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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

The Haunted Cathedral - Antony Barone Kolenc - The Harwood Mysteries Book 2

The Haunted Cathedral
The Harwood Mysteries Book 2
Antony Barone Kolenc
Loyola Press
ISBN 9780829448122
eISBN 9780829448139
ASIN B088861BZG


I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but I enjoyed this one even more. 

I need to state that this is an excellent read. And I really look forward to reading the third volume in the trilogy. Second I need to state that books with the same titles were released by this author in 2013, those ones were published as a series called The Chronicles of Xan. The author has stated that the books, though carrying the same title are substantially rewritten, Tony has stated:

“The prior series is entirely overhauled, including new plot lines and new major characters, as well as an entirely different writing style. So, yes, there are major differences.”

So even if you have read the earlier version, it would be worth picking up this version, as it is a great read. And if you love this one, do not wait pick up book three as soon as it is available. Now that you have the back story, back to this specific novel.

This story is historical fiction set in medieval England in 1184. Xan has found out that he has a debt because of being a serf. He is separated again from someone very important to him. And He is struggling with anger and desire for revenge against Carlo the leader of the bandits who orphaned him. The description of the book is:

“An ill-fated journey, a long-lost uncle, and a mysterious cathedral mark the next chapter in the life of Xan, an orphan in search of his destiny. For a year, he has lived in the care of Benedictine monks at Harwood Abbey. Now he learns that he has an uncle, said to live in the far-off city of Lincoln.

Will Xan survive the trip alongside the prisoner Carlo and his cruel guards?
Will he find Uncle William?
And why is Xan drawn to the spirit that haunts Lincoln Cathedral—could a ghost reconnect Xan with his dead parents?

Join Xan and his friends to solve the mystery of The Haunted Cathedral.”

Xan’s has realized that his life is not his own. And he is trying to figure out who he wants to be, and who God is calling him to be. But it is not an easy road before him. Carlo’s has an old ally trying to find out where his treasure is kept. And Xan is caught in the middle. But the Abbot, a monk and a priest are all praying for Xan and trying to guide him along a right path. But only Xan can decide how he will react. 

Pick up this book and join Xan with friends both old and new on a high stakes adventure. Not only are lives and freedom at risk, but maybe even eternity.

The book and series is marketed for Middle grade readers but would also be great for tweens and teens. I am in my fifties and I loved it. It is a well written novel and one that will leave you excited for the final book in the series. Antony ‘Tony’ Barone Kolenc is a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps. He currently teaches law. In this story, he has shown that he has great skill as a story teller. It is a story certain to entertain, reader young and old alike. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Antony Barone Kolenc:
The Harwood Mysteries:

Shadow in the Dark
The Haunted Cathedral
The Fire of Eden


The Chronicles of Xan:
Shadow in the Dark
The Haunted Cathedral
The Fire of Eden

Contributed to:
...


  

Original Covers



Monday, 30 August 2021

Dave's Aliens - Scott Bell - A Short Story

Mitchellsville: 
A Short Story
ASIN B07BH2LRKF


I stumbled upon a different story but this author, it was Mitchellsville and it blew me away. I picked up that one because a different book by Scott Bell was in an email blast, Working Stuffs, That story is described as:

“In 2050, the government uses scientifically reanimated corpses to fill menial jobs. Out of work and down on his luck, engineer Joe Warren is coerced by a federal agent into infiltrating an insurgent group — and finds his loyalties tested. A page-turning dystopian read.”

It could not be much different than Mitchellsville, which I loved so much I picked up the other three published short stories. This one is described as:

“Dave is an Alcoholic American with a troubled past and no future. He's known to be a bit of a kook. So when Dave starts seeing aliens, the small town folk ignore his warning and lock him up. Dave is sure he's right, and the town is slowly being possessed by creatures from another world. Is it all in his twisted imagination, or is this time the threat real?”

This was terribly interesting story. The concept is intriguing. The execution masterful. You will find yourself in Dave’s corner, even with his flaws and history. I will be honest the ending took me by surprise, but left me desperately wanting more. The writing is tight. The characters well crafter. The plot surprising. I read an awesome anthology last year, Cracked: An Anthology of Eggsellent Chicken Stories edited by Bokerah Brumley. This story could have fit well in that collection. This story reads a bit like an episode of the Twilight Zone, or Strange Tales.  

The story previously appeared "Person Suit" by Dreaming Big Publications. It is a  great short story. I highly recommend it. 

Books by Scott Bell:
Working Stiffs
MAGA 2020 & Beyond 

Short Stories:
Mr. Scampers' War

Sam Cable Mysteries:
April’s Fool
May Day
June Bug

Able Yeager Series:
Yeager's Law
Yeager's Mission
Yeager's Getaway

Contributed to:
Paradox: The Inner Circle Writers' Group Crime/Mystery/Thriller Anthology 2019
The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine: Volume 4, Issue 1
The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine: Volume 3, Issue 4
To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity




Sunday, 29 August 2021

Rich in Mercy - Pope Saint John Paul II - CTS Year of Mercy Reprint

Rich In Mercy
Year of Mercy
Pope Saint John Paul II
ISBN 9781784691080
CTS Booklet Do919


This is the seventh and I believe penultimate book in the CTS Year of Mercy series I have read. I picked all the eBooks of 6 up as soon as I finished the first one. Then I tracked down this and The Joy of Mercy  by Pope Francis and this one, that are both only available in physical booklets. Over the last several years, I have read over 200 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series, and many authors. I have read several books that are part of the CTS Devotions and Prayer Series. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. But Other than Living Fruitfully I believe this is the only series I have completed. The description of the booklet is:

“John Paul II tells the story of God's boundless mercy, beginning with the Old Testament and God's love shown in the history of the chosen people of God, through to the ultimate act of mercy: sending his son Jesus, our Redeemer. It is an excellent way to meditate on the meaning of mercy in the Year of Mercy. First published in 1980, this highly readable Encyclical Letter (Dives in Misericordia) is St John Paul's persuasive presentation of a God who throughout history has shown himself to be "rich in mercy".”

This is the booklet edition of the Encyclical Dives In Misericordia promulgated the First Sunday of Advent 1980, November 30th. This book was an excellent volume to read. The chapters in the volume are:

He Who Sees Me Sees the Father
     The revelation of mercy
     The incarnation of mercy
‘The Messianic Message
     When Christ began to act and to teach
The Old Testament
     The concept of “mercy” in the Old Testament
The Parable of the Prodigal Son
     An analogy
     Particular concentration on human dignity
The Paschal Mystery
     Mercy revealed in the cross and resurrection
     Love more powerful than death, more powerful than sin
     Mother of mercy
“Mercy … from Generation to Generation”
     An image of our generation      
     Sources of uneasiness
     Is justice enough?
The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church
     The Church professes the mercy of God and proclaims it
     The church seeks to put mercy into practice
The Prayer of the Church in our Times
     The Church appeals to the mercy of God

Some of the many passages my first read through are:

“In Jesus Christ, every path to man, as it has been assigned once and for all to the Church in the changing context of the times, is simultaneously an approach to the Father and His love. The Second Vatican Council has confirmed this truth for our time.”

“Today I wish to say that openness to Christ, who as the Redeemer of the world fully reveals man himself," can only be achieved through an ever more mature reference to the Father and His love.”

“It is precisely here that "His invisible nature" becomes in a special way "visible," incomparably more visible than through all the other "things that have been made": it becomes visible in Christ and through Christ, through His actions and His words, and finally through His death on the cross and His resurrection.”

“The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of "mercy" seem to cause uneasiness in man, who, thanks to the enormous development of science and technology, never before known in history, has become the master of the earth and has subdued and dominated it.”

“Making the Father present as love and mercy is, in Christ's own consciousness, the fundamental touchstone of His mission as the Messiah; this is confirmed by the words that He uttered first in the synagogue at Nazareth and later in the presence of His disciples and of John the Baptist's messengers.”

“The concept of "mercy" in the Old Testament has a long and rich history. We have to refer back to it in order that the mercy revealed by Christ may shine forth more clearly. By revealing that mercy both through His actions and through His teaching, Christ addressed Himself to people who not only knew the concept of mercy, but who also, as the People of God of the Old Covenant, had drawn from their age - long history a special experience of the mercy of God. This experience was social and communal, as well as individual and interior.”

“In the preaching of the prophets, mercy signifies a special power of love, which prevails over the sin and infidelity of the chosen people.”

“Mercy differs from justice, but is not in opposition to it, if we admit in the history of man - as the Old Testament precisely does-the presence of God, who already as Creator has linked Himself to His creature with a particular love.”

“Nevertheless, the relationship between justice and love, that is manifested as mercy, is inscribed with great exactness in the content of the Gospel parable. It becomes more evident that love is transformed into mercy when it is necessary to go beyond the precise norm of justice-precise and often too narrow.”

“Mercy - as Christ has presented it in the parable of the prodigal son - has the interior form of the love that in the New Testament is called agape. This love is able to reach down to every prodigal son, to every human misery, and above all to every form of moral misery, to sin. When this happens, the person who is the object of mercy does not feel humiliated, but rather found again and "restored to value."”

“The genuine face of mercy has to be ever revealed anew. In spite of many prejudices, mercy seems particularly necessary for our times.”

“The history of our century offers many examples of this. In spite of all the declarations on the rights of man in his integral dimension, that is to say in his bodily and spiritual existence, we cannot say that these examples belong only to the past.”

“The Church must bear witness to the mercy of God revealed in Christ, in the whole of His mission as Messiah, professing it in the first place as a salvific truth of faith and as necessary for a life in harmony with faith, and then seeking to introduce it and to make it incarnate in the lives both of her faithful and as far as possible in the lives of all people of good will. Finally, the Church-professing mercy and remaining always faithful to it-has the right and the duty to call upon the mercy of God, imploring it in the face of all the manifestations of physical and moral evil, before all the threats that cloud the whole horizon of the life of humanity today.”

“Some theologians affirm that mercy is the greatest of the attributes and perfections of God, and the Bible, Tradition and the whole faith life of the People of God provide particular proofs of this.”

“The same Eucharistic rite, celebrated in memory of Him who in His messianic mission revealed the Father to us by means of His words and His cross, attests to the inexhaustible love by virtue of which He desires always to be united with us and present in our midst, coming to meet every human heart. It is the sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation that prepares the way for each individual, even those weighed down with great faults. In this sacrament each person can experience mercy in a unique way, that is, the love which is more powerful than sin.”

“Mercy that is truly Christian is also, in a certain sense, the most perfect incarnation of "equality" between people, and therefore also the most perfect incarnation of justice as well, insofar as justice aims at the same result in its own sphere. However, the equality brought by justice is limited to the realm of objective and extrinsic goods, while love and mercy bring it about that people meet one another in that value which is man himself, with the dignity that is proper to him. At the same time, "equality" of people through "patient and kind" love122 does not take away differences: the person who gives becomes more generous when he feels at the same time benefitted by the person accepting his gift; and vice versa, the person who accepts the gift with the awareness that, in accepting it, he too is doing good is in his own way serving the great cause of the dignity of the person; and this contributes to uniting people in a more profound manner.”

“It is obvious that such a generous requirement of forgiveness does not cancel out the objective requirements of justice. Properly understood, justice constitutes, so to speak, the goal of forgiveness. In no passage of the Gospel message does forgiveness, or mercy as its source, mean indulgence towards evil, towards scandals, towards injury or insult. In any case, reparation for evil and scandal, compensation for injury, and satisfaction for insult are conditions for forgiveness.”

“In analyzing the parable of the prodigal son, we have already called attention to the fact that he who forgives and he who is forgiven encounter one another at an essential point, namely the dignity or essential value of the person, a point which cannot be lost and the affirmation of which, or its rediscovery, is a source of the greatest joy.”

I hope those quotes will encourage you and challenge you to pick up and read this excellent work. At the beginning of the year of mercy I read Beautiful Mercy - Pope Francis et al. Experiencing God's Unconditional Love So We Can Share It With Others edited by Matthew Kelly. I wish I had been aware of this series and read them as they were coming out. I am thankful I came across them. Once I started reading them I wanted to read the whole series. The older I get the more I realize the importance of mercy. Both extending it to others, and accepting it when it is extended to us. The world would be a much better place to live, if we all strived to live more mercy. And if we brought the mercy of God to those who know him not. 

This is an excellent read, and wonderful volume. I greatly enjoyed the CTS Year of Mercy series. As I have stated in other reviews in the series, the Year of Mercy may be behind us, but these books will benefit those who read them. And if we are open they will have an impact on the family, friends, and communities of those who read these booklets and strive to live more mercy.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Year of Mercy Books:











Saturday, 28 August 2021

Making the Most of Spiritual Direction - Antonio P. Villahoz

Making the Most of Spiritual Direction
Antonio P. Villahoz
ISBN 9781594172298
eISBN 9781594172304
ASIN B00WKMUYR0


I have yet to read a book from Scepter Publishers that has not been of benefit. And this book packs a lot of information into a small volume of just 4 chapters. The description of the book is:

“Many already appreciate the importance of spiritual direction in the interior life. But having a good director is not enough. One must also know how to make the most of spiritual direction.

This book will help you to prepare well for your time in spiritual direction. It describes the four keys to a successful conversation with your director and offers a list of topics that should be covered. It will help you discern what is important and what is not important to talk about in spiritual direction.

Making the Most of Spiritual Direction is a helpful aid to beginners and to those with more experience, as well as priests and those entrusted with giving direction to others.”

And the chapters are:

What Is Spiritual Direction?
The Keys to Success
A Guide to Avoid Getting Lost
Texts About Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction is something I have known about since I was first involved with Campus Ministries over 30 years ago now. And yet it is something that I can always work at more. Be better at. And grow from. So this little volume was an excellent read, and at a timely juncture in my life. I highlighted several passages my first time reading through this book, some of them are:

“Don’t limit yourself to reading these pages as you would a newspaper. More than reading this book, I suggest that you think about it, that you really look at how it can help you. Don’t be frightened by seeing how far you might be from real spiritual direction. But do make a greater effort to learn the task of knowing yourself in order to make yourself known.”

“God speaks with deeds. He speaks through circumstances. He speaks through everything that happens to us. He speaks through every person he puts on our path, and he speaks in a very special way through those persons who help improve our lives as Christians through spiritual direction.”

“Francis Fernandez Carvajal says, “No one can, ordinarily, guide himself without a special help of God. The lack of objectivity, the passion with which we view ourselves, laziness, cloud our path towards God… And when there’s no clarity there comes spiritual stagnation, accepted mediocrity, discouragement, tepidity.” 2 This explains the importance of having spiritual direction.”

“Carvajal points out a “touchstone” that will help us find this person: “There is a key point for knowing whether we have made the correct choice: if he helps us, with understanding, to find our Lord in all the events of our life, and to identify our will with God’s will, even though this takes sacrifice.” 4 What will certify for us that we have found the right person is seeing that through our conversation we are a little bit closer to God, although it takes effort to struggle where it is indicated.”

“This much is true: It is not enough to have a spiritual director or know we are going to speak with him or her. The important thing is that we understand our dispositions beforehand and know how we are going to carry out that conversation.”

“It is not a matter, therefore, of merely making an interior introspection of what has happened to you but of comparing your life and your struggle with the life of Jesus with the purpose of uprooting and getting rid of all that separates you from God. This requires sincerity.”

“If you want a good remedy for the struggle to be sincere, begin by sharing whatever is most difficult for you. By revealing first what you would not like anyone to know, you will have won a victory over the price of not being sincere. Besides, do you think the priest with whom you speak does not know that we all have feet of clay and carry many defects within us?”

“Therefore, it is very important that you frequently look over the points of struggle that you became aware of during spiritual direction. Never tire of struggling.”

“It is very useful to designate a fixed date and time with your spiritual director so that you don’t allow other obligations to cause you to put off that conversation until the opportune occasion arises, which of course will almost never happen. Ask yourself what interval is right for your soul, given your circumstances, and submit yourself to this schedule with a determination never to miss that appointment.”

“You should bring up anything since your last conversation that has caused you concern, made you suffer, or brought you joy. Talk about what is on your mind and in your heart, what you habitually think about when you are at home or at work, what takes away your peace, what makes you smile, what discourages you, what inspires you, and what your dreams are.”

“During what periods of the day are you most forgetful of God? Is it when you are out running errands, in school, at work, at home, or engaged in sports or exercise? What efforts have you made to avoid that carelessness? Ask yourself honestly how much God counts in your life and how this is reflected in your daily activities.”

If we really want to grow in the spiritual life we need help. And one of the best sources for that help is a spiritual director. This little volume will help make spiritual direction much more profitable and meaningful. It is an excellent resource. A book any Catholic could benefit from reading and applying. An excellent resource, for an individual, home, church or school library. 

Pick it up, give it a read and strive to live it out.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Note: The author has several books available in Spanish, but this is the only one currently available in English.

Friday, 27 August 2021

The Dark Tower - Donal Anthony Foley - The Glaston Chronicles Book 2

The Dark Tower
Donal Anthony Foley 
Theotokos Books
ISBN 9780957496934
ASIN B074KKP98D


I have read a few of Donal Anthony Foley’s nonfiction works and have loved them all. Both books he has written and books he has edited. This was the second of his fictional works I have read, and I was blown away again. This is an awesome story, in a classic style and genre. As soon as I finished reading the first volume I picked up this book and bumped it towards the top of my reading list. I also reached out to the author about the announced book three. If you enjoy historical fiction with a twist, and an epic battle between good and evil. This is one for you. If you just love a very well written story, give this series a try. It is masterfully written. The beginning of the description of this book states:

“The Glaston Chronicles continue with this, the second in the series of books involving Matt Bergin and his cousins, Luke and Annie Martin. Safe back from their time-traveling exploits in Second World War France, the cousins find themselves drawn into a new adventure in the twenty-first century, but one involving their old adversary, Emil Schwarzen, who is now an aged and extremely wealthy entrepreneur styling himself as Lord Edgar Blackly.”

From the beginning this story is packed with action, danger, risk, and growing deeper in your faith. I would say this book, and series, is written with the teen or young adult audience in mind. But also state that because of how compelling the writing is readers of any age will fall in love with the characters, and be captivated by the stories. This is one of those series that friends and family will get tired of hearing about. They are stories I will be talking about for months and recommending for years to come. 

It is an excellent story, it continues after travels in the time and space. We meet more of the family. And find out some of what happened to those left behind in France in the first book. Their old adversary, Emil Schwarzen, now known as Lord Edgar Blackly, has amassed wealth, titles, and properties around the world. And spent the last 70 years trying to replicate what he experienced with this group. But he has turned to dark arts, dark magic, the occult, and esoteric knowledge to try and find a way to travel in time and to become immortal. He has spoiled his grandson. And together they try and manipulate and control Matt and his cousins. But with the help of their aunt, Father Richard Peters, and a surprising ally they meet along the way. 

But this volume must come with a warning that the first book did not. There is a lot of information about the occult and magic in this book. I would be far more selective about who I would recommend this book to. There are many younger readers who I would have suggested book 1 to that I would not think ready or mature enough to read this book with discernment. The occult is clearly presented. Both how it hoodwinks practitioners and how it is a very slippery slope. But it counters that with the power of faith, the cross and the name of Jesus. 

It is another wonderful adventure story about friendship, family and faith. But be warned it will leave you desperate for the next volume, which has not been released yet.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Donal Anthony Foley:
Our Lady and the New Evangelisation
Christian Living: The Spirituality of the Foyers of Charity
Message of Bernadette: Lourdes 2008 - 150th Anniversary of the Apparitions
Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion?
Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World
Medjugorje Revisited: 30 Years of Visions or Religious Fraud?
Saint Therese of Lisieux Prayers and Devotions
Sacred Heart Prayers and Devotions

Fiction:
The Glaston Chronicles:



Nonfiction titles from Foley:








Thursday, 26 August 2021

Lets Follow Jesus - Sister Monica - Stations of the Cross Coloring Prayer Book

Lets Follow Jesus 
Stations of the Cross Coloring Prayer Book
Sister Monica
ISBN 9780645022087


I picked this up for my son. He had almost completed the colouring book on the saints, Light of Heaven Saints Coloring Book by Adalee Hude. My son loved this from the moment he opened it. He realized not only was it a colouring book, but it was also a way to pray the stations of the cross. He started colouring it the day it arrived. And it has been prayed a few times now.

The pictures are not very detailed. It is geared for children to colour. But an Adult could colour it with much more detail. I am thankful that I picked this up. And I am glad my son loves colouring and praying this volume.

A great colouring book for Catholics.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Sister Monica:
Let's Follow Jesus Coloring Book: Stations of the Cross Coloring - St. Jerome Library Coloring Books Volume 8
Our Mother Mary & Let's Follow Jesus Coloring Book - St. Jerome Library Coloring Books Volume 6





Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Devotion to St Jude - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston - CTS Devotions

Devotion to St Jude:
Patron of Hopeless Cases
Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860823954
eISBN 9781784692469
ASIN B0722NJX1B
CTS Booklet D679


With the reading of this book I have read 11 volumes from the pen of Glynn MacNiven-Johnston. Her books are either on prayers and devotions or biographies of saints. And all of them to date have been wonderful reads. Over the last several years I have read over 200 books from the Catholic Truth Society. They are many great series, and books available from the CTS. And the CTS Devotions Series is among my favourites. The description of this booklet is:

“One of the twelve apostles, St Jude is possibly the least well known, though famous for his power of intercession on behalf of those in difficult circumstances. Here Glynn MacNiven-Johnston pieces together his fascinating story, his writings, and writings of others about him. The booklet includes a helpful selection of devotions to St Jude: prayers for particular needs, litany and novenas. The interesting story of his shrine at Faversham, England is also told.”

The chapters in this booklet are:
Who was St Jude?
Writings
Intercession to St Jude
Prayer to St Jude
Prayer for St Jude’s intercession
Prayers for various needs
     For help in time of need
     In marital difficulties
     For a drug addict
     Of an alcoholic
     In mental illness
     In physical illness
     For the critically ill
     For spiritual help
     In grievous affliction
     In financial worry
     Of praise and thanksgiving
     On the death of a loved one
     Megalynarion
Litany
Litany in honour of St Jude
Novenas
What is a Novena?
Novena to St Jude
Novena to St Jude - to grow in Faith
Prayer in confidence
From the Feast of St Jude
Acts of the Holy Apostle Thaddaeus
Directions to the Shrine of St Jude

This book was originally published in 1982, revised in 2006 and the eBook edition released in 2017. The book begins with these words:

“We can be certain about very little concerning St Jude’s life on earth. Even his name is wrong: he, like Judas Iscariot, was called Judah.

We do know that he was one of Christ’s disciples. Two of the twelve were called Judah (in Greek, Judas) and so they had to have other names to distinguish them from each other. One was called Iscariot because of where he came from (Kerioth), and the other was called Thaddeus or Lebbaeus, which could mean that he had a burly chest or that he was big-hearted. It was only later, when the name Judas had the connotations of betrayal, that Judas Thaddeus became Jude.”

We are also informed in the introduction that:

“Jude may have been one of the ‘brothers’ of the Lord (James, Joseph, Simon and Jude) mentioned in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, where people who have grown up with Jesus wonder how he can be speaking with so much authority. If he is that Jude, it would make him a close relative of Jesus’s (the Aramaic word aha is used to describe brothers, cousins and other relatives); but that may have been a different Jude altogether.”

This volume is a fascinating read in many ways. First it is very well written and researched. It is a great introduction to the Saint, to this apostle. Second there is an excellent collection of prayers. A few I have used already for friends and family in specific needs. And one I am praying for myself daily. Both the Litany and Novena are excellent. And the history of the National Shrine of St Jude, Faversham was very interesting. I especially appreciated this prayer:

Megalynarion
(a hymn from the Eastern Rite)

Come, let us acclaim the Apostle Jude, as the Master’s kinsman and the initiate of His truth; for he sowed the glad tidings in tears and labours, but reaped a godly harvest in joy and blessedness.”

Overall just a wonderful little volume. I know I will be returning to the prayers within often. A great read from Glynn MacNiven-Johnston and the Catholic Truth Society.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.


Books by Glynn MacNiven-Johnston:
Biographies:
Maria Goretti Teenage Martyr
Pier Giorgio Frassati Inspiration for Students
Father Damien Apostle to the Lepers
Martin de Porres

Rita of Cascia 
...

Prayer Books:
Handbook of Novenas for Feasts and Seasons
Devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
The Infant of Prague
Handbook of Novenas to the Saints: Short Prayers for Needs & Graces
Handbook of Scriptural Novenas: For Various Needs and Intentions
Devotion to St Jude: Patron of Hopeless Cases

...













Tuesday, 24 August 2021

The Reluctant Knight - Joan L. Kelly

The Reluctant Knight
Bezalel Books
ISBN 9780984486472
ASIN B00BKAQ8U0
 

This is the second book I have read from the pen of Joan L. Kelly, a the first was a first book in a new mystery series, Mibs Monahan Mysteries, called A Thread of Evidence. While working on the review of that one, I found out about this one and decided to give it a read. The description of this volume is:

“A boy whose village is attacked holds fast to his faith. With the help of an elderly priest, a special chalice, and a love for the Eucharist, he grows up with compassion. Later, he visits the United States and learns about the fraternal men's organization, the Knights of Columbus and their good works. This book was written by Joan L. Kelly to show her support for today's Knights of Columbus in their charitable work. This work acts as a prelude to introduce a brief history of the organization.”

The dedication of the book states:

“In honor of the Catholic Men who belong to the Knights of Columbus and offer their lives to God; quietly marching through ordinary, everyday activities and dedicating themselves to principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism.” 

And we are informed that:

“The first part of this book is a fictional story about courage and faith. The second part is a short history about the Knights of Columbus and some of the charitable services they perform throughout the World.”

This volume is a great little read. The first part was very moving. And the second part is a great history. And even though my own Father was an active member of the Knights for many years I do not recall ever hearing about the chalice ceremony or tradition. 

The story part of this book was incredibly moving. It was hard to put it down. And thought it is indeed a short story it is very well written. The history portion is just as interesting. 

This is a fantastic little volume available at a great price. I highly recommend this book! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Joan L. Kelly:
My Big Feet
Hiding the Stranger 
The DNA Connection

Mibs Monahan Mysteries:

Monday, 23 August 2021

Mitchellsville - Scott Bell - A Western Short Story

Mitchellsville: 
A Western Short Story
ASIN B07BH2LRKF


I stumbled upon this story. A different book by Scott Bell was in an email blast, Working Stuffs, That story is described as:

“In 2050, the government uses scientifically reanimated corpses to fill menial jobs. Out of work and down on his luck, engineer Joe Warren is coerced by a federal agent into infiltrating an insurgent group — and finds his loyalties tested. A page-turning dystopian read.”

It could not be much different than this one, but this one really grabbed my attention. This one is described as:

“Doing the right thing always comes with a cost. Is it one you're willing to pay on behalf of a stranger?”

This is a story set in Texas in 1894. It is a brief episode in the life of Archie Maynor. Archie is a black man, headed to a white town. He has no boots, no shoes and is headed to a general store where he is not wanted. But it is something he has to do. He cannot read, and cannot write. He is humble, and on a quest. He needs something to save his daughter. But 4 gunmen at the store drinking and goofing off, decide to have some fun with this man. At one point in the story Archie thinks:

“Jes' my luck, find me a passel of white killers, coiled up like a nest of snakes under a 'mater vine.”

As their taunting reaches a peak a stranger steps in. But to find out what happens you will need to read this excellent story.

This story previously appeared on the website The Western Online October 12, 2011 but published under the name J.S. Bell. I cannot be certain but I believe it is the only story Bell wrote for this site. And it is a pity. As someone who grew up on Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns this story was like a step back to my youth. It is a wonderful story. It is one that will make you think. It is a fantastic story and one that leaves you wanting more. This will leave you wandering who the man was, and what was his story. You will also wonder about Archie’s daughter, and even his own path after these events. A great short story.

Books by Scott Bell:
Working Stiffs
MAGA 2020 & Beyond 

Short Stories:
Mr. Scampers' War

Sam Cable Mysteries:
April’s Fool
May Day
June Bug

Able Yeager Series:
Yeager's Law
Yeager's Mission
Yeager's Getaway

Contributed to:
Paradox: The Inner Circle Writers' Group Crime/Mystery/Thriller Anthology 2019
The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine: Volume 4, Issue 1
The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine: Volume 3, Issue 4
To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity