream. After a while it calmed to a feeble stir.

It was early morning, just before dawn. The air was cool, and the stream ran merrily along its course. A leaf fell on its surface, and the smooth running waters deposited it on the bank further downstream."

At the end of each chapter is a positive affirmation in large print, such as: "I AM KIND AND COMPASSIONATE TO OTHERS AND TO MYSELF." It would be my recommendation that the book be professionally edited.

If you are a reader of spiritual self-help books, you will find nothing new here. The Values Pursued Life just might appeal to the Christian teenage market.

Kaye Trout - December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Full Court Press
Verona, Wisconsin
Genre: Inspirational Memoir
Rating: Good
ISBN: 1578616751, Advance Reader's Edidtion, 159 pp.

Against the Current is Bob Segalman's personal journey through life with a serious disability and a record of his achievements--an inspiration to all. He has written this memoir in a journal-like fashion with a sense of humor and photos to boot. It's well written, edited and presented in an attractive manner and will be published in 2009.

Bob Segalman has lived a full and productive life, and I can highly recommend this memoir to entertain, inform and inspire.

Kaye Trout - December 21, 2008


The Poetic Tale of a Theatrical Cat
M-Y Books
187 Ware Road, Hertford
Genre: Poetry
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9781906658137, $7.99, 77 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"This is the tale of Hyam, a cat famous for talking himself out of a part at an audition for a West End Production - for he is an actor. He tells his own story in a series of delightfully readable poems, taking us on his travels through the ups and down of theatre life and his many escapades as a sophisticated actor, a country puss and a family pet. Blessed with a sense of humour and an abounding love of people, Hyam is, indeed, a most unusual cat."

Pamela Douglas has written this wonderful little book which I'm certain will delight children of all ages and cat lovers in particular. Her poems rhyme like a cat in a hat, and one soon comes to know and love Hyam. The books is well written, edited and illustrated. The cover is colorful and attractive.

Kaye Trout - December 21, 2008