The July 2016 Issue of Book Fun Magazine is now LIVE

Click on the cover below 




Starring Amber Frank, Dylan Sprayberry, Mason Dye and Tom Everett Scott, this Event
Comes to Cinemas Nationwide on Wednesday, Sept. 28 Only

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (July 7, 2016) – The gripping apocalyptic adventure,“VANISHED | Left Behind: Next Generation,” comes to cinemas nationwide on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7:00 p.m. local time. Inspired by the New York Times best-selling book series by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, this highly-anticipated event will be presented as a special one-night exclusive engagement by EchoLight Studios in partnership with Fathom Events. In addition to the feature, audiences will get to experience a Q&A with cast/filmmakers hosted by prominent national speakers and youth leaders Doug Fields and his Co-Founder of Download Youth Ministry, Josh Griffin.

’Vanished | Left Behind: Next Generation’ is a fresh, new YA genre feature that is already being embraced by young and old alike,” says Jeff Sheets, president of EchoLight Studios. “The journey that unfolds will captivate, entertain and challenge audiences.”

“VANISHED | Left Behind: Next Generation stars 
Amber Frank (Nickelodeon’s “Haunted Hathaways”), 
Dylan Sprayberry (MTV’s “Teen Wolf,” “Man of Steel”) and 
Mason Dye (MTV’s “Finding Carter,”  Lifetime TV’s “Flowers in the Attic”), along with principal veteran actors 
Tom Everett Scott (“That Thing You Do,” “American Werewolf in Paris”), 
Jackson Hurst (“Drop Dead Diva”), 
Brigid Brannagh (“Army Wives,” “Underground”) and 
Rachel Hendrix (“October Baby,” “Perfect Wave”). The epic adventure highlights a compelling storyline relevant to teens, tweens, and other fans of the popular YA genre.

Reminiscent of “Twilight,” “The Walking Dead” and “The Hunger Games,” the new feature takes its characters – and the audience – far beyond their own fears and desires, opening them to the questions of purpose, and whether their lives and choices really matter. When a billion people around the globe suddenly vanish and chaos engulfs the nation -- headstrong 15-year-old Gabby (Amber Frank) is thrust into adulthood way too soon. The event forces Gabby, along with her younger sister Claire (Keely Wilson) and the two teen boys vying for Gabby’s affection, Josh (Mason Dye) and Flynn (Dylan Sprayberry) — to try to figure out what has happened and how they fit into this dangerous new world. Girls will relate to Gabby and her struggles to deal with missing parents and big sister responsibilities – while wishing they were in her shoes when she’s forced to choose between the all-American hero Josh and the dark and mysterious Flynn. Guys will be pulled in by the suspense and cool new twist on the ‘end of the world’ adventure. 

“VANISHED | Left Behind: Next Generation” was produced by veteran writer/ producer/ showrunner Dave Alan Johnson (“The Client,” “Doc,” “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye,” “High Incident”) alongside 
Randy LaHaye (grandson of Left Behind co-author Dr. Tim LaHaye). 
Larry A. McLean (“Pacific Rim,” “Christmas with Tucker”) directed the feature from the screenplay written by Kim Beyer-Johnson (“When Calls the Heart,” “Doc”) 
and Joan Considine Johnson (“The Wild Thornberrys,” “Rugrats,” “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye”).

“We are excited to debut this exclusive experience on the big screen,” says Kymberli Frueh, Fathom Events vice president of programming. “The best-selling Left Behind books from the ‘90s and early 2000s made a huge impact on their readers and‘VANISHED | Left Behind: Next Generation’ will resonate with those enthusiasts while engaging a new legion of young fans.”

Tickets for the VANISHED | Left Behind: Next Generation” event can be purchased online by visiting www.FathomEvents.comor at participating theater box offices. Audiences throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in movie theaters throughFathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

For more information, please visit:

Official Trailer: 


By Carol Wallace
Published by Tyndale
415 Pages

Back Cover: As one of the bestselling stories of all time, Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ has captivated and enthralled millions around the world―both in print and on the big screen. Now Lew’s great-great-granddaughter has taken the old-fashioned prose of this classic novel and breathed new life into it for today’s audience.

Coming to theaters in August 2016 as Ben-Hur, a major motion picture from MGM and Paramount studios, the story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman whose childhood friend Messala betrays him. Accused of trying to murder the new Roman governor in Jerusalem, Judah is sentenced to the galley ships and vows to seek revenge against the Romans and Messala. But a chance encounter with a carpenter from Nazareth sets Judah on a different path.

Rediscover the intrigue, romance, and tragedy in this thrilling adventure.

Also included: the inspiring story-behind-the-story of Lew Wallace―Indiana lawyer, author, and Civil War general.

REVIEW: Author Carol Wallace has definitely “Breathed new life,” into her great-great grandfather’s masterpiece written in the 1800s. I felt the excitement seventeen year old Judah had when he ran around his house getting ready to meet his childhood friend, Messala, (son of a tax collector) who was returning home after five years in Rome. Juda was twelve and Messala was fourteen when they last saw each other. Messala finished his education and in the process became a Roman soldier. This man in front of Judah was a stranger, filled with beliefs they differed on. Messala says, “Jerusalem raised men to study, not to fight.” 

Judah thinks, “Was fighting always wrong?” This young man starts to think about his future. He tells his mother, “I want to know what I don’t know! ..I want to be surprised! The world is large and Jerusalem is small. But I’m not allowed to look any further.”

Ben-Hur and his family get a huge surprise alright when Messala betrays him in public as the new Roman Governor walks through town. Judah’s faith and endurance is tested. Their family is stripped of everything.,,”the swift, violent reaction to an accident tears apart Judah’s world, separates him from his family, and ultimately turns him into a slave. It’s his longing for reunion that powers the rest of the book – along with his yearning for vengeance.” the author says in her notes to readers.

This novel focuses on three men about the same age and from completely different walks of life. Readers see the three (Messala, Judah and Jesus) make choices that have them walking on the same roads for different reasons. Sometimes their paths intersect. At other times they clash. All of them have opinions about the purpose and meaning to their lives. Judah Ben-Hur is asked to help the Nazarene be the King of the Jews. He doesn’t know what that means but he’s on the lookout for Jesus; to learn more about him and hear what he has to say.

I liked how the author showed what some Jews believed the role Jesus would play in Jerusalem. They believed he was born to be king of the Jews and that he would need their help to be King and bring Rome to its knees. I liked how Judah, Ben-Hur watched Jesus from a distance. Then he heard his message. It started to affect his wounded heart. It made him want to get closer to Him and had the courage to walk into Jesus's presence. Readers see Judah start to realize that Jesus didn’t need the army he had been training; and maybe he didn’t need their help at all.

I found the “Afterward” section to the book fascinating. There are about 10 pages that give readers the rest of the story; Lew Wallace’s biography and how Ben-Hur came into being. Lew Wallace was a General who fought in the civil war, became a lawyer after the war ended and for fun wrote novels. It was a great escape for him and a way for him to go on adventures and never be far from home. I found it interesting to read about the obstacles Lew faced on the ways to publication. 

I was surprised to learn that one of the obstacles was the fact that Jesus Christ appeared as a character in a fiction novel. The author states,“No matter how reverent the portrayal, no matter that the author had only given Jesus dialogue that came direct from the gospels.” After the book was a success and they adapted it for stage one of the stipulations mandated by this author was that Jesus must never be played by a human. Instead, the Christ would be represented by a powerful beam of light.”

I purchased the original novel by Lew Wallace to read on my kindle. When I compared the two novels I saw what an amazing job Lew’s great, great granddaughter Carol Wallace has done in up-dating this novel to make it a more powerful, thought-provoking engaging read for today’s audience.

There is a new Ben-Hur film being released by MGM and Paramount studios August 2016. MGM studios originally made the full color epic film starring Charlton Heston in the 1950s. This would make a great book club field trip. Your group could discuss how the film is different and/or similar to the book. The author includes fifteen discussion questions to help create lively discussion for your meeting. I highly recommend this for your club and/or a great fall read!

ABOUT AUTHOR: Carol Wallace is the great-great-granddaughter of Lew Wallace, author of the novel Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, which was first published in 1880. Carol has written more than twenty books, including most recently a historical novel, Leaving Van Gogh. She is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller To Marry an English Lord, an inspiration for Downton Abbey. Carol holds degrees from Princeton University and Columbia University.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Book Club Network site and Tyndale 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!
The Book Club Network blog 
Book Fun Magazine 


Found inside Publix grocery store

 Yesterday I was on a quest to check out coloring books. I went to Costco to get gas and decided to go inside to see what I could find. I was amazed at the variety of coloring books. Most of them were $9.95.

There was a pretty good variety. Some had a hard back cover and other paper back. Some were complicated in design and others simple. I thought they had a good variety and a great price.

I didn't know how good a price they were until I went into Publix grocery store. There I was Amazed at how many coloring books I found in the magazine section of the store.

Magazine prescription
So you can see the wide range of coloring books available in a variety of price ranges too. Some had a 25% off sticker others ranged from $6.99 to $16.99. Again some were complicated and some were easy. My daughter loved the Where's Waldo books. It was fun to finding a Where's Waldo coloring book. It was a challenge to find Waldo without out color. Colors add so much to our lives!

Then there is the last coloring book. It reminds me of the color by number pages I used to do as a kid. I felt like a real artist when I colored these pages. I liked that someone else picked out the colors and all I had to do was do the coloring. It was a relaxing time. But when I look at the Lion pictures. It looks very complicated. I don’t know how relaxing coloring this would be.

Have you found other coloring books in your neighborhood? Do tell. I’d love to know what you’ve found!

I’m going to check out some other places for coloring pages. I’ll get back with you.


Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun (and coloring fun) Begins!


I signed up to review an adult coloring book because I wanted to find out why this was so popular. I liked coloring as a kid and did it for hours but I couldn't imagine finding the time to do that now with all the responsibilities I have to juggle.

 I have found that taking a break in my work day (at lunch time) to color I feel more refreshed. I think it's because I didn't spend my whole break thinking about what else I had to do when I got back. I was totally zoned out in color land. Not a care in the world. It felt freeing, fun and inspirational. 

I colored my first page with the hearts and I experienced two things. One I was surprised at how relaxing and fun it was to brush everything out of my mind and just concentrate on creating. I liked that there was a mini devotional on the opposite side of the page I colored.. 

Two I felt intimidated to color my next page with how busy the page was. I found it a little hard to breath when I started, I wondered how this would turn out. The more I got into it the more fun I had at experimenting with color. I remember the pages that I colored as a kid were more real to life pictures. In my mind they had to be certain colors to reflect real life. But with He Restores My Soul coloring page I felt free to experiment with color and be creative. I kind of felt like an artist. I know that sounds silly but it was so much fun to create and concentrate on the encouraging message of the page. God was restoring my soul, mind and emotions as I colored. I was pleasantly surprised. I was lost in trying new colors and creating a finished page I felt refreshed while I played with this design all the while concentrating on the message from scripture.

Yesterday I colored another page. I used markers, color pencils and crayons to create this next page. The message is so what I’m and many others are living right now. I felt free to leave spaces not colored in. I liked how these three mediums worked well together. I also was pleased that all the crayons, markers and color pencils that I bought for my kids that they had left over have gone to good use.

 One thing that has surprised me in using colored pencils to color is how easy they break. When I sharpened them too much I only get one stroke and the point is broken. Is there a certain brand name pencil that works best for these projects?I was just wondering if you are having the same trouble.

Does anyone have a favorite coloring page author? Do share. I'd love to see some of the pages you've colored. I'd like to do a post on my blog with all your different pages. Please email me with your picture. I'd also like to know what you've discovered while coloring. Why do you like it? Do you get together with others and color? My friend meets up with friends in the library and they color there? Where do you color? I'd love to know. Send your info to me at 

HAPPY COLORING!! Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Nora :o)

TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
(and coloring fun) 


Beyond All Dreams
By Elizabeth Camden
Published by Bethany House
362 Pages

Back Cover: When a librarian and a prominent congressman join forces to solve a mystery, they become entangled in secrets more perilous than they could have ever imagined.

REVIEW: Don’t Judge a book by its cover; to be honest this cover didn’t say pick me up and look inside. I’m so glad a friend told me this book was really good. I’m grateful I was sent this book I loved this story that mostly too place in the library, had family drama, there was a mystery to solve, and there was danger for both main characters. I loved how the author naturally wove the spiritual thread in between all the above.

The most of the setting is in the Library of Congress in 1897. Anna O’Brien adores books and is obsessed with maps. Her father was a scientist who worked with the Navy to draw maps of the ocean floor. She worked in the map room which allow her to search for clues of what happened to her missing father’s Navy ship. She recently found an error in a report the Navy wrote. She sent them a letter about it. Now Lieutenant Gerald Rowland was there to speak with her. She thought they would appreciate her findings.
The Lieutenant looked at her, “You’ve got a lot of gall…he snapped…”

“When 56 men disappear in the middle of an ocean, a complete and accurate investigation should be conducted,” she said quietly.”

He said, “The USS Culpepper sank during a late season hurricane, all hands lost. Case closed.”

She couldn’t believe this. She thought they’d thank her. Although she was 12 when her father’s ship disappeared. She was not seeking orphan’s pension. She just wants to know what happened to her father and for them to correct the report.

“Women…the government made a mistake ever letting women work in the Capitol. They’re nosy, meddlesome and don’t know how to follow orders. I heard that the library of Congress only employed females’ librarians on a probationary status. When is that up for review?” the Lieutenant glared at her.

This man was not only threatening her but every woman that worked at the library. She had to be careful. After that meeting she encounters a Congressman that annoys her to no end. “Mr. Callahan raised an arm and snapped his fingers and looked about, “Someone get a map so we can settle this.”

“That was Anna’s cue. She fumbled with the map tubes beside her, searching for one that charted ocean currents.”

“Maps!” Mr. Callahan demanded in an obnoxious outburst…he looked directly at her and snapped her fingers, again. Snap, Snap, Snap. Did he really expect her to spring across the room like a dog summoned to heel?”

“Of course he did. Most congressmen were accustomed to people bowing and scraping…” She got him the maps and said, “Snapping your finger works better if you wear a crown and use a scepter to point out where I should scurry.” She walked off returned to her chair not waiting for a reply.

Luke and Elizabeth crack me up as they go round and round with each other. It’s fun to read. I liked that these main characters love books. Each have their own tale to share. Here is Lukes, “When I was growing up, books were my only escape, “…I was born into a family of swinging fists and bellowing voices, but when I opened the pages of a book I found men of valor… to anyone watching it probably looked like I was reading a book in the front room of my father’s house, but I was really in Paris, fighting alongside the three musketeers. Or twenty thousand leagues under the sea, or racing around the world in eighty days,…reading was my liberation,…from hopelessness and tyranny.”

In the historical notes from the author I learned this was loosely based on the Virginius, an American ship caught smuggling guns to Cuban rebels’ 1873. I love learning about history this way. I also enjoyed the fact that Teddy Roosevelt showed up in the book before he because President. This is the first book I’ve read by this author it definitely won’t be the last.

This novel makes for an unforgettable, heart-warming fun read you won’t soon forget. It also makes a great book club pick. The author includes eleven discussion questions to help create lively discussions.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

She regularly posts about the joys of the book world at

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 


A Daring Sacrifice
By Jodi Hedlund
Published by Zondervan
ISBN# 978-0310749370
224 Pages

Back Cover: In a reverse twist on the Robin Hood story, a young medieval maiden stands up for the rights of the mistreated, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. All the while, she fights against her cruel uncle who has taken over the land that is rightfully hers. Forced to live in the woods and hide with the poor people she's grown to love, she works to save and protect them, but she never anticipates falling in love with the wealthy knight who represents all she's come to despise.

Review: This author has a fun spin on the tale of Robin Hood. I’m a Jodi Hedlund fan so I wanted to check out this YA novel. The story it told through both male and female leads alternating POV’s throughout the story.

It took me a little while to connect with the setting, the characters and their situation. I wondered if it was because I had not read book one in this series titled Uncertain Choice.

Juliana Wessex is orphaned and on the run at a young age. She fears her Uncle as he killed her father and tried to do the same to her so he could obtain their estate. This medieval maiden fears for her life and seeks refuge in the safety in the woods. She becomes the Cloaked Bandit. Similar to the Robin Hood tale she steals from the rich to feed the poor. She has compassion for those less fortunate. She bumps into a childhood neighbor while playing the role of the Cloak Bandit. He recognizes that it’s her and wants to help.

I enjoyed Juliana. She’s a smart, feisty yet tender hearted woman with a soft spot for family. She’s head strong and is quick on her feet. Her childhood friend Collin on the other hand is nice, funny but a little bit arrogant. I enjoyed the banter between the two. It made me smile and it lightened up the story. I enjoyed the well timed humorous moments too; along with the minor characters.

This is a historical romance written for the young romantic about ages 12-16. This would make a fun read and a fun book for book club.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers 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 


Come to the Family Table
By Ted and Amy Cunningham
Published NavPress
201 Pages

Back Cover: In our busy world, family time around the dinner table is easily displaced by other things. Ted and Amy Cunningham call parents to a slower way of living that allows them to intentionally build into their family’s relational and spiritual fabric and into the community around them.

No more rushing to the table for a quick bite so we can get back to our other activities. Prioritizing mealtime slows us down long enough to enjoy our food, each other, and Jesus. Inspired by the slow food movement, Come to the Family Table seeks to encourage families with intentional strategies to engage one another and create the table as a space for practical ministry to their community.

REVIEW: This novel is inspired by the slow food movement which states, “It’s a way of saying no to the rise of fast food and fast life. Slow Food means living an unhurried life, taking time to enjoy simple pleasures, starting at the table.”

The authors explain, “The family table is where parents model Christ’s love, grandparents provide wisdom, children experience a sense of belonging, and friends enjoy hospitality… Balance is our goal. Speed is the enemy of intimacy….Food and family bring us to the table. Stories, games, and laughter keep us there for hours.” 

This couple provide intentional strategies to create fun, laughter and family memories at the family table. In an age when families hardly eat together this book helps bring members together and gives them a new appreciation of family time. The book starts out with helpful tips for families to create special times and fun at the table. They have practical ideas of how to get started with recipes and simple things to prepare for your family gathering. If you already do this regularly there are ideas for games and discussions you can incorporate to make times memorable.

The first section of the book is titled “The Family Table is for Us.” Authors talk about how they came about taking intentional steps to guard their family times. They talk about how they began to make it a priority. They describe games and things to discuss at the table; a short devotional and prayer are at the end of every chapter. The authors also include yummy sounding recipes for your family to try like; One Pot Apple Cider Chicken Bake, Super-Simple Giant Stuffed Meatballs, Mom’s Zucchini Coconut Cake, and Blueberry-Lemon Muffins and several others.

There is a chapter where people share some great times they remember having at the family table. It was informative and fun to read about these memories and how diverse their family experiences were.

Part two was titled, “Family Time is for Others.” The couple take turns talking about ways you can welcome others to your family fun. They give practical ideas on how to give others a warm welcome and also describe ways to show hospitality to others. There are fancy and simple ideas.

I can’t wait to try some recipes they’ve included and some fun games and discussions in our next family get together. These authors help to take out the stress and plug in laughter into your family dining experience.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale 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!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine 


By David Gregory
Published by Tyndale
131 Page

Back Cover: You’ve accepted the invitation. Are you ready to take the next step?
From the New York Times bestselling author of Dinner with a Perfect StrangerOpen will forever change the way you think about faith.

It wasn’t the end of the world. It was just the end of Emma Jameson’s world. Fresh off the heels of a devastating breakup and floundering in her career, Emma is struggling to come to grips with why God allows so much pain in our lives, why He seems so absent when she needs Him most, and why the Gospel accounts―our supposed guide for how to lead a contented Christian life―feel so completely irrelevant.

Then one day, a mysterious envelope arrives in Emma’s mailbox with the word Open written on the outside. Inside the envelope is a card bearing the following message: “For a real adventure with Jesus, go through the nearest open door.”

Skeptical, but having absolutely nothing to lose, Emma steps through the pantry door, only to find herself instantly transported back to the first century, where she is taken on a personal tour of various Gospel accounts by none other than Jesus himself―an experience that radically challenges Emma’s perception of the Gospels and what it really means to be a Christian.

REVIEW: The story opens with Emma Jameson a twenty nine year old breaks up with Jason after a two year relationship. She then receives a mysterious note that says, “For a real adventure with Jesus go through the nearest open door.”

Emma opens what she thinks is the nearest door and the adventure begins. It’s not what she expected. What she’s thrown into could kill her if she isn’t careful. Great! This is not what she needed right now.

She doesn’t know what to think. Was this a joke? Why would God allow this? She had to be honest with herself and God. She speaks to him when the storm dies down. 
“God I don’t feel like I’m getting anything at all from your word. What good is me reading these stories? None of them have anything to do with what I’m dealing with right now!...She continues, “God himself was supposed to be my fulfillment. Isn’t that what the Christian music said, or implied? And that’s what I’d been told over and over by every Youth Pastor, College Pastor, Normal Pastor, Abnormal Pastor, whatever – let God himself satisfy you.” Right?

Jesus helps her uncover the truth about the lies she believes about him and herself. He says to her, “pain is what God often uses to make you ready to grow. It’s up to you whether you cooperate with Him. You don’t learn to love unless you cooperate with Him….” He goes on. I don’t want to spoil it for you so I’ll stop here.

David Gregory’s first two books have been made into movies Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and Day with a Stranger. I’ve watched these movies and read the books at book club. These books lead to lively discussions at book club. I am a David Gregory fan. This book is just as wonderful and thought provoking as the others he's written. I’ve given you a peek into the feel of what’s inside this novel and Emma’s dilemma. This is a quick read. It’s encouraging and speaks to your soul. You won’t want to miss this powerful engaging book.

ABOUT AUTHOR: David Gregory's life has come full circle. Despite a love for writing and liberal arts in high school and college, David opted for a “more practical” business degree that launched him into a successful ten-year career in compensation management with three consulting firms and Texas Instruments. After a decade of spreadsheets, however, he was ready to look for a career offering more personal meaning.

David returned to graduate school, earning a master's degree from the University of North Texas with concentrations in communication and sociology. During that time, he began creative writing in the form of two short screenplays, one dramatic and one science fiction. He also started a periodic newsletter before joining a Christian ministry as staff writer and editor. While there, he coauthored two nonfiction books, The Marvelous Exchange and The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel Has Worn You Out.

While earning another master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, David entertained a new craft: writing fiction. He decided that in a culture dominated by sound bites, reality TV, and the Internet, communicating through story could reach otherwise untapped audience. Taking some material on worldviews that he had planned to put into nonfiction form, he began writing Dinner with a Perfect Stranger.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale publishes. 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 


Eden Hill
By Bill Higgs
Published by Tyndale
384 Pages

Back Cover: Nothing seems to change in Eden Hill, Kentucky, and that’s just fine with Virgil T. Osgood. He’s been content to raise his family and run the only service station in town. But when a new station is set to open right across the road from Virgil’s pumps, he suddenly faces obstacles in his career, his marriage, and his self-worth that he’s never even dreamed of.

Cornelius Alexander wants his new Zipco station to succeed and help establish a strong foundation for his growing family. As long as he follows the Zipco guide, he’s sure to be a success―and prove his father wrong.

Reverend Caudill wants to be a conduit for grace in his town, but that grace is challenged by the changes sweeping through in the early 1960s. For the sake of this small town, Virgil and Cornelius must learn to get along, but how do you love your neighbor when his very presence threatens to upend everything you hold dear?

REVIEW: I was eager to read this novel for two reasons. One the author is the husband of Liz Curtis Higgs; an author I adore. I was curious as to what his style of writing would be. Second I hoped this would be fun reading a throwback novel of the 1960’s. I was pleasantly surprised on both accounts.

This author drops readers into a time period when gasoline was less than .30 cents a gallon. When you filled up your tank they pumped the gas and washed your windshield for free. Checked your fluid levels under the hood if you requested. What could go wrong in a small town like Eden Hill? This was back in a time where everyone knew their neighbors

All was well until a Zipco station goes in across the street from Virgil Osgood’s gas station. It’s new and fancy. He’d been the only gas station in town for years now the town has a choice. All was well and good with his 14 year marriage until his wife Mavine started reading a Pageant magazine about what a marriage should be like.

Virgil says to his wife, “This is foolishness” …” Giving a rating to their marriage happiness. He continued, “Your getting all worked up for no good reason, Mavine. They write this stuff just so they can sell magazines. Besides, Don’t I take good care of you and Vec?”

“Yes, you do, Virgil, but women want more than that. We need our husbands to be heroic…Dr. LaMour says that a good husband is romantic, and also pays…how shall I say it, closer attention to his wife.”

He took the magazine. He read the first question, “How long has it been since you and your husband have had an intimate romantic dinner together?” Mavine had marked “six months or more.” ..“This didn’t make sense at all, because Marvine had cooked a full meal almost every night of their entire married life. Not counting last night’s chicken meat loaf disaster, it couldn’t have been more than two days.”

“Question three, “How long has it been since you and your husband have had marital relations? This was really puzzling. She checked one month or more.” Her mother had spent most of last Sunday afternoon at their house- perhaps Mavine had forgotten. Besides, her other relations visited way too often.”

“….Who does this Dr. Betty LaMour think she is anyway? What gives her the right to give my wife these kinds of ideas? …They had a good marriage, a fine son, and a good life, didn’t they?”

This is Bill Higgs debut novel. The author does a great job of developing this small town and its quirky likeable characters.. This is a sweet story that will dug at your heart and bring a smile to your face. It’s a story of God’s grace. A tale full of love, heartache and inspiration. It would make a fun book club pick and a good summer read.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Bill Higgs is a lapsed academic, former engineer, and avid storyteller. He also admits to being a nostalgic baby boomer, with a keen interest in how things past can teach lessons for the present. He lives in Kentucky with his wife, author Liz Curtis Higgs, and her two cats. Eden Hill is his first novel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale publishes. 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