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Showing posts with label Catholic2018. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catholic2018. Show all posts

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Catholic Christianity - Peter Kreeft - A Complete Catechism of Catholic Beliefs Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Catholic Christianity: A Complete Catechism of Catholic Beliefs Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Peter Kreeft
Ignatius Press

ISBN 9780898707984

I read this book as part of my working through the Catechism in a year. Over the last few years I have read the catechism and other similar books a little bit each day throughout the year. This year I added this book and it took me 4 months of study to work through this volume. This was an excellent read. It was a wonderful study tool. It helped me go so much deeper in my study of the Catholic Faith. The sections in this volume are:

PART I: Theology (What Catholics Believe)
Chapter 1: Faith 
Chapter 2: God 
Chapter 3: Creation 
Chapter 4: Man 
Chapter 5: Jesus Christ 
Chapter 6: The Holy Spirit 
Chapter 7: The Holy Catholic Church 
Chapter 8: The Forgiveness of Sins 
Chapter 9: The Resurrection of the Body 
Chapter 10: Life Everlasting

PART II: Morality (How Catholics Live)
Chapter 1: The Essence of Catholic Morality 
Chapter 2: Human Nature as the Basis for Morality 
Chapter 3: Some Fundamental Principles of Catholic Morality 
Chapter 4: Virtues and Vices
Chapter 5: The First Three Commandments: Duties to God 
Chapter 6: The Fourth Commandment: Family and Social Morality 
Chapter 7: The Fifth Commandment: Moral Issues of Life and Death 
Chapter 8: The Sixth and Ninth Commandments: Sexual Morality 
Chapter 9: The Seventh and Tenth Commandments: Social and Economic Morality
Chapter 10: The Eighth Commandment: Truth

PART III: Sacraments and Prayer (How Catholics Worship)
Chapter 1: Introduction to Catholic Liturgy
Chapter 2: Introduction to the Sacraments
Chapter 3: Baptism and Confirmation
Chapter 4: The Eucharist
Chapter 5: The Sacrament of Penance
Chapter 6: Matrimony 
Chapter 7: Holy Orders 
Chapter 8: Anointing of the Sick 
Chapter 9: Prayer 
Chapter 10: The Lord’s Prayer 
Chapter 11: Mary

This is not a volume I could pick up and read through from beginning to end. At least not do so and really take it in. But by reading 5-15 points a day it was very digestible. In the introduction Dr. Kreeft goes over some of the possible titles this book had, and his reason for them, and reasons for changing. They were:

Mere Christianity
What Is a Catholic

He also states:

“Half a century ago such a book would have been superfluous, for Catholics knew then twenty times more than they know now about everything in their faith: its essence, its theology, its morality, its liturgy, and its prayer; and there were twenty times more books like this one being written. The need was less, and the supply was more. Today the need is much more, and the supply is much less. Since “nature abhors a vacuum”, spiritually as well as physically I offer this unoriginal “basic data” book to those Catholics who have been robbed of the basic data of their heritage.”

The book might be unoriginal, and basic data about Catholicism, but maybe that is what makes it such a treasure. This book is likely one I will read each year for years to come. This book is an amazing resource, for the faithful, for those studying Catholicism, and for those just curios about what Catholicism is all about.

Kreeft has written some amazing books and this is among the best! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Other Kreeft Reviews:
Socrates Meets Jesus
The Sea Within
Handbook of Christian Apologetics
Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics
The Journey
The Unaborted Socrates
The Best Things In Life
Between Heaven Hell
Doors in the Walls of the World
Catholic Christianity

Articles That Mention Kreeft:
Opus Dei
Opus Dei Part II
Catholic Catechism Dialogue blog
4 Resources

Monday, 24 December 2018

Prisoners of War - Sarah Gracia - Prisoners of War Trilogy Book 1

Prisoners of War
Prisoners of War Trilogy Book 1
Sarah Gracia
Rivershore Books
ISBN 9781635220049
eISBN 9780463016138


I am sitting her and finding it very hard to know how to start this review. While reading this book there were some incredible moments, and at others I found myself wondering what was going on, and how is this all going to fit together. And yet by the time I finished the novel, I could not help but wonder what is going to happen next in the Prisoners of War Trilogy. I think this book might do for panic attacks and OCD what The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time did for Asperger Syndrome and Autism. The author states:

“It tells the story of my freshman year in high school (minus Matt and the kidnapping plot). There are some aspects that are unrealistic, but that's intentional. The whole book is my daydream in ninth grade when I had the six-month panic attack. The novel reflects the reality in a very tangible way.”

And there are some very surreal moments in the novel. In some ways reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland or even The Matrix. As you are reading you will wonder how far down the rabbit hole goes and is there a way out. But in order to find out you will need to read the book.

You cannot help but feel for Tara, the main character, and for Sarah the author and the struggle with OCD as described in the book. Early in the book this section really captured my attention:

“Prisoners of war, people who have been captured by the enemy.
I wonder if Adrian’s a prisoner of war since he was captured by those people. It’s not a war between countries, but trying to escape seems like his own personal war.
Am I a prisoner of war, too? I’m going to die with OCD with no hope of freedom. Could that be a war? A lot of people describe OCD as a hostage situation. I’m the prisoner; OCD the captor.
Maybe. Maybe we’re all prisoners of war of some kind . . .”

It is a penetrating insight especially considering the age at which the author wrote it. This book does not feel perfectly polished. But It is not suppose to. It is written to capture the nightmare of struggling with mental illness, and how someone who does suffer sees and feels about themselves. Also, how they feel others see and treat them. It was also written from dream, and as such does have that disjointed, often jumpy feel. But it is well done.  As such the book is not always an easy read, but it is worth the effort to finish, and I really do look forward to seeing what will happen in the next volume.

A great first effort by a young author trying to bring awareness through her own personal struggles. Well done.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Treachery and Truth - Katy Huth Jones - A Story of Good King Wenceslas

Treachery and Truth
Katy Huth Jones
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819875358
eISBN 9780819875389


I had this book on my Kindle for a little over a year. It kept popping up in recommendations from friends, fellow reviewers and authors. And every time I moved it towards the top of my reading list, it was quickly bumped down and forgotten until I was reminded about it again. This last time I was reminded about it, I immediately started reading the book. And what an excellent read it is. I had a hard time putting this book down; and ended up devouring it in three sessions over two days. Over the last few years I have read several Christian, Catholic historical fiction novels. Based on a life of a saint, that gives us a glimpse of the life of a saint. And this book does an incredible job of just that.

This is a story filled with history, betrayal, faith, and following God. Most people are aware of the Christmas carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’. This is a story of that man’s life. Saint Wenceslaus, or Vaclav in the Bohemian or Czech as is used in the story. The story is told through the eyes of a servant a young man named Poidevin. Many of the characters are real historical figures, as is the main story. Liberties have been taken to write it into a compelling novel. Set in the ‘dark ages’ around the year 930 A.D. The story takes place between the years 920 and 929 approximately. It is a time of clashes between Pagan religions and the growing Christian Catholic influence. After the death of his father, his mother acting as regent returns to the pagan ways. While Vaclav is faithful to the Catholic church, as was his father and his paternal grandmother. The conflict grows until Vaclav must seize the throne that is rightfully his from his own mother. But his own Christian beliefs prevent him from taking the life of his mother and brother, and it eventually has dire consequences for the king, his family and the whole kingdom.

At one point in the story Poidevin reflects:

“I turned and watched the candle’s flame in the dark room. I’d never noticed before how much light a single candle could produce, how much darkness it dispelled. In that moment, a thought came to me. My master was like a flame burning brightly in the darkness of Bohemia, the darkness of selfishness, greed, ignorance, and an insatiable hunger for power. It was heartening to know how much goodwill one man could spread to others.”

And in many ways that is what this boo does for us 1100 years after the events of the story. Wenceslaus or Vaclav depending on what name you prefer for his was by all accounts a good man, a devote man, and an honest man. He was canonized lest than 70 years after his death.

This story is a great read for young men, it will captivate their interest, and show them a man living his faith well. It was written with a Young Adult audience in mind, and yet I believe it can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. It is wonderfully written. The characters are well written, and the plot, written around the facts we know about this saint’s life. A great read that I can give a solid 5/5 stars.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Katy Huth Jones:
Leandra's Enchanted Flute
Treachery and Truth
Carpe Diem
Stuck in the Muck
Return to Finian Jahndra
Battling the Beast: Growing in Faith through Cancer
Bug Feet: An Introduction to Rhythm in Poetry

He Who Finds Mercy Series:
Mercy's Prince
Mercy’s Gift
Mercy’s Battle
Mercy’s Joy

Contributed to:
Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body

Friday, 14 December 2018

ABCs of the Christian Life - G.K. Chesterton - The Ultimate Anthology of the Prince of Paradox

ABCs of the Christian Life:
The Ultimate Anthology of the Prince of Paradox
G.K. Chesterton
Peter Kreeft (Foreword)
Christian Classics
Ave Maria Press
ISBN 9780870613104
eISBN 9780870613111


I am a latecomer to the works of Chesterton. It has only been the last year or so that I have started taking a serious look at his works. The more I read, the more I learn, the more I appreciate about the man, his mind, his works, and his faith. But this book was not exactly what I expected, and yet it was almost exactly what I needed to read at the time. The book contains excerpts from Chesterton’s writings on a variety of topics to fit the alphabet. The sections in the book are:

Publisher’s Note
A Asceticism
B Bethlehem
C Catholicism
D Charles Dickens
E Ephemera
F St. Francis
G Gospel
H Heretics
I Insanity
J St. Joan
K Kensington High Street
L Lying in Bed
M Miracles
N Negativity
O Orthodoxy
P Primitive Revelation
Q Questing
R Religions Compared
S Suicidal Thinking
T St. Thomas Aquinas
U Upon This Rock
V Queen Victoria
W Words
X Sex
Y Yes
Z Zion

I have read other books over the years that work on the A to Z model. Specifically Kathy Shaidle’s A Catholic Alphabet: The Faith from A to Z. And I have been working on an A to Z book of prayers for my children. But this book is not just a simple collection of short snippets. The eBook comes in at over 150 pages and the paperback almost 200. Peter Kreeft in the introduction states:

“Whenever I assign Chesterton to my college students, some love him and some hate him. One student explained very candidly why he hated reading him: “His mind is a rapier, and he’s dueling with me, and he cuts my clothes to ribbons and makes me feel naked and stupid.” I replied: “That’s exactly right. Don’t you just love that?” He thought I was kidding. I told him to read Psalm 139.”

And also:

“Someone said that G. K. Chesterton’s sayings are like potato chips: it’s impossible to eat just one. They are gloriously addictive. GKC is a gold mine, and here are some gold potato chips.”

There is definitely gold in this book, and the more of Chesterton that I read the more I want to read. I personally do not recall having Chesterton assigned in school, and checking my list of books read, I did not read any full volumes of his works. The more the pity. I can only imagine what life would be like if I had begin reading Chesterton 20, or 30 years ago. With that being said I strongly encourage you to pick up this book and give it a read.

The chapter that impacted me most was the one on Negativity. It is too large to share but if you are perusing a physical copy of the book jump there. This is an excellent read but be warned because each chapter is taken from another book, either as a section or whole chapter. So, your wish list or your ‘to be read pile’ might grow exponentially as you work your way through this volume. But is that such a terrible thing?

A wonderful volume, great for fans of Chesterton’s work, and serves as a great introduction for those of us less familiar. A great little read!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! For reviews of books by Peter Kreeft click here.

Reviews of books by or about G.K. Chesterton:
The Shop of Ghosts - A Short Story
Way of Wonder: Wisdom from G.K. ChestertonInspiration from the Saints Stories from the Lives of Catholic Holy Men and Women - Maolsheachlann Ó Ceallaigh
ABC’s of the Christian Life

Thursday, 13 December 2018

God Speaks, We Listen: Revelation, Faith, and Prayer - Jeff Vehige - Find the Faith Book 2

God Speaks, We Listen: Revelation, Faith, and Prayer
Find the Faith Book 2
Jeff Vehige

ISBN 9781723874192

This is the second book in a series with four announced to date. It is an excellent read and wonderful resource. The book and the series are well worth the read. It is excellent for personal study, as a resource for an RCIA Program, for group study. Or even as an academic text for high school or undergraduate work. After finishing this second column I am very excited to see where the series will go in the next two volumes that have been revealed. This book begins with a quote from Pope Saint John Paul II:

“Revelation comes before faith. Faith is conditioned by revelation. It is man’s response to divine revelation.”

This book will help you understand the concept of God’s revelation, and will strengthen our faith. The chapters in this volume are:

Preface to the “Find the Faith” Series 
Introduction to “God Speaks, We Listen” 
1. Our Thirst for God 
2. What Is Revelation? 
3. The Stages of Revelation 
4. The Transmission Of Revelation 
5. We Listen 
6. Prayer 
About the Author Find The Faith Books 
Find the Faith Podcast

The book, and the series follow the question and answer format. And it contains 30 questions that are addressed. Jeff shares with us in the into to the series his attempts to use a different formats. And also, why he returned to this one. He states the purpose of the series is to:

“But Find the Faith is more than a simple walk through Catholic teaching. I want to help you grasp something of the theological, philosophical, biblical, and historical background of Catholic doctrine and worship. I want to explore the relationship between doctrine and morality, and how both should penetrate our spiritual life.”

And he does an excellent job of delivering on that purpose. This is a book I wish I had when I was doing my Religious Studies Undergraduate with a specialization in Roman Catholic Thought. I could easily see this book being required reading, or recommended reading for several of the courses I took during my degree. I look forward to my children being a little older and rereading this volume with them as part of a family study. 

This was an excellent read. I will reiterate and state that I could easily see it being used in a High School class, for an RCIA program, for individual or group study, and even as an undergraduate text. It would be great to work through this book with a small group digging into it and using some of the many resources listed in the Bibliography to go deeper. I am very thankful I stumbled across this series, and thoroughly enjoyed this book. I look forward to future offerings in the series. This book is well worth the time and effort to work through it. It will help you grow in your faith.  Another great read from the pen of Jeff Vehige!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Jeff Vehige:
Find the Faith Series:

Foundations of the Faith: God, Christ, and the Church

God Speaks, We Listen: Revelation, Faith, and Prayer
The God of Jesus Christ: The Christian Doctrine of God 
The Mystery of Creation: Heaven and Earth, Angels and

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Saint Pope Paul VI - Matthew Bunson - Celebrating the 262nd Pope of the Roman Catholic Church

Saint Pope Paul VI:
Celebrating the 262nd Pope of the Roman Catholic Church
Matthew Bunson
Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781682780701


Over the last few years I have read several books both by and about Pope Paul VI. With his canonization in 2018, and the 50th anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae there has been a lot of interest in in the man and his works. And this book is an excellent addition to that area of scholarship, and devotion. That book once started is hard to put down. And it reads as part biography, part academic treatise, and part exhortation from the wisdom of Paul VI’s writings.

This is the second book written by Matthew Bunson that I have read, and both are excellent reads. Bunson writes in such an open and honest way. Bunson presents Paul VI, as a man, a man with faults, but a man with a deep devotion and passion for God. The first words of Paul VI that we encounter are before the book begins:

“I must bear witness to his name: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16). He reveals the invisible God, he is the firstborn of all creation, the foundation of everything created. He is the Teacher of mankind, and its Redeemer. He was born, he died, and he rose again for us. He is the center of history and of the world; he is the one who knows us and who loves us; he is the companion and the friend of our life. He is the man of sorrows and of hope. It is he who will come and who one day will be our judge and — we hope — the everlasting fullness of our existence, our happiness.”

Taken from a Homily for Mass at Quezon Circle, the Philippines November 29, 1970. Paul VI had an unenviable task. When he was elected pope, the church was in the middle of Vatican Council II. There was speculation oat the time that he would cancel it, or even radically change its direction. Instead he saw it through in the spirit of Saint Pope John XXIII and spend the rest of his pontificate defending both the counsel and his own writings. He was the first pope that was known as a world traveller. He dispensed with many of the trappings of the Papacy. Sold off papal gear to finance ministry and trips. He was the first pope to set foot in Jerusalem. And made 9 trips during his pontificate including the United States, Middle East, Africa, India, and Philippines.

Many consider his works prophetic. And reading them with an open mind I do not see how you could disagree. You might not like his conclusions, and how society as a whole has changed. But he saw much of the result the changes that had started.

The chapters in this volume are:

1. The Life and Holiness of Pope St. Paul VI
2. Jesus Christ
3. The Church
4. Mary
5. The Second Vatican Council
6. Credo of the People of God
7. The Mass and the Sacraments
8. Joy
9. Marriage, Life, and Family
10. The Human Person
11. The Modern World
12. Peace
13. Prayer, Holiness, and the Life of Faith
14. The Testament of Pope Paul VI
Selected Writings of Pope St. Paul VI

The book draws heavily from the writings of Paul VI and is in fact written around his own words. It is an excellent addition to the canon of work about Paul VI, and one of the first published after his canonization. It does not matter if you are interested in Paul VI, ad a man, as a priest, or as a pope, this book will give you a great deal of detail around the man and his thought.

It is a wonderful volume, and a book I will likely return to again as I continue my studies on Paul VI and his works. If you have already read about Paul this will be a great read. If you have not read much about him, it is an excellent introduction. A great read no matter your level of interest and I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Other books by or about Pope Paul VI:
Love's True Meaning The Message of Humanae Vitae 50 Years On - Fr Anthony Doe
Paul VI - Anthony Symondson- CTS Biographies
Wisdom from Pope Paul VI - Mary Leonora Wilson FSP
Saint Pope Paul VI  - Matthew Bunson

Books by Matthew Bunson:
Apostle of the Exiled St. Damien of Molokai
Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints
Encyclopedia of Ancient Rome
Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire
Encyclopedia of U.S. Catholic History
A Dictionary of the Roman Empire
Saint Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks
John Paul II's Book of Saints

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Guarding Aaron - T.M. Gaouette - Faith and Kung Fu Book 3

Guarding Aaron
Faith and Kung Fu Book 3
T.M. Gaouette
ISBN 9781729434949

As of the writing of this review I have read all T.M. Gaouette’s published novels. I have appreciated her story telling immensely since first reading The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, about a foster family. But Guarding Aaron is the third novel in a series of four, and I find that with each book in the series the series gets better. I must say I was completely surprised by this novel. The twists that are tossed in this book, some subtle, and some not really make the reader think.

Many of the characters in this book are familiar to us from the first two volumes. And reading about this is like a visit with old friends. It is a chance to catch up and see where they are at in life, and in their spiritual journey. For some there is marked changes, and improvements. For others we see a turning from what they once believed and held dear. There are three main plot lines in this story that all wrap together well. First, we have Aaron being bullied at school, and who discovers the Dojo where Gabriel assists with teaching. We have Gabriel and Tanner who have feelings for each other but are both trying to find God’s plan and purpose for their life. And finally, we have Faith Perry, a young woman who is losing her way. All three plot lines flow in and around having faith, trusting God, and seeking god. 

The characters are one of the greatest strengths of this book and the series. The genre of these stories is ‘realistic fiction’. And in fact, reading these books could be like encountering friends and family that you know in real life. In fact, there is a young woman at the Dojo where my children and I train who just achieved her black belt who reminds me of a female counterpart to Gabe. The characters are so well written that readers might be disappointed to find out there is only one remaining book planned in the series. 

The second great strength of the story is the story itself. The plot and how Gaouette handles the elements is masterful. In this story we have bullying, teen drinking, discernment of God’s will, and overcoming adversity. The story is an intense and engaging read on many levels. I could not put the book down, and to be honest am desperate for the final installment in the series. 

The more I read by T.M. Gaouette the more I want to read. I thoroughly enjoy her works and appreciate that they are good clean Christian fiction. This is an excellent Catholic Young Adult book but can be read and enjoyed by anyone who loves a good story! A truly great read in a wonderful series for readers of all ages.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by T.M. Gaouette:

Contributed to:
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens

Author Profile and interview with T.M. Gaouette

(New 2018 Covers)

(Original Covers) 

Monday, 3 December 2018

The Siege Of Reginald Hill - Corinna Turner - I Am Margaret Book 6.0

The Siege of Reginald Hill
I Am Margaret Book 6.0
Corinna Turner
UnSeen Books an Imprint of
Zephyr Publishing
eISBN 9781910806791
ISBN 9781910806807

The ‘I Am Margaret’ series has been full of surprises. It is currently comprised of 5 novels, one journal, 3 short stories, and a story in an anthology. This series and especially this story keep it fresh and new, and in a good way. Few series have the staying power of these books. And in some ways the story in this one is the most powerful yet! To summarize for those unfamiliar with the series, in book one, Margaret Verrall was selected for sorting, basically she failed a test and has been selected to just be spare parts for citizens of the Euro Block. But after winning a writing contest under a different name, and publishing a novel things have changed drastically.

At the time of this story sortings have been stopped. Religious freedoms are returning. The value of each human life is growing again. But in the middle of the night, during Eucharistic adoration, Fr Kyle Verrall has been abducted. He knows things are not good when he recognizes the voice of Reginald Hill, one of the most powerful men in the history of the Euro Bloc. Kyle knows Reginald, and know there are likely few people who hate his sister as much as Reginald. And not being able to get to Margaret in the Vatican Free State, he has come to Africa and captured her brother. When they begin the conscious dismemberment of Kyle, his prayers intensify. 

But who really is the captor and who really is free. After chapter two the story is told alternatively from the perspective of Kyle and Margo. In fact the chapter titles are just the news of whose part of the story it is. There are 32 short chapters in the volume. The story is nearly impossible to put down. I believe it is strong enough to be read on its own, but the whole series is incredible and worth reading. This story deals with themes of prayer, abandonment to God’s will, possible martyrdom, and forgiveness. It is a solid example of loving your enemy. 

The story is very well crafted. The story is tightly written. And the plot is excellent. It is a prime example of Catholic’s in the arts. Though written as teen fiction, this book and this whole series can be enjoyed by anyone who loves a great suspenseful read.  

Another incredible read in an amazing series!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! 

The Siege of Reginald Hill Blog Tour:

December 1 – I Am Margaret
December 3 – Book Reviews and More
December 4 – CatholicMom.com
December 5 – Regina Doman
December 6 – Theresa Linden
December 7 – The Catholic Bard!
December 8 – T.M. Gaouette
December 10 – Carolyn Astfalk
December 13 – Leslea Wahl
December 14 – Elizabeth Amy Hajek

Books by Corinna Turner:
I Am Margaret Series:
0.0 The Underappreciated Virtues of Rusty Old Bicycles (A prequel)
0.5 Brothers (Prequel)
1.0 I Am Margaret
1.5 How Snakey Got His Name (Short Story)
2.0 The Three Most Wanted
3.0 Liberation
4.0 Bane's Eyes

5.0 Margo's (Attempted) Diary & Notebook
5.5 An Unexpected Guest
6.0 The Siege of Reginald Hill
6.5 Buttons (Short Story)
7.0 A Saint in the Family
I Am Margaret The Play - Fiorella de Maria

Yesterday and Tomorrow Series:

Tomorrow's Dead

unSPARKed Series:
0.0 Breach
0.5 A Mom with Blue Feathers
1.0 Drive!
2.0 A Truly Rapror-Ous Welcome
3.0 Panic! 
4.0 Farmgirls Die in Cages
5.0 ???

Mandy Lamb Series:
Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon
The Wolf The Lamb and the Air Balloon

Elfling Series:
The Most Expensive Alley Cat in London

Other Books:
Three last things or The hounding of Carl Jarrold, Soulless Assassin
The Raven & The Yew

Contributed to:
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens

Author profile and interview with Corinna Turner.


Friday, 30 November 2018

To Raise the Fallen: A Selection of the War Letters, Prayers, and Spiritual Writings of Fr. Willie Doyle - Edited by Dr. Patrick Kenny

To Raise the Fallen: A Selection of the War Letters, Prayers, and Spiritual Writings of Fr. Willie Doyle
William J.G. 'Willie' Doyle
Dr. Patrick Kenny (Editor)
US Edition
Ignatius Press
ISBN 9781621642565
eISBN 9781642290585
UK Edition
ISBN 9781847308078

Over the last few years I have read several biographies of military chaplains. I read a biography of Fr. Willie Doyle and want to read more about him. This book is an excellent starting point. This book contains a brief selection with an outline of Fr. Doyle's life. Sections for letters from different points in his life. And an appendix with testimonies about his military service and valour. The chapters in the book are:

1. Letters from the Front
2. The War Within
3. Spiritual Advice
4. Priesthood and Vocations
5. Meditations on the Stations of the Cross
6. Personal Prayers
Appendix: Testimonies

This book was hard to put down. To read about this man of God in his own hand is both a blessing and a challenge. I do not know how anyone could read his letters and not be challenged in their faith. The book is drawn from his letters and his personal journals. Journals that he wished to have destroyed upon his death but that he superiors saw the value of and they were preserved. The introduction begins with this personal contract that he wrote in his journal in May of 1883:

"Darling Mother Mary, in preparation for the glorious martyrdom which I feel assured thou art going to obtain for me, I, thy most unworthy child, on this the first day of thy month, solemnly commence my life of slow martyrdom by earnest hard work and constant self-denial. With my blood I promise thee to keep this resolution, do thou, sweet Mother, assist me and obtain for me the one favour I wish and long for: to die a Jesuit Martyr."

And he lived that spirit for the next 24 years. He lived to serve. And as a young man that needed to take a break from his studies more than once because of ill health, it was surprising that he achieved ordination. And yet at each impasse in following his vocation, he seemed to grow in stamina, resolve, and fortitude. The booklet he wrote on vocations and becoming a priest are still available today. He had immense impact during his life, and also since his death. This volume spans samples from his published writings, his private journals and his letters.

The first of the testimonies in the appendix is from Major General Sir William Bernard Hickie:

"Father Doyle was one of the best priests I have ever met, and one of the bravest men who have fought or worked out here. He did his duty, and more than his duty, most nobly and has left a memory and a name behind him that will never be forgotten. On the day of his death, 16 August, he had worked in the front line, and even in front of that line, and appeared to know no fatigue-he never knew fear. He was killed by a shell towards the close of the day and was buried on the Frezenberg Ridge. . . . He was recommended for the Victoria Cross by his commanding officer, by his brigadier, and by myself. Superior authority, however, has not granted it, and as no other posthumous reward is given, his name will, I believe, be mentioned in the commander-in-chief's dispatch. . . . I can say without boasting that this is a division of brave men; and even among these, Fr Doyle stood out."

This is an excellent read. I encourage you to give it a read and let the life of this man encourage and challenge you. For I am certain it will.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! For all reviews and articles about Military Chaplains click here.

Books by and Fr. Willie Doyle:
To Raise the Fallen
Scruples and their Treatment
Shall I Be A Priest?

Books about Fr. Willie Doyle:
Merry in God: A Life of Father William Doyle, SJ
A Year's Thoughts: Collected from the Writings of William Doyle, S.J.
A Man After God's Own Heart
Fr Willie Doyle & World War I: A Chaplain's Story - K.V. Turley

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

20 Answers Apparitions & Revelations - Michael O'Neill - 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers

20 Answers Apparitions & Revelations
20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers
Michael O'Neill
Catholic Answers Press
ISBN 9781683570363
eISBN 9781683570370
eISBN 9781683570387

As of the writing of this review there are currently 29 books in the 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers. The original 20, and over the last two years there are been 3 more sets of three released. Of the 26 books I have read I given 5/5tars to 22 of them and the other 4 received 4/5. To say that this is a great series would be a huge understatement. This is the only book by Michael O'Neill to date. I read this book last year and did not get around to reviewing it. I have reread it in order to be able to write this review. 

This is one of the books in the series that all Catholic’s should read. There are so many Catholics I have encountered that could benefit from reading books from this series, and specifically this book. As this volume covers topics that often cause such contention and misunderstanding with other Christians. 

The Questions answered in this volume are:
1. What is private revelation?
2. Why would God work in this way?
3. What does Scripture teach us about private revelation?
4. What are some examples of private revelation in history?
5. Aren’t stories of private revelations merely remnants of a more credulous, unscientific age?
6. How should we approach claims of private revelation?
7. How does the Church judge claims of private revelation?
8. What are some of the characteristics of authentic private revelations?
9. Do we have to believe in approved private revelations?
10. What are Marian apparitions?
11. How many times has Mary appeared?
12. What are the common themes and messages of Marian apparitions?
13. What is the Miraculous Medal?
14. What happened at Guadalupe?
15. What happened at Lourdes?
16. What happened at Fatima?
17. What happened at Zeitun?
18. Are private revelations happening in the world today?
19. What is happening in Medjugorje?
20. How can approved private revelations help me grow closer to God?

I doubt you could find a Catholic who is not familiar at least with the names Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe. And in fact, many non-Catholic Christians are familiar with those names. But what about Zeitum, Medjugorje and others? There is so much information packed into this little volume.

I was specifically appreciative of O’Neill’s handling of Medjugorje. He begins with stating:

“The most controversial alleged apparition of the Virgin Mary in the history of the Church comes from the small town of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mary—the Gospa, as she’s affectionately known there—allegedly promised ten secrets to the six seers who were children when they claimed to have begun receiving daily visions in 1981. They have continued to report them on a less frequent basis since 1989, depending on whether they had already received the full set of secrets.”

In the final question answered he states:

“For all the dangers that looking for private revelation may involve—ranging from engaging with something that is contrary to the teachings of the Church to simply being distracted from a healthy practice of faith centered on Jesus Christ—these special instances of God’s benevolent interference in our world can be a great jumping-off point for strengthening our faith.

For those times when we have spiritual doubts, or simply need that extra push toward God, miraculous events can quench a deep and authentic thirst to know what is good and true. Miracles remind us that God is truly there, looking out as a father for the well-being and protection of his children.”

This book is another excellent volume in this incredible series. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!


20 Answers Series:
20 Answers Abortion - Trent Horn
20 Answers Angels & Demons - Fr. Mike Driscoll
20 Answers Atheism - Matt Fradd
20 Answers Death & Judgement - Trent Horn
20 Answers Divorce & Remarriage - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers End of Life - Jason Negri
20 Answers Faith & Science - Trent Horn
20 Answers God - Trent Horn
20 Answers Islam - Andrew Blezad
20 Answers Jehovah's Witnesses - Trent Horn
20 Answers Mary - Tim Staples
20 Answers Miracles - Karlo Broussard
20 Answers Mormonism - Trent Horn
20 Answers Salvation - Jimmy Akin
20 Answers Scripture and Tradition - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers The Bible - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Eucharist - Trent Horn
20 Answers The Papacy - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers The Real Jesus - Trent Horn

20 Answers The Church - Trent Horn
20 Answers Witchcraft & the Occult - Michelle Arnold
20 Answers Apparitions & Revelations - Michael O'Neill
20 Answers Bible Prophecy - Jimmy Akin
20 Answers Homosexuality - Jim Blackburn
20 Answers The Reformation - Steve Weidenkopf
20 Answers The Sacraments - Fr. Mike Driscoll

20 Answers Bible Difficulties - Jimmy Akin  
20 Answers The Reformation - Steve Weidenkopf
20 Answers- Bioethics - Stacy A. Trasancos  
20 Answers Conversion - Shaun McAfee
20 Answers Faith and Works - Jimmy Akin


Other Books from Catholic Answers:
Hard Sayings: A Catholic Approach to Answering Bible Difficulties - Trent Horn
A Daily Defense: Apologetics Lessons for Every Day - Jimmy Akin
The Apostasy That Wasn't: The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church - Rod Bennett
Answering Atheism - How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity - Trent Horn
Persuasive Pro Life: How to Talk About Our Culture's Toughest Issue - Trent Horn and Fr Frank Pavone
The Protestant's Dilemma: How the Reformation's Shocking Consequences Point to the Truth of Catholicism - Devin Rose
Behold Your Mother: A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines - Tim Staples
Handed Down: The Catholic Faith of the Early Christians - James L. Papandrea
Demons, Deliverance, Discernment: Separating Fact from Fiction about the Spirit World - Fr. Mike Driscoll
Navigating the Tiber: How to Help Your Friends and Family Journey Toward the Catholic Faith - Devin Rose
100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura - Dave Armstrong
The Drama of Salvation: How God Rescues You from Your Sins and Brings You to Eternal Life - Jimmy Akin
The Truth is Out There (Brendan and Erc in Exile Book 1 - Brother Amadeus and Amadeus
...Memorize the Reasons! Defending the Faith with the Catholic Art of Memory - Kevin Vost
Marching Orders: A Tactical Plan for Converting the World to Christ - Dan McGuire

The Fathers Know Best - Jimmy Akin
Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love - Trent Horn
The Old Evangelization: How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did - Eric Sammons
What the Saints Never Said - Trent Horn

Friday, 23 November 2018

Saint Teresa of Avila Joyful in the Lord - Susan Helen Wallace & Barbara Kiwak - Encounter the Saints Series Book 24

Saint Teresa of Avila
Joyful in the Lord
Encounter the Saints Series Book 24
Susan Helen Wallace
Barbara Kiwak (Illustrator) 
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819871169

I need to state clearly again that this series is amazing! Between my three children and I we have now read 29 of the books in this series. Either by myself, or with one or more child. My children ages 12, 10, and 8 love these books. My son wants to have the complete set in his room, so he keeps asking to buy his own set, because he loves these books so much. And as soon as we finish a book, he wants to begin on another. With each of the books we read we appreciate this series more. And to be honest hope there will be even more books in the future. But now back to this specific book on Saint Teresa of Avila. 

This book is moving. As we were reading my son often asked for one more chapter when we should have been done reading for the night. The story of Katharine and her nuns really encouraged and challenged both of us.

The chapters in this volume are:

1. Teresa's World 
2. Teenage Temptations
3. A Vocation at Last
4. The Surprising Recovery
5. Listening for the Chime
6. A New Beginning 
7. Possible? Yes!
8. Friars of the Reform 
9. The Movement Grows 
10. A Convent in Toledo 
11. A Surprise Assignment
12. On to Seville 
13. The Journey Continues 
14. Home to the Lord 

Often when I read about saints I am encouraged and challenged. While reading this specific book, my son and I both were challenged to listen to God more closely. We are both praying about vocations, mine to the diaconate and his to the priesthood. The example of Teresa of Avila following her vocation inspired both of us. Saint Teresa of Avila was known for both her wit and for her reform of the Carmelite order. She was the first woman Doctor of the church. She exhibited joy in serving God, even as her health declined. My son was specifically fascinated with all the new convents she opened. The hark work just in travelling, let alone starting new work. He was amazed by this vibrant saint.

The prayer in this volume is:

"Saint Teresa of Avila, you are often called great, and that's truly, with God's help, what you became. When you were young, you were ordinary, like me. You wanted to be popular and have fun. Who doesn't? But as time passed, you became more aware of the value of your life and the gifts you had been given by Jesus.

You had the courage to open your heart to listen to the Lord. You thought about and prayed over the way he suffered and died for each of us. You wanted to thank him by the way you lived.

You became a Carmelite nun and began a spiritual reform of the order you loved. Thank you for leaving your example of courage and love for Jesus for all of us to learn from. You show us that, with prayer and sacrifice, we can try to imitate you in our own daily lives. Please help me to be as generous and caring as you were.

This is one of the eight books in the series that is written by Susan Helen Wallace. Also it is one of seven illustrated by Barbara Kiwak. And the two collaborated on this volume and the volume on Saint Katharine Drexel. It follows the format of the series in that there are 5 illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. They appear to either be pencil drawings or charcoal sketches. My son and youngest daughter were both fascinated by the sketches and went over them almost every time we read the book. 

I have read this book three times, first by myself, second with my son, and now I have finished it with my youngest daughter. Each time I have read it I have been encouraged and challenged. My children and I loved this book, and all three children and I love this series! We have now read 28 of the books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. And everyone has been a gem. Another amazing read in a wonderful series!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media:
Blessed James Alberione Media Apostle
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Journey to the Summit
Journeys with Mary Apparitions of Our Lady
Saint André Bessette Miracles in Montreal
Saint Anthony of Padua Fire and Light
Saint Bakhita of Sudan Forever Free
Saint Bernadette Soubirous And Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint Catherine Labouré And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of Assisi A Light for the World
Saint Damien of Molokai Hero of Hawaii
Saint Edith Stein Blessed by the Cross

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Daughter of America
Saint Faustina Kowalska Messenger of Mercy
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Cecchina's Dream
Saint Francis of Assisi Gentle Revolutionary
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla The Gift of Life
Saint Ignatius of Loyola For the Greater Glory of God
Saint Isaac Jogues With Burning Heart
Saint Joan of Arc God's Soldier
Saint John Bosco Champion for the Young
Saint John Neumann Missionary to Immigrants
Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Saint John Vianney A Priest for All People
Saint Juan Diego And Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith
Saint Katharine Drexel The Total Gift
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque And the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Martin de Porres Humble Healer
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight
Saint Paul The Thirteenth Apostle
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Rich in Love
Saint Teresa of Avila Joyful in the Lord
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Missionary of Charity
Saint Teresa of Kalkota Missionary of Charity
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux The Way of Love
Saint Thomas Aquinas Missionary of Truth
Saint Thomas More Courage, Conscience, and the King
Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto: Shepherds of Fatima
The Saints Pray for Us