Bergers Book Reviews

Little Old Farm Folk

Author & Illustrator: Andrea Wisnewski
Publisher: David R. Godine
Genre: Children / Board books
ISBN: 978-1-56792-594-4
Pages: 34
Price: $7.95

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A little old couple is busy with chores around the farm. Cooking, laundry, milking the cows, harvesting vegetables, and relaxing in the yard fill their days.

Each two page spread in this board book has an illustration of the farm couple in action, plus text explaining their actions. A teaser at the end of each section keeps children eager to discover what comes next.

Farm life is a fun concept for children. Little Old Farm Folk will keep them absorbed and enchanted as they read it over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 23, 2018 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

The Austen Escape

Author: Katherine Reay
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Women’s fiction
ISBN: 978-0-7180-7809-6
Pages: 320
Price: $15.99

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Mary Davies has a nice job at an engineering firm that she joined as a startup. But recent management changes have made work difficult, and the presence of a certain handsome consultant has jumbled her feelings. When her former best friend, Isabel, offers her a two-week paid vacation in England, she reluctantly agrees. Maybe the time away will help her figure out what to do.

Isabel is an Austen expert determined to finish her doctoral thesis, so this vacation will involve period costumes in a historic mansion. But when Isabel loses her memory and believes she’s actually living in the past, Mary’s stay becomes complicated. Isabel’s secrets suddenly all come to light, making Mary realize how little she really knows her friend. And when they involve the man she’s come to regard as important in her life, she doesn’t know what to think.

Those who are unfamiliar with Jane Austen’s works may find some of the role-playing conversations a bit confusing, but since these are not the basis for the story, they won’t interfere with the reader’s enjoyment. In fact, this book might trigger an interest in picking up one of the Austen classics mentioned. I highly recommend The Austen Escape as a pleasant and engaging read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 21, 2018 Posted by | literary, romance | Leave a comment

Franny’s Father is a Feminist

Author: Rhonda Leet
Illustrator: Megan Walker
Publisher: POW!
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1576878736
Pages: 32
Price: $17.99

Author’s website
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Feminism has gotten a bad reputation lately, but if you look up the word in the dictionary, it simply means “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Franny’s father is totally on board with this. He believes Franny can do anything boys can do, and he helps her out as much as possible.

When Franny plays sports, he’s there to cheer her on. When she goes fishing, he shows her how to bait her own hook. And when her bicycle needs repairs, he makes sure she knows which tools to use. Franny’s dad doesn’t limit her to household chores like cooking and laundry. He lets her do the things she enjoys.

The illustrations of this burly, bearded man with his little pink-haired daughter are really precious. It’s obvious through his actions and expressions that he loves her dearly and wants what’s best for her. I enjoyed this unusual take on feminism, and I highly recommend Franny’s Father is a Feminist.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 19, 2018 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Mustaches for Maddie

Authors: Chad Morris & Shelly Brown
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Genre: Middle Grade
ISBN: 978-1-62972-330-3
Pages: 256
Price: $16.99

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Maddie is so excited to be participating in the Shakespeare plays at her school. Although Cassie, the most popular girl in her class, wants the role of Juliet, Maddie secretly tries out, anyway. Suddenly Cassie is shunning her, just as Maddie finds out she has a brain tumor.

Mustaches make Maddie laugh, and she wears them whenever she wants to lighten the moment. Using her sense of humor, she tries to make sense of her diagnosis, while also befriending the lonely and trying to heal the hurting kids in her classroom. Rather than turning within, Maddie tries to brighten the lives of others, despite her own fears and concerns.

Mustaches for Maddie is one of the best middle-grade books I’ve ever read. Maddie is a wonderful girl that I couldn’t help but cheer for, and her actions often brought tears to my eyes. Please don’t skip the authors notes – they offer a final conclusion to this novel, which is based on a true story. I highly recommend this wonderfully uplifting book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 13, 2018 Posted by | tween | Leave a comment

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter

Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Victorian Romance
ISBN: 978-0-9990364-3-3
Pages: 224
Price: $8.99

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Valentine March has been forced to find employment after her father’s death. As a lady’s companion required to dress in drab clothes, she accompanies her employer to a notorious house party. She has no intention of encountering any of the eligible bachelors there, so she’s surprised when a gentleman finds her alone in the quiet place she’s managed to escape to, and converses with her.

Tristan Sinclair, Viscount St. Ashton, has never had any interest in a long-term relationship with the ladies who’ve come and gone in his life. Although somewhat reformed from his younger days, he is skeptical of marriage and reluctant to settle down. But when he encounters Valentine, something stirs within him.

One moment of indiscretion changes everything, and now they must consider how they will handle their newfound relationship. Can Tristan show her that he’s not the scoundrel she thinks he is? And will Valentine allow him to be a part of her life, knowing she has secrets of her own that may come to light?

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter is a delightfully clean romance. As both parties face their pasts, they attempt to trust and allow each other into their lives. I enjoyed seeing these two interesting characters grow in their relationship together. Highly recommended!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 11, 2018 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

Paw Patrol: Rescue Time

Author: Cara Stevens
Producer: Nickelodeon
Publisher: Studio Fun International
ISBN: 978-0-7944-3867-8
Pages: 32
Price: $18.99

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In Pups Save a Tooth, the Paw Patrol is called to find a missing tooth, which was placed inside a carrot for safekeeping and has now disappeared. But once they locate the carrot, it isn’t quite so simple to bring it back.

Pups Save the Songbirds sends the Paw Patrol on a hunt for some missing songbirds. Their nests are full of eggs but the birds have vanished. First they need to protect the eggs, so the baby birds can hatch. Then they need to find out where the missing birds have gone and bring them back.

This two-story book also includes a projector watch, which allows kids to scroll through the images that correspond to the stories. Each image is indicated by a number in the text of the story. Fans of Paw Patrol will enjoy this fun book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 1, 2018 Posted by | children, dogs | Leave a comment

Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

Author: Natalie Rompella
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Middle Grade
ISBN: 978-1-5107-1771-8
Pages: 272
Price: $15.99

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Ana and Lily have been best friends since second grade. Cooking is their passion, and they’re looking forward to doing their middle school Explorations project together. But they never anticipated they’d be separated and forced to work with other partners.

Lily has always accepted Ana’s obsession with cleanliness, and her OCD hasn’t been a problem. But now Lily is friends with her new partner, and Ana is convinced no one else will accept her, quirks and all. Dasher, her new partner, wants to do their project with sled dogs, which forces Ana to face her compulsions and try to work with them. But what if Dasher finds out the truth about Ana’s OCD?

In Cookie Cutters and Sled Runners, kids will meet a girl who desperately wants to be normal, while dealing with unreasonable fears and the compulsions that go along with them. Ana is a really nice, likeable character that kids will naturally root for, as they watch her grow stronger through the trials she faces in completing her project. I highly recommend this feel-good story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 28, 2018 Posted by | tween | Leave a comment

Complete Physique

Author: Hollis Lance Liebman
Publisher: Hatherleigh Press
Genre: Fitness
ISBN: 978-1-57826-718-7
Pages: 192
Price: $21.95

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Hollis Lance Liebman is a professional body-builder who wants to share the secrets of his success. In Complete Physique, he lays out a 12-week program that includes workouts and a meal plan designed to transform our bodies.

First, the author explains exactly what he will cover in this program, including the mental edge and the meal plan. This is not a diet to lose weight, but instead its goal is to maximize lean muscle and minimize body fat. The exercise program is broken up into three 4-week phases, each phase building on the previous one, for a 12-week total program. These exercises rely heavily on weight equipment, and a gym membership is required. Photos and explanations are provided for each exercise.

Liebman is a qualified guide, having achieved a level of fitness most could only dream about. But he encourages the rest of us to do the very best we can, even if we never see muscular definition like his. This is a great resource for serious fitness enthusiasts.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 20, 2018 Posted by | fitness | Leave a comment

Doll Crafts

Author: Laurie Carlson
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Genre: Children / Crafts
ISBN: 978-1-61373-778-1
Pages: 144
Price: $14.99

Buy it at Amazon

Kids love to play with dolls, but they may not realize they’re also fun to make. Doll Crafts introduces kids to the many different kinds of dolls they can craft all by themselves.

Simple patterns and instructions are provided to create dolls from fabric, felt, paper, sticks, socks, and other materials. And kids can customize faces, build houses, and create clothing for the dolls they build. Even doll restoration is explained, giving kids a chance to give new life to old, worn-out dolls.

Doll making is not a craft I’m familiar with, and I would have liked to see photos of these projects, rather than just drawings, so I would have a better picture of how they should turn out. Kids who love dolls and crafts will enjoy Doll Crafts.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 15, 2018 Posted by | children, crafts | Leave a comment

Sacred Rest

Author: Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian living
ISBN: 978-1-4789-2167-7
Pages: 240
Price: $20.00

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Do you feel frustrated and worn out much of the time? Are you lacking enough energy for your own self-care? If so, Sacred Rest may be the resource you need to identify the areas in your life that aren’t working and where you need more rest.

First, begin with the rest quiz, which is found at the end of the book or at the author’s website, for a personalized assessment. Rest deficits fall into the following categories – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sensory, or creative – and each manifests itself in a different way. While it’s easy to simply assume we need more sleep when we feel weary, we may be surprised to find that our lives are actually lacking other types of rest. An addition of some exercise, a creative project, or time in nature might energize us far better than a nap.

Sacred Rest reminds us that God commanded us to rest on the Sabbath, yet so few of us actually do. Incorporating some of the ideas presented in this book would go a long way toward restoring us to the wholeness God intended for us. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 8, 2018 Posted by | Christian, self improvement | Leave a comment