Hi, Everyone;
I would LOVE to Hear from you!  I'm going to be writing a monthly book club article for Book Fun Magazine. I'd like to kick off the series talking about Book Club Favorites read in 2015. 

So if you can email me at with your top 10 FAVORITES ( a combo of Fiction and Non-fiction is fine). 

Please list the Title, Author and Genre. 

(I'll need to have your responses by Jan 29th)

PLEASE Answer One or More of the following questions. List your club's Top 5 for 2015

1. Why was it your favorite Book Club pick?
2. Did you have lively discussion with the book?
3. Did something surprise you? Your Members?
4. Discovered a new favorite author you haven't read the author before Why are they your new favorite?
5. Did the book you like have discussion questions in it? Did that help with the discussion? or Did you come up with your own? Do Tell!
6. Did you read a genre you haven't read before? Like it? What was the Genre? Why did you like it or not like it?


I look forward to reading your input!! and working with you this year.

Hope you all had a BLESSED CHRISTMAS and Wishing ALL of you an wonderful 2016. More Book Fun Ahead!

If you have any questions Please let me know.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins

Visit The Book Club Network, Inc. at:


Brodo: A Bone Broth
By Marco Canora
Published By Pam Krauss Books
160 Pages HB

Back Cover: No one has been more responsible for the recent explosion of interest in bone than New York City chef Marco Canora.  After completely revitalizing his health by integrating bone broth into his diet, Marco began to make his nourishing broths available by the cupful to New Yorkers from a small window in his East Village restaurant, drawing sell-out crowds virtually from the beginning. It’s no longer just a building block for soups and sauces, bone broths are now being embraced for their innumerable health benefits, from cultivating a healthier gut to greater resistance to colds and other illnesses. In Brodo, Marco shares the recipes for his flavorful, nutritious broths and shows how to serve them year round as well as incorporate them into recipes and as a daily health practice.  Perfect for stirring into a broth bowl or a pot of risotto, as a gentler, supportive alternative to the afternoon caffeine fix, and an immunity and health booster any time, the homey bone broths in Brodo should be a part of every well-stocked pantry.

REVIEW: I was excited to see this bone broth cookbook. Even more thrilled at how these broth tasted. Oh, Wow! I was first introduced to this Chef and read about his journey into wellness after his health wake up-call 5 years ago; in his cookbook titled A Good Food Day. I too experienced amazing healing in my stomach through just drinking bone broth. The bone broth I made last year didn’t even compare to the broth in this book. My husband and I made Hearth broth and the grass-fed beef broth. They are rich with flavor, comforting, taste amazing and satisfy.

I like how Marco talks about the nutritional benefits and healing abilities of bone broth for the gut, joints, as well as skin and immunity. He found it gave him more energy and a zest for life. He was busting to share this with his customers. He’s had a restaurant for years that had the ability to serve customers through a window that faced the street. He opened Brodo in Nov. 2014. He focused on three signature broths: chicken, beef and Hearth broth (which is a beef, chicken and turkey broth).

The chef says, “In this book I share all of the basics: where to buy bones, what kind to look for, the tools I recommend and the key techniques to use to develop flavor and get the most bang for your buck of every batch…I’ll show you how putting just an hour or two of active cooking times a week make bone broths a part of your everyday diet…..I’ve also included a look at why it’s considered the world’s first comfort food. I explore the medicinal effects of drinking broth and dig into all the ways that bone broth is a functional food.” The author goes on to say, “Bone broth is filling, hydrating, and incredibly restorative in a way that caffeinated drinks can’t match.”

He discusses the major components and healing benefits of bone broth. He says, “We’ve a history of being fed misinformation as far as what to eat for better health. I prefer to educate myself as best I can and experiment to find out what works for me.”

I have found the same to be true with me. I was in so much pain with my stomach last year I was willing to try anything. I was astounded by how well bone broth worked. I stopped drinking it but this Chef has incorporated bone broth in his daily diet. Instead of reaching for the mid-afternoon coffee he reaches for bone broth to fully recharge his energy level.

I loved the variety of broths in this book: Roasted Lamb broth, Duck broth, Veal broth, Smoky port broth, End of the month Broth, Fish broth, Clam broth, Mushroom broth, Vegetable broth just to name a few. You can look for these items to go on sale and/or start out with Chicken and beef broth. One thing that surprised me was the chapter on Broth Add-ins. It kind of reminded me of Star Bucks in that you can ADD any item to your coffee to create the flavor you desire. The Chef does the same in this chapter. I found it helps me think about broth in a whole new light. The add-ins can be Infused Coconut Milk, Fresh Turmeric, Roasted Garlic Puree and he lists more.

This author’s last chapter is on Risotto. He says, “Brodo bowls are simple soups that combine the goodness of long-cooked broth with fresh vegetables, whole grains, powerful add-ins, and, in some cases meat.”

I’m looking forward to trying the other broths in this book. Because these broths taste wonderful I might be able to do like this Chef has done – incorporate them in my everyday life not just at the start of a New Year!!

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


Healthy and Free
By Beni Johnson
Published by Destini Image
205 Pages

Back Cover: Begin Your Journey to Spirit-Soul-Body Health Today...

Beni Johnson received a life-changing revelation about how anyone can start walking in holistic health—including you! Jesus died for your spirit, soul, and body. This means you can experience His resurrection life in all three areas!

Christians should be the healthiest people on Earth because they understand God has made their bodies His temple. Unfortunately, many people focus on one area of health while neglecting another. This can lead to spiritual disconnection, bad eating habits, depression, poor rest, and lack of exercise.

In Healthy and Free, Beni shows you how to: Find your why: Learn the motivating secret to pursuing a healthy lifestyle as your new normal. Unlock the connection: Discover the many ways your spirit, soul and body are interconnected and how health in one areas directly effects another. Start simple: Receive practical and easy-to-implement steps to begin walking in health right now. The Great Physician desires you to walk in Heaven’s health. Get aligned with God’s divine design today and experience freedom—body, soul and spirit!

REVIEW: The forward of this book was written by Jorden Rubin author of The Makers Diet. He says, “…living a healthy lifestyle is a journey. It’s not a quick fix…..(in this book there are) Practical, everyday steps to walk out a life style of divine health so that their bodies can be protected from sickness… (Beni) Looks at health in all three areas: body, soul, and spirit….”In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”

The author’s wellness journey in her words (it was) “Full of experimenting, soul-searching, and pressing into God…it’s been a time of discovery. I’ve taken an inventory of my thoughts, mindsets, and belief systems and changed many of them so that I can live a full and healthy life in my body, soul, and spirit.” Beni started this journey in 2004 she says, “A good question to first ask yourself, “Why do you want to get healthy? Why do you want to be strong? Why do you want to lose weight?” She says, “I think it’s important to know why you are doing what you are doing.”…remembering your “why” has given me the strength to push forward on my journey. It’s much easier to say no to a milkshake, or burger with a large side of fries and a donut, because I know that they won’t help me stay true to my “why.”

I agree with the author and have found this to be true in my life. This year I embarked on my own journey into wellness. I’ve jumped off the treadmill of my fast paced life and stopped to figure out why I’ve had so much pain in eating. I stopped taking stomach pills (to stop the pain) I’ve taken most of my life. I recently found out that these pills; taken over time make bones brittle. Yikes!

I’m still in the process of trying to figure out what cause’s me pain when I eat. Like the author said it’s easier to stick to an eating plan because I know my mission: which is to heal the lining of my stomach. (My why!)

I liked that this author talked about things I haven’t heard about before in other health books. Beni starts with finding your “why” then talks about changing your mind, and pressing into the Lord for help. Then about giving yourself and others grace on the journey. Living a healthy life style is not a religion, it’s a way of life. It’s one to be enjoyed not be in bondage to. I like how she talks about this.

The next section is on Soul Health, it was interesting and made me think about things I hadn’t thought about before like loving yourself, giving yourself permission – to like yourself. She says, “Ask yourself 1. Do I like myself? 2. Do I love myself? 3. If your answer is no, then it is time ask God for help.” She says, “Your entire being is dependent on you to love your mind, body and spirit. You are worth being loved! Allow yourself to turn those negative thoughts into beautiful words.”

Wow, with the media feeding us one line, the world another it’s hard to not compare yourself and come up short!

Some of the information in this book took me by surprise. I knew some of the health issues but I never took the time to relate it to me and my journey to wellness in my mind, body and soul.

This is a huge missing link to the health puzzle for me. What I tell myself and what I believe about my body has a huge impact on my health. This is a small book filled with important information to take your wellness journey to the next level. I highly recommend this book for everyone beginning a wellness journey and for those who have been at it for a while. These is so much to glean and be encouraged by.

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Sponsor. I received a complimentary copy of this book from TBCN. 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 was your favorite scene in THE MERCHANT of ALYSS? Which was the most fun to write? Why?

LOCKE/BUNN : I began work on Alyss before Emissary had been accepted for publication.  I had no idea anyone would accept these stories, since they were so utterly different from what I had been writing up to that point.  Even so, I was so captivated by the concepts and the emotions that, basically, I had to write it.

My wife was speaking at a conference in San Francisco, and I had come along to play spouse.  Supposedly I was working on a story for which I did indeed have a contract, and which also had an approaching deadline.  I rented a bike and was cycling around the city when I was struck by the image of a guard standing on the parapet in a fierce winter storm, watching a new crimson image.  Who then turns away from the city, walks down to the magic grove protecting Hyam's home, and attacks?

By the time we returned home, I had the first quarter of the book mapped out.

Nora: Fun! Thanks for sharing. I don't normally read this genera but I was quickly drawn to the world your created and your main character. I felt for his situation. Emissary was a powerful story. I look forward to reading The Merchant of Alyss.

You mentioned on your website that author Michael Crichton has been an inspiration to you? Can you elaborate on that? What do you love about his books?

 LOCKE/BUNN: When I was first starting off as a writer, I read how ninety percent of a professional athletes’ exercise time was spent on strengthening the ten percent weakest part of his or her abilities.  Every author has weak points.  Part of my early years, as I struggled to learn this new craft, was spent coming to terms with what these weaknesses were.  Before I could correct them, I needed to identify them.  Which was very hard indeed.  The creative work is not something 'out there'.  It is visceral.  It is at the heart of who I am.  Which means I was not criticizing a work external to me and my character.  This went to the very heart of myself and the life I yearned to begin.  But it was also essential.

One issue I identified was a need to craft my characters more swiftly.  How to merge this hunger I had for living breathing people who literally rose from the page, to a swift-moving story.  I felt Michael Crichton was a master at this.  His dialogue and his descriptions both carried great depth, while being very terse, very taut.  Like his plots.  I modeled my early work on his example, and gradually learned how to form my own voice as a result.

Nora: Your characters are believable, do quickly grab my attention and most times touch my heart in unexpected ways. I like how you pace your stories!

Who is the ideal reader for The Legends of the Realm series? What audience did you write this novel for?

LOCKE/BUNN: I find that increasingly the younger generations within the faith community are moving away from the mind-set of their parents.  I am not suggesting that they are abandoning their faith.  What I mean is, they are abandoning their parents' concept of church. 

Many of the younger believers are trending towards a faith that dwells inside the larger mainstream world.   Their lives no longer center upon a church so large it contains its own sense of community.  They worship in home churches, or smaller centers that are focused upon outreach.  They accept a multi-cultural and multi-racial lifestyle, and seek a church that reflects this. 

And their entertainment is being drawn from this wider arena.

At the same time, they are not comfortable with much of the darkness that dominates so much of current television and movie trends.  They listen to Christian artists whose music is mainstream-oriented.  With this Thomas Locke brand, I seek to join a small but growing number of believers who are doing this with books and film.

The preliminary response, both from within the younger generations in our faith community, and from the mainstream, has been more than wonderful.  It has been a gift.

Nora: That's very interesting and very true! Thanks for putting into words what I thought was happening. I do hope they find your book. They are awesome!

There is the element of magic to the story. The main character discovers that it’s real and doesn’t know how to handle it. What do you hope readers take away from the “Magic” element in the story?

LOCKE/BUNN: It is wonderful to be asked this.  The issue of using magic was something I grappled with for quite some time.  I found such immense guidance from the works of C S Lewis and J R R Tolkein on this issue.  And here is what I determined.  Thank you so much for the chance to share this.

Four thousand years ago, when the concept of 'epic' fiction originated, there was a specific purpose behind stories where magic and mythical beasts played major roles.  The Greeks sought to create worlds that were bigger than life, with challenges and obstacles that were completely and utterly beyond the reach of mortal man.  And they did so with a specific purpose in mind.

The authors sought to portray through story that a normal human being can grow beyond the impossible challenges of life.  They wanted to show normal people, with flaws and weaknesses as great as those we all carry today, can in fact rise up.  They can triumph. 

That is what I seek to do here.  I want to return to the original aims of fantasy fiction.  I want to re-insert the concept of heroic struggle, and challenges greater than life, and triumphs over evil and darkness. 

Nora: Thank you for taking the time to answer this important matter! I think you've done what you set out to do.

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

LOCKE/BUNN: I am going to skip the two obvious answers, my faith and my wife.  These are essential to me.  But I really feel the crux of this question is, what else offers these positive elements in hard times that might be of benefit to others?

The first for me is a positive mind-set.  Sometimes I feel as though we as a community of believers use the intimacy of shared faith as an opportunity to moan.  Where is the eternal hope here, where is the promise of the eternal gift?  Remaining anchored in the harsh times begins for me by lifting my gaze above the elements seeking to bring me down, and searching for that kernel of divine truth, the opportunity to serve, the issue that I can too easily be blind to because of stress or hardship.  But God is there, and often he is speaking to us in the midst of the whirlwind, offering us an opportunity to turn this into an act of service.  It is hard, but when I manage this the outcome is a tremendous sense of, not just accomplishment, but of hope through Him who strengthens us all.

Nora: Amen! Amen!

Out of all the interviews you’ve ever done is there a question you wished someone had asked you but didn’t? If so, what is the question and what is your answer?

LOCKE/BUNN: What a beautiful question.  There is always one such question with every book.  With Merchant of Alyss, it would go something like this:  

How did you develop such a sense of natural flow out of a realm that actually doesn't exist?  How did you manage to structure a fantasy where the logic and surprise fit together so powerfully?

LOCKE/BUNN: I feel this is a crucial element of both Emissary and MerchantAnd with these two books, the answer is extremely different. 

With Emissary, it came together as naturally as breathing.  This happens sometimes.  I wish it happened more often, but that is really in God's hands.

With Merchant of Alyss, it was the exact opposite.  I burned with this story.  I had to write it.  I began work on the first draft before I had a contract to publish the first book.  The passion and the joy were immense.  But it was still such a struggle.  And the first draft reflected this.  So I completed the work.  Then I set it aside.  Six weeks later I did a full-bore redraft.  Then I set it aside again.  Six weeks later I did another total redraft.  Then I sent it to the editors, who actually said it was great, don't change a thing.  Then I did the entire process a third time.  It went into line edits.  And I did it a fourth and final time.  A lot, lot, lot of work.  To make it smooth and simple like Emissary was at first draft.
Met Davis this summer at the ICRS Conference Orlando Florida

Nora: Wow, Thank you for sharing your journey and discoveries!

Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. 
I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN started the 20th of DECEMBER at LAST DAY to enter Dec 30th. Scroll down the front page of TBCN. CLICK on the link and answer one question to be entered!

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


By Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson
Published by Ten Speed Press
243 Pages

BACK COVER: A collection of 125 delicious whole-foods recipes showcasing 16 antioxidant-rich power foods, developed by wellness authority Rebecca Katz to combat and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation, arthritis, and other conditions that plague American adults, enabling readers to live longer, healthier lives.

Food is your most powerful tool. You want to make better nutritional choices, but the science of eating has become more complicated than ever. If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, are at risk for heart disease, have a family history of high blood pressure, or simply want to eat a healthful diet to promote long life, how do you know which foods will really deliver the greatest benefits?

In this collection of more than 100 recipes that combine smart nutrition and superb flavor, culinary nutrition pioneer Rebecca Katz highlights the top sixteen foods proven to fight the most common chronic conditions. Katz draws on the latest scientific research to explain how super foods such as asparagus, basil, coffee, dark chocolate, kale, olive oil, sweet potatoes, and wild salmon can build immunity, lower cholesterol, enhance memory, strengthen the heart, and reduce your chances of developing diabetes and other diseases.

This practical, flavor-packed guide presents the most effective—and delicious—ways to use food to improve the performance of every system in the body. Katz explains the health advantages of each main ingredient, and includes menu plans to address specific symptoms and detailed nutritional information for each recipe.

REVIEW: In the forward a Dr. talks about quality of life and how many American’s are overwhelmed about where to begin eating healthy. Many don’t even know how to cook. I liked reading about how life has changed from what our parents and grandparents grew up doing. They ran their own kitchens, had their own workshops and were generally more self-reliant. “Medicine:,  says Dr. Andrew Weil, “…was originally rooted in nature drawing in the healing powers of herbs, spices, and food…We are at a critical moment in terms of societal health. I’ll be blunt: We’ve reached the top of the rollercoaster ride, and if we don’t relearn how to really take care of ourselves.. we are plunging towards chronic illness…I’ve devoted much of my professional life to educating people about how they can use great foods, deliciously prepared, to create a sense of well-being that they can enjoy every day and nurture them across a lifetime. These authors fused together a blend of taste and science that is irresistible to the palate and the mind.”

Author Rebecca Katz says, “I’ve spent more than a decade motivating people to eat well…My primary tool has been flavor, as I showed people how great taste and great nutrition can joyfully coexist at the dinner table.” She continues, “…Issue in a nutshell: Every day I meet smart motivated folks – who want to dive into eating well…but they don’t know where to start…I can provide a culinary clue: instead of looking for some magic app or whiz-bang futuristic solution, like a meal-in-a-pill or a push button Star Trek-type food replicator.”

This writing team helps readers re-think how they view food. She says, “…view food as something that connects their families to the earth and to wellness – perspective that probably comes more naturally to those whose gardens and farms are their primary source of substance. That ability to nature, which can be learned and shared is incredibly empowering….what you chose to put on your plate can both improve your quality of life and extend your years.”

Chapter one gives the reader a brief and simple overview of the body and nutrition. Rebecca talks about the gut, liver and Kidney’s their functions and what they need to work properly. She discusses the immune system – why whole foods are great team players to make your body strong and function well. She includes a helpful culinary pharmacy that is 14 pages long. Filled with ingredients listed in alpha order starting from Allspice and ending with Yogurt. She writes a paragraph on each ingredient. What it is, where you can find it and its healing power. I found this a great resource and will be referring to it often. She then talks about eating to enhance and enjoy life – from Science to the plate. I like how this author helps readers begin this journey, “Be patient with yourself. Cooking is a process of trial and error. Learning what you like and how to create it can work wonders in overcoming any resistance you may feel toward cooking and eating well. I found the questions listed under the heading,” Discovering your culinary GPS” helpful. Great way to plunge into this new beginning.

The author starts out each recipe with a paragraph talking about the dish and its benefits. The recipe lists the ingredients on the left hand side of the page. Many of the recipes have lots of spices and ingredients that can be found in most regular grocery stores. She uses a combination of fresh and dried herbs for her dishes. Some recipes have 26 or more ingredients (mostly spices) and some have as little as 5. Many used a ¼, ½ or a full teaspoon of each spice. This author is out for full flavor with the most health benefits. Dry ingredients last a long time and will be worth the investment. I know I’m going to be on the lookout for sales!

The author includes the prep time, cooking time, how to store the dish and the nutritional break down for each recipe. There are helpful cooking notes, and a Who Knew? Section that points out health information.

The first chapter is titled Life-Enhancing Soups and Broths: Can’t wait to try Chicken Magic Mineral Broth 2.0 and Velvety Mediterranean Gazpacho with Avocado Cream. Another soup that looked great was Costa Rican Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Chicken Tortilla soup. The Southeast Asian Seafood stew looked yummy along with Peppino’s Cowboy minestrone with her mini meatballs.

Under Vital Vegetables section the recipes I want to try are Avocado Lover’s Salad, Roasted Asparagus Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts, Strawberry, Fennel and Arugula Salad, Walnut, Date and Herb Salad, Tuscan Beans and Greens, Sweet Potato and Zucchini Pancakes.

In the GRAINS Chapter I want to try Not Your Typical Tabouli, Faro with Kale-Basil Pesto, Brown Rice Pilaf with Saffron and Ginger, Triple-Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto.

Protein Building Foods – I’d like to try Layered Frittata with Leeks, Swiss Chard and Tomatoes, Black bean Skillet Cakes with Poached Eggs, Roasted Wild Salmon with Olive and Mint Vinaigrette, Flat out Good Chicken, Pan-Seared Scallops with Citrus Drizzle, and Herby Turkey Sliders.

Nibbles and Noshes – Sweet Potato Bars looked good along with Wendy’s Wunderbars, Gluten-Free Blueberry Mini-Muffins, Thyme Onion Muffins, and Minted Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds.

Dollops of Yum  – The author says this is a great place to begin cooking. “I feel this section is a necessary accessory finishing to any dish. She says, “…because they are concentrated, their health benefits rival those of many of the recipes in other chapters.”

A chart of the dollops you can make with the page number to the recipe are listed alongside it is a list of what recipes they go best with; page numbers included. She also listed the health benefits, how to store dollops, how you can make them ahead and freeze them. The ones that jumped out to me were Greener than Green Goddess Dressing, Sesame Miso Dressing, Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette, Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette, Papaya and Avocado Salsa, Pomegranate Molasses, Yogurt Tahini Sauce, Yogurt Sauce with Citrus and Mind.

There is a section for drinks called Invigorating Tonics and Elixirs and the last is Sweet Bites. The desserts I want to try are Coffee-Infused Chocolate Sorbet, Apple-Raspberry Nut Insanely Good Chocolate Brownies. She also includes a recipe on making your own Almond flour.

There is a helpful resource list in the back where she tells you where you can find everything from a big 16 quart stockpot to heirloom rice. There are websites listed to help you find local farmers markets. She has resources for specialty ingredients and National grocery chains and on-line markets.

This book is packed with nutritional information I could easily assimilate and put into practice in my everyday life. Can’t wait to get started!

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


Isle of Hope
By Julie Lessman
Published by Amazon
469 Pages

Back Cover: She stole his heart.
He stole her peace.
Can hope steal their pain?

At the age of eighteen, Lacey Carmichael was a wild girl bent on fun, promised to Jack O'Bryen, a straight-and-narrow pastor’s kid bent on the seminary. When her father kicks her out of the house, she runs away from Isle of Hope, turning her back on everything she loves. Now, eight years later, she’s back as a woman of faith, hoping to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only the bridges she’s burned are still smoldering, kindled by an adulterous affair by Jack’s pastor father that damaged his son’s faith. But can a turning of tables—and hearts—lead the way back to “hope” for them all? 

REVIEW: Julie Lessman hits it out of the park with the first installment in the Unfailing Love series. This author has a gift of making the reader feel like they are part of the family, including them in their fun, joking and games. I found myself smiling from ear to ear while I read and laughed out loud so much my family asked me what was so funny. I was hooked from the first line, “When it comes to burning bridges, I am the Queen of Kerosene.”

After being away for eight years; Lacey Carmichael is back to her old stomping grounds in Isle of Hope. She’s back to help her best friend with her wedding. She expected to run into her ex-Jack O’Bryen eventually (a man she almost married 10 years ago), but now? “Her first two minutes in town? Really?”

My heart went out to Lacey Carmichael as she is forging ahead in her new walk of faith and trying to heal old wounds. Jack asks her why she’s back. She tells him about her friend Nicki’s wedding. Lacey then says she's home to make amends with the people she’s hurt.

He replies, “Well that should keep you busy!... “Just with my family alone.”

I like how this author weaves a faith message in the middle of everyday life for her characters. I also liked how this author showed Christians putting their faith into action in a loving way/ This author is not afraid to talk about touch issues and messy situations with love and grace. What does the grace of God look like? Characters encourage one another to do the right thing and they love each other through hardships and go the extra mile when they feel the call. It’s not easy. The author masterfully mixes her well timed humor in the story as shes hows the struggle in our spirit and with our emotions in forgiving others and ourselves. This story shows how God redeems and restores our mistakes if we’ll let him. We don’t have to punish ourselves for past mistakes.We can be healed! 

Here’s a peek into this novel; Lacey has a talk with her Mamaw about doing the right thing and making amends with her father. Lacey says she’s not ready. Mamaw replies, “That may be, darling, but it’s been this old women’s experience that when God changes our heart of stone to a heart of flesh, it’s a wee bit like laying a new foundation….Unfortunately, the longer we wait to heed His call, darling, the more we run the risk of our new heart calcifying just like concrete….And you can’t risk that Lacey, because if we want the blessing of God in our lives, we have to make sure we have a clean heart.”

“Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.”

Lacey heard that still small voice in her spirit. …”Mamaw’s words piercing her with the painful truth. And if there was anybody who knew about clean it was Mamaw. In fact, Lacey was pretty sure she was a distant relative of Mr. Clean…”
This story is fun, a great escape, helps you walk in a few people’s shoes and learn a thing or two. There are a few surprises too! It’s a wonderful book for your group to read and discuss at book club. If you haven’t tried this author yet you should. She’ll be your new favorite.This is an Inspirational story of hope, healing and forgiveness. This book’s a keeper!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  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 Behemoth Dinosaur in the Land of Uz
By Maryluz Guerrero Salas 
Published by WestBow Press

About Book: The behemoth walks to the well to get water and sees his friend Job. Job becomes excited to see him and hugs him. Many villagers want the behemoth out of the village. But at the end, everything changes.

REVIEW: I’ve tried to download this Ebook to review it. It says there is an Error in the download. I’ll review this book when I get it. It’s a children’s book that could be fun!

I’ll Replace this with the review of the book once I read it.

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!


The Wedding Chapel
By Rachel Hauck
Published by Zondervan
375 Pages

Back Cover: A lonely wedding chapel built as a tribute to lost love just might hold the long-awaited secret to hope and reconciliation.
For sixty years, the wedding chapel has stood silent and empty. Retired football hall-of-famer Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook built the chapel by hand, stone by stone, for his beautiful and beloved Collette Greer, whom he lost so many years ago. The chapel is a sanctuary for his memories, a monument to true love, and a testament to his survival of the deepest pain and loss.

Photographer Taylor Branson left her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, to make a new life for herself in New York. She had lots to run away from, not least of all a family history of broken promises and broken dreams. Love catches Taylor off guard when she falls for Jack Forester, a successful advertising executive, and their whirlwind romance leads to an elopement—then to second guesses. Jack, in spite of his very real love for Taylor, is battling his own demons and struggles to show her his true self and the depths of his love for her.

Taking a photography assignment in Heart’s Bend, Taylor is thrown back into a past of family secrets buried deep beneath the sands of time. When Taylor and Coach’s journeys collide, they each rediscover the heartbeat of their own dreams as they learn that the love they long to hold is well worth the wait.

REVIEW: The story begins in the year 1948, Heart’s Bend Tenn. Jimmy’s neighbor shows him a picture of his orphaned cousin who lived in England. She and her sister will be coming to America to live with them. Jimmy instantly loses his heart to the girl in the photo.

Then the story switches to current time; introducing readers to Jack and Taylor. A young couple living in Brooklyn N.Y. They went to school together and lost track of each other after graduation. They met again in the Big Apple; had a whirlwind romance and then eloped. No after 6 months of marriage they are trying to navigate two careers and their marriage relationship. Taylor is a photographer and Jack has a great position in a big advertising agency.

Taylor takes a job shooting a unique wedding Chapel in Heart’s Bend Tenn. where she grew up. Jack is off trying to sell his client, Fresh Water on a new campaign idea Taylor gave him. He liked how they worked together.

Taylor takes advantage of her time in Heart’s Bend to go to her Granny’s house with her sister. In Granny’s will she left the house in Heart’s Bend to Taylor and the contents to her sister Emma; who is recently divorced.

At 83, Jimmy is trying to figure out what went wrong with Colette the orphan girl from England. All was great with them before he went off to the war in Korea. He went on with his life until now! All these inquiries about the Chapel; the one he built for the love of his life. His memories whisked him back to 1951 and his loss. He once viewed the chapel as a monument of sorrow, “But today it represented a new chance to pass the key on, give the old chapel the life it never had. It was too late for his heart but not for the chapels…He’d deposited his sweat, his tears and his heart in the chapel.” It was time to move on.

When Jimmy decides he’ll sell the Chapel his world is tossed upside down. Life for many take unexpected turns. Secrets can have devastating effects. Collette’s sister couldn’t help but unburden herself of a few heavy secrets right before she died. Taylor’s Granny is Colette’s sister, Peg. She leaves Taylor a letter that tells of her sins and leaves on her granddaughters shoulders to tell others or hide the secret like she’d done all these years.  

The story shows how characters deal with miscommunication, love, pain, loss reconciliation and forgiveness. This book blends past and present history, dealing with some heart-wrenching parts mixed with sweet and heart-warming situations. This story has a complex plot that spans decades each character has their own struggles and ghosts to deal with. The novel jumps back and forth in time and in different characters POV.

The Chapel represented hope, healing and made readers realize there is no time limit on second chances. The descriptions of this Chapel made it sound like a special place I’d love to visit.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booklook blog 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


Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees
By Kian Lam Kho
Published by Clarkson Potter
368 Pages

Back Cover: Create nuanced, complex, authentic Chinese flavors at home by learning the cuisine’s fundamental techniques.

Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees offers a unique introduction to Chinese home cooking, demystifying it by focusing on its basic cooking methods. In outlining the differences among various techniques—such as pan-frying, oil steeping, and yin-yang frying—and instructing which one is best for particular ingredients and end results, culinary expert Kian Lam Kho provides a practical, intuitive window into this unique cuisine. Once one learns how to dry stir-fry chicken, one can then confidently apply the technique to tofu, shrimp, and any number of ingredients.

Accompanied by more than 200 photographs, including helpful step-by-step images, the 158 recipes range from simple, such as Spicy Lotus Root Salad or Red Cooked Pork, to slightly more involved, including authentic General Tso’s Chicken or Pork Shank Soup with Winter Bamboo. But the true brilliance behind this innovative book lies in the way it teaches the soul of Chinese cooking, enabling home cooks to master this diverse, alluring cuisine and then to re-create any tempting dish they encounter or can imagine.

REVIEW: Kian Lam Kho briefly talks about how this book came about in the introduction. He moved it America and found out the only way to eat good Chinese food was to make it himself. He was unable to find a cook book to make the dishes he craved. So he started to write family members requesting their recipes. The authors says, “In this book I demystify Chinese cooking by taking a unique approach. I believe that the cuisine is easiest to learn by technique… over the years I’ve mastered techniques and developed recipes that helped me in my kitchen.”

Inside this beautiful hard back book that has over 200 pictures and 158 recipes are some pretty amazing looking meals along with practical and easy to understand instructions. The book also has a red ribbon attached inside to mark your place. Most of the ingredients in the book are easy to find and/or order on line.

The author goes on to say,…”The chapters here are organized according to cooking methods rather than the usual division by ingredients or region…I have kept the home cook in mind and have omitted some that are seldom used.”

Recipes inside this book include many classic, home-style and restaurant dishes, and ones that are for every day family dinners. The author includes some banquet type meals as well. I liked that this author included a brief history and culture talk about regional Chinese Cuisine and The Birth of China’s culinary cuisines. He includes a map and gives you the basics; it’s a wonderful overview.

I liked the Explosion in the Wok section – the author talks about how to use it, the importance of the heat levels and ingredients, great step by step photos on cooking technique. Can’t wait to try Fried Rice, Stir-Fried Lo Mein and Moo Goo Gai Pan.

In the Dipping in Oil chapter – the technique looked interesting. Can’t wait to try Crispy Chicken, Friend Sesame Port, Tenderloin, and Fried Tofu skin Rolls.

The Virtues of Slow Cooking chapter had dishes I’d like to try such as; Braised Chicken, Three cup Chicken, Braised Chicken Wings, and Blanched Shrimp and I the liked the food as medicine section too.

The Intricacy of Boiling section had dishes I’d like to try such as Blanched Asparagus, White cooked chicken, Steeped Whole Tilapia.

My family and I love soup so The Making of Hearty Soups chapter was a delight to discover. So many soups to try like the Eight Treasure Winter Melon Soup, Crabmeat and White Asparagus Soup, Pear Soup. Another chapter I found interesting is about Playing with Fire. Can’t wait to try the pancakes and Barbeque port in this section. I found the two page spread of step by step pictures of how to prepare the meat for cooking and other techniques throughout the book very helpful.

The Appetizing Cold Dishes chapter looked yummy. I look forward to trying eggplant salad, Chinese celery and pressed tofu salad and shrimp salad.

The Sweet but not Dessert chapter looks good too. It shows you how to cook with syrup, and caramel coatings. I’d like to try sesame candied walnuts, pulled Carmel apple, Sugar coated cashew nuts. I’m thrilled at the prospect of making Chinese food at home that tastes like I got it from a the restaurant.

Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books. 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