Book Reviews

Quote from recent reviewer

I would consider this a very interesting book for a bible study or Sunday school study as it offers plenty of topics for discussion - topics that are both personal and spiritual all pointing to building a strong relationship with God.





Summery of Celebrate Lit Blog Tour

First of all I have to thank Celebrate Lit Publicity Group for their wonderful tour and support. The success of the tour, its preparation and delivery has been exceptional. 


Reviews:

A Reader’s Brain says:

Endearing and one of a kind . . . How To Make Victoria Sponge will make you laugh, cry, and delight you all at the same time! The British vernacular incorporated was a welcome surprise and was such a nice aspect of the book- I felt the sudden need to have hot tea while reading :) This is such a unique book because it's so relatable to any mother or wife and all the chaos that comes along with it though you love each person that causes the chaos. It's also unique because it's not written like your typical book- it is more of a chronicle of events that happen in Victoria's life and how she responds to the stress and happy events that come her way. We learn that simply saying Yes to the Lord on a daily basis brings Him great joy and glorifies Him. We learn that being a mom and wife is ok even if we feel like our lives are just mediocre, because God is pleased with us simply trusting Him and obeying Him. He sees us all as special, unique children of His no matter how simple our lives may seem when we glorify Him with our actions. He loves to speak to His children as we communicate to Him which we see so clearly in Victoria's monologue of prayer and the Lord's response. Honestly, this book felt like as much of an inspirational devotional as it was a heartwarming read. We see how Victoria rises above the stress to be a loving wife and mother, a loving, supportive daughter of aging parents, a friend who is there in times of grief, and more all because she learns to constantly communicate with the Lord and meditate on His strength and His words to provide strength and direction. While we all know that we need to constantly depend upon, communicate, and meditate upon the Lord, this book actually challenged me to realize how much being aware of the presence of the Lord is a need in my life. You will be completely delighted with this book from all aspects of its' wonderful surprises. Thank you for an inspiring, emotionally packed, heartwarming read Mrs. Kazmierczak! :)

History, Mystery & Faith says:

How to Make Victoria Sponge is a fictional story, yet has the feel of a devotional memoir. Written in the first person, it is a "day in the life" of Christian, wife, mother, day care worker, and friend Victoria Sponge (also a popular dessert which was a fun analogy) who greets each day with humor and grace. She doesn't sugarcoat her experiences, so we see her failures and her fears as well as her successes. Her prayers are more like conversations with God, and they color every aspect of her life, so when tragedy strikes she draws strength from her relationship to Him, enabling her to bear up. The format of narrative interspersed with prayer is unusual but effective, allowing the reader to get deep inside Victoria's head. I enjoyed the characters who were unique and well-developed.

Bukwurmzzz says:

Vicki Sponge is a character I could relate to. She is a normal woman with a husband, four children, and a part-time job. She has everyday difficulties. One of her sons has problems that cause her and her husband great stress. Even her friend is having a difficult time. Through it all, Vicki has open communication with God. I loved how throughout this entire story, Vicki was speaking to God. She praised Him, asked for help, and even told Him she did not want to talk at the moment. This was a reminder to me that we need to ‘pray without ceasing.’ That’s exactly what Vicki did. The author did a great job in portraying this character and her family. She reveals that life gets messy and yet we are to remain faithful to our Father in Heaven.

Artistic Nobody says:

I had the wonderful opportunity to review this book. Let me just say that it has become one of my favorite books. As I was reading this, I found myself laughing and crying alongside Victoria. Her characters are easy to relate to, and they feel so realistic (this is one feature I always look for in fiction). One of my favorite things about this book is how Victoria prays as various trials or joys come her way. She is no way perfect, but she strives look to God in everything she does. If you haven’t purchased a copy of this book yet, I highly suggest you go out and purchase a copy right now!


Quiet Quilter says:

I must say that I just wasn't sure what to expect from this book, after reading the title!! As my husband comes from a British background, I knew what Victoria Sponge is! It is a cake! But how can a novel be about a tasty treat?? It turns out that Victoria Sponge is NOT a cake. She is a wife and mother, one who encounters all kinds of everyday trials, as does every female in her position. This book can be considered unique in the very different angle in which the story is told. It is a tale of a British family, however as it deals with their daily lives, it also combines a devotional, prayerful activity into the most unusual situations. This novel takes us through the everyday life of a mom in England who has one wanting to laugh and cry alongside with her as she meets the trials of life. Everyone needs a part of her!! Moms, doesn't that sound familiar?? But , as we meet the bumps in the road of her life alongside her, she also reminds us that we have to take time to reflect on our Lord. We need His help to get through. This novel was a light read, enjoyable, one that makes you realize that you too must depend on the One above to keep positive.

Daysong Reflections says:

I really had no idea what a book entitled “How to Make Victoria Sponge” might be about – maybe a woman who bakes? Not exactly. Written in the form of a journal, this story is about an ordinary mother of four and what happens when she wakes each morning and responds “Yes” to whatever the Lord has planned for her day. Actually Victoria is pretty extraordinary in the way she relates each and every thing that happens throughout her day to God. In many ways, I had difficulty with this book. First of all, the style is not my usual cup of tea. I am one who enjoys a good dialogue between characters. There were times that I just couldn’t relate to the character because her thought process was so different than my own. But…”How to Make Victoria Sponge” did make me think…especially about my own shortcomings and how just maybe I need to be more open to the Lord’s leading myself. And sometimes, maybe the Lord has me read a book that is out of my comfort zone because He has something to teach me through it. Victoria was a unique character and so inclined to one disaster after another. Written in a different style, some of her exploits would have been pure slapstick. But at the end of the day, no matter what had happened, Victoria knew she had done her best in the sight of her Lord. And that is exactly what we all should aspire to.

Mary Hake says:

This book is unique. I don’t recall ever reading a novel that combines appropriate, heartfelt prayers for the situations that arise in the characters’ lives. The Sponge family lives in England, so you get the British flavor and terms too, making it fun for American readers. I connected with Victoria, aka Vicki, and her desire to please the Lord. Her four active children (including three teens, one whom appears to be autistic) keep her hopping, and running to her Heavenly Father. I appreciate the sincerity and honesty she portrays, but could do without some of the TMI bodily functions, etc. Identity is one of the themes addressed in this rollicking story. Vicki seeks to find balance in her roles as wife, mother, preschool teacher, daughter of aging parents, and friend. Those around her have many needs, which tug at her heart and time. Each of her children have their own self-issues. This realistic look at daily life—with all that occurs in just seven days—syncs with Christ’s suffering during the week leading to His death. The tone remains hopeful and the tale helpful for anyone facing trials. It serves as a great example of how to draw lessons from the mess of everyday and grow spiritually. I think you could also just (re)read the prayers for inspiration.


Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations says:

Victoria Sponge is a fictional character but she is a picture of any Christian wife and mother. Each day our Heavenly Father has a personal message to Victoria. I must also say that I especially relate to her because she is just like me in that she falls and bumps her head repeatedly, it is fun to read about someone just like me. The chapters are the days of the week and start out with a morning prayer and there is an afternoon prayer and an evening prayer. Then it tells about the troubles of the day and we read Victoria's prayers to God and learn how she turns everything to thankfulness to Our Saviour and asks Him to help her to always remember the lessons that day's struggles has taught her. I like that each day also includes Our Heavenly Father's responses to Victoria's thoughts and prayers. Victoria Sponge uses everyday occurrences, such as trying to catch a field mouse to point out Our Heavenly Father's love and that He doesn't chase us but waits for us to come to Him. This book has really touched my heart and soul, I will be reading this book again and again as it is life changing fiction. I am including part of one of Victoria's prayers in the review as it is mine also even if I have never actually prayed it. "Oh. Lord. Please help me to be happy with who I am and with the gifts and challenges that You have given me." But after reading this book I will make this prayer part of my daily prayers. Just to show once again why I think this book is fantastic, here is a prayer that Victoria prays after her daughter dyes her hair pink. "Oh Lord, we all make mistakes; although I am not sure I have made a pink one! Help me to sort this one out or if this is not possible, then a friend who has knowledge of dealing with dyeing mistakes might be helpful." I love that Victoria talks to our Lord as a friend and not someone who is out of reach. Victoria Sponge is so honest in this book even about finding a pair of clean underwear and a lost television remote. There is one scene in this book that isn't an easy subject to deal with but Victoria relates it to the suffering that Jesus suffered on the cross. This book really helps the reader understand that Jesus suffered all the same things that His people struggle with. There is another story at the end of Victoria's story and it is called "A Jewel In the Sponge". I love how the colors of the rainbow is described to Victoria's son Johnny. I am going to buy this book in print and give them out, yes the book is that good! I give "How To Make Victoria Sponge" by Margaret Kazmierczak five stars.


Simple Harvest Reads says:

If you are looking for a book that will absolutely change your life, pick up a copy of How to Make Victoria Sponge! I loved how the author wrote this book in a humorous, easily to relate to manner. The prayers are inspiring, the character of Victoria Sponge is relatable, and the plot-line is well written. If there was one book that I would say is a must read for this year, it is How to Make Victoria Sponge! An enjoyable read, a life-changing book. I give How to Make Victoria Sponge 5 out of 5 stars!


Bibliophile Reviews says:

Wake Up and Do! Sunday Morning: Pray, Eat, Blog… See what the day brings! Does it get your attention? Are you curious as to little pieces of the big picture of my morning? You are?! Well, then How to Make Victoria Sponge is for you. A great narrative by Victoria, a mom that is a mom after my own heart. We get to be in her mind. Hearing her silent prayers and daily activities. Victoria is a mom that juggles it all. I have spent so much time reading the same style that I forgot how much I love diary/journal formats in books. It grabs the reader, gives a new insight and keeps you wondering what will come next. I loved how there were silent prayers sent constantly through the character’s mind. That is a the part that stuck with me the most. Finally, a character that sends up prayers like I do! Victoria is a darling character, she is strong, a mama bear. But as a human we all have our weaknesses and Victoria does hit some bumps that make her faith stronger. I recommend this book for the mom needing a book that makes her nod in agreement, or for the woman that is juggling her own batter of life.

Petra’s Hope says:

This book is probably one of the most uniquely-written books I have ever read. It reads almost like an autobiography of a woman who lives a prayerful life. Victoria Sponge is an ordin
ary woman with an ordinary life, which so many women can relate to. Her struggles with every situation in which she finds herself is somehow refreshing to the reader when lived through prayer. Joys are multiplied, sorrows are shared, and pain is lessened by the presence of the Lord in each moment of her day. The reader sees how openly Victoria communicates with the Lord in a pure and honest way. The Lord is not represented as a distant Being, but rather an intimate Friend Who never leaves and is a part of every moment of ever day of a believer’s life.

His Grace is Sufficient says:

When I first got this book from Celebrate Lit, I really didn't know what to expect. The title confused me, because I seriously thought it was a cooking book. However, I found this book to be delightful and thought provoking once I started reading. Victoria Sponge is a mother in the throes of life. Surrounded by her teenagers, working at a preschool, she faces many challenges that I can totally relate to (and she has four kids; I just have one!) From lighthearted problems to the more serious problem of her teenager facing depression, Victoria handles most of the things thrown at her with grace. The book is written in the first person, told from Victoria's perspective, and is basically a prayer. Yes, we're told to pray without ceasing in the Bible, and that is exactly what Victoria does. She uses life events, from the comical to the serious, to prompt her to pray... and then listens as God reveals things to her about her self and others.This book helped me see how a conversation with God truly can be ongoing. I think we so often get hung up on formalities in prayer, but all God wants from us is just to turn to Him. I enjoyed this book and would give it 4 stars.


Onceuponatime says:

Everyone loves cake but this book isn’t a recipe for making a cake, instead, you’ll get a recipe for making it through life. The story’s main character and storyteller are Victoria Sponge. She wears many hats during the course of each day and the book is a type of daily journey of life’s ups and downs and how she embeds her faith and prayer to deal with life’s multitude of never ending struggles, sun up to sun down. Wife, mother, woman, teacher, friend, co-worker, supervisor of the household duties, yes we all have walked miles in those same shoes and many others that arise in the course of living life. The story antics, the problems, the experiences were entertaining, heartbreaking, uniting, and healing. I connected with similar experiences in my own life, over the years. Vicki shares the same frustrations and joys; she just uses every opportunity to give praise or to seek grace, guidance, and love within her to adjust her attitude in every situation. Her day begins with waking and acknowledging another day with yes Lord, for whatever the day brings and she opens her heart with mindfulness of other’s needs. She ends the days with gratitude for all she has seen His hands upon that day and prayers to guide her through any failures. She listens to hear God speak and when we too, open our hearts and focus our minds on Him we hear and feel His omnipresence. Good read as a devotional daily journey!


By Dana Goodman (Amazon, Goodreads, Eden.co.uk) 
(Author of In the Cleft: Joy comes in the Mourning)

A Heart Warming Story

Margaret Kazmierczak's book How to make Victoria Sponge was incredibly compelling. I fell in love with the Sponge family. The character, Victoria Sponge, continually responds to life's messiness with love and grace. In the most heart wrenching moments in the book, especially after her son Johnny is maliciously bullied at school, Vicki turns to Jesus so his love can smooth over all the rough spots. I found myself laughing and crying about the daily events this family came up against, yet how graciously Bob and Victoria (the mother and father) responded to their children and to their day-to-day challenges. One quote that was highlighted to me in the book was when, after a really traumatizing day, Victoria says, "may I have planted [Jesus'] seed into the lives of others through my work and actions, so that when [Jesus'] rain shines upon them they produce a rich harvest." To me, this is the theme of the book--seeds being planted even on the weariest of days. Nothing can interfere with Christ's love being lived out on a day-to-day basis. On her most gritty day, Victoria has her evening prayer and Jesus says to her, "Vicki, I asked you to be with me in the Garden of Gethsemane, to stay awake and be of comfort to me in my time of anguish. You were not found asleep or failing in your response." Vicki then asks, "When was I in Gethsemane Lord?" He gently responds, "When you listened to your son's anguish I was weeping too and when your heart was breaking at the sight of your son's agony, my sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood." Victoria's intimacy with Jesus during her most trying moments is what made me love this book so much. We can all find ourselves in this book, and in doing so we can live our lives differently, full of grace and hope and love even during despairing times. I would highly recommend getting to know the Sponge family in this beautifully written book.



By Diane Perry (Goodreads)

A review just could not do this book justice. You just have to read it to understand how much it will inspire and impact your life and your heart. It may be based on a fiction character, but it is written in such a way that reminds us how we should be talking to God each day. I laughed, I cried and I reflected on my own journey and the need to allow God to be in more control. This is a wonderful book. Hard to believe it is Margaret's first, but I hope it isn't her last.



By Cheryl Cooper (Goodreads)

A review by me could not possibly do this book justice but I will try so here goes: This book is about a week in the life of the Sponge family and Vicki's relationship with God. I laughed at the antics of family and friends and I cried over the school bullying and trials of loss. Through everything the family's love for each other shines through. I adore this family.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 tells us: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Vicki gives us a great example of how to do this. She converses with God all through the day either thanking Him for the way things turn out or asking for His guidance and strength.

One page 247 Margaret writes: "Each day if you wait on God every morning, saying Yes to His Will before you get up, your day will be in His Care. At night when you say thank you, God will bless you for seeking Him no matter what has happened during the day." This is a great example to follow.

This is Margaret's first book and I hope it won't be her last.



By T. Lawrence (Amazon, Goodreads)

An unbelievably empowering read for all.

This book is powerful in so many ways that I don’t even know where to begin! A major part of its power is in its uniqueness. I love the mixture of intense themes and slapstick humor. Specifically, I love the mixture of messages learned through comic situations and tragic situations.

The main character, Victoria Sponge, works in a preschool. This is the vehicle that the author uses to sweetly teach us some important life lessons. A few of the skills that Victoria learns from her students follow: stay grounded, live in the present, take a hands-on approach to life, keep it simple, be humble, be pure, and trust in God.

Some of the important issues addressed in the book include bullying and dealing with mental challenges.

The book is full of wonderful quotes. My favorites are “With Me everything is possible for those that believe.”; “Take something positive from a situation even when it presents itself in a negative form.”, and; “Never underestimate your potential.”

The ending of the book was completely unexpected, mind-blowing, and empowering. It was so unique and profound that it moved me to tears. To say that it really made me think would be an understatement.


I highly recommend this book to all!



By Teresa White (Amazon, Eden.co.uk)


A Charming and delightful book

A really delightful book, thoughtful, sensitive, faith filled, touching, funny and poignant. As a wife, mother and Christian i find myself all too able to relate to the Character of Victoria Sponge, laughing with her and crying with her as she faces the ups and downs of family life and living in a broken world. A charming and thought provoking read...... 

I definitely recommend it. A big thumbs up from me!



By Karen Stirk (Amazon)

Thoroughly enjoyed the depiction of family life and all its tribulations. As another reviewer said, as a mum there are situations that you can really relate to. An easy book to read and one that makes you want to find out what happens next in the Sponge household....!



By Tregella (Amazon) 

Wonderful book! It resonated with my own experiences of being a mum in a busy family house with all its ups and downs. It was funny, touching and thoughtful; I heartily recommend this book.




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