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ABOUT AUTHOR: Kellie Coates Gilbert takes readers on an emotional roller coaster as she weaves themes of unexpected trial, self-discovery, and forgiveness in this profoundly honest portrait of the tensions that can break a marriage--and the ultimate healing power of love.As a former legal professional, Kellie Coates Gilbert spent nearly twenty-five years working in courtrooms and behind the scenes of some of the largest and most well-known cases in America. She was one of t

he lead paralegals in the Jack-in-the-Box litigation, where uncooked hamburger resulted in the deaths of several toddlers and made many more critically ill, which is now the subplot of her soon-to-be released WHERE RIVERS PART, the second novel in a collection of contemporary women's fiction stories all set in Texas. Her books not only explore the heart issues that matter most to women, but often allow readers an inside peek into her former legal world. 

Her books not only explore the heart issues that matter most to women, but often allow readers an inside peek into her former legal world. 
Kellie currently makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband and a very spoiled 
2.7 lb. Yorkie named Emmie Sweetpea. Please visit her online at

How did you come up with the idea for A Reason to Stay?

Kellie: People who have read my earlier books know my stories often pull ideas from courtroom cases I’ve worked on or stories in the news. A Reason To Stay is no different.

In early 2011, I watched with the rest of the country as news media reported on the terrible shooting that left Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s fighting for her life. Like so many, I followed her painful journey to healing and prayed for her recovery.
Ms. Giffords’ story hit very close to home.

While I was not a victim of a shooting, years back I suffered a stroke, the result of a brain bleed that required multiple cranial surgeries and a protracted hospital recovery. I personally knew some of what Gabby faced and my heart was broken for her.
A Reason to Stay is a very personal story. Not only does Faith Marin face a brain injury and the subsequent struggles to recover, but her real fight is in keeping her marriage intact.

This summer, my husband and I will celebrate thirty-five years of marriage, a landmark in a journey marked with opposition. Looking back, I know that we only made it by the grace of God. Over the course of our years together, both of us had to make a decision.
I’m grateful we chose to stay. 
Me and Hubby
Nora: Oh, wow, I do remember what happened to the Congresswoman. It was unbelievable. I’m so glad that you were able to recover from the stroke and could relate to the Congresswoman. I’ve loved your books because you allow readers to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while and help them view others situations from a whole new perspective. Congratulations on your thirty-fifth wedding anniversary! Thanks for sharing your heart!

What do you hope readers take away from A Reason to Stay?

Kellie: The more I have read the Bible and studied the life of Jesus, the more I have become convinced that Christianity spreads best not through force but through fascination. As a novelist, I end writing each story with the hope that readers are fascinated with my strong protagonists who journey life-changing circumstances with a sense of hope that can only come from God.

Nora: I have been fascinated by the woman you’ve written about. I have been touched deep in my heart by the woman you’ve written about and their situation. I’ve also been encouraged and challenged. That’s why I look forward to reading your book!

What was your favorite scene in   A Reason to Stay?  Which was the most fun to write? Which was the hardest? Why?

Kellie: They say truth is stranger than fiction, but that adage had never been more true than the morning I watched the morning news and saw a scene from this book playing out on the television station….almost exactly.  I sat glued to my television, a sick feeling building in my gut. Tears pooled and I went to my knees and prayed for that reporter and cameraman’s family and friends. I wondered about the co-workers and the emergency responders. Such an evil act!

The scene I wrote nearly a year ago wrenched my emotions at the time I penned the words, but seeing the same thing on my television screen and knowing those events were real deeply saddened me.

Nora: Oh, Kellie; it was tragic and unimaginable to hear the news. I can imagine how it hit you even harder thinking there was no way this could happen in real life when you wrote that scene. “Truth is Stranger than Fiction for sure!” I agree.

You’ve said, “I adore women—in all our roles. Wives, mothers, daughters and especially girlfriends. Women are passionate and complex beings. One minute, fear invades our minds and we worry we don’t measure up, or get anxious our best efforts may fail. The next, we’re taking on a wrong and fighting to make things right, regardless of consequence. We defend the helpless, love the hopeless, and nurture our loved ones—often with a level of courage that surprises our male counterparts. Our talents are many and we’re masters at juggling roles. We’re fierce with our relationships. And, we struggle when life hits us hard . . . or dreams fade. I love writing stories about women, for women. And I love helping us to see how much we matter.”

QUESTION: Where do you go next? What is your next series? Will it involve woman’s issues?

Kellie: My next series will feature the lives and loves of three sisters. The stories will be filled with the same emotionally poignant storylines my readers have come to love BUT will offer strong romantic subplots that will delight those of us who adore the process of falling in love!

Nora: This sounds very interesting Kellie. I look forward to reading the series and meeting these sisters.

You’ve said, “My grandbabies. Ah….my own Gram used to call me her “precious puddin’ gift of God.” I will take my last breath conveying that same message to little Peanut and Gumdrop.”

QUESTION: What has surprised you about being a grandma? What do you love about it?

Kellie: Grandchildren are pure joy! Nothing sends my heart soaring more than opening the front door and hearing:  “Hi, Dammy!”  As far as surprising, I can’t help but shake my head seeing my tiny granddaughter worked her dimpled fingers across my iPad opening and closing apps and videos she wants to watch. I mean….she’s only a year and a half!!

Nora: Oh, MyGosh Kellie!! How cute! Thanks for sharing this. Grin!

You’ve said, “Flowers jazz my spirits. Shell pink tulips are my favorites, with lilacs and peonies coming in as close seconds. My Gram had the most incredible flower gardens and I loved to learn about the plants and help her weed. We’d talk about life and Jesus and how His artistic hand formed the tiny pansies and tall hollyhocks”

QUESTION: Do you have a flower garden? If so what flowers do you grow? If not what flowers are your favorite? How do you display your flowers at home? What about Christmas and Thanksgiving time? Which flowers do you have around – look forward to displaying? Why?

Kellie: Oh, Nora… have picked up on my guilty pleasure!  I adore flowers. Sadly, Dallas summers don’t allow for thriving foliage. So, I indulge in floral bouquets on my living room coffee table and on my office desk. I’ve included some photos for your readers.  My love for all things floral was certainly fed while living in Portland, Oregon. A dahlia farm, a lilac farm, and tulip farms were all just a short drive from my house. I wish I could capture what the air smelled like. I’ve included photos…..maybe your readers can use their imagination!

Nora: Thank you for all these LOVELY PICTURES!! WOW, They are BEAUTIFUL!

What has been the funniest thing you’ve heard a child say?

Kellie: Nothing tickles the funny bone more than the adorable things little children say (or mix up).  One of my all-time favorites by my youngest while praying:  “Our Father, who aren’t in heaven….Howard is your name.” This is the same kid who used to ask me:  “Is today tomorrow?” *smiles*

Nora: Love it!!

If you had to be on a T.V. Reality show which would you pick? Give you have the talent to be on that show like dancing with the stars, survivor, Cooking stars, road race etc. What would you look forward to the experience?

Kellie: What a fun question!  While many claim I am a gifted writer, Jesus passed me over when it came to singing.  I’m as sour as they come. I’m not a physical fitness fanatic…so that’s not my forte either. I can cook though….and make fabulous braised lamb shanks I serve over real mashed potatoes. I also make an onion tarte that is a hit at parties. Primarily, you caramelize sweet onions in butter and brown sugar and spread over a pre-baked sheet of filo dough, sprinkle with feta cheese and place under the broiler until the cheese bubbles and turns brown at the edges. Cut into two inch squares with a pizza cutter and serve….delicious!

Nora: This sounds yummy!! I’ll have to try it. Thanks for sharing!

We all live busy lives and all of us are in different seasons of life; that as a given what part of your day requires the most patience from you to get through? What causes you to pray the most?

Kellie: I hate looking up from my computer and seeing that it is three o’clock in the afternoon and I’m not yet showered and dressed, have nothing started for dinner (or even taken out of the freezer) and I’ve spent the entire day on marketing and haven’t met my word count….which means a late night ahead. I’m constantly asking for divine help in managing my time!

Nora: It’s crazy when this happens and I’m not even writing a book!! Grin!

If you had the money and the time what would you love to do if you could?

Kellie: I’d upgrade our motorhome and travel the country with my husband, meeting with readers and retailers!  The ultimate book tour that never ends!

Nora: That sounds like fun and yes it would be a great book tour idea!

Can you share with us a favorite childhood memory? Or thing that happened to you that you’ll never forget?

Kellie: One of my favorite anecdotes to tell from my children is this:
In third grade, our teacher Mrs. Leazenby read to us after lunch recess to calm us down and prepare us for a few more hours of learning before the bus took us home.

She read Tom Sawyer – and the kid sitting behind me named Craig Adamson sat and poked his pencil into my back the entire time.  I raised my hand and told and the teacher did nothing. She just gave him a stern look and kept reading.

She read Little Women – and he tied my two pigtails together and thought he was funny.  I told……nothing.

She read Mrs. Wiggs and the Cabbage Patch, and he kicked the legs of my desk the entire time.  I told…..and again, nothing.

But then….She read WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, a story about a boy in the Ozarks who worked, saved and bought two hound dogs OLD DAN and LITTLE ANN.  The boy worked diligently to train the dogs to hunt raccoons and in the process a deep love grew between Billy and his dogs.

One night, however, his dogs tree a mountain lion. Old Dan howls defiantly, and it attacks. Billy is horrified, and with his axe he enters the fray, hoping to save his dogs, but they end up having to save him. Eventually, they defeat the mountain lion, but Old Dan is badly wounded, and Billy soon finds his intestines in a bush. He dies the next day. Billy is heartbroken, and Little Ann loses the will to live, stops eating, and dies of starvation a few days later on Old Dan's grave.

 That scene shook the entire class to our core. Even Craig Adamson cried. 

As an adult, I look back now and wonder if Mrs. Leazenby chose that story on purpose. She knew Craig’s dog sat outside our classroom waiting for him every day until the bell finally rang for us to go home.

Nora: Oh, Wow! Great Anecdote! I appreciate you sharing that.

Kellie: STORIES HAVE A WAY OF CHANGING US WHEN THE STORY PULLS US IN ON AN EMOTIONAL LEVEL. I try and remember this with every story I have the privilege to write!


 Kellie: In the past, I’ve had so much fun interacting with the TBCN members/readers. My heart is filled with gratitude for all the emails they’ve sent me, the reviews they’ve posted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other retailer sites. Nothing encourages an author more…, thank you!!!  I’ll always write with you in mind.

Nora: Oh, Kelly I love having you stop by TBCN and have you talk about your latest book. I learn so much and I LOVE all the pictures you put in the interviews. Praying you and your family having a special Thanksgiving day.

We have so much to be Grateful for!

I’m thrilled about the 5 book Giveaway Opportunity for your new book A REASON TO STAY at TBCN going on RIGHT NOW!! at 

LAST DAY to Enter NOV 30th.

Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows.


Nora :o)

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins 
The Book Club Network Blog  
Book Fun Magazine  

Interview Sponsored by: Revell Publishers


Brother Charlie
By Isaac St. Laurent
Illustrated by Anna O’Brien
Published by Elk Lake Publishers
20 pages paperback

Back Cover: Brothers begin life bonding as toddlers with a busy mom who loves them. A heartfelt story written by a younger brother. Isaac St. Laurent is in 12th grade at Lambert High School. He enjoys writing and playing video games. He hopes to create his own gaming company.

REVIEW: I enjoyed this beautifully illustrated children's picture book that shows a big brother adjusting to the birth of his little brother. It’s hard to share his mother with this new little one. There seems to be no time for him.

Everything changes once a new little one comes home to stay. Things seem out of place until the family works to achieve their new normal. As Charlie watches his brother get bigger he realizes that he can be helpful to his mom by watching his brother for his her. He bonds with his brother over reading him his favorite books. The enjoyable times increase when his little brother is able to share his toys with him and he can read him books. As they spend time together Charlie realizes how much he cares for his brother.

Charlie delights over his little brothers first words. The illustrations bring this sweet, moving story to life.

This story was first brought to me by my son Isaac. It was a project his teacher had assigned him in 11th grade. He said the story brought tears to his teacher’s eyes. I was excited to read it. Since Isaac has an older brother that he is close to this story it held a special meaning for me as I’ve watched them grow closer together through the years. I did get choked up at the end.

Isaac has a wonderful imagination and has been writing stories and movie scripts for many years now. This is his first short story to be published. Isaac loves a good story in print, on the screen and in video games. He takes great joy in brainstorming potential stories with friends. He is working on his movie script as I’m typing this. I’m excited to watch his project grow and then finally captured on film.

This is a great story to help show a child that is expecting the arrival of a new baby at their house. It will help inspire a dialogue to help parent and child. It will help them talk about the changes, rewards and joy a new baby can bring to their life and home.

Disclosure of Material Connection: AD# Sponsor The Book Club Network
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!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine


The Lost Heiress
By Roseanna M. White
Published by Bethany House
ISBN# 978-0-7642-1350-2
439 Pages

Back Cover: Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. Though raised in the palace of Monaco, she's British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. When Brook's friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.

The mystery of her mother's death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook's life is threatened do they draw close--but their loyalty may come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother.

As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that what began as friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?

REVIEW: The two page list of characters before the book started was a little intimidating; I wondered if I could keep up with the list of who’s who while reading. My hesitation vanished when the author opened the story with eighteen year old Brook Eden.I loved the opening scene. “Gleaming silver, green leather, the nearly silent rumble of engine…Brook trailed a gloved hand along the door, cast one glance over her shoulder, and let herself in. She couldn’t stop the grin as she gripped the wheel of the Rolls-Royce.”

Brook’s not like the women of her time. She’s curious, spunky, a well-educated, an independent thinker. She’s a young lady I instantly connected with. She adores the family that raised her but a part of her heart was missing. She had to know who her parents were and where she came from.

I loved Brook’s free-spirit, passionate ways and her zest for life. She asked her dear friend Justin to find her lost family and oh, teach her to drive. Grin! It was his car she slipped into on page one. Justin Wildon was a gentlemen – who was also known as Lord Harlow. He and Brook grow up together in Monaco. He was noticing more and more she was turning into quite a beautiful young lady.

Justin had gone through great lengths to verify who Brook’s family was. He told her what her full name was; Elizabeth Brook Eden, Baroness of Berkley. She’s surprised. It’s not what Brook expected. Justin then takes her to meet her loving father; the famed Lord Ambrose Whitly who is overjoyed at finally meeting his daughter in England.

Not everyone in England is willing to believe Brook is who she claims to be. She undergoes scrutiny and is treated coldly by servants and some family members. Brook soon discovers that other girls have claimed to be Lord Ambrose Whitly’s long lost daughter. Brook knows people wonder what makes her any different from the others. Brook could not foresee all she would encounter after meeting her new family.

Justin is unexpectedly pulled away from Brook to attend to his own family crisis, at a time when Brook needs him most and just when they begin to wonder if they could be more than friends.

I like how this author deals with the faith element in the story naturally. There is a divine intervention that transforms Brook’s fear into faith as she learns to trust God even when she doesn’t understand what’s happening. In hopeless times fear tries to take over Brooks’ life. Her close friend Justin is far away which forces her to learn to trust God not only in the happy times, but also in the hard times. She soon realizes that God can turn terrifying storms into things of beauty.

Will Justin save the day? Will she find a safe place? Will she trust God in the storm?

I enjoyed the rich history of the Era and this author does an amazing job of making me feel as if I were there among the characters watching this royal family go about their daily routines as protocol demands. This story is told in the POV of Brook and Justin. I liked that. I was surprised at how much I disliked the villains in the story who took joy in plotting Brooks’s demise.

I liked how this author brilliantly wove several story lines into the mix and added the perfect blend of danger, mystery, romance and intrigue for a fun memorable read. The stage is set for book two in the Ladies of the Manor series. I’m looking forward to it! You will too!

Disclosure of Material Connection: AD# Sponsor The Book Club Network
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!
The Book Club Network blog

Book Fun Magazine


Excited to share these two authors with you and their NEW books. The Publisher is giving away 5 copies of each book.


You'll need to JOIN TBCN to Participate. It's FREE and EASY!!




Sponsored by Revell Publishing #ad #contest

All you have to do is answer one question to be entered for the drawing. The LAST day to enter is NOVEMBER 30th.


We have so much to be thankful for!!

BLESSINGS TO YOU ALL!! Thanks for all you do to help us have FUN at BOOK FUN!!

Nora St.Laurent 

TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


Goodnight Manger
By Laura Sassi
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Published by Zonderkids
ISBN# 978-0-310-74556-3
32 Pages

Back Cover: Goodnight, Manger, written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist Jane Chapman, tells the story of Mary and Joseph as they try to lull Jesus to sleep in the noisy stable after his birth. It's bedtime for Baby Jesus, but who knew a manger could be so loud? Mama, Papa, and all of the animals try to lull the baby to sleep, but between itchy hay, angels' joyful hosannas, and three kings bearing noisy gifts, it's just too loud. Until Mama Finds a way for everyone to work together to shepherd Baby into peaceful dreams under the twinkling stars. With sweet, rhyming text in the style of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, Goodnight, Manger offers a unique twist on the classic manger tale, deftly weaving together the comforting and familiar routines of bedtime with the special magic and wonder of the manger story.

REVIEW:I enjoyed this humorous story that is brought to life through beautiful and vibrant color illustrations. Many Christmas stories depict the manger scene in a solemn manner. This author shines a different light in the manger.

The story opens up with Mary and Joseph (first time parents) doing their best to try to help their little one (Jesus) to get to sleep in a stall full of animals. Outside the angels are singing and rejoicing that Jesus is born; oh and then there were all the visitors that came to see Jesus. How could anyone sleep with all that going on? If you like to mix things up and want to read a beautifully fun illustrated book that will make you smile. It’s not your typical Christmas story! I enjoyed that aspect of it.

Disclosure of Material Connection:I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Book Look 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!
The Book Club Network blog

Book Fun Magazine


Recipes and Provocations
By Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman
Published by ClarkClarkson Potter
239 Pages HB

Back Cover:  Superstar chef Alex Stupak's love of real Mexican food changed his life; it caused him to quit the world of fine-dining pastry and open the smash-hit Empell√≥n Taqueria in New York City. Now he'll change the way you make--and think about--tacos forever.

TACOS is a deep dive into the art and craft of one of Mexico's greatest culinary exports. We start by making fresh tortillas from corn and flour, and variations that look to innovative grains and flavor infusions. Next we master salsas, from simple chopped condiments to complex moles that simmer for hours and have flavor for days. Finally we explore fillings, both traditional and modern--from a pineapple-topped pork al pastor to pastrami with mustard seeds.

But TACOS is more than a collection of beautiful things to cook. Wrapped up within it is an argument: Through these recipes, essays, and sumptuous photographs by Evan Sung, the 3-Michelin-star veteran makes the case that Mexican food should be as esteemed as the highest French cooking.

REVIEW: I’m honored and thrilled to be introduced to Alex Stupack whose passion for Mexican food jumps off every page. Alex talks to readers as if they are standing in the kitchen alongside him. This Chef tells it like it is. He is zealous in describing his unexpected journey and what he discovered along the way. He has a few colorful words mixed in talking about his revelations.

The Chef says, “I’m a white boy from suburban Massachusetts. In fact, I wouldn’t even consider Mexican food that didn’t come with a spice pack and a sleeve of crispy shells until long after I ‘d graduated culinary school.” He became a pastry Chef who had an obsession for Mexican food that he dabbled in on his days off.

The Chef says this about his book, “You’ll learn fundamentals, starting with everything I know about tortillas; the journey they take from corn kernel to griddle, why it’s important to eat them at their freshest, and even how to manipulate them with nontraditional ingredients. You’ll gain a deep arsenal of salsa; …the simple and complex…in flavor and technique.” The author goes on, “You’ll learn to prepare taco fillings”…remember…”I too grew up eating crispy shells stuffed with ground beef and shredded cheddar.”

He goes on to say, “This book is only about tacos- a reference point most of us share, a familiar food that we can use to explore the unfamiliar flavors and challenging ideas….We’re using the taco as a Trojan horse and it’s time to open the gates.
The photographer Evan Sung does an amazing job of making this book visually appealing; capturing the beauty of these dishes and ingredients. I appreciated the step by step photos in recipes too. It will be helpful for me when I make these dishes. I can’t wait to try the taco-tortilla ones first – there are so many variations. The Chef says, “My stance here is firm: There is absolutely no substitute for a fresh, homemade tortilla…to fully use this book as it’s intended, you have to reconcile to the idea of making your own.”

The book is broken down into the introduction learning about the Chef and his obsession for Mexican food and how he went from pastry Chef to taco maker and restaurant owner. It starts out with Tortillas recipes, then Salsa, Tacos, Essential Preparations.

I found the section on his Provocations interesting. He talks about the United States of Mexico; My Beef with Beef; The Agony and the Ecstasy of Al Pastor; The Tyranny of Cheap Eats; and on Mexico’s Jolie Laide.

My family has made the change from eating processed food to eating real food we make at home. This book helps me make the change in the way we eat Mexican. I’m ready to make the change from the crispy shells stuffed with beef he talks about. This book has opened the door to new flavors and ideas. I can’t wait to try ALL of them. He has recipes ranging from Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Dessert. The book is one you’ll experience as you read about this author, his discoveries and as you make and taste  the delicious food he describes.  It’s a win win for everyone!

Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Blogging for books 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!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine


Author Theresa Seidlitz

Countdown to Christmas
By Theresa Seidlitz
Edited by Marguerite Hartill
Illustrated by Katia Lara
Published by Seiditz Education
61 Pages Paper back

Back Cover: During the weeks before Christmas, Christian families prepare to remember the birth of Jesus. As they do, family traditions fall into place, and children get very excited about the celebration to come. Countdown to Christmas: 24 Days of the Jesse Tree Tradition allows your family to take time to know the people in the Bible and to see their connection to Jesus. To begin the tradition, set up a small 2' - 3' high tree in your home and read one story every night in the days before Christmas. After each story, hang an ornament to remember the biblical figures, starting with Adam and Eve and ending with Jesus. Night by night, children learn that Jesus had a family just like they do. This beautifully illustrated book will help you establish a cherished holiday tradition with your own family. Countdown to Christmas: 24 Days of the Jesse Tree Tradition includes a complete set of Jesse Tree ornaments on heavy card stock paper. Each ornament features a color illustration to match individual stories in the book. Punch out the corresponding ornament after you read each story, add a ribbon or string, and hang it on a small Christmas tree.

REVIEW: Word from the Editor Marguerite about this book, “Children learn that Jesus had a family just like they do. They learn that, with God, families grow confident and strong.”

The author says, “The Jesse Tree is a small Christmas tree with paper ornaments on it. Each ornament has a picture of a different person from the bible…The Jesse Tree represents Jesus Family tree.”

The editor goes on to say, “The ancestors of Jesus Christ believed in God and told God’s plan of salvation for mankind. In the bible the Jesse tree was cut down, and the children of Israel went into exile. But life did not end. Instead, it grew strong, and it bore much fruit. This is the story of the Jesse Tree.” This reminded me of The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas book by Ann Voscamp. She goes through the lineage of Jesus that blew me away. I have been looking for something I could do with my grandchildren so they can experience something similar. Countdown to Christmas is a beautiful paperback book with cut out ornaments in the back. A hole has already be made so a string can be put through it and hung on a tree.
Daniel in Lion's Den
Each day has an animated color picture representing the story being told that includes a corresponding Christmas ornament and a scripture reference. This is a great family tradition I can’t wait to share with my grandchildren. What a great way to share Jesus family by doing it as a family as they countdown to the day when we celebrate Christ’s birth. I highly recommend this book. 

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!
The Book Club Network blog

Book Fun Magazine


Proverbs Prayers
By John Mason
Published by Revell
168 Pages

BACK COVER: One of the most popular books of the Bible, Proverbs offers practical guidance for life and the tools to make good choices, withstand pressure, prioritize relationships, and avoid unnecessary trouble. In these pages, John Mason helps readers make God's wisdom a part of their inner lives, offering each chapter from Proverbs followed by a heartfelt prayer that covers the insights from that chapter. In thirty-one days, readers can pray all of the wisdom of Proverbs for their lives, experiencing God's wisdom as never before and finding encouragement, peace, answers, and a better life.

REVIEW: Proverbs 4:7 “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; and with all you’re acquiring, get understanding.”

The author states, “Proverbs Prayers is a book written to help you pray these Scriptures. God can change you when you open your life to Him. When you read each proverb and pray the corresponding prayer, you will be asking the Lord to cause every promise and principle from that chapter to come alive in your life.”

He continues, “Allow the Word of God to speak wisdom into your life. Ask God to help you make daily decisions that reflect good judgment…You’ll soon discover that His wisdom breaks chains, unlocks doors, and illuminates your path!”

There are 31 Proverbs in this devotional type book. Proverbs 24 says, “Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them:” it goes on. The author has a prayer that follows. It starts out like this, “Lord, keep me from becoming jealous of ungodly people today. Remove from me any desire to be with them or like them. Their hearts plot evil schemes and destruction. Their words are full of trouble. Are there people like that who are influencing my life? Please show me who they are so I can discontinue my relationship with them.”

I like how this author helps you apply the Word of God to your life through prayer. This makes a great devotional and study book. I look forward to reading the Proverbs with this author’s insight. I also look forward to praying the prayers and asking God to give me additional things to watch for in prayer.

I also liked that the author has a section in the back of this book showing Proverbs Principles. Listed are principles like Achievement, Advice etc. It starts out with a proverb scripture reference. Then gives a paragraph describing the principle. I found this list very helpful.

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Sponsor
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!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine


By Naoko Takei Moore
And Kyle Connaughton
Published by Ten Speed Press
307 Pages HB

Back Cover: Japanese clay pot (donabe) cooking has been refined over centuries into a versatile and simple method for preparing both dramatic and comforting one-pot meals. In Donabe, Tokyo native and cooking school instructor Naoko Takei Moore and chef Kyle Connaughton offer inspiring Japanese home-style recipes such as Sizzling Tofu and Mushrooms in Miso Sauce and Dashi-Rich Shabu-Shabu, as well as California-inspired dishes including Steam-Fried Black Cod with Crisp Potatoes, Leeks, and Walnut-Nori Pesto or Smoked Duck Breast with Creamy Wasabi–Green Onion Dipping Sauce. All are rich in flavor, simple to prepare, and perfect for a communal dining experience with family and friends. Donabe also features recipes from luminary chefs such as David Kinch, Namae Shinobu, and Cortney Burns and Nick Balla, all of whom use donabe in their own kitchens. Collectible, beautiful, and functional, donabe can easily be an essential part of your cooking repetory.

REVIEW: “Donabe is a Japanese traditional earthen cookware. It’s designed to be used over a gas or open flame. Over its long history donabe has become an important part of Japanese cuisine and it’s these vessels.”

There is a section on how to season and care for Donabe. Cooking safety. How to use the book. In the recipes the traditional Japanese rice measurement are used with conversion charts…other non-rice measurements, this book uses US measurements with metric equivalent given in parenthesis…Many of the ingredients in book maybe new to you. There is an extensive glossary at the back that describes these ingredients and offers guidance on where you can buy them.

The author says this about the food cooked in a Donabe pot; “It’s rich in flavor, simple to prepare and perfect for a communal dining experience with family and friends.” When I ordered this book I didn’t realize that every recipe is designed to be cooked in this pot. I looked up the cost of the Donabe pots on Amazon they range from $60.00 and some can go over $100.00 (those are the ones listed on the authors store site which are hand crafted and are made in Iga.)

Donabe cooking has always been important to author Naoko, close to her heart as she originally used it to make hot-pot dishes. She says, “On one of my trips back home many years ago, I toasted rice made in a double-lid donabe. It was one of the most striking food discoveries I’ve ever experienced. That simple, plain rice toasted so good I almost cried.”

In 2008 the author started distributing pots to people in the US so others could have the same experience cooking with this amazing pot as she did. The Nagatami family makes the pots she distributes. She states, “I discovered that Donabe ware has the mysterious quality of bringing out the natural flavors of ingredients, helping them realize their higher potential.” …”There is a scientific explanation for this phenomenon: it’s because of the natural characteristics of donabe, their porous bodies that promote natural far-infrared radiant heating. The effect is just like cooking on a grill using glowing charcoals, a process that cooks food gradually and traps flavors inside, started donabe cooking classes. She wanted to share her passion. She found is interesting that mostly non-Asian people brought the pots and came to her classes. “the author’s mission to spread the word about the Japanese healthy lifestyle and authentic washoku home cooking, “Many typical donabe dishes are typically one-pot dishes, meant to be served at the table right out of the pot. As a result, preparation and clean up tend to be easier compared with using other cookware. Donabe cooking is convenient for busy people who want to eat tasty nourishing meals at home.”

“This cookbook features cooking in 6 styles of donabe pots, Classic, Rice cooker, soup and stew, steamer, tangine style and smoker.” Recipes in the book include popular ones from her cooking classes. There is a section for Dashi, sauces and condiments. This is an amazing hard back book filled with beautiful color pictures that make this book one you’ll want to read as well as make the recipes.

Kyle Connaughton is the co author. He says, “I’ve been fortunate to cook all over the world with chef’s I respect and with other professionals who care deeply about food and hospitality…Love for Japanese cuisine and passion for hospitality.”…”Donabe is an amazing and beautiful technology that has stood the test of time because of its functional properties…naoko-san has been my teacher and guide into the greater world of donabe, and we decided as a team to share this amazing world with you.”

Kyle stated;  “Donabe can be used in all types of cuisines, as our guest chefs and I will show through our recipes…I use donabe for soups and braises to simmer vegetables, and to smoke meat….“Because donabe builds heat slowly, it allows the flavors of a dish to build gradually…When a dish is higher in natural umami flavor, less seasoning and less fat are needed to complete the flavors. We like to say that donabe is a friendly cookware for health-conscious people.”…”Donabe ware is known for its remarkable heat retention. It cools down slowly, so it stays warm on the table for a long time…Donabe is an energy-efficent and eco-friendly cooking vessel because, once heated, it requires little energy to function.”

There is a section on IGA Home of authentic donabe with amazing pictures on how these pots are created…”Iga offers a number of premium local artisan specialties such as rice, sake, beef, port, and rope making in addition to its famous Iga-yaki pottery…History of Iga-Yaki pottery dates back almost thirteen hundred years. Iga-Yaki developed because the clay in this region has exceptional heat-resistant qualities when fired and because of the abundant red pine forests, which yield ideal firewood for their kilns called “Breathing clay.”

The recipes look amazing and the talk about this remarkable pot has made me put this item on my wish list. I can’t wait to use this cookware and taste this dishes that are so good for you too! I love the fact that these are also set up for family style cooking!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Blogging for Books program.
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!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine


AWSA stands for - The Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. It's an organization consisting of more than 400 ICRS women authors who publish, speak and communicate nationally. 

Fred and I attended the Golden Scroll Awards banquet this year. It's put on by AWSA. It was a great way to kick off the ICRS conference for us. They honored their 2015 finalists for Publisher of the year, Nonfiction Editor of the YEar and Fiction Editor of the year, Novel of the Year, Nonfiction Book of the Year, Member of the Year, and the Beyond Me Award, as well as the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient on Sunday, June 28th at the Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

Chonda Pierce was the keynote speaker and Thelma Wells was the emcee. Author Carol Kent and AWSA founder and author Linda Evans Shepherd presented awards.

Chonda Pierce opened up the ceremony with singing a parody words written by Martha Bolton to a Whitney Houston song called Woman. It was hilarious! It was dedicated to editors and publishers. I had no idea that Chonda had such a beautiful voice. Below is a story she told that night. It's so funny!

Chonda shared how this year has been the hardest of her life. She is sharing her journey in theatres. NOVEMBER 17th. I look forward to this event.

AWSA honored Chonda Pierce with a Lifetime Achievement Award. 

I'm so thankful I was there. Chonda Pierce is the real deal. MARK YOUR CALENDAR to SEE her at a Fatham Event NOV 17th. Google to locate a theater where you live!

Interested in JOINING AWSA CLICK this LINK  

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins

Sponsored by: AWSA
Fred and I received complementary tickets to this event.