Bergers Book Reviews

Journey to 50: How to Live with Gratitude, Grace and the Effects of Gravity

Journey to 50
Author: Laurie Russell
Publisher: Elevate Faith
Genre: Women / Health / Christian
ISBN: 978-1943425310
Pages: 272
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
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Turning 50 is not something most women would willingly choose, but the alternative just isn’t all that terrific. So the best thing she can do is accept it gracefully with a sense of humor. Journey to 50 is a lighthearted look at the “joys” of aging and how to cope with them.

Beginning with her thoughts on redefining aging, Russell guides the reader through family and health issues she can expect during these middle-aged years. Focusing on faith and having fun round out the five sections. Each chapter provides a series of mini-meditations of Russell’s own experiences and words of wisdom. Poking fun at herself and the aging process, she leads us on a journey filled with laughter.

Growing older will never be fun, but with friends and family as support systems, good self-care, and a positive attitude, women can conquer their fears in facing this challenging time in their lives. Journey to 50 provides an enjoyable guide to not only surviving these years, but even actually thriving.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Christian, health | Leave a comment

A Fatal Twist (A Downward Dog Mystery #4)

A Fatal Twist
Author: Tracy Weber
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-7387-4878-8
Pages: 312
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Kate first meets the philandering fertility doctor while assisting a doula as part of her training course. Soon after, she realizes the man is married to her yoga student, Rachel. When Kate finds his lifeless body at a hospital event, Rachel has just fled the scene. Kate has no intention of telling the police what she saw, but soon finds out they have their own agenda.

In her heart, Kate knows that Rachel is innocent, no matter what the evidence shows. So she tracks down anyone who might have been affiliated with Dr. Dick, as he was less affectionately known. Some of her methods are unorthodox, and she leaves quite a few encounters after having made a new enemy. But in the process of her investigation, she develops a grudging respect for her new assistant who intentionally smashed her car in Karma’s a Killer, and is now working off the damages.

A Fatal Twist is a laugh almost from the word go, as Kate gets into trouble with her best friend, her live-in boyfriend, her dog, and the two puppies her boyfriend has decided to rescue and bring home. And Kate’s investigative technique is hilarious, as she pokes and prods her way to one annoyed response after another. If you enjoy zany cozy mysteries, you’ll love this one.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 20, 2017 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Code Red (Faith Flores Science Mystery)

Code Red
Authot: Janie Chodosh
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1929345281
Pages: 298
Price: $10.95

Author’s website
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After solving her mother’s murder in Death Spiral, Faith Flores is off to Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a summer internship in science, working with genetically modified chiles. She’s never met her dad, but knows he grew up in Santa Fe, and plans to look him up while she’s there. Soon after arriving, Faith learns of a dangerous teen drug on the local market called liquid gold, which has suddenly become more plentiful.

Family matters quickly get out of hand as her search for her dad takes an unexpected turn, but they’re not as complicated as Faith’s romantic life. A new boy in the internship program, Clem, rivals Jesse back home, and she needs to sort out how she feels about both of them. And when a girl Faith meets at a party dies from an overdose of liquid gold, Faith’s antenna goes up. After watching her mom battle addiction, Faith is determined to stop others from being traumatized by this deadly drug.

Faith is a tough-minded teen who’s not afraid to tangle with the bad guys. Nothing holds her back from her investigations, even when trouble is lurking all around her. But in Code Red, we also see Faith’s softer side, as she grapples with her family discoveries. I really enjoyed this book, and I can’t wait to see the next installment in this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 16, 2017 Posted by | mystery, teen | Leave a comment

The Sisters of Sugarcreek

The Sisters of Sugarcreek
Author: Cathy Liggett
Publisher: Tyndale House
Genre: Christian fiction
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0489-3
Pages: 400
Price: $14.99

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A deadly fire strikes Faith Community Church in Sugarcreek, killing Henry, a young Amish husband, and Rose, the owner of Rose’s Knit One Quilt Too Cottage. Jessica inherits Rose’s cottage, but struggles to run the shop. Liz is mourning Rose, her best friend and co-conspirator in the Secret Stitches Society, and recruits Jessica to join her. Liz and Jessica figure that Lydia, Henry’s widow, will be the perfect candidate for their first mission.

Now Jessica suddenly finds herself with unexpected help in running the cottage, along with two brand new friends. Tragedy may have brought the three women together, but the bonds of friendship run deep, as Jessica sees just how far Liz and Lydia will go to help her. And as they all discover their changing roles in the community, they also find new opportunities for love.

The Sisters of Sugarcreek features great characters and an engaging plot, and will appeal to women of all ages. I highly recommend this enjoyable Christian fiction novel.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Christian, fiction | Leave a comment

Dying to Tell (A Gumshoe Ghost Mystery #3)

Dying to Tell
Author: TJ O’Connor
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-7387-4207-6
Pages: 378
Price: $14.99

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Police detective Oliver “Tuck” Tucker has been dead for two years, but he still keeps tabs on his wife, Angela. When she goes to visit William Mendelson at the bank in the wee hours of the morning, he’s understandably concerned. And when a robber nearly kills her, he wants to know why. Soon he finds out that William Mendelson wouldn’t have been able to meet with Angela anyway – he was already dead.

Investigating William’s murder leads him back in time to WW II and Cairo, Egypt. His grandfather’s ghost arrives to help him untangle the scenes he witnesses, hoping to figure out what really happened and what it means now. As the case progresses, other people at the bank begin acting suspiciously, often finding themselves in danger. Can Tuck solve the case before Angela uncovers trouble and joins him in the afterlife?

Although a ghost, Tuck can talk to his police partner and Angela. And since they are the only ones who know he’s there, he can sneak in and out of places without being seen and report back to them on what he finds out. But because he has no physical form, he can’t touch anyone, most especially Angela. As Angela’s longing to be held grows stronger, they both wonder how long they can continue their relationship as it is.

I absolutely love the Gumshoe Ghost Mystery series, and this book is even better than the previous two. I can’t wait to read the next installment!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 26, 2017 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Karma’s a Killer (A Downward Dog Mystery #3)

Karma's a Killer
Author: Tracy Weber
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-7387-4210-6
Pages: 288
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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While working at a fundraiser for the local animal shelter, Kate overhears two animal rights protesters arguing. The following day she finds out that one of the women, Raven, has been murdered – the other, Dharma, is the prime suspect. Now Kate has no choice but to help Dharma, who claims to be her estranged mother.

What appears to have been a random protest turns out to have deeper meaning, as Kate discovers Raven had ties to the local community. Her motives for targeting the animal shelter created problems for someone, who obviously wanted her dead. Investigating the murder puts Kate in danger, as her property is vandalized and her dog, Bella, is targeted. And when her live-in boyfriend is called out of town, Kate needs to rely on her very-pregnant-with-twins best friend for assistance. Kate needs to solve this case quickly, before she becomes another victim.

In the midst of her investigation, Kate also needs to know what happened all those years ago when her mother left the family. Although she initially wants to turn her back on Dharma, she listens to her story with an open mind, hoping to find answers to some of the mysteries in her own life.

Yoga Can Be Murder is an enjoyable cozy mystery and I look forward to seeing more of this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 18, 2017 Posted by | mystery | 1 Comment

Finding God in the Ruins

Author: Matt Bays
Publisher: David C. Cook
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-0-7814-1383-1
Pages: 256
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
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Matt Bays had a very difficult childhood, suffering abuse by his own family members. When, as an adult, he suddenly finds himself unable to cope with life, he turns to substances to dull the pain. But as a church pastor, he knows this can’t go on, and finally finds a competent therapist to help him deal with his past.

As Bays works through the painful memories, he relives the feeling of being abandoned by God, the very One he expected to protect him from the abuse. His feelings lead him to search the scriptures for others who also felt abandoned, and he finds solace in some of David’s psalms. But first he needs to come to terms with his own expectations of God, trying to determine if God might have actually been with him throughout his troubled childhood.

Reading in many ways more like a journal than a spiritual self-help book, Finding God in the Ruins offers hope to others who have suffered from traumatic experiences. At times Bays expresses his anger with God, reminding us that God can handle our anger better than we think He can. But ultimately, he reinforces the truth that God is always with us, even when we go through trying times. We may never know why we suffer, but God never leaves us alone, and that’s good news we can all relate to.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 13, 2017 Posted by | Christian | Leave a comment

The Red Car That Tyler Wanted

Author & Illustrator: Mary A. Kurban, Ed.D.
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-692-67003-3
Pages: 20
Price: $7.99

Buy it at Amazon

Tyler sees a little red car in the window of the store, and he wants it very much. His mom tells him that if he’s a very good little rabbit, he will receive it for his birthday. Tyler is exceptionally good. He finishes his milk and carrot, picks up his toys, and folds his clothes neatly before going to bed. After weeks and weeks of very good behavior, his birthday arrives. True to her word, his mom gives him his treasured red car.

A birthday party is planned for later in the day, and until his friends arrive, Tyler plays with his new red car. It’s just perfect and he loves playing with it. But when his guests finally arrive, Tyler has a problem. His mom only purchased party favors for six guests, and one of his friends brought his little brother. When his six friends receive their toys to play with, the uninvited little rabbit begins to cry. Tyler responds in a completely unexpected and heartwarming way, showing everyone that friends mean much more than things.

Tyler models an incredible generosity in not only sharing his toys, but his most treasured possession. Through his actions, he learns that giving is much more enjoyable than receiving. Kids and moms will adore Tyler.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Mom’s Choice Award Winner Honoring Excellence

January 11, 2017 Posted by | animals, children | Leave a comment

Mom’s Dresses

Author & Illustrator: Mónica Carretero
Publisher: Cuento de Luz
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-84-16147-74-8
Pages: 36
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
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Mom has quite the collection of dresses, and each comes with its own adventure. A checkerboard dress sends a young girl on horseback to rescue a pawn. Mom’s long, flowing blue dress reminds her of the ocean, and she’s sailing a ship among mermaids and seagulls. The flowered dress is a great big field that she runs through, picking flowers and decorating her hair.

This mom and her daughter have a close bond and they share their love of her unique dresses. Each day she wears a new one, and her daughter’s imagination takes her off on another adventure. The final pages of this book include a dress-up doll along with cut-out clothes to dress her in. Girls can enjoy making up their own adventures along with the main character.

Mom’s Dresses is a fun read for girls who enjoy dreaming and letting their imaginations run wild.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 29, 2016 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4

Endless Explorations
Authors: Brenda Scott-Royce, Stephen Binns, Emily Rose Oachs, Kaitlyn DiPerna
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-62686-454-2
Pages: 192
Price: $14.95

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Science, history, and nature are interesting for kids, and Smithsonian Readers capitalizes on this desire to learn more about these topics. Endless Explorations covers predators, world wonders, space exploration, natural disasters, ocean habitats, and flight. Beautiful photos fill each page, bringing the text alive and making it more engaging. Each section closes with a multiple choice quiz to determine reading comprehension.

The Smithsonian Readers series is designed for early, developing, engage and fluent readers. In this level 4 book, kids will read extended sentences and complex words in a variety of factual texts to challenge fluent readers.

Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4 is sure to generate some curiosity and enthusiasm in the home and classroom. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 20, 2016 Posted by | children, education, nature, science | Leave a comment