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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Exodus 90 Take 2 - Prayer, Asceticism, and Brotherhood

Exodus 90


A 90 Day program for Christian men with a focus on Prayer, Asceticism, and Brotherhood. From Those Catholic Men.


This is a time to refocus, a time to make gains in the spiritual disciplines and the physical disciplines. For me that means 90 days of:

No television.
No sugar and sweets.
No alcohol.
No meat on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Daily Rosary.
Daily exercise.

From the Exodus 90 website:

"Exodus 90: The Purpose

The goal of Exodus is to achieve the freedom necessary to fully engage the love of God and the love of neighbor. Exodus is based on a challenging 90-day period of purification, a dying to self, which is supported by a fraternity of like-minded men for greater interior freedom and, eventually, a more purified and selfless love.

Most importantly Exodus is for men who have difficulty finding God and desire to radically unite himself to his Heavenly Father. Exodus is not a program of penance and self-abasement. It is a program for men who seek, together, to strive for more-perfect FREEDOM. This is the cornerstone of the exercise and much will be lost if that is forgotten."

When you register for the Exodus 90 program you get a 30-page manual and 90 days of emails direct to your inbox. Each email has a scripture passage, a meditation, an action list and links to supporting articles.

An special thanks to Dr. Taylor Marshall and Jared Zimmerer who mentioned this program on The Maccabee Society Podcast a number of months back, and who made it through their 90 day journey.





This is my commitment for the next 90 days, discipline and working out for the body, the mind and the spirit!

This is also my second attempt at the Exodus 90 Program. One of the goals of the program is to start together and finish together. Each time a member of the fraternity falls, the whole group restarts at Day 1. The first time I tried to do this by the 6th time we had to restart in under 6 weeks everyone had quite. So I am starting again on Ash Wednesday with a new crew! The 4 of us have each others backs and will see this through to the end.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Exodus 90 Articles:
Exodus 90 My Commitment
Exodus 90 My Commitment - Take 2
Exodus 90 at Day 30
Exercise Update
Exodus 90 at Day 60
Exodus 90 at Day 90
What's Next After Exodus 90



Monday, 27 February 2017

Lenten Reading 2017

Lenten Reading 2017

This year I am changing it up a bit. I am not doing any devotions that are year specific for 2017. I have chosen 3 daily reading books, one for morning, one for afternoon and one for evening. I have also chosen 1 audio resource and my last selection this year for lent if the Catholic Answers 20 Book Challenge.



Francis Fernandez
ISBN 0906138205
Scepter Press
ISBN 0906138191
In Conversation with God Volume 2 Part 1 Lent and Holy Week
ASIN B006GHNB66
In Conversation with God Volume 2 Part 2 Eastertide
ASIN B006IGQL0I

This volume spans the time from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost Sunday. Therefore this book will lead you through Lent, Easter and the 5 weeks of Easter leading up to Pentecost. If you cannot afford the whole set, start with this volume and the Advent and Christmastide volume, then add the others over time. It is usually cheaper to buy the boxed set but sometimes that amount of money is not available up front. You can read my full review of this book here. And these are now available in ebooks. The eBook edition is split into 2 volumes.


Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter 
ISBN 9780764826870
ASIN B01N4QF53K

I have read Amy's Reconciled to God Daily Lenten Devotionsand her contributions in other devotionls. I am looking forward to reading this new offering from her. The Description of this volume is "This Lent and Easter season, author Amy Welborn shares her own struggles and triumphs of trying to live Lent and Easter spirituality year-round. She shares how small moments of frustration can turn into small lessons of grace. We carry our own crosses alongside Jesus this season. But as we drop worldly concerns to pick up our cross, we may realize our burden has actually been lightened."



40 Days to Mercy:
A Jubilee Year Lenten Devotion
Michael Gaitley
ISBN 9781596143364

This devotion was written for a specific year, last year in fact. But I did not really get into Father Gaitley's writings until after that point. I will be doing book the book and audio version of this devotion.



This series comprises 20 Books, 20 Topics, and 20 Questions on different aspects of Catholicism or Catholic answers to other religions. I recently read a challenge to read all 20 books in this series over lent. I was originally planning on reading them over a year, but after reading this volume I am up for the challenge. To read them all over lent would be about 25 pages of reading a day. Here is the list of books in this series.

So As you can see between doing the Exodus 90 and the above reading it might be a pretty good thing that I gave up TV as part of the Exodus 90. Looking forward to growing through discipline this lent. 



Sunday, 26 February 2017

Catholic Answers the 20 Book Challenge - Lent 2017

20 Book Challenge
20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers 



I started this year with 19 books left from my 2016 Catholic Reading Plan, over the year I had added another 35, and since the beginning of this year I added another 15. So before I even started looking at these books I had 69 Catholic books in my 2017 Reading Plan to be read pile! But after seeing a post about this 20 book challenge and reading the first one, I am hooked.


This is an amazing series of books being offered at a 50% discount through the end of Lent 2017. But the challenge is to read the 20 books in the 20 Answers series over Lent. That is right you can get all 20 physical books or all 20 ebooks for just $34.95! 

This series comprises 20 Books, 20 Topics, and 20 Questions on different aspects of Catholicism or Catholic answers to other religions. I recently read a challenge to read all 20 books in this series over lent. I was originally planning on reading them over a year, but after reading this volume I am up for the challenge. To read them all over lent would be about 25 pages of reading a day. Here is the list of books in this series.

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


I really look forward to reading the rest of the 20 Answers series! And I challenge you to take the challenge this lent!


Are You Ready To Take The 20 Answers Challenge?

Here's How It Works:

Here’s how the challenge works – When you purchase the Sampler of all 20 books in the 20 Answers Series, we’re going to knock the price in half – And we’re challenging YOU to finish them all this Lent and Easter season.

Then we’re going to take $10 from each set purchased and provide materials to our friends at St. Paul Street Evangelization so they can do what they do best – Hit the streets and share the Catholic Faith – That’s $10 from every set you purchase – Going to help our fellow workers in the vineyard.

You win – St. Paul Street Evangelization wins – the Catholic Church wins – That’s a win-win-win – Together we can be part of something great!



Note: This is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Update 2017-04-11: I finished the #20AnswersChallenge with a few days to spare.



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


Saturday, 25 February 2017

Diadem of Death - B.R. Myers - The Nefertari Hughes Mystery Series #2

Diadem of Death
The Nefertari Hughes Mystery Series #2
B.R. Myers
Blue Moon Publishers
ISBN 9781988279497

eISBN 9781988279503



Sometimes it is a little strange reading books before they are in print. And it get's a little stranger when there are two books in a series and neither have been released yet. When I opted to get these books to review them I was intrigued by the covers and the write ups about the books. The first book starts with Terry's rule for keeping a low profile at school. This book starts with action and the intrigue just build's from there.

The description of the book is: "Nefertari "Terry" Hughes is looking forward to spending the school break with her boyfriend, but when her archaeologist father announces he's working on a project that will take him to Egypt, all hopes of having a romantic summer are buried.

Terry accompanies her father to Alexandria where she's reunited with her first crush, Awad-all grown up and an expert in translating hieroglyphics. He confides that the team is in a race to find Cleopatra's lost tomb before a secret band of rebels steals Egypt's last Pharaoh and her diadem.

But sabotage and a deadly accident put everyone on high alert, and Terry isn't sure whom to trust. As the line between ally and enemy begins to blur, Terry has to keep her wits about her and figure out who wants the diadem badly enough to kill."

But that does not do the action, intrigue and mystery in this book justice. This book is action packed from the get go. Terry - Nefertari Hughes has super powers, they were given when she accepted the role of protector. So in the opening sequence when she is at a convenience store and there is a robbery she decides to end it. But she doesn't know there is a second assailant. So the book begins with a big bang and the excitement heats up from there.

With the trip back to Egypt, a place she never expected to go after the accident that killed her mother and damaged her leg. Terry's separation from and break up with Zach because of being apart for 6 months and he will be in college when she returns. But from the get go things in Egypt are complicated. There are rumours that the dig is cursed. There have been a number of incidents and they seem to really start escalating after Terry, her father and her friends arrive. And suddenly her powers disappear. And it could not be at a worse time. 

But to find out if Terry can figure out the clues to unlock Cleopatra's tomb, and if she can get out of all the trouble she finds herself in you will need to read the book!

This book was a great read. The development of the characters really progresses. The plot moves at a pretty quick pace. And I hope we will see Terry and gang again soon. For the meddling of her and her friends have spoiled the plans of two bad guys so far, how many more mysteries they will solve.

Books by B.R. Myers:
Butterflies Don't Lie
Girl on the Run
Cursed

Nefertari Hughes Mystery Series:
ASP of Ascension
Diadem of Death

Night Shift Series:
Night Shift
Black Firday





Friday, 24 February 2017

Saving Faith - T.M. Gaouette - Faith and Kung Fu Book 2

Saving Faith
Faith and Kung Fu Book 2
T.M. Gaouette
Createspace
ISBN 9781542834735



Sometimes when you return to a series, especially if it has been more than 2 years there is a little trepidation. I have read many series that ended up going downhill after the first book. Especially if the first book, Freeing Tanner Rose, was so good that at the time I considered it one of the best Catholic Young Adult book I had read. That was not the case this time. And returning to the small town and characters in the Faith and Kung Fu series was like visiting with friends that you have not seen in a long time.

Like book 1 in this series this is an intense read but for very different reasons. Instead of being about someone who has not ever really interacted with people of faith, and helping them turn their life around. This book is about a girl named Faith, who has always been a Christian, a good Catholic girl. He brother is a Catholic and her parents raised her well. But all of a sudden she is making some bad choices, some very bad decisions. She has started blowing off her closest friend. She is making jokes and disparaging remarks about things she believed and was committed to previously. She is interested in a guy with a wicked temper and who has hurt her and left bruises. The boy she is interested in named Christian, is on a Kung Fu Scholarship at their Catholic school. He does not have any faith, and a lot of anger. When he is suspended from school for fighting, Faith has the idea that he can continue to train with Gabriel at the local dojo. And like his namesake the angel, maybe Gabriel can save Faith, even from herself, and maybe, just maybe even be able to influence Christian to help his change course.

There are a number of strengths to this book and the series. First are the characters. Gaouette does an excellent job fleshing out her characters. They are real, and very well written. Also the plot, there are likely very few of us who have not known someone who drifted away from the faith, or someone who struggles or struggled with anger issues. Or have friend impacted by divorce and its effect on the whole family. Gaouette captures so many deep issues and yet deals with them with sensitivity and from her faith based perspective.

But to find that out you will need to read the book. This is another great book by T.M. Gaouette, and I hope very much that it is not the last in this series. And that we have many more excellent Catholic young adult reads from her in the years to come.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by T.M. Gaouette:
The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

Faith & Kung Fu Series:

Author Profile and interview with T.M. Gaouette





Thursday, 23 February 2017

Product Review - Microwave Egg Cooker - Pampered Chef

Microwave Egg Cooker
Pampered Chef
Item Number: 1372



Sometimes you just come across a product that is just so great you keep telling people about it. That is how I feel about the Pampered Chef Microwave Egg Maker. I love eggs, almost any way. But I have not made poached eggs since I lived with my parents and we had a special pot that could be used just for poaching eggs. Now to be honest we a have a number, maybe even a large number of Pamper Chef products, but we do not sell it. In fact we have about 15 stones and bakers. But other than the bar pans this product has been used more often since we got it than any of the others.

I have had this for about a month now. For the first week I used it every day. It does exactly what it says it will do. Perfect poached eggs, excellent round fried eggs for sandwiches, great scrambled eggs. Now to be honest it was much bigger than I expected. It is 12 inches long. You can cook 1 or 2 eggs per well at a time. I found that poaching is best just to do one. But scrambled or friend two come out perfect. You can make breakfast sandwiches with meat and melted cheese in about 3 minutes.




This is one of those gifts that will be used over and over again. If you love eggs, it is quick, easy and clean-up is fast as well. This is one of those products that I would state is excellent value for the money.

There are even recipes to make cakes, whoopie pies and other fun deserts using this tool featured on their site.

One of my favourite breakfasts the kids call fire eggs. Scrambled eggs open face on toast, then covered in franks hot sauce so the whole thing is red. With this tool prep and clean-up is super easy.



Wednesday, 22 February 2017

20 Answers - Mary - Tim Staples - 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers Book 13

20 Answers - Mary
20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers Book 13
Tim Staples
Catholic Answers Press
ISBN 9781941663684
ASIN B01HFJ3UI2




This is the first book in this amazing series that I have read. This series comprises 20 Books, 20 Topics, and 20 Questions on different aspects of Catholicism or Catholic answers to other religions. I recently read a challenge to read all 20 books in this series over lent. I was originally planning on reading them over a year, but after reading this volume I am up for the challenge. To read them all over lent would be about 25 pages of reading a day. But let's take a look at this specific book, Tim Staples book about Mary.

I have read a number of books on Mary over the years but this short concise volume has a lot of great information. It has information for Catholics to better understand theology surrounding our Mother. It has the answers to key questions that protestants raise regarding Mary and her role in salvation history. Tim Staples as a convert has a very different view of Mary then many cradle Catholics or even those who have come home to the Catholic Church. For Tim started out completely opposed to Mary specifically, and Catholicism in general, but in studying theology to refute Catholicism was convinced of the validity and converted.

The chapters and topics that Tim tackles in this book are:
1. Who is "Mary of Nazareth"?
2. What is the Immaculate Conception?
3. How could a mother be a virgin?
4. What is the Assumption of Mary, and what is the biblical evidence for it?
5. What does it mean to say that Mary is "Mediatrix"?
6. What does it mean to call Mary "co-redemptrix"? Isn't Jesus alone the Redeemer of the world?
7. Is there a queen in the kingdom of heaven?
8. How can God have a mother?
9. How can Mary be without sin?
10. If Jesus had "brothers," wouldn't that mean that Mary had other children?
11. What other arguments do Protestants make against the perpetual virginity of Mary?
12. Doesn't the Bible condemn the idea that Mary was assumed into heaven?
13. Doesn't the Bible condemn the idea of a "Queen of Heaven"?
14. How can Mary hear and answer our prayers in heaven?
15. Isn't it blasphemous to say Mary "redeems" or "saves" us?
16. What did the Fathers of the Church say about Mary?
17. Does the bible condemn praying to Mary?
18. But didn't Jesus condemn "repetitious prayers" like the rosary?
19. How do you know alleged "apparitions" of Mary are of God?
20. Why do I need to have a relationship with Mary?

Tim draws his answers predominately from scriptures, then from the Catechism, and also church history. He also draws heavily from early sources. He also dives into the Greek and Aramaic meanings of words and how they came to be translated or used the way they were.

This book was eye opening and as I mentioned I have read a number of books on Mary over the years. And I love that with the size of this book I can go back and reread it quickly as a refresher any time I want or need. This was an incredible little book, and I really look forward to reading the rest of the 20 Answers series!


Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 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


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
...

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

My Home Parish - Saint Agnes Waterloo, ON

This is my home parish, Saint Agnes Waterloo, Ontario.






This short video is pictures every time I went to mass from November 13th 2016-February 19th 2017. I Plan on doing another at the beginning of Advent with a full year of Sundays.

Related Posts:
The Colors of the Church Year
The Privilege of Altar Serving
Serving God, Altar Serving and Learning to Listen
Saturday 18th Week or Ordinary Time
Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017
Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2017


...

Note: Link to all posts about St. Agnes Parish.


Monday, 20 February 2017

The Skill of Our Hands - Steven Brust and Skyler White - The Incrementalist Book 2

The Skill of Our Hands 
The Incrementalist Book 2
Steven Brust and Skyler White
Tor
ISBN 9780765382887
eISBN 9781466889736
ASIN B01HW6R2IM



I have been a fan of Brust's writing since I first started buying my own books. One of the things I love most about reading Steven Brust is you never know where he might take a story. And this one began in a way I really did not expect. Having love the first book The Incrementalists and both of the short stories set in this world, I can state I did not expect such a shakeup, or change in format. For The Incrementalists was told in alternating first person chapters. 

One thing that remains consistent through the majority of Brust's works is that he moves fast, throw curves at the readers, and is always willing to upturn the table. And he does all of that in the first few paragraphs of this book.

The Incrementalists, a secret society of around 200 people worldwide, have found a way to cheat death. They have found a way to transfer their memories into a recipient, and to remember their pervious lives. And they hope and try to use that skill and that experience to try and make things better. Now better is a nebulous word, and sometimes the group does not always have the same ideas of which way they should try and shape or influence things. 

This story begins with Phil being shot, actually being shot three times in the back. As his body is dying he is trying to save some memories in the garden for the other Incrementalists to use and to save his last memories. And soon the core leadership team of the Incrementalists are gathering in Arizona to find a replacement for Phil and get a handle on what he was working on. For they have realized that he was working on something to do with immigration, vigilante's and a militarized police force. (Sound familiar?)

This book was a race from the first page until I had finished it. It was a little hard getting comfortable with the new format. I really like the alternating chapters told in Phil and Ren's voice from book one. It also made it harder to know who wrote which parts of the book Brust of White. There is a saying that the sins of the father will visit the sons, in this book we must determine if Phil's sins of the past are being repeated now. And it comes down to a question of is it ok to kill?

 This book deals with a number of very serious issues the world faces today. But it does do in a fictional story that helps you to look at some of the issues from different angles. Yet with that being said it is a still a great piece of fiction. And really leaves the readers wondering where White and Brust will go next if there is a book three. If you are into speculative fiction this book and series will be great reads so give them a try.



Books by Steven Brust:
Vlad Taltos Publishing Order:
Jhereg (1983)
Yendi (1984)
Teckla (1987)
Taltos (1988)
Phoenix (1990)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Dragon (1998)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Jhegaala (2008)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (2017)
...

Vlad Taltos: Chronological Order:
Taltos (1988)
Dragon, main chapters (1998)
Yendi (1984)
Dragon, interludes (1998)
Tiassa, section 1 (2011)
Jhereg (1983)
Teckla (1987)
Phoenix (1990)
Jhegaala (2008)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Tiassa, section 2 (2011)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa, section 3 (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (2017)
...

The Khaavren Romances:
The Phoenix Guards (1991)
Five Hundred Years After (1994)
The Viscount of Adrilankha, published in three volumes:
The Paths of the Dead (2002)
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Sethra Lavode (2004)

Other Books:
Brokedown Palace (1986)
To Reign in Hell (1984)
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille (1990)
Agyar (1993)

Co Written:
The Gypsy (1992) with Megan Lindholm
Freedom & Necessity (1997) with Emma Bull

Incrementalist (with Skyler White):

Incrementalist Short Stories
Fireworks in the Rain - Steven Brust
Strongest Conjuration - Skyler White

Short Stories:
An Act of Contrition - Liavek (1985)
An Act of Trust - Liavek: The Players of Luck (1986)
A Dream of Passion - in the convention chapbook for Ad Astra (1986)
An Act of Mercy - Liavek: Wizard's Row (1987, with Megan Lindholm)
An Act of Love - Liavek: Spells of Binding (1988, with Gregory Frost and Megan Lindholm)
Csucskári - Excerpt from The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: First Annual Collection (1988)
A Hot Night at Cheeky's - Liavek: Festival Week (1990)
Looking Forward: Excerpt from Athyra in Amazing Stories, March (1993)
Attention Shoppers - Xanadu (1993)
Abduction from the Harem - in Timewalker Issue 14 (October 1996)
Drift - Space Opera (1996)
Valóság and Élet - in Sandman: Book of Dreams (1996)
Calling Pittsburgh - in Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny (1998)
When the Bow Breaks - The Essential Bordertown (1998)
The Man From Shemhaza - in Thieves' World: Enemies of Fortune (2004), reprinted in Year's Best Fantasy 5 (2005)
Klava with Honey - Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #4 (2005)
Chapter One - in Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #6 (2007)
The Desecrator - on tor.com (2011)
Fireworks in the Rain - on tor.com (2013)





Sunday, 19 February 2017

Sermons of St. Francis de Sales For Lent

Sermons of St. Francis de Sales For Lent
St. Francis de Sales
TAN Books
ISBN 9780895552600
ASIN B00ZD2N9LW



Over the last few years I have been reading more and more by and about St. Francis de Sales. This volume the third in this series of collected sermons focuses on Lend. These specific sermons in this collection were given in the year 1622. This series was originally published in 1987 and the eBook editions were released in 2015.

The topics for these specific sermons are:

 1. Fasting
 2. Temptation
 3. Faith
 4. Eternal Happiness
 5. Election and Reprobation
 6. Mutual Charity
 7. Proper Conduct in Illness
 8. God's Spiritual Providence
 9. Proper Fear of Death
10. Hearing the Word of God
11. Humility and Obedience
12. The Passion of our Lord and What It Means

These sermons were compiled from the Saints working notes, tests. And this collection highlights the Saints dedication as a Bishop to preach. We see his preaching style, and the sound presentation of theological truths. As a Bishop St. Francis de Sales preached 20 series over lent, and those in this collection were given to cloistered religious. But any reader today will see their value and how applicable they are to the life of any Christian. And this collection was taken from and translated from the Annecy edition of his sermons volume X.

In the introduction Rev. John A. Abruzzese, S.T.D. states: "The Lenten sermons which follow, translated by the Visitation Sisters and edited by Fr. Lewis Fiorelli, O.S.F.S., were obviously meant to be heard, not read. Therefore, a great part of St. Francis' "heart to heart" preaching which made them so effective is undeniably and regrettably lacking. However, the fact that these sermons result from the loving efforts of persons intimately living St. Francis de Sales' spirit, as his spiritual sons and daughters, can be perceived as something issuing from his own heart. If it were not for their labor of love, very few indeed would have even this opportunity of experiencing the personal charism of the saint." SO I took his words to heard and worked through this book twice. The first time I read through the book. The second time I used text to speech in the Kindle application to listen to the sermons. When reading the sermons there was an immediate impact, but when I took time and listened to the same sermon, I found it even more impactful. A few of the sermons I went back and listened to a second time after about a week because of the impact it had on me.

A few quotes from the sermon on Fasting  as samples of some of what you will encounter in this book.

"To treat of fasting and of what is required to fast well, we must, at the start, understand that of itself fasting is not a virtue. The good and the bad, as well as Christians and pagans, observe it. The ancient philosophers observed it and recommended it. They were not virtuous for that reason, nor did they practice virtue in fasting. Oh, no, fasting is a virtue only when it is accompanied by conditions which render it pleasing to God. Thus it happens that it profits some and not others, because it is not undertaken by all in the same manner."

"The first condition is that we must fast with our whole heart, that is to say, willingly, whole-heartedly, universally and entirely."

"It is thus reasonable that, in order to make our fast complete and meritorious, it should be universal, that is to say, practiced in both body and spirit. This is the first condition to be observed in order to fast well. The second condition is never to fast through vanity but always through humility."

This book was a wonderful read. It challenged me personally and I know it will do the same for you. I am thankful for having read and to be slowly applying the lessons from this Saint and Doctor of the church. And I look forward to the other three volumes in this series. I highly recommend this book and the series of 4.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Saint Francis de Sales:
Introduction to the Devout Life
The Sign of the Cross
The Art of Loving God
Roses Among Thorns
Finding God's Will for You

Sermons of St. Francis de Sales:
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales on Prayer
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales on Our Lady
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Lent
Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Advent and Christmas







Saturday, 18 February 2017

Hit the Ground Running - Mark Burley

Hit the Ground Running
Mark Burley
Blue Moon Publishers
ISBN 9781988279473
eISBN 9781988279480



This book was addictive from the first chapter. In some ways it reads like the 39 Clues, and in some ways it reads like Conspiracy 365 by Gabrielle Lord.  Or another way to maybe describe it would be a cross between a young Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne and Indiana Jones. And I do not throw out those three names lightly. This book has action, adventure, anthropology, archaeology and a mixing in of various mythologies and legends.

This book begins with Eric Bakker getting a video message from his older brother, it begins with "Eric-Mom and Dad are gone. I don't know what happened, but I'm going to find out." And ends with the sounds of a gunshot after a chase. And it seems like it is up to Eric to figure it out. Eric is at a new school in Canada, he has not made any friends yet, he has not even really tried. But between this message and his own uneasiness soon he finds he is relying on people he has just met and in much deeper than he ever expected.

In this first volume in the Hit The Ground Running Trilogy the action goes up and down the west coast, and then the climax is in Montana. Eric is our main protagonist but his new friend who joins him on the adventure is Tess Edwards, and she draws into their circle two geniuses Seth and Lakey Sawatzky. While Eric and Tess are gallivanting from Victoria to San Francisco and back the Lakey's are manning the computers, enhancing videos and photos and breaking into secure networks to help their friends out.

But this story is more than just grand adventure. There is a lot of internal dialogue as Eric tries to figure things out. Why he made the decisions he has made. How he is processing what is going on now. But there are some serious thugs, a very rich eccentric maybe bordering on madman, and some unknown forces all at play on the board. Soon Eric must make a choice about who to trust, even though his brother said to trust no one. For Eric is running out of options, all the key people he knew his parents trusted cannot be reached. So after figuring out where his brother is being held, and hoping his parents are there also, he must risk it all on a daring rescue.

The characters in this story are great. In fact the characters are one of the greatest strengths in the novel. But the pace of the action is also excellent, and the descriptions during some of the chase scenes, especially Eric's parkour, is thrilling and really helps transport the reader into the action. I average over 100 books a year, and this is an excellent fiction read. I know the marketing is towards the Young Adult but I am planning on giving it to my father who is 70 this year because I know he will love it. A great book and I look forward to the rest of the series!

Books by Mark Burley:
Hit the Ground Running Series:

Hit the Ground Running
Book 2 2018
Book 3 2019


Friday, 17 February 2017

Product Review - Q-bitz Game

Q-bitz
Visual Dexterity. Cubed.
Mind Ware
ASIN B01IN65NZE



I received this game a year ago for my birthday and from the day it entered the house it has been a family favorite. This is a great game for cognitive development. We have played it often. This game comes with:

4 game play trays
16 cubes of each color
80 Q-bitz cards

The box says it can be played with 2-4 players but you can play solo. The game also has 3 modes of play in the rules that come with the game:

Round one of this game is all about speed as players race to manipulate their cubes to copy the pattern on the Q-bitz pattern card.

Round two players roll all of their cubes on the table like dice. Then using the cubes as rolled players place as many cubes as possible in the tray to recreate the pattern shown on the card. And then it is a race to see who can complete the pattern card rerolling as many times as needed.

Round three really tests memory skills, players study the pattern card for ten seconds, flip it face down and then create the pattern from memory.

But the new Q-bitz Extreme has a fourth way to play and our family has a fifth which is most often used with our youngest.

Round four players race to do the reverse or negative image of the card.

Round five one player at a time creates a pattern, then the others race to copy the pattern.

This game is designed to teaches symmetry, help improve visual dexterity and provide friendly competition. It also stimulates the brain by use of spatial reasoning and memory skills. And it is super fun.

The other day I was wondering if they had release an expansion pack of cards for this game yet. When I went searching I found Q-bitz Solo Orange and Q-bitz Solo Magenta both of which come with an additional 20 unique cards that can be used for solo play or added into the base game back. I also found out there is a new Q-bitz Extreme that I have already picked up, and it is pretty amazing, but that is for another review!

Overall this is an amazing game the recommendation is that players be aged 8 and up, but we have played with our youngest even when she was 5 and it still works well. It is a lot of fun for the whole family. Can be taught in under a minute and is easy to introduce to new players or visitors to the house. They also have a classroom set that has 12 player trays and 120 cards, which would be great for larger families, or campus game nights. We absolutely love this game and hope that they release more expansion cards in the future!

Note: If you are local to Kitchener Waterloo you can get this and many other amazing games at J & J Super Store!


Games by Mind Ware:
Q-bitz
Q-bitz Solo Orange
Q-bitz Solo Magenta
Q-bitz Extreme
Q-bitz Classroom Set

Cool Circuits Puzzle








Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Archbishop and I: My Childhood Friend Fulton J. Sheen - Margo Weber Nassar

The Archbishop and I: My Childhood Friend Fulton J. Sheen:
Discover the personal side of this legendary Catholic archbishop in this newly revealed story!
Marguerite (Margo) Weber Nassar
ISBN 9781536856804
ASIN B01M8MLQBR



I have known about Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen for a number of years, but it has only been the last year that I have taken to reading his books. Having read a number of books by the Archbishop this one ended up recommended based on other reads, so I thought I would give it a try. It is a little volume but adds some interesting insight into the man and the legend that is Archbishop Sheen. In the preface the author states: "I never intended to write this. This short read began when I was writing my autobiography. The section on my childhood friendship with Archbishop Sheen, however, took on a life of its own. I realized I had written a piece shorter than a book and longer than an article-a perfect short read." And that is exactly what this little volume is.

Margo was a very lucky young lady, for at the age of 11 she encountered the Archbishop for the first time and he befriended her and her family. She says: "I was an eleven-year-old schoolgirl from Oregon when I had the good fortune to meet Fulton J. Sheen. We became friends and pen pals in his sunset years, and we connected in uncommon circumstances. With age, I began to understand how lucky I was to have met such a human being. I have heard it said that his combination of virtue, intellect, and charisma comes along about once a millennium."  About the chance encounter that sparked an unlikely friendship.

The sections in the book are:
Dedication
Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Section 1: Leaving Oregon
Section 2: Arriving in Virginia
Section 3: Visiting New York
Section 4: Coming Back to Virginia
Section 5: Returning to Oregon
Life Lessons
Epilogue
About Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Resources
Closing Message
About the Author

It is clear from reading this book that Margo had a special relationship with Archbishop Sheen. It is also clear that he continued to shape and have influence on her life after he had passed away. As a reader who is just beginning to really engage with Sheen's writings I found this book insightful, encouraging and at times very entertaining. From the story of their first encounter to 1974 when Sheen baptized Margo's little sister this is an encouraging story. Especially looking back almost 40 years after his passing, the image of Sheen as a media personality, as the first televangelist, as a theologian sometimes we lose sight of the person. This book brings Sheen back down to earth.  Like that friend of the family that is as close as blood. 

This book was a great little read, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the life or works of Archbishop Sheen. It will shed a little light on him that you may not get from other sources.


Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Fulton J. Sheen:
God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy
The Seven Last Words
Philosophy of Science
The Eternal Galilean
Calvary and the Mass
The Cross and the Beatitudes
Communism and the Conscience of the West
Peace of Soul
Three to Get Married
The World's First Love
Life Is Worth Living Series 1-5
Way to Happiness
Way to Inner Peace 
Life of Christ
Missions and the World Crisis
The Power of Love
Footprints in a Darkened Forest
Lenten and Easter Inspirations
You
Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen
God's World and Our Place In It

Books About Fulton J. Sheen:
The Archbishop and I
...