A MATCH OF WITS TBCN BETHANY HOUSE FEATURED AUTHOR


SARAH SUNDIN UP-CLOSE & PERSONAL In Perfect Time 5 Book Giveaway




ABOUT AUTHOR: Sarah Sundin is the author of six historical novels, including In Perfect Time (Revell, August 2014). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to tennis and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. You can find her at http://www.sarahsundin.com

How did you come up with the idea for IN PERFECT TIME?

While researching World War II nursing, I kept reading about the flight nurses, and they fascinated me. These women were true pioneers. In flight, they were completely responsible for the patients, without a physician on board. This role was new for nurses, and they did very well. They also flew into combat areas in cargo planes that did not bear the red cross and were legitimate targets for the enemy. I wanted to tell their stories in the Wings of the Nightingale series.

In Perfect Time flowed out of Kay Jobson’s story. There was a family in our church who used to sing together a cappella—all of them had gorgeous voices. I got to thinking—what would it be like if you were born into a musically gifted family like that and you were tone-deaf? What if the family (unlike the loving family at my church) saw this flaw as a sign of God’s disfavor? What if they judged her? And Kay was born.

Nora: Wow, that would be hard. I can't wait to see how you dealt with this subject in your book!

What do you hope readers take away from IN PERFECT TIME?

Kay struggles to accept God’s mercy and love, and while Roger accepts those gifts, he subconsciously believes he isn't worthy to accept God’s blessings in his life. Both Kay and Roger learn that God gives good gifts, not because we are good, but because He is good. I hope readers will see any areas where they resist God’s gifts and would learn to embrace them.

Nora: Good word Sarah. It's mind boggling to think about God's abundant love for us. Embracing His love and His gifts is huge. I struggled with this myself.

You've gone on location to scout out information in writing your books. What has surprised you about your research at these locations?
 
My family & I at the Colosseums
I was blessed to visit Italy and southern France while researching In Perfect Time. After having visited Normandy a few years earlier, where WWII sites are maintained and used for tourism, I was surprised how hard it was to even locate WWII sites in Italy and southern France. No big memorials to the landings at Salerno or Anzio in Italy (although I found the smallest, most charming WWII museum in Anzio—not in any of the guidebooks!), and no memorials for the Dragoon landings in southern France. However, I was able to visit most of the locations in the book and get a feel for the area. I was also pleasantly surprised how patient and kind the Italians were with my pidgin Italian. They were so friendly and helpful!

Nora: Your trips sounded like fun! Thanks for sharing your pictures!

You've recently gone to Boston to gather information for your book. What did you find there that surprised you? What did you talk about in your book?
 
5 in gun plat door
Just last month I spent a week in Boston visiting family and conducting research for my upcoming Waves of Freedom series. Since I've visited Boston before, I didn't find too much that was surprising—although I had to change plenty of things in my completed rough draft of Through Waters Deep! Since the first two novels concern WWII destroyers, I was thrilled to tour the USS Cassin Young at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston and the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. at Battleship Cove in Fall River. Also, on the battleship USS Massachusetts at Battleship Cove, I was able to climb inside a 5-inch naval gun mount! Since the book’s hero is an assistant gunnery officer, this made me ridiculously happy.

What do you love most about traveling? What do you despise?
 
Marseille Viux Port
I love seeing new places, experiencing new things, seeing historical sites, tasting new foods, and meeting new people. I love comparing the pluses and minuses of the places I visit compared to home—it makes me appreciate the new places but also gives me a new appreciation for home. I’m not so fond of showering facilities in some places I visit. And I despise doing laundry in Europe. I come home and kiss my washer and dryer!

Nora: Funny! :o)

Puyloubier House
You shared with me you love to bake. On your travels did you run across something you wanted to try to make when you got back home? If so, what was it? How did it turn out? How did you get the recipe?

I often buy cookbooks from places we visit. I picked up a nice cookbook from Provence, and I've enjoyed trying the recipes. In Boston, our son fell in love with Boston cream pie, which is something I've always loved. I found a recipe on Pinterest and modified it—and it’s so good!

Nora: I love cookbooks! I'm not one of these cooks that can wing it. I need the cook book for inspiration and instructions! Grin!

You've share with me that you enjoy teaching? What is the thrill for you in teaching?

I do love teaching, whether for my fourth- and fifth-graders in Sunday school, the ladies in Bible study, or fellow writers at conferences. My favorite part is when you see the light of understanding dawn on people’s faces. What’s most exciting when I teach about the Bible is when God takes my words, flips them around mid-air, and inserts in the women’s ears what they need to hear. I’m always amazed when women tell me how something I said touched them—and it wasn't anything I actually said. Then I know the Holy Spirit is doing the actual teaching. I’m just a mouthpiece, and it’s a thrill!

Sarah

Nora: Thanks for stopping by Sarah and helping us get to know you and your books better Sarah. Loved all the fun pictures too! Grin! I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN starting TODAY of  at www.bookfun.org

Looking forward reading the participation between you and readers! Your questions for them to answer were fun!  REMINDER - Everyone has to be a member of TBCN www.bookfun.org in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows. The last day to enter this drawing is the last day of the month.

Sincerely,

Nora :o)

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com


THE BLENDER GIRL REVIEWED

I'm mixing things up a little. I'll be reviewing some different books now that I work for The Book Club Network and have a flexible schedule. I hope you enjoy the variety. I really was surprised by this book and the information and recipes inside. Enjoy!

Nora :o)




THE BLENDER GIRL
By Tess Masters



Published by Random House
ISBN#978-1-60774-643-0
216 Pages

Back Cover: The debut cookbook from the powerhouse blogger behind theblendergirl.com, featuring 100 gluten-free, vegan recipes for smoothies, meals, and more made quickly and easily in a blender.

What’s your perfect blend?

On her wildly popular recipe blog, Tess Masters—aka, The Blender Girl—shares easy plant-based recipes that anyone can whip up fast in a blender. Tess’s lively, down-to-earth approach has attracted legions of fans looking for quick and fun ways to prepare healthy food. In The Blender Girl, Tess’s much-anticipated debut cookbook, she offers 100 whole-food recipes that are gluten-free and vegan, and rely on natural flavors and sweeteners. Many are also raw and nut-, soy-, corn-, and sugar-free.

Smoothies, soups, and spreads are a given in a blender cookbook, but this surprisingly versatile collection also includes appetizers, salads, and main dishes with a blended component, like Fresh Spring Rolls with Orange-Almond Sauce, Twisted Caesar Pleaser, Spicy Chickpea Burgers with Portobello Buns and Greens, and I-Love-Veggies! Bake. And even though many of Tess’s smoothies and shakes taste like dessert—Apple Pie in a Glass, Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake, or Tastes-Like-Ice- Cream Kale, anyone?—her actual desserts are out-of this-world good, from Chocolate-Chile Banana Spilly to Flourless Triple-Pecan Mousse Pie and Chai Rice Pudding. Best of all, every recipe can easily be adjusted to your personal taste: add an extra squeeze of this, another handful of that, or leave something out altogether— these dishes are super forgiving, so you can’t mess them up.

Details on the benefits of soaking, sprouting, and dehydrating; proper food combining; and eating raw, probiotic-rich, and alkaline ingredients round out this nutrient-dense guide. But you don’t have to understand the science of good nutrition to run with The Blender Girl—all you need is a blender and a sense of adventure. So dust off your machine and get ready to find your perfect blend.

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that introduced me to Tess Masters, “The Blender Girl,” this cook book and her blog by the same name.

I’ve started working a different job that has allowed me more time in the kitchen and less time driving to and from work. I was thrilled to explore this new way of cooking. I liked how this author first talks about “What’s the perfect blend for you?” Where she discusses her journey to getting healthy and what she learned along the way. Not everything works for everybody. She talks about healthy ideas that you might want to blend into your life style. She talks about being proactive about your health and says, “I make a point of eating foods rich in probiotics as part of an alkaline diet low in sugar and high in essential vitamins and minerals.”

She also makes a point to eat food that is in season where she lives. She mixes up eating foods raw and some that are cooked. She helps the reader to think about making small changes in their lives that can make a huge difference in how they feel and what’s best in the long run.

There is great information to assimilate written in an easy to read manner. She also talks about how your blender can become your partner in the kitchen. It can help your bring healthier snacks, drinks and meals to you and your family in a doable time frame.

There are a wide variety of recipes with ingredients that can be found in grocery stores that have a health food section (many do). I tried several of her recipes; they are Thyme for Corn Chowder, Fluffy gf pancakes (best ever), Orange dream sickles (yummy) and Dark Chocolate pudding (great surprise – loved it). My family and I loved them. They even asked for seconds.

Some of the other yummy looking recipes I want to try are Spicy Chickpea Burgers with Portobello Buns and Greens, Alkaline Tacos, Creamy Mushroom Stroganoff, Potato Pizza and many more.

The book is broken down into several sections. They are: Healthy Ideas to Blend In, Smoothies and Shakes, Appetizers, Snacks, Dips and Spreads, Salads, Soups, The Main Event, Desserts, Drinks, Juices, and Tonics, Condiments, Sauces, and Creams. I liked the variety.

This author walks the reader through how to choose a blender. She starts with your basic model and moves to the top of the line. She also discusses how to care for your blender so it will last a long time. Great tips.

I like how Tess shared about why certain veggies are beneficial to your body. She also mentions food combing and how certain foods work well together to make you feel your best.

I enjoyed the beautiful pictures throughout. I also liked the fact that these recipes can help the cook bring healthy meals to your family and yourself in a reasonable time frame. You do need to read the recipes all the way through before you start cooking. I like how Tess talks about things you might be tempted to do and warns you not to do it. For example when I made the pancakes they took 4 minutes on one side and 3 more minutes after you flipped them. If you rushed the process she tells you that you’ll have soggy pancakes. These pancakes take longer to cook but they are so worth the wait. She was right.

The recipes include many ingredients and the measurements were in cups and grams. The author is originally from Australia and currently resides in California. Her Blender Girl blog reaches people all over the globe.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to start down the path to eating healthier and feeling better and are looking for a place to start. This book is also great for those of you that are already on this path. There are 100 Gluten-Free, Vegan recipes to try! I’m looking forward to trying more myself!

Nora St Laurent
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org

NEW BEGINNINGS


I had devotion time with my family this morning. It song was a reminder of  how Great God is! I'm pinching myself as so much has changed in the last month. My youngest starts his Junior year of highschool, my oldest son started a new job with his first day of college approaching and my daughter is on a new job as well. It's a year of NEW BEGINNINGS for ALL of us. I've started working for The Book Club Network FULL TIME and FRED has taken on a NEW Role at DEEPER SHOPPING as of yesterday. We have so much to be thankful for!.

Here is the announcement Fred St. Laurent made on his FB page he says, "I am now the Director of Sales for over 800 Christian Retail stores here:https://www.facebook.com/DeeperShopping

Drop by and LIKE the site please  You will want to keep an eye on this. I am still running TBCN and Book Fun Magazine (now with Nora's help) and this fits hand in glove with all we do! BEST prices great service and a St Laurent selling their inventory!!!

God is doing far more than I could have ever imagined. I am very GRATEFUL! Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we all begin new chapters in our lives!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com 
Book Fun Magaazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

KITCHEN CONFIDENCE by KELSEY NIXON REVIEWED



Kitchen Confidence
By Kelsey Nixon
Published by Clarkson Potter
ISBN#978-0-7704-3699-5
224 Pages

About Author: KELSEY NIXON is the host of Kelsey's Essentials on Cooking Channel. She got her start in food media in college when she created 100 episodes of Kelsey's Kitchen, a cooking show that aired at Brigham Young University. Upon graduation, she trained at Le Cordon Bleu and the French Culinary Institute, and held internships at Martha Stewart Living and Food Network's Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. In 2008, Kelsey was a finalist and voted fan favorite on The Next Food Network Star. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their son. This is her first cookbook.

Back Cover: Host of Cooking Channel's Kelsey's Essentials and fan favorite on season four of The Next Food Network Star, Kelsey Nixon shares the essential recipes, techniques, and tools that new home cooks need in their back pocket.

A young food star and new mom, Kelsey is an invaluable friend in the kitchen to everyone settling into their first kitchen of their own. Her recipes, which are broken down into simple steps, teach readers how to cook, highlighting key tools and basic techniques everyone should know. And yet her flavors are anything but basic; Kelsey gives everyone the confidence to start with the 2.0 version of a recipe instead of the boring standards. For example, she makes her house pilaf with quinoa instead of rice, and her addictive fruit salad is a savory first course instead of a lackluster dessert.
     With 100 recipes and 60 color photographs, Kitchen Confidence brings home all of the energy and spirit of the Cooking Channel show of the same name, making it an excellent handbook for newlyweds, recent college graduates, and those discovering their kitchens for the first time.

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that introduced me to a passionate chef and yummy food recipes.  I haven’t seen Kelsey Nixon on T.V. but this book has made me want to check her show out. My husband and I have switched off cooking and cleaning up the kitchen for years now. I haven’t cooked in a while. I thought this book would help me get back into the cooking groove! I was right. This author has tips for beginners and experienced cooks that are helpful to both camps.

I liked the introduction of this book where the author shares a little bit about her cooking journey and how her mom’s love of cooking stirred her passion for food and helping others to create great meals like her mom. Her mom loved to cook and relished the unbeatable feeling of making something at home to nourish the people she loved.

Kelsey states, “My love for food followed me to college, but unfortunately my mom didn’t – so no more home-cooked meals every night.  It didn’t take long for that void to send me straight to my own bite-size dorm kitchen to begin cooking for myself, my roomates, and any prospective boyfriends…”

I was a broadcast journalism student who loved food and television, but wasn’t all that interested in a news career. So, I committed myself to an unorthodox idea of hosting my own cooking show…”

I liked learning how Kelsey developed her cooking style and how she had a passion to teach others to create healthy and yummy meals that everyone could make and love.

She walks readers thru the getting started stage and for those who have been at it for a while some great pointers about “Essential Pantry” supplies. She says, “Having a well-equipped Pantry is like having an insurance policy for dinner.”

Tips on organizing (and re-organizing) your kitchen – “Essential Equipment” – “When it comes to equipment I believe in quality over quantity.” Kelsey states. Then there are the “Essential Techniques” Techniques you’ll use over and over again. I felt they were very helpful.

Cooking from the hip section tells readers how to get your creative juices flowing. Each recipe has at least a few variations on the basic theme of the dish. She encourages you to come up with a few variations to make it your own.

The recipes are easy to read, ingredients are readily available, and the most she has in each recipe is four or five steps with instructions to follow. They are not complicated to understand.

The book is broken into the following sections. Breakfast and Morning Treats, Starters, Salads, Sandwiches and Soups, Main Courses, Sides, Desserts and Sweets.

This cook book is filled with beautiful color pictures of most of the food recipes, some of the authors and others of cooking techniques. I loved to look at them.

The recipes I tried were the Blueberry Muffins, Chicken Piccata, and the Oven-Fried Chicken. These dishes were fun to create and my family loved them.  I loved watching them empty their plates and ask for more!

Some of the recipes I’d like to make are Stove-Top Mac N’Cheese (she has 4 variations to the master recipe for you to try) Scalloped Sweet Potatoes, Banana Split Ice Cream Cake, Baked Eggs with Smoked Bacon, Spinach and Goat Cheese, Almond Scones, Buffalo Chicken Wings and many more.

I really liked the fact that once the reader got a handle on creating the basic recipe they could change it up and make something new. I’ll be referring back to this book often. This will be my go to book for bringing fun back to family dinners. I look forward to learning more about the How’s and Why’s of cooking techniques that make the dishes in the book work and taste great. This is a win, win for cooks, and our families. This would make a great gift too!

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

LAST DAY TO ENTER 20 BOOK GIVEAWAY

CHECK out the Great books Featured at The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org TODAY is the LAST DAY to ENTER these giveaways and interact with the authors. It's Fun, it's Easy and it's FREE!!

GO TO www.bookfun.org CLICK on the Book Cover of the book you'd like to put your name in the hat for. Answer one of the questions the author has listed to be entered! It's that EASY!!

SEE YOU THERE!!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com


CLICK ON BOOK COVER FOR BOOK DESCRIPTION
10 Book Give Away Opportunity


CLICK ON BOOK COVER FOR BOOK DESCRIPTION
5 Book Giveaway Opportunity


CLICK ON BOOK COVER FOR BOOK DESCRIPTION
5 Book Giveaway Opportunity


I'm THRILLED about our line up this month
Stay-tuned for next month's featured.

Contest ENDS TODAY!


BOOK FUN AHEAD

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!

ONCE UPON A WINTER'S HEART by MELODY CARLSON REVIEWED


Once Upon a Winter’s Heart
By Melody Carlson
Published by: Center Street
ISBN#978-1-4555-2812-7
160 Pages

Back Cover: Emma Burcelli has suffered over a decade of dating disasters. But she concludes that love is officially dead when her grandfather Poppi suddenly passes, leaving her grandmother Nona devastated. To help out, Emma works in the family bookstore, which Nona insists must be decked out in sweetheart d├ęcor as Poppi would have done for Valentine's Day. Although she feels like a V-Day Scrooge, Emma quickly learns to enjoy the task with the help of a handsome family friend, Lane Forester, who shows her that hanging hearts is much more fun when done to the tune of Dean Martin. As Emma and Lane share time and memories of Poppi, she reconsiders the notion that romance is alive.

Just as Emma's heart begins to lift, however, she learns her sister has already staked a claim on Lane. Emma's mother and sister insist Lane only sees her as a future sister-in-law, but she can't help wondering if it could be something more.

REVIEW: I’m thankful for a review copy of a book by one of my favorite authors. I instantly cared for and enjoyed this cast of colorful characters. I felt a part of their family.

Emma Burcelli gets a call to inform her of her Poppi’s passing. Emma learns the funeral will be soon. She feels lead to leave her dead-end marketing-job in Seattle to go live with her grandmother, Nona.

Poppi’s death hits the entire Bucelli family hard. He was such an encourager, family anchor - part of everyone’s life and brought so much love to them all. Emma declares, “Romance is officially dead…of course, she knew that Poppi would probably argue this with her. He would launch into a passionate lecture about how love was alive and well for those who were willing to take notice…just open your eyes; he would often say to people, “Love is all around you.” But Emma had never been able to see it.” She was convinced, “True love was only to be found in old movies and classic books.”

This author has a great mix of believable characters, all facing Poppi’s death in different ways. Some comical and in denial and some sad. They also face Valentine ’s Day in very different ways too. Emma knows, “Valentine’s day is a crazy holiday for many who are not in a relationship, lost someone dear, and/or are not in that series relationship, things get complicated.”

Emma has mixed emotions about this day. She tells someone, “Valentine’s Day is a cruel joke! Bah-Humbug!” She was a Valentine ’s Day Scrooge and wasn’t afraid to say it. She marveled and reflected at how much Poppi loved this holiday. So did her grandmother, Nona. It was at Nona’s request for Emma to go to the book store they owned and decorate it for Valentine’s Day on February first. She’d to that for both of her grandparents no matter how she felt about that day. Her grandparents were love to her. She’d do it for them.

I enjoyed this novella sized book for several reasons. One, it was about an Italian family. I was raised in one and know firsthand that learning to make homemade spaghetti sauce is very important. I smiled big when they talked about this aspect of Italian family life. They said that it was important to learn how to make spaghetti and meatballs the way their family made it. It spoke love to the receiver. I remember my training and how this is so true. Second part of this story takes place in a book store. I loved that since I’ve worked in one for 10 years. And last but not least this author talks about a men’s book club. Poppi started and lead a men’s book club inside the book store. I loved reading about this aspect of the book since I’ve done the very same thing but with a group of women. Poppi had picked out the Phantom of the Opera for the men to read. He wanted to talk about different aspect of what love is. It was funny to read about the men’s book club as they discussed the book and drank wine at their meetings. It was a hoot!


My only complaint about this book is that it was too short. It left me wanting more. I wanted to hang out with this Italian family and learn more about them. I highly recommend this book for a mini get away from the worlds cares. This story will tug at your heart, make you smile and just make you feel good all over. Thanks Melody! I enjoyed meeting you this year at the ICRS Conference!

Nora St.Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org

The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

WHAT WOMEN FEAR by Angie Smith REVIEWED


What Women Fear
By Angie Smith
Published by: B & H Publishers
ISBN#: 978-0805464290
224 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: A woman's faith in God is challenged by the first question Satan asks Eve in the Bible: "Did God really say you can’t eat from any tree in the garden?" That seed of doubt and the story it begins to unfold breed a concept of fear still haunting each of us on some level every day-the idea that our actions could ruin something beautiful, and God might not have control of things.

In What Women Fear, acclaimed writer and speaker Angie Smith admits, "fear is a major part of my testimony" and talks openly about her treatment for anxiety as a child. Giving a voice to the problem, she says, "I truly believe every single one of us struggles with some type of fear, whether it's fear of flying or fear of being 'found out.' Maybe you don’t worry about dying, but you get sick thinking about the fact that you might fail."

Rather than suggesting that those who truly love the Lord would never fear, Angie blends her own experiences with those of men and women from throughout Scripture to help us start dealing more effectively with these true, human emotions. Whether it’s a constant "What if?," a nagging fear of abandonment or betrayal, fear of your own or someone else’s death, fear of trusting God's plan, or even the fear that God's existence is a lie, Angie will walk you through stories of others who have simultaneously loved God and struggled with fear. Join Angie and discover how to let Jesus redeem this struggle as only He can, that He will be glorified, and you will be transformed!


REVIEW: I bought this book and then then purchased the audio book when I saw it on sale. I liked having both. I could highlight items in the book I wanted to remember and pray about. The audio book helped me to focus and pray about things on my way to work.

Angie Smith talks about walking in faith that transforms. “When I think back to my childhood, there is so much joy and love. Despite this, there is a haunting feeling of fear I carried with me into adulthood. My parents did everything they could to help me, but to this day fear is a major part of my testimony. I won’t say I feel qualified to tell you I have all the answers, nor will I promise that you will miraculously be cured of your anxiety by the time you reach the end of this book. What I will say is that I hope I am an encouraging companion to you as we go; a sister who understand your pain and the desire to live a life free of it.” Free from the bondage fear can have on a person….. She continues, “I truly believe that every single one of us struggles with some type of fear, whether its fear of flying or fear of being “found out.” Maybe you don’t worry about dying but you get sick thinking about the fact that you might fail.”

“Throughout scripture we have the opportunity to meet some amazing men and women whose stories remind us that we aren’t alone, and that our fears and struggles are not unknown to God…these people from the pages of the bible have become friends to me over the years. I look to them for advice on how other people have death with true, human emotions. Some of them failed miserably. Honestly that kind of takes the pressure off feeling like I might be the first one to simultaneously love God and feel like I’m disappointing him.”

I liked Angie Smith’s transparency and encouragement as she helps readers get to know bible characters and their struggles. She has a way with helping readers apply the scripture principle to everyday life. I liked that.

Each chapter starts with a Bible story example Adam and Eve, Rachel, Jacob and Leah, Abraham, Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael. She convey the story and then tells readers how the passage affected her, then tells how she applied the lesson to her life.

Below are some of the fears this author talks about:

Fear of What if…
Fear of Rejection, Abandonment, and Betrayal
Fear of being found out
Fear of Failure
Fear of Death
Fear of my Past Catching up with me
Fear of Not Being Significant
Fear of God’s Plan for My Life
Fear God Isn't Real

She has a prayer at the end of each chapter as well. Here is one of them.

“May we believe in You and your love for us enough to believe you did not create us to live a life shadowed by the feeling we are inadequate. You long for us to call out in our weakness to those who will take us by the hand, leading us until we find you. Lord, bless us with friends and family who will carve a safe place for our confessions, and will love us in a way that is worthy of you.”

This is a book you’ll read again and again. It caused me to go back to scripture and look at it differently.  You’ll ask God (like I did) to help you see something in there to apply to your situation. This makes a great read and/or a book club pick.

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

ANGEL EYES by SHANNON DITTEMORE REVIEWED


Angel Eyes
By Shannon Dittemore
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN#978-1-4015-83635-2
316 Pages

Back Cover: Once you've seen, you can’t unseen.

Brielle went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and an incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than either Brielle or Jake has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices begin.

A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.

REVIEWI’m thankful for the review copy of a book that gave readers a great insight into how the enemy uses fear as a weapon against us! I also liked how this author shows teens fighting the good fight against the enemy and fear! They don’t have to stay helpless or paralyzed! There is hope! Hope is a person – Jesus!
Author shared in her FB Page

I had purchased the audio book of this novel as well. I alternated listening to the book on my commute to work and then reading the paperback novel when I got home. I had to read what happened next - I couldn't wait until I got in the car to continue hearing about the journey taking place for Brielle and Jake in Angel Eyes!

I love how this book talks about fear and how you might see it in the heavenly realm and how it affects people in the real world. Brielle is given a gift to see with “Angel Eyes” after you read what she sees you won’t look at fear the same way. It will give you a peek at the fight in the heavenlies for our souls. Loved that!

I liked Brielle and Jake; the two main characters. Each had been involved in some serious life situations for people so young. I liked the how the person read the novel in the audio book, she did a great job of bringing the story to life by putting expression and drama in her voice to help the reader fell like they were there. Loved it!


I liked Brielle’s voice in the novel as it’s written in first person. She’s funny, honest and is fighting the war against fear taking over her entire personality. Jake is kind, gentle and teases Brielle! He seems to be where she needs him to be.  She’s lost, “I turn left and right looking for something familiar. This is right, isn’t it? It has to be. My feet pound through the slippery grasp as panic curdles in my stomach and turns it sour.

“I don’t have time to be sick.” (She tells herself) “I don’t have time.”

“I break into a sprint. I won’t be able to keep this pace up, but I have to get home before night falls. Of that I’m certain. My legs burn, and I trip over a rock, or a tree root? I fall and scrape my hands. The camera bag smacks me in the face, but at least it keeps my head off the ground. Mud smacks my chest and neck.”

“I get up. Fast. Fast. I count my footfalls, my breaths, anything to keep my mind off the encroaching darkness…It’s completely dark now and my lungs ache. Every breath is a sharpened needle sewing stitches into my side. Ten more footfalls and doubt begins to eat away at the encouragement I’ve given myself. The moon has hidden again behind black clouds, and the hail has turned into a soaking rain. Visibility is diminishing quickly. A sob rips from my chest, and I can’t find the energy to fight back the tears.” Would she find her way home? Who would help her? Was Jake near? I love how the author captured my attention and I found myself breathing like Brielle, hoping she’d get help soon so I could breathe! Grin!

Jake’s the new kid at school so is Brielle. They happen to have a couple of classes together. They became fast friends and Brielle appreciates Jake even more when he helps calm her nerves in the middle of a bad storm. There is more to Jake than meets the eye. He shares what he knows about the Celestial Realm and the battle raging between good and evil! Will Brielle join him in this fight? Did she even believe in God – her dad didn’t! She knew why!

The story left me wanting to hang out with Jake and Brielle and Cannon a little longer in order to see how they handle their next challenge! The author leaves readers with a question you’ll want to know the answer to.  I look forward to reading Book two called Broken Wing and the third book Dark Hallo.

Author holding final book in series
This is a Great summer read and makes for a good book club pick. There is so much to talk about. Reading Group discussion questions are included in the back of the book which will help create lively discussion at your book club meeting. This was a thought-provoking read that had me look at the Celestial Realm and angels like I hadn’t before I recommend this as a fun read and one that would work great for a book club!

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

ATLAS GIRL by EMILY T. WIERENGA REVIEWED





ATLAS GIRL
By Emily T. Wierenga



Published by: Baker Books
ISBN#978-0-8010-1656-1
288 Pages

ABOUT AUTHOR: Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, columnist, artist, author, and blogger at www.emilywierenga.com  Her work has appeared in many publications, including Prodigal Magazine, A Deeper Story, Christianity Today, Dayspring's (in)courage, and Focus on the Family. She speaks regularly about her journey with anorexia. She lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Trenton, and their two sons.

BACK COVER: Disillusioned and yearning for freedom, Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning. Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents' rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else--anywhere else. Her travels took her across Canada, Central America, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. She had no idea that her faith was waiting for her the whole time--in the place she least expected it.

Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a very personal story of a universal yearning for home and the assurance that we are known, forgiven, and beloved. Readers will find in this memoir a true description of living faith as a two-way pursuit in a world fraught with distraction. Anyone who wrestles with the brokenness we find in the world will love this emotional journey into the arms of the God who heals all wounds.

REVIEW: I’m thankful for a review copy of a book that touched me to the depths of my soul and introduced me to a brave, sensitive and courageous woman, mom and author.  This author’s voice is a breath of fresh air. This woman has experienced much in a short time. Emily describes falling into life’s unexpected trenches, what she did when she got there and discovered something when she was there she hadn’t anticipated finding.

“And sometimes it takes disappointments to remember that this world is not our home. I know God is here in the nature and the people, but more than that, He is within me. The kingdom of heaven is where I belong. It is where all of my journeys have been taking me. And no place on earth can match the welcome that is found in God’s arms.”

This is a personal, transparent memoir written with a unique style that grabbed my attention and my heart from the start. I was encouraged at how vulnerable and honest she was about her struggles. I was inspired at how Emily learns to love and receive the love others so desperately wanted to give her. This book is written in first personal. I felt as if Emily and I were sitting down on the couch as she shared her personal journey. I was captivated by how this author gave me a peek into some life disappointments, heartache and triumphs.

I’ve learned that everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has a hurt that needs to be healed, none of us escape the pain in this world. Emily’s story and how she allowed God in to heal her hurts, help her see herself beyond what the mirror reflected and embrace what He had in store for her life. It was raw, real and breathe taking at times. She discovered how to live in the moment, learned that forgiveness is not a feeling – but is important in setting us free and allowing us to walk in peace.

Emily talks about her childhood, “Years later, when I was starving myself, my brother Keith would draw a picture of me as a wrecking ball, destroying the walls of our family… I had replaced the need to protect him with the need to protect myself. And it was wrecking us all. “…I had no choice at home about anything…we moved ten times before I turned seven. So I stopped eating.”

“The picture of God in my head became a man who was always serious and studying unless he was at church where he smiled and laughed with people for hours. He still read us stories, but I don’t remember ever playing with my dad….. What I needed was love, to wrap me up in its arms to tell me how beautiful I was and to make me laugh. I needed a love that smiled….And I needed to know God wasn’t my dad or my mum, but when I was little, he was. He is the face of your loved ones. But your loved ones make mistakes. And God doesn’t……When you’re young, you see the gaps more than you do the glimpses. You see the whole more than the donut.”

“And then at thirteen, when I was dying on the hospital bed, and the nurses said I was a miracle. I finally saw him. I saw God for who he was – a Savior who wasn’t a minister with a wrinkled forehead stuck in his office, who wasn’t in a mother, who had never been affirmed growing up, who wasn’t the church with all of its rules. He was grace. And I began to believe with more than my mind, because I wanted to live.”

This is a peek at the authors’ heart and her style of writing that captivated me and kept me up late reading this heart-felt, transparent memoir.  It was a refreshing, and honest. It’s a read I highly recommend. It’s a book that will touch your heart and change how you view life and God! I look forward to reading more books by this author. Thank you Emily for sharing your journey in a real and honest way. I appreciate you having the courage to share what you did. I know this will be an encouragement and life changer for many!

Want to learn more about this author. Emily did a heart-felt interview for Book Fun Magazine this month. Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com

PASSING STRANGERS by ANGELA HUNT REVIEWED




PASSING STRANGERS
By Angela Hunt
Published by Hunt Haven
ISBN#978-0692-230206
319 Pages

About Author: Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With over four million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 100 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to novels.

Now that her two children have reached their twenties, Angie and her youth-pastor husband live in Florida with Very Big Dogs (a direct result of watching Sandlot too many times). This affinity for mastiffs has not been without its rewards--one of their dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest canine in America. Their dog received this dubious honor after an all-expenses-paid trip to Manhattan for the dog and the Hunts, complete with VIP air travel and a stretch limo in which they toured New York City. Afterward, the dog gave out paw-tographs at the airport.

When she's not home writing, Angie often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers' conferences. And to talk about her dogs, of course. Readers may visit her web site at www.angelahuntbooks.com

Back Cover: A train roars over the rails, carrying passengers on a trip that will change their lives. Among the many people aboard the 97 Silver Meteor are Andie Crystal, a lonely young woman hiding from her youth as a reality TV star; Matthew Scofield, a widower trying to manage his responsibilities to his two young children; and Janette Turlington, a middle–aged mother running from a situation that has destroyed the peace in her home and marriage. These three form a makeshift family on an Amtrak tour through the Southern seaboard, a journey that just might heal their wounded hearts and restore them to the people to whom they matter most . . .

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of this book. Angela hunt is one of my favorite authors. Here tag line is “expect the unexpected.” I love the fact that when I sit down to read one her books I never know where she’ll take me next and she gets me to think about things I normally wouldn’t. This book is no exception.

Angela Hunt calls Passing Strangers a suite;” a novel composed of three separate but interconnected stories, but with only one main character per story.” I liked this approach for this story. It worked and helped make each of these characters situations real and believable.

Three lives intersect on the Amtrak train #2171 Acela Express – 97 Silver Meteor. Each person signed up for the package that would take them to Washington, Williamsburg, Charleston, Savannah and St. Augustine. Passengers would take tour busses to explore each city – they had two days to do just that.

The story opens up with Addie Crystal. She has been working very hard at her job with the T.V. station and working just as hard to hide from her past. Her boss was demanding she take a vacation. She gives them all the reasons why a vacation is a bad idea. But they surprise her with this trip on a train. Who traveled by train? Addie would soon find out.

Janette Turlington is a middle aged mother desperate to get away from the life she has been living. She needed time to think about her next move. In her escape she comes to the Amtrak station and decides to take a trip. There she’d have time to make sense of things!

Matthew Scofield decides to take his young children on a train ride hoping to create some special memories and have fun with them; still dealing with the death of their mom; Matt’s wife.

As these three unlikely strangers meet their lives take a radical turn. Change doesn’t happen all at once but there is something special about all of them beginning together. They get to know each other as they jump off the Amtrak train and tour through the southern seaboard states. Each senses the other is carrying a heavy burden – one they were never meant to carry alone.

I liked reading about the fun each of them had as they played tourists for two days in each city. I also enjoyed their interaction and how this unlikely friendship developed between Addie, Matthew and Janette. This author does a great job of letting the reader get a feel for each of their unique situations and also agonize with each of them; realizing how hard it was to talk about the struggle they each were facing. I adored Matthew’s two children Emilia and Roman. They were so much fun.

Each of the main characters in Passing Strangers is running away from something. Can we truly escape our problems? No, but God can give us the courage, support of others (with divine appointments like this one) and His promise to be with us every step of the way. This is a great book to bring to the beach and get away from it all! It’s also a good book club pick with discussion questions in the back that will generate lively discussion.


It was a thrill to catch up with Angela Hunt and Alexander Hannah at the ICRS conference in Atlanta a few weeks ago. 

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org
Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com