Thursday, 13 August 2020

Three Last Things or The Hounding Of Carl Jarrold, Soulless Assassin - Corinna Turner

Three Last Things: or The Hounding Of Carl Jarrold, Soulless Assassin
Corinna Turner
Unseen Books
ISBN 9781910806562
eISBN 9781910806579

I have greatly enjoyed all the books by Corinna Turner that I have read. But this is completely unlike anything else I have read by her. This story was a surprise on many levels, and in many ways. At first, I was a little confused by the title. I am very familiar with the theological statement: the four last things, death, judgement, heaven, or hell. The story is very compelling and is an absolute page turner. 

The story follows Carl Jarrold as he prepares for that last walk, as a dead man walking. He has been sentenced to die by lethal injection for his crimes. He has been meeting with Fr. Jacob, and the priest's words have started to crack the shell of this ‘soulless assassin’. In an intense story we follow Carl to the death chamber, a failed attempt, and a window of opportunity. While the death chamber is reset for another go. 

You will feel yourself pulled into this story, and this man’s last hours. To the thoughtful witness of Father Jacob. And to the events as they unwind. It is also a story you will find yourself thinking about for days afterwards. 

This is a story with a number of twists. I was expecting some very different things than the way events worked out. The book took me by surprise, and I was very glad to have read it. Many years back I met sister Helen Prejean, and worked through the book and movie Dead man Walking, in more than 1 university course. That book challenged my own stance on the death penalty. And this book does an amazing job of capturing that same feel. It is incredibly well written. 

This volume comes in at under 60 pages. And yet it is intense and emotionally and spiritually impactful, if you can read this story and not be moved maybe the term soulless could be applied to you. 

I have been in the room where the last execution in Canada took place. And I have read accounts from witnesses of modern executions in the US, and this story is masterfully written to capture these events. No matter your stance on capital punishment, this book will cause you to think, and even though it is fiction, it will stir strong emotions and feelings. It is an excellent piece of writing and I challenge you to give it a read.  

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

Books by Corinna Turner:
I Am Margaret Series:
0.0 The Underappreciated Virtues of Rusty Old Bicycles (A prequel)

0.5 Brothers (Prequel)
1.0 I Am Margaret
1.5 How Snakey Got His Name (Short Story)
2.0 The Three Most Wanted
3.0 Liberation
4.0 Bane's Eyes

5.0 Margo's (Attempted) Diary & Notebook
5.5 An Unexpected Guest
6.0 The Siege of Reginald Hill
6.5 Buttons (Short Story)
7.0 A Saint in the Family

Yesterday and Tomorrow Series:

Tomorrow's Dead

unSPARKed Series:
0.0 Breach
0.5 A Mom with Blue Feathers
1.0 Drive!
2.0 A Truly Rapror-Ous Welcome
3.0 Panic! 
4.0 Farmgirls Die in Cages
5.0 ???

Other Books:
Mandy lamb & the Full Moon
Three last things or The hounding of Carl Jarrold, Soulless Assassin
The Raven & The Yew

Contributed to:
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens

Author profile and interview with Corinna Turner.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained - Catholic Truth Society - CTS Devotions

First Fridays & First Saturdays: The Devotions Explained
CTS Devotions
J.B. Midgley
Fr Richard Whinder
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860825088
eISBN 9781784692186
CTS Booklet D694

I have come to love and depend on the books from the Catholic Truth Society. Over the last few years, I have read over 150 books, and booklets from the CTS. I have may series I love, and many authors who have published with CTS. Ad the CTS Devotions Series is one of the best. The booklet is published without an official author but the description gives thanks to Fr Richard Whinder and Mr Barry Midgley for their assistance in preparing the booklet. Barry Midgley published most of his works under the name J.B. Midgley. Speaking of description the description of this volume is:

“These well-known devotions each have a fascinating origin and history, linked to apparitions of Jesus and Mary: the first to Margaret Mary Alacoque (1673-75) and the second to the three children at Fatima (1917). This booklet sets out how to pray these devotions, and offers helpful guidance as to their value, origins and purpose.

These devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can readily be seen as relevant to today as they have been in the past. New material on the Rosary and Confessions is included, along with the other traditional elements of the devotions.

CTS is grateful to Fr Richard Whinder and Mr Barry Midgley for their assistance in preparing this booklet.”

And the chapters in this book are:

The devotion of the First Fridays in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
      Guide to a good Confession
      Receiving Holy Communion devoutly
      Making a Holy Hour
The devotion of the First Saturdays in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
      The Rosary
       ‘Meditating on the Mysteries’
      Other prayers to Our Lady
A note on indulgences

The section o ‘Other Prayers to Our Lady’ has a small collection of 10 Marian prayers. This book is a wonderful little read. We are told in the introduction:

“‘Devotions’ are popular prayers which are not part of the Church’s official liturgy but which flow from the liturgy and in their turn help us to participate in it more fully. The Church encourages these devotions, and in the year 2001 published a document entitled The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, to foster these popular customs and ensure that they conform to the authentic spirit of the Gospel.”

And later:

“It is to be hoped that this little book may encourage these two devotions anew, and lead many more Christians to discover the riches that can be found there.”

This book delivers on that hope. I was blessed to have read and this book and know that I will read it again and again. I should not have been surprised by Midgley’s contributions to this volume. The style and writing was very familiar. This is another excellent read from the Catholic Truth Society. I highly recommend this little volume, if you already practice these two devotions It will provide you with some more information and ideas for these practices. If you are not it will help you to learn the history of them, and likely inspire you to give them a try. A fantastic read.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For other books in the CTS Devotions Series click here.

Books by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic

Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Encounter Science Fiction Short Stories and Novella - A.K. Frailey

Science Fiction Short Stories & Novella
A.K. Frailey
A. K. Frailey Books

I have only read one novel from A.K. Frailey. But have intended to read more of them, and even have a few on my device ready to go. I have enjoyed many of the stories and reflections she has shared links to via social media, and greatly enjoyed them. Last year when I found out she had released It Might Have Been: And Other Stories and a collection of reflections, Heart Beats: Spiritual Being Human Journey. I immediately picked up both. I loved both of them. When I found out she had a new collection out, this volume, I grabbed it immediately and started reading it that day. 

The short stories in this volume are:

Rain from a Cloudless Sky – Old Earth
Mirror Image – Old Earth
The Human Question – Planet Lux
Horizon Line – 34 years After Old Earth
Enemy Self
Dedication – Newearth
Invasion – Newearth
I Never Had A Son – Planet Lux
Alicina’s Journal – Newearth Year 25
Eldars – My Father’s Vision – Planet Crestar
Life of Gorth – Ingilium
Lugg the Mighty and the Oskilth Civil War – Planet Crestar
Omega’s Homecoming – Mystery Planet
Omega’s Creation – Mystery Planet
Hope’s Embrace: A Bhuaci Poem – Planet Helm
Save Our People From Despair – Planet Helm
This Devil Doesn’t Lie – Newearth
From Machine to Man – Newearth
Off-World Faith – Newearth
Romantic Reality – Newearth
Trust Me – Newearth
Never Forget – Planet Sectine II
Mirage – Mystery Planet
Mirage-Reborn – Newearth
Mirage-Reborn – We Are LuKan – Mirage Reborn
A New Life for Lucius Pollex – Space Alliance
Grace Nelson’s Murder – Newearth
Vera’s Wigs – Newearth
Jeremy Quinn – Bothmal Prison
Xavier Pax’s Illusion – Newearth Spaceship Docks
Yelsa’s Choice – Newearth
Jazzmarie – Spaceship Merrimack
Riko’s Uncle Clem – Newearth
Common Destiny – Newearth
Now I See – Old Earth
Out Last The Ages – Old Earth
They Might Be Right – Old Earth
Live – Old Earth
Impossible Beings – Old Earth
The Great Wall – Old Earth
We Would Cry – Old Earth
Of Gods and Men – Old Earth
That’s What Turns Heads – Old Earth
The Play Is The Thing – Old Earth
A Fresh Thought – Old Earth
Speck in the Universe – Old Earth
Live With That – Old Earth
A Tie That Can’t be Broken – Old Earth

The novella is:
To Make a Difference

Some of the characters and places in this collection are familiar from other works of Frailey’s that I have read. So in part it was like a visit with old friends. This collection is just shy of 400 pages of masterfully written stories. It is immensely entertaining. 

After reading this collection I need to bump her unread novels way up in my ‘to be read pile’. I would need to read the collection again in order to pick a favorite story. There were so many great ones in the collection. Again while reading this collection I also thought about J.F. Powers, Powers was a master of short fiction. In his lifetime of work, he published 2 novels, and 5 collections of short stories. But both novels had multiple chapters that had been previous published as shorter fiction. I would love to see some of these pieces resurrected into a larger work. And know that I need to read the entire canon of Frailey’s fiction to put all the different stories into place. This is a great collection of short fiction. I only wish there was an index, or table of contents, but other than that it is another excellent collection, that I highly recommend. Check it out I am certain you will not be disappointed. 

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

Books by A.K. Frailey:
Melchior: Vengeance is Mine
The Adventures of Tally Ho
It Might Have Been: And Other Stories
Encounter Science Fiction Short Stories and Novella

New Earth Series:
The Last of Her Kind
NEWEARTH: Justine Awakens

Deliverance Series:
Ishtar's Redemption: Trial by Fire
NEB the Great: Shadows of the Past

Hidden Heritage Series:
Georgios II - A Chosen People

Old Earth Series:
OldEarth ARAM Encounter
OldEarth Ishtar Encounter
OldEarth Neb Encounter
OldEarth Georgios Encounter

The Road Goes Ever On: A Christian Journey Through the Lord of the Rings
Heart Beats: Spiritual Being Human Journey

Monday, 10 August 2020

Sam the Guardian Angel - Lis Luwia and Theresa Hossenlopp

Sam the Guardian Angel
Elizabeth ‘Lis’ Luwia
Theresa Hossenlopp (Illustrator)
TAN Books
ISBN 9781505116014
eISBN 9781505116038

When this book arrived my daughter and I immediately read it. She is 9 and she read it out loud to me and her older brother. It is a wonderful little book. The story is written by Elizabeth ‘Lis’ Luwia and illustrated by Theresa Hossenlopp. It is an excellent volume for the young readers in your life.

This is the story of Angie and Sam. Angie is a young girl and Sam is her guardian angel. Each page has text from both Sam and Angie and also a “Did You Know” section with information or teaching from the church. Sam helps Angie understand the mass better.

The illustrations are wonderful. They are photos of clay plate pictures. The style works wonderfully for this story. My daughter loved the illustrations. My so thought they were fu. I would have preferred a more warrior angel, but the book if for young children.

All three of us gave the book 5/5 stars. My daughter has already read it twice more. She struggled with the ‘Did you know’ sections. But absolutely loved the two prayers in the book. Both the spiritual communion and the Angel of God prayer. My son loved the ‘did you know’ sections. And he also really liked the two prayers.

This is a wonderful book for the home, church or school library. It was an instant favorite in our house. And I am certain it will be loved in your house as well.

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

Books by Lis Luwia:
Sam the Guardian Angel
My Catholic Prayer Journal
Our Lady of Sorrows: A Catholic Novena & Meditation Prayer Journal
Pursuing Christ: A Catholic Man's Prayer Journal

Friday, 7 August 2020

Camino Winds - John Grisham - Camino Island Book 2

Camino Winds
Camino Island Book 2
John Grisham
Dell Bantam
Random House Publishing Group
eISBN 9780385545945

When I was younger, I read several of Grisham’s early novels. But the last of his offerings I read was 19 years ago when I read Skipping Christmas. At least until reading book 1 in this series, Camino Island. Prior to reading that book his writings just sort of fell off my radar as I pursued new authors and genres. That book was mentioned by a director at work recently, so I picked it up and read it in three sittings over a weekend. And started this one 2 days later. This one was a slower start for me, in fact, I put it down and read 2 other books that had just released before circling back and finishing this one. 

This story continues a while after the first. And it is very different. There is a lot of overlap in the cast. But this one is much more traditional mystery – who dun it type story. A lot less focus on the literary scene, still some info around books ad publishing, ad the industry, particularly literary estates. But it was more of the side plot than the first one. It is still a lot of fun. 

In this story the island of Camino, that has always been blessed and hardly touched by storms, hurricanes, and other acts of god. But this time very late the storm dodges ad Camino is directly in it’s path. Bruce Cable the owner of Bay Books, one of his employees and an author hunker down in Bruce’s house to ride out the storm. Much of the island is devastated. And the next day the police show up asking Bruce to be local next of kin. Elson Kerr is found dead on his patio, and Bruce and the gang think it is suspicious. Ad because Nelson was one of his authors Bruce cannot let it lay. Soon he is involved with the family and working with a special investigations company to find out what really happened. 

The story took me a while to get into. I put it down twice. But about the hundred-page mark it really picked up ad kept my attention through to the end. It reminds me a lot of the Spencer for Hire Novels by Robert B. Parker. Bruce is not a physical tough guy, but mentally and in the literary world he is a big player. And in this story we see that he knows how to get things done.

This story would not inspire me to pursue other recent books by Grisham, but I would give another Camino Island story a go. A good read in an interesting series, especially for those interested in the whole publishing and literary scene.

Books by John Grisham:
A Time to Kill (1989)
The Firm (1991)
The Pelican Brief (1992)
The Client (1993)
The Chamber (1994)
The Rainmaker (1995)
The Runaway Jury (1996)
The Partner (1997)
The Street Lawyer (1998)
The Testament (1999)
The Brethren (2000)
A Painted House (2001)
Skipping Christmas (2001)
The Summons (2002)
The King of Torts (2003)
Bleachers (2003)
The Last Juror (2004)
The Broker (2005)
The Innocent Man (2006)
Playing for Pizza (2007)
The Appeal (2008)
The Associate (2009)
The Confession (2010)
The Litigators (2011)
Calico Joe (2012)
The Racketeer (2012)
Sycamore Row (2013)
Gray Mountain (2014)
Rogue Lawyer (2015)
The Whistler (2016)
Camino Island (2017)
The Rooster Bar (2017)
The Reckoning (2018)
The Guardians (2019)
Camino Winds (2020)
A Time for Mercy (2020)

Children's legal thrillers:
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (2010)
Theodore Boone: The Abduction (2011)
Theodore Boone: The Accused (2012)
Theodore Boone: The Activist (2013)
Theodore Boone: The Fugitive (2015)
Theodore Boone: The Scandal (2016)
Theodore Boone: The Accomplice (2019)

Short Stories:
Ford County (2009)
The Tumor (2016)
Partners (2016)
Witness to a Trial (2016)