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Friday, 25 September 2020

Prayer of the Day Saint Edmund Arrowsmith Prayer

Saint Edmund Arrowsmith Prayer

Jesus, grant us the virtues of courage & prudence so we may live and 
profess your Gospel to the people of our time. As your Holy Spirit 
guided St Edmund in his ministry, so may the same Spirit be our Lord 
and Teacher in all we do.

Saint Edmund Arrowsmith Pray for us. 
Amen.

Reviews of books about Edmund Arrowsmith:
...

Relates posts and links:
For other "Prayer of the Day" posts.
...



Thursday, 24 September 2020

Robots Revolt - Dustin Brady - Trapped in a Video Game Book 2

Robots Revolt
Trapped in a Video Game Book 3
Dustin Brady
Jesse Brady (Illustrator)
Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN 9781449494896
eISBN 9781449496128
ASIN B07B8CMRQL


We have now read three books in this excellent series. And with each volume the series gets better. We picked up the first book in this series, Trapped in a Video Game, after my son started reading it with his cousins. They read every night before bed and he was hooked after the first few chapters. We picked up the eBook as soon as we were home, and my son devoured it. My son was enjoying them so much we picked up the whole series. He reads to me from his iPod and I follow on my iPhone. My son read this to me as part of his daily reading. He often reads well beyond the minimum 20 minutes a day, when reading this series, because he wants to finish the chapter, or find out what happens next. We are well into book four. Any book that inspires my son to keep reading when the timer goes off is a big winner in my opinion. And because of that it got a solid 5/5 stars from both of us.

This is the third installment in a five-book series. We are a little late to the game, in that the whole series has already been released. It just means we can read them back to back. The story was first self published in 2016, then picked up and published in 2018 by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

This is a story about friendship, about video games, and about survival. But in this one instead of being inside the video games, the video game has escaped into the real world. Jesse Rigsby really does not like video games. His best friend is Eric Conrad loves games and cannot wait to play the latest and greatest. They have rescued their friend Mark from a game, and possible death. And their new friend Sam a gamer from down under. In this volume Eric is the one needing rescue. He has been captured by Robots and though Jesse intends to go after him alone, Mark and Sam follow him into the fray. And soon they are working through the game that Sam had been plying. But they soon find out that because she played on the hardest level she had not finished it. They need to find a way to do some research to figure out what the Robots are up to and try and figure out where they will do it. 

In this story there will be a crazy rollercoaster like tide ion an underground mine. A hot air balloon, a Rocketship. And Robots, robots, robots. Including a giant Goliatron. 

But to find out if the trio can rescue Eric, or if the story continues into volume four you will need to read this fast-paced action-packed story. The story is fun. The action almost non-stop. And the characters after three volumes are becoming like old friends. And you will want to have book 4 on hand to keep reading the series. The story is so good my youngest daughter has started listening to her brother read me the stories. 

Another great read in an excellent series. Our family gives it top marks and highly recommends the book and the series!

Books by Dustin Brady:
Superhero for a Day


Trapped in a Video Game Series:
Trapped in a Video Game
The Invisible Invasion
Robots Revolt
Return to Doom Island
The Final Boss


Leila & Nugget Series:
Who Stole Mr. T?
Bark at the Park
The Case with no Clues


Life Lessons Series:
A Marathon Is Really Long When You Have to Pee
Black Friday Is for Suckers
Dogs Ain't Dumb
How to Tell Off a Telemarketer


Escape from a Video Game Series:
The Secret of Phantom Island







Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Frightliner and Other Tales of the Supernatural - Karina Fabian and Colleen Drippe

Frightliner and Other Tales of the Supernatural
Karina Fabian
Laser Cow Press
ISBN 9781733447164
ASIN B08FHCKLNP


Over the last several weeks I have read 3 novels, and 2 collections of short stories edited by Karina Fabian. Prior to that there had been a n 8 year gap in my reading one of her offerings. That was my loss. And I am making up for lost time. I cannot seem to put her books down. Now I need to note that there are 2 editions of this volume, the original was released in 2010 and this new edition was released in 2020. This new one contains the following stories:

Frighliner
The Lobby
Accidental Undeath
The Women of Rattlesnake Hill
My Big, Fat Zombie Wedding

The original edition only contains the first three stories. So even if you have read the previous version it is worth picking up again for the 2 extra stories. This is a fantastic collection of frightful tales. Some dark and disturbing and some very humorous. I have read much by Fabian, but I believe this is the first I have read by Drippe. But for both it will not be the last. I have already picked up 2 other volumes from Fabian and added one by Drippe to my wish list.

The title story was cowritten by the two authors, and from there the stories alternate authors. I loved the first story. A haunted rig, prowling the highways and byways. Seeking victims, and needing to be fed. A man of faith, a lawman, and a roadside church. The story brings to mind the Tarantino’s from Dusk to Dawn, but with a different twist. It is an excellent work, that I would love to see expanded into a novel. More of the backstory and history. It is excellently written. I also wonder if the two hunters go on to more adventures. Would love to come back to these characters in a future offering.

The second story will leave you thinking. Thinking about what matters. And What things cost. About what you would be willing to give, or what you are willing to lose. It is a story that needs more than one reading. But having read both editions of this book I find I find myself like the gentleman, sitting waiting, thinking. What is the lobby you are in?

Accidental undeath. Wow, a vampire truck driver. Desperate to save a young woman his rig hit. Remembering his own conversion. And debating what is best. Desperate to make a good choice even in in his current state. 

The women of Rattlesnake Hill know how to take care of business. There have been issues since they settled here and the women know how to deal with it and pass on that knowledge. And the women keep the men in the dark. They work together to do what must be done. Even when it is not easy or pleasant. 

I will be honest, I laughed out loud twice while reading this story. I could see this being done as an episode of Strange Stories or the Twilight Zone. Taking her boyfriend home and stating:

“Mortimer—Mort—is... life-challenged.”

But boy oh boy where this story will take you. Another excellent read from the creative pen of Fabian.

Overall a great collection of the strange, spooky, scary, and wacky. 5 great stories to entertain and amuse. Well worth picking up, but make sure you get the new edition, so you get the 2 extra stories. And settle in with a coffee, mug or beer or glass of wine for an evening of tales of the strange and supernatural.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Karina Fabian:
Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life
Discovery
Perfect Ten
Frightliner


Dex Hollister Series:

The Old Man and the Void
Dex's Way
...

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Series :
Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
I Left My Brains in San Francisco
Shambling in a Winter Wonderland


DragonEye Pi Series:

Magic, Mensa and Mayhem 
Live and Let Fly
Greater Treasures: A DragonEye Novella
Murder Most Picante


Space Traipse Series:
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 1
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 2
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 3


Mind Over Series:
Mind Over Mind
Mind Over Psyche
Mind Over All
Hearts Over Mind


Edited by: Karina Fabian:
Infinite Space, Infinite God I
Leaps of Faith
Infinite Space, Infinite God II


Contributed to:
Firestorm of Dragons
The Zombie Cookbook
The Book of Tentacles
Twisted Fayrie Tales
FRIGHTLINER: And Other Tales of the Undead
Mother Goose is Dead
Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Corrupts Absolutely? Dark Metahuman Fiction
Weird Noir
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels
Manifesto UF
Avenir Eclectia
Planetary Anthology: Jupiter
Planetary Anthology: Pluto
Planetary Anthology: Luna
Planetary Anthology: Uranus
FlagShip Science Fiction and Fantasy v2i5
My Little Book of Headdesks
To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity
...


Books by Dolleen Drippe:
Sunrise on the Icewolf
Mystery at Miner's Creek
Frightliner and Other Tales of the Supernatural
...

Star Brothers Adventures:
Godcountry
Vessel of Darkness
Treelight
Gelen
Vessel of Darkness
...

Contributed to:
Glimring Night and Other Tales of Fantasy (Dark Regions #4)
...



 Original Cover

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

If You Can Get It - Brendan Hodge

If You Can Get It 
ISBN 9781621643456
eISBN 9781642291278
ASIN B08CPZC9RL
 

This book took me by surprise. Once I started, I could hardly put it down. I read it in three sittings over three days, but most of it was read in one sitting, while the kids were out on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I just sat in a chair in the sun and read. There has a been a lot of great fiction coming out from Ignatius Press over the last few year, like Ceremony of Innocence by Dorothy Cummings McLean or Do No Harm by  Fiorella De Maria. And in general a lot of great Catholic fiction, and this reminded me of some of the works of Carolyn Astfalk. This story is very well written for a debut novel. And I know I will pick up anything else released by Brendan Hodge. 

The story is much like books in Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘Chronos’ stories, in that its as she stated: defined as "ordinary, wrist-watch, alarm-clock time." Or as can be restated realistic fiction. And this is the fiction of life. Of learning, growing, discovering. It is fiction that will likely cause you to reflect upon your own life, and those of your close friends. And it is fiction that will inspire and uplift. Even if it begins a bit rough. It is the story of family, friendship, career, and figuring out what matters most for you in life. 

The main part of the story focuses on two sisters. Two very different sisters. Jen Nilsson has her MBA, a series of every more important jobs, a great condo, sleek BMW. And she hopes is weeks away from the coveted Director title at work. Katie is her younger sister who shows up on her door after not being able to hack being back home after college. She seems to lack direction, focus, and even basic responsibility. But as we all know, life does not always go according to plan. And soon Jen’s life is turned upside down, a corporate buyout, being laid off, and a new role she is hesitant about all lead to a horrendous long business trip to China. But after weeks abroad she finds some clarity on the long flight home. She makes some decisions and changes that would surprise many. 

The story looks at life in the twenty-first-century. It looks at work, family, friends and technology. And as the two sisters grow, they also grow closer. It closely examines what we take for granted, and how easy it is to go with the status quo. Both of which should be challenged and examined, and this book helps us to see that. But to find out all that happens to them, you will need to pick up and read this excellent novel. 

This debut novel was an excellent read. It is the type of story I hope my girls read when they are a little older. And it is the type of story that can inspire any reader to look at the world a little differently. And maybe let faith slip into that worldview. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Brendan Hodge:
If You Can Get It 
...
 

Monday, 21 September 2020

The Church and the Modern Era 1846–2005 - David M. Wagner - Reclaiming Catholic History Series Book 7

The Church and the Modern Era (1846–2005)
Pius IX, World Wars, and the Second Vatican Council
Reclaiming Catholic History Series Book 7
David M. Wagner 
Mike Aquilina (Editor)
Ave Maria Press
ISBN 9781594717871
eISBN 9781594717888
ASIN B08BXFV7RW


I have greatly enjoyed the other two volumes in this series that I have read. The Church and the Roman Empire by Mike Aquilina and The Early Church by James L. Papandrea. The books are be released out of order. There will be seven volumes in this series. Mike Aquilina is the general editor of the series. But I must admit that I had some trepidation as I approached this volume. It seems that if you mention Vatican II these days you will have either complete support, or ravings that it is invalid and destroying the Catholic Church. However, this volume was an excellent read. This book and the whole series today are excellent reads. I spent 20 years as an undergraduate, for the most part because I loved learning. My last degree was in Religious Studies with a focus on Roman Catholic Thought. I would have loved this book and those I have read in this series as resources.   

Many years ago when I did an Introduction to Church History course at Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo, our professor, Arnold Snider, often said throughout the year, “I do not care as much about dates and names and places, as the story of Christianity. On your final exam the main question will be ‘Your uncle Billy at Christmas dinner says: ‘I hear you did the history of Christianity, tell us the story in your own words?’” And that was one of the essay questions on the exam. This book and the two others I have read in the series would have been great resources for that course. And If I had had them they would have been pulled out often for essays, papers and research. This is a great read in an excellent series. But the books are written in such an engaging manner that any Catholic could pick them up and benefit from reading them. And this one is on one of the hardest periods of Church history. 

This third volume published in this series, Reclaiming Catholic History, though it is the seventh book in the series. The series is being edited by Mike Aquilina and the first published volume is by him as well. About this series we are told by Aquilina:

“The history of the Catholic Church is often clouded by myth, misinformation, and missing pieces. Today there is a renewed interest in recovering the true history of the Church, correcting the record in the wake of centuries of half-truths and noble lies. Books in the Reclaiming Catholic History series, edited by Mike Aquilina and written by leading authors and historians, bring Church history to life, debunking the myths one era at a time.”

And each of the three I have read today are excellent volumes. The chapters in this volume are:

Reclaiming Catholic History: Series Introduction 
Chronology of The Early Church (33–313) 
Map
Introduction: When Does Something Become “History”?

Chapter 1: The Modern Church 
     Up Close and Personal: St. John Henry Newman 
     You Be the Judge: Wasn’t the declaration of papal infallibility just a power grab? Chapter 

2: Democracy and the “Social Question” 
     Up Close and Personal: St. Josephine Bakhita 
     You Be the Judge: Doesn’t Catholic “social teaching” amount to an endorsement of socialism? Chapter 

3: A Crisis in Theology 
     Up Close and Personal: St. Thérèse of Lisieux 
     You Be the Judge: Isn’t the Catholic Church opposed to scientific research and technological advancement? 

Chapter 4: The War to End All Wars 
     Up Close and Personal: The Message of Fatima Chapter 

5: Totalitarianism 
     Up Close and Personal: St. Faustina Kowalska and Divine Mercy 
     You Be the Judge: Didn’t the Catholic Church sign agreements with European dictators? 

Chapter 6: World War II 
     Up Close and Personal: St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) 
     You Be the Judge: Should Pius XII have spoken out explicitly against Nazi treatment of the Jews? 

Chapter 7: The Cold War and Age of Benign Liberalism 
     Up Close and Personal: St. Josemaría Escrivá Up Close and Personal: Padre Pio 
     You Be the Judge: Did the Soviet Union plot to tarnish the reputation of Pope Pius XII and the Church? 

Chapter 8: The Second Vatican Council 
     Up Close and Personal: Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen 
     You Be the Judge: Isn’t Vatican II universally hailed by theological liberals and disparaged by theological conservatives? 

Chapter 9: Civil Unrest and the Return of Radicalism 
     Up Close and Personal: Mother Teresa of Kolkata 
     You Be the Judge: Doesn’t the Church oppose feminism? 

Chapter 10: A Culture of Life 
     Up Close and Personal: More Saints than Ever 
     You Be the Judge: Didn’t the Church completely mishandle clergy sexual abuse? 

Series Epilogue: A Change of Age

This book is an excellent resource. It can be read by late high school students or undergrads and used as a resource. It can be read by anyone interested in church history. It is engaging and entertaining. An excellent resource! And with all the vitriol in Catholic social media today it is a book many should read. Most chapter’s follow the same format or the main history. Then two focused sections. The first is Up Close and Personal and is a profile of a specific person or people. Usually saints or blessed. The next is a section called You Be The Judge, which goes deeper into a question, point of interest or conflict. The book would be worth reading for either of these sections. But The whole thing is very well written. David M. Wagner does an excellent job of presenting a balanced view. Well researched, and presented inline with Church teachings. He tackles probably the toughest period in the series. The era of two Vatican councils, two world wars, political upheaval around the world. He draws extensively from the encyclicals that guided and led us through this period.    

I greatly benefited from reading this volume. And I am certain you will as well. I know that I will be reading the remaining four volumes in the series as they release. And will likely circle back and reread them in order. 

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

Books in the Reclaiming Catholic History Series:
The Early Church - James L. Papandrea
The Church and the Roman Empire - Mike Aquilina
The Church and the Dark Ages
The Church and the Middle Ages
The Church and the Reformation
The Church and the Age of Enlightenment
The Church Facing the Modern Era