An Open Book – June 2019 #openbook

An Open Book 800W

I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom for An Open Book.  Here’s what I’ve been reading:


Martyrs: Brave Hearts #2

Kathryn Griffin Swegart

Amazon Synopsis: Just released. Father Sebastian Rale was a little-known Jesuit missionary who lived among the Wabanaki people from 1689-1724. In this riveting story, readers travel into the Maine wilderness and witness the heart of a true martyr for the Faith. Like St. Isaac Jogues, Father Sebastian Rale was a heroic missionary to the New World. Martyrs is an unforgettable story of courage, faith, and enduring friendship. This piece of historical fiction for readers 10-14 is an inspiring book for young and old alike. Kathryn Griffin Swegart is an Amazon-bestselling author in Children’s Christian Historical Fiction.

My review: I helped to edit and format this book.  Wonderful but challenging story to read. Highly recommend!

Unlikely Witness

Unlikely Witness

Leslea Wahl

Amazon Synopsis: When four friends vacation together in the Colorado Rockies, they expect a week of hiking, biking, and rafting – not being interrogated by the FBI.

Unlikely Witnesses combines the characters of Leslea Wahl’s award-winning YA mysteries, The Perfect Blindside and An Unexpected Role, in an all-new adventure.

Jake is a silver-medal-winning snowboarder. His famous face makes it hard to go anywhere unnoticed. Sophie, his devoted girlfriend, is an aspiring journalist whose camera is never far from her side.

Sophie’s cousin Ryan, a high school baseball star, enjoys an ongoing prank war with his cousin. His girlfriend Josie adds excitement to all situations with her uncanny flair for the dramatic.

Between Josie’s mishaps, Jake’s celebrity status, and Sophie and Ryan’s friendly feud their peaceful family vacation turns into a comedic adventure. But, when these four teens stumble upon a mystery, things become downright dangerous.

The fun and intrigue of this short story is paired with a reminder that if we live our lives as Christians, we never know when we might be a witness for Christ.

My review: On my to-read shelf.

Hope Series Book One

Flight 258 by Staci Stallings (Hope Series #1)

Amazon Synopsis: Life has not been fair to Jenna Davis. After losing everything she considered her world three years ago, her only hope has been holding on and trying to survive. When she finally decides she must find a way to go on with life, she boards a plane destined to visit a friend across the country. But she hadn’t counted on meeting a handsome stranger and his young son on the flight, nor could she have prepared herself for what life would throw at her next. Can Jenna find love again after tragedy strikes or is she destined to go from one tragedy to another forever?

Scott Browning was devastated when his marriage broke up. With his young son, Lane, he is learning to pick up the pieces and go on with life. On his way home from a visit to his parents, Scott meets a young woman who will change everything, just before his own life is thrown into question. Most couples think about love at first sight. Could this one be love at first death?

My Review: I’m a sucker for airplane crash stories and romances, so when I saw this on sale for .99, I bought it on Kindle.  I’m enjoying the story and the crash is extremely well done.  My only criticism is the occasional obvious typo or grammatical error.

This Daring Journey (heart of the mountains 4)

This Daring Journey (Heart of the Mountains #6)

by Misty Beller

Amazon Synopsis:  The only hope to keep her newborn baby alive is to reach the safety of her Indian people… This mountain man is the last person she should trust to get her there.

As a half-Indian raised among her Peigan tribe, Moriah Clark knows better than to trust white people. The tragedy that resulted in her birth is proof enough. But when her trusted grandfather marries her to a white man, she has no choice but to obey and hope this new life isn’t her downfall. Her white husband turns out to be a decent sort, but his unexpected death left her to birth a newborn baby among hostile mountain men. She wants nothing more than to retreat to the safe haven of her tribal upbringing. When a mysterious frontiersman arrives on her doorstep seeking her deceased husband, his offer to escort her and the babe to her people seems like the opportunity she’s been praying to find. But can she trust him?

Samuel Grant has been sent to retrieve Henry Clark for his sister’s wedding, but the sight that greets him at the little cabin in the woods is not what he expected. Not only has the man died, but Henry’s wife is fighting off an aggressive gang of men at gunpoint—while trying to conceal a newborn. He can’t leave the pair unattended, so helping her travel into the mountain country to reach her family seems like the only option. If he can win her trust, that is.

Such a grueling journey with a three-week-old baby will be risky, but the challenges that arise test them far more than either expected. When a devastating surprise increases the danger ten-fold, Moriah focuses all her efforts on keeping her newborn daughter alive. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t realize how much of her heart belongs to the mountain man—until it’s too late.

My review: Downloaded this for free on Kindle.  On my To-Read shelf.

Rock Hudson

All that Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson by Mark Griffin

Amazon synopsis: The icon worshipped by moviegoers and beloved by his colleagues appeared to have it all. Yet beneath the suave and commanding star persona, there was an insecure, deeply conflicted, and all too vulnerable human being. Growing up poor in Winnetka, Illinois, Hudson was abandoned by his biological father, abused by an alcoholic stepfather, and controlled by his domineering mother.

Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Hudson was determined to become an actor at all costs. After signing with the powerful but predatory agent Henry Willson, the young hopeful was transformed from a clumsy, tongue-tied truck driver into Universal Studio’s resident Adonis. In a more conservative era, Hudson’s wholesome, straight arrow screen image was at odds with his closeted homosexuality.

As a result of his gay relationships and clandestine affairs, Hudson was continually threatened with public exposure, not only by scandal sheets like Confidential but by a number of his own partners. For years, Hudson dodged questions concerning his private life, but in 1985 the public learned that the actor was battling AIDS. The disclosure that such a revered public figure had contracted the illness focused worldwide attention on the epidemic.

Drawing on more than 100 interviews with co-stars, family members and former companions, All That Heaven Allows finally delivers a complete and nuanced portrait of one of the most fascinating stars in cinema history.

Author Mark Griffin provides new details concerning Hudson’s troubled relationships with wife Phyllis Gates and boyfriend Marc Christian. And here, for the first time, is an in-depth exploration of Hudson’s classic films, including Written on the Wind, A Farewell to Arms, and the cult favorite Seconds. With unprecedented access to private journals, personal correspondence, and production files, Griffin pays homage to the idol whose life and death had a lasting impact on American culture.

My review: I’m a long-time fan of Rock Hudson’s and have seen most of his movies and TV appearances.  When in 1985 the news came out that he was dying of AIDS, I was shocked, but nevertheless prayed for him and for his soul.  I’ve read other biographies, but this one is an extremely well-written book in which the author does an excellent job of not judging Hudson, but just stating the facts.  Yes, there were some shocking revelations, but at the core of Rock Hudson’s being was a kindness and an unpretentiousness that, despite his closeted “secret” life, everyone who met him was drawn to him and say they came away a better person.  I was especially happy to hear that his companion, knowing that Rock was baptized Catholic, sent for a priest who gave Rock the “Last Rites.” After the priest left, Rock allegedly told his companion, “Thank you for that.” Highly recommend for fans of Rock Hudson. Though it alludes to his gay lifestyle, it isn’t graphic.

One thought on “An Open Book – June 2019 #openbook

  1. The true story behind Martyrs is really gripping! A great story for young readers. I’ve enjoyed several Staci Stallings books and always marvel at the sheer number of books she puts out! She’s way outpacing me. LOL Thanks for linking up!

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