Saturday 25 May 2024

Prayer of the Day Matthew Talbot Canonization Prayer

Matthew Talbot Canonization Prayer

O Jesus, true friend of the humble worker, Who hast given us in Thy servant, Matthew, a wonderful example of Victory over vice, a model of penance and of love for Thy Holy Eucharist, grant, we beseech Thee, that we Thy servants may overcome all our wicked passions and sanctify our lives with penance and love like his.  

And if it be in accordance with Thine adorable designs that Thy pious servant should be glorified by the Church, deign to manifest by Thy heavenly favours the power he enjoys in Thy sight, Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.  


I got this from one of the many books I have read about Matt Talbot. 

Relates posts and links:

For all reviews of books about Matt Talbot Click here.

Books about Matt Talbot:
Matt Talbot and His Times - Mary Purcell
Matt Talbot: His Struggle, His Victory over Alcoholism - Susan Helen Wallace 
Matt Talbot - Xavier Carty 
Spotlight on Matt Talbot  - Edward O'Connor, S.J.
Matt Talbot - Simon O'Brynne 
The quest for Matt Talbot - Philip Rooney 
We knew Matt Talbot - Albert H Dolan
Matt Talbot - James F. Cassidy. 
An address to Pope John Paul II from the Parish of Matt Talbot, The Worker. 
Matt Talbot : the Irish worker's glory - James Francis Cassidy 
Matt Talbot - Albon White 
The Story of Matt Talbot - Malachy Gerard Carroll

Friday 24 May 2024

The Way of the Cross According to the Method of St. Francis of Assisi

The Way of the Cross
According to the Method of St. Francis of Assisi
ISBN 9780895553140

The Way of the Cross: According to the Method of St. Francis of Assisi Booklet

Back in 2006 a year after I started writing reviews for newspapers and magazines I wrote a couple of posts with quick short reviews of various Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross versions that I used often. One of the volumes covered then was 
The Way of the Cross According to the Method of St. Alphonsus Liguori, I recently wrote a longer review of it and while researching that review stumbled across this volume. I have this specific edition from TAN in Booklet format, audio book, and I really wish there was an eBook version available. 

This volume includes the Nihil Ovstat, the Imprimatur from the 1939 Benziger Brothers edition. There is also a note about an Impratur from a 1913 edition. And we are informed that the pictures are from a 1908 edition. We are also informed that the text for this edition of the Franciscan Way of the Cross was taken from The Congregation Prays by Rt. Rev. Msgr. M.A. Schumacher. And that the Stabat Mater and its English translation are from Fr. Lasancc's Blessed Sacrament Book by the Benziger Brothers 1913 edition.

The short description of this booklet is:

“We consider this the best Way of the Cross we have ever seen. Traditional, edifying pictures. The Stabat Mater is given in Latin and English.”

The longer description is:

“In this small yet powerful booklet, the traditional method of The Way of the Cross of St. Francis of Assisi provides a beautiful meditation on the Passion, death, and burial of Our Lord. In this booklet, all fourteen Stations of the Cross are complemented by the Stabat Mater in both Latin and English. Also included with the method of St. Francis in this accessible devotional are:

A preparatory prayer
Traditional illustrations
Steps to gain a partial or plenary indulgence

Because it is pocket-sized and complete with numerous resources, this booklet can easily be used for:

Church events
Family devotions
Personal devotions
Religious Education
Youth and Young Adult Groups
And Catholic groups of any kind!

No matter when or how you use it, this devotional will be a great aid in your prayer life and give you a deeper love of Christ Crucified. This extremely popular version of the Way of the Cross is an excellent resource for any Catholic! 

“O merciful Redeemer, who hast said, ‘And if I be lifted up from earth, will draw all things to Myself,’ draw my heart and my love to Thee.””

This edition includes returning to the altar for the Prayer to Jesus Crucified at the end. It is followed by the Stabat Mater in parallel. 

A sample station is:

Ninth Station

Eia Mater, fons amoris,
Me sentire vim doloris.
Fae, ut tecum lugeam.

Jesuss Falls the Third Time.

V. We adore Thee, 0 Christ, and we praise Thee,
R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: Jesus, arriving exhausted at the foot of Calvary, fall s for the third time to the ground. His love for us, however, is not diminished, not extinguished. What a fearfully oppressive burden our sins must be to cause Jesus to fall so often! Had He, however, not taken them upon Himself, they would have plunged us into the abyss of Hell.

People: Most merciful Jesus, I return Thee infinite thanks for not permitting me to continue in sin and to fall, as l have so often deserved, into the depths of Hell.  Enkindle in me an earnest desire of amendment; let me never again relapse, but vouchsafe me the grace  to persevere in penance to the end of my life.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

V. Lord .Jesus, crucified,
R. Have mercy on us!

O thou Mother! fount of love,
Touch my spirit from above.
Make my heart with thine accord.”

I love edition of this devotion from TAN and having recently picked up the audio version read by Joe Hunninghake, I look forward to praying along with it and reviewing it separately. I just really wish there was a digital eBook edition so I could have it with me always.

This is a Way of the Cross that I believe I have used for the first time this year, but it is one I am likely to return to often. I try and pray a stations each Friday throughout the year and every day during Lent. I can easily recommend this version for personal, family, small group or even public devotion. This is wonderful Stations and it is well worth having in your home, school, or church library.

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

The Way of the Cross According to the Method of St. Alphonsus Liguori Audio

The Way of the Cross: According to the Method of St. Francis of Assisi Audio

The Way of the Cross: According to the Method of St. Francis of Assisi Booklet

The Way of the Cross According to the Method of St. Alphonsus Liguori Booklet

Thursday 23 May 2024

Where The Pieces Lie - J.D. Kirk - DCI Logan Book 19

Where The Pieces Lie
DCI Logan Book 19
ISBN 9781912767823

Where The Pieces Lie - J.D. Kirk - DCI Logan Book 19

I discovered the writing of J.D. Kirk in 2022, since then I have read 50 volumes across three different pen names. I picked the first for a few reasons, but mainly because authors Alex Smith and JE Mayhew have both recommended the author and series. I am a big fan of Smith’s DCI Kett novels and Mayhew’s DCI Will Blake Series. I have been hooked since that first read. Kirk also publishes under the names Barry Hutchison and Barry J, Hutchison. I have now read the first 19 in the DCI Logan series and all 4 in the Robert Hoon series, The first two in the DI Heather Filson series as well as stand alone VIP exclusive short story

I had no idea how addictive Kirk’s books would be or that like Mayhew and Smith, Kirk publishes under three different names. Kirk publishes children books as Barry Hutchison, and other adult fiction as Barry J. Hutchison. He has published over 200 books across the three pen names. If I had known that or I might not have picked up this first one. Friends call me a ‘completionist’ in that when I find an author I like, I try to read everything they have published. Being caught up now on his works as J.D. Kirk I will have to wait for each new one to come out, and this volume was well worth the weight. 

The description of this novel is:

“Community service clean-up was supposed to be a tedious affair. But, when a young offender stumbles upon a bin bag filled with human remains, a quiet Highland village is thrown into chaos.

The investigation leads DCI Jack Logan to a remote and nightmarish cottage, where a forgotten freezer holds a disturbing discovery: a full set of human fingers.

As more body parts are uncovered, Logan and his team hunt for a killer with a gruesome obsession for collecting trophies.

Across the vast Highlands, where secrets run as deep as the lochs, the team must piece together a jigsaw puzzle of horror that's as fragmented as the remains they've found.

But how do you solve a jigsaw when you can’t see the picture on the box?”

This story starts with body parts in a rubbish bag at the side of the road. The characters have grown and changed a lot over 19 stories. It is still Scottish crime, grisly crimes, and full of language. As individuals the team are ok enough, but as a team they work really well. In this one someone is manipulating people into doing things, either to themselves or to someone else. And it has now escalated into a fully dismembered body being found. Jack and the team realize something is off with most of the interviews. And to be honest even at the end of the story something is nagging at the back of Logan’s mind. This story leads up on a chase through a wide range of suspects. 

I stayed up way to late to finishing this story. I just could not put it down. This is another great read in a excellent series. I love the three series written under the pen name J.D. Kirk are definitely Scottish Mysteries, or Scottish Police Crime novels. This book and series would be great reads for fans of Jack Reacher, Jack Ryan, or Temperance Brennan. I state it again this is a great read in a dark and gritty series!      
Books by J.D. Kirk:

DCI Logan Series:
A Killer of Influence

Robert Hoon Thrillers:

DI Heather Filson Series:

Contributed to:
Everyday Kindness: A Collection of Uplifting Tales to Brighten Your Day

Books as Barry J. Hutchison:
Dan Deadman Space Detective Series:

Space Team Series:
The Search for Splurt 
Song of the Space Siren 
The Guns of Nana Joan 
Return of the Dead Guy 
Planet of the Japes 
The Time Titan of Tomorrow 
The King of Space Must Die 
Sting of the Mustard Mines 
Sentienced to Death
The Hunt for Reduk Topa
A Lot of Weird Space Shizz: Collected Short Stories

Sidekicks Initiative Series:

The Bug Books Series:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Complete Season One

Other Books:

Children’s books as Barry Hutchison:
Invisible Fiends Series:
The Crowmaster 
Doc Mortis 
The Beast 
The Darkest Corners 

The Missing Remote of the Apocalypse
The Book of Doom 

Benjamin Blank Series:

Beaky Malone Series:

Generator Rex Series:

Living Ted Series:
Revenge of the Living Ted
Invasion of the Living Ted

Spectre Collectors Series:
Too Ghoul for School
A New York Nightmare!

Other works:

DCI Logan - JD Kirk Books 1-20

Wednesday 22 May 2024

A Look At Life - Belinda Terro Mooney

A Look At Life
ISBN 9798888701713

This is the first volume I have read by Belinda, but it will not be the last. I have followed her on social media for a while and we have some friends and contacts in common. When I had the chance to read an advanced copy of this volume of poetry I jumped at it.

The description of this volume states:

“This small collection of poems, A Look at Life, is for individuals, couples, and families who want to ponder life and virtue and how we can cooperate with God’s grace to become more virtuous and holy. It can be used for simple reading and enjoyment, or as a help in prayer, reflection, journaling, copying, and memorization. It would make a great gift for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and sacraments such as First Communion, and Confirmation.”

The poems are:

Spiritual Pondering
My Destiny
On Being the Best I Can Be
Searching for Happiness
On Being Beautiful
On Being a Child of God
My Body is a Temple
Can Peace be Bought at Any Price
Heart of Love
Each of the poems are a page or less. They are encouraging, inspiring and uplifting. I usually include a poem or two as samples when I write a review the ones, I picked this time are:


A gift from God, 
Our mission strains.
A forward motion
Momentum gains
In order to serve and 
Free others from pain.

       On Being the Best I Can Be

       I decided as a little child
       To be my very best
       My best self at all times
       Is my motto and my crest.

Searching for Happiness

Happiness when sought without 
Can only end in pain.
But happiness when sought within,
With God is always gain.
So, seek your happiness within
Achieve your heart’s desire
And find your peace again. 

I hope those three poems give you a feel for this volume. I really enjoyed this volume. It is a wonderful collection of poems. Great for a quick pick me up. Can be used during prayer or reflection time. Or just to pick up and read. It would be a great addition to and school, church or home library. 

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

Books by Belinda Terro Mooney:
Christ the King Lord of History: The Continuing Story
Christ the King Lord of History: Workbook and Study Guide
Christ and the Americas Workbook
My Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Workbook: Creating a Comprehensive Plan for a Calm, Ordered Life
Leave Me Alone!: Helping Your Troubled Teenager
Pray with Us

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Twelve - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 4.5

The Naturals Book 4.5
eISBN 9781368021302
ASIN B075573YK6

Twelve - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 4.5

First, I need to state that this volume is currently only available in eBook or audio book formats. Unlike the four main novels in the Naturals series. 

I picked a copy of the first book in the main series a couple of years ago because my niece was reading it at the time. However, it got lost in the numerous books on my kindle and I never got around to reading it. This year my youngest, 13, picked it to read in class for school reading and a book report. She has to read the physical copy and read it in class. She debated between this and the Inheritance Games series, both had come highly recommended, but a few other girls in her class were doing Inheritance. While picking it up for my daughter I read the prologue and was hooked. My daughter is a little mad that I read it in 1 day and she has to wait and read it in class, but oh well! And she is even madder that I have now read the four novels and this novella and she has still not finished book 1, and is not allowed past chapter 26 yet. (I had told her on March break to read book 1 and do the report on book 2. But she held out.)

The description of this volume states:

“Cassie Hobbes has been working with the FBI since she was a teenager. Now twenty-three years old, she and her fellow Naturals have taken over running the program that taught them everything they know. As a unit, they're responsible for identifying new Naturals—and solving particularly impossible cases. When their latest case brings back a ghost from their past, Cassie and the other Naturals find themselves racing against the clock—and reliving their own childhood traumas.

In a small coastal town in Maine, there has been a rash of teen suicides—or at least, that's what the police believe. Mackenzie McBride, age twelve, thinks differently. Desperate to make herself heard, she stands at the top of a lighthouse, threatening to jump . . . unless the FBI agents who rescued her from a kidnapper at age six come to hear her out. Enter the Naturals. It doesn't take Cassie long to realize that Mackenzie isn't bluffing: she truly is convinced that the suicides are murder, and she really will jump if she can't get the FBI to believe her. To the outside world, Mackenzie is nothing more than a traumatized child. But so was Cassie, once upon a time. So were Michael, Dean, Sloane, Lia, and Celine. With a storm rolling in off the ocean and Mackenzie's position becoming more precarious by the moment, the Naturals have very little time to get to the truth about the deaths—and about twelve-year-old Mackenzie McBride.”

I wrote previously that this series started just a year after Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers series which I read as they were releasing. I absolutely loved killers. The two series share a lot of tropes, and have some similar events, I believe both are worth reading. This series has a somewhat similar feal, except it is a team of ‘naturals’ young adults with special abilities, such as: human lie detector, ability to read emotions and feelings almost exactly and of course natural profilers. Cassie’s is brought in as the newest member of the team. This story is set five years after the last volume. Or at least the main story is set five years after the main volume. 

In this story some of the original Naturals are now in the FBI academy, some are still in Colorado running the Natural’s program and assisting on cases as consultants. Mackenzie McBride a kidnapping victim from one of the earlier novels is on the ledge of a lighthouse threatening to jump if the FBI do not come and speak with her. She wants the Agent that rescued her. Soon the teams finds they have a real case, and Mackenzie can see something others are missing. But will they be able to solve the clues in time to save her. Or will she become another victim.

This is a great little volume that is like a check in with old friends. We get to visit the team and see where they are in five years. I would still love to Barnes to go back and write stories about the Nightshade case, and other stories set after these events. This was a wonderful read for fans of the series. I can easily recommend it!

Books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes:
The Lovely and the Lost (2019)
Nobody (2013)
Every Other Day (2011)

The Naturals Series:
All In (2015)
Bad Blood (2016)
Twelve (2017)

The Inheritance Games Series:
The Inheritance Games (2020)
The Hawthorne Legacy (2021)
The Final Gambit (2022)
The Brothers Hawthorne (2023)

Debutantes Series:
Little White Lies (2018)
Deadly Little Scandals (2019)

The Fixer Series:
The Fixer (2015)
The Long Game (2016)

Raised by Wolves Series:
Raised by Wolves (2010)
Sweet Sixteen (2015)
Trial by Fire (2011)
Taken by Storm (2012)

The Squad Series:
Perfect Cover (2008)
Killer Spirit (2008)

Tattoo Series:
Tattoo (2007)
Fate (2009)

Golden Series:
Golden (2006)
Platinum (2007)

The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 1

Killer Instinct - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 2

All In - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 3

Bad Blood - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 4

Twelve - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 4.5

The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 1  Reprint Edition

Killer Instinct - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 2  Reprint Edition

All In - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 3

Bad Blood - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 4  Reprint Edition

Twelve - Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals Book 4.5  Reprint Edition

Monday 20 May 2024

Christ is Our Peace! Homilies and Addresses in Turkey - Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Books

Christ is Our Peace!
Homilies and Addresses in Turkey
Pope Benedict XVI
ISBN 9781860824319
ISBN 1860824315
CTS Booklet Do755

Christ is Our Peace! Homilies and Addresses in Turkey - Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Books

Over the last few years, I have read a number of books by and about Pope Benedict XVI. Of the popes in my lifetime, I find his writings of immense spiritual benefit. I would state that I underappreciated him until his resignation. And since then, I have read much. And with each piece I read I appreciate his wisdom, faith, and stand against modernism. This work is far more cautious than much of his writings I have a feeling this is more political because of where the addresses were given. This was another excellent read. 

The descriptions of the book is:

“At a time in history when great themes come together - Europe’s future and its Christian heritage; Religion’s role in the cause of humanity; Islam’s place in today’s world; Catholic and Orthodox relations — Pope Benedict XVI, in his addresses and homilies while visiting Turkey in 2006, makes compulsive reading. Can mankind recognise its common destiny, amid the scandal and turmoil of our age? In Christ, this destiny of true freedom and peace can be realised, in love and service towards each other.”

The volume is drawn from talks and homilies given between November 28th and December 1st 2006. The chapters in this edition are:

Sincere exchange between friends
Serving the cause of humanity 
Christ is our peace!
A love rediscovered! 
Called to be fishers of men. 
Dismantling all that divides us 
Our mission — to offer Christ to the world! 

I highlighted a few passages while reading this volume, some of them are:

“All this, however, remains insufficient unless there is authentic dialogue, that is to say fruitful debate between the parties concerned, in order to arrive at lasting and acceptable political solutions, respectful of persons and peoples. I am thinking most especially of the disturbing conflict in the Middle East, which shows no sign of abating and weighs heavily on the whole of international life; I am thinking of the risk of peripheral conflicts multiplying and terrorist actions spreading. I appreciate the efforts of numerous countries currently engaged in rebuilding peace in Lebanon, Turkey among them. In your presence, Ambassadors, I appeal once more to the vigilance of the international community, that it not abandon its responsibilities, but make every effort to promote dialogue among all parties involved, which alone can guarantee respect for others, while safeguarding legitimate interests and rejecting recourse to violence.”

“The fact that the majority of the population of this country is Muslim is a significant element in the life of society, which the State cannot fail to take into account, yet the Turkish Constitution recognises every citizen’s right to freedom of worship and freedom of conscience.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, in this Eucharistic celebration we praise the Lord for Mary’s divine motherhood, a mystery solemnly confessed and proclaimed in Ephesus at the Ecumenical Council of 431.”

“We have listened to a passage from Saint John’s Gospel which invites us to contemplate the moment of the Redemption when Mary, united to her Son in the offering of his sacrifice, extended her motherhood to all men and women, and in particular to the disciples of Jesus. A privileged witness to that event was the author of the Fourth Gospel, John, the only one of the Apostles to remain at Golgotha with the Mother of Jesus and the other women. Mary’s motherhood, which began with her fiat in Nazareth, is fulfilled at the foot of the Cross.”

“The Son of God thus fulfilled his mission: born of the Virgin in order to share our human condition in everything but sin, at his return to the Father he left behind in the world the sacrament of the unity of the human race (cf. Lumen Gentium, 1): the family “brought into unity from the unity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Saint Cyprian, De Orat. Dom., 23: PL 4, 536), at whose heart is this new bond between the Mother and the disciple. Mary’s divine motherhood and her ecclesial motherhood are thus inseparably united.”

“The first reading presented what could be called the “Gospel” of the Apostle of the Gentiles: all men and women, including the pagans, are called in Christ to share fully in the mystery of salvation.”

“Like Christ himself, the Church is not only the instrument of unity, but also its efficacious sign. And the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ and of the Church, is the Mother of that mystery of unity which Christ and the Church inseparably signify and build up, in the world and throughout history.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, in this visit I have wanted to convey my personal love and spiritual closeness, together with that of the universal Church, to the Christian community here in Turkey, a small minority which faces many challenges and difficulties daily. With firm trust let us sing, together with Mary, a magnificat of praise and thanksgiving to God who has looked with favour upon the lowliness of his servant (cf. Zk 1:48).” 

“I likewise recall the outstanding saints and pastors who have watched over the See of Constantinople, among them Saint Gregory of Nazianzus and Saint John Chrysostom, whom the West also honours as Doctors of the Church.” 

“In this part of the Eastern world were also held the seven Ecumenical Councils which Orthodox and Catholics alike acknowledge as authoritative for the faith and discipline of the Church. They are enduring milestones and guides along our path towards full unity.”

“Today, in this Patriarchal Church of Saint George, we are able to experience once again the communion and call of the two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, in the meeting of the Successor of Peter and his Brother in the episcopal ministry, the head of this Church traditionally founded by the Apostle Andrew. Our fraternal encounter highlights the special relationship uniting the Churches of Rome and Constantinople as Sister Churches.”

“In that same spirit, my presence here today is meant to renew our commitment to advancing along the road towards the re-establishment — by God’s grace — of full communion between the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople.”

“Together let us continue to pray for the unity of all Christians, so that, by receiving this gift from above with open hearts, we may be ever more convincing witnesses of the truth of the Gospel and better servants of the Church’s mission.”

“In this Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, I wish to thank God for all his works in human history and to invoke upon everyone the gifts of the Spirit of holiness. As Saint Paul has just reminded us, the Spirit is the enduring source of our faith and unity.” 

“Brothers and sisters, let us now hand over our desire to serve the Lord to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Servant of the Lord. She prayed in company with the Apostles in the Upper Room, in the days leading up to Pentecost. Together with her, let us pray to Christ her Son: Send forth, O Lord, your Holy Spirit upon the whole Church, that he may dwell in each of her members and make them heralds of your Gospel! Amen.”

I hope those quotes give you a feel for this volume. This was one of a number of volumes written by Pope Benedict XVI on various papal visits. I have a number of these I am trying to track down that are proving most elusive. The CTS had a wide range of booklets based on his sermons, audiences, and papal visits. I have been working on tracking them down, and some are very hard to find at a reasonable price or at all. I was glad to track this one down, but of all his works I have read I struggle with it. This book feels like very careful political language was used. The meetings with officials, was hard to read. The later talks to Christians have much depth.  

This volume was not as engaging as many I have read by Pope Benedict XVI. If you can lay your hands on it, it would be worth a read, but it is by far my least favourite volume from Pope Benedict XVI. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Benedict XVI:

Sunday 19 May 2024

The Journey - Jim Sano

The Journey
ISBN 9781987970692

The Journey - Jim Sano

This is the seventh story I have read by Jim Sano that I have read, and it is his first written for a younger audience, it is a Middle Grade or Young Adult story. It is perfect for younger readers, tweens, and younger teens. At the moment it is a stand-alone story, but I hope it will become the first in a series, I can easily picture other adventures, with the grandfather, father, or even the same group of friends. But I am getting ahead of myself, back to this book.

The description of the book is:

“Thirteen-year-old Will Donovan wishes he could enjoy his friends and trick-or-treating without the nuisance and responsibility of his talkative younger brother, Sam, tagging along. When Will’s wish comes true after finding a strange goblet in the attic, Sam suddenly vanishes into thin air through the attic wall, and Will is challenged to muster up the courage to travel to a strange world to save him. Fortunately, Will’s friends and characters they meet along the way won’t let him face this dangerous journey alone, as they end up confronting their greatest fears, deadly creatures, and an epoch battle between good and evil.”

In some ways this is a classic buddy story, and in other a school aged story. It is a classic adventure story. But with the translation into a different world and the quest is to figure out why and to find a way home. And the why is not what we first suppose. 

The story begins on Halloween night. Will is frustrated with his younger brother often, and this evening he has reached a boiling point. When Sam steps on Will’s candy spread out on the floor, Will wishes he would disappear. And so he does. Soon Will and his friends Jules, Arrie, and Porty. The four friends are dressed as Musketeers and when will’s grandfather explains what happened and how to resolve it the group is up for the challenge. Or at least they think they are. 

Once they adventure begins they have 2 tools to help, a set number of wishes, and a blank book that magical contains text to guide, help and direct. Almost as soon as they are through the attacks begin. Dark forces attack them repeatedly. And things are often not as they appear. They must grow, face challenges, develop character and grow in virtues. They travel following the guidance of the book, and friends they meet along the way. With each city or kingdom the reach they find out more information and in each they gain new allies. This world has a prophecy that the evil force will attack and wipe it out unless they can come together under a new leader. And through it all Will is just desperate to find his brother and return his brother and friends home safe. 

There is great action, an epic journey, friends on a quest, and a final battle. This book was incredibly hard to put down. Before I even finished it I was telling my youngest two ages 13 and 16 about the story and they both were desperate to read it. This is one of those stories that could easily become a Christian Classic. It is another excellent read from Jim and Full Quiver. I highly recommend this.

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

Books by Jim Sano:

Father Tom Series:

Saturday 18 May 2024

Prayer of the Day Angel of God Morning and Evening

Angel of God Morning Prayer

Angel of God, My guardian Dear,
To whom God's love commits me here,
Be ever this day Be at my Side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide,

Angel of God Evening Prayer

Angel of God, My guardian Dear,
To whom God's love commits me here,
Be ever this night, Be at my Side,
To light and guard, To rule and guide, 
If I should die before I wake, I pray my soul the Lord to take

My grandmother who was Presbyterian by and Anglican taught me these prayers we always said them last thing at night and first thing in the morning when we stayed at her place.. 

Friday 17 May 2024

Saint Valentine The Man Who Became the Patron Saint of Love - Jeannie Meekins - 15-Minute Books Book 611

Saint Valentine: 
The Man Who Became the Patron Saint of Love
15-Minute Books 611
Jeannie Meekins
Learning Island
eISBN 9781310884344

Saint Valentine: The Man Who Became the Patron Saint of Love - Jeannie Meekins

This was the fifth volume I have read by Jeannie Meekins, and the sixth in this series about saints. According to amazon she has over 120 unique titles geared for young readers. Many are biographies, some are in a Fun Facts Series, and other appear to be short fiction. I first read one on Mary MacKillop, that was recommended because I had read other volumes about her. This is part of a series tagged as 15-Minute Books, which are geared to get children reading for 15 minutes a day. Based on what I have read I do not believe the author is not Catholic, but it is a biography of a Catholic saints. The Books I have read in the series have been hit or miss, some are excellent some were disappointing. This one is more favorable. 

The description of this volume is:

“You’ve probably heard of Saint Valentine’s Day. You may have given someone a card or a present. You may even have done it in secret, and watched the look of happiness on their face. You probably tried not to blush as that person tried to figure out who their secret Valentine was.

But what do you really know about the person who inspired one of the most popular days of the year?

Probably... not much. That’s because not much is known about who Saint Valentine was. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church lists three Saint Valentines. Other branches of the Christian religion claim there are up to seven Saint Valentines.

How do we know which is the right one?

Find out about the three men who may have inspired Valentine's Day in this 15-minute biography.

Ages 8 and up.”

The description of the Series is:

“ believes in the value of children practicing reading for 15 minutes every day. Our 15-Minute Books give children lots of fun, exciting choices to read, from classic stories, to mysteries, to books of knowledge. Many books are appropriate for hi-lo readers. Open the world of reading to a child by having them read for 15 minutes a day.”

The website is now defunct, but Learning Island when I checked the internet archive machine appears to have been a site with contributors from around the world. The oldest archived versions show books available for download in PDF format and exercises to go with the books. Later iterations of the site show link to purchase cheap eBook and later even print editions of the works. There are some numbered even into the1000’s. With the most recent being from early 2013 and numbered at 1014. But I only find 163 when I search Kindle. The sections in this booklet are:

Three Valentines
Three Valentines (Yes a second time)
Valentine, Priest of Rome
Valentine the Bishop of Interamna
Valentine the Priest of Africa
Since the Third century
Where is the Real Saint Valentine?
Blessings and Images

I have not read much about the real Saint Valentine or Saints as it may be. And I enjoyed this volume. I highlighted a few passages while reading it they are:

“Probably... not much. That’s because not much is known about who Saint Valentine was. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church lists three Saint Valentines. Other branches of the Christian religion claim there are up to seven Saint Valentines.”

“There are three different Saint Valentines connected with the date of February 14. All three of them lived in the third century AD.”

“One was a priest in Rome, Italy. One was a bishop of Interamna in Italy. The town of Interamna is now called Terni. One was a priest in Africa. In the third century, Africa was a part of the Roman Empire.”

“No one knows how long Valentine was in prison before he was executed. There is no date given for his arrest and imprisonment. There are also several dates given for his death. Some sources state it was 269 or 270 AD, while others claim it was 278 AD.”

“There are enough similarities in some of the stories to believe that these two Valentines may indeed be the same person. Or that perhaps there is confusion in exactly which events occurred to which Valentine. It is just as likely that similar things happened to two men with similar beliefs and faith.”

“Saint Valentine is the Patron Saint of bee keepers, engaged couples, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, people with epilepsy or fainting spells, plague, travelers, and young people.”

This biography was engaging and well written. It does not talk down to children, it includes complicated words. It is clear and concise. It is a fun introduction to this saint, or the three possible saints. 

This is a fun little book. I can recommend this volume for school, church or home library. A great read for young readers. 

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

Books about Saint Mary MacKillop:

Books in the 15-Minute Books Series about Saints:

Joan of Arc: The Girl Who Fought For France - Jeannie Meekins

Mary MacKillop: Australia's First Saint - Jeannie Meekins

Saint Francis of Assisi: The Patron Saint of Animals - Jeannie Meekins

Saint George: Dragon Slayer - Jeannie Meekins

Saint Patrick Ireland Beloved Saint - Jeannie Meekins

Saint Valentine: The Man Who Became the Patron Saint of Love - Jeannie Meekins

The Lives of Seven Saints - Jeannie Meekins