Balancing It All
By Candace Cameron Bure
With Dana Wilkerson
Published by B & H Publishers
226 Pages

Back Cover:  “How do you do it all?”

That’s the question that wife, mom, actress, and best-selling author Candace Cameron Bure is often asked. And it’s a question that women everywhere are asking themselves as we seek to balance all of our roles, responsibilities, and opportunities.

So, how do we do it? Working since the age of 5, Candace has been in a balancing act for nearly her entire life. She is the first to tell you that there is no miracle formula for perfect execution in every area of your life, but there definitely are some lessons to be learned, lessons that come to life in Candace's story.

Come along and dig into Candace’s story from her start in commercials, the balance-necessitating years on Full House, to adding on the roles of wife and mom while also returning to Hollywood. Insightful, funny, and poignant, Candace’s story will help you balance it all.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Candace Cameron Bure first became known to millions as a co-star on the hit ABC television series Full House. Today, like her brother Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains, Fireproof), she is the rare Hollywood actor who is outspoken about her Christian faith and how it helps overcome certain obstacles, like her struggle with food addiction.

Bure's healthy lifestyle has been featured in US Weekly and People magazines as well as national talk shows including The View and NBC's Today. In Reshaping It All, she continues the story, inspiring women to embrace a healthier lifestyle by moving faith to the forefront, making wise choices, and finding their worth in the eyes of God. Candace shares a candid account of her struggle with food and ultimately her healthy outlook on weight despite the toothpick-thin expectations of Hollywood.
Find her website at

REVIEW: A few years back I met Candace Cameron Bure at a Book signing in the Atlanta Ga area for her first book called, Reshaping It All, she was friendly, polite, was gitty and brought some friend with her to celebrate this first book and the journey it would take her on. It was a blast to meet her! I worked at the book store the event was held. I helped with the picture taking. It was fun to see people reaction to meeting her.

This month I've been watching Candace take on another challenge, Dancing with the Stars competition. I've never watched this show before, but tuned in to see Candace perform and stay true to her values. It was an amazing experience for me to watch her transform into quite the dancer over the weeks. I also saw her bloom and grow in her confidence, saw her spirit beam and as she uncovered the talent she didn't know she had. I experienced the same thing when I read her new book, Balancing it all. I had to buy a copy of this book to see how this actor/mom/ wife balances life and stays true to her Christian faith. The caption under the title says, “My story of juggling priorities and purpose.”

I liked how Candace talks about what she learned from her parents about faith, family and marriage in her childhood. She starts out her book in current time, then whisks readers back to when her mother Barbara Bausmith meets and marries Robert Cameron on June 22, 1969.

The last thing Candace’s’ mom Barbara expected her four children to get into was show Biz. It was interesting to read how this came about and what Barbara did to help keep her children stable and grounded in their faith and family. She was all too aware of how being a child actor messed with kids in their teen years and beyond.

“Life is about choices and honesty, so is balance. Your time, your money, your relationships, these are all areas where our choices determine our ability to balance that which is most important for a healthy life.” Candace says.

“My mom was able to help me navigate through the adjustments and keep all the various parts of my life going in a healthy manner. This is a good time to point out another key lesson about balancing it all – you can’t do it alone. No one can. I’m thankful from a young age that having help knowing how to maintain balance as well as the help doing so is crucial.”

…Sometimes our choices are related to balance, it’s about changing the way we view ourselves and our lives so that balance flows out of a right heart…Being honest about when you have too much on your plate or a conflict in schedules is crucial way that we maintain balance,…..In these instances we must confront the conflict directly, acknowledge that we cannot do it all and be comfortable with not always being able to do it all.”

Candace is a deep thinker, who’s honest and transparent about seasons in her life that were a real struggle. She shares how she met her husband and fell in love; her journey through motherhood and learning to juggle life and family priorities. She’s quick to point out everyone has a unique situation and different priorities to juggle. There is no set formula for living a balanced life. Life is in a constant state of change, God is our solid rock and life can be best enjoyed with help from friends, family and through prayer.

I enjoyed this journey down memory lane through Candace’s’ eyes. I felt as if I sat down with her over a cup of tea and talked about life, love and the journey God has us on. I felt like we had a heart to heart talk, laughed and smiled at the lessons life has taught us; hoping to encourage one another along the way.

This is a must read no matter what season of life you’re in. Candace is an encourager, a delight and is transparent in her story telling. A refreshing read, I highly recommend.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins


ABOUT AUTHOR: Lorna Seilstad has called Iowa home her whole life. She received her B.S. in education from Lubbock Christian University. After her first child was born, she stopped teaching and became a professional wiper. "I wiped noses, tears, skinned knees, baby's bottoms, and countertops every day. But at naptime, I wrote." Today, she writes historical fiction with a generous dash of humor.

ABOUT BOOK: After graduating from Fannie Farmer's School of Cookery in 1910, Charlotte Gregory is ready to stir things up. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution--the gas stove--and certainly doesn't mind that the gas company has hired the handsome Lewis Mathis to perform at her lectures. Lewis encourages her work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made--especially by this outspoken young woman.

When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?

 How did you come up with the idea for While Love Stirs?

My agent, Wendy Lawton, suggested a book with cooking in it while she and I were brainstorming, and I recalled a blog post that my friend, Judy Miller, did on Fannie Farmer.  The story idea grew from that. I discovered the cooking competitions and the gas stove demonstrations while reading some newspapers from that time period.

What do you hope readers take away While Love Stirs? 

I hope readers will laugh and maybe even cry along with Charlotte. I hope they will be reminded of the special bond between sisters and family members, and spiritually, I hope they will relate to her struggle of giving God control, and will realize God is bigger than any obstacle.

You had told me that you love to bake. It’s a passion of yours. In-fact people call you the Cookie Lady. I'd like to know when did you start baking cookies? When did you know you LOVED to do bake?

I've always loved to bake and to cook. I grew up on a pig farm. My mother made me a deal. If I cooked supper and did it well, then I didn't have to go out and scoop pig pens. It was great incentive to be a good cook.

I started baking cookies for others when a friend’s husband was having a grand opening at his business. She asked me if I’d make the cookies because she like mine a lot more than the local bakery’s.

You've mentioned that the Cookie Lady or some part of her has been a theme in some of your books? Can you tell me how you started to put this in your books? Which ones? What cookies made it into your books? Why?

The Cookie Lady isn't an actual character in any of the books, but that side of me, the side that loves to make people smile with a gift of food, certainly is. I feel a kinship with women who show their love and creativity through food. I think Lilly is like this in The Ride of Her Life, and Charlotte in While Love Stirs.

Is the Cookie Lady theme in your new book While Love Stirs?

Oh, yes, Charlotte definitely is like that side of me. She expresses everything from anger to love through her food. She is a people-pleaser, too, so food is an extension of that.

I love baking but find cooking actual meals for my family pretty challenging. Not as fun as baking. I think I'm the burn queen of regular meals. Does your baking skills and love of cooking spill over to regular cooking? Do tell!

Yes, I think it does. My specialty is delicious, easy meals. Although I can cook gourmet foods, who has the time?

Nora: You've got that right about the gourmet meals. My husband Fred can go into our kitchen (after I determine we have nothing to eat) and make the most amazing thing out of nothing. My brain doesn't think like that. Thanks for sharing about regular cooking. I was just wondering. Sounds like you have the gift of cooking my husband has! Grin!

Have you gotten creative with your baking? Created any recipes of your own? Branched out in decorating something that was your creation? If so, any pictures you can share?

My Cookie Lady list has twenty different cookies on it. I've made a lot of little changes to the recipes over the years, adding or modifying things. I came up with an orange glazed craisin cookie that I love and an egg nog one. I do decorate cookies, too, but it’s so time consuming! I have two tubs of cookie cutters. I usually make decorated sugar cookies for holidays only.

Nora: Sounds yummy!

What brings a smile to your face when people try your cookies and ask for more? Can you describe how you feel?
When people eat one of my cookies or ask for the recipe, it does make me smile.  There are good cookies and there are great cookies. When you taste the right one, you know the difference. I like feeling like I've given them a little gift.

Nora: I like how you said that. Yes, a great cookie is a special gift indeed!

Is there a cookie recipe you're just waiting for the right moment to try? If so, which one and what are you waiting for?

There’s a Pillsbury Bake-Off winner from several years back that I’d like to try. I have it in my recipe box, but I've not yet made it.

Nora: Send pictures and tell us about it when you do find the time to bake it. I’d love to hear about your experience.

What do you love most about baking cookies?

Cookie baking is fast and fun. Everyone likes cookies. I like the variety of cookies I can make. I like to make them pretty and plate them beautifully.

Nora: I think that’s why I like baking too. It’s fast, fun and everyone likes cookies!

Does the Cookie Lady appear in this novel? Any recipes or baking going on in While Love Stirs?

Yes, Charlotte makes Apple Charlotte quite often in While Love Stirs. Here’s her recipe for the easy layered version:


Charlotte’s Layered Apple Charlotte

9 slices of bread (butter each slice and remove crusts)
6 large apples, pared, cored, and cut in thin slices
1 T. of lemon zest
2 T. of lemon juice
3 T. brown sugar

1.Butter a Dutch oven pan. (Charlotte didn't have spray.)
2.Mix apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Set aside.
3. Place a layer of bread and butter at the bottom.
4.Layer apples over bread. Repeat with bread. Alternate until pan is full or ingredients gone.
5.Cover top with apple peels to keep it from browning too much or sprinkle with a bread crumb (1 C.), melted butter (1/2. C.), cinnamon (1 tsp.), and brown sugar (3 T.) mixture.
6.Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 min.

Lorna’s Cookie Lady Lemon Poppy-Seed Cookies

2 sticks of butter (1 C.)
1 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon extract
2 1/2 C. flour
2 T. poppy seeds
3-5 drops yellow food coloring

1/2 C. Crisco
3 T. milk
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
Yellow food coloring, if desired.

1.Cream butter and sugar.
2.Add salt, whole egg, yolk, and extracts.
3.Mix in flour and poppy seeds.
4.Wrap in plastic wrap in refrigerate for an hour.
5.Roll dough on lightly floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. (Circle or stars work well.)
6.Place cut out shapes on cookie sheet. Put in freezer for 5 minutes.
7.Bake 9-11 minutes at 350 degrees.
8.Cool and drizzle. (I put drizzle in a Ziploc bag and snip the corner.)

What a great way to end an interview. I’m excited to get to know you, your books and your passion better. I’m THRILLED about the Giveaway opportunity that is going on right now at The Book Club Network . It’s easy to enter the drawing. Go to Become a member if you aren't already (It’s FREE and EASY). Scroll down the front page until you get to the cover of Lorna’s new book. Click on the link above the book cover. IT will take you to the place to enter. ANSWER one of the questions listed to be entered into the contest. It’s easy!

THANKS AGAIN LORNA for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. I’m excited to try your recipes. This is GREAT for BOOK CLUB!! I know your book will be a fun book club pick as well!

SEE you at TBCN!!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!


ABOUT AUTHOR: Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of over forty books, including That Certain Summer and more than two dozen other contemporary romance novels. Her romance fiction has won a coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, a HOLT Medallion, and an RT Reviewers' Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine. Her popular Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice suspense series have also won their share of awards, including the RITA, National Readers' Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers' Choice, and RT's Reviewers' Choice. In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. She lives in Missouri. Learn more at

ABOUT BOOK: Claire Summers is a determined, independent single mother who is doing her best to make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed her. Keith Watson is a results-oriented workaholic with no time for a social life. As the executive assistant to a local philanthropic businessman, he's used to fielding requests for donations. But when a letter from Claire's eleven-year-old daughter reaches his desk, everything changes. The girl isn't asking for money, but for help finding the long-lost son of an elderly neighbor.

As Keith digs reluctantly into this complicated assignment, he has no idea how intertwined his life and Claire's will become--nor how one little girl's kindhearted request will touch so many lives and reap so many blessings.

Through compelling characters and surprising plot twists, Irene Hannon offers readers this tenderhearted story of family connections that demonstrates how life is like lilacs--the biggest blooms often come only after the harshest winters.

First we’ll talk about your new book “One Perfect Spring”, how did you come up with the idea for this novel? I love the cover of this book!

I wanted to write a heartwarming story that illustrated how one simple gesture of kindness can have a ripple effect that brings hope and love to multiple lives. I started the book with a letter from an eleven-year-old girl who is trying to do a kind deed for her neighbor—and it grew from there. I generally build my books one character at a time.  So once I had the little girl, I next focused on creating her mother’s back-story. From there I had to figure out what sort of hero would provide the most interesting opportunities for interaction. The plot pieces fell into place as I delved into the lives of these main characters. That’s true for all my books,  because no matter the genre, people are at the heart of my stories. Most of my books begin with a tiny seed of an idea that takes root and begins to grow as I learn about the characters.

Which is easier to write for you a suspense or a contemporary fiction story?

They each have their own challenges. The research for my suspense books tends to be more intense and often very technical, as I typically feature law-enforcement or military characters. I don’t have any personal experience with either of those fields, so I have to do lots of research and cultivate sources who can give me the hands-on information I need to make the stories as authentic as possible. Those includes a retired FBI agent, a U.S. Marshal, police detectives, PIs…the list goes on. So in that sense, the suspense books are more difficult to write.

What do you hope readers take away from your new novel One Perfect Spring?

That every caring gesture, no matter how unimportant it seems, has the potential to have a significant and widespread impact. I also wanted to illustrate how the choices we make, both good and bad, can have far-reaching and lasting implications in our lives. Another message in the book is that we often have to deal with baggage from our past before we can build a future.

What are you working on now? When does it come out?

Book 3 in my Private Justice series, Deceived, will be out in October. I’ve also signed a contract for a new suspense series and more contemporary romance/women’s fiction. After Deceived, readers can look for Book 1 in my Men of Valor series, Buried Secrets, which will be out in April, and a contemporary romance set on the Oregon coast that will release in late summer or fall 2015.

Irene: Several recent interviewers have been interested in my musical theater work. “Yes, I’m Still Singing and Dancing! —when my writing schedule permits.
A number of readers have also asked if I’m still active in theater.  
South Pacific
As a matter of fact, I just performed in a musical revue last weekend called Some Enchanted Evening, which show cased the wonderful songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein. I was thrilled to be featured in several numbers, including a couple of solos. It was a lot of hard work and the cast put in long hours, but proceeds benefitted a faith-based youth sports program, so it was time well spent!”

Nora: Great to hear it Irene - Now for Questions about your passion for theater! Inquiring minds want to know! Grin! (Me!)

When did you catch the theater bug?

I was born with it! Seriously, I think I have greasepaint in my blood. Both my maternal grandparents were wonderful singers and in their younger days did a lot of performing in amateur productions. I can still remember my grandfather when he was in his 70s, sitting at the piano and accompanying himself as he sang. Even as a child I could recognize he had talent. 

What was your first play you auditioned for? Which part? Did you get it?
Anything Goes

In the beginning, I didn't audition—I just put on backyard plays where I was the writer, set designer, director and star! I don’t actually recall the first real play I auditioned for, but I do remember the first musical. It was “Music Man,” and I was such a rookie I just hoped they’d let me be in the chorus. I was thrilled when they did!

When did you start to sing? Dance?

I took dancing lessons beginning in about third grade. Singing came much later because it intimidated me. However, I was determined to get past that, so when I was in college I marched over to the music department and told them I wanted to take voice lessons. I had to wait a semester until they had an opening, but I did it. My friends and family were shocked, as none of them knew I ever had that ambition. I studied voice in college and in graduate school while I was working on my psychology and journalism degrees. That’s when I mustered up the courage to go to the “Music Man” audition I mentioned.

Some people find it hard to do just one of these (sing and dance) yet you can do both? Which is easiest for you to do? Easiest to learn? Why?
King and I

Even though I was a latecomer to singing, I actually find that easier. I love to dance (especially tap), and I can learn just about any combination, but I don’t have as much natural ability with my feet. It takes me a while to get the moves in my head, whereas I can pick up vocals very quickly.

What are some of the favorite shows you’ve been in? What made it your favorite?
Anything Goes

I’ve been very fortunate to play the leading role in many classic musicals, including “Oklahoma,” “The King and I,” “South Pacific,” “Brigadoon” and “Anything Goes,” to name a few. Among those, “The King and I” and “Brigadoon” are particular favorites. Anna is such a strong, independent, principled woman—I loved playing her. And when it comes to heart-melting romance, it’s hard to beat “Brigadoon,” with its great closing line—“When you love someone deeply enough, anything is possible.” No surprise that show would appeal to a romance writer, I guess! :o)


My husband Fred and I worked in theater for years, crazy things happen doing a “live” show night after night and two shows daily on weekends. Can you tell us any funny stories or about events you’ll never forget during the run of a show you were in?

There are so many, it’s hard to know where to start! You definitely learn to improvise in live theater. Lots of my glitches seem to involve costume mishaps—specifically zippers. I recall during “Brigadoon” that when I went to put on my dress one night for the closing scene of Act 1 (when everyone was on stage and there was no other cast members around to assist me), I discovered one of the wardrobe people had sewn the zipper shut while making a costume repair. It was a fast change, so I ended up ripping the thing open, throwing on the dress and dashing onto stage trying to hold the back together with one hand. Fortunately, another cast member saw my plight and managed to wedge herself behind me. During a performance of “Anything Goes,” in the midst of another quick change, the zipper literally pulled out of a dress with a red-sequined form-fitting bodice. There was no salvaging that one. So I yanked on a plain pair of slacks and a top from a different scene. The costume didn't fit the number—but it was the closest thing at hand and I only had about thirty seconds! It’s easy to see why Velcro has become a staple in the world of theater!

Nora: Fun Irene. I know you have more stories to tell thanks for sharing this one. Doing live theater sets itself up for you to have to deal with the unexpected for example my husband Fred was the stage manager for a show they did outdoors in an amphitheater. They had a scene that included a real donkey; during intermission the donkey ran off and got hit by a car, unable to appear on stage with the cast.  Needless to say everyone was upset and crying. My husband said they had to work around the donkey and tell of his tragic death off stage in the context of the show. They improvised. (The show was a period piece and no cars excited back then).

THANKS for stopping by Irene, it’s always a pleasure. I’m excited about the contest and give away at the Book Club Network going on right now and ends the last day of May. Thanks for including these fun pictures.

Participants need to be a member of TBCN (go to ). It’s Free and Easy. Jump in when you can! Scroll down the front page and click on the link that leads to the discussion.

See you There!
Nora  :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


ABOUT AUTHOR: Becky Wade is a graduate of Baylor University. As a newlywed, she lived for three years in a home overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, as well as in Australia, before returning to the States. A mom of three young children, Becky and her family now live in Dallas, Texas. Learn more at 

ABOUT BOOK: Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school--irresistible. When their paths cross again after college--still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

What do you hope readers take away from this series? Your book Meant to Be Mine?

 I'm having a wonderful time writing a series of books about the Porter Family of Texas.  I hope readers take away from it the satisfaction of getting to know and love a large family over the course of several years, the fun of feeling at home in small town Texas, the charm of watching each of the family's four siblings fall in love.
From Meant to Be Mine, I hope readers take away a sense of God's astonishing and humbling capacity to forgive.  And I hope that they're reminded that God has the power to work that same forgiveness in their own hearts and lives. 

Nora: I did enjoy the Porter Family. I've never been to Texas but I felt you gave me the grand tour. I also loved how you dealt with forgiveness and reminded me again like you said, "God has the power to work that same forgiveness in our hearts and lives" When we allow it inside us if affects everyone one we come in contact with. I like how you showed that and so much more.

Growing up, what were three important values you learned that stuck with you and shaped your life?
Family & I in Germany

 I grew up in Riverside, California, the eldest of three daughters.  My parents taught us so many wonderful values!  Three that stand out:

They taught us to put the Lord at the center of our lives.

They brought us up to be respectful of others.

 They taught us not to put our treasure in monetary things.

Nora: Fun! I saw all those in this book! Grin!

Did you have a say in choosing the cover for this book? How did the process work?

Cover Choices
Cover in the making

Great question!  About a year before Meant to Be Mine was scheduled to release, Bethany House asked me for my cover ideas, for hero and heroine inspiration photos, setting details, plot details, etc.  I filled out the form they sent me in great detail -- and that was the end of my role in the process.  I saw my new cover for the first time this past September.  
 Meant to Be Mine's cover designer, Jennifer Parker, was kind enough to take some behind-the-scenes pictures for me the day of the cover photo shoot.  I'll share a few here, as well as some of the 'runner-up' covers for the book. 

Nora: THANKS for sharing the cover process. This was fun. Love the pictures!

Why write Christian Fiction? What’s the draw for you?

 I write Christian fiction because it's what God has called me to write.  I consider it my ministry and I write to bring glory to Him. 

What I've found: God calls us to serve Him in ways that we love.  And He's gracious to equip those He calls.  Amen?

My first pregnancy
Over the course of the story, Celia is able to realize a dream she’d left behind long before. Thinking her dream could never come true. Have you ever had the opportunity to rediscover something you once loved? 

Yes.  I could relate to Celia very well. 

I started writing in my early twenties.  I wrote four manuscripts in four years, dreaming and hoping for publication the entire time.  When a New York editor finally called to tell me she wanted to publish one of my novels I was over the moon!  I wrote and released three historical romances for the general market.  

Me  and My babies
Then my oldest daughter was born and I gave up writing to raise her and (eventually) her little brother and sister. Over the next seven years I grew all but certain that I'd never write again.

In God's time, however, He breathed new life into my writing dreams.  He gave me a second chance, this time to write for the Christian market.  It's been a tremendous joy to rediscover something I'd loved and lost.

Nora: Love the pictures. I'm glad you shared this and started writing again! 


What movie affected most you when you were young?

Star Wars!  My dad took me to see it when I was five.  I still remember how completely it entranced me.  Who knows?  It may have been then and there that my devotion to romantic story-lines began, thanks to Harrison Ford as Han Solo.

Nora: Star Wars was an amazing movie! I'll never forget the first time I saw it. Grin!

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? 

I'd like to think I'd play the role of leader in our survival efforts.  But I don't know squat about wilderness survival.  Nothing.  Thus, if there are any children on the island, then in all actuality, I'd probably find myself taking care of them.  That seems to be my lot.  

Nora: I don't know anything about survival either. I'd pray that the Lord had someone in the group that had this gifting or could figure it out quick! Grin!

A friend of yours has a time machine and they will let you use if for a while. Where would you go and what would you do?

 I'd go to Regency England.  I've read numerous novels set in that time period and I'm always charmed by it.  The clothes!  The elegance!  The ton! 

 Once I'm there, I'd dress in gowns, drink tea, attend balls, ride around in carriages, and end up marrying a fabulously handsome duke.

Nora: Fun!

What two jobs have you had that would surprise people? Do tell!

 I was once an Estee Lauder sales girl.
 I once worked the check-in desk at a spa, making massage reservations and the like.

If money weren't an issue where would you like to go and what would you like to do?

I visited Paris once when I was a child and I'd love to go again.  If money were no option, I'd stay at the Ritz, sleep late, shop, stroll, read, and eat crepes and croissants (quite the dream, since I'm gluten free).  I'd drink Cafe au lait, visit museums, and dine at impossibly stylish restaurants.

Nora: Sounds like fun! I've love to go to Italy and Paris! Not sure of the food I'd eat.

Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite? 

When my husband and kids say, "I love you."

Nora: Fun!


I'd simply like to thank you, Nora, for hosting me here on your wonderful site.  I can't begin to express how much I appreciate my amazing readers.  Their support never fails to encourage me and spur me forward.  God bless you!

It’s been great fun to get to know you and your books. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at all that was in Meant to be Mine. It’s rich on so many levels. I look forward to hearing from you soon and reading more of your novels!

The contest is underway and will run until the end of the month. PARTICIPANTS need to be members of TBCN It’s FREE and EASY to join. If you have any questions please let me know.


Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


FRANCINE RIVERS is on the front cover of BOOK FUN MAGAZINE this month. She talks about her new book A Bridge to Haven. What a powerful book! Check out Francine Rivers heart-felt and transparent interview along with my review of her new book. It's great for a powerful read and/or a book club pick. She has good discussion questions that will kick off the discussion in your group. There is a lot to talk about

CLICK This LINK to go to the MAGAZINE - This one is filled with Book Fun! CHECK IT OUT!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!


KEEP Book Fun Magazine FREE to Readers around the World - Create Jobs at Book Fun Magazine on GoFundMe - $260 raised by 4 people in 20 hours.This will help take The Magazine and The Book Club Network to the Next level of Book FUN for ALL!! Thanks for your help in Spreading the word CLICK LINK TO FIND OUT MORE! LINK to share 



ABOUT THE MOVIE: This is a hilarious family comedy that celebrates real family life—where everything can go wrong and still turn out all right.

All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation . . . a long-needed moms’ night out. But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation and food not served in a bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for a few hours—what could go wrong?

Chronicling one night out gone awry, three harried moms, their husbands, a sister-in-law with a misplaced baby, a tattoo parlor owner, a motorcycle gang, and a bewildered cabbie all learn to embrace the beautiful mess called parenting. This book spotlights the unfulfilled expectations and serial self-doubts many moms feel . . . then reassures us that the key is raising kids in a loving home. Mom’s Night Out is an endearing, true-to-life comedy. 

REVIEW: My grown kids had asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day. I said that I really wanted to see the movie Mom’s Night Out. I had read the novelization a few weeks back, written by Tricia Goyer and thought it would be a great movie. I laughed out-loud and got choked up in parts. I wondered if they could pull off the fun and craziness I had read about in the book and put it on the big screen.  I told my kids about the actors that were in this movie. They didn’t seem thrilled. In unison the said, “How about watching the new Spiderman movie or there is this other movie… Mom’s Night out really?”

I told them the movie depicted the joys and struggles of motherhood. It could be a wild ride of family fun. No one looked thrilled to see it. But because I asked them. We went as a family. A mom couldn’t ask for more! I told them of all the cast members (listed below) hoping this would real them in. Nobody changed their expressions. They just gave me polite smiles, saying inside, “Ok, Mom I’m doing this for you because I love you. You can’t change my mind. Just go with it.” So, I did. I knew what lay ahead.  I was excited about my Mom’s Night Out! Grin!

The MOMS’ NIGHT OUT film featured – CAST - Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy), Sean Astin (THE LORD OF THE RINGS), Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), Alex Kendrick (COURAGEOUS), Robert Amaya (COURAGEOUS), Andrea Logan White (REVELATION ROAD), Kevin Downes (COURAGEOUS), and platinum-selling country recording artist Trace Adkins (THE LINCOLN LAWYER).

The movie starts out exactly as the book did. Allyson is up early her husband is away on business, she’s feeling stressed and she begins to blog.

“It’s 5a.m. And do you know where your children are? Mine are in bed. I should be in bed. It’s Mother’s Day. But I’m not. Wanna know why? Because I’m a clean freak! ……I can actually feel the house getting dirty. Like I have nerve endings in the carpet. And it affects me.”

As we watched the first few scenes of the move I heard the audience roar and I watched my children on either side of me laughing hard. As I looked at them and watched the movie I remembered being in the thick of raising small children. Those times were precious and overwhelming at the same time. The movie showed that. The Lord brought me through along with girlfriends and prayer.

I looked over at my oldest son who is graduating from high school next week who was actually enjoying the movie. I stared at him as he laughed. I couldn’t believe he had grown up so fast and would be off to college soon. I looked at my daughter who was in the thick of raising a precious 3 ½ year old son with her husband. She laughed but saw this movie in a different way than my son. I saw in her eyes that she was relieved to see other women had gone through the things she had. I saw her getting energized. My 16 year old son laughed even though doing so hurt. He wasn't feeling well but came anyway. I appreciated him doing that stuffy nose and all. I looked at him and thought he was almost a grown man. He would always be my baby! He hates when I say that! But it's true. Grin!

After the movie ended the credits came and we usually stay to read them all. Everyone was relieved when they read in the credits to know nothing happened to the bird named Mama! We roared with laughter even more as we were reminded of the whole bird scene. Hilarious!

SPOILER ALERT: There was a part that touched me in the book but more so in the movie when Bones was talking to Allyson about motherhood.

“I saw something the other day…It was an eagle just caring for its young….It’s a beautiful thing to watch one of God’s creations just doing what it was made to do…Just being an eagle, and that’s enough.” He looked at Allyson.

“Lemme tell you something, girl. I doubt the Good Lord made a mistake giving your kiddos the mama He did. So just be…you. He’ll take care of the rest.”

…hearing this from Bones tugged at her heart even more. He was an unlikely prophet, sent to speak to her at an unlikely time. Only God could do something like that.

Allyson wiped away a tear, sniffling as she did. “That was really…profound, Bones.”

“What? Wha’d I say? Was it good? He straightened in his seat.

…”Where they true, Bone’s words? Was she enough? Had God made her enough just as she was? Was she enough just in being who she was…no matter how well she performed?” (Quotes taken from the Book by the same name written by Tricia Goyer – this scene was in the movie)

I know I struggle to walk in what God has called me to do and not be swayed to perform to the standards of this world. I walked away from this movie and novel encouraged. The message I heard was that being a Mom matters so does balance and being a team with your spouse. Everyone needs a time out and time to unplug, regroup and breathe before going back at it.

It was a wonderful to experience, I could go to the theaters and have a choice at watching this great quality movie with clean fun, laughs and a great message. I LOVED IT! And so did my kids. They were talking about their favorite parts in the car on the way home. Laughing again at what they had seen and heard. Great memories created on this Mother’s Day!


Thanks Kids and my honey for BLESSING ME and encouraging me on this special Mother's Day!

Nora St.Laurent

TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!


Child of Mine
By David and Beverly Lewis
Published by Bethany House
245 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: Bestselling Author Duo Delivers Heart-Stirring Drama

Jack Livingston has been raising his nine-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents' lives. While he travels for work, Natalie is lovingly cared for by Laura, an Amish nanny who loves her as her own.

Kelly Maines is nearing the end of her rope. Her baby was kidnapped, the apparent victim of a black market adoption ring, and for eight years, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. Now, there's one last lead from a private investigator: Just a few miles away lives a girl who matches the profile. Could this, at long last, be her beloved child?

Desperately, Kelly initiates a "chance" meeting with Jack Livingston. It goes really well. So well, in fact, that Jack asks her out. One date leads to another, and before she can come clean with her original motives, Kelly realizes Jack is falling for her--and she for him.

Now how can she tell Jack why she's really here? And having gotten to know Natalie, what if she isn't her long-lost daughter, after all? This was all supposed to be so simple.

But nothing in Natalie's world is simple...

Review: Thanks to The Book Club Network  for a review copy of a book that introduced me to Beverly Lewis and her new novel. I’ve known about this author and have actually watched one of her movies that had been made from her book called Saving Sarah Cain.

I enjoyed the movie very much. I don’t read many Amish novels, it was not a topic my book club ladies wanted to read about often. I was thrilled to receive the review copy of a book I really enjoyed. Not only did I instantly connect with the leading man, Jack; uncle to Nattie. But I adored little Nattie. She is a spit fire full of questions and love to share with her Uncle, Laurie her Amish nanny and friends.

I enjoyed this novel because it took place completely outside of the Amish community. There were references to their way of life and customs because Laure was Nattie’s nanny for so many years.  These authors talked about how an Amish woman could care for an Englisher child but still maintain her way of life. I found it interesting.

Laura was Nattie’s whole world when she suddenly lost both of her parents. Nattie’s Uncle Jack became her guardian and moved into his brother’s house. He wanted to keep things stable for this precious little one. The transition was made easier with the assistance of Laura. Life was hard in the beginning but with the help of his sister San and Laura they figured out a comfortable routine. Jack grew to love this little girl the Lord put in his life and couldn’t imagine life without her. Life was good until Nattie tries to play match maker for Jack. Nattie was in search for a mother and a soul mate for Jack.

I was delighted by Nattie. She was fun loving, bright, over flowing with love to share, she was all girl. She wasn’t afraid to tell you what she was thinking either. Nattie was quite the list maker. I enjoyed reading about Jack and Nattie’s relationship and the fun they had that often times included Laura.

“Fee Fi Fo Fair!” he heard from inside Nattie’s room.
“I can hear you out there!”
Jack cracked the door open and flipped on the light…since you’re still awake…maybe we could talk.”
“I do like talking when I’m not in trouble.” She made a face. “Wait a minute – am I in trouble again?”
“You’re never in trouble, sweet Pea.”
“Okay, let’s go with that.” Nattlie smiled.

The other story line throughout the novel was about Kelly. She is in search for her baby girl named Emily. She was adopted to a family and Kelly has made it her life’s mission to find her. Chet, a father figure to Kelly says to her, “Whenever things are bleak, messy, consider it an opportunity. Anyone can believe in the light of day, but few persist under the shroud of darkness. Never forget, faith is a light that’s best seen in the dark.”

There are nuggets like this throughout the novel. They are naturally mingled in the middle of the fun and drama.

Laura says to Jack, “Character is what we give God. Character is forged by faith and persistence and doing the right thing.” No matter how hard it is.

This story instantly grabbed my heart and my attention. I adored Nattie, I liked Jack and Laura as well. I felt for Kelly. As her flight unfolded my heart broke. Things were going along good when Jack learns in a parent teacher conference that Nattie is in search of a mother.  Jack doesn’t know what to think or what to do. It’s been years since he’d been on a date!

This is a sweet, fun story filled with some twists, turns and a few surprises along the way. This is a wonderful story with believable characters walking out impossible situations. All of them trusting God has their best in store for them. I laughed, my throat tightened and I was teary eyed in parts. I highly recommend this book as a book club pick and/or a great summer read. This is the first book I’ve read by this author it won’t be the last.

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


By Robin Parrish
Published by: Bethany House
314 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: A storm is coming.

The most popular evangelist of his day, John Luther, simply wants to share the Gospel and enjoy a quiet life with his family. He never asked to be at the center of a political controversy, but an ill wind has been blowing through the halls of Congress, and supporters of a new religious-equality bill see Luther's endorsement as critical.

But when Luther refuses to lend his support, he unknowingly sets in motion an explosive plan bent on destroying his reputation and undermining everything for which he stands. His once-normal life is turned upside down as he becomes a fugitive left with only one dangerous option--putting everything he holds most dear at risk while he fights to expose the truth. It is a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that could threaten the very fabric of our nation's freedoms.

REVIEW: I was hooked from the start as the author weaves the past and present life of T.V. evangelist, John Luther throughout the novel. The book opens with a prologue and then John being interviewed by a reporter in current time, “So, John, what is your opinion of the primary tenets of The Faith and Fairness’ Act? And I quote, “To publicly declare your religious beliefs in a way that permits equal time and respect to other systems of faith.”

“Freedom is fragile and costly,” John said with conviction. “It must be constantly protected and defended by work, by faith…. and even by blood.”

Then the story skips back to John’s life 39 years ago. His father had tried to show him how to avoid the pit holes of life. He wanted to teach John how to stay on the straight and narrow path. John’s Dad Charles, had fallen into these pit holes and wanted to save his son the pain, sorrow and regret that came with each fall. John thought his father was mean, old fashion and way too strict. John wanted more from this single dad. Charles never talked about John’s mother! Whatever happened to her? John was afraid to ask.

Then the story switches to current time, John Luther is a popular T.V. preacher and his ministry is called Truth Live. John says, “Tonight, I believe we are headed, as a nation toward a great spiritual awakening. And yet many are telling you that if the government can unit all faiths under this new religion reform bill, that somehow world peace will come. But the bible says, that no government can ever bring peace to mankind… The question is not if attempts will be made to limit religious freedoms. But when. And when that day comes. Will you stay silent?”

This sounds like the day and age we are currently in. The author begs the reader to wake up, to stop and think how they would answer this question. Many are being persecuted all around the world. The movie producer hoped to awaken those that are sleep walking thru life. Things are happening all around us! Pay attention, Listen to that still small voice within guiding us to get involved, be ready.

“All John wanted to do was to preach the Gospel…that was his reason for breathing…He told a reporter, “I cannot water down the Gospel to advance anybody’s political agenda.”

“Like it or not, He was a lightning rod in the public eye. When it came to matters of faith. Everyone has strong feelings about the faith and Fairness’ Act, and equally strong feelings about John Luther.”

This book reminded me of the movie starring Harrison Ford called, “The Fugitive” Like the character Harrison Ford played John Luther is running for his life. The media has convicted him for something he didn’t do. He sets out to prove his innocence. Riviera and Clark are the two FBI Agents assigned to this case. They dig into John’s colorful past. “So, what we’ve got here is a dividing line; Rivera said, summing up the report. “There’s his old life, where he was toxic and self-destructive. And then there’s his current life, where all of that stuff went away and he became a respected religious leader. The dividing line was probably a ‘conversion experience” where he ‘met God’ or whatever. The question is, when did it happen?”
“Somewhere between 15 or 20 years ago. Clark replied. “And this is relevant how?”

“If we understand the circumstances of when and how he changed his life so drastically, it might help us better understand why he’s flipped the switch back the other way, if he has indeed relapsed.”

John seeks his Dad out for counsel about his current life threatening situation, Charles says to his son, “Things are going to get worse before they get better…Don’t you stop staring into the light, no matter what you do, keep on looking into the light.”

I highly recommend this nail biting, breathe taking suspense novel. The message is relevant. This is a thriller that packs a powerful punch in many ways. This would make a great book club pick. It includes 9 discussion questions that will get things rolling at your meeting. You all could also see the movie as a group then discuss how the movie was different and/or the same as the novel. The trailer to this movie looks just as enthralling as the book. (Watch the movie trailer below to see for yourself).

The movie producer and director; Daniel Lusko says, “Writing a movie called Persecuted comes with it a heavy task. Everyone can relate to the feeling of being persecuted for one’s beliefs. Truth is many people feel persecuted, even within the church, but few for the right reasons…There is a power in suffering for the purpose of God, a power few have experienced in the West.”…The story of this film is just the beginning of an awakening to prepare believers for a choice that will have to be made… The question is not if attempts will be made to limit religious freedoms. But when. And when that day comes. Will you stay silent?”

This is a must read! I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. You’ll want to see it too after reading this powerful and moving book!

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


By Creston Mapes
Published by David C. Cook
400 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: A rally for a controversial presidential candidate.
A terrorist threat.
A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions.

Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn't making matters any easier.

With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up Intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives—and the lives of thousands of innocent people.

This third book in The Crittendon Filesreminds us of the power of family, friendships and faith—and why we are never in as much control as we think.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Creston Mapes is the author of the #1 Amazon bestselling Christian fiction mystery, Nobody, along with the bestselling Christian fiction thrillers Fear Has a Name, Dark Star and Full Tilt. His early years as a reporter inspire many of his novels.

A journalist, copywriter, and editor, Creston works from his home-office in Atlanta for some of the nation's top media companies, Christian ministries, and nationally-recognized corporations, including Chick-fil-A, Coke, ABC-TV, and The Weather Channel. In addition to Creston's novels and freelance writing, he has ghostwritten and edited seven non-fiction titles.

Creston is married to his hometown sweetheart, Patty. They have a close-knit family, with four great children, several pets, and a growing number of cars.  , ,

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book I just couldn't put down. This is a nail biting suspense drama that’s all too real. It reminded me of two movies Airforce One with Harrison Ford, from a political point of view with the danger, deception and suspense. The other movie was Die Hard with Bruce Willis because of all the people on the inside he trying to save people from the bad guys. A few insiders were the eyes and ears for the police outside which created dramatic tension.

This story picks up about where the last book leaves off. Jack Crittendon finds it hard to obtain full time work so he is working part-time as a security person at the Columbus Festival Arena. His wife Pamela has had to go back to work full-time as Administrative assistant to a local orthodontist office to make ends meet. Both of them hate their situations since she’s now expecting their third child.

When Jack gets to work he discovers that singer Everett and Senator Martin Sterling will be at the Arena that night, which meant this place was going to be packed. He works with Shakespeare who’s x-military and takes pride in arming himself and family for a collapse of America’s economy. They both think of strategies to keep tonight’s crowd safe.

Shakespeare shares his disaster ready life style and possible tragedy forecast for America with Jack, “You control individuals with guns and weapons, like Hitler did, but you control the population with food….If food is cut off you have chaos, societal bedlam. Pillaging. Theft. Gang of looters. What do you do then?” He wanted Jack to start preparing for this event now like he and his family were doing.

Shakespeare went on to tell him about the Get Home Bag. “It’s a bag of necessities you keep in your car in case the mud hits the fan while you’re away from home. It’s got everything you need to get you home – then you can decide whether you are going to bug out or hunker down – I can show you mine. You’ll need a SRL too – Survival Retreat location. It’s when home base is no longer good. It’s when there’s complete breakdown of society with people starving and panic, looting from house to house…You've got to bug out because every house, barn, store and building will be searched for food and supplies.”

“Jack and his wife experienced Shakespeare’s survival camp (home), it was astounding.”
Jack liked his friend but who had time to think about all this much less do it. But he’d be polite and listen.

There’s a call on the radio for both of them to report to the office. There they hear the news that homeland security has picked up a threat of a possible attack at the Arena that night. His boss was deciding whether to cancel the event or delay opening so they could search the place to make sure it was safe for their visitors. One of the workers says to the boss, “We did a full sweep last night after the hockey game just like always.” This was a 12,000 seat venue.

“You know as well as I do that if someone wanted to spend the night in this building they could. If these guys are pros and this things been planned out, they could have been hanging from the ceiling like bats for all we know. There are plenty of places to hide. I say they’re in here now and we should evacuate.”

Pam, Jack’s wife had been a stay at home mom for all of their kids. That’s where her heart was and where Jack wanted her to be too; home with their new born. She couldn't believe God wasn't making that happen. Time was ticking down for the arrival of baby number three it didn't look like she’d be at home with this little one for long.

I highly recommend you prepare time to really enjoy this book; it’s one you can’t put down once you start. Mapes writing shines in his best novel to date. Don't miss this riveting, page-turning thriller that will have you up late reading the dramatic, satisfying conclusion of an all too real scenario.

CRESTON MAPES will be doing a book signing at LIFEWAY CHRISTIAN STORE BUFORD STORE. Outside the Mall of GA in JUNE! Check out Buford LifeWay Christian Store Facebook page for more details. Books will hit book stores in JUNE! Mark your calendars.

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


The Gift of Love
By Amy Clipston
Published by: Zondervan
224 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: In The Gift of Love, bestselling fiction author Amy Clipston shares her story of almost losing the love of her life to kidney disease and the ultimate sacrifice that kept their family together. An ordinary woman who cherishes family above all else, Amy was challenged in every way---from her strength of character to the depths of her faith to the close-knit family that surrounds her. Enduring the good, the bad, and the really bad, she was determined to help her husband once again be the husband and father their family needed.

Amy's story will give hope and encouragement to anyone who finds themselves waiting on God. Staring down adversity, Amy and her family received the most important gift of all, the gift of love. And regardless of your situation, this gift can be yours too.

An inspirational story of strength and determination, The Gift of Love is the triumph of one woman's faith against all odds, and a soul-filling reminder that no matter how hard life gets, it is worth fighting for.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing "career" began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. An advocate for organ and blood donation, Amy donated a kidney in 2011 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through her donation, her husband received a second kidney transplant. Amy and her husband matched another couple and swapped kidneys with them. Amy's memoir, A Gift of Love, will be available in early 2014. She hopes her story inspires others to become organ and blood donors. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats. You can find her on the web at   or on Facebook at

REVIEW: I’m thankful for a review copy that introduced me to this author and her amazing journey. I work at a bookstore and have seen the many fiction books this author has written. When I saw she wrote a non-fiction book I was curious to learn more about the woman behind the books she’d written.

I was hooked from the start, here’s the first sentence. “I need to talk to Joe. I’ve been hit…Joe! Pick up the phone! It’s Amy. It’s an emergency…A Semi hit me.”

Did that grab your attention? It did mine! Everyone was astounded that she survived the crash. Dr’s said, “Someone was looking out for you.”

Amy agreed. She said, “I thanked God over and over again for saving me from that accident, for gifting me with two darling sons, for blessing me with a loving husband and for giving me all of the Joys in my life…I believed..that accident was one of the most terrifying moments of my life, but I’m certain God’s angels protected me. I’m also certain one of the reasons I walked away from it all was so I could donate a kidney for my husband three years later. God needed my kidneys and He kept them safe.”

Amy is one brave lady; her story will encourage your faith and give you hope for no matter what you are going through. She gives readers a peek into her world as a caregiver, a mom, author who works full time at a day job so she can write books in her spare time at night! (What spare time. Grin!)Life can get difficult and messy at times. God will give us what we need when we need it. He’s always there. He sends people we need to encouraged us; pray for us and help us through. The author also showed in her book how love can shine in the darkness! It never ceases to amaze me how God knows everyone and connects us like no one else can, to accomplish His will for our lives.

This author concludes her book by saying, “I hope that this book can highlight the importance of blood and organ donation. These intimate donations of flesh and blood are not only a gift of love; they are for many people a precious gift of life.”

This is an inspiring story I recommend especially those who might be on the list for a transplant of a kidney and/or if you want to donate your kidney to give life to someone else. I will definitely be checking out some of Amy Clifton’s Christian fiction soon! You should too!

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