By Angela Hunt
Based on Story by Paul Aiello
Screenplay by Kevin Reynolds and Paul Aiello
Published by Bethany House
318 Pages

Back Cover: A Powerful Novelization from Bestselling Author Angela Hunt

Epic in scope, yet deeply personal, this novelization offers a unique perspective on the story of the resurrection. Roman Tribune Clavius is assigned by Pilate to keep the radical followers of the recently executed Yeshua from stealing the body and inciting revolution. When the body goes missing despite his precautions, Clavius must hunt it down.

His investigation leads him from the halls of Herod Antipas to the Garden of Gethsemane and brings him in touch with believer and doubter alike. But as the body still remains missing, Clavius commits to a quest for the truth--and answers that will not only shake his life but echo throughout all of history.

REVIEW: The story was written in first person through the eyes of non-believers Clavius, a Roman Tribune and Rachel, widower and intimate friend of Clavius. The thing that jumped out to me about the book cover was the author Angela Hunt and the fact that this was a novelization of a movie that would be out in theaters February 2016. I’ve read several books by this author. I love the way she weaves biblical events into a heart-felt, interesting, suspenseful read. I instantly cared about the characters. She writes in a way that cause me to look up scripture references and see things for myself.

This novel takes a look at the events surrounding Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. I like the fact the author is always up-front with readers about what is “fact” and what is “fiction” in her biblical stories. I like knowing where she had to fudge the facts to make the story flow. I usually read that first so I’ll be prepared for the journey ahead.

This is a unique view of a very familiar story. Pilate sends for Tribune Clavius to make sure three people crucified that day were dead before sunset to be sensitive to the Jewish Sabbath. When Clavius arrives Jesus is already dead, it doesn’t take long for the others to follow. A few days later the Tribune is summoned again by Pilate to investigate the disappearance of Yeshua's body. The followers were claiming he was alive. Pilate wanted his body to shut down the rumors. The Tribune assured Pilate he would do what it took to find the Nazarene. Readers are brought into the investigating room as Clavius interviews people who say he’s alive and others to dig for information about the disciples. Surely Yeshua would be with them.

In the second chapter readers are introduced to Rachel who makes and sells bread at the market. She’s a Jew who isn't happy with herself, “I was such a hypocrite. Why did I bother to keep the traditions of my people? Why did I obey the law when my heart had so thoroughly let me astray?” and into the arms of Roman soldier, Tribune Clavius.

Clavius was the one to deliver the news of her husband’s death. He brought bread from her daily and they both had seen Yeshua. Rachel saw him alive on the street when he dropped his cross. Clavius saw him dead on the cross. It was a moment they’d never forget. When news of the empty tomb is confirmed their worlds are jolted.

The Tribune writes his twin sister about what he's learned about Yeshua, “…Today I executed a man who supposedly worked miracles…according to the rumors the messiah, a Nazarene, fed thousands from a few loaves and fish. He healed lame men, opened the eyes of the blind, and raised a dead man who had been dead four days in the tomb..Can you imagine what a military commander this messiah would make? His army would not need to carry food or medical supplies. Any man who died by the sword would be raised by the word, and forward they would march, conquering all as they went.”

Seeing this story through the eyes of a Roman soldier and meeting the people he meets from scripture (the disciples and other characters who interacted with Jesus)  had me look at the events, people and scripture with fresh eyes. I found the list the author included with scripture references to Yeshua’s post resurrection activities helpful. There was seventeen passages listed.(I appreciate the help in taking this aspect of the story deeper)

I’m excited about seeing the movie. I really enjoyed the fact that the novel alternated view points; some chapters through Clavius eyes, and others told from Rachel a Jewish woman trying to find her way after her encounter with Yeshua. Nothing was the same.

I’m even more interested in seeing the movie and how it will differ from the book because of what the author shares in author notes. “The character of Rachel, who adds so much to the story (I agree) is a creation of Paul Aiello, the screen writer, but her role had to be cut from the movie due to time constraints. I’m happy that she lives within these pages and adds an additional point of view!”

I agree she added a lot in seeing events through a Jewish female’s point of view. I learned much of their culture. I think this would make a good book club pick and book club event. It would be fun to take your group to the movie after they read the book; then you could discuss the differences between the book and the movie at your next meeting. It would be fun to discuss how closely they stuck to the book and what changes you liked and didn’t.

This is also just a fun read to get your heart and mind reader for the Easter season.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Christy-award winner Angela Hunt is the best-selling author of more than 130 books, including THE TALE OF THREE TREES, THE NOTE, and PASSING STRANGERS. She spends weekdays writing and weekends taking professional portraits of amazing men, women, children, and shelter dogs. She enjoys sleeping, singing, and scrubbing toilets because housework keeps her honest. She and her husband live in Florida with two drooling English mastiffs and are frequently visited by the Grandest Baby in all the world.

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

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

SOMETIMES by Hugo Ibarra and John Seidlitz REVIEWED

Click on Book Cover to Purchase

SOMETIMES...By Hugo Ibarra and John Seidlitz
Illustrated by Katia Lara
Published By Seidlitz Education
ISBN#  978-0692598221
52 Pages

Back Cover: Andres and Clara's lives are about to change. Will their determination be powerful enough to help them through what lies ahead? Will they discover that their hopes are only illusions or will they find that dreams really do come true....sometimes. Grades 4-8 / Middle School picture book

REVIEW: This is a beautifully illustrated story that depicts a serious situation two elementary aged children find themselves facing. I felt for these children and how their world was about to change forever. One of them says, “I used to believe things would always turn out the way I wanted, that dreams would always come true.”

The children lived with their mother in San Felipe, Mexico. Their father left to find work in Texas. He was there for 4 months sending money home every week. Then it stopped. They learned he wouldn’t be back. Their family had to make changes. Tia Elena came to help their family out. She came to take them to America.

*Spoiler* Two siblings are registered to start a new school and learn a whole new way of live; from a new language, food, customers. Everything. They were terrified; until one of the teachers started talking to them in the native tongue and helping them learn English.

The problem I had with this story was all the questions it evoked in me. Like what happened to the dad? Why wasn’t he coming back? Did he die or something else? How does the children’s Aunt take them to the USA without their mother? Why did the Aunt pull off the road after going through customs and start to cry and pray? Why did the kids have to wait so long to see their mother?

This book is a colorful paperback. The story started out good but it quickly lost me. I was left with too many questions and I know children will ask a few of their own when they read it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: 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


 ABOUT AUTHORLinore Rose Burkard (a.k.a. L.R. Burkard) grew up in New York City in a family of ten. She loves history, books, and music. Linore left home after high school and worked her way through college, graduating from the City University of New York with a Magna cum Laude degree in English Literature. She lives in Ohio with her husband and children where she still homeschools one daughter. 

Linore's historical romances are written under her full name, and YA Suspense with her initials and last name. Linore contributes monthly to two popular blogs: Novel Rocket ( and Heroes, Heroines, and History ( Find Linore on the web at, or at the PULSE companion site at

I was introduced to Linore Burkard and her regency books years ago. They are fun, humorous and have strong female leads who had spunk. I also liked how she naturally wove in the spiritual thread. Her regency books work well for a book club read because there is so much to discuss..

When I came across Pulse written by the author L. R. Burkard. I was surprised to discover that Linore and L.R. were one and the same person.. Hooray for me when this author asked if I would read this book for review. I was delighted at the opportunity.

Wow, was I surprised when I read this gritty, yet hopeful novel about an event that could really happen in the not to distant future. This is the first book in a series that you won't want to miss.I'm not sure when the others will be out but they make a great book club pick and an fascinating read. What is unique about this book is that the author tells the story of three school friends. Each experiencing a strange occurrence.  The author gives several chapters to each of the three girls. The reader gets to see how each girl and her family handle the occurrence. Each deals with it in their own way and come to different solutions to their dilemma given their back ground.

If you'd like to check out my full review of this book 

CLICK on this link  

These are Linore's other book you might consider reading and/or adding them to your book club pick list.


Thanks for letting me share my favorites of last year, many of which were thought-provoking and moving like this one. 

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


The January 2016  issue of Book Fun Magazine is now LIVE 
Click on the cover below

This is Julie Cantrell's new book, The Feathered Bone. I had the honor of meeting her last year at a retreat. You'll want to read her heart felt answers to the questions I asked her about her new novel. It was fun to hear her responses to my fun questions. Oh, and she gave me some lovely pictures to add to the interview. You'll want to READ the Interview. Check it out.

CLICK this LINK to Read the Cover Interview and the rest of the Magazine. IT'S FREE and Easy to read    

JULIE CANTRELL'S BIO: New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, Julie Cantrell was the editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review. She has been a freelance writer for a decade and has contributed to more than a dozen books.

Julie's debut novel, Into the Free (David C Cook), earned a rare starred review by Publishers Weekly, became an international bestseller, and received two Christy Awards and the Mississippi Library Association Fiction Award. It spent three weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, made the USA TODAY Top 150, and was listed as a top read of the year by USA TODAY and LifeWay Christian Stores.

The sequel, When Mountains Move, received the ACFW Carol Award for Historical Fiction and was again named a top read of the year by both USA TODAY and LifeWay Christian Stores.

A speech-language pathologist and literacy advocate, Julie was honored to receive the 2012 Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. Her third novel, The Feathered Bone, will release January 26, 2016 (Harper Collins Christian). It is set in Louisiana where Julie spent her childhood.

Julie and her family now live in Oxford, Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm.


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


Whispers in the Reading Room
By Shelley Gray
Published By: Zondervan
ISBN# 978-0310338499
352 Pages

Back Cover: Lydia’s job at the library is her world—until a mysterious patron catches her eye . . . and perhaps her heart.
Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.
Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.
Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.
Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks—the man so many people fear—is actually everything her heart believes him to be. 
REVIEW: I was hooked to the story right from the start. I was instantly dropped into a library, hanging out with Lydia; a woman who is opinionated and adores books. There is a mysterious handsome nameless man who has frequented the reading room several times a week now for the past several months. He sits in his favorite chair and keeps his nose in a serious of books. This current one was about Lewis and Clark. “She noted the expression on his face when he read the last word in the book. He looked pleased and just a bit melancholy. She knew those dual feelings well – the satisfaction of completing a well-written piece of literature while also coming to terms with the fact that those few moments of pure bliss would soon be replaced with a longing for more.”

Sebastian the mystery man ponders something, “Only when he was along did his mind drift back to Miss Lydia Bancroft. The way she rarely chattered on like most females of his acquaintance. The way she shelved books like they were old friends. How she seemed to be more at ease with a room full of books than with people.”

Both of these characters had a love affair with the written word. Each eager to go on adventures and learn all they could from the characters they met. This author did an amazing job of dropping me into this reading room where I too love to spend my time. This love of books brought them together and made me love this novel even more. I instantly connected with these likable characters and found their situation and the times they lived in fascinating.

This is book three in the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series (that reads as a standalone) the series is set in Chicago during the late 1890’s. I didn’t feel lost at all. Lydia learns this mysterious strangers name when he saves her from a dangerous situation inside the Hartman hotel. Their paths cross again in an unexpected way. Lydia seeks to have an adventure in real life not just experiencing those she reads in books. Sebastian and Lydia’s encounter is filled with twists and turns that change their life forever.

This story is skillfully written. It’s filled with mystery, fun and intrigue. I loved how this author had the character’s interact with word games and sometimes battles and banters that made me giggle. It seemed most of the characters in this story were hiding their inner selves from one another. Each hiding behind a confident show they put on for the world to see. In the process trying to discover who they truly were when no one was around leading them to what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. Each had their own tangled web to climb through filled with lies, deception to get through to who they wanted to be, discover friendships, faith and true love.

I enjoyed this story. It’s a great book to read for fun and would make a great book club pick. There are 9 thought provoking questions in the back to help generate lively discussion at your meeting.

About the Author: Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail. Find Shelley on her website,, on Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray, and on Twitter @ShelleySGray 

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


Super Foods Every Day
By Sue Quinn
Published by: 10 Speed Press
161 Pages

BACK COVER: A collection of more than 60 dishes that showcase super foods--ingredients from kale and seaweed to cocoa and avocado that are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting nutrients.

Discover the health-boosting benefits of foods like kale, cauliflower, blueberries, and dark chocolate. Find the perfect ingredients to help protect against cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and improve your overall health. Energize your day with easy-to-follow, nutrient-dense, and tasty recipes. Learn simple ways to incorporate fiber-rich super foods into your diet every day.

REVIEW: This is a small book (6 x 81/2) packed with good information. The author starts out talking about what a super food is. She gives a mini crash course (In a few pages) titled Superfoods 101 and a helpful information sheet on the vitamins found in superfoods. Each recipe gives the serving size, the time it takes to prepare and cook the dish. It lists the vitamins found in the recipe along with the potential benefits you could get in consuming the dish. The ingredients are easy to find and the instructions easy to follow. 

What I found difficult was the size of the print and the font style used. Even with my glasses on I felt like I needed a magnifying glass to read the instructions and the ingredient list. The other thing that made the ingredient list difficult to read was the fact that it was centered to the page. It wasn’t to the left of the margin. They bolded the ingredient name to help the reader find it but I found it hard to pick out what I needed for the recipe. I find it easier to read if the ingredients are to the left margin stacked on top of each other.

The author lists some yummy looking recipes I would try smoothies, strawberry spread, porridge and muesli. She has salads and soups that look good. The Go-to Cleanse Salad and super slaw looked good. Under Side Dishes Stir-fried greens, Healing Curry Bowl and Supercharged carrots looked good. On the Main Dish section the Salmon with Watercress Sauce, Salmon Burger and Chessy Vegetable Pies looked good. Of course there were yummy looking items in the baked good section and sweet things that I wouldn’t mind trying. Like Guilt-Free Crumble Cake, Zesty Chia Cupcakes, Virtuous Brownies, Goodness Bars and Chocolate Chia pudding.

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

TOP 20 FAVORITES of 2015

Ok, I've listed 20 because I couldn't narrow it down to 10. Grin! There were WAY to Many WONDERFUL READS in 2015. 

I read over 100 books and here are my top 20.

Here are my favorite reads of 2015. Some of these books touched me to the core of my being and some made me laugh out loud. ALL I think would make great book club picks. For those of you making lists for their clubs in 2016, I highly recommend these reads. I'll tell you a little bit about them over the next few weeks.

I hope I can introduce you to some of your soon to be Favorite authors!! 


BLESSINGS to you in 2016.

I'd LOVE TO HEAR what YOU LOVED in 2015, 
Leave a Comment Look forward to seeing what you liked!!


Nora :o) 

LOVED THE ENTIRE SERIES - I've read all of them. They are keepers

Here's ONE of my FAVORITES of 2015 WHAT ARE YOURS???

I'm wondering about the books that touched your heart, helped you understand something new, a book that the Lord had you read that was just what you needed at the time you read it. I want to hear about books that made you laugh, cry and everything in-between

SECRETS SHE KEPT by CATHY GOHLKE was the last book I read in 2015. I had had it in my house for a few weeks and hadn't gotten to read it yet. But with time off of work for the holidays I finally had my chance. Oh, what a way to end 2015. I've read other books by this author and have been blown away by them but nothing prepared me for this experience. I'm still working on my full review. So many things jumped out at me and a few rocked my world. 

In the author notes at the end of the book she says this about this novel, "This is Hannah's story, and it's yours and mine. FORGIVENESS (my emphasis) requires our confession that we can't perfect or fix things, our repentance for our own sins and short comings, our belief in the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ to pay our debts, and our daily walk in the newness of life only He can provide. It's a lesson we learn and live, then repeat again and again. Praise God."

I liked the fact that this message was brought about in a powerful non-preachy way. We were discovering the aspects of forgiveness with both characters at the same time. Each struggling with it in their own way. It was honest, real, gritty and powerful!

Great way and word to start out 2016. One of the characters in the story talks about forgiveness and she says this. "...I prayed. a silent prayer to the Lord Jesus. I cannot forgive this man. Give me your forgiveness..,...The most amazing thing happened. It began in my shoulder and traveled the length of my arm right into my hand - a current, like electricity. It passed from me to him, and with it a love in my heart for this stranger - this man who had been my enemy - that I cannot explain...."

"...Do you know what this showed me? What this means, Hannah? This is proof that Jesus does not expect us to forgive in our own strength that the hurts in this world are not healed by us, not forgiven by us, but by his Great Love. Jesus said to love our enemies...and with that command He gives us the Love to Do It!"

I didn't expect to find this inside this riveting, suspenseful, heart-wrenching story of things that happened in WWII concentration camps. I loved how this author had the story line seamlessly flipping from current time back to WWII time. I found myself caught up in both past and present situations. Feeling the heart ache and joy each character experienced. A mother living in WWII time period and a daughter learning about her mothers secrets for the first time; changing her view of what her relationship was to her mother.

This author includes 13 discussion questions that will definitely get your book club discussion going. There is so much to discuss, explore and discover in the 404 pages of this MUST READ novel. The author explores so much of what happened then to what is happening now thru her characters. My eyes and heart were open to so much! I highly recommend this book to everyone. You'll learn so much about that time period, yourself and the world around you.

Thanks to Cathy Gohlke for this inspirational and informative book. This would make a great book club pick.



THANKS for sharing!! I can't wait to read your favorites of 2015.
Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Tyndal 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