Bergers Book Reviews

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

It Happened One Night

Author: Lisa Dale
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-0-446-40690-1
Pages: 368
Price: $6.99

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Lana and Eli have been best friends forever. And even though they slept together once in college, Lana has made sure that mistake never happened again. She’s determined that Eli will be the one constant in her life, no matter what.

When Lana suddenly finds herself pregnant, she turns to Eli for support, but finds he’s no longer the man she knew. Eli finally wants more, but Lana isn’t sure how to handle his new demands. When her sister Karin has a little too much to say about her ability to raise a child, and the father who neglected them both as kids shows up out of nowhere, Lana is more confused than ever. Could she raise this child she’s coming to love more and more, or is adoption her only choice?

It Happened One Night is one of those rare books that I found impossible to put down. I felt drawn into the very real situations these people found themselves in. Lana and Karin both had to deal with an unnatural upbringing, and their behavior as adults is still dysfunctional. I could easily see how Lana needed her freedom and Karin needed family stability after what they both went through. Eli also showed courage in facing his own part in maintaining his relationship with Lana, and determining to change things for the better.

I don’t normally gravitate towards romance novels, because I find the plots a little shallow, but the depth of this story was surprising and refreshing. I highly recommend It Happened One Night and I look forward to reading more of Lisa Dale’s novels.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 11, 2010 Posted by | romance | 1 Comment

Sins of the Flesh

Author: Caridad Pineiro
Publisher: Hachette Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-0-446-54383-5
Pages: 336
Price: $6.99

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A brain tumor has already claimed Caterina Shaw’s sight, and it’s only a matter of time before it will claim her life. So when she’s offered the opportunity of an experimental gene therapy that may save both, she jumps at the chance. But she doesn’t count on the costs.

After one of the doctors at the facility she’s treated at is brutally murdered, Caterina finds herself on the lam as the primary suspect in his death. And Mick Carrera, hired to find her, is hot on her trail. But Mick has his doubts as to whether the beautiful cellist could have committed such a murder.

Mick quickly finds out there are others who are after her, and they’d prefer she be brought in dead rather than alive. He and his sister battle the forces at work in Caterina’s body, along with some deadly enemies, while Mick fights the growing attraction he has for Caterina.

Although very vulnerable while she copes with her body’s strange changes, Caterina won’t let Mick fight her enemies on his own. And Mick expects others to see only his dark side, but his family can easily see through him when he does all he can to take care of them and Caterina.

Sins of the Flesh is a fascinating read, as Caridad Pineiro explores the effects of scientific experimentation with a human body. Mick and Caterina are strong characters, both searching for true love they haven’t been able to find, and the attraction between them sizzles. And the ending reveals new questions that can only be answered in the sequel. I highly recommend this book for all who love a good romance combined with a little science.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Jo Ann Hernández of Latino Book Tours organizes Book Tours for authors of all genres (including YA with teen bloggers). If you are interested in having a tour or being a blog host, contact her at Enjoy the rest of the tour!

Mon Jan 11: BronzeWord Latino Authors
Tues Jan 12: Julia Amante
Wed. Jan 13th: Latino Books Examiner
Thurs Jan 14th: Babbling About Books and More
Friday Jan 15th: Heidenkind
Mon Jan 18: Una in a Million
Tues Jan 19: Pagan Spirits
Wed Jan 20: Bergers Book Reviews
Thurs Jan 21: Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Fri Jan 22: Chasing Heroes

January 19, 2010 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

Celtic Sacrifice

Author: Sheryl Brennan
Publisher: Underdog Press
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 978-0-615-25561-3
Pages: 264
Price: $15.99

Author’s website

Ireland, early 1600’s ~ Ceana knows she comes from a lineage that includes the powerful druid priestess, Una. Prophesy states that Una’s power will return through Ceana, and she is humbled by this duty to her family and clan.

But the goddess speaks in mysterious ways, and Ceana doesn’t know how this prophesy will be fulfilled. Will she marry her clansman Cian, who believes he is the other half of her destiny? Or will the mysterious stranger she meets at the faire play a part? Following the goddess and her duty, Ceana makes the best decisions she can, not knowing what the results of her actions will be.

Ceana is a shining example of one who believes in her higher purpose and is willing to walk by faith alone. Celtic Sacrifice is a magical and beautiful story of a strong woman who is driven by her calling to do what is right, never wavering from that call – even when it requires a sacrifice that goes against her very being.

Book one in a three-book series, Celtic Sacrifice is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time. I highly recommend this wonderful book, and I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 20, 2009 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

Lizzie’s Rake

Author: Hazel Statham
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 1-60154-465-0
Pages: 232
Price: $11.99

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When Maxim Beaufort, Earl of St. Ive, finds himself owner of a property in Yorkshire, his first inclination is to dispose of it. But he has no idea that Elizabeth Granger and her younger siblings are still living there and would have no place to go. Although a notorious rake, Maxim also has a heart, and refuses to cast them out.

Maxim doesn’t expect to find himself irresistibly drawn to Lizzie, even to the point of wanting to settle down with her as his wife. But his troubles only begin when he proposes. Lizzie has no reason to trust that he has reformed, and that he would make a suitable husband.

Lizzie is a sensible girl, but she also feels her growing attraction to the Earl. How can she marry him when his reputation follows him everywhere?

Hazel Statham has created a charming story set in England in the early 1800s. In a perfectly proper courtship, Maxim woos Lizzie, trying to convince her of his sincerity. And when London society tries to sway her against him, she must determine who she wants to believe.

Lizzie’s Rake is a delightful read for anyone who enjoys a good romance.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 14, 2009 Posted by | romance | 1 Comment

Adios to All the Drama

Adios to All the DramaAuthor: Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Young Adult
ISBN: 978-0-7582-2557-3
Pages: 336
Price: $9.95

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Mariana’s summer fling, Alex, is staying with her family as he researches colleges in the area. Although she’s missed him, she still has unresolved feelings for her locker buddy, Bobby. But things are weird between them ever since she found out her friend, Emily’s, secret.

Madison is now head over heels for a popular guy named Evan, but Emily’s behavior has Mariana concerned. Is she going for her friend’s guy behind her back? Nothing Emily does makes any sense anymore.

When a ballet performance disaster occurs, Mariana finds out the answers to her friend’s strange actions. And she finally makes the decision that’s been weighing on her own heart at her aunt’s wedding.

I really enjoyed this three book series, but this one was definitely the best, in my opinion. Despite the fact Mariana is not one of the popular girls, she manages to stay true to herself and her own values in this book, not succumbing to any peer pressure to compromise herself.

Mariana shows great self-confidence in making all the right decisions for herself, knowing she needs to live with the consequences. I enjoyed getting to know her, and I’m sorry to see this series end.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 17, 2008 Posted by | romance, teen | 1 Comment