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Showing posts with label SusanPeek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SusanPeek. Show all posts

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Fourth Quarter 2019

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Fourth Quarter 2019

This quarter I have read 95 books, and a total of 392 this year. I am reading at the pace of about a book and a quarter a day.  Of those a total of 49 books received 5/5 stars and 45 are first time reads and are therefor eligible for this quarters top ten list. That left me to choose from 22 non-fiction and 23 fiction.

Here is my top ten fiction and non-fiction books of the fourth quarter of 2019.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:
1. Memento Mori: Prayers on the Last Things - Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP
2. Learning to Love: Journeys Through Life with the Rosary - Father Nigel Woollen
3. How to Make Great Decisions - Fr. Mike Schmitz
4. Reclaiming Catholic History Series
5. 12 Life Lessons from St. Thomas Aquinas: Timeless Spiritual Wisdom for Our Turbulent Times - Kevin Vost
6. 20 Answers Conversion - Shaun McAfee - 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers 
7. Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory A Powerful Devotion for the Holy Souls - Seven Swords Publications and Susan Peek
8. Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion - Pope Benedict XVI, Amy Welborne and Ann Engelhart
9. Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae - Edited by Todd Aglialoro and Stephen
10. Whatever Happened to Friendship? - Henry Menzies

Bonus:
In Conversation with God - Francis Fernandez
Be Strong in the Lord: Spirituality for Men - Harold Burke-Sivers
Saint Maximillian Kolbe Martyr of Charity - James E. McCurry

Top Ten Fiction Books:
1. From Afar - Roger Thomas
2. Father William's Daughter - Fiorella De Maria
3. The Last Ugly Person: And Other Stories - Roger Thomas
4. Ungifted - Gordon Korman
5. All in Good Time - Carolyn Astfalk 
6. The Watchful Sky Series by Roger Thomas
7. The Attic Saint - Tim Drake and Theodore Schluenderfritz
8. Ella's Promise - Ellen Gable - Great War Great Love Book 3
9. The Advent of Christmas - Matt Maher and Merce Tous
10. Blue Moon - Lee Child - Jack Reacher 24

Bonus:
Hunt for Jack Reacher Books by Dian Capri

My reading has been up over each of the last few years. I attribute part of it to Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now, removing all games but 1 brain game from my devices. And I now commute to work on a bus and read on the bus every day. Last quarter was an almost 2/3rds fiction and non-fiction, this quarter it was split almost equal.

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they are in the bonus section. It was no easy task making this quarter. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list


Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011
 

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
 
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2020
... 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

392 - 2019
359 - 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996




Sunday, 15 December 2019

Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory - Seven Swords Publications - Susan Peek - A Powerful Devotion for the Holy Souls

Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory: 
A Powerful Devotion for the Holy Souls
Susan Peek (Editor)
Seven Swords Publications
ISBN 9781080597369


This volume edited by Susan Peek and reprinted is from a text from 1884. It was a pious practice started by Saint Margaret Mary. It was recommended to the members of the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.  We are told in the introduction that:

“A Daily Pilgrimage deserves to be propagated. My Christian friends who read these lines, priests, religious, or devout lay people, help to spread this devotion. It is so simple, and requires so little effort. You will be rewarded for it. Let at least one tiny drop of water trickle into Purgatory every day. If everyone does this, many souls will be released, and a refreshing stream of grace will flow without ceasing through that prison of fire.”

I can admit I never really thought much about purgatory until about a year ago. The novel Tortured Soul by Theresa Linden a retelling of a true encounter really impacted me. After reading that I read Purgatory A Mystery of Love by Donncha Ó hAodha part of the CTS Deeper Christianity Series. When I saw this booklet I knew I had to read it. Each of the 7 days in this devotion contain:

A meditation
Pious Exercises
     Resolution
     Thought for the day
     Exercise
     Special Intention
     Motive
     Prayers
     Ejaculation

There is some teaching about the benefits of this devotion before the seven daily devotions. Then there are some instructions on The Heroic Act of Charity. Then there is an appendix with two devotions to help souls in Purgatory, and one to help us avoid it. At the end is a short list of books recommended by the author including Linden’s mentioned above and books by Susan Tassone and others.

This is a wonderful devotion and I have worked through it twice now. I just wish there was an eBook edition so I could always have it on me on my phone. We owe Susan Peek a debt of gratitude for bringing this devotion back into print, and in such a wonderful edition. I highly recommend this booklet to you and your family.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Susan Peek:
Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades
Saint Magnus The Last Viking
A Soldier Surrenders: The Conversion of Saint Camillus de Lellis
Animals of God
Animals of God, Volume Two
The Forgotten Christmas Saint: Saint Anastasia
The Man God Kept Surprising
Small for the Glory of God

The King's Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland
...

Books published by Susan Peek:
Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory


Contributed to:
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books







Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens - Catholic Teen Books

Gifts: Visible & Invisible 
8 Christmas Stories for Teens 
From Catholic Teen Books
ISBN 9780997971859

ASIN B07YK7PSW6


Wow! What an amazing collection of Christmas stories! I know not everyone likes short stories, but I love them, and this collection is amazing! Short stories are a different art form than novels. For a short story to be good, the writing needs to be tighter and crisper. And each of the 8 in this collection are very well written. One of the things I normally love about reading anthologies is discovering new authors. But that was not the case this time. I have read books by all of the contributors and had high expectations for this collection. I loved the anthology Secrets Visible & Invisible from the authors at Catholic Teen Books.

Contributors:
Carolyn Astfalk
T. M. Gaouette
Katy Huth Jones
Theresa Linden
Susan Peek
Cynthia T. Toney
Corinna Turner
Leslea Wahl

In this collection we have one Christmas short story from each of the contributors. Some contain characters you may encounter in novels by the authors, and one has characters in a forthcoming novel. I have read this anthology once and I have listened to it a second time. It is one of the best anthologies I have ever encountered for Catholic or Christian fiction!

Contents:
The Outlaws’ Friend - Susan Peek
In The Steps Of A Saint - Katy Huth Jones
A Perfect Christmas - Carolyn Astfalk
Operation Gift Drop - Theresa Linden
Christmas Angel - Leslea Wahl
Signs Of Christmas - Cynthia T. Toney
Just Jesus - T. M. Gaouette
A Very Jurassic Christmas Eve - Corinna Turner

As I have mentioned, this is a great collection of short stories. I really could not pick a favorite or least favorite. Each story is well written. And I thoroughly enjoyed them all. In the collection, we encounter 2 Historical stories, 2 Dystopian, and 4 Contemporary. Though I might argue that the last is Science Fiction and not Dystopian, but that would just be my classification of the tale. And here is a summary of each story.

The Outlaws’ Friend

This story took me completely by surprise. It is truly a gem. Susan Peek specializes in writing historical fiction around the lives of the saints, and the subject of this story, the most current hero of the faith she’s written about, is on his way to being canonized. It is a story that starts in a snowstorm just before Christmas and tells of a life of service.

In The Steps Of A Saint

Katy Huth Jones has written about the good King Wenceslas in her novel Treachery and Truth. But this is the story of a young man named Andrew who figures out the meaning of the song and starts to live it out. And because of his passion, his new youth group and parish are doing something more to be good and kind. I love that the story is written around the carol, the meaning of the song, and the life that inspired it.

A Perfect Christmas

Christmas expectations unmet? How many of us have not been here before? But this year, it seems like everything that can go wrong does. Dad is away and Mom is dealing with a newborn—on top of the other kids. But fifteen-year-old Marigold had so many plans for this Christmas and they all seem to be falling short. However, after a first-time Christmas Eve visit to the neighbours, she has a new perspective on things. The characters are great. And if we are lucky, they will appear in a new novel from the author in 2021.

Operation Gift Drop

This is a new story set in the world of the Chasing Liberty novels. There are 3 novels and several short stories set in this near future dystopian world. Liberty does not make an appearance in this story but one of the main characters, Dedrick, did. If you are not familiar with the stories, this is a great introduction. And if you are, it adds to a world I am sure you know and love. This is a great story!  ... I was hoping for a West Brothers story, oh well maybe in the next anthology.

Christmas Angel

This story is about experiencing Christ in Christmas. It is also about sacrifices and giving. Read and discover how Meg put Christ in Christmas and how her own actions start to inspire others. It is a wonderful tale of growth. We do not always get to see the results of our charity, but in this story, we get a glimpse.

Signs Of Christmas

Christmas 1925 and it’s the first that 14-year-old Antonina will spend apart from her best friend Salvatore. But while missing her old friend, she makes a new one, and she’s a friend in need. As Antonina listens for God to guide her to help where she can, she gets a surprising answer to a Christmas prayer. This story is set after the events of The Other Side of Freedom. It was great to revisit the characters. And Toney has crafted a moving Christmas tale. 

Just Jesus 

The theme in this story is around a class of students and their expectations of what is needed for Christmas. It is a mix of experiences and expectations. This is an excellent little story. But to be honest it really left me wanting more. I want to know more of Luke's story, both before and after this event. I also wish to know more about Vanessa. I love the story and the message. It makes me want to get carved baby Jesus for my three kids and to read the story with them.


A Very Jurassic Christmas Eve

I have read the three novels in the unSPARKed world. I love the world Turner has built. And this Christmas story gives us another glimpse into it. The sentence that really got me was:

“What was it like in the old days, before the crazy scientists and their arrogant assumption that they could contain the creatures they’d bred? Hard to imagine, and I don’t waste time trying. So what if the world outside the fenced cities is harsher and more dangerous than it once was? It’s my home, and I like it as it is.”

It is a story about the gift of time. And the gift of compassion. And an allosaur and her brood. In this story we encounter again Darryl and Joshua. And it is all wrapped up like Christmas with family, faith, and friends.

For fans of the authors in this collection, you need to pick this book up to read their contribution. For readers who love remarkable stories, this collection is also for you. If you want some great reads that are clean Catholic\Christian fiction focused around the holidays, this is the book for you.

This anthology is amazing! And I can only hope the Catholic Teen Books releases another collection soon. I cannot imagine what they would come up with in a collection focused on Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. If you love great short stories you owe it to yourself to give this collection a try! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Links to other reviews of books by the contributors:
Carolyn Astfalk
T. M. Gaouette

Katy Huth Jones
Theresa Linden
Susan Peek
Cynthia T. Toney
Corinna Turner
Leslea Wahl


Anthologies from the Catholic Teen Books Authors:
Secrets Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories 
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens
...



Saturday, 29 September 2018

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2018

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2018

My total books this quarter is down a bit from last quarter, but my page count is actually up. Just variations in the length of material read. The Quarter by the numbers:

91 books read
59 received 5/5 stars
8 of those had been read before
48 were non-Fiction
11 were fiction

The Fiction was pretty easy to narrow down to a simple top ten list. The non-fiction on the other hand was a very, very, very difficult. But this is what I managed to come up with. 

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:

1. The booklets by Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky:
2. Encounter the Saints Series
3. How to Think Like Aquinas: The Sure Way to Perfect Your Mental Powers - Kevin Vost
4. Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century
5. The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes - Jacques Philippe
6. Saxum: The Life of Alvaro del Portillo - John F. Coverdale
7. Catholic Truth Society booklets:
8. Footprints of the Northern Saints - Basil Cardinal Hume
9. A Soldier Surrenders: The Conversion of St. Camillus de Lellis - Susan Peek - God's Forgotten Friends Lives of Little-known Saints Book 2
10. The Cries of Jesus from the Cross: An Anthology - by Reverend Fulton J Sheen 

Bonus:
11. Foundations of the Faith: God, Christ, and the Church - Jeff Vehige - Find the Faith Book 1
12. Love's True Meaning: The message of Humanae Vitae 50 Years On - Fr. Anthony Doe
13. The Way of the Christian Samurai: Reflections for Servant-Warriors of Christ - Paul E. Nowak

Top Ten Fiction Books:

1. Roland West Outcast - Theresa Linden - A West Brothers Book
2. Down Time - Barry Lyga - An I Hunt Killers Prequel
3. We Are All Jacob's Children: A Tale of Hope, Wisdom, and Faith - Noah benShea
4. Dragon Assassin - Arthur Slade
5. The Story of Job - Regina Doman and Ben Hatke 
6. Where You Lead - Leslea Wahl 
7. Birthday Secrets - Corinna Turner - I Am Margaret Short Story
8. The Mystery at Midnight - Lisa M. Hendey and Jenn Bower - Chime Travelers Book 4
9. The Whisper in the Ruins - Lisa M. Hendey and Jenn Bower - Chime Travelers Book 3
10. In Front Of My House - Marianne Dubuc and Yvette Ghione

If you give some of these a try I am sure they will be with the read! But unfortunately, two of the fiction books have yet to be published. Number s 1 and 4 will be published later in the fall. I also had a conundrum about number 9 non-fiction and number 5 fiction. These could have been either fiction or non depending on your interpretation. But this is where the chips fell.

Note: I did not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they were in the bonus section. As stated it was no easy task making this quarter. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list. This post is going up early because of the end of the quarter falling during holy week.


Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011
 

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
 
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

284 - January to September 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996

Friday, 3 August 2018

A Soldier Surrenders The Conversion of St. Camillus de Lillis - Susan Peek - God's Forgotten Friends Lives of Little-known Saints Book 2

A Soldier Surrenders
The Conversion of St. Camillus de Lillis 
God's Forgotten Friends Lives of Little-known Saints Book 2
Susan Peek
Seven Swords Publications
ISBN 9780997000511
ASIN B0193OH6GO


This is the fourth book by Susan Peek that I have read. And in some ways it is the most powerful. I loved Saint Magnus The Last Viking, and found it very well written. And her handling of mental illness and especially PTSD in The King's Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland was incredible. And her handling of the crusades in Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades was masterful. But this book really hit home for me. St. Camillus de Lellis was not a saint that I was familiar with prior to reading Peek's contribution in Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories from Catholic Teen Books. But the short story had a deep impact on me and this book even more so. 

This book was hard to put down. But I needed to take a few breaks while reading it. As soon as I finished reading this I told my son about it and started rereading it with him. This saint messed up in nearly every way possible. Prior to his conversion if there was a top ten list of people likely not to become saints he would have been at the top of that list! He served in the Turks Army, He was in a dual and almost killed a man, he gambled away his last possessions, He was a brute, a brawler, a gambler, and more. And this story though Historical Fiction is an amazing read. It is a wonderful telling of a story of repentance and change. It is the story of friendship, repentance and change. As a man of Irish Catholic descent, I can really elate to Camillus, his struggle with his temper, and with learning to surrender to God. Temper and pride causes Camillus to stumble and fall 

This book serves to show that no matter how much a person struggles, if God is calling them, eventually they will yield and hear the call. It is well written, though aimed for a Young Adult market, it is very enjoyable to read as an adult. Over the past year I have read a few books about the history of the crusades. This book presents a very different side and is excellent for rounding out the historical picture. I can state emphatically that this book is an excellent read, and I look forward to more books in the God's Forgotten Friends Lives of Little-known Saints series by Susan Peek!

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

Books by Susan Peek:
Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades
Saint Magnus The Last Viking
A Soldier Surrenders: The Conversion of Saint Camillus de Lellis
Animals of God
Animals of God, Volume Two
The Forgotten Christmas Saint: Saint Anastasia
The Man God Kept Surprising
Small for the Glory of God

The King's Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland
...

Books published by Susan Peek:
Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory


Contributed to:
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books

Secrets Visible & Invisible 
7 Amazing Stories
From Catholic Teen Books
ISBN 9780997971828

ASIN B07F63ZN5Z  


One of the things I love about reading anthologies is discovering new authors. But that was not the case this time. I have read books by 6 of the seven contributors. In fact, at the time of writing this review I have read 33 books, novellas, or published short stories across the 6 authors. And I already have 3 eBooks by the author I have not read in my to be read list. So, I knew I was in for some great reading when I picked up this collection. What I was not prepared for was how exceptional this collection was. Often when I read an anthology there are a few great reads, some good reads and some okay reads. That was not the case this time. Every story was a remarkable story. Some of the stories were so good, I immediately went back and reread just that story. And then when I finished the book I reread the whole thing again a few days later.

Mark Hart in the forward to this collection states:
“We call Him Savior, Teacher, Wonder Worker, and Lord. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Bread of Life and the Light of the World. He is the Messiah, the Promised One, the Divine Physician…the Good Shepherd. Jesus Christ is all of these titles and an endless list of more. Yet, there is one title that I’ve rarely – if ever – heard used to describe Jesus of Nazareth, and I feel it is a glaringly myopic omission on our part.Almost never have I heard Jesus Christ described as “Master Storyteller,” though He most certainly was.”
And many of the contributors to this collections in their own way imitate Christ and are master storytellers in our own generation. I have a great deal of respect for the seven authors who contributed to this series. And even more so after reading their pieces in this collection.

Contributors:
Carolyn Astfalk
T. M. Gaouette
Theresa Linden
Susan Peek
Cynthia T. Toney
Corinna Turner
Leslea Wahl

In this collection we have one short story from each of the contributors. Some contain characters you can encounter in novels by the authors. One combines characters for different novels from the author.

Contents:
The Underappreciated Virtues Of Rusty Old Bicycles - Corinna Turner
Recreation - Cynthia T. Toney
The Portrait Of The Fire Starters - Theresa Linden
On The Brink Of Hell - Susan Peek
Sister Francesca - T.M. Gaouette
Behind The Wheel - Carolyn Astfalk
More Precious Than Gold - Leslea Wahl

As mentioned this is a great collection of short stories. I really could not pick a favorite or least favorite. Each story is very well written. And I thoroughly enjoyed them all. And here is a summary of each story.

The Underappreciated Virtues Of Rusty Old Bicycles

This story is a peek at Bane and Margo before the sorting in I am Margaret. It highlights the strength of their friendship. The risks in day to day life in a totalitarian regime. It also has some great characters that we do not encounter again in the books. There is a very interesting twist in this story.

Recreation

This story took me by surprise. It is a story of service and giving. It is a story about friendship. It is the friendship of Elijah and Darrell-teens of African and Vietnamese heritage-growing up in the south. It is the story of seeing a need, and stepping up to do something about it. It also reminds readers that not all things are as they appear.

The Portrait Of The Fire Starters

With four young adult novels and one adult novel centered around the West Brothers, Theresa Linden returns to tell a story about the youth group from church that meets at the high school. I believe this story falls between Roland West Loner and Life-Changing Love. If you are fans of the books this story sheds some new light on several of the characters from the series. It speaks to questions about how we see ourselves, and how others see us. And it will likely pull on your heartstrings.

On The Brink Of Hell

This story jumps back to the 16th Century in Italy. It is the story, of a soldier wounded in battle. Dario has done much he is not proud of. And after being severely injured in battle, this story tells of his treatment. He's also reflecting on  past events, fading in and out of memories, while enduring present-day pain in the hospital.

Sister Francesca

I have read the three published novels by T.M. Gaouette. And I enjoyed them a lot. But this story is something very different. It has a touch of the mystical, and a touch of the contemplative in it. It reminds me a lot of some of the stories by J.F. Powers. It is the story of a young man's love; love that brings out the best in a person, even if it does not become a relationship. Of the authors I had read before this story was the biggest surprise.

Behind The Wheel

I have been hearing about the writings of Carolyn Astfalk and I have picked up three of her novels. I just have not got around to reading them. But after reading this short story the novel Rightfully Ours, with the same characters jumped to the top of my reading list. This story is about taking a risk and breaking rules. But when the moment comes, will character come through or will it self-preservation win out? It was a great story and I look forward to reading more by Astfalk.

More Precious Than Gold

I have read both published novels by Wahl, and they are excellent. This book takes the couples from both of those stories and drops them into a new environment together. From The Perfect Blindside we have Jake and Sophie. And from An Unexpected Role we have Josie and Ryan. But in this story, they are volunteering for a week at a Christian camp for disadvantaged children. It's a story of being stuck between a rock and a hard place; or is it a hard case. A wonderful story, and great conclusion to the collection.

For fans of any of the authors in this collection, you need to pick this book up to read their contribution. For readers who love remarkable stories, this collection is for you also. And if you want some great reads that are clean Catholic fiction this is the book for you. This anthology is Amazing!

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

Links to other reviews of books by the contributors:
Carolyn Astfalk
T. M. Gaouette
Theresa Linden
Susan Peek
Cynthia T. Toney
Corinna Turner
Leslea Wahl


Anthologies from the Catholic Teen Books Authors:
Secrets Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories 
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens
...