Saturday, 23 March 2019

The Enemy - Lee Child - Jack Reacher Book 8

The Enemy
Jack Reacher Book 8
Lee Child
Penguin Random House Canada
ISBN 9780440334989
eISBN 9780739378526

As of the writing of this review I have read 6 books about Jack Reacher by Lee Child in the last four weeks. I am getting more familiar with the character and the writing. To date the books are all either written in first person or third person. I started with Past Tense, which was at the time the most recent release. The next novel I read was  I went to the first published, Killing Floor. And now this one which is currently the first novel chronologically. There are a few short stories that predate this book which appear in No Middle Name Short Story Collection.  It has been a little odd jumping around the Reacher timeline and the two different voices. And yet with each one I read I am eager to pick up another. In fact when I finished this volume I picked the volume Jack Reacher’s Rules, The Fourth Man short story, and Night School to add to my reading pile. But now back to this volume.

The title of this book comes from a conversation between Reacher and his new CO (Commanding Office) a Colonel Willard. Reacher states:

“And you’re making a big mistake. Because you really don’t want to make an enemy out of me.”

Any truer words might never have been spoken. This story begins on new years eve 1989 and Reacher has just been transferred to Fort Bird. He is now acting XO (Executive Officer). It seems to be a quiet little military base. Reacher is not sure why he has been pulled out of a major mission in Panama. But the Army said move so he moved. But on New Year ’s Eve a dead body in a seedy motel that at first Reacher pawns off on the civilian authorities is the beginning of a very big can of worms. Within 2 weeks Reacher is back and forth to Europe, and across America chasing a missing agenda to a series of meetings.

Reacher makes some quick assumptions both at the hotel and after meeting his CO. Both have severe consequences. During the novel Reacher has numerous phone messages and a few calls with his older brother Joe. Reacher and Joe go on a quick trip to France to see their sick mother. And Reacher finds out a lot about his mother and himself that he never knew. 

There are some very brutal murders in this novel. And some attempts to stage a crime scene. We see less of the violence directly in this novel. But we do see more of the investigation into it, and resolving it. The story moves at a solid pace, but compared to the other novels I have read takes place over a much longer time frame. It is great to experience Reacher and his brother Joe interacting on the phone and in person. And I loved the discovery about his family history. In some ways the mystery in this novel reminds me of the old movie The Presidio. There is a lot more going on that we first suspect and some great plot twists. 

I really enjoyed this read and look forward to my next Reacher novel!

Books by Lee Child:
Jack Reacher Books Publishing Order:

Killing Floor
Die Trying
The Visitor /Running Blind
Echo Burning
Without Fail
The Enemy
One Shot
The Hard Way
Bad Luck and Trouble
Nothing to Lose
Gone Tomorrow
61 Hours
Worth Dying For
He Affair
A Wanted Man
Never go Back
Make Me
Night School
The Midnight Line
Past Tense
Blue Moon

Jack Reacher's Rules

Reacher Short Stories and Novella’s:
Too Much Time

Second Son
Deep Down
Guy Walks into A Bar
James Penney’s New Identity
High Heat
Everyone Talks
Not A Drill
Good and Valuable Consideration
Small Wars
Maybe They Have A Tradition

No Room At The Motel
The Picture of the Lonely Diner
The Fourth Man

The Christmas Scorpion
No Middle Name – Complete Collected Short Stories

Friday, 22 March 2019

Devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston and W. Raemers CSsR

Devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
W. Raemers CSsR
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860829284
eISBN 9781784694333
CTS Booklet D779

This book was originally written by W. Raemers CSsR, in 1997. It was later revised and edited by Glynn MacNiven-Johnston and the eBook edition was released in March of 2017. This book was a very fascinating read. The history of the painting, the devotion to it. It trading hands, and eventually being placed in a new church on the original site of the devotions was exciting to read. To read about the spread of the devotion, about replica paintings being touched to the original and sent all over the world, literally completely surprised me. I was enjoying this booklet so much on my way to work I nearly missed my stop, as I was so engrossed in the read.

The description of this booklet is:

“From the cross, Christ gave his mother to be mother of all Christians and of the whole Church. Her tender care and intercession in turn have long been sought by means of this devotion, and captured in the image of the celebrated icon dating from the fourteenth century.

The devotion’s history is here explained and accompanied by a rich collection of appropriate prayers, litanies and novenas, for private and communal use.

Cardinal Nichols has written a preface to this edition because he was created Cardinal-Priest of the Church of St. Alphonsus Liguori in Rome, where the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour can be found, on February 22nd 2014.”

Cardinal Nichols states:

“… the original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, which, now widely reproduced, is venerated in churches throughout the world. It movingly depicts the Christ-child, his redeeming Passion already in view, tenderly clasping his blessed Mother’s hand. Mary looks upon her son with such loving compassion. The image has inspired, and still inspires, immense comfort and hope in the hearts of millions. Devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour powerfully helps the Church’s universal mission to lead everyone into that joy flowing from a living relationship with Jesus. I therefore very much welcome this new edition of devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour published by the CTS.”

And reading this booklet I could not help but feel my heart and spirit stirred to even greater devotion to Jesus and Mary.

The chapters in this booklet are:
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
The Icon
The History of the Icon
The Icon and the Redemptorists
Morning Prayer
Act of Consecration
Litany of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
Prayer for Perseverance
The Perpetual Novena
Prayers to Our Lady
Perpetual Novena Prayers with a Leader
The Simple Novena
Prayer to Our Lady
Nine Prayers for a Novena
More Prayers to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
Daily Devotions
Hymn: O Blessed Mother

The book begins with these words:

“This icon was painted in the fourteenth or fifteenth century; it was given the name Mater de Perpetuo Succursu in 1867 by Pope Pius IX. The name is literally translated into English as Mother of Perpetual Help, but it is also variously rendered as Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. This name reminds us that when we need help, the Virgin Mary will be there to guide us to see God’s presence in our problems or suffering. The icon reminds us she saw her own son die in a cruel and horrible manner. She understands suffering and she is with us to support us in the suffering of our lives.”

And as mentioned reading this book drew me closer to Jesus and our lady. This book is part history, history of icons, and of this specific icon. It is the history of the devotion which bloomed in popularity, faded and has had a great resurgence. It is part prayer book, and it is part devotional. Because of the size of the volume it can easily be read in a single sitting. Or you can take your time and work through it section by section, prayer by prayer. 

Of the nearly 70 books from CTS that I have read over the last few years, This one is one of the best. I have come back to it and reread it already. And know that I will be using it as a prayer book for years to come. It is a wonderful little read and so I encourage you to pick it up and give it a try.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Glynn MacNiven-Johnston:
Maria Goretti Teenage Martyr
Pier Giorgio Frassati Inspiration for Students
Father Damien Apostle to the Lepers
Martin de Porres


Prayer Books:
Handbook of Novenas for Feasts and Seasons
Devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
The Infant of Prague
Handbook of Novenas to the Saints: Short Prayers for Needs & Graces
Handbook of Scriptural Novenas: For Various Needs and Intentions
Devotion to St Jude: Patron of Hopeless Cases


Thursday, 21 March 2019

Upsie-Daisy - Jane Lebak - The Adventures of Lee and Bucky Book 0.5

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky Book 0.5
Jane Lebak
Philangelus Press

eISBN 9781942133223

As stated in a different review my introduction to Bucky and Lee was the short story ‘Never pray for Patience’ in the collection Seven Angels Short Story Bundle. That story is also one of the chapters Honest And For True. Before I finished that first novel I had picked up this one and also Forever and for Keeps. But I was under the impression that Upsie-Daisy was actually book two, but it is really a prequel. So, at the beginning I was surprised, and the story was not making sense. Yet, once I had that figured out it proves to be a wonderful little story.

From reading this volume, I believe it makes the most sense to read the Bucky and Lee books in chronological order. The changes in Lee, her healing, her growth make stepping back to this read confusing. But that being said it is a great little story and really adds to the canon of work on Bucky and Lee, which currently consists of this short story or novella, and two novels, But I really hope we will have many more books in the Lee and Bucky series because they are such fun to read.

Being honest for a moment, I do not typically read comedies, romance or romantic comedies. But the writing in this series is so good, I cannot stop reading these books. That first short story really got me hooked. This story has three tightly packed chapters, they are:

Friends wearing blue uniforms and frowny faces
I love hurling myself into these interactions
The best pairing since vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce

And after that is a sample from Lebak’s novel ‘Pickup Notes’. Which to be honest I did not read. But based on how much I have enjoyed all the other books and short stories I have read by Lebak It will only be a matter of time. But back to this specific story.

Lee Singer is an auto mechanic in New York City. She sees the city and surroundings are her playground. She is free to date, to go out to a game or show, or choose what she wants. But since she was little she has been able to see her guardian angle whom she named Bucky. However, Lee has consistent habit about lying about her occupation. She makes up different stories all the time. And in this novella, she tells the guys she meets at the garage that she is an elevator inspector. When she discovers a trunk full of Styrofoam heads, she begins to ask some questions. And once she finds out he is a scientist who has a submarine and the heads are used in pressure experiments she becomes fascinated. She manages to wrangle a date, and even visits his lab. 

It is an interesting story. You cannot help but feel for Lee especially as she finds a job that looks perfect for her. But because of her fears …

A great story in a wonderful series. It is equal parts humour, human interactions, and Angelic intervention. A really fun read.

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

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Relic of His Heart
With Two Eyes Into Gehenna

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism


Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation

Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:

0.5 Upsie-Daisy
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Forever And For Keeps

Rails of Sweet Grove:
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Pin it on a Dead Man - Elizabeth Jukes - Dorothea Montgomery Mystery Book 1

Pin it on a Dead Man
Dorothea Montgomery Mystery Book 1
Elizabeth Jukes
Cozy Cat Press
ISBN 9781946063519


This book was recommended to me by my mother-in-law. Rather than read her physical copy I picked up the eBook to give a read. It was an enjoyable mystery. I enjoyed the historical setting. I also appreciated the setting in a small town in Ontario. The mix of a theft and dead body make for some interesting twists. In some ways this book took me back to when I was much younger and reading the neighbour's hand-me-down Agatha Christie novels. And the times and setting made me think more than once of the Murdoch Mysteries.

I do not typically go out of my way to read historical fiction or mysteries. I have read a fair bit in both genres but that was mostly 30-40 years ago. But I do love a good read and am always willing to give a book a try on a personal recommendation, like in this instance. The writing in this story is very tight. For a first novel it is very impressive. I will admit I had a pretty good idea fairly early some of the elements of this case.

Dorothea Montgomery is the matron of a well-to-do family in the town of Willowsdown. Her sister, Edith, and her sisters’ grandchildren are visiting from England. They have brought home with them a young man they met on the boat over. The world at this point is swept up in an Egyptology obsession. Shortly after their arrival Edith’s broach goes missing at a Christmas party. It is a very distinctive piece, a jewel-encrusted beetle, reportedly from an Egyptian dig. The next day it is discovered that Hugh Morton, the towns funeral director, is dead and stuffed in one of his own caskets.

Soon the small town is abuzz with rumours and side comments. But Dorothea is an exceptionally logical woman. And she is working the case from all angles. Once she has been warned by the local authorities, as much as they respect her and her mind, (there are allusions to previous cases) becuase they fear that this might be too dangerous for her to continue her investigations.

The story revolves around a small community, at a time when everyone knew everyone. It has a strong focus on family. And the characters are very solidly fleshed out. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. And I would absolutely read another Dorothea Montgomery Mystery if it appears or other books by Elizabeth Jukes.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, or mysteries this book is a great read, so why not give it a try?

Books by Elizabeth Jukes:
A Dorothea Montgomery Mystery Series:
Pin it on a Dead Man

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Devotions to St Thomas Becket - John S. Hogan

Devotions to St Thomas Becket
Fr. John S. Hogan
ISBN 9780852449141

This is the fifth book by Father Hogan that I have read, and to date it is the best. I received the book too late to do the Christmas Novena on the proscribed dates, but after finishing the book have created a calendar reminder to pray the novena on those dates this coming December. This book is part history, part novena prayer, a small prayer book, and prayers for pilgrimage to Canterbury.

Chapters in this book:
A Brief Life of St. Thomas Becket
Christmas Novena to St Thomas Becket
The Festal Invocations
Various Prayers to St. Thomas

       Pilgrim Prayer to St Thomas Becket
       Memorare to St St Thomas Becket
       Novena for the Grace of Conversion
       Prayer for the Sick to St Thomas Becket
       Litany for the Sick
       Prayer for Miracles
       Prayer to St Thomas for Chastity
       Prayer for Bishops
       Prayer for Priests
       Prayer for Courage
       Eucharistic Prayer to St Thomas
       Prayer in a Time of Need
       Prayer for the Persecuted
       Prayer for the Conversion of Souls
       Litany of St Thomas Becket
The Seven Stations of St. Thomas of Canterbury
A Pilgrimage to Canterbury

       I St Dunstan’s Church
       II The Pilgrim Walk
       III Canterbury Cathedral: Cloister
       IV Canterbury Cathedral: “The Martyrdom”
       V Canterbury Cathedral: The Crypt
       VI Canterbury Cathedral: The Site of the Tomb
       VII Parish Church of St. Thomas of Canterbury: Martyr’s Chapel

This book is an inspiring read. The brief biography of St. Thomas Becket that is included is enough to provide the big picture and the background. It is motivational in seeing the change in Thomas, his deepening devotion, his appreciation for the Eucharist, and changes as his faith began to grow. And the prayers in the book are wonderful. I have copied a few into my OneNote prayer book so I can have them on me at all times. I can recommend this book even just for the collection of prayers. The two I loved most were the prayer for Priests and seen below, the Prayer for Bishops.

Prayer For Bishops

Lord God, raise up heroic Shepherds for your people, Pastors formed in your grace and faithful to the Gospel, Disciples immersed in the mystery of Christ and consecrated in the truth of the Faith.
As with your beloved servant, St. Thomas of Canterbury, convert them to your will and make them forgetful of self.
May they be courageous and true, free of ambition and unfettered by materialism and their human weakness; authentic witnesses to hope and generous servants of charity.

May they be true fathers to their people and their priests and humble sons of the Church.
May they consecrate their hearts and their lives to the Heart of the Holy Mother of God that she may form them according to the Heart of her Son.
May they prefer suffering to honour and truth to respectability.
May they rejoice to see their people grow in holiness, and at the end of their days be counted as faithful servants.

O Lord God, raise up holy Shepherds for your people as we commend them to the prayers and watchful care of your holy martyr, their brother, St. Thomas of Canterbury.

This book is a wonderful addition to my library, and I am sure it will be to yours also. I plan on praying the novena on the proscribed dates. But Know I will be picking it up to use for prayer often. My only regret is that it is not available as an eBook so that I can keep it on me at all times.

Another excellent book by Father John S. Hogan. It is an excellent read! This is one of those little books I wish I could keep a stack of at home to just keep giving them away. I know that if you pick up this book, read, and pray it will have a great influence upon your heart, and the prayers will not return unanswered. Father Hogan is one of my favorite contemporary Catholic authors and this is his best book to date.

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

Books by John S. Hogan:
Edmund Arrowsmith (Saints of the Isles)
A Book of Martyrs: Devotions to the Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales
Devotions to St Thomas Becket

Books in the Living Fruitfully Series:
Self-Control - Fr John S. Hogan
Generosity - Fr John S. Hogan

Author profile and interview with father John S. Hogan.