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, April 27, 2009


Outskirts Press, Inc.
Denver, CO
Genre: Fictional Fantasy Romance
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9781432729639, $19.95, 288 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Archaeologist Ashton Bryke unearths a priceless cache of ancient golden jewelry. The discovery could secure him fame and fortune for life–but he is willing to bury it again forever...to spend one night with the treasure’s owner, the most beautiful woman who ever lived: Helen, Princess of Troy.

"Helen keeps her side of the bargain and materializes in all her luscious glory in Ashton’s hotel room. But the wily princess has also made a bargain with Zeus, and she has plans for the wealthy, handsome archaeologist. For Ashton is an inveterate womanizer, and she has come to life to reform Ashton’s licentious lifestyle in order to expiate her three-thousand-year-old sin of adultery.

"Why would Ashton Bryke resist the advances of the world’s most beautiful woman? What powerful inner force could compel this ladies’ man to contain his lust despite overwhelming temptation? Only another bargain–one with an otherworldly payoff for both Ashton and Helen. But if they succeed as a team, what kind of reward will they expect next? The answers lie hidden in: Helen’s Treasure: Odyssey of a Ladies’ Man.

"This light-hearted story of desire and deliverance originates in Turkey and crosses the sparkling Aegean to Greece and back again–filled with romance, music, art, sailing, dining, and philosophical inquires along the way."

Helen’s Treasure is a multi-faceted novel starting with Greek mythology and evolving into contemporary feminist issues. Aysel, a young Muslim woman, feels dominated by her brother Berk, Ashton’s friend, and her father. She is attracted to Ashton but also angry and outspoken about his promiscuous reputation and motives. There is conflict throughout...male/female, brother/sister, family, friends, east/west with a Muslim twist and a happy ending.

Andrew Rodriguez is an educated writer who weaves a colorful tale of mythology, sociology, countries, cultures, religions and love. Aysel asks Ash if he’s open to a woman’s advice? He says yes, and of course, she gives it to him. Quoting from page 131-132:

"Then you’ll need to change your ways by paying more attention to our sentiments and viewpoints. Admit that in addition to butts and boobs, women have more than enough gray matter to judge essential issues, as well or better than men...

"Isn’t men’s refusal to share and understand women’s values one of the main reasons couples seek professional counseling? Come on, Ash, it’s nothing but common sense...."

Amen...so simple and yet it says so much. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Kaye Trout - April 27, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

THE NATURAL SOUL by Barbara Harris Whitfield

SterlingHouse Publisher, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA
Genre: Inspirational Memoir
Rating: Good
ISBN: 158501123X, $18.95, 176 pp.

Barbara H. Whitfield is a thanatologist (studies death and dying), a Near-Death Experiencer and respiratory/massage therapist. She is the author of many published articles and four books. Her credentials and endorsements are extensive.

I would consider The Natural Soul to be an inspirational memoir. It is well written, well edited, and spiritually uplifting. If you worry about death and dying, give her a read.

Kaye Trout - April 21, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Nobody's Home by Cliff Fazzolari

SterlingHouse Publisher, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA
Genre: Fiction
Rating: Good
ISBN: 1563153874, $11.21, 240 pp.

Nobody’s Home is a dramatic novel about a poor family with a dominant-alcoholic-murderous father, a short-lived-loving mother and two brothers written in the first person by the innocent-unpopular teenage daughter, Shari.

Cliff Fazzolari is a good writer, the story flows smoothly, and it’s well edited. However, Fazzolari lost me as a reader after the father killed Shari’s mother, how he killed her and how Shari and her brother Russell, knowing the truth, dealt with the murder and their father. The story lost its credibility for me, but you might give it a try and see what you think.

Kaye Trout - April 13, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

THE MAKING OF A MADAM - A MEMOIR by Patsyann Maloney with Wayne Holmes

Genre: Memoir
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781439218464, $19.00, 280 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Sexually molested–the first time–at age six, received money for the use of her body at age eight, married five times, pregnant eight times in seven years, arrested for prostitution at thirty-eight, and jailed by the FBI for running a brothel at age forty.

"The story of Patsyann Maloney’s life as a madam began in her childhood and ends triumphantly after serving time at the Federal Correctional Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. This victim-to-victor tale takes the reader through fascinating twists and turns while divulging insider information into the lives of prostitutes–and the madam who cared for them.

"Despite all the evil forces that worked against Patsyann Maloney, she triumphed. Her story gives hope to the most desolate and destitute."

The Making of a Madam is more precisely a story about poverty, a dominant/abusive father, ignorance, hormones, and Patsyann’s search for love and someone to take care of her. As fate would have it, she had multiple pregnancies by different partners until she finally had her tubes tied. Her mother had twelve children by an abusive husband and finally left him and lost her children.

As far as "divulging insider information into the lives of prostitutes," don’t get your hopes too high–pretty standard stuff–remember Burt and Dolly in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? As for style and tone, I would have preferred less descriptive emoting (sighs and giggles), less cute metaphors, and more details, such as who actually paid for all Patsyann’s births, adoption processing, child support/medical care, and rehab in federal prison...American tax payers and government agency programs? She doesn’t say.

I found this memoir somewhat disturbing but not for the obvious, promoted reasons: "Sexually molested–the first time–at age six, received money for the use of her body at age eight...." Indeed, Patsyann’s life was extremely hard and problematic; yes, she sounds like a very loving, caring mother; and yes, she survived, changed, and gives "hope to the most desolate and destitute."

What did I find disturbing? I thought the memoir to be a little less than honest, sugar-coated you might say. It disturbed me that she never wanted to tell her sister Maggie about her sexual problem with Maggie’s husband and then in this memoir...tells the world. Finally, judging by the title, The Making of a Madam, the cover design and promotional hype, Patsyann is still trying to sell sex.

Other than these disturbing factors, the memoir is informative, well edited, inspirational and in closing, but for the grace of God...

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - April 10, 2009