BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

HAVE YOU MET KELLY KLEPFER??? SHE'S SOMEONE YOU NEED TO MEET!



Kelly Klepfer is all about fun, family and sharing great books with readers. She writes a monthly column for Book Fun Magazine that you all have to check out.

This month's article is titled "AIR NIPPED NOSES and LOVE BITTEN ROMANCE." You can find her article on pages 122 and 123 www.bookfunmagazine.com

She has a book review and more. She has recipes that are wonderful looking that you can enjoy personally and/or share at your next book club meeting.

I always enjoy reading her article. She includes pictures of the recipes she makes. Love that. This month the two recipes that stood out to me are Cherry Oreo Bites and Cookie Dough Love Bites.

Click on Book Fun Magazine cover below or the website listed. Learn what book Kelly is sharing with readers this month and check out the other recipes.

She has book coming out soon called OUT OF THE FRYING PAN. It's a cozy quirey myster. I can't wait to reading it Kelly.

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

FAVORITE READS OF 2015 READERS CHOICE

FAVORITE BOOKS 2015 article starts on page 92 in the February issue of the magazine. I loved to hear the reason's people loved a book. I liked to hear what they saw in it and where touched by in their reading. It's why I love book club so much. 

CLICK on this magazine cover below and go to page 92 . See what readers like in 2015.


GO TO PAGE 32 to read featured author ANE MULLIGAN and her Love Affair with books!!

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

ALWAYS WITH YOU REVIEWED

Always with You
By Elaine Stock
Published by Elk Lake Publishers
ISBN# B01AQXQTGO
384 pages

Back Cover: Can she move forward without knowing her past?
Will he enjoy his present if he can’t free himself from what he left behind?

In the heart of the Adirondacks, Isabelle lives in the shadow of a dark family secret whose silent burden strips her family of emotional warmth and faith in God. Tyler belongs to the religious sect called The Faithful, which Isabelle’s father dislikes immensely. Yet, because Tyler belongs to this group, Isabelle sees only a man devoted to his family and faith. She wants it; she gets it; they marry.

And when the truth comes out, Isabelle faces two choices: Staying could endanger her child. Leaving could cost her life

REVIEW: This author pens a frightening tale that shows how easily lonely young people without family (support and love) can be easily drawn into a religious cult.  Promises of unconditional love for one another was what Isabelle desired most. She just graduated high school and had plans to go to college. She desired to be an independence woman getting out from under her father’s thumb. Tyler rescues her from what could have been a deadly situation. She learns he’s part of a group called Faithful. They live on a farm with other families her father hated them. She didn’t believe the rumors about this group. Would anyone believe what this man did to save her? Now was her chance to find out about the group first hand. She asks Tyler about the Faithful and what they believe. He says, “We believe in good, old-fashioned beliefs.”

“Like the Amish?”Isabelle says.

Tyler continues, “In a sense. We believe our core of life exists around what God wants for us. Unlike the Amish, we tend to lean more toward the proactive side of where we stand in society…We don’t believe in integrating society or multiculturalism.”

Isabelle and her family didn’t believe in God. What Tyler told her sounded what she was looking for; the unconditional love she didn’t get from her father and grandmother. Things heat up when the leader of the group, Thomas wants to start grooming Tyler to take over his position. Thomas pressures Tyler to be sure that Isabelle – the outsider is committed to the Cause of the Faithful. He had to be sure she was one of them.

Isabelle had waved at the mailman and got a cold stare no other response. “Tyler had explained several times, the faithful members were downgraded to inferior human beings because our beliefs were different from the vast majority of America.” She was experiencing that. Then she witnesses something in a children’s Sunday school class that pricks her spirit and opens her eyes. They read from the Book of Guidance, “We are children of light. We cannot exist with the children of darkness. We must live separately from wrong doers…We serve a white God.”

She questions what “White” God meant. She was told it means pure, holy. She thinks otherwise. It’s too similar to racism in her mind. She begins to question herself and others.

Tyler and Isabelle have been misguided about this group. The secrets they keep threaten Isabelle and Tyler. They are spiritually, physically and emotionally trapped. Can they find their dreams, have the unconditional love they seek? Raise a healthy family? Will they risk their lives to be set free from the bondage they find themselves in?

This story is all too real how smart people can get drawn into cults and causes like the Faithful. They don’t realize how quickly things can turn deadly, similar to groups like ISIS and Scientology that are thriving today. It’s only when people get deep into the core of religion that they find out what it really is. Some people never make it out.

This author includes twenty discussion questions to help the reader take the story deeper and it will help generate lively discussion at your book club meeting.


ABOUT AUTHOR: Elaine Stock writes contemporary fiction. If you enjoy family drama blended with psychological suspense, are curious to know how people can get themselves out of a mess that seems otherwise impossible, she hopes you will cozy up with one of her stories. ALWAYS WITH YOU is her debut novel. Elaine's short stories were published in the best-selling Amazon anthology "Christmas Treasures: A Collection of Christmas Short Stories" and FamilyFiction's "The Story: 2014 Anthology." She is also a regular contributor to the HappySis Magazine. On her blog, Everyone's Story, she joins guests weekly to help encourage hope to "readers, writers, and all those in-between." You can visit her on her website: www.elainestock.com, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Elk Lake Publishers
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org  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! www.bookfun.org 
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com 
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

TAKE KIDS ON A WILD SKYDIVING ADVENTURE


The Ladybug Buddies
By Jason Graham
Illustrated by Brian Beausoleil
Published by Summer Island Press
ISBN#978-0996-495349
42 Pages

BACK COVER: Get ready for the LADYBUG BUDDIES as they head out on their Incredible Skydiving Adventure! No ladybug has ever flown so high or gone so far from the pop shop before, but they are trying to find out what it really means to be a buddy. That's what they think, anyway. Except it's a lot harder than they thought it would be. And it isn't long before they get into trouble they can't get out of. Not all by themselves. Or, can they?

REVIEW: The “Oath of the Buddy”  is found at the end of the book. Two lady bugs have taken the oath and its put to the test on their unexpected adventure.

This lady bug team watch people as they drink their root beer. Did they see fear? One bug thinks, “Every buddy knowns fear when they see it. It is impossible to hide fear. You can conquer fear, an accomplish things in spite of your fear. That is part of being a buddy. This was something different his friend looked sad. The way you might get when you sucked all the root beer out of a cap in the floor, then realized you didn’t leave a drop for your buddy.”

I loved the color pictures in this book and how it talks about friendship and learning to face your fear to go on a grand adventure. Both of these bugs learn something.  How to conquer fear and how to stick with your buddy. It’s a fun short read.

The Ladybug Buddies
By Jason Graham
Illustrated by Brian Beausoleil
Published by Summer Island Press
ISBN#978-0996-495349
42 Pages

BACK COVER: Get ready for the LADYBUG BUDDIES as they head out on their Incredible Skydiving Adventure! No ladybug has ever flown so high or gone so far from the pop shop before, but they are trying to find out what it really means to be a buddy. That's what they think, anyway. Except it's a lot harder than they thought it would be. And it isn't long before they get into trouble they can't get out of. Not all by themselves. Or, can they?

REVIEW: The “Oath of the Buddy” is found at the end of the book. Two lady bugs have taken the oath and it’s put to the test on their unexpected skydiving adventure.

This lady bug team watch people as they drink their root beer. Did they see fear? One bug thinks, “Every buddy knows fear when they see it. It is impossible to hide fear. You can conquer fear, an accomplish things in spite of your fear. That is part of being a buddy. This was something different his friend looked sad. The way you might get when you sucked all the root beer out of a cap in the floor, then realized you didn’t leave a drop for your buddy.”

I loved the color pictures in this book and how it talks about friendship and learning to face your fear to go on a grand adventure. Both of these bugs learn something.  How to conquer fear and how to stick with your buddy. It’s a fun short read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jason Graham. After a career in the Coast Guard, and many years working with youth programs, Jason Graham knows a lot about being a buddy. The Ladybug Buddies Adventures had their beginnings as bedtime stories which he told to his own five children.  He is also a Wilderness Expert at the Widerness School Institute, and a contributor to their popular Backpack Survival Guides. He enjoys hearing from readers, and you can learn more about him by visiting:  

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Summer Island Press
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org  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! www.bookfun.org 
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com 
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

HELP SCRIPTURES COME ALIVE FOR YOU AND YOUR KIDS

Jesus Helps Me
By Callie Grant
Art by Missi Jay
Published by Graham Blanchard
ISBN#978-0-987949-54
18 Board Book pages

Back Cover: Jesus Helps Me, new to the Knowing My God series, offers four levels of exploration: a quoted Bible passage, beautiful real-world photographs, supportive captions to relate the passage meaning to a child’s life, and thinking questions to personalize the experience. A parent guide gives tips for involving a baby, toddler, and child. In the Graham Blanchard book collection, Jesus Helps Me is a Learn book, which makes personal Bible study accessible to young children who, alongside adults, build a foundation for faith and a lifelong friendship with Jesus. These books grow with your child! Find out more about our Learn, Absorb & Praise™ framework for children’s books at GrahamBlanchard.com

REVIEW: I like how this author breaks down the meaning of the scripture verse John 12:44-47.

Jesus says, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears my words but does not keep them. I do not judge that person. For I do not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”

Each page has a beautiful picture taken in the wild of amazing animals on one side and on the other it has a line from the scripture passage and what it means. Tying the picture and the scripture together so kids can get a word picture of the meaning.

I like this authors books because she helps bring scripture to life for the reader. She also helps create special moments and discussions between parents and children. Her books help them apply scripture to their lives. Keeping the main thing the main thing!

I highly recommend this beautiful, colorful illustrated board book for babies and early readers.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Callie Grant founded Graham Blanchard to create children's books for growing up in God, by working with an extensive network of artists, parents, pastors, teachers, and children. The company is the culmination of her experience in the publishing industry paired with a strong calling to help families know God's love and nurture their faith through reading together. Her previous titles, under the name Callie Gregory, include Jeeves, I'm Bored: 25 Internet Adventures for Kids, and Jeeves, I Need Help: Tips and Tricks for Kids on the Net. For more information about Grant and Graham Blanchard, visit www.grahamblanchard.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Graham Blanchard
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org  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! www.bookfun.org 
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com 
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

WHICH ANIMALS ARE FRIENDS which are FOE?

Sassy Pants
By Carol A. Brown
Illustrated by Nada Serafirmoie
Published by Summers Island Press
ISBN#978-099-649-5056
75 Pages

BACK COVER: Strange creatures are popping up all over the place on Farmer White's farm! What is a little pig supposed to do? Does she have to be polite? Should she just ignore them? And what if they're scary? How can you tell the difference between dangerous, or just different? That's what Sassy Pants has to learn when she wanders off by herself in places she isn't supposed to. But sometimes she learns the easy way, and sometimes the hard way. Which one will it be this time? And will she learn what's right in time to stay safe? Follow along with Sassy Pants and Friends, as they try to figure things out.

REVIEW: This story is about a pig names Sassy Pants who sets off to explore the farm and the animals on it. She meets some interesting animals, she’s not sure how to interact with. Are they friendly or dangerous? Sassy starts to learn a thing or two about farm animals and life.

She learns about being a friend, ”…when you break something as special as a friendship, it isn’t enough just to say you are sorry. Sometimes you have to make amends. Which is a fancy word she learned from a horse named Old Clyd that means doing more than just paying for the trouble you caused. It is making what is important to the one you hurt, important to you. It helps their heart trust you again. Now she had make amends with almost everybody”…except – her mama – and the boss hog.”

Sassy Pants discovers what is on a farm, the rules of farm life and the role she plays. Sassy is a curious, fun loving pig who has fun and discovers a big wide world outside the pen.

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Summer Island Press
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org  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! www.bookfun.org 
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com 

Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

SUSAN MAY WARREN'S WONDERFUL CONCLUSION - LEAVES YOU WANTING MORE!!


You’re the One that I Want
By Susan May Warren
Published by Tyndale
ISBN#978-1-4143-7846-6
353 Pages

Back Cover: Owen Christiansen has been in a downward spiral since an injury ended his NHL career. But a job on an Alaskan crabbing boat offers a fresh start . . . maybe even a shot at romance with Elise “Scotty” McFlynn, the captain’s daughter.

Used to being one of the guys, to never relying on anyone, Scotty doesn’t believe in happily ever after―especially with someone like Owen. Her instinct is confirmed when Casper Christiansen arrives to drag his prodigal brother home, bringing with him a truckload of family drama―and even worse, the news that Casper is wanted for questioning in connection to a crime back in Minnesota.

But Owen is more than the sum of his mistakes, a truth both he and Scotty discover when she escorts both brothers to Deep Haven as part of her new job on the Anchorage police force. Thrust into an unfamiliar world of family, faith, and fresh starts, Scotty begins to see potential for a happy ending . . . if she’s brave enough to embrace it.

REVIEW: I cheered and felt sad when I finished reading this heart-felt, wonderful conclusion to an amazing series that answers questions like. What does a Christian family look like? How do they put their faith into action? And was this really the last book in the series? LOL!

I like what the author said about the Christiansen’s, “When I conceived this series, I wanted a story about real people dealing with real issues of faith and family. I didn’t want to shy away from the mistakes but to tell a story about a family that faces its share of darkness…and discovers a God who is standing at the doorway.” Each book focuses on one of the Christiansen adult children.

I’ve waited to read Owen’s story for six books now. I’m happy to report this author pulls out all the stops in showing his journey; I was spell bound enjoying every second of his story. This novel starts out on the stormy seas of Alaska. Owen has tried to run from his former life and has become one of the fishermen on a crab ship. That’s where he meets Scotty McFlynn he thinks, “Finally he met a girl who didn’t see him for his past…she only saw a drifter, a hard worker, a guy trying to make sense of the cards life dealt him.”

Scott was solely raised by her father. She called him Red. He taught her everything she knew about fishing and life. She tells Owen, “You know what being Red’s daughter has taught me? That there is no room for crying, Life happens. People die. There are no fairy tales or happy endings. It’s the way it is, and if I want to survive, I can’t let people get close enough to hurt me!”

She was rough and tough. She had to be to survive the sea and a boat load of young men on the ocean for a month.

Casper has set out on a mission to find his brother Owen. He has issues that need to be settled. His brother was the only thing standing in the way of him marrying Raina. His brother had no idea that Layla was his daughter. He’d already missed a few months of this little one’s life tracking down Owen. He loved that little girl like she was his own and he wanted to marry her mother.

Things get messy when the brothers finally meet and start to head back to Evergreen (their family) Resort. Casper has had months to plan what he’s wanted to say and Owen is shocked to see his brother again. Casper meets Scotty who tells Casper a thing or two about his brother he found hard to believe.

Casper, Owen and Scotty learn about faith and how to put it into practice as they lean on God’s strength in the process. Owen says to Scotty, “Faith is reaching out, believing in what you can’t see…When I first got hurt I wanted nothing to do with God. Later, I couldn’t face the colossal mess I’d made of my life. But then I realized I couldn’t fix myself, that I needed help (I realize)…I’m not a total screw up, or if I am God can help me fix it.”

The author says, “God is a pursuer, and even as we push him away, he says, “You are not alone. If you will allow me, I will fix this…It’s easier to endure the self-flogging, the shame, the guilt, because, we know we deserve it.” She goes on to say, “Who am I beyond the Prodigal? How does someone face their past and move on to what God has for us….We are the redeemed. The forgiven. The sons and daughters of the king. Suddenly we can rise, look forward into a new dawn, glorious and rose gold, full of promise. And it is this view that changes everything.” Amen!

I like this author’s heart and her writing style. I wasn’t raise in a Christian family. I found this family dynamic very interesting and insightful in how this family with adult children work together, were loyal to each other and how they tried to show unconditional love the best they could.

This novel can be read as a standalone but it’s much more rewarding when you’ve read the whole series because you’d have seen Owen at his worst and realize how far he’d grown and how his family had grown along with him. I enjoyed hanging out with this loud, fun family that lives life large with each other and in their adventures. I loved how this story is not preachy but this author makes the reader think about their family challenges wondering how they’d react in that situation.

This author quickly makes you feel part of the Christenson family. You’ll find yourself wanting to re-read this series just for fun. It’s also a wonderful book club pick. This author includes 12 questions to help create lively discussions for your group. This novel and this series are ones you won’t soon forget. I highly recommend this book and the entire series.


ABOUT AUTHOR: Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I'm a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I'm an adventurer -- having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that's why my characters can't sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another -- they're too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories.

With over 1 million books sold, critically acclaimed novelist Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA and Carol award-winning author of over forty-five novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. Known for her compelling plots and unforgettable characters, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic-suspense, thrillers, and Christmas novellas.

With books translated into eight languages, many of her novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. She's a three time RITA finalist and an eight time Christy Finalist.

Susan is also a nationally acclaimed writing coach, teaching at conferences around the nation and winner of the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year award. She loves to help people launch their writing careers and is the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com and www.LearnHowtoWriteaNovel.com, a writing website that helps authors get published and stay published. She's also the author of the popular writing method, The Story Equation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Tyndale
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org  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! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

HAVE YOU MET JULIE CANTRELL? IF NOT, YOU NEED TO!


The Feathered Bone
By Julie Cantrell
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN#978-718-027628
376 Pages

Back Cover: “Feathers—no matter what size or shape or color—are all the same, if you think about them. They’re soft. Delicate. But the secret thing about feathers is . . . they are very strong.”

In the pre-Katrina glow of New Orleans, Amanda Salassi is anxious about chaperoning her daughter’s sixth-grade field trip to the Big Easy during Halloween. And then her worst fears come true. Her daughter’s best friend, Sarah, disappears amid the magic and revelry—gone, without a trace.

Unable to cope with her guilt, Amanda’s daughter sinks into depression. And Amanda’s husband turns destructive as he watches his family succumb to grief. Before long, Amanda’s whole world has collapsed.

Amanda knows she has to save herself before it’s too late. As she continues to search for Sarah, she embarks on a personal journey, seeking hope and purpose in the wake of so much tragedy and loss.

Set amidst the murky parishes of rural Louisiana and told through the eyes of two women who confront the darkest corners of humanity with quiet and unbreakable faith, The Feathered Bone is Julie Cantrell’s master portrait of love in a fallen world.

REVIEW: What happens when a child goes missing on a school field trip to New Orleans? This is every parent’s nightmare. The author shows how first responders and the community kick into action as they search for twelve year old Sarah.

The author says in notes to readers, “I was mesmerized by the story of Elizabeth Smart and her personal account of miracles and faith that kept her spiritually strong in the face of evil. Elizabeth, you inspire me and countless others. This story exists because of you.”

Sarah’s innocent voice and faith are heard in a journal she keeps, to help her cope and remember who she really is. Not Holly the name they call her and the things they make her do. She keeps telling herself, “You are worthy of being loved. You are worthy of being free.”

She sees a sparrow out her window that reminds her of a woman who spoke about feathers on her field trip. The woman said, “A feather may look weak. Vulnerable. But truth is, it’s a powerful little thing..The magical thing about feathers is…when they get to do what they’re made for, they carry a soul right up into the sky. Set it free…This feather will remind you that you are more than just a pretty girl. You are strong, a powerful soul. Do what you’re made for. Don’t believe the lies people tell you about yourself. Then you will be free too!”

There are inspiring tidbits like this about feathers, freedom, darkness and light with themes of faith and scriptures naturally woven into the story. Sara is an exceptional twelve year old girl that will not be defeated by her horrific situation. She’s reminded of her parents and their teachings. She shares some of them with her twenty three year old abductor, Bridgette. She talks about Adam and Eve and how God asked them to stay away from a tree and how they disobeyed. Sarah says, “God did teach them a lesson. God just wanted them to know that choices matter. That’s the point of the story” Sarah continues, “Even when we make really bad mistakes, we still have the choice to do better, it’s never too late.”…she looks at Bridgette (also a prisoner) , “It may take me a long, long, long, very long time, but you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to forgive you. And I’m going to forgive LeMoyne and even Boss. And all the men who visit. Forgive all of you…”Why, Bridgette asks.”

“Because; if I let go of all that hate. It’ll leave more room for love.”

Sarah isn’t the only one who is facing difficult times. Her best friend Ellie and her mother Amanda are rattled when they realize Sarah has gone missing on their watch. They both blame themselves for not keeping a close eye on her. Their lives start to unravel as the hours pass and Sarah is not found. Amanda has been called into help many families over the years to deal with abduction, domestic violence, and suicide. She knew how to respond and give hope in these situations. What she didn’t know was how bad the pain was and how quickly you become numb and detached from daily life.

The author says this in her notes to readers, “I am passionate about being the voice for the many women (and men) who endure emotional and/or physical abuse, for the sake of keeping a marriage/family together, or because they are too afraid/too in danger to escape safely or this abuse is all they know of love or because this is what they believe they deserve!”

A friend tells Amanda, “Normal people don’t try to hurt their wives. Normal people don’t destroy the ones they love. Nothing about your situation is normal.”

When didn’t Amanda’s life get so crazy? She knew how to recognize the signs. Why couldn’t she see it in her own life? She wrestles with the truth of her marriage in the middle of this unthinkable situation with Sarah.

Amanda was reminded of a bible lesson, “In the beginning, God made light. It was waiting on us when we arrived.” She looks at her daughter Ellie, “We weren’t brought into a world of darkness. Left to stumble around on our own. We were given a flame. One that would out last us all!

Sometimes we start to lose sight of it, don’t we? Times like tonight, it felt as if we were lost in the dark. Not a spark to be seen. But that’s how this great big world is designed, Ellie. It was made this way for a reason. Again and again we spin into darkness, but the sun is always there, waiting to rise again. It never leaves us. And if we can manage to hold on long enough to make it through the night, then we’ll be given a brand new day.”…”That’s what we have to remember. Light defeats darkness. Never the other way around.”

The author has readers visit rural Louisiana and New Orleans. The story takes place there and shows how people knew about the levies weakness. They never thought they’d break the way they did when hurricane Katrina hit. It shocked everyone. This event affects all the characters in the story as they keep searching for Sarah.

In the story mix are themes of faith, hope, love, endurance, domestic violence, suicide, kidnapping, sex trafficking and forgiveness. The author reminds readers we are loved (even when we are along and don’t feel it) we have worth (don’t believe the lies of this world) and light defeats darkness every time.

This was a tough read because of the many uncomfortable topics tackled (in a non-graphic way). This novel is worth your time. Golden moments and nuggets are intertwined throughout the good, bad and ugly in this slice of life sprinkled with huge amounts hope and faith as readers are reminded of God’s love even when the unthinkable happens.



ABOUT AUTHOR: 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.

The sequel, When Mountains Move, received the ACFW Carol Award for Historical Fiction. 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. Learn more:
Website:
www.juliecantrell.com
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/juliecantrellauthor
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/JulieCantrell

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! www.bookfun.org 
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com 

Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

LOOK AT WHAT JEN TURANO IS UP TO NOW!!


Playing the Part
By Jen Turano
Published by Bethany House
ISBN#978-0764212772
352 Pages

Back Cover: Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucetta's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.

Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can't ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it'll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.


REVIEW: This author does a brilliant job of creating fun loving characters, writing physical comedy and she beautifully paints pictures with words. I love Jen’s distinctive voice along with her quick wit and well timed humor; make her novels a pure joy to read.

Miss Lucetta Plum is a theatre star in the 1800’s 1900’s who finds herself in a pickle. Her dear friend Abigail Hunt comes up with a plan to save the day and Lucetta’s life. Without any advance noitice they head to a safe place, her grandson Baum’s castle. Where else?

Miss Plum has an obsessed fan seeking to own her. She tells Baum, “…Nigel my step father, just tried to serve me up as a means of honoring his gambling debt to Silas. I’m sure you’ll forgive my lack of acknowledgement.”

Baum couldn’t believe his hears, “Your father wagered you away in a game of cards?”

“Yes. Silas seems more determined than ever to secure a relationship with me, so do know that I truly appreciate you allowing me to seek refuge at Ravenwood,”

Ravenwood is where the games begin. Miss Plum discovers there is more to this castle than meets the eye. She couldn’t help but notice Baum’s staff. They are a collection of unique and interesting individuals, Tila runs up to Baum and says, “A bunch of riders are approaching – they went right by the gate. Which means Ernie’s either dead or he abandoned his post.”

Miss Plum was beginning to believe the rumors about the castle being haunted. That would explain so much. This novel reminded me a little of the Scooby Doo mystery/ghost cartoons where you find out later the strange happenings where being staged for a reason.

I liked how these lovable complex, characters captured my heart and sought out authentic relationships with themselves, others and God. I like how this is naturally interwoven in the story in a non-preachy way. Lucetta smiles at Baum and says, “Most people do have secrets, Braum, and I’m afraid my secrets’ are going to put a rapid end to our desire to court me!”

Braum had a load of secrets himself. Would they be brave and share their secrets with each other? Would Miss Plum have time for a relationship as she runs for her life in order to protect the ones she loves?

Jen Turano pulls out all the stops in this book filled with mishaps, danger, excitement, forgiveness and faith. I enjoyed the fact that characters from previous books were in the mix, Harriet and Oliver, Reverend Gilmore, Millie Longfellow and Abigail Hunt. The author upped the mystery and suspense in the conclusion to A class of their own series as she gives readers a first peek into how quickly the novel can turn serious when the hideous side of Silas the villain is revealed.

Jen Turano does an amazing job of dropping readers into a hilarious, entertaining story with characters I could relate to and adored. I laughed out-loud so often as I read, my husband asked me “what's so funny?” 

Want to escape from the cares of this world for a while? I highly recommend this authors book. Read for fun on your own and/ or as a book club pick. Check out Jen Turano she just might be your new favorite author! She is mine!




ABOUT AUTHOR: Jen Turano is the best-selling, critically acclaimed author of The Ladies of Distinction series, and A Class of Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers. Her novel, After a Fashion, was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013. Her seventh book, Playing the Part, will release in the spring of 2016, followed by a new four-book series, The Wallflowers. When she's not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver with her husband and neurotic Cattle Dog, enjoying life as an empty-nester because her son recently abandoned her for the college life. 

She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by Susan Brower of the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Bethany House
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org  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! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com

GET TO KNOW MISSY ROBERTSON UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL


Blessed, Blessed, Blessed
By Missy Robertson with Beth Clark
Published by Tyndale
ISBN#978-1-4964-0570-8
224 Pages

Back Cover:  Missy Robertson knew that marrying duck-hunting family man Jase Robertson would be an adventure . . . and she was up to the challenge. Their life together was good (even after Jase grew the beard). They had two children, worked hard to help build the thriving Duck Commander business, and loved and served God.

But after a difficult and risky pregnancy, their daughter, Mia, was born with a cleft palate―a serious condition requiring multiple cranial and facial surgeries. As their baby struggled to breathe, and Missy and Jase faced a life that suddenly looked very different than the one they’d planned, they found themselves staring down one of life’s biggest questions: Where is God in all this pain?

This is the Robertson’s’ story. It’s for anyone scared and overwhelmed by a problem they can’t fix; anyone lost and searching for a way through. You’ll meet the young girl Mia who captured A&E’s Duck Dynasty viewers’ hearts, and learn how Missy and Jase have raised her and their sons to be faithful, confident, and secure in who they are. You’ll be inspired by how the Robertson family stuck by each other through the hardest times. And you’ll discover that God’s blessings are bigger than you ever dreamed―and there when you need them the most.

REVIEW: Missy is the wife of Jase Robertson who is on the Television series Duck Dynasty. I’ve seen the show a few times. Jase cracks me up.

Missy opens up and shares their family struggles and heart ache in a personal and transparent. The story opens up with Missy getting an ultrasound of their third child, Mia who has a cleft lip.

Jase starts the book with a forward he says, “Most people think that cleft lip and palate is merely a cosmetic issue that can be quickly fixed. In fact, that was my initial mind set too, thinking, My daughter has a problem. Let’s fix it and move on.” If only it could be that simple. The harsh reality is that kids like Mia have surgeries and procedures to aid their speech, eating, and breathing the entire time they are growing.”

I liked how he thanks his wife for writing the book, “without you I could not be me – but God knew that, didn’t he?”

Missy then writes an introduction she says, “Trust me, I don’t know if anyone in the Robertson family expected Jase’s brother Willie, would ever have come up with the idea of putting our family on television. In our minds we have always been normal people doing our best to love God, love each other and raise our children well. …
She goes on to say, “One reason I wanted to write this book is to help families navigate through their difficulties, rather than having the challenges take charge and rule the family. Another reason I wanted to share our story is to encourage people facing any type of trouble in life that there is always hope, that the burden you think you can’t bear is already in God’s hands.”

The couple open us and talk about their life’s experiences happy, sad and the difficult. She says, “Through every circumstance, we have leaned on our faith, and we have found God to be completely trustworthy and faithful. We know what it’s like to hear bad news. We know how it feels to pray that God will do one thing in a situation only to realize He has done something else…and we are well acquainted with the financial strain of a major medical situation.”

“I pray that despite the challenges you face, you will view your life as I view mine: Blessed.”

This couple talks about living out their faith no matter what comes their way, which is an encouragement to anyone who reads about their journey. I have a special needs child and would have appreciated a parent’s outlook at what they experienced and faced with my similar situation. If you are a fan of their T.V. show you’ll love this book!







ABOUT AUTHOR: Wife of Jase Robertson and a member of the famous Robertson family that stars on the television sensation Duck Dynasty. She has her own clothing line called Missy Robertson by Southern Fashion House that she launched in 2014. She wasn't raised in a large family, but she had an easy transition into the Robertson lifestyle.

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Tyndale Publishers
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org  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! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

WHEN WAS THE DUST BOWL? READ MORE TO FIND OUT!

A CUP OF DUST
By Susie Finkbeiner
Publisher: Kregel
ISBN#978-0-8254-4388-6
318 Pages

Back Cover: “Where you come from isn't who you are,” Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma's Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff's family, they've got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They're who the town turns to when there's a crisis or a need―and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.

Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother's unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn't sure she likes.

Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he's really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won't be the only thing darkening Pearl's world.

While the tone is suspenseful and often poignant, the subtle humor of Pearl's voice keeps A Cup of Dust from becoming heavy-handed. Finkbeiner deftly paints a story of a family unit coming together despite fractures of distress threatening to pull them apart.

REVIEW: This writer transports readers back to the Great Depression; showing the hazards and hardships of a hopeful community fighting the dust bowl. The story is a haunting tale written in first person through the eyes of an adorable 10 year old girl named Pearl Spence who instantly stole my heart. I felt for her situation and appreciated her outlook on things. Pearl is compassionate, feisty and has wisdom beyond her years. She has a big sister that walked to the beat of her own drum. Pearl says, “Being a lady was just one of the laundry list of things my sister couldn’t figure out…Mama had told me Beanie was slow. Daddy called her simple. Folks…said she was an idiot. Meemaw said ”those folks didn’t understand and that people sometimes get mean over what they didn’t understand…It ain’t no use fighting them….one of these days they’ll figure out that we’ve got a miracle walking among us.”

It was hard to escape their reality, Pearl says, “The dust got in no matter how hard we tried to keep it out. It worked its way into a crack here or a loose floorboard there. A hole in the roof or a gap in a windowsill. It always found a way in always won…Still, I couldn’t help but imagine that the dust was one big old whopping from the very hand of God….I wondered how good we’d all have to be to get God to stop being angry at us.”

Meemaw told me, “Life has a way of taking what we know and tangling it all in knots. It ain’t gonna be easy on you to know the truth, never is. But you’re a brave girl. And your strong in the Lord.”

“Every storm has a beginning and every storm has an end. They never last forever.” She whispered, “God is the one who saves. Don’t forget it…Before I knew it, I was hugging my new dress and crying hard because all the green had dried up and gone, never to come back again.…Desperate times called for desperate measures. For those who were unable to leave they did their best with what they had.”

Pearl’s Mom and her Dad the Sheriff helped keep order in their community and helped people where they could. Pearl’s Mom and MeeMaw were strong women doing what they had to keep the faith and pass on food and love all the way.

This is a well-crafted drama with a mystery in the mix. It involved a secret being forced to the surface. Not everyone handles a crisis in the same manner as Pearl and her family. Tough topics portrayed in this novel were those of spousal and child abuse, cruelty to animals and murder. This is not for the faint of heart. I’d rate it a PG 13.

This is a thought-provoking, tender-hearted, emotional read I had to finish because I just had to know how things work out for Pearl and her family as they weathered the storm. This author became obsessed with what happened in the Great Depression and how the people dealt with the dust storms. She says, “After writing A Cup of Dust, I find that my admiration for the Dust Bowl survivors has grown. They were courageous, faithful, optimistic, and generous with what little they had. After all, who knew what the next year might bring. It very well might bring rain, and mercy from the Lord himself.”











ABOUT AUTHOR: Susie Finkbeiner is a novelist from West Michigan. She is the author of A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (Kregel, 2015), Paint Chips (WhiteFire Publishing, 2013) and My Mother's Chamomile (WhiteFire Publishing 2014).
She is currently working on her fourth novel.

Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her good friends, and quiet moments to read and write.

Find her at www.susiefinkbeiner.com 

Disclosure of Material Connection: #AD Kregel Publications
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org  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! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com