Thursday 30 September 2021

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2021

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2021

It has been a good year for reading to date. So many great reads. I have read just over a book a day. I have read 281 books so far this year and 79 of them this quarter.

This past 2 years have been different year for us all. Last year I had about a 15% drop in my reading totals. I am very happy with this year so far. A bit of a drop this quarter, but part of that was holidays and being busier at work. Reading and reviewing books is my hobby, I am grateful to be able to do so. 

Back to this quarter. By the numbers:

Books Read: 79
First Time Reads: 70
Fiction: 34
Non-Fiction: 44
5/5 Stars: 60
5/5 Fiction: 26
5/5 Non-Fiction: 38

Here is my top ten fiction and non-fiction books of the third quarter of 2021.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:

1. Great Saints Series - The Catholic Truth Society
3. Encounter the Saints Series - Pauline Books and Media

Bonus Books:

Top Ten Fiction Books:
3. Dragon Eye PI Books - Karina Fabian
4. Friends in High Places -  Corinna Turner
5. Novella's from Jon Mayhew

Bonus Books:

This year was my fastest to 200 books read, it took me 173 days. But Q3 had a bit of a slow down. There were so many great reads so far this year. It was very hard picking the top ten. You should check out my Favourite Books Year by Year list.

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists; they are in sometimes in the bonus section. It was not easy again this quarter, making my picks. 

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

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

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

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010

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

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2020
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2020

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

281 - 2021 (January-September)
317 - 2020 
392 - 2019
359 - 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Death Wheels - Jon Mayhew - Teen Reads V

Death Wheels
Teen Reads V
ISBN 9781784646196

I first encountered Jon Mayhew’s works through his adult fiction, a mystery series under the name J.E. Mayhew. I love his writing and have been tracking them all down and reading them. I found that he had a lot of Teen and Young Adult books under this name. And that he has another awesome series under the pen name of Edwin Torr. This is one of 4 that Mayhew wrote for Badger Publishing. The description of the book is:

“In the year 2320 the Great Disaster happened. A nuclear war destroyed all the main towns and cities of the world. The water dried up and the world became one big desert. Then a plague came. Welcome to Omak's world. Omak rescues an old man from a pack o ravenous snappers. The old man gives Omak a map as a reward. It's a map to unlimited petrol and oil- a dream come true in Omak's desert world. But do dreams come true anymore? Is it more likely to be a nightmare?”

This story continues with characters from Death Road and is set some moths after that story. I started of that earlier story that “it is perfect for anyone who loves dystopian. In many ways it feels like it could be a side story in the Mad Max Universe. Or part of the Death Lands series by James Axler when I was a late teen I loved these books as they were first being published.” And know that readers of that series will love this book. 

The characters in this story are excellent. In this story you will find yourself cheering on Omak and later even his be impressed with his concern for Silva Dacosta. There is an interesting twist in the story. One that a seasoned reader could foresee, but Mayhew handled it masterfully. The story is well written. Short stories or novella’s are an art form unto themselves. Mayhew is a master, tight writing, great pace, another excellent story. And to be honest one that leaves you wanting more of Omak and Silva’s stories.

This book is available in print format, and  PDF from the publisher. And Can be purchased with a classroom license. This one is part of Teen Reads V from Badger. But unlike Death Road there does not appear to be a standard eBook edition through other vendors. 

I am thankful I tracked this one down from the publisher. And the 2 other Mayhew books I was unaware of from Badger. This story will have readers of all ages on the edge of their seats. Another excellent story from Mayhew’s pen!  

Books as J.E. Mayhew:
DCI William Blake Series:

Books as Jon Mayhew:
The Spybrarian

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:
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

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Heaven’s Hunter - Marie C. Keiser

Heaven’s Hunter
ISBN 9798557822688

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!

Books by Marie C Keiser:
Heaven’s Hunter Series:

Contributed to:

Monday 27 September 2021

Antivenom - Karina Fabian - A Rescue Sisters Story

A Rescue Sisters Story
Karina Fabian
Laser Cow Press

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:

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:
?.0 Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Revised edition)
?.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

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

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

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