Bergers Book Reviews

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
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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

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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
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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

Danza! Amalia Hernández and Mexico’s Folkloric Ballet

Author: Duncan Tonatiuh
Genre: Children, Mexico, Dance
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2532-6
Pages: 32
Price: $18.95

Author’s website
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Everyone expected Amalia Hernández to grow up to be a teacher, just like her mother and grandmother. But when Ami saw folk dancers put on a show in a town square, she was hooked. She decided on the spot that she would be a dancer, too.

Soon Ami was enrolled in ballet classes, on her way to becoming a talented dancer. But ballet wasn’t enough. Ami wanted to add elements of the folk dances she loved so much into her ballet routines. After spending time traveling around the country, learning as much as she could from the local dancers, she developed performances to showcase them. The people loved them, and her dance troupe grew. Soon El Ballet Folklórico de México was traveling around the world.

Amalia Hernández was a pioneer in creating performances inspired by the folk dances of Mexico. Although she originally envisioned spending her time in the classroom, she devoted her life to teaching her students the beautiful dances she developed. Danza! is a wonderful story about this interesting and accomplished choreographer.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 12, 2017 Posted by | children, dance, Mexico | Leave a comment

The Runaway Dandelion

Author: Jill Regensburg
Illustrator: Leticia Plate
Publisher: EarthWardProject
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-0998459608
Pages: 48
Price: $10.99

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One day, some large equipment arrives in a beautiful meadow and rips out all the trees and plants, before a huge house is built and a lawn planted. After the owners finish spraying for weeds, one lone dandelion survives, but she’s lonely. All her friends are gone. So when her yellow flower petals turn to a fluff of seeds, she floats away to another meadow that looks inviting.

Now she lives with people who care about the environment, and she’s much happier. They grow their own vegetables, use solar and wind power to heat their home, and play outdoors rather than watch too much TV. And best of all, they think dandelions are a tasty addition to their fresh salads. They don’t want to kill her – they really appreciate her.

Sustainable living is not an idea many city dwellers give much thought to, but even if one lives in the suburbs, it’s possible to be more mindful of the environment. Kids will learn about this concept as they follow the little dandelion to her new and nicer home. A glossary of terms is also included. I highly recommend The Runaway Dandelion.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 3, 2017 Posted by | children, nature | Leave a comment