BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

WHERE DOES LOVE HIDE? REVIEWED


Where Does Love Hide:
By Mary Manz Simon
Illustrated by Hannah Wood
Published by Tyndale Kids
ISBN#978-1-4964-1168-6
18 pages Board Book

ABOUT BOOK: In Where Does Love Hide? children are reminded that they not only receive love but have the opportunity to share love. Looking under the fun, lift-a-flap feature, children will see examples of everyday love opportunities. Each page includes a memory verse and an example of a way to share God’s love. In life, children hear the words “I love you” repeatedly, often beginning before birth. However, because love is an abstract concept and young children are concrete thinkers, they must gradually learn to understand love by what they experience. In Where Does Love Hide? children are given the opportunity to see love in action and learn what love looks like.

REVIEW: It’s fun to watch the excitement in my grandson’s face as he quickly went to flip the page and turn down the flap before I was even done reading it. He wanted to see what was hiding under that flap. The book starts out with scripture, “Since childhood, you have known the Holy Scriptures that are able to make you wise enough to have faith in Christ Jesus and be saved.” 2 Tim 3:15

The first page says, “Where does love hide? At my house until…” The picture is of a cute girl playing in her room with blocks. The stack of blocks is a flap to be turned down to see what is hiding behind it. It has a scripture on the bottom Proverbs 17:17 which states, “A friend is always a friend.”  The picture is of another child playing. The page reads,” I invite a friend to play.”

The little girl is handing her friend a block. “Throughout the book, it shows that there are many places and opportunity’s to be respectful, loving and helpful. It’s a book that helps children connect actions to their words. Such as there is a joy in giving and receiving.”

I liked the colorful pictures in this hard-back book. I think that after a few times reading this book the child will be able to read the book to the parent. The pictures make it easy to understand the words. The pictures also help bring the scripture to life and lets them (and the parents) think about applying these principles in their life; even at a young age. This book is recommended for ages 1-3.

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

Book Fun Magazine

SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME FOR KIDS REVIEWED



Same Kind of Different as Me
By Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Published by: Tommy Nelson
ISBN# 978-0-7180-9179-4
32 Pages

Book Blurb: This remarkable story shows what can happen when we choose to help. Kids will discover that we can all make a difference—no matter how big or small we are and no matter how big or small the task.
Based on the New York Times bestseller Same Kind of Different As Me, which sold more than a million copies worldwide and inspired the major motion picture, this book tells the true story of Denver Moore and Ron Hall, who also created the delightful illustrations in this book.
Share the power of friendship and faith with your children.

REVIEW: I first became acquainted with this writing team as we read this for book club. The story became more heart-rendering as we heard Debbie’s sister speak to our group. It was powerful and moving as she put together a moving slide show that had pictures of her sister, Ron and shared what she knew about Denver Moore. She too was changed by her sister and brother-in-law’s work.

In the forward Ron Hall writes a note to parents. He shares how children would seek Denver out to ask him questions when they traveled across America trying to help people through sharing their story.

Ron says Denver was so moved by the kids they met and how they encouraged him, he said to Ron, “We gots to write a book these little children can read!” …“Tell them nobody can help everybody but everybody can help somebody.”  I’m thrilled they have this book available for children; even more excited about the movie they’ve made based on the book. This book is a must read. The movie looks like one to watch.The release date of the movie is Sept 2017. The suggested age group is 4-8 years old.

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

EAT BEAUTIFUL by WENDY ROWE REVIEWED

Eat Beautiful
By Wendy Rowe
Published By: Clarkson Potter
ISBN#978-0-8041-8958-3
271 Pages HB

ABOUT BOOK: Care for your body from the inside out with this cookbook that highlights ingredients and recipes designed to make your skin glow.

After more than 20 years of experience as a makeup artist and beauty consultant, Wendy Rowe’s approach is uncomplicated and holistic. In Eat Beautiful, she details how specific ingredients feed your skin, offering breakdowns of the vitamins and nutrients they provide. They include:  Pomegranate: The Elixir of Youth packed with Vitamin C, which stimulates collagen production to keep skin looking taut, young, and radiant.
Spinach: The Free-Radical Fighter whose iron moves your blood, helping to repair your skin cells.

Chili Peppers: The Circulation Booster famous for its capsaicin, which reduces blood pressure and improves circulation by encouraging blood vessels to relax and dilate, therefore acting as an anti-inflammatory. 

Natural Red Wine: The Youth Potion featuring a powerful anti-ageing antioxidant that slows the grown of acne-causing bacteria and fights disease-causing free radicals.
Rowe’s recipes showcase these essential foods to help target specific skin problems and alleviate common complaints. She even provides specific advice for what to incorporate or avoid depending on skin type.

Here, too, are suggestions on how to pamper yourself with recipes for homemade masks, scrubs, mists, cleansers, and toners, as well as an informative section for troubleshooting those confidence-sapping skin problems. Organized into the four seasons, you can dip in and out of this stunning cookbook, or follow it as a plan. Either way, it ensures beautiful, radiant skin all year round.

REVIEW: Wendy Rowe is a make-up artist who realizes to get great skin and a healthy glow you first need to get your gut healthy. She says, “I’ve come to see that skin troubles are a reflection of what’s going on inside. To get perfect skin and maintain it, you need the right balance inside and out…The skin won’t look good unless you pay attention to your health in general and your diet in particular…Your body will tell you what you need, but it doesn’t scream, it whispers, so try to listen.”

She starts out talking about how to generate good digestion and things to look out for. She describes what Detoxification is and gives a few recipes and then there is a page for Stress-busting tips I thought were helpful and doable. Then there was a list of Beauty “Betrayers and a list of Saviors.” This is a list of Dos and Don’ts to help keep you healthy and your skin looking radiant.

She then shares what’s in her Beauty Store Cupboard – Things to always have on hand in your kitchen and bathroom.

I like the list of Wendy’s Golden Rules the first two are 1. No, raw After 4p.m 2. Chew, Chew, Chew etc. The rest of the book is broken down into seasons and ingredients blossoming at that time which are most helpful in eating beautiful. The author goes on to say, “Skin care is important of course, but eating a range of good-quality, skin-friendly foods – seasoned and organically produced when possible – will provide the best foundation. This will ensure your skin has a healthy glow.”

Each season the author describes the healthy benefit of an ingredient. For example, she starts out with Almond Milk – She says “skin-friendly alternative to dairy.” She has a few paragraphs describing it’s benefits, then at the bottom she breaks out the skin-feeding nutrients.

After listing the edible items and their benefits for that season, there are recipes that include that ingredient. There are beautiful pictures of the dish.  I like the fact that you didn’t have to make a huge amount of the recipe. All the dishes are a servicing size of two.

The recipes that I made were The Pearl Barley and Chocolate porridge. I’d never had barley before. This reminded me of oatmeal and was very feeling and tasted good. The next recipe I tried was Roast Pumpkin Soup. I liked the soup and realized I was not a fan of fresh sage found in this soup. I hadn’t eaten it before. Next time I make it I might try put dried sage. Maybe it will be less powerful. I made the Carrot soup and was surprised how sweet and flavorful it was. Yummy. But the recipe my family LOVED was the Zucchini and Brown Rice Spaghetti. What a great combination of flavors and textures. The bonus factor was it was great for my skin and my family loved it. The book is sprinkled with beautiful pictures of young models faces and scenes from nature that depict the season being discussed.

The author wraps up the book with beauty tips and homemade recipes for Rosewater Toner, Magnesium Foot Scrub, Calming Lavender Mist, Coconut Oil Cleanser, Spirulina Face Mask and several other natural skincare formulae.

She does have a section on skin care issues and how to help them. There is a paragraph or two about mature skin, and how to care for it.

I can’t wait to try the other recipes in this book and see the results.

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

NOAH, NOAH WHAT DO YOU SEE? REVIEWED

Noah, Noah, What Do You See?
By Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson
Illustrated by Melissa Iwai
Published by:
ISBN#
Pages BB

BOOK BLURB: From the bestselling authors of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Chicka Chicka, 1, 2, 3

Noah, Noah, what do you see? I see animals in the ark with me.
Moses sees the Red Sea part. Daniel sees lions in the den. Mary sees baby Jesus smiling at her. Noah, Noah, What Do You See? introduces little ones to favorite Bible heroes from the Old and New Testaments.
With colorful art from Melissa Iwai and the signature rhyming style of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? parents and children alike will love the classic storytelling of Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Bill Martin Jr. didn’t learn to read until he reached college, yet he earned a doctorate in education from Northwestern University. He was one of the world’s foremost authors in literary education, as well as a million-selling author of books including Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Michael Sampson, Ph.D., is a New York Times bestselling author of twenty-six books for young children, including Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 and The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry. Sampson is dean of the School of Education at St. John’s University in New York City and lives with his family on Long Island.

REVIEW: My kids and I enjoyed reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? when they were little. This book Noah, Noah, What Do You See is written by the same author that penned Brown Bear, Brown Bear and is written in a similar fashion. It was fun to see my kids turn the pages and read the words on the page at a young age. Because of the books rhythm and the beautiful pictures, it was easy to memorize the story. As they got older they noticed all the sight words and gained confidence they could read words. It was a building block experience to them reading other books. I can’t wait to share this book with my grandchildren and watch them have just much fun as my kids did reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

What I love about this little board book is the fact that it introduces young readers to characters in the bible. It will make them ask who is Noah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, Esther and several other bible characters this author introduces. This makes the book extra special for me as it helps me familiarize little ones with people of faith and their challenges and triumphs.

This board book will soon become a family favorite as you have fun sharing bible characters and their stories with little ones who will enjoy the pictures and rhythm of the book. I’m sure they will be reading it to you in no time. It’s a confidence builder!

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

HILLARY MANTON LODGE HITS IT OUT OF THE PARK

Together at the Table
By Hillary Manton Lodge
Published by Waterbrook
ISBN# 978-0-3074-73179-1
312 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: In a bittersweet series of events, her mother’s health took a turn for the worse. Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended in anger and tears.

As autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she’s finally on the cusp of equilibrium. The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family is closer than ever. She and sous-chef Adrien are seeing each other, both in and out of the kitchen. Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a trip to the waterfront lands a familiar face into her path.

Rather than dwell on her personal life, Juliette throws herself into work and research. After reading her grandmother’s letters from war-torn Paris, she still wants to know the full story –  and she’ll travel across countries and oceans to find it.

But even Juliette can’t outrun the man who stole her heart. As she finally uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own chances at lasting love?

REVIEW: I’ve enjoyed the first two books,  A Table by the Window, and  Reservations for Two but this last installment in the Two Blue Doors series hit a home run in my heart. This author showed readers a side of her writing style we didn’t see in the other books. I feel she saved the best for last! Bravo!

I relished my time with this French, Italian family who love each other and are brought together by their passion for food (creating it; eating it and sharing it with others) This novel (like the others) has many delicious recipes sprinkled thru out. The reader is brought alongside the characters while they experiment with food and create new dishes.

Juliette thinks about what to make for their Thanksgiving dinner. She pulls out her cookbooks to begin the search, “ I scanned glossary pages filled of lovely food, let my eyes drift over whatever recipe seemed best..”…” Saturday, I slipped out to the Farmer’s market. Waiting for me were crates of pears in shades of green, gold, and rose. I fell in love.”…Pears. Pears cake, pear sauce, caramelized pears, baked pears.”

The story goes on as readers walk in Juliette’s shoes and watch she decide what to make. The recipe at the end of the chapter is Pear Cardamon Galette. All the recipes are a bonus, fun factor of this series.

There are quotes on the top of each chapter. One of my favorites, wraps the reader in the warmth, fun, realism, and mystery inside these pages. It’s a quote by Cesar Chavez who says, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart.” Juliette and her family do just that.

The mystery talked about in the first two books is solved in a unique way. Juliette’s family has uncovered her grandmother’s diary. They gather together at the table and read it out loud so everyone can learn about the family secret together.

The D’Alisa’s read Mireille’s diary. She pens it in English so the hired help can’t read her private thoughts. She says, ...” We’re all doing the best we can. We hear of arrests and rumors of arrests, of women and children being sent to labor camps. I know there are families hiding, which is not so very different from us. We hide in the open.”

This author seamlessly weaves together the past and present. The reader is given the opportunity to join arm and arm with Juliette’s family who get a peek into the harsh reality of war. Discovering a few surprises that affect their relatives in present time.

You won’t want to miss hanging out with this loving, loud household as they learn to live with loss, discover true love and solve a mystery. This book would make a great book club pick as the author has provided twelve discussion questions to help create lively conversation, plus there are so many recipes to help create a fun and yummy meeting time.

This author pens a humorous, witty, insightful, touching story I couldn’t put down. This series is a keeper. This author is one to watch (she’s gotten better by the book this last being her finest).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Waterbrook 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 www.bookfunmagazine.com

LIKE FUTURISTIC DYSTOPIAN FICTION? CHECK THIS OUT!

The Returning
By Rachelle Dekker
Published by Tyndale
ISBN#978-1-4964-0229-5
405 pages

ABOUT BOOK: Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace” ―one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion.

REVIEW: The Choosing rocked my world. It’s the first novel in the Seers series. I read book one because I was curious about the writing style of Rachelle whose father is Ted Dekker; one of my favorite authors. I was blown away by The Choosing and the world this author describes. Second book in the series The Calling reminded me a little of the Divergent series in how there was a rebellion going on and how I imagined the lay of the land would look like. Good fighting evil on all fronts; including an internal struggle. The cool thing about this series and the second novel is that there is a character named Aaron who represents Jesus in this story. He encourages people to remember who they are; and their identity lies in Him alone. I have found his encouragement, help me remember things I had forgotten.

In this third installment which begins 20 years after the second book ended. Early on the story is focused on Elise, the daughter of Remko and Carrington Brant. She was taken as a baby and brought to be a prisoner raised in the Authority City. There is a list of characters (as there have been in all the books) describing the different groups and who exacely is in each group and the roles they play. This could be read as a standalone. The author does a good job of catching readers up on what’s gone on in the past books without bogging them down. But to grasp all the richness of this barbaric mind controlling situation and foreign land they live in, I highly suggest reading books one and two and then this final conclusion. It will be a more profound experience that way. Just Saying!

This book is a powerful allegory of how the Lord (Aaron) in this story works in our lives if we are willing. This author had an incredible way of showing the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts and how deep healing takes place when you let it. I was blown away and deeply touched. Aaron keeps telling everyone that it’s in the letting go.

Elise says to Kane, “Surrender is not something that comes easily to me…. Yes, it has been painted as a negative word, hasn’t it? The truth is there is overwhelming power in surrender. In letting go of all you think you know to discover the truth.”

The truth will set you free. I’ve known this for years but to read it and see it at work is a powerful thing. I like how Elise continues to talk to Kane, “Life is a cycle of remembering and forgetting. The Father is in all and with all, and He tells me I am the light of the world. So if I believe His words are true and that we are all the same, created equal, and that I am the light of the world, then you must be too. When I start to forget who, you are, then I, in turn, also start to forget who I am. So, I practice remembering.”

This whole series has been about remembering and forgetting. I’ve realized I’ve done this a lot myself. It made me look at the children of Israel differently. After all they experienced firsthand all the plagues, and miracles like the parting of the red sea etc. This group of people are perfect example of remembering and forgetting. This author brings this message to life in this futuristic world showing the power of forgiveness, the art of letting go, walking in faith and that standing up against fear is possible. This is a book (series) I’ll be re-reading and telling my friends about for their book clubs.This book is a keeper. This author is one to watch.

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 www.bookfunmagazine.com

GOD MADE YOU NOSE TO TOES by LESLIE PARROTT REVIEWED

God Made You Nose to Toes
By Leslie Parrott
Illustrated by Estelle Corke
Published by: Zonderkidz
ISBN#978-310-757405
18 Pages Board Book

ABOUT BOOK: Help little ones understand that God created each part of their bodies so they can enjoy life and everything in it. In this delightful padded cover board book by well-known author and family therapist Leslie Parrott, children can follow along with Toucan––with a great big nose––as he helps them learn God loves each one of them completely. For 4-8 year olds. Preschoolers and kindergarteners.

REVIEW: Great colorful illustrations help bring the message of the story to life. This young boy learns about how God made all of us from our heads to our toes. The illustrations have this young boy running into different animals and talking about how they have the same things as he does but they may look different. For example, on page one the author says, “God gave old Tucan a fairly big nose. But your little nose can smell all that grows.”

This book also talks about not only the body parts eyes, nose, hands etc. but it also talks about their function and what it allows us to do. The pictures will make you smile could make little ones laugh out loud. I can’t wait to read this to my grandson to experience his reaction. I could see this one becoming a book they will enjoy and learn a thing or two. Note to reader: This book was originally published in March 2002. This new version has a completely different look I really like.

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

WAR ON FEAR by JOHN MORGAN REVIEWED


WAR ON FEAR
By John Morgan
With Joel Belin
Published by Creation House
ISBN#978-1-62998-572-5
124 Pages HB

BACK COVER: What Would Your Life Look Like Without Fear? Where would you go?
What dreams would you aspire to achieve?

Imagine the possibilities of living without fear.

In his new book, War On Fear, author, speaker and presidential impersonator, John Morgan, shares his personal struggles with fear to give you practical advice and guidance for victory over your fears.

After reading War On Fear, you will be empowered to become a more confident, positive person.

REVIEW: Meet John Morgan best known for being a George Bush impersonator. It’s not a job he ever saw himself doing but it’s grown on him. I was encouraged to hear about this man’s journey in learning how to stop fear in its tracks; not let it overwhelm him as he struggled to learn about how to fight the good fight. This is what he states, “Fear takes its own prisoners. I was one of them. For the majority of my young life I let fear keep me,…. “Fear owned me. It dictated my choices finally, I got really angry – now I’m fighting back. I’m doing battle against a soul-seeking energy and loving every minute of it.” Amen! Amen!

I could relate to this authors struggle. He goes on to say, “Each decision affects your future, and this moment can change everything. You are one of the hens, but at the moment you maybe a POF (Prisoner of Fear). You’re called to influence those around you. Seeds of world-changing greatness are within you. Conquering fear is vital for fulfilling your purpose, achieving your dreams.”

I appreciated this author transparency and how he learned to not let fear control him anymore. He is an encourager and describes ways to identify and deal with fear that are helpful and hopeful. This is the first book I’ve read by this author it won’t be the last. This was an inspirational read and one I’m glad to have had the opportunity to read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from author and The Book Club Network 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 

LOTS OF LOVE by KIM WASHBURN REVIEWED

Lots of Love
By Kim Washburn
Illustrated by Jacqueline East
Published by Zonderkidz
ISBN#978-0-310-78617

ABOUT BOOK: Lots of Love celebrates all the ways we show love—from hugs and kisses to sharing and helping others. The sweet rhymes and whimsical artwork in this board book illustrate the special bonds of love between families and friends. Perfect for young children, this book will make you want to snuggle with your little one as you two explore the greatest blessing of all—love!

REVIEW: This is a beautifully illustrated book that is fun to read. The book begins with a little girl waking up in her bed, sun shining through the window of her room. She is grateful for the beaming sun and also for her happy heart. She says, “Good morning, happy heart! I feel your cheerful beat. Today I’m sharing lots of love with everyone I meet.” The first to receive special hugs and love from her is her sweet puppy. The book goes through different people and situations where she can share kindness and hugs.

She starts out receiving special hugs from her mom and puppy that she can share with others. This is a book that has more than one or two words on each page. It would be a good book to show little ones but they won’t have the patience or attention span to have you read every word. Good for ages 4 - 8-year-old who would like you reading all the words. It might help them recognize some sight words for preschoolers and those in kindergarten. 

The book ends with the same little girl ending her day in prayer and being thankful for the day she had filled with opportunities to share. I liked the message and the lovely pictures that walk a child through the many different ways to show people you care; shows how to receive love and encouragement from others.

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

GIVER OF WONDERS by ROSEANNA M. WHITE REVIEWED

Giver of Wonders
By Roseanna M. White
Published by WhiteFire
ISBN#978-1-939023-83-4
321 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: A miracle once saved her life ~ will another give her a future?
Cyprus was little more than a child when a fall left her paralyzed...and when the boy known as the wonder-worker healed her. Ever since, she has wondered why the Lord spared her, what he has in store for her. But her pagan father thinks she was spared solely so she could be introduced to the wealthy wonder-worker, Nikolaos.
Nikolaos has never questioned that his call-in life is to dedicate himself to the church and to God. Never, that is, until he and his cousin Petros meet the compelling Cyprus Visibullis. For years, he struggles with the feelings she inspires...and with the sure knowledge that Petros loves her too.

Petros knows he will never be good enough for Cyprus's father to consider him as a match for his favorite daughter not as long as Nikolaos is there. But when tragedy strikes the Visibullis family, he will do anything to save his beloved. Unfortunately, his beloved is determined to do anything to save her sisters ~ even at the cost of herself.
As the festival of lights bathes their Greek city in beauty, Cyprus, Petros, and Nikolaos celebrate the miracle of their Savior s birth together one last time. And in remembrance of their Lord's greatest gift, one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice for the others...and a centuries-long tradition will be born.

REVIEW:  I’m a fan of this author so when I saw the cover of this book and the authors name on the front page I couldn’t wait to read about How a Christmas tradition began. She has a gift of grabbing her audience from the start. Here is the first line of the book, (I was hooked) “She would die today, one way or another. Cyprus Visibullis risked a glance over her shoulder without slowing her feet”

Cyprus had an accident in the beginning of the story that should have left her maimed. She was miraculous healed. Since that day she wonders why God spared her. Was it for a special task, mission? She talks to her friend Nikolas about it. He’s educated on spiritual matters, being a priest and all.

Nikolas explains to Cyprus (in one their many talks) how community works. He says, “To be involved Cyprus! To give of yourself, of your heart, to open up-even if it means opening yourself up to the possibility of pain, of rejection. Unless you give them the chance to hurt you, you are never giving them the chance to love you.”

This is a new concept for Cyprus. She ponders doing this until her world comes crashing down on her.

Nicholas thinks about the best way to fulfill his calling he's reminded of what his uncle said to him …” When you do a good deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your good deed may be done in secret.” …”Yes, Yes, that was how he would give – in secret. No one must know.”

This is a compelling read with a fascinating cast of characters I instantly cared for. My heart hurt for the women of that time period specifically Cyprus and her two sisters. They were headed for a life of slavery unless their father went to bat for them.

I felt Nikolaos’s agony in trying to figure out what was the right thing to do. Then rejoiced with him when he knows without a shadow of a doubt his plan of action. And he knows deep down, that “…The gift is “not about the giver. A gift, a true gift given from nothing but love, should be done in secret; so, that God alone sees...the giver’s only reward is what the Lord decides to bestow…”

The author writes this in notes to readers, “My prayer is that as you read this interpretation of who Nikolaos may have been as a young man, you come to appreciate that he was so much more than our traditions today give him credit for being. My prayer is that we can all take a few cues from him…that our gifts become less about us and more about Him.”

What I love most about this author is her ability to place readers in the character’s shoes and have them experience their culture and difficulties first hand. This story and its characters stole my heart. The novel is filled with hope, true love, heartache, miracles, sacrifice and wonder. This message is relevant for today and can be read all year long. I learned so much. This author does not disappoint!

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

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

MARY CHOSEN OF GOD REVIEWED

Mary Chosen of God
By Diana Wallis Taylor
Published by Whitaker House
ISBN#978-1-62911-748-5
320 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: "Blessed are you, Mary, chosen of God.

Mary is ordinary girl from Nazareth. She helps her mother with household chores, she daydreams about a handsome carpenter's son named Joseph, and at night she lies on the roof and contemplates at the stars. But one evening, a heavenly visitor comes with unexpected news, and her life is changed forever.

Experience the life of the Messiah from the perspective of his mother, who must place her trust and obedience in Adonai, the Most High, as he fulfills centuries of anticipation in the middle of her daily life. Walk with Mary as she witnesses Yeshua grow, mature, minister, and even crucified, and then raised again, to the kindling of her new faith.

REVIEW: This was a familiar story I read with fresh eyes and came away with a stirred heart and a new appreciation and perspective of Mary and Joseph . I felt  like I had met this couple for the very first time. This author sews in details of their culture and how things would have been back then for a young Jewish couple who was betrothed. She captures the youthfulness, innocence, and love these two had for the Lord and for each other.

I liked when Mary prayed. She usually started out, “Oh, God Who Sees Me” This really struck a chord with me. I started saying this in my prayers too. It brings things into perspective. Here is one of Mary’s prayers.

 “Oh, God Who Sees Me, she said silently. Grant me the courage to carry out your plan and to face my parents and Joseph. Give them grace to believe me. They must believe me. Strengthen me, and help me through these next few hours and days. I am your maiden, may your will be done.” …” please help me. I’m afraid of what lies ahead. I know your ways are beyond understanding, but I submit to your will. Show us the way. Go before us.”

The author gives Mary’s perspective about the trip to Nazareth for the census. Mary thinks of the baby’s arrival, “…Then a thought struck her and she pursed her lips to keep from making a sound that would worry Joseph. What if there was no midwife? Who would help her? Would she birth this heavenly child by herself? Would Joseph have to help her? She blushed at the thought. What did a man know about birthing a child? She shuddered slightly as she fought down the fear that threatened to engulf her.”

The author says this in author notes to readers, “…these were specific questions and speculations that I sought to answer in this book:

1. At such a young age, how did Mary get permission from her father to travel over one hundred and twenty miles to Juttah, where Elizabeth lived and how did she get there? It was five days from Nazareth to Jerusalem alone.

2. “Living in a small house, how would Mary hide from her mother the fact that her time of the month did not come? How could she explain the angel’s visitation in a way her parents could believe? Was that her reason for immediate haste to get to Elizabeth’s?

3. Who helped Mary with the birth? Angels? Joseph?

4. How would I show my readers that Mary and Joseph were a typical young Jewish family, living in a small village in the hills of Judea?

These are not the only aspects and questions the author answered in this book.  I was glued to this novel that revealed the humanity of Mary, a 14-year-old girl facing unbelievable situations (like I hadn’t read before), showed Joseph, faithful, hardworking man and Jesus the son of God who they’d be caring for. All of them became very real to me. I felt like I had the opportunity to walk along with Mary and Joseph in a unique way. This author had the gift of bringing a whole new dynamic way beyond the Christmas story. I liked the writing style of this author. I highly recommend this novel. It would make a great book club pick.

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

UNSHAMED by LeCRAE REVIEWED

Un-Ashamed
By Lecrae
With Jonathan Merritt
Published by B & H
ISBN#978-1-4336-8912-3
212 Pages HB

ABOUT BOOK: Lecrae is a two-time Grammy winning rap artist, Lecrae, learned this lesson through more than his share of adversity—childhood abuse, drugs and alcoholism, a stint in rehab, an abortion, and an unsuccessful suicide attempt. If you live for people's acceptance, you'll die from their rejection.”

Along the way, Lecrae attained an unwavering faith in Jesus and began looking to God for affirmation. Now as a chart-topping industry anomaly, he has learned to ignore the haters and make peace with his craft. The rap artist holds nothing back as he divulges the most sensitive details of his life, answers his critics, shares intimate handwritten journal entries, and powerfully models how to be a Christian in a secular age.

REVIEW: This is a heartfelt, transparent look at the life of Lecrae, a Christian rapper. He says, “Some of life’s struggles are so severe that even music is powerless to overcome them.” He knew he needed something more. He would later learn that the something more was Jesus.

He talks about the challenges of being raised by a single mom and how she worked hard to provide a good home. He spent summers with his grandmother so his mom could work two jobs. Growing up without a dad always made him wonder if he had done something to make his dad leave and/or stay away?  Through the years, Lecrae realized he had hole in his heart no one could fill. Oh, He tried to fill the emptiness with all types of things. He tried to fit in and be accepted in a variety of ways but alas there was no place for him. But he kept searching!

Summers with his grandmother; who was the living example of the hands and feet of Jesus as she delivered supplies where needed. She never beat Lecrae over the head with the bible, instead she allowed him watch her share food and the love of Jesus her community.

When he was in college and desperate for something to do, he’d go to a bible study. He thought of church more as a social thing nothing more. Lecrae talks about the bible study he went to, “I thought I had heard it all, but I was encountering stories for the first time.”…(he discovered that ) ..people who came to the study weren’t lame like I thought Christians were. They didn’t look unpopular or dress weird and some of them were really cool. Over time, I kind of enjoyed going, but it was still more social than spiritual for me.”

My son’s listened to Lecrae’s music growing up. So, when I saw he had written a book I wanted to read it. I wanted to know more about this mystery man and how he got to be a rapper. I wanted to know the stories behind his rapping and lyrics. I listened to the audio book and read the book when I wasn’t in the car. I LOVED the fact that Lecrae was the reader on the audio book. I could hear his heart, pain and wonderment as he read. Another Bonus feature on the audio book was the fact that he actually had excerpts of his songs to listen to.

Bonus material in the hard back book was the fact he had lots of pictures to share. I liked seeing pictures of the people and situations he talked about. Having both of these book materials was a win win for me. This story touched and inspired my heart. It also reminded me that God can do far more than I can every imagine. He’s done that with this young man.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Netgalley and publisher. Audio book from the 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 www.bookfunmagazine.com

JESUS SAVES ME REVIEWED




Jesus Saves Me
By Callie Grant
Art by Missi Jay
Published by Graham Blanchard
ISBN#978-0-9854090-2-9
19 Pages Board Book

ABOUT BOOK: To celebrate the Easter season, children engage with Jesus’ teaching of the Good Shepherd’s saving love in John 10:14-16. From the Knowing My God series, this book offers three levels of exploration: a quoted Bible passage, beautiful real-world photographs, and supportive text to relate the passage’s meaning to a child’s life. A parent guide gives tips for involving a baby, toddler, and child. In the Graham Blanchard book collection, Jesus Saves 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. Find out more about our Learn, Absorb and Praise framework for children’s books at GrahamBlanchard.com/books.

REVIEW: The scripture explained in this board book is found in John 10:14-16. It starts out, “Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”

The author asked a question – “Did you know?....Sheep are watching and learning from other sheep as they graze. They are also learning about the person who takes care of them. They know a good shepherd when they see on…A shepherd’s job is to watch over his flock, or sheep. Shepherds lead sheep to pastures for food. Etc…They rescue sheep from danger. Jesus calls Himself a shepherd. Can you guess who His sheep are?”

This book grows with your child. The author has beautiful color pictures to help illustrate the passage of scripture being explained. At the end of the book there are helpful ways to use this book from ages 0-8 years of age. I liked that about this series. She also has another scripture at the end of the book for grown-ups Revelations 7:17.

There are three questions on the last page to engage the reader and make the book personal. It also helps the adult start a discussion with the child they are reading to. These board books are keepers!

ABOUT AUTHOR: Callie Grant founded Graham Blanchard Inc. to create children's books for growing up in God and resources for parents. The company's LEARN, ABSORB & PRAISE collection of board books have been positively reviewed by more than 400 Christian parent bloggers and readers, who also give high marks to Graham Blanchard's online parent resources, including a Mom Mentor panel of popular authors and bloggers, and free tips for grownups to connect Jesus to children's everyday lives. In spring 2017, Graham Blanchard will launch its first adult title: Your Newborn Promise Project, a Christian pre-parenting primer for husband & wife. The company is the culmination of Grant's experience in the publishing industry paired with a strong calling to help families know God's love and nurture their faith through reading together. For more information about Grant and Graham Blanchard, visit grahamblanchard.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Book Club Network and Graham Blanchard 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 www.bookfunmagazine.com