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Friday, 31 May 2019

Infiltration The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within - Taylor R. Marshall

Infiltration: 
The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within
Taylor R. Marshall
Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781622828463
eISBN 9781622828470
ASIN B07R8F7RYT


I have been a fan of Taylor Marshall’s work for a few years now. His books, his podcasts, his seminars. I am not normally a conspiracy theory guy. I have been shaken by the scandal in the church and especially the hierarchy over the last few years. I have been greatly surprised by some of the things said and actions taken by pope Francis. I pray for him daily! But this book is rooted in such solid research, and when the evidence is inconclusive it admits the various possibilities. 

The sections in this book are:
Foreword, by Bishop Athanasius Schneider
Acknowledgments 
1. The Smoke of God and the Smoke of Satan
2. Alta Vendita: Satan’s Revolution in Tiara and Cope
3. Our Lady of La Salette
4. Attack on the Papal States in 1870
5. Pope Leo XIII Sees Demons Gather on Rome
6. Infiltration of the Church by Secret Societies and Modernism
7. Our Lady of Fatima
8. Conclave of 1922: Pope Pius XI
9. Communist Infiltration of the Priesthood
10. 1939 Papal Conclave: Pius XII
11. Pius XII as the Pope of Fatima
12. Communist Infiltration of the Liturgy
13. Woeful Illness of Pius XII: Three Crypto-Modernists
14. Mysterious Conclave of 1958
15. Pope John XXIII Opens the Third Secret
16. Vatican II — Modernism on Parade
17. Conclave of 1963: Paul VI
18. Crypto-Modernism and Nouvelle Théologie
19. Theological Infiltration of Vatican II
20. Infiltration of the Liturgy
21. Ottaviani Intervention against Pope Paul VI
22. Archbishop Lefebvre and the Traditionalist Resistance
23. Resistance to the Novus Ordo Missae
24. Infiltration of the Vatican Bank under Paul VI
25. Infiltration and the Mysterious Death of John Paul I
26. Infiltration of John Paul II’s Pontificate
27. Sankt Gallen Mafia: Homosexuality, Communism, and Freemasonry
28. Ratzinger versus Bergoglio in the Papal Conclave of 2005
29. Infiltration and the Plot against Benedict XVI
30. Infiltration of the Vatican Bank and the Butler of Pope Benedict XVI
31. Infiltration and the Election of Pope Francis
32. Solving the Current Crisis
33. Spiritual Weapons against Demonic Enemies
Appendices
Who’s Who in This Book
Timeline of Popes in This Book
Vatican Secretaries of State by Papacy and Dates
Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita
Both Versions of the Secret of La Salette
Timeline of Liturgical Changes
Dates of Indults for Communion in Hand 
Timeline of the Life of Ex-Cardinal McCarrick
Index

This book goes back and builds a strong case for how the church has ended up where it is today. It presents some very solid evidence, and when appropriate shares differing views on events. Of particular interest for me based on my own reading and research over the years, the first was on the possible assassination of Pope John Paul I, and the second on the Conclave of 1958. This book is masterfully written. It is of high quality academic research, and yet written in an engaging manner that any lay person can pick it up and work through it. There are many parts of this book that should drive devote Catholics to their knees, praying for forgiveness, praying for healing, and praying for the Church as a whole. 

The introduction begins with these words:

“In Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within, Taylor Marshall touches on a topic that is deliberately ignored today. The issue of a possible infiltration of the Church by forces outside her does not fit into the optimistic picture that Pope John XXIII and particularly the Second Vatican Council unrealistically and uncritically drew of the modern world.”

Based on the evidence given, including firsthand accounts from some involved I would state it is not a possibility it is a reality. The infiltration is a reality, and we must open our eyes, our hearts and become prayer warriors. We are also reminded that:

“The modern world, after all, is inspired by the principles of the French Revolution: the absolute freedom of man from any divine revelation or commandment; the absolute equality that abolishes not only any social or religious hierarchy but even differences between the sexes; and a brotherhood of man so uncritical that it even eliminates any distinction on the basis of religion.”

One of the most powerful statements from Marshall is at the beginning of the book:

“If you do not believe that Satan exists, put down this book. Moreover, if you believe that the Catholic Church can be purified merely by updated rules, policies, and canonical procedures, you’ll find little promise in the historical diagnosis and proposed cure found in this book. Saint Paul stated: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). The crisis of the Catholic Church relates to the intrusion of these “rulers of this present darkness,” and she can only be purified by sanctified warfare against the demonic.”

His chapter that is written around the three planks of modernism I of upmost importance. And the book needs to be read as a whole and synthesised by the reader. I have read this book twice now, actually, I have listened to it once over two days. and then I took a week of evenings once my children were in bead and read through the text, slowly and methodologically, often looking of references and sources. And I will likely return to it again in a few months after some further research based on the sources and quotes in the volume.  I highlighted 125 passages on that second pass through. It is an incredible read. I believe it is a book that any Catholic would benefit from reading, weather traditionalist, modernist, convert, revert or life long Catholic. And I love that the book ends with asking for prayer.

With all of that being said, I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories. I am not a Rad Trad. I am a revert to the Catholic faith, I have never been to a Latin mass. I was born after Vatican II, and I believe in the local parish, the school our children attend, and our house is inside a specific parish boundary and we attend there. There are more traditional looking churches in town, but we attend our parish. I know some people drive hours to attend Latin Mass, or to go to the church of a specific priest. That is not now, nor likely ever would be me. I have a religious study degree with a focus on Roman Catholic Thought. I love being Catholic, I love communion, confession, the sacraments, and Eucharistic adoration. And I love daily mass. This book does challenge some underlying assumptions and raises a lot of points that need serious consideration. 

Therefore, I strongly encourage you to give this book a read, and like the end of the book be praying! Be praying for Taylor, for our Church, for us, and for a cleanup of the temple!

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

Books by Taylor R. Marshall:
Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages: The Layman's Quick Guide to Thomism
Saint Augustine in 50 Pages: The Layman's Quick Guide to Augustinianism
God's Birthday: Why Christ Was Born on December 25 and Why it Matters

Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within
...

Sword and Serpent Series:
Sword and the Serpent
The Tenth Region of the Night
Storm of Fire and Blood

The Origins of Catholic Christianity Series:
The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity
The Catholic Perspective on Paul: Paul and the Origins of Catholic Christianity
The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Triptych - Karin Slaughter - Will Trent Book 1

Triptych
Will Trent Book 1
Karin Slaughter
Delacorte Press
Penguin Random House Canada
ISBN 9780804180283
eISBN 9780440336235
ASIN B000JMKRAW



I very much have mixed feelings about this book. I picked it up to read, after finishing Cleaning the Gold that was written with Lee Child as a Will Trent Jack Reacher mash up story. There was really something about Will Trent that really resonated with me, and I wanted to give his other stories a try. One of the first things I found out about Will Trent in this novel is that he has a form of dyslexia. As someone who has a dual form of dyslexia, diagnosed in grade two, I realized some of what I recognized in the character. The book was also highly addictive. It was very hard to put down.

But maybe it is my aging mind, or that I have daughter in their teens or entering their teens, but I found the book a hard read. I often talk with my children about certain movies that they should wait and watch when they are older because they do not need those images in heir minds. That is the way I felt about this book. The violence is so extreme, so brutal, and so pervasive, that at a couple of points I almost put the book down. I do really appreciate Will Trent, his skills, his abilities, and his overcoming his learning disability. I will likely give another of the stories a try but if the violence is on the level of this one, it will end up in my ‘did not finish pile’. But back o this story.

This story is one that spans over 20 years. The story is told in three parts, or three acts. And several of the chapters begin with clippings from newspaper articles about a murder that is central to the story. We do not realize the importance of these clipping or the possible scrap book they come from until much later. The story jumps back in forth in time a few times, telling events from the past and the current story as it plays out. It involves family, drugs, time in jail. And a psychopath. The murders are particularly gruesome and disturbing.

Another factor is the title. Triptych meaning of triptych is a) a picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together side by side and used as an altarpiece. and b) a set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together. In the book it is described as “triptych, three canvases hinged together to make one image when it was open, another image when it was closed.” There is a different name for that though I do not recall from my art history classes 30 years ago. But the title works for the story and the three stories coming together.

This was an intense read. Parts of it were not easy to read. But the ways the story came together and wrapped up was an interesting surprise. I love the character of Will Trent and will give another of the novels a try. But as stated the level of violence was bit much for me. But very well written.

Books by Karin Slaughter:
Will Trent Books:

1.0 Triptych
2.0 Fractured
3.0 Undone
4.0 Broken
5.0 Fallen
5.5 Snatched
6.0 Criminal
6.5 Busted
7.0 Unseen
8.0 The Kept Woman
8.5 Cleaning the Gold with Lee Child
9.0 The Last Widow


Grant Country Series:
1.0 Blindsighted
2.0 Kisscut
3.0 A Faint Cold Fear
4.0 Indelible
5.0 Faithless
6.0 Beyond Reach


The Good Daughter Series:
0.5 Last Breath
1.0 The Good Daughter


Other Books:
Pretty Girls
Pieces of Her
Cop Town
Blond Hair, Blue Eyes
Thorn in My Side
Martin Misunderstood
Cold Cold Heart
The Unremakeable Heart and other Stories
The Blessing of Brokenness


Contributed to:
Like a Charm

 




Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Author Profile and Interview with Jane Lebak

Author Profile and Interview with Jane Lebak


Over the last year I have read 15 novels or published short stories by Jane Lebak. Her series are as different as they can be, from a young woman who interacts with her guardian angel, to warrior nuns in the service of the pope, and a priest father Jay, who is a veteran and former gang member. I have yet to read a book from her I did not completely enjoy, even some in genres I do not typically read, and have never really read before. Jane took some time from her writing, reading, running, and raising a family to answer 20 questions for the readers here at Book Reviews and More. So here in her own words is Jane. 

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you nurture that dream?

I wrote my first book when I was three years old. My mother saved this masterpiece, if you can believe it. She used to bring home big sheaves of green-bar computer paper from her job, so I stapled a bunch together and used a magenta crayon to write a harrowing tale called “The Creechur.” The creature looked like a big magenta squiggle. My art never got better, so I worked on the storytelling instead.

2. Who were some of your biggest supporters and contributors to your early success?

My parents, definitely. My father is a reader and used to bring me books at random. Nowadays I can identify that as an intermittent reinforcement schedule, but I think he was just buying me books when he happened to be in Waldenbooks. When I started writing stories, he’d read them and encourage me. He knew when to push me to tackle the next level up. My mother signed me up for classes, and she read a lot of awful early drafts too and discussed the characters and the story, giving me pointers on where things just weren’t likeable.

3. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

I started college as a natural resources major, so I’d like to think I would have become a park ranger or a land resource manager. Maybe I could have awakened every morning in a cabin with a wood-burning stove, and some mornings I’d be calling in to my boss saying, “I’ll be late for work this morning. There are three brown bears in the driveway.”

4. How many drafts or major revisions are part of your writing process, and what is your goal or timeline for each?

When I was in high school and college, I did two books a year on a consistent basis. Three months to write and edit, then three months of reading and recharging. After having kids, that slowed down significantly. In 2005 and 2006, I did National Novel Writing Month, and although I “won” both times by writing fifty thousand words in thirty days, that pace was too hard for me. It burned me out. 

By 2014 I was able to sustain that pace without trouble, and this year I’ve been writing a series where I regularly top three thousand words a day. These books are seventy-five thousand words apiece, and in April for Camp Nanowrimo I actually did an 83,000 word book in 27 days. (Which I then whittled down to 78K, and now it’s back at 80K. The writer giveth, and the writer taketh away.)

Edits are a different breed because each book requires different work. I’ve gotten faster at those, too, though. Plus I’ve learned to avoid issues that require vast rewrites (or entire rewrites). I could probably get back to doing a book every three months if necessary.

5. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?

First, we have a question. What if? What if a guardian angel murdered the child he had vowed to protect? What if you had an order of assassin nuns? What if that story my Aunt Gracie told me had actually happened?

Then we have a character. He’s brazen but plagued by shame he won’t admit. She’s protecting himself by building up walls of rules and numbers around herself. He’s been injured in such a way that the life he thought he’d have is impossible to achieve, but because of that, he found a much better way of living.

Usually there are two or three characters who come into being at about the same time. Once I’ve got the characters in play, we start coming up with the story’s “tent poles.” Those are the pivotal moments I can see in my head right from the start. Father Joe playing basketball with the gang members, for example, or Kevin finding a tree bent double under the snow. The tent poles don’t always make it all the way through the process, but I do try to keep them around.

I use Blake Snyder’s sixteen “beats” from Save the Cat to create a loose outline, and once I know the first three chapters, I start writing.


6. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

Not anymore, no. Nowadays I find I crave silence to write, probably because of the kids. I used to write with music on all the time. Some scenes are inextricably linked with the songs I listened to while writing, too. There’s a violent chapter in Seven Archangels: Annihilation where I know I was listening to a Styx playlist, but I didn’t hear even one word of it because I was so absorbed in writing that scene.

Sometimes I’ll create a playlist for a novel after finishing it, though. Two of my books actually have (or will have) that tucked in at the back.

7. One of the greatest strengths in your books are the characters, they are so solid and believable. The characters you create, are they reflections of people you know, composites of different people you know or entirely your creations?

Thank you! In general, no, I try not to base characters on people I know. 

People who listen to me blather about my stories will usually stop me and say, “You act like these people are real.” I’ve had characters refuse to do the thing I want, or surprise me by suggesting something that is totally in character but derails the story. I’ve met people who look just like my characters and been in awe just standing near them.

And then there are the characters who surprise me midstream during the writing because I thought all along that their situation was this one specific thing, and then it turns out they snuck something past me—and their actual situation is very different. That always leaves me stunned because I thought (laughably) that I was in charge here. Clearly I’m not.

I will shamelessly steal situations from people I know. (All those broken down car stories in Honest and for True had to come from somewhere! Plus Max’s dreadful grandmother is a spectacular combination of all the worst rides I gave when transporting the elderly to doctor appointments in my old city.) But in general, I try not to steal the people. Real people are so complex that the character would have to depart from the person eventually anyhow, or they’d seem like they were acting out of character.

8.Your series are drastically different from Father Jay, Archangels, and Bucky and Lee. With all the series and stand-alone books, you have some incredible characters. Which is your favorite character to write and why?

Oh, gosh. That’s a hard one. 

I love my version of the Archangel Gabriel. Martin and Tessa in Relic of His Heart were an absolute blast to write because of the way they took off when they started bantering. We’re never in Martin’s head, not really, and I think that was a shame, but what can you do? Lee and Bucky are a fun combination to write as well because of the shameless puns and the free-wheeling conversation. 

Lee is a lot of fun to write because whenever I’m not sure what she would do, I think of what I would do. And then I have her do exactly the opposite. That’s gotten me out of a few jams with her.

Tabris was…Tabris was lightning in a bottle. I loved his character with an intensity I never expected. He grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. I actually tried not to write his story for three months straight, but it never left my head until finally I just picked up a notebook and started pouring it out. During finals week. Right, just when you want to start writing thousands of words a day. (I got all As, though, so that’s good…?)

9. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated, "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?

I try to leave the characters in a place where they’re better able to overcome the next major crisis that comes along. The characters who are in a series, I would like to follow up. The characters from stand-alones aren’t something I tend to follow up on. I tried once to come up with another story for Tabris, for example, but I couldn’t do that unless I undid some of the things he’d learned the first time around. It’s not worth it.

I heard a great explanation for why some sequels fail. Lousy stories have people take a bunch of characters and stick them together and see what happens. Good stories have a story question and a theme and a number of interesting characters who support the theme and function together to answer the story question. Then to make up the sequel to the great story, you….take that bunch of characters and see what happens. 

When a story ends with everyone in a better place, I tend not to want to mess that up again. THIS was the biggest story in their lives. Fifty years from now, when they’re telling someone about when everything changed for them, THIS should be the story they tell.

10. Is there a chance we will see another Father Jay story? If so is there a planned street date?

I would love to get another one out there this Christmas. I’ve got ideas and some tent poles, but, alas, what I’m missing is a plot. If Jay wants to tell me what he’d like to do, I’m all ears.

11. What books are currently in progress for you? Writing, researching, planning or even just ideas that you would like to work on?

My current project is a trilogy of three sweet romances that will be released under my pen name, Maddie Evans. After that, I’ve got another Seven Archangels story brewing in the back of my mind that I think will be really fun. I’ve got a couple of tent poles for that one already, but I don’t even know which angels would take center stage. 

12. When reading With Two Eyes Into Gehenna, I could not help but think about Vatican II, and rumors about Pope John Paul I. Could you picture the Catherinite nuns in a post Vatican II church? What would their main mission be?

The Church and the world have both changed so much that I don’t think we could have Catherinites in modern day. They’d be full-on ninjas nowadays, of course, rather than cobbling together interesting martial arts techniques from here and there. Sister Lena would be a sixth degree black who also ran marathons. 

But since my nuns only execute heretics, and the Church has changed her opinion on whether heresies deserve death, they’d have to be more about infiltration and stealth.

I hadn’t thought about Pope John Paul I being sentenced for heresy… Wow, I just went down that Google rabbit hole. That would have been fun. I would have combined all the conspiracy theories into one big conspiracy theory! 

I did grow up with my conspiracy-theorist relatives telling me that Pope Paul VI had been kidnapped and replaced with a doppleganger. (“Look, his eyebrow is a little bit curved in this photo, whereas it’s flat in this one!”) Yes, that’s part of the “prophecies” of Our Lady of Bayside. Of course it was. 

13. All of your books are available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of eBooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?

I think ebooks are a great thing, and I like reading them just as much as paper books. It’s unfortunate that people steal ebooks with illegal downloads, especially when there are so many legitimate ways to get books for free!

The thing that annoys me more is when someone purchases an Amazon book, reads it, and returns it for a refund. When they go through your entire catalog one book at a time, reading and returning, I feel like Amazon needs to crack down on them. Maybe after you read 80% of the book, it should no longer be returnable. But Amazon never asked me what I think of their policies. I’m sure they don’t like losing money.

14. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so are have someone do so for you?

No. I don’t feel it would be worth it at this time.

15. Are there any plans for translated editions of your book?

Not right now, unfortunately. If I were to expand into new territory, it would be to do more audio books.

16. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

That is exactly the value of a university education! College in the US has become the equivalent of high school in many respects, as if they’re just preparing you for a job. College should be about learning to analyze, exposing oneself to new ideas, and learning to debate ideas based on their merits. 

When my son enrolled at Fordham, they had planned most of his first four semesters around what they call “the core.” They taught them ancient history, ancient philosophy, ancient art and music, and ancient literature. The kid was majoring in math and computer science, but the core was the same for everyone. The next semester dealt with medieval history, literature, philosophy, art, and music. And so on up until modern times. The intention was to expose students to ways of looking at the world that they wouldn’t get if they treated college as a trade school.

17. Who were some of your favorite authors or books in your youth?

Diana Wynne Jones, Walter Farley, Marguerite Henry. Watership Down. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. CJ Cherryh. Tanith Lee. Stanislaw Lem. CS Lewis.

18. Who are some of your favorite authors or books now?

I still love Diana Wynne Jones, and I periodically re-read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I haven’t been systematically reading through any particular authors lately, which is kind of a shame. I love the books of Karina Fabian and LS King, and I’ve read all but one of Normandie Fischer’s books. 

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

Johnson’s Guide to Better Shipbuilding, and nine books about carpentry, sail-making, navigation, and farming for beginners?

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists?

The advice I gave my daughter was Betsy Lerner’s advice from “The Forest for the Trees.” To wit, if anything else will make you happy, anything at all, do that instead.

I actually blogged it:  
"But I hungered to tell her, don’t do it. Don’t give your heart to people that no one else will ever meet. Don’t look into the depths of someone else’s soul and love them so hard it hurts, and then put them into untenable positions where they have to make impossible choices. Don’t forge an entire person only to take him apart and put him back together again, while you’re rooting for him the whole time."
My current advice is a little different, though. It still hurts to write, but you no longer need to pander directly to editors who are looking for books that feed the widest possible audiences.

Independent publishing opened up a world of opportunity for writers that means you can find an audience even if you’re appealing to a niche market. None of my books are going to have widespread appeal, for example, because they’re all kind of off-beat. They’re good, but how do you market Gehenna? My agent had no luck placing my books because after you write enough weird things, you become an unsellable product. 

Ah, but when you can market directly to readers, you’re no longer unsellable. You’ll find the readers who like angels and clever women (and angels having to deal with clever women,) and those readers will follow you through the occasional book about relic-hunting or a priest and his agnostic brother. 

So my newer advice would be to get as good as you can in the craft. Write without worrying about being able to publish it. Don’t worry about the market because the market is only the driving force for traditional publishing. Traditional publishers are looking for the dozen or so books every year that will sell fifty thousand copies. But you? You can be quite happy selling a thousand copies. Or a hundred copies. You will have time to nurture your talent and develop an audience. 

Set your own definition of success. Turn out a quality story where all the characters are fully-realized. Write characters you love and put them in situations where you find yourself thinking about them when you’re driving or washing the dishes. At some point in time, when you’re talking about any of your characters, you should find yourself on the verge of saying, “I love him,” or “I love when she does that.” 

Make the writing an adventure rather than a job. Play with it and have fun. People will be able to tell, and they’ll love your characters for the same reasons you do.

Jane thank you for taking the time to answer the questions for the readers here. I know I eagerly look forward to your future works and encourage my readers and those who stumble across this interview to give your books a try, I am certain there is something for all readers! 

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Relic of His Heart
With Two Eyes Into Gehenna
...

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:

0.5 Upsie-Daisy
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Forever And For Keeps


Books as Maddie Evans:

Sweet Grove:
1.0 Love's Highway
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

...

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis

...

Author profile and interview with Jane Lebak.









Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Shipwreck - Maureen Jennings - Detective Murdoch Book 0.5

Shipwreck
Detective Murdoch Book 0.5
Maureen Jennings

Grass Roots Press
ISBN 9781926583266
eISBN 9781283550505
ASIN B0060PZOAA


Prior to reading this novella I have only read one of the Murdoch Novels. I have been a fan of the series for years, and just recently was able to get caught up to day on the show. The novels and the show diverge a bit, from what I have read, and watched. But this interesting story could fit will in either the literary or cinematographic worlds of Murdoch.

This story is a little unusual, in that it is the story in part of the telling of another story. It is being told by Bill Murdoch, at first to his grand daughter and then to his daughter, the story is about his great-grandfather, William Murdoch, who was also a police detective. I could not help but picture Peter Falk, and Bill Murdoch while reading this story. The story takes place on the eve of the anniversary of Bill’s wife’s death. And as part of his work at a support group for grief, he has begun writing stories, and in this story, he shares a tale of young William Murdoch. The story being told took place about 140 years earlier and is in part the story of one of the factors that lead William Murdoch to become a police office and a very good detective at that.   

The first part of the story is interrupted often with questions and interjections by Bill’s granddaughter. And the next day he reads the remaining part of the story to his daughter as she is in bed. 

This story is fun in imagining William’s grandson, a retired detective having followed in his footsteps, caring for his family, and working out his grief by writing family stories. It is also excellent to see this much younger William, serving at the altar at mass, and helping when a ship is wrecked. 

Writing shorter fiction is a very different art than writing the novel. This story is very well crafted. For fans of either the books or the tv show it will be a great read. For others who love shorter form fiction, and enjoy a bit of mystery, it is excellent also. It is a great addition to the canon of work about William Murdoch, and well worth the read!

Books by Maureen Jennings:
Detective Murdoch Series:

0.5 Shipwreck
1.0 Except the Dying
2.0 Under the Dragon's Tail
3.0 Poor Tom Is Cold
4.0 Let Loose the Dogs
5.0 Night's Child
6.0 Vices of My Blood
7.0 A Journeyman to Grief
8.0 Let Darkness Bury the Dead
...

Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Series:
1.0 Season of Darkness
2.0 Beware This Boy
3.0 No Known Grave
4.0 Dead Ground in Between
...

Christine Morris Series:
1.0 Does Your Mother Know?
2.0 The K Handshape
...


Paradise Café Series:

1.0 Heat Wave
...

Other books:
The Map of Your Mind: Journeys into Creative Expression
Investigating Murdoch Mysteries: The Official Companion to the Series – with Michelle Ricci and Mir Bahmanyar
...
 









Monday, 27 May 2019

Heavenly Hosts: Eucharistic Miracles for Kids - Kathryn Griffin Swegart

Heavenly Hosts: Eucharistic Miracles for Kids
Kathryn Griffin Swegart

ISBN 9781974266524
ISBN 9781729408681
ASIN B076QGBR25 


This is the second book by Kathryn that I read in under a week, after finishing her historical fiction, Perilous Days Brave Hearts Book 1, I picked up this and book two of the Brave Hearts series.  This book is a wonderful little read. I have come across sections in many books about Eucharistic Miracles but have yet to read a book dedicated to them. I picked this book up to read with my kids and started reading it on my lunch at work. I literally could not put it down. I ended up reading through my whole lunch, and my commute home and finished the book before the kids got in the door from school. I started reading it with my youngest two that night. 

So right off the top, even though this book was written with children as the target audience it can be enjoyed by readers of any age. And it will inspire an, encourage, and stoke up the faith of any believer. In our house it is being enjoyed by readers from 8 to 50 years of age.

The chapters are:
Introduction 
Miracle of Skete, Egypt Third Century 
Miracle of Lanciano, Italy Eighth Century 
Miracle of Rimini, Italy 1227 
Miracle of Assisi, Italy 1240 
Miracle of Kranenburg, Germany 1280 
Miracle of Krakow, Poland 1345 
Miracle of Avignon, France 1461 
Miracle of LaRochelle, France 1461 
Miracle of Pibrac, France 1587 
Miracle of Tumaco, Colombia 1906 
Miracle of Fatima, Portugal 1916 
Miracle of Buenos Aires, Argentina 1994 
The Real Presence: A Lesson from Saint Philip Neri 1555 
Real Miracles in Real Places 

In the introduction Kathryn states:

“Every time we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, a miracle happens. The priest elevates the host and says, “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my Body, which will be given up for you.” Like the chrysalis, a big change occurs. We can’t see this change. We believe it because Jesus told us so at the Last Supper when he instituted the Eucharist. Our Catholic faith teaches us that at the moment of consecration, Jesus is present under the appearances of bread and wine. He is there Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. He becomes our spiritual food. The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is a mystery of God’s love, Eucharistic miracles do not prove this great mystery; they strengthen our faith. We believe in our hearts.”

The Eucharist is central to being catholic. And as Catholics it should be central to our lives. What these stories do is remind us of the importance and power in the consecrated hosts and wine. The introduction ends with these words:

“When you attend Mass, remember these stories. If you use your imagination, you can picture Him in the Host. After you receive Him at Holy Communion, be thankful that He is with you in this beautiful miracle of the Eucharist.”

And I have found that these stories are staying with me not just when thinking about the mass. But throughout the day. A few of these specific stories I was familiar with, but many I had not encountered previously. The stories in this volume span almost 1700 years. And these are but a few samplings of the eucharistic miracles that have been recorded. One of the stories that touched me most in this collection is that of The Miracle of Rimini Italy in1227, I do not recall coming across this story before. But the aged mule bowing and choosing Christ in the eucharist over a bunch of grapes was greatly enjoyed both by myself and the kids, thought I see myself more in the father in this story and needing Christ to bring me around time and time again. 

This is a wonderful book, for readers of all ages!

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

Books by Kathryn Griffin Swegart:
Brave Hearts Series:
Perilous Days
Martyrs


Other Books:
Heavenly Hosts: Eucharistic Miracles for Kids
The Wreck of the Essex: The Story of Thomas Nickerson


Saturday, 25 May 2019

The Christmas Scorpion - Lee Child - Jack Reacher Book 22.5

The Christmas Scorpion
Jack Reacher Book 22.5
Lee Child
Delacorte Press
Penguin Random House Canada
eISBN 9781984818454
ASIN B07H1YMCRW


In under 4 months I have read 15 of the Jack Reacher Novels or short. I have a friend who calls me a ‘completionist’, meaning when I find an author, I enjoy I tend to try and read everything they wrote. And I know there is a growing trend for there to be a short story released between novels in a series. So, this story comes right before the first novel I read. And I hope to finish all the novels and short stories before book 24 comes out later this year. But back to this story. 

In this story Jack Reacher is heading south the winter. Just before Christmas he arrives in a small town in Northern California. There is a freak snow storm. He arrives in a bard to find two pairs of patrons, and older couple, and two that look like police of special service branch. He soon finds out that the two are military police who have lost their primary protection. There is a credible threat against their asset. And they are stuck out on a limb. 

Can Reacher help them?
Will Reacher help them?
Will the assassin win?

This is a fun little story. In my reading I have been jumping around the Reacher canon of work. I have come to realize that the short stories do not necessarily rely on past events, but sometimes can give clues or hints. Or link together events mentioned in passing in the novels. As I read more of the Reacher stories it will be interesting to find out how this one fits in with all the others. I wonder if we will encounter the brits again, or the older couple from the bar. Weather we do or not, it is an interesting little adventure to help you get your Reacher fix between novels. 

Books by Lee Child:
Jack Reacher Books Publishing Order:

Killing Floor
Die Trying
Tripwire
The Visitor /Running Blind
Echo Burning
Without Fail
Persuader
The Enemy
One Shot
The Hard Way
Bad Luck and Trouble
Nothing to Lose
Gone Tomorrow
61 Hours
Worth Dying For
The Affair
A Wanted Man
Never go Back
Personal
Make Me
Night School
The Midnight Line
Past Tense
Blue Moon

...
Jack Reacher's Rules
...

Reacher Short Stories and Novella’s:
No Middle Name – Complete Collected Short Stories
Stories in No Middle Name Collection:
Too Much Time
Second Son
Deep Down
Guy Walks into A Bar
James Penney’s New Identity
High Heat
Everyone Talks
Not A Drill
Small Wars
Maybe They Have A Tradition

No Room At The Motel
The Picture of the Lonely Diner

Other Short Stories:
The Fourth Man
The Christmas Scorpion
...
Faking a Murderer with Kathy Reichs
Cleaning the Gold with Karin Slaughter
Good and Valuable Consideration with Joseph Finder
...


Friday, 24 May 2019

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots - Marge Steinhage Fenelon - A Living Novena

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: 
A Living Novena
Marge Steinhage Fenelon
Ave Maria Press

ISBN 9781594716300
eISBN 9781594716317
ASIN B01NADSO4E



This is the third book by Marge Fenelon, about Mary, that I have read this year. This book was recommended to me a few years ago by a friend. In actuality, I purchased the eBook over 4 years before getting around to reading it. It sat in my ‘to be read pile’ for a long time. Every once in a while; while browsing my Kindle app I would come across it and bump it to the top but never got around to starting it. That is my loss. But after recently reading two other books by marge in the last few months I finally got around to reading this volume. All three books I have read by Fenelon have involved a Novena. But this one is very different than the other two. In both my previous reads the Novena was about half of the book. This one the novena is the majority of the book. But it is not just a novena of 9 days of prayer. This one follows Marge as she follows Pope Francis on a tour of the holy lands. Each day is a different location, with different focus. I believe we all have knots in or lives, some from stuff that was done to us, some from decisions we have made, some as a consequence of rejection or rebellion. As such we could all benefit from reading this book, and praying with Mary, and her title of undoer of knots.

In the forward Diana von Glahn states:

“But our good God never leaves us without divine assistance. In response to the original knot of sin tied by Eve in the Garden long ago, he has lovingly given us the great Undoer of Knots, his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

She then goes on to outline the book for us:

“Each day tackles a different knot—injustice, separation, confusion, hopelessness, grief and loss, discord, betrayal, envy and pride, and affliction—both as they relate to the situation in the land where Jesus lived as well as in our own lives.”

The sections in this volume are:
Foreword by Diana von Glahn 
Acknowledgments 
Introduction 
Day One: Bethany Beyond the Jordan—The Knot of Injustice 
Day Two: Wall of Bethlehem—The Knot of Separation 
Day Three: Grotto of the Nativity—The Knot of Confusion 
Day Four: Mount of Olives—The Knot of Hopelessness 
Day Five: Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre —The Knots of Grief and Loss 
Day Six: Western Wall —The Knot of Discord 
Day Seven: Yad Vashem, Mount of Remembrance —The Knot of Betrayal 
Day Eight: Temple Mount—The Knots of Envy and Pride 
Day Nine: The Cenacle—The Knot of Affliction 
Conclusion 
Appendix 1: On the Origin of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots 
Appendix 2: How to Pray the Rosary 
Notes

There were times where this book was not an easy read. Because, at least for me, many of the knots in my life are of my own making. And realizing they are there and asking for help to work on them in a deep process. Fenelon states:

“That’s why we need to turn our knot of injustice over to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots—before it entangles us in sin and ruin. We might prefer to cling to the knot, seeking vengeance or believing we deserve restitution.

And yet, God knows better. 

He knows whether we need restitution, and he knows best how to handle the people who have treated us unjustly. We don’t need to seek revenge; we need to surrender the knot of injustice to Our Lady. She will know exactly how to undo it, if only we give it to her freely.”

At the end of each of the days of the novena there is a ‘Stepping Out’ section, this is a sample from day 3:

Stepping Out in Faith 

Take some time to think about the questions below. Then answer them as honestly as you can so that your heart can continue to grow more and more peaceful. 

What kind of confusion do you face in your life right now? 
How did it come about? 
What factors contributed to it? 
What would it take for the confusion to be resolved? 
What has prohibited you so far from seeking a resolution? 
Practically speaking, what part might you play in a resolution? 

Make a concrete resolution to take one step toward peace in your heart today.

This book was another excellent read from the pen of Marge Fenelon. She concludes the book with these words:

“More than anything, I hope that Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena leads you on a spiritual journey that will deepen your faith, increase your love for our Blessed Mother, and commence the undoing of the knots in your life. Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, pray for us!”

And that is what I found the book has done for me! And What I am sure it will do for you if you read it with an open mind and heart. My only quandary is is which of Marge’s book to read next.

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

Books by Marge Steinhage Fenelon:
Our Lady, Undoer of Knots
My Queen, My Mother
Imitating Mary
Forgiving Mother
When’s God Gonna Call Me Back?
When’s God Gonna Show Up?
Reveille for the Soul
Strengthening Your Family: A Catholic Approach to Holiness at Home
10 Promises of Jesus: Stories and Scripture Reflections about Suffering and Joy

...