Saturday 30 September 2017

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2017

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2017

According to Good Reads 2017 Challenge I have read 276 books, also according to Good Reads 184 of those were first time reads. And of those 212 I gave 127 5 out of 5 Stars, or they made my Best of 2017 list But that is for the year so here are comparison numbers:

Q1 Total Books 100
Q2 Total Books 112
Q3 Total Books 64
Q1 5 Star 57
Q2 5 Star 70
Q3 5 Star 35

So from those 35 books read my Top 10 Fiction and Top 10 Non-Fiction are.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:

1.  In Conversation with God - Francis Fernandez
(New eBook editions links to all reviews here)
In Conversation with God Volume 3 Part 2 Weeks 7 - 12 in Ordinary Time
In Conversation with God Volume 4 Part 1 Weeks 13 - 18 in Ordinary
2.  Encounter the Saints Series
3. 20 Answers Series from Catholic Answers
20 Answers Apparitions & Revelations - Michael O'Neill
4. The Grunt Padre: Father Vincent Robert Capodanno Vietnam 1966-1967 - Daniel L. Mode
5. The Old Evangelization: How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did - Eric Sammons
6. Hide and Seek: The Irish Priest in the Vatican who Defied the Nazi Command - Stephen Walker
7. The Apostles and Their Times - Mike Aquilina 
8. The Shadow of His Wings - Gereon Goldmann
9. The Story of Chaplain Kapaun, Patriot Priest of the Korean Conflict - MSGR Father Arthur Tonne
10. Learning the Virtues: That Lead You to God - Romano Guardini
11. God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades - Rodney Stark

Top Ten Fiction Books:

1. The Profession - Eric Sammons
2. Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades - Susan Peek
3. Bobby - Barry Lyga - A Short Story
4. The Last Namsara - Kristen Ciccarelli - Iskari #1 
5. Trading Worlds: A Short Story - Barry Lyga
6. The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet - Manuel Alfonseca - The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Book 3
7. Nicholas Gilroy: Our Lady and the Guardian - Father Stephen and Deacon George
8. Standing Strong - Theresa Linden - West Brothers Series
9. Broken Birthday - Courtney Sheinmel and Jennifer A. Bell - Stella Batts Book 10
10. Polar Bear Night - Lauren Thompson and Stephen Savage

Note: I did not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list

Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

276 - 2017 January-September
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996

Thursday 28 September 2017

Product Review Pocket Oratory

Product Review Pocket Oratory
Oremus Crocheted Saints

Last year I bought two crocheted saints for my youngest children. I had come across them on facebook and loved them. I had a Saint Josemaria Escriva and Blessed Alvara del Portillo made by Oremus Crocheted Saints. When they arrived for Easter, my oldest was a little disappointed that I did not have one for her. So I have been following here page. She does some amazing renditions of saints. And her nativity sets are amazing. But in the spring she introduced a new product a pocket oratory. I thought it was an amazing idea from when I first saw it.

So I took the plunge and ordered one. And It is awesome. I have carried it with me daily now for 6 months. The picture above if after 6 months of daily carry and prayer use. The picture below is What it looked like in draft before she finalized it. Not only is it personalized. The Divine Mercy painting is a photo I took of one in my church, that was painted for our parish a few years back. The Picture or Mary is one I have ad since I was a teen. And the 4 saints medals are: St. Josemaria Escriva, Saint Damien the Leper, Saint Patrick of Ireland, and a Saint Benedict Medal.

Not only have I carried this every day; and used it to help me focus my prayer. I have reached in my pocket when getting upset or angry and used it to help me focus and pray before continuing the conversation either. I have used it when receiving news of a family member going in the next day for surgery, I prayer as soon as I found out, and the next day during the surgery, I found an empty meeting room at work and just spend a few minutes in prayer. And my youngest two children have asked for it at times when they were upset or fidgety and have taken it, opened it and prayer for a bit to calm themselves down. All three children would like their own I just need to figure what I want in them.

The handmade quality is excellent, with real leather outer, and a stitched in cloth interior. It is a perfect size to carry all the time, dress pants or jeans. And I never leave the house without it. It is a wonderful product, personalized and meaningful. I highly recommend the pocket oratory and her crocheted saints.

Note: In 2018 we added a nativity set.

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Product Review - Organic Quinoa Whole Grain - Viva Naturals

Organic Quinoa, Whole Grain
Viva Naturals

This is one of 15 products from Viva Naturals that I have tested since their entrance into the Canadian Market Place earlier this year. I have found that overall all they are of superior quality and value than many of the products on the market. And I find the same with this one. Viva Natural's have been around since 2011 south of the border. Viva Naturals is working towards becoming an all-around health and wellness company.  They have product range includes; nutritional supplements, organic food, and beauty products to essentials oils. Their goal is to help you with your wellness goals, and thankfully they are expanding into the Canadian market place, with these quality products. I have had the advantage of receiving a number of their products to try at the same time. I have used many of them by themselves or in combination with each other. I have been impressed with each of them, but enough about Viva Naturals as a company and on to reviewing this specific product the Organic Quinoa, Whole Grain. 

How I tested this product:
In smoothies
In salad
Cooked as a side dish
Cooked as the main course

Product Specifics:
QAI Certified Organic
Non-GMO Project Verified
Gluten-Free Grain
Complete Vegetarian Protein
De-Saponized to Enhance Flavor
Neutral Color and Mild Flavor

Product Features:
Complete Vegetarian Protein 
Source of Dietary Fiber
Neutral Color and Mild Flavor
Gluten-Free Grain

Simple to prepare
Consistent quality
Great taste

The reseal feature on the pouch does not work well

I have tried about a half dozen different brands of Quinoa, and this one will now be my staple. My only wish is they had the option of a rainbow or dark version to complement this lighter coloured and flavoured Quinoa.  The fact that the package does not reseal well is the only drawback I encountered from using this. I often  add it to help thicken smoothies, or to add some extra protein. 

As stated before over the last few months I have had the opportunity to try over a dozen products from Viva Naturals. I have been impressed with them all! This Organic Quinoa  is a great product and I trust this product and the brand! These products are now available in Canada currently through the Amazon Marketplace. This is a great product at good price, looking forward to trying more products as they make their way to the Canadian Market.

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
Sweet Almond Oil 16 fl oz
Argon Oil 4oz
Maca Root 500 milligram 
Glutathione 500mg

Vitamin C 1000 milligrams

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

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Polar Bear Night - Lauren Thompson and Stephen Savage

Polar Bear Night
Lauren Thompson
Stephen Savage (Illustrator)
ISBN 9780439495240
ISBN 9780545485586

I first read this book a few years ago with my middle child. Now my youngest has picked it up and it instantly became one of her favourites.  Both my children love the subtle illustrations. And the story.

There are two editions of this book, a board book and a picture book. The story follows a little female bear cub who wakes up and takes a stroll from her den. She walks at night she sees all her favourite things, seals, whales, and then she notices shooting stars. The night puts on a wonderful show for her.

As a family we love the story and adore the illustrations. Stephen Savage's illustrations are wonderful. The subtlety in the shading and the limited pallet used really enhance the book.

Monday 25 September 2017

Finals Crisis DC Super Hero Girls Vol 1 - Shea Fontana and Yancey Labat

Finals Crisis
DC Super Hero Girls Vol. 1
DC Super Hero Girls Graphic Novels #1
Shea Fontana
Yancey Labat (Illustrator)
DC Comics
ISBN 9781401262471

I recently read this book with my youngest daughter and she loved it. And even with the inconsistencies it was a fun read. Super Hero High is preparing for final exams. And the night before the finals some strange start happening. In this volume you have a lot of super heroes and a few that that are questionable that are friends at school.

Bat Girl
Poision Ivy
Wonder Girl
Harley Quinn

Are our main characters. Even my daughter who is only 6 asked about Ivy and Harley, she wanted to know when they became good. And Amanda Waller as a principal at a high school? My daughter loved how they worked together to become a team, and how Harley was the first to figure out that something was wrong. My daughter also loved the bright vibrant illustrations.

It will be interesting to see how the series progresses. Will the villains turn or is this a new sugary side of the DC universe. Either way a Book that my daughter read through three times is a win in our house.

A fun read and we will give others in the series a try.

Sunday 24 September 2017

Saturday 23 September 2017

The Best Halloween Ever - Barbara Robinson - The Herdmans Book 3

The Best (Worst) Halloween Ever
The Herdmans Book 3
Barbara Robinson
Harper Collins
ISBN 9780060766016

eISBN 9780062076946

My son came home from school raving about The Best School Year Ever, and wanted to read it together because of how much he was enjoying it. When I looked into it and found out that it was part of a trilogy he freaked out. I picked up all three so we could read them together. We have read them out of order but this was the second one we read.

There are over 15 editions of this book and it is available in a number of languages. I had not heard of this series or the author until my son came home from school excited about this series. This is the third book in the Herdmans trilogy. The Herdmans are a family of unruly children that have a knack for getting in trouble and spoiling things. The description on the back of the book is:

"The Herdmans plus Halloween have always spelled disaster. Every year these six kids -- the worst in the history of Woodrow Wilson School, and possibly even the world -- wreak havoc on the whole town. They steal candy, spray-paint kids, and take anything that's not nailed down. 
Now the mayor has had it. He's decided to cancel Halloween. There won't be any Herdmans to contend with this year, but there won't be any candy, either. And what's Halloween without candy? And without trick-or-treating? The Herdmans manage to turn the worst Halloween ever into the best Halloween ever in this uproarious sequel to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."

It is a really fun read. It has a great surprise ending. Well worth the read.

Books by Barbara Robinson:
My Brother Louis Measures Worms: And Other Louis Stories
Temporary Times, Temporary Places
The Happy Horses of H. Goodwine
The Fattest Bear in the First Grade
Hull Daily Mail: A Part of the Community
Across from Indian Shore
Trace through the Forest
One Off

The Herdmans Series:
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The Best School Year Ever
The Best Halloween Ever

The Best Barbara Robinson Treasury Ever

Friday 22 September 2017

Glen Eyrie Castle & Conference Center - A Photo Essay

Glen Eyrie Castle & Conference Center - A Photo Essay

Back in the summer of 2002 I spend the better part of August in Colorado springs at Glen Eyrie Castle & Conference Center helping to run an international conference for work. The conference center is right next to the garden of the Gods. I captured some amazing photo's. (More photos Part 2.)

Thursday 21 September 2017

The Life Engineered - J-F Dubeau - World Engineered

The Life Engineered
World Engineered
J-F Dubeau
Sword & Laser
ISBN 9781941758595
eISBN 9781941758601

I was given a signed numbered limited edition copy of this book. But because I prefer eBooks it sat on my shelf for almost a year. But something about the cover and the jacket flap wright up kept causing it to come it mind. So I eventually picked up the eBook, and ripped through it over 2 days in three sittings.

For a debut novel this book really impressed me. It reminded me of the classic science fiction I enjoyed as a child, Heinlein, Herbert, and Betser. The story is compelling and the pace is very rapid. It is an intriguing concept . The description of the book is:

"The Life Engineered, begins in the year 3594, where humanity is little more than a memory a legend of the distant past destined to reappear. Capeks, a race of artificial creatures originally created by humans, have inherited the galaxy and formed a utopian civilization built on the shared goal of tirelessly working to prepare for their makers return. 
One moment a cop dying in the line of duty in Boston, the next reborn as a Capek, Dagir must find her place in this intricate society. That vaguely remembered death was but the last of hundreds of simulated lives, distilling her current personality. A robot built for rescue and repair, she finds her abilities tested immediately after her awakening when the large, sentient facility that created her is destroyed, marking the only instance of murder the peaceful Capeks have ever known. For the first time in their history, conflicting philosophies clash, setting off a violent civil war that could lay waste to the stars themselves. 
Dagir sets off on a quest to find the killers, and finds much more than she sought. As the layers of the Capeks past peel away to reveal their early origins, centuries-old truths come to light. And the resulting revelations may tear humanity s children apart and destroy all remnants of humankind."
The world is incredibly well thought out. With different lines of robots but all forming a single society. The mix of different earth mythologies along the different lines of Capeks.  There were some real twists in the plot that I did not see coming. First humans have gone missing but they have left behind a vast array of Capeks or robots but not dummy machines. These robots have personality from living virtually many many lives until they are ready to join society in physical form. A Form they design and build themselves. Nut now someone is killing off whole lines of robots. And in trying to figure out why the mystery of why Human's went into hiding starts to play a darker more ominous importance.

And my first thought upon finishing the book was I hope there will be more. My second thought was I wish I had read it earlier. It was a great little read.

Books by J-F Dubeau:
A God in the Shed

World Engineered:
The Life Engineered

Wednesday 20 September 2017

The Child and the Man

The Child and the Man

This photo was given to me when I returned to university a second time in the spring of 1998. I was moving to a town where I hardly knew anybody. I was starting back at university. I didn't know what to expect. But this picture framed in just simple glass sat above my desk. Over time I came to see myself as both figures. The man I was becoming and the child I had been. The one looking back; and the other forward. There are divergent paths on the hill ahead, much as life often takes us ways we do not expect to go. But eventually they narrow into one cresting the hill. But a man showing vulnerability for his helm is off and his neck is exposed.

Tuesday 19 September 2017

St. Joseph's Hospital, London Ontario

A few years ago I was off work for almost three years with a work injury. I had numerous trips to St. Joseph's Hospital in London Ontario. I often stopped by this statue to say a prayer.

Monday 18 September 2017

Asking for prayers for a special intention!

Asking for prayers for a special intention!

Asking for prayers for healing, for myself and a friend. Please be praying.