Bergers Book Reviews

Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory
Author: M. Evonne Dobson
Publisher: Poisoned Pencil
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-9293-4508-3
Pages: 294
Price: $10.95

Author’s website
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Kami has no intention of getting involved in Daniel’s problems. He’s been accused of selling drugs – the drugs that killed his sister, Julia – and the whole school is whispering about him. But when Kami notices that Daniel’s actions are inconsistent with the crime he’s supposedly committed, she realizes he can’t possibly be guilty.

Gathering her friends together, as well as a reluctant Daniel, Kami is determined to find out what really happened. As the group meets for strategic planning in their “Bat Cave” in the library, they review the events of the last months of Julia’s life. Someone gave Julia those drugs, and it wasn’t Daniel. But who was it, and did that person intend to kill her?

Chaos Theory is a fast-paced mystery with great characters. Although the mystery takes center stage, Kami and her friends have unique personalities, and it was great fun getting to know them all. I really enjoyed this mystery, and look forward to reading more of this new series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

April 18, 2015 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Gorillas in Our Midst

Gorillas in our Midst
Authors: Richard Fairgray & Terry Jones
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-63220-607-7
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

Buy it at Amazon

“You should always carry a banana with you,” Gorillas in Our Midst wisely advises. Gorillas can be found everywhere and are really hard to spot. They’re masters of disguise and often have jobs that let them wear masks. Sometimes small gorillas go to school. You can tell that there are a lot of gorillas in your town if the grocery stores are always out of bananas.

Kids may not realize gorillas hide right in their midst. And they might not know that the child in their class is really a gorilla in disguise. They never know where a gorilla might appear, so it’s best to be prepared. Always carry bananas.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

April 10, 2015 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

The Walls Around Us

The Walls Around Us
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Algonquin
Genre: Teen
ISBN: 978-1-61620-372-6
Pages: 336
Price: $17.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Amber is living at a correctional facility for girls, surrounded by hardened criminals, murderers and drug dealers. After one bizarre evening, she suddenly acquires a new cellmate. But Ori isn’t like the rest of them, and the girls wonder at her story.

Violet is a ballet dancer, headed for Julliard. But three years ago, she was responsible for Ori being sent away. What really happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made of trees? Only Vi and Ori know.

The Walls Around Us tells Amber and Vi’s stories, weaving them together through their common bond with Ori. As their secrets come out, the reader sees their true motives and desires, and exactly what they will both do to accomplish them. This spooky psychological thriller is a page-turner with a surprising and satisfying conclusion.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

April 6, 2015 Posted by | teen | Leave a comment

Becoming Generation Flux

Becoming Generation Flux
Author: Miles Anthony Smith, MBA
Publisher: Kompelling Publishing
Genre: Business
ISBN: 978-0-9884053-3-2
Pages: 188
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Those who cling to traditional employment models are struggling to survive in our current economic climate. Today’s generation doesn’t have the luxury of linking up with a solid employer and working up through the ranks over the next few decades until retirement. Instead, they may have to switch jobs every two or three years in order to generate a better income.

Becoming Generation Flux addresses the challenges faced in finding meaningful and financially rewarding employment. This guide tackles difficult topics such as whether or not to go to college, how to find and keep a job, and how to know when it’s time to leave. And it offers tips on how to handle living on a reduced income during those times of transition between jobs.

As the economy demands specific skills for open-ended positions, today’s worker will need to learn to adapt to those new needs or risk becoming obsolete. This book provides an interesting and informative overview of what to expect and how to cope in this new global workplace.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

April 1, 2015 Posted by | business | Leave a comment

Little Mouse’s Adventures at Fenway Park

Little Mouse's Adventures at Fenway Park
Author: Brittany Bang
Illustrator: Caitlyn Knepka
Publisher: CurlyQ Press
Genre: Children / Sports
ISBN: 978-1941216-00-2
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Little Mouse is excited because today is The Big Day. No, it’s not her birthday or Thanksgiving. It’s Opening Day at Fenway Park and she can’t wait to enjoy her special day!

Scurrying to the top of the Green Monster, she surveys the sights below. Next stop is the famous Red Seat. Then it’s off to find refreshments, before heading to the scoreboard to check out its secret message. There is so much to do and see at Fenway Park. And when it’s all over, she knows she has the whole season of fun ahead of her.

Little Mouse’s Adventures at Fenway Park is a cute introduction to this historic baseball stadium. It would make a great gift for the young Red Sox fan in your life.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 29, 2015 Posted by | children, sports | Leave a comment

Face Value (Rachel Gold mystery)

Face Value
Author: Michael A. Kahn
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0278-0
Pages: 250
Price: $24.95

Author’s website
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When Sari Bashir falls to her death from the office parking garage, the police rule it suicide. But Stanley Plotkin, the eccentric mailroom clerk who worked with her, thinks otherwise. As Rachel Gold, attorney, drives him home from the funeral, he tells her his concerns and insists Sari was murdered.

Rachel knew Sari personally and wants to know the truth. So she allows Stanley, who is an expert at reading facial expressions, to lead an investigation. Several of the partners at the law firm where Sari worked have good reasons to want her dead. Guided by Stanley, Rachel begins to dig deeper into their personal and financial affairs, looking for answers.

Rachel is a smart woman with helpful and resourceful friends. The whole team, including some of Sari’s family and coworkers, band together to determine if Sari was really murdered, and by whom. Face Value is an enjoyable mystery with unique investigative techniques, Jewish witticisms and intrigue.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 28, 2015 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Just You Wait

Just You Wait
Author: Jane Tesh
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0367-1
Pages: 255
Price: $24.95

Author’s website
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David Randall, private investigator, isn’t very busy, so he decides to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a local actress. When his psychic friend, Camden, tags along to her house, they discover that she’s not just missing, but actually dead and buried in the basement. Another client sends Randall to Florida, chasing down her business associate that she believes was stealing from her. But he acts in a surprising manner, making Randall wonder at his motives. Could these two cases be related in some way?

Like previous books in the Grace Street mystery series, crime often takes a backseat to these well-developed characters and the interesting twists and turns their lives take. Love, jealousy, friendship, and death all play a part, and the reader almost feels as if she lives at 302 Grace Street as she watches their interactions with each other.

Although the story ended when the mystery was solved, I really wanted to linger a bit longer with them all. Just You Wait is an enjoyable read, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment in this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 18, 2015 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Both of Me

Both of Me
Author: Jonathan Friesen
Publisher: Blink
Genre: Teen
ISBN: 978-0-310-73188-7
Pages: 256
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Clara has suffered a tragedy in London, and now she’s on the road, attempting to make peace with her past. When her bag is accidentally switched at the airport, she tracks it down to a boy named Elias who suffers from dissociative identity disorder (split personality).

Elias spends some of his time in the present and the Other One lives in a place he calls Salem. This Other One seems to see into Clara’s past, and Clara is determined to find out what he knows. The two determine that the only way for Elias to find out what keeps him living two different lives is to follow the Other One to Salem and see where it leads them. Their journey takes them east, looking for a Lightkeeper, with memory and the stars to guide them.

I really liked Elias, and I hoped that their plan was going to work. Both of Me really grabbed my attention and held me captive, wanting to know what happened next, but I felt sad and unsatisfied with the ending. Blink is a Christian publisher, but this book presented a very minimal Christian message.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 7, 2015 Posted by | teen | Leave a comment

Louis Beside Himself

Louis Beside Himself
Author: Anna Fienberg
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Genre: Middle grade fiction
ISBN: 978-1-74237-994-4
Pages: 246
Price: $8.99

Buy it at Amazon

Louis loves words more than anything. Unfortunately, his dad thinks he should put down his thesaurus and start building up his body. So when a burglar breaks into his home one evening, and he isn’t able to use any of the wrestling moves he’s supposed to know, he feels like an utter failure.

Things go from bad to worse. His two best friends suddenly find what makes them happiest and pursue their new interests with joy, leaving Louis to ponder his miserable fate alone. Words – and his voice – have let him down, and he doesn’t know what to do. But when he realizes he needs to act quickly to help a new friend, and it will involve speaking up in her defense, he turns to his words once again.

Louis Beside Himself is a quirky and fun coming of age novel. Kids will relate to Louis worrying about meeting his father’s expectations and feeling inadequate when facing difficult situations. And when Louis finally manages to do something very, very right, the reader will cheer for his efforts. I highly recommend this uplifting and enjoyable book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 23, 2015 Posted by | tween | Leave a comment

The Not So Wicked, Wicked Witch!

The Not So Wicked, Wicked Witch
Author: Amy Purser Carter
Illustrator: Sarah E. Markham
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4327-3781-8
Pages: 24
Price: $15.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

One witch just can’t seem to be as wicked as she knows she should be. So on Halloween night, you won’t find her out causing mayhem. Instead, she stays home and bakes cookies for the children.

The Not So Wicked, Wicked Witch! paints a nice picture of a good witch who doesn’t do any evil deeds. But that’s as far as this book goes. There is no actual story. I would have preferred to see some kind of plot, in order for this book to hold children’s attention.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 21, 2015 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

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