Wednesday 31 January 2024

Dreams Of The Storyteller Series An Overview- Richard Paolinelli

Dreams Of The Storyteller Series An Overview

When I started reading the Dreams of the Storyteller Series there were 18 volumes in the collection. Then it expanded to 20, and now it is compressed to 14. Six of the stories have been split off into a different collection called Sherlock Holmes Pastiches. After reading the 14 stories I wanted to highlight them as a series. So here ate the volumes in the Dreams of the Storyteller Series in publication order.

Legacy of Death
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 1
ASIN B00JNYVLP2


A previous edition had the subtitle “The Dyson's Comet Killer” which reveals a bit more about the story. This story starts with an event at the Golden Gate Bridge and then jumps back in time. I loved the sequence in the story about the Motorcycle Bandit, would love to see that expanded into a full story itself. The main story is a hunt for a serial killer. The lack of clues gives Bolton a clue and sharing that hunch changes everything. 

This is the most intense of the stories I have read in this collection. It draws you in and though you see a train wreck coming you just cannot look away. By the ends you will understand the beginning and feel the same sense of loss as characters in the story.

The Invited
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 2
ASIN B00JNYVF2G


There are a number of editions of this story dating from between 2011 and 2023. The 2023 edition is a rebranded edition with a new cover. The new cover really attracts, and gives a great feel for the story. This is another story is written in a classic science fiction style by Paolinelli. It takes me back to a lot of the stories I first read when I overcame my dyslexia. It is a very powerful and deeply moving story. You really feel for Sinclair, and the plight of all humanity. It is a great read. And to be honest I wish there were more stories available with these characters, I would love to see what Paolinelli would write about the this conflict at the beginning, and what happens next. I would love to see other stories set in this world.

The Fall Of Denver:
A Tribute Story to the Original War Of The Worlds By H.G. Wells'
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 3
ASIN B0B2C7RC98


This is an absolutely excellent short story. Part western, Part Science Fiction, and a whole lot of fun. It is the story of friendship, service, family, and love. This story quickly draws readers in. Major Wayne is an instantly likeable character. And the events transpiring out while after communication is lost with Europe is incredibly well written. I can honestly state I would love to read more stories about Wayne both before and after these events.

This was a great read. It is a story that leaves you desperate for more. It is a wonderful story in a classic Science Fiction style. I can easily recommend this volume to fans of classic science fiction and for fans of westerns.  

Nothing Ever Happens Here
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 4
ASIN B0CD2MW7XQ


This story has a different plot that took me by surprise. With how much I read that is saying something. There were several occasions while reading 12 of the other stories in this collection, where I almost started this one. But I kept putting it off. This story involves a ghost hunter’s type crew from a show called Haunted America looking for disappearing staircases in a national park. The head ranger, District Ranger Blanchard tries to dissuade them. Their leader is Larry Kincaid, and he is supposed to be the brains of the outfit. Vicki Grace is his co-host and Randy Phillips is the cameraman and tech crew.

But Larry has a plan, and his picked a few locations to check out. Unfortunately for the three of them he plotted correctly. And with disastrous consequences. To Find out what befalls them you will need to read this chilling tale.

Icarus Falls
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 5
ASIN B0CD2MRN9C


There is a sense of foreboding from the very beginning of this story. When an order from the top comes down Kim Watson takes lead on a mission he had planned for a subordinate. A subordinate who Jim believes is due the recognition. But orders are orders and with short notice Jim preps for a final mission to space and the colony on Mars. The tip out and certification of the facility happen without incident. But a meteor that the tracking missed causes devastation. Not only for the largest human space station, for Jim’s flight crew, and for the colonist awaiting the final ok to head out. Everyone is trying to come up with daring and dangerous ways to save Jim, or not have him spend year alone. Who can come up with the best plan with the least risk. And will it succeed? To find out read this excellent Science Fiction Short story.

The 13th Medallion
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 6
ASIN B0CD2N1CVL


This story is written in a classic science fiction story. It takes me back to a lot of the stories I first read when I overcame my dyslexia. A powerful story. It is an excellent read. And to be honest I wish there were more stories available with these characters.

This is a excellent short story, and leaves you wanting more. I would love to see other stories set in this world. Both before and after these events. What led this race to wipe up us Humans, and what power did we wield in the universe when they returned from their time travel mission to destroy us. This was one of those stories that as soon as I finished it I reread it again!

At Homeworld's End 
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 7
ASIN B0CD2QWY73

At Homeworld's End - Richard Paolinelli - Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 7

Again this story reminds me of some of Heinlien’s Lazarus Long stories or a Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat sequence, the fact that we are allowed into the mind of a man who will be the last man on Earth. The story was deeply moving. Thinking about our own impending death and living with purpose. A real Memento Mori feel to this story. The only thing missing would have been the rock on the cover looking sort of skullish. 

This is a well written short story. It draws you in quickly, it keeps your attention. The main character is excellently written. 

The Last Human
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 8
ASIN B0CDRB73FV


This story has a unique premise. And with how much I read that is saying something. The world has changed over a weekend. A scientist is one of very few people not impacted. She holds the power of reversing the change or embracing it. But will humanity still be humans if she embraces it? To find out what she decides and why you will need to read this excellent story.

This is another great short story, one that leaves you wanting more. This was a story that as soon as I finished it; it went back into the ‘to be read’ pile.

Phantoms' Lodge
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 9
ASIN B0CDRC6CTJ


This story took me by surprise. A little bit supernatural, in part a ghost story. It is about friendship, betrayal, forgiveness and life after death. It is a story that will stay with readers. I find myself still thinking about it days after reading it. 

This is a great short story. It draws you in quickly, it keeps your attention. The main character is excellently written. The plot will surprise you. I look forward to the other stories in this series and many of Richard’s other series.

Polar Shift
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 10
ASIN B0CDRCF1HN


This story has a different plot. With how much I read that is saying something. The world has changed suddenly, and with global impact. Sam and one other survive the initial event at a station on the moon. After the other takes drastic measures, Sam must decide how much effort he wants to put in to survive. First he has to get back to earth and second he has to see if there is a way to survive on the surface. To find out the decisions he makes and the results he finds you will have to read this excellent story.

This is another fantastic short story. This was a story that as soon as I finished it; it went back into the ‘to be read’ pile. This is a great story in a wonderful collection. I can easily recommend it for fans of science fiction, classic scifi, or anyone who loves a great short story!

Extinction Point
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 11
ASIN B0CDR93MLP


This story is written in a classic science fiction story. It takes me back to a lot of the stories I first read when I overcame my dyslexia. A powerful story. An excellent read. This is a great short story, and it leaves you wanting more. I would love to see other stories set in this world. Both before and after these events. This is an excellent story in a wonderful collection. I can easily recommend it for fans of science fiction or anyone who loves a great short story!

CAG
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 12
ASIN B0CDRC8FL8


This story is written in a classic science fiction style. It takes me back to a lot of the stories I first read when I overcame my dyslexia. It is a very powerful and deeply moving story. You really feel for the two pilots and the situation they find themselves in. It is an excellent read. And to be honest I wish there were more stories available with these characters, I would love to see what Paolinelli would write about the CAG at the beginning of his career, or even his son’s turn to be CAG. I would love to see other stories set in this world.

The Enemy Of My Enemy
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 13
ASIN B0CDRCQSCN


I have the anthology that this story originally came from. And there are works from a few authors I really enjoy. I have just not got back to it yet. I look forward to rereading this story when I get to it. This story is set in a post zombie apocalypse world. It is the story of a husband and a father trying to do his best to look after and protect his family in this new world. But while out on a trip on his own for supplies thighs go very badly. Zombies and bears oh my!

Barn Wars: The Rise Of Brooster Motherclucker
Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 14
ASIN B0CDSPF7CJ

Barn Wars The Rise Of Brooster Motherclucker- Richard Paolinelli - Dreams Of The Storyteller Book 14

This is a hilarious story and a mush up parody of some many fandoms. It is well written. It will have you laughing out loud. Join Brooster on his training regime. Be thrilled by his first battle with the hound dog. And watch as he loves ‘when a plan comes together’ to go after the four legged farm animals and the Evil lord the old farmer.  

At the end of the volume it states:

Coming Soon - BARN WARS 2: The Hare Menace

It has been over three years and we have not seen it yet. But after how much fun this story was, I can hope we someday see it in print.  It was fitting that this was the last story in the series I read as it was my introduction of Richard’s work.

This is a collection of excellent stories a mix of short stories and novellas. A wide range of genres and they showcase the skill and talent of Paolinelli. I can easily recommend these stories and everything I have read from his masterful pen.

Note: These books were read as part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

For reviews of all books from Tuscany Bay click here.

Books by Richard Paolinelli:
Maelstrom
When the Gods Fell
The Calling
The Last Lonely Trail
A Zombie Christmas Carol

Infinity Series:
Escaping Infinity
Exploring Infinity

Starguest 4th Age Series:

Timeless Series:
The Timeless
Secret of the Sphinx

Jack Del Rio Series:
Betrayals
Endgames
Del Rio Omnibus Edition

Divine Trolls Comedies:
The Fall Of The House Of 770 Vile Aromas 
The Corvo

SeaDragon:
SeaDragon 1 May 1986
SeaDragon 2 June 1996
...

Sherlock Holmes Pastiches:

Non Fiction:
Perfection’s Arbiter
From The Fields
The Space Shuttle: 1981–2011 

Contributed to:
To Be Men 
Places Beyond The Wild
Space Force Building The Legacy
Secret Stairs 
A Tribute To H.G. Wells (2019 Edition)
Beyond Watson 
Holmes Away From Home, Vol. 2 
Sherlock Holmes Adventures In The Realms Of H.G. Wells 
Sherlock Holmes Aventures In The Realms Of Edgar Allan Poe
The Art Of Sherlock Holmes 
The Mx Book Of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part Xxii

Planetary Anthology Series:
Sol
Earth
Luna
Jupiter
Saturn
Uranus
Neptune
Best Of Planetary Anthology Series


Tuesday 30 January 2024

Bet On Jack - Diane Capri - Hunt For Reacher Book 20

Bet on Jack
Hunt For Reacher Book 17 (20)
Diane Capri
August Books
ISBN 
99781942633907
eISBN 9781942633891
ASIN B0BZQZL8Q9


This book is another good read in the Hunt for Jack Reacher Series. Over the last few years I have read all of the Jack Reacher stories and all of the Hunt for Jack Reacher stories as well. This will be the 55th. It is a good read. But it feels like more of stretch than some of the others. The next in this series have already been announced. 

First, I read the 29 Jack Reacher Novels and short stories by Lee Child, and now Lee and Andrew Child. And then I read all the books in this series. This is the seventeenth novel in the Hunt for Reacher Series, and the twentieth story featuring Otto. Otto still does not have a replacement partner on this assignment. She has been added to a taskforce looking at murdered female Vets. But as usual Cooper has her working the case for other reasons. She ends up teaming up with Jake Reacher and recently widowed Samantha Vaughan. 

Otto has Gaspar in the wings helping out as much as he can. He does not trust Finlay or Cooper but is helping Otto. He even makes a trip to check something out on the ground. It ends up being a turning point in the story. The source book for this volume was Lee Child’s Nothing to Lose. The description of this volume is:

Four military veterans are dead. One was under Jack Reacher’s protection.
Were they murdered?

One Gold Star wife implores the Army to help find her husband’s killer. A request Jake Reacher’s CO can’t refuse.

The unraveling begins and every answer Jake and FBI Special Agent Kim Otto find spawns more shocking questions.

With few allies and too many enemies, they slam into a terrifying conspiracy.
Ruthless men with everything to gain. And one woman with nothing to lose.”

The cast of characters in this story is:

Kim Otto
Carlos Gaspar
Charles Cooper
Jake Reacher
Samantha Vaughan
Maureen Tolliver
Jeffrey Willard
and
Jack Reacher

The quote from Nothing to Lose that start this story off is:

““My conscience is already clear,” Reacher said. “If people leave me alone, I leave them alone. If they don’t, what comes at them is their problem.”

Vaughan said, “You see something you don’t like, you feel you have to tear it down?”

“Damn right I do. You got a problem with that?”

“No.””

It was great to see Jake Reacher play a key role in this story. I really love how Capri is developing his character. Vaughan was written in a weird way, at time strong, confident, and sure, at others she appeared very wishy washy. I do not feel that Capri captured this Character the was Child did in the original story. Otto is her normal self in this one, but seems a little less stressed and frazzled. Overall a good story with an interesting plot, great characters. But it leaves you wondering what Reacher is up to back in Despair Colorado.

Currently the Child brothers are releasing about 1 Reacher novel a year, and Capri is publishing 2 in this series. This one released a week after the later offering from the main series. This story is a little slower than some others and has a significantly lower body count, at least as a result of Reacher or Otto. It is another good story in an excellent series. These books always leave you desperate for the next instalment in the series. Capri has again done a great job in leading us on the hunt for Jack Reacher. And with each offering we get to know both Otto and Reacher better. I hope we continue to encounter Jake Reacher more often, he was a highlight in this offering.

Books by Diane Capri:
Hunt for Reacher Series:

1.0 Don’t Know Jack
1.1 Jack in a Box
1.2 Jack and Kill
2.0 Get Back Jack
2.5 Jack in the Green
3.0 Jack and Joe
4.0 Deep Cover Jack
5.0 Jack the Reaper
6.0 Black Jack
7.0 Ten Two Jack
8.0 Jack of Spades
9.0 Prepper Jack
10.0 Full Metal Jack
18.0 Jack on a Wire


Justice Series:
1.0 Due Justice
2.0 Twisted Justice
3.0 Secret Justice
4.0 Wasted Justice
5.0 Raw Justice
5.5 Mistaken Justice
6.0 Cold Justice
6.1 False Justice
6.2 Fair Justice
6.3 True Justice
7.0 Hunt for Justice
8.0 Night Justice


Jess Kimball Series:
0.5 Fatal Enemy
1.0 Fatal Distraction
2.0 Fatal Demand
3.0 Fatal Error
4.0 Fatal Fall
4.5 Fatal Edge
5.0 Fatal Game
6.0 Fatal Bond
6.5 Fatal Past
7.0 Fatal Dawn


Heir Hunter Series:
1.0 Blood Trials
2.0 Trace Evidence


Jordan Fox Mysteries:
False Truth Part One
False Truth Part Two
False Truth Part Three
False Truth Part Four
False Truth Part Five
False Truth Part Six
False Truth Part Seven
False Truth Part Eight
False Truth Part Nine
False Truth Part Ten
False Truth Part Eleven


The Park Hotel Mysteries Series:
1.0 Reservation with Death
2.0 Early Check Out
3.0 Room with a Clue
4.0 Late Arrival


Other Books:
Angel of Music






















Monday 29 January 2024

Distress Signal A Short Story - Cedar Sanderson as Lilania Begley - Sumire Book 3

Distress Signal: A Short Story
Sumire Book 3
Sanderley Studios.
ASIN B0CT4V2NTX

Distress Signal A Short Story - Cedar Sanderson as Lilania Begley - Sumire Book 3

This was the third story I have read that was written as Lilania Begley by Cedar Sanderson, and I picked it up the day it released and read it that day on my lunch break. It is a wonderful read, and is listed as book three in the Sumire series. Sanderson has indicated this is the end of stories on this planet, at least for now. I look forward to reading other works published by Cedar Sanderson as Lilania Begley, and seeing where things go on Sumire and other stories written under these pen names.  

The description of this volume states:

“As Sumire reveals her secrets in an explosive climax, a young Patrolman finds that what really matters is taking him in hand and leading him towards danger. Now, he has a chance to prove himself... and find out what love really means.”

We are informed about the author in book 1 that:

“Lilania Begley is the open penname of Cedar Sanderson. The author has a long-held love for all things Western, having grown up in Oregon, Alaska, and finally settling in Texas after a lifetime of moving from coast to coast. As she is also a romantic soul, writing Western Romances came naturally to her pen. Now that she's inspired anew by the wide-open landscapes of North Texas with the horses and longhorns wandering the range, you can expect to see more from Lilania!”

And in the introduction Cedar lays the blame clearly at certain authors feet, when she states:

“To begin with, this is Dorothy’s fault.

And to go on with, it’s CV Walter’s fault, too.

Without them, I might never have become interested in writing romance again, at least, not seriously enough to start doing it again. But here it is, the third of the stories under my middle-and-married penname.

It is a short story (and for less money than a candy bar costs these days) and I don’t currently plan any novels. Maybe next year.

If you’d like to explore my work further, you will find much, much more under Cedar Sanderson. At least for now. Thanks to Dorothy and CV, I plan to make 2024 a year for love. Of a man for a woman, but also, for love of writing just to have fun again.
Enjoy!”

I greatly enjoy this third story set on Sumire. It is an excellent read and I can easily recommend it to you. I truly hope that at some point Sanderson returns to this world, either in other short stories or a fix-up novel using these three stories as a base for the story. But there are so many other stories that can be told here after reading this, stories about those we encounter in this volume, and stories alluded to at the end of this story. I find myself thinking about the 6 main characters across these three stories often. I plan to go back and reread the three stories from beginning to end. Before reading the second story in this trilogy I went hunting book books as Lilania and found that one is published as a short story like this one and one is in the Raconteur Press Anthology18 He Was Dead When I Got There. I had already picked up the anthology but had not read it yet, and then I grabbed the other story under this pen name. But back to this story.

This story is masterfully written. It can be read by itself and is greatly entertaining. But when you combine the events of the three books in the trilogy and it does an excellent job of tying the three together and providing resolution of elements of each. The characters are very well written. The story fast paced and full or surprises. It is a wonderful story with a bit of mystery and a bit of romance and some sleuthing. Replying to a distress beacon has seldom resulted in such a tale.

I will be honest I desperately hope we get more stories with these characters and set in this world. But as mentioned it might be some time before that happens. I said it before and I say it again these stories sort of feel like they could be a story in the Firefly universe or even Babylon 5. 

The cover by Sanderson has such a classic Science Fiction look and feel to it. Just looking at the cover took me back to learning to read 40 years ago after overcoming my dyslexia and all the Sci-Fi I read back then. Science Fiction that that I appreciate again now with stories by Sanderson, Declan Finn, Richard Paolinelli  and others I have discovered over the last few years. 

This is an excellent short story. Writing short stories is a very different skill and craft than writing novels. From what I have read by Sanderson she is a master of both. I have greatly enjoyed everything from Sanderson’s pen that I have read and look forward to reading more offering by her under the name of Lilania Begley. Another excellent short story that I can easily recommend! Pick this or other stories by Sanderson or Sanderson as Begley I am certain you will be entertained.

Books by Cedar Sanderson:
A Time To Die
Legion
Snow in Her Eyes
Warp Resonance
The Dwarf's Dryad
One-Eyed Dragon
Memories of the Abyss
Little Red-Hood and the Wolf-man
Stargazer
The Eternity Symbiote
Plant Life
Sugar Skull
Snow Angel
Inktail & Friends: A Coloring Book
The Twisted Breath of God
Voyageur's Cap
Fairy Little Sister
Milkweed
Mindflow

The Groundskeeper Series:

Pixie for Hire Series:
Pixie Noir
Trickster Noir 
Dragon Noir
Pixie for Hire: Omnibus Edition

Children of Myth Series:
Vulcan's Kittens 
The God’s Wolfling

The Tanager Series:
Jade Star
Tanager's Fledglings 

Witchward Series:
Possum Creek Massacre
… 

Illustrated by Cedar:
Something Wicked #15
Jormungandr's Venom (Fenris Unchained Book 3)
Hunted Behavior

Contributed to:
The Hearts' Enchantment
Calexit- The Anthology
Supernatural Streets
Something Wicked Anthology, Vol One
Something Wicked #15
Mythic Delirium Magazine Issue 0.4
The Haunted Library Anthology: Volume 1 
But Not Broken - Hope and Healing Book 2
Postcards From Mars - Postcard Stories Book 1
Space Cowboys - Raconteur Press Anthologies Book 4
Space Cowboys 2: Electric Rodeo - Raconteur Press Anthologies Book 5
Twisted Tropes
Steam-Powered Postcards - Postcard Stories Book 2
Space Marines - Raconteur Press Anthologies Book 6
Fanta-Fly Postcards: A Micro-Fiction Collection
Postcards from Foolz: A Micro-Fiction Collection
Falcons of Malta
Space Marines 2 - Raconteur Press Anthologies Book 9
Single Servings of Liberty - Postcard Stories Book 5
Tales From The Occupation: A Fae Wars Book 4

Books as Lilania Begley:
Slice of Pie
...

Sumire Series:
...

Bluehills Series:
Farmhand
...

Contributed to as Lilania Begley:
He Was Dead When I got There
...


Dust Storm A Short Story - Cedar Sanderson as Lilania Begley - Sumire Book 2

Distress Signal A Short Story - Cedar Sanderson as Lilania Begley - Sumire Book 3

Friday 26 January 2024

Coached by Josemaría Escrivá - Father John Henry Hanson, O. Praem. - Lessons in Discipleship

Coached by Josemaría Escrivá: 
Lessons in Discipleship
Father John Henry Hanson, O. Praem.
ISBN 9781594175084
eISBN 9781594175091

Coached by Josemaría Escrivá - Father John Henry Hanson, O. Praem. - Lessons in Discipleship

When I read the first book in this series, Coached By Joan of Arc by Alexandre Havard, I was unaware it was the beginning of a series. Both are excellent reads. This one makes several references to the one on Joan and what Havard did in that work. I have been aware of Father John Henry Hanson but had not read any of his other works prior to reading this volume. A couple have jumped way up in my ‘to be read’ pile after reading this one. 

The description of this book states:

“Born at the turn of the 20th Century, Josemaría Escrivá spent his life as malleable clay in the Potter's hands. He took on a very visible leadership role as a priest and founder of Opus Dei, with a substantial collection of writings and recorded talks "revealing the personality, tone of voice, mannerisms, and spirit of the man."  

In this book, Fr. John Henry Hanson explores this role of leader and coach that our saint lived while on earth and continues to live today.  

Never one to mince words or refrain from action, Josemaría coaches us in work and rest, in times of struggle and ease, through confusion and certainty. Josemaría is for all of us – men and women of today, living and working in the midst of the world. He is for us all a coach, a father, and an excellent teacher of the elevated, virtuous, and courageous life.”

The chapters in the volume are:

Introduction: Speaking Confidentially
One: Is It All about Work?
Two: What Work Is All About
Three: Rest, Recreation, & Renewal: Luxury or Duty?
Four: Not for Your Coffee Mug: The Unquotable St. Josemaría
Five: Clay Made Divine: Material for Sanctity
Six: Strong Language: The Tough Talk We Need
Seven: Even Stronger Language: The Encouragement We Need
Eight: Struggle & Perseverance
Nine: “What Are You Waiting For?”

I highlighted numerous passages while reading this book, some of them are:

"I have noticed at times how an athlete’s eyes light up at the sight of the obstacles he has to overcome. What a victory there is in store! See how he conquers the difficulties! God Our Lord looks at us that way. He loves our struggle: we will win through always, because he will never deny us his all-powerful grace. Thus, it doesn’t matter if we have to fight, because he does not abandon us.—St. Josemaría Escrivá, Friends of God, no. 182"

"The main point, however, is not what the world makes of her, but what God made of her. Saints, empowered by God’s grace, can do just about anything—indeed, “all things in him,” as St. Paul attests (Phil 4: 13)."

"Those who have faith marvel at St. Joan of Arc, but we don’t write her off as an historical fluke—as though she just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and impersonal forces randomly converged to make her mission possible. Her story has God’s fingerprints all over it."

"With St. Josemaría Escrivá (1902–1975), no such imaginary monologues or pep talks need be dreamt up. He has left us with not only a substantial collection of written works, but also numerous hours of video footage. Many of his talks and dialogues in Opus Dei get-togethers (convened in small groups or among hundreds, sometimes thousands) are recorded for us, revealing the personality, tone of voice, mannerisms, and spirit of the man who founded The Work of God."

"Why this is important to mention in a book like this is that he already considered his relationship to his spiritual children to be both fatherly and directive—qualities of a good coach."

"From all the personal advice St. Josemaría addresses to his readers in books such as The Way, Furrow, and The Forge, this book will attempt to distill and reflect on certain of the saint’s counsels aimed at disciples and discipleship. In his writings and talks, he addresses leaders, souls of prayer, parents, students, many different types of people, and many aspects of Christian life. Our focus here is to glean lessons in discipleship from one who considered himself just that, a disciple, before anything else he later became."

"David’s defeat of Goliath is not the classic exception to the rule; it’s not the story of a kid who got lucky, but of one who faced his adversary with the Lord’s wisdom and strength, and God’s weakness is more powerful than human strength. David was outmatched only in build and fierceness, but not in courage and skill, nor especially in faith."

"It means spending time doing nothing else than being with God—keeping feet and hands still and, what is perhaps more difficult, keeping mind and heart at rest."

"This calls for an essentially contemplative vision of life, “in the middle of the street,” as St Josemaría often repeated. Just as the people of Jesus’ time had to look beyond (not disregard) his human appearance in order to see God, so must we arrive at a clarity that leads us to the treasure buried in an otherwise nondescript field. The sameness that characterizes most of our relationships and activities is the unspectacular setting in which God chooses to reveal himself."

"If you cite those instances when St. Josemaría praises “work without rest,” 17 let’s be clear that he does not mean “never rest,” but that when we work, we should be tireless in our efforts. In other words, to do everything with its proper intensity. It is the same in physical training or working out: you push through your reps, you sprint with all your might, because if you rest while doing either, you never make progress. It’s only after you’ve spent your energy that rest is in order."

"Tension inevitably strains both mind and body as one concentrates on the details of work, striving to do a good job. But releasing that tension is indispensable. People who never give themselves this permission do eventually break. And sometimes this brings discredit upon themselves and the work they’ve been busy about."

"But on a deeper level, we need to seek renewal in God. We have dwelt on this point already, but perhaps as a practical application we need to schedule days or hours of prayer, of retreat. An annual retreat, a monthly evening of recollection, a daily holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament—taken together, these renew the soul of the apostle. When we go to the source of life, we are rejuvenated, made youthful again in spirit."

"The answer is prayerful reflection and honest examination of oneself. Why did I fail? Is there something about a success that might be harmful? Sometimes, even at the cost of some attainment, the Lord lets our efforts fail because our success would be our downfall."

"We begin the life of discipleship poor, and our goal is to remain poor, even to grow in poverty. With eyes taken off of self, with no pretensions to excellence, with a simple joy that God notices me at all and delights to use me in some small corner of his kingdom . . . yes, I will be a garbage can in the Lord’s kingdom any day. Put me on some street in his city, preferably a backstreet, and I will serve there, awaiting his cleansing and beautifying of my very ordinary self."

"His love makes us who we truly are, who we are meant to be. If we see ourselves as basically fine and complete without God, we leave very little room for growth. Actually, we see a complete distortion: we are not even close to our true selves, our best selves, until we first completely humble ourselves before the Lord. Only those prostrate on the earth can be lifted up, only they can be exalted, only the least and last can be first."

"A lesson all of us need to take to heart: the deeper we are in self-knowledge, the deeper our compassion runs for the miseries of others."

"Sometimes the kind and gentle approach just won’t do. To get someone’s attention and to show them the seriousness of the situation, the verbal equivalent of smelling salts is sometimes in order."

"In addition to knowing that your coach or teacher loves you and wills your betterment, you must also know something crucial about yourself: You can do better. You are called to great holiness. Your vocation is to eternal glory. You are called to a place where only the “spotless” may enter (Rv 14: 5), hence the need to get serious about purifying self of dead weight, dross, and disorder."

"Our field of battle is also the job site where the spiritual edifice grows, and we are constantly waging war within against our tendencies to self-assertion, complacency, and egotism. The fight can potentially discourage, especially when we give ground here or there."

"Hence the impatience of our coach that we get going on this. These are not small matters we may take or leave. This is the Christian life fully lived. Life not fully lived is partially dead or dying. Can we settle for that? Doesn’t God deserve better from us? Isn’t the world in desperate need of the Gospel? If we are the salt of the earth and light of the world, we cannot at the same time rot and darken our areas of influence by refusing to exert a Christian influence."

I hope those quotes give you a feel for this volume. It is an excellent read. The material is clearly presented. It is easily accessible and could be used by a high school student up to a retiree. The writing is crisp and clean. When I started reading this, I planned on a chapter a day, but could just not put it down. As soon as I finished, I put it back on my ‘to be read pile’ to reread it again this time maybe I can stick to a chapter a day. 

This is an excellent volume that I can easily recommend. And I look forward to seeing what the next in the series will be. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books in the Scepter Coached by Series:
Coached by Josemaría Escrivá - Henry Hanson, O. Praem.
Coached By Joan of Arc - Alexandre Havard

Books by Fr. John Henry Hanson:
Scatter My Darkness
Praying from the Depths of the Psalms
Home Again

Books by St. Josemaria Escriva:
Christ Is Passing By
Conversations with Saint Josemaria
The Forge
Friends of God
Furrow

Holy Rosary
In Love with the Church
The Way
The Way of the Cross
The Way of the Cross - Booklet Illustrated Michael O'Brien
The Way, Furrow, Forge (3 in 1 Edition)
...

Books about St. Josemaria Escriva:
A Man Who Knew How to Forgive: Lessons from the Life of St. Josemaria Escriva - Francesc Faus

Praying 15 Days with St. Josemaria Escriva - Guillaume Derville

Volumes in the St Josemaria Escriva's Collected Letters:
Letters 1: Singuli dies, 24 March 1930
Letters 2: Videns eos, 24 March 1931
The Burgos Letters (1938-1939): Three Circular Letters
Letters: Letter 3: Res omnes, 9 January 1932
Letter 4: Vos autem, 16 July 1933 : Letter 4: Vos autem, 16 July 1933 
Letter 5: Euntes ergo, 2 October 1939 
Letter 6: Sincerus est, 11 March 1940
Letter 7: Quem per annos, 24 October 1942 
Letter 8: Legitima hominum, 31 May 1943 

Other Posts:
...


Coached By Joan of Arc Lessons in Virtuous Leadership Alexandre Havard

Coached by Josemaría Escrivá - Father John Henry Hanson, O. Praem. - Lessons in Discipleship