children, nature


Author: Monica Russo
Photographer: Kevin Byron
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Genre: Nature / Children
ISBN: 978-1-61373-396-7
Pages: 144
Price: $15.99

Buy it at Amazon

The forest offers children a wonderful environment to explore. They can enjoy the bright colors of autumn, the fresh green of spring, or the barren landscape of winter. Each tree has its own distinguishing characteristics just waiting to be discovered.

Treecology offers the young naturalist an opportunity to view the trees around him, seeing them in a new light. Thirty activities and observations are included to guide him in making his discoveries, and lots of interesting facts about trees and forests are provided. Forests are home to animal populations as well as insects, and many of these are also discussed.

Kids love being outdoors in nature, and Treecology will encourage them to see the trees and forests around them in a new way. I highly recommend this fun and educational resource.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, finance

God and Money

Authors: John Cortines and Gregory Baumer
Publisher: Rose Publishing
Genre: Christian / Finance
ISBN: 978-1628624076
Pages: 224
Price: $24.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Jesus cautioned his followers against the accumulation of riches. While He never preached that money in itself is evil, the excessive love of possessions can lead to a host of problems. So how does the average person handle this teaching? God and Money provides some ideas on this conundrum that the authors have attempted to implement in their own lives.

While many use the standard tithe (10%) as a guideline for giving, Cortines and Baumer suggest we can do much better than that. In fact, they recommend people set a baseline spending amount and a reasonable and prudent savings plan, so they can give away the excess. For those in the authors’ social class, this sounds like a wonderful philanthropic goal. But for the many middle to lower class Americans just struggling to survive, this is simply not helpful or feasible.

Those in the wealthiest segment of society who are active in their church and community will find this an interesting and informative read. The rest of us will need to look elsewhere for a book that speaks to our needs.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Figley’s Little White Lie

Authors: Suzanne Cotsakos & Ryan McCulloch
Illustrator: Ryan McCulloch
Publisher: Mutasian Entertainment
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0985600204
Pages: 48
Price: $15.99

Buy it at Amazon
Author’s website

Figley has broken Chadwick’s invention. But he doesn’t want to admit it to his friend, so he invents a lie, telling him a monster broke it instead. Rather than just accepting this information, Chadwick becomes really excited, since Figley has perfectly described the mythical Slop Mess Monster. Chadwick is determined to track down this monster and confirm it really exists.

Now that he’s backed himself into a corner, Figley continues to build on his lie as he gets caught up in Chadwick’s adventure. With every new lie, his predicament gets worse and worse, until he finally can’t take it anymore. Exhausted and miserable, he admits what he’s done, hoping for forgiveness. Chadwick is a good friend, and willingly accepts Figley’s apology with a hug.

Figley’s Little White Lie is a humorous story of how telling tales can really get a person into trouble. Cute illustrations and a hilarious sequence of events will have kids giggling, while vowing to never let something like this ever happen to them!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Suzanne and Ryan stopped by Bergers Book Reviews for an interview. Please be sure to check it out here!


The Lost Letter

Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Victorian Romance
ISBN: 978-0-9990364-1-9
Pages: 206
Price: $2.99 (Kindle)

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Sylvia Stafford has accepted her reduced circumstances and enjoys her new position as a governess. Life has dealt the society beauty some cruel blows, but she’s a strong woman and has chosen to make the best of things.

Colonel Sebastian Conrad is Sylvia’s one true love, but circumstances drove them apart years ago. Now he’s injured and living alone, convinced that Sylvia spurned his attentions. When his meddling sister insists Sylvia visit the home to cheer him up, he’s not at all pleased.

The Lost Letter is a sweet Victorian romance with a delightful array of twists. Unlike the simpering Victorian heroines of the past, Sylvia is spunky, with a mind of her own and the daring to take matters into her own hands. And Sebastian is the kind of hero who can melt a woman’s heart. I really enjoyed this novel and I look forward to seeing many more Victorian romances from this talented author.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Maurice the Unbeastly

Author: Amy Dixon
Illustrator: Karl James Mountford
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1953-7
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

Buy it at Amazon

Maurice’s parents are concerned that he’s much too civilized, so they enroll him in the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts. But no matter how hard he tries, Maurice simply can’t seem to fit in. He’s convinced he will be a gargantuan failure.

But one day a mysterious creature arrives in the classroom, and none of the other students know what to do. Drawing on his own natural abilities, Maurice catches the creature and subdues it, immediately earning the respect of everyone in the school.

Maurice is different from the other students, and he believes his differences are bad. But when he discovers his hidden talent, he realizes that being different is okay, and he’s grateful. Children will love Maurice the Unbeastly.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

fiction, history

The Ringmaster’s Wife

Author: Kristy Cambron
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-7180-4154-0
Pages: 368
Price: $15.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England has a secret passion – riding bareback on her Arabian mare. So when Colin Keary arrives with the intention of purchasing her beloved horse, Rosamund is understandably upset. But what she doesn’t expect is Colin’s enticing invitation to run off to America and join the circus.

Mable Burton is living the simple farm life in Ohio, but the excitement of the city is calling her. A chance meeting in Chicago introduces her to John Ringling, but they won’t meet again until several years later in Atlantic City. John has never forgotten her, and they are soon married. Now she, too, is joined to the circus, but only peripherally.

The Ringmaster’s Wife alternates between these two women’s perspectives, as a circus season progresses. Rosamund’s career begins on a shaky note, but as she gains confidence, she has to handle the rivalry that develops between her and the former star. Mable is a strong and steady force in Rosamund’s life, as she cheers for the young lady to be successful. And Colin is an enigma to Rosamund, as she tries to determine if he is interested in her as a woman or simply a circus performer.

Faith and courage in the midst of overwhelming circumstances are the hallmark themes in this beautifully written historical novel. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, meditation

The Listening Day Vol. 1

Author: Paul J. Pastor
Publisher: Zeal Books
Genre: Christian / Meditation
ISBN: 978-0-9970669-6-8
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. But rather than the harsh responses many expect, God reassures us of his love and care. Visiting topics such as pain and suffering, sin and repentance, relationships, and many others, Pastor shares the words God might say to us. 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, 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 this innovative and inspirational meditation book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger