Tag Archives: Book

A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Today I have something a little different and non-food-related to share! You know that I am a huge book lover and last week I discovered a great website called Blogging for Books where you can discover brand new releases and get a free copy to review. This is basically perfect for me because I rarely get the chance to tell you all about the newest (not cookbook) books I’ve read. This way I can! So without further ado, I present…

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What is the book about?

A Broken Kind of Beautiful is a sweet story about the journey of Ivy Clark, a high fashion model in New York City. After attending her father’s funeral in the southern town of Greenbrier, most would except her to stick around and grieve with her family. Even while her father was alive though, Ivy never felt like she belonged down there. Born as the result of an affair, Ivy has really not felt at home anywhere. Instead she drowns herself in modelling work and focuses all of her attention on the goal of becoming a supermodel immortalized in time.

With her 25th birthday just around the corner though, Ivy is no longer the young and fresh model desired by the industry. In a last desperate attempt at regaining her traction in the modelling world, she hesitantly agrees to be the new face of her stepmother’s wedding dress boutique line. In what started as just a few short weeks in Greenbrier quickly turns into a much larger project than Ivy had planned to take on. During the whole time Ivy tries her best to put on an uncaring exterior, but those around her have larger plans.

A highly talented photographer should care nothing more than to make sure that she poses well for his pictures. And the photographer’s younger sister, tragically blinded year’s previous, has no reason to feel for the gorgeous model that is just trying to make trouble for her brother. Yet all three continuously surprise Ivy with their constant faith in her abilities. They see through her pretty exterior to what really lies beneath. They believe that Ivy can still be redeemed and if she were to just open her heart. God is what she needed all along.

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What is the author’s background?

Before becoming a full-time writer, Kate Ganshert graduated from the University of Wisconsin and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years. She currently lives in the midwest with her husband, son, and their black lab, Bubba. Her previous books Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows, are both Christian romance novels and very popular with book clubs. You can learn more about Kate on her press page, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

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What did I like?

Having read very few Christian fiction novels before this one, I’ll admit to starting A Broken Kind of Beautiful with a slight bias. Most Christian novels that I have read previously were kind of dry and lacked any serious difficulties aside from the main character slacking on their prayers. While that is a reasonable struggle in life, it is not necessarily one that I want to read about for an entire book. A Broken Kind of Beautiful’s main character, Ivy Clark is the kind of character that you cannot help but feel for. Also, despite her completely different social circle and life goals than me, I found myself compelled to hear about the difficulties that she had experienced, and hope with all of my heart that she would have the strength to overcome them.

Often a main character is so wrought with wrongdoings and feeling sorry for themselves that it is hard to see them as anything else. From the first glimpse of Ivy at her father’s funeral however, there were slight slivers of the truth, rippling beneath the surface, waiting to break free. And with the help of Ivy’s love interest in the story, Davis, break free they did. While Ivy played the perfect strong female lead, Davis was a great, if not entirely unconventional, counterpart. Most lesser male characters would have given up on Ivy. Davis not only stuck with her to the end, but he actually prayed to God for the strength to continue. Actually, several of the main characters would just pray to God right in the middle of their monologues. Explaining it offhand in a review may make it sound like an annoying thing; however, to me it was genuine. Prayer does not, and should not happen only at night before you go to bed. If I’m in a particularly rough spot during the day or need extra strength to get through something, I shoot up a quick one sentence prayer, just like these characters, asking God for help.

While the story-line was smooth and satisfying, my favorite piece had nothing to do with the plot. In every book where humans are involved, they are introduced with a physical description. While Kate Ganshert gave sufficient descriptions to help me picture the characters, she did so in a non-offensive way. First think about this- we are taught from a young age that you shouldn’t judge someone by appearances. It’s unfair and the comparison, while it may make us feel good initially, is just superficial and harmful. Why I ever thought that character descriptions in a book should be any different is beyond me. I loved that Kate Ganshert did not describe the particularly unpleasant actors as ugly, fat, hideous, gross, grimy, pitiful, or creepy. With just a little starting detail we should be able to quickly determine a character’s true outline by their actions and words. This, along with a lack of explicit sexual activity, really marked this as a true pleasure (non-guilty) read.

What did I not like?

I have very few complaints about this novel. Only one really. While I loved the climax and conclusion of A Broken Kind of Beautiful, I was not a fan of the epilogue. The writing style seemed to disconnect from the rest of the novel and could have been left out. There wasn’t any essential additions to the story and although I usually love to have a story tied up neatly in a little bow with all of the details explained, there is something to be said to leave things a little messy. Just enough to leave you thinking, if that makes sense. Still, that was less than 1% of the book and otherwise it was pretty perfect.

What do you need to know?

Whether or not you like Christian books I think you will still like A Broken Kind of Beautiful. If you enjoy books about heroines who overcome obstacles to succeed, or even just sweet love stories, get this book. The only thing I will say though is do not get this book if you are not comfortable in reading a book that mentions God. To get a better taste if this is the next book for you, the publisher has released two full chapter excerpts.

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If you want to find out even more about Kate Ganshert and her new book, she has a great website and blog that you should definitely check out. I loved having the opportunity to read A Broken Kind of Beautiful and really like being able to hear words from the author herself as well. 

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review, but all opinions are completely my own. If you think this sounds like a book that you would love, I encourage you to check it out on Amazon or Barnes and Noble now! I literally finished this book in two sittings (split in two only because I finally decided that at 2:00am that morning I should finally get to bed!).

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Questions for you:

What was the last book you read?

Will you read A Broken Kind of Beautiful now?

Do you ever read Christian-based novels?

Paleo French Toast Sticks (WIAW)

It’s only 8:00pm and I already feel like taking a nice large nap. Preferably one that lasts throughout the night for eight blissful hours. Yes. That sounds good right now.

Paleo French Toast Sticks (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

Before going to bed though I have a nice little list that I want to accomplish: Astronomy, send a few e-mails, hang up my laundry, start on a PowerPoint for class, and finish this blog post of course. I’ll probably get about half done. That’s alright with me though. Better than nothing.

Slowly but surely I am catching up on comments on my past posts, and trying to read the new posts in my Bloglovin. So if you receive a notification from months ago that will be why!

Paleo French Toast Sticks (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

I’m also supposed to be catching up on all of my backlog of recipe waiting to be edited and shared. But then I make a new recipe that I get even more excited about and end up posting that one instead. *My bad…*

I should also note the reason that I have such a nice little to-do list that has been spanning a few days now. I’ve been reading. For the past two days I have spent basically every free moment reading The Crown of Embers, the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns that I read back in November. Guys… It was so good! The ending was just a tad rushed, but even that is just a matter of opinion because the story line was basically stunning and now I want to be a queen with magical powers even more…

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Ha. Yes. My impossible but ever so present daydreams of magical powers has not waned in the slightest since I first began my Harry Potter addiction (did I mention that I’m listening to part 3 of The Goblet of Fire right now on audiobook? I didn’t? How silly of me…). Really though, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a great series, made only greater by the fact that I am going to be getting the third book this weekend.

Hmm… My mom is also under the impression that she is getting the third book this weekend as well too. I call first dibs. Obviously I win because I have documented proof 😉

Something else that I would totally call first dibs on? These french toast sticks. Because no one likes cold french toast. Although it would still be pretty darn delicious if you ask me.

Paleo French Toast Sticks

Wheat/Gluten/Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly, No Sugar Added

12 French Toast Sticks – 1 or 2 servings

Paleo French Toast Sticks (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of my microwave paleo bread (shared below)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (or any other kind of milk)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • dash of salt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat a griddle to 350 degrees or a skillet to medium-high heat (whatever temperature you use to make pancakes).
  2. Take the microwave paleo bread and divide each of the four pieces into three so that you have 12 bread sticks in total.
  3. Next in a shallow bowl mix together the eggs, coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Oil/spray the griddle to prevent sticking.
  5. Then dip each stick into the egg mixture and place on the griddle. Repeat with the remaining sticks.
  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the egg is crisp and thoroughly cooked. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  7. Remove and serve with whatever additions you would like! I divided the french toast sticks to two plates and topped them with a sliced banana and warmed honey.

Paleo French Toast Sticks (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

Microwave Coconut Flour Paleo Bread 

Wheat/Gluten/Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly, No Sugar Added

Makes 4 slices of bread – 2 servings

Microwave Paleo Coconut Flour Bread

 Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Oil/Spray a glass loaf pan about 9×5 in size.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients first then add the wet and mix well.
  3. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and spread smooth.
  4. Cook in the microwave for approximately 6 minutes (check after 4 minutes to test). The bread is done when the center is no longer wet and springs back at the touch. Adjust as needed.
  5. Let cool. Then take the bread and slice it carefully horizontally so that you have two thin, loaf-size pieces of bread. Next cut each piece in two. This will give you four sandwich-sized piece slices for sandwiches. You can eat it as is, toast in the the toaster or in a pan, make a sandwich out of it, or make the french toast recipe above!

Paleo French Toast Sticks (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

So now it’s 9:00pm and I suppose I should get a start on that list now… Blog post… Check!

And as always is the case for Wednesdays, I’m linking up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday. Make sure to head over to the WIAW party to see all of the other bloggers who shared their eats for the day.

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Questions for you:

Do you ever “bake” in the microwave?

How do you feel about cooking foods in the microwave?

If you were eating french toast right now, what would you top it with?

What books have you read lately?

Have you ever met any famous authors?