Bergers Book Reviews

The Listening Day Vol. 2


Author: Paul J. Pastor
Publisher: Zeal Books
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-9990557-0-0
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. In this second volume, Pastor envisions Him speaking to us of His power and majesty, reminding us of our powerlessness without His loving care and forgiveness for our trespasses. 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 series, 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 these innovative and inspirational meditation books.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 15, 2018 Posted by | Christian | 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

Buy it at Amazon

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

7 Lessons From Heaven


Author: Mary C. Neal, M.D.
Publisher: Convergent Books
Genre: Christian / Inspiration
ISBN: 978-0-451-49542-6
Pages: 288
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

In 1999, Mary C. Neal died in a kayaking accident when she was trapped underwater and drowned. She tells of this experience in To Heaven and Back, but realized later that she left out important lessons that still needed to be shared – lessons that taught her how to live a joy-filled life.

As a medical professional, Neal first confirms that she had a true near-death experience (NDE). After exhausting all possible physical causes for what happened to her, she speaks with others who had similar experiences, and confirms that they’re all similar. She did have a true NDE. Next she describes her impressions of heaven and meeting Jesus, who was there at the time of her death to comfort her. Finally, she reveals some of the lessons she learned as a result of her NDE, and how she looks at her life today. Death holds no power over her now, and she guides the reader to see God in a new and wonderful way.

God is real, present, and working in our lives today. 7 Lessons From Heaven shows us just how much He loves us and wants us to share eternity with Him in heaven. I am so grateful to Neal for sharing this story with us.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Christian, inspiration | Leave a comment

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

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Christian, finance | Leave a comment

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

October 2, 2017 Posted by | Christian, meditation | Leave a comment

Created for Connection: The “Hold Me Tight” Guide for Christian Couples


Authors: Dr. Sue Johnson with Kenneth Sanderfer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Christian / Marriage
ISBN: 978-0-316-30741-3
Pages: 336
Price: $26.00

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Couples in thriving marriages have learned how to communicate in ways that are loving and constructive. Rather than tearing each other down in arguments, they know how to address issues without attacking the other person. But for many of us, this skill isn’t something we know intuitively – we need to learn how to communicate with our partner.

In Created for Connection, Dr. Sue Johnson explores the conversations a couple can have that are designed to bring them closer together, rather than pulling them apart. When troubled times arrive – and they always do – these conversations will guide the couple through them in a way that will not only leave their relationship intact, but also strengthen it. In recognizing old communication patterns that aren’t working, they can then move to sharing their old hurts and expressing forgiveness, bringing them closer. Physical intimacy is also a key form of communication in keeping marriages healthy and vibrant.

Johnson provides numerous examples of couples’ conversations that take place over a variety of difficulties, and the reader gets a good sense of how to apply these ideas to his or her own situation. Even if your marriage is not struggling, this book can help you make it even better. I highly recommend Created for Connection.

September 8, 2017 Posted by | Christian, marriage | Leave a comment

Stories on the Journey: A Homilitic Biography (Cycle B Homilies)


Author: Rev. Peter G. Jankowski
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Catholic / Christian
ISBN: 978-1544933160
Pages: 344
Price: $12.95

St. Patrick’s Church of Joliet, IL
Buy it at Amazon

Cycle B Homilies picks up in the second year of Catholic Church readings, and follows the Cycle A Homilies published last year. Following in the same pattern, each of the homilies includes the designated Sunday title, as well as the scripture readings for that Sunday’s Mass in Cycle B. Father Pete expands on the Gospel readings each week, sharing stories of his own experiences as priest, as well as his interactions with parishioners. These homilies are warmly written and encouraging in style, sometimes challenging his listeners to respond to the words of Jesus and what He demands of us. But they’re also down-to-earth and meant for the average reader who doesn’t have a theology degree.

Father Pete has no interest in portraying himself as perfect, and willingly shares his faults and foibles with the reader. I found myself chuckling at some of these stories, as I learned a bit about his service to his Parish and the surrounding community, and I will enjoy reading them during each Cycle B year. This is part of a planned four-volume series, which includes Cycles A, B & C, as well as special homilies. Proceeds from the sales of Stories on the Journey will benefit St. Patrick’s Church.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 5, 2017 Posted by | Catholic, Christian | Leave a comment

Poets & Saints


Author: Jamie George
Publisher: David C. Cook
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0998-1
Pages: 240
Price: $16.99

Buy it at Amazon

In an effort to discover the histories of some of the more famous names in Christianity, Jamie George and All Sons & Daughters took an epic journey to Europe. While visiting the places these saints lived, they determined to create music to engage the listener in their visions, as well as tell their stories on the page.

Poets & Saints traces the lives of C.S. Lewis, Saint Patrick, John Newton, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Saint Francis, William Cowper, Saint Augustine, George MacDonald, John Calvin, Martin Luther, and Saint Peter. These saints’ stories unfold, along with the author’s musings on how their teachings speak to him today. A related CD contains music that corresponds to the readings on each of these great Christians.

Studying the lives of the saints encourages us today as we deal with some of the same struggles they lived with back in their own times. Poets & Saints captures their unique essence while also reminding us of their humanity, and the music is a beautiful accompaniment in reading their stories. I highly recommend this book and music set.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Christian, music | Leave a comment

Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul


Author: Bonnie Gray
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-4555-9820-5
Pages: 400
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

[Jesus said,] “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NABRE) When the world tugs at us and life feels too stressful, it’s hard to remember these words of comfort. Whispers of Rest is just what the frazzled soul needs, providing 40 days of God’s love to revitalize us.

Forty daily readings are organized into six sections: Being the Beloved, Choosing as the Beloved, Dreaming as the Beloved, Healing as the Beloved, Daring as the Beloved, and Shining as the Beloved. Each of these readings shares Bible stories, personal reflections, and inspiration, as well as questions to ponder and a challenge for the day. We’re encouraged to pray and journal our responses to God’s loving messages to us. In addition, Bonnie Gray has set up a Facebook book study group and inspirational videos and coloring pages that can be accessed at her website.

In the hustle and bustle of daily living, it’s hard to get quiet and remember just how much God loves us. Whispers of Rest provides a wonderful daily reminder. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Christian | Leave a comment

#BEMORE


Author: Sandi Krakowski
Publisher: Fedd Books
Genre: Christian / Motivation
ISBN: 978-0-9894934-3-7
Pages: 200
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Sandi Krakowski already had a large following on social media when she decided to start encouraging, empowering and equipping others. With the help of God, she made the decision to show people how to BE MORE, and this motivational book was born. In five sections, she guides the reader to be more: connected to God, in tune with yourself, attentive to your relationships, engaged with your community, and mindful of your world.

Each section opens with an introduction before guiding us through a total of seventy-seven secrets. These are two page nuggets of wisdom that can easily be read every day with our morning prayer and meditations. And each ends with a summary quote we can take with us into our busy day.

#BEMORE is a bit light on substance and heavy on cheer-leading. Although this isn’t my personal preference, it does encourage us to get outside our comfort zone and really live our lives. Those who like this kind of motivational message will enjoy it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 12, 2017 Posted by | Christian, self improvement | Leave a comment