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, October 12, 2009


HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
New York, NY
Rating: Very Good
ISBNs: 006092991X, $12.00, 190 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

“Judge Judy takes on stupidity. Offering advice to women seeking to build a strong foundation for their lives, Sheindlin combines her experiences as a Family Court judge, wife and grandmother. She clues women in on how to keep their individuality and nourish their strengths. - New York Daily News

“This book resonates with the voice of Judge Scheindlin....It is instructional, motivational and full of practical advice.... She empowers through her can-do energy. - New York Law Journal

“(Sheindlin is) part Harry Truman, part Rhea Perlman: funny, quick-tempered, bluntly honest. - People

“Sheindlin writes with the same theatrical no-nonsense directness that animates her on-air persona. Publishers Weekly”

I highly recommend this book to all females of any age for Sheindlin’s insight and understanding of the problems we all face. Allow me to share with you the opening to Chapter 6 - You Can’t Teach the Bull to Dance:

“Once you understand that you’re the trunk of the tree, you also have to face a terrible truth: Trying to change a man–to make him more helpful, more responsive, more socially acceptable, more sensitive, more domesticated–is about as feasible as trying to teach a bull the two-step. The result is going to be a pile of broken china and a load of irritation for you. I was enlightened about this fact during a rocky point in my marriage. My husband, Jerry, and I had reached a marital impasse, and after much cajoling, my ‘bull’ reluctantly agreed to a session with a marriage counselor. We sat inches apart on a couch while I spewed out my complaints. Bottom line, he didn’t understand me or my needs. Sound familiar? My handsome, adorable bull grunted often, was visibly uncomfortable, but was captive for a full fifty minutes. Jerry and I had been married for fifteen exciting, interesting years, but for all that time I indulged in the female struggle to make him think like a woman. The session was almost over when the therapist reached for a large bowl of grapes. He handed it to my mate and instructed him to slowly feed me one grape at a time, and I was to accept his offering without touching or helping him. The symbolic nature of this exercise did not escape me. He was giving, I was receiving. Not wanting to insult the affable therapist who looked as if he had just reinvented the wheel, we concluded the exercise, thanked him, plunked down one hundred bucks, and left. For the next week, every time I started to complain about his lack of understanding, empathy, caring, Jerry would whip out a small box of raisins (he had decided grapes were too messy) and demand that I sit down for a feeding. But the exercise didn’t inspire the promised intimacy. It was just plain irritating. And then it hit me–this was the turning point. I was fifty years old. I finally concluded that the struggle was over. It struck me like a bolt of lightning. I’d spent most of my adult years trying to teach my chosen bull to dance. Whether owing to nature or nurture, I just couldn’t get this bull to do the cha-cha. So if I wanted inner peace and happiness, it had to come from me. Why had I ever expected him to provide it for me? He was just the way he was, and no matter what I did, he wasn’t going to change all that much. I thought about the thousands of troubled couples I had seen as a family court judge, and all my female friends whose basic complaint always boiled down to the same thing. You can’t teach the bull to dance. We must raise our daughters to get on with their lives–and not be stalled by the same bevy of frustrations that have paralyzed women for generations. Women are still looking to men as the source of all meaningful approval, as the beacons of light in the deep, dark cold of outer space. It’s just not so. Love has to emanate first from within yourself–we have to teach our young women to love themselves and respect themselves. Confirmation of your value as a human being doesn’t depend on the approval of any man, be it your husband, brother, father, or boyfriend. Women are complete individuals without the need of men to establish their purpose and direction in our society. Times have changed. The relationships between men and women are changing as well. The old expectations, the old contracts, no long necessarily apply. Most of us want our mates to complement us, to make us feel as though our lives are balanced and complete. If you expect your man to understand your every subtle emotional turn, and always to treat you as a completely equal partner; if you expect him to empathize when you’re having a particularly nasty bout of PMS, cramps, hot flashes, menopause, or the thousand other little hells only women are prone to, you will end up feeling frustrated, disappointed and unhappy.

“I deferred to men for years because it was expected, it was expedient, and it was necessary to keep the peace, and I resented it. It was expected of my generation. Feminism and women’s liberation are only words out there in the real, everyday world. Ideals don’t always play out as well as they sound. Inner peace truly comes when you recognize and accept the differences between men and women, and decide to enjoy the filet and discard the gristle.

“Here’s some food for thought. It has been said that there are two kinds of men: those who don’t get it, and those who do, but get it wrong.”

Ladies, if you can relate to the above in any way, you will definitely want to buy this book. Other books by Family Court Judge Judy Sheindlin include Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining and You’re Smarter than You Look –also recommended for their truth, honesty and humor.

Kaye Trout - October 12, 2009


Woodside Publishing Group
Genre: Fiction/Short Stories
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9780615284064, $14.95, 216 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

“Milton’s Pickle - A seven-year-old genius develops a unique method to deal with his bully problems.

“Bearclaw at The Coffeecaker - Two damaged people find common ground and unexpected love over coffee and pastry at The CoffeeCaker.

“The Puppy Murders - A sick and dying puppy teaches fourteen-year-old Jim the meaning of responsibility and the value of truth and humility.

“The Brass Rail - Ray Martelli has lost everything of value to an alcohol addiction. He’s desperate to regain the love and respect of his wife and kids. Can he win?

“Rot Like Me - A teenage narcissistic rapist and murderer arrives with his family in Bells Grove, Fl. Enrolled in a new school, he scopes the chicks, but strange, malevolent supernatural forces have other ideas.

“Dear Daniel - In a letter to his surgeon son, a father admits to the brutal crime of murder.

“Hank Straker, SA - A retired sheriff contemplates suicide as the anniversary of his wife’s death approaches. He’s slapped awake by a late night intruder. ‘Why ain’t you at the senior’s mixer,’ he growls.”

For those of us not familiar with the slang term and title of this book, Screwing the Pooch, here are a few definitions: 1) to do something the wrong way, 2) to make a catastrophic error, and 3) to goldbrick–all negative behaviors, and it is this negative or dark side of life that these short stories have in common. All but one are about murder or death.

J. B. Bergstad is a gifted storyteller with a unique talent for saying a lot in a little space. His character-driven stories come to life quickly, richly and tightly. He doesn’t miss a beat and is an artist at his craft. If you enjoyed short stories by Stephen King or Ambrose Bierce, you will enjoy Screwing the Pooch.

Kaye Trout - October 12, 2009

Friday, October 02, 2009

THE 13TH JUROR - The Official Transcript of the Martin Luther King Assassination Conspiracy Trial by MLK the Truth, LLC

Genre: Non-fiction-Trial Transcript
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781442112155, $29.95, 766 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

“For fourteen days in the winter of 1999, just blocks away from the site of Dr. King's assassination, one of the most infamous assassination mysteries was being solved in Memphis, Tennessee, before a circuit court judge and twelve impaneled jurors.

“While the national media turned a blind eye toward this trial, day by day the facts from the actual witnesses came forth to attempt to prove the truth behind what really happened on April 4th, 1968, to Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.

“This book is the actual trial transcript, from beginning to end with no editing, no deletions, no opinions or commentary. Based upon the testimonies, you can become the 13th juror, and make up your own mind about what happened on that fateful day.”

As you recall, Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. This civil wrongful death trial began on November 15, 1999. The 13th Juror is the actual transcript from this trial in which William Pepper, formerly James Earl Ray’s attorney, represented Coretta Scott King and her children who were asking for monetary damages of $100. One purpose of this trial was to provide an official forum for facts and testimonies regarding Dr. King’s assassination to be recorded for history. There is no author, style of writing or quality of editing to be considered.

If you like non-fiction books about historical events, you might consider The 13th Juror. It is uniquely informative and physically...quite heavy.

Kaye Trout - October 2, 2009