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AWESOME ANONYMOUS

http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-ralph-smith/awesome-anonymous/paperback/product-23059663.html

AWESOME ANONYMOUS
By David Ralph Smith
ISBN#978-1-5323-2978-4
74 Pages

NOTE FROM AUTHOR: “I wrote this book because I wanted to start a movement that would encourage people to love the Lord in a way they didn’t know or had simply forgotten. I wrote this book because I wanted others to experience the victory I have experienced. I wrote this book because I had grown tired, and I challenged the Lord that his yoke is easy and his burden is light, and he showed me his strength. I wrote this book because I saw someone that was hungry for Jesus and they needed real answers. I wrote this book to honor the Lord and to teach others how to honor him with their lives. I will continue this journey of living awesome anonymous in Jesus. I hope you will join me.”

REVIEW: Don't judge a book by it's cover. This is a refreshing message shared from a transparent heart. This author gives readers a peek at situations that have moved him in a way that gave him new revelations of God. This author saw how he was making his “testimony” in Jesus complicated. Things got simply when he truly realized that …”God is love, he moves and operates in love; his deeper motive is love, and it always has been.”

The author states…”I love Him, because He loved me first.”…”I knew then that love for the Lord has to become the foundation of all I did from sunrise to sunset.” …”Love is the deepest revelation, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.”

Amen! Amen! It doesn’t get any better than that. I liked how the author shares stories from his life that reinforced the fact that God is Love. I liked the practical way in which he gives readers a way to apply the message to their lives. The first application is on love.

PRACTICE: The author says, “Stop and think who has the Lord placed in your life. Make a list of 10 people. (Family and those you call friends)

Application – “Take a week or two per chapter. “Pray that the victories you experience in your life will be experienced in the life of those around you. Pray that the freedom you find will be found by them.” “We need to be intentional with our hearts all day long.”

…”When you commit your heart first daily, then every hour, every minute, and finally every second to loving the Lord by serving him through it changes everything. Your outlook, as well as your response to life, will be totally enveloped by your service to the Lord.”

I liked this authors reminder about the fact that God is love and I’m not in this alone. We can be intentional about what we do and not be swept up into the tornados that life can throw us.

I liked the many prayers this author has at the end of the chapters. Here is an example of one. PRAYER” “Father, you have taught me, that whatever I do unto the least of people, I do to you. Please forgive me for not protecting, serving and covering you when you needed me to. Father, I believe that where I am weak, you are strong. I cannot serve people every day without the strength you provide.”

Looking for a new bible study? Want a devotional to help testimony in Jesus. Look no more. This is a small book with a powerful message I highly recommend. 

CLICK HERE to purchase this encouraging read. 
http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-ralph-smith/awesome-anonymous/paperback/product-23059663.html 

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

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

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BEAUTIFULLY ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOK

WHEN GOD MADE YOU
By Matthew Paul Turner
Illustrated by David Catrow
Published by Waterbrook
ISBN#978-1-60142-918-6

ABOUT BOOK: From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. The assurance that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe is certain to help them spread their wings and fly.

Through playful, charming rhyme and vivid, fantastical illustrations, When God Made You inspires young readers to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God’s divine plan as they grow, explore, and begin to create for themselves.

“‘Cause when God made YOU, somehow God knew
That the world needed someone exactly like you!”

REVIEW: David Catrow is an imaginative illustrator I adore. He is a master at splashing fun throughout this adorable picture book with a powerful message. I never forget books that this illustrator has created. This writer and illustrator team help make memorable moments for parents and child.

This book helps generate a dialogue between them about how God has a plan for their live and how it changes as the child grows and explores the world around them.

The author writes, “Cause when God made you, somehow God knew that the world needed someone exactly like you!”

Near the end the author writes, “I made you…who views others as sisters and brothers and lives by three words: Love One Another.”

Author Matthew Paul Turner says, “It gives little ones the assurance that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe will encourage them to spread their wings and fly.”

The message and the incredibly fun illustrations will have you and your little one putting this picture book on their night stand to read over and over again.

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

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YOUR MAGNIFICENT CHOOSER by JOHN ORTBERG REVIEWED

Your Magnificent Chooser
By John Ortberg
Published by Tommy Nelson
ISBN#978-1-4964-1742-8
38 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: We all have choices to make every day, even the youngest children. The choices we make play a large part in forming who we grow to be as adults. For kids, those choices can include whether to be obedient or disobedient, to share or be selfish, to have a good attitude or not, and more. John Ortberg addresses the ability to choose in a whimsical way by inviting children to use their “magnificent chooser” that God gave them to make right choices daily. Parents will love reading this book to their kids, and kids will enjoy the content while learning lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives.

REVIEW: Making choices is a tough topic to explain to little ones. I liked how this author tackled the issue and he created a non-threatening tool to discuss all different choices we can make. He shows kids making good and bad choices. Some have them succeed and some fail. I also liked how the author showed kids they can change their mind. They don’t have to follow through. They can also ask for forgiveness for a wrong choice. Free will is a deep subject; I liked how he handled it.

The author states in Note to Parents, “According to the Bible, having a will is part of what it means to be made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26)… We can say yes and no; we can create and decide. It’s this core, God-given capacity that I call a “Chooser” in this book.” …”The shaping and training of the will – helping it to be strong and powerful in the service of good – is one of the most important and most challenging tasks on earth.” …”Choices we make shape our lives, so we need to teach our children to be thoughtful and wise in making Godly decisions.”

I like how the author put that. The book starts out showing what your chooser can do. It says, “You can choose what to say; You can choose what to think. You can go take a bath So your feet will not stink.”

He even brings up a good point. When things are not going well and you get in an argument with someone you can choose to be friendly again. The author says, “We can choose to make up; We can choose to be sweet. For our Choosers can order Our hands and our feet.”

This book has fun pictures to help illustrate the text and a rhythm similar to Dr. Seuss books. It’s a book that is a great way to discuss hard topics simply. This book is a win win for parents and children.

ABOUT AUTHOR: John Ortberg is senior pastor at Menlo Church in Menlo Park, California. He is the bestselling author of All The Places To Go; Soul Keeping; Who Is This Man?; The Me I Want to Be; Know Doubt; When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box; God Is Closer Than You Think; The Life You've Always Wanted; Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them; If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat; Love Beyond Reason; and (with Kevin Harney) the multimedia curriculum Old Testament Challenge. Now that their children are grown, he and his wife, Nancy enjoy surfing the Pacific to care for their souls.

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

Nora St. Laurent
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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LIFE AFTER - A MUST READ


Life After
By Katie Ganshert
Published by Waterbrook
ISBN#978-1-60142-902-5
352 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: It could have been me. Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two lost.

 A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest. 

 Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.  

 In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness

REVIEW: This author pens a gripping and gritty story of an event labeled the Tragedy on the Tracks. An explosion on a train that changed twenty-two people’s lives forever including; Paul Elliott and Autumn Manning.

I was hooked from the start…. “We rarely know when death will come…..Some are warned in sickness - But others - meet death without any warning at all, in an unforeseen moment that wrenches consciousness in two, separating the living from the dead.”

“That’s how it would come on this particular evening for twenty-two individuals.”

The one year anniversary was quickly approaching and Autumn was stuck. Life was passing her by. She still didn’t remember that fateful day. When she woke up from the coma she was shocked to hear what happened and that she was the sole survivor.

She didn’t want to attend the ceremony. She tells a friend, “Trust me…” Those families don’t want me there.” Why would they? To them, she was salt in a wound. A bitter reminder…Why did that woman survive when my husband (wife, dad, mom, son, daughter) didn’t? What’s so special about her?”

Paul was a therapist who lost his wife and was trying his best to raise a 12-year-old girl named Reese and a 4-year-old boy named Tate. He was juggling things as best he could with help from his mom, but things got crazy. The one year anniversary had his daughter going wild. She’s become someone he doesn’t know. It scares him! He’s a therapist he should know how to handle this.

Someone has been writing letters to Autumn. Autumn hasn’t written back. She reads what the person writes. I liked how the author included these letters in the novel. It made things more intimate. In one letter the writer talks about miracles. Then gives the definition which is, “an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God. Do you believe in miracles?” (the writer asks Autumn)

“At first, I didn’t think it was a miracle. Because it definitely wasn’t wonderful, and if God was involved wouldn’t he save everyone? But then I saw a picture of the train after the explosion…As soon as I saw the picture, I changed my mind. I think it was a miracle. I think only God could have saved you.”

This author masterfully weaves an emotionally charged, haunting tale that is told from two pov’s. One from Autumn Manning the sole survivor. Second, Paul Elliott a single dad, picking up the pieces of his life while caring for his kids and career. It was fascinating to see how Autumn and Paul dealt with the one Anniversary in totally different ways.

This author pulls out all the stops in introducing you to family members lost; describing how twenty-three families dealt with similar circumstances differently. I loved this author’s unique attention to detail that made me feel like I was there. She introduces a variety of rich exceptional characters I could connect with. I loved how the author mixed in a few twists and surprises I didn’t see coming.

How do folks survive after a tragedy like this? No two people react and rebuild the same. No two have the same timetable in which they go from survival mode to giving themselves permission to “live” again. It made for a heartfelt, page-turning, unforgettable read. This would make a great book club pick. I would love to see this on the big screen. This book's a keeper. This author is one to watch!

ABOUT AUTHOR: Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the exciting state of Iowa, where she currently resides with her family. She likes to write things and consume large quantities of coffee and chocolate while she writes all the things. She's won some awards. For the writing, not the consuming. Although the latter would be fun. You can learn more about Katie and these things she writes at her website www.katieganshert.com

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

THE DOG WHO WAS THERE REVIEWED

The Dog That Was There
By Ron Marasco
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN#978-0-7180-83922-2
262 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.

Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.

On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

REVIEW: Barley has it rough at first, then he finds a good home with a couple who follow the man from Galilee. Thru an unexpected turn of events Barely finds himself alone on the outskirts of Jerusalem. There he sees “Jesus” up-close and personal. Barley calls him “The kind man.”

He notices how people treat “the teacher from Galilee” (that’s what his master called him). Some people loved him and tried to apply his teachings to their lives. Others wanted to harm him. Barely watched this man share a love he hadn’t witness before.

A woman explains how Barley’s not desperate like some people she knew. “Prisca laughs and says, “this little one doesn’t despair.” She rubs Barley’s belly. “He’s always looking for the next good thing. A hand to lick, some food to chomp, a stuck to fetch, a sight to see, a friend to curl up next to.”

The retelling of the greatest story ever told will have you see familiar events with fresh eyes. It’s an endearing and inspirational tale dealing with themes of forgiveness, struggles to survive, ordinary people facing hard situations with a new-found courage and experience an unforgettable love. I liked how this author put in a few surprises for readers along this dog’s journey thru Jerusalem. Barley is a charmer, he grows on you. You’ll be moved by what he sees and how he interprets it. I liked how this novel was written through Barely the dog’s eyes.

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

PERFECT BLEND by TESS MASTERS REVIEWED


PERFECT BLEND
By Tess Masters
Published by TEN Speed Press Berkley
ISBN#BOLDRXF5PG
224 Pages


ABOUT BOOK: Online phenomenon The Blender Girl offers up 100 recipes for healthy living with tasty, crowd-pleasing dishes to help boost nutrition.

The Perfect Blend functions not only as a cookbook but also as a guide for how to lead a more vibrant and healthy life. Blogging powerhouse Tess Masters lays out a dozen healthy goals for readers, capitalizing on current trends such as gaining energy, boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, detoxing the body, and probiotic power. Then, using her fun, playful voice, Masters offers easy-to-follow recipes for smoothies, elixirs, snacks, salads, sides, soups, mains, and desserts that help get results fast. Including a guide to key ingredients, an extensive resources section, and optional nutritional boosters for each recipe, The Perfect Blend will help readers find their own perfect blend.


REVIEW: I like how this author gives a variety of recipes to help the healing process in the body. She is very creative and her cook books are easy to follow. She talks about eating for energy, helping your immune system, drinking anti-inflammatory items , how to detox and lose weight.

I was glad she talked about these things in simple terms along with low carbs, alkaline forming, probiotic promoting foods and so much more.

I think this is a must read for everyone.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley and Ten Speed Press Berkley Publishers. 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

THE LONG HIGHWAY HOME by ELIZABETH MUSSER REVIEWED

Long Highway Home
By Elizabeth Musser
Published by Create Space
ISBN# 978-1542362726
408 Pages

Back Cover: Sometimes going home means leaving everything you have ever known.
When the doctor pronounces ‘incurable cancer’ and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier.  Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss…

Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along The Refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger. Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time?  And at what cost?

Filled with action, danger, heartache, and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.

REVIEW: This novel is absolutely riveting. It’s a beautiful inspiring story of healing, faith and how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It made me look at the world with fresh eyes as things around us quickly change; you never know when we could find ourselves facing this very situation. It made me consider how I would react faced with this scenario. Would I be as strong as these refugees given they’re dangerous – life threatening circumstance? I had read the author notes where she states this story is based on true events. It made what Hamid faced heartbreaking and surreal. The author is currently a missionary in France. Elizabeth’s desire is to share some remarkable, encouraging situations she’s known about first hand with readers.

There are two moving stories running hand and hand in this novel. One is of two women; Bobbie and her niece Tracie. They set out on a pilgrimage after Bobbie is diagnosed with cancer. They’ve talks about this trip for years. Their dreams are about to come true. Bobbie takes Tracie to The Oasis, an unforgettable place she worked at years ago, it’s there they learn about a refugee named Hamid. He is running for his life along The Refugee Highway. His family is hiding trying not to be captured. There are flashbacks of Bobbie’s life as she remembers her time at The Oasis. She shares with Tracie some heart-wrenching stories that changed Bobbie’s life.

Here is a peek at the refugee, “Hamid listened to a radio program, broadcast from The Netherlands but in his tongue. The voice in the box spoke of the Bible, of Christ – Isa al Masi – of hope, of a Savior. Hamid’s heart swelled to hear the words, foreign words, dangerous words! Why was he drawn to them so? These were the words that had forced him to flee in the first place.”

Hamid was trying to become a refugee in another country. The definition of a refugee – a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationally, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.”

Hamid and his daughter have accepted Christ as their savior. Hamid’s wife is not so sure about all this. Why bother when it’s so dangerous? There are suspenseful nail-biting moments for Hamid and his family as they try to get to safety.

Bobbie shares a story with Tracie,” Fred was part of The Barracks team…He trained with us in the US and planned on smuggling, like the rest of us, but when the rubber hit the road, he just couldn’t do it. He found he couldn’t lie, couldn’t keep a straight face and swear that he wasn’t carrying anything illegal into the East. So here he was – stuck in Vienna for a two-year term of service, with a huge amount of guild because his religious convictions wouldn’t let him smuggle Bibles.” …

….” Fred started visiting the refugee camp in our village, and before long he was teaching the women and children to read and write in English…pretty soon many who came from Communist countries were learning about Jesus and wanting to be Christians.”

Several times my throat tightened and tears ran down my cheeks as this author showed unimaginable grace in the midst of brutal and inconceivable conditions. It was stunning and humbling to read how hope shines through the dark places. I was inspired by how this author showed hope and healing throughout tremendous pain and suffering. The reader could see the source of hope and healing, was Christ Jesus! The situation reminded me of a book I read years ago, called God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrews.

This novel grabbed me from the start and never let me go. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to read this amazing, powerful faith building; life changing book. It’s a heartfelt message of courage, faith, survival, and hope. I thought about this story long after I closed the book. I honestly think it's this author’s best work! This would make a great book club selection.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ Elizabeth attended The Westminster Schools in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where she majored in French and English literature, graduated magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

Her novels have been acclaimed in the United States and in Europe. The Swan House (Bethany House, c2001), set in Atlanta in the early sixties, was named as one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year (2001), was an ABA and SEBA bestseller and was recently named one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the past 100 years, right behind Gone with the Wind (from Georgia Backroads, Autumn, 2009). The Secrets of the Cross trilogy (David C Cook, 2012), which takes place during Algeria’s War for Independence from France and also in present day Algeria and France, (Two Crosses, Two Testaments, Two Destinies) has been a bestseller in Europe. Two Destinies was recently nominated for the Christy Award, for excellence in Christian fiction. Elizabeth’s other novels The Dwelling Place, (Bethany House, c2005), Searching for Eternity (Bethany House, c2007), Words Unspoken (Bethany House, c2009), and The Sweetest Thing (Bethany House, 2011) all set in the South in the 1930s-1980s, continue to examine themes of brokenness and healing, faith and forgiveness, surrender and sacrifice.

Elizabeth’s books have been translated into German, French, Dutch and Norwegian.

From an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, “Elizabeth Musser likes to say she has two part-time jobs. Not only is she an award-winning novelist, but she and her husband serve as missionaries at a small Protestant church in Lyon, France. In both lines of work, she avoids preaching and simplistic answers, choosing instead to portray a God who cares in the midst of life's complexity...”

Elizabeth adds, “My desire is to offer the best literature I can write, drawing the reader into a story that is compelling, believable and sprinkled with historical detail. I seek to give a realistic picture of what faith lived out in this world looks like, and, as always, I hope that my stories can be appreciated by all audiences, not just those readers who hold my same religious beliefs. It is a delight to receive confirmation of this through reader letters.”

For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams. They presently live in Lyon, France. The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and the cutest grandson in the world, of course.

To learn more about Elizabeth and her books, please visit her website at www.elizabethmusser.com and her Facebook Fan Page

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

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