I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom for An Open Book. Here’s what I’ve been reading:
Standing Strong by Theresa Linden
Amazon Synopsis: (Contemporary Teen Fiction) Having just confessed his sins to his priest–more sins than a kid his age should have–Jarret jumps in his Chrysler 300 and races to the outskirts of town. Emotion overwhelming him, he pulls off the road and flings himself face down behind an outcropping of rocks. Ever since that life-changing night in the canyon, Jarret has felt the presence of the Lord in his soul. Now that presence is fading. Is it his fault? How will he remain faithful without it when he still struggles against the same temptations?
Meanwhile his twin brother, Keefe, questions whether he has a calling to religious life. He’s gone along with Jarret’s bad schemes for years. Is he worthy of such a calling? What would he have to give up to pursue a vocation? Keefe reads everything he can about St. Francis and the Franciscans, but he’s afraid to talk to his father about the Franciscans’ upcoming discernment retreat because his father seems closed to faith. Is he ready to go all in?
Follow the West brothers in this contemporary teen fiction as they struggle through temptations and trials down paths they can barely see, toward goals they desire in the depths of their hearts.
My Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this teen novel! Well-written with rich, well-developed characters and a great story. I’ve read two of the other West Brothers novels, but you need not read the others to enjoy this one. Highly recommend! 5 out of 5.
Motherless by Brian Gail
Amazon Synopsis: Brian J. Gail has written another heart pounding, page turner of a novel for Catholics who are straining to hear their Church’s voice in what Pope John Paul II called the final confrontation between the Church and the anti Church, the Gospel and the anti Gospel. Motherless takes the reader on a riveting behind-the-scenes journey around the globe to the boardrooms and laboratories where the architects of The Life Sciences Revolution are preparing Mankind’s Final Solution … and into the confessionals and chanceries where the Church’s response is being challenged. Father John Sweeney, pastor of a small catholic parish on Philadelphia’s storied Main Line, is drawn into an apocalyptic vortex through the lives of parishioners Maggie Kealey, Michael Burns and Joe Delgado. Without warning they are ushered through the back door of the Revolution where they discover human embryos being created in laboratories and frozen in cryogenic freezers for a global black market. It is, however, when the Revolution’s ultimate destination is revealed to one of the three that Fr. Sweeney is faced with his greatest test as a pastor guiding a soul to the Christian accountability to truth even in the face of potentially deadly consequences.
My Review: This has been on my “to read” pile for four years, and I finally had a chance to read it the other day when our power went off. Overall, I liked the story and found it hard to put down (although I didn’t find it “heart pounding” like the synopsis says) but it is basically told in order to evangelize without a huge emphasis on the writing. I enjoy books that evangelize as long as the writing is polished. And Gail’s writing was certainly good but I was distracted by the novel’s editing issues. Motherless would’ve been a less distracting read if it had gone through another edit or two. Overall, 3.5 out of 5 and would recommend it if you don’t mind a story that is preachy.
Last of Her Kind by A.K. Frailey
Synopsis: In Last of Her Kind, Cerulean, a guardian alien from the planet Lux discovers humanity’s greatest wealth in the person of Anne Smith—the last woman to conceive a baby during Oldearth’s final years. It takes the remnant’s most innovative traits to survive relocation, alien exploitation, and save themselves—as well as Luxonians—from extinction. A new order is born as a hungry universe observes humanity’s most enduring trait; its willingness to die in order that others might live.
My Review: (In process) I’m reading an advanced review copy of this sci-fi novel that is set in the near future when the human race is nearing extinction. Anne happens to be the last pregnant woman in the world. Cerulean is an extraterrestrial who watches Anne and grows a special attachment for her. Compelling story that is hard to put down. Looking forward to reading the rest!
Green Beans and Legacies by Robert P. Newberry
Amazon Synopsis: Green Beans and Legacies is comprised of a variety of reflections on raising successful children. They are derived from numerous columns that he wrote during a ten year period when he did seminar work and consulting with many schools and organizations across the country. The columns were written in response to many requests the author received to share his ideas with parents about successfully raise their children. Most of the reflections in Green Beans are “the best of” these columns. The author observes that raising children, like any important task, needs to be done with the end in mind. For the author, that end is a child who becomes a successful adult who is independent, moral and purposeful.
My Review: I’ve been helping the author promote his book. I really enjoyed this book and found comfort in knowing that I’ve been following the “basics” of what he calls successful parenting (even without knowing the basics!) It’s a wonderful little handbook on parenting that not only new parents will enjoy, but even experienced parents will probably find it helpful. Highly recommend.
When You Fast by Andrew LaVallee
I’ve been helping my boss edit his new book, which will hopefully be released on the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima on October 13th. In this book, Andy shares his conversion experience and how fasting and prayer can change hearts, souls and the world. It will be available on the Live the Fast website only. Highly recommend if you are new to fasting.
Julia’s Gifts by Ellen Gable (Book 1 of the Great War Great Love series)
I’m still working on edits of my new novel, coming November 2017. I need to hear from two more proofreaders and hopefully it will be finished and ready to publish!
Synopsis: As a young girl, Julia began buying gifts for her future spouse, a man whose likeness and personality she has conjured up in her mind, a man she calls her “beloved.” Soon after the United States enters the Great War, Julia impulsively volunteers as a medical aid worker, with no experience or training. Will the realities of war dishearten her? Will Julia abandon the pursuit of her beloved? Will her naïve ‘gift scheme’ distract her from recognizing her true “Great Love?” From Philadelphia to war-torn France, follow Julia as she transitions from unworldly young woman to compassionate volunteer.