Bergers Book Reviews

Complete Physique

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

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

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


Author: Vince Antonucci
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
Genre: Christian / Recovery
ISBN: 978-1-4964-1577-6
Pages: 304
Price: $15.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

In speaking with people who’ve successfully battled various addictions, Vince Antonucci discovered a common thread. They had all gone to rehab. But what about the people dealing with issues rehab doesn’t cover? Restore is rehab for the rest of us.

No matter what your personal problem is, Antonucci believes he can offer help and hope. This 30 day program walks you through his step-by-step process in turning your life around. Plus, a supportive community and a 30-day video and handout email course can accompany it, if you choose to participate.

Antonucci is a funny and insightful guide as he freely shares his own experiences in recovering from his own demons. This is such an enjoyable read that it’s tempting to read it quicker than the 30 day suggested pace. But if the reader doesn’t follow the actions he suggests, it may not have the same effects. Read it, take the necessary steps, watch the videos, and join the community for the best chance at overcoming your own problems. I highly recommend Restore.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 30, 2018 Posted by | Christian, self improvement | Leave a comment


Author: Katie Farrell
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian, Health
ISBN: 978-1-4789-7606-6
Pages: 208
Price: $20.00

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Katie Farrell knows what it’s like to struggle with weight issues. Unhealthy and destructive eating habits plagued her for years, until she discovered how to care for herself in accordance with God’s will. In Nourish, she explains how she was able to make peace with her body and learn to live a healthy lifestyle.

Farrell shares the types of foods she enjoys along with those she tries to avoid. This may not be the same eating plan the reader follows, but can easily be adapted if necessary, since she doesn’t dwell on specifics. Some healthy recipes are provided, and the author’s website has more available. Exercise is also encouraged, but again, no specific plan is promoted. Instead, she encourages the reader to discover for herself exactly how God wants her to care for her body.

God’s word can be trusted to instruct us, and Farrell provides Biblical references she has used in developing her own self-care plan. If you’re looking for a diet and exercise checklist to follow, this is not the book for you. But if you’re looking for a spiritual mentor to lead you to God’s will for your life, Farrel is a wonderful guide. I highly recommend Nourish and the Dashing Dish website.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 22, 2018 Posted by | Christian, fitness, health, self improvement, spirituality | Leave a comment

The Listening Day Vol. 2

Author: Paul J. Pastor
Publisher: Zeal Books
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-9990557-0-0
Pages: 112
Price: $8.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

God’s voice comes to us through sacred Scripture, but many of us long to hear Him speak directly to us in our circumstances. Drawing on Bible quotes, Paul J. Pastor provides a simulated dialogue between God and the reader in a series of meditations.

These one page meditations resemble prayer, where the reader asks God questions and God responds. In this second volume, Pastor envisions Him speaking to us of His power and majesty, reminding us of our powerlessness without His loving care and forgiveness for our trespasses. The reader can enjoy them sequentially, or thumb through the book for the topic that speaks to him most in that moment.

In The Listening Day series, God’s perspective is limited by our human understanding, as interpreted by Pastor. But these words are powerful and full of meaning for all of us. I highly recommend these innovative and inspirational meditation books.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 15, 2018 Posted by | Christian | Leave a comment



A few weeks ago I received a wonderful surprise in the mail. A box containing two gift-wrapped children’s picture books arrived, waiting to be read and enjoyed. Upon opening these presents, I discovered “Rock-A-Bye Room” by Susan Meyers (Abrams Books $16.95) and “Land Shark” by Beth Ferry (Chronicle Books $16.99). Both books are delightful reads.

Bookroo offers this monthly children’s book subscription for $17.99 + $5 s/h for one month, with other multiple-month subscriptions offers available. The value of the books received through this service will always exceed the subscription price. Bookroo’s goal is to find hidden gems that you don’t already own and aren’t likely to be found in stores or online. Their books are extensively reviewed by a panel of 12 families attending Stanford University and their combined 22 kids.

I was very impressed with the Bookroo books and their philosophy of selecting great reading material for kids, based on what kids (and their parents) would enjoy reading over and over again. I highly recommend this valuable service.

January 9, 2018 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

The Mindfulness Journal

Authors: S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
Publisher: Independent
Genre: Self-improvement
ISBN: 978-1946159069
Pages: 431
Price: $15.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

When we are mindful, we are consciously aware of the present moment. But in our complicated, multi-tasking lifestyles, this mindfulness seems almost impossible. It’s too easy to worry about the car while doing the dishes and half-heartedly listening to the kids. But how different life could be if we paid attention to what we’re doing and immersed ourselves in the moment.

In The Mindfulness Journal, authors Scott and Davenport encourage us to experience a short period of mindfulness each day through journaling. Each week opens with a one-page topic, followed by seven daily journal pages. These topics are explored more deeply during the mindful journaling process. Topics focus on our daily activities, our thoughts, and our environment, as well as many others. Each is designed to help us observe our experiences, thoughts, and feelings without judgment, letting us fully appreciate the moment.

Some entries are better done in the morning, while some are best left to the end of the day. Taking the time to explore these on a daily basis leads to more self-knowledge and will create a better sense of direction and peace in life. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 23, 2017 Posted by | journal, self improvement | Leave a comment

You Are the Beloved

Author: Henri J.M. Nouwen
Publisher: Convergent Books
Genre: Christian Inspiration
ISBN: 978-1-101-90637-8
Pages: 416
Price: $26.00

Buy it at Amazon

Henri J.M. Nouwen was a Dutch-born Catholic priest, professor, and pastor, who gained international renown as the author of over 30 books on the spiritual life, including such classics as The Wounded Healer, The Inner Voice of Love, and The Return of the Prodigal Son. In You Are the Beloved, editor Gabrielle Earnshaw has compiled some of his most inspirational passages into a daily meditation book.

Each day’s reading is one page or less, making it easy to squeeze into a busy day. These beautiful meditations focus on God’s deep and eternal love for us, and encourage us to see that God is more intimate, more loving, and more longing to be in a relationship with each of us than we have ever imagined. Reading these inspiring and uplifting messages would be a perfect way to begin or end each day. I highly recommend You Are the Beloved.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 20, 2017 Posted by | Catholic, Christian, inspiration, meditation | Leave a comment

The Crown Jewel Mystery (A Sherlock Holmes & Lucy James Mystery #4)

Authors: Anna Elliott and Charles Veley
Publisher: Wilton Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0999119105
Pages: 118
Price: $5.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Lucy James is intent on discovering her heritage when she visits the Capital and Counties Bank. While attempting to break into a safe deposit box she believes holds some clues, she and her companion, Johnny Rockefeller, realize the bank is being robbed. But any notion of escaping is quickly thwarted, as the robbers discover them both in the back room.

Time begins to tick as the robbers struggle to complete their mission and begin to panic, threatening to kill everyone in the bank. Lucy knows it will take her quick wits and Johnny’s cooperation to free them all. But will they be able to act in time?

The Crown Jewel Mystery is a quick and fun read, drawing the reader into the story from the opening scene. Even though I picked this book up first, I didn’t feel I missed out on anything important by reading it out of sequence from the others. I didn’t know what to expect of a Sherlock Holmes takeoff story, but I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this book is. Lucy James is a spunky heroine with a sharp mind of her own, and I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 14, 2017 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment