Kristina Aziz's Blog

July 19, 2017

For anyone looking for a fresh way to present the gospel to young children, Wow! The Good News in Four Words is a perfect resource. This whimsical and fun book outlines the gospel in a simple and memorable way (for both adults and kids!), using fun words to highlight the story. The book will present Creation/Genesis (Wow!), The Fall (Uh-oh . . .), Redemption/Jesus' Life and Sacrifice (Yes!), Restoration/The New Heaven (Aaahhhh), ending with one last Wow because we get to go out and tell the Good News! 














Durability: The dust jacket did not last long. But the pictures did engage my daughter and keep her from ripping the pages.

Story: Simple enough, though so simple you would think it would be a board book for a younger audience than a 3 year old.

Giftability: Fantastic gift for religious families.

Overall: 4 of 5. Could have been more challenging.
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Published on July 19, 2017 16:50
Days shouldnt live themselves. Heres a guide to making the most of each one.  

In Design Your Day, productivity guru Claire Diaz-Ortiz introduces the Do Less Method, a productivity and goal-setting model that will help you do more in less time and succeed more often.

When it comes to productivity, hard work is half of the battle. The first half—the crucial half—is planning well, and that’s what Claire helps you do, from start to finish.

From the big-picture to minutia, Claire walks you through every step of setting and achieving smart goals. She gives tips for brainstorming goals, choosing the best ones, and adjusting them to make them realistic. Then she helps you put key strategies in place to reach them, day-by-day, year-by-year.

Whether you want to finish a house project, lose weight, or write a book, Design Your Day—by someone who read 150 books as a first-year mom—is an all-in-one guide to crossing off your to-do list. When you take back your time and strategically use it, you will win more often and enjoy life along the way. 


My Review:

I once read that if you read 5 non fiction books--quality books, mind you, academic ones--on any one subject, you would be an expert in that subject. Claire Diaz-Ortiz is certainy calling herslf a productivity guru, and claims to have read 150 books (were they all on productivity? we don't know) in one year while taking care of a new child.

Let's be fair. This is a pretty good resource to have in a library, or to give to someone who doesn't have pinterest. But these are also not original ideas. This book is not groundbreaking, or even particualrly motivating. The cover is nice, and it's nice to pick this off of a shelf instead of having to sort through pinterest boards. I just don't see this adorable little book swimming in a tank full of actual productivity sharks, who study human behavior for a living.
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Published on July 19, 2017 16:42

June 16, 2017

Reflections on Christ, from a beloved spiritual writer
A. W. Tozer was a man of remarkable knowledge, an avid reader of Christian writers and philosophers from throughout the ages. But he meditated on the Bible. He was, like John Wesley, “a man of one Book and a student of many.”
Combine this with his poignant writing style and you have works like this onehigh thoughts of God brought low, yet no less moving. 
Jesus: The Life and Ministry of God the Son features selections from Tozer’s writings on the God-man, Jesus Christ. It follows the chronology of Christ's earthly life and explores classic themes of Christology, helping readers better comprehend and appreciate Jesus’ person and work.
When you set out to study Christ, you want to behold His splendor the best you can. That’s why writers like A. W. Tozer are excellent guides: they love the Lord, know Him well, and yet have a way with the written word. They're able to lay the weight of glory on the human heart as few can.

Read Jesus and appreciate anew the Savior of the world and the power of the written word to glorify His name.



My review:

As many of these books I read, you would think I just join a theology class already. On that line of thinking, if I wanted to be preached to I would go to church. If you're writing a book, you need to be aware that you are at once reaching many people and one person. I want to learn about Christianity and God, not be called 'bretheren'.

Between the preaching, there were some interesting ideas, not the least among them the meaning of 'in the beginning'.

There's a lot of hemming and hawing and "Well answer my question and I'll answer yours" but let's be fair, it's a tough subject to tackle for chapter one.

Ultimately, this book is not my cup of tea. But the cover certainly is--I'm a sucker for a god cover.


I received this book free through a Goodreads Giveaway. 
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Published on June 16, 2017 11:00 • 2 views

June 9, 2017

If you ever feel like your devotions are disconnected from your day, like your quiet time is competing with your responsibilities, or like your spiritual walk is separate from a walk you take through the grocery store, you need this devotional.

You were created for more.

Devotions aren't supposed to be isolated from your life; the God who created you also calls you to create-whether that is a business, a family, a book, a photograph, a website, a sermon, or a meal for someone hungry.

By tying together our daily creations and our characteristics from God, Created for More will remind you of the life God is calling you to. Read your Bible with excitement, let prayer seep throughout your day, and see your devotion to God multiply as you rejoice in creating for Him.





My review: 

In general, I love devotionals. Particularly daily devotionals. It's like bible study, church, and theology class in 15 minutes a day. What I've been missing from previous devotionals though, is how to pray. I've been praying for a little while now, so I wouldn't say I'm new at it, but the prayer starters in this book are perfect for a jumping off point in each chapter. 

Devotionals also largely tend to be a solitary thing, but this book happens to have a companion website where you can share and talk about challenges with others who are reading this book. Even the challenges that take two people--hello, Internet! There's a website for that. 

While this is marketed toward creative people, it's important to mention there are great takeaways for everyone--from how to be humble with god, to how to be content and relax once in a while. It doesn't take much to tweak some of these challenges to apply to someone who works in an office job (*ahem*) if you're not so creatively inclined.
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Published on June 09, 2017 10:32 • 4 views

June 6, 2017

YOU, you... God thinks about you.
God was thinking of you long before your debut. 
From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. The assurance that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe is certain to help them spread their wings and fly. 
Through playful, charming rhyme and vivid, fantastical illustrations, When God Made You inspires young readers to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God's divine plan as they grow, explore, and begin to create for themselves. 
'Cause when God made YOU, somehow God knew
That the world needed someone exactly like you!







My Review:

Before we get into the story, let's talk about David Catrow, the Illustrator. The man who drew Molly Lou Melon. The man whose drawings I grew up with, whose drawings I now get to share with my daughter. Catrow's drawings hold a special place in my heart (largely because of the life he brings to curly hair). Thank you, David Catrow.

Now on to Matthew Paul Turner, who wrote this book. This is a lovely book with a great message for kids, which can place the foundation for deeper conversations about who they are and the extraordinary blessing it is that humans are made in God's image. Everyone is special, unique, and serves a purpose in God's greater plan, whether big or small. This can be a tough conversation to start, but this book opens the door.

While I'm not excited to read Turner's other works (25 books and not a real trend on what genre he writes/likes best), I am interested to read his other works. 
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Published on June 06, 2017 01:14 • 3 views

May 25, 2017

This isn't about me. This story, I mean. So already you got a reason to hang it up. At least that's what Mrs. Smith, our English teacher, says. 

But the story is about ten-year-old Laney Grafton and the new girl in her class--Lara Phelps, whom everyone bullies from the minute she shows up. Laney is just relieved to have someone else as a target of bullying. But instead of acting the way a bullied kid normally acts, this new girl returns kindness for a meanness that intensifies . . . until nobody remains unchanged, not even the reader.

In a unique and multi-layered story, with equal parts humor and angst, Laney communicates the art of storytelling as it happens, with chapter headings, such as: Character, Setting, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax. And she weaves an unforgettable tale of a new girl who transforms an entire class and, in the process, reveals the best and worst in all of us.

This is a powerful and emotional story, which School Library Journal called "Thoroughly enjoyable and unexpectedly wry, . . . as intelligent as it is succinct."


My Review:

There's one thing that I know is true. I knew it from life, and this book brought back a lot of feelings and memories: kids are mean.

Bonus one: As emotional as this book is (even though, pre-motherhood I never would have cried, but....) it gave me hope. It gave me an inspiration to do all that I can to raise my daughter to be kind and strong. 

Bonus two: the chapter titles!!!! I love reading, and I loved English class. And I loved writing (even though my writing days are somewhat confined to documentation at work and book reviews right now) Oh, a child after my own heart, As heartbreaking as the book got, the chapter titles kept me going.

Con one: This book is so short! I guess it falls in line with the premise that a fifth grader is writing it, but there's so much more of Laney and Lara's world that I want to know and read about.

Con two: I wish the ending had been more like a fairy tale, but it's also important that it was realistic. So, I guess not really a con?

Overall, a great read. Thank you Tyndale publishers for letting me review this.
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Published on May 25, 2017 19:56 • 4 views

May 20, 2017

You don’t need dozens or hundreds of employees to be a boss, says financial expert and serial entrepreneur Nicole Lapin. Hell, you don’t even need one. You just need to find your inner Boss Bitch — your most confident, savvy, ambitious self — and own it.

A Boss Bitch is the she-ro of her own story. She is someone who takes charge of her future and embraces being a “boss” in all aspects of the word: whether as the boss of her own life, family and career, the literal boss at work, or, as the boss of her own company. Whichever she chooses (or all three), a Boss Bitch is someone who gets out there and makes her success happen — and so can you.

Lapin draws on raw and often hilariously real stories from her own career — the good, the bad, and the ugly — to show what it means to be a "boss" in twelve easy steps. In her refreshingly accessible and relatable style, she first shows how to embrace the “boss of you" mentality by seizing the power that comes from believing in yourself and expanding your skillset. Then she offers candid no-nonsense advice for how to kill it at as the “boss at work” whether you have a high-up role or not. And finally, for those who want to take the plunge as an entrepreneur, she lays out the nuts and bolts of how to be the “boss of your own business” from   raising money and  getting it off the ground to hiring a kickass staff and dealing office drama to turning a profit.

Being a badass in your career is something that should be worn as a badge of honor, says Lapin. Here, she inspires us to rise to the occasion and celebrate our successes — and then keep killing it like the Boss Bitches we are! 



My review:
From the very first sentence - "To my former self, who would be proud of me now," to the last - And the princess lived happily ever after in her own big castle and with all her own money and she took care of herself--the end," this book turned out to be something I would love to give my daughter one day. Or maybe my sister, since she's graduating much sooner than my daughter will from school.

To be fair, the Actual last sentence is "if you do give up, fuck you." which I think is equally inspiring.

I appreciate this book for what it is, and it has some good takeaways- like how to ask for a raise and set boundaries. But the voice of the writing seemed a bit forced. I'm all for reclaiming the title of "bitch" form something bad to something powerful, but the abundant sprinkling of the word (example: "so what's your story, bitch?") seemed like the author was trying a bit too hard to be  Britney and we didn't get a chance to see her true voice come out. 

I have all of the respect for Nicole, and would love to pick up her next book. But I was hoping this would be something I could give as a gift to any woman--not just someone I have a 18 year relationship with that knows I don't think it's appropriate to drop 'bitch' into everyday conversation. I look forward to see if Ms. Lapin has more books in store. Maybe her next one we'll get to see her true voice. 
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Published on May 20, 2017 15:59 • 2 views

May 6, 2017



My review:
I wasn't as into this book as I thought it would be. At first, it seemed like something I could use to grow and cook my own food for a family of three in a one room apartment.
I really don't need facial scrubs and I certainly don't have room for a crabapple tree. So I was disappointed. I can maybe use it as a christmas gift for someone who has an actual house with a backyard that isn't forbidden by the HOA to grow food. (If I can find someone like that) but this is not staying on my shelf for long. 
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Published on May 06, 2017 16:23 • 3 views

April 21, 2017

This third adult coloring book in Daria Song's Time series follows the little girl on a new nighttime adventure when the conductor of her toy train comes to life and helps her distribute gifts across the world.

The Night Voyage is an evocatively illustrated story of a little girl who is swept away on the eve of her birthday by her toy train conductor on a magical journey to distribute gifts around the globe. Taking devotees of The Time Garden and The Time Chamber on an imaginative new adventure, The Night Voyage continues Daria Song's wildly successful series with the beautifully intricate art that her fans have come to love, featuring a world of paper cranes, penny-farthing bicycles, trolleys, cityscapes, and hot air balloon-filled skies.





This is the perfect gift!!! I so thank the publishers for sending me a free copy to review. This book has a beautiful cover, sturdy pages that don't bleed, and a fabulous mix of small and large areas to color in. Those who have used coloring books regularly know those teeny tiny details may look pretty but are HELL on your wrists.
Added Bonus: Not religious. I love religious books, don't get me wrong, but if a book is obviously religious it rules out as a gift for a lot of people. 
Overall: If you're going to gift a coloring book, gift this one. 5/5
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Published on April 21, 2017 18:24 • 3 views

January 14, 2017

Say and Pray devotions with your little ones today!Your youngsters want to be just like you. How exciting! Help them grow in their faith and learn more about God’s love with Say & Pray Devotions.Say & Pray Devotions features short devotions and lots of labeled illustrations so your little one can practice identifying objects and words on their own! This book is a great tool to start a devotional time with little ones, as it will help you teach them about God, and the labeled pictures will help start a life of faith.This is a nice complement to the bestselling Say & Pray Bible.



My Review:Children's books are tricky. I did find one child's bible that we loved reading together once, but it had paper pages and is now in pieces. One day my 2 year old will grow and not instinctively rip things--her winnie the pooh anthology has nearly all the pages in it still.Until then, hard pages are a must. This book has them! After reading the book with your little one and pointing out words, actions, and things, your little one can safely look through this book on their own.This book is also a great reminder to be thankful for the little things -- colors, smells, food-- all the tiny things we (well, I) forget to include in my prayers. Things I take for granted. Overall, this is a durable, colorful book that will be enjoyed by all babies of any gender. 
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Published on January 14, 2017 00:00 • 7 views