A Taste of Soviet Russia

“Mastering the Art of Cooking” by Anya Von Bremzen gives the reader a taste of life for a young girl in Soviet Russia. Covering the entire 20th century, the book details life under the Czars, the transition to Lenin, the rule of Stalin, the fall of Socialism, and the rise to power of Putin. What it adds that a history textbook could not is the memories of one who lived the experiences and who dealt with the shock of emigration from under such a country at the age of ten.
This book is exactly what it states: a memoir. If you are expecting a cookbook, you will not find it here (although the book does contain 26 pages of recipes). What you will find is a story–a story told as if from the lips of a woman who went through the hardships and joys herself. Occasional photographs give the reader a glimpse of the author’s life and family.

In all honesty, I myself have not finished the book. However, the parts I have read have given me an impression of the overall writing style and story. At points, the story gets bogged down in details. (What else should one expect of a largely history-based tale, though?) I had been expecting somewhat light reading with recipes interspersed throughout the story. This was not that book.

I was given a copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my unbiased review.


Angels, Angels, Angels

God Gave Us Angels

For “little cubs everywhere,” God Gave Us Angels is a visual delight. The artwork of Laura J. Bryant brings the playful world of polar bears to life, while Lisa Tawn Begren’s words pack a powerful message for children, cloaked in a conversation between a papa and his cub.

From halos to angels in disguise, the book presents an orthodox Christian view of angelology that emphasizes the purpose of angels as God’s servants. Even the problem of pain makes a brief appearance in this book, and the issue is discussed in such a way that young minds can gain comfort and confidence in their loving God.

Though I do believe that the conversation could have been more convincingly realistic, I highly recommend this book to parents who want to present their children with an accurate, concise, understandable theology of angels.

I was given a copy of this book by Blogging for Books in return for my unbiased review.

940 Saturdays

940 Saturdays

940 Saturdays sets out to chronicle the bonds formed between parent and child over the 940 weekends (give or take a few) spent together from birth to age 18. It is beautifully bound, and the space for journaling is adequate. However, if you’re looking for a book with 940 ideas for activities to do with your child (like I was), you will be sorely disappointed. This book is not for ideas; it is for chronicling time spent. That being said, there is an envelope attached to the back cover of the book that contains a booklet of ideas. These ideas are arranged according to age-appropriate categories.
If you are looking for an alternative to the baby book as a gift for a baby shower, this book will fit the bill. If you are looking for a treasury of ideas for building strong parent-child bonds, it will leave you disappointed.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.