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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla The Gift of Life - Susan Helen Wallace and Patricia Edward Jablonski - Encounter the Saints Book 29

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
The Gift of Life
Encounter the Saints Series Book 29
Susan Helen Wallace
Patricia Edward Jablonski
Rick Powell (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819872388
eISBN 9781306806725
ASIN B007ZENASS



With each of the books I read in the Encounter the Saints Series, from Pauline Books and Media, I am more impressed with the series. There are currently 37 books in this series, including The Saints Pray for Us, and I have read about a third of them. I have read book 1 and book 36 and a sampling in between. I have been reading these books with my three children, but I must be honest and say I am reading them on my own. Because I cannot seem to stop reading these books, and I do not want to wait for the pace I am reading them at with my children. Every time I finish one I cannot wait to start the next. And a few of them have been read two or three times through now. The books in this series are written with a target audience of 9-12 year olds, and my 11 year old can read them without any difficulty, and my 9 year old needs help with some words. But Anyone who reads these book will have their faith enriched. But on to this specific book about Saint Gianna Beretta Molla.


This is a very powerful story about a strong female role model. Saint Gianna Molla is not your typical saint. She was a doctor, a wife, a mother. She appreciated fashion, she loved the outdoors. She worked hard at her medical practice and saw he medicine as being in the service of God. And then she had to face a very hard decision, she could save her own life and end that of the child growing in her, or risk her own life so that the child might live. 

For her it was not just a decision about a medical procedure. It was a matter of faith. The faith she had lived her whole life. The faith she had modeled in her practice. The faith she was instilling in her other children. She made a choice out of conscience as both a doctor and as a mother.



 The book contains 5 pencil drawings by Rick Powell. This is the only book in the series illustrated by Powell's. But He does a wonderful job. They include Gianna receiving her first communion. The birth of their first child, her treating a patient and two others. But you will need to read the book to find out what they are. 




This book shows us with following God in hard choices could mean. It also shows us a saint who lived in this last century, who lived a life of service and dedicated to God every day. In her work, in her family life and at play. The prayer to this saint in the book is:

Saint Gianna, you've taught us-not only with words, but through your example-some very important truths. One is that God wants all our families to be centers of love. Remind me that the love and understanding I practice in my own family can help to make the world a better place.
You've also shown us that every unborn baby is a precious and unrepeatable gift of God whose life should never be taken away. Saint Gianna, ask God that all people may come to understand and believe this. Remind me to pray every day for an end to abortion. I want to do what I can to respect and protect the life of each and every person because every human being has been created by God in his own image. 
Saint Gianna, you loved life. You knew it was a great gift. Help me to know what God wishes me to do with my life; to spend it well and for the good of others, just as you did. You found joy by trusting God in everything. Help me to do the same. Please pray for me. Amen.

This book as mentioned is part of the Encounter the Saints Series; from Pauline Books and Media. I have now read about a third of the series this year. This is another inspiring book in a wonderful series and I highly recommend both the book and the series. 

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

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

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




Monday, 24 July 2017

Crusader King A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades - Susan Peek

Crusader King
A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades
Susan Peek
TAN Books

ISBN 9780895557605
ASIN B00DJGBV1E



This was the third book I have read by Susan Peek over the last few months. I have been greatly impressed by them all. I loved Saint Magnus The Last Viking, and found it very well written. And her handling of mental illness and especially PTSD in The King's Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland was incredible. But this book was incredible. I could barely put it down. I devoured it in two sittings on the same day. And I must admit I went to bed much later than I should have for my alarm goes off at 5am to get up and ready for work. There was not a lot of sleep the night I finished this book!

I found it hard to categorize this book. It is historical fiction. So I count it as a fiction book. But so much actual history is woven into this book and it is so masterfully written I wish I could just call it history. This is the story of the “unusual life of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, the leper crusader king who - despite ascending to the throne at only 13, his early death at 24 and his debilitating disease - performed great and heroic deeds in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.” It is the story of faith, a story of friendship, and a story of how Christianity loses its way when corruption spreads within its ranks. From my university church history courses I was familiar with the basics of this story. But most of all it is the story of a man who sought to do God’s will no matter the personal cost and no matter the odds. For Baldwin IV obedience, trust, faith, and courage were the hallmarks of his life and his reign.      

This book is published as teen fiction, but I know many adults who would love to read this book. The facts in this story will remind us that with faith and obedience we can accomplish the impossible. As mentioned this book is very very well written. I average over 100 books a year and this was one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read. It is right up there with Jack Whyte’s Sky Stone series a retelling of King Arthur, and Taylor R. Marshall’s Sword and the Serpent a retelling of Saint George’s life. This is masterful writing and any fan of history, historical fiction or even just great fiction reads will love this book. My only concern is that there are not a lot of Peek’s books left for me to read, I can only hope she publishes more for us to read soon. 

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

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

The King's Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland


Sunday, 23 July 2017

20 Answers Witchcraft & the Occult - Michelle Arnold - 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers

20 Answers Witchcraft & the Occult
20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers Press

ISBN 9781683570431
eISBN 9781683570455



This was a harder book to read, and to write a review of. Because of stuff in the part, because of family history this book cuts very close to the heart. This book is one of three that was added to the 20 Answers Series in the spring of 2017. The author who contributes to numerous Christian or Catholic websites has written a very grounded book, on a topic most will dispel with a wave of the hand. Though personally not an easy read, I consider this another important book that I believe all Christians could learn from. And yes I know this book will open a can of worms in many a life, family, parish or community. But the information in this book is too valuable to be ignored by Christians in this age. 

The 20 Questions answered in this volume are:
1. What is witchcraft?
2. Are Wicca and witchcraft different words for the same thing?
3. Are witches Satanists?
4. What does the Church say about witchcraft?
5. Did the Church burn witches during the Middle Ages?
6. Is Halloween really a holy day for witches?
7. In what kinds of practices do witches engage?
8. Is witchcraft dangerous?
9. What do I do if I have dabbled in witchcraft?
10. What can I do if my child or friend is experimenting with witchcraft?
11. What is the occult?
12. What do mediums do?
13. What does the Church say about divination?
14. Can Catholics use the Ouija board?
15. Is yoga a pathway to the occult?
16. What are the dangers of magical and occult content in popular culture?
17. Is there such a thing as ghosts?
18. Can I watch ghost hunter shows on TV, go to a haunted house, or take part in ghost hunts?
19. Should psychics be consulted to help solve crimes?
20. What do I do if I think I am a psychic?

The Introduction of this book states:
"Interest in witchcraft and occult practices is on the rise in our culture. Movies and TV shows feature witches, ghosts, vampires, and werewolves. Bookstores are filled not just with depictions of fantasy worlds in which these creatures exist, but also with how-to manuals for casting spells and discovering your inner goddess. There are groups on social media for practitioners of the occult and conventions around the country for devotees.But do you know what witches actually believe and how they practice it? Do you know what to do if your child professes an interest in witchcraft or starts to play with a Ouija board or tarot cards? Do you know what the Church teaches on witchcraft and the occult? Can you answer charges that the Church burned witches during the Middle Ages?This booklet introduces you to what witches believe and to some of their common practices. It also delves into related topics, such as yoga, the Ouija board, and the work of psychics.Witchcraft and occult activity have been around for hundreds of years-possibly thousands. When people live in uncertain times, they begin to worry that God does not hear their prayers, and so they seek other ways of gaining the knowledge they need to take control of their lives. Recourse to witchcraft and the occult is, primarily, a sign of despair of the goodness of God.In responding to the claims of witchcraft and the occult, it is important not to give in to fear, or to attribute to practitioners more power than they have. It is also important to remember that they are ordinary people leading ordinary lives, and, in many cases, that they hope to find in these practices the means to make the world a better place. It is our task, as Christians, to be ready with the information and assistance that can help them find a safe path to the peace and union with the Divine that they crave."
So many people today turn to other sources seeking power, well-being, health or an advantage in life. The premise of this book is that our job as Christians, as Catholics is to be able to understand the person, and be able to answer them and show them the way to God, and to a practice of faith that leads to life. This book presents a lot of hard facts, and any Christian who wants to bury their heads in the sand about the occult and witchcraft is failing those ensnared by these practices. This book highlights the fact that we should not fear the practices, but we should also not sensationalize them. It does a good job of walking that line.

This is one of the shorter books in the series coming in at an even 60 pages. But the author draw from 70 references in her answers to the 20 Questions. It is an important read. A good book in a great series.

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

Note 2: Currently this series of books is being offered at a 50% discount so get it while you can. That is right you can get all 23 physical books or all 23 eBooks for just $39.95! If you want a way to go deeper this year give this series a try! 


#20AnswersChallenge




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 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
...

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Product Review - Organic Goji Berries - Viva Naturals

Organic Goji Berries
Viva Naturals
ASIN B00PWW3LQ6




This was one of a number of Viva Naturals products I recently got in order to test and review. Overall I have been very impressed with the products. And see them becoming staples in my working towards health and nutrition goals. Viva Naturals is a company was founded in 2011, they strive to be an all-around health and wellness company. Their products range from nutritional supplements, organic food, beauty products, and essentials oils. Their focus is to help you with your wellness goals, and now thankfully, they are expanding into the Canadian market place. And these Goji Berries are awesome. I have tried them numerous times and am almost done my first 1 pound bag of them, but it will not be my last!

How I tested this product:
Straight up
In Smoothies
Added to Salads
In a trail mix blend

Product Specifics:
Gluten Free
Non-GMO
Vegan
Certified Organic

Now I must state, my three children ages 10 and under were willing to give these a try. Both of my daughters love them straight up. Every time I pull the bag out to make a smoothie, the girls ask for some and eat a small handful each. The girls also love them in smoothies. They are also really good in a trial mix with nuts and seeds and the Viva Cacao Nibs. I am currently snacking on these, the cacao nibs, with macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds as a mix for afternoon snack.

Pros:
Great taste
Convenient
Versatile

Cons:
The foil pouch tears from the rough dried berries
The reseal feature on the pouch does not work well

The packaging is the only real drawback of this product, it just does not reseal properly, and I have noticed that on a number of Viva products. My workaround is to put in inside a different container, but would really like to see that resolved. But I still give it 5 stars based on the product itself and not the issues with the package. 

Prior to giving these a try I have never had Goji berries at home that did not come mixed with something else; either in tea or prepackaged salad kits. I love the sweet-tart taste that they have. And they are very versatile. I know I will be experimenting with more ways to add them into my diet. Since these products are now available in Canada through the Amazon Marketplace, it is easy to stay stocked up. I highly recommend these berries, and to be honest all of the Viva products that I have tested to date! 


Viva Naturals Reviews:
Supplements and Nutritional:
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 16 Ounce
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 32 Ounce
Organic Ground Flax Seed
Organic Goji Berries
Maca Powder
Coconut Flour: Non-GMO and Gluten-Free
Royal Quinoa Whole Grain
Chia Seeds
Organic Raw Cacao Nibs

Cacao Powder
Krill Oil 1250 milligram



Essential Oil Difusers:

Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 300ml, Ash Zen Model
Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 400ml, Pine Tranquil Model
Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 400ml, Espresso Tranquil Model






Friday, 21 July 2017

The Old Evangelization - Eric Sammons - How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did

The Old Evangelization:
How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did
Eric Sammons
Catholic Answers Press
ISBN 9781683570301
eISBN 9781683570325
ASIN B072HMZLG6




This book is a brilliant read. Eric writes in such an engaging manner that once you start reading you will have a hard time putting the book down. The main premise of the book is that the personal touch is the best method for lasting evangelization. Eric writes extensively from personal experience; both his experiences evangelizing from within and outside of the Catholic Church. This book is called the Old Evangelization because; it uses Jesus as the main example. It takes the way that Jesus’s ministry worked and translates those into examples that can be tools for us to use in our own life. It does this with plenty of personal and ministry team examples.

Part of the description for the book states:

“It seems like every day somebody comes out with a new trick for bringing people into the Faith. Mixing pop psychology with spiritual fads and marketing jargon, these techniques seem to last only until the next big idea comes around. And despite their hype, they usually don’t win many souls. 
As a diocesan director of evangelization, Eric Sammons saw a lot of these trends come and go, without bearing fruit, until one day he finally had enough. If we’re serious about spreading the gospel, he thought, the first place we should look is to the original master evangelist: Jesus himself.”

And that is really the greatest strength of the book. Eric’s examples of things that have worked well, and also some tat did not go as planned. By using Jesus as the blueprint Eric gets to the heart of the matter. Because of that Christ centered focus the Sections in this book are:

Introduction: An Evangelizing Man
Getting Started

1 Jesus Commands His Disciples to Evangelize
2 Jesus Teaches the Value of Prayer
3 Jesus Does More than Welcome Others

Overcoming Doubts
4 Jesus Sometimes Fails to Bring About Conversion
5 Jesus Makes the Impossible Possible

Joining the Battle
6 Jesus Confronts the Devil
7 Jesus Refuses to Tolerate Sin
8 Jesus Doesn’t Water Down His Teachings

Being a Truly Catholic Evangelist
9 Jesus Proclaims the Fullness of the Faith
10 Jesus Brings About Repentance
11 Jesus Arouses Our Reverence

Conclusion: Jesus, Model Evangelist
About the Author: Eric Sammons


This book begins with these words from Eric:

“If you’re reading this book, you’re interested in evangelization. Perhaps you know that Christ commanded it, but you have no idea how to do it. Perhaps the thought of it makes you nervous, or even downright terrified. I’m here to remind you that evangelizing is an essential task for Catholics, and our Lord never gives us a task we can’t perform. You don’t need a degree in theology, and you don’t need to be an eloquent speaker. You just need to have a love for Christ and a desire to tell others about him.”
And the rest of the book goes on to explain how to do that. One of the paragraphs in the book that I believe is central to the book and to Catholic Evangelization states:
“When it comes to evangelization, many Catholics feel insecure when they compare themselves with Evangelicals, whose very name declares their desire to bring people to Jesus. So we borrow their methodology, thinking we’ll just stick the “Catholic stuff” in at the end. This approach is fundamentally flawed. It assumes that Catholicism is merely “Protestantism Plus.” But in fact, all that “Catholic stuff”—including doctrines such as the Eucharist and the perpetual virginity of the Mary—is essential to the Christian faith. How, for instance, can one teach about Christ’s passion and death without teaching also about our participation in that passion and death during the Mass? Reception of the holy Eucharist is not incidental to the Christian life—it is indispensable: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). Doctrine matters.”
And as Catholic’s that last point must remain central. Doctrine does matter and we cannot water down the message to the point that it is no longer the Good News. We must be prepared for failures, for people who will not respond, maybe even people who will respond negatively. The results are not up to us. But our obedience is our responsibility. This book concludes with these words:
“We too have been called to convert the world. Like Jesus, we may never travel much beyond our birthplace, and may never interact deeply with more than a few hundred people. Yet if we model ourselves on Jesus, we can have a life-changing impact on those around us. 
You have a circle of influence—your family, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, even the people you bump into regularly at the grocery store. You can use this influence to direct people toward Christ and his Church, or you can use it to direct people away from them. If you follow the example of Jesus and the principles of the great Catholic evangelizers of the past, as outlined in this book, you can have as profound an influence as Christ’s first followers, who transformed a pagan culture into a Christian one and saw countless souls turn away from the path of destruction to the path of eternal life in Jesus Christ. 
Now let’s get started!”
So pick up the book, give it a read and get started.

In the past year I have read 28 books from Catholic Answers. They have so amazing books for helping you understand your faith, and to be prepared to share it.

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

Books by Eric Sammons:
Holiness for Everyone: The Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva
Who Is Jesus the Christ?: Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew
The Old Evangelization: How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did
Be Watchful: Resist the Adversary, Firm in Your Faith
The Jesse Tree: An Advent Devotion
Bitcoin Basics: 101 Questions and Answers

Fiction:
The Profession

Contributed to:
Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue

Other reviews of books from Catholic Answers.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Asking for Prayer for 2 Specific Intentions

Asking for Prayer for 2 Specific Intentions

One for myself and one for my youngest brother. 



Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Journeys with Mary Apparitions of Our Lady - Zerlina De Santis - Encounter the Saints Series Books 9

Journeys with Mary
Apparitions of Our Lady
Encounter the Saints Series Book 9
Zerlina De Santis 
Edwin Lebel (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819839725



At the time of writing this review I have read this book three times now; once by myself, once with my youngest and once with my middle child. With each reading I have a greater appreciation for the book. Even in my years away from the Catholic Church I always had a closeness to Mary, and this book has been a wonderful read for me and my children. 

The chapters in this volume are:
A Note to the Readers
Our Lady of Mount Carmel - 1251
Our Lady of Guadalupe - 1531
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal   - 1830  
Our Lady of La Salette - 1846
Our Lady of Lourdes - 1858
Our Lady of Knock - 1879
Our Lady of Fatima - 1916
Our Lady of Beauraning - 1932
Our Lady of Banneux - 1933
Prayer
Glossary




From the introduction it states:
 "Mary, the Mother of God, has appeared on earth many times and in many different places down through the centuries. She has been called by different titles in different parts of the world. But whenever she has come, Mary has taught us that the way for us to reach God is to follow her Son Jesus.
This book presents the stories of nine apparitions of the Blessed Virgin that have been approved by the Church. These stories demonstrate that Mary continues to watch over and protect us from heaven. Her greatest desire is to lead each of us to God."

And these stories will do just that. The will draw us closer to God through Mary. My children loved that Mary appeared to so many other children. At church on Sunday's they often ask to go an pray at a statue of Mary and after making the sign of the cross, kiss their fingers and touch Mary's feet. This book helped them draw closer to Mary and prayerfully through her to Jesus and the Father. 



It is great that this book focuses upon only approved apparitions of Mary. And they are also in chronological order, rather than order of current popularity. I was aware of many of these appearances, but not all. Hearing Mary's messages down through the ages, and learning to live more fully for God is what I and my children take away from this book. 



My children also loved the wonderful pencil illustrations by Edwin Lebel. I would love to have one of them enlarged to put up on my girls wall. I think trying to dray Mary or Jesus might be the most ambitious task an artist attempts.  But the illustrations in this volume are wonderful. As is the prayer at the end of the book.



Prayer:
"Virgin Mary, Mother of God, you are also our heavenly Mother. 
Thank you for having appeared on earth at different times and places. Your visits have reminded us all the sure way to reach God is to live as your Son Jesus has taught us - in love and obedience to the Gospel. 
You've also asked us to pray for ourselves and the whole world. You've shown us that prayer can change everything! I want to pray, Blessed Mother. Please teach me how. Lead me to Jesus, and help me to bring him to others in whatever ways I can. 
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me! 
Amen."
This book is part of the Encounter the Saints Series, from Pauline Books and Media. I have read about a third of the series already this year. Most of the books are about specific Saints. This one and one on prayer are the two odd one's out. But they complement the series so well. My only regret about this one is that there is no eBook edition, but most in the series are available electronically. This is another incredible book in a wonderful series. 

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

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

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




Tuesday, 18 July 2017

In Front Of My House - Marianne Dubuc and Yvette Ghione

In Front Of My House
Marianne Dubuc
Yvette Ghione (Translator)
Kids Can Press
ISBN 9781554536412



This book is not a typical picture book. It is nearly a perfect square. It is much longer than many picture books. But the story leads from one thing to another as it build and builds. My youngest daughter loves this book. She read it at school and insisted that we find it and read it together. The story starts with a little house on a hill, then a bush in front of the house, and a bird in the bush. It is good for the age level, and teaches special concepts but lacks a little for adult staying power.  Any books my children love reading is a hit in our house. Even if the book was not quite 5 stars in my books.


Monday, 17 July 2017

Roland West, Loner - Theresa Linden - The West Brothers Book 1

Roland West, Loner
The West Brothers Book 1
Theresa Linden
Linden Publishing
ISBN 9780996816847

eISBN 9781311704856
ASIN B01ASFJEFI



In the last month I have read 6 novels and published short stories by Theresa Linden, but this book was the one that started it. I have been greatly impressed by her writing. In a different review I compared Linden's writings to Madeleine L'Engle and Lois Lowry and the more of her writings I read the more I stand by that statement. If we were to do a side by side comparison between L'Engle's main series and Linden's then the Chasing Liberty Series would be the Kairos series and the West Brothers would be the Chronos series. And this book is a magnificent read. 

The West brothers are not exactly what you would call normal. First they live in a castle. Second they have travelled the world on digs before their mother passed away. They have had tutors, and keep horses. And until this year few people in town knew anything about them and their family. Roland hates public school and the only thing keeping him going is plans of going on a trip with his father. Bat his desires and plans are about to have a huge wrench thrown into them and the person throwing that wrench is the older of his older twin brothers Jarret.  But sometimes great things come from adversity. 

This time the adversity brings change. And though change is not always wanted, it is truly what Roland and to be honest both of his brothers, Jarret and Keefe. For out of this Roland will have his first real friends, Peter Brandt and Caitlyn Summer. But for someone who has never really had friends, making friends and learning to trust might prove to be a very hard thing to do. But when you combine all of that with a mysterious ancient box, a notebook in a different language and some relics and things are about to get real interesting. 

This book was an incredible read. Before I had even finished it I had picked up a few of Linden's other books to have in my pile of books to be read. The more of Linden's writings that I read the more I want to read.  This is an excellent book by an amazing author so check it out. 

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

Books by Theresa Linden:
Chasing Liberty Series:

01 Chasing Liberty
02 Testing Liberty
03 Fight For Liberty
Bound to find Freedom - Short Story

West brothers Series:
Roland West Loner
Life-Changing Love
Battle for His Soul

Other Books:
A Symbol of Hope - Short Story
A Battle for the Faith (with John Paul Wohlscheid)






Sunday, 16 July 2017

Celebrating 2000 Posts

Celebrating 2000 Posts!


When I started this blog it was an archive of book reviews appearing in print, but for those who did not have access to Imprint. The first publication I wrote reviews for. Over the years I have write for numerous publications, and published hundreds of book reviews and a number of feature articles. With my dual form of dyslexia I never expected to be a writer, so I am very happy to have posted my 2000th post yesterday. Thank you to my readers, to the publishers and authors I have worked with. Looking forward to the next 2000 and I hope it wont take the 12 years to get the first one. 

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Product Review - Viva Naturals Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Espresso Tranquil Model

Viva Naturals Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser
Espresso Tranquil Model
Viva Naturals
ASIN B01MRXUVKA




I recently picked up three different diffusers from Viva Naturals to try. I already had two makes at home but was attracted to the design and style of the Viva diffusers and this specific style. I have been using this at home for over a week now, and it is a hit. My kids love this one. One of the things I really like about this one is the larger capacity. Most of the other diffusers I have tried have between 200-300ML basins and this one has a 400ml basin. After filling it the first time I ran it for almost 18 hours before having to add water.

The features the product boasts are:

Helps You Experience Aromatherapy's Health-Boosting Benefits
Enhance your mood, fight mold and pathogens, relieve sinus ailments, improve energy and focus and savor other wonderful benefits that aromatherapy has to offer.

Elegant Wood Grain Finish
Espresso-brown, flower vase-like design looks beautiful and enhances any room

Whisper-Quiet
The diffuser is extremely quiet with very little operating noise. You'll never be disturbed at work or while sleeping.

Sensory-Boosting Lights
Choose from 7 different LED modes to match your mood and create a powerful experience that soothes all your senses.

Automatic Shut-Off
The diffuser automatically shuts off once all the oil is dispersed. So you'll never have to worry about forgetting to turn it off.

4 Mist Modes
Diffuse and unwind at your own pace. Viva Naturals' Ultrasonic Diffuser disperses cool, aromatic, energizing, and calming oil droplets at 1-, 3- and 6-hour intervals, and includes a continuous mist cycle that runs up to 12 hours.

90-Day, 100% Money Back Guarantee
We offer a full 90-day, 100% money-back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with your diffuser for any reason during the first 90 days, simply return it and we'll refund you 100% of the price you paid. You risk nothing.

And to be honest it lives up to them. Or at least the ones I can verify. A few people have comment on the style and design of it since we got it. It works really well. The kids love that there are 7 colors to choose from or to allow it to rotate through them. The only real drawback is that the lids does not firmly affix, it just sits in the basin, so if it is knocked the is usually a mess. A good product, at a good price point, that was immediately a favourite with the whole family. 

Viva Naturals products are now available in Canada currently through the Amazon Marketplace. 



Viva Naturals Reviews:
Supplements and Nutritional:
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 16 Ounce
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 32 Ounce
Organic Ground Flax Seed
Organic Goji Berries
Maca Powder
Coconut Flour: Non-GMO and Gluten-Free
Royal Quinoa Whole Grain
Chia Seeds
Organic Raw Cacao Nibs

Cacao Powder
Krill Oil 1250 milligram



Essential Oil Difusers:

Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 300ml, Ash Zen Model
Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 400ml, Pine Tranquil Model
Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 400ml, Espresso Tranquil Model






Friday, 14 July 2017

The Profession: Faith, Friendship, Which Would You Choose? - Eric Sammons

The Profession:
Faith, Friendship, Which Would You Choose?
Eric Sammons
Saragossa Press
ASIN B073S6WJGG





This is an incredible short story. And to be honest I really hope it will be part of a larger series. I read one of Eric's non-fiction books half dozen years ago. When I got the chance to get some of his newer writings I jumped at it. It was not until I started it that I realized that this book is a short story. It is very well written and could be the beginning of a series or even between books. The world is so well planned out and crafted.

The description of the book is:

"It's 2049: a union of Islamic caliphates controls Europe, and a similar incursion is reaching the shores of America.

Philip Russell just wants to see the sights in Washington before returning home to his loving fiancée. Instead, he soon finds himself caught up in a violent clash of cultures that quickly becomes personal. With the whole world watching, he'll have to make a choice: faith or friendship."

And in one of those cases where you hope and pray that life does not imitate art, this book sis set in a very different future. In this future an Islamic caliphate controls all of Europe except England. Pope Gregory XVII is in residence in England, and the popes have been in exile since 2037 and the overthrow of the legitimate Italian government. It is the story of a friendship that has lasted nearly a lifetime, it is the story of one man's faith, and it is the story of what might yet be.

I read on average well over 100 books a year. And I love short stories that fit in series either before the main books, or between that as is becoming so popular. This is an incredible short story, and though currently it is standalone the world that Sammons's has crafted could easily stand up for many books on either side of this story. This is a great little read. In fact it was so good that as soon as I finished it I went back and reread it again. I have been thinking about it non-stop for hours and know that it will stay with me a long time. And as soon as I finished this story I started reading one of Eric's non-fiction books and it is just as amazing. I highly recommend this short story and it is available for an amazing price! So give it and try and let me know what you think.


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

Books by Eric Sammons:
Holiness for Everyone: The Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva
Who Is Jesus the Christ?: Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew
The Old Evangelization: How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did
Be Watchful: Resist the Adversary, Firm in Your Faith
The Jesse Tree: An Advent Devotion
Bitcoin Basics: 101 Questions and Answers

Fiction:
The Profession

Contributed to:

Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue


Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis - The Chronicles of Narnia

The Magician's Nephew
Chronicles of Narnia Book #6 Publication order
Chronicles of Narnia Book #1 Chronological Order
C.S. Lewis Harper Collins
ISBN 9780064471107 
eISBN 9780061974168 
ASIN B001I45UF2





I have read this book, and series about a dozen times over the last 30 years. But this past winter my son who was in grade 3 brought it home from school. Sitting at the table after school he read almost the entire first chapter to me and his little sister. He only needed help with some names. I was amazed and we read the whole book in just a few days. After that first reading we alternated pages as we read the book. I did not read this book until my first year of university and it is amazing to be reading it with my children.

I know a number of people who do not like this book. But to be honest I love it. My son loved it also. Asking my son about what he liked best, he loved that a normal horse became a Pegasus, he loved that Digory Kirke on a number of occasions had to choose between an easy way and the right way and chose the right. He also really liked the adventure and even exploring of Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer. The themes in this book are similar to Lewis's Perelandra in that it is a new world and prior to a fall. But in this instance it is damaged and broken by the intrusion of people from our world. 

I always wondered why Polly only appears in 2 of the seven books in the series and yet Digory appears in 4. In some ways it seems like Polly was an afterthought. Polly only appears in the last two books in the publication order. Where Digory appears in the first, third, sixth , and seventh volumes. Though I must say Digory is one of my favorite characters, beaten out only by Aslan and Puddleglum, who we only encounter in The Silver Chair.

This book is an origin story. It tells us the beginnings of Narnia and also about the spaces between worlds or passages between them. It is a wonderful fantasy novel. The scene of the creation of Narnia is stunning and I am moved every time I read it. Since the first time I read it, I have hoped to happen upon a lamppost in the middle of a woods, and wonder just maybe.

I have read the series in both the chronological order and in the publication order. My older box set has the books in the publication order, and the box set I bought for my son after reading this one has them in chronological order. I prefer reading it in publication order, but as mentioned am reading it with my children in chronological order. 

This is a good read an part of an incredible series. And I am thankful my son brought it home and we started reading it together. It is so much more fun reading it with children.

Books by C.S. Lewis
Narnia Publication Order:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy
The Last Battle

Narnia Chronological Order:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle

Other Reviews of Lewis's Books.
A Grief Observed
The Four Loves
Out of the Silent Planet
Perelandra
That Hideous Strength
The Dark Tower and Other Stories