Wednesday 4 July 2018

Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books

Secrets Visible & Invisible 
7 Amazing Stories
From Catholic Teen Books
ISBN 9780997971828


One of the things I love about reading anthologies is discovering new authors. But that was not the case this time. I have read books by 6 of the seven contributors. In fact, at the time of writing this review I have read 33 books, novellas, or published short stories across the 6 authors. And I already have 3 eBooks by the author I have not read in my to be read list. So, I knew I was in for some great reading when I picked up this collection. What I was not prepared for was how exceptional this collection was. Often when I read an anthology there are a few great reads, some good reads and some okay reads. That was not the case this time. Every story was a remarkable story. Some of the stories were so good, I immediately went back and reread just that story. And then when I finished the book I reread the whole thing again a few days later.

Mark Hart in the forward to this collection states:
“We call Him Savior, Teacher, Wonder Worker, and Lord. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Bread of Life and the Light of the World. He is the Messiah, the Promised One, the Divine Physician…the Good Shepherd. Jesus Christ is all of these titles and an endless list of more. Yet, there is one title that I’ve rarely – if ever – heard used to describe Jesus of Nazareth, and I feel it is a glaringly myopic omission on our part.Almost never have I heard Jesus Christ described as “Master Storyteller,” though He most certainly was.”
And many of the contributors to this collections in their own way imitate Christ and are master storytellers in our own generation. I have a great deal of respect for the seven authors who contributed to this series. And even more so after reading their pieces in this collection.

Carolyn Astfalk
T. M. Gaouette
Theresa Linden
Susan Peek
Cynthia T. Toney
Corinna Turner
Leslea Wahl

In this collection we have one short story from each of the contributors. Some contain characters you can encounter in novels by the authors. One combines characters for different novels from the author.

The Underappreciated Virtues Of Rusty Old Bicycles - Corinna Turner
Recreation - Cynthia T. Toney
The Portrait Of The Fire Starters - Theresa Linden
On The Brink Of Hell - Susan Peek
Sister Francesca - T.M. Gaouette
Behind The Wheel - Carolyn Astfalk
More Precious Than Gold - Leslea Wahl

As mentioned this is a great collection of short stories. I really could not pick a favorite or least favorite. Each story is very well written. And I thoroughly enjoyed them all. And here is a summary of each story.

The Underappreciated Virtues Of Rusty Old Bicycles

This story is a peek at Bane and Margo before the sorting in I am Margaret. It highlights the strength of their friendship. The risks in day to day life in a totalitarian regime. It also has some great characters that we do not encounter again in the books. There is a very interesting twist in this story.


This story took me by surprise. It is a story of service and giving. It is a story about friendship. It is the friendship of Elijah and Darrell-teens of African and Vietnamese heritage-growing up in the south. It is the story of seeing a need, and stepping up to do something about it. It also reminds readers that not all things are as they appear.

The Portrait Of The Fire Starters

With four young adult novels and one adult novel centered around the West Brothers, Theresa Linden returns to tell a story about the youth group from church that meets at the high school. I believe this story falls between Roland West Loner and Life-Changing Love. If you are fans of the books this story sheds some new light on several of the characters from the series. It speaks to questions about how we see ourselves, and how others see us. And it will likely pull on your heartstrings.

On The Brink Of Hell

This story jumps back to the 16th Century in Italy. It is the story, of a soldier wounded in battle. Dario has done much he is not proud of. And after being severely injured in battle, this story tells of his treatment. He's also reflecting on  past events, fading in and out of memories, while enduring present-day pain in the hospital.

Sister Francesca

I have read the three published novels by T.M. Gaouette. And I enjoyed them a lot. But this story is something very different. It has a touch of the mystical, and a touch of the contemplative in it. It reminds me a lot of some of the stories by J.F. Powers. It is the story of a young man's love; love that brings out the best in a person, even if it does not become a relationship. Of the authors I had read before this story was the biggest surprise.

Behind The Wheel

I have been hearing about the writings of Carolyn Astfalk and I have picked up three of her novels. I just have not got around to reading them. But after reading this short story the novel Rightfully Ours, with the same characters jumped to the top of my reading list. This story is about taking a risk and breaking rules. But when the moment comes, will character come through or will it self-preservation win out? It was a great story and I look forward to reading more by Astfalk.

More Precious Than Gold

I have read both published novels by Wahl, and they are excellent. This book takes the couples from both of those stories and drops them into a new environment together. From The Perfect Blindside we have Jake and Sophie. And from An Unexpected Role we have Josie and Ryan. But in this story, they are volunteering for a week at a Christian camp for disadvantaged children. It's a story of being stuck between a rock and a hard place; or is it a hard case. A wonderful story, and great conclusion to the collection.

For fans of any of the authors in this collection, you need to pick this book up to read their contribution. For readers who love remarkable stories, this collection is for you also. And if you want some great reads that are clean Catholic fiction this is the book for you. This anthology is Amazing!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Links to other reviews of books by the contributors:
Carolyn Astfalk
T. M. Gaouette
Theresa Linden
Susan Peek
Cynthia T. Toney
Corinna Turner
Leslea Wahl

Anthologies from the Catholic Teen Books Authors:
Secrets Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories 
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens
Treasures: Visible & Invisible 8 Stories for Teens
Other books from Catholic Teen Books:
The Gift of the Angel Tree 

1 comment:

Carolyn Astfalk said...

Thank you for your thorough review and all your support!