Saturday, March 2, 2019

The 21: A Journey Into the Land of Coptic Martyrs, book review

The 21: A Journey Into the Land of Coptic MartyrsThe 21: A Journey Into the Land of Coptic Martyrs by Martin Mosebach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Firstly, read this book to gain insight from a man seeking Truth about 21 men who showed such devotion to Jesus that they died speaking to Him at the hands of their murderers. Secondly, read this book because you'll learn more about the Coptic religious men and women in Egypt and the potential for terror that their faith steeps in on a daily basis. Thirdly, read this because it will change you from within and make you see that we, too, need to embrace the courage that God calls us to live.

I cannot believe this book was translated from German in to English. That fact, merged with the gorgeous prose of a nonfiction text, earned the five stars.

However, beyond the technical beauty of the book, there is the journey of a man in awe of the faith of other men. The book teaches while also preaching. It is a testament to what we were called to be: firstly: disciples, secondly: prophets, and thirdly: teachers. The author manages to show, not tell, that order of our faith. He does so through his journey researching the example of these men who lived, that.

Highly recommended.

I received this book for free from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.

View all my reviews This post may contain affiliate links, which help me support my art habit, Liz Lenzi Art.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Complete Food Substitutions Handbook, book review

The Complete Food Substitutions Handbook: Including Options for Low-Sugar, Low-Fat, Low-Salt, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, and VeganThe Complete Food Substitutions Handbook: Including Options for Low-Sugar, Low-Fat, Low-Salt, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, and Vegan by Jean B. MacLeod
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You might need this on your shelf.

When cooking, either under time constraints that leave no room for another trip to the store, or with diet requirements, figuring out substitutions for items in a recipe can halt the process. You can go to Google or Pinterest, but we all know that leads you down a zero world problem rabbit hope of distraction and doubt whether or not to believe some food blogger.

This author has done her research (see multiple page bibliography) and provides multiple, measured substitutions for hundreds of food items. The book is simple: alphabetical order of ingredients with volumes of substitutions for those items. You'll read the names of foods you never knew existed.

The text doesn't identify which substitutions provide the vegan, low sugar, dairy free, etc option. One needs to know which of the substitutions from the list fulfills one's requirements.

Simple, but possibly an invaluable kitchen resource.

View all my reviews This post may contain affiliate links, which help me support my art habit, Liz Lenzi Art.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

It All Comes Back to You, book review

It All Comes Back to YouIt All Comes Back to You by Beth Duke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This will be your next book club read, you'll learn from it, and you might get in an argument with your friends about perception of some of the plot elements. A cordial, "Bless your heart" insult kind of Southern tiff. But then everyone with sip some wine and laugh it off.

I donated sleep to this book and it was totally warranted. I crave books that challenge me, contain deep and meaningful themes and color authentic and rich characters. This book has all of those attributes in addition to being delightfully readable.

As a writer myself, I was hesitant to read a book that followed a writer in her prices of novel creation. Please don't let that stop you. This book has inspired me to finish my own book and to keep going after that!

(view spoiler)

These characters have real flaws and no one comes out shining brilliantly. However, don't we all need that reminder? Highly recommended.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read the book and exchange for a fair review.

View all my reviews This post may contain affiliate links, which help me support my art habit, Liz Lenzi Art.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Love Big, book review

Love BigLove Big by Kat Kronenberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have yet to read Kat Kronenberg's first book, Dream Big, but I am glad that she recognized the need to remain a moral, kind person in the pursuit of dreams. Children need to learn that from day one, otherwise their pursuit of their dreams is all about them and they lose sight of others' needs.

The book is filled with gorgeous, engaging illustrations paired with current, colloquial normal speech. I appreciate that a character exists in the book who sets the example for how to be kind even when someone treats you poorly, rather than a typical children's book wherein the adult figure brings the wisdom down on the kids.

I can see this book working well in a classroom, in homeschool, or just as bedtime reading for all preschool and elementary aged kids. It takes courage to be kind in the face of adversity and we need more courageous people in this world.

View all my reviews This post may contain affiliate links, which help me support my art habit, Liz Lenzi Art.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Flicker of Hope, book review

A Flicker of HopeA Flicker of Hope by Julia Cook
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was written with obvious intent to be a read aloud book (teacher / adult reads to a group of kids) for kids aged 9 or 10 to mid-teen. It has great intention to help kids who feel like no one understands their sadness or whatever other emotion they're weighed under.

Unfortunately, there is so much telling and so little showing in this book, I don't know how it can actually reach the kids it's trying to reach. I can't imagine a too-cool-for-school group of kids from ages 10 to 14 who would actually humor a teacher trying to read this book. The language is geared for kids in lower elementary, but the problems and stresses (grades, job prospects, etc) are age appropriate for older students.

I was the perfect audience for this book when I was between 9 and mid-teen. I wanted approval from my teachers and I wanted to respect them, even if I thought something like this was cheesy. Therefore, I would quietly listen and try to learn from it what I could. However, while this book makes a good point of telling students to seek help from others, it does so in such a cheesy way that even goodie-two-shoes me wouldn't have grown in my understanding after listening to it.

The tips for parents and educators in the back of the book is gold. Perhaps that should be attached to a book more suited for younger kids so that parents and educators can help prevent flickering lights. I want kids who face struggle to have an outlet. I'm afraid this book isn't it.

View all my reviews This post may contain affiliate links, which help me support my art habit, Liz Lenzi Art.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Lightning Struck, book review

Lightning Struck (Brothers Maledetti #3)Lightning Struck by Nichole Van
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Our souls are responsible for our hearts in this book, alive or kinda-alive alike.

I must admit that I read this one because I didn't want to skip it before reading the one about Tennyson... the one I am positively thrilled to read. I just wasn't that interested in Chiara's story because, frankly, I'm not a bird-like, tiny woman and I suppose I resent reading about someone who is. That judgement is one of the things made apparent to me in reading this book, so well done, you, Mrs. Van, for helping me see my prejudice!

As always in reading a book by this author, I was pulled in almost immediately by likable voice and an intriguing premise. A non-ghost ghost has little hope of becoming alive again, to his chagrin primarily because of his burgeoning love for a wounded ("NO I'm not!" -Chiara) woman who uses 21st century sarcasm and emotional barriers to push people away.

(view spoiler)

I know I can rely on a book that calls me to read it at every spare moment when I pick up a book by Nichole Van. Even this, the book I read just to make it to the fourth in the series, stands out as a worthwhile dive into a wounded character.

View all my reviews This post may contain affiliate links, which help me support my art habit, Liz Lenzi Art.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Another Woman's Husband, book review

Another Woman's HusbandAnother Woman's Husband by Gill Paul
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5

Certainly the royal family and loyalists to the crown easily focus on the connection between Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana, but even this anglophile neglected to think much about it. This novel, spectacularly written, makes a fictional connection between the two women in a unique as only Gill Paul does.

The point of view switches back and forth between Mary, a dear and life-long friend of Wallis Simpson, and Rachel, a woman who was physically at the scene of Diana's ill fate in that Parisian tunnel. We gradually gain access to the vulnerabilities of all women (as well as the men, but they're certainly not the focus) involved in this web of insecurity.

It's such a pleasure to read another book by this author because I know I can rely on a character driven story that shows rather than tells. Her language is perfectly lush and descriptive, but only in ways that add to the reader's understanding of the plot and characters.

As I always hope to do (and occasionally achieve) when I pick up a book, I learned about life from this book. (view spoiler)

What a pleasure to read. I'm thrilled to have found this author after she's already produced so many books I can buy and read!

View all my reviews This post may contain affiliate links, which help me support my art habit, Liz Lenzi Art.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Whisper Falls, book review

Whisper Falls (Whisper Falls, #1)Whisper Falls by Elizabeth Langston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wholesome, intriguing YA

What if a simple portal to the same spot, two hundred years different, opened up near your respite hang out?

This was my first young adult book in years and it was delightful. I was on the lookout for character development, historical accuracy, learning about the human condition, and authenticity of teenage mindsets. I found all to be well cared for and well done.

Both characters matured in playing ways, while maintaining flaws. The villain was disgusting, but the reader gets some believable insight into his reason for invoking what little power he had on his victims.

Historical descriptions felt real and lived in. Conversely, the narration of 21st century items and weighs through the point of view of a nineteenth-century pair of eyes was equally authentic.

one of my number one pet peeves is when an author holds your hand to try to explain things the entire time rather than showing. This author was a breath of fresh air, showing and not telling for the majority of the novel. I also appreciated how wholesome it was without being Christian fiction. Christian fiction hold the wholesome in front of your face the whole time smacking you with it every once in awhile. This book allowed the characters to be attracted to each other, but become friends before anything else. It happened the way we all wish it would, without over sexualizing seventeen year olds nor being naive.

View all my reviews This post may contain affiliate links, which help me support my art habit, Liz Lenzi Art.
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