Bergers Book Reviews

Girl Ghosted (Penny Wade Mysteries #3)

Author: Lucy English
Publisher: New Sun Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0692882238
Pages: 296
Price: $12.99

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Penny Wade has decided to give online dating a try. But when her roommate doesn’t come home one evening, it really scares her. Meeting so many strangers can be dangerous, and she needs to be careful. But maybe, just maybe, she’ll meet “the one” for her.

In the midst of her romantic pursuits, Penny is attempting to help a single mom and her two kids. The family has been referred to her office by the school, since the kids are struggling. Their mom suffers from depression, and Penny does all she can to try to get their lives back on track.

I can’t say much more about the mystery without giving too much away, but I found this one took a very long time to develop. This is more of a traditional novel than a true mystery. Those who enjoy deeper character development will enjoy it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 21, 2017 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Princesses of Bread

Author: She Shil Kim
Illustrator: Eun Hwa Jung
Publisher: TanTan Publishing
Genre: Children / Mathematics
ISBN: 978-1-939248-138-
Pages: 38
Price: $16.95

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The Queen of Bread oversees the royal bakers, guiding them as they make delicious breads she sells to neighboring kingdoms. One day she becomes ill and her daughters, the Princess of Bread, must step in to take her place. But the princesses have never paid attention to how the Queen makes her breads, and can’t give good directions. Their loaves are tasteless and ugly.

One evening, as they once again attempt to duplicate the Queen’s bread, a Fairy Godmother arrives with a magic cookbook. She shows the princesses how to measure length, volume, and weight to create perfect loaves of bread. The following day, the princesses show the bakers what they’ve learned and they successfully bake their daily quota of delicious bread. The kingdom is saved and they turn their attention to the Queen’s health. Thankfully, the Fairy Godmother has also provided a recipe for magic bread that cures illnesses, which the princesses easily produce.

Princesses of Bread introduce the concepts of length, volume, and weight, and how to measure each. Kids will also have the opportunity to practice these in the exercises provided. This cute story would be a great resource for classroom study.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 17, 2017 Posted by | children, mathematics | 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
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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

Mindset Matters

Author: Bryan Smith
Illustrator: Lisa Griffin
Publisher: Boys Town Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-944882-12-9
Pages: 32
Price: $10.95

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Amelia is in second grade, and she’s working on a difficult building project. Frustrated, she exclaims, “I quit!” and throws down her hammer. But her dad suggests the problem might be her mindset and not her constructions skills. Amelia is suffering from the “down-in-the-dumps” mindset. She has a negative attitude, excuses, and believes she’ll never be good at what she’s doing. Dad explains that Amelia needs a “gonna-get-it-done” mindset instead. She should be determined, have a positive attitude, and believe that she’s just not good at that… yet.

Using her dad’s advice, Amelia throws herself back into the project and it turns out great. Encouraged by her success, she tackles schoolwork, skateboarding, and fishing in a similar way, also achieving good results. Amelia is convinced her dad is right. Her new gonna-get-it-done mindset has changed her life.

It’s easy for kids to become discouraged when tackling new challenges for the first time. Mindset Matters shows them that they can change their way of thinking to accomplish their goals. This is a wonderful resource for classrooms and homes, and kids will enjoy reading of Amelia’s successes, as they dream of their own.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 10, 2017 Posted by | children, self improvement | Leave a comment


Author: Monica Russo
Photographer: Kevin Byron
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Genre: Nature / Children
ISBN: 978-1-61373-396-7
Pages: 144
Price: $15.99

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The forest offers children a wonderful environment to explore. They can enjoy the bright colors of autumn, the fresh green of spring, or the barren landscape of winter. Each tree has its own distinguishing characteristics just waiting to be discovered.

Treecology offers the young naturalist an opportunity to view the trees around him, seeing them in a new light. Thirty activities and observations are included to guide him in making his discoveries, and lots of interesting facts about trees and forests are provided. Forests are home to animal populations as well as insects, and many of these are also discussed.

Kids love being outdoors in nature, and Treecology will encourage them to see the trees and forests around them in a new way. I highly recommend this fun and educational resource.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 26, 2017 Posted by | children, nature | 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
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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

Figley’s Little White Lie

Authors: Suzanne Cotsakos & Ryan McCulloch
Illustrator: Ryan McCulloch
Publisher: Mutasian Entertainment
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0985600204
Pages: 48
Price: $15.99

Buy it at Amazon
Author’s website

Figley has broken Chadwick’s invention. But he doesn’t want to admit it to his friend, so he invents a lie, telling him a monster broke it instead. Rather than just accepting this information, Chadwick becomes really excited, since Figley has perfectly described the mythical Slop Mess Monster. Chadwick is determined to track down this monster and confirm it really exists.

Now that he’s backed himself into a corner, Figley continues to build on his lie as he gets caught up in Chadwick’s adventure. With every new lie, his predicament gets worse and worse, until he finally can’t take it anymore. Exhausted and miserable, he admits what he’s done, hoping for forgiveness. Chadwick is a good friend, and willingly accepts Figley’s apology with a hug.

Figley’s Little White Lie is a humorous story of how telling tales can really get a person into trouble. Cute illustrations and a hilarious sequence of events will have kids giggling, while vowing to never let something like this ever happen to them!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

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

October 23, 2017 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

The Lost Letter

Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Victorian Romance
ISBN: 978-0-9990364-1-9
Pages: 206
Price: $2.99 (Kindle)

Author’s website
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Sylvia Stafford has accepted her reduced circumstances and enjoys her new position as a governess. Life has dealt the society beauty some cruel blows, but she’s a strong woman and has chosen to make the best of things.

Colonel Sebastian Conrad is Sylvia’s one true love, but circumstances drove them apart years ago. Now he’s injured and living alone, convinced that Sylvia spurned his attentions. When his meddling sister insists Sylvia visit the home to cheer him up, he’s not at all pleased.

The Lost Letter is a sweet Victorian romance with a delightful array of twists. Unlike the simpering Victorian heroines of the past, Sylvia is spunky, with a mind of her own and the daring to take matters into her own hands. And Sebastian is the kind of hero who can melt a woman’s heart. I really enjoyed this novel and I look forward to seeing many more Victorian romances from this talented author.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 16, 2017 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

Maurice the Unbeastly

Author: Amy Dixon
Illustrator: Karl James Mountford
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1953-7
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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Maurice’s parents are concerned that he’s much too civilized, so they enroll him in the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts. But no matter how hard he tries, Maurice simply can’t seem to fit in. He’s convinced he will be a gargantuan failure.

But one day a mysterious creature arrives in the classroom, and none of the other students know what to do. Drawing on his own natural abilities, Maurice catches the creature and subdues it, immediately earning the respect of everyone in the school.

Maurice is different from the other students, and he believes his differences are bad. But when he discovers his hidden talent, he realizes that being different is okay, and he’s grateful. Children will love Maurice the Unbeastly.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 10, 2017 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

The Ringmaster’s Wife

Author: Kristy Cambron
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-7180-4154-0
Pages: 368
Price: $15.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England has a secret passion – riding bareback on her Arabian mare. So when Colin Keary arrives with the intention of purchasing her beloved horse, Rosamund is understandably upset. But what she doesn’t expect is Colin’s enticing invitation to run off to America and join the circus.

Mable Burton is living the simple farm life in Ohio, but the excitement of the city is calling her. A chance meeting in Chicago introduces her to John Ringling, but they won’t meet again until several years later in Atlantic City. John has never forgotten her, and they are soon married. Now she, too, is joined to the circus, but only peripherally.

The Ringmaster’s Wife alternates between these two women’s perspectives, as a circus season progresses. Rosamund’s career begins on a shaky note, but as she gains confidence, she has to handle the rivalry that develops between her and the former star. Mable is a strong and steady force in Rosamund’s life, as she cheers for the young lady to be successful. And Colin is an enigma to Rosamund, as she tries to determine if he is interested in her as a woman or simply a circus performer.

Faith and courage in the midst of overwhelming circumstances are the hallmark themes in this beautifully written historical novel. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 6, 2017 Posted by | fiction, history | Leave a comment