The Christmas Cat
By Melody Carlson
Published by Revell
169 pages

ABOUT AUTHOR: Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than six million. She is the author of several Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, as well as The Christmas Pony and A Simple Christmas Wish. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

ABOUT BOOK: After years abroad, Garrison Brown finds himself at the home of his beloved grandmother who has just passed away. He must sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While he hopes to dispense with the task quickly--especially since he is severely allergic to cats--his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed. She has left some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends.

Can he match the cats with the perfect new owners? And is it possible that he might meet his own match along the way?

REVIEW: It’s a delightful Christmas feel good novel from one of my favorite authors. What makes this book extra special is the fact it evolves around cats. Cats are fun, mysterious, and have such different personalities!

Garrison Brown had meant to visit his grandmother more when he returned from Uganda but with several Dr. Appointments for his malaria and looking for a job; things got crazy. Now she was gone! His Grandma’s attorney wanted to see him right away. He couldn’t imagine what was so urgent. He knew his Gram’s didn’t have money but he hurried over to see what needed to be done.

Garrison can’t believe his ears. He knew his Gram’s loved cats but really! Her dying wish was for him to find good homes for her 6 cats. That seemed easy enough until he got the list of requirements these adoptive families had to meet.

1.    The cats could only be placed with an approved family
2.    The approved Adoptive family must live in Gram’s neighborhood
3.    The approved adoptive family must have resided in the neighborhood for at least a year – none of her cats would be placed in a transient homes.

The list went on and on… Garrison realized that these cats were like her children. But this list seemed unreal, and impossible to do!
Garrison was told that after the cats were placed for a two week trial period he’d have to pay a surprise visit to ensure that the cats are happily settled into their new homes. If anything was amiss the cats would be removed.

The attorney points out one more thing, “All adoptive families will be given a check for $10,000.00 after you have determined all six cats are settled and happy…..You can tell people but I don’t recommend doing that….it would make it difficult to sift the suitable adoptive homes from the gold diggers.”

“Your grandmother’s final wish was for her cats to find good homes and the people who adopted them to be blessed in the process.”

Garrison left the office a little baffled; how was he going to find homes for these cats? How was he going to live at his Gram’s house and take care of them when he was allergic to cats? He realized he only lived six years under his Gram’s roof and the cats were there many more years after he left. He would do whatever it takes to grant his Gram’s final wish! She had done so much for him!

I loved hearing about all the different cats’ personalities and their special needs. LOL! Fun! You can tell that the author is passionate about cats from her dedication and the role Harry plays in this book, “Dedicated to Harry, a very fine Maine Coon cat who found us in the middle of a snowy winter and won a place in all of our hearts.”

This is a heart-warming, Christmas story I enjoyed. If you have cats or just love them you’ll enjoy this charming story that gives the reader a picture of what loving your neighbor as yourself looks like. This makes a great gift, Nov and Dec book club pick and it’s just fun!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Book Club Network  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.

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

Book Fun Magazine   


Yogurt Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
By Janet Fletcher
Published by 10 Speed Press
143 Pages

Back Cover: A fresh, modern yogurt-centric cookbook that showcases the versatility of this dairy superstar in 50 recipes for appetizers, salads, soups, sauces, marinades, beverages, and desserts, and provides fail-proof directions for making your own yogurt at home.
Americans have fallen in love with yogurt, thanks to its creamy texture, tangy flavor, and health-promoting probiotic cultures. In Yogurt, a fresh and modern full-color cookbook, author Janet Fletcher demonstrates the versatility of this dairy superstar in more than fifty recipes for appetizers, salads, soups, beverages, and desserts. From roasted tomato bruschetta with yogurt cheese to meatballs in a warm yogurt sauce to a golden yogurt cake, these recipes showcase yogurt in dishes both rustic and sophisticated. Drawing inspiration from the culinary traditions of Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, India, and beyond, this useful handbook includes a guide to purchasing yogurt (all of the recipes work with quality store-bought brands), advice on choosing a yogurt maker, and easy methods for making yogurt, Greek yogurt, and yogurt cheese at home.

REVIEW: I had no idea there were so many ways to make yogurt. I was also surprised at the different varieties. The first section of this book starts with the five steps to making homemade yogurt. It was fascinating to read about choosing the milk, the starter and choosing an incubation method for making yogurt. She walks you through how to purchase a yogurt maker and a trouble shooting section for when things are not the way you expected it to turn out. Helpful!

The author talks about making homemade yogurt, Making Drained Yogurt, Making Greek Yogurt, Making Yogurt Cheese and using Whey.

The sections in the book are yogurt for Breakfast, Appetizers and Salads, Soups, Mostly Meat, Vegetables and Grains, Desserts and Beverages. The things I’d like to try are in the Soup section: Chicken Soup with toasted Pasta, Chickpeas and yogurt, Chilled Avocado and yogurt Soup with Tomato Salsa in the Mostly Meat section: Harissa-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Peppers, Lamb Meatballs in Warm Yogurt Sauce with Sizzling Red-Pepper Butter. Vegetables and Grains – Roasted Butternut Squash with Yogurt and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Grilled Zucchini with Yogurt Sauce, Keta, Lemon and Dill Under Desserts: Warmed Baked Figs with Pernod, Candied and Yogurt, Greek Yogurt Sorbet, Absinthe’s Golden Yogurt Cake, and Banana-Fig Smoothie.

This is a hardback book filled with 50 recipes. There are many colorful pictures throughout the book. The ingredients are easy to find in your grocery store and the author lists the serving size for every recipe. I can’t wait to start making my own yogurt at home!! The beginning section that talks about this process and why yogurt is good for you in my favorite section of this book.

I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest opinion. There was no obligation to give a positive review. I'm a tell-it-like it is kind of person. This holds true to my review.

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


By Victoria Bylin
Published by Bethany House
331 Pages

Back Cover: Sometimes the most unexpected love can be exactly what a heart needs...

When a Lost Child warning blares over the mall's PA system, Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that the child suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly's past suddenly confronts her. Never again will she become personally involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny--and Penny's handsome father--tugs at Carly's heart.

Dr. Ryan Tremaine is trying to put his life back together. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan has put his faith in his Sink-or-Swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruit Carly Mason to be Penny's nanny.

Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

REVIEW: This is an emotionally-charged story that had my gut wrench and heart hurt as Dr. Ryan Tremaine finds himself in a situation no parent wants to ever be in; hearing the PA scream there is a Code Adam and you see them lock the mall doors. The author masterfully invites readers into this characters’ family drama which reveals the good, the bad and the messy.

Ryan is trying to cope with the fact that the affair he had destroyed his family and created a precious little girl that suffered from FASD. Penny is five years old and on the outside looks perfect in every way; but on the inside she doesn’t see things, feel things or process anything like everyone else.

Carly Mason is a store manager of a toy store and goes through the required procedures of a Code Adam drill; when she spots Penny. The little girl is in the process of melting down when her father and two siblings find her. Carly recognized the signs of FASD and knew how to deal with the situation she starts to hum. Ryan hears her hum, “Amazing Grace! He didn’t believe in God, but he knew the words to the old hymn. His mother had been quietly faithful in the face of his father’s intellectual pride, and she’d taken Ryan to church until he was old enough to protest.” He watched as Penny relaxed. It worked to his surprise. Ryan then tries to hire Carly to be Penny’s nanny on the spot. He had been thru 4 nannies just that week. No one understood his little girl.

Carly prays about the situation and talks to her dad. Her heart goes out to this little one and feels she can help. She was a social worker who studied this syndrome in college and interned at a facility that helped girls like Penny.

Penny is still trying to figure out what the last nanny said to her when Carly shows up. The nanny had asked her to “make her bed.” Penny said to herself, “Make it do what?” Things like that happened all the time. She didn’t care about making her bed, whatever that meant, but she cared a lot about a place called heaven Aunt DeeDee said her mother was there.” And Penny wanted to see her mom.

Ryan is determined to be a better father than he’s been in the past. He’s made some big mistakes and is trying to make things right and pay for those sins. He wanted to have this be the best summer together ever. Dr. Ryan Tremaine is determined to complete a long list of goals he has for his family. He wants to make great memories and connect with this kids on a deeper level.

The bible states that they will know we are Christians by our love. Carly brings a love and understanding to Penny, Ryan and his two teen boys that has been missing. They feel united for the first time. I liked how the author shows how relationships take time effort and need to be intentional to work well.

“Ryan knew Carly was a Christian, but what exactly did that mean? Hands off until marriage? No one he knew lived that way, but he had to admit, there was a time for self-control…Ryan came from a world where adults chose their own moralities.”

Carly says to Ryan, “It’s just that you and I don’t see things the same way.”

“What things?”

She looks at him, “Almost everything!  ..they were back to the faith issue – her belief that human beings made mistakes and needed a savior and his belief that he controlled his own destiny. Carly wasn’t ready to talk to Ryan about Penny and how she was going to explain heaven to this little one without talking about her faith.

This author does a brilliant job of showing life from both perspectives without being preachy! Loved that! This is a gripping story of a man who is willing to fight for his family; who’s trying to learn from his mistakes and might even think about forgiving himself and others. Carly is determined to do the right thing in hard times; wanted to head home to her small town in Kentucky once she completed her education. She wanted to show the love of God to those she met; is ready forgive others but forgiving herself was more challenging.

This author doesn’t beat around the bush with tough topics like, FASD and how it’s preventable, people make mistakes but it doesn’t have to define them, pre-material sex, affairs, existence of God, death, forgiveness, love and the fact that relationships take time, effort and can’t be rushed. We are all a work in progress.

This story was captivating on so many levels. My heart ached for this family as they tried to put the pieces back together. They almost come unglued by a well-meaning Aunt DeeDee who is not a team player. This author shows the nitty-gritty of how life isn’t easy but also shows it’s important to keep the main thing the main thing. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author it won’t be the last. There are a few surprised for readers too! I highly recommend this novel for a great read and one that would be wonderful for a book club pick.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Book Club Network  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.

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

Book Fun Magazine


ABOUT BOOK: Torn between loyalties to family and flag, one young woman is about to discover that her most important allegiance is to her heart.

It is 1776, and all along the eastern seaboard the American struggle for independence rages. But in the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is much quieter--though no less deadly. 

Lyse Lanier may be largely French in heritage, but she spends most of her time in the company of the ebullient daughter of the British commander of Mobile. When a charming young Spanish merchant docks in town, Lyse is immediately struck by his easy wit and flair for the dramatic. But is he truly who he makes himself out to be? Spies abound, and Spain has yet to choose a side in the American conflict. Is Lyse simply an easy mark for Rafael Gonzalez to exploit? Or are his overtures of love as genuine as Spanish gold?

With spectacular detail that brings the cultural gumbo of the Colonial Gulf Coast alive, Beth White invites you to step into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known slice of the American Revolutionary War.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Beth White is the award-winning author of The Pelican Bride. A native Mississippian, she teaches music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at

“Duplicity, danger, political intrigue, and adventure.”—Booklist on The Pelican Bride

“New France comes alive thanks to intricate detail.”—Publishers Weekly review of The Pelican Bride

“The brutal New World [is] captured with distinct detail in this fast-paced romantic adventure.”—RT Book Reviews on The Pelican Bride
How did you come up with the idea for The Creole Princess?

I conceived the Gulf Coast Chronicles as a series similar to Elswyth Thane’s classic Williamsburg series—which was written and published in the 1940’s and ‘50’s, but which still holds up as wonderful romantic historical adventure—but set on the Gulf Coast. The idea was to take a couple of central families and build a sort of epic dynastic tale which would touch on major historic events. Book 1, The Pelican Bride, launched the series with the establishment of the Lanier family and the city of Mobile, Louisiana Territory, during the French Colonial period (1704).

The Creole Princess, Book 2 of the series, skips a couple of generations and places the reader in Mobile at the outbreak of the American Revolution. Events in Mobile (held by the British) and New Orleans (held by the Spanish) helped dictate what happened to my characters. But I had to decide which events to focus on, so I did a lot of preliminary reading and learned some surprising facts that aren’t generally taught in American history classes.

For instance, it isn’t generally known that the British actually had fifteen colonies; besides the thirteen that broke away and formed the United States, they also held East and West Florida, which remained loyal until the Spanish wrested them away near the end of the war. Also, documents are just now coming to light revealing Spain’s secret involvement in funding and supplying the Patriot cause—years before she actually joined France in military engagement on the American side.

Anyway, with those two central surprising facts in mind, I bounced around ideas with my son, Ryan, who turns out to have quite a good brain for developing story ideas and a great grasp of history. His contribution was a confiscated shipment of Spanish gold, which I loved! But character drives story for me, and in answering later questions I’ll explain more about how I developed the hero and heroine, Rafa and Lyse.

Nora: Interesting history. I liked the Spanish gold element in the story. Fun that your son can contribute to the story. Both of you helped me get a grasp on this time period. I was full engaged and adored your characters. Thanks for sharing the map too!

What was your favorite scene in The Creole Princess? Which was the most fun to write? Which was the hardest? Why?
Okay, sheepish confession here. I’m a romance fan from preteen years, so my favorite scene is the first kiss between Rafa and Lyse. I have gone back and read it multiple times, which is crazy since I wrote it! haha!

Nora: Fun! It was a precious moment! Loved it!

The scene that was the most fun to write was sort of in the middle of the book when I knew that Rafa would have to either ask Lyse to marry him and take her out of Mobile—or leave her there, vulnerable to prosecution as a traitor. When I began writing that scene, I honestly didn't know which way it was going to go (and I’m not going to provide a spoiler here). But as the dialogue unfolded, it took on a life of its own, Rafa was so perfectly “himself,” and I couldn't be happier with the story solution.

Nora: I like how you kept readers in suspense about his decision too!

The hardest scene to write was from the point of view of Lyse’s cousin Scarlet, a slave who is sold away from her husband and then finds herself pregnant with his child. Putting myself inside the skin and mind and heart of such a desperately sad person was emotionally grueling. It’s one of the darkest scenes in the book, so I had to find a way to lighten it with hope—and a delightful character named Blackberry came to life. I hope readers will like the scene as much as I do.

Nora: That scene about ripped my heart out. The events seemed unthinkable and crazy because it was legal. Slave owners didn't give it a second thought to what they were doing.

Can you give us a sneak peek into what you are working on now? When will it be out?

I’m working on the third book in the series. Set one generation after Creole Princess, during the War of 1812, it features a British naval officer with amnesia and the only daughter in an American ship-building family. The Battle of New Orleans and Andrew Jackson’s career-establishing heroics figure prominently in the second half of the book. But don’t worry—the romance stays front-and-center! It will be out in April 2016.

Nora: I’m looking forward to reading it Beth!

You state, “The history surrounding the American Revolution is complex, fascinating, and surprising – much too complicated to distill in a one-paragraph explanation.” What fascinating and/or surprising things did you discover in your research that did NOT make it in your book? Why didn’t you add it? What treasures did you share in your book?

One of my favorite discoveries about the Spanish alliance in the Patriot cause is a 550-mile cattle drive undertaken right around the time Spain declared war on England and entered into treaty with France. In order to feed two battalions of soldiers due to arrive on six transport ships from Havana, Spanish Louisiana Governor Bernardo de Gálvez ordered a group of vaqueros to escort 2000 longhorns from Béxar, Texas, to New Orleans during the summer of 1779.

My mind was totally blown, picturing that giant herd milling around the swamps and bayous of New Orleans—in the middle of a hurricane! Okay, I couldn’t resist sending my hero to be part of that assignment, though it happened “off-stage.” One day I may write the whole scenario into another story and let the Western adventure begin!

Nora: Wow! I look forward to your Western adventure!

I loved Lyse Lanier – she is feisty, hardworking, loyal, loving and passionate about her family. How did you create her? Is she based on anyone? What do you hope readers learn from her?

Lyse sort of appeared in my head full-blown. And, no, she isn’t really based on anyone I know—though some of my students I’ve taught in urban Mobile have faced the same kinds of challenges (messed-up parental units, dependent younger siblings, limited financial resources, etc.). There were some emotional and cultural things I wanted to explore with her—mixed racial heritage, mixed religious background, feelings of inferiority, survivor guilt…

So I gave her a disgraced alcoholic papa and a mother who was a beautiful freed slave. I gave her a beloved cousin who remains a slave. I had her fall in love with a wealthy young Spanish merchant who seems light-years above her socially—and deal with the hurt of his parents’ disapproval. I forced her to learn to make her own way and accept the generosity of others, but at the same time trust God’s goodness and justice.

My hope is that readers will identify with Lyse so closely that her hurts and worries and victories will bring them closer to God right along with her.

Nora: I identified with her very much. She had a lot to push through. I enjoyed reading how she found her way and learned to trust God. It was believable.

Don Rafa was so much fun. He was charming, inventive, clever and suave. How did you come up with his character? What do you hope readers take away and/or learn from Rafa?

Rafa is one of those characters who has become so real in my brain that I think of him at random moments and laugh. I’ve always wanted to write a Scarlet Pimpernel-type hero and finally got the chance (I don’t know how many times I’ve read that book, but “Sink me!” is to this day one of my favorite lines). So I kept telling myself, Make him seem stupid but make his actions brilliant—not an easy task. I hope I succeeded.

 Nora: YES, You Did!! Loved him. I haven’t read the book you talked about. Going to check it out. Sounds interesting and fun. (Kind of like your book!)

One thing I realized as Rafa did his thing was how vulnerable he really was underneath all that charisma. When you love someone, they are armed to hurt you, and it’s unbelievably difficult to keep putting yourself out there. I found his joking about Lyse throwing cake at him both funny and poignant. But my favorite thing about him was his standing up to his mother (as much as he loved and respected her) in defending Lyse. Men often don’t do that. And they should. 

Nora: I agree! 

You state that if the reader is a history geek they should check out “The American Crisis: Vol. 1 (1774-1779) writings of Thomas Paine.” When you read Thomas Paine’s collection of common sense essays; what did you think about it? Feel after you finished?

The common sense essays by Paine are amazing. I had read pieces of them in high school, and I've even quoted the famous “These are the times that try men’s souls” in a novella. But as I began to write The Creole Princess, I read the entire work all at one sitting. I’m not sure I can even articulate how it affected me. “Euphoric” sounds silly, even over-the-top, but I think that’s the closest I can come. 21st Century Americans take our freedom, our basic equality in our human-ness, so for granted—and I suddenly realized what a powerful, far-reaching impact Paine’s work must have had in waking people up, galvanizing them to forcefully claim that equality and freedom. The “American experiment” has been an astounding success, and I hope I never get over the joy and pride in being an American.

Nora: You talked about this in the book in the story. It was an eye opener.

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

Dorm Room
I worked in a Fort Worth bank while my husband and I were in seminary, back in the early 80’s. Over the course of those four years, I did a stint in the motor bank, I worked in auto loan collections, I managed and balanced the ATM’s, and I served as the Customer Service supervisor. I like handling money. I like balancing a cash drawer. I like counting and making things come out even. It is the flip side of my creative brain, I guess.

The other weirdo job I had was being a Resident Assistant in my college dorm. Hey, I got a room to myself! And I got to tell people what to do (maybe that helped me become a teacher). It sure gave me some cultural education!

Nora: Getting to know another side of you Beth. Fun!

If you could have a day to yourself (money is not an issue) what would you do?

When I have a day to myself, guilt-free (that means no deadlines hanging over my head), I take an art lesson and paint something. I grew up drawing with charcoal, mostly portraits of my friends and random children, then graduated to chalk pastels. I actually have earned some money with commissioned art. But last summer I took lessons in acrylic paints, and I’m in love! All those brilliant colors! Eeeee!!

Nora: LOL! That sounds freeing and fun! You are full of surprises! 

Name three things you’d rather not live without? (Besides your family it’s a given)

Art (see above). iTunes. Sudoku.

Is there something you’d like to try that you've always wanted to but haven’t so far? If so, what is it?
Beth conducting LeFlore Choir -Parent Appreciation Night Mobile
I’d really like to learn to play the oboe. One of my dearest friends was the oboist in our church orchestra, and I play flute, so we sat next to each other week after week for years, until she was killed in a car accident about eight years ago. So I’d kind of like to learn to play oboe in Tammy’s honor.

Nora: I’m sorry to hear that about your friend. It would be fun to learn in her honor!

Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. 

I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN starting TODAY APRIL 21st at GO TO Answer one of the authors questions to be entered..

Looking forward to it to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows.


Looking forward to it to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows.

Nora :o)

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
Book Fun Magazine

The Book Club Network Blog


ABOUT AUTHOR: Irene Hannon is a bestselling, award-winning author who took the publishing world by storm at the tender age of 10 with a sparkling piece of fiction that received national attention.

Okay…maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But she was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest conducted by a national children’s magazine. And she likes to think of that as her “official” fiction-writing debut!

Since then, she has written more than 45 romance and romantic suspense novels. Her books have been honored with two RITA awards—the “Oscar” of romantic fiction—and she is a six-time finalist. Her books have also won a Daphne du Maurier award, a Carol award, three HOLT Medallions, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a Retailers Choice Award, a Booksellers’ Best Award and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. One of her novels was also named by Booklist as a top 10 inspirational fiction books of 2011. In addition, she is a two-time Christy award finalist.

Irene, who holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in journalism, juggled two careers for many years until she gave up her executive corporate communications position with a Fortune 500 company to write full-time. She is happy to say she has no regrets!

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening and singing.  A trained vocalist, she has sung the leading role in numerous musicals, including “South Pacific,” “Brigadoon,” “Oklahoma” “The King and I” and “Anything Goes.” She is also a soloist at her church.

When not otherwise occupied, Irene and her husband enjoy traveling, Saturday mornings at their favorite coffee shop and spending time with family. They make their home in Missouri.

I'd like to share with you an interview done by Brandy Heineman with author Irene Hannon in the October 2014 issue of Book Fun Magazine titled Face to Face with Irene on page 109  

I'm a chicken at heart. I find Irene's writing good and her books realistic and super-scary to read. So, I wanted to point your attention to a review by Brandy Heineman who read and reviewed Irene's book Deceived for the January 2015 issue of Book Fun Magazine page 7. To Read the review go to 

You can click on the picture of Irene Hannon (on the front cover) and it will bring you to the review on page 7. You can read the first 100 pages of the magazine for free.  

ABOUT AUTHOR : BRANDY HEINEMAN   is a novelist infusing her stories with family history and faith. She’s a graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia with a degree in Business Administration and Communication. She spent a number of years working in the financial services industry, and now works in marketing.

If it’s true that there are only seven plots, hers is a “Voyage and Return” story. Whether the journey held far-off places or hard lessons learned, it has always circled back to north Georgia, the written word, and the love of Jesus.

Brandy writes stories seasoned with secrets from the past and mysteries of the heart. Her first novel is contracted with Elk Lake Publishing, and she is working hard on her second. She’s represented by Jim Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. When she’s not writing, she divides her free time between reading, scrapbooking, and genealogy sleuthing.

She is a member of ACFW and a Finalist in the 2014 Genesis contest. She has contributed articles to Writer… Interrupted, the ACFW Journal, and Book Fun MagazineReaders can connect with Brandy via her websiteFacebook and Twitter.

I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN started the 21st of APRIL at .

Looking forward to it to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows.


Nora :o)

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


Food52 Genius Recipes
By Kristen Miglore
Published by 10 Speed Press

Back Cover: There are good recipes and there are great ones—and then, there are genius recipes.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink the way we cook. They might involve an unexpectedly simple technique, debunk a kitchen myth, or apply a familiar ingredient in a new way. They’re handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacies. And, once we’ve folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. In this collection are 100 of the smartest and most remarkable ones.
There isn’t yet a single cookbook where you can find Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter, Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread, and Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake—plus dozens more of the most talked about, just-crazy-enough-to-work recipes of our time. Until now.
These are what Food52 Executive Editor Kristen Miglore calls genius recipes. Passed down from the cookbook authors, chefs, and bloggers who made them legendary, these foolproof recipes rethink cooking tropes, solve problems, get us talking, and make cooking more fun. Every week, Kristen features one such recipe and explains just what’s so brilliant about it in the James Beard Award-nominated Genius Recipes column on Food52. Here, in this book, she compiles 100 of the most essential ones—nearly half of which have never been featured in the column—with tips, riffs, mini-recipes, and stunning photographs from James Ransom, to create a cooking canon that will stand the test of time.
Once you try Michael Ruhlman’s fried chicken or Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s hummus, you’ll never want to go back to other versions. But there’s also a surprising ginger juice you didn’t realize you were missing and will want to put on everything—and a way to cook white chocolate that (finally) exposes its hidden glory. Some of these recipes you’ll follow to a T, but others will be jumping-off points for you to experiment with and make your own. Either way, with Kristen at the helm, revealing and explaining the genius of each recipe, Genius Recipes is destined to become every home cook’s go-to resource for smart, memorable cooking—because no one cook could have taught us so much.

REVIEW: Kristen Miglore is the executive editor of Food52 website. She says, “A genius recipe surprises us and makes us rethink cooking tropes. They’re handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacies. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we’ve folded them into our repertories they make us feel pretty genius too!”

A few of these recipes made me feel good at the fact I could create something so yummy and elegant looking. I tried the No Knead Bread by Jim Lahey. This changed the way I think about bread. The bread looked beautiful, tasted amazing and it was easy to make. Brilliant! Kristen said, “…it looked better than most breads you can buy, with a dewy, wide mawed crumb and dark crust that snaps under the knife.” It’s a technique anyone can do! My family and I were wowed by the heavenly taste, amazed by the texture and encouraged that we could create this again! It wasn’t a fluke.

The next recipe I tried were the Raised Waffles by Marion Cunningham. Again a technique that requires very little effort on my part to turn out great! Kristen has Genius tips throughout this books,  “the batter keeps and improves for several days in the fringe, if you want to get even more ahead (one to 7 days)….” I’m stunned at how far ahead you can make this and how great it tastes. It’s a crowd pleaser!

The last recipe I tried was the English Porridge by April Bloomfield. Again a brilliant recipe that allows you to have a party in your mouth with every bite. This recipe delivers an explosion of textures along with the salty sweet taste I and my family loved!

Kristen explains what they look for in Genius recipes and shares a little about the Chef for each recipe. She states that this is a collection of the 100 most essential ones – nearly ½ of the recipes have never been featured in a column on the Food52 food blog. James Ransom has taken stunning photographs that picture each recipe and some extra photos with step by step instructions.

Kristen says this book will help you “to create a cooking cannon that will stand the test of time.” I whole heartily agree!

The categories in this book start with Breakfast, Snacks and drinks, Soups and Salads, Meaty Meals, Meatless Mains, Vegetable and Desserts.

The dishes I anxiously want to try next are Hummus, Currant Cottage Cheese Pancakes, Roasted Applesauce, Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Crunchy Seeds, Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt and Garlic Soup, Cauliflower Soup, Potato Soup with Fried Almonds, Shrimp Grits, Rosemary-Brined Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Grilled Port Burger, Cauliflower Steaks, Grilled Pizza, Kale Panini, Garlic Green Beans, Gratin of Zucchini, Rice and Onions with Cheese … there are so many more I’d like to try.

These recipes and techniques have changed the way I’m going to make bread, porridge and waffles; can’t wait to see other things I’ll learn as I make the dishes in this astonishing cook book.

I know I’ll be referring to this beautiful hardback book often for everyday and special occasions. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes to cook and for those just starting out. There are a variety of cooking skills in this book. The ones I tried were easy and flavorful. Many of the ingredients can be found in your local grocery store. Another thing to love about the recipes!

I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest opinion. There was no obligation to give a positive review. I'm a tell-it-like it is kind of person. This holds true to my review.

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