Bergers Book Reviews

Areté Again

Author: Tobin E. Wilson
Publisher: San Juan Publishing
Genre: Theology
ISBN: 978-0-9707399-8-8
Pages: 224
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
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Areté means excellence in character and life. And in order to achieve this excellence, a thorough exploration of our current values can lead to an attempt at correcting them. In Areté Again, Rev. Tobin Wilson offers a glimpse of his own past, including an addiction to alcohol, in order to show us how he is changing his ways, and to inspire us to change our own.

First Wilson gives us his own insights into the doctrine of the Trinity. One of the most confusing elements of the Christian faith, Wilson attempts to shed some light on this important theological concept. Then, within the framework of the seven deadly sins, he shares his thoughts on how we as humans have gone astray. Using examples from his own youth ministry, he introduces some of the young people he’s worked with. These teens made a deep impression on him, and he hopes the stories of their struggles and triumphs will impact us as well.

Wilson doesn’t hold anything back. Citing other theological works and the Presbyterian church’s teachings, he forces the reader to face up to his own selfishness in light of the world’s problems. But despite the harsh realities he presents, he does it a gentle manner meant to inspire rather than condemn us. Excellence doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s worth working toward, no matter how long it takes.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 31, 2011 Posted by | Christian | Leave a comment

The Undying Soul

Author: Stephen J. Iacoboni, MD
Publisher: SJI Publishing
Genre: Health / Spirituality
ISBN: 978-0-983-05380-4
Pages: 166
Price: $24.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Treating those who are diagnosed with cancer is a difficult path. An oncologist knows there is a strong possibility his treatment won’t work, or that the cancer will show up again at some point in the future. Facing death is a regular occurrence and a feeling of helplessness can easily become overwhelming. But when Dr. Iacoboni discovers the undying soul in his patients, his whole outlook changes.

After struggling with treatment protocols that felt more like guesswork than a real cure, Iacoboni needed to find a purpose. Meaningful soul connections began to occur, and he noticed that some people could find peace in their passing, while others struggled to the bitter end. With this new revelation, he could now help them in ways he hadn’t been able to in his early days. No longer just cancer patients, they were now undying souls.

The Undying Soul is Iacoboni’s story of how he reconciled his beliefs in modern medical science with his almost-forgotten faith. Sharing the experiences he had with the angel-saints he believes were sent to help him, he reassures us that cancer doesn’t need to scare us. We too can have the peace of knowing we have an undying soul, and there is a better place awaiting us.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 28, 2011 Posted by | health, spirituality | Leave a comment

The Skinny on Time Management

Author: Jim Randel
Publisher: Rand Media
Genre: Self-improvement
ISBN: 978-0-9841393-9-2
Pages: 134
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

According to Jim Randel, “time management is the application of strategies and techniques to help you use your time as effectively as possible.” Randel doesn’t believe in wasting our time with this book, either, and presents it in a simple, streamlined format that should take only about an hour to read.

First Randel asks the reader to evaluate how he’s currently spending his time. We all waste time in some way, and identifying where we can capture an hour or two can really help us accomplish more. Then we need to clearly define our goals, so we can be sure we reach them. The remaining sections offer insights on ways we can overcome procrastination and inertia, and work more effectively and efficiently.

Skinny On books are presented in a power point style with stick figures and captions, but they’re not comic books. Instead, Randel captures the most important points on a topic and presents them with a minimum of fluff. Further reading is encouraged, and an extensive list of recommended books is provided. If you’re looking to do more with your time, you’d be wise to pick up this book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 25, 2011 Posted by | self improvement | Leave a comment

Author Interview: Linn B. Halton

Bergers Book Reviews offers a warm welcome to Linn B. Halton, who has stopped in today for a chat:

What was your inspiration for writing Touched By the Light?

It certainly wasn’t the story I had intended to sit down and write, but after having given up work to look after my mother, within three months I found myself ‘home alone’.  In between sorting all the things that follow a death in the family, and handling all the stages that go with the grieving process, I sat down to write.  It filled my mind, and the hours until my husband came home from work and we could comfort each other.

So part of my day with filled with sadness and tears; the other part was filled with what is quite an intricate storyline, viewed from the perspective of five of the characters to varying degrees.  It is essentially a romance. But it is a romance working on two levels, life and ‘the other side’.  And yet I wouldn’t say it was ‘sad’ in any way, it is a romance which just happens to have psychic connections.  Several of the incidents featured in the book are things that I have experienced in real life.

Have you ever experienced a psychic connection with another person or a particular place?

Yes.  How often?  More times than I can count on two hands!  We have had thirteen different homes, from brand new houses, to several old cottages and a 250 year old Stone Lodge.  The worst experience I had was in a property that we didn’t own and it was less than 20 years old!

Two years ago, a chance visit to an evening of Clairvoyance triggered a re-run in my head of experiences I’d had stretching back to early childhood.  Things I hadn’t consciously linked or thought about, suddenly became clear – as if it was being shown to me.  I wrote ‘Being A Sceptic Is Oh So Easy’ after that experience and it is available from Amazon on Kindle.  It’s not something I’ve ‘launched’ or advertised extensively, because it’s just a collection of personal experiences and opinions.  It includes amazing things that happened when my parents died (five years apart) that went a long way to turning me from a sceptic (even though I’d had experiences) into a believer.

What do you think might make someone more likely to have a supernatural experience?

The answer is I don’t know.  I have dismissed so many things that have happened, because afterwards I convinced myself it was just imagination – that always worked for me.  It was convenient and meant I didn’t have to think about what the implication might be if it was real.    Then there are some things you just can’t ignore – if something touches you for instance.   And finally, the thing that makes you groan inwardly – you share the experience with someone else, someone you trust implicitly so you can’t just turn your back on it.  My husband was an even greater sceptic than I was, until we shared a few simultaneous experiences in a couple of our homes.  It was a little uncomfortable and took us a while to adjust to talking openly to each other about it.  Before that the whole subject was taboo!

I think perhaps some people are more ‘open’ than others, but then my own mother was a firm non-believer, with strong Catholic roots.  But on a couple of occasions we discussed things that she herself had witnessed.  One house we lived in we had to move because of the problems, and whilst she was prepared to tell me what she had experienced there whilst baby-sitting, she still walked away saying she didn’t believe in any of it!

Do you believe in life after death, and the ability to communicate beyond the grave?

Yes.  I base this on nothing other than what I have seen, felt and heard.  I obviously know a little about the subject, and I did research for Touched By The Light, but I am not an expert and I am certainly not a trained psychic or medium.  I have asked for validation and proof from loved ones, because it is hard to let go of your scepticism, no matter what you experience.  Your mind tells you it must be wishful thinking, simply because you don’t want to have to let go.  What I received in return though, was one indisputable physical encounter and messages through two different mediums from both my mother and father that were unique and astounding.

When bits of conversation you’ve had prior to leaving your home are repeated by a medium you have never met before, it makes you sit up and listen.  Then when that person is being ‘led around your current home’ and is being given a running narrative about the building and interior by someone on the other side – it’s bizarre.  But it was my father proving to me that even though we’d had three different homes since his death, he was still there with us!  The medium in question told me he had never had a spirit do this before and my father made reference to the fireplace in the sitting room of the cottage we lived in at the time.  He told the medium ‘she hates that fireplace’.  He was right – it was the first thing I said when we bought the property ‘I hate that fireplace, it has to go!’ and it did shortly afterwards.

Trivial? Yes, totally.  But something that if it had been said to someone else, would be easily refutable – it’s either true, or it’s not!  So if it wasn’t a real ‘message’, it was probably not the best thing to ‘throw in’ as it wasn’t ‘general’ enough to be safe!  You see, the sceptic in me is always looking at all angles!  But I can say that I now have a totally different view of life and the afterlife.

You’ve recently launched the website  Can you tell us a little about the site?

It’s a new concept – an interactive Reader/Author website which features 30 new Authors.  It’s a way for readers to get to know an author as their career develops and to get actively involved.  Associate Readers who link with, and support our authors, are a part of the team and everyone works together.  As a new Author, to have someone to read your work and give you reviews, to call upon to be test readers of things that are not published and to have support via social media, is such a boost.

Our authors range in age group from 20’s to 80’s, we represent a wide range of genres and geographical split around the world.  We’re out to prove that for authors without the benefit of a large advertising budget behind them, READERS do have the power to launch someone’s career.  The way we look at it, every time a reader buys a book they are ‘voting’, we’d like them to ‘vote’ and link up with our new Authors.  We are serious, but it is also about having fun – life’s too short!

Do you have any other books that you’re currently working on?

I have three completed manuscripts and the next one to be released will probably be ‘The Quintessential Gemini’.  It’s a fun romance about a woman in her forties, who lives her single, professional life according to her daily horoscope.  She is suddenly made redundant and the bottom falls out of her world.  The astrologer she follows is becoming a world-wide celebrity and hands over the daily forecasts to a new guy – that’s when the fun begins……

Thanks for visiting with us today, Linn! 

You can find Linn B. Halton on the web at:

Twitter Account:  @LinnBHalton
Facebook Author:  Linn B Halton
Personal website: website:

July 22, 2011 Posted by | author interview | Leave a comment

The Natural Laws of Good Luck

Author: Ellen Graf
Publisher: Trumpeter Books
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 978-1-59030-833-2
Pages: 272
Price: $15.95

Author’s website
Zhong-hua’s brush paintings
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Ellen is forty-six, divorced and lonely, so she doesn’t resist when her Chinese friend suggests maybe Ellen and her brother, Zhong-hua, might like each other. But first Ellen must travel to China to meet him – a man who speaks almost no English. Surprisingly, Ellen and Zhong-hua get along and agree to marry. After processing his immigration paperwork, he finally arrives in upstate New York, where they live in Ellen’s house. Now the fun begins, as Ellen realizes Zhong-hua operates by a whole different cultural standard than she’s used to.

Zhong-hua believes that a man doesn’t need to let his wife know where he is going, and disappears frequently. This might not be such a bad thing, ordinarily, except Zhong-hua gets lost easily, and still doesn’t speak much English. He also doesn’t think it’s necessary to apologize, offer greetings, or do any of the other niceties Ellen expects from a husband. In fact, bumping into her is considered a form of affection.

The house falls into disrepair, several cars and various pieces of machinery meet their ends, and both of their old dogs grow feeble. But when Zhong-hua’s health takes a scary turn, these two mismatched lovers pull together to try to make the best of things.

Although this memoir is touted as being humorous, I found The Natural Laws of Good Luck incredibly touching. Ellen shows remarkable patience with her culturally inept husband, and gives in to his many demands with good grace. Living in a foreign country is hard on Zhong-hua, and Ellen allows for his comfort, even if at times it conflicts with her own. Both strive to be loving and make their marriage work, and it’s encouraging to see them look past their shortcomings to see the good in each other. I highly recommend this wonderfully sweet love story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 21, 2011 Posted by | marriage, memoir | Leave a comment

Maisy’s Bedtime

Author& Illustrator: Lucy Cousins
Produced by: Story Time Café
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5677-5
Pages: 24
Price: $39.95

Story Time Café
Buy the book at Amazon

Maisy Mouse is ready for bed. Following her normal bedtime ritual, she changes into her pajamas, brushes her teeth, and visits the potty. Both she and her bedtime companion, Panda, follow this evening ritual together before Maisy goes to sleep.

The charming simplicity of this book makes it special. Maisy is drawn in black lines, the way a child might, with color filled in. The text is also written in bold, black ink. And the plain primary and secondary colors are soothing and not too busy for a small child to look at just before going to sleep.

The unique Story Time Bundle packaging makes Maisy’s Bedtime even more enjoyable for children as they retire for the evening. It includes a crib size 36”x48” quilt, printed with a picture of Maisy cuddled with Panda in bed. A smaller, matching 24”x24” quilt can be used to tuck in a bedtime companion like Panda. This quilt set and book is a delightful gift for any child who would like to make bedtime more special.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 19, 2011 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

From Zero to Christian in Just 35 Years

Author: Lori A. Moore
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Genre: Memoir / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-61566-081-0
Pages: 96
Price: $9.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Growing up, Lori A. Moore was never introduced to religion. Her parents let her decide what she believed on her own, but never taught her enough to make a decision. So she formed her early beliefs on misinformation and doubt.

Although she had no formal religious training, God never took His eye off of her, and eventually led her back to Him. The path wasn’t easy and included several detours, but now Moore is a committed Christian striving to emulate Jesus.

This short memoir shares the journey Moore took in living a Christian life. The first section is fairly chronological, starting at childhood and progressing onward. But in the second section, the story jumps around a little. Some parts are repetitive, and at times it isn’t clear exactly where on her Christian journey the incidents are occurring.

Moore intends to bring as many people as possible to Christ through From Zero to Christian in Just 35 Years. In sharing her own story of being rescued from a life in the pit, she hopes to reach other pit-dwellers and help them find the right path home. A popular bumper-sticker reads, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” Moore’s testimony lets us know that we also don’t need to be perfect. We only need to let God work in us.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Christian, memoir | Leave a comment

My Maasai Life

Author: Robin Wiszowaty
Illustrators: Marisa Antonello and Victoria Laidley
Publisher: Me to We Books
Genre: Children / International
ISBN: 978-1-55365-802-3
Pages: 36
Price: $19.95

Author’s website
Buy it here

Robin is excited to visit Kenya, the country she’s dreamed about for a very long time. She longs to see the animals and the people there, and can’t wait for adventure. But when she does arrive, she finds things are a little different than she expected.

Unlike at home, children have to work hard to make sure the family can eat and drink. Carrying wood and water on their backs, they help Mama to prepare a meal. Houses are tiny and constructed of mud and sticks, and the meals they eat are so much simpler.

Robin had such a good time on her trip to visit the Maasai people that she later went back for good. She is now the Kenya Program Director with Free The Children. This organization is a network allowing children to help other children in need.

My Maasai Life is the children’s version of Robin’s story.  She has also published a full-length version My Maasai Life for adults. Me to We Books supports Free the Children by giving them half their annual profits.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 7, 2011 Posted by | children, international | Leave a comment

Wacky Jacky

Author: Jaclyn Stapp
Illustrator: Kristine Lucco
Publisher: TriMark Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-9816092-8-7
Pages: 41
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Jacky is different from her classmates. Her family is from Jordan, she eats strange food and she has crazy, wild hair. But Jacky volunteers at the children’s hospital, where her best friend lives, and she does her best to be herself.

One day Jacky learns of a local beauty pageant, and makes the decision to compete. She has no idea how much this one event will change her life for the better.

This is the real-life story of Jaclyn Stapp, unlikely beauty queen, told in rhyme with bright and colorful illustrations. While beauty is sometimes said to be skin deep, Stapp doesn’t believe it has to always be this way. Now Stapp empowers at-risk youth, champions women’s rights, and enriches the lives of underprivileged children. Wacky Jacky is truly beautiful from the inside out.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 3, 2011 Posted by | children | Leave a comment