Bergers Book Reviews

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
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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

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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

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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
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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

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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

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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

Muzzled

Muzzled
Author: Eileen Brady
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0184-4
Pages: 250
Price: $24.95

Author’s website
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Kate Turner, D.V.M., is out making house calls when she arrives at the home of the Langthornes. Expecting to check on one of their champion Cavalier King Charles spaniels, she is shocked to find the couple seated in their chairs, apparently shot while enjoying their tea.

Although the initial determination is murder-suicide, several pieces of the puzzle don’t seem to fit. Dr. Kate is unpleasantly reminded on several occasions that as a newcomer to town and the one who found the bodies, she’s being considered a suspect. And as she tries to clear her name, she learns that almost everyone had a reason to hate the Langthornes.

Muzzled is the first in the new Kate Turner, D.V.M. mystery series. Animal lovers will be amused by the antics of pet owners and their companions, and cozy mystery fans will appreciate this well-crafted whodunit. I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to seeing more of this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 16, 2015 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Elephantastic!

Elephantastic!
Author: Michael Engler
Illustrator: Joëlle Tourlonias
Publisher: Peter Pauper Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4413-0841-2
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

Buy it at Amazon

Andrew is busy working on a treasure map when his mother asks him to bring a package upstairs to his neighbor. But instead, he opens it, thinking it’s for him. Inside is a stuffed elephant named Timbo, who instantly becomes his friend. They travel all over the world together, seeing interesting new things and having great adventures. But soon the fun ends, when Andrew’s mother tells him the elephant belongs to Louise.

With great sadness, he gives his new best friend to the girl upstairs. But he is in for a big surprise when she comes to visit him only a little while later. Timbo misses him, and she suggests that maybe the three of them can travel together from now on.

Elepahantastic! is full of fun and adventure. Using only his imagination, Andrew can talk to Timbo and travel to foreign places. And when Louise joins them, the joy is multiplied.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 13, 2015 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Panthers Play for Keeps (Pru Marlowe Pet Mystery #4)

Panthers Play for Keeps
Author: Clea Simon
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-5905-8870-3
Pages: 250
Price: $24.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Pru Marlowe has an unique gift – the ability to communicate with animals. But animals don’t communicate the way humans do, in complete sentences and thoughts. Instead they convey feelings and impressions, which are often confusing and misunderstood.

While training a service dog, Pru discovers a woman’s body in the woods. The dog conveys a mixture of feelings that Pru is at a loss to interpret. But when the police decide the woman had been mauled by a big cat – and none had been seen in the area for over a century – Pru is puzzled. In speaking to the animals, the police, and the people involved with the woman, the story becomes even more disturbing. If a big cat really was responsible, how did it get there? And where was it now?

Panthers Play for Keeps is the fourth book in the Pru Marlowe mystery series. Unlike some other animal mysteries, Pru’s conversations are believable and add an interesting dimension to the story. I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to more in this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 7, 2015 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Wade Boss: Hybrid Hunter

Wade Boss
Author: Marcus MacGregor
Publisher: Saddle Sore Entertainment
Genre: Teen
ISBN: 9781475239669
Pages: 242
Price: $9.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Wade Boss has a successful business working with exotic animals in Hollywood. So when a tiger is running loose, the police naturally call him in to help capture it. But what Wade finds is a hybrid tiger-lizard which is quickly picked up by the Genetic Anomalies Task Center – a division of Homeland Security.

Soon Wade finds himself caught up in the race to capture these hybrids, who keep appearing all over the country, before they seriously injure or kill people. The goal is to capture them alive, not kill them, but these missions test his skill in handling unpredictable and dangerous animals. While he’s caught up in his new volunteer job, his own business is suffering, and his love life is in shambles.

Wade Boss presents himself as one of the good guys. He cares about his animals and claims he generally wants to do the right thing. But his cavalier attitude toward his staff and the woman in his life make the reader wonder what really motivates him. When another attractive girl suddenly appears, he conveniently forgets he’s involved and schedules a date with the new lady. I found him arrogant and I really didn’t like him much.

The plot is also a bit of a mystery to me. Wade runs off several times chasing hybrids, but there is absolutely no reason given as to why they’re even out there. At the end of the book, a “bad guy” is identified, but that’s about all. Wade Boss is all about action and very short on substance.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 31, 2015 Posted by | adventure, teen | Leave a comment

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