Striking Range

Author: Margaret Mizushima
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-64385-746-6
Pages: 288
Price: $27.99

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Police Deputy Mattie Cobb needs to talk to the man who tried to kill her, and may have killed her father, but he is murdered at the jail just before she and cold case detective Jim Hauck arrive. But he has left a clue – a map to the area where Mattie nearly died.

Jim and Mattie investigate the area, but have limited success. But when a pregnant young woman who had visited Cole Walker’s veterinary practice a few days prior turns up dead, the investigation turns in a different direction. Is there a connection between the two cases? When Mattie and Cole realize the truth, their lives, along with Mattie’s K-9, Robo, are in jeopardy.

More information regarding Mattie’s father’s death is revealed in this fourth installment in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series, as it builds to its conclusion. Striking Range is a suspenseful and enjoyable read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


A Minute to Think

Author: Juliet Funt
Publisher: Harper Business
Genre: Business
ISBN: 978-0062970251
Pages: 288
Price: $29.99

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Is it possible to reclaim creativity, conquer busyness, and do your best work – at work? Sounds too good to be true? A Minute to Think can show you show.

First, we need to address the problem – what is really causing our busyness? Next, we take a stragetic pause, conquer the thieves of time, learn to simplify, and unhook from the culture of now. Finally, we need to overhaul our email practices, elevate communication and work together with our teammates.

Throughout this book, author Juliet Funk provides examples and strategies on how to put these practices in place, reminding us that we can be more effective in our work once we eliminate the minutiae that distracts us. With a little more space to think, we will find the creativity that makes us even better at our jobs.

I highly recommend A Minute to Think for all business people who feel like they can never meet all the demands of their busy jobs.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


This is NOT a Book!

Author: Kellie Byrnes
Illustrator: Aśka
Publisher: EK Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-925820-50-8
Pages: 32
Price: $18.99

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A boy declares that what we’re reading is NOT a book. He explains that a book needs a main character, interesting places to visit, action, problems, and a solution. And as he explains each, he finds himself in the exact situation he’s describing.

The boy’s reactions to what’s happening in this NOT-book are hilarious, and kids will laugh as they learn the various pieces of a published story. I highly recommend This is NOT a Book!

Reviewer: Alice Berger


This Small Blue Dot

Author & Illustrator: Zeno Sworder
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-760-76111-0
Pages: 32
Price: $17.95

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A baby’s big sister welcomes a newborn to earth, excited to share all the things she’s learned about life so far. The earth is small blue dot in a universe of stars, and it holds a wealth of things to explore. Nature, playtime, sunny and dark days, and interesting people fill her world. The earth is full of dreamers, and this newborn is its newest explorer. Big sister can’t wait to show off the things she’s discovered.

This Small Blue Dot shares some of the wonders of life through the excited eyes of a child. I highly recommend this book and its positive message.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

health, home

Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health

Author: Laura Ascher
Publisher: Mango
Genre: Home / Health
ISBN: 978-1-64250-548-1
Pages: 188
Price: $19.95

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Many of the household products we buy are filled with dangerous and toxic chemicals. But if you’re looking for alternatives, they aren’t always available or they can be very expensive. It’s helpful to be able to create your own from natural ingredients that you know are safe.

Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health is filled with wonderful recipes for anything you might need at home. This guide included natural kitchen, bathroom, laundry, bedroom, baby & kids, bath & beauty remedies, as well as roller bottle recipes and diffuser blends. Common ingredients such as vinegar, rubbing alcohol, Castile soap, baking soda, and essential oils are used to create safer and better smelling household products.

While the idea of creating nontoxic recipes is terrific, it’s also helpful that many of these turn out to be cheaper than the more toxic varieties. Once you’ve made the initial investment in the common ingredients, you will be able to create whatever you need from them, over and over again. I highly recommend Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, history

So You Want to Be a Knight?

Author: Hannah Pang
Illustrator: Takayo Akiyama
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 978-0-500-65211-4
Pages: 96
Price: $14.95

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Eddie, Kate, and Angus are back again, and this time they’re exploring the possibility of becoming a knight. But their dream of swapping their backpacks for a suit of armor and riding off to join their fellow knights on a quest might turn out to be more difficult than they expect.

In order to be successful as a knight, they will need to be physically fit, accomplished horseback riders, and great on the dance floor. Having wealth and a family of influence also helps, since a knight’s suit of armor can be expensive. Knights thrive on chivalry, and socializing and jousting are a big part of their job description. But on the battlefield, expertise with a sword, lance, and shield is expected, and this can pose a problem while riding, since the equipment is very heavy.

So You Want to be a Knight? is a fun, tongue-in-cheek look at how to be a knight. I found it very entertaining, and it will be a big hit with kids, who will enjoy the author’s sense of humor. I highly recommend it, along with all the others in the “So You Want to Be a …” series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Iron-Sharpened Leadership

Author: John L. Gronski
Publisher: Fidelis Publishing
Genre: Business
ISBN: 978-1-7358-5636-0
Pages: 296
Price: $17.00

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John L. Gronski is a U.S. Army Retired Major General. He has faced situations where his decisions were crucial for the preparation and survival of his team, and he knows how to lead effectively. In Iron-Sharpened Leadership, he shares his military experience and demonstrates how to use it in a civilian setting.

Gronski believes there are three things that define a leader – character, competence, and resilience. Focusing on his years in the military, he provides examples of how he handled situations and worked with the people around him. Leadership is critical when lives are at stake, but it’s just as important in the work force, and his advice would be helpful for any manager.

Iron-Sharpened Leadership is well-written and inspiring for anyone who wants to be a great leader. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

food & drink

Nora’s Naturals Coffee

Sometimes it’s nice to just curl up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee.  I’ve had the pleasure of sampling Nora’s Naturals Coffee as I read, and I’m really savoring the experience.  I am enjoying a dark roast that has none of the harsh or bitter flavor normally associated with dark coffee.  Instead, the flavor is very smooth and easy to drink.  And Nora’s Naturals Coffee is not only good for you – it’s good for the environment.

I asked Nora to join us for a chat:

What is unique about Nora’s Naturals Coffee?

There are so many incredible single origin farms producing quality coffee beans and talented roasters who create the complexities of taste. I am thrilled to be working with the multi-generation family farm in the Finca Isabel mountain range of Nicaragua. The beans are grown in volcanic soil, rich in silica, an essential mineral for anti-aging collagen production. The line is Rainforest Alliance certified and donates 3% of all profits to the Environmental Defense Fund.

What are some of the health benefits of coffee?

Coffee produces brain chemicals that has a mimicking effect of antidepressants. Quality coffee is rich in polyphenols that inhibit the growth of cancer cells and lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. This is a type of antioxidants that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the cells, assisting with skin complexion, hair growth, muscle repair and helping to ward off chronic disease.

The New York Times reported consuming four or five eight-ounce cups of coffee (or about 400 milligrams of caffeine) a day has been associated with reduced death rates. In a study of more than 200,000 participants followed for up to 30 years, those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day, with or without caffeine, were 15 percent less likely to die early from all causes than were people who shunned coffee. Perhaps most dramatic was a 50 percent reduction in the risk of suicide among both men and women who were moderate coffee drinkers, perhaps by boosting production of brain chemicals that have antidepressant effects.

What are some interesting ways to enjoy coffee?

One of my favorite ways to enjoy coffee is by making elixirs. I am excited to share my Nora’s Naturals recipes designed for specific goals- stress relief, fat burning, strengthened immunity and beauty boosting. I formulated the recipes with celebrity chef, Sonny Sweetman, to ensure incredible taste in addition to the benefits.

Nora’s Naturals elixirs utilize powerful ingredients to shift physiology to adapt to stress, speed fat burning and increase anti aging collagen production.

Beauty Booster

  • NN Coffee 8 ounces
  • Vanilla Collagen Protein 1 Tbsp
  • Macadamia Cream 1 Tbsp
  • Cocoa Butter 1 Tbsp
  • Cocoa 1 Tea spoon
  • Nutmeg 1/8 Teaspoon
  • Cinnamon 1/4 Teaspoon
  • Raw Honey 1 Teaspoon
  • Siberian Ginseng (adaptogenic herb to regulate stress) 1/2 Teaspoon

Fat Burner

  • NN Coffee 8 ounces
  • Chocolate Collagen Protein 1 Tbsp
  • MCT Oil 1 Tbsp
  • Coconut Cream 1 Tbsp
  • Vanilla 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Stevia 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Garcinia Cambogia (plant native to India, inhibits fat storage) 1 Teaspoon

In addition to drinking coffee, I love to use the grounds for a homemade body scrub to stimulate circulation and provide antioxidants for the skin.

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp coffee grounds

Melt coconut oil, add sugar and coffee, store in refrigerator.

What is one of the best health upgrades we can make?


Consuming sugar found in processed foods, fruit juices, and sugary soft drinks creates a constant state of high Inflammation in the body. Prolonged levels of stress also create high levels of damaging inflammation. This type of inflammation wreaks havoc on the gut, and a number of other areas in the body. This depletes the microbiome of beneficial bacteria and greatly lowers protective immunity.

Quick Swaps To Cut Sugar

Swap Soft Drinks for Matcha Green Tea, Quality Coffee or Club Soda with Citrus

Each of these swaps provides a refreshing option to soft drinks without the negative effects. Matcha green tea has the added bonus of delivering a potent antioxidant called EGCG that has been shown to greatly reduce inflammation and elevates immune response.

In a recent study conducted by Stanford University, researchers found that matcha shifted cancer cells towards a quiescent metabolic state and stopped their spread at a relatively low concentration. They also found that matcha could affect the signaling pathways that promote cancer stem cells. Diseases thrive in acidic environments. Matcha helps to create an alkaline state in the body.

Swap Packaged Snacks for Nuts, Seeds, Apples and Almond Butter, Hard Cheeses, Hard Boiled Eggs

All of the above provide protein and fiber that curb cravings, lower blood sugar and provide the brain with healthy fats essential for cognitive performance and immune strength.

Swap Candy for Dark Chocolate

The U.S. National Library of Medicine found cocoa strengthens the cardiovascular system. Polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant high in cocoa, improves blood circulation and mitochondria health. Cocoa is also a top source of tryptophan- precursor to serotonin (happiness hormone).

Sounds like some very good advice!  Thanks for stopping by for a visit today, Nora!

animals, children, nature

Whose House Is That?

Author & Illustrator: Stan Tekiela
Publisher: Adventure Publications
Genre: Children, Animals, Nature
ISBN: 978-1-64755-074-5
Pages: 48
Price: $14.95

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Animals create unique and interesting places to live, and Stan Tekiela invites us into their homes for a virtual photographic visit.

Each home is pictured on the first spread, with an opportunity for children to guess who built it. The following spread shows the animal and provides facts about it. Animals featured are the: bald eagle, American robin, bald-faced hornet, Monarch butterfly, American beaver, black bear, garden spider, prairie dog, sunfish, cottontail rabbit, and common ant. The final page invites kids to look for animal homes near them.

Whose House Is That? is a fun exploration of animals and their living quarters. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Keep an Eye on Ivy

Author & Illustrator: Barroux
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65253-4
Pages: 32
Price: $18.95

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It’s a boy’s birthday, and he has received a very special gift – an ivy plant. The following day the cat isn’t around, but his sister says he must be outside. The next day, his sister goes missing, but dad thinks she’s at her music lesson. The next day, dad is missing… and so it goes. Every day someone disappears until finally the boy finds himself alone.

As he looks at Ivy, a magical pop-up surprise awaits him, and he finds himself inside the plant, along with all of his missing family members. Scolding the plant, he announces that it’s not polite to swallow people, and that EVERYONE will be keeping an eye on Ivy from now on.

Keep an Eye on Ivy is a cute pop-up book with a slightly sinister houseplant. Sensitive children might be afraid of this book, but most kids will be amused by the situation this family finds themselves in. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger