Bergers Book Reviews

Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets

Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets
Author: J.A. Buckle
Publisher: Switch Press
Genre: Teen
ISBN: 978-1-63079-000-4
Pages: 224
Price: $16.95

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Josh is nearly 17, a metal head, and a nerd by his standards. He has a pet ferret, a mom and sister, and a couple of unusual friends, but no girlfriend – yet. Six months before the big birthday, he sets some lofty goals, but “real life” is getting in the way of achieving them.

In the journal his mother gave him as a release valve, Josh records his everyday thoughts and feelings. Girls, work, guitars, friends, and ferrets are all covered in some manner, as well as his regret at never having met his really cool and handsome dad. But life is going to throw Josh some big surprises he never expects.

Turning 17 means facing demons from the past, and requires an extra dose of courage and strength. Growing up isn’t easy, and guys will relate to Josh’s struggles in trying to get his life going in the right direction. Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets is a great coming of age story from a guy’s perspective, although girls will also enjoy reading Josh’s private journal. I highly recommend this entertaining and lighthearted book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 2, 2014 Posted by | teen | Leave a comment

Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matters

Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matters
Author: Howard Binkow
Illustrator: Taillefer Long
Publisher: Thunderbolt Publishing
Genre: Children
ISBN: 9780982616598
Pages: 32
Price: $15.00

Author’s website
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Howard B. Wigglebottom and his friends are competing in the Pup Scouts Good Manners Competition in five days. Their skills need a lot of improvement, so Howard hires Ms. Owlee as the team’s coach. She reminds them that they need to think, “I care,” and good manners will come naturally. After practicing their new skills, the team does well in the competition. But more importantly, they have learned how to be polite to others.

Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matters is suitable for classroom use, with discussion topics presented at the conclusion. Although this is more of a lesson than an actual story, kids will giggle over the animals’ bad manners in the beginning, and learn from their new and better behavior.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 28, 2014 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

The Hawaiian Hiatus of Herkimer Street

The Hawaiian Hiatus of Herkimer Street
Author & Illustrator: Desirae Foston
Publisher: Bliss Group Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-9885359-0-9
Pages: 20
Price: $7.50

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A child loves living on Herkimer Street and thinks it’s the greatest place in the world. So when his family is taking a trip to Hawaii, he wants to bring the whole street with him. Everyone cooperates to make the trip happen, facing obstacles with ingenuity and determination. Soon they’re all having a wonderful time in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian Hiatus of Herkimer Street is a simple tale for young children, highlighting the importance of community and cooperation. Working as a team, the residents of Herkimer Street are able to realize their dreams of a fun Hawaiian vacation together.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 27, 2014 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Animals All Around

Animals All Around
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Genre: Children / Animals
ISBN: 978-0-310-73125-2
Pages: 128
Price: $9.99

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God created everything and made it all good. In Animals All Around, kids get four books in one: forest creatures; feathered friends; cats, dogs, hamsters, and horses; and barnyard critters. Each animal is presented in photos along with several interesting facts. Kids are reminded throughout the book that God made all these unique animals.

This simple book presents basic facts about the featured animals but does not go into any depth. Kids will find it a good introduction at reading level 2, but I would have liked to see some more unusual facts about these animals.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 25, 2014 Posted by | animals, children | Leave a comment

Calvin, Look Out!

Calvin, Look Out!
Author: Jennifer Berne
Illustrator: Keigh Bendis
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4549-0910-1
Pages: 32
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Calvin the starling is having trouble reading, and when he trips over a chair in the library, he asks Mrs. Readalot what’s going on. She suggests he might need glasses. A quick visit to the eye doctor confirms her diagnosis, and Calvin has a new pair of spectacles.

Calvin is surprised that the other starlings make fun of him for wearing them. He brushes off their comments and heads into the woods, now able to see all the interesting things he’s been missing. After finding himself in unexpected trouble, Calvin comes up with a brilliant solution that has all his friends and family wishing they had a pair of glasses just like his!

Calvin, Look Out! features Calvin the bookworm birdie who first appeared in Calvin Can’t Fly. This adorable starling will have kids wishing they all had such nifty spectacles – or at least a pair of cool sunglasses.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 22, 2014 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

I Just Can’t Take It Anymore!

I Just Can't Take It Anymore!
Author: Anthony DeStefano
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Genre: Inspiration
ISBN: 978-0-7369-4854-8
Pages: 64
Price: $10.99

Author’s website
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Sometimes life feels unbearable and we want to scream, “I Just Can’t Take It Anymore!” But hiding under the covers and waiting for the problems to go away simply isn’t an option. In times like these, an encouraging word can help lift our spirits and put things in their proper perspective.

This short book captures the essence of our frustration through short phrases and humorous photos of kids with expressive faces and gestures. Reading it won’t make our problems magically go away, but we might feel a little more faith in God, believing that He will work everything out for our best interests. This book is a great read for anyone facing struggles and difficulties in their lives – and, really, isn’t that everyone?

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 19, 2014 Posted by | inspiration | Leave a comment

Arlo’s ARTrageous Adventure!

Arlo's Artrageous Adventure
Author & Illustrator: David LaRochelle
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4027-9226-7
Pages: 28
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Arlo’s grandmother wants him to join her for a visit to the art museum, and he is not a bit happy about it. But he’s in for a fun treat when he actually gets there. Far from being the stuffy pictures he expected, this artwork holds a secret behind its serious facade.

As Arlo wanders through the museum, he sees the art as it’s supposed to look, but a flap can then be lifted to reveal the surprise inside. As grandmother comments on the seriousness of the art, Arlo smiles and laughs at what hides behind.

Art doesn’t have to be boring, as Arlo finds out in Arlo’s ARTrageous Adventure! And kids will laugh along with him as they enjoy the fun.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 15, 2014 Posted by | art, children | Leave a comment

GIVEAWAY: The Merlin Spiral

Merlin's Blade

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When a meteorite crashes near a small village in fifth-century Britain, it brings with it a mysterious black stone that bewitches anyone who comes in contact with its glow – a power the druids hope to use to destroy King Uther’s kingdom. The only person who seems immune is a young, shy, half-blind swordsmith’s son named Merlin.

As his family, village, and even the young Arthur, are placed in danger, Merlin must face his fears and his blindness to take hold of the role ordained for him. But when he is surrounded by adversaries, how will he save the girl he cherishes and rid Britain of this deadly evil… without losing his life?

Merlin's Shadow

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After destroying the sinister Druid Stone and freeing his people from its dark control, Merlin finds himself a royal adviser without a king. Along with his friend Garth and Natalenya, his betrothed, Merlin treks north with the orphaned Arthur in hopes of keeping the young ruler safe from soldiers misled by their turncoat captain. Relentlessly pursued by his nemesis Vortigern, Merlin and his band make for the fortress of Dintaga.

But dangers multiply when Merlin realizes that Vortigern is not his only enemy. Even his own sister appears bent on Merlin’s destruction. As the threat on all their lives increases, Merlin discovers their only hope is sailing to the lands of eternal darkness and once again cleansing the world from an ancient and powerful evil.

Merlin's Nightmare

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Arthur is now eighteen, and Merlin, tired of hiding and running from his enemies, wants nothing more than to spend his days with his family and train Arthur for his rightful place as king. But when Arthur goes missing, a desperate Merlin must abandon all other quests to find him before a shadowy pursuer catches Arthur first.

Having everything to fight for, and almost nothing to fight with, Merlin and Arthur must rally Britain’s warriors against three overwhelming enemies: Saxenow hordes in the south, Picti raiders in the north, and a chilling new enemy that has arisen in the west.

At the same time, Morgana brings Merlin’s deepest fear to life and sets a horde of werewolves loose to destroy Britain. But when the secret purpose of this nightmare is finally revealed, will Merlin and Arthur find a way to survive – without unleashing an even greater evil?

CONTEST: To win a copy of all three books, send me a message telling me why you want to read this series.

GOOD LUCK!

August 13, 2014 Posted by | giveaway | Leave a comment

Cold Tuscan Stone

Cold Tuscan Stone
Author: David P. Wagner
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0190-5
Pages: 250
Price: $24.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Rick Montoya is living in Rome, busy with his translation service, when his school chum Beppo Rinaldi from the Ministry of Culture rings him up for lunch. Half American and half Italian, Rick is the perfect guy to sniff out an antiquities smuggling ring in Volterra. Posing as an agent for a Santa Fe art gallery, his job is to infiltrate their operations by pretending to be a buyer.

Armed with a list of suspects and contacts to be made in Volterra, Rick joins forces with the local police force, who reluctantly support him in his efforts. But soon after making his first contact, a man is murdered, and he is the last person known to have seen him alive. Now a suspect in the murder, Rick wonders if this assignment is going to be more dangerous than he thought.

Cold Tuscan Stone is a charming mystery set in an isolated location off the main tourist track. Steeped in history and culture, it’s a fun read for any armchair traveler interested in Europe’s past. I look forward to reading more of this new series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 12, 2014 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Monster Party!

Monster Party!
Author & Illustrator: Annie Bach
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1051-0
Pages: 24
Price: $9.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Monster is invited to a party, and is he ever excited! In Monster Party! we see Monster join his friends for a birthday blast. These young monsters enjoy dancing, eating buggy food, and playing party games – and even indulge in a sticky food fight!

But all good times must come to an end, and Monster is sad when the party is over. That is, until he receives an invitation for another party. Monster is so excited once again!

Monster and his friends are colorfully and charmingly illustrated, without even a hint of scariness. Children will enjoy their party antics and join in Monster’s excitement over fun times spent with his friends. Monster Party! is sure to be a hit with kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 7, 2014 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

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