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Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada)
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Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon
Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon
Price: £5.37

5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book and one that is needed in this day and age!, 27 Jun. 2017
I had a physical copy of this book for almost a year. And every time I tried to pick it up and just never got very far, because of the font and color. With my dual form of dyslexia I just could not get far and kept starting back at the beginning. Then the eBook was released, and even though I had bought the physical, I bought the eBook and read it in 2 days. I could not put it down. That was a few months ago, I have just gone back and reread it in order to write this review. This book is not a small volume at just under 550 pages it is to date the most comprehensive work on the Rosary available in English.

This book begins with a quote from St. Louis de Montfort:

"Dear reader, I promise you that if you practice this devotion [the rosary] and help to spread it you will learn more from the rosary than from any spiritual book. And what is more, you will have the happiness of being rewarded by Our Lady in accordance with the promises that she made to Saint Dominic, to Blessed Alan de la Roche and to all those who practice and encourage this devotion which is so dear to her. For the holy rosary teaches people about the virtues of Jesus and Mary, and leads them to mental prayer and to imitate Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It teaches them to approach the Sacraments often, to genuinely strive after Christian virtues and to do all kinds of good works, as well as interesting them in the many wonderful indulgences which can be gained through the rosary."

So you might ask why another book on the rosary. Fr. Calloway wrote to book after years of research, and years of prayer. The book is divided into three sections. The first is a deep history of the rosary; it is the culmination of 10 years of research and historical study. The second part of the book is profiles of 26 champions of the rosary. These 26 people, from all walks of life wrote about, or contributed to the promotion or defence of this prayer practice. And finally the third section of the book is information on praying the rosary.

Father Calloway concludes the introduction with these words:

"My greatest desire is that those who read this book will be inspired to want to pray the rosary daily and further the cause of Jesus Christ and his saving mysteries. Our world needs the rosary today more than ever. Every person who reads this book is capable of wielding this sword and becoming a champion of the rosary."

And I pray that for those who read this book because of my review. This book is an incredible read. The chapters in the first part of the book, the history of the rosary are:

From the Angelic Salutation to the 12th Century: The Antecedents of the Rosary
The 13th Century: St. Dominic and the Birth of the Rosary
The 14th Century: Plagues and Schism: The Rosary is (Almost) Forgotten
The 15th Century: Blessed Alan de la Roche and the Revival of the Confraternity of the Rosary
The 16th Century: The Rosary in Battle: Lepanto and Our Lady of Victory
The 18th Century: St. Louis de Montfort and The Secret of the Rosary
The 20th Century: Marian Apparitions and Apostles of the Rosary
The 21st Century: Luminous Mysteries in Dark Days

Part II of the book is the profiles of the 26 champions. Of the 26 champions of the rosary profiled 2 are venerable, 4 are blessed, 5 are classed as 'Servant of God', 7 are popes, and 11 are saints. And yes there are some overlaps in categories. On the list there are only two women St. Teresa of Calcutta and Lúcia Dos Santos. And of the 26 only Pope Benedict XVI is still alive. The full list of the 26 is:

St. Dominic (1170-1221)
Blessed Alan de la Roche (1428-1475)
St. Pope Pius V (1504-1572)
St. Louis de Montfort (1673-1716)
St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Blessed Pope Pius IX (1792-1878)
St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)
Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903)
Blessed Bartolo Longo (1841-1926)
Servant of God Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968)
Servant of God Lúcia Dos Santos (1907-2005)
St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)
Servant of God Frank Duff (1889-1980)
Pope Pius XI (1857-1939)
Blessed James Alberione (1884-1971)
Venerable Pope Pius XII (1876-1958)
Servant of God Dolindo Ruotolo (1882-1970)
St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968)
St. Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)
St. Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
Servant of God Patrick Peyton (1909-1992)
Blessed Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979)
St. Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)
St. John Paul II (1920-2005)
Pope Benedict XVI (1927-present)

For each of the 26 champions there is a Photo with key dates, and the photo is representative of the person's role or relationship to the rosary. This is followed by a very brief biography. An outline of their Marian devotion is the next section and then a section on why they are a champion. This is followed by Rosary Gem's or quotes from the person's works, writings or attributed to them about the rosary.

For example:

Rosary Gems

This prayer - the holy rosary - is the simplest and easiest one of all for the Christian people.
- St. Pope John XXIII

When parents and children gather together at the end of the day in the recitation of the rosary, together they meditate on the example of work, obedience, and charity which shone in the house of Nazareth; together they learn from the Mother of God to suffer serenely; to accept with dignity and courage the difficulties of life and to acquire the proper attitude to the daily events of life. It is certain that they will meet with greater facility the problems of family life. Homes will thereby be converted into sanctuaries of peace. Torrents of divine favors will come to them, even the inestimable favor of a priestly or religious vocation.
- St. Pope John XXIII

Individuals, whatever their spiritual status may be, will undoubtedly find in the fervent recitation of the holy rosary, an invitation to regulate their lives in conformity with Christian principles. They will, in truth, find in the rosary a spring of most abundant graces to help them in fulfilling faithfully their duties in life.
- St. Pope John XXIII

The well-meditated rosary consists in a threefold element. For each decade there is a picture, and for each picture a threefold emphasis, which is simultaneously: mystical contemplation, intimate reflection, and pious intention.
- St. Pope John XXIII

The rosary is a very commendable form of prayer and meditation. In saying it we weave a mystic garland of Ave Marias, Pater Nosters, and Gloria Patris.
- St. Pope John XXIII

As an exercise of Christian devotion among the faithful of the Latin Rite who constitute a notable portion of the Catholic family, the rosary ranks after Holy Mass and the Breviary for ecclesiastics [priests], and for the laity after participation in the sacraments. It is a devout form of union with God and lifts souls to a high supernatural plane.
- St. Pope John XXIII

May the rosary never fall from your hands.
- St. Pope John XXIII

The rosary is the glory of the Roman Church.
- St. Pope John XXIII

Oh, what a delight this blessed rosary is! Oh, what assurance it brings of being heard here on earth and in the eternal heavens!
- St. Pope John XXIII

I knew Pope John. His love for Our Lady and his devotion to her rosary contributed an essential element to his spiritual growth and stature.
- Servant of God Patrick Peyton

And the final section in the book Praying the Rosary:

Why Pray the Rosary?
How to Pray the Rosary
How to Become a Champion of the Rosary
The 15 Promises of Our Lady to Those Who Pray the Rosary
Indulgences of the Rosary

Appendix A: The Rosary in Art
Appendix B: Our Lady's Words to Blessed Alan de la Roche
Appendix C: Endorsements from Cardinals and Bishops
References

This book is an incredible read. If you already have a strong Marian devotion this book will help you to grow it. If it could use some improvement I cannot think of a better book to encourage, challenge and inspire you. A wonderful book and one that is needed in this day and age!

As a side note I passed on my physical copy to my church Library and always have my eBook with me.


The Door Before (100 Cupboards Prequel)
The Door Before (100 Cupboards Prequel)
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, hope there will be more., 27 Jun. 2017
I have been a fan of N.D. Wilson's writings since reading 100 Cupboards back in 2009. When I found out that he was writing a prequel to the 100 Cupboards series I could not wait to read it. But even if you have not read that series this book in a wonderful read. In fact I really hope this book is the first in a new series. This book opens with these words:

"Trees keep time the way time is meant to be kept.
They wrap the years around themselves in ringed layers,
expanding as the ages do. And when time forks,
so do the trees, stretching branches into cousin futures,
plunging roots into sister pasts, binding
every leaf into the one story, the only story.
The story that began. The story that cannot end,
because it can never stop growing."

This is a story about family, about bonds, about friendship, and about magic. In the vein of the Lord of the Rings, or better yet the Narnia Chronicles. Like C.S. Lewis, N.D. Wilson is going back and telling the origin story after the first three books were published, and like Lewis this origin story is packed full of adventure. One of the main focuses of the book is a powerful young woman named Hyacinth Smith. She can stop dogs in their tracks, she can grow plans, and she sees what others miss. Her father inherits a house from a distant relative. Everything starts to go sideways when they get to this house. For her great aunt has been playing with powers well beyond her control. She has collected a forest of trees that were struck by lightning and has used them to create doorways into other worlds.

When one of these doors open two boys tumble through, but so does a creature of great evil, the queen witch Nimiane. And the battle begins. Hyacinth, her brother, and the strange boys must find a way to stop the witch or she will not only destroy our world but all the worlds she can reach through the doors.

Like Wilson's other books this story has a great pace. Incredible characters, and a whole lot of adventure. I love the strong female character and cannot wait to read this book with my girls when they are a little older. I greatly enjoyed this book, and really hope that Wilson blesses us with more.


Saint Anthony of Padua (Encounter the Saints (Paperback))
Saint Anthony of Padua (Encounter the Saints (Paperback))
Price: £4.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Learn to run towards the cross!, 26 Jun. 2017
With each book that I read in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media I find that my faith is challenged, that my prayer life deepens and that I desire to know more from the saints profiled in this series. This is an amazing book in an incredible series. I love reading these books and sharing them with my children.

The chapters in this volume are:

1. A Letter and a Promise
2. Why?
3. Breaking the News
4. At Home in God's House
5. Toward the Cross
6. A New Beginning
7. God's Plans
8. Shipwreck!
9. The Meeting
10. Another "Yes"
11. Rescue
12. Go Teach, Preach
13. To France
14. The Boy and the Book
15. Anthony of Padua
16. One Last Journey
17. The Arms of the Lord
18. On the Lamp Stand
Prayer
Glossary

This story surprised me in many ways. Anthony of Padua, in some ways did it all in the religious life. He started as a member of the Augustinian, became fascinated with the Franciscans. Wanted to go travel and preach but was prevented by his health. He even preached at the ordination of a number of Dominicans. He was a teacher, and a preacher. He has dedicated to serving God and following where God lead. He was once asked if the changes in his life were 'running away from the cross, and he replied "No, Father, I'm running toward it,". And that is the great example from his life, to run towards God, no matter where he leads. To remove the distractions and focus on loving God and following where God leads.

The prayer to Saint Anthony of Padua in this book is:

"Saint Anthony, God was always first in your life. You loved him so much that you wanted all people everywhere to come to know, love and serve him too. You used your special talents for teaching and preaching to bring people closer to God, and to help those who were doubtful or confused.

There were many times in your life when things didn't work out as you had hoped for or expected, Saint Anthony. But you always trusted in God and in his love for you.

It's not always easy for me to put God first in my life. Would you please help me, Saint Anthony? Show me how I can use my gifts and talents to help the people around me. Help me to know and follow God's will and to trust that God never stops watching over and loving me.

I want to follow Jesus as you did. Pray for me, Saint Anthony.
Amen."

When he dies there was fighting over where he would be buried, for he was so popular and respected. Both the people of Arcella and Padua wished to have him buried in their town. Can you imagine living such a holy life that people fight over where you will be buried. This book gives us a taste of such a man's life. It shows us the saint who greatest focus was following God, no matter where he lead. And As such he is an example to us in each day we life, to see God and follow him.

The illustrations by Ray Morelli in this book are very different in style than many of the others in this series or at least the 11 I have read so far. There are 5 illustrations in this volume but they are not as detailed as many of the others in the series. There are more of an black ink style and less a detailed pencil drawing.

This book was the first published in the Encounter the Saints Series this book was published in 1999, and there are now 37 books published in the series and another is due out in January of 2018. It is an incredible series and I highly recommend this specific book and the whole series. Read about Saint Anthony and learn from his example of how to listen to God's leading and run towards it.


Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love
Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love
Price: £3.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource!, 24 Jun. 2017
I read this book right after reading Why I Am Catholic (and You Should Be Too) by Brandon Vogt. In some ways there is a number of similarities, and both speak specifically about the example of Saint Damien of Molokai. This was also the 10th book by Trent Horn that I have read this year. With each of his books that I read I am more impressed with his writing, his faith, his knowledge and his love of sharing these three things. Now having read a number of his books in such a short time, there were a number of times where I felt like I had read this passage before. He uses some of the same examples or arguments as his other books. But to be honest this book was a wonderful read.

The chapters in this book are:
Introduction: Why We Believe . . . Anything
1. Why We Believe in Truth
2. Why We Believe in Science
3. Why We Believe in a Creator
4. Why We Believe in God
5. Why We Believe God Conquers Evil
6. Why We Believe in Jesus
7. Why We Believe in the Resurrection
8. Why We Believe in the Trinity
9. Why We Believe in the Bible
10. Why We Aren’t Bible-Only Christians
11. Why We Belong to the Catholic Church
12. Why We Have a Pope
13. Why We Have Priests
14. Why We Go to Mass
15. Why We Baptize Babies
16. Why We Believe in Spite of Scandal
17. Why We Believe that Faith Works Through Love
18. Why We Believe in Purgatory
19. Why We Pray to the Saints
20. Why We Honor Mary
21. Why We Protect Life
22. Why We Cherish Our Sexuality
23. Why We Defend Marriage
24. Why We Believe There’s a Hell
25.Why We Hope for Heaven
How to Become Catholic
How to Go to Confession
Common Catholic Prayers
Endnotes

Two sections in the book immediately struck a chord with me; first the section on Saint Damien or Molokai, of whom I have been reading about and researching for over a decade now. And second Father Emil Kapaun, whom I only discovered last year. Both of these men have inspired me and finding them both called out as examples in this book hit me. But let’s go back to the beginning, in the introduction Trent states:

“I don’t look at people who’ve left the Catholic Church or who aren’t Catholic as potential “customers.” They’re just people. They have things they love and things they hate. They may differ from me in lots of ways, but they almost certainly have one thing in common with me: they don’t want to be ignorant and they do want to be happy. I became Catholic in high school because 1) I thought it was true, and 2) finding answers to my deepest questions about existence and purpose made me happy.

It would be selfish of me to keep to myself the peace and joy I receive from being Catholic, so I share this “good news” with others. My aim in this book is simple: to explain why Catholics believe what they believe. I haven’t given every explanation I can think of, because most people aren’t in a rush to read a book that is so thick it can double as a step stool. Instead, I’ve presented the reasons that made the biggest impact on me during my conversion to the Catholic faith.”

This book is designed to strengthen your faith, and help you be able to explain it and defend it. It is not all encompassing but it does a great job of covering many of the basics. Throughout the book there are ‘side boxes’ pieces that explain deeper, or give examples of what is being talked about in that section of the book. Another great feature is that each chapter ends with three or more bullet points reinforcing what Catholics believe from the topic of that specific chapter. One of the most powerful side boxes is:

WHO STARTED YOUR CHURCH?
• Calvary Chapel, 1965: Chuck Smith
• Mormon church, 1830: Joseph Smith
• Disciples of Christ, 1809: Thomas Campbell
• Baptist church, 1609: John Smyth
• Presbyterian church, 1560: John Knox
• Calvinist church, 1536: John Calvin
• Lutheran church, 1517: Martin Luther
• Eastern Orthodox church, 1054: Eastern Patriarchs
• Catholic Church, 33: Jesus Christ

And at the end of the book is a mini prayer book of common prayers. These eight prayers are the basis of so many popular Catholic devotions, or parts of a plan of life. And then there is an extensive section of end notes with quotes, and sources to go deeper.

I have read just shy of 200 books so far this year, of those 200, 105 were Catholic and this is one of the best out of all of that reading. Another incredible book from Catholic Answers, and written by Trent Horn. Pick it up you will be challenged, become more firmly rooted and prepared to answer hard questions about your faith!


Thule Chariot Lite 2 Bluegrass Black
Thule Chariot Lite 2 Bluegrass Black
Offered by Naturzeit UK - precious moments outdoors
Price: £653.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the pricepoint, very solid construction., 23 Jun. 2017
With three children 10 and under we have been through our share of strollers. Between strollers we have owned, used with our friends children before we had our own and now with friends beginning to have their own children. In that time we have had a couple of high end strollers, but to be honest nothing we have used compared to the Chariot Lite from Thule.

We got this in order to review it, and for friends who are expecting their first child. From opening the box to having it fully together was under 5 minutes. To assemble and take down this stroller was easier and felt sturdier than any I have used before. This model weighs 12Kg, for the whole stroller, but the main body with no wheels or attachments is only 7.4Kg. After setting it up, we tried it on various terrains. When we gave it to the expectant parents they were thrilled, after showing them the features, it was assembled and taken down a number of times. It also collapses so nicely it fits even in small cars. It is very compact when the wheels are off and it locks in the collapsed position.

The Top Five Features of this Stroller:
1. Double locking wheels.
2. Out of the box comes with stroller and bike kits
3. High quality construction
4. Easy to set up and take down
5. Great Value for the quality

Now let’s look at each of those in a little more detail.

1. Double locking wheels.

This feature really impressed me; there is a cable lock that when you lock one wheel it automatically locks the other back wheel. This is a great feature for safety. And also ease of access. It is a pin locking system not just pressure lock pressed against the wheel. When you engage the lock, pins extend from the hubs and actually engage both wheels making them immobile.

2. Out of the box comes with stroller and bike kits.

Most strollers we have owned or even looked at, you buy the stroller and then everything else is an add on. It is fantastic that you get two of the most popular kits right out of the box and there are three others available as well.

3. High Quality Construction

Overall I believe this is one of the most soundly constructed strollers I have ever used. I was very impressed with the materials and functionality.

4. Easy to set up and take down.

My 10 year old could put this together and take it apart. But the wheels or bike add-on lock into place so easily and so securely. Great for a busy parent with their hands full or loading the car to head out.

5. Great Value for the quality

There are strollers on the market both a lot cheaper or a lot more expensive than this one. To be honest it is in the top of the middle third for price range. But considering how well made and how easy it is to use, I consider it more than worth the cost. Better to invest in something good that will last and you can sell or pass on when you are done, than to get something cheaper and end up replacing it before the first child has outgrown it.

Add-Ons:
The other add-ons that are available currently for this model are:

Thule Infant Sling-Cross/Lite
Thule Chariot Jog Kit 1-Lite/Cross
Thule Cross Country Skiing and Hiking Kit

Overall this is an amazing product and I highly recommend it!


Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith (ESS) (Encounter the Saints (Paperback))
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith (ESS) (Encounter the Saints (Paperback))
Price: £4.79

5.0 out of 5 stars A story to challenge and inspire., 21 Jun. 2017
This is the 11th book in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media that I have read this spring. It was also the second book on Saint Kateri Tekakwitha that I read back to back, the other a fictional story by Lisa Hendey, The Sign of the Carved Cross, Chime Travelers Book 2, led to our reading this book now. After reading Hendey’s book about a young girl who goes back in time and interacts with this Saint my oldest and I wanted to know more about her. Therefore this book jumped to the top of our reading list. And we are both so thankful that it did.

This book had a huge impact on my daughter and I for a number of reasons. First it is about a saint who died young. St. Kateri was only 24 when she passed away. Second was the Canadian connection, when Kateri was traveling to the settlement in Montreal, my daughter became very excited. And my daughter was also really excited about a young woman of deep faith. Also I can relate to a family that is not encouraging or supportive of a committed faith. We devoured this book, we each said more than once 1 more chapter and could just not put the book down.

The example of love and service that Saint Kateri Tekakwitha lived is incredibly inspiring. He hunger and thirst for God and relationship is impressive. Her commitment to serving is an example to all of us. This story chronicles her life, from her mother’s capture by the Mohawks for she was an Algonquin; to her death and transformation at her time of death. This young girl lost her parents, her sibling, and lived the house of her uncle. She was not treated well in that situation because of her poor eyesight, and she was treated harshly. Once she came to express her faith this situation even worsened. But she loved Jesus and her faith more than the persecutions she experienced. She was a quick learner and loved learning about the Catholic faith and loved teaching about it also. Her greatest love was Jesus, and he life is an example to all of us.

This book is a little different than others in the series that I have read to date. It is adapted from another book, currently available as Kateri Tekakwitha by Lilian M. Fisher, but originally published as Kateri Tekakwitha: The Lily of the Mohawks from the Saints and Holy People series. The book was adapted for children by Emily Beata Marsh and Jaymie Stuart Wolfe. Emily wrote one of the other books in this series, and Jaymie has written numerous books But reading it you cannot tell that it is a modified or abridged and edited version of another book.

This book was the 31st book released in the Encounter the Saints Series, and this series is marketed for tweens geared for 9-12 year olds. But I am finding that it is an excellent series for even younger children, if it is read to them, and that each book has challenged and motivated me and my faith and I am pushing 50. This book was an incredible read, and it is part of an amazing series. I highly recommend both the book and the series, I am sure that as you read the examples of these saints will inspire you to grow your own faith. A wonderful read.


A Single Bead
A Single Bead
Price: £9.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read, 21 Jun. 2017
This review is from: A Single Bead (Kindle Edition)
This book took me completely by surprise. It is a wonderfully written story. I really did not know anything about the book other than that it was on a recommended list. The list highlighted 30 Catholic YA books in 30 days. I first say this list posted by Susan Peek, she posted a list of Catholic Teen Fiction a day for June, I believe that the list originally comes from Theresa Linden. Of the 30 books in the list I have already read and reviewed over half. And have picked up a few more. But to be honest I was drawn to this book. All I had put together was that it was about a rosary in some way, shape or form.

This is a story that deals with faith, family, loss and mental health. That is a lot to pack into 208 pages but Engelman does it and does it well. I found that the writing especially around an extended family was very intriguing. I also really appreciated the parts of the story when one parent is not Catholic, but supportive of the family's faith and traditions. The book begins at a memorial service for the matriarch of the family. She had passed away the year before in a plane crash, and the family had gathered on the anniversary in the field the plan went down in. Katelyn Marie Roberts, who is 16, is struggling with the event, and the impact the last year has had on her family. She wanders off to the edge of the woods when the family decides to pray the rosary. She finds a small bead; it is a rosary bead from her grandma's rosary. She knows this because it has her initials on it. And so begins the adventure. Soon Kaitlyn and her cousin Evelyn are trying to track down the beads.

And that is where it gets really interesting. They start hearing stories of miracles. Each person who found a bead or the person who they gave it to has had a miracle happen. A young girl healed from cancer, a man freed from addiction, a girl saved from a car accident. In each case a woman came and helped the person. But when Kaitlyn's mother finds out what they are doing and why, her depression gets worse, soon she needs to be hospitalised. This makes Kaitlyn desperate to find the bead with her mother's initials on it so she can experience a miracle again. But as in most of our lives things do not always go as planned.

This book is very well written. Before I had finished it I searched to see if the author had other books available. Unfortunately not yet! The weaving of faith, hope, hardships and family in this story makes the book hard to put down. I look forward to reading it with my oldest soon and my youngest when she is a little older. A wonderful faith filled Young Adult Story.


Saint Martin de Porres: Humble Healer (Encounter the Saints)
Saint Martin de Porres: Humble Healer (Encounter the Saints)
by Elizabeth Marie Dedomenico
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book and series, 18 Jun. 2017
This is the 10th book in the amazing Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media that I have read. It is an amazing series and this was an incredible read. I have known the name Martin de Porres for years. But honestly could not tell you anything specific about his life, or why he was a saint, at least prior to reading this book. The author Elizabeth Marie DeDomenico, FSP has written this and two other books, one other in this series. Her writing is very good.

When I started reading this book I could hardly put it down. And even though it is written for a younger audience it can easily be enjoyed by readers of all ages. The example of Saint Martin’s love, generosity and service can motivate us all. His simple faith had profound impact on so many lives, in his own time and continuing through to today.

The stories of his generosity, his passion, and of his bilocation will show that this man who lived what appeared to be a simple and humble life was truly close to God. And through that closeness lived to serve. The stories from his life will challenge readers to live to server, and find ways to serve more.

This book contains 5 drawings by Wayne Alfano, they appear to be in the pen and ink style. These images span from Matin being a young man and giving away his families food to the poor until he is much older and still serving God. These illustrations have a lot of detail and are a wonderful edition to the story.

The prayer at the end of this book I have been praying for a few weeks now:

“Saint Martin, during your lifetime you
showed great love and concern for everyone. You
reached out to people of all social classes and
races—old and young, black and white, rich and
poor. Your example of selfless care for the sick is
an inspiration to people in our own times. You
even cared for the animals because they, too, are
created by God. Even though you received many
special heavenly gifts from God, you always
remained humble and kind.
Help me to respect all of God’s creation and
to love all people just as you did. I want to
promote peace and harmony in my family,
school, and town. May the love of Jesus that
burned so greatly in your heart heal the wounds
of hatred and division that exist in our world
today. Ask God to give me the grace to help those
who are suffering or are in need. I want to see
Jesus in those who are less fortunate than I am.
Pray for me, Saint Martin. Amen.”

I loved this book and think this is an incredible series. My only surprise is that only about a third of the books have eBook editions, and of those some are limited to kindle and some epub. These are wonderful books and I highly recommend this book and the whole series.


Jolted
Jolted
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, a fully charged story!, 17 Jun. 2017
This review is from: Jolted (Kindle Edition)
Arthur Slade is an award winning author. His honours include: Governor General's Award, Mr. Christie's Book Award, Saskatchewan Book Award, and Red Maple Honour Book. This book is both shocking and electrifying in its tale and the mastery in telling it.

Our hero is more than a little unusual for he is Newton Stalker. He is the second last surviving Stalker, for his whole family has been decimated by lightning strikes. Having recently lost his mother, he moves to the Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival in Moose Jaw. It is a school far more entertaining than Hogwarts. The school's motto is: 'Survival Through Fierce Intelligence'. The board considered all factors in allowing Newton to attend and even upgraded all of the buildings' lightning rod protection.

The cast of characters is zany and fun - from Newton's only surviving Stalker relative, his Great Grandmother Enid who is 102 and lives in a retirement home in Moose Jaw, to Newton's first friend Jacob Edward Clarke, an aspiring author, to his antagonist Violet Quon, a daughter of a Mountie with some pugilistic skills, to the unique headmaster, a giant of a man, who is always in a kilt and lumberjack shirt, Mr. McBain.

This book deals with issues like death and grieving. It also deals with the story of coming of age, and finding your place in the world. The book is like a cross between Edgar Allen Poe, Rudyard Kipling and C.S. Lewis. It is wonderfully-written, greatly entertaining and I could not put it down. Slade presents unique characters in unusual situations and does so in a way that draws the reader in and causes us to cheer for them as the story progresses. Arthur Slade is one of my favorite authors writing for youth today, I rank him up there with Kenneth Oppel, Patrick Carman and Laurie Halse Anderson. The only thing I regret is how short the book was, and how many things it leaves unanswered. I can only hope we see more books set at the Jerry Potts Academy, and we meet Newton Stalker again.

(First Published in Imprint 2009-03-13.)


8 Notes to a Nobody (The Bird Face Series Book 1)
8 Notes to a Nobody (The Bird Face Series Book 1)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Well written looking forward to the next in the series., 16 Jun. 2017
Recently Author Susan Peek posted a list of Catholic Teen Fiction a day for June, I believe the list originally comes from Theresa Linden. Of the 30 books in the list I had already read and reviewed 14 of the titles, and already had a few others in my to be read pile. But the title of this book grabbed my attention. This book was my introduction to the writings of Cynthia T. Toney, but it will not be my last. Before I had even finished this book I had picked up the eBooks for the other two in this series and added her book that is coming out in the fall to my wish list.

This book was a good clean uplifting read. It is in the genre of realistic fiction, but with strong Christian and specifically Catholic undertones. It also does a great job of capturing life in high school. And dealing with divorce and blended families. It starts with some bullying and the stress of school and teen life. But the beginning of the turning point for fourteen year old Wendy Robichaud, is the sudden appearance of random sticky notes with short messages and signed A Frend. The sticky notes are a little baffling, a bit of a challenge and get Wendy thinking. This book also deals with teen suicide, and does so in a caring sensitive way.

The book also deals with crushed expectations, friends growing apart, and also the development of new friendships. Overall I was very impressed with the writing and the character development in this story. But I must say if it still had the original title of Bird Face, and original cover I likely would never have picked it up. Once I got going in the book I could relate to the main character and being focused on artwork and getting school work done and done well.

One of the ways that I judge books is do I want to share them with my children. I cannot wait for my girls to be older to be able to read this book with them. I think there are a lot of great lessons in this book without being pushy or preachy. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from the author soon!


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