The Big Picture Interactive Bible
Published by B & H Kids
ISBN #978-1-4336-0503-1
1288 Pages

Kids can now be engaged in Bible reading and study as never before, seeing scenes from the Bible literally pop off the page via a free downloadable app that lets them view the images in an augmented reality format, as well as listen to narration of the event.

This full color, fully designed Bible includes features to help kids experience the Bible including call outs of key Bible stories, definitions, memory verses and more, all designed to get kids digging into and learning the Bible for life.

Together kids and parents can enjoy the Christ Connections and Big Questions and Answers call outs that show God's story unfolding from the beginning of time and how we fit into his plan.

This meets children in the visual world they are so accustomed to, bringing Bible pages to life. Over 400,000 individual participants, 40,000 plus groups, and 7,000 plus churches have already started their journey with LifeWay's Gospel Project, making this the perfect companion for the Gospel Project for Kids curriculum

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of a new bible for kids that looks nice inside and out. Some of the features in this bible are 100 Top verses to memorize highlighted in the bible with the tag; Verse to Remember. There are 146 Full-page bible story illustrations with augmented reality that are very beautiful and eye catching. Big Bible Questions/Big Answers featured under heading – BIG Questions. I loved this feature. I would never think to ask these questions. Love they give you the answers. Grin! Helps generate discussion with family and friends.

Big Words dictionary feature makes it easy to learn the definition. Full color design throughout the bible. Icons connecting to the Gospel Project for kids’ curriculum – published by LifeWay. Kid Friendly introductions to every book of the bible and seeing the Big Picture Feature – talks about how this passage of scripture and/or story relates to the big picture in the bible.

I loved all the features and the overall look inside the bible. It’s easy to read. It’s not too busy. The Font is big and bold. I loved all of the above. There was one thing that I got hung up on and that was making the bible interactive function to work. I tried a couple of hours myself to make this work. I know I’m not computer and/or phone savvy so I sought the help of friends who were.

I was about to give up when I asked my 16 year old son to help me. Can you believe he got the thing to work in 15 minutes? Ok, I was cheering until he tried to make it work on the next page and nothing happened. I know that it’s not what I expected from the program. On the pages that did work a 3-D picture jumps off the page and a story is read. You have to hold the phone over the small picture for 15 seconds then you zoom out so your phone captures the big color picture (the whole page). Then the 3-D picture jumps out at you and stays there the whole time the story is being told. There is trouble with the interactive feature to this bible. I look forward to them working out the kinks.

I met a young man (maybe 8 years old) the other day that told me the interactive part of this bible looked to hard for him to figure out. Given what I've gone through to make it work. I agreed. But I pointed out all the good features inside this bible. I do love the pictures and so did this youngster.

All in all I really LIKED this bible very much. It grabbed my attention. It’s one I feel will be easy to share with kids even if the interactive feature is not working well. It’s beautiful, helps kids apply scripture to their lives, gives them verses that will be worth memorizing first, and the full color animated pictures all throughout the bible are amazing. Loved it and I would recommend this bible to young children I think it speaks their language and will be they use for years.

Nora :o)
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Finding Hope Through Fiction


ABOUT AUTHOR:  ANN H. GABHART, the author of several bestselling novels, has been called a storyteller, not a bad thing for somebody who never wanted to do anything but write down stories. She’s published twenty-six novels for adults and young adults with more stories on the way. She keeps her keyboard warm out on a farm in Kentucky where she lives with her husband, Darrell. They have three children and nine grandchildren. To find out more about Ann or her books visit Check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, or Jocie’s Heart of Hollyhill blog You can follow Ann on Facebook, , Twitter, , or Pinterest,   


Thrilled that you are here with us again - Take it Away Ann

Hello again!
Hi, everybody. It’s so much fun being back here talking to Nora and friends about my Heart of Hollyhill series. Summer of Joy, the third book in the series has just come back out to bookstores all dressed up in a brand new cover. Don’t you just love that little box record player and those 45 records? That cover takes you right back to the Sixties!
Ann's writing notebooks

A Writing Dream - First, let’s set the stage with a little writing history – my writing history. I’ve been writing since I was a kid and first fell in love with books. I wanted to write down my own stories. That was a big dream for a little country girl who had never met a writer and didn't know the first thing about writing. But I loved words and stories and so I got a notebook and pen and started. I did know that a writer had to write.

Sometimes the Lord watches over us and gives us the desires of our hearts. I sold my first story to a Sunday school leaflet in 1971 and then sold a few more stories to small magazines. Just enough to make me believe it was possible. Then I wrote my first novel and I forgot about writing short pieces. I was going to write books! Of course, the next step was writing a book that somebody besides my mother wanted to read.

Small town Main Street
Enter Jocie and Hollyhill  - At last, we come to Hollyhill. I decided I’d write one more novel. I wouldn't worry about editors or publishers or even readers. I’d write this book for myself and follow that basic writing advice to write what you know. Enter small towns and country churches.

I grew up out on a farm, but when we went to town it was to a one Main Street town lined with parking meters.

Churches sat on each end of town and in between were a couple of banks, two ten-cent stores, a hardware store, a grocery where the storekeeper let you trade farm eggs for groceries, three dress shops, a men’s clothing store, and a strip of poolrooms down on that end of the street where it was better for a little girl not to go. There was a barbershop, a newspaper office, two drugstores–one with a soda fountain, two grills, and towering above everything else the courthouse. But the most important building for me was up the side street across from the post office, the public library. Thank you, Andrew Carnegie!

Small Towns and Country Churches - I decided to set my story in my little town just the way I remembered it during the 1960’s. It was the kind of town where when you walked down the street you knew everybody you met. Then, in all small towns, plenty of eccentric characters are hanging around just waiting to be written into a story. I renamed the town Hollyhill and a good thing too. Heart of Lawrenceburg series just doesn’t have the same ring as Heart of Hollyhill series. I took the flavor of the little town I remembered and came up with characters that belonged on my Main Street. Even Wes from Jupiter fits right in the Hollyhill stories.

1962 Goshen Church 150 Celebration
My first character was a young girl named Jocie whose father, another main character, is a preacher. So it was time to go to church. My church. The church my husband and I got married in. The church we still attend. A little country church that is over two hundred years old. I know that church. I remember how it was in the Sixties when there was no air-conditioning or padded pews and church mice sometimes ran out of the piano in the middle of services.

The members were like family. Many of them were actually kin to one another, and sometimes there was a squabble in spite of the way they all loved each other and the Lord. That’s the kind of church I let David pastor. He’s a bi-vocational preacher as most of the men who led the small churches in my county were in the Sixties. So I gave him the added job of newspaper editor.
Goshen Church today
Hometown News - I grew up reading our little hometown newspaper. It came out once a week and had all the community news of who visited whom. If you tripped over your roller skates and ended up with a broken leg, you’d make the paper. On the inside pages, you could find every elementary school’s 4-H Club Meeting minutes and see photos of hometown girls and boys on the honor roll at college. A fender bender on Main Street was major news. And when you read a wedding or baby announcement, you knew the whole family back to both sets of grandparents. You were glad the headline story was who had been chosen Miss Dairy Princess because that meant nothing bad had happened in your town that week.

That’s the kind of paper theHollyhill Banner is except a few storms come along to push the Dairy Princess off the front page in my Hollyhill stories. There’s a feature in our local paper called “The Way We Were.” That’s how I tried to make Hollyhill–the way it might have been in the Sixties.
Courthouse in my hometown

My Small Town in 2014 - Things have changed in my little town. When Walmart opened out on the bypass, downtown started dying. The mom and pop stores couldn't compete. Now the only business still open from when I was a kid is a dress shop whose long-time owners keep decorating their shop windows with fashionable outfits, but it’s surrounded by empty storefronts. There’s no place to sell your eggs or fill your prescriptions on Main. The last drugstore sold out to one of the big chains last year. Where else, but out on the bypass. Even the hometown newspaper moved its offices out on the bypass.

The courthouse is still there and so are the churches. The library built a new modern building, but they stayed on Main down the street from where the post office used to be. Right, the post office built a big new building out close to the bypass.

New Library
Nobody has to come up with a nickel to park downtown anymore. The parking meters are gone. Saturday afternoons see empty streets now instead of neighbors talking to neighbors. The eccentric characters have passed into legend. The only time the streets are crowded these days is during the annual Burgoo Festival. But the little hometown I remember from the Sixties lives on in my Heart of Hollyhill books.

Heart of Hollyhill Series - Summer of Joy is the third Hollyhill books. The first, Scent of Lilacs, got the story going in the humid summer of 1964, as Jocie digs into her family’s past and stirs up a whirlwind of discoveries. Orchard of Hope ushered in a whole new story as the town suffers through a drought and wakes up to the need for Civil Rights when a new family moves to Holly County and challenges the status quo. Finally, Summer of Joy has the past coming to call with two people making their way to Hollyhill to change everything. From a river baptism to a wedding delayed by a man intent on making trouble, things are anything but uneventful in my little Hollyhill.

Old Library Bldg
It’s sometimes hard to keep writing new books about the same characters, but I got to know my Hollyhill people so well that I was able to keep going with their stories. And of course, I knew where they lived and worshiped. In Summer of Joy I wanted to wrap up some of the loose ends from the previous stories. While I was planning the story, I kept imagining people showing up unexpectedly to knock on Jocie’s door, bringing the past with them.

Each of the books can be read as stand-alone stories, but the story is much richer if the reader visits Hollyhill all three times to get to know Jocie and her family along with those odd small town characters.

Everything Changes - There’s a saying that everything changes. That’s certainly true about my hometown and about our little country church. We've remodeled the church and built a beautiful fellowship hall beside it. The pews are padded, the floors carpeted, and we've encouraged the mice to find a new place to live. But the church still has that family feel where everybody knows everybody.

Home to Hollyhill - That’s the kind of feeling I tried to create in my Heart of Hollyhill books for readers who come visit my Small Town, America. I like to think about them walking down my Main Street and seeing Jocie taking pictures. Maybe they’ll smile at Wes speeding by on his motorcycle or try to get Zella talking about the latest Hollyhill gossip. I want them to feel like they’ve gone to church with neighbors who aren’t perfect but are doing the best they can. I hope my Hollyhill stories will make them smile and maybe wipe away a tear now and again. And when they read the last page, I want them to be happy they came “home” to Hollyhill.

Thanks for letting me visit and tell you about my hometown.


THANKS Ann - I always love hearing from you. Thanks for telling us about how Hollyhill came about. It always fascinates me to hear how the author got their idea for a book. I've talked to you at Finding Hope Book Club meetings and was also amazed that you've lived in your home town most of your life. Thanks for sharing about that too. I'm THRILLED about the giveaway opportunity Revell Publishers at The Book Club Network going on right now.

Nora :o)


You are more than welcome to encourage Ann here on this blog post but to Enter the Drawing you must join TBCN It's free and Easy. Then CLICK on the LINK on the top of her Book Cover.


Nora :o)
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Finding Hope Through Fiction


ABOUT AUTHOR: JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, 2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, 2014). Also, as DeAnna Julie Dodson, she has written a trilogy of medieval romances (In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered) and four contemporary mysteries for the Annie's Attic series. She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books &Such Literary Agency (

What inspired you to write Death by the Book?
I’m a longtime fan of Agatha Christie and the other writers from the Golden Age of Crime Fiction.  The mystery novels of the 1920s and ‘30s have a particular style to them that I enjoy.  The quaint English village, the old manor house, the perfectly correct staff of servants, the formal social conventions, all of it fascinates me.  So, naturally, I couldn’t resist trying to write something in this genre.  It’s been great fun!

Someone described your mystery as an “enthralling mystery that will satisfy the most ardent Agatha Christie fan.” What do you love about Agatha Christie books?

Her books have some of the most amazing plots.  And, of course, I love her recurring characters, Poirot, Marple and so on.  Sometimes I can deduce who the killer is as I’m reading, but not usually.  Of course, she once said that she just wrote a good story and then, at the end, went back at set up least likely suspect to be the guilty party.  I’ll have to try that sometime.

Why write Christian Fiction? What’s the draw for you?
Author stitched "Bloom Where your Planted"

There is something ingrained in human nature that makes people receptive to story.  Oftentimes, Jesus did not preach his message.  He told stories about a prodigal son or a rich young ruler.  Stories don't tell us what to think, at least the good ones don't, but they let us experience, they let us draw our own conclusions, and that is often more powerful than the greatest sermon.  Nathan could have reprimanded King David for his adultery and murder.  Instead he told David a story, a story of a poor man with one pet lamb.  He made David see and feel from that poor man's point of view, let him feel outraged on that wronged man's behalf, let him feel indignant towards the rich man who stole and killed that precious lamb.  Then and only then did Nathan tell him he had done as that rich man had, only worse.  Only then did he say, "You are the man."  Only then did David clearly and utterly see his wrong and repent.  Story is so powerful.  And we who write with a Christian message, even just a Christian world view, have enormous potential for speaking God's truth.

They had well known amateur detectives back then – Poirot, Marple, Wimsey, and Campion – Which are your favorites? Why?

I love all four of the ones you've mentioned.  Each in his or her way is an unlikely detective.  Poirot is a little Belgian dandy, Miss Marple is an elderly British spinster, Wimsey is the stereotypical  foppish and foolish over-bred aristocrat, and Campion seems a rather bland and forgettable nonentity. But inside each of them is a formidable sleuth, and many a killer has regretted taking them at face value.  Plus their creators, Christie, Sayers and Allingham, have given them some absolutely marvelous cases to solve and some fascinating people to suspect.  You can’t go wrong with any of them.

You feature Drew Farthering, the young heir to Hampshire county estate, who did you base him on? Why?

Drew just popped into my head one day and said, "Oh, I say, wouldn't it be smashing if you let me solve some cracking good mysteries?" I suppose he's the hero-sleuth I just wanted to read about. He's handsome and wealthy, stylish and very British. He's got just a touch of angst about his past, but not enough to keep him from being great fun.  Like all my heroes, I have a little bit of a crush on him.  Don’t tell Madeline.

Madeline Parker is a beautiful American debutante in your novels. What was your inspiration for this character?
1968 Family Photo I'm the short one

I always loved Myrna Loy as Nora Charles in the Thin Man movies from the 1930s and ‘40s.  She’s pretty and stylish, down to earth and determined to keep up with her sleuthing husband,, Nick.  In the midst of whatever mystery they’re involved in, even when the bullets are flying, she is unflappable and good natured and ready with a witty comeback.  Madeline follows firmly in her footsteps.  Besides that, though, I thought it would be interesting to match a British hero with an American heroine.  It gives me a chance to write American and British dialogue, and that’s always fun.

Can you give us a peek into the third book in this series called Murder at the Mikado?

Just when Drew thinks everything is going great and his relationship with Madeline is better than ever, an old flame of his shows up at Farthering Place.  Drew’s memories of her are not pleasant ones, and he wants to have nothing to do with her.  But she’s the chief suspect in the murder of a local actor, and she begs Drew to prove her innocence.  Madeline becomes more and more uncomfortable with Drew’s involvement in the case, and both of them are forced to deal with painful memories from past relationships, memories that will draw them closer or pull them apart.  Besides the mystery and the romantic drama and the Gilbert and Sullivan theme, this book has my very favorite cover:  Drew in white tie.  Lovely.  The book is due out July 1, 2014.


Design by Deanne

 What movie most affected you when you were young? If you didn’t watch movies what book affected you most in your youth? Why?

There are many I could name, but I think I’ll go with It’s a Wonderful Life.  I watch it every year if I can.  It’s such a powerful story, and a great reminder that we’re all precious and that we all impact those around us, for good or bad, by how we live our lives.  No matter how often I see it, it never fails to touch my heart and remind me I’m not alone.

(Deanne says, "The quilt with the writer quotes is something I designed and made. It's called "Black and Write and Read all over:) 

What is the most special thing anyone has ever done for you?
Tiny Elizabeth

Petie looking at camera


I’ve had a lot of special moments, but one I’ll never forget was when my first book, In Honor Bound, was released.  I had the publisher overnight one copy to me as soon as it came off the press because I was so eager to actually hold a real copy of the book.  I got it on a Friday.  On the following Sunday, I was sitting in church, and my pastor said he was going to do a magic trick.  He asked for a volunteer to help him, and then, even though I didn’t volunteer, he picked me.  I went up to the front and stood beside the covered table that was set up there.  To my amazement, from under the cloth there appeared a copy of my book.  Then I saw that there was a whole box of them!  My church had surprised me with my very first book signing.  I’m still so touched by their thoughtfulness.

A friend of yours has a time travel machine and will let you have it for a couple of days. What would you do with it? Any events you’d like to experience? If so which ones?

I think I’d go way, way back and watch God create the earth.  How amazing that must have been!  I’d love to see Egypt at its height, when the pyramids were new.  I’d love to see a medieval castle and cathedral being built.  How in the world did they make such amazing structures without modern machinery?  More than great events, I’d love to see just how an ordinary day was for someone in medieval England, in Colonial America, in Revolutionary France, in Regency England, in the Civil War (English and American), in the Old West, and so on.  We know a lot about the important events, but I think many aspects of everyday life get glossed over.  I’d love to just observe it for myself in a lot of different times and places.

You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?
Book Shelve in Authors office

I’d probably be organizing things so everybody helps out and everything gets done without a lot of wasted effort and supplies.  If there were sewing supplies, I’d probably be the one mending people’s clothes, too.

You've been given 48 hours to hang out with any two people (alive or dead). Who would you pick and what would you do?

 Hmmmm . . . I think I’d get Margery Allingham and Agatha Christie to teach me how they come up with their plots.  They've written some amazing ones.


I love to hear from my readers.  Bethany House has designed some wonderful bookmarks and bookplates for Rules of Murder and Death by the Book.  Just send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope (at least 7” long), and I’ll be happy to send them out to you, autographed if you like.  My address is P. O. Box 375, Aubrey, Texas  76227.

Thank you for letting me visit TBCN! 

Thanks for stopping by and letting get to know you and your books better. I’m thrilled about the 10 book giveaway opportunity at The Book Club Network 

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


 ABOUT AUTHOR: Ruth Axtell knew she wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote her first story—a spy thriller—at the age of twelve. She studied comparative literature at Smith College, spending her junior year at the Sorbonne in Paris. After college, she taught English in the Canary Islands, then worked in international development in Miami, Florida, before moving to the Netherlands, where for the next several years she juggled both writing and raising three children. In 1994, her second manuscript was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart competition. In 2002, her sixth manuscript took second place in the Laurie Contest of RWA’s Smoky Mountain chapter. The final judge requested her full manuscript and this became her first published book, Winter Is Past. Since then, Ruth Axtell has gone on to publish sixteen historical romances and one novella. Her books have been translated into Dutch, Italian, German, Polish, and Afrikaans. Her second historical, Wild Rose, was chosen by Booklist as a “Top Ten Christian Fiction” selection in 2005. Ruth lives on the coast of Maine where she enjoys gardening, walking, swimming, reading romances, and gazing at the ocean plotting her next romance.

With her next book, A Heart’s Rebellion, (Baker/Revell, March 2014), Ruth returns to Regency London.

Ruth I was wondering how your passion for gardening started? I was also wondering if you included something about your passion in your books.

I first began to take an interest in flowers when I used to visit my great aunt over summer vacations. She lived in Connecticut and had beautiful flower beds. She'd been a member of the garden club and a lifelong gardener. I learned a lot from her, but it was some years before I could put it into practice (except for starting with house plants, even in my college dorm).
Ruth's Flower Garden
When planting my gardens here in Maine, I love watching seeds sprout. Then they become tender green little shoots. By mid-summer it's a lush bed of plants with barely any soil visible. By August it begins becoming a jungle!

My love of gardening began spilling over into my books when I wrote my second manuscript, Wild Rose. All my trials and travails with my first vegetable garden in the rocky, acidic Maine soil came out in that book, in which I have the hero plant a garden, and the heroine, an experience gardener, looking on and seeing him make all kinds of mistakes, before she intervenes.

I love flowers. My idea of paradise? An English cottage garden.

Since I moved to Downeast Maine in the late 90s, I have gardened in earnest. The area is a challenge to gardeners, especially if you’re drawn to English cottage gardens, since the summers are short, they can be damp or foggy, there are lots of bugs, and the soil is rocky and acidic.

Ruth's Veggie
Ruth's Garden Veggies

The first year I attempted my first large-scale vegetable garden, the few vegetables I harvested were stunted. The following year I had the soil tested and began to change the pH with applications of lime. Each year I composted, throwing in everything from kitchen waste to grass clippings, lobster, and clam shells.

Ruth's Big Tomato

Slowly, the soil improved. I also discovered what did well and what didn't (cabbage moths get anything in the brassica family including broccoli). Kale, lettuces, potatoes, all kinds of peas and beans are almost foolproof. But my idea of success is whether or not I manage to get a good crop of tomatoes: heirloom varieties preferred. So far, I've managed to harvest them by late August into September every year! My latest favorite variety is Brandywine. Someone gave my daughter a seedling last spring and it turned into one of the best producers in our garden that summer.

But back to flowers. I've about given up on cultivated roses. But Downeast Maine abounds in wild roses, from the 5-petaled fragrant pink ones to the double, fuchsia-colored Rosa rugosas, whose perfume is almost overpowering.

Over the years I've filled my flower gardens with perennials, only using annuals to fill in gaps here and there. Self-seeding annuals are great, flowers like poppies, candy tuft or black-eyed Susan, which will come back every year. Dill and chamomile are wonderful self-sowers in the herb garden, another kind of garden I've coaxed along over the years.

Flowers have played a role in many of my historical novels, from Wild Rose , where the rose is a key player, to a flower-filled Dutch-style garden at Kensington Palace in A Gentleman’s Homecoming, where a first kiss occurs.
It was a natural for me to feature flowers in my latest regency novel, A Heart’s Rebellion. The hero, Lancelot Marfleet, is an amateur botanist, as is the heroine Jessamine Barry’s father. Both are vicars. One key scene between the hero and heroine takes place during an outing to Kew Gardens just outside of London. This time a first kiss occurs in a hothouse among some very exotic plants. The heroine feels quite overpowered by the humid tropical atmosphere—or is it by the hero’s proximity? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Wow, Ruth. Thanks for letting us get to know you and for giving us a peek into your passion. Thanks for all the fun pictures too! My grandmother loved gardening and spent hours doing it. I never found out where her passion for it started. I enjoyed watching her do it and enjoyed looking at it but never liked doing it. Grin! She lived in Florida where it's hot, hot, hot. Thanks for sharing your journey!

I’m THRILLED that your new novel, A Heart’s Rebellion is featured at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK this month. The Contest starts MARCH 25th and will run through the end of the month. You have some great questions for readers to answer. I’m looking forward to the discussion.

You can encourage Ruth here but to ENTER the DRAWING you'll have to Join The Book Fun Network It's Free and Easy. Ruth will be at the discussion too!

Nora :o)


Deadly Safari
By Lisa Harris
Published by: Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
215 Pages

Texas Ranger Alex Markham lands an unusual assignment—protecting an ambassador's daughter on the African savanna. No one—not even wildlife filmmaker Meghan Jordan herself—can know his true identity. The stubborn but beautiful Meghan is nothing like the bookish woman he expected…and neither is his unguarded reaction to her. For the cowboy-turned-cop, the routine babysitting assignment turns into a lifesaving mission when poachers target the unsuspecting beauty. But when Meghan learns the truth of Alex's identity, can she forgive him before their chances for a future are destroyed forever?

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that gave me a peek at some beautiful sights in Africa along with a compelling story. Lisa blends in some deadly elements into the mix as Meghan is trying to wrap up filming a documentary about lions.

I had the opportunity to interview this author for Book Fun Magazine a few months ago. It was there I learned she lived in Africa and loved safari. I saw her several of her animal pictures and learned about her passion for photographing these amazing creatures. Lisa and her family have lived there for over ten years. She has a note in this book where she says, “This continent has captured a piece of my heart, from the people to the animals to the scenic beauty...I’m thrilled at the opportunity to give readers a glimpse of this beautiful place…the people there have impacted my life…They've taught me how to laugh, love, dream and how to truly give from the heart.”

The author does just that In Deadly Safari. Some of Lisa’s characters have the above revelations as well. I instantly liked Meghan Jordan who is from a broken home and is an only child. Her father kept busy as he thrust himself into his work and left Meghan to fend for herself in boarding school. Meghan has a passion for photography and wild life. She waits weeks to capture just the right moments on film for her documentary. Things were getting crazy and she needed an assistant.

Alex Markham is hired by Meghan’s father to be her personal bodyguard under the pretense of being her assistant. He didn't know anything about making a documentary but he did know how to use a camera. He didn't capture animals on film but he photographed the after math of a crime scene. He was a Texas Ranger by trade. Solving crimes was what he did. His view of life wasn't focused on the beautiful things like Meghan was. He saw and photographed the ugly, the things you wanted to forget.

He came to Africa to protect Meghan undercover for two weeks before a political campaign ended and to see with his own eyes where his mom had grown-up. He found more than he bargained for in Africa. He discovered feelings for this intelligent, strong-willed, beautiful woman filming this documentary. He wasn't looking for a relationship. He’d have to work hard at not mixing business with pleasure. He had to keep it all business to save his heart and to protect the girl.

Alex’s first meeting with Meghan didn't go exactly as planned. She thought of that first day, “Alex had torpedoed into her life, bringing with him a string of disasters. He’s barely been here an hour, and he’d ticked off a rhino and gotten them stranded out in the bush!” This kind of help she didn't need. He was handsome, protective and very responsible she’d give him that. Oh, he looked like a cowboy. It unnerved her when he came near. She found her heart racing! She wasn't looking for a relationship. She had work to finish. She had no time for romance and/or personal relationships. She’d have to keep this all about work. She didn't want complications.”

Alex explains his week to Meghan, “It’s been one of these weeks for me. I missed my flight out of Amsterdam, which resulted in them losing my bag. Then there was a flat tire on the way here and I've been chased by a rhino before wrapping a vehicle around a tree. Now we are stranded in the bush as night is quickly making its presence known.”

They are battling the forces of nature, animals and poachers while filming. Meghan Jordan explains to Alex that there were two types of poaches. “The first came on foot or jeep and simply shot the rhino. The other one used high-tech methods, weapons and powerful knockout drugs. They can be in and out in a matter of minutes, severing the horn and leaving the rhino to bleed to death… These men are skilled hunters drive by financial gain and greed.”

I couldn't put this book down as Alex tries to keep Meghan safe against poachers as he determines if she is being threatened and/or harmed because of death threats her Ambassador father was receiving. I laughed along with Meghan and Alex as they tried to make this documentary in the middle of chaos, as they both fought feelings each was having for the other. I also enjoyed learning about Africa (thru the authors’ eyes and passions). I could imagine being there. It’s a winning combination of suspense, mystery and romantic tension. This author has good discussion questions in the back too for your book club meetings. I highly recommend this novel as a book club pick and as a delightful, and fun read

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
Finding Hope Through Fiction blog
Book Fun Magazine   


ABOUT AUTHOR: Rhonda Gowler Green remembers when she started writing - when her four kids all had chicken pox at the same time. It was a very bad week! To keep her sanity, she started writing stories. And she hasn't stopped. Rhonda lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan, with her handsome husband, Gary.

Santiago Cohen has illustrated a variety of projects, from HBO children's specials that have won Emmy and Peabody awards, to episodes of Troubles the Cat for Cartoon Network, as well as children's books for Putnam, Golden Books, and Houghton Mifflin. Santiago lives in Hoboken, NJ with his wife, children, and numerous pets.

ABOUT BOOK: Classic Bible story with vibrant art and lyrical rhyming text from established and successful author Rhonda Gowler Greene.

“Ninety-eight…ninety-nine…” The faithful shepherd realizes that one of his one hundred sheep is missing and sets out to find it. In playful rhyme, prolific author Rhonda Gowler Greene retells Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep that loses its way on the mountain side. Under brambles, behind rocks, the shepherd looks until he finds it again. Children will delight in this fun and engaging tale illustrated by Margaret Spengler as they learn that God, like the faithful shepherd, will never let them stray.

One Lost Sheep
By Rhonda Gowler Greene
Illustrated by Margaret Spengler
Published by: Zonderkidz
ISBN# 978-0-310-731788
32 Pages

Review: Based on scripture taken from Luke 15:3 which says, “Suppose on of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”

This is a lovely illustrated story that quickly drew me in; first showing the Sheppard with his flock enjoying time together as he watches over them. Protecting them from harm. As he counts he reflects on his little ones and how he knows them.

As the story unfolds the reader sees one of the sheep not keeping up with the flock as they head off with the Sheppard down the hill, so when the Sheppard is counting the reader already knows one sheep is lost.

When the Sheppard discovers one is missing, quickly leaves his flock to find the one lost. The author shows Him looking everywhere trying to find this little one. The illustrator does a great job of showing the urgent look on the Sheppard’s face as he searches for the little lamb.

Everyone rejoices when the lost one is found. They end the story with a little boy praying before he goes to sleep. It says, “Like that shepherd, God above keeps us in his boundless love. The Lord God is our shepherd too, watching and you.”

Love this beautifully illustrated book and its message. I can’t wait to read it to my grandson. You’ll want to share this story too!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
Finding Hope Through Fiction blog


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Poison Town
David C. Cook (February 1, 2014)
Creston Mapes

Creston has fond memories of his boyhood in Bath, Ohio, where he became enchanted with his future wife, way back in the fourth grade. His father, Bernie, owned and operated The Weathervane Furniture Shop in town. The whole family lived right upstairs in the century-old house known as "The Shop."
Creston studied journalism at Bowling Green State University, then began his writing career. During the past 30 years, he has worked as a reporter, corporate copywriter, creative director, freelance writer, and author.


There's More Than One Kind of Poison in This Town
People are sick and dying. Rumors are swirling. Some claim chemicals leaking from a manufacturing plant are causing the cancer that's crippling people on the poor side of Trenton City, Ohio. Yet nothing at the plant appears amiss.

The problem remains a mystery until reporter Jack Crittendon's long-time mechanic falls ill and he investigates. Soon Jack becomes engulfed in a smokescreen of lies, setups, greed, and scandal.

The deeper he digs, the more toxic the corruption he uncovers. As he faces off with the big-time players behind the scenes and tries to beat the clock before more people die, he realizes the chillingly unthinkable--he knows too much.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Poison Town, go HERE.

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy that allowed me to read the sequel to Fear Has a Name. I was quickly pulled into this story through the believable, quirky and endearing cast of characters and their deadly situation!

One of my favorite characters is Travis Randall, he works at his family owned and operated garage. Jack Crittendon an investigative reporter for the Trenton city Dispatch drops his car off at Travis’ shop for repairs.

Jack asks him about Demler-Vargus Corporation, the company his mom and dad used to work for. Travis tells Jack his dad has documentation that shows everyone that has gotten sick at the plant. The company makes one product by day and another at night. Something deadly is spewing out into the air and hurting people.

Crazy things happen as Travis’s Dad tries to prove Demler-Vargus is responsible for getting the town sick.

Travis Randall reminds me of the tow truck character named Mator in the Disney cartoon Cars. (Yes, I’m watching too many cartoons with my grandson. But hear me out!) I imagine Travis to have the accent and mannerisms of this Mator character. Both of them work in a garage. They are kind-hearted, simple men that every now and then get a flicker of wisdom and most definitely pull at your heart strings.

Travis catches up with an old friend that is at a funeral in town. This is what he thinks about meeting a gal he knew in high school and one of the reason’s my heart went out to this character, “Travis could hardly keep his mind on his new muffler hanging over his head. Claire had lit up his life like a roman candle. She was funny and kind, sensitive and pretty – shoot, she had it all…all he wanted to do was be with her again.”

Travis, his Dad and brother crack me up too. Travis’s Dad says to the lawyer who stops by to see him in the hospital, “Galen. I’ve told you before. Call me Galen. I couldn’ve gone home today if it weren’t for the paranoid doctors round here. So afraid of a lawsuit they keep you till you git sick all over again.” Grin!

This story has it all suspense, greed, black-mail, redemption and drama with a natural spiritual thread in the mix. Intricately interwoven into this story is a fun, sweet romance between Travis and Claire; alongside that is Jack Crittendon chasing down leads to fight politics in a small town and a major giant corporation that doesn't want to abide by the cities ordinances but make up their own rules! It doesn’t care how many people they take out! Who does he trust?

Creston’s novels thrill as well as challenge readers. You’ll be glued to the page as these flawed people wrestle with uncovering the truth, fighting for justice, having the faith to face their fears and the courage to do the right thing. Can one person make a difference? You’ll be up late to get the answer to that question in the climatic conclusion. I highly recommend this wild ride. Be sure to put this on your book club and summer reading list. It's a great adventure and there’s so much to talk about!

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!


ABOUT MOVIE: How far would you go…to defend your belief in God?

Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals.

 With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier just to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him? GOD’S NOT DEAD weaves together multiple stories of faith, doubt and disbelief, culminating in a dramatic call to action. The film will educate, entertain, and inspire moviegoers to explore what they really believe about God, igniting important conversations and life-changing decisions.

GOD’S NOT DEAD features a talented cast of actors including Kevin Sorbo (SOUL SURFER, HERCULES, ANDROMEDA), Shane Harper (GOOD LUCK CHARLIE, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2), David A.R. White (BROTHER WHITE, REVELATION ROAD and JERUSALEM COUNTDOWN), and Dean Cain (LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN), with special appearances by Christian super-band Newsboys and “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie and Korie Robertson.

SUPPORT this movie in the theater MARCH 21st. Love the Music by Newsboys too!

My two Cents: My husband and I had the privilege of going to a preview of this movie two weeks ago. I hadn't seen a movie trailer but had heard this movie was hitting theaters soon. Since I work in a book store and my husband and I are into doing media promotions for family friendly entertainment we went to see this flick, boy where we pleasantly surprised.

This is a powerful movie with a great story and cast. I highly recommend it to everyone. It will bring lively discussions and get you thinking about lots of things in a different light! This movie will be in theaters MARCH 21st. Go the first week, show your support and CHECK out their official website at the end of this post of locations this movie will be showing in your state! This movie was taken from a book by the same name! This movie is touching and doesn't tie everything up in a neat bow in the end. I like that. It deals with situations that we often run into!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins 


CHECK OUT the OFFICIAL WEBSITE for more information about where this movie will be playing across the country!


Movie Blurb: Grace Trey is the ideal Christian teen who is also a phenomenal singer. But at the tender age of eighteen, after she gets the music break of a lifetime and is thrust into the "real world" - her faith is put to the test.

OWN IT by Michael and Hayley DiMarco ABOUT BOOK: It's time to stop borrowing or faking your faith . . . own it!

The feature film Grace Unplugged tells the story of Grace Trey, an eighteen year-old small town pastor's daughter who is also a phenomenal singer. But when she abruptly leaves home and finds instant Hollywood fame, the faith and relationships she grew up with are put to the test.

As seen in the movie, Own It challenges readers by asking what it means to really "own" your faith rather than just automatically or blindly following in the footsteps of friends or parents. Bestselling authors Michael and Hayley DiMarco will help you navigate what to do when faith meets real world challenges.

Renting, borrowing, or faking your faith is a waste of time. Own It is all about the supernatural reality that when you take hold of your faith, it's really God's love that takes hold of you. 

My Two Cents: My family watched this movie today and liked it and the message. Rented it at RED BOX.

No family is perfect not even if you're the worship leader at your church. The movie shows how accepting Christ as Lord and Savior is a personal decision. You can't make anyone have your faith. They have to OWN IT for themselves. Hence the book by the same title. When faced with life's pressures and temptations what really matters? Is it getting your name in lights, having everyone know who you are and/or your songs. Or is there something more. Something bigger than yourself? Could you have all this life has to offer and still be empty inside. I liked this movie, it's message and the music!

I look forward to reading the novelization of this book by Melody Carlson and the book Own it! This movie gives people hope and grace to those who need to find their way to the Savior. Everyone has a different journey! Go out and Rent it today!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 

AQUIFER by Jonathan Friesen REVIEWED

By Jonathan Friesen
Published by Harper Collins Publishing
272 Pages

Book Cover: Only He Can Bring What They Needed to Survive.
In 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it control everything. And they'll do anything to maintain their power---deceiving, dividing families, banning love ... even killing those who oppose them. But above all, they seek to control knowledge and communication---ensuring the truth that will bring their downfall will never be known.

But one person verges on discovering it all. Sixteen-year-old Paki (Luca) becomes the Deliverer, the only one allowed to contact the people called 'Water Rats,' who mine the essential water deep underground and bring it to the 'Toppers' who desperately need it above. But when he meets a Water Rat who captures his heart and leads him to secrets---secrets about a vast conspiracy, and about himself---the net around him tightens. Paki and those around him must uncover and share the truth needed to overthrow tyranny---even as they fight for their lives.

Review: I received a review copy of this book that introduced me to Jonathan Friesen and his new novel.  It also introduced me to 16 year old Luca, the son of the Deliverer.

The year is 2250 where drinkable water is hard to find, expressing emotions are forbidden along with any type of art form. This was controlled in order to keep peace in the world.  The people who control the water control the world. Luca is in line to take over his father’s job as the Deliverer. He and his dad struggle with feelings that want to rule their heart as they fight to not express these emotions. Luca takes over his father’s sooner than expected thus begins the adventure in this unique world and situation. Lucas soon discovers he can’t trust anyone on this action filled journey. There are surprised for the reader and Luca as he seeks to find peace in his heart and freedom for his live and for others.

This is a dystopian type story I struggled to get into. Read the beginning a few times to get a grasp of the situation and understand of this new world. It was confusing and fuzzy to me don’t know that I fully got it. I haven’t read a dystopian story before so maybe it’s just me. The story did get more interesting as it went on. I grew to care about the main character. This is the first book in a new youth fiction series.

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