BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

POWERFUL WWII STORY TOLD THROUGH YOUTHFUL EYES

CATCHING THE WIND
By Melanie Dobson
Publisher Tyndale
ISBN#978-1-4964-1728-2

ABOUT BOOK: What happened to Brigitte Berthold?

That question has haunted Daniel Knight since he was thirteen, when he and ten-year-old Brigitte escaped the Gestapo agents who arrested both their parents. They survived a harrowing journey from Germany to England, only to be separated upon their arrival. Daniel vowed to find Brigitte after the war, a promise he has fought to fulfill for more than seventy years.

Now a wealthy old man, Daniel’s final hope in finding Brigitte rests with Quenby Vaughn, an American journalist working in London. He believes Quenby’s tenacity to find missing people and her personal investment in a related WWII espionage story will help her succeed where previous investigators have failed. Though Quenby is wrestling her own demons―and wary at the idea of teaming up with Daniel’s lawyer, Lucas Hough―the lure of Brigitte’s story is too much to resist. Together, Quenby and Lucas delve deep into the past, following a trail of deception, sacrifice, and healing that could change all of their futures.

REVIEW: Readers are transported back to July 1940 Moselkern, Germany and introduced to a young boy named Dietmar Roth; a young warrior in charge of knights sworn to protect a ten-year-old “pretend” princess named Brigitte Berthold. Their kingdom was an outside treehouse that had an amazing view of the forest and the back sides of their homes. From the treehouse, they could clearly see the outside world banging down the doors of their homes. They watched in horror as their parents were interrogated. Dietmar Roth grabbed Brigitte by the hand and ran. He’d seen enough to know they were in danger. With only the clothes on their backs, they ran for their lives, just as his parents had trained him to do.

Just when readers are emotionally invested in the flight of these two little ones; the author seamlessly switches to the current time, where they meet Quenby Vaughn. She’s an American journalist working in London who has a particular way in finding missing people. She has a private investment in a related WWII espionage story. This is why Mr. Knight wants to hire her. Daniel (aka Dietmar) vowed to find Brigitte. He believed Quenby would succeed when others had failed. He’d followed her career and knew her well.

This author masterfully weaves current time with past events. I liked the fact that in current time when they discovered something related to the past she would switch to the past and have that event play out first hand; so that the reader and Quenby Vaughn would find out about that situation at the same time. I liked the author's use of humor and thought provoking ideas to defuse some intense situations. Here’s an example.

Mr. Knight says this about life, “…Our lives are like the jigsaw puzzles you like to put together Quenby. All the pieces are out there, but we have to frame it before we complete the inside.”

Quenby was driven to dig for the truth.…”working on someone else’s story kept her from having to reflect on her own.” Quincy’s mission – it was about a girl lost long ago. A girl who’d never seemed to find her way home.” “Quenby knew what it was like to be left alone.”

This novel would work well for book clubs as there are 13 discussion questions and in author notes, there is valuable information that would also help create lively conversations in your group.

The author says in her notes, “the power of story has transformed my own life, and I’m incredibly grateful to Jesus Christ, the author, and finisher of faith, for enduring pain and humiliation and ultimately conquering the evil in this world, redeeming and healing because of his boundless love for his kids.”

This author seamlessly connects past and present events in this powerful, heart-rending story. It was a fascinating and beautifully written novel of two unspeakable tragedies, of love and loss and learning to love again. As I read, I kept thinking about the characters, their situation and all the other WWII stories out there. This moving story told through the eyes of children; stayed on my mind and close to my heart long after I closed the book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale 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! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine
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GOD LOVES MOMMY AND ME REVIEWED


God Loves Mommy and Me
By Bonnie Rickner Jensen
Published by Thomas Nelson Board Book
ISBN# 13-978-0718091781
20 Pages
Age Range 2-5 Grade Level Preschool-Kindergarten

ABOUT BOOK: “God loves Mommy and me, He knows we love Him too When we pray we always say, “You’re so good, God—thank You!”

Snuggle in cozy-close with a sweet reminder of God’s love for mommies and their little ones. Celebrating loving mothers, precious children, and the God who loves them all, God Loves Mommy and Me will remind parents and little ones of how much they are loved.

REVIEW: This padded board book cover illustration first caught my eye. It peeked my interest. I had to take a look inside. The illustrations are beautiful and gave me a warm cozy feeling as I quickly fell into the sing-song rhythm of the writing.

This story is a great reminder of how much God loves us individually and how much love flows between a mother and child because he first loved them both. It’s a celebration of motherhood.

Here is a peek at the rhythm in the story, “Mommy’s hugs are special…God made her extra sweet.”

“They make me oh-so-happy from my head down to my feet.”:

The illustration shows both mother and child hugging with great big smiles on their faces. The author depicts special everyday moments children can have with their mothers, like playing in mud puddles, doing chores and just being silly. This book has a grateful message at the end. The pictures are heartwarming, charming, bright and cheerful. It was fun to read.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Bonnie Rickner Jensen is a bestselling author, who for the past 20 years has written everything from children's books to gift books to thousands of greeting cards. She's won a Retailer's Choice Award for her book, "I Love You Head to Toe", and also several Louie Awards for her work in the social expression industry. Her inspirations are her grandchildren, running, and sunshine. She writes from her picture book, toy-filled office in Cleveland, Ohio.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson. 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
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GOD LOVES DADDY AND ME REVIEWED

God Loves Daddy and Me
By Bonnie Rickner Jensen
Published By:Thomas Nelson
ISBN# 10- 0718091779
20 Pages Board Book
2-5 Years Pre-Kindergarten

ABOUT BOOK: God loves Daddy and me, He listens when we pray, When we tell Him “Thank You,” it’s the best part of our day!’

Cuddle up cozy-close with an adorable reminder of God’s love for daddies and their little ones. Celebrating loving fathers, precious children, and the God who loves them all, God Loves Daddy and Me will remind parents and little ones of how much they are loved.

REVIEW: I enjoyed this delightful, cushioned board book that described how little ones can have fun with their daddy. The illustrations showed every day heart-felt moments that can be moments to celebrate like taking a walk, doing chores and silly times that make you giggle.

This author shows the special connection and love between father and child in hopes that the child can grasp a connection with their heavenly father as well. The author shows how God and their father can be a protector, fun,  loving and gentle.

Here is an example of the rhythmic style of the writing, “God loves Daddy and me in lots of special ways.”

“His love is with us when we go on big adventure days.”

The endearing picture that goes with the words just quoted is that of a father and child raccoon in a boat fishing. The pictures make you grin, are adorable and lovely throughout this story. They make your face smile wide as this author and illustrator hope the readers see the symbolism of God and how much he cares for us just like this loving father in the story cares for the child.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Bonnie Rickner Jensen is a bestselling author who for the past 20 years has written everything from children’s books to gift books to thousands of greeting cards. She is the writer behind the bestselling Really Woolly® brand, with nearly 1 million books sold and an ECPA Gold Award–winning Really Woolly Bedtime Prayers. Bonnie has won a Retailer’s Choice Award for her book I Love You Head to Toe and also several Louie Awards for her work in the social expression industry. Her favorite inspirations are her grandchildren, running, and sunshine. She lives and works from her home in Cleveland, Ohio.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson. 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
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MARK BITTMAN SHARES RECIPES FROM HIS YUMMY VB6 PLAN/COOKBOOK


VB6 COOKBOOK
By Mark Bittman
Published by Clarkson Potter 2014
ISBN#978-0385-34482-1

ABOUT BOOK: Whether you call it flexitarian, part-time veganism, or vegetable-centric, the plant-based, real-food approach to eating introduced in Bittman's New York Times bestselling book VB6 has helped countless people regain their good health, control their weight, and forge a smarter, more ethical relationship with food. VB6 does away with the hard and fast rules, the calorie-counting, and the portion control of conventional diets; it's a regimen that is designed to be easy toa dopt and stick to for a lifetime.

When Bittman committed to a vegan before 6:00 pm diet, he quickly realized that everything about it became easier if he cooked his own meals at home. In The VB6 Cookbook he makes this proposition more convenient than you could imagine. Drawing on a varied and enticing pantry of vegan staples strategically punctuated with "treat" foods (including meat and other animal products), he has created a versatile repertoire of recipes that makes following his plan simple, satisfying, and sustainable.

If you've thought of trying a vegan diet but worry it's too monotonous or unfamiliar, or simply don't want to give up foods you love to eat, Bittman's vegan and flexitarian recipes will help you cook your way to a new, varied and quite simply better way of eating you can really commit to...for life. 

REVIEW: Change isn’t easy but when Mark Bittman’s doctor told him he had to make changes to avoid serious health issues he listened. He had to transform his diet. He knew that making drastic changes wouldn’t help him stick to it, so he took it slow. The author developed a strategy of eating he calls VB6 (vegan eating before 6pm). He lost weight, and felt better.

He started to eat more plant based foods; eat less highly processed foods and less meat. He says, “VB6 works in large part because a key aspect of the strategy is eating and enjoying delicious food – much of it in unlimited amounts…If you cook daily, or nearly so, you’ll have a far better chance of making long-lasting, positive change in your diet than if you didn’t.”

I liked how he walks readers through setting up a pantry and charts where he includes things like; What different items (in the pantry) are; How to store the item, the best ways to use it. He includes a handy 28 day menu plan.

There are 350 recipes most are vegan many include meat. The ingredients are easily found in your grocery store. He puts the serving size and how long it takes to make the dish. He lists about 3 to 5 steps in most recipes. His instructions are easy to follow and I love the variations to the recipes at the end of the page.

The recipes that I made my family were the Apple-Oat Muffins, Mushroom-nut burgers over Greens, Tropical Fruit Pudding and Rice Pudding with Slow-Roasted Fruit. They all were very flavorful and a huge hit with my gang. I can’t wait to try more!

ABOUT AUTHOR: Mark Bittman is one of the country's best-known, most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen. Bittman writes for the Opinion section of the New York Times on food policy and cooking and is a columnist for the New York Times magazine. He is regularly featured on the Today Show in How To Cook Everything Today cooking segments. For 13 years he wrote "The Minimalist" column and now a "Minimalist" cooking show is featured on the Cooking Channel. The How to Cook Everything series is highly respected: the first edition of the flagship book How to Cook Everything won both the IACP and James Beard Awards, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian won the 2008 IACP award. He is also the author of Food Matters, Food Matters Cookbook, Fish, and Leafy Greens.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I checked this book out of the public library.  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
COO of TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine

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FRESH IDEAS FOR ORGANIC GARDENING, RECIPES AND NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCTS


HARVEST:
Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants
By Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis

ABOUT BOOK: A beautifully photographed, gift-worthy guide to growing, harvesting, and utilizing 47 unexpected garden plants to make organic pantry staples, fragrances, floral arrangements, beverages, cocktails, beauty products, bridal gifts, and more.

Every garden--not just vegetable plots--can produce a bountiful harvest! This practical, inspirational, and seasonal guide will help make any garden more productive and enjoyable with a variety of projects using unexpected and often common garden plants, some of which may already be growing in your backyard.

Discover the surprising usefulness of petals and leaves, roots, seeds, and fruit: turn turmeric root into a natural dye and Calamintha into lip balm. Make anise hyssop into a refreshing iced tea and turn apricots into a facial mask. Crabapple branches can be used to create stunning floral arrangements, oregano flowers to infuse vinegar, and edible chrysanthemum to liven up a salad. With the remarkable, multi-purpose plants in Harvest, there is always something for gardeners to harvest from one growing season to the next.


REVIEW: The author states, “Harvest is a practical, inspirational, and seasonal guide to living with an edible landscape. In this book, you’ll find ways to make your garden more productive and enjoyable with a variety of projects using unexpected and often well-known garden plants, some of which may already be growing in your garden.”
I Agree!

Inside this lovely hardback book filled with beautiful pictures are a list 47 projects. They talk about food safety, organic gardening, and beneficial insects. I liked that the book is divided into seasons. I was amazed not only at the fact that you could eat these flowers but they also made tasty teas, beauty products, and other health-full useable items.

Each ingredient has a description of the plant, it’s history and how to care for it in order to get a good harvest. The book’s first vegetable is Rhubarb; the recipe is for a small-batch, quick-pickled rhubarb. They also list lilac the recipe is for Lilac Flower Cream, Bachelor’s buttons is after that the recipe is for Blooming Butter and another interesting plant is a Salad Burnet made from Early-Season Herb Salad.

I was amazed at how flowers can be more than something beautiful looking in your house; there are recipes for teas, spices to enhance the flavor of food, to edible vegetable plants to plants that are used for all natural face cream.

There is a list of project Ingredient alternatives. I found this helpful. I also liked the list of terms and techniques for me to refer to in the back. Along with a list of resources and an index for easy reference.

I haven’t started a garden yet but this looks like it could be for beginner gardeners (like me) to the more experienced ones. The plants and recipes inside these pages can put a beautiful sparkle in your yard, beauty on your table and boost of flavor in your mouth. It’s a win-win on many levels.

Disclosure of Material Connection: II checked this book out of the public library.  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
COO of TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine

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GOING ON A TRIP? CHECK THIS OUT

How to Pack
Travel Smart for Any Trip
By Hitha Palepu
Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers
ISBN#978-1-101-90564-7
112 HB

ABOUT BOOK: It’s time to pack perfect. Every trip, every time. Your journey starts here.

When you travel, the journey is just as important as the destination—and packing is the first step. In How to Pack, Hitha Palepu, a former consultant who has traveled more than 500,000 cumulative miles around the world, shows that what and how you pack are who you are. Confidence and comfort inspire success upon arrival, whether you’re exploring a new city, hoping to nail a job interview, or relaxing on a beach. In How to Pack, you’ll learn about: 

·Power Pieces vs. Fantasy Pieces: How clothing earns its place in your suitcase
·The Accessory Math Secret: The precise formula for all you need to finish off your outfits
· Folding versus Rolling: What’s right for which items
· Globetrotter Gorgeous: Editing your beauty routine while still looking great
· The Packing Timeline: How to avoid “I’m forgetting something” syndrome
· Pack Perfect Lists: Samples and blanks for any kind of trip

REVIEW: Taking a trip? This book describes in detail how you can prepare for that trip. The cover of this book looks like a piece of luggage with name tag included, it fits easily into most purses and has wonderful information inside. This little book screams pick me up and look inside. So, I did. Since I don’t travel much this is a great reference book to have. I loved the fact that this book has visual aids to help me navigate my way in preparing for different types of trips.

The book has several Pre-preparing pages for you to fill in the blanks as you get ready for your trip. She has a packing time line that is seven days out. The author mentions things to avoid like, “I’m forgetting something” syndrome. She has a test to find out what kind of packing personality you have. Fun to know, useful information in planning.

A few of the visual aids I found helpful were the ones that included pictures of different pieces of luggage and which would be best for the trip you’d be making. I appreciated the visual on the carry-on crash course and the one on finding the right organizing accessories along with choosing clothes that will work for your trip. The author also talked about power pieces to mix and match.

I thought the other topics were helpful too like how to pack and fold for maximum space; toiletry needs and beauty must-haves, packing the in-flight bag and helping you navigate a security line like a pro. Then after your trip is said and done she talks about unpacking. This is for the frequent flyer as well as the beginner like me. This author packs a lot of information into the 114 pages. I look forward to using as my go to book in preparing for my next trip. The author thought of most everything so you don’t have to. It’s a win, win.

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

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com  
Book Fun Magazine

BOOK that CELEBRATES GRANDPAS

Thank You, God, For Grandpa
By Amy Parker
Published by Tommy Nelson
ISBN#978-0-7180-8929-0
20 Pages Board Book


ABOUT BOOK: Thank You, God, for Grandpas,For Pops and Papas too,For Granddads, Gramps, and Grandpappies— They’re great, grand gifts from You!

No matter what you call him, there is nothing like the love between a grandpa and his grandchild! With whimsical rhymes and charming illustrations, Thank You, God, for Grandpa encourages little ones to treasure God’s special gift of grandfathers.
Grandpas and their grandchildren alike will love this heartwarming story that celebrates their sweet relationship.

Amy Parker’s children’s books have sold more than 800,000 copies, including two Christian Retailing’s Best award-winning books and the bestselling A Night Night Prayer. She lives outside Nashville with her husband and two children.

REVIEW: This is an adorable board book I’m going to love reading to my grandchildren. The illustrations are bright, colorful and fun to look at. The message is encouraging and delightful. It shows little monkey’s having fun with their grandpa. They enjoy his hugs, they love to learn from him, play with him and enjoy when he teaches them things he did with their dad. They also enjoy hearing stories about what life was like back then.

They also show how grandpa talks about Jesus and teaches them how to pray. He trusts God with his whole heart. This book helps everyone to be grateful for relationships. The little ones say, “Thank you, God, for Grandpa; There’s nothing I can do to make my grandpa love me less – Grandpa, I love you too!”

This is a beautiful precious story. One that you and your little one will enjoy reading over and over again.

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

LOVE A GOOD MYSTERY? FASCINATED BY ILLUSIONISTS? Check this out!

The Illusionist’s Apprentice
By Kristy Cambron
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN#B1HAK32UC
368 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: Not all illusions happen on the stage.
Wren Lockhart, apprentice to master illusionist Harry Houdini, uses life on a vaudeville stage to

escape the pain of her past. She continues her career of illusion after her mentor’s death, intent on burying her true identity.

But when a rival performer’s act goes tragically wrong, the newly formed FBI calls on Wren to speak the truth—and reveal her real name to the world. She transfers her skills for misdirection from the stage to the back halls of vaudeville, as she finds herself the unlikely partner in the FBI’s investigation. All the while Houdini’s words echo in her mind: Whatever occurs, the crowd must believe it’s what you meant to happen. She knows that if anyone digs too deep, secrets long kept hidden may find their way to the surface—and shatter her carefully controlled world.

Set during one of the richest, most vibrant eras in American history, this Jazz Age novel of illusion, suspense, and forgotten pasts is perfect for fans of The Magician’s Lie, challenging all to find the underpinnings of faith on their own life’s stage


REVIEW: The opening scene is that of a famed medium named Horace Stapleton whose hosting a defying death ceremony for the public. At that event are two agents Elliot Mathews and his partner Connor Finnegan. They are there to discover the truth hidden behind the illusion. Another audience member is Wren Lockhard, who is a Vaude performer, and has a few secrets of her own besides those of Harry Houdini; she’s not willing to share. She used to be Harry’s assistant.

Both agents Elliot and Connor are at the event to discover the truth hidden behind the illusion. Things go crazy and they end up looking into more than how the trick was done; which has them knocking on Wren’s front door.

I was excited to read this novel because I was touched deeply and spell-bound by two other books I’d read by this author titled The Butterfly and the Violin and A Sparrow in Terezin. I read up until chapter nine. I concluded the fact I couldn’t get into the book was because I was unfamiliar with what an illusionist apprentice does and just as unfamiliar with Harry Houdini.

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

"LIVE" BOOK FUN EVENT AT TBCN MONDAY NIGHT 20th


  

ATHENA DEAN HOLTZ - AUTHOR GROUP
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"LIVE" AUTHOR CHAT MONDAY 20th at 8 PM EASTERN STANDARD TIME - Lots of books and gift cards being offered. Check it out www.bookfun.org 

WHERE'S MY T.R.U.C.K?


Where’s My T.R.U.C.K?
By Karen Beaumont
Illustrated by David Catrow
Published by Dial Books For Young Readers
ISBN#978-0-8037-3222-3
32 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: Tommy's not himself today. He's lost his T-R-U-C-K! And no matter what Mom, Dad, sis, brother, and Grandma offer, it's just not as fun as his best red truck. The family dog isn't as picky, and sharp-eyed readers will wonder what happens to the cast-off toys Bowser gets his mouth around. Meanwhile, Tommy tears through the house and yard to hilarious and poignant effect, only to discover, in a grand moment of triumph, sneaky Bowser's secret stash. Hooray! Tommy's found his T-R-U-C-K! Come on Bowser, let's go play!

A welcome addition to the community of strong-willed but endearing picture-book protagonists, Tommy proves you can be in a funk and still be a sweet kid. Tommy's not himself today. He's lost his T-R-U-C-K! And no matter what Mom, Dad, sis, brother, and Grandma offer, it's just not as fun as his best red truck. The family dog isn't as picky, and sharp-eyed readers will wonder what happens to the cast-off toys Bowser gets his mouth around. Meanwhile, Tommy tears through the house and yard to hilarious and poignant effect, only to discover, in a grand moment of triumph, sneaky Bowser's secret stash. Hooray! Tommy's found his T-R-U-C-K! Come on Bowser, let's go play!

REVIEW: Pictures paint a thousand words! Illustrator David Catrow brings the authors words and emotions to life as readers feel the pain Tommy feels about not being able to find a red truck. It’s his favorite toy.

Family members try to distract Tommy; asking him to climb a tree or play a game but they can’t stop him from thinking about the red truck. Tommy is on a mission to leave no stone unturned as he seeks to find his truck. Everyone is helping him in this mission, they know there would be no rest until that truck is found.

He searches high and low and thinks, …”I had my red truck yesterday. A toy truck can’t just drive away.” He yells in pain while his family watches and he yells, “I want my T.R.U.C.K!”

Tommy is not comforted by anyone or anything. He bows his head and thinks, “I loved that truck. I love it still. I always, always, always will.”

Tommy and family rejoice and cheer when he finds his beloved toy in the most unlikely hiding spot that will make readers smile. The entertaining and loveable pictures bring the message across. This book will open up an interesting dialogue between children and parents on a few topics; at the same time it’s just plain fun.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I checked this book out of the public library. 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
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SEQUEL to GOD'S NOT DEAD - NOVEL REVIEWED

GOD’S NOT DEAD 2
By Travis Thrasher
Published by Tyndale
ISBN#978-1-4964-1364-1
400 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: God’s not dead . . . but they’re trying to kick him out of the public square!

Welcome back to Hope Springs . . . where Christian Grace Wesley teaches high school history. She is on the hot seat with the school district after she answers Brooke Thawley’s question about Jesus during a classroom discussion. Suddenly, Brooke becomes a pawn in an epic court case that could cost Grace the career she loves.

Tom Endler, a lawyer with the teachers’ union, is tapped to reluctantly represent Grace in her fight for her First Amendment rights. He finds himself fighting for a cause he doesn’t even believe in. Tom’s research leads him to Amy Ryan, a reporter and former skeptic who found faith while battling cancer and watching the classroom battle unfold at Hadleigh University a year ago,. Both are soon on a journey to understand what genuine faith really means as they fight to save Grace’s job and avoid a court decision that could cripple the free speech rights of all Christians in the marketplace.

Based on the movie sequel, this novel tells more about the story behind the new blockbuster film and gives fans an update on favorite characters from the original film.

REVIEW: I’d seen the first movie and thought it was powerful. I looked forward to seeing the sequel. I wanted to read the book before seeing this second movie for two reasons, one; there is always more information in the book and second I am a Travis Thrasher fan.

The sequel is set in the same town as last book, Hope Springs. This time the situation takes place in a high school. Grace Wesley is a twenty-eight-year-old teacher, taking care of her 80-year-old grandfather. She has taught in in Martin Luther King Jr. High School for six years, was voted best teacher of the year just last year.

It’s a surprise to everyone that Ms. Wesley finds herself in trouble with the school district because she won’t apologize to them for talking about Jesus in the classroom. Here’s a peek at what happened with her students the day in question. She tells her attorney, “…we were discussing Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and exploring the idea of peaceful nonviolence during class. With all the violence happening in our country today, I thought it made sense to talk about what Gandhi and Dr. King did…..then a young woman asked a question related to this.”

“About Jesus?” Her attorney said.

“Brooks asked if that was what Jesus meant when he said we should love our enemies. So, I said yes, that’s exactly what he meant.”

Attorney’s reply, “That’s exactly how you said it?”

“I agreed with her and then quoted scripture.”

“After that, a student tried to bait me – just to try to get me or the class riled up.”

Seems more than a few students got upset. The whole community and country are watching this event unfold. Protestors for both sides are out in full force. There is an explosion in the court room too.

The opposing attorney states in his opening comments, “Ms. Wesley refused to apologize to make things go away...” He goes one to tell the jury that her main objective in the situation is to turn an innocent question into an opportunity to “preach rather than teach.”

Grace’s attorney explains what’s really on trial here. The attorney says, “Are we now in the business of making people deny their faith?” “The opposition is using this teacher as a pawn to achieve their own agenda; which is to smash faith in the public square debate.”

The battle rages on every side and in the middle, there is Amy Ryan a blogger and reporter. She was battling cancer last year and had a perspective change. She embraced God whole heartily when she thought the end was near. Now she’s in remission and is not sure what she believes. She watches this battle closely. She starts her personal investigation into the existence of God by interviewing students at the High School. She will not be swayed by her near-death experience and all the emotion that came with that. She sought the truth, not emotions involved.

This novelization gives readers an overall view of the “separation of church and state” issue. I found it informative, interesting and liked how they showed this topic from very personal points of view. It will get you thinking about what’s really on trial here. Travis Thrasher makes this novelization work with this style of writing which clearly show the matter at hand in a thought-provoking way with a little touch of romance thrown in for good measure. It’s a win! win!
 
2014 I met cast members from First Film
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale 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! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine
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DO YOU HAVE A BOOK ITCH?

The Book Itch
Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore
By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Published by Carolrhoda Picture Books
ISBN# 978-0-7613-3943-4
32 Pages


ABOUT BOOK: "In the 1930s, Lewis's dad, Lewis Michaux Sr., had an itch he needed to scratch a book itch. How to scratch it? He started a bookstore in Harlem and named it the National Memorial African Bookstore. 

REVIEW: This is a charming picture book that talks about a remarkable man I wanted to share with you. Lewis Henri Michaux’s hunger for the written word was contagious and that passion changed his life and affected those around him in an astounding way.

In the back of the book there is a bio about Lewis and challenges he went through to open up the book store. Once he got the store he went out into the streets and sold books like they did newspapers back when. The author states in the bio, “Lewis, known for his wit and candor, referred to his store as “The House of Common Sense and the Home of Proper Propaganda.” The community just called it Michaux’s.” This book store was a part of a community where people sought out stimulating conversation and advice. The book shows some famous people that came to speak at the store and how it brought the community together.

In the back of the book there was a picture of Lewis inside his store. I was glad to see his smiling face as he was surrounded by books.  Another interesting thing is the fact that Vaunda Micheaux Nelson was Lewis Henri Michaux’s great-uncle. Vaunda also shares a fascinating section on the history of the African National Memorial book store in Harlem.

Books are gifts of learning and freedom. Oh, the places you can go when you are able to read a book. This book is recommended for ages 7 – 10 year olds they will have to be good readers as there are a few paragraphs printed on each page.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I checked this book out of the public library. 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
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FLOWERS ARE MORE THAN JUST BEAUTIFUL


 HARVEST
By Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis
Published by 10 Speed Press
ISBN#978-0-399-57833-5
214 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: A beautifully photographed, gift-worthy guide to growing, harvesting, and utilizing 47 unexpected garden plants to make organic pantry staples, fragrances, floral arrangements, beverages, cocktails, beauty products, bridal gifts, and more.

Every garden--not just vegetable plots--can produce a bountiful harvest! This practical, inspirational, and seasonal guide will help make any garden more productive and enjoyable with a variety of projects using unexpected and often common garden plants, some of which may already be growing in your backyard.

Discover the surprising usefulness of petals and leaves, roots, seeds, and fruit: turn tumeric root into a natural dye and calamintha into lip balm. Make anise hyssop into a refreshing iced tea and turn apricots into a facial mask. Crabapple branches can be used to create stunning floral arrangements, oregano flowers to infuse vinegar, and edible chrysanthemum to liven up a salad. With the remarkable, multi-purpose plants in Harvest, there is always something for gardeners to harvest from one growing season to the next.


REVIEW: Beautiful pictures are scattered throughout this fascinating and informative book. The author states, “Harvest is a practical, inspirational, and seasonal guide to living with an edible landscape. In this book, you’ll find ways to make your garden more productive and enjoyable with a variety of projects using unexpected and often well-known garden plants, some of which may already be growing in your garden.”

They list 47 projects inside this book. They talk about food safety and organic gardening and beneficial insects. This book is divided into seasons. I was amazed at not only could you eat these flowers but they can also be made into teas, beauty products and other health-ful use-able items.

Each ingredient has a description of the plant, it’s history and how to care for it in order to get a good harvest. The book’s first vegetable is Rhubarb; the recipe is for a small-batch, quick-pickled rhubarb. They also list lilac the recipe is for Lilac Flower Cream, Bachelor’s buttons is after that the recipe is for Blooming Butter and another interesting plant is a Salad Burnet made from Early-Season Herb Salad. It was amazed at how flowers can be more than something beautiful looking in your house; there are recipes for teas, spices to enhance the flavor of food, to edible vegetable plants to plants that are used for face cream that are all natural.

There is a list of project Ingredient alternatives. I found this helpful and the fact that they had a list of terms and techniques for me to refer to in the back. Along with a list of resources and an index for easy reference.

I haven’t started a garden yet but this looks like it could be for beginner gardeners (like me) to the more experienced ones. The plants and recipes inside these pages can put a sparkle in your yard, beauty on your table and boost of flavor in your mouth. It’s a win win on many levels.


Disclosure of Material Connection: II checked this book out of the public library.  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
COO of TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 
www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog 
www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine
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