A MATCH OF WITS TBCN BETHANY HOUSE FEATURED AUTHOR


WHAT WOMEN FEAR by Angie Smith REVIEWED


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Below are some of the fears this author talks about:

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

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

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

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

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

ANGEL EYES by SHANNON DITTEMORE REVIEWED


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATLAS GIRL by EMILY T. WIERENGA REVIEWED





ATLAS GIRL
By Emily T. Wierenga



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PASSING STRANGERS by ANGELA HUNT REVIEWED




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

SUZANNE WOODS FISHER SURPRISES READERS & NEWS of 5 Book Giveaway




ABOUT AUTHOR: Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series, The Keeper, and The Haven, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award finalist, the host of the internet radio show Amish Wisdom, and a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. For more information, please visit www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

ABOUT BOOK: Naomi King, soft spoken, loyal, and easily overlooked, has a gift. She sees what others can't see. Intuition, she calls it. Others in Stoney Ridge don't know what to make of it and dismiss her hunches and inklings altogether.

When a young woman arrives at the Inn at Eagle Hill with a shocking secret about Tobe Schrock, Naomi fears the worst. She can't ignore the feeling that something sinister is at work-- something more than a threat to the tenuous love begun between her and Tobe.

As signs mount, they begin to point to Jake Hertzler, the elusive mastermind behind Schrock Investments' downfall. Soon, events spiral hopelessly out of control and Naomi must decide whether to listen to her head or her heart.

Suzanne Woods Fisher
The Revealing (Revell Books)—released July 1, 2014

You had told me your husband was SERIOUS about his Ice Cream making. I didn't know how much so until I went to your blog and saw the pictures of him making Ice Cream. Did he always have a passion for Ice Cream? If so when did he start making Ice Cream? When did he start sharing his creations with the family?

Steve has always loved ice cream—he started making it a few years ago on a whim and loved it. He’s even been to Ice Cream School at Penn State. He started with vanilla—he made it 56 times before he was satisfied. 56 times! Apparently, a good vanilla is very difficult to make because it’s so pure. Chocolate, coffee, other flavors like those can mask an impure base. I think there’s a metaphor in that.   
I saw on your blog that he makes many different flavors. Which ones are your families’ favorites? Which ones are his?
Salted caramel is one of our family favorites. Meyer lemon is another. Balsamic strawberry, almond cherry chocolate chips.  Steve’s favorite is blackberry crumble.   
You also mentioned in your blog that he made 40 pints of Ice Cream and there were 12 different flavors? What were the 12 different flavors? How long did it take him to make? What did everyone think of his creations?


Hmmm…let’s see if I can remember all 12! It took weeks for him to make all of them.
Vanilla, chocolate, Chocolate orange, balsamic strawberry, mint chocolate chip, vanilla chocolate chip, almond cherry chocolate chip, Meyer lemon, blackberry crumble… 
What has been the most creative thing your husband has done with his Ice Cream creations?

Steve’s company asked him to contribute four pints of his ice cream for a charity auction…and they brought in …drumroll please…$900!  


Is your husband thinking of opening an Ice Cream shop in the near future now that he's retired? If so, what kind of shop? If not, what does he plan to do with his extra time?
I don’t know if he will have an ice cream shop. Possibly…but I think it’s mostly staying in the hobby range. An expensive one!











As for Steve’s retirement—he’s got a lot going on…a lot of things he’s waited to do until he had more time. Plus there’s my lengthy to-do list, and then…some exciting events! Our oldest son and daughter-in-law are about to have their first baby. And our youngest son just got engaged.     
With your husband having a passion for Ice Cream has this topic ended up in any of your books? Anyone of your characters have a passion for making Ice Cream? Eating it?

 Ooooh…great idea! Will have to see if I can work it into a novel. Thank you!
Nora: I've talked to other authors's passions and they have ended up in their books. I was just wondering. I'd love to know when you work it in and read about it Suzanne!
I loved how you and your family dressed up to serve the Ice Cream your husband made at his Retirement party on June 30th. How did you come up with the idea? Did you surprise your husband by doing this or did he already know?


My husband choose not to have a big party for his retirement—but he did want to provide ice cream for his team. That’s so like him! He’s a very giving person. The company came up with the custom embroidered aprons. We loved it! And they loved the ice cream. Over 60 people came through for a scoop, then circled back for another scoop. Then another.
Nora: Thanks for all the fun pictures. It looks like everyone has fun!
Has your husband shared his Ice Cream with co-workers before? If so when? Were they surprised that he was so serious about his Ice Cream making? 


He has…and they've loved it! He’s even done some special orders for people.  
Nora: That's fun!


You said that it’s going to take a few weeks for you all to adjust to being together 24/7. Has your husband had any ideas for things that should happen in one of your books? If so, what and in which ones?
No! No, no, no, no. Steve is a very literal guy, so the fiction writing gig isn't up his alley. But he is a great resource for bouncing ideas past. He was a big help with the investment scheme in ‘Inn at Eagle Hill’ series. His career has been in finance and accounting, so he helped make sure the investment pieces of the story made sense. 
Nora: LOL!

Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books better Suzenne.  I’m THRILLED about the Giveaway opportunity that is going on right now at The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org  (5) copies of The Revealing. It’s easy to enter the drawing. Go to www.bookfun.org Become a member if you aren't already (It’s FREE and EASY). Scroll down the front page until you get to the cover. Click on the link above the book cover The RevealingIt will take you to the place to enter. ANSWER one of the questions listed to be entered into the contest. It’s easy!

SEE you at TBCN!!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!

BELOW THE SURFACE by TIME SHOEMAKER REVIEWED


Below the Surface
By Tim Shoemaker
Published by:
ISBN#978-0-310-73501-4
387 Pages

 ABOUT BOOK: In the third book in the Code of Silence series, a coming-of-age story that both boys and girls will enjoy, from prolific author and speaker Tim Shoemaker.

Buried fears don’t stay buried for long. Something is wrong with Cooper. He doesn’t understand it, and he won’t admit it, but after surviving the trauma of abduction, Cooper is plagued by a deep fear he can’t control. A vacation aboard the restored Getaway with his friends is just what he needs. No drama, no mysteries, just fun, relaxation, and a few well-planned pranks. But trouble follows this crew, and the idea of a carefree vacation soon disappears along with a missing woman. The police think she drowned, but Hiro has her own suspicions and starts investigating, while Cooper keeps busy and hides behind his practical jokes. But fear has a way of rising. A prank gone wrong, a dark water dive, and the four friends find more than they bargained for - just below the surface.

Review: I’m thankful for a review copy of a book that reminded me of a few fun movies where a bunch of kids go on a grand adventure; such as The Goonies and Stand By Me.

When I received this book I didn’t realize that Below the Surface was the third and final book in the Code of Silence series. Book one is titled Code of Silence – the tag line is; “Is there ever a time to lie? And what happens when the truth is dangerous?”

Book Two is titled Back Before Dark - the tag line is “Sometimes rescuing a friend from darkness…means going in after them.”

Below the Surface the third book in the series deals with fear. “A Note From Author” in the back of the book states, “Fear can be something deep and shadowlike – something you can’t quite put your finger on, but you sense its presence. Fear can be something you try to bury, something you dread. Or fear can be obvious, a pulse-pounding terror you can’t avoid!” He goes on to talk about Good Fear – an Internal Warning – Bad Fear; Petrifies us. There are four ways to Fight fear 1. Run from it; 2. Ignore it 3. Bury it 4. Face it.

The author works all of these elements of fear into the story through this group of young boys and one girl. I wish I would have read the other two books in this series before this book; so I would have known all the adventures this team had gone on before they tackled this murder mystery. I would understand their closeness and why they trusted each other so much in investigating this dangerous situation. I admit the author does a good job of having me quickly connect with these gang of kids.  I just wish I had known more.

This group is heading off on vacation together. Fun in the sun and all that. Until one night all of them hear screaming aboard a ship and what they presumed was a body thrown into the water. When this group starts to look into what had happened (to make sure they saw what they all thought was true) crazy things start to happen. They are given warnings to stop digging deeper into the matter or dangerous things will continue to happen to their small group.

I enjoyed this action adventure novel and the kids in the gang. There are great discussion questions in the back of the book to help ignite lively discussion. I loved how the author discussed fear at the end of the book. I loved how he also showed kids facing fear in the story in very different ways.

I enjoyed this story. If you liked the old movies I mentioned in the beginning of this review you’ll like this book! Makes for a good book club pick too!

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

Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com

JEN TURANO UP-CLOSE and PERSONAL - 10 BOOK GIVEAWAY





ABOUT AUTHOR: Jen Turano is the acclaimed author of The Ladies of Distinction Series, published through Bethany House publishers.  Her second novel, A Most Peculiar Circumstance was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Romance for 2013.  Her fourth book, A Match of Wits, releases in July, 2014, while a new series, A Class of Their Own, will begin hitting the shelves in early 2015. She is a member of ACFW and makes her home outside of Denver, Colorado with her husband and teenage son. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor.


ABOUT BOOK: Two years ago, Zayne Beckett's departure from New York City to meet up with his almost-fiance caused Agatha Watson no small amount of grief. So he is the last person she wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the "New York Tribune." Looking worse for the wear, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and taken back East to his family. Even though she's over him, Agatha can't help feeling sorry for him and realizes she'll have to be the one to get the stubborn man back home. 
Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere. Content to sit and mope over his recent bad fortune and the desertion of his not-quite-fiancĂ©, he's prepared to drag his heels all the way back to New York. That is, until he and Agatha find themselves slipping back into the strangely enjoyable bickering and bantering of their old friendship. 

It isn't until they arrive in New York City that Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies. When his attempts to repay her for helping him go sadly awry, Agatha proves herself just as stubborn as Zayne. Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

How did you come up with the idea for A Match of Wits?

A Match of Wits started coming together after I finished writing A Most Peculiar Circumstance.  The problem I faced was realizing something of a dramatic nature was going to have to occur to allow Agatha and Zayne to come back together – that’s why the reader will find Zayne in quite the sorry state at the beginning of the book and…out of New York City.

 What was your favorite scene to write? Why? What was the hardest? Why was it hard?

There were quite a few favorite scenes.  I loved bringing Matilda into the story and really enjoyed it when she learned how to spell.  Then there was giving Agatha dynamite, and…Charlotte’s invention showing up, and Zayne and Piper having a bit of a chat in his carriage. 

The hardest part – trying to write the book so it could be read as somewhat of a stand-alone book.  Agatha has been with me forever now, so trying to look at her as if I really didn't know her as I wrote her story was somewhat difficult. 

In your research for this book about being a reporter did you uncover some interesting things about the job you hadn't realized they did? IF so what was it? What interested you the most about this job? Surprised you most?
The few women journalist of that day faced a very difficult time of it.  They were subjected to criticism by their fellow male counterparts, and most of them were viewed as radical feminist.  However, they did work for newspapers, and two of the most famous female journalist, Margaret Fuller and Jane Grey Swisshelm, were hired by Horace Greeley of the New-York Tribune, the paper where Miss Agatha Watson works.  These two ladies were great supporters of the suffrage movement and published articles that reflected that- articles that I’m sure garnered a lot of disapproval – but Jane and Margaret were what inspired me to write Agatha as a journalist.

Nora: This does sound interesting. I can't to read your new book!

We discussed previously that being a mom is an important job and one we are honored to have? Can you share some cherished memorable moments with us?

Being a mom is the best job I've ever had.  It was a little difficult for me at first, transitioning from a career woman to stay-at-home mom, and, quite honestly, there were days when I was sitting at yet another playground, watching my son play with his friends, that I truly thought I might lose my mind.  But, I had the privilege of seeing everything – Dominic making new friends, experiencing things like the ocean for the very first time, getting scared to death on rides at Disney, watching him with my parents – those are moments I wouldn't trade for anything, nor would I trade the not so pleasant moments.  Dominic is incredibly…strong willed.  He was the inspiration behind Ben in A Change of Fortune and yes, he did go through a rather nasty biting phase, which is why he’s an only child.  But, to see him grow into a rather charming young man, well, besides being a little surprised about that, I am incredibly proud to be able to call him my son. 

Nora: Fun! Thanks for sharing him with us! Sweet picture!

Being a mom has many different seasons to it. The hardest for me has been letting them go and watching them enter the world without us being there. It’s felt like being the mother bird watching the little ones jump out of nest, hoping they don't have a crash landing! Grin! You've said that you are in or quickly approaching this season yourself. What keeps you sane? What gives you hope? What do you enjoy most about this time?

Dominic just graduated from high school this past May, so will be heading off to college at the end of August.  It’s going to be very odd, not having him around.  But, he’s always been an independent sort and told me a few weeks ago that this is what’s supposed to happen. I’m, along with my husband Al, supposed to get him to adulthood, and then…he’s supposed to take it from there. That’s why I know he’ll be fine.  He’s got a good head on his shoulders, a good attitude about life, and now…it’s time for him to fly. 

Nora: Love this picture too! Grin!

Can you give us a peek at what you are working on how? When will it be out?

I’m working on two books for the next series – A Class of Their Own – at the moment.  After a Fashion, a book that I’m waiting to review the galleys on, will be out in March, 2015.  It revolves around Miss Harriet Peabody, a young lady who works in a hat shop, and Mr. Oliver Addleshaw, one of the wealthiest gentlemen of the day. They form this really interesting alliance, and then…well…their lives take a somewhat interesting turn.  I’m also working on the second book in the series – In Good Company.  It’s due to my editor in a month so I’m just putting the finishing touches on it now.  It’s Miss Millie Longfellow’s story, a nanny with the unfortunate propensity of getting dismissed from her positions far too frequently.  When she accepts a position with Mr. Everett Mulberry, a gentleman who unexpectedly inherited three unruly children, they clash a bit over child-rearing tactics, but with the help of a slightly meddling older woman by the name of Abigail Hart, they might just….nope, can’t tell you more, but you get the idea.  That book will release later in 2015, followed by the last book in that series, currently untitled and unwritten. 

Nora: Wow, you are one busy lady! These books sound like fun. I'm marking my calendar! Grin!  

What made you set your new book in New York City?



New York City was the desirable place to live during the Gilded Age if you belonged to high society.  It was home to Astor’s, Vanderbilt’s, McAllister’s, etc., and was the place to live if you had social ambitions.  Fifth Avenue mansions were popping up like crazy, and it just seemed to me to be the logical place to set a rather quirky series with unlikely characters.  


Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books better Jen.  I’m THRILLED about the Giveaway opportunity that is going on right now at The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org  (10) copies of A Match of Wits. It’s easy to enter the drawing. Go to www.bookfun.org Become a member if you aren't already (It’s FREE and EASY). Scroll down the front page until you get to the cover. Click on the link above the book cover A Match of Wits. It will take you to the place to enter. ANSWER one of the questions listed to be entered into the contest. It’s easy!

SEE you at TBCN!!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!

SAYING GOOD-BYE to DEAR FRIENDS


Today starts a new journey in life for me. I knew this time would come. I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. This morning as I walked and prayed I reflected on the last 10 years. I have so much to be grateful for. 10 years ago I started working at a Christian Book store little did I know how that would change my life. I worked at a book store and didn’t read. I could but it was a struggle. I’m dyslexic and reading for me had bad memories and feelings attached to it. There was really no reason for me to read because it wasn’t a pleasure; but now give me a good movie and I’m all in.

I was introduced to Christian Fiction by a few of my customers that raved about some authors so much so I had to check it out. One of the first authors that rocked my world was Linda Nichols, Deborah Rainey and Ted Dekker. These authors’ books were thought-provoking and life-changing. It made my struggle to read worth the effort. I saw how the Lord moved in my spirit and life as I read these authors’ books. Some of them made me go back to scripture and look at it with fresh eyes. It encouraged me.

Then my friend asked me to run a book club with a group of friends. I told her I was a non-reader. I only just started to go to a book club to meet friends a few months back. My first book club read was The Sin Eater by Francine Rivers. I was hardly an expert on anything book related. My friend encouraged me to pray about this. She felt I was the one to run it. I went home and prayed. I got a peace about taking the step to run the book club. We started meeting at Borders Book Store. We met for about 6 months when my boss sat me down and said, “Nora, we are making a few changes around here and your name came up. We’d like to talk to you about something.”

I didn’t like the sound of this already. Ok, God, help my emotions as I hear what the “something” is. To my surprise my boss asked me if I would be interested in running a book club in the store. It would be my book club run however the Lord leads. What do I say? WHAT DO I SAY? I thought, “Is this a joke?” Really another person asking me to run a book club? God, this isn’t funny. I told my boss that I would pray about it and get back to him.

I was in a panic. Terrified. Running a book club with a few friends is one thing but in the store I work at was totally another thing. I hurried to the bathroom where I went to pray. I reminded God “reading” and I didn’t get along. Remember how you made me God? This isn’t funny! The Lord told me to cool my jets and said, “Can you love the people I put in your life the way I have loved you?”
Last Book Club Meeting Oct 2013 w/Jessica Dotta
I calmed down instantly. This wasn’t about reading, there would be no test. This was about LOVE??? OK, I’m in. I then confessed to my boss that I was a non-reader but this is what the Lord told me to do. He was on board. I asked if I could bring my other book club to the store and he said yes. A few months after that I was asked to help run an on-line book club and did that for 5 years. I was getting used to this NEW chapter of my life.
I ran a book club for 8 years. My last meeting with these special ladies was November of 2013. I cried and cried. It was funny. I never wanted to or ever thought I’d be running book clubs for so long (or ever). I was heart sick at this change but I knew I couldn’t work full time and run two book clubs too.
Michelle & Cindy-creator of Cupcakes

JULY 18th was my last day of working at the Christian book store. When I gave my notice two weeks ago I wasn’t sure what the Lord had in store for me. Costco (my favorite store) was opening up close to my house. I filled out an application. I applied to other stores close to my house. I told the Lord I was willing to be willing to do whatever he had for me next. It was scary and EXCITING all at the same time. My oldest son graduated High School and was off to college soon. I needed to be close to home to support my youngest son who will be a junior in high school this year. I knew I had to be there for my family. I also had the only car and could not work 30 to 45 minutes from home. I knew that something would open up close to home.

Two weeks ago today; I gave my notice.  A few things started to fell in place that day but nothing was definite. On my last day Friday, July 18th 2014 I still hadn’t a clue as to what direction my life would take. It was a hard day emotionally. Saying Good-bye to special friends. Missing the customers that I’d see each week. Remembering how the Lord grew me and stretched me not only did he give me a LOVE of READING and healed the pain associated with that experience he stretched my faith. I am so grateful he allowed me to work in an environment where I started my day out with co-workers giving a devotional and having a time of prayer. Praying for one another and for our customers’ prayer requests (we had a small box by the front door where people could leave notes for us to pray over). It broke our hearts some mornings to read what people were dealing with. I was humbled to have the change to pray for them.

I was also grateful for the opportunity to pray for people in the store. I’ll never forget the first time the Lord asked me to pray for a total stranger. It was a young woman. I saw her walk in the store and I heard the Lord ask me to pray with her. I told the Lord I didn’t do that sort of thing in public and anyway she wasn’t talking to me. A few minutes later the girl asks me about a magazine and where it was located. I showed her! (Ok, she talked to me but that doesn’t mean I can pray for her Lord!) Then the girl leaves. I thought I was cleared for the call to pray.

A few minutes later the girl walks back in. I watched her walk around and around the store. I don’t know what she was searching for but I went over and asked if I could help. She told me something she was struggling with. I hear the Lord whisper in my ear, “Now is your opportunity to pray with her. She is talking to you!” I smile inside. Grin! Yeah, she was. Ok, I’ll ask her Lord she probably will say no. I ask, “I sense the Lord is asking me if I could pray for you. Would you mind if I pray for you?”

“I wish you would.” I hear her say. Then she takes my hands. OHMYGOSH!! I’m about to pray with a total stranger in public and we are holding hands. Ok, Lord! I’m trusting you’ll give me the words. We close our eyes and I pray. I’m not really sure what came out of my mouth. But when I opened my eyes I saw she was crying. She hugged me and thanked me for praying. She said she knew there was a reason she came in the store. This was it. She needed someone to pray for her.

Cindy made yummy beautiful cupcakes
I’ll never forget that first time and the many other times people asked me or accepted prayer or came in the store looking for someone to pray with them. I’ll never forget the months my boss set aside time out of our day. Usually around lunch time to gather anyone who wanted to gather in the front of the store to pray for our country and the leaders, for peace and for revival and for whatever the Lord laid on their hearts. I’m thankful for the faithfulness of my boss to have the courage to do what the Lord asked him to do in the store. It was a special time to pray with our customers. I loved seeing us all united in Christ praying in one accord!

When I got home on Friday night, (July 18th) my husband told me some really good news. I was to be part of The Book Club Network team full time. Things fell into place that day and some more good news on Saturday that sealed the deal.

TODAY is the FIRST DAY of the new direction, my new life. A New Beginning!

I’m excited about the opportunities and the stretching the Lord will be doing in me as He leads! I’m so grateful to be taking these steps with my husband Fred and The Book Club Network Community! More BOOK FUN AHEAD!!
See you There at TBCN and Book Fun Magazine!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org

Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blog.spot.com