ABOUT AUTHOR: Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including Romantic Time's Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at

How did you come up with the idea for Christmas Joy Ride?
Husband Chris and Melody Camping
Melody: My husband and I enjoy traveling in our own motor-home (RV) when we get the opportunity. While we’re out camping, we sometimes see some rather eccentric campers who like to decorate their RVs in interesting ways for various holidays and such. I think that’s what inspired my imagination to envision this gaudily decorated motor-home rumbling down a desert highway with an elderly woman at the wheel. And then I had to figure out where she was going and why. Thus this book was born.

Nora: Thanks for sharing this fun picture and what inspired you to write this story. I know I’m going to enjoy this story like I have your other Christmas stories!

What do you hope readers take away from Christmas Joy Ride?
Melody camping

Melody: First off, I hope they’re amused and entertained by the lighthearted story. Besides that, like me, I hope they’re challenged to think of some fun new ways to bless others during Christmastime—and that they’ll in turn be blessed. Finally, I hope it’ll remind them of what’s important about Christmas.

Nora: I know I will be entertained in this story. I’ve enjoyed all your Christmas novellas. They are fun, lighthearted and help readers remember the reason for the season.

What keeps you sane in the middle of craziness? Hope in the middle of stress and Life’s storms?

Melody: To be honest, I feel like I’ve been living amidst craziness for the past couple of years. Long story (moving…family challenges…general trials). But the way I stay sane and grounded is by remembering my favorite chapter in the Bible. In John 16, Jesus describes a branch that must hold onto a tree in order to stay alive. That’s how I need to hold onto God—like my life depends on it (and it does). When I keep the connection between God and me alive and fresh, it literally preserves my sanity.

Nora: Amen! Amen! Thanks for being honest; I’ve felt like that too. I’m glad how God gently reminds me I need to stop trying to do his job and hold onto Him. There’s nothing’s too hard for him. He’s got this!  I’ve felt like the Israelites at times complaining after watching God part the Red Seas! I appreciate you and your transparency.

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

Melody: I’m working on the last Dear Daphne book right now. That series got stopped midstream when the publisher discontinued fiction. I had two books out (Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel and Dating, Dining and Desperation) but still had two more to write. When my readers heard the sad news, they wrote to me, ‘demanding’ I finish the series. So I had to find a new publisher and I decided to go with WhiteFire. Book three (Hearth, Home and the Holidays) releases next month and its set at Christmastime until Valentine’s Day. And the final book (which I’m writing now) is about when Daphne finally gets married in the springtime—A Will, a Way, and a Wedding—and it’s a very fun story!

One of my favorite Christmas stories you’ve written is the one titled, “The Christmas Cat” I’m intrigued by cats. They do have such different personalities. You mention several in this book.  How did you come up with the idea for this book? Which cat was your favorite? Why?

Melody: I think cats are very interesting. And although I know they have different personalities, I wasn’t aware that it was related to their breed and coloring. So I tried to match the cats in the book with the correct character traits—as well as to match them up with the right potential owners. It turned out to be a fun challenge. And my favorite cat was the Maine Coon cat Harry because we had one by the same name (he originally adopted us and was adopted by our neighbors when we moved last year—as an outdoor cat who loved the forest he needed to remain in his habitat). That book has been optioned for a movie too. Here’s to hoping.

Harry and Melody

Nora: WOW, This would make a GREAT, FUN MOVIE!! I hope that things go that way! LOVED the story and Harry! So sorry to hear that you had to leave Harry behind but totally understand! That must have been really hard on you and your family!

I saw that you wrote the novelization for the book Grace Unplugged. How did that come about? Is writing the novel a different process then your other novels? Can you explain how that works?

Melody: That was a very different experience. I received the script for the movie even before it was finalized. And I needed to work fast. So I had to guess and improvise about some things. When I discovered that some of the scripts revisions reflected parts of my novelization, I was pleasantly surprised. It made me feel more involved in the actual film. And when I saw the movie, it really seemed to match the book.

Nora: It was a great book and interesting movie. Yes, the book did match the movie. Thanks for giving us an inside look into this process!

Another one of my favorite books by you is titled Once Upon a Winters Heart, how did you come up with the idea for that story? You have it mostly taken place in a book store? What do you love most about book stores? (This was a heartwarming story with characters I instantly cared about. Loved how you main female character was a Valentine’s Day Scrooge!)

Melody: That is a fun book! And being considered for TV too (praying it happens!). I just thought an old family bookstore was such a fun place—warm and inviting—and an interesting setting for a romance. And then I added Dean Martin songs (which I love) and chocolate and a few other elements and just let the story take me away. The ‘ice-skating’ scene is one of my favorites.

Nora: I’ve worked in a book store for 10 years and I was raised in an Italian family. This story had two of my favorite elements; plus I connected to the main character and her family. Made me smile at all we had in common! I’m EXCITED about this possibility for your book. Praying too!

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

Melody: I was an assistant to a very talented interior designer (because I thought I wanted to become a designer myself—but discovered I really didn’t). I was also an executive assistant to the CEO of an international adoption agency. It was interesting . . . but my writing career was just taking off and I moved on.

Nora: Wow, Fun to know about you and yes I’m surprised.

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? What causes you to pray the most?

Melody: Without going into all the details, it would involve the challenges within my own family. We have had what seems like ‘more than our fair share,’ but then I need to remember that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. We just need his help to handle it. And dealing with these challenges always drives me to prayer—my lifeline.

Nora: I agree with you Melody! Prayer is our lifeline and helps us get thought lives’ overwhelming challenges minute by minute some days!

If you had the money and the time what would you love to do if you could?

Melody: Well, first of all I’d like to feed all the hungry children in the world. But a smaller goal would be to provide quality affordable housing in our region. We have a big shortage right now.

Nora: I often pray for both of these challenges!

What are you passionate about that might surprise people?

Melody: I really care about people who struggle with mental illnesses and addiction and wish that our country offered more assistance to them.

Nora: These are things most don’t want to think about until it runs head on into our lives. I appreciate you sharing your heart!

What Christmas tradition do you look forward to every year?
Christmas Parade with friends
Melody: Just the sweet simplicity of gathering with family and friends with good food and fun times. I used to be concerned with ‘getting the elements of Christmas all right,’ but now I try to just focus on the people. To me that’s what matters most.

Nora: Amen! Great memories come with our special moments with family and friends!


Melody: Thanks for reading! And I hope that you, like me, are discovering that the best Christmas begins in your own heart. For me that means letting go of ‘old expectations’ and just celebrating the moment and whatever unexpected pleasures we find along the way. Merry Christmas!

Nora: I love that reminder Melody it helps us keep the main thing the main thing and look for the pleasant surprises the Lord gives us. The Love gifts that we could miss if we are going too fast. I ask the Lord to help me to slow down and see the things He has for me and my family along the way.

Met Melody ICRS 2014
We just came back from a road trip to visit our son at Naval Boot-camp in Chicago for Thanksgiving. He graduates on Dec. 11th and will fly to Florida after that. Our time together was precious. Just like your time here with readers. Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books.

Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was blessed and safe! So, Glad you are here and can get to know one of my favorite authors. THANKS Melody for all your fun pictures!!

I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity Revell hast planned for Christmas Joy Ride at TBCN started the 20th of NOVEMBER at LAST DAY to Enter NOV 30th.

TO ENTER GO TO WWW.BOOKFUN.ORG SCROLL down the FRONT PAGE and CLICK on the LINK ABOVE the BOOK COVER that gets you to the page to enter the Drawing.
If you are not a member of Book Fun You’ll Have to JOIN to Participate. It’s FREE and EASY!!


Nora :o)

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

Interview Sponsored by: Revell Publishers


ABOUT AUTHOR: Kellie Coates Gilbert takes readers on an emotional roller coaster as she weaves themes of unexpected trial, self-discovery, and forgiveness in this profoundly honest portrait of the tensions that can break a marriage--and the ultimate healing power of love.As a former legal professional, Kellie Coates Gilbert spent nearly twenty-five years working in courtrooms and behind the scenes of some of the largest and most well-known cases in America. She was one of t

he lead paralegals in the Jack-in-the-Box litigation, where uncooked hamburger resulted in the deaths of several toddlers and made many more critically ill, which is now the subplot of her soon-to-be released WHERE RIVERS PART, the second novel in a collection of contemporary women's fiction stories all set in Texas. Her books not only explore the heart issues that matter most to women, but often allow readers an inside peek into her former legal world. 

Her books not only explore the heart issues that matter most to women, but often allow readers an inside peek into her former legal world. 
Kellie currently makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband and a very spoiled 
2.7 lb. Yorkie named Emmie Sweetpea. Please visit her online at

How did you come up with the idea for A Reason to Stay?

Kellie: People who have read my earlier books know my stories often pull ideas from courtroom cases I’ve worked on or stories in the news. A Reason To Stay is no different.

In early 2011, I watched with the rest of the country as news media reported on the terrible shooting that left Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s fighting for her life. Like so many, I followed her painful journey to healing and prayed for her recovery.
Ms. Giffords’ story hit very close to home.

While I was not a victim of a shooting, years back I suffered a stroke, the result of a brain bleed that required multiple cranial surgeries and a protracted hospital recovery. I personally knew some of what Gabby faced and my heart was broken for her.
A Reason to Stay is a very personal story. Not only does Faith Marin face a brain injury and the subsequent struggles to recover, but her real fight is in keeping her marriage intact.

This summer, my husband and I will celebrate thirty-five years of marriage, a landmark in a journey marked with opposition. Looking back, I know that we only made it by the grace of God. Over the course of our years together, both of us had to make a decision.
I’m grateful we chose to stay. 
Me and Hubby
Nora: Oh, wow, I do remember what happened to the Congresswoman. It was unbelievable. I’m so glad that you were able to recover from the stroke and could relate to the Congresswoman. I’ve loved your books because you allow readers to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while and help them view others situations from a whole new perspective. Congratulations on your thirty-fifth wedding anniversary! Thanks for sharing your heart!

What do you hope readers take away from A Reason to Stay?

Kellie: The more I have read the Bible and studied the life of Jesus, the more I have become convinced that Christianity spreads best not through force but through fascination. As a novelist, I end writing each story with the hope that readers are fascinated with my strong protagonists who journey life-changing circumstances with a sense of hope that can only come from God.

Nora: I have been fascinated by the woman you’ve written about. I have been touched deep in my heart by the woman you’ve written about and their situation. I’ve also been encouraged and challenged. That’s why I look forward to reading your book!

What was your favorite scene in   A Reason to Stay?  Which was the most fun to write? Which was the hardest? Why?

Kellie: They say truth is stranger than fiction, but that adage had never been more true than the morning I watched the morning news and saw a scene from this book playing out on the television station….almost exactly.  I sat glued to my television, a sick feeling building in my gut. Tears pooled and I went to my knees and prayed for that reporter and cameraman’s family and friends. I wondered about the co-workers and the emergency responders. Such an evil act!

The scene I wrote nearly a year ago wrenched my emotions at the time I penned the words, but seeing the same thing on my television screen and knowing those events were real deeply saddened me.

Nora: Oh, Kellie; it was tragic and unimaginable to hear the news. I can imagine how it hit you even harder thinking there was no way this could happen in real life when you wrote that scene. “Truth is Stranger than Fiction for sure!” I agree.

You’ve said, “I adore women—in all our roles. Wives, mothers, daughters and especially girlfriends. Women are passionate and complex beings. One minute, fear invades our minds and we worry we don’t measure up, or get anxious our best efforts may fail. The next, we’re taking on a wrong and fighting to make things right, regardless of consequence. We defend the helpless, love the hopeless, and nurture our loved ones—often with a level of courage that surprises our male counterparts. Our talents are many and we’re masters at juggling roles. We’re fierce with our relationships. And, we struggle when life hits us hard . . . or dreams fade. I love writing stories about women, for women. And I love helping us to see how much we matter.”

QUESTION: Where do you go next? What is your next series? Will it involve woman’s issues?

Kellie: My next series will feature the lives and loves of three sisters. The stories will be filled with the same emotionally poignant storylines my readers have come to love BUT will offer strong romantic subplots that will delight those of us who adore the process of falling in love!

Nora: This sounds very interesting Kellie. I look forward to reading the series and meeting these sisters.

You’ve said, “My grandbabies. Ah….my own Gram used to call me her “precious puddin’ gift of God.” I will take my last breath conveying that same message to little Peanut and Gumdrop.”

QUESTION: What has surprised you about being a grandma? What do you love about it?

Kellie: Grandchildren are pure joy! Nothing sends my heart soaring more than opening the front door and hearing:  “Hi, Dammy!”  As far as surprising, I can’t help but shake my head seeing my tiny granddaughter worked her dimpled fingers across my iPad opening and closing apps and videos she wants to watch. I mean….she’s only a year and a half!!

Nora: Oh, MyGosh Kellie!! How cute! Thanks for sharing this. Grin!

You’ve said, “Flowers jazz my spirits. Shell pink tulips are my favorites, with lilacs and peonies coming in as close seconds. My Gram had the most incredible flower gardens and I loved to learn about the plants and help her weed. We’d talk about life and Jesus and how His artistic hand formed the tiny pansies and tall hollyhocks”

QUESTION: Do you have a flower garden? If so what flowers do you grow? If not what flowers are your favorite? How do you display your flowers at home? What about Christmas and Thanksgiving time? Which flowers do you have around – look forward to displaying? Why?

Kellie: Oh, Nora… have picked up on my guilty pleasure!  I adore flowers. Sadly, Dallas summers don’t allow for thriving foliage. So, I indulge in floral bouquets on my living room coffee table and on my office desk. I’ve included some photos for your readers.  My love for all things floral was certainly fed while living in Portland, Oregon. A dahlia farm, a lilac farm, and tulip farms were all just a short drive from my house. I wish I could capture what the air smelled like. I’ve included photos…..maybe your readers can use their imagination!

Nora: Thank you for all these LOVELY PICTURES!! WOW, They are BEAUTIFUL!

What has been the funniest thing you’ve heard a child say?

Kellie: Nothing tickles the funny bone more than the adorable things little children say (or mix up).  One of my all-time favorites by my youngest while praying:  “Our Father, who aren’t in heaven….Howard is your name.” This is the same kid who used to ask me:  “Is today tomorrow?” *smiles*

Nora: Love it!!

If you had to be on a T.V. Reality show which would you pick? Give you have the talent to be on that show like dancing with the stars, survivor, Cooking stars, road race etc. What would you look forward to the experience?

Kellie: What a fun question!  While many claim I am a gifted writer, Jesus passed me over when it came to singing.  I’m as sour as they come. I’m not a physical fitness fanatic…so that’s not my forte either. I can cook though….and make fabulous braised lamb shanks I serve over real mashed potatoes. I also make an onion tarte that is a hit at parties. Primarily, you caramelize sweet onions in butter and brown sugar and spread over a pre-baked sheet of filo dough, sprinkle with feta cheese and place under the broiler until the cheese bubbles and turns brown at the edges. Cut into two inch squares with a pizza cutter and serve….delicious!

Nora: This sounds yummy!! I’ll have to try it. Thanks for sharing!

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? What causes you to pray the most?

Kellie: I hate looking up from my computer and seeing that it is three o’clock in the afternoon and I’m not yet showered and dressed, have nothing started for dinner (or even taken out of the freezer) and I’ve spent the entire day on marketing and haven’t met my word count….which means a late night ahead. I’m constantly asking for divine help in managing my time!

Nora: It’s crazy when this happens and I’m not even writing a book!! Grin!

If you had the money and the time what would you love to do if you could?

Kellie: I’d upgrade our motorhome and travel the country with my husband, meeting with readers and retailers!  The ultimate book tour that never ends!

Nora: That sounds like fun and yes it would be a great book tour idea!

Can you share with us a favorite childhood memory? Or thing that happened to you that you’ll never forget?

Kellie: One of my favorite anecdotes to tell from my children is this:
In third grade, our teacher Mrs. Leazenby read to us after lunch recess to calm us down and prepare us for a few more hours of learning before the bus took us home.

She read Tom Sawyer – and the kid sitting behind me named Craig Adamson sat and poked his pencil into my back the entire time.  I raised my hand and told and the teacher did nothing. She just gave him a stern look and kept reading.

She read Little Women – and he tied my two pigtails together and thought he was funny.  I told……nothing.

She read Mrs. Wiggs and the Cabbage Patch, and he kicked the legs of my desk the entire time.  I told…..and again, nothing.

But then….She read WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, a story about a boy in the Ozarks who worked, saved and bought two hound dogs OLD DAN and LITTLE ANN.  The boy worked diligently to train the dogs to hunt raccoons and in the process a deep love grew between Billy and his dogs.

One night, however, his dogs tree a mountain lion. Old Dan howls defiantly, and it attacks. Billy is horrified, and with his axe he enters the fray, hoping to save his dogs, but they end up having to save him. Eventually, they defeat the mountain lion, but Old Dan is badly wounded, and Billy soon finds his intestines in a bush. He dies the next day. Billy is heartbroken, and Little Ann loses the will to live, stops eating, and dies of starvation a few days later on Old Dan's grave.

 That scene shook the entire class to our core. Even Craig Adamson cried. 

As an adult, I look back now and wonder if Mrs. Leazenby chose that story on purpose. She knew Craig’s dog sat outside our classroom waiting for him every day until the bell finally rang for us to go home.

Nora: Oh, Wow! Great Anecdote! I appreciate you sharing that.

Kellie: STORIES HAVE A WAY OF CHANGING US WHEN THE STORY PULLS US IN ON AN EMOTIONAL LEVEL. I try and remember this with every story I have the privilege to write!


 Kellie: In the past, I’ve had so much fun interacting with the TBCN members/readers. My heart is filled with gratitude for all the emails they’ve sent me, the reviews they’ve posted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other retailer sites. Nothing encourages an author more…, thank you!!!  I’ll always write with you in mind.

Nora: Oh, Kelly I love having you stop by TBCN and have you talk about your latest book. I learn so much and I LOVE all the pictures you put in the interviews. Praying you and your family having a special Thanksgiving day.

We have so much to be Grateful for!

I’m thrilled about the 5 book Giveaway Opportunity for your new book A REASON TO STAY at TBCN going on RIGHT NOW!! at 

LAST DAY to Enter NOV 30th.

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  

Interview Sponsored by: Revell Publishers


Brother Charlie
By Isaac St. Laurent
Illustrated by Anna O’Brien
Published by Elk Lake Publishers
20 pages paperback

Back Cover: Brothers begin life bonding as toddlers with a busy mom who loves them. A heartfelt story written by a younger brother. Isaac St. Laurent is in 12th grade at Lambert High School. He enjoys writing and playing video games. He hopes to create his own gaming company.

REVIEW: I enjoyed this beautifully illustrated children's picture book that shows a big brother adjusting to the birth of his little brother. It’s hard to share his mother with this new little one. There seems to be no time for him.

Everything changes once a new little one comes home to stay. Things seem out of place until the family works to achieve their new normal. As Charlie watches his brother get bigger he realizes that he can be helpful to his mom by watching his brother for his her. He bonds with his brother over reading him his favorite books. The enjoyable times increase when his little brother is able to share his toys with him and he can read him books. As they spend time together Charlie realizes how much he cares for his brother.

Charlie delights over his little brothers first words. The illustrations bring this sweet, moving story to life.

This story was first brought to me by my son Isaac. It was a project his teacher had assigned him in 11th grade. He said the story brought tears to his teacher’s eyes. I was excited to read it. Since Isaac has an older brother that he is close to this story it held a special meaning for me as I’ve watched them grow closer together through the years. I did get choked up at the end.

Isaac has a wonderful imagination and has been writing stories and movie scripts for many years now. This is his first short story to be published. Isaac loves a good story in print, on the screen and in video games. He takes great joy in brainstorming potential stories with friends. He is working on his movie script as I’m typing this. I’m excited to watch his project grow and then finally captured on film.

This is a great story to help show a child that is expecting the arrival of a new baby at their house. It will help inspire a dialogue to help parent and child. It will help them talk about the changes, rewards and joy a new baby can bring to their life and home.

Disclosure of Material Connection: AD# Sponsor The Book Club Network
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


The Lost Heiress
By Roseanna M. White
Published by Bethany House
ISBN# 978-0-7642-1350-2
439 Pages

Back Cover: Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. Though raised in the palace of Monaco, she's British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. When Brook's friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.

The mystery of her mother's death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook's life is threatened do they draw close--but their loyalty may come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother.

As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that what began as friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?

REVIEW: The two page list of characters before the book started was a little intimidating; I wondered if I could keep up with the list of who’s who while reading. My hesitation vanished when the author opened the story with eighteen year old Brook Eden.I loved the opening scene. “Gleaming silver, green leather, the nearly silent rumble of engine…Brook trailed a gloved hand along the door, cast one glance over her shoulder, and let herself in. She couldn’t stop the grin as she gripped the wheel of the Rolls-Royce.”

Brook’s not like the women of her time. She’s curious, spunky, a well-educated, an independent thinker. She’s a young lady I instantly connected with. She adores the family that raised her but a part of her heart was missing. She had to know who her parents were and where she came from.

I loved Brook’s free-spirit, passionate ways and her zest for life. She asked her dear friend Justin to find her lost family and oh, teach her to drive. Grin! It was his car she slipped into on page one. Justin Wildon was a gentlemen – who was also known as Lord Harlow. He and Brook grow up together in Monaco. He was noticing more and more she was turning into quite a beautiful young lady.

Justin had gone through great lengths to verify who Brook’s family was. He told her what her full name was; Elizabeth Brook Eden, Baroness of Berkley. She’s surprised. It’s not what Brook expected. Justin then takes her to meet her loving father; the famed Lord Ambrose Whitly who is overjoyed at finally meeting his daughter in England.

Not everyone in England is willing to believe Brook is who she claims to be. She undergoes scrutiny and is treated coldly by servants and some family members. Brook soon discovers that other girls have claimed to be Lord Ambrose Whitly’s long lost daughter. Brook knows people wonder what makes her any different from the others. Brook could not foresee all she would encounter after meeting her new family.

Justin is unexpectedly pulled away from Brook to attend to his own family crisis, at a time when Brook needs him most and just when they begin to wonder if they could be more than friends.

I like how this author deals with the faith element in the story naturally. There is a divine intervention that transforms Brook’s fear into faith as she learns to trust God even when she doesn’t understand what’s happening. In hopeless times fear tries to take over Brooks’ life. Her close friend Justin is far away which forces her to learn to trust God not only in the happy times, but also in the hard times. She soon realizes that God can turn terrifying storms into things of beauty.

Will Justin save the day? Will she find a safe place? Will she trust God in the storm?

I enjoyed the rich history of the Era and this author does an amazing job of making me feel as if I were there among the characters watching this royal family go about their daily routines as protocol demands. This story is told in the POV of Brook and Justin. I liked that. I was surprised at how much I disliked the villains in the story who took joy in plotting Brooks’s demise.

I liked how this author brilliantly wove several story lines into the mix and added the perfect blend of danger, mystery, romance and intrigue for a fun memorable read. The stage is set for book two in the Ladies of the Manor series. I’m looking forward to it! You will too!

Disclosure of Material Connection: AD# Sponsor The Book Club Network
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


Excited to share these two authors with you and their NEW books. The Publisher is giving away 5 copies of each book.


You'll need to JOIN TBCN to Participate. It's FREE and EASY!!




Sponsored by Revell Publishing #ad #contest

All you have to do is answer one question to be entered for the drawing. The LAST day to enter is NOVEMBER 30th.


We have so much to be thankful for!!

BLESSINGS TO YOU ALL!! Thanks for all you do to help us have FUN at BOOK FUN!!

Nora St.Laurent 

TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


Goodnight Manger
By Laura Sassi
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Published by Zonderkids
ISBN# 978-0-310-74556-3
32 Pages

Back Cover: Goodnight, Manger, written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist Jane Chapman, tells the story of Mary and Joseph as they try to lull Jesus to sleep in the noisy stable after his birth. It's bedtime for Baby Jesus, but who knew a manger could be so loud? Mama, Papa, and all of the animals try to lull the baby to sleep, but between itchy hay, angels' joyful hosannas, and three kings bearing noisy gifts, it's just too loud. Until Mama Finds a way for everyone to work together to shepherd Baby into peaceful dreams under the twinkling stars. With sweet, rhyming text in the style of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, Goodnight, Manger offers a unique twist on the classic manger tale, deftly weaving together the comforting and familiar routines of bedtime with the special magic and wonder of the manger story.

REVIEW:I enjoyed this humorous story that is brought to life through beautiful and vibrant color illustrations. Many Christmas stories depict the manger scene in a solemn manner. This author shines a different light in the manger.

The story opens up with Mary and Joseph (first time parents) doing their best to try to help their little one (Jesus) to get to sleep in a stall full of animals. Outside the angels are singing and rejoicing that Jesus is born; oh and then there were all the visitors that came to see Jesus. How could anyone sleep with all that going on? If you like to mix things up and want to read a beautifully fun illustrated book that will make you smile. It’s not your typical Christmas story! I enjoyed that aspect of it.

Disclosure of Material Connection:I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Book Look 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


Recipes and Provocations
By Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman
Published by ClarkClarkson Potter
239 Pages HB

Back Cover:  Superstar chef Alex Stupak's love of real Mexican food changed his life; it caused him to quit the world of fine-dining pastry and open the smash-hit Empell√≥n Taqueria in New York City. Now he'll change the way you make--and think about--tacos forever.

TACOS is a deep dive into the art and craft of one of Mexico's greatest culinary exports. We start by making fresh tortillas from corn and flour, and variations that look to innovative grains and flavor infusions. Next we master salsas, from simple chopped condiments to complex moles that simmer for hours and have flavor for days. Finally we explore fillings, both traditional and modern--from a pineapple-topped pork al pastor to pastrami with mustard seeds.

But TACOS is more than a collection of beautiful things to cook. Wrapped up within it is an argument: Through these recipes, essays, and sumptuous photographs by Evan Sung, the 3-Michelin-star veteran makes the case that Mexican food should be as esteemed as the highest French cooking.

REVIEW: I’m honored and thrilled to be introduced to Alex Stupack whose passion for Mexican food jumps off every page. Alex talks to readers as if they are standing in the kitchen alongside him. This Chef tells it like it is. He is zealous in describing his unexpected journey and what he discovered along the way. He has a few colorful words mixed in talking about his revelations.

The Chef says, “I’m a white boy from suburban Massachusetts. In fact, I wouldn’t even consider Mexican food that didn’t come with a spice pack and a sleeve of crispy shells until long after I ‘d graduated culinary school.” He became a pastry Chef who had an obsession for Mexican food that he dabbled in on his days off.

The Chef says this about his book, “You’ll learn fundamentals, starting with everything I know about tortillas; the journey they take from corn kernel to griddle, why it’s important to eat them at their freshest, and even how to manipulate them with nontraditional ingredients. You’ll gain a deep arsenal of salsa; …the simple and complex…in flavor and technique.” The author goes on, “You’ll learn to prepare taco fillings”…remember…”I too grew up eating crispy shells stuffed with ground beef and shredded cheddar.”

He goes on to say, “This book is only about tacos- a reference point most of us share, a familiar food that we can use to explore the unfamiliar flavors and challenging ideas….We’re using the taco as a Trojan horse and it’s time to open the gates.
The photographer Evan Sung does an amazing job of making this book visually appealing; capturing the beauty of these dishes and ingredients. I appreciated the step by step photos in recipes too. It will be helpful for me when I make these dishes. I can’t wait to try the taco-tortilla ones first – there are so many variations. The Chef says, “My stance here is firm: There is absolutely no substitute for a fresh, homemade tortilla…to fully use this book as it’s intended, you have to reconcile to the idea of making your own.”

The book is broken down into the introduction learning about the Chef and his obsession for Mexican food and how he went from pastry Chef to taco maker and restaurant owner. It starts out with Tortillas recipes, then Salsa, Tacos, Essential Preparations.

I found the section on his Provocations interesting. He talks about the United States of Mexico; My Beef with Beef; The Agony and the Ecstasy of Al Pastor; The Tyranny of Cheap Eats; and on Mexico’s Jolie Laide.

My family has made the change from eating processed food to eating real food we make at home. This book helps me make the change in the way we eat Mexican. I’m ready to make the change from the crispy shells stuffed with beef he talks about. This book has opened the door to new flavors and ideas. I can’t wait to try ALL of them. He has recipes ranging from Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Dessert. The book is one you’ll experience as you read about this author, his discoveries and as you make and taste  the delicious food he describes.  It’s a win win for everyone!

Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and 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