Sharing Faith-filled Fiction with Audiobooks

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A need in our culture

Now more than ever, we have a need in our culture for faith-filled entertainment.

  • stories with Christian themes
  • stories that support, rather than contradict or belittle faith and values
  • stories that convey the amazing love of God for us, His creatures
  • stories that make one think deeper about the choices they make and the values presented by society
  • stories that inspire one to seek the things that are above

Ways to reach more people

As a Catholic fiction author, I am always looking for new ways to reach and support my audience. I’ve created study guides for many of my books, I give talks related to story themes, and I’ve turned one of my books into an audiobook: Battle for His Soul.

Study guides can help readers dive deeper into story themes, whether used individually or in a book club. Audiobooks provide the freedom to listen to your story when you’re on the go, or even when your vision fails.


Audible book codes

I’ve published the audiobook of Battle for His Soul with ACX and they’ve given me free promotional codes. With these codes, I can introduce readers to audiobooks and even introduce readers to my faith-filled fiction.

ACX has improved the way it handles promo codes. Codes are now title specific and the redemption process–which was once tedious–is now easy; simply log in to audible.com/acx-promo or audible.co.uk/acx-promo and enter the code.

I have 50 codes available for Battle for His Soul and I’d like to give one to you. In return, I ask that you listen to my story and if you enjoy it, please leave an honest review on Audible so that more people can find my faith-filled fiction.

If you are interested, request a code in the comments. If you are not an Audible member, sign up for a free 30-day trial!


More Catholic fiction available in audiobook

I have read all of Carolyn Asfalk’s and Susan Peek’s books and most of the books found on CatholicTeenBooks.com website. These faith-filled stories are just what our culture needs and many of them are available as audiobooks. Check them out for yourselves or for the audiobook fan in your life.

Visit CatholicTeenBooks.com for young adult faith-filled audio book titles.
Visit Carolyn Astfalk’s website for Christian inspirational fiction available in audio book.
For saint stories on audiobook, visit Susan Peek’s website.

If You Only Make One New Year's Resolution…

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I went to Mass today, the last day of the year. I’ve always wanted to attend daily Mass and whenever I do, I’m so happy I did. I believe in the True Presence and in the awesome gift of Holy Communion, and I know that daily Communicants receive a ton of grace to help them live holy lives. After all, they are receiving God Himself as their spiritual food!

My duties have often prevented me from making daily Mass. And when it wasn’t my duties, my own laziness stood in the way. My excuse: I have trouble sleeping through the night and the best sleep I get is often in the morning.

Thanks be to God our oldest son (19 years old with autism) loves to serve Mass and often asks me to take him. How can you say no to that request? So I went to Mass today!

The first reading today really got me thinking.

“Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth.”

1 John 2:18-21 RSV-CE

Saint John’s warning is so powerful and relevant! We Christians must be on guard and we must cling to and spread the unchangeable truth passed down to us from the Apostles. We live in an age when anti-Christs abound. What are we called to do about it?

At the end of every year and the beginning of the new year, I often think of making New Year’s resolutions. I think of the past year’s failures, accomplishments, and blessings. And I think of what I’d like to overcome and accomplish in the new year.

It is part of human nature to evaluate our lives and to set goals for the future. I imagine that’s why pagans created the mythical god Janus, and why the first month of the year is named after him. Janus is the mythical god of beginnings, transitions, and endings. He has two faces, one looking to the future and the other to the past.

Even though the pagans didn’t recognize the bigger truth of the one God who created and loved them, and who desired their holiness, they did seem to recognize the need to evaluate their lives and the choices they’ve made, to decide the kind of person they wanted to be, and to make concrete plans to grow closer to that goal in the new year.


Rather than make resolutions about my diet, exercise, and earthly goals, I’ve decided to make one New Year’s resolution. And that one resolution is inspired by the dogma and holy day we celebrate at the beginning of every year: the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Virgin of the Lilies, Bouguereau, 1899

“Mary is truly “Mother of God” since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 509

This dogma was defined in 431 AD in Ephesus, the very city where Mary had lived for years. It was declared so that people would understand the truth that Jesus is one person with two natures, human and divine. This Jesus whom we love is more than just our friend and personal Savior. He is God. He can do all things. And He desires to be in the most intimate relationship with each one of us. He desires this so much that He took on human form, lived among us, died to save us, and continues to give us His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

So this year, I want to entrust myself to Him at every moment of my life, and to come to Him the way He came to us, through the Virgin He created to be His mother and to be our mother. Oh how pleased God is when we consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary!

Concretely, how can we remind ourselves to stick to such a resolution?

The answer is simple. We can easily become distracted and temptations never cease, but to follow God and trust in Him is simple and the Church gives us simple means to remain focused, to renew the grace within us, and to remain committed to our holy resolutions. This is why Jesus built His Church.

I resolve to avail myself of the channels of grace Jesus gave to the Church, especially the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, and to make use of sacramentals too, especially holy water and the Brown Scapular.


Another thing that helps me to grow in faith is my work and research as a Catholic fiction writer. Each of my stories touches on various Catholic truths, so I delve into studying them. I pray, think about the subject when driving (or when I should be sleeping), and read everything I can so that I can bring the teachings to life through a story.

I’m writing a Confirmation story now, so I’m focusing on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever wondered why some people don’t seem any different or even stop practicing their faith after Confirmation? Why don’t the gifts of the Holy Spirit seem to come alive for everyone? And what exactly are the differences between some of those seven gifts of the Holy Spirit? Through this story, I hope to show each of the seven gifts in action and to answer other questions about Confirmation.


If you’d like read a story with a Brown Scapular thread, I recommend my contemporary young adult fiction Standing Strong.

Written for teens but enjoyed by adults too, this story follows twin brothers as they seek to discern God’s will when the path is not clear. Keefe West has been a follower most of his life, but not following the right people. In Life-Changing Love, he turned his life around and now he finds himself attracted to the Franciscan way of life but discernment isn’t easy. Is the brotherhood for him?

His twin, Jarret West, lived a selfish and destructive life for many years. At the end of Battle for His Soul, he found his way to Our Lord. But in Standing Strong, he’s down from the spiritual high we sometimes experience when we allow God into our lives. And he’s surrounded by the same friends and faced with the same old temptations, as often happens when we try to make positive changes. Sometimes these temptations are strong. How is he to remain faithful to God?


For a few non-fiction book suggestions, check out Carolyn Asftalk’s blog post 10 Reads to Help You Be Better in 2020.


May God bless you abundantly in the New Year!

Christmas cookie recipes!

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This post is inspired by Carolyn Astfalk and her Virtual Cookie Swap!

When I was growing up, we set up a Nativity scene at the start of Advent. Closer to Christmas, we put up our Christmas tree and we baked Christmas cookies–same ones every year. We also went to Midnight Mass, which I think was actually at midnight, unlike now when it’s at 10:00 PM around here. These were our traditions!

The older I get, the more I appreciate the way family traditions connect us to loved ones who live far away or who are no longer with us.

So in honor of my family, I post our traditional Christmas cookie recipes!

Warning: the temperatures and times might not work for your oven. Our oven was a bit odd and we were always adjusting the temperature/time for recipes. So keep an eye on your cookies as they bake!


Swedish Tea Cakes

(makes 60 cookies if you are precise with your cookie sizes)

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • more powdered sugar (sorry that’s not a precise amount)

Combine the butter and sugar first, then add the rest. Shape into 1″ balls and place 1″ apart on a foil- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Roll in more powdered sugar!


Lemon Cherry Cookies

(Makes 48 if you are precise with your cookie sizes)

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (use a real lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (from above mentioned real lemon)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 48 maraschino cherries
  • 2 cups chopped nuts (recipe says pecans but we’ve used walnut too, with equally delightful results)

Combine butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks, lemon peel, and lemon juice. Stir in the flour. Chill for 3 hours then divide the dough into 8. Divide each 8th into 6. Make into balls (if you don’t like to be that precise, just aim for consistent sized dough balls). Roll in egg whites, then in the chopped nuts. Place on foil- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and press a cherry into the center. Space cookies 2″ apart. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes.


Molasses Drop Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 -1/4 cup flour (note: Mom was always trying to make things healthier and used to add 1/4 cup of wheat germ instead of the extra 1/4 cup of flour. It’s good that way too)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 heaping cup raisins
  • 1 cup nuts (I use whatever nuts are cheapest this time of year!)
  • note: Mom also added 1/2 cup powdered milk, but I never have powdered milk on hand. We used to drink it growing up–ack–so we always had it on hand back then.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Then add the wet ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients together to avoid a lump of nutmeg or baking powder in one cookie! Stir it all together and drop by rounded teaspoons, 1/2″ apart on foil- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Note: I end up doing this recipe a little differently every year, whether it’s the spices or nuts, or the amounts of the flour and molasses, or whether I throw something new into the cookies. They are always delicious!


Gluten free alternative: Since we have a family member with gluten intolerance, I have also made batches of all these cookies using gluten free flour (usually Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix–my favorite).


We also make Magic Cookie Bars, cut out cookies, and peanut butter cookies (gluten free are the best), and we are open to adding cookie recipes to our list so please share your favorites!

Catholic Teen Books ~ FaceBook Christmas Party

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What are you doing this Thursday, December 5th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM EST?

Several authors from CatholicTeenBooks.com are hosting a pre-Christmas party on Facebook. Won’t you please join us?

We will have games and prizes and a chance for authors and readers to get to know each other! No purchase necessary to play and win. You’ll find pictures of the prizes at the end of this post!


You stand a good chance of winning prizes but even if you don’t, maybe you’ll get some gift ideas! Books make great gifts, but faith-filled fiction is even better! Faith-filled Catholic fiction can inspire and support a teen in their faith and help them deal with the challenges today’s culture throws at them.

Who we are:

At CatholicTeenBooks.com you will find books in several genres: saint stories, mystery, contemporary, romance, fantasy, dystopian, speculative, and historical. Many of these books are award-winners. Many have been featured on Virtue Works Media and Catholic Reads. Many Catholic Teen Books authors have given presentations in schools and churches and might even be available to come to your parish, either in person or virtually.

Every book on the website reflects our faith through Catholic themes, characters, and perspectives. The characters in these stories struggle with challenges that we all face. Some stories follow the lives of saints, of those who dared to live counter-culturally and give themselves entirely to God. Other stories bring to light the beauty and power of the unique aspects of the Catholic faith. The Catholic element is more subtle in some works, but the worldview and themes bring the message of truth.

We hope that our fiction will challenge and inspire, that it will awaken within our readers some of the mystery, joy, and beauty of the Faith. We hope to stir within our readers a desire for something beyond themselves. Because God calls everyone to the fullness of faith and happiness, we invite readers of any faith or no faith at all to read our fiction.


Check out some of the prizes!

NOTE: If you plan to come, I encourage you to gather the following items for my game, which will be a SCAVENGER HUNT!

  • pencil
  • paper
  • family portrait
  • wedding ring (or any ring will do)
  • Christian Christmas ornament
  • Bible
  • I think that’s it but if there is something else, you’ll have time during the party to get it!

I hope to see you at the party!

Kids grow in their faith by learning about 8 great saints!

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The North American Martyrs served among the Native Americans of eastern Canada and the United States in the 1600s. Their lives are an amazing testimony to their love for God and for their fellow men. They are giants of the faith, yet they were also ordinary men who struggled with everyday problems like poor health, depression, unfaithful friends, spiritual dryness, and more. Though they lived centuries ago, their lives can still inspire us in our faith.

The North American Martyrs Kids Activity Book will bring the lives of these holy men alive for Catholic children. This 135-page paperback book includes bios, discussion and reflection questions, word puzzles, mazes, colouring pages and more activities about the lives of the North American or Canadian Martyrs. There are also quotes from the saints and suggestions for applying what kids have learned from each saint to their own lives.

Kids ages 7-13 will learn about St. Isaac Jogues, St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Antoine Daniel, St. Charles Garnier, St. Noel Chabanel, St. Rene Goupil, St. Gabriel Lalemant, St. Jean de Lalande and their friends and be inspired in their faith!

Intended for a multi-age audience, North American Martyrs Kids Activity Book can be used in catechism classes, homeschools, parish kids clubs, Catholic schools, and more.

Author Bonnie Way is a Catholic convert and homeschooling mom of 5 children. She and her family live in Vancouver, BC. She has a B.A. in English (with a minor in history) from Concordia University of Edmonton and a B.A. in Writing from the University of Victoria. She blogs about motherhood, homeschooling, books and more at thekoalamom.com.

Illustrator Katherine Babcock is a mom of 4 children who lives in Victoria, BC. Her art explores the West Coast in a variety of mediums, from watercolour to pen and ink.


North American Martyrs Kids Activity Book is available on Amazon: bit.ly/namartyrs

Learn more about the book: https://thekoalamom.com/na-martyrs-kids-book/

Learn more about the martyrs: https://thekoalamom.com/2019/05/north-american-martyrs/

Please follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kidssaintbook/?hl=en

Book Tour for a Heart-pounding Adventure: BREACH!

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This month, the Catholic Writers’ Guild is touring Guildie Corinna Turner’s book, “BREACH!” It is a 2019 SOA award winner!

“BREACH! – Rampaging T. Rex? Bring it on! Tiny baby? Uh oh! A heart-warming, pulse-pounding, pro-life adventure about taking responsibility for your mistakes–and staying alive!”

BREACH!

Summary:

Eighteen-year-old Isaiah and his older brother Zechariah are professional hunters, earning their living culling and capturing some of the most dangerous predators ever to walk the planet.When an out-of-control T. rex breaches a tourist resort Isaiah and Zech must act fast to save lives.Little does Isaiah know that a testy T. rex and three packs of hungry raptors will soon be the least of his problems. A much-regretted New Year’s Eve misadventure is about to cause a very different kind of breech—and change both their lives for good.

Excerpt:

Father Ben looks at me for a long moment, like there’s a million questions—a million conversations—he’d like to have with me, but of course there’s no time. “Okay, you know the chaplet of Saint Desmond?”

“Yes.” Every hunter knows that one, Catholic or not. There’s not a lot of words to it, either. “Jesus, I trust in You,” is most of it.

“Say that every day for a week, for, er, for good judgment and strength of will. Okay, just tell me you’re sorry, and I’ll absolve you. I know you are, but just for the record, as it were.”

I squint at the air beside his head, picturing some sort of recording angel taking notes, and mumble the necessary words. “I absolve you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Right, you’re squeaky clean and ready to be eaten by raptors.”

I splutter, then laugh so hard I have to clutch my rib cage. “And what about you?” I demand at last.

He grins. “Not that long since I went to confession. I’ll take my chances.”

I grin back. “You’re a real cool customer, for a city-man. You know this is pretty dangerous, right?”

“I’d figured that out, yes. People to save, right?”

“Yeah. Let’s go, then.”

Bio:

Corinna Turner has been writing since she was fourteen and likes strong protagonists with plenty of integrity. She has an MA in English from Oxford University, but has foolishly gone on to work with both children and animals! Juggling work with the disabled and being a midwife to sheep, she spends as much time as she can in a little hut at the bottom of the garden, writing. She is a Catholic Christian with roots in the Methodist and Anglican churches. A keen cinema-goer, she lives in the UK. She used to have a Giant Snail called Peter with a 6½” long shell (which is legal in the UK!), but now makes do with a cactus and a campervan!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CorinnaTAuthor

Website: www.IAmMargaret.com

Buy Link: amzn.com/dp/1910806706

Christmas Gift List: Catholic Children’s Books

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What are you getting your children and grandchildren for Christmas? Clothes, toys, candy, electronic games? What about a gift that can give something deeper than any of those things?

Catholic children’s books delight and entertain, but they also inspire and feed the soul!

While you are making out your Christmas list, enjoy this list of Catholic children’s books, some picture books, others chapter books, all with beautiful themes. One Advent guide book is also on the list!


Author Dessi Jackson

On the road to San Damiano, Grandma Nonna shares with her grandson Antonio a once-upon-a-time story about Saint Clare. Full-color illustrations and a delightful tale capture the beauty and faith of Saint Clare as she pursues her vocation and embraces the joyful and simple Franciscan spirituality. Ever-appreciative of the little things, Clare’s happiness blossoms even more with her wonderful discovery of a tiny kitten.

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author Karen Kelly Boyce

A Christmas Calamity Avoided!

Can the Sisters raise enough money to buy Christmas gifts for children in need? Or will they be stuck with a lot of unwanted Christmas trees?

Meet the Sisters of the Last Straw, a community of Sisters trying hard to overcome their bad habits. Join these lovable misfit nuns in their latest adventure as they learn to bring their problems to God in prayer…and try to catch a Christmas tree thief!

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Author Jean Schoonover-Egolf

The kindergarten class at Holy Trinity School is having a Christmas pageant, complete with stable, angels, barn animals, and baby Jesus. Molly McBride thinks she’s a shoo-in for the role of Mary, while her bestie, priest-wanna-be Dominic, has his heart set on the role of Joseph. But Mrs. Rose, kindergarten teacher extraordinaire, might not have quite the same “vision” for this year’s Nativity that the kids have, leading to an upset that snowballs into a lesson on obedience.

Will Molly’s feisty temperament ruin the whole play? Or will she find the strength, through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, to say, “Thy will be done?”

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Author Erin Broestl

In this lovely read-aloud for ages 3 to 5, children embark upon on a journey steeped in the magical wonder of the moon and its Creator. A young girl travels from the city to the country, describing phases and aspects of the moonlight with a heartfelt understanding of beauty. “God put it there for all to see, but especially because He loves me.” Jean Schoonover- Egolf’s watercolor illustrations delight on this journey of simple faith and family life.

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Author Theresa Linden

Book 1 in the Armor of God children’s chapter book series, based on the Scriptural armor of God.

George Pennington wants to be a knight! He bravely faces the fearsome head knight at the annual “tryouts,” hoping to be among the few accepted to Knight School for Boys and Girls. When he accidentally burns his mother’s cherished tapestry, is his chance at Knight School over? A lie seems like the best solution. As lying becomes easier for George, he discovers that students must earn the first piece of armor: The Belt of Truth.

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Author Susan Peek

A baby reindeer longs for a name. Before his mother can choose one, invaders come and the herd flees . . . except for him. His wobbly legs are too weak to run. Captured and taken to a new land, the little reindeer yearns for escape . . . and for a friend. Meanwhile, as Christmas Eve draws near, a saintly bishop and a holy monk plan a surprise for the poor of their village. When problems arise, all seems doomed, until their paths cross with that of the baby reindeer . . . and a legend is born.

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Author Bonnie Way

The North American Martyrs (also known as the Canadian Martyrs) were six Jesuit priests and two laymen who gave their lives for the love of God and the First Nations people of Canada and the United States. St. Isaac Jogues, St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Antoine Daniel, St. Rene Goupil, St. Charles Garnier, St. Noel Chabanel, St. Jean de la Lande and St. Gabriel Lalement were courageous yet ordinary men who still inspire us today. This book is filled with stories, activities, reflection questions, colouring pages and more to help your children learn about these exciting saints and apply what they learn about their faith to their own lives.

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Author Aleesa McCarthy

This Advent guide book is a small help for you to lead your little ones through the Advent season. It is not a daily activity book that children can sit down with on their own. It is a resource guide for you use with little ones. There is a fillable calendar, coloring pages, activity suggestions, a general guide for the Advent season, and a page of holy cards for some saints that fall within Advent. This book is designed with blank pages for you to be able to cut pages out to use. There is also permission granted to photocopy the pages for home use only because so you can accommodate multiple children. This is a resource you can use year after year as you observe Advent with little ones! Saints included in this book are: St. Andrew, St. Francis Xavier, St. Nicholas, St. Ambrose, Immaculate Mary, St. Juan Diego, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Lucy, St. John of the Cross, St. Adelaide, St. Peter Canisius, and the Holy Family.

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Author Kimberly Fries

The Rosary for Little Ones introduces the mysteries of the rosary in a simple, yet engaging way. Each mystery has a short description, as well as a sweet prayer, the perfect length for children to read themselves or for a family to engage children of all ages. Each decade also includes a set of ten little roses for small fingers to follow along with each prayer. A beautiful and practical book for families with young children, desiring to pray the rosary and add more roses to Jesus and Mary’s heavenly crowns.

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Author RCL Benziger

This book celebrates the many ways people of different cultures express the Catholic faith in their churches, neighborhoods, and homes. As the Good News of Jesus spread around the world, people in every culture found special ways to express their faith in God. Through the ritual words and gestures of popular devotions, Catholics show their love for God and devotion to Mary and the saints. 

It is our prayer that through this book your family will experience God in new ways in your everyday lives. May the diverse and rich traditions of families and the Church from around the world lead you to find new ways of living out your faith. May the beauty of these devotions remind us that we are one family in Jesus Christ, sharing God’s love in our homes, churches, and communities.

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Looking for something for a teen? Gifts: Visible & Invisible is a Christmas-themed short story collection by eight different authors and with stories in several genres.

CatholicTeenBooks.com authors

Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 RSV-CE)

As described by Cathy Gilmore of Virtue Works Media, who provides the foreword, “These authors don’t tell you to ‘Dare to be different.’ They show you. They whisper to your soul in characters, dialogue, and settings that your life can be a GREAT story, one that includes a lifestyle of authentic Catholic faith.”

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If you plan to give books as a gift for family and/or friends, please share the titles in the comments! Let’s make this list grow!

This month I am linking up to Carolyn Astalk’s An Open Book Blog!