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.

Monday, March 30, 2009


BookSurge Publishing
Charleston, South Carolina
Rating: Average
ISBN: 9781419656873, $15.99, 38 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Frolicking fun, Charlie and Mama Kyna by international award-winning filmmaker, Diana Rumjahn, is the unique, robust and lively tale of three friends, Charlie, a frog, Leo, a lion, and Joe, a giraffe–all ready to be loved. Young and older readers alike will revel in the graceful innocence and camaraderie as these three plush buddies, presently without a home, journey to find one. Together they go home to Charlie’s mother, Kyna, who lives in a little white cottage with big red brick steps. Over the wall and through the big city–it proves to be quite a journey. Originally a film, Going Home, that has been shown worldwide and an official selection at the prestigious The Times British Film Institute’s London Film Festival, the colorful story of this book inspires emotional involvement. This group of plucky pals will capture the hearts–and imaginations–of new audiences everywhere."

Sorry, but my take on this little book is that there’s not much in it to entertain or educate young readers, and the back cover quote is a lot of hype--'robust, revel, graceful innocence, plush buddies, plucky pals.’ The eleven illustrations are, indeed, creative and colorful, but not worth $15.99. Possibly in Rumjahn’s film, Going Home, there was a wall, a big city and a friendship-bonding journey, but they’re not in this 23-page story.

Kaye Trout - March 30, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

KATKA - A NOVELLA by Stephen Meier

Genre: Fiction
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781439216330, $12.99, 107 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Katka by Stephen Meier is a rough, uneasy novel of avarice, love, and deception gone very wrong. When Gavin and Katka join with Simona to scam buyers of mail order brides in the Czech Republic, Gavin set events into motion with disastrous results. Gavin talks Katka, his girlfriend, into selling herself to a buyer and then taking his money and running, but things get twisted and Katka disappears with the client. Left with Simona, Gavin decides to carry on and make some real money. As Gavin’s success increases, his guilt and doubt also rise, and he begins to worry this world has taken more than he’s willing to give. He finds himself thinking of Katka, the life they could have had, and the life he consigned her to, and wonders if he can undo the biggest mistake of his life. Written with grit and masterful prose, Katka is a literary punch in the stomach that takes your breath away, and leaves you with unforgettable images and even more unforgettable characters."

Actually, Stephen Meir’s novella leaves you with many questions: (1) Is this story fiction or a cathartic memoir?; (2) Was Katka really so innocent?; (3) Was Gavin really so naive?; (4) Could there really have been a different ending?

Gavin went to the Czech Republic and partied hard with beautiful women. Katka found her way to America, along with other beautiful Czech women, to pleasure men. The business of sex...mail order brides or white slave trade.

As for Stephen Meier’s writing style, it is somewhat unusual with no chapters or paragraph indentations. There are a few grammatical mistakes, but in general, Meier’s story works and will keep you turning the pages.

Kaye Trout - March 12, 2009

Thursday, March 05, 2009

WORKING WITH TROUBLED CHILDREN by James M. Kauffman & Frederick J. Brigham

Full Court Press
Verona, Wisconsin
Genre: Nonfiction/Behavioral Science
Rating: Good
ISBN: 1578616786, $19.00, 162 pp.

"A commonsense book for parents and teachers alike, with ideas that can be easily implemented anywhere. The authors identify three, key elements for success in working with troubled children: early identification of behavioral problems, scientifically sound instruction in responding to these behaviors, and the ability to predict or anticipate behavioral problems before they occur."

The authors, James M. Kauffman and Frederick J. Brigham, are highly qualified to write about behavioral disorders. They have presented "Working with Troubled Children" in a simple, straightforward manner. The book is well organized, informative and well edited. If you’re interested in this problem, you may find the book of interest.

Kaye Trout - March 5, 2009