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LIFE AFTER - A MUST READ


Life After
By Katie Ganshert
Published by Waterbrook
ISBN#978-1-60142-902-5
352 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: It could have been me. Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two lost.

 A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest. 

 Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.  

 In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness

REVIEW: This author pens a gripping and gritty story of an event labeled the Tragedy on the Tracks. An explosion on a train that changed twenty-two people’s lives forever including; Paul Elliott and Autumn Manning.

I was hooked from the start…. “We rarely know when death will come…..Some are warned in sickness - But others - meet death without any warning at all, in an unforeseen moment that wrenches consciousness in two, separating the living from the dead.”

“That’s how it would come on this particular evening for twenty-two individuals.”

The one year anniversary was quickly approaching and Autumn was stuck. Life was passing her by. She still didn’t remember that fateful day. When she woke up from the coma she was shocked to hear what happened and that she was the sole survivor.

She didn’t want to attend the ceremony. She tells a friend, “Trust me…” Those families don’t want me there.” Why would they? To them, she was salt in a wound. A bitter reminder…Why did that woman survive when my husband (wife, dad, mom, son, daughter) didn’t? What’s so special about her?”

Paul was a therapist who lost his wife and was trying his best to raise a 12-year-old girl named Reese and a 4-year-old boy named Tate. He was juggling things as best he could with help from his mom, but things got crazy. The one year anniversary had his daughter going wild. She’s become someone he doesn’t know. It scares him! He’s a therapist he should know how to handle this.

Someone has been writing letters to Autumn. Autumn hasn’t written back. She reads what the person writes. I liked how the author included these letters in the novel. It made things more intimate. In one letter the writer talks about miracles. Then gives the definition which is, “an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God. Do you believe in miracles?” (the writer asks Autumn)

“At first, I didn’t think it was a miracle. Because it definitely wasn’t wonderful, and if God was involved wouldn’t he save everyone? But then I saw a picture of the train after the explosion…As soon as I saw the picture, I changed my mind. I think it was a miracle. I think only God could have saved you.”

This author masterfully weaves an emotionally charged, haunting tale that is told from two pov’s. One from Autumn Manning the sole survivor. Second, Paul Elliott a single dad, picking up the pieces of his life while caring for his kids and career. It was fascinating to see how Autumn and Paul dealt with the one Anniversary in totally different ways.

This author pulls out all the stops in introducing you to family members lost; describing how twenty-three families dealt with similar circumstances differently. I loved this author’s unique attention to detail that made me feel like I was there. She introduces a variety of rich exceptional characters I could connect with. I loved how the author mixed in a few twists and surprises I didn’t see coming.

How do folks survive after a tragedy like this? No two people react and rebuild the same. No two have the same timetable in which they go from survival mode to giving themselves permission to “live” again. It made for a heartfelt, page-turning, unforgettable read. This would make a great book club pick. I would love to see this on the big screen. This book's a keeper. This author is one to watch!

ABOUT AUTHOR: Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the exciting state of Iowa, where she currently resides with her family. She likes to write things and consume large quantities of coffee and chocolate while she writes all the things. She's won some awards. For the writing, not the consuming. Although the latter would be fun. You can learn more about Katie and these things she writes at her website www.katieganshert.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BloggingforBooks site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

THE DOG WHO WAS THERE REVIEWED

The Dog That Was There
By Ron Marasco
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN#978-0-7180-83922-2
262 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.

Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.

On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

REVIEW: Barley has it rough at first, then he finds a good home with a couple who follow the man from Galilee. Thru an unexpected turn of events Barely finds himself alone on the outskirts of Jerusalem. There he sees “Jesus” up-close and personal. Barley calls him “The kind man.”

He notices how people treat “the teacher from Galilee” (that’s what his master called him). Some people loved him and tried to apply his teachings to their lives. Others wanted to harm him. Barely watched this man share a love he hadn’t witness before.

A woman explains how Barley’s not desperate like some people she knew. “Prisca laughs and says, “this little one doesn’t despair.” She rubs Barley’s belly. “He’s always looking for the next good thing. A hand to lick, some food to chomp, a stuck to fetch, a sight to see, a friend to curl up next to.”

The retelling of the greatest story ever told will have you see familiar events with fresh eyes. It’s an endearing and inspirational tale dealing with themes of forgiveness, struggles to survive, ordinary people facing hard situations with a new-found courage and experience an unforgettable love. I liked how this author put in a few surprises for readers along this dog’s journey thru Jerusalem. Barley is a charmer, he grows on you. You’ll be moved by what he sees and how he interprets it. I liked how this novel was written through Barely the dog’s eyes.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

PERFECT BLEND by TESS MASTERS REVIEWED


PERFECT BLEND
By Tess Masters
Published by TEN Speed Press Berkley
ISBN#BOLDRXF5PG
224 Pages


ABOUT BOOK: Online phenomenon The Blender Girl offers up 100 recipes for healthy living with tasty, crowd-pleasing dishes to help boost nutrition.

The Perfect Blend functions not only as a cookbook but also as a guide for how to lead a more vibrant and healthy life. Blogging powerhouse Tess Masters lays out a dozen healthy goals for readers, capitalizing on current trends such as gaining energy, boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, detoxing the body, and probiotic power. Then, using her fun, playful voice, Masters offers easy-to-follow recipes for smoothies, elixirs, snacks, salads, sides, soups, mains, and desserts that help get results fast. Including a guide to key ingredients, an extensive resources section, and optional nutritional boosters for each recipe, The Perfect Blend will help readers find their own perfect blend.


REVIEW: I like how this author gives a variety of recipes to help the healing process in the body. She is very creative and her cook books are easy to follow. She talks about eating for energy, helping your immune system, drinking anti-inflammatory items , how to detox and lose weight.

I was glad she talked about these things in simple terms along with low carbs, alkaline forming, probiotic promoting foods and so much more.

I think this is a must read for everyone.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley and Ten Speed Press Berkley Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

THE LONG HIGHWAY HOME by ELIZABETH MUSSER REVIEWED

Long Highway Home
By Elizabeth Musser
Published by Create Space
ISBN# 978-1542362726
408 Pages

Back Cover: Sometimes going home means leaving everything you have ever known.
When the doctor pronounces ‘incurable cancer’ and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier.  Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss…

Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along The Refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger. Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time?  And at what cost?

Filled with action, danger, heartache, and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.

REVIEW: This novel is absolutely riveting. It’s a beautiful inspiring story of healing, faith and how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It made me look at the world with fresh eyes as things around us quickly change; you never know when we could find ourselves facing this very situation. It made me consider how I would react faced with this scenario. Would I be as strong as these refugees given they’re dangerous – life threatening circumstance? I had read the author notes where she states this story is based on true events. It made what Hamid faced heartbreaking and surreal. The author is currently a missionary in France. Elizabeth’s desire is to share some remarkable, encouraging situations she’s known about first hand with readers.

There are two moving stories running hand and hand in this novel. One is of two women; Bobbie and her niece Tracie. They set out on a pilgrimage after Bobbie is diagnosed with cancer. They’ve talks about this trip for years. Their dreams are about to come true. Bobbie takes Tracie to The Oasis, an unforgettable place she worked at years ago, it’s there they learn about a refugee named Hamid. He is running for his life along The Refugee Highway. His family is hiding trying not to be captured. There are flashbacks of Bobbie’s life as she remembers her time at The Oasis. She shares with Tracie some heart-wrenching stories that changed Bobbie’s life.

Here is a peek at the refugee, “Hamid listened to a radio program, broadcast from The Netherlands but in his tongue. The voice in the box spoke of the Bible, of Christ – Isa al Masi – of hope, of a Savior. Hamid’s heart swelled to hear the words, foreign words, dangerous words! Why was he drawn to them so? These were the words that had forced him to flee in the first place.”

Hamid was trying to become a refugee in another country. The definition of a refugee – a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationally, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.”

Hamid and his daughter have accepted Christ as their savior. Hamid’s wife is not so sure about all this. Why bother when it’s so dangerous? There are suspenseful nail-biting moments for Hamid and his family as they try to get to safety.

Bobbie shares a story with Tracie,” Fred was part of The Barracks team…He trained with us in the US and planned on smuggling, like the rest of us, but when the rubber hit the road, he just couldn’t do it. He found he couldn’t lie, couldn’t keep a straight face and swear that he wasn’t carrying anything illegal into the East. So here he was – stuck in Vienna for a two-year term of service, with a huge amount of guild because his religious convictions wouldn’t let him smuggle Bibles.” …

….” Fred started visiting the refugee camp in our village, and before long he was teaching the women and children to read and write in English…pretty soon many who came from Communist countries were learning about Jesus and wanting to be Christians.”

Several times my throat tightened and tears ran down my cheeks as this author showed unimaginable grace in the midst of brutal and inconceivable conditions. It was stunning and humbling to read how hope shines through the dark places. I was inspired by how this author showed hope and healing throughout tremendous pain and suffering. The reader could see the source of hope and healing, was Christ Jesus! The situation reminded me of a book I read years ago, called God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrews.

This novel grabbed me from the start and never let me go. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to read this amazing, powerful faith building; life changing book. It’s a heartfelt message of courage, faith, survival, and hope. I thought about this story long after I closed the book. I honestly think it's this author’s best work! This would make a great book club selection.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ Elizabeth attended The Westminster Schools in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where she majored in French and English literature, graduated magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

Her novels have been acclaimed in the United States and in Europe. The Swan House (Bethany House, c2001), set in Atlanta in the early sixties, was named as one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year (2001), was an ABA and SEBA bestseller and was recently named one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the past 100 years, right behind Gone with the Wind (from Georgia Backroads, Autumn, 2009). The Secrets of the Cross trilogy (David C Cook, 2012), which takes place during Algeria’s War for Independence from France and also in present day Algeria and France, (Two Crosses, Two Testaments, Two Destinies) has been a bestseller in Europe. Two Destinies was recently nominated for the Christy Award, for excellence in Christian fiction. Elizabeth’s other novels The Dwelling Place, (Bethany House, c2005), Searching for Eternity (Bethany House, c2007), Words Unspoken (Bethany House, c2009), and The Sweetest Thing (Bethany House, 2011) all set in the South in the 1930s-1980s, continue to examine themes of brokenness and healing, faith and forgiveness, surrender and sacrifice.

Elizabeth’s books have been translated into German, French, Dutch and Norwegian.

From an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, “Elizabeth Musser likes to say she has two part-time jobs. Not only is she an award-winning novelist, but she and her husband serve as missionaries at a small Protestant church in Lyon, France. In both lines of work, she avoids preaching and simplistic answers, choosing instead to portray a God who cares in the midst of life's complexity...”

Elizabeth adds, “My desire is to offer the best literature I can write, drawing the reader into a story that is compelling, believable and sprinkled with historical detail. I seek to give a realistic picture of what faith lived out in this world looks like, and, as always, I hope that my stories can be appreciated by all audiences, not just those readers who hold my same religious beliefs. It is a delight to receive confirmation of this through reader letters.”

For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams. They presently live in Lyon, France. The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and the cutest grandson in the world, of course.

To learn more about Elizabeth and her books, please visit her website at www.elizabethmusser.com and her Facebook Fan Page

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher and The Book Club Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

WHERE DOES LOVE HIDE? REVIEWED


Where Does Love Hide:
By Mary Manz Simon
Illustrated by Hannah Wood
Published by Tyndale Kids
ISBN#978-1-4964-1168-6
18 pages Board Book

ABOUT BOOK: In Where Does Love Hide? children are reminded that they not only receive love but have the opportunity to share love. Looking under the fun, lift-a-flap feature, children will see examples of everyday love opportunities. Each page includes a memory verse and an example of a way to share God’s love. In life, children hear the words “I love you” repeatedly, often beginning before birth. However, because love is an abstract concept and young children are concrete thinkers, they must gradually learn to understand love by what they experience. In Where Does Love Hide? children are given the opportunity to see love in action and learn what love looks like.

REVIEW: It’s fun to watch the excitement in my grandson’s face as he quickly went to flip the page and turn down the flap before I was even done reading it. He wanted to see what was hiding under that flap. The book starts out with scripture, “Since childhood, you have known the Holy Scriptures that are able to make you wise enough to have faith in Christ Jesus and be saved.” 2 Tim 3:15

The first page says, “Where does love hide? At my house until…” The picture is of a cute girl playing in her room with blocks. The stack of blocks is a flap to be turned down to see what is hiding behind it. It has a scripture on the bottom Proverbs 17:17 which states, “A friend is always a friend.”  The picture is of another child playing. The page reads,” I invite a friend to play.”

The little girl is handing her friend a block. “Throughout the book, it shows that there are many places and opportunity’s to be respectful, loving and helpful. It’s a book that helps children connect actions to their words. Such as there is a joy in giving and receiving.”

I liked the colorful pictures in this hard-back book. I think that after a few times reading this book the child will be able to read the book to the parent. The pictures make it easy to understand the words. The pictures also help bring the scripture to life and lets them (and the parents) think about applying these principles in their life; even at a young age. This book is recommended for ages 1-3.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

Book Fun Magazine

SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME FOR KIDS REVIEWED



Same Kind of Different as Me
By Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Published by: Tommy Nelson
ISBN# 978-0-7180-9179-4
32 Pages

Book Blurb: This remarkable story shows what can happen when we choose to help. Kids will discover that we can all make a difference—no matter how big or small we are and no matter how big or small the task.
Based on the New York Times bestseller Same Kind of Different As Me, which sold more than a million copies worldwide and inspired the major motion picture, this book tells the true story of Denver Moore and Ron Hall, who also created the delightful illustrations in this book.
Share the power of friendship and faith with your children.

REVIEW: I first became acquainted with this writing team as we read this for book club. The story became more heart-rendering as we heard Debbie’s sister speak to our group. It was powerful and moving as she put together a moving slide show that had pictures of her sister, Ron and shared what she knew about Denver Moore. She too was changed by her sister and brother-in-law’s work.

In the forward Ron Hall writes a note to parents. He shares how children would seek Denver out to ask him questions when they traveled across America trying to help people through sharing their story.

Ron says Denver was so moved by the kids they met and how they encouraged him, he said to Ron, “We gots to write a book these little children can read!” …“Tell them nobody can help everybody but everybody can help somebody.”  I’m thrilled they have this book available for children; even more excited about the movie they’ve made based on the book. This book is a must read. The movie looks like one to watch.The release date of the movie is Sept 2017. The suggested age group is 4-8 years old.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

EAT BEAUTIFUL by WENDY ROWE REVIEWED

Eat Beautiful
By Wendy Rowe
Published By: Clarkson Potter
ISBN#978-0-8041-8958-3
271 Pages HB

ABOUT BOOK: Care for your body from the inside out with this cookbook that highlights ingredients and recipes designed to make your skin glow.

After more than 20 years of experience as a makeup artist and beauty consultant, Wendy Rowe’s approach is uncomplicated and holistic. In Eat Beautiful, she details how specific ingredients feed your skin, offering breakdowns of the vitamins and nutrients they provide. They include:  Pomegranate: The Elixir of Youth packed with Vitamin C, which stimulates collagen production to keep skin looking taut, young, and radiant.
Spinach: The Free-Radical Fighter whose iron moves your blood, helping to repair your skin cells.

Chili Peppers: The Circulation Booster famous for its capsaicin, which reduces blood pressure and improves circulation by encouraging blood vessels to relax and dilate, therefore acting as an anti-inflammatory. 

Natural Red Wine: The Youth Potion featuring a powerful anti-ageing antioxidant that slows the grown of acne-causing bacteria and fights disease-causing free radicals.
Rowe’s recipes showcase these essential foods to help target specific skin problems and alleviate common complaints. She even provides specific advice for what to incorporate or avoid depending on skin type.

Here, too, are suggestions on how to pamper yourself with recipes for homemade masks, scrubs, mists, cleansers, and toners, as well as an informative section for troubleshooting those confidence-sapping skin problems. Organized into the four seasons, you can dip in and out of this stunning cookbook, or follow it as a plan. Either way, it ensures beautiful, radiant skin all year round.

REVIEW: Wendy Rowe is a make-up artist who realizes to get great skin and a healthy glow you first need to get your gut healthy. She says, “I’ve come to see that skin troubles are a reflection of what’s going on inside. To get perfect skin and maintain it, you need the right balance inside and out…The skin won’t look good unless you pay attention to your health in general and your diet in particular…Your body will tell you what you need, but it doesn’t scream, it whispers, so try to listen.”

She starts out talking about how to generate good digestion and things to look out for. She describes what Detoxification is and gives a few recipes and then there is a page for Stress-busting tips I thought were helpful and doable. Then there was a list of Beauty “Betrayers and a list of Saviors.” This is a list of Dos and Don’ts to help keep you healthy and your skin looking radiant.

She then shares what’s in her Beauty Store Cupboard – Things to always have on hand in your kitchen and bathroom.

I like the list of Wendy’s Golden Rules the first two are 1. No, raw After 4p.m 2. Chew, Chew, Chew etc. The rest of the book is broken down into seasons and ingredients blossoming at that time which are most helpful in eating beautiful. The author goes on to say, “Skin care is important of course, but eating a range of good-quality, skin-friendly foods – seasoned and organically produced when possible – will provide the best foundation. This will ensure your skin has a healthy glow.”

Each season the author describes the healthy benefit of an ingredient. For example, she starts out with Almond Milk – She says “skin-friendly alternative to dairy.” She has a few paragraphs describing it’s benefits, then at the bottom she breaks out the skin-feeding nutrients.

After listing the edible items and their benefits for that season, there are recipes that include that ingredient. There are beautiful pictures of the dish.  I like the fact that you didn’t have to make a huge amount of the recipe. All the dishes are a servicing size of two.

The recipes that I made were The Pearl Barley and Chocolate porridge. I’d never had barley before. This reminded me of oatmeal and was very feeling and tasted good. The next recipe I tried was Roast Pumpkin Soup. I liked the soup and realized I was not a fan of fresh sage found in this soup. I hadn’t eaten it before. Next time I make it I might try put dried sage. Maybe it will be less powerful. I made the Carrot soup and was surprised how sweet and flavorful it was. Yummy. But the recipe my family LOVED was the Zucchini and Brown Rice Spaghetti. What a great combination of flavors and textures. The bonus factor was it was great for my skin and my family loved it. The book is sprinkled with beautiful pictures of young models faces and scenes from nature that depict the season being discussed.

The author wraps up the book with beauty tips and homemade recipes for Rosewater Toner, Magnesium Foot Scrub, Calming Lavender Mist, Coconut Oil Cleanser, Spirulina Face Mask and several other natural skincare formulae.

She does have a section on skin care issues and how to help them. There is a paragraph or two about mature skin, and how to care for it.

I can’t wait to try the other recipes in this book and see the results.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Bloggingforbooks site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

Book Fun Magazine

NOAH, NOAH WHAT DO YOU SEE? REVIEWED

Noah, Noah, What Do You See?
By Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson
Illustrated by Melissa Iwai
Published by:
ISBN#
Pages BB

BOOK BLURB: From the bestselling authors of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Chicka Chicka, 1, 2, 3

Noah, Noah, what do you see? I see animals in the ark with me.
Moses sees the Red Sea part. Daniel sees lions in the den. Mary sees baby Jesus smiling at her. Noah, Noah, What Do You See? introduces little ones to favorite Bible heroes from the Old and New Testaments.
With colorful art from Melissa Iwai and the signature rhyming style of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? parents and children alike will love the classic storytelling of Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Bill Martin Jr. didn’t learn to read until he reached college, yet he earned a doctorate in education from Northwestern University. He was one of the world’s foremost authors in literary education, as well as a million-selling author of books including Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Michael Sampson, Ph.D., is a New York Times bestselling author of twenty-six books for young children, including Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 and The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry. Sampson is dean of the School of Education at St. John’s University in New York City and lives with his family on Long Island.

REVIEW: My kids and I enjoyed reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? when they were little. This book Noah, Noah, What Do You See is written by the same author that penned Brown Bear, Brown Bear and is written in a similar fashion. It was fun to see my kids turn the pages and read the words on the page at a young age. Because of the books rhythm and the beautiful pictures, it was easy to memorize the story. As they got older they noticed all the sight words and gained confidence they could read words. It was a building block experience to them reading other books. I can’t wait to share this book with my grandchildren and watch them have just much fun as my kids did reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

What I love about this little board book is the fact that it introduces young readers to characters in the bible. It will make them ask who is Noah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, Esther and several other bible characters this author introduces. This makes the book extra special for me as it helps me familiarize little ones with people of faith and their challenges and triumphs.

This board book will soon become a family favorite as you have fun sharing bible characters and their stories with little ones who will enjoy the pictures and rhythm of the book. I’m sure they will be reading it to you in no time. It’s a confidence builder!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

Book Fun Magazine

HILLARY MANTON LODGE HITS IT OUT OF THE PARK

Together at the Table
By Hillary Manton Lodge
Published by Waterbrook
ISBN# 978-0-3074-73179-1
312 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: In a bittersweet series of events, her mother’s health took a turn for the worse. Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended in anger and tears.

As autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she’s finally on the cusp of equilibrium. The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family is closer than ever. She and sous-chef Adrien are seeing each other, both in and out of the kitchen. Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a trip to the waterfront lands a familiar face into her path.

Rather than dwell on her personal life, Juliette throws herself into work and research. After reading her grandmother’s letters from war-torn Paris, she still wants to know the full story –  and she’ll travel across countries and oceans to find it.

But even Juliette can’t outrun the man who stole her heart. As she finally uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own chances at lasting love?

REVIEW: I’ve enjoyed the first two books,  A Table by the Window, and  Reservations for Two but this last installment in the Two Blue Doors series hit a home run in my heart. This author showed readers a side of her writing style we didn’t see in the other books. I feel she saved the best for last! Bravo!

I relished my time with this French, Italian family who love each other and are brought together by their passion for food (creating it; eating it and sharing it with others) This novel (like the others) has many delicious recipes sprinkled thru out. The reader is brought alongside the characters while they experiment with food and create new dishes.

Juliette thinks about what to make for their Thanksgiving dinner. She pulls out her cookbooks to begin the search, “ I scanned glossary pages filled of lovely food, let my eyes drift over whatever recipe seemed best..”…” Saturday, I slipped out to the Farmer’s market. Waiting for me were crates of pears in shades of green, gold, and rose. I fell in love.”…Pears. Pears cake, pear sauce, caramelized pears, baked pears.”

The story goes on as readers walk in Juliette’s shoes and watch she decide what to make. The recipe at the end of the chapter is Pear Cardamon Galette. All the recipes are a bonus, fun factor of this series.

There are quotes on the top of each chapter. One of my favorites, wraps the reader in the warmth, fun, realism, and mystery inside these pages. It’s a quote by Cesar Chavez who says, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart.” Juliette and her family do just that.

The mystery talked about in the first two books is solved in a unique way. Juliette’s family has uncovered her grandmother’s diary. They gather together at the table and read it out loud so everyone can learn about the family secret together.

The D’Alisa’s read Mireille’s diary. She pens it in English so the hired help can’t read her private thoughts. She says, ...” We’re all doing the best we can. We hear of arrests and rumors of arrests, of women and children being sent to labor camps. I know there are families hiding, which is not so very different from us. We hide in the open.”

This author seamlessly weaves together the past and present. The reader is given the opportunity to join arm and arm with Juliette’s family who get a peek into the harsh reality of war. Discovering a few surprises that affect their relatives in present time.

You won’t want to miss hanging out with this loving, loud household as they learn to live with loss, discover true love and solve a mystery. This book would make a great book club pick as the author has provided twelve discussion questions to help create lively conversation, plus there are so many recipes to help create a fun and yummy meeting time.

This author pens a humorous, witty, insightful, touching story I couldn’t put down. This series is a keeper. This author is one to watch (she’s gotten better by the book this last being her finest).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Waterbrook Publisher . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

LIKE FUTURISTIC DYSTOPIAN FICTION? CHECK THIS OUT!

The Returning
By Rachelle Dekker
Published by Tyndale
ISBN#978-1-4964-0229-5
405 pages

ABOUT BOOK: Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace” ―one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion.

REVIEW: The Choosing rocked my world. It’s the first novel in the Seers series. I read book one because I was curious about the writing style of Rachelle whose father is Ted Dekker; one of my favorite authors. I was blown away by The Choosing and the world this author describes. Second book in the series The Calling reminded me a little of the Divergent series in how there was a rebellion going on and how I imagined the lay of the land would look like. Good fighting evil on all fronts; including an internal struggle. The cool thing about this series and the second novel is that there is a character named Aaron who represents Jesus in this story. He encourages people to remember who they are; and their identity lies in Him alone. I have found his encouragement, help me remember things I had forgotten.

In this third installment which begins 20 years after the second book ended. Early on the story is focused on Elise, the daughter of Remko and Carrington Brant. She was taken as a baby and brought to be a prisoner raised in the Authority City. There is a list of characters (as there have been in all the books) describing the different groups and who exacely is in each group and the roles they play. This could be read as a standalone. The author does a good job of catching readers up on what’s gone on in the past books without bogging them down. But to grasp all the richness of this barbaric mind controlling situation and foreign land they live in, I highly suggest reading books one and two and then this final conclusion. It will be a more profound experience that way. Just Saying!

This book is a powerful allegory of how the Lord (Aaron) in this story works in our lives if we are willing. This author had an incredible way of showing the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts and how deep healing takes place when you let it. I was blown away and deeply touched. Aaron keeps telling everyone that it’s in the letting go.

Elise says to Kane, “Surrender is not something that comes easily to me…. Yes, it has been painted as a negative word, hasn’t it? The truth is there is overwhelming power in surrender. In letting go of all you think you know to discover the truth.”

The truth will set you free. I’ve known this for years but to read it and see it at work is a powerful thing. I like how Elise continues to talk to Kane, “Life is a cycle of remembering and forgetting. The Father is in all and with all, and He tells me I am the light of the world. So if I believe His words are true and that we are all the same, created equal, and that I am the light of the world, then you must be too. When I start to forget who, you are, then I, in turn, also start to forget who I am. So, I practice remembering.”

This whole series has been about remembering and forgetting. I’ve realized I’ve done this a lot myself. It made me look at the children of Israel differently. After all they experienced firsthand all the plagues, and miracles like the parting of the red sea etc. This group of people are perfect example of remembering and forgetting. This author brings this message to life in this futuristic world showing the power of forgiveness, the art of letting go, walking in faith and that standing up against fear is possible. This is a book (series) I’ll be re-reading and telling my friends about for their book clubs.This book is a keeper. This author is one to watch.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

GOD MADE YOU NOSE TO TOES by LESLIE PARROTT REVIEWED

God Made You Nose to Toes
By Leslie Parrott
Illustrated by Estelle Corke
Published by: Zonderkidz
ISBN#978-310-757405
18 Pages Board Book

ABOUT BOOK: Help little ones understand that God created each part of their bodies so they can enjoy life and everything in it. In this delightful padded cover board book by well-known author and family therapist Leslie Parrott, children can follow along with Toucan––with a great big nose––as he helps them learn God loves each one of them completely. For 4-8 year olds. Preschoolers and kindergarteners.

REVIEW: Great colorful illustrations help bring the message of the story to life. This young boy learns about how God made all of us from our heads to our toes. The illustrations have this young boy running into different animals and talking about how they have the same things as he does but they may look different. For example, on page one the author says, “God gave old Tucan a fairly big nose. But your little nose can smell all that grows.”

This book also talks about not only the body parts eyes, nose, hands etc. but it also talks about their function and what it allows us to do. The pictures will make you smile could make little ones laugh out loud. I can’t wait to read this to my grandson to experience his reaction. I could see this one becoming a book they will enjoy and learn a thing or two. Note to reader: This book was originally published in March 2002. This new version has a completely different look I really like.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLookforbloggers site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

WAR ON FEAR by JOHN MORGAN REVIEWED


WAR ON FEAR
By John Morgan
With Joel Belin
Published by Creation House
ISBN#978-1-62998-572-5
124 Pages HB

BACK COVER: What Would Your Life Look Like Without Fear? Where would you go?
What dreams would you aspire to achieve?

Imagine the possibilities of living without fear.

In his new book, War On Fear, author, speaker and presidential impersonator, John Morgan, shares his personal struggles with fear to give you practical advice and guidance for victory over your fears.

After reading War On Fear, you will be empowered to become a more confident, positive person.

REVIEW: Meet John Morgan best known for being a George Bush impersonator. It’s not a job he ever saw himself doing but it’s grown on him. I was encouraged to hear about this man’s journey in learning how to stop fear in its tracks; not let it overwhelm him as he struggled to learn about how to fight the good fight. This is what he states, “Fear takes its own prisoners. I was one of them. For the majority of my young life I let fear keep me,…. “Fear owned me. It dictated my choices finally, I got really angry – now I’m fighting back. I’m doing battle against a soul-seeking energy and loving every minute of it.” Amen! Amen!

I could relate to this authors struggle. He goes on to say, “Each decision affects your future, and this moment can change everything. You are one of the hens, but at the moment you maybe a POF (Prisoner of Fear). You’re called to influence those around you. Seeds of world-changing greatness are within you. Conquering fear is vital for fulfilling your purpose, achieving your dreams.”

I appreciated this author transparency and how he learned to not let fear control him anymore. He is an encourager and describes ways to identify and deal with fear that are helpful and hopeful. This is the first book I’ve read by this author it won’t be the last. This was an inspirational read and one I’m glad to have had the opportunity to read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from author and The Book Club Network site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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

LOTS OF LOVE by KIM WASHBURN REVIEWED

Lots of Love
By Kim Washburn
Illustrated by Jacqueline East
Published by Zonderkidz
ISBN#978-0-310-78617

ABOUT BOOK: Lots of Love celebrates all the ways we show love—from hugs and kisses to sharing and helping others. The sweet rhymes and whimsical artwork in this board book illustrate the special bonds of love between families and friends. Perfect for young children, this book will make you want to snuggle with your little one as you two explore the greatest blessing of all—love!

REVIEW: This is a beautifully illustrated book that is fun to read. The book begins with a little girl waking up in her bed, sun shining through the window of her room. She is grateful for the beaming sun and also for her happy heart. She says, “Good morning, happy heart! I feel your cheerful beat. Today I’m sharing lots of love with everyone I meet.” The first to receive special hugs and love from her is her sweet puppy. The book goes through different people and situations where she can share kindness and hugs.

She starts out receiving special hugs from her mom and puppy that she can share with others. This is a book that has more than one or two words on each page. It would be a good book to show little ones but they won’t have the patience or attention span to have you read every word. Good for ages 4 - 8-year-old who would like you reading all the words. It might help them recognize some sight words for preschoolers and those in kindergarten. 

The book ends with the same little girl ending her day in prayer and being thankful for the day she had filled with opportunities to share. I liked the message and the lovely pictures that walk a child through the many different ways to show people you care; shows how to receive love and encouragement from others.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLookforbloggers site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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