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Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Heaven’s Hunter - Marie C. Keiser

Heaven’s Hunter
ISBN 9798557822688
ASIN B08QJR2JN7
 

This is an excellent debut novel. The story was very well crafted. The story is reminiscent of many, but the underlying Catholic themes make it fresh and new. Other than Karina Fabian I am not aware of another contemporary Catholic Author that does Catholic Space Saga this well. I picked this volume up because another author had plugged it on her summer reading list. In many ways it reminded me of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series, and also of Piers Anthony’s Bio of a Space Tyrant novels. Both of which I loved when I was much younger, but when I tried to reread them did not finish even the first story. And in reading this I could not help but think what an excellent volume it would have been to read in my youth. The description of the book is:

“Randall Yung, born into one of the galaxy's elite families, could have had anything he wanted, but he decided to become a detective for the Galactic Fleet. And he's good at his job--so good at it that he's getting bored.

Everything suddenly changes when Randall is assigned to track down the perpetrator of a daring attack on a Fleet warship. This case is dangerously personal.

The closer he comes to his target the more he finds himself trapped by old grudges, an outlawed organization, and a war his grandparents fought. Can he escape from his enemies without betraying everything he cares about?”

Randall finds himself alone, and the people he is closest to Are those he hunted. Much like Paul, Randall finds himself fighting against something that just might be what he needs. The characters are masterfully written. And the interplay between Randall and Conrad and later Randall and Alvarez are wonderful to watch develop, grow and change.  

The underlying plot of the Catholic Church being suppressed and persecuted in space is an interesting take. Randall finding out about the real history and how he needs to work through and process that is well written.

I greatly enjoyed this read. It took me back to the type of stories I loved in my youth, but with a much cleaner story. It still has a lot of action and adventure, and space drama, but without all the sex. The book does an excellent job portraying Randall’s internal conflict as reality start to contradict his perceptions and the history he has been taught. 

As soon as I finished the story I went searching to find out if there were more. The author has confirmed she is working on another story in the same universe, but not the same characters. I do so hope someday she returns to these characters and continues their story.

This is an excellent debut novel. I highly recommend it for fans of the classic Science Fiction style. I have no hesitation recommending this book. A great year for young adults and teens, and even us older folks. And I would have no hesitation picking up anything else published by Keiser! Catholic fiction at its best.

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

Monday, 27 September 2021

Antivenom - Karina Fabian - A Rescue Sisters Story

Antivenom
A Rescue Sisters Story
Karina Fabian
Laser Cow Press
ASIN B09DB4LFNF


I picked up this short story the day it released. I picked it up for a few reasons. First I have yet to read anything from Fabien’s pen that did not entertain. I had previously read the story at least twice. It appears in the anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God II edited by Karina & Robert Fabian and also in the Worlds of Fabian Space A Story Sampler by Karina Fabian. But I love the story and the Rescue Sisters so much I picked it up again, and both read it and listened to it using adaptive technology.

I have read works by Fabian twenty-four times now, many of them in the last 14 months. I absolutely love her style, her sense of humour, and the variety of stories she writes. This is a Rescue Sisters story. I love the novel Discovery. I greatly enjoy all of Fabian’s works, but I especially love her religious fiction. The Rescue Sisters are nuns of the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue they are post-modern nuns, brave to the extreme. They have specialized training for their work in space, and a modified habit. We are informed about their habit that:

“She knew it, but it didn’t stop her from grumbling as she pulled off the t-shirt and loose pants that were the order’s habit and slid into her spacesuit. Underneath, she wore the skinsuit that was as much a part of the Rescue Sister’s habit as a coif and veil was for other orders. This, too, had taken a lot of getting used to, not only because— as the name suggested— it fit like a second skin, but because she had to wear it nearly all the time— on or off duty. It offered a reassuring but also unnerving amount of protection. 

Before donning the spacesuit, she took a moment to make sure the skinsuit fit smoothly against her skin. Laces with compression bands that helped keep fluids from pooling in the body in microgravity, it would get very uncomfortable it had any folds. Then she checked her dock. Similar to the insulin pumps of old, it could administer medications if her suit detected any worrisome changes in her vital signs or if so commanded by a qualified Rescue Sister. In all, the skinsuit was a fantastically complex and useful piece of rescue equipment and a major expense for the Order, but Rita still felt like she was parading around in footed underwear.”

The description of this volume is:

“Three religious sisters from the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue offer help to a ship that is off-course and not answering hails. They find the ship crawling with venomous snakes who have killed their handler and bitten the pilot. When one bites her partner, Sister Rita must conquer her phobia and snatch the antivenin from their nest.”

And what an excellent adventure it is. Writing short stories is a very different skill than writing novels. I find few authors that are masters of both, but I would put Fabian in that list. I love each of her series and look forward to books that have been announced or are being rewritten but I also hope she has time to spin a few more yarns featuring the rescue sisters.

A great little read and one that will leave you wanting more. Even after at least 4 readings of this story I greatly enjoy it!

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

Books by Karina Fabian:
Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life
Perfect Ten
Frightliner

Rescue Sisters Series:
...

Dex Hollister Series:

The Old Man and the Void
Dex's Way
...

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Series :
Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
I Left My Brains in San Francisco
Shambling in a Winter Wonderland


DragonEye PI Series:
DragonEye PI Novels:
3.0 Nun of My Business
3.6 Christmas Spirits
4.0 Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Revised edition)
5.0 Live and Let Fly (Revised edition)
... 

DragonEye PI Short Stories:
...

DragonEye PI Original First Editions:
Live and Let Fly
...

Space Traipse Series:
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 1
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 2
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 3
...
Space Traipse Stories

Mind Over Series:
Mind Over Mind
Mind Over Psyche
Mind Over All
Hearts Over Mind


Edited by: Karina Fabian:
Infinite Space, Infinite God I
Leaps of Faith
Infinite Space, Infinite God II


Contributed to:
Firestorm of Dragons
The Zombie Cookbook
The Book of Tentacles
Twisted Fayrie Tales
FRIGHTLINER: And Other Tales of the Undead
Mother Goose is Dead
Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Corrupts Absolutely? Dark Metahuman Fiction
Weird Noir
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels
Manifesto UF
Avenir Eclectia
Planetary Anthology: Jupiter
Planetary Anthology: Pluto
Planetary Anthology: Luna
Planetary Anthology: Uranus
FlagShip Science Fiction and Fantasy v2i5
My Little Book of Headdesks
To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity
...







Sunday, 26 September 2021

Saint Clare of Assisi A Light for the World - Marianne Lorraine Trouvé and Mary Joseph Peterson - Encounter the Saints Series Book 26

Saint Clare of Assisi
A Light for the World
Encounter the Saints Series Book 26
Susan Helen Wallace
Mary Joseph Peterson (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819871220
eISBN 9781306806671
ASIN B005F1Q7SS


I want to be clear and state that this series is amazing! Between my three children and I we have now read 30 of the books in this series. Either by myself, or with one or more child. My youngest 2 children ages 13, 10, still both love these books. My son wants to have the complete set in his room, so he keeps asking to buy his own set, because he loves these books so much. We have read many of them together and reread some of our favourites. We have also picked up copies of our favories for the kids school library. We had a lull in reading these books but are back and plan on finishing the rest of those currently available. With each book we read we appreciate this series more. We also hope there will be even more books in the future. As one has been released since we started reading them. But now back to this specific book on Saint Clare of Assisi. 

The description of this volume is:

“This noblewoman was so moved by St. Francis of Assisi's preaching that she gave up all of her worldly goods and devoted her life to Jesus, defending what she called the "privilege of poverty." Gathering women who wanted to be "poor ladies" of Jesus, she eventually founded an order of nuns called the Poor Clares. They lived in a poor house of silent prayer, trusting completely in God.”

There are 5 different editions of this book, paperbacks and eBooks of various formats but the eBook editions appear to be out of print or have been pulled from sale. The various editions have been published between 2009 and 2016. But not matter which you lay your hands on I am certain you will be blessed by reading of the book.

The chapters in this volume are:

1. A Light for the World
2. The Market of Assisi
3. A Marriage Proposal
4. Trouble at Home
5. A Grieving Family
6. Clare’s Plan of Action
7. Palm Sunday
8. Into the Night
9. A New Life
10. Sanctuary!
11. A Wonderful Gift
12. To San Damiano
13. The Community Grows
14. The Fourth Lateran Council
15. Ortolana
16. The Miracle of the Bread
17. A New Convent in Florence
18. Brother Sun, Sister Death
19. A Visit from the Pope
20. Princess Agnes
21. The Saracen Attack
22. The Last Christmas
23. The Holy Father
24. Final Glory
Prayer
Glossary

This was the second book about Saint Clare that I have read in a week, and I have just picked up a third. One of my youngest daughters favourites is another Pauline book, Saint Clare of Assisi: Runaway Rich Girl by Kim Hee-Ju. And she loved this volume as well. This is an excellent book about the saint for the young readers and enjoyable for older readers as well. My children always love the prayer at the end of the book as well as the glossary. We read it from beginning to end. The prayer in this volume is:

“Saint Clare, you loved Jesus so much that you gave your whole life to him. While you were still a young woman, you chose a life of poverty, so only Jesus would be your treasure. You wanted to spread the love of Jesus through the whole world. Even though you never left your convent, your heart was so big that you included everyone in your prayers. Your life was like a great light that still shines on us today. But you never wanted to draw attention to yourself. Instead, you thought of yourself as a little plant in God’s garden. Through the beauty of your life, you gave glory to God.

Teach me to value the things that are really important in life, things like love of God and love for my family and friends. Help me to remember the needs of other people, especially those who don’t have as much as I do. Help me to be generous in sharing with them. Saint Clare, you and Saint Francis were great friends. You helped each other to become holy. I also want to have good friends in my life. Teach me how to be a good friend to others, so that together we will live as Jesus wants us to. Amen.”

This is one of the three books in the series that is written by Marianne Lorraine Trouvé. It is the only one illustrated by Mary Joseph Peterson, FSP. This book follows the format of the series in that there are 5 illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. They appear to be pencil drawings or sketches. My children were fascinated by the sketches and went over them a few times. 

I loved this book, and all three children and I love this series! We have now read over 30 of the books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. And everyone has been worth the read. An excellent read in a wonderful series!

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

Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media:
Blessed James Alberione Media Apostle
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Journey to the Summit
Journeys with Mary Apparitions of Our Lady
Saint André Bessette Miracles in Montreal
Saint Anthony of Padua Fire and Light
Saint Bakhita of Sudan Forever Free
Saint Bernadette Soubirous And Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint Catherine Labouré And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of Assisi A Light for the World
Saint Damien of Molokai Hero of Hawaii
Saint Edith Stein Blessed by the Cross

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Daughter of America
Saint Faustina Kowalska Messenger of Mercy
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Cecchina's Dream
Saint Francis of Assisi Gentle Revolutionary
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla The Gift of Life
Saint Ignatius of Loyola For the Greater Glory of God
Saint Isaac Jogues With Burning Heart
Saint Joan of Arc God's Soldier
Saint John Bosco Champion for the Young
Saint John Neumann Missionary to Immigrants
Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Saint John Vianney A Priest for All People
Saint Juan Diego And Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith
Saint Katharine Drexel The Total Gift
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque And the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Martin de Porres Humble Healer
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight
Saint Paul The Thirteenth Apostle
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Rich in Love
Saint Teresa of Avila Joyful in the Lord
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Missionary of Charity
Saint Teresa of Kalkota Missionary of Charity
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux The Way of Love
Saint Thomas Aquinas Missionary of Truth
Saint Thomas More Courage, Conscience, and the King
Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto: Shepherds of Fatima
The Saints Pray for Us

Books by Marianne Lorraine Trouvé:
Mary: Help in Hard Times
A Scriptural Rosary
Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer Book
Angels: Help from on High
Novena St Thomas Aquinas: Patron of Students and Catholic Schools
Divine Mercy in My Pocket
Purgatory Purifying Power
My Favorite Prayers & Novena
Praying Mysteries of Light
Praying the Rosary for Priests
Our Lady Undoer of Knots: Novena and Prayers
The Rosary with Pope Francis

Consecrated Life: John Paul II
Saint Thomas Aquinas: Saints By Our Side

Books contributed to:
The Catholic Answer Book of Mary
Honoring Mary with the Holy Father
Pope Francis in the U.S.: Words of Mercy and Hope

Books Edited by Marianne Lorraine Trouvé:
Mary Leads Us to Jesus
Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church: Documents on the Blessed Virgin Mary

Ordinary Grace Daily Reflections:
Ordinary Grace, Weeks 1-17
Ordinary Grace, Weeks 18-34
Easter Grace

Translated by:
Adventures of Saint Paul



Saturday, 25 September 2021

Corn Dolls - K.T. Galloway - Annie O'Malley Book 1

Corn Dolls
Annie O'Malley Book 1
A.W.E. Publishing
ASIN B08XNVXRW5


Wow, what an excellent debut novel from Galloway. I was very impressed with this book. This is an excellent British Crime Procedural novel. And I have read many over the last few years. I love the DCI Kett novels from Alex Smith and the DCI Will Blake stories from J.E. Mayhew. But this story gives up something very different. Alex smith had recommended Mayhew and I ripped through that series, so when he recommended this novel by his sister I had to give it a try. It did not disappoint. In fact for a debut novel I am very impressed. I enjoyed this one so much I pre ordered book 2 as soon as I finished this volume.

Annie O’Malley is a psychotherapist and former police officer. And not only does she have baggage from her stunted police career, but even more from experiences when she was young. Now she is being drawn back, back into a world she had left behind, back to a world she was glad was behind her. Back to her own childhood and her sister who is still missing. And back into a high stakes games. But if she loses this game someone else will pay with their life.  

For a young girl has gone missing and the only clue is a crudely twisted doll from a corn stalk. O’Malley does not want to go back to this world, but she fears she might know the identity of the kidnapper, and DI Joe Swift the lead on the case thinks she is the one to help them bring home the missing girl. Then as they are investigating, others start going missing. Can O’Malley overcome her past to save the kids in the present. Can She and Swift work together even though his own past is filled with ghosts.   

This book has a bit of it all. Several abducted children. A strange church-cult. A haunted therapist and a Di on the edge. But sometimes things come together. But to find out if they do in this book you will need to pick it up and give it a read. 

The writing is great in this story. The pace excellent. The characters are great, readers who do not like Swift and O’Malley might want to check their heartbeat. Interesting twists in the plot. And great use of past angst and hurt to trigger a move forward and maybe some are healing. Overall a very good read. And I am looking forward to the next, Foxton Girls, and hopefully many more.

Books by K.T. Galloway:
Annie O’Malley Series:
Foxton Girls
 


Friday, 24 September 2021

Clare of Assisi - John Paul Kirkham - CTS Great Saints

Clare of Assisi
CTS Great Saints
John Paul Kirkham
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860823541
ASIN B073H2LNF7
CTS Booklet B686


A few years back I stumbled upon the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. I instantly fell in love with the clear and concise writing. The many wonderful series. And even more excellent authors. This is the second volume I have read from the pen of John Paul Kirkham, both are excellent reads. I loved the books in the CTS Great Saints Series. I have also read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series. And have enjoyed all of them. This volume is a great book, by an good author in an awesome series! 

The description on the back of the book is:

“In renouncing the world of her time and embracing poverty, Clare risked everything to be a disciple of Christ. She was not only inspired by her contemporary, St Francis, but in turn gave him counsel and at one stage even nursed him. So great was her impact on Christendom, that by her death in 1253 over 150 convents of the Poor Clare Order of nuns had been established. Her inspiring life, writings and legacy and their modern-day relevance are considered here.”

And the chapters in this little volume are:

Introduction
Assisi and Clare’s Background
Called to Serve God
San Damiano The Early Years
The Spirituality of Clare
San Damiano The Later years
Clare’s Illness and Last Days
The Assisi of St Clare Today

In the introduction John Paul states:

“The life of St Clare as told here is both dramatic and true. After her death the Church authorities commissioned an official biography. The ascribed author was Thomas Celano of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor who had previously completed the The Life of St Francis of Assisi. Celano was therefore a contemporary and his writings are based on all the known facts and the eyewitness accounts of the time, the living voices of those who actually knew and lived with Clare.”

This volume is one of the shortest in the Great Saints series that I have read. It comes in at under 60 pages and the revised and expanded edition mentioned below is only 62. But the booklet is packed full of information. I highlighted many passages while reading this volume. Some of them are:

“Clare’s aristocratic and noble ancestry can be traced back to her paternal great-grandfather, Paolo, from the house of the Counts of Scefi who owned citadels and palaces in and around Assisi.”

“Clare loved to pray and would hide herself in the rooms of the house for hours on end in conversation with God. Not having a set of prayer beads, Clare would use a handful of pebbles to count the prayers directed to the Lord. Immersed in a divine love, Clare gradually came to reject worldly and earthly goods and regarded them as worthless things. Even under her softly tailored and rich garments she would wear a hair shirt. Her outward appearance would be as normal but internally she was wearing Christ already.”

“As Abbess she took full responsibility for the spiritual and moral guidance of her sisters through the example of a single-minded love of God, devotion to prayer, and acts of sisterly charity.”

“Clare’s letters and other writings were written from deep within her heart. As we examine them more closely, it as though they could have been addressed to anyone, even to ourselves, in our contemporary world.”

“For almost half her life, Clare suffered from a mysterious illness that deprived her of physical strength, and finally left her a bedridden invalid. Nothing, however, seemed to trouble her and she was never heard to utter a single complaint about her sickness or the poverty that she had embraced.”

“St Clare is not only a Patron to Assisi, she is also the Patron Saint of eye disease (her miracles described earlier), and the Patron of embroiderers (needle work).”

“Clare in her own lifetime saw the foundation of 153 monasteries of her order. Today there are 900 monasteries in 76 countries with 20,000 Poor Clare Sisters.”
“St Clare asks us “to strive always to imitate the way of holy simplicity and humility”.”

This book was an excellent need. And a great spiritual pick me up, after a rough week. I very much enjoyed reading this volume. Learned some new things about Saint Clare I and have passed the booklet onto my youngest daughter with the suggestion she consider Clare for her confirmation saint.

Note the author has self published an updated version of this booklet. I compared them side by side. The main differences are a longer version of a Saint Francis poem, 2 extra paragraphs. A few random sentences. 

This book was a fascinating read. I have read about Clare before but there was much in this small volume that was new to me. It is an excellent read. Well written. And a great volume in the CTS Great Saints Series

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 John Paul Kirkham:
A Simple Guide to the Catholic Faith
The Holy Souls
The Miraculous Infant of Prague
Gemma Galgani: Gem of Christ
Clare of Assisi

Books in the CTS Great Saints Series:
Antonio Rosmini - J.B.Midgley
Bernard of Clairvaux - J.B.Midgley
Benedict Patron of Europe - J.B. Midgley
Charles Borromeo - J.B.Midgley
Dominic - J.B.Midgley
Elizabeth of the Trinity The Great Carmelite Saint - Jennifer Moorcroft
Francis de Sales - J.B.Midgley
Gemma Galgani Gem of Christ John Paul Kirkham
George: Patron of England - J.B.Midgley
John Baptist de La Salle - J.B.Midgley
John of the Cross - Jennifer Moorcroft
John Vianney - J.B.Midgley
Louis Marie de Montfort His Life, Message and Teaching - Paul Allerton SMM
Martin de Porres - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Patrick Missionary to the Irish - Thomas O’Loughlin 
Rita of Cascia - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Robert Bellarmine - J.B.Midgley
Saint Anthony of Padua - Jude Winkler
Saint Dominic and the Order of Preachers - Richard Finn
Saint Francis of Assisi - Jennifer Moorcroft
Saint Ignatius of Loyola – J.A. Philips
Saint John the Baptist - J.B.Midgley
Saint Padre Pio A Holy Priest - Jim Gallagher
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux - Vernon Johnson
Thomas Aquinas - Vivian Boland
Vincent de Paul - J.B.Midgley
Clare of Assisi - John Paul Kirkham 

















Thursday, 23 September 2021

Deathmire - Jon Mayhew

Deathmire
Franklin Watts a division of
ISBN 9781445114668
eISBN 9781445114699
ASIN B00GU389MM


Over the last year I have read 20 works by Mayhew under the three names he publishes under. This is one of his earliest works and Jon Mayhew was the first name he used and uses it for Young Adult and some Middle Grade books. His most recent efforts are adult crime fiction under the name J.E. Mayhew and he has a fantastic urban noir supernatural series under the nom de plume Edwin Torr. Fans of this book would love the Torr works as well. This book is part of a series called Rivets from the Edge imprint, and are now part of Franklin Watts and Wayland Books. The description of the book is:

“Tom Striker is a mud lark, earning a crust foraging on the banks of The Thames for
anything worth selling. When his friend Billy goes missing, and he saves a man
claiming to be Old Father Thames, Tom and his friends are caught up in a battle
between powerful spirits.

This title is published by Franklin Watts EDGE, which produces a range of books
to get children reading with confidence. EDGE - for books children can't put down.”

This story is written for the Middle Grade or Young Adult audience. In many ways it reads like a modern version of a real Grimms’ fairy tale. It is a short read but not difficult. It ia an interesting story. And if it had not been part of this series in the UK, I could see it being part of the Guys Read series here across the pond. 

The characters in this story are interesting. In this story you will find yourself putting together the pieces fairly quickly. And will be surprised at the turn of events. I can see this being a very popular read with the target audience. That being said it is well enough written that in my 50’s I enjoyed it greatly. 

I have been working my way through all of Mayhew’s works. Writing short stories or novella’s is a very different skill than novels or even series. The righting needs to be tight, clean and crisp. Mahyew does an excellent job in this offering. An excellent read, a must read for fans of Mayhew or his alter egos. And a great read for anyone with a love of short form fiction with a dark edge!  

Books as J.E. Mayhew:
DCI William Blake Series:
8.0 Dark Visions of Torment

Books as Jon Mayhew:
The Spybrarian
Have a Go
Dark Tide 
Death Wheels 

Monster Odyssey Series:
1.0 The Eye of Neptune
2.0 The Wrath of the Lizard Lord
3.0 The Curse of the Ice Serpent
4.0 The Venom of the Scorpion

Mortlock Series:
1.0 Mortlock
2.0 The Demon Collector
3.0 The Bonehill Curse

Collins Big Cat Series:
The Merchant of Venice: Band 16/Sapphire
Hamlet: Band 18/Pearl
Romeo and Juliet: Band 18/Pearl
Macbeth: Band 18/Pearl

Contributed to:
Beyond the Book: A Collection of Short Stories
Storycraft: How To Teach Creative Writing
Criminal Shorts: UK Crime Book Club Anthology
Make Doves Not War - Forward

Books as Edwin Torr:
Dead Means Dead Series
1.0 Demons - 2017
1.3 Cotton Candy - 2017
1.9 Remurdered - 2017
2.0 Angel Hunter - 2017
2.5 Cold Caller - 2017
3.0 Jigsaw Girl - 2018




Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid - Susan Helen Wallace and Charlie Craig - Encounter the Saints Series Book 28

Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Blessed John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Encounter the Saints Series Book 28
Susan Helen Wallace
Charlie Craig (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819811783
eISBN 9780819812001
ASIN B095J8TVJM


Before I begin note there are two titles for this volume, the original was Blessed John Paul II, and the latest print edition is Saint John Paul II, Other than updating the title it does not appear there are any other changes in the volume. And that has happened with a previous title in the series as well. I need to state again that this series is amazing! Between my three children and I we have now read 30 of the books in this series. Either by myself, or with one or more child. My youngest 2 children ages 13, 10, still both love these books. My son wants to have the complete set in his room, so he keeps asking to buy his own set, because he loves these books so much. We have read many of them together and reread some of our favourites. We had a bit of a lull in reading these books but are back and plan on finishing the rest of those currently available. With each book we read we appreciate this series more. We also hope there will be even more books in the future. As one has been released since we started reading them. But now back to this specific book on Saint John Paul II. 

This book is very moving. I recall the election of John Paul and John Paul II from my school days. I have vivid memories of John Paul II’s papacy. Unlike many saints in the series, I have read much by and about John Paul II. There are a couple of different descriptions of this volume, who of them are:

“John Paul II, who served as Pope during the last 25 years of the 20th century and who led the Church with hope into the the third Christian millennium, was beatified six short years after his death on May 1, 2011. This book from the Encounter the Saints Series tells the story of this man whose message to the world throughout his pontificate was, "Do not be afraid!" John Paul II was born in 1920 to a devout Catholic family, and was named Karol Wojtyla. He lost his mother a month before he turned nine. As a young man he saw his world crumble when the Nazis swept into Poland and World War II broke out. Shortly thereafter, in 1941, his beloved father died.”

And

“Growing up in Poland just after the First World War, little Karol "Lolek" Wojtyla could hardly have imagined the amazing path his life would take. An actor, poet, philosopher, scholar, priest, and pope, Blessed John Paul II brought the Good News to people of every continent, encouraging them in the words of Jesus: "Be not afraid!" It is a message every child needs to hear as they try to be a true follower of Jesus.”

There are 8 different editions of this book, 4 each with Blessed or Saint in the title. paperbacks and eBooks of various formats. The various editions have been published between 2011 and 2019. But not matter which you lay your hands on I am certain you will be blessed by reading of the book.

The chapters in this volume are:

1. Lolek
2. Life with the Captain
3. Another Cross to Bear
4. Darkening Clouds
5. Changed Forever
6. Decision
7. Going Underground
8. In the Heart of the Church
9. Home Again
10. To Krakow
11. Uncle Karol
12. Poland’s Youngest Bishop
13. A Miracle . . . and Back to Rome
14. Surprise Reunion
15. A Shepherd’s Heart
16. From a Faraway Country
17. On the Move
18. Secret Escape!
19. All to All
20. The Father’s House
Prayer
Glossary

Even with all I have read by and about this saint, there was much in the book that was new to me. And in many ways it opened my eyes to his life and legacy in a new way. It instilled a greater appreciation for Saint John Paul II in my heart. There were several stories about him I had not encountered before. Some charming and some are deeply moving. This is an excellent volume no matter your age. Or devotion to John Paul II.

The prayer in this volume is:

"Saint John Paul II, you are one of the great gifts of our Church and of our century. You lived your life to the full with courage and enthusiasm. Thank you for showing us how to follow Jesus during challenging times. You never let oppression and tyranny spoil your dreams nor dampen your faith.

Because of the media and modern means of travel, you became the most well-known pope in history. You came into our families through television, radio, and the Internet. Your message came into our hearts because of who you were—a man of peace and hope. You reminded us over and over: Do not be afraid.

Sometimes, even though I don’t want to be, I am afraid. I ask you to help me to live in strong faith and unselfish love. Please ask Jesus to give me the strength I need to be and to remain his true follower. Pray that, like you, Saint John Paul, I will always keep close to the Blessed Mother, who leads us all to Jesus. Amen."

This is one of the eight books in the series that is written by Susan Helen Wallace. It the only one illustrated by Charlie Craig. This book follows the format of the series in that there are 5 illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. They appear to either be pencil drawings or sketches. My son and youngest daughter were both fascinated by the sketches and went over them each a few times. 

I have read this book twice now, first by myself, and second with my son, and now I have plan to read it with my youngest daughter. Each time I have read it I was encouraged and challenged. I loved this book, and all three children and I love this series! We have now read 30 of the books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. And everyone has been worth the read. An amazing read in an excellent series!

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

Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media:
Blessed James Alberione Media Apostle
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Journey to the Summit
Journeys with Mary Apparitions of Our Lady
Saint André Bessette Miracles in Montreal
Saint Anthony of Padua Fire and Light
Saint Bakhita of Sudan Forever Free
Saint Bernadette Soubirous And Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint Catherine Labouré And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of Assisi A Light for the World
Saint Damien of Molokai Hero of Hawaii
Saint Edith Stein Blessed by the Cross

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Daughter of America
Saint Faustina Kowalska Messenger of Mercy
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Cecchina's Dream
Saint Francis of Assisi Gentle Revolutionary
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla The Gift of Life
Saint Ignatius of Loyola For the Greater Glory of God
Saint Isaac Jogues With Burning Heart
Saint Joan of Arc God's Soldier
Saint John Bosco Champion for the Young
Saint John Neumann Missionary to Immigrants
Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Saint John Vianney A Priest for All People
Saint Juan Diego And Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith
Saint Katharine Drexel The Total Gift
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque And the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Martin de Porres Humble Healer
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight
Saint Paul The Thirteenth Apostle
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Rich in Love
Saint Teresa of Avila Joyful in the Lord
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Missionary of Charity
Saint Teresa of Kalkota Missionary of Charity
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux The Way of Love
Saint Thomas Aquinas Missionary of Truth
Saint Thomas More Courage, Conscience, and the King
Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto: Shepherds of Fatima
The Saints Pray for Us