Recommendations

Open Book: Book Recs for July 2021

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup, shared also at Catholic Mom!

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Carolyn Astfalk joins up with Catholic Mom to present An Open Book linkup every first Wednesday of the month! You should join us! Here’s what I have been reading:

Handy Little Guide to Prayer by Barb Szyszkiewicz

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need things that I already “know” to be restated in clear, straightforward language so that I can approach them with new eyes and less baggage. The Handy Little Guide to Prayer provides just that. It’s the kind of book I would recommend to anyone at any level of prayer life. Whether you’re enthusiastically looking for a new way to express your growth in faith, experiencing a spiritual dry spell after years of prayer practice, or just curious about new ways to add prayer to your life, this handy little guide may be just the boost you need. 5/5

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Encounters With Addiction by Gabor Mate

Deeply 

Facing the Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti

Moving story about all the ways grief hits us. Not a romance. Very honest. 5/5 

Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen

If your thoughts run your life and boss you around, read this book. Practice these tools of “taking your thoughts captive to Christ,” and you will be set free. That’s pretty much it. 5/5

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

Still reading. It may take a while. This is my second try, and I’m farther in this time. That’s what having kids not in diapers will do to one’s attention span. ?/5

Master Harold… and the Boys by Athol Fugard

A play from South Africa that I think I was supposed to have read in my days as a BA Theatre major before I switched to the BFA program with more art creation and less play reading (that’s not why I switched–I like reading plays). Great structure, great lessons on the widespread destructive power of racism–culturally-enforced narcissim of any kind, really. Warning: if Steve Rogers were reading it (or watching it at the theatre), he’d say, “Language.” 4.5/5

And now go link up with Carolyn Astfalk & Catholic Mom!

Open Book: Book Recs for June 2021

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup, shared also at Catholic Mom!

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Yes, it seems redundant to say that I’ve had a rough year, since, really, who hasn’t? But I’m going to come out here with a chunk of self-compassion over how little reading, especially fiction reading, I’ve done over the past two years. Carolyn and I, and a whole bunch of fiction writers I know through the Catholic Writers Guild, have often bemoaned the greater cultural problem as follows:

Why do people read so much more non-fiction than fiction? 

I never understood it. Non-fiction was so dry, so unimaginative, and held none of the escape that Tolkien holds not as sickness but as duty. Why would people read non-fiction, even exclusively? Especially exclusively? 

And then I found myself working more psychological trauma than I’d ever imagined would be mine to work. 

What that trauma is/was is or perhaps may be for another time (more work to do on that before I can really synthesize it into something worth sharing with others). What I did learn, sort of, that I feel like I can share here is not so much of something I learned as something I’m wondering:

Our culture is so traumatizing in its dismissal of the beloved imperfection of the human person that we don’t see ourselves as soldiers under duty to King and country to escape but rather as rats in a maze that we must solve or else starve for lack of cheese. 

It’s just a thought I’m still working with, but it certainly rings true as I look over my reading list from the past two years or so and see its utter dearth of fiction. Well, maybe not utter. Anyway, I feel like I’m starting to come out of the maze just a wee ratty bit and am eyeing all the unread fiction that has accumulated over the past 24 months. I’m hoping to share more in Open Book in the coming months. Here’s hoping. 

Meanwhile, here’s what I have been reading:

Simple Mercies

Simple Mercies: How the Works of Mercy Bring Peace and Fulfilment by Lara Patangan.

What a remarkable journey through the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy we have in Simple Mercies. In a world where we feel constant pressure to do more and be more, Lara Patangan offers readers an opportunity to let the to-do list carve instead a space in the heart, where we can encounter the all-forgiving love of Christ in the everyday. The author spent a year celebrating the works of mercy and shares the fruits of her contemplation in this engaging work that one moment will have you laughing and the next will touch your heart with empathy for those we serve—and, just as importantly, for the person you see in the mirror. If you’re looking for a brief but uplifting read that will help you reframe your daily drudgery and find opportunities for greater spiritual joy, Simple Mercies would be a great fit. 5/5

I am grateful to have received an advance copy of Simple Mercies from the publisher.

 

Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This may be the only fiction I finished reading over the past year. I’d never read it before, and as I was preparing for my January surgery that little did I know was to become a January and a March surgery, I wanted something I wouldn’t have to think hard about how I was going to leave it a review, whose feelings I would hurt if I never got to that review (thoughts that go through an overfunctioning author’s mind when picking up her friends’ books), and so on. We had this in an anthology in the house, so I picked it up.

Oh, Sydney Carton. This was another experience like my first time reading Jane Eyre: I hadn’t read much about what I was about to read, so the big twist really got me and got me good, like took my breath away got me good. 5/5 A1PlaceHolder

Positive Intelligence

Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential and How You Can Achieve Yours by Shirzad Chamine.

Wow. WOW! This (non-fiction) book has changed my life by helping me to change my mind. In PI, Chamine synthesizes neuroscience, trauma recovery, emotional intelligence studies, and so much more, offering the reader tools to help us identify and derail our self-sabotaging patterns so that we can live more creative, joyful lives. Chamine tells his own story of how he thought his harsh inner critic was helping him succeed when all it was doing was ruining his relationships and his professional life. He then goes on to offer a model of looking at our thought patterns, identifying our typical “Saboteurs” (control, distraction, hypervigilance, etc.), disabling said Saboteurs, and then strengthening our mind to listen to our wiser self (which he calls our “Sage”). Full of practical tools you don’t need a ton of money or a ton of time (or a long-term therapist) to use, PI has been one of the most positive books I’ve read and has helped me make the most positive changes in my interior life as well as my relationships. 6/5 (seriously) A1PlaceHolder

Name of the Rose

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Ecco. I haven’t finished it yet, but imagine Brother Sherlock Aquinas has come to a medieval monastery with the job of discovering why one of the brothers was discovered dead at the bottom of a ravine. I’m afraid it’s smarter than I am right now (I blame trauma brain), but I do find myself interested in reading more.  (TBD/5)

A1PlaceHolderWhat are you reading?  Don’t forget to link up YOUR #OpenBook reviews over at Carolyn’s!

Open Book: Book Recs for August 2020

I’m nose-deep in edits on Broken Grown-ups Guide to Joyful Family Life, but we have had two beach days, which means two beach reads.

One Last Thing by Rebecca St. James & Nancy Rue

Tara Faulkner and Seth Grissom grew up next door to each other in Savannah’s historic district. Their parents are best friends. They finish each other’s sentences all the time. Their fairy-tale wedding is a foregone conclusion . . . until Tara discovers another side to Seth three weeks before the wedding. Reality has crashed in on Tara’s fairy tale—but hope will lead her to a future she couldn’t have planned for herself.

This one is an emotional suspense that will have you laughing, crying, screaming and cheering. I read this in one day, much as I did with All In Good Time. Similar themes. A clean read but for grown-ups only.

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk

When the Great Depression takes almost everything they own, Ellie’s family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed forests of nearby Echo Mountain. Ellie has found a welcome freedom, and a love of the natural world, in her new life on the mountain. But there is little joy, even for Ellie, as her family struggles with the aftermath of an accident that has left her father in a coma. An accident unfairly blamed on Ellie.
 
Determined to help her father, Ellie will make her way to the top of the mountain in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as “the hag.” But the hag, and the mountain, still have many untold stories left to reveal and, with them, a fresh chance at happiness.
 
Echo Mountain is celebration of finding your own path and becoming your truest self. Lauren Wolk, the Newbery Honor– and Scott O’Dell Award–winning author of Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea weaves a stunning tale of resilience, persistence, and friendship across three generations of families, set against the rough and ragged beauty of the mountain they all call home.

Loved it. Good, solid YA, clean and challenging.

What are you reading these days? Don’t forget to link up with An Open Book.

Open Book: Book Recs for February 2020

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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I skipped last month, and I’m late for this month, which pretty much sums up my life in many ways: plenty off-kilter, but filling things in just enough to keep going. Just enough.

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

 

try_softer_3dTry Softer by Aundi Kolber is a gentle, faith-friendly synthesis of a number of different approaches to healing from both “Big-T Trauma” (physical, sexual, verbal, & emotional abuse, neglect) as well as “little-t trauma” (experiencing a family environment where your needs for attachment simply were not consistently met). Kolber covers how the brain handles Trauma/trauma, how to approach healing from a place of peace rather than “pushing through” or “white-knuckling it.” She covers boundaries, approaching openness without destroying the self, balancing vulnerability and self-preservation… so much good in this book for ANYBODY facing any emotional disconnect.

I know I need a reread. I had been trying to start an online, real time, videoconferenced book club to go through Try Softer together during Lent. I thought it would help me and give me a place to form community with others in processing through the exercises at the end of each chapter. However, the lack of response to that has given me an opportunity to reexamine my own desire to connect with people, how my own weak boundaries make it easier to share with others but harder to form relationships that are mutual rather than connective… anyway. Lots of stuff. So, no book club, but LOTS of praise for this book. I’d give a sixth star if Amazon would let me. Get your copy, and get to know Aundi.
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How many chances do you give someone to change for the better? That’s the question asked in Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischoff, first in a series (new, I think?) focusing on the Norgaard family, immigrants from Norway. Aven, a workhouse orphan, is very suddenly widowed by her alcoholic husband, and she accepts an offer to come take care of her late husband’s cousins… only to find out that these cousins aren’t children in need of minding–at least, not in age–but are three full-grown men. While that might seem comical at first glance, Aven finds herself unable to avoid confronting the pain her husband’s death left with her, especially in the Norgaard middle son, Thorvald–who has been soothing his isolation as a deaf man by drowning himself in the family’s cider business, and I don’t just mean in the workings and accounting.

In Sons, Bischoff gives us a story of redemption in a place where all our senses tell us there could be none. Highly recommended. Recommended by Carolyn, our Open Book host. A1PlaceHolder

 

A1PlaceHolderWhat are you reading?  Don’t forget to link up YOUR #OpenBook reviews over at Carolyn’s!

An Open Book: Boundaries, Classics and Dead Critters [Feb2019]

Books for high school students, wounded people, and a classic readaloud where somebody probably dies: I join  Carolyn Astfalk with Catholic Mom for a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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Turning my eye to non-fiction this month for the most part, for writing purposes. ICYM, I’m working on a book for Our Sunday Visitor. I’m writing about parenting spirituality for survivors of child abuse and family dysfunction. If this is news to you, that’s because you haven’t had the chance to subscribe to my newsletter. Oh, do, dear reader, and thus receive your free copy of Get Moving With St. Dominic’s Nine Ways of Prayer.

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BoundariesCover BoundariesInMarriage Now that I’ve done most of the heavier research for the OSV book, I’m working my way through this series: Boundaries by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Not gonna lie: this series is helping me less with the book and more with my own relationships. These books are Christian in the truest sense of holding Christ’s example up for us as something to emulate in order to live peacefully with the truth.  I tend to take on more than I can handle, both professionally and personally, and either let people get away with almost-murder or cut them out entirely. These books are basically telling me things I kind of already knew, but the examples given and the scriptures backing them up make me feel like setting healthy boundaries is something I can do effectively without as much hemming and hawing as I usually do.

I hope to list these in the “Resources” section of my book. I have noble plans to “leak” a few of the books I’ve used for more specific research in the upcoming Open Book linkups, so if that sort of information is useful to you, keep an eye out here. A1PlaceHolderA1PlaceHolderSeparatePeaceOresteia School assignments over here for First Shift of Kids.  I read A Separate Peace in high school… I think. I may have “read” it, as in let the words swim before my eyes while I listened to The Cure.  All I remember is that there’s a broken bone in there, and the day after I was talking to the child reading this book about the grossness and pain and obscure dangers involved in setting broken bones 100 years ago… the kid up and breaks two bones.  They were small bones. She did not fall out of a tree to break them.

The Oresteia I did not read, even in college, even as a theatre major in college. Another win for end-of-20th-century education in America.

A1PlaceHolderYearlingCoverAnd yet another book I haven’t read: The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. I’ve not read the book. I’ve not seen the movie. I know there’s a deer. I’m assuming something and or someone will die, and I’ll have to read while crying, which I find embarrassing, even in front of my kid. Dear Lord, please help this sort of thing be a cherished memory to her of her softie mom’s sentimentality, and not a source of annoyance at mom’s weakness.

I picked this for our read-aloud because it’s a used book sale find, and we’ve had it sitting on the shelf unread for a couple of years. I’m up to Chapter Nine or Ten reading this aloud to Second Shift of Kid, and we’ve yet to meet the deer. That said, it’s a fun read-aloud if you like reading dialect, and in this case, I do, since I’m not reading for an audition but to just my one youngest kid who hasn’t quite reached the disdain-everything-mom-does stage–yet. It’ll come. Probably the day I have to cry-read in front of her.   A1PlaceHolder

That’s it for February! Want more details on An Open Book? You can also sign up for An Open Book reminder email, which goes out one week before the link-up. You can also check out the archives of An Open Book!

An Open Book [Dec2018]

New release in YA dystopian, plus classics, and Christmas tearjerkers abound in this month’s reads. Want more? Carolyn Astfalk with Catholic Mom has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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No Sabbath Rest Book Talk for December or January, so here’s what we’re reading chez nous.

Check out An Open Book, a monthly book review linkup I forget where I found a list of historical picture books around the Christmas theme, but Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story by Cynthia Rylant was on there. We got it from the library, and in spite of reading it myself ahead of time, I couldn’t get through the read-aloud process without needing to stop a few times for the lump in my throat to clear, which it never fully did. It was a good opportunity to ask my audience to take over (this is someone who says she hates reading aloud). It’s the story of a rich man who, once helped by the people of Appalachia, decides he owes them a debt, so every year, he stands on the back of a train going through the mountains and throws silver packages of gifts to the children. Little Frankie always hopes he’ll get a doctor kit, but instead he gets other toys alongside practical gifts like warm clothes. Frankie grows up and realizes that, in spite of his childhood disappointment, he, too, owes a debt. Five stars, three Kleenex to Silver Packages.A1PlaceHolderElizabethRedRoseThe Royal Diaries series has long been a favorite in our house full of girls who love history. Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor is the book the youngest just picked up, after her sisters read it several years ago. I’m hoping to get a chance to read it at some point after she’s in bed and before it has to go back to the library.  A1PlaceHolderEmmaBookCoverMiddle Dumpling is reading Emma, the only Jane Austen book I’ve never read. For some reason, this one never appealed to me (as much as I liked Clueless), but Middle Dumpling seems to be enjoying it in what little spare time she has; she’s taken on an ambitious course load and is kicking its but, if I may brag on her thusly.

I admit I’ll probably read Emma before you’ll get me to give Krisin Lavransdatter or any Russian novels another try.   I’m more of a romance and action reader than a wallower in despair.

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TheManInTheIronMaskCoverSpeaking of romance and action, Oldest Dumpling has been given a “free choice reading” assignment for school, and it looks like she went with The Man in the Iron Mask. Love Dumas.  Love love love. I’ve not read this one yet, but I’ll probably pick it up even before Emma.A1PlaceHolderRavenmasterAnd here’s a book I actually have read! I cannot recommend  The Ravenmaster: My Life With The Ravens at the Tower of London by Christopher Skaife enough. Skaife has a delightful voice, and I really felt like I was sitting in the pub with him across the table from me and my kids, telling us how he became the Ravenmaster, about his life in the military, even about his childhood as a bit of a “messer.” If you’re any kind of anglophile, bird fan, history buff, you’ll be absolutely delighted ty The Ravenmaster. Best of all, if you have a reader in your family whose reading level outpaces his/her maturity, The Ravenmaster is a great fit. It’s family friendly and rich storytelling.

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I also want to give you a heads-up:

The Siege of Reginald Hill Final Front

Just in time for St. Nicholas Day, Christmas, Three Kings, Candlemas, or any other occasion on which you feel like giving gifts of Catholic-friendly fiction to your favorite teen reader, UK-author Corinna Turner has released the latest in her YA dystopian saga, the I Am Margaret Series.

This latest release, The Siege of Reginald Hill, goes like this:

An odd surge filled my heart as I looked at him, sitting there in that chair: so old; so evil; so broken; so… alone. A warmth. A caring. A… love. I loved him. Just another poor sinner who need my care…

SAFETY IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF DANGER, BUT THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

Fr Kyle Verrall is living a quiet life as a parish priest in Africa when he’s snatched from his church one night by armed assailants. He’s in big trouble—his sister’s worst enemy is hell-bent on taking revenge on the famous Margaret Verrall by killing her brother, just as slowly and horribly as he can.

What could possibly save him? The humble young priest is defenceless—or so Reginald Hill believes.

But Kyle has a powerful weapon Hill knows nothing about. And he’s not afraid to use it.

Is Reginald Hill really the hunter? Or is he the hunted?

I love what I’ve read of this series so far, but be warned: there are some graphic violence bits that aren’t suitable for younger readers. I’ve just decided to let my 14 year-olds have at it.  Perhaps the best part of this series is that there are so many books in it—more than just three, like some other, almost as good YA dystopian series I could name.  Pick a YA reader or two in your life and gift the whole stack

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That’s it for December! Want more details on An Open Book? You can also sign up for An Open Book reminder email, which goes out one week before the link-up. You can also check out the archives of An Open Book!

NEWS: Working Mother Interviewee Alumnae Launch New Journal Project

Working Mother Final-1I’m so excited! Yeeeeears ago, when “Working Mother” was first released, I did a series of interviews with real live working mothers here, chez moi, on this humble blog. This was so long ago that the blog was still called, Will Write For Tomato Pie! Anyway, that’s when I first met, Tiffany Walsh, The Catholic Librarian (here’s Tiffany’s own blog-home).

Over the past nearly four years, Tiffany has been busy with many projects, but her latest is a contribution to the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women.  This series, spearheaded by another working mother interviewee Allison Gingras, aims to “help women build a closer relationship with Jesus. Each Stay Connected journal explores a different path to spiritual growth in short, easy-to-complete chapters—perfect for busy, on-the-go individuals or small faith-sharing groups!”

Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women: a preview of Exploring the Catholic Classics by TIffany WalshI was invited to take a look at one of the journals and share the results with you, dear readers. It was a tough choice, but, given the focus of this blog on reading and writing, I picked Tiffany’s Exploring the Catholic Classics: How Spiritual Reading Can Help You Grow in Wisdom.

From the Stay Connected website:

In Exploring the Spiritual Classics, you will:

    • learn about seven inspiring historical and modern works of spiritual literature;
    • read selected passages from the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Pope John Paul II; St. Francis de Sales, Thomas à Kempis, and more;
    • study these spiritual works in light of the Scriptures;
    • reflect on significant spiritual themes and chronicle your own thoughts and experiences.
    • apply the wisdom of these spiritual writers to your own life.

The spiritual classics are full of wisdom, advice, and inspiration to enrich the lives of modern women, and Exploring the Spiritual Classics is a great way to access that wisdom and apply it to your life. Tiffany Walsh introduces readers to carefully selected excerpts from each spiritual classic, offering her own insights before inviting you to respond to reflection prompts. You can record your responses right in the journal, then bring those thoughts to your small faith-sharing group for further discussion. And as with all the Stay Connected journals, guided prayers and space to journal your own prayer helps you forge a deeper, living connection with Jesus.

My take: Because it’s designed to serve as guide and collector through a series of deep spiritual reading, I admittedly haven’t finished it yet. That said, I can see from its attractive design, inviting reflections, and clear purpose, Exploring the Spiritual Classics promises to make those sometimes intimidating classics accessible and fruitful subjects for study, even to the busiest Catholic woman.  I can also see this being a personable way to form a study group of women who, perhaps, aren’t even Catholic… yet!  Give the Stay Connected journals a look, and see how well they could fit in your life!

Catholic Librarian

Tiffany the Catholic Librarian

About the Author: Tiffany Walsh is a wife, the mother of two children, and a college librarian with a background in law. She is a cradle Catholic who rekindled her childhood faith as a law student in New York City via her love of books and rediscovery of daily Mass. She writes monthly for CatholicMom.com, and contributed to The Catholic Hipster Handbook, published in 2017 by Ave Maria Press. She hosts book clubs and offers weekly musings over at lifeofacatholiclibrarian.com.

Sabbath Rest Book Talk/Open Book [Nov2018]

Halloween books, death, and creepy stuff all abound in this month of the Holy Souls!

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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The aforementioned Carolyn also joins me every month for Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

NOVEMBER’S THEME: MEMENTO MORI

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Featuring Special Guest: Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP, (Remember Your Death)

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Sunday, November 4 at 7pm Eastern

 

Join us this month as we discuss:

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Discuss MEMENTO MORI in BLEEDER by John Desjarlais on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubBleeder by John Desjarlais

When classics professor Reed Stubblefield is disabled in a school shooting, he retreats to a rural Illinois cabin to recover and to write a book on Aristotle in peace. Oddly, in the chill of early March, the campgrounds and motels of tiny River Falls are filled with the ill and infirm — all seeking the healing touch of the town’s new parish priest, reputed to be a stigmatic. Skeptical about religion since his wife’s death from leukemia, Reed is nevertheless drawn into a friendship with the cleric, Reverend Ray Boudreau, an amiable Aquinas scholar with a fine library — who collapses and bleeds to death on Good Friday in front of horrified parishioners. A miracle? Or bloody murder? Once Reed becomes the prime ‘person of interest’ in the mysterious death, he seeks the truth with the help of an attractive local reporter and Aristotle’s logic before he is arrested or killed — because not everyone in town wants this mystery solved…

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Discuss MEMENTO MORI in THE DOOR IN THE WALL on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubThe Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli

The bells clang above plague-ridden London as Robin lies helpless, cold, and hungry. The great house is empty, his father is fighting the Scots in the north, his mother is traveling with the Queen, and the servants have fled. He calls for help but only the stones hear his cries. Suddenly someone else is in the house, coming towards Robin. It is Brother Luke, a wandering friar, who takes Robin to St. Mark’s Monastery, where he will be cared for until his father sends for him.  At last, a message comes–Robin is to meet his father at Castle Lindsay. The journey is dangerous, and the castle is located near the hostile Welsh border. Perched high in the hills, the castle appears invincible. But it is not. Under the cover of a thick fog the Welsh attack the castle. And Robin is the only one who can save it…

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DIscuss MEMENTO MORI in A LITTLE PRINCESS by Frances Hodgson Burnett on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubA Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

When little Sara Crewe is brought from India to London to join Miss Minchin’s school, she arrives a princess – cloaked in velvet and feathers, surrounded by extravagant affection. Then disaster strikes; her father dies and his business fails, and Sara is cast into poverty. Now a beggar, and used by the school for back-breaking work, she must depend on her imagination, and the kindness of strangers, to lift her above the misery of her circumstances. A dramatic reversal of the traditional ‘rags to riches’ formula, A Little Princess, by the author of The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett, is a truly magical story about the power of optimism in the face of adversity, which continues to enchant readers of all ages.

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Sign up here to get monthly reminders to tune in to Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

Check out the reading list for all of 2018.

For notifications that each month’s SRBT is available for viewing/listening, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Plus, click here to check out our NEW GOODREADS FEATURE!  It’s a list! On Goodreads! Vote for books we’ve already featured and add any books you think we should discuss in the future!

Fiction is Good for you! Watch Sabbath Rest Book Talk, and never feel guilty for reading fiction again!

Sabbath Rest Book Talk/Open Book [Oct2018]

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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The aforementioned Carolyn also joins me every month for Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

OCTOBER’S THEME: OBEDIENCE

Sunday, October 7 at 7pm Eastern

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Join us this month as we discuss:

TEEN READ WEEK AT YALSA

 

Discuss OBEDIENCE in INTERMISSION by Serena Chase on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubIntermission by Serena Chase

Intermission is a heart-wrenching contemporary YA romance set against a backdrop of musical theatre and family drama. With coming-of-age themes that honestly explore the gray areas of the moral dilemmas the characters face, this novel traces the path of one talented teen girl as she crosses painful thresholds of first love, faith, and betrayal to take the necessary steps toward adulthood, independence, and the dreams that set her heart on fire. [Due to content involving instances of verbal, emotional and physical abuse directly and indirectly perpetrated against the main character, this book is recommended for ages 14+]

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Discuss OBEDIENCE in ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This beloved Newbery Honor-winning story about a feisty heroine is sure to enchant readers new and old. At her birth, Ella of Frell receives a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it’s to hop on one foot for a day and a half, or to chop off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate… Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.

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Discuss OBEDIENCE in THE KING'S PREY by Susan Peek on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubThe King’s Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland by Susan Peek

An insane king. His fleeing daughter. Estranged brothers, with a scarred past, risking everything to save her from a fate worse than death. Toss in a holy priest and a lovable wolfhound, and get ready for a wild race across Ireland. Will Dymphna escape her deranged father and his sinful desires? For the first time ever, the story of Saint Dymphna is brought to life in this dramatic novel for adults and older teens. With raw adventure, gripping action, and even humor in the midst of dark mental turmoil, Susan Peek’s newest novel will introduce you to a saint you will love forever! Teenage girls will see that Dymphna was just like them, a real girl, while young men will thrill at the heart-stopping danger and meet heroes they can easily relate to. If ever a Heavenly friend was needed in these times of widespread depression and emotional instability, this forgotten Irish saint is it!

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Sign up here to get monthly reminders to tune in to Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

Check out the reading list for all of 2018.

For notifications that each month’s SRBT is available for viewing/listening, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Plus, click here to check out our NEW GOODREADS FEATURE!  It’s a list! On Goodreads! Vote for books we’ve already featured and add any books you think we should discuss in the future!

Fiction is Good for you! Watch Sabbath Rest Book Talk, and never feel guilty for reading fiction again!

Sabbath Rest Book Talk/Open Book [Sep 2018]

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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The aforementioned Carolyn also joins me every month for Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

SEPTEMBER’S THEME: AGING

LisaMladnichHeadshotTrueRadianceMladnichSpecial Guest: Lisa Mladnich

A grateful revert to the Catholic faith, author, speaker, TV host, life coach… Lisa Mladinich is a wife and mother, and the Host of Shalom World TV’s Catholic series, WOMAN: Strong Faith, True Beauty. A dynamic speaker and the award-winning author of five Catholic books.

COMMENT on the video itself by October 31, 2018 for your chance to win a copy of True Radiance (US mailing addresses only).

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Theme: Aging

Discuss AGING in THE THINGS WE KNEW by Catherine West on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubThe Things We Knew by Catherine West

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?  After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.  Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister. As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.

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Discuss AGING in 10 STEPS TO GIRLFRIEND STATUS by Cynthia Toney on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclub10 Steps to Girlfriend Status (The Birdface Series Book 2) by Cynthia Toney

Wendy Robichaud is on schedule to have everything she wants in high school: two loyal best friends, a complete and happy family, and a hunky boyfriend she’s had a crush on since eighth grade—until she and Mrs. Villaturo look at old photo albums together. That’s when Mrs. V sees her dead husband and hints at a scandal down in Cajun country. Faster than you can say “crawdad,” Wendy digs into the scandal. She risks losing boyfriend David by befriending Mrs. V’s cute grandson, alienates stepsister Alice by having a boyfriend in the first place, and upsets her friend Gayle without knowing why. Will Wendy be able to prevent Mrs. V from being taken thousands of miles away from her? And will she lose all the friends she’s fought so hard to get?

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DIscuss AGING in GRANDMAMA'S PRIDE on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubGrandmama’s Pride by Becky Birtha

Every summer, Mama, Sister, and Sarah Marie take the bus down south to visit Grandmama. The three of them sit in the back of the bus, because, as Mama says, it is the best seat. Later, on a walk into town, the girls don’t drink from the water fountain because Grandmama says she’ll make fresh lemon-mint iced tea when they get home. Throughout the summer, Aunt Maria teaches Sarah Marie how to read. Then Sarah Marie notices signs in town she hadn’t been able to read before, like the one on the bathroom door that says, “White Women” and another that says “Colored Women.” Sarah Marie faces a hard realization about the segregated South. But in the fall she reads about events happening in places like Clinton, Tennessee, and Montgomery, Alabama. And by the next summer, when they go back to visit Grandmama, they all sit in the front of the bus.

 

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