Bergers Book Reviews

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers: Vol 3)

Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Writing / Marketing
ISBN: 978-1-5369-4837-0
Pages: 340
Price: $17.95

Author’s website
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson has become the go-to guru for information on writing and promoting your book frugally. Her latest installment in this series focuses on getting and effectively using book reviews. Not surprisingly, she shows us how to get them ethically and for not much more than the cost of a book mailed to the reviewer’s address.

As a book reviewer, I read this book with a critical eye, hoping Howard-Johnson would touch on some of the important things I wish authors would do in promoting their books. Simple things like not assuming your reviewer will settle for an electronic copy (I don’t), thanking the reviewer for taking the time to read your book and write the review, and other assorted niceties go a long way. Thankfully, she jumps on these and adds a whole bunch more, which left me with a big smile on my face.

But besides getting a review posted on a website or Amazon, reviews can be used for so much more in promoting your book. Howard-Johnson shows us how to use them to encourage people to purchase a book or even get more reviews. Reviews drive sales, so the more we can accumulate, the better.

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is an easy read, packed with a wealth of suggestions and guidance in gathering reviews to help promote your book. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 28, 2017 Posted by | writing | Leave a comment

Busy on the Farm

Author: Holly Dufek
Illustrators: Paul E. Nunn and Mike Kasun
Publisher: Octane Press
Genre: Children / Farming
ISBN: 978-1937747794
Pages: 32
Price: $10.00

Publisher’s website
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It’s a beautiful morning, and Casey and her friends are ready to get to work. Baling hay, tending to the animals, and other assorted jobs keep them all busy. Casey relies on an assortment of tractors and farm equipment to maintain the farm properly. Each piece of equipment has a specific purpose, designed to make work easier and simpler for Casey.

Busy on the Farm also shares some interesting farming information that kids will be eager to read. Feed crops, hay baling techniques, precision farming, and cattle breeds, as well as other topics are briefly covered. A glossary of terms and some fun facts are also included.

Farm kids will really enjoy seeing Casey in action as she manages Happy Skies Farm. I highly recommend the Casey and Friends series of farming books.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 20, 2017 Posted by | children, farming | Leave a comment

Jilly’s Terrible Temper Tantrums and How She Outgrew Them

Author: Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D.
Illustrator: Jo Gershman
Publisher: Smart Love Press
Genre: Children / Parenting
ISBN: 978-0-9838664-1-1
Pages: 32
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
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Jilly is a happy kangaroo most of the time. But every once in a while she has a terrible temper tantrum. When she doesn’t get what she wants, she acts out in a big way. But mom and dad know how to talk to Jilly, as they attempt to calm her down. They offer her a hug and then reason with her demands. Jilly stops screaming and carrying on, and complies with their requests. Soon Jilly notices when she’s about to have a terrible temper tantrum, and runs to mom for a hug instead. She’s learned how to handle her frustrations on her own.

Jilly’s parents have adopted the Smart Love® approach to managing children’s behavior, which avoids both the negativity of discipline and the laxity of permissiveness. Jilly’s Terrible Temper Tantrums and How She Outgrew Them shows Jilly’s parents in action as they love her through her unacceptable behavior, serving as a model for both children and adults. This book would be a great resource for parents of young children.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 16, 2017 Posted by | children, parenting | Leave a comment

Colorful Creations: Positively Inspired

Author & Illustrator: Jess Volinski
Publisher: Design Originals
Genre: Art / Creativity
ISBN: 978-1-4972-0260-3
Pages: 80
Price: $9.99

Author’s website
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Coloring books aren’t just for kids anymore, and Jess Volinski takes her Colorful Creations series to a new level of artwork. Positively Inspired is filled with beautiful designs coupled with positive messages for us to fill in with crayons, markers, or colored pencils. But in addition to these black and white line drawings, Volinski includes information on how to create a pleasing palette using the color wheel. Sample colored designs provide inspiration for our own masterpieces, and several color wheel diagrams help us choose the right colors to create mood or harmony.

Volinski’s designs begin as beautiful artwork and are just waiting for us to add our own personal touch to bring them to life. I highly recommend these adult coloring books.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 12, 2017 Posted by | art | Leave a comment

Find Mom’s Wok

Author: Jung Hee Kim
Illustrator: Jung Ah Noh
Publisher: Tantan Publishing
Genre: Children / Chinese Culture
ISBN: 978-1-939248-23-7
Pages: 38
Price: $17.95

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Shao Ming needs to bring her mother’s special wok to her uncle’s house for a feast. While walking through the streets as the people are celebrating the Zhongqiu Jie Festival, Shao Ming puts it down to watch a performing dragon. As she turns to leave, she suddenly realizes she has lost the wok.

Hoping to find the special wok, Shao Ming visits the shops and restaurants in the area that smell like food. Her mom’s wok has a dragon carved on the handle, so it should be easy to identify when she sees it. Along the way, she samples Szechuan, Shanghai, Guangdong, and Beijing cooking. Finally, Shao Ming realizes she is very late to the feast, and reluctantly and tearfully heads toward her uncle’s house. But when she arrives, she finds a very happy surprise.

Find Mom’s Wok gives kids a fun and colorful introduction to Chinese culture. Along with the story, sidebar notes explain some of the food items and vocabulary of the text. The end pages share some of China’s history and cuisine.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 6, 2017 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Habit Stacking

Author: S.J. Scott
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Self-improvement
ISBN: 978-1545339121
Pages: 330
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Developing better habits can be tricky, since old habits keep us locked in patterns that feel hard to break. But what if there was a way to make this easier? What if we could group several habits together, making it more likely that we complete them all every day?

Habit Stacking shows us how to add good habits to our day by “stacking” them into manageable thirty minute time slots. If it makes sense to do them at the beginning of the day, we can stack them in the morning. Or maybe we’d be better off doing them in the middle or end of the day. That’s fine, too. Just schedule the stack, make a list of new habits we’d like to develop, and get ready to see positive changes.

S.J. Scott provides suggestions for 127 new habits that could improve our lives. These are grouped into categories: Career, Finance, Health, Leisure, Organizing, Relationship, and Spirituality. Habits are also categorized as Keystone, Support, and Elephant, based on how they are developed and used. Scott also shares some of the tools he finds useful, such as websites and apps that help in developing these new habits. And he tackles any resistance we might feel at adding new habits to an already overcrowded lifestyle.

Habit Stacking shares a unique and helpful approach to new habit formation. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 5, 2017 Posted by | self improvement | Leave a comment

I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God

Author: Diane Stortz
Illustrator: Diane Le Feyer
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Children / Bible stories
ISBN: 978-0-5291-2066-3
Pages: 224
Price: $16.99

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God is revealed in the Bible in the many names He gives us. Creator, Good Shepherd, I AM, and Immanuel are just some of the forty names of God presented in this storybook of the Bible.

Beginning with the Genesis account of creation and ending with a white horse in the book of Revelation, short segments of the Bible are paraphrased and illustrated. Each includes some thoughts regarding the story’s meaning, plus a bridge to the next segment. Kids are also given the Bible references if they want to read the actual stories in the Bible. Illustrations are done in a style reminiscent of today’s animated movies.

Paraphrases make me uncomfortable, since so much can be lost in the author’s attempts to make Bible stories readable for kids. Thankfully, most of these stay true to the intent of the Bible passage, except for the Last Supper. The author chose to insert the word “like” in the words Jesus spoke in instituting the Eucharist. Rather than the actual spoken words of Jesus, kids will see “This bread is like my body” and “this drink is like my blood.” A heavy-duty black marker quickly solves the problem, making this a nice Bible story book for kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 2, 2017 Posted by | children, Christian | 4 Comments