Book 2

Two Renegade Realms
By Donita K. Paul
Published by Zondervan
416 Pages

About Book: In book two of the Realm Walkers Series, Cantor, Bixby, and Dukmee must band together to find the storied realm walker Chomountain after the devastating attack by the corrupt Realm Walkers Guild. But what they discover while traveling turns their mission upside down and they must now find a way to restore Chomountain.

REVIEW: I was first captured by the beautiful cover of this book. Second; I’ve read several of this authors books and loved reading them. This author usually writes for middle readers 5-8th graders. Her stories are dragon adventures filled with fun, and fantasy. It’s a great escape. I like that all of the dragons in her books are very different, unique (just like people) I couldn’t wait to jump into this magical world filled with dragons and mystery. What I didn’t realize when I ordered this title is this was book two in the Realm Walker series.

I tried several times to read this book all the way thru but there was so much missing that other readers would have grasped from book one. This book is not a stand-alone novel. I couldn’t wrap my mind around and follow the story line.  I found it hard to navigate my way through this fantasy world and connect with the place and its characters. I was lost. I didn’t know the, who, what, where, why and when. I’m going to try this book again once I’ve read book one in the series titled, One Realm Beyond.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the BookLook Blogging program. 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 AUTHOR: Thomas Locke AKA Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Defined by readers and reviewers as a "wise teacher," "gentleman adventurer," "consummate writer," and "Renaissance man," his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.

What do you hope readers take away from Trial Run?

Thomas: Toward the end of his life, Albert Einstein said, 'The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all good science.'  That's what I've tried to instill here, and what I would love to hear that readers have discovered, a renewed sense awareness of the glorious mystery within life. 
Thomas Locke/Davis Bunn Hiking
My first Thomas Locke book, entitled Emissary, was released in early January of this year. The week before it was launched I received a really strong review from the national book club magazine. The reviewer then asked to speak with me by phone, and she revealed that she is going through chemotherapy. The lady then she thanked me for helping her to completely escape from herself for three days. She said what was greatest to her was that she came away from the book with a new sense of hope.  I have to tell you that is just about the finest response I have received in my twenty-plus years as a published writer.  And it is exactly what I hope other readers will find, a chance to fly away with this story as their personal magic carpet, and return to earth with a renewed sense of hope.

Nora: Emissary did whisk me away in to a fascinating world with characters I instantly cared for. Looking forward to reading the next installment out in December; titled Merchant of Alyss.

In your research for Trial Run did you come across any technology that was similar to and/or might be close to being created; similar to what you discuss in this novel?

Thomas: Absolutely. In the past six years, the study of human brains and thought patterns has seen more progress than in all the centuries up to now. New technologies that have become commonplace in hospitals and clinics, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), has been redesigned to show what is happening inside a person's mind as they think or feel certain things. 'Reading' thoughts remains impossible, because the actual brainwave patterns are unique to each individual.  But the underlying trends are the same for all humanity. This has resulted in scientists being able to stimulate new 'trends', or primary brainwave patterns. They are now able to treat very serious issues, such as migraines, in some patients using these same non-invasive techniques.

Nora: Oh, wow. Amazing and scary!

What was your favorite scene in Trial Run? Which was the most fun to write? Why?

Thomas: Both of those questions have the same answer.  My first image, the concept that launched me into writing Trial Run, was the scene where Trent Major dreams his very first dream. That entire concept was written once and not changed at all, through all the redrafts and edits, the scene arrived full blown.  I can still see that image of the kid crouching by in that little concrete cave, with the neighbor's cat for company, and then bouncing into the classroom where he meets his older self.  In just four pages, we are introduced to a character, his vulnerabilities, and the future of where this book is headed.  It is a great scene.

Nora: That was fun to read. Kind of reminded me a little of a scene from Back to the Future. Grin!

Many sci-fi, fantasy stories lately are dark and hopeless. What do you hope readers glean from Trial Run that they won’t see in current main-stream fiction?

Thomas: This is a great question.  My first passion as a childhood reader was science fiction and fantasy.  So many of these stories imparted a sense of the heroic.  The challenges were massive, the vistas beyond the scope of normal life, and the characters rose up to become what was required in order to vanquish the threat. I still feel this helped shape my own sense of determination and hope.  And this is what I would like to offer readers today. 

Nora: Stories like Hunger Games and Insurgent do not leave the audience much hope of anything.  I really appreciate that aspect of your stories. You write incredibly creative adventure stories with hope!! It's a win, win. 

In Trial Run you reveal a dangerous, mind-bending technology that twists time in unexpected directions; perception and reality become entangled. How did you come up with this concept?

Thomas: My nephew and dear friend, Mason Matthews, is a theoretical physicist.  He has gone to great pains to introduce me to the world of quantum physics, which basically means spending hours dumbing down his life's work.  One issue he grapples with constantly, and which is increasingly becoming a topic of work and thought within his profession, is the link between the quantum world and human thought.  Our consciousness, at its core, does not seem to function according to what anyone would consider logical patterns.  The whole issue of time and causality are redefined at the level of thought and human emotions.  These conversations have expanded my own world enormously, and as a result I dedicated Trial Run to my incredibly intelligent – and patient – nephew.

Nora: That aspect of the story was fascinating!

Can you explain what “near-time sci-fi is and how you’ve used it in Trial Run?

Thomas: Maybe we should start with an example, such as Michael Chrichton's Jurassic Park.  Near-time sci-fi uses today's world, what is called a contemporary setting, and then takes technology that we know of right now, and carts it on around the bend of time.  The great thing about near-time sci-fi is, we establish characters and places in the world that everyone knows.  We're not off fighting aliens on Mars.  We're right here, right now.  This creates the challenge of maintaining a tight hold on reality, even while I'm bending and stretching this reality with a technology that doesn't exist.  Yet. 

Nora: Thanks for clearing that up. Grin!

This is a fast-paced, eventful novel, a page-turner for sure. How do you make sure you don’t give the reader too much at once? That you gave them time to breathe in between events – situations?

Thomas: This is another great question.  The issue you've raised here is crucial to good writing.  The reader needs to discover the story's events, and what they mean, in time to the characters.  This also offers the opportunity to mask the actual direction with false trails.  If the character believes and becomes emotionally invested in one thing, it needs to serve as a magnet for the audience.  Then at the end, the reader can look back and say, man, I never saw that coming.  What they don't say, but what is absolutely essential, is that, wow, this actually followed a completely logical course from page one. 

Nora:  You said, "the reader can look back and say, man, I never saw that coming" I felt this way several times! Grin!

Your characters struggle with what is real? Who is in control? What is control? What do you hope readers catch in their struggle? Relate to? What hope do you want them to leave with?

Thomas: (I really love these questions.) Government surveillance has become a huge issue.  It's now estimated that the average person in Great Britain, where we live, is caught on surveillance cameras over three hundred times each day.  As I started developing this story, I found myself repeatedly coming back to the issue of, where is this headed? What if there really is nothing off-limits from official scrutiny?  What if a new technology like this granted governments to spy on anything, and anyone, anywhere in the world?

The issue gathered a momentum all its own.  What if a shadow agency had the ability to create a total scrutiny?  Every conversation I had, or action I took, now and in the future.  All exposed.  What would happen to our society, and to the fabric of our very lives?

In Trial Run, a group operating as consultants to the federal government steal this experimental project in order to do just that.  They use this cutting-edge technology to obtain intelligence. The military supplies this group with test subjects, and their initial trials bring in some incredible results.  But at the moment of real success, a number of these subjects fall into a coma.  The military comes down hard and threatens to pull the plug.  The group is frantic to find a way to keep going, especially as the subjects who make it back are reporting abilities that go far beyond anything they might have expected. 

Nora: I like how you brought all this out and made readers think. Crazy to read about average people in Great Britain being caught on video 300 times per day. Oh, My!

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

Thomas: Ocean waves

There are so many types of weather which is your favorite? Which to you try to avoid?

Thomas: Favorite:  Light off-shore winds with a storm a thousand miles out to sea, drawing all the bad weather away and creating beautiful perfect crystal-clear waves.
Avoid:  Hurricanes.

Have you seen any good movies lately and/or read a book you won’t soon forget? Please share!

Thomas: Movies: I recently saw 'Live Die Repeat' again for the third time (bad joke).  Some of the violence was over the top.  But the concept was brilliant.  I thought it was the best acting I've seen in years from Tom Cruise. I am currently doing the interviews tied to the launch of Trial Run, and one of the program hosts this morning was going on and on about wanting to see Trial Run as a film starring Tom Cruise.  It was, to say the least, a great interview.

Nora: Fun!

Thomas: Books: This summer I started re-reading a number of classics that I have not picked up in years.  I just finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird.  Now I am reading The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer.  Both were written around the same time-frame, and both hold such incredible insight into today's world.  

We all live busy lives and all of us are in different seasons of life; that as a given what part of your day requires the most patience from you to get through? Causes you to pray the most?

Thomas: Right now we are working on four different film projects.  Patience is required at so many levels, and with so many issues.  The gift in all this, the truly remarkable event, is how many of these people have become friends.  I am effectively trusting them with my life's work.  When I sign the contract, my role as creator, and all control that I've maintained up to this point, are handed to them.  Trusting this to friends who at least try to maintain my sense of vision is vital.

Thomas Locke/Davis Bunn and Nora FL 2015
Why not have more believers work in mainstream fiction and in Hollywood?  So long as we remain in our comfort zones, the trend taken by those in charge will be towards ever-darker themes.  It is the course we have seen for twenty years now, and it will continue until we make our voices heard.

Nora: It's exciting to hear about your film projects. I'm so glad you are in that arena giving the audience a great story with a powerful message with hope.

I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN going on right Now at LAST DAY to Enter August 31st.

Looking forward to it to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! 
Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN starting the 20th of AUGUST at .

REMINDER - Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows. The last day to enter this drawing is the last day of the month.



Nora :o)

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

Interview Sponsored by: Revell Publishers


Real Food for Rookies
By Kelly Moeggenborg, A.K.A.
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
Published by: H and B House of Bread
ISBN# 978-1-939603-86-9
173 Pages

Back Cover: Kelly says, “It wasn't that many years ago that I didn't have a clue how to feed my family well. To be honest, it wasn't even on my radar to pay much attention to what I was feeding them, I just didn't think food made that big of a difference. It was all about what was cheap, what tasted good, and what was convenient to throw together. Even though we struggled helping our kids in school, and there were behavioral issues that had us under constant stress, I still didn't make the connection.”

REVIEW: This author made a food transition in her family from junk food to real food 10 years ago. She seeks to encourage and show others it can be done because her family of six is still doing it. She says, “You can’t do better until you know better… I want to help you learn more quickly than I did”…“My best advice is start where you can. Keep adding more positive changes as you are ready to tackle them.”

 This author is passionate about eating real foods and wants to help others do the same. This book was originally titled The Real Food Ingredients Guide. It’s been up-dated; revised, expanded and has a new name. My family has just embarked on this adventure; there is so much to take in.

I’m very thankful to have found this book. It’s helpful in understanding terminology found on packaging labels. It’s easy to follow and comprehend as the author shares about how her family started, she says, “I was a product of the late 70’s and 80’s convenience food trend”…”When I married we ran through the drive thru 2 – 3 times a week. Why? Because it was fast and easy and it tasted good!” ..”During that time I got my thinking and taste buds all messed up”

I appreciated her honesty and encouragement about how their family evolved to where they are today. We all live busy lives and often don’t have days and days to educate ourselves about many items found on the grocery store shelf. It’s overwhelming! This author has done her homework. She’s A.K.A. as The Kitchen Kop and her website keeps readers up to date on changes and/or recipes she discovers along with helpful information to be aware of.

The book is small, has useful information and packs a powerful punch in assisting the reader to easily navigate making “Real Food” choices at the grocery store and on-line.  This author helped me to understand what to look for on food labels and made me aware of the names associated with different methods of farming food.

I liked her rules about what to focus on when getting started.
1.    “If you can’t pronounce something on the label, don’t buy it.
2.    If there’s a ‘whole’ version, buy that instead.
3.    This tip is one you’re probably heard a lot, but holds true regardless: Did your great grandmother eat it? If not, then you shouldn’t either.
4.    Buying more and more foods without a label is a great goal, but don’ worry, we’re not there yet either! “

The first part of the book offers a reference guide on good and bad food ingredients, looks at local versus organic, fats and oils, milk variations, and lists other quick food facts. The second part of the book includes Kelly’s top ten list of junk food in pictures, six obstacles in making the change to real food, six recipes, the authors’ final words, and helpful resources and links.

Kelly states, “What you eat does matter.” I liked her list of objections she’s heard about going this route. (She talks more about the matters I’ve listed.)
1. It’s not about perfection, it’s about learning more and more, doing a little better all the time. The truth can and will set you free.
2. Feel confused – overwhelmed about where to start? Ask yourself some questions. What is most natural? How did God design it? And several other helpful questions to help keep the main thing the main thing.
3. Who has the time?
4. Family complaints – she lists them.
5. Money? Eating real costs more. She talks about finding some.
6. Commitment to the long haul. What are the best tips to stay on track? Etc.

This author includes family favorites converted to real food recipes near the back of the book. There are several that look good Pizza, Chicken nuggets, Ice Cream etc (with black and white pictures) and many others on her website. The author states, “Be patient with yourself and your family. Realize that permanent change takes time.” Amen!

This book is a great way to start your “Real Food’ adventure. This book will lead you to her website which will take you to the next level. This journey is about taking one step at a time and staying the course to wellness!! It’s a win, win for everyone!

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

Book Fun Magazine


ABOUT AUTHOR: Sarah Sundin is the author of seven historical novels, including Through Waters Deep (Revell, August 2015). Her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in Where Treetops Glisten is a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award, and her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school.

How did you come up with the idea for Through Waters Deep?

Sarah: I really wanted to tell the story of two old friends who are reunited and slowly fall in love. Plus, I was intrigued by what was happening in 1941, when the United States was officially neutral in World War II. I was surprised by the angry division and all the rumors of sabotage and espionage—which stoked my story imagination! I was also surprised to learn American warships were escorting British convoys and exchanging fire with U-boats—before Pearl Harbor! What would it be like to serve as a naval officer on a destroyer at that time? And what if there really was a saboteur at a shipyard?

“I’d like to ask you about Mary; the female lead character in your story. Mary loved reading Nancy Drew mysteries as a girl and is thrilled to have her own mystery to solve. What did you like most about reading Nancy Drew mysteries? Is there anything you’ve always longed to do because of a book or movie?

Sarah: Ironically, I wasn’t the big Nancy Drew reader in the family—my mother and sister were. I read quite a few though, and I was always impressed with Nancy’s pluck and persistence. As for me, I wanted to be Laura Ingalls and wear sunbonnets and ride in covered wagons. The closest I’ve come is the stagecoach ride at Knott’s Berry Farm, but I’ll survive.

Park Street Boston

In growing up, what were three important values you learned that stuck with you and shaped your life?

Sarah: It’s so hard to pick the top three! My parents taught me to always do the right thing, even when it’s hard and even if you stand alone. They taught me to pay close attention to details and to do your best work. And they taught me the value of lifelong education, of always reading and exploring and challenging yourself.

Can you give us a peek into where the story heads in book two of the Waves of Freedom series?

Sarah: Anchor in the Storm is scheduled for the summer of 2016. For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. She loves the wartime challenges of her new job but spurns the attention of society boy Ens. Archer Vandenberg, even if Arch is her brother’s best friend. As Arch’s destroyer battles U-boats along the East Coast in the darkest days of the war, Lillian uncovers a black market drug ring. Arch’s efforts to aid Lillian’s investigation and to win her trust fling them both into danger—from torpedoes, drug lords, and opened hearts.

You’ve mentioned the fact that your last trip to Boston was in 2014 to gather photos and facts for this new series. What do you love most about Boston? Is there a place you like to visit and/or take others there when you go to Boston? 

Sarah: I do love Boston! There’s history everywhere. We love to walk the Freedom Trail, which takes you to many of Boston’s historical sites in a day’s walk. From Boston Common to the Old North Church to the USS Constitution, there’s something for every interest.

Boston is rich in history and the shipyards and naval bases played a key role in WWII. Did you go on a destroyer? How is that ship different from the rest? What struck you most about the shipyards and naval bases?

Sarah: I’ve had the chance to tour several destroyers. In Boston, we toured the WWII-era destroyer USS Cassin Young at the Charlestown Navy Yard. Destroyers are often overlooked in favor of the huge, impressive aircraft carriers and battleships (which I love!). But destroyers are scrappy little ships, fast and maneuverable and versatile, and they played a pivotal role in WWII. Because the ships were smaller, the crews were usually quite close too.

In Boston, we thoroughly explored the Charlestown Navy Yard. Since my heroine worked there, I was much more interested in the workings of the shipyard than I’d been on previous trips. I was surprised just how many people worked there in WWII—almost 50,000 at the peak in 1943!

Your daughter recently got married? What surprised you about that day? What is something you’ll never forget? Special moment you can share?
Family Picture this Summer at Wedding

Sarah: Yes, our daughter got married on July 18! There were so many wonderful moments…Walking down the aisle on the arms of my two handsome sons…Watching my lovely daughter walk down the aisle on the arm of her beaming daddy…The joy of Christian friendship as our small group stepped in and quietly filled unexpected needs at the reception. And the most surprising moment? Watching our three kids and all their friends bopping on the dance floor to music from the ’80s—from my era! 

Nora: Fun! Beautiful family!

There are so many types of weather which is your favorite? Which to you try to avoid?

Sarah: I love cold and rain. I hate hot and humid with a passion—it makes me downright cranky.

Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite?
Family Trip to Italy

Sarah: I’m getting quite sentimental now that my nest is emptying. My favorite sound is when all three of my “babies” (plus my new son-in-law!) are home and are teasing each other and telling funny stories and laughing. Music to my ears.

Nora: I'm quickly approaching that stage in our family life too!

Have you seen any good movies lately and/or read a book you won’t soon forget? Please share!

Sarah: It’s been a crazy summer, so I’m way behind in my reading! I recently read Karen Barnett’s Beyond the Ashes, set in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Great mix of well-researched history, a delightful romance, and a stirring spiritual message.

Nora: Sounds interesting!

We all live busy lives and all of us are in different seasons of life; that as a given, what part of your day requires the most patience from you to get through? Causes you to pray the most?

My kids (again). They range from 17 to 22, so they’re all in the middle of making Big Life Decisions—marriage, college, career, where to live. So I pray for them to turn to the Lord themselves, make wise decisions, and to have peace. And I pray a lot for my own peace, patience, wisdom, and restraint in working with them. These years are challenging but exciting, and I’m in awe of the wonderful young adults all three of them are becoming!

Nora: My children range 17 to 23 Grin! Looking forward to and sad about my son's Senior year. My 23 year old daughter and husband are expecting our grand daughter in December of this year. This does keep us praying! I can relate to what you say about praying for ourselves too! Grin!

Thank you so much for having me back on The Book Club Network!I love to hear from readers. Stop by my website and say Hi!

Nora: Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN starting the 20th of AUGUST (Currently underway - Check it out) at .

Looking forward reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! REMINDER - Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows. The last day to enter this drawing is the last day of the month.


Nora :o)

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


5 Book Giveaway @TBCN 

ABOUT BOOK: It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. The Wings of the Nightingale series (With Every Letter, 2012, On Distant Shores, August 2013, and In Perfect Time, August 2014) follows three World War II flight nurses as they find love, friendship, and peril in the skies and on the shores of the Mediterranean. The Wings of Glory series (A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow) follows three brothers who are B-17 bomber pilots during World War II. 

Sundin lives in northern California with her husband, three children, an antisocial cat, and a yellow lab bent on destroying her writing career. When she isn't driving kids to tennis and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women's Bible studies. She belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. In 2011 she received the Writer of the Year Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Readers Choice Awards and was featured on Booklist's Top Ten Inspirational Fiction List for 2010. Please visit Sarah's website at 

5 Book Giveaway @TBCN 

ABOUT BOOK: Reese Clawson's work is mind-bending--literally. Her company specializes in global data analysis for an elite group of industry executives, and now a lucrative government contract is moving her into the realm of cutting-edge intelligence gathering. She is determined to crack the limits of consciousness--and in doing so, the boundaries of secrets and lies. But her experiment crashes as test subjects slide into a coma-like state. Reese is left scrambling to maintain control, drawing three disparate people into the search for answers--an adrenaline-amped thrill junkie with altered brain chemistry, an Italian scientist working on remote-viewing technology, and a math prodigy whose algorithms subvert computer encryption.

Will this piecemeal team prevail when a government operative is sent to investigate? As the threads of perception and reality become tangled and even time itself twists in unexpected directions, one warning remains clear: what you don't know can kill you.

With a concept so daring and writing so gripping, readers will swiftly fall under the spell of Thomas Locke's endlessly creative mind. This thrilling psychological journey into the very nature of causation and consciousness will leave them turning the pages and grasping for solid ground.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Thomas Locke AKA DAVIS BUNN - Davis is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Defined by readers and reviewers as a "wise teacher," "gentleman adventurer," "consummate writer," and "Renaissance man," his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.

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Who Killed My Church
By James Shupp
Published by Elk Lake Publishing
336 Pages

Back Cover: An emotionally frail pastor’s wife pleads with her husband to find a new career. A burned-out pastor is about to face a forced resignation. A struggling church is nearing the end of its lifecycle. All too often, these scenarios end in broken hearts lying beneath piles of rubble. What if a miracle occurred instead? Who Killed My Church? Opens a stained-glass window into the realities of what happens inside houses of worship all across America, perhaps even in your own. Take an emotional journey with some gutsy people who believe that the aging bride of Christ has not lost her beauty. Their journey will inspire you. What they do, however, may challenge you to go and do likewise.
Green Street Baptist Church has fallen on hard times. Members are leaving, the banker is knocking on the door and everyone wants to know, “Who Killed My Church?” It’s the same question people are asking all across America as church after church enters the struggle for survival. When all the trends are down, is there any hope? Who Killed My Church? Is a simple story about some gutsy people who believe that the bride of Christ is worth fighting for? They don’t mince words. Their ideas are highly unconventional. Some believe that their plans are too risky, even leaning on the side of crazy. But when there’s nothing left to lose, why not take a shot at winning? Follow Pete, Monica, Markus, Bender and the rest of Green Street on an emotional journey into a very familiar environment. Though they exist in a fictional realm, you may be convinced that you’ve seen these characters walking the hallways of your own church. One might even look like you. Follow them as they race against a ticking clock to save what matters most to the heart of God.

REVIEW: This powerful story reminded me of Francine Rivers’ novel And the Shofar Blew that portrayed a pastor taking his first church assignment; trying to do all the right things. He soon encounters unexpected obstacles to navigate; as he tries to not lose his family in the process. It also reminded me of another dramatic fiction - true to life story written by Randall Arthur titled Wisdom Hunter. This novel reveals aspects of an unhealthy church. It shows a legalistic pastor facing tragedy and for the first time realizes he’s played God in his own life and that of others. He then encounters God like never before, it’s a life changer.

Who Killed My Church; falls in line with these intense-true to life novels. This author grabbed my heart and attention from the very first page and never let go. Churches all across America are facing the same issues Pastor Pete is facing at Green Street Church. This scenario is all too common as the Pastors and its members lose their way and try to capture the spirit and momentum of the glory days.

Pete’s been the senior pastor of Green Street Church for five years and in ministry for 25. Offerings were down, which lead to pleading for money from the pulpit; which lead to people quietly leaving the church. Why wasn’t this church growing? What was going wrong? He thought he was chosen to restore this church back to its spiritual heyday. This wasn’t supposed to happen on Pete’s watch.
The board was calling for a change, Pete suggests a direction they hadn’t expected. They needed help in uncovering why everything they tried at Green Street failed. In walks Marcus Cunningham, a church consultant, author, founder of Movement Strategies. Marcus talks to the board about the life cycle of churches. I found it fascinating and true. Marcus shares, “…Churches start out as movements; then they become monuments, next museums, and finally morgues.” …“changes are happening everywhere. I travel from church to church across the country, and the issues are remarkably similar. For every new church that opens, 4 close their doors. Church attendance declined..85%. Churches in America are either plateaued or declining…”

Green Street church is in the middle of a spiritual battle for its life and that of their community. Green Street has been a thriving church. What’s gone wrong? This author gives readers a peek at a church and its people who are willing to take God out of the box they’ve placed Him in. They start to see with new eyes and have a fresh awareness of how God is working in their community. They are amazed. It reminded me of the bible study my husband and I did years ago titled, “Experiencing God.” It was a powerful and life changing experience. Just like the study this book will open your eyes and heart in unexpected ways if you let it.

I highly recommend this book as a book club pick, there is so much to discuss. I also recommend it as a must read for the body of Christ. I wonder how many Christians have given much thought to the situation the church is in right now. Many churches in America are in trouble. This novel touches on just one scenario. It’s a fascinating, disturbing and hopeful read. You won’t look at church or your pastor the same. This author has a unique point of view on this matter because he has been in ministry for over 20 years and is currently in the process of helping to heal churches so they can be vibrant and meaningful again. I’m excited to see where this author will take readers in the next book of this series.
Caught up with James Shupp in FL at ICRS Conference
Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Sponsor Elk Lake Publisher.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

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


By Carla Bartolucci
Photographs by Clay McLaclan
Published by Clarkson Potter
227 Pages

Back Cover: Discover the ancient grain with tremendous flavor that is a true gift for many who suffer from gluten sensitivity.

The only wheat in existence that has never been hybridized or modified, einkorn grew thousands of years ago in the Fertile Crescent. Carla Bartolucci came across it when searching for an alternative grain for her daughter Giulia, who was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity in 2008. Einkorn has remained unaltered for thousands of years, which allows many, including Giulia—who suffered from mood swings, asthma, and digestive problems—to eat wheat without symptoms. Amazed by her daughter’s health transformation, Carla became a champion of this little-known, nutrient-packed grain.

Einkorn shares 100 delicious recipes for working with the grain and its flour in a wide variety of flavorful dishes, such as Yogurt Blueberry Muffins, Spinach Lasagna Bolognese, Neapolitan Pizza Margherita, and Soft & Chewy Ginger Cookies—as well as sourdough and yeasted breads like Classic French Boule and buttery Sweet Potato Rolls. This book also explores einkorn’s history, unique genetics, and superior nutrient content, while sharing Carla’s tips for using it to its full baking and cooking potential.

With eighty-five beautiful color photographs, Einkorn will introduce home cooks to a delicious ancient grain that can transform the way they eat for the better by adding more nutrition and flavor to the foods they love.

REVIEW: This is a beautiful paperback cook book I can’t wait to dig into. The author says, “This book is a celebration of our return to real food, to better health, and to eating foods that are naturally delicious and good for you.”

This husband and wife team were passionate about the family’s food heritage and became very concerned when their two year old daughter Giulia became intolerant to dairy and eggs. Later on when her condition grew more severe they began taking a closer look at her diet. They soon learned that their daughter was sensitive to gluten but didn’t have Celiac disease but was seriously sick.

I appreciated the author sharing their journey in discovering what foods were making their daughter ill. Because of their passion for food, family and farming they moved back to Italy to be close to their fields. In their travels they discovered an ancient grain that had not been hybridized. They tested and researched this grain. After finding out all the great qualities in the wheat they wondered why they had never heard of it before. The author states, “In part because there were only a few hundred acres of Einkorn being grown worldwide and the grain was on the threshold of extinction – which, not surprising, made the relic grain hard to find. Einkorn’s yields are very low , and it is not the easiest wheat to grow or mill; it has a husk that must be removed before milling, which reduces the already low harvest by 40%, meaning the yield is just one fifth that of today’s wheat. Yet the way Einkorn grows the way wheat is supposed to grow, and as parents, we felt strongly that this was the type of wheat our daughter was meant to eat…After witnessing our daughters dramatic improvement, my husband and I knew we had to make Einkorn available to others….I gratefully accepted this as my life’s mission.”

I loved reading about their mission and see how passionate they are about this flour and making incredible food from it. This book is amazing. I wish it had a scratch and sniff feature because I felt like I walked into a remarkable bakery as I looked at all the incredible pictures of the recipes inside. There are wonderful step by step pictures which made me feel as if I was alongside the master chef at work.

The book starts out with the family’s testimony followed by the history of wild Einkorn informing readers about the evolution of the wheat we use today. They also show a protein chart comparing Einkorn to other grains and why Einkorn’s gluten is different. Since I have a sensitivity to gluten I found this fascinating. They talk about how to work with Einkorn flour. It’s a little bit different than working with regular flours. Again all very helpful and interesting.

This author kicks off the recipes with an Einkorn Sourdough Starter recipe. She talks about how to begin the starter and feed it and finish the starter over a 6 – 10 day period. The step by step pictures are helpful and the instructions are easy to follow. Then she goes to Yeast Levain bread. Again step by step pictures show what the dough should look like and how to knead it. There are directions for you if you use your oven and those for if you should want to put your dough in your bread machine.

The author goes on to talk about sprouted Einkorn wheat berries, what they are and how to cook with them. Then the first section titled Breads and Crackers. There are 30 recipes in this section. I want to make them all. There is the no-knead overnight Artisan Loaf, French Baguettes, Kefir Sourdough Bread, Classic Sandwich loaf, Raisin and Walnut Miche, Focaccia Genovese, Semi[Whole Grain Kaiser Rolls, Einkorn Corn Bread, Bagels, Hamburger and Hotdog rolls, and Sea Salt Crackers I’d love to try.

The next section is titled, Quick Breads and Breakfasts. There are 16 recipes in this section. The ones that I’d like to try first are Bacon & Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits; Whole Grain Caramelized Banana Bread, Zucchini Bread, Whole Grain Einkorn Pancakes, Golden Buttermilk Pancakes, and Slow-Fermented Begian Waffles.

Next is the section titled Cookies and Cakes, there are 14 recipes in all. The ones that looked yummy to me and want to try first are Goodness Graham Crackers, “Oatmeal” – Flax Sultanas cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies’ Olive Oil and Wine cookies, Classic Carrot Cake, Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate cupcakes with Chocolate Chip Buttercream Frosting. Still more amazing desserts are under the section titled Pies, Tarts, Pastries and Pudding. There are 11 mouthwatering recipes in this section. Some I’d like to try are Lemon Cream Tart, Slow-Rise Sticky Cinnamon Buns, Classic Apple Pie and Italian Cream Puffs.

Next section is Pizza, Pasta and Savory Main Dishes. There are 12 recipes in this amazing section. I was raised in an Italian home and have stopped eating many of these dishes because of my gluten sensitivity. It will be excited to eat many items in this section again such as Neapolitan Pizza, New York – Style Pizza, Spinach Lasagna Bolognese, Butternut Squash Gnocchi and tomato sauce, Roasted Root Vegetable and Chicken Country-style pie; Cod and Salmon Burgers.

The last section is titled Street Food. There are 13 recipes in it. I want to try everyone. But the first on the list are Sprouted Veggie Burgers, Korean Dumplings, Refried Bean Chimichangas, Crepes, Soft German Pretzels and Churros. Ok, now I’m hungry.

In their search to find a cure for their daughter’s health issues this family discovered Einkorn, an ancient grain. In order to bring this flour to the rest of the world they started a company named Jovial. It’s a company devoted to Einkorn and gluten-free products. I’m looking forward to trying this flour and the recipes. I look forward to cooking these meals for my family. It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten anything like this. I’ve checked out the prices on flour on their website and it’s reasonable. The health benefits look amazing. I hope to create some of these amazing dishes and reap the health benefits too. I’m excited. I’m ordering the flour soon and I’m hoping my body reacts as favorably as their daughters did!

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

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