Bergers Book Reviews

The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon)

Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Victorian Romance
ISBN: 978-0-9990364-5-7
Pages: 386
Price: $16.46

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Helena Reynolds is running from a dark secret when she answers the matrimonial advertisement. Seeking to be married as quickly as possible, she hopes to find sanctuary with Justin Thornhill.

Justin has given up on the idea of a happy marriage, and is simply looking for a pleasant companion who is willing to share the cold, dark nights together. When Helena shows up, he’s stunned. Why would an obviously well-bred, beautiful woman answer such an unusual advertisement? But once they’re married, Helena’s secrets come back to threaten the happiness they’re beginning to find together. Is Justin willing to be the knight in shining armor that Helena needs so desperately?

Mimi Matthews has done it again, in giving us such a strong and spunky heroine. Although Helena initially appears weak, her transformation by the end of this story is so enjoyable to watch. And Justin is every woman’s dream man, as he stands by his wife. I loved The Matrimonial Advertisement and I’m looking forward to reading the next books in this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 30, 2018 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

Dinosaur Devotions

Author: Michelle Medlock Adams
Illustrator: Denise Turu
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
Genre: Children / Dinosaurs / Christian / Devotions
ISBN: 978-1-4002-0902-6
Pages: 160
Price: $14.99

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Illustrator’s website
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It’s so much more fun learning about the Bible when you can do it with dinosaurs. Not only will kids learn solid Christian teaching – they’ll also acquire some impressive knowledge of 75 different prehistoric beasts.

Each of these two-page devotional entries shares a Bible quote, details some interesting facts about one particular dinosaur, and relates the dinosaur’s qualities to Christian behavior. Then a “dig deeper” question is asked, followed by a prompt for Jurassic journaling.

Did you know the Baryonyx dinosaur most likely ate a diet of fish? Dinosaur Devotions shares this information with kids before explaining the words of Jesus sending his disciples out to be fishers of men. Then it asks them to dig even deeper, and come up with a list of people they would like to invite to church – and do it!

Dinosaur Devotions is perfect for middle-grade kids who love dinosaurs and are open to hearing about Christian living in a fresh and interesting way.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 29, 2018 Posted by | children, Christian | Leave a comment

Amish Wisdom from the Scriptures

Created & Published by: The editors of Quiet Fox Designs
Genre: Journal / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-64178-028-5
Pages: 144
Price: $9.99

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This hardcover lined journal contains full-page snapshots of Amish life including horses, buggies, fields, and head coverings. Each two-page spread has a Pennsylvania Dutch design located in the corner, plus alternating Scripture verses and wisdom sayings at the bottom of the pages.

Amish Wisdom from the Scriptures is the perfect journal for recording prayer intentions and gratitude lists, as well as day-to-day thoughts. This beautiful book would also make a great gift for the Amish fiction reader.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 20, 2018 Posted by | journal | Leave a comment

You Are Enough

Author: Mandy Hale
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian / Inspiration
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1234-4
Pages: 176
Price: $20.00

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Mandy Hale has become popular through her twitter account and blog. Known as The Single Woman, she shares her experiences with dating and relationships. But one relationship in particular, along with its painful ending, haunts her more than she realizes.

Carrying the wounds from this experience into her current reality, she suffers an emotional breakdown that she’s unable to deal with on her own. It will take professional help for her to fully recover and face what happened. And when she is finally able to speak with him again, she has a newfound sense of dignity that helps her realize he is not the man she believed him to be. She has gained the knowledge that she really is enough.

You Are Enough is Mandy’s reminder to all of us, that we don’t need to listen to the messages we hear from the world around us. God loves us just as we are, and we don’t need to be better-prettier-smarter to earn his love. We are enough, just as we are. And isn’t that just the message we need to hear?

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 19, 2018 Posted by | Christian, inspiration, self improvement | Leave a comment

Look at Me!

Author & Illustrator: Jim Arnosky
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Nature / Animals
ISBN: 978-1-4549-2809-6
Pages: 40
Price: $16.95

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Many animals have coloring that allows them to blend in with their surroundings, camouflaging them from being seen by predators. But some animals have colorful and unusual features that are meant to attract mates, as well as avoid being eaten. Look at Me! shows us some of these creatures and their stunning displays.

Male turkeys spread their tail feathers, and strut to attract females. African bullfrogs blow up to twice their size to avoid frog-eating snakes. Deer have antlers and sheep have horns for battling other males during mating season. These as well as many other interesting animals are introduced with beautiful illustrations, including some fold out spreads.

Nature’s wonders never fail to please children, and Look at Me! is a delight to read. Kids (and teachers) will love it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 9, 2018 Posted by | animals, children, nature | Leave a comment

Which Animal Is Fastest?

Author: Brian Rock
Illustrator: Carolyn Le
Publisher: Arbordale
Genre: Children / Animals
ISBN: 9781607187455
Pages: 32
Price: $9.95

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Illustrator’s website
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King Lion is hosting a race to determine the fastest animal. But before he can crown cheetah the champion, the other animals protest. Why should the race be for quickness over a short distance? There are other ways to measure speed – why won’t he use those instead?

After listening to all their pleas, King Lion finally decides to hold an Olympics. Each animal now has the chance to show off its skills in the best possible setting, and the winners of each event are congratulated.

The final pages detail each of the speeds of the winning animals in their specialty. Activities and questions are also provided for teachers who might want to use this book for science lessons. Which Animal Is Fastest? is a fun read for animal lovers, and will be a big hit in the classroom.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 2, 2018 Posted by | animals, children | Leave a comment

Proggy Menagerie

Author: Hayley Smith
Publisher: Good Books
Genre: Crafts
ISBN: 978-1-68099-337-0
Pages: 128
Price: $14.99

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Have you ever imagined making your own soft and snuggly rag rug animals? This process isn’t as hard as it might seem. Using simple supplies like fleece and burlap, you can build adorable critters. Proggy Menagerie will show you how.

In this unique craft book, you’ll learn how to make woodland creatures (fox, badger, hedgehog, squirrel), farmyard favorites (lamb, pig, bat, duck), perfect pets (kitten, puppy, bunny, tortoise), feathered friends (parrot, owl, robin, penguin), and water babies (clown fish, seal, turtle, frog). The creation of each animal is demonstrated with pictures and written instructions explaining each of the steps. Reduced-size patterns (with instructions for enlarging) are provided for cutting the pieces to be assembled.

Although I didn’t attempt one of these adorable proggy animals, I felt confident in reading the detailed instructions that I could have easily created them. Children will need an adult’s assistance in assembling these, but will easily grasp the proggy technique. I highly recommend Proggy Menagerie.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 29, 2018 Posted by | art, children, crafts, creativity | Leave a comment

Figley vs. the Mookling Hat (Mutasia)

Authors: Suzanne Cotsakos & Ryan McCulloch
Illustrator: Ryan McCulloch
Publisher: Mutasian Entertainment
Genre: Children
ISBN: 9780692106327
Pages: 48
Price: $15.99

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When everyone in Mutasia starts wearing Mookling hats, Figley decides he needs one, too. After all, he can’t be left out of the fun. But when he tries to find one for the party that evening, his efforts end in failure. So he does the best he can, and arrives at the party with a Squonk hat, instead.

Initially, the others are puzzled by this silly, squishy hat. But when they decide his hat is so much more special than their Mookling hats, they all have to get one, too. Once everyone is wearing Squonk hats, they wonder why they don’t feel as unique as they thought they would. Figley knows the answer, and after sharing it with the rest of the Mutasians, they know what to do. Soon everyone is sporting the hat that best fits their personality.

Figley vs. the Mookling Hat is a silly story that encourages individuality. By exaggerating the ridiculousness of everyone doing the same thing, it shows kids that it’s best to be themselves, even if they’re different from their friends. And they might discover that their way is just as cool as everyone else’s.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

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

October 18, 2018 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

The Summer of New Beginnings

Author: Bette Lee Crosby
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Women’s fiction
ISBN: 978-1503901247
Pages: 284
Price: $14.95

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Meghan Briggs is running the family business after her father’s death. Always the responsible one, she stepped in immediately, putting her own dreams on hold. When Meghan rescues a puppy, she tries hard not to fall in love, expecting his owner to show up any moment to claim him. But she’s not as wary when she meets the handsome new vet.

Tracy Briggs followed her heart, making a disastrous romantic decision. When she returns home as a single mother, Meghan and their mom are there to help her pick up the pieces. Her son, Lucas, will need special attention, and the family bonds in the process of helping him.

While this story is full of romance, it’s more about family and the ways they work together. All three of the ladies in this book struggles with something from their past, but now they’re making a new beginning. The Summer of New Beginnings is an enjoyable “warm and fuzzy” read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 17, 2018 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

Pull It Off

Author: Julianna Zobrist
Publisher: Faithwords
Genre: Christian / Women
ISBN: 978-1-5460-2592-4
Pages: 240
Price: $22.00

Author’s website
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When it comes to living our own lives, many women don’t have the nerve to actually pull it off. They defer to the wishes of others rather than discerning their own unique path. Julianna Zobrist has struggled with accepting her own individuality, but has learned how to develop it while creating an authentic life. In Pull It Off, she shares some pointers with the rest of us.

Readers will smile at Julianna’s opening anecdote about her wedding, where the planning centered on everyone but the bride and groom. Rather than honoring their own picture of the perfect day, they conceded to the spoken (and unspoken) desires of others. She then shares some more humorous and not-so-humorous stories of others imposing their thoughts and opinions on her and her husband, Ben. Being a Christian pop singer married to a major league baseball player is challenging enough, but when you add several kids and too many conflicting ideas about how to raise them, things can get complicated. But Julianna shows us how they place their own marriage at the top of their priority list, ensuring its survival.

Julianna Zobrist takes a lighthearted approach in her story-telling, but her suggestions are clear. If we want to live authentic lives, we need to focus on our own needs and wants and go after them. Pull It Off offers a great message for women.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Christian | Leave a comment