Bergers Book Reviews

Summer by Summer

Summer by Summer
Author: Heather Burch
Publisher: Blink
Genre: Teen / Romance
ISBN: 978-0-310-72963-1
Pages: 288
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
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Summer is working as a nanny for a couple vacationing in Belize. When their oldest son, Bray, arrives, Summer takes an instant dislike to him. Bray is a college party guy, and Summer is a conservative and modest girl. Their values are far too different.

When a violent storm strands them alone together on a remote island, they’re forced to get along in order to survive. Both discover hidden depths in each other as they work through challenges in finding food, water and shelter. As the weeks progress, they find themselves falling in love.

Being a teen romance, Summer by Summer is full of drama and physical attraction between Bray and Summer. Since their whirlwind romance takes place over a mere month, there is little substance to their relationship. Summer’s faith in God and a purity promise hold them back from taking things too far, but Bray has no such restrictions, other than his respect for Summer.

Maybe I’m just a little too old for teen romances, or maybe the drama in this book is a bit too much. But although this is a fast and engaging read, the story left me feeling unsettled at the end. Summer and Bray are both too immature to be making a lifetime commitment.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 10, 2015 Posted by | romance, teen | Leave a comment

Destined for Doon

Destined for Doon
Author: Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink
Genre: Fantasy / Romance
ISBN: 978-0-310-74233-3
Pages: 352
Price: $17.99

Author’s website
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In this sequel to Doon, Kenna has returned to her life in the theater, and now she’s missing the prince she left behind. She has only now realized that they had a true Calling, and Duncan is her soul mate. So when he suddenly arrives to bring her back to Doon, she heads back willingly, hoping for another chance. But Duncan is harboring illusions that Kenna is already spoken for, and won’t listen to any explanations.

Meanwhile, Veronica is attempting to stop the witch’s evil spell, which has created a zombie fungus that threatens to overtake Doon. She and Kenna have defeated the witch once before, and she needs her best friend’s help once again. Can Kenna help Vee save Doon, and can she salvage the relationship she once had with Duncan, before time runs out?

Filled with drama and suspense, Destined for Doon picks up right where Doon left off. Complicated relationships take center stage, as both Vee and Kenna struggle to make things right with their Doonian princes. And of course, good must triumph over evil. My one complaint about this story is that it ends in a cliff-hanger that felt completely out of place. But otherwise, this is a great read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 3, 2014 Posted by | fantasy, romance, teen | Leave a comment

Sylvester (Naxos Audio)

Sylvester
Author: Georgette Heyer
Read by: Nicholas Rowe
Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-184-379-757-9
Length: 9 CDs (10:59:09)
Price: $59.95

Naxos AudioBooks website
Buy it at Amazon

Sylvester, Duke of Salford, has decided it’s time to marry. After consulting with his godmother, Lady Ingham, he reluctantly agrees to meet her granddaughter, Phoebe Marlow, to determine if she might be a suitable match. But Phoebe is horrified when she learns of his intentions, since she intensely dislikes him, and has cast him as the villain in her soon to be published novel.

When Sylvester and Phoebe suddenly find themselves stranded in a small country inn for a few days, they get to know each other better and question their initial impressions. But as circumstances unravel around them, their relationship goes from bad to worse. Is it possible that they both could be so wrong about the other?

Listening to Nicholas Rowe’s rendition of Sylvester is an absolute delight. Since the text is heavy on dialog, it reads more like a play than a book, and it is easy to immerse oneself fully in the story. Many scenes are laugh-out-loud funny, and the characters are well-developed and even comical in their actions. I absolutely adored Sylvester, and Phoebe is a spunky girl with a good heart. Anyone who enjoys a good, clean romance will love this book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 31, 2014 Posted by | audio book, romance | Leave a comment

Doon

Doon
Authors: Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink Books
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
ISBN: 978-0-310-74230-2
Pages: 400
Price: $17.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

When Veronica begins seeing visions of a kilt-wearing teen boy, she wonders if she’s imagining him. But when he follows her to Scotland, she’s sure there must be something more to his appearances. After being transported to the magical kingdom of Doon, she finally comes face to face with him – as the formidable Prince Jamie. But after practically begging Veronica to come to him, he now rejects her, declaring that she and her best friend, McKenna, are in cahoots with the witch.

Thanks to the intervention of Jamie’s brother, Duncan, who is sweet on McKenna, the girls avoid a long stay in the dungeon, and begin to explore this new world. They have only a short time before they will be able to go back home, and they try to make the most of it. But will they both find true love before they’re forced to leave?

Doon is inspired by Brigadoon, and is more romance than fantasy. Although this story takes place in a magical world, it feels more down-to-earth as the girls discover modern plumbing and pizzas. Although Veronica and Jamie have a turbulent relationship, one hopes they can sort through their differences and work things out. But the reader may very well end up swooning over Duncan’s sweet and tender ways with McKenna. This is an enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 15, 2014 Posted by | fantasy, romance, teen | 2 Comments

Transforming Pandora

Tranforming Pandora
Author: Carolyn Matthews
Publisher: Roundfire Books
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-1-78099-745-2
Pages: 356
Price: $22.95

Buy it at Amazon

Pandora is 51 and newly widowed. Unsure of where she wants to go in this new phase of life, she applies for a part-time job at the Cool Cake Boutique. Working with the flamboyant Olivier lifts her spirits and allows her the opportunity to re-open her own business, The Cedars. But as Pandora revisits the meditation practice she had abandoned before her marriage, she finds a surprise waiting for her.

Over the course of this story, Pandora spends time reflecting on her memories going back to the very first time she met her husband, Mike. But there is so much more she needs to look at, and she explores all the most important events from her past. She’s aware that her past decisions have led her to where she is today, and now she needs to make a choice about how she wants to live the rest of her life. Pandora is lonely and still searching for love. But at her age, is it too late?

When a woman suddenly finds herself alone in midlife, she may be confused by conflicting thoughts and feelings. In this story, we see how Pandora is able to create her new life out of the ashes and move in the direction she truly wants to go. Well-written and engaging, Transforming Pandora is an enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 8, 2014 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

Heaven Is Paved With Oreos

Heaven Is Paved With Oreos
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Tween / Romance
ISBN: 978-0-547-62538-6
Pages: 208
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
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Sarah Zorn and her best friend, Curtis Schwenk, plan to spend their summer with a still-born calf who is decomposing for a science project. Using their “Brilliant Outflanking Strategy,” they’ve managed to convince everyone they’re dating, even though they’re really not, just to avoid the teasing about all the time they spend together. But Curtis suddenly has other thoughts about this unusual arrangement.

When Sarah’s grandmother arranges for a trip to Rome to visit the seven pilgrimage churches, Sarah is hesitant, but finally accepts when things with Curtis get too weird. But her grandmother isn’t being completely honest about the reasons for the trip, and Sarah has to unexpectedly face some of her family’s buried secrets head-on.

Heaven Is Paved With Oreos is a sweet middle-grade romance, told through Sarah’s eyes in the form of a journal. Sarah is a smart, funny, girl who is struggling to make sense of everything happening around her, and it’s easy to like her. I enjoyed reading her thoughts, and wanted things to work out for her. D.J. Schwenk, the heroine from Dairy Queen, makes a cameo appearance in this book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 12, 2013 Posted by | romance, tween | Leave a comment

Hidden Mercies

Hidden Mercies
Author: Serena B. Miller
Publisher: Howard Books
Genre: Amish fiction / Romance
ISBN: 978-1-4516-6035-7
Pages: 368
Price: $15.00

Author’s website
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Claire Shetler thinks about the man she nearly married with fond regret. Killed the night before the wedding, Matthew never got to meet the son they had conceived only a few days prior. But Tobias, the man responsible for Matthew’s death, runs from home and joins the Marines, hoping to permanently block this tragic reminder of his past.

Now, twenty years later, Claire is widowed with a household full of children and a busy Amish midwife practice. Tobias has returned to Ohio to make peace with Claire and his father, but finds it difficult to reveal his true identity. Will he only make the situation worse by letting them both know who he is?

Hidden Mercies is a wonderful tale of family, love and redemption. The characters are warm and real, and their emotions are so true to life. As the story unfolds, the reader can’t help but wish for their happiness together. I highly recommend this well-written and engaging Amish romance.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 16, 2013 Posted by | Amish fiction, romance | Leave a comment

The Rose Ring

The Rose Ring
Author: Anne Faye
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 9781482758214
Pages: 170
Price: $9.99

Author’s website
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Julia Manning is happy with her simple life. She has a job in a bookstore, volunteer work at the nursing home, and a quiet apartment. After being dumped at the altar ten years ago by Zach Richards, she has no intention of ever loving again or getting married. And now she is determined to solve the mystery behind a rose ring that one of the nursing home residents claims was once hers.

So when her mom arranges a date with a man she couldn’t tolerate when she was younger, Julia is less than thrilled. And when Zach suddenly appears out of nowhere, she doesn’t know how she’ll cope, especially when he ends up working at the bookstore with her.

Zach’s behavior when she first meets him is not praiseworthy. He is dating a questionable woman and he shows very little remorse for leaving Julia in her predicament. As Julia delves deeper into the mystery of the rose ring, she discovers a love that was once strong, but was ultimately lost. Would Julia also be throwing away her own love for Zach by not choosing to forgive?

The Rose Ring is a nice love story told from two perspectives. Although only one leads to a happy ending, the other brings a sweet sense of closure and forgiveness. I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to seeing more from this talented author.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

April 24, 2013 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

The Unfinished Garden


Author: Barbara Claypole White
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-0-7783-1412-7
Pages: 384
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
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James Nealy suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. One if the things he fears the most is dirt, so he decides he will create a garden and face his demons head-on. When he tries to hire Tilly Silverberg to work with him, she refuses. What James doesn’t realize is that Tilly is still trying to survive widowhood, striving to maintain her balance in a world turned upside down.

A family emergency returns Tilly to her childhood home in England, where she discovers her former sweetheart is now single. James follows her there, trying to coax her into creating his garden. Along with Tilly’s romantic problems, her best friend who always shared everything with her now starts harboring secrets. When life seems more complicated than she bargained for, a health scare and the potential upheaval her mother plans sends Tilly into a downward spiral that only James understands. As they both cope with their own emotional issues, they find themselves growing closer.

The Unfinished Garden is a powerful story of friendship and courage in the midst of frightening circumstances. As these two damaged souls spend time together, healing occurs. The reader won’t find any gratuitous sex scenes in this book. Instead we see a natural relationship growing from a shared bond that only deepens as the story progresses. I highly recommend this wonderful love story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 3, 2012 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

Putting It Back Together


Author: Rhonda M. Lawson
Publisher: Urban Soul
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-1-59983-082-7
Pages: 320
$6.99

Author’s website
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Dr. Alexis White has returned to her beloved city of New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. She’s determined to help those still living in poverty and rebuilding their lives, and offers health care to those who have trouble paying. But even though her sacrifice means she’s still living with her parents, her friends and family are around her and she’s proud of what she’s accomplished.

But the one area Alexis still struggles with is her love life. Twice burned, she’s now reluctant to give her heart fully, and she keeps her long-standing boyfriend Jamar at a distance. And when her old college flame, Reggie Morgan, reappears in her life, she’s forced to make some important decisions.

In Putting It Back Together, Rhonda M. Lawson doesn’t paint a rosy tint on her characters, but instead shows them in all their humanness, flaws and all. Alexis is a strong woman who doesn’t always know her own mind, but she tries to do the right thing in her life now, after making bad mistakes in her past. I enjoyed getting to know her, and kept hoping she would make the right choice in the end. This was a great read, and I look forward to seeing more from this talented author.

Reviewed by: Alice Berger

September 4, 2010 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment