Bergers Book Reviews

The Song of Spring


Author & Illustrator: Hendrik Jonas
Publisher: Prestel
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-3-7913-7379-9
Pages: 52
Price: $12.95

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It’s springtime, and all the birds are singing their mating calls. But one little bird can’t remember his song. He wants to find a birdie friend, so he attempts to discover it through trial and error.

Time after time, he sings a song, but his moos, meows, and oinks fail miserably. Soon he’s surrounded by farm animals but no birdie friend. Until one day a strange song comes from the distance – a little girl bird attempting to find her own song.

The Song of Spring is an adorable tale of friendship, as each of these animals come to keep little bird company. Kids will love these charming illustrations of cheerful animals in spring. I highly recommend this cute story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 19, 2019 Posted by | animals, birds, children | Leave a comment

Mr. Mouthful Learns His Lesson


Author: Joseph Kimble
Publisher: Iguana Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-77180-229-1
Pages: 32
Price: $11.40

Author’s website
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Mr. Mouthful and his pet monkey, Dupree, stroll through the neighborhood. As he encounters some children, he speaks in fancy words too difficult for them to understand. His warnings go unheeded, as they are left pondering what on earth he just said.

But when a little girl named Juno finds herself in a precarious predicament, it’s up to Mr. Mouthful to figure out how to rescue her. Luckily, he puts aside his preposterous vocabulary and uses a simple word that saves the day.

Mr. Mouthful Learns His Lesson will have kids giggling as they reach for the dictionary, trying to discover the hidden meaning behind his unusual choice of words. Parents, don’t be surprised if some of these funny sayings creep into your youngster’s conversations. This is a fun story that kids will enjoy reading over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 18, 2019 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

40 Days of Doubt


Author: Eric Huffman
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-5018-6913-6
Pages: 176
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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If you’ve ever had doubts about your faith, you’ve probably looked for answers. In 40 Days of Doubt, Eric Huffman tackles some of the issues Christians grapple with, in an attempt to reassure the reader of God’s constant presence in their lives.

In a series of eight weeks of topics, Huffman covers doubts about: God, Jesus, the Bible, the human condition, faith and science, quality of life, sex and relationships, and religion. He addresses the concepts of miracles, the Old Testament God, happiness, and pain, as well as many other issues we struggle with today. Each entry is about four pages long, and would easily fit into a daily Lenten reading plan.

For the most part, Huffman’s ideas are ecumenical in nature, but I felt it was unnecessarily harsh to bash the current (not 4th Century, as the author states) Catholic belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity. But overall, this book is a nice summary of answers to doubts people might have about Christianity.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Christian | Leave a comment

Cat & Mouse


Author: Britta Teckentrup
Publisher: Prestel
Genre: Children / Board book / Cats
ISBN: 978-3-7913-7374-4
Pages: 24
Price: $14.95

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Little Mouse is running away from the black cat. Inside the house, to the stack of boxes, through a hole in the ground, and outside, he darts away from the cat. But after a while, he gets tired, and the cat is closing in on his tail. How is he going to escape?

Throughout this imaginative tale, cutouts show the various escape holes the mouse will be darting through, adding to the story’s charm. But children will have nothing to worry about once they see the final page, as Cat and Mouse curl up together for a nap. Cat & Mouse is sure to be a favorite with kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 6, 2019 Posted by | cats, children | Leave a comment

The Joy of Intimacy


Author: Manis Friedman with Ricardo Adler
Publisher: It’s Good to Know Publishing
Genre: Relationships / Spirituality
ISBN: 978-0-9862770-0-9
Pages: 216
Price: $14.00

Author’s website
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Today’s marriages are failing at an alarming rate. But what if we discovered the way to experience true intimacy with our life partner? In The Joy of Intimacy, Manis Friedman shares timeless Jewish wisdom in creating a meaningful and lasting relationship with our spouse.

Much of Friedman’s advice is based on orthodox Jewish teaching on marriage. These include proper modesty, relations only at certain times of the month, and an emphasis on creating a baby as a result of the marriage act. But Christians (and especially Catholics) would also relate to many of these concepts. God gifted the married couple with these pleasures, and He wants our marriage to be alive, fresh, and fulfilling. Following this advice would be the perfect start in growing closer to each other.

The Joy of Intimacy would be a great resource for all couples starting out in their marriages, as well as those who may have hit some snags along the way. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 1, 2019 Posted by | Jewish, marriage, relationships, romance, spirituality | Leave a comment

A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery


Author: Daryl Wood Gerber
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-68331-341-0
Pages: 320
Price: $26.99

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Mimi Rousseau is grateful to Bryan Baker, who graciously helped her finance her French bistro. When Bryan asks her to host his niece’s wedding, Mimi is happy to oblige, even though the bride is a famous TV personality. But when Bryan is murdered on the eve of the wedding, Mimi is horrified, especially once she realizes she’s a suspect.

As the local police officer investigates, the guests are all ordered to stay put, since they may have committed the crime. But Mimi isn’t content to just let them relax while he does his job. Instead, she grabs every opportunity she can to question them. Soon, someone is not happy with her meddling and lets her know about it.

Mimi is a nosy woman, and at times her badgering of the guests seemed unusually rude. I had a hard time believing the owner of such a posh establishment would do anything to hurt her business and reputation like that. But ultimately, her efforts do manage to pay off. If the reader can suspend disbelief for those moments, this is a fun, light read. A Deadly Éclair also contains recipes of the French creations mentioned in the story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 27, 2019 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Ours for a Season


Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Amish fiction
ISBN: 978-0-7352-9008-2
Pages: 352
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Marty Hirschler is devastated that she and Anthony will never have children. Bitterness and misery fill her days, as she watches the women in her community raising their own families. So when her best friend, Brooke, offers her and Anthony the chance to get away for a while, she is anxious to go.

Anthony doesn’t know what to do to help Marty heal from her pain. His construction business is booming, causing him to spend weeks away from her, and their marriage is suffering. When Brooke asks him to work on a special project for her, and Marty wants to go, Anthony accepts.

Brooke was not raised Mennonite, but she developed a lasting friendship with Marty when they were children, despite their differences. Now Brooke is involved in one of her biggest business deals ever, while also battling a serious medical condition. She needs Marty more than ever.

Ours for a Season brings them all together as they work toward completing this building project as a team. And as the work progresses, their plans for the project – and their own lives – are transformed. I highly recommend this wonderfully well-written and moving novel.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Amish fiction, romance | Leave a comment

Ara the Star Engineer


Author: Komal Singh
Illustrator: Ipek Konak
Genre: Children / STEM
ISBN: 978-1-989025-05-5
Pages: 40
Price: $15.95

Buy it at Amazon

Ara is named after a seven-star constellation, and she’d love to know how many stars there are in the sky. With her faithful companion robot, DeeDee, she visits Innovation Plex for help in solving her problem.

First, she visits Kripa, the prolific problem solver, and discovers she needs a plan to program DeeDee to count stars. Next, she meets Parisa, the intrepid innovator, who helps her build an algorithm. Diane, the code commander, teaches Ara how to build her own code. And finally, Marian, the tenacious troubleshooter, upgrades DeeDee’s hardware, so she has enough memory to count all the stars.

Using courage, creativity, code, and collaboration, Ara succeeds in programming DeeDee to count all the stars in the universe. She sets a terrific example for all girls (and boys) who see their futures in technology, as she works through her problem in a logical and systematic manner. Ara the Star Engineer is a fun read with a great message.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 21, 2019 Posted by | children, girls, mathematics, science | Leave a comment

The Writer’s Roadmap


Author: Leigh Shulman
Publisher: The Future is Red
Genre: Writing
ISBN: 978-0-9996973-0-6
Pages: 106
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
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Building the perfect writing life may seem out of reach – but it can be done, if you have the right plan. Leigh Shulman is living the life of her dreams, and she wants to share her secrets with other writers.

Using what she calls the OGSM, she guides writers through a step-by-step method of planning their ideal writing life. First, the Objective defines, in one sentence, what an ideal writing life looks like. Then Goals are the dream projects that support it. Strategy is the itemized list of things that need to be accomplished. And Measures provide feedback on whether the Strategies are working.

At each step in building the writer’s own OGSM, Shulman asks probing questions designed for thoughtful rumination. Blank pages provided in the book are a perfect place to make note of these answers.

Shulman acknowledges the realities of work, family, and other time constraints that keep writers away from the page. But this OGSM process allows for all aspects of a writer’s life – not just writing. She also has created a writing group called The Workshop where writers can network and continue to learn from each other. I highly recommend The Writer’s Roadmap to all writers who want a better focus in their writing life.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 15, 2019 Posted by | creativity, writing | Leave a comment

The Christmas Remedy


Author: Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Amish fiction / Romance
ISBN: 978-0-7352-9104-1
Pages: 208
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Holly Zook is not a traditional Amish girl. She’s determined to bring better health care to her Amish community, after seeing how their neglect has affected the quality of their lives. But this choice might cause her to sacrifice her own happiness in the process. Rather than choosing marriage and family, she’s pursuing a nursing degree. And now, the pharmacy Holly works for that caters to the Amish community is threatened.

Joshua Smucker was captivated by Holly’s charm when they met many years ago, but Holly abruptly ended any attempt he might have made to court her. After meeting her once again at the pharmacy, he understands why Holly chose the path she followed, but was this her only choice? If her bishop was enlightened enough to let her get her degree, might he also be willing to let her work once she married?

This delightful Amish romance-mystery takes place during the Christmas season, but could easily be read at any time of the year. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Amish fiction, holiday, romance | Leave a comment